Wicked Obsession: A Limited Edition Collection of Contemporary Romances

Part of the Wicked Hollywood Kings Series

Dive into seven wicked romances that range from sinfully sweet… to seductively scorching.

Let us feed your addiction to sexy alpha heroes and strong heroines in this sizzling collection of seven mouthwatering love stories. Whether it’s an arranged marriage with a touch of reverse harem or a dark mafia enemies-to-lovers, you’ll find everything you’re looking for on these tempting, soul-stirring pages.

Fall in love with the secrets of the Hollywood Elite; be seduced by a wounded anti-hero with a heart of gold; and lose yourself in a dark romantic suspense retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Every page of this collection is packed with tantalizing romance that will leave you breathless for more.


Includes Karine’s novella, Indecent Beau.

Arrogant movie star Beau Garrett and curvy screenwriter Dayna Brown collaborate on a script while he coaches her between the sheets. As feelings grow, she grapples with scars from previous relationships while he deals with issues of unworthiness. Can they turn their deal into a lasting love before it’s too late, or was it doomed from the start?

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Wicked Obsession: A Limited Edition Collection of Contemporary Romances

Excerpt

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Chapter One

Dayna

My encounter with Beau Garrett was something of a miracle.

Even though we both lived in the City of Angels and worked in the movie industry, there was a million-to-one chance of us running into each other. I was at the bottom of the ladder, struggling to get any writing assignments. He was at the top, starring in the biggest movie productions.

And yet, this hot movie legend, adored by millions of fans around the world and named the “Sexiest Man Alive” last year, wanted to meet me.

“I can do this. I can make a good impression.”

I drove through a quiet residential street lined with stunning mansions. As I slowed down at a red light, I wiped my sweaty hands on my pants. I’d found out that somehow he’d read one of my writing samples, but I didn’t know his intent.

The green light appeared, and I turned left on Third Avenue. The Sunday morning sun shone above the bustling city, crawling with people getting together either for pleasure or business. The traffic circulation was fluid, though, which allowed me plenty of time to arrive at Rainbow Swirl on schedule.

Romantic songs played on the radio, making me daydream for a moment about finding “the one.” A while back, I’d read that Beau Garrett had been divorced for the last three years and, since then, had hooked up with a few actresses. He was definitely not the kind of man I was looking for.

I’d only optioned a couple of scripts, but so far, they hadn’t moved the needle. This meeting with Beau was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I couldn’t miss or screw up; otherwise, my screenwriting career would remain in a rut for years to come.

I spotted a Jeep parked on the side of the road with hazard lights on and a triangle positioned behind it. A young woman was hovering outside the vehicle, waving her arms at the passing cars. I contemplated helping her. If I stopped, I’d run the risk of being late for my meeting, but I couldn’t ignore the woman’s distress either.

I pulled over behind her Jeep and exited from the passenger’s door with my purse in hand. “Hi, do you need help?”

“Oh, thank God.” The woman sighed in relief. She wore a sports outfit, and her hair was swept up in a tousled ponytail. “My car broke down, and I forgot my cell phone at home. Can I please borrow yours?”

“Of course.” I fished the iPhone out of my purse and gave it to her. “Here.” “Thank you so much. You’re saving my life.”

While she was on the phone, I pushed my sunglasses up to wipe the sweat off my face, and my vision blurred. I put them back on my nose and nibbled at my finger, nervous about making a bad impression on Beau Garrett and messing up this unique chance.

After ending the call with the tow truck, the woman finally handed back the phone. “They’re coming now. I don’t know what I would have done without you.”

“Oh, don’t mention it. It’s normal. So I guess I’m gonna go now.” I put the phone back into my purse and took a couple of steps back toward my car.

“I’m such a mess,” she blubbered. “My boyfriend dumped me yesterday, and I couldn’t sleep a wink all night.”

I stopped and gave her a pat on the arm in comfort, my heart filling with compassion at the woman’s pain. “I’m so sorry. Do you need anything else? Because I was on my way to a meeting.”

“Yeah, sure, I understand.” She burst into tears, her hands covering her face.

Oh, shoot, what should I do? I couldn’t leave her in that state. Sunglasses perched on my nose, I checked the time. It was 10:40 a.m. on my watch, and the meeting was at 11:00. Five more minutes, and then I would leave.

“Hey, there, it’s going to be all right.” I patted her shoulder until her tears finally subsided.

She slumped against the hood of the Jeep. “I have no more reason to live now.”

“Easy, there.” I took the stranger’s hand and sat next to her. “If the guy dumped you, it just means he’s not the one. It doesn’t mean you’re hopeless. You might not see it right now, but your future husband is out there somewhere. All you need is to believe.”

It took a while to calm her down before I could leave. I’d be late for sure. Did I already ruin this before it had even started?

***

Shoot, I was fifteen minutes late. Please, please, please, wait for me. I rushed inside the luxury building and up to the top, where Rainbow Swirl was located. By the time I burst through the entrance of the lush restaurant, I was huffing and puffing. Pearls of sweat slid down my temples, and I bet my hair was a mess. I hoped Beau Garrett wouldn’t hold my being late against me.

It was my first time at Rainbow Swirl, one of the most successful eateries in town, patronized by loyal celebrities. I leaned against the hostess station, catching my breath. A redheaded woman, with a flawless bun over her head and a slender figure in a tight black dress, sashayed back behind the station. She exuded seductive power, and I bet she had famous men swooning at her feet. In a place like this, she was in her element. I was nothing like her: I had curves in the wrong places that my exes had always criticized. Rarely did I wear sexy clothes or pay much attention to my appearance. Today I was dressed in simple black pants with a loose blue blouse.

When the hostess saw me, her smile disappeared in a flash. “Hi, how can I help you, miss? Are you lost?” she asked in a condescending tone.

Look at that woman! She must be telling herself I’m not good enough to eat in such a luxurious

place.

I thrust my chest out. “Hi, I’m meeting Beau Garrett. You know, the movie star?”

“You are?” Her blood-red painted mouth contorted in a grimace that messed up the thick

layer of foundation on her face. If she believed it was a romantic date, all the better. While she scanned through her book, I prayed that Beau hadn’t already left.

“Oh, yes, Mr. Garrett is at his table, waiting for you. I suppose you have a professional meeting, don’t you?”

I scoffed at her assumption. “I’m late, so you’d better take me to his table at once.”

She led me inside the main space. We passed through tables draped in white cloth and occupied by a sea of chatty patrons. High-ceiling glass windows framed the restaurant, gleaming in the sunlight and overlooking the hills.

I spotted Beau Garrett before he could see me. He looked down at his watch, biting his lip and tapping his fingers on the table like he couldn’t wait any longer.

I was anxious to get to him, but before I could reach him, the hostess blocked my way, putting her long fake nails on my arm, and murmured, “Enjoy your breakfast. A little heads-up, though. If I were you, I wouldn’t expect more than a working relationship. You’re not his type, I am, and for your information, I still remember our night together.”

She was just a frustrated gal who had an inferiority complex. “Thank you for the heads-up, but after this meeting”—I got into her face—“I will be getting epic work opportunities while you’re stuck here trying to get your hooks into a rich patron.”

She glared at me, speechless. Filled with pride, I squared my shoulders and joined Beau. As his piercing ocean-blue gaze found mine, he stood, and despite all the well-known patrons in the room, I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He was even more beautiful in person, making my heart skip a beat or two. He wore a pair of Versace jeans and a rolled-up white dress shirt that revealed his muscular forearms.

Short, blonde hair framed his clean-shaven face, yet he had a displeased look that accentuated my nervousness.

As we shook hands, an electric current zipping through my body froze me to the spot.

“You’re late, Miss Brown.” His deep, gruff voice landed straight down my center, stunning me.

That was not part of the plan, and I needed to refocus right this second. “You’re not the only person I have

a meeting with today.”

My cheeks flushed with embarrassment, and I prayed he wasn’t considering calling off our brunch. “Hi, Mr. Garrett. I’m so sorry for being late. A woman’s car broke down on the way here, and I had

to help.”

“You should know that I don’t wait for people. You’re lucky I’m still here. I won’t tolerate any more tardiness. Is that clear?”

I’d been late, yes, but he didn’t need to be a jerk about it. “I helped a woman in distress. I’m sure you can understand that sometimes you can slow down and lend a hand to those around you.”

He smirked. The asshole smirked. “Please, have a seat.”

We settled at the table as a petite waitress with jet-black hair handed out our menus. I scanned the list of meals they offered, but all I wanted was to plunge my eyes into his as if there was an invisible force inciting me. Unable to resist any longer, I stole a glance. Romantic dates and work meetings blurred in my head, and instead of keeping it purely professional, I found myself melting at his beauty. I had to remind myself that Beau Garrett would never be attracted to a woman like me and that it was unrequited love, guaranteed.

His intense stare, full of unknown emotions, awakened butterflies in my belly. I readjusted my glasses higher up my nose and looked back down at the menu to pick a meal to order.

A dark-skinned waiter filled up our glasses with iced water. “Good morning. How are you today?”

After we gave a polite reply, Beau took a sip of his water. “Are you finding something to your liking?” His eyes locked on me.

“Um….” He meant the food, right? Because my mind definitely went somewhere else. Something was definitely to my liking, or someone, not that I would admit it out loud.

The waiter let out a chuckle as he walked away. Did he notice the blush on my cheeks? I continued scanning the menu, determined not to be distracted by the gorgeous man before me.

The waitress came back with a tablet in hand. “Are you guys ready to order?” “What would you like, Miss Brown?”

Miss Brown. The way his tongue curled on my name ignited a sudden spark of desire that landed in my belly. I cleared my throat, trying to rub out my inappropriate body response. Once again, I had to remember it was only business and nothing more.

“I’ll have the All the Way Brunch.”

“I’ll have the same.” Beau handed the menus back to the waitress. “Thanks.”

She typed our picks on her device, then, nestling a lock of hair behind her ear, flashed him a huge smile. “Right away, Beau.”

Beau? I wondered if she’d been intimate with him too. She was gorgeous, like the hostess, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they’d had sex, but a part of me got annoyed by this. Couldn’t she do her job without having to flirt with all the male patrons? Or was it just with Beau? Did she think her life would only be better if she got hitched to a celebrity? As she stepped away, she made sure to sway her hips to attract his attention.

But Beau wasn’t looking. His gaze was fixed on me, his eyes dancing with mischief. “What’s on your mind?”

My cheeks heated up from getting caught. I hoped he wasn’t able to read me. That’d be so embarrassing.

“Oh, nothing. My mind just wandered.” I took a sip of my water to calm my nerves. “So, do you like coming here?”

“The food is delicious here.”

“And I bet the view isn’t bad either,” I let out, shocking myself. “I’m sorry, Mr. Garrett. I didn’t mean to imply anything by that.”

“Sure you did, but I don’t mind.”

The wicked smile that crept across his face ruffled my feathers while causing unexpected heat to bloom between my legs. I drank more water. These body reactions needed to stop.

I wondered what it would be like to be his one-night-stand lover, his girlfriend, or even his wife.

Was he seeing someone at the moment?

“So, Miss Brown—” he stopped as the waitress set our orange juice and hot drinks on the table, and once she left, he continued—“Is there a man in your life?”

“Excuse me?” I scoffed. Who does he think he is asking such a personal question? “That is none of your business!”

This man had no shame; he kept his gaze on me as if he enjoyed embarrassing me. “You see, if you work with me, I’ll require that you be available at all times.”

What he said seemed innocent, but the unknown emotion flaring in his eyes told another story. I squeezed my thighs in an attempt to calm the fire unfurling between them.

“How are you so far?” The waitress startled me as she placed our food on the table. “Do you need anything else?”

“We’re good, thank you,” Beau replied.

As she walked away, I put my napkin on my lap. “All you need to know, Mr. Garrett, is that I always get the job done.”

“Are you willing to do whatever it takes to do the best job?” “Of course.”

He stared at me with a funny look on his face.

“What?” I asked, wondering what he could be thinking.

“I was just curious about something. Never mind, I’ll have plenty of time to find out.”

I took a mouthful of my soft scrambled eggs with salmon, the need to find out what he was talking about growing inside me.

He stared, a gleam flashing in his eyes. “I have a proposition for you.” Despite starting off on the wrong foot, I couldn’t wait to hear more about what he had to offer. “I have an idea for a steamy superhero love story I want to star in and produce, and I’m looking for the perfect screenwriter.”

Steamy? Hearing the word from his lips caused a sudden shiver to run through me. What was wrong with me today?

“I’ve read your writing sample”—he paused and sipped his coffee— “and I’m… intrigued.” “Thank you.” I smiled, already picturing all the doors opening for me. My script had miraculously

landed in his hands after I had a friend read it, and she’d shared it with her hairdresser. “Do not thank me yet. I found your writing sample boring and lacking passion.”

“What?” The blow of his words left me speechless and bruised. That was it. The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity fled out the window as fast as it appeared, and I was now back to square one. “I don’t understand….”

“No one ever makes progress without criticism.”

My stomach twisted in tangled knots, and I had no more appetite, no eagerness to finish the food. “Why am I here if you hate my writing?”

He wiped his mouth with the napkin, taking his time to reply. “You misunderstood my words. I’d like to give you a chance.”

“A chance? Didn’t you find another screenwriter to your liking? Why give me a chance?” “Because, Miss Brown…” His disconcerting gaze swept from my face to my chest, then straight

back to my eyes, “…you have potential.”

“Do I, now?” I shot back, trying to stifle the effect his gaze had on me. “Well, I don’t need you to know I’ve got potential.”

“On the contrary, I think you do.”

Where is he going with this? I didn’t even care to find out. I wanted to leave. Beau Garrett was an entitled jerk, convinced his opinion mattered to me. Well, he can put his opinion up his ass.

I took a sip of my cappuccino, gathering my thoughts. “You’ve read my best sample. What else would you need from me?”

His blue gaze turned my body burning-hot with mixed feelings. “I can make you a better writer.” “How? I don’t get it.”

I couldn’t stand his pretentious attitude, so I was doubly annoyed that my body reacted in the opposite direction.

“I’m not surprised by the lack of passion in your writing. One look at you, and I would have known

without reading one line of your sample. Everything about you is passionless. Look at your clothes, for example. Did you borrow them from your grandma? You hide behind glasses and dowdy clothes. You’re scared to show yourself and make an impression. What are you hiding from? I bet you have no boyfriend or husband, not that it bothers me. Am I right?”

I was stunned, speechless, the hurtful remarks searing my ego. If I could, I’d disappear under the thin carpet. He had no right to humiliate me like that, moreover around all these people. I deserved his respect, not his insensitive comments.

I pushed the chair backward and shot to my feet. “Goodbye.” “I don’t think you realize—”

“I don’t think you realize what a fucking jerk you are. And honestly, I’m actually relieved this assignment didn’t work out. I would have hated collaborating with you.”

As the waitress approached with a carafe filled with orange juice, I snatched it and splashed the liquid all over Beau’s expensive outfit. “Thanks for nothing.”

She gasped in horror. “Oh my gosh, Beau. Would you like me to call security?” “That won’t be necessary,” he replied.

Gasps and whispers from a patchwork of famous people erupted across the room, intensifying the humiliation coursing through my veins.

As I ran past the hostess, she smirked at me and said, “How are those epic work opportunities of yours now?”

I darted out of the restaurant, tears bubbling in my throat. I wished I hadn’t met that man and hoped never to cross paths with him again.

end of excerpt

Wicked Obsession: A Limited Edition Collection of Contemporary Romances

is available in the following formats:

Evershade Publishing

Jan 4, 2023

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