Nothing Ventured by Kristen Luciani

Title: Nothing Ventured
Author: Kristen Luciani
Series: The Venture Series
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Mia Bradshaw realized long ago that falling in love is a harbinger of pain. As a single mom working for one of the most prestigious venture capital firms in the country, she doesn’t have time for serious emotional entanglements. Her sort-of–friend boy is dependable, respectful and…okay, fine, maybe a little lukewarm but whatever! Who ever said there was anything wrong with being…vanilla? It’s safe, low-risk and not fraught with conflict and heart wrenching disappointment.
Chris Camden is one of the most eligible bachelors in northern California. A successful entrepreneur with a hot car and a panty-dropping grin doesn’t need to do much to keep his bed warm at night. His smoldering hazel-eyed gaze makes women melt at his feet. No strings, no conditions, no questions – just the way he likes it. Why should he settle for just one when there are so many sizzling alternatives begging for a spin?
A coveted opportunity to partner with Chris’s company stirs up emotions that threaten everything Mia’s been so careful to protect and control. The guy with more lines than a crowded supermarket before a snowstorm can singe her insides with the slightest accidental touch, proof that she needs to steer clear.
But reality hurls a very unexpected curve ball that can change Mia’s life in a heartbeat. And sometimes…the perception of safety is relative.
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It was still a bit early, and under no circumstances
did she want to crash Chris’s party. Any impure thoughts needed to be fully
eradicated. Tonight was the official beginning of their working relationship,
and no matter what kind of fantasies she may have harbored, it all ended here.
Mia Bradshaw always played it safe. It was easier to control situations if they
weren’t fraught with risk.
The bartender caught her eye and walked over with an
appraising glance. “What can I get for you?”
“The lady looks like she’s had a rough day. Maybe a
martini?”
Mia’s head snapped in the direction of the intruding
voice, but not before she noticed the bartender’s crestfallen look. She
returned the smile of her newest business partner, feeling her skin tingle
deliciously under his gaze. “A martini was exactly
what I had in mind.”
“I could tell you needed something stronger than a
Gatorade. Did that boss of yours rake you over the coals today?”
“No, but speaking of coals, my feet are burning as
if I’ve been running over them for hours.”
“So that’s why you practically steamrolled everyone
in your path to grab this barstool.”
“Basically. I’m not really a fan of this type of
self-torture, but it’s a necessary evil in my line of work.”
“Other types of torture are preferable?” Chris
raised his glass with a playful wink.
Mia clinked her glass with his. Oh sweet Jesus, she
was as bad as those dippy blondes. His
suggestive gaze stirred every last nerve ending. “Of course, the more painful the better. By the way, how’s your
nose?”
“Good as new. It wasn’t one of my finer moments.” He
held up a Victoria’s Secret bag. “Here’s your new sweatshirt.”
“Thanks, but you really didn’t have to—”
“Yes, I did. It’s the least I could do. I hope you
like it.”
Mia nodded toward the girls at the end of the bar.
“I think your fan club is disappointed you ended the party so early. If looks
could kill, I’d be six feet under by now, in a very wet grave.”
“Oh, those are our new intern candidates. We were
just having an informal interview before you barreled into the bar. They
probably think you’re the competition.”
“Do you share cocktails with all your prospective employees? Or just the pretty ones?”
“I’m not sure I like that implication. It makes me
sound seedy.”
Another gulp of the martini left her feeling bolder,
and the clear liquid burned a determined path to her stomach. She never could
control her tongue when vodka was involved, but he didn’t look too bothered.
Amused? Definitely. Offended? Hardly. Maybe that was because her observation was
completely on target. “No need to get defensive. It was an honest question. If
we’re going to work together, I need to get a feel for how you operate.”
The corners of his mouth curled into a mischievous
smile. “And vice versa.”
All control was lost. The fluttering sensation in
the pit of her belly erupted again… and she hadn’t even drained the glass.
Something about Chris broke through her well-constructed barriers. Seductive
charm oozed from his pores. Any more alcohol, and she just might evaporate under
his hazel-eyed stare.

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Kristen Luciani is a self-proclaimed momtrepreneur with a penchant for Christian Louboutins, Silicon Valley, plunging necklines and grapefruit martinis.  As a deep-rooted romantic who prefers juicy drama to fill the lives of anyone other than her, she tried her hand at creating a world of enchantment, sensuality, and intrigue, finally uncovering her true passion. No pun intended…
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