An Admiral’s daughter, Berkeley knows her
life has been planned since birth. The right school, the right boyfriend—and
now that she’s graduated—the right marriage. But after years of being right,
Berkley is ready to be a little wrong. And Dare Conners has wrong written
all over him. The sexy soldier has a body built for sin and secrets he won’t
share. What starts as a fling quickly grows into something more. But summer
can’t last forever, and when the truth comes out, both Berkeley and Dare could
be in for quite a fall.
He offers nothing
more. I stare at him for another second, then replace his tags under his shirt.
My fingers linger on the skin at the top of his chest. “I’m sorry.”
He nods. “Don’t be.”
We let the silence
wash over us once again.
I glance at him out
of the corner of my eye after a few minutes. I want to know. I want to know the
answers to all of the questions lurking behind those beautiful eyes of his. And
so I know it’s time for me to go.
He looks over at me,
his hands clasped behind his head. “Berkeley.”
Dammit. Does he
somehow know I have trouble continuing to speak when he says my name? Does he know?
“Thanks for the
beer,” I say, sitting up.
He doesn’t. “You’re
welcome. Are you leaving me so soon?”
His mouth turns
down, and I keep my hands firmly in my lap so that I don’t brush a finger
across his full bottom lip.
A low rumble of
thunder rolls around us, and I glance up at the sky. A storm is obviously on
its way. When I look back at Dare, his gaze hasn’t moved from mine.
He begins shaking
his head before I’ve even begun my letting-him-down-easy speech. Does he read
my mind, too?
“This has been a
really great night…”
His hand on my chin
stills me. It stills my thoughts and it stalls my words. I’m helpless with his
hand on me.
“Don’t do that,” he
says softly. “Don’t give me your ‘let-him-down-easy’ speech. Let’s pretend
we’ve moved past that, okay? You don’t want to do this again, then tell me the
real reason. I don’t do bullshit.”
He releases my skin,
but there’s a burning in the spot now that wasn’t there before.
It takes me a moment
to find my voice, and Dare waits patiently while another rumble of thunder
rolls over our heads.
attracted to you, Dare. But I’m not available to date right now. I’ll probably
never be available to date. It’s…complicated.”
“You have a
boyfriend.” He says it like a fact, not a question.
“I do not have a
boyfriend.” It would have been the easy way out. I could have just let him
believe that, but I find myself unable to lie to this sharp, sexy, honest man.
He stares at me, his
expression unreadable. He rubs his rib again, and I allow my eyes to travel to
that spot. He notices, and stops rubbing. When he speaks again, his voice
hasn’t changed. It’s still soft, and still like a rough edge of a stone left
out in the wind.
“So…you just aren’t
that into me.”
I wish he’d stop
searching for reasons. “Some things just aren’t going to work out.”
“I didn’t ask you to
marry me, Berkeley. I didn’t even ask you out on a second date yet.”
I raise my eyebrows,
and he quickly regroups. “I was going to. Shit, of course I was going to. But,
if you don’t want to hang out again, I guess I have to accept that.”
I so don’t want him to accept it. But I nod my head, just as the sky above us
opens, and we leap out of our chairs and sprint for the house.
By the time we reach
it, we’re soaked. We run around to the driveway, where Dare’s truck is parked,
and he helps me in and buckles me up while the rain pelts him.
When he finally
makes it to the driver’s seat, he’s laughing. He runs his hands through his
sopping wet hair, and I realize mine must look like a wet dog. Groaning, I pull
out my hair tie and shake my mess of curls out around my shoulders.
“Shit! I didn’t
realize it was supposed to rain tonight.” He scrubs his face with his hands,
and then turns to face me. “I’m—”
He freezes when he
looks at me, and my suspicions are confirmed. I’m definitely the hottest mess
he’s ever seen. My hair is flopping everywhere, and I’m sure the small amount
of makeup I had on my face now looks like I’m starring in The Walking Dead.
But that doesn’t
matter. I just told him I couldn’t see him again. Who the hell cares what I
The way he’s staring
at me is causing my new pets, my butterflies, to take furious flight and my
heartbeat to speed up at an alarming pace.
Then he reaches out
and brushes that stupid strand of hair out of my eyes. The one my mother can’t
“I love this,” he
says. “I might as well tell you, seeing as how I won’t get the chance again.”
His finger follows
an invisible trail along my cheek, pausing at the hollow beneath my eye. “And
these. I fall into these every single time they’re focused on me. It scares the
shit out of me. And nothing scares me, Berkeley.”
My breath is gone.
I’ve lost it somewhere between his finger tracing a path on my face and the
beautiful words he’s speaking. About me.
His finger changes
trajectory, trailing down until he reaches my lips. Which are probably
trembling. “Do you know how long I’ve been looking at these? All fucking night.
All night tonight, and every other time I’ve been in your vicinity.”
His eyes drop to my
lips then, and he uses his thumb to part them. Hot lava flows from my core into
my every extremity until I feel like I must be catching fire. He’s setting me
aflame. His touch, his words, those eyes on me. I can’t contain the desire that
wells up inside me.
“Dare.” I breathe.
His eyes flicker
back up from my lips. “Berkeley.”
“I guess if you’re
going to kiss me, you’d better do it now. You might not get another chance.”
While writing was always a passion of Diana’s, she enrolled in college to become an elementary-school teacher. After eight years of teaching in both Virginia and South Carolina, she decided to stay at home with her first child. This decision is what opened her eyes to the fact that she still very much loved to write, and her first novel was written.