About KISS OF THE IRISHIf Sarah Mercer had ever been asked to describe herself in one word, it would be sensible. After all, she had a steady job. Made prudent decisions. Was in what she though was a logical relationship. But when her fiance dumps her for an exotic dancer, Sarah decides it’s time to change…everything! The first thing on her agenda? To get out of town and take a three month trip to Ireland. She’d always been captivated by the Emerald Isle. And she’d heard that there was nothing like an Irishman with a sexy accent and eyes as devastatingly green as the country’s rolling hills to make a girl feel better. But maybe she shouldn’t have hooked up with her new landlord on the first night in town. Cian Murphy wasn’t supposed to be her type. His arms and chest were tattooed, and he had piercings everywhere. Still, he made her feel beautiful, sexy…alive for the first time in years. Falling for the Irish hottie was as natural as breathing. But figuring out what she’d do when it came time to leave? Not so easy...
“Might I propose an alternative?”
She stared at him, torn somewhere between affront and fascination. He seemed to have no filter at all—and Sarah wasn’t sure that she disliked him for it. “What’s that?”
In answer, Cian lounged back against the weathered leather seat of the booth, his gaze suddenly gleaming with an allure that had Sarah pressing her thighs against one another to assuage the ache between them. “How about you stay here and play with me?”
If Sarah had been uncomfortably hot before, now she was all but aflame with a need she’d never experienced before. Even with Ross, sex had been more mechanical than enjoyable. He always had some bit of constructive criticism that had taken pleasure out of everything and left her feeling more used than sated. “Play with you?”
Sarah had never had someone come on to her so blatantly before, and she was torn between fleeing and hopping into Cian’s very welcoming, muscular arms.
No. Bad Sarah. This wasn’t what she was here for.
Yet how could she possibly resist?
Play with him… Her imagination whirled with delicious thoughts, but then, to her surprise, the man pulled a deck of cards from the front pocket of his shirt, and Sarah swallowed the reply she was considering. “All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl,” he said. “How about a little round of poker?”
A card game. He meant a card game. Cool relief and crashing disappointment were tightly twined as she stared at the well-worn deck and scrambled to shut off the part of her brain that had started to fantasize the moment the word “play” left his lips.
“Poker?” She didn’t think she had anything with which to gamble. “I’m not very good at poker,” she replied, finally digging a twenty-pound note from her purse to extend to him in a peace offering. “Will this be enough to cover everything?”
Cian eyed the bill a moment before taking it from her. A soft yelp escaped her as he hooked two fingers into one of her belt loops and tugged her over to his side of the table—until they were less than a foot apart.
Her pulse, always steady and dependable, stuttered before resuming its beating, double-time.
“How about this?” Tucking the bill into her front pocket swiftly, Cian continued as if she hadn’t even offered it to him. Her skin heated where his fingers had lingered, though the thick denim of her jeans separated their bodies. “We have a friendly game.”
Sarah arched a brow. “Why play poker, then? Why not a nice round of Go Fish?”
His answering grin was lightning-quick. “Oh, we’ll still be gambling.” The fingers that had tucked the money back into her pocket rose to press against her mouth, and she had to fight the uncharacteristic urge to flick her tongue over them.
“What’s at stake?” Stop it! She knew exactly what was at stake here—her self-respect.
With his fingers stroking her lips teasingly, she wasn’t entirely sure that she cared.
Don’t lick him. She felt herself struggling for air.
“If I win, I get another kiss.”
He wants another kiss?
“And if I win?” Her voice sounded as though she’d just taken a hike through the desert.
Slowly, so slowly, Cian let his gaze trail up her body. When his stare again met hers, his lips curved in a smile that made her toes curl.
“If you win, I’ll kiss you anywhere you want.”