Christy Wallace is a buttoned-up Spanish teacher by day and a salsa dance instructor by night. When she promises one of her friends she’ll pose as his girlfriend, she doesn’t think a little game of pretend would be too complicated.
Adam Young is all cowboy. He’s also the owner of Adam’s Apples, the fastest-growing cider business in eastern Washington. But that’s something he doesn’t share with people he meets, including the hot dance instructor he’s been fantasizing about.
But he realizes he’s not the only one with a few secrets when Christy walks in to a family event on the arm of his brother.
Each book in the Seattle Steam series is STANDALONE:
* Grounds for Seduction
* Tempting Adam
* Seducing Allie
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
seattle steam series
By Shelli Stevens, Heidi Shoham
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2017 Shelli Stevens
All rights reserved.
"Do you want it wet?"
What? Christy Wallace snapped her attention away from the intriguing man standing in front of her and back to the woman speaking. "I'm sorry?"
"Your cappuccino, Christy. You usually order it wet, but I just wanted to make sure." Madison, who owned the shop, gave her a patient smile even though there was a line of customers to the door.
"Oh. Yes. Wet, please. Thanks, Madison." She flushed, her face giving away the direction of her thoughts. Great, now the entire store probably thought she was some tawdry sex fiend.
Normally the question wouldn't have been such a doozy. She was a regular at Ooo La Latté — had been coming here since shortly after Madison had opened shop — and ordered the same wet cappuccino every day.
But her brain had gone to pot the moment she'd walked through the door and laid eyes on him. The man standing at the end of the line looked like he could've been the stunt double in any James Bond film. Well, a blond Bond. Wait, wasn't Bond blond now anyway? In any case. He had a lean muscular body, hard jaw-line, sensual mouth ... and a butt you could bounce a quarter off.
This was the first time she didn't mind waiting ten minutes in line for coffee. Not with the view standing in front of her. Her imagination had gone into overdrive. Those hands ... those hands on her body. His body on her body — in her body. The fantasy had gone on and on — only to be broken when Madison confirmed her usual order.
Christy shifted as she waited for her drink, trying to forget about the man who now stood beside her. But, God, he smelled good. She leaned forward slightly and inhaled again. Even over the intense coffee aroma she could smell his cologne. Something woodsy and oh-so- male.
"What's the difference?"
She blinked and then blinked again. Oh God. He was actually talking to her? Her nerves jumped to life.
"Difference in what?"
"Between wet and dry cappuccinos?" he asked, raising an eyebrow at her as he accepted his drink from the barista.
She ran her tongue over suddenly dry lips. His gaze dropped to observe the small movement and her nipples tightened under her sweater.
Christy bit back a groan. What the hell was happening here? She'd been attracted to men before, but never this quick. Sex. Ah, there it was. She needed to get laid. Two years without sex had turned her into a sex-starved nympho.
"Wet is with more milk and less foam." She lifted her gaze from his solid chest and up to his amused hazel eyes. Jeez, he was tall. At only five one, she'd wager he had at least a good foot on her.
"Hmm. I guess I can understand that."
"One wet cappuccino." The barista grinned and handed Christy her drink.
"Thank you." She took it with a grateful smile.
The man next to her looked at her beverage and then gave his a pensive look. "I'm not used to fancy drinks. I just wanted a cup of coffee."
Fancy drinks? Definitely not a local. Christy offered him a smile. "Espresso drinks really aren't all that intimidating. And you know, rumor has it they're even made with coffee."
"I don't think I'd have a clue where to begin."
"Ah." She walked toward one of the leather couches in the shop, elated when he followed. "See, I think what you need is an espresso tutor."
He sat down next to her, stretching his long legs out in front of him. The plush couch seemed suddenly inadequate.
"An espresso tutor, huh?" His mouth curved into an answering smile. "You have any idea where a fellow might be able to get one of those?"
Fellow? Hmm. Christy stared at him. The James Bond fantasy had to go. He was starting to give off more of a Matthew McConaughey in his heyday vibe. Minus the accent. And Matthew was a genuine hottie in her book.
"I might know one or two," she replied. She was flirting. She was actually flirting! Nate would be so proud.
His smile widened. He took a sip of coffee and then asked, "What's your name?"
"I'm Adam." He glanced down at his coffee and then back up at her. "Christy, how would you like to have dinner with me tonight? You can give me some lessons in espresso."
He was actually asking her out? People didn't date anymore, they hooked up. At least in her experience. And here was this hot-as-heck guy asking her out to dinner a minute after they'd just met. Crap. If she didn't have a previous commitment, she would have been all over dinner with Adam.
"Unfortunately, I'm going to have to say no," she replied, not bothering to hide the regret on her face. She hated the games that went into dating and had always tried to be honest and straightforward. "I have a different type of lesson to give tonight."
"A different type of lesson?" He took another sip of his coffee. "Sounds interesting. Just what do you teach, Christy?"
"Salsa dancing, actually. But only when I'm not teaching Spanish to high school students."
"A Salsa-dancing, high school teacher?" He looked impressed and amused at the same time. "Well, let me tell you something. We never had any teachers who looked as good as you when I was in high school. I'll bet you get hit on a lot by the students."
Christy laughed, tucking a strand of blond hair behind her ear self-consciously. Please let him ask me out for a different day. "Actually, I did get asked to prom by a senior once."
"I believe it." Adam gave a soft laugh. "Is school out for the kids yet?"
"Friday was our last day." She crossed her legs, and the calf-length dress she wore shifted higher to expose her knees. His gaze followed the movement. Suddenly she was all too aware of his muscular thigh brushing up against hers.
"And now you've got the summer off?" he asked. Was it her? Or did his voice seem a little huskier?
"Yup, and I'm going to savor every moment of it."
He wasn't going to ask her out again. The conversation lulled and Christy lowered her gaze. She should just head out. Besides, she'd requested that maintenance come by to look at the pipes in her apartment. She kind of wanted to be there for that. But the thought of leaving the shop and not seeing Adam again really bugged her.
She stood up, cappuccino in hand. "I should go. It was nice meeting you, Adam."
He rose as well and walked with her toward the door. "Say, where are you teaching these Salsa dancing lessons?"
Christy's pulse jumped with hope as she glanced at him. "Why? Are you thinking of signing up?"
"I'd have to check my schedule."
Right. The disappointment set in. When a guy mentioned a busy schedule, he was looking for a way to brush you off. She reached into her purse and pulled out a business card.
"Here's the info," she said, handing it to him. "Come if you want, we could always use more men."
"Thank you, ma'am." Adam revealed his perfect smile again as he took the card and pocketed it.
Christy swallowed hard. Maybe he thought the number on it was a personal line, but it wasn't. Everything on that card was all business or related to it. If this man wanted to pursue her, he would literally have to show up for her class. Yeah, right. Like that'd happen.
She found her keys and walked over to her hippie-era Volkswagen Beetle.
"Have yourself a good day, Christy," he called after her. "And thanks for explaining that cappuccino thing to me. Maybe we can go over some more tips sometime."
"Maybe." She waved and climbed into her car. Well, at least he was watching her drive away. And that was probably the last time she'd see him.
"That was fun for the whole five minutes it lasted," she muttered, stifling her regret as she pulled out of the parking lot and onto the highway.
The sound of Madonna singing "Like a Virgin" rang from her purse, and Christy reached for her cell phone.
"Good morning, Nate," she answered after seeing his picture pop up on her caller ID. "It's only nine thirty on a Monday morning. Are you sure you should be awake?"
"God, don't remind me." He sighed. "I traded shifts with a coworker, so I had last night off. It was really odd to sleep during the hours that normal humans do."
"I'll bet," Christy replied as she switched lanes. "So I just met this totally hot guy."
"Really? For you or for me?"
"Come on now, when do I ever sound this excited at finding someone for you? He's for me, sweetie."
"Well, I had to check," he grumbled. "All right, spill it. Give me the details."
"I met him at Ooo La Latté a few minutes ago. I guess — now that I think about it — there's not a lot to tell." She switched her phone from one ear to another. "I saw him in line and started having these totally kinky thoughts about him. I think he figured it out, because the next thing I knew we were sitting on the couch flirting over coffee. Sorry. I had cappuccino, he had coffee."
"Nice. Did you get his number?"
"Err, no," she hesitated. "He asked me out to dinner tonight, but I told him I was busy."
"What? Christy! You didn't accept the date? What were you thinking?"
"Uh, hello, I was thinking about my Salsa classes tonight. Remember? I gave him my card, though, and told him he could take my class if he wanted to see me. Pretty doubtful that he'll actually show." Christy sighed. "But I can't brush off my commitments for a guy who'll probably turn out to just be another dud."
"You're smart like that, Christy. Hey, how did that one guy turn out? That guy Lannie was trying to set you up with? The best man from her wedding?"
"Oh, right. Gabe." Christy frowned. He'd actually been a pretty decent guy whom she wouldn't have minded getting to know better. That is if he hadn't already been head over heels for Maddie — the owner of the coffee shop.
"So was he cute?"
"He was cute." She sighed. "Cute and taken. They always are."
"Well, that's a bummer." Nate was quiet for a moment. "Hey, there is a reason I called. Can you meet me for breakfast tomorrow? We need to do some real talking."
"Real talking, huh? As opposed to just chatting about men? Sounds serious."
"Um, it kind of is."
"Oh. Really? Do you want me to come over now?" Christy slowed her car, ready to flip a U-turn and head to his apartment on Broadway.
"No, not now. I'm meeting someone for lunch in a couple of hours."
"Sort of. I met him in a gay chat room."
"Nice. Good luck with him. I want to hear all about that, too, at breakfast tomorrow."
"You will. Where did you want to meet?"
His voice, which had been animated after mentioning his date, again became more somber. Hmm. Just what, exactly, was this real talk going to entail?
"Why don't we meet at Bob's Café," she suggested. "I've been craving a six-egg omelet."
"Damn, where do you put it all? I hate that place. I smell like grease when we leave."
"So shower when you get home. Grease becomes me."
"Fine. I'll meet you there around ten."
"I have to work tonight!" he protested. "Let me get a few hours of sleep in before we meet."
"I have errands up the yin-yang tomorrow. Nine."
Nate sighed. "Nine thirty?"
"Done. I'll see you tomorrow. Good luck with your date," she said and flipped her phone shut.
Well, at least one of them was having some success with men. It was probably better if Adam didn't show tonight. She'd have to be nuts to put her heart out on the line again. She'd only just gotten over her last relationship. Really. It was best just to forget the whole coffee episode.
"Exactly," she muttered. Now. What could she wear tonight that was cute?
* * *
"Hello, gorgeous. Love the outfit." Carlos, the owner of the studio, stretched out his hands to greet her.
"This old thing? I got it at a shop on Broadway." Christy took his hands and leaned forward to give him a kiss on each cheek. She didn't have to stretch too far, because Carlos was only a few inches taller than her.
His nose wrinkled. "Oh yes. I forgot about your habit of buying used clothes."
"Second-hand shopping. And don't knock it 'til you've tried it." She grinned. "Besides, I'm a teacher living in downtown Seattle. Where do you think most of my money's going?"
"You should move out of that dump," he grumbled as he went to fiddle with the CD player. "Get a nice apartment in the suburbs for half the price and save some money."
"Probably. But Pioneer Square is right in the middle of the tourist and party scene. My apartment might be a dump, but it's highly desired."
"Party scene? I thought you gave up flirting with the Navy boys who come over from Bremerton?" He gave her a sideways glance.
"I'll have you know that I've been in remission from Navy men for two years and counting now."
"Good girl. Just keep your feet grounded, niña. Shall we warm up a bit before the students start arriving?" he asked, hitting the play button on the CD player beside him.
"Sounds good." A rush of adrenaline kicked in. The rhythm of the music got into her blood and put her in another realm.
As the sultry, upbeat Latin music started to fill the room, Christy unzipped her sweatshirt and threw it on a chair. Her tank top and skirt combo was sexy, yet practical. The sexy part was needed in case Adam showed up. The practical bit was for the dancing itself.
She stepped toward his outstretched hands. They waited for the music to come around, and on the second beat they were off.
The dance was second nature. Her feet and body knew exactly what to do and how to do it. She followed Carlos's lead, spinning and breaking when he guided her to.
They'd been dancing fifteen minutes when people began to arrive for the seven o'clock class. Christy took little notice, following Carlos as he continued the dance.
Then her gaze drifted beyond Carlos's shoulders and landed on a man standing near the door. Oh God. She bit her lip but was unable to stop the immediate smile. Amazing. He'd actually showed. Her pulse, already fast from dancing, went into overdrive. Heat spread throughout her body.
"That's some smile you've got there," Carlos said. "Any reason why?"
"He?" Carlos spun her, so that he now had the view of the door to the studio. "I assume you mean the only guy here who isn't a senior citizen, gay, or with another woman?"
"Yeah." She kept her voice low. "The tall, lean, blond one."
"Not too lean." Carlos gave Adam a thoughtful glance. "He looks like he's got some muscle on him."
And didn't she notice! Christy giggled. "Don't let your wife hear you talking like that. She might get the wrong idea."
"Serena is very happy." Carlos's expression turned smug. "She has no room for complaints."
Christy rolled her eyes. "You men, you're all the same."
The song came to an end and so did their dance. The room filled with a smattering of applause from their students.
Christy stepped back from Carlos and lifted her gaze toward Adam. He was leaning against the wall, looking relaxed and curious. When she met his eyes, though, his expression was more guarded. Hmm. What was he thinking about?
She raised an eyebrow at him in acknowledgment and then turned to look over the rest of her new students. There were a few twenty-somethings, a few seniors, and a handful of middle-aged couples. No doubt the wives had dragged their husbands out after watching one of the dancing movies or television shows that were so popular now.
"Welcome everyone," Carlos called out, walking over to the group. "I am Carlos, and this is Christina. We will be teaching you to dance Salsa for the next week. This is the high-intensity class where you learn it all in six days. Are you ready?"
There were a bunch of affirmative replies from the small crowd. Christy turned her glance back toward Adam. She held back a laugh. He was suddenly looking toward the exit. Ah, so he was having second thoughts.Well, she'd just have to make this as easy on him as possible.
"All right." Carlos turned to face Christy. "You go ahead and take it from here, niña."
"Thanks." She gave him a big smile, taking a nervous breath before turning back toward the group. "Hello, everyone. Why don't you grab a partner? It doesn't have to be boy-girl if we don't have an equal ratio."
Christy strode toward Adam and took his hand. Yikes, was that a shock? The tingle where their hands connected moved up her arm as she led him onto the floor. His hands were large and callused. He probably did hard work and didn't mind getting dirty. God that was sexy.
Excerpted from Tempting Adam by Shelli Stevens, Heidi Shoham. Copyright © 2017 Shelli Stevens. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is amazing, it has an interesting plot line and great character development. It a great sequel, and did not dissapoint. I would recomentld this book 110%! It also heald up to its setting, as a native Seattle-ite I can vouch for it! READ THIS BOOK! But only after you've read the first one. :-)
Like the first in the series this was a fun read. Adam is so sweet and sexy! The sexscenes are very hot. Looking forward to more from Shelli Stevens.
This is definitely one spicy book! The chemistry between Adam and Christy was off the charts. I enjoyed how they met and their flirtations. I loved how she stood up for herself with Adam and Nate in some scenes going for what she wanted, fit in with their parents, but wish she held her ground a little more forcing both Adam and Nate to respect her more. Her relationship with Nate, her best friend, was a little strange when he was not up front with her. Overall the story flowed at a great pace and ended with a insta-happy ever after. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher through Netgalley.
This is a spicy romance that I enjoyed reading. Christy's gay best friend, Nate, has begged her to pretend to be his girlfriend when his family comes to visit. As expected, the results are disastrous. I loved Adam and Christy's characters, but found their flaws a bit off putting, specifically, that Adam acted on his attraction to Christy, his brother's girl, and Christy was a bit of a doormat for Nate, even to her own detriment. Despite this, this is an enjoyable romance with a bit of sizzle that fans of the genre will want to add to their TBR list. I'd give this 3.5 stars, but am rounding up to 4 stars. This is the first book I've read by this author and I look forward to reading more of her work.
this book was great, especially the male protagonist. Every girl wants to hook up w/a hot cowboy/millionaire. The only thing I'm really tired of reading is the the female heroine is almost always petite and her romance interest is always over 6 feet. What about us tall girls, who are at least over 5"8"? Very annoying but still very enjoyable read.
** spoiler alert ** I liked this book's premise but I was expecting something very different from the second book within a series. Let me explain... I thought as part of a series there would be a bit more connection to the first book, Dangerous Grounds. There was a minor mention of Madison's coffee shop (where H/H and meet) and Madison's engagement but this is can be read as a stand alone book. The charade between Nate and Christy went on way too long - pretty much until the end of the book. I wanted to scream, "Nate is gay!!" so many times it was ridiculous. Also, Nate was the most selfish, d**k-wad character I've ever read and Christy was a completely spineless push over (both redeem themselves in the end though). I liked Christy and Adam's chemistry but kept wondering, really, he wants a woman who's cheating on his brother (as far as he knows)? Once I suspended belief on this, I could actually enjoy the plot. It had some funny moments as well; I really did like Adam and Nate's parents. I don't know if I'd put this in the erotic category but the love scenes were quite hot and plentiful.
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