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Say You Want Me: Something More, #5
Say You Want Me: Something More, #5
Say You Want Me: Something More, #5
Электронная книга260 страниц4 часа

Say You Want Me: Something More, #5

Автор Tara West

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***Please note: This is a stand-alone novel. You do not need to read Something More Book One to enjoy Cesar's story.***

I want Cesar Cruz. God, how I want him. And he's made it no secret he desires me. I can't handle another heartbreak, one more haunting memory that threatens my sanity. What I need is to feel wanted by a man who will love me unconditionally and forever, a man who will be patient and loving, not apathetic and abusive.


What will happen if I give in to temptation and spend one night in his arms? Will he want more? Will I? Whether I say yes or no, I fear I'll suffer regret, but as my need for him grows stronger, I may not have a choice. I only pray he will be gentle with me and my heart.

Дата выпуска11 июл. 2016 г.
Say You Want Me: Something More, #5
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Tara West

A former high school English teacher, I now work from home as a full-time novelist and graphic designer. I love dragons, handsome heroes, and chocolate. I'm willing to share my dragons and heroes. Keep your hands off my chocolate!

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    Say You Want Me - Tara West

    Chapter One

    I really wanted to hate my neighbor. He was always knocking on my door unannounced, usually late in the evening after I’d already taken off my makeup and put on my flannel pajamas. Last week he caught me in the middle of my cycle. I had just plastered cream all over a huge zit right between my eyes. I’d also eaten Thai food and hadn’t brushed my teeth yet. 

    Anyway, different day but same old story, my neighbor was at my door after I’d changed into comfy sweats and cracked open a container of leftover Asian takeout. Did I mention he was hot? Yeah, totally hot. Ripped muscles, thick, dark hair, smooth tanned skin, large copper eyes framed by thick lashes, and a wicked smile. The kind of smile that said, I’m going to carry you to my bed and do all kinds of nasty things to you.

    I imagined him mentally undressing me while a Latin guitar played in the background and a trail of rose petals led from my door to his. Most importantly, I imagined I still had on my makeup, and I was wearing something un-flannel.

    Truthfully, though, I had no idea what it was like to be wooed into bed, since I’d never actually slept with a man. Well, unless you counted me alone in my bedroom with Bob. Bob took four batteries and had ten settings. He was a little noisy, but I preferred Bob to a real guy because he knew exactly how to please me, and I didn’t have to deal with his ego or bad moods. Yeah, Bob and I have a pretty good relationship, and I wasn’t about to mess it up with some other guy, no matter how wet that other guy made me.

    But anyway, my neighbor, Cesar Cruz, that same guy who was the reason for many sleepless nights, dead batteries, and soaking panties, was still at my door, holding Macy, my traitorous little terrier, under his arm as if she was a white furry football. I swore Cesar and my dog had teamed up in some sort of conspiracy to get me laid. 

    Found something of yours. He winked.

    Thanks, I said, though I really didn’t want to thank him. Sometimes I wondered if Cesar had dug that hole beneath the fence and planted a plate of beef liver in his yard so he could have an excuse to flirt with me.

    I took Macy from him, gently scolding her for, once again, going to play with Nacho, Cesar’s mutt. Nacho barked at everything. If a car drove by, he barked. If a leaf fell in his yard, he barked. If he farted, he barked. Needless to say, I spent most of my time indoors so I wouldn’t have to put up with Cesar’s dog.

    Hey, my brothers and I are going to the lake tomorrow. Want to go?

    I backed up, holding Macy against my chest as if she was a barrier, making me immune to Cesar’s flirtations. I’m sorry, I lied. I have plans.

    He crossed his arms, those biceps of his flexing beneath a too tight T-shirt as he gave me the once-over. It really was appalling how muscular men showed off their bodies. He could have just worn a flashy neon sign, saying I go to the gym a lot, and it would have had the same effect. Well, maybe not the exact same effect, but at least he would have saved me from needing to change my panties. 

    He was still giving me that smug look, as if he was my boss’s son or, even worse, my judgmental, chauvinistic father. Finally, he cracked a wide smile. You don’t have plans. 

    My spine stiffened. Excuse me? How dare he call me a liar! I did my best to keep my composure, though, as Macy squirmed in my arms. She’s a pro at sensing my moods. I didn’t need a smelly-breath tongue bath.

    I wonder what Cesar can do with his tongue.

    Wait. What? Bad, bad Savannah. Get that boy out of your head!

    Cesar’s bicep bulged as he leaned against the doorframe. You don’t have plans. He waved at my sparse but otherwise clean living room. You don’t do anything but sit in your condo all day when you’re not at work.

    I arched back, instantly regretting the movement as Macy started licking my chin. That’s not true. I pushed Macy’s snout away, getting a palm full of dog slobber in the process.

    His eyes narrowed, those twin copper gems honing in on me like lasers. "Then what do you do on weekends?"

    I averted my gaze. Stuff.  I usually sat with my Nana, trying to get her to mumble more than a few incoherent words while she stared at the wall, but he didn’t need to know that.


    Pulling back my shoulders, I squeezed Macy while matching his smug look with one of my own. I just got back from Costco. 

    One dark brow shot up, that smirk of his growing exponentially smugger, triggering the sirens on my asshole-ometer.

    Loading up on supplies so you don’t have to leave the house?

    I hadn’t been food shopping. I’d been looking for good quality AA batteries, thanks to Cesar Cruz’s relentless flirting, but I wasn’t about to tell him that. You know what, Cesar? I set Macy down and grabbed the handle, preparing to slam the door in his handsome face. What I do with my life is none of your business.

    He jutted a boot out, stopping the door and peeking in through the crack, those puppy dog eyes of his on full assault mode. Come on. It’s a pontoon boat. You can bring Macy. Nacho will be there.

    Just what I needed, to be stuck in the middle of a lake with Nacho the barking dog, and Cesar, the panty-melting human. Not to mention I really didn’t want to take my jumpy little terrier anywhere near the water. It was about as dangerous as taking me into a chocolate shop during PMS. I opened the door, but not because I felt sorry for his trapped boot and certainly not because I wanted to get a better look at his broad shoulders and ripped chest. You want me to take Macy on a boat? What if she falls in?

    Dogs are good swimmers. He flashed a sly smile. Besides, Nacho would never let his girlfriend drown. So, are you coming? That hopeful look in his eyes was so cute. If he’d been a dog, his tail would have been in full swing.

    I bit my lip, envisioning Cesar wearing nothing but a pair of swim trunks. Yikes. Cesar without a shirt would be dangerous, especially if he had tattoos. No. I did my best to put the thought of his rippling muscles covered in tats out of my mind. Instead, I tried to envision him in one of those European speedos, and his back was carpeted in hair that ran all the way down to his skimpy little bikini-clad ass. That made me smile. 

    I’ll think about it, I blurted without engaging my mouth filter.

    Stupid Savannah! You’re not going anywhere in a bikini, and certainly not anywhere with Cesar Cruz.

    Cesar’s eyes lit up like Fourth of July fireworks. If he was Nacho, he’d have been jumping on my chest and slobbering all over me.  Wow. That’s the closest to a ‘yes’ I’ve ever gotten from you.

    Look, I’m really tired. Been a long day at work. Actually, I wasn’t all that tired, and my workday had been fantastic. One of my ads was nominated for a prestigious award. I should have spent the night celebrating. Instead, I’d sat with my nana, listening to her repeat herself until she fell asleep in a lounge chair. Then my nephew had helped me put her to bed. 

    I understand. Cesar hung his head, looking up at me through thick lashes, his lip turning down in a pout that was a mixture of abandoned little puppy and irresistibly sexy Latin lover. 

    Maybe you should celebrate your promotion with a little casual neighbor sex.

    Eeek! I gave myself a mental bitch slap. What was wrong with me? I wasn’t about to jump into bed with Cesar just because he was hotter than Hades, and I was wetter than a busted water pipe. If and when I ever slept with a man, it would be because we were in love, and at the very least, engaged. Since I doubted either of those two things would ever happen for me, I’d just have to keep investing in batteries.

    * * *

    After I’d finally gotten rid of my annoying but sinfully sexy neighbor, I cursed Cesar while reheating my Asian takeout.  While I was watching the seconds count down and wondering how many times Mongolian Beef could be re-nuked before it started to taste like shoe leather, I did something ridiculously stupid—I checked my reflection in the microwave.

    Ugh. Cesar just saw me looking like this!

    My thick, strawberry-blonde hair looked like silly string, partly plastered to my face and the rest falling out of its ponytail. I’d already taken off my makeup, a ritual I fell into soon after I’d graduated college and landed my eight-to-five advertising job. My eyes didn’t look so bad, maybe a little puffy from lack of sleep, but I was starting to develop this one little wrinkle in the corner of my mouth, and I had no idea why, since I hardly ever smiled. I was only twenty-three. What the heck was I doing with a wrinkle?

    The microwave dinged. I scowled at my Mongolian Beef, which looked more like little raisin chunks swimming in onion sauce.

    Damn Cesar. It was his fault for making my food get cold.

    A knock sounded on my door again, and I just about flipped out. Yeah, Cesar was cute and sweet, but I didn’t have room for a guy in my life, so why bother being nice? I stomped over to the door and threw it open.

    What? I demanded. Then I frowned at the mousy little man in the black business suit peering up at me through thick glasses. 

    Miss Boudreau? The man held out his hand as if he expected me to shake it. I am a solicitor for your father’s legal team.

    Oh, great. Another one of my so-called-father’s brown-nosing lawyers. 

    I glared at the lawyer’s outstretched hand. I’ve told you people to stop coming to my house. When are you going to get it through your heads I don’t want to see Mr. Boudreau? I enunciated that last part slowly, hoping my rejection would finally sink in, and my father would learn to leave me the hell alone.

    The man dropped his hand, looking sheepish as he pulled a paper out of his briefcase. I’m afraid it’s too late for that, he said in a monotonous tone that sounded rehearsed. It is with a heavy heart I tell you your father passed away at 2:00 a.m. yesterday morning. 

    I stared at the lawyer for a long moment before realizing I’d forgotten to blink or even breathe. Are you sure? I asked on an exhale.

    Positive. And don’t fret about his passing. He pushed thick-rimmed glasses up the bridge of his nose. He was surrounded by family and loved ones during his final moments.

    Family? Bud Boudreau didn’t have any family other than me. He didn’t have friends, either, unless he’d bought them. So who in hell had been there for my father’s final moments?

    Um, okay, I answered as my brain went numb. So what do you want with me?

    We need you to come to our office, so we can go over the will, the man squeaked as he pushed glasses up the rim of his nose a second time.

    Will? What will? I knew without a doubt my father would’ve rather been buried with his billions than leave me a dime.

    The will detailing your inheritance.

    What for? We both know I didn’t inherit anything.

    My dad had hated me since the day my mother and her lover were killed in a car accident. You look just like that whore, he used to tell me, beating me with a belt. And you’ll probably become a whore, too.

    The mousy lawyer cleared his throat. He gave half to charity and left the rest to you, his only child.

    My legs weakened. The rest?

    He nodded, his eyeglasses slipping down his nose again. You’re a very wealthy woman.

    Excuse me? I mumbled, stumbling back. I lowered myself into a chair at my modest kitchen table and hung my head in my hands.

    Visions of my dad spitting on me, smacking me, and calling me names swirled in my head. Why would he leave me with a penny? There had to be some kind of catch, some stipulation that said I wouldn’t inherit unless I ran a mile barefoot across hot coals or had my eyeballs burned out with flaming pokers.

    If you would be so kind as to come to our office, we can go over all the details with you.

    I looked up to see mousy lawyer guy hovering over me. He was holding a glass. I vaguely remembered pouring myself some water after coming home from work. I took it from him, drinking it all in a few swallows. It soothed my dry mouth, but the room-temperature liquid did nothing to clear my mind.

    What do I have to do? I asked shakily. To get the money?

    He smiled as he knelt beside me. You don’t have to do anything other than sign a few papers. The money is yours.

    I jerked back. Mine?

    Yes, Miss Boudreau. All $553 million dollars.

    I didn’t know how long I stared at him, mouth agape, as my hands went numb. Memories of the last words my father had said to me played in my mind. I don’t give a damn what happens to you, as long as I never have to lay eyes on your whore face again.

    This had to be a mistake or a cruel joke. How could a man leave his entire inheritance to the child he had so vehemently hated?

    * * *

    My brain was fried by the time I got home, and all I wanted to do was go to bed and pretend this night had never happened. I got the impression the lawyers were expecting me to break out the champagne and dance on the tables when they explained to me just how rich I was. As mousy lawyer guy had said, half had gone to charity, which was weird. My dad? Charity? I’d never have imagined using those words in the same sentence. A small sum and the ranch had gone to my dad’s foreman, Angus, and the rest came to me.

    Oddly, the lawyer had been correct that there were no strings attached. The money was all mine. Even the taxes had been paid. The lawyers set it up so I got a lump sum immediately and $8 million a year for the rest of my life. What was I going to do with $8 million a year? Heck, what was I going to do with any of it?

    And then I had to ask myself: Did I really want that man’s money? The man who, when I was four years old, had beat me black-and-blue for crying over my dead mother. The man who’d kept her smashed car in the barn as a cruel reminder of her gruesome death. The same man who wouldn’t allow me to see my grandparents, taking out his anger on us as some sick, twisted way of getting back at my mother. 

    This same man had never spent a dime on me when I was growing up. My clothes were hand-me-downs, my car a junker I’d paid for by shoveling manure, and my schooling had been financed through hard-earned scholarships.

    I didn’t get why he’d left all his money to me, and despite the lawyers’ reassurances, I sat on my sofa and ran a search on my phone for Bud Boudreau. There were all kinds of pictures of my father at one social function or another, a different bleached blonde or brassy redhead with fake tits on his arm each time. In every photograph, he either had a half-lidded drunken look or a pissed off sober look. Then I noticed most of the pictures from the past year looked different. His normally tanned cheeks were pale and hollow, dwarfed beneath a huge cowboy hat. His greying beard was thinning, and his bright blue eyes looked dull.

    The articles on him were mostly about his failed attempts at running for political office. I scrolled through five pages before I found a short blurb in a small Texas newspaper published eight months ago, speculating he’d been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Someone local had allegedly seen him in chemotherapy. The source couldn’t be verified, though. I tried searching Bud Boudreau and cancer, and came up with the same article and one other, an obituary that had been released that morning.

    My heart stopped when I saw the picture they’d used, one I’d never seen before. My dad was protectively holding the horn of a horse’s saddle. I was straddling the horse, and my mom sat behind me. Her hand rested on my chubby thigh as she smiled at the camera. My dad was staring up at my mom with a look that could only be described as worship.

    I remembered the moment. The way the sunlight shone through her red hair and heightened the glow in her rosy cheeks, I’d thought she was a goddess. And seeing his expression, I realized he had, too. Her betrayal must have crushed him.

    But that hadn’t given him the right to abuse me. Far from it. Had he thought this inheritance would make up for my crappy childhood? Was this why he’d been trying to connect with me over the past few months? He’d realized his time on earth was up, and he wanted to atone for twenty-three years of neglect?

    Nice try, asshole. 

    It would take a lot more than money to erase the painful memories of my past. I wrapped my arms around myself, sinking into the sofa cushions and letting out a pent-up breath. That awful man was dead. Gone. He’d never be able to hurt me again, at least not in the physical sense, but the memories still hurt. They burned through my skull like fire.

    Tears silently streamed down my face as I stared at the blank television. It was a large flat-screen, one of the first things I’d bought myself after getting my first paycheck. I remembered finding it on Craigslist for one hundred dollars and how hard it was to part with the money.

    It should have dawned on me that I wouldn’t have to worry about money ever again. I was a millionaire. I could finally afford a car that didn’t crap out on me every other week, and I could buy my nana the best medical care. I could quit my job and travel the world if I wanted. I was twenty-three years old, and I had over $500 million in a trust fund. But I hadn’t earned that money, had I? No, it was given to me by Bud Boudreau. I imagined him looking up at me from the flaming pit, pointing an accusatory finger and calling me a stupid whore for taking the money.

    More tears welled as I squeezed a sofa cushion to my chest. Why did I care what that man thought of me, and why was I crying? He wasn’t worth my tears. Besides, giving into my grief meant he’d won, and I would be damned if I was going to let that son of a bitch rob any more joy from my life. The money was mine, and I’d damned well earned it for putting up with him as a father.

    I threw the pillow to the floor and jumped to my feet.

    Macy! As naughty as my terrier was, she had an infectious, tail-wagging, face-licking happiness that always put me in a

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