Playing by the Rules — a Valentine’s Day romance

Valentine's Day themed cocktail. Photo courtesy of Darwin Bell.I missed my post last month when we all shared our holiday romances. Primarily because I was finishing up my first holiday-themed romance. :-) So I’m bending the rules a smidgen and sharing it today. Playing by the Rules is the prequel novel to my Playing with Bad Boys series coming in 2016. I’m sharing a new installment with my VIP Readers each Friday through February, before the Valentine’s Day weekend release.

Valentine’s Day is a holiday that celebrates love. When Meredith “Merrie” Jane gets roped into attending her cousin Daphne’s naughty Valentine’s Day party for the decidedly unattached, she is shocked to find her ex’s elder brother Hunter in attendance. Stir in a few Valentine’s Day-themed cocktails and a very pushy relative, and they both discover that there is more than just friendship between them.

Playing by the Rules by Reese Ryan

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“You’re up next, Mer.” Daphne grinned, holding the cards out to her. “Choose your challenge.”

Merrie could hardly breathe. Her hand trembled as she pulled the top card and read it. “Seven minutes in heaven? What on earth does that mean?” Merrie held up the card to the laughter of Daphne and others in the group.

“You, my dear, must choose one of these lucky fellows to take to the front cupboard and snog for seven full minutes.”

“Surely you’re joking.” Her breathing accelerated and her knee bounced. A sudden lightness filled her head and a leaden ball sank in the pit of her stomach. She definitely should have passed on that last drink.

Snogging with a complete stranger for seven full minutes? Surely the woman had gone mad. Daphne knew her better than anyone on the face of God’s green earth. How could she possibly think she’d be bold enough to do such a thing? She glanced about the circle, her heart racing. Brent looked eager to accommodate her. He was a handsome devil. There could be far worse things than kissing him for seven minutes. Still, she couldn’t force his name, or anyone else’s from her lips. Her palms were damp. A bead of sweat trickled down between her shoulder blades.

“I am not joking.” Daphne kept a neutral expression. “And should you choose not to complete your mission, I get to choose a task for you.” She grinned.

Merrie recognized that impish expression. She’d seen it many times over the years. It always meant trouble. Whatever task Daphne would give her would be far more humiliating than the challenge before her now.

“Fine, I’ll do it. I’m just not quite sure who to pick.”

“If you can’t choose, the person seated to your left may choose for you.” Daphne’s gaze landed squarely on Hunter.

Merrie turned to Hunter for the first time since she’d been given the challenge. His perturbed expression suddenly turned gobsmacked.

“You want me to choose?”

“That’s right. You may choose any man in this room. Including yourself.” Daphne’s eyes sparkled.

Hunter cleared his throat. “Fine. Then I do. Choose me, I mean. She’s to go to the cupboard with me.”

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Join my VIP Readers List to get the series delivered to your inbox this Friday.

PS: Want to make your own Valentine’s Day-themed cocktails? Get a full list of them here. (See how I brought it back to this month’s recipe sharing theme? :-) )

Valentine’s Day themed cocktail photo courtesy of Darwin Bell.