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Juggling two jobs to keep her belly dance studio afloat keeps Abby Anderson’s mind off her shattered love life—until a reawakened pain sends her into the arms of an anonymous stranger she plucks from the audience of her tribal belly dance show. No names, no strings, no romance. She tells herself it’s a harmless hookup.
Until he turns up at her day job . . .
Derek Collier, the sexy heir to the Collier media dynasty, just landed everything he’s always wanted: the publisher’s seat at the Orange County Herald. Except his first order of business is to sell the newspaper. Reeling from his family’s betrayal, his only comfort is the memory of that mysterious belly dancer and the perfect night they spent together.
He won’t rest until he finds her again.
She’ll lose everything if he does.
“It’s only sex,” Abby Anderson said, keeping her focus on the mirror propped on the desk in front of her and the black eyeliner wand in her hand.
In the corner, Melanie flipped through a tattoo magazine. “It’s about time. How you managed to go a whole year is a mystery to me.”
“It’s not like I planned it. It just happened. I’ve been busy.”
Busy working two jobs—three if you counted the belly dance studio that was consuming every spare minute and dollar she had. It didn’t seem possible that so much time had passed since her ex had given her the ultimatum: him or the studio. He didn’t understand how she could leave graduate school and the prospect of a comfortable career to devote herself to what he considered a dead-end business. That’s when she knew he didn’t understand her—and he never would.
Most days, she was too busy to think about her wreck of a love life. Today she could think of little else.
May 1. Seeing the date on the calendar had brought it all back. That last terrible fight. All the awful things he’d said to her. She knew they weren’t true. Pursuing her passion didn’t make her selfish. It didn’t mean she was damaged goods.
She’d find love again. Eventually. But tonight it wasn’t love she was after. She just wanted to think about something besides that brain-dead temp job at the newspaper, the skimpy dance tips she earned at the restaurant, and the studio that sank her deeper into debt every day, even if it was the only thing that could still make her smile.
She wanted to remember how it felt to be touched. To feel lips pressed to hers, hands on her waist, maybe a caress or two. All the belly dance writhing and grinding in the world wouldn’t scratch that itch.
She needed a man.
DeAnna Cameron writes novels featuring feisty heroines transformed by true love and belly dance—the oldest and most exciting dance form in the world. Her novels have been translated into Japanese, Polish, and Serbian, and her work has been praised for its “deft prose, energetic characters and . . . colorful images” by RT Book Reviews and called “most entertaining” by the Historical Novel Review. Before turning to fiction, DeAnna worked as a journalist, writing and editing for several Southern California newspapers and magazines. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, as well as its Orange County chapter. When she isn’t working on her next novel, she can usually be found at her jeweler’s bench, creating new wire-wrap, bead, and multimedia designs. She lives in Orange County, Calif., with her family.