Contest Day Six – NEVER ENOUGH

Adrian and Gillian do not have an easy start. He’s got his own issues, as does she and they clash – especially when she comes to tell him he’s got a son…

Copyright 2011, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, The Berkley Publishing Group
Releasing September 6, 2011

He didn’t know why he’d shown up so early. He told himself it was so he could stop in and chat with Brody. But he’d only seen his brother the night before, so it wasn’t as if there was much to catch up on.

He set himself up at his favorite table. In the far corner where he could see anyone coming and going. He had a mocha and bagel, but it was nervousness that brought his knee to bounce, not caffeine.

Adrian knew it was her the moment he caught sight of the dark-haired woman making her way up the sidewalk. What a fucking walk she had. Confident and yet wary.

Her clothes were nice but not showy, he noted when she walked into the café and looked around. The only jewelry he saw were some earrings, tasteful and elegant, a watch and one ring on her right hand.

She locked gazes with him, nodded and made her way over. He may have been suspicious of her motives, but his brother hadn’t raised him not to stand when greeting a woman. So he did, holding his hand out.

She took it and shook. Not overlong. Not too soft or too hard. “I take it you’re Ms. Forrester?”

After a quick nod, she turned just slightly to put her sweater over the back of her chair. Enough for him to catch sight of the neat knot of hair at the back of her neck. Thick. It would have been thick, and with the mass of it he wagered it hung to her ass. He got a vivid flash of the way it would look, dark and smoky against her pale, creamy, naked skin.

“Gillian Forrester. You’re Adrian Brown then?”

She said it seriously and for a moment he believed it. Believed that she really was just making sure instead of knowing it was him without a doubt because she stalked his website or whatever. But he’d been through some type of this scenario more than once, so by that point, he wasn’t much up to trusting anyone but himself.

“Yes. Please, sit.” He indicated the table and she sat. Her voice was perfect. Smooth. Soothing even.

“I appreciate your time, Mr. Brown. I know you’re a busy man.”

And suddenly none of that mattered. Because he wanted a whole heaping helping of whatever the hell it was Gillian had on under those clothes. Sure, they covered every part of her, but fabric couldn’t begin to hide what had to be a hot fucking body underneath it all.

He let his breath out and leaned in closer. “I was far more annoyed five minutes ago than I am now.” He smiled and she returned it, not quite willingly. For some reason that appealed to him too. If she was playing him, she was a fuckin’ master, which could work too. But he preferred to think she was genuine.

The server came over. “Can I get anything for you two? A refill on that mocha, Adrian?”

He held his cup out. “Great. Thanks.”

Gillian frowned slightly, her lips, lush and juicy, turning just a bit. “I’ve already had two coffees today. Can I get a cup of tea, please? Just something black?”

“Earl Grey all right?”

Gillian nodded before looking back at him. She hadn’t expected to be charmed. The man had been such a cad on the phone, she figured he’d be snotty. Instead, he was fabulously charismatic. Charming. His speech had a cadence to it, slow and honeyed. Not southern, but something similar. As if he liked to roll his words over his palate before he gave them up.

And, she had to admit, after sneaking a few looks at his hands and forearms, that he had lovely arms. She had a thing about a man’s hands. When a man pushed his sleeves up, she looked. And she liked what she saw.

Sun-kissed, but not fake-tan orange, a dusting of dark hair. Firm, muscular flesh. Big hands. He had calluses. She knew from the handshake. Where he strummed his guitar she assumed. Strength but not a showy type.

His hair was a dark chocolate tousle. Tumbled around his face and shoulders, taunting her fingers. It would be soft and cool against her skin. A neat beard and mustache only framed lips she had a feeling knew their way around a kiss.

And none of this was anything she should be thinking! She should especially stop looking at his arms. Her fingertips itched to slide along the tattoo she could see. Musical notes. On the other arm . . . she paused. “Woody Guthrie,” she murmured, not meaning to.

His smile was surprised and pleased. “You know the quote?” He turned his arm out so she could see it better.

“My grandmother used to listen to Woody Guthrie when I was younger. She liked to tell this terribly lurid story about how she had a wild and passionate affair with him back in the day.” Oh and wasn’t that an appropriate story.

He laughed though, and she liked it on him so much she didn’t ruin the moment.

When her tea arrived, she put her file on the table and decided to just say it.

“Thirteen years ago my sister gave up her newborn son for adoption. To me.” She licked her lips. “I’ve asked her several times a year since she got pregnant just who the father was and until several days ago, she always refused.”

The teasing warmth in his eyes was gone in a second as he physically sat back, away from her.


She sighed and tapped the folder. “Yes. My sister, Tina, died last week of congestive heart failure, and for whatever reason, she finally decided to tell me who the father was on her way out. Miles and I live on Bainbridge Island.” She passed Adrian a card. “This is my attorney. I have other things here. Pic—”

Before she could finish her sentence, Adrian burst out, interrupting her. “Christ. There are easier ways to get money out of me. You’ve got a nice enough body, a pretty face. This is bullshit. I’ve heard this tune before. Didn’t work for her either.”

She blinked several times, her face noticeably paler than it was before.

But her back was ramrod straight as she let out a long breath. “You continue to return to this theme, no matter that I’ve not asked you for a single thing but your time. Miles is your son. I promised my sister to find you and now I have. Fat lot of good that’s done.” She had the nerve to look him up and down, finding him wanting.

He stood, the chair clattering behind him, so angry he barely registered the way she flinched before she recovered her composure. “I don’t give in to blackmail. I’ve dealt with whores and gold diggers plenty of times. You played me wrong, baby. We could have burned things up between the sheets. I’d have tossed some money your way. A lot easier than this bullshit.”

That’s when she stood as well, grabbed her things, tucking the folder into her bag. Her jaw was tight, her gaze narrowed. Every movement was totally precise. Sharp. “You, my son, are a piece of work. No one calls me a whore and walks without a limp. So if you want to keep walking you’ll stay behind that table. Bugger it all, you’re a sullen little boy. You don’t deserve Miles.”

She headed out, pausing to put a few ones on the counter for the tea she’d never drink.

“You’d better go! If I see your face again or you contact any of my family, I’ll have you arrested for attempted blackmail.”

Gillian Forrester paused at the door and sneered. “You’re a pathetic little man. Never you worry, I’m done with you and it’s all your loss.”

Adrian did have to admire the way she sniffed at him and flounced out.

“Shall I call the police?” the server asked.

Brody spoke from where he’d been standing at the doorway. “No. It’s fine. Adrian, with me.” He indicated the tattoo shop and Adrian headed after his brother, ready to punch something.

I promise they make up and get their HEA! Today I’m giving away TWO signed copies of NEVER ENOUGH (yep, international entries too). I’ll choose the winners tomorrow from the comments to this post. Tell me folks, who are some of your favorite heroes?

120 comments to “Contest Day Six – NEVER ENOUGH”

  1. Emily L.
    August 27th, 2011 at 10:56 am · Link

    Ah, so excited for this book! I love the heroes and heroines in your books, but my personal heroes are my Aunt Cathy and my mom 🙂

  2. Alycia
    August 27th, 2011 at 10:56 am · Link

    I can’t wait for Adrian’s book! Loved reading the excerpt. My favorite heroes are imperfect men that realize their potential because of the love they have for their heroine. I just love when they become a better person because of this.

  3. Stephanie at Fangs Wands and Fairy Dust
    August 27th, 2011 at 11:00 am · Link

    Well, he is a piece of work, I would send him back!
    But you write such hot stuff that I hope he becomes less of an ass.
    Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust
    Twitter: @fangswandsfairy

  4. Maryam
    August 27th, 2011 at 11:02 am · Link

    What an absolutely perfect excerpt… can’t wait!

    Roarke from J.D.Robb’s In Death series
    Lucas, Judd and Hawk from Nalini Singh’s Pysch-Changeling series
    Max del la Vega from Revelation

    Just to name a few delicious heroes

  5. gillian brough
    August 27th, 2011 at 11:05 am · Link

    While I can hardly wait for Adrians book I loved Brody he is my hero he is so romantic and brave and a really nice guy in fact all the guys in the Brown Siblings are yummy. 😉

  6. LeslieW
    August 27th, 2011 at 11:06 am · Link

    I can hardly wait!
    My favorite romance heroes? Gotta say, just like innumerable other readers – Dain. Dain. Dain. Dain. Usually at the top of the list. Also, Mac from Joey Hill’s Natural Law. Brody, too – an amazing father-figure. One of my favorite early-in-life heroes was Almanzo Wilder – he was steadfast and there for Laura as they went through courtship and then trials early in their marriage, but he was a bit of a dashing scamp, too – going to get wheat during the long winter and letter his “ponies” have their heads pulling the buggy.

  7. Natalie's Mama
    August 27th, 2011 at 11:07 am · Link

    Walt from Summer in Sonoma – he is so kind and a sexy motorcycle dude with good family ties.

  8. margaret whelehan
    August 27th, 2011 at 11:18 am · Link

    My fav hero is my dad.

  9. Eva / TXBookjunkie
    August 27th, 2011 at 11:19 am · Link

    So hard to choose. First three that come to mind:

    Roarke – from the In Death series by JD Robb
    Lucas – from Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh
    Daemon – from the Black Jewels series by Anne Bishop

  10. Lea
    August 27th, 2011 at 11:25 am · Link

    Oh, Vic Savian from Wicked Burn and Sean from Release both by Beth Kery are at the top of the list for me. I also love the Riley brothers from Jaci Burton’s Play by Play series.

    Brandt Pela from Undercover is another fav.

    And, I loved Chris Waldron from Stephanie Tyler’s Hold On Tight. 🙂

    I have all the books in your Brown Siblings series and have been looking forward to Never Enough for a long time.

    Thanks for the chance to win! 🙂

  11. cayhyf
    August 27th, 2011 at 11:44 am · Link

    #1 all time is Brody. #2 Colin Bridgerton from Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series. Love bad boy Alex from Megan Hart’s Tempted and Naked.

  12. Kris M.
    August 27th, 2011 at 11:47 am · Link

    I cannot wait to read this!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for having the contest! I have a few heroes in real life and in books.
    In real life: my hubby and my mom
    book heroes: Kerrick (Ascension by Caris Roane); Roarke (In Death series); Brody (Brown siblings)

    Pick me!! Pick me!! 😆

  13. Jill M.
    August 27th, 2011 at 12:11 pm · Link

    Wow so many heroes I’ve read about it’s hard to pick my favs.

    Zach – Breaking Point (Pamela Clare)
    Garrett – KGI series (Maya Banks)
    Wraith – Demonica Series (Larissa Ione)

    I have so many more …

    Thanks for a chance to win :mrgreen:

  14. vicky capper
    August 27th, 2011 at 12:16 pm · Link

    Wow, I can’t wait to read this!

    I have so many! I think my favourite would be Christine Feehans The Ghost Walkers.

  15. Debbie
    August 27th, 2011 at 12:19 pm · Link

    My mom will always be my hero 🙂

  16. Chris
    August 27th, 2011 at 12:24 pm · Link

    oh that snippet was sooo good! I cannot wait for this book!! Some of my favorite heros are Vane from Sherrilyn Kenyon Dark Hunters, Brody from Coming Undone and Rhage from the Blackdagger Brotherhood! But there are soo many good ones out there!

  17. Corinne
    August 27th, 2011 at 12:26 pm · Link

    In the Brown Sibling series…for sure Adrian & Brody….but in “real” life it would have to be my dad…who received custody of me in the day that men did NOT get sole custody of kids…he raised me with his mom and together taught me morals, values, traditions and especially taught me what a “family” should be…Neither one is no longer with me but there isn’t a day that goes by that I do not think of them and all they have given me!! 🙂 This has been a great contest Lauren…good luck everyone!!

  18. Kendra
    August 27th, 2011 at 12:29 pm · Link

    Some of my favorite heroes are from Maya Banks and J.R. Ward’s books. In real life my heroes are people who are comfortable with themselves and don’t let others get them down. I love this series! 🙂

  19. Sabrina R.
    August 27th, 2011 at 12:32 pm · Link

    Love the excerpt – can’t wait to read the book!

  20. ClaudiaGC
    August 27th, 2011 at 12:35 pm · Link

    Some of my favourite heroes are Jamie from Diana Gabaldon’s Highlander saga, Marc from Pamela Clare’s Unlawful Contact and Gabriel from Sarah MacLean’s Nine Ways.
    Thanks for the contest!

  21. Jimena D.
    August 27th, 2011 at 12:35 pm · Link

    All most all the romance novels I read, yours included, have my favorite heroes. I love all the guys in the Federation series, Wrath in BDB series by JR Ward, and Zachary from Cherise Sinclair’s Masters of the Shadowlands.

    Soooo excited for Never Enough 🙂

  22. Mina Gerhart
    August 27th, 2011 at 1:04 pm · Link

    Hi Lauren,
    Great excerpt! Adrian is a riot
    Bookwise I love Brody Brown ( and all the Browns ;), Carkdacund “Cat” Tshevnoe, Lynx, Leo, Tychar of The CatStar Chronicles by Cheryl Brooks. In Movies Indiana Jones, Han Solo, and Johnny Depp’s Ichabod Crain.

    Mindy 🙂

  23. Tara Pitts
    August 27th, 2011 at 1:07 pm · Link

    Sigh… what a great excerpt! So many heroes to love – Roarke (J.D. Robb), Rehvenge (J.R. Ward), Terrible (Stacia Kane), Valerius (Sherrilyn Kenyon), and I do love *all* of your men in the Brown series. I am so excited to read Never Enough!

  24. Tiffany Wood
    August 27th, 2011 at 1:19 pm · Link

    I am new to your books but this sounds like a terrific series. Can’t wait to read them. Sounds great.

  25. Saibra Crafferty
    August 27th, 2011 at 1:21 pm · Link

    My new favorite book heroes are the men of Shelly Laurenston. I love them because they all embrace every little thing about men that makes a woman wanna scream, punch them, or seduce them. I laughed cover to cover. In your works particularly I love Brody! So fabulous to see a rough and tumble scary dude melt for his women 🙂

  26. Lisa F.
    August 27th, 2011 at 1:26 pm · Link

    My personal hero is my husband. He saved me in so many ways it is hard to even find the words.

  27. EmmaD
    August 27th, 2011 at 1:39 pm · Link

    I’ve been reading Kevin Hearne’s series recently and quite enjoying Atticus and Oberon. Really enjoying the man dog combination 🙂

  28. Chelsea B.
    August 27th, 2011 at 1:43 pm · Link

    Ohhh let’s see:
    Z from the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.
    All of Cindy Miles’ heroes.
    All of Kresley Cole’s heroes.
    Ian Mackenzie From Jennifer Ashley’s Highland Pleasures series
    …. I could go on and on and on…. 🙂

  29. Emily
    August 27th, 2011 at 1:43 pm · Link

    Ethan – Maya Bank’s KGI Series

    This whole book was a play on the reunited lovers/amnesia trope all rolled into one.

    Rhage – My fave of J.R. Ward’s BDB He and Mary’s story is my most re-read of that series. John-Matthew is another favorite.

  30. Stella (Ex Libris)
    August 27th, 2011 at 1:45 pm · Link

    My favourite heroes? Hm.. *puts on thinking hat* Some of my favourite fictional heroes: Marc from Rachel Vincent’s Shifters series, Mr. Darcy of course, John Thornton from Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, Jamie from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, and it looks like I could go on 🙂

    Reading excerpts always frustrates me, because I want to read the whole story immediately :mrgreen: But thank you anyway! 😉

  31. Alaina
    August 27th, 2011 at 1:47 pm · Link

    well in real life my aunt is my hero.. in books, i love nalini singh’s heros..

  32. mindy
    August 27th, 2011 at 1:53 pm · Link

    I can’t wait for this book. I have it pre-ordered on Amazon. I have started to re-read the Brown Sibling books to be ready.

  33. Kathryn
    August 27th, 2011 at 2:01 pm · Link

    My favorite heroes are the darker characters. Anne Stuart writes bad guys/almost villains and turns them just enough for an HEA with the heroine. In Maya Bank’s Sweet Persuasion Damon Roche is a delicous multi-layered hero. Lora Leigh’s Breed series has the dark heroes, my favorite would be Mercury. Nalini Singh’s Angel series and Psi/Changeling series all have the darker heroes. And I love your work, I believe I have every book, ebook or book on audio that you’ve written and I can’t wait to read NEVER ENOUGH. I’m also happy that you branched into the sci-fi arena in addition to the paranormals.

  34. Monikarw
    August 27th, 2011 at 2:35 pm · Link

    the McCloud brothers – Shannon McKenna’s books
    Jordan Malone – Lora Leigh’s Live Wire! 😛

  35. Beckey
    August 27th, 2011 at 2:55 pm · Link

    I have been waiting for this book since I finish the last one!!! 😉
    Can’t wait til its released…

  36. Sherry S.
    August 27th, 2011 at 3:00 pm · Link

    Some of my favorite hero’s are Valerius from Seize the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon most of the hero’s from her books I love.

  37. CrystalGB
    August 27th, 2011 at 3:01 pm · Link

    Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Acheron
    Elizabeth Hoyt’s Edward de Raaf
    Lisa Kleypas’ Derek Craven
    JR Ward’s Zsadist
    Your Brody Brown 🙂

  38. Sarah
    August 27th, 2011 at 3:04 pm · Link

    Heroes . . . fictional would be characters from Shelley Laurenston’s books as they make me laugh so much!

  39. Iris P.
    August 27th, 2011 at 3:08 pm · Link

    Love it! Thanks for the excerpt. Already added it to my “Need to get/read” list

  40. Emily Tardy
    August 27th, 2011 at 3:16 pm · Link

    My favorite Heros from your books are the Chase Brothers, especially Shane Chase. I would have loved to see Polly and Edward’s book… I think Edward is one fantastic man! =D

    Thank you for such wonderful contests!

  41. steph j
    August 27th, 2011 at 3:25 pm · Link

    It is hard but my all time favorite hero is Zarek from Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dance with the Devil. He is such a tortured character.

  42. Rachel Riddles
    August 27th, 2011 at 3:31 pm · Link

    Can’t Wait!!!!

    My fave heroes are: Brody, of course the big brother I wish I had.
    Wrath, and the others of the Blackdagger Brotherhood.
    Jack, from Wicked Ties YUMMY!!!!

    Great contest!!!

  43. Collette
    August 27th, 2011 at 3:38 pm · Link

    Oh this made me cry. That’s a lot of pain floating around that coffee shop.

    Favorite heroes? I think people like my husband and grandfather who did whatever they needed to for the people they love. Go to work, come home, be there–every day, doing the best they can, enjoying the people they love.

    (Okay, now I’m making myself cry! 😯 )

  44. Rachel Riddles
    August 27th, 2011 at 3:49 pm · Link

    Oops forgot a couple…

    Noah/Nathan from WildCard-Lora Leigh

    Cam-Lorelei James Rough Riders series.

    With the Hurricane on the east coast I hope any of you who are there are safe.

  45. jeanette8042
    August 27th, 2011 at 4:02 pm · Link

    Some of my favorite heroes are Lucas and Hawke from Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series and Zsadist from J.R. Ward’s BDB series.

  46. Jessie
    August 27th, 2011 at 4:09 pm · Link

    Zarek from SK, Zhadist from JRW, I love Raphael from Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunters, Your Jude from Second Chances, I have a thing for the bad boys…

  47. Lori T
    August 27th, 2011 at 4:19 pm · Link

    I am really looking forward to “Never Enough”!

    Some of my favorite heros are Larissa Ione’s Wraith. JR Ward’s Zsadist and Vichious. Oh and those Chase Brothers were pretty darn great!

  48. Pamk
    August 27th, 2011 at 4:32 pm · Link

    In real life my hero was my dad. He was a daddy. You know the type the one always there for their kiddo no matter what. He could have stepped out of my life after him and mom devorced but her was always there for me. All I had to was call and he’d drop whatever and come running. He was a fabulous papaw to my kiddos for the very short time they had him. And he handled his illness with grace and was the comic relief about it. I was devastated when he passed.
    Your book sounds fantastic as normal. Looking forward to reading this series.

  49. Connie Lucero
    August 27th, 2011 at 4:32 pm · Link

    I really like a lot of hero’s so it is hard to say just one. Loved Shane in the Chase Brothers series, Maya’s Garrett and Lorelie’s Cord, Kane & Kade.

  50. Ju Dimello
    August 27th, 2011 at 4:41 pm · Link

    Some of my favorite heroes are the ones who put their life daily for their work – namely the shoulders, firemen, cops etc!

    Thanks for the fab giveaway, Lauren.
    Count me in. judimello AT gmail DOT com