Kristin Daniels

Steamy Romance Author

Chasing Eden - Excerpt

By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, please exit this page.

 Copyright © 2009 Kristin Daniels


~~~*~~~


Eden Foster stared between the licks of flames shooting four feet above the bonfire, still unable to believe rock-star bad-boy Shane Tolan, lead singer and sinful front man of the smoldering-hot band Blackguard, sat on the other side. Propped against a huge old oak tree, he lounged on a blanket, casual and relaxed as can be. Long, lean legs were crossed at his ankles, powerful arms over his chest.


Mercy, mercy. What she wouldn’t give to press her lips against the lower portion of that sexy Celtic lion tattoo showing just past the rolled up sleeve of his left arm, or to trace her tongue along the thick black stroke of the tat’s tail where it morphed into a tangle of classic Celtic knots below his elbow.


Okay… A serious diversion right about now would be a good thing. A great thing. A necessary thing. But Eden knew getting any sort of distraction with Shane in such close proximity would be next to impossible.


She certainly wasn’t a stranger to the idiosyncratic world of celebrity, so she could hardly blame being all googly-eyed star-struck as the reason for her sudden inability to breathe. As a highly recognized graphic artist to some of the fastest rising names in the music business, she’d lost track of how many times she’d met and mingled with hotter-than-hot Top Ten performers. But none of them—not a single, solitary one—compared to Shane Tolan.


All six-foot-two sweltering paradise of him.


God, she wanted to kill little Mrs. Ava Banford for not telling her he’d be here. Did her best friend not know her at all? How could something like his attendance not be the first thing Ava blurted out as soon as Eden walked through her friend’s front door tonight, never mind the courtesy of a quick phone call hours ahead of time? And what about the fact that Eden had been trying for more than six months to get Gregory Banford to set up a pitch meeting with Shane and his band? As Ava’s husband and producer of Blackguard’s latest CD, Gregory had all the clout she needed to pull the meeting off, but the timing never seemed to work out quite right for any of them.


And now here she was, practically face to face with the one man who could send her mind and libido in a thousand different directions all at once, completely and utterly unprepared.


Oh no, killing Ava would be too good for her. Torture… Yeah, a little torture might make Eden feel a hell of a lot better right now. Lord, how she hated to be caught off guard like this.


In the midst of planning Ava’s demise over her surprise ambush, Eden also didn’t want to think about how her entire body reacted to Shane’s presence like some sort of hormonal teenager, all tingly and magnetic. Normally she’d never let a good-looking—yeah right, understatement of the century right there—gorgeous man get the better of her, but this particular rock star had the uncanny ability to knock the breath right out of her lungs with nothing more than a lascivious look.


Earlier, after their quick introduction, he’d lifted her hand to his lips in the most sensual handshake she’d ever experienced. Since then he’d peered at her a few times throughout the night with devilish grins and the sexiest eyes this side of sane. And now, three hours into Ava’s thirty-fifth birthday party-slash-bonfire, she found herself across from the object of all her fantasies, stealing furtive glances through stupid orange flames.


Ava leaned closer and whispered in her ear. “Stop ogling. Geez, show at least a hint of self-restraint.”


She suddenly hated Ava as much as one person could possibly hate another but, God help her, she loved the little witch just as much, too. “Bite me, Av.” No, wait, on second thought… “You should know better than anyone how I hate to be blindsided like this. A heads up would’ve been appreciated.”


Ava snickered. “And that’s exactly why I didn’t say anything. I know how long you’ve been dying to win Blackguard as a client. You’d have waltzed in here tonight in full-out business mode instead of party mode. But nuh-uh. Not tonight, Ede. It’s my birshhday…”


Okay, seems Ava had enjoyed one too many Cosmos.


She giggled again. “You need to relax. We’re supposed to be having fun here. Celebrating.”


Oh yeah, Eden would celebrate all right, as soon as she landed Shane’s band and the contract to design their new CD cover. Industry grapevines being what they were, she knew the band was on the prowl for a new, edgier concept, and Eden was more than determined to provide that very thing. The perfect images haunted her mind. Deep hues, striking poses. God, she could do so much for him…


She could do even more to him.


Stop it, Eden! Think CD covers here, not body covers.


But her mind wouldn’t listen. As much as she’d love to sign his band, she still couldn’t resist the man himself. Every dream she’d had for the last year starred Shane, every secret fantasy had his mouth sucking that perfect spot on her neck, his hands stroking her skin, his cock stroking elsewhere.


Would this really be his business you’re wanting, Eden? Or more likely your pleasure?


Frustrated with all the ill-timed erotic ideas filling her head, she rubbed her forehead and casually stole another quick peek. Shane was laughing with the guy next to him. A record mixer, if memory served. With a swipe of his hand through his luscious tobacco-colored mane, he cocked his head and settled his gaze on her. A lift at the edge of Shane’s lips and a gleam in his eyes—a glimmer that had to be a trick of the firelight—made her heart stutter wildly, which was just so pathetically bodice-ripping-sappy-romance-novel cliché she wanted to laugh. Instead, she sucked in a breath and turned away.


“You’ve completely sideswiped me here, Av. I can’t even think straight.”


With one brow lifted over her shocking blue eyes, Ava grinned and tapped a perfectly French-manicured fingernail on her Cosmo glass. “Seems so. But, just why is that?”


Oh crap. Eden knew that look. Lord help them all when Ava began pondering life’s little mysteries.


The fire crackled and popped as sparks danced above it before they flitted into nothingness in the air. Gregory and Ava’s summer home was the perfect hideaway to hold the weekend birthday bash. But with Eden’s sudden inability to focus on anything other than the man on the other side of the fire, she wished the party had been held in the city. On her own turf, where she’d be the one in charge.


Unable to resist, she snuck another glance back to Shane and worked her lower lip between her teeth before releasing it on a sigh. Ava’s grin blossomed into a triumphant smirk.


“Ah-ha! So that’s it. Here I am thinking you’re about to go all business executive on me, when the reality is that you, Miss-Always-In-Control, have the hots for a wild rocker.” She chuckled again, then lifted her glass to her lips as her gaze slid from Eden to Shane. “Got to be honest with you here, Ede, that’s really not what I expected from you,” she said after a sip. “At least not if we go by the last, say, half-dozen guys you’ve dated. Have we finally found a weakness in that tough-as-nails, control-freak exterior you’re so famous for?”


Eden feigned nonchalance with a lazy shrug. A pathetic show, really, and she knew right then she’d given herself away. She smiled with a grin of her own. “Busted. So I have a thing for rock guys. Sue me.”


“Well, well. Wonders never cease,” Ava mused on a wicked smile.


Eden’s smile, however, faded and she threw her friend an exasperated look. “He’s so not my type, Av. You know me, I’m business twenty-four-seven. Building up Imagining Eden is usually all I think about. But every time I look at Shane or hear one of his songs, let alone that velvet voice of his, everything flies right out the window and all I can think about is getting my hands on him.” She sighed and fiddled with the wine charm on her own glass. “Hell, listen to me. I sound like a little girl ogling an issue of Tiger Beat.”


“No you don’t. Besides, I think this is perfect.” Ava tipped back the last of the sweet, pink cocktail. “Still Ede, no matter if he’s your type or not, you never back down from looks as hot as he’s giving you. He’s coming just short of eating you up with those sexy eyes of his and you’re the queen of giving as good as you get. So really, what’s the matter?”


Yeah, Eden? What’s the matter?


She could try to convince herself the rest of tonight and most of tomorrow she was only interested in Shane in a purely business way, but deep down she knew it’d do no good. A contract with his band sure as hell would be nice, but more than that, she wanted the rock star. The bad boy.


The man.


Ava leaned closer, persistent as a playful puppy and thankfully just as loyal. “He’s gorgeous, his band has the number two song in the country, a song that’s expected to be number one by next week.” Her voice softened as she reached out and laid her hand on Eden’s arm. “But more importantly, sweetie, he also happens to be one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. I say go for it. And I’m talking the man, Ede. Not the job.”


Go for it…


Should she? Could she let go, give in to her secret temptation and, for once, put her wants and desires before the responsibility of growing her company?


Behind them, the sliding glass door to the four-thousand-square-foot lakeside villa opened on a whoosh. With an outrageous flaming cake held precariously in his hands, Gregory navigated his way down the stairs from the deck toward the fire pit. Once he started singing, the other twenty or so guests chimed right in along with him.


Happy birthday to you…


The rest of the song fell half-heartedly from her lips as she stole another glimpse across the glittery fire. Shane sang along too, but his eyes… Oh hell, he was staring right at her again. He smiled on the last note, and she thought for sure she’d die when his tongue peeked out to lick along his lower lip.


Good Lord, the man was sex on a stick.

By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, please exit this page.

 Copyright © 2009 Kristin Daniels

~~~*~~~

Eden Foster stared between the licks of flames shooting four feet above the bonfire, still unable to believe rock-star bad-boy Shane Tolan, lead singer and sinful front man of the smoldering-hot band Blackguard, sat on the other side. Propped against a huge old oak tree, he lounged on a blanket, casual and relaxed as can be. Long, lean legs were crossed at his ankles, powerful arms over his chest.

Mercy, mercy. What she wouldn’t give to press her lips against the lower portion of that sexy Celtic lion tattoo showing just past the rolled up sleeve of his left arm, or to trace her tongue along the thick black stroke of the tat’s tail where it morphed into a tangle of classic Celtic knots below his elbow.

Okay… A serious diversion right about now would be a good thing. A great thing. A necessary thing. But Eden knew getting any sort of distraction with Shane in such close proximity would be next to impossible.

She certainly wasn’t a stranger to the idiosyncratic world of celebrity, so she could hardly blame being all googly-eyed star-struck as the reason for her sudden inability to breathe. As a highly recognized graphic artist to some of the fastest rising names in the music business, she’d lost track of how many times she’d met and mingled with hotter-than-hot Top Ten performers. But none of them—not a single, solitary one—compared to Shane Tolan.

All six-foot-two sweltering paradise of him.

God, she wanted to kill little Mrs. Ava Banford for not telling her he’d be here. Did her best friend not know her at all? How could something like his attendance not be the first thing Ava blurted out as soon as Eden walked through her friend’s front door tonight, never mind the courtesy of a quick phone call hours ahead of time? And what about the fact that Eden had been trying for more than six months to get Gregory Banford to set up a pitch meeting with Shane and his band? As Ava’s husband and producer of Blackguard’s latest CD, Gregory had all the clout she needed to pull the meeting off, but the timing never seemed to work out quite right for any of them.

And now here she was, practically face to face with the one man who could send her mind and libido in a thousand different directions all at once, completely and utterly unprepared.

Oh no, killing Ava would be too good for her. Torture… Yeah, a little torture might make Eden feel a hell of a lot better right now. Lord, how she hated to be caught off guard like this.

In the midst of planning Ava’s demise over her surprise ambush, Eden also didn’t want to think about how her entire body reacted to Shane’s presence like some sort of hormonal teenager, all tingly and magnetic. Normally she’d never let a good-looking—yeah right, understatement of the century right there—gorgeous man get the better of her, but this particular rock star had the uncanny ability to knock the breath right out of her lungs with nothing more than a lascivious look.

Earlier, after their quick introduction, he’d lifted her hand to his lips in the most sensual handshake she’d ever experienced. Since then he’d peered at her a few times throughout the night with devilish grins and the sexiest eyes this side of sane. And now, three hours into Ava’s thirty-fifth birthday party-slash-bonfire, she found herself across from the object of all her fantasies, stealing furtive glances through stupid orange flames.

Ava leaned closer and whispered in her ear. “Stop ogling. Geez, show at least a hint of self-restraint.”

She suddenly hated Ava as much as one person could possibly hate another but, God help her, she loved the little witch just as much, too. “Bite me, Av.” No, wait, on second thought… “You should know better than anyone how I hate to be blindsided like this. A heads up would’ve been appreciated.”

Ava snickered. “And that’s exactly why I didn’t say anything. I know how long you’ve been dying to win Blackguard as a client. You’d have waltzed in here tonight in full-out business mode instead of party mode. But nuh-uh. Not tonight, Ede. It’s my birshhday…”

Okay, seems Ava had enjoyed one too many Cosmos.

She giggled again. “You need to relax. We’re supposed to be having fun here. Celebrating.”

Oh yeah, Eden would celebrate all right, as soon as she landed Shane’s band and the contract to design their new CD cover. Industry grapevines being what they were, she knew the band was on the prowl for a new, edgier concept, and Eden was more than determined to provide that very thing. The perfect images haunted her mind. Deep hues, striking poses. God, she could do so much for him…

She could do even more to him.

Stop it, Eden! Think CD covers here, not body covers.

But her mind wouldn’t listen. As much as she’d love to sign his band, she still couldn’t resist the man himself. Every dream she’d had for the last year starred Shane, every secret fantasy had his mouth sucking that perfect spot on her neck, his hands stroking her skin, his cock stroking elsewhere.

Would this really be his business you’re wanting, Eden? Or more likely your pleasure?

Frustrated with all the ill-timed erotic ideas filling her head, she rubbed her forehead and casually stole another quick peek. Shane was laughing with the guy next to him. A record mixer, if memory served. With a swipe of his hand through his luscious tobacco-colored mane, he cocked his head and settled his gaze on her. A lift at the edge of Shane’s lips and a gleam in his eyes—a glimmer that had to be a trick of the firelight—made her heart stutter wildly, which was just so pathetically bodice-ripping-sappy-romance-novel cliché she wanted to laugh. Instead, she sucked in a breath and turned away.

“You’ve completely sideswiped me here, Av. I can’t even think straight.”

With one brow lifted over her shocking blue eyes, Ava grinned and tapped a perfectly French-manicured fingernail on her Cosmo glass. “Seems so. But, just why is that?”

Oh crap. Eden knew that look. Lord help them all when Ava began pondering life’s little mysteries.

The fire crackled and popped as sparks danced above it before they flitted into nothingness in the air. Gregory and Ava’s summer home was the perfect hideaway to hold the weekend birthday bash. But with Eden’s sudden inability to focus on anything other than the man on the other side of the fire, she wished the party had been held in the city. On her own turf, where she’d be the one in charge.

Unable to resist, she snuck another glance back to Shane and worked her lower lip between her teeth before releasing it on a sigh. Ava’s grin blossomed into a triumphant smirk.

“Ah-ha! So that’s it. Here I am thinking you’re about to go all business executive on me, when the reality is that you, Miss-Always-In-Control, have the hots for a wild rocker.” She chuckled again, then lifted her glass to her lips as her gaze slid from Eden to Shane. “Got to be honest with you here, Ede, that’s really not what I expected from you,” she said after a sip. “At least not if we go by the last, say, half-dozen guys you’ve dated. Have we finally found a weakness in that tough-as-nails, control-freak exterior you’re so famous for?”

Eden feigned nonchalance with a lazy shrug. A pathetic show, really, and she knew right then she’d given herself away. She smiled with a grin of her own. “Busted. So I have a thing for rock guys. Sue me.”

“Well, well. Wonders never cease,” Ava mused on a wicked smile.

Eden’s smile, however, faded and she threw her friend an exasperated look. “He’s so not my type, Av. You know me, I’m business twenty-four-seven. Building up Imagining Eden is usually all I think about. But every time I look at Shane or hear one of his songs, let alone that velvet voice of his, everything flies right out the window and all I can think about is getting my hands on him.” She sighed and fiddled with the wine charm on her own glass. “Hell, listen to me. I sound like a little girl ogling an issue of Tiger Beat.”

“No you don’t. Besides, I think this is perfect.” Ava tipped back the last of the sweet, pink cocktail. “Still Ede, no matter if he’s your type or not, you never back down from looks as hot as he’s giving you. He’s coming just short of eating you up with those sexy eyes of his and you’re the queen of giving as good as you get. So really, what’s the matter?”

Yeah, Eden? What’s the matter?

She could try to convince herself the rest of tonight and most of tomorrow she was only interested in Shane in a purely business way, but deep down she knew it’d do no good. A contract with his band sure as hell would be nice, but more than that, she wanted the rock star. The bad boy.

The man.

Ava leaned closer, persistent as a playful puppy and thankfully just as loyal. “He’s gorgeous, his band has the number two song in the country, a song that’s expected to be number one by next week.” Her voice softened as she reached out and laid her hand on Eden’s arm. “But more importantly, sweetie, he also happens to be one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. I say go for it. And I’m talking the man, Ede. Not the job.”

Go for it…

Should she? Could she let go, give in to her secret temptation and, for once, put her wants and desires before the responsibility of growing her company?

Behind them, the sliding glass door to the four-thousand-square-foot lakeside villa opened on a whoosh. With an outrageous flaming cake held precariously in his hands, Gregory navigated his way down the stairs from the deck toward the fire pit. Once he started singing, the other twenty or so guests chimed right in along with him.

Happy birthday to you…

The rest of the song fell half-heartedly from her lips as she stole another glimpse across the glittery fire. Shane sang along too, but his eyes… Oh hell, he was staring right at her again. He smiled on the last note, and she thought for sure she’d die when his tongue peeked out to lick along his lower lip.

Good Lord, the man was sex on a stick.