California Girl

By: Sandra Edwards

After divorcing her cheating rock-star ex-husband Ray Hudson, Veronica Stanford flees to Europe to let the dust settle after she makes sure the divorce leaves Ray in financial dire straits.

In St. Tropez, after a night of serious partying, she finds herself married again—this time to a very sexy Greek named Niko Leandros.

Immediately she begins to suspect that Niko is actually an actor who's been hired by her ex to discredit her. The problem is, Veronica is so consumed with her smoldering attraction to Niko that she fears, through him, Ray just might get his revenge.





CHAPTER 1

THE CHATTER OF RAINDROPS coaxed Veronica Stanford awake. Soft, luxurious, indulgent bedding pleased her naked body and compelled her to keep sleeping.

Naked! What the—?

Veronica bolted upright in the bed. A French linen sheet settled around her waist. Too dazed to notice her exposed breasts, she shook her head trying to expel the sleepy fog.

Languor fading, her consciousness unfolded into a luxury hotel suite, at least she thought it was a hotel. The scent of Issey Miyake—she’d know that smell anywhere—filled the air. Veronica marveled at the upscale furnishings, they were spiffier than anything she’d ever seen, and Veronica had seen a lot.

The morning sunlight blazed through a wall of windows and pierced through pale-yellow curtains, searing her sight. A figure emerged, silhouetted by the luminosity. She squinted, trying to identify—what was it?

A man?

Standing in the midst of the sheer drapery, with his back to her, was the most exquisitely chiseled, half-naked man she’d ever seen. His bronze skin showed no signs of tanning. Nope, his complexion was natural.

Veronica drank in the sight of him, from his bare feet up to a pair of black boxers—probably silk—the only thing he wore. Oh, my. His trim waist bloomed into broad shoulders and splendid arms. All of it, the entire package, rippled with faultless muscles. Waves of jet-black curls tumbled down nearly to his shoulders, the perfect touch to a striking display.

Her head swooned and her stomach swirled. Oh, lord. She cradled her face in her hand. What had she gotten herself into? A sweet aftertaste lingered on her taste buds. Peach Schnapps? The tang churned her fragile stomach. She remembered something about a bartender enticing her with upside-down shots. That probably had something to do with how she ended up here.

Veronica peeked at the stranger through louvered fingers. He was still gazing out the window. She cleared her throat.

He looked over his shoulder; his eyes traveled from her face to her breasts and his lips curled into a mischievous grin.

Under his blazing glare, her bareness became painfully obvious. Panic flushed hot against her cheeks. She grabbed the silken sheet and tugged at it, covering herself.

“It’s a little late for shyness, don’t you think?” An accent—Greek, maybe—accompanied his smooth appealing voice. He moved toward her with such purpose and confidence that it made her nervous. Not the kind of nervous that scared her, but the kind that steamrolled a girl when she was being seduced by a man she was powerless to stop.

Her companion claimed a place on the king-size bed and left a gap between them. The empty space didn’t go unnoticed. It felt huge and small all at the same time. A lump, a big fat lump of exaggerated panic crowded her chest. She sucked in a gulp of optimism and pushed the dread down into the depths of her gut.

Curiosity nagged at her until she gave in and settled her sights back on the masterpiece. A Greek masterpiece. Yep, he must be Greek.

Cobalt eyes, as blue as deep sapphires, assaulted her. Giddiness rained over her like a cool, summer shower and settled low in her belly with a tug of lust. She wanted to laugh, but her nerves caught it and shoved the urge back down her throat.

“Who are you?” she asked.

“Niko. My name is Niko.” He inched closer and reached for her hand, the one holding the sheet over her breasts, and drew it to his lips.

She scrambled to grab the sheet with her free hand to cover herself. Soft, sensual lips grazed the top of her hand. The thrill of his touch swelled through her like a pebble rippling a pond. It was distracting. She hated that, but she liked the sensations tingling through her.

Her breathing quickened. It’s a shame she couldn’t remember the particulars from last night. Not that she objected to sexing it up with him again. She was sure she had last night, even though the details were hazy. That truly was a shame, but she needed to stay focused. Getting wrapped up in an extended sexual diversion, as tempting as that may be, wasn’t conducive to her goal—staying one step ahead of the press.