A Dangerous Kiss

A Dangerous Kiss

by Francis Ray

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Overview

Bestselling author Francis Ray will have fans cheering for the Grayson family's friends—when two perfectly matched opponents go one-on-one…

Sexy, single sports consultant Payton "Sin" Sinclair has tackled the world's most valuable players—and most eligible women. But ever since his two best friends found love, despite his dangerous secret, he's tempted to take a chance himself. And that temptation is a woman named Summer…

A self-made restaurant owner with a painful past, Summer has always counted on Sin. Beneath his smooth charm—and hard body—lies a tender-hearted friend who always keeps her going when the going gets tough. But now, swept up in her cousin's wedding plans, she's trying not to let the champagne—or Sin's innocent passes—go to her head. Because one dangerous kiss will only lead to another…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781466816015
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 06/26/2012
Series: Grayson Friends Series , #7
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 449,661
File size: 728 KB

About the Author

Francis Ray is the New York Times bestselling author of the Grayson novels, the Falcon books, the Taggart Brothers, and Twice the Temptation, among many other books. Her novel Incognito was made into a movie aired on BET. A native Texan, she is a graduate of Texas Woman's University and has a degree in nursing. Besides a writer, she is a school nurse practitioner with the Dallas Independent School District. She lives in Dallas. "Francis Ray is, without a doubt, one of the Queens of Romance." --Romance Review
Francis Ray (1944-2013) is the New York Times bestselling author of the Grayson novels, the Falcon books, the Taggart Brothers, and Twice the Temptation, among many other books. Her novel Incognito was made into a movie aired on BET. A native Texan, she was a graduate of Texas Woman's University and had a degree in nursing. Besides a writer, she was a school nurse practitioner with the Dallas Independent School District. She lived in Dallas. "Francis Ray is, without a doubt, one of the Queens of Romance." --Romance Review

Read an Excerpt

A Dangerous Kiss


By Francis Ray

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2012 Francis Ray
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-1601-5


CHAPTER 1

Payton "Sin" Sinclair was an unapologetic people-watcher. As a sports consultant, working with some of the biggest and most recognizable athletes in sports and business, he had to be able to read the smallest nuances of others. That ability was just one of the unique attributes that set him apart from the competition and made him the go-to person when corporations wanted to align themselves with the top professional athletes in the country.

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon, Sin was sipping a nice vintage wine and helping celebrate the recently announced engagement of C. J. Callahan, one of his two best friends, in the lavish East Hampton home of C. J.'s elated parents. Just because Sin was standing with C. J. and Alex Stewart, Sin's other best friend, and enjoying himself didn't mean he'd stopped noticing the people around him, especially those he cared deeply about.

Since he'd long ago developed the ability to listen with one ear while observing — it was critical at sports games, with so much going on — Sin listened to C. J. go on and on about what a great woman Cicely was and how lucky he was, while Sin watched Summer Radcliffe chat with a beaming Cicely St. John, C. J.'s fiancée, in the elegant, French-inspired great room.

The other woman with them was Dianne Harrington Stewart, the new wife of Alex. Dianne, a stunning long-legged former international fashion model, looked as happy as Cicely. On the other hand, Summer's usual smile and vibrancy were noticeably missing ... at least to him.

He'd first noticed Summer's pensiveness when Dianne and Alex were dating and had an argument outside C. J.'s bar, Callahan's. Summer had completely stunned Sin by musing that, when Dianne and Alex settled their disagreement and kissed, they would later have makeup sex.

Sin couldn't get her startling comment out of his mind. It bothered him that he hadn't been able to tell if she'd been wistful or frustrated. Not once in their long friendship had he ever heard her mention sex. Truthfully, it stunned him a bit that she had. She wasn't the type of woman to take intimacy lightly or talk about it openly. Afterward, she'd ignored his attempts to find out if the comment had been offhand or something more, and had gone inside the bar to play pool with Dianne.

Sin traveled a great deal, but he hadn't heard about Summer being in a relationship. Her cousin C. J. was as protective of Summer as he was of his younger sister, Ariel. After Summer's parents' death, she had gone to live with her mother's only sibling, C. J.'s mother.

C. J. certainly would have mentioned it if Summer was serious about a man ... if he had known. Lately C. J. had a full plate with Callahan Software, Callahan's Bar, and Cicely. It disturbed Sin that some idiot might have slipped past C. J. Worse, that the idiot didn't appreciate what a wonderful woman he had. Sin's eyes narrowed dangerously. If he found out that was the case, he would take care of it himself. No one, absolutely no one, took advantage of Summer while he breathed.

From the moment they met when she was just out of high school and dealing with the death of her parents, he'd felt protective of her. Despite her tragic loss, she'd worked her butt off to make her parents' dream of owning a successful upscale restaurant in Manhattan a reality. He admired her determination, loyalty, and tenacity.

She hadn't had it easy in life. Perhaps because he'd lost his father when he was eighteen, and she'd lost her parents at the same age, he felt a certain empathy and closeness with her. If at all possible, he was going to figure out what was bothering her and fix it. He didn't like seeing a forced smile on her beautiful face.

At least he knew her pensiveness wasn't due to the unfortunate incident that could have damaged the reputation of Radcliffe's. It still angered the hell out of him that a woman he'd rebuffed had tried to get back at him by spreading vicious rumors about Summer's restaurant. The spiteful socialite had seen him in the newspaper with his arm around Summer while she was catering at his suite at Yankee Stadium and drawn the wrong conclusion. Once he'd learned of the woman's lies, he'd confronted her at a high-profile social function and warned her to admit the lies or suffer the consequences.

She'd caved and became the one gossiped about. For a while Summer hadn't been too pleased with him, blaming the incident on him dating so many women. It had taken weeks for her to fully forgive him and for their easy camaraderie to return. He'd do anything for them never to be at odds again.

A broad hand clasped Sin on the shoulder, breaking into his thoughts. He looked up into C. J.'s handsome, clean-shaven face, which had always made him extremely popular with the women. "Thanks for being my best man."

With his dark eyes twinkling in his bearded face, Sin tipped his wineglass toward C. J. Both men were over six feet, but while C. J. had the broad shoulders of a linebacker, Sin was lean and muscular. "Thank me when I drag you away from the blowout bachelor party Alex and I are going to give you so you can be at your best for your wedding."

C. J.'s laughter was pure wickedness. "I might leave before then. I can't wait for Cicely to be completely mine. She gave up her dream for me."

The words were barely out of his mouth when his attention shifted to where the women were standing. Sin could tell by the rapt expression on C. J.'s face that he and Cicely had gotten lost in each other's gaze again, as they had off and on since their arrival two hours ago. For them, everyone else in the elegantly decorated room had ceased to exist.

"I think we lost him," Alex said with a burst of laughter. "Again."

Alex — a successful Manhattan lawyer with a Who's Who list of clients, as well as the people no one ever heard of but whose cases he took because he hated to see people screwed over — stood at a trim six foot two. Like Sin, Alex liked to dress well. Today he was comfortably dressed in chocolate slacks and a tan linen short-sleeved shirt. C. J., who favored jeans and T-shirts if he wasn't in corporate mode running the family-owned Callahan Software company, wore navy dress slacks and a white shirt in honor of the special occasion.

"I seem to recall you being the same way," Sin reminded Alex. When Dianne wasn't working at her and Alex's fashion design house, D&A of New York, or Alex wasn't at work, they were usually together. Placing his champagne flute on the tray of a nearby waiter, Sin caught C. J.'s arm. "Let's put him out of his misery."

"Let's." Alex caught C. J.'s other arm, and they led him to his waiting fiancée.

They were barely there when C. J. reached out and tenderly pulled Cicely into his arms and kissed her. Always fashionable, she wore a sunny yellow dress that bared smooth shoulders and stopped inches above a pair of great-looking knees. Elegant, sophisticated, and gorgeous — it was easy to see why Cicely was the fashion director at one of the most influential high-fashion magazines in the country.

"Happy?" C. J. asked.

"I've never been happier." Cicely leaned into the shelter of C. J.'s six-foot-four frame, her head against his broad chest.

"I plan to keep you that way." C. J. gave her another kiss.

Dianne, in a short sleeveless magenta dress that showed off her famous legs, walked into her husband's open arms. While the newly engaged snuggled and the newly married looked on approvingly and did the same thing, Sin watched Summer. There was a smile on her striking face that was serene and restful, but there was also a hint of sadness in her dark chocolate eyes. The sparkle of happiness and teasing warmth that had unknowingly gotten him through a couple of rough days in the last four months wasn't there.

Sin didn't think; he just stepped forward and curved his arm around Summer's slim waist. Her arm went around him without hesitation. They'd done this a thousand times, but he'd never felt as he did now — that there was a barrier between them he couldn't break through to comfort her. He didn't like the feeling. At the moment, there were too many things in his personal life that were out of his control. He didn't want to add another.

Sin felt the slight trembling of Summer's slim body, and pulled her just the tiniest bit closer as he glanced down at her.

He saw what she undoubtedly wanted everyone to see, a beautifully poised and stylish woman in a white sheath that accentuated her shapely, slim five-foot-five body to perfection. The coal-black wavy hair that usually hung free and reached to the middle of her back was in some kind of intricate twist on top of her head. The upsweep made her slender neck appear vulnerable, her heart-shaped face more alluring. Any man would be proud to call her his.

"Looks like we're the odd ones out," Sin said, trying to tease her into smiling for real.

"Yes," she said without looking at him.

Sin wondered if anyone else heard the tiniest tremble in her voice. He'd take her for a walk on the beach behind the estate as they'd done so many times after she'd lost her parents and in the years since, if he thought he'd get an answer. He wouldn't. Summer could be as tight- lipped as the clams she served in Radcliffe's, her five-star restaurant in Upper Manhattan.

"I don't supposed you've changed your minds about having the engagement party at Callahan's and letting your father and me book a more appropriate place or have it here," C. J.'s mother, Evelyn, asked hopefully.

"Nope." C. J. curved his free arm around his mother's tense shoulders. "My bar it is."

"I suppose Summer will cater," his mother said, lines forming in her otherwise smooth forehead. "I realize you, Cicely, and Summer don't need help with the menu, but you know I'm here if you need me."

Cicely and C. J. shared a resigned look, then Cicely said, "Mrs. Callahan, about the menu. We've decided to have hamburgers and onion rings. It's the first meal I ate at Callahan's."

Mrs. Callahan's eyes widened with horror. C. J. plucked a glass from a nearby waiter and handed it to her. She lifted the flute to her mouth without hesitation.

"The crew at the bar wanted to do it for us," C. J. explained as his mother took another sip. "We hope you and Dad will understand."

"Of course, son," his father said, an indulgent smile on his handsome face.

He and C. J.'s older brother, Paul, had suffered some serious health issues in the past, so C. J. was running Callahan Software and had a manager running his baby, Callahan's Bar. Thank goodness both C. J.'s father and his brother were doing well.

"It is your wedding," C. J.'s father continued.

Mrs. Callahan lowered the glass and frowned up at her husband. He smiled and took the almost empty glass from her. "Isn't that right, Evelyn?"

"Of course ... It's just I wanted something a bit more lavish for you."

Sin knew the bride-to-be's parents usually threw the engagement party, but that wasn't likely to happen. When C. J.'s brother and his wife had their engagement announcement party, both sets of parents worked together to have the affair at the Waldorf for more than two hundred intimate family members and friends. It had been spectacular and a night to remember.

"We understand," C. J. said, smiling into his mother's troubled face. "That's why besides helping plan the wedding, we're giving you carte blanche on planning the rehearsal dinner."

Mrs. Callahan's eyes brightened with pleasure. "Really?"

"Please," Cicely said, placing her hand on her future mother-in- law's shoulder. "Regardless of what your son thinks, we both know that eleven months —"

"I wanted the wedding in six weeks," C. J. interrupted.

"— is not enough time to plan the type of formal wedding we're having," Cicely continued as if C. J. hadn't spoken. "With C. J.'s and my busy schedule, which frequently takes us both out of town, you planning the last time we'll see each other before we become husband and wife will mean so much to both of us."

Mrs. Callahan hugged Cicely and then C. J. "It will be fabulous and memorable. I promise."

"We know." C. J. smiled at his mother. "And I promise we won't get too rowdy and embarrass you and the family at the engagement party."

"You could never do that." C. J.'s father said. "We're proud of you, son, and proud of Cicely. Even if the women will now outnumber the men. We might never get to watch another sports game on television."

C. J. playfully winked at his father. "I'm turning Cicely into a sports fan. She'll be on our side."

Cicely's smile was all teeth. "I might enjoy sports, but I can think for myself. It would behoove you not to forget it."

C. J. threw back his head and let out a shout of laughter. "Is it any wonder I love you? You'll never let me get the big head."

"And you'll never let me forget how much I'm loved," Cicely said, her voice the barest whisper of sound.

"Always," C. J. said, his voice sure and strong.

C. J.'s mother sniffed, dabbed her eyes with a fresh tissue her husband handed her. Sin noticed that she'd gone through several. Clearly C. J.'s parents were enormously happy for him and Cicely, but her parents had declined the invitation from C. J.'s parents to the Sunday brunch, saying they didn't have "enough time" to make flight arrangements from Columbia, South Carolina. C. J. told Sin that her parents had said the same thing when Cicely called. Sin had offered to send his private jet for them, but they'd politely declined as well.

Family could be a blessing or a curse. No one knew that better than Sin.

Stepping away from Sin, Summer plucked a flute from a nearby waiter's tray. "I'd like to propose a toast to my cousin C. J., and his fiancée and my friend Cicely." Summer kept her flute raised as C. J.'s sister, his brother, and his wife joined them. "To C. J. and Cicely, wishing you every happiness on your journey of forever together. May each day bring your closer, make your love stronger."

"To C. J. and Cicely," people chorused as the distinct click of crystal flutes sounded.

Sin drank his wine, but he never took his gaze from Summer. Her hand was steady, the sparkle finally back in her incredible eyes. Whatever it was had passed. While he was glad, he intended to find out what had put the sadness in her lovely face.


* * *

Sin was watching her.

In the past, the knowledge that he was always there had given Summer a certain amount of comfort. At the moment, it made her want to squirm and hang her head. And, unlike in the past, he was the last person she could talk to about the reason. At least the party was over.

Bidding her family and Cicely good-bye, Summer climbed inside the limousine Sin had hired to drive him, Alex, Dianne, and her up to the Hamptons from New York. He had a vintage Aston Martin convertible two-seater, but he seldom drove it, preferring a car service.

Scooting over, Summer kept the practiced smile on her face. She'd considered leaving early, could even think of so many plausible excuses that she could have used. Sin would have insisted the driver take her back to town. But that would be the coward's way. She wouldn't add that to her shame.

What was the matter with her that she couldn't move past this ... this feeling that kept circling her and coming back to nip her on the backside no matter how much she fought it?

How could this have happened to her? It made no sense, but that didn't change it or make it go away.

It had just snuck up on her when she hadn't been looking or expecting it. Sin was one of her best friends. He wasn't supposed to make her skin tingle, her body have the strong desire to lean closer, to brush her lips across his, to feel the softness of his beard against her cheek.

And no matter how hard she tried to stop the new feelings, they wouldn't go away. She suspected they had started when, a couple of months ago, she'd begun to catch glimpses of sadness in his expression, which before had always been filled with laughter and teasing. She hadn't asked about the reason because the occasions were so fleeting.

Or was it because she hadn't wanted to hear that it had been because of a woman?

Summer blew out a breath and waited for the rest to get inside the limo. Perhaps that was why she'd caught herself teasing him about the women in his life: She'd been hoping to gain information. She never did. Sin wasn't the type of man to talk about his women. But she had no doubt they were many. He and C. J. both had reputations for women going in and out of their lives like revolving doors, but once out, they were never invited back.

If that wasn't enough for her to deal with, the Li'l Green Monster had decided to perch on her shoulder.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from A Dangerous Kiss by Francis Ray. Copyright © 2012 Francis Ray. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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A Dangerous Kiss 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
The_Reading_Reviewer More than 1 year ago
Fate steps in, when coincidence stops for the day Sin and Summer are two successful people career wise but not so much in the love department. They have considered each other to be friends but of late Summer has found herself drawn to Sin with a passion she is having trouble controlling. Both Sin and Summer have seen their friends find love and just do not think it will ever happen for them, but Summer has plans to change that. A situation for Summer to help Sin with a business dinner turns the opportunity into an action that Summer will never regret. The feelings between them is real and not going to be stopped with common sense, but it may be by the secret Sin is literally carrying within him. Francis Ray writes a beautiful story with characters that are complicated and full of love. Every book is a delight and every reader will enjoy the romance that flows from these pages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly recommend, the author makes the characters seem so real it capture you from beginning to end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a powerful story of love from all angles, friendship and family to everlasting love. Awesome!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by JoAnne Book provided by the publisher for review Review originally posted at Romancing the Book This book had romance, love, tears, heartache, laughter, family and friends along with a happily ever after for Sin and Summer. They fought the chemistry all they could having been friends for 12 years and neither wanted their friendship or dynamics to change. But change they did and only for the better. Seeing them dance around each other and for those around them to realize the change in feelings before they realized it themselves was fun to watch. Sin and Summer were both workaholics and good in their fields but that didn’t deter them from being there for their friends and family and each other. How Sin handled his brother’s illness by standing by him and his brother’s family as well as the potential that he or his nephews could get sick was a testament to the caring man he was. I would love to have any of the main characters watching my back. A Dangerous Kiss is book 7 in the Grayson Friends series but I’ve only read books 6 and 7 so far. Now I need to go back and start at the beginning. I don’t want to miss a page of the friendships and love that were formed in earlier books. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and managed to finish it in one day. I kept turning the pages to see what would happen next and remained hooked. I look forward to reading more books by Ray and would love for this series to continue even though there was closure. She’s my kind of author! Favorite Quote:  Now her entire attention was focused on him. Now she just wanted to comfort him. What man worth anything wouldn’t want to make such a caring woman’s life a little better? He just liked making her happy. The turmoil in him eased. His hands settled on her shoulders, felt the slight trembling beneath. Something inside him twisted. He’d done that to her. He’d caused her to worry unnecessarily.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I've read of Francis Ray. The storyline was dragged on and extremely dull and boring. Maybe her other books are better.
Avid_reader53 More than 1 year ago
Love the Grayson Family & Friends series and this book just added another good book to the series! Ms. Ray is excellent and she keeps it real1 I'm a fan for life1
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Francis never steers us wrong. Excellent bpook
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No more... but better than the last one I read. D*******
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I, like so many others was anxiously awaiting for Sin and Summer's story. But, I must say that I was disappointed. Normally I can't put Ms. Ray's books down. However, I struggled with this one. It seemed to keep going and going, without holding my interest. I look forward to the next book; may we have more like Blade and Sierra?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mrs. Ray did it again! Once I started reading I couldn't stop. What a beautiful story about love and the struggles when face in life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As always Ms. Ray weaves an unyielding and endearing tale of love, friendship and faith she NEVER disappointing!!! Loved It!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
E
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the story line, but I did not like the medical problems. I know people have them all the time but the majority of readers that I know love to read to get away from reality and dream a little. I probably won't read it again. i give it three stars for what it's worth. I really hope Rio's story is much better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In my opinion, this is one of Mrs. Ray's best books. Story flowed smoothly, you cried, laughed and cheered for Summer and Sin!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another winner for Ms Ray- an enjoyable love story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like many other fans of Mrs. Ray's, I have been anxious to read Sin & Summer's story, and I can honestly say that I loved it! What an incredible love story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Finally, Sin & Summer take the leap and decide to step outside of their friendship boundaries. After years of friendship, supporting one another through the good & bad... Sin is keeping Summer at arms length because of a "Family Secret" but Summer is determined for him to understand that her love runs deep & she will be with him to the end.