Jamie Craig - Writing on the Edge of Erotic Romance

Scorpio: The Heart to Help

From the moment Colin Braugher meets millionaire Grady James, he has the other man’s number—spoiled, obnoxious, and worst of all, fake. Every word out of Grady’s mouth is cheesy and insincere to Colin’s ears, which is just as well, since Colin has reason to dislike the other man before he even arrives in Chicago. After years of being ignored by James Foundation, Grady is arriving to take over the small Heart to Help charity where Colin volunteers. Colin sees nothing but unwanted changes and self-aggrandizement in his beloved charity’s future.

For his part, Grady wants only the best for his grandmother’s favorite charity. Confused by his cold reception, alone in a strange city, and fascinated by a man who seems to want nothing to do with him, Grady is at loose ends. Until Colin gives an inch, and Grady knows he can have so much more than that if Colin would only see the man he truly is...

EXCERPT

...Grady had hoped Colin would have something to say about the song choice or the close, physical contact. Even if it was something snarky about how he’d rather be dancing with somebody else, or that he really hoped Grady didn’t get any ideas. But the words Grady waited for never came. Colin just danced, moving his hips in the most maddening way, singing snippets of the song here and there.

“‘But it was just my imagination running away with me…’” He looked at Grady from beneath his lashes. “You’re not too horrible at this.”

His mouth quirked. “I’ve had a little bit of practice.”

“Yeah, I bet you have. It’s probably part of your necessary skill-set.”

It’s just bait. Don’t fall for it. “No, I had an ex-boyfriend who moved like sex on a stick.” Deliberately, Grady slid his hand farther around Colin’s waist, taking his time, his gaze unblinking as he gauged Colin’s reaction each inch of the way. He settled not quite at the small of Colin’s back, but it pressed their hips closer together, a tantalizing tease with each beat of the song. “You remind me of him.”

“Oh? He didn’t like you, either?”

“You must like me a little. You wouldn’t have let me pull you out for a dance, otherwise.”

“Gwen said I had to be nice to you and treat you like everybody else.” Except Colin hadn’t danced that close with anybody that night, and he certainly didn’t seem to mind that Grady’s hips were still moving against his.

“Gwen’s a smart lady.” He watched Colin carefully. There was only one way to get the answer he needed. “Are you two seeing each other?”

Colin drew back slightly, looking at Grady like he’d just confirmed all of Colin’s worst suspicions of his intelligence. “No. I think I mentioned earlier about how she’s my best friend. I’m sure you heard it, since I was talking to you at the time.”

“I heard it. I’ve heard everything you’ve said. But best friends can date, too. You could have it both ways.”

“Not in this case.”

Though that settled one question for him, it didn’t do much for the big one, and Grady didn’t want to shatter this tenuous peace by introducing a subject more likely to anger Colin if he was wrong. Colin could just be drunk enough, and secure enough, not to care about who he danced with. A body could just be a body. Grady didn’t want to force himself on anyone who didn’t want him. Even when that someone intoxicated him as much as Colin did.

“Are you still going to be nice to me when you don’t have liquid fortification?” he teased.

“Nope. But I’ll try to be nice to you for the rest of the night.”

“That doesn’t exactly encourage me to end this night soon, you know.”

“I’ll turn into a bitch again at midnight. Like the carriage that turns back into a pumpkin.”

He smiled again, unable to hide his amusement. “So I’m Prince Charming now?”

“Yeah, I’d say that sums you up. What’s that line from Into The Woods? ‘I’m charming, I don’t have to be sincere.’”

Colin meant it as another jab, but Grady laughed anyway. He was coming to love how sharp Colin was, even when his pokes were aimed straight at Grady. “Then I guess you’ve got fair warning that if you decide to run from me, I’m not going to just let you go. I’m tenacious that way.”

Colin snorted. “That sounds like a threat. I mean, like you’re actually threatening me.”

“Nah, not my style. I’m more interested in coaxing, not coercing.”

“Of course you are. You wouldn’t get very far in this business if you were subtle as a hammer. You must be equally adept at seducing your way into checkbooks and beds.”

The flash in Colin’s eye spurred Grady to lean in, his mouth hovering by the man’s ear. “I’m a lot pickier than I think you give me credit for. Because I could have danced with anybody here tonight. And I didn’t, because the only one who interested me was you.”

Colin turned his head slightly so he could speak into Grady’s ear. “Then it must be a hell of a disappointment to you that the song is over.”

Grady let him go gracefully, though he dragged his fingers along Colin’s waist, savoring each twitch of muscles along the way...

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