Tough Break
A Shakedown series steamy contemporary romance



Declan studied her eyes, which had stung with unwelcomed tears. “Had I known that would make you cry…”

“It’s not you.” Phoenix waved her hand in the air. Her emotions were all over the map.

“Who then? I told you, I’ll handle Carragh.”

She shook her head. “It’s not just that. When I can’t work, my mind…” She twirled her finger near her temple. “… conjures up all kinds of things.” Like how she didn’t hate him kissing her.

“You were worried about me today.”

“Of course, you’re my boss.” She swiped under her eyes.

“Is that all?”

She nodded.

His gaze trailed her body. “How’s the ankle?”

She lifted her leg and moved her foot in circles. “Almost good as new. I’m going to test it tomorrow. One dance.”

“Only one?”

“Pushing me to do more?”

“I’ve learned not to push you.”

“I appreciate that.” Now if he’d only stop staring at her. “Now that that’s settled.”

“What’s settled?”

“Us.” She waggled a finger between them. “You. Me. You not kissing me again.” She stared at his mouth, caught herself, and turned away.

One of the constants in her life was Declan. But he made things unfurl inside her that no business being let out. Internal knots tied so tight—on purpose—were coming loose. She could go adrift at any minute.

“I didn’t say anything about kissing.”

No, she guessed he hadn’t. A prickly heat bloomed across her cheeks.

“But you liked it.”

Her body did what it always did in these moments. Seized like someone cranked on a series of vises or re-tied those internal knots. “I didn’t say I didn’t. That’s not the same as a ‘yes.’”

“Of course. I was rather shocked you didn’t slap me when I did.”

That smugness in his voice irritated her. “I have a strict policy not to slap my boss.”

“So I can burn that napkin.”


“Want me to kiss you again then?”

Her heart began to pound—such a silly reaction in the face of something so simple as a kiss. Yet with Declan, nothing was simple. In all these years of dancing for the man she’d not learned much about him. Oh, but she’d done that on purpose, hadn’t she? It was easier to keep him labeled as their boss.

“I’m not suggesting a trip to the gallows, you know.” He smiled, and her gaze landed on his lips again.

Damnit, she now knew what those lips could do. What he tasted like. What his hand felt like wrapped around the back of her neck.


Phoenix is one tough cookie. Declan is up for the job, however. Want to read more?

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Available in late Fall 2020

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