Nina Crespo lives in Florida where she indulges in her favorite passions -- the beach, kick boxing, a good glass of wine, date night with her own real-life hero and dancing. Her lifelong addiction to romance began in her teens while on a "borrowing spree" in her older sister's bedroom where she discovered her first romance novel. Curiosity about people and places, including what's beyond the stars, fuels her writer's imagination. This wellspring of inspiration allows Nina to create sensual contemporary stories and steamy paranormal tales, which she hopes will feed your own addiction for love, romance, and happily ever after.
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Ethan and Jasmine, my characters from TAKE ME IF YOU DARE, have been working together to make their long-distance relationship work. A cheating ex-fiancé shattered her trust in the past. Jasmine knows Ethan is different, but when their holiday plans fall through, she’s tested. Can love close the distance?
A KISS AND A DARE
A Birthday Dare short story by Nina Crespo
“Have you tried it on yet?” Tab asked over the cell phone.
“No.” Jasmine tightened the sash of the white, terry cloth robe and sat down next to the dark blue evening dress lying on the bed.
“Why not? It’s perfect. The moment I saw it, I knew I had to send it to you.” Tab chuckled. “You’re definitely going to end up with more than just a New Year’s Eve kiss. Once Ethan sees you, he’s going to eat you up.”
“Yeah, I’m sure he would, but he won’t get the chance.” Jasmine fiddled with the price tag still attached to the dress. Once again, their schedules hadn’t matched up. She and Ethan wouldn’t celebrate their first New Year’s Eve as a couple.
His job as a security contractor, her responsibilities as a wellness coordinator, their full travel schedules, living in different states—all of it demanded the one thing they wanted more of but struggled to find. Time with each other. After spending Thanksgiving and Christmas apart, they’d looked forward to New Year’s Eve in Miami at the hotel where they’d first met. But as soon as Ethan had confirmed their reservations, everything went downhill. An assignment took him out of the country longer than anticipated. Then one of her colleagues had gotten sick, and she’d ended up in Tallahassee to handle their clients. With the rendezvous in Miami cancelled, Ethan had planned to join her in Tallahassee, but now…
“He’s not coming.” Jasmine picked up the dress and went to the closet in her hotel room.
“Oh no,” Tab sighed. “I’m so sorry, sweetie. When did he call?”
“He didn’t.” Sounds of animated conversation, party horns, and laughter filtered through the door. Tears threatened. Jasmine blinked them away and zipped the dress into the garment bag. “It’s almost eleven forty. I tried calling him, but his phone keeps going to voicemail. It’s obvious. He can’t make it.”
“No. Ethan wouldn’t let you down.”
“Not intentionally, but I have to face reality. As much as he wants to”—Jasmine swallowed against the ball of emotion in her throat —“he can’t always be here.”
A vision of Ethan gazing down at her, his blue eyes expressing sincerity, integrity and his love flashed in. When it gets hard, you have to be tough enough to fight for us and not run away. That’s what he’d told her when she’d decided to face her greatest fear—a long distance relationship. She’d accepted loneliness as a part of the compromise, but at times like this, she longed for him so much her heart ached. She missed his arms around her, his kisses and caresses, spooning back against his solid warmth in bed.
“Do you love him?” Tab asked.
“What? Of course I do.” Jasmine batted away the dark bangs drifting into her eyes. “That’s a dumb question. I can’t believe you asked me that.”
“Then stop acting like a blind dog chasing its tail. What’s obvious is you shouldn’t give up on him so easily.”
“I’m not giving up, but he’s not a superhero. He can’t fly across the world with his cape to get here on time.”
“Who knows what he can do.” Tab released a deep breath. “If you love Ethan, trust him. He’ll show up. Put on that dress and get ready for your man and a tonsil-probing, New Year’s kiss. I dare you.”
Jasmine slipped her feet into a pair of silver stilettos and smoothed her hands down the front of the long, sleeveless dress. A high neckline led to a single closure at the nape while the open back plunged to just above her butt. A sexy split up the side showed off a generous amount of leg. Tab was right. Ethan would take advantage of every opportunity to touch her bare skin…if he arrived. Doubt swirled in her stomach. Ten minutes. She sat on the bed, clutching her cell. He’ll be here.
She believed in Ethan. They loved each other. He wanted to be with her for New Year’s Eve. He hadn’t called to say he wouldn’t, and unlike her cheating ex-fiancé, Ethan kept his promises. Minutes slipped by and her heart accelerated to a pounding echo in her ears. The digital clock on the bedside table flipped over to midnight.
Car horns beeped. People whooped and shouted in and outside of the hotel as fireworks erupted in the sky. New Year’s. And no Ethan.
Ragged breaths escaped and tears fell. It wasn’t fair. Their first New Year’s Eve, the start of a new year, they were supposed to be together. More tears darkened the fabric stretched across her lap. Long distance relationships sucked. How long could she do this?
Do you love him?
Tab’s question broke into her pity party. Jasmine sniffed and dried her eyes. Yes. She loved him with all her heart. Whatever kept him away wasn’t his fault. Occasional disappointment came with the territory in a long distance relationship, right? She had to get over it.
Her cell rang. Ethan. She took a cleansing breath, forced a bright smile, and answered. “Hey, baby, where are you?”
“Wishing I could give you a New Year’s kiss.”
The deep timber of his voice wrapped around her heart and squeezed. “Me too.”
He chuckled. “You must not want it that badly since you won’t let me in.”
“What? Where are you?” Jasmine sprang from the bed, heart pounding, and yanked open the door.
Ethan scooped her up, and she looped her arms around his neck. His bone melting kiss consumed words of welcome and her next breath.
He laid his forehead against Jasmine’s and held her tighter. “I missed you.”
She smoothed her fingers over the dark, ultra short hair at his temple. My gorgeous guy. He wasn’t dressed for a party, but the black jeans and T-shirt he wore were just fine in her book. “I missed you more.”
“Not possible.” He smiled and a dimple sunk into his cheek. “Come on. We have to go.”
He set her down, and she rested her hands on his chest. His muscles flexed underneath her palms as he held her steady. “It’s a surprise. Grab your purse. We have to go.”
They zoomed down the highway in his rental to the airport. Ethan drove past the main entrance to a side road leading to a gate. The guard checked Ethan’s Bode-Wynn credentials and waved them in. He parked and led her at a jog-walk pace through a private terminal to the tarmac. She recognized Bode-Wynn’s sleek Gulfstream.
“Ethan, what’s going on?”
“It’s a surprise.” He pressed a quick kiss to her lips and urged her up the steps into the private jet.
Jasmine fastened her seat belt. Her luggage was still at the hotel so flying to her home in Texas or his in South Caroline didn’t make sense. Maybe they were headed to Miami for the night.
The plane taxied down the runway. Ethan winked and a grin lit up his face as if he’d read the questions sifting through her mind. He kissed the back of her hand. “Patience, princess.”
The delicious warmth of his lips seeped in and she shivered. She didn’t care what happened as long as they were together… and at some point naked. Jasmine returned his smile. “I hope I don’t have to wait too long. Tab promised this dress would get me more than just a New Year’s kiss.”
His gaze took her in from head to stilettos and back up again. Male appreciation and desire darkened his blue eyes. “Well in that case, I better deliver.” He leaned in and the scents of citrus, sandalwood and her perfume filled the scant inches between them. His breath caressed her lips. Ethan sucked in a deep inhale and sat back in his seat. “But not yet.”
The door to the cockpit opened and the co-pilot walked out. Ethan stood. He and the blond haired man went to the galley at the back of the plane. The two leaned toward each other, nodding as they conversed.
Ethan’s jeans molded to his perfect ass, and his shirt stretched over his back. He looked more muscular than he had four weeks ago. Ethan shot her a smile, and she swallowed against the dryness in her throat.
The vision of him shirtless swept in. Defined chest and abs on display for her to trace and kiss all the way down to what she wanted most. She faced forward, and the fabric of the dress abraded her sensitive nipples. How much longer did she have to wait?
The co-pilot went back to the cockpit and shut the door. The interior lights of the Gulfstream dimmed.
Ethan handed her one of the flutes of champagne he carried and sat down. “Ready to start the countdown?”
“To what, us taking off our clothes?”
He chuckled. “Yeah, that too, but I thought we’d do it after the midnight countdown.” He pointed. A digital clock ticked off the seconds on a screen mounted near their seats.
“Eleven fifty-nine, that’s not right. Unless…” She met his gaze.
The pleased look on his face confirmed her theory. “The plane is almost over Panama City, Florida,” he said. “We’re on Central Time now, not Eastern.” As he cupped her cheek, his expression sobered. “We spent Thanksgiving and Christmas apart. No way in hell would I miss our first New Year’s Eve together.”
He claimed her lips and boldly thrust his tongue into her mouth. Need shook her to the core. Their champagne toast to the New Year was set aside in favor of a deepening kiss. In between teasing nips to each other’s lips, they stood and shuffled across the aisle to the extra long seating area. Ethan took off his shirt and unfastened his jeans. Her breath hitched. Perfection. The heat of his skin soaked into her with every kiss and stroke to his chest. He scrunched the hem of her dress up to her waist. Cool air whispered over her thighs. His hard length bumped against her belly, and Jasmine’s sex pulsed in anticipation. He picked her up, and she wrapped her legs around his waist. The brush of his jeans, the head of his cock so close, the heat of his mouth as he trailed kisses down her throat wrenched out a moan.
Ethan sat down. Following his lead, she straddled him and sank down on his thick length. As she gripped his strong shoulders, she matched the rhythm of his thrusts and floated in the midst of ecstasy. He fumbled with the clip at her nape, and the bodice of the dress fell. His warm tongue laved her bared nipple, and he sucked it into his mouth. More…more. She didn’t want it to end.
All too quickly, tingles of warmth rose from her toes. Her heart pounded. She pressed her lips to his damp shoulder suppressing cries and desperate whimpers. Her sex clenched around him as her orgasm unfurled into pleasure. Ethan groaned and sealed his lips to her throat as his big body shook in release.
Sated and content she laid her head against his shoulder. A smile inched up her lips.
Ethan stroked her back. “What are you thinking?”
“That I love you.”
He kissed her temple and held her close. “I love you, too. Never forget that.”
Jasmine met his gaze. Tab was right. She had received something more wonderful and precious than a midnight kiss. Ethan’s eyes mirrored what she felt for him, wanted with him, and would fight to keep—unending love and the promise of their future…together.
Before you get NAUGHTY be sure to read about the DARE.
Find out how one decadent dare led to the steamy night that brought Ethan and Jasmine together in TAKE ME IF YOU DARE. Continue to follow their journey as a couple, and meet Tab and Drew in NAUGHTY LITTLE WISHES (available 5 January 2015). Stay connected! Sign up for Nina Crespo’s newsletter or blog. Connect with Nina on Facebook and Twitter.
**All rights reserved by Nina Crespo, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means.
One decadent dare, one steamy night…
It’s been a year since Jasmine Stewart dumped her cheating ex, so when her best friend dares her to have a one-night stand during a business trip to Miami, Jasmine is all in. But just as she hits her cheesy-come-ons limit, a wickedly hot former soldier comes to her rescue.
Security specialist Ethan Worth’s instincts tell him the gorgeous woman at the bar is trouble. After a sexy dance and even sexier kiss, he knows she is. But when their scintillating night leads to more, the possibility of another long distance relationship sends Jasmine running for the door.
Until the unthinkable happens. Jasmine’s company assigns her to Bode-Wynn, the military security firm where Ethan works. Forced back together, the undeniable heat between them flares to life. But sex is all it can ever be, because taking it further goes against everything Jasmine wants…and everything Ethan fears.
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