Find more from this author on:
About the author:
Vintage romance with a modern twist – My name is Debra J. Falasco and I have been a writer for as long as I can remember, from short stories and poetry to college papers and expository writings. But my heart has always belonged to romance. After moving to Colorado from Texas, I met the man I was meant to be with. After marriage and one child, I left a long-term career to become a stay at home Mom. That was a dream come true but after two years, it was time to make another dream come true. I published my first book in August of 2019 and haven't stopped writing since!
What inspired you to write your book?
This book was inspired by my own love of hot, strong, demanding alpha males who fall hard for that one woman who can bring him to his knees!
Here is a short sample from the book:
Chapter Two – Tyler
She blew my mind with that statement. Wasn’t it bad enough that my body was already on fire for her? I had been dealing with this slow burn since I laid eyes on her in the lobby that morning. When she didn’t know I was watching. That fire smoldered through dinner.
I found out she made reservations in the hotel’s restaurant, then I did the same, foregoing my usual table and eating on the patio so I could watch her. No, I’m not a stalker, but I didn’t mention “I don’t stalk women” on my soul-baring list. But there was something about this woman. Something about those Vivien Leigh green eyes, that dark brown hair that fell in curls to her shoulders, those smiling lips that were covered in a natural pink lip gloss. The two times I saw her she had been wearing vintage style clothing. In the lobby, it was tight white capris with a pale blue and white polka dot tank top and this little white jacket, Jackie O inspired.
At dinner, she wore a silver dress with a tight-fitting bodice and an a-line skirt. Both outfits fit her perfectly and did nothing to hide each curve of her body. And Vivien… this woman was the embodiment of curvaceous. Feminine allure like I had never seen before. She had the body of a siren wrapped in the demure features of a lady. She was petite, maybe a few inches above five feet and this lady, I mean that with the utmost respect, carried herself with style and dignity. She was the classiest woman I had ever met. I didn’t date tramps, but this woman outshined anyone I had ever been with. I’m no saint. I’ve been with more than my share of women. But never anyone like her.
I knew she was something different the moment I laid eyes on her. She reeked of femininity. She had genuine smiles for every doorman, porter, and waiter she spoke to. They all recognized it in her as well. Eyes followed her wherever she went – not gawking in lust, but with respect. Doors were held for her. Men stepped aside to let her pass. I watched one older man almost lose an arm when he reached out to keep the elevator door open so that she could step into it. In the time that I watched her, I had never seen such a demonstration of good-old-fashioned etiquette and not just by those I employed. I expected all of my employees to treat our guests with respect, but this was different. My guests were treating her the same way. She probably got this wherever she went. Justifiably so. She deserved it.
But unlike them, I didn’t try to hide the lust in my eyes when I watched her. The way I ruined dinner for her was as embarrassing for me as it was pleasing. But that situation gave me an opportunity to see her again – to take her to dinner to make it up to her. I knew I affected her, knew she wasn’t like other women, but I didn’t know how much until just now. I was only slightly surprised, and definitely pleased, with her answers to my questions.
“Five years,” I murmured, watching her squirm in embarrassment. She hadn’t made love, had sex, slept with anyone in five years. And she had only been with one man, for a three-month period before that. Hell, she might as well still be a virgin. The things I could teach her. What we could experience together…I grew hard at the thought. That smoldering fire was now a raging inferno.
I kept massaging Vivien’s knee. She hadn’t stopped me yet, and I was aching to stretch my fingers higher. But I wouldn’t. She wasn’t lying when she said she may still run. I could sense that in her. She wasn’t cowering, meek and obedient. A little shy maybe, but there was also a fire within her. She stood up to me when she wanted to. Hell, she told me to stop swearing. My grandmother was the last person to tell me that twenty-five years ago.
No, as demure as she seemed to be, Vivien wasn’t going to just roll over and submit to me. I’d have to earn that. And I fully intended to. She was going to fight me on this – if not literally then figuratively. I was going to enjoy every minute of it.
I finally took my eyes off her knee and captured those green pools of beauty again. God, she had the most mesmerizing eyes. And she wasn’t very good at hiding her feelings in them. I could read her like the cliched open book.
“You have nothing to be embarrassed about.” I tried to soothe her.
“I know.” She tried to sound firm, but it was clear she was trying to convince herself.
“You don’t.” My words were sterner now. That she was embarrassed pissed me off. “You should be proud of your choices.”
Her brow furrowed. “I am. I don’t have any regrets.”
“Good girl. You shouldn’t, but that doesn’t mean you’re not embarrassed by them.”
“I’m not embarrassed by my choices. I’m embarrassed about discussing them, in a bar, with a man I barely know.”
There was that fire. “Then let’s rectify that.”
She was instantly on guard. That made me smile. She wasn’t easy. I liked that. I liked that a lot. She crossed her arms in front of her. Her defenses were up.
“And how are you suggesting we ‘rectify’ that?”
I grinned, multiple lecherous suggestions coming to mind, but nothing right for her. Not yet.
“Time. I want more time with you. Breakfast with me in the morning before I have to leave for work, then dinner with me in the evening.”
Her silence told me she was tempted. I doubted she’d say yes to both invitations, but I thought that if I gave her options, she’d feel obligated to choose at least one of them. If she chose dinner, I could spend all day in the sweet torture of waiting to see her again. If she chose breakfast, I knew I could get her to commit to dinner later as well.
She wrinkled her nose for a brief second. She found something distasteful. What? What?!
What was she getting at? “Yes. I work for a living.” I was flattered at the way her eyes then moved over me. She hadn’t looked at me that way since dinner. In the bar, she’d mostly looked in my eyes or down at her lap.
What was she thinking? Was she wondering about my income? What kind of life I led? I was wearing a black Armani suit, tie off, and a white dress shirt unbuttoned at the top. After a long day of negotiations, I hadn’t changed before dinner. I barely got to the Excelsior in time to make my dinner reservation. Not that I needed any. I owned the restaurant and the hotel. The waiters and bartenders all knew me, but they also knew to keep it professional but private when I was there in an unofficial capacity. Which is why I made reservations that night instead of just showing up. I wanted to concentrate on her, not review restaurant standards. Dining in my own restaurants was rarely unofficial. I was always watching, making sure our guests were treated appropriately, but when I made reservations, my staff understood I wasn’t there for business reasons.
I was a little surprised by her next question, though it was a mundane topic. Why shouldn’t she ask it?
“What do you do for a living?” She peered at me over the rim of her wineglass.
I had to know. Vivien didn’t seem like that type, the type of women I usually dated who were as interested in my money as they were in me. Hell, who was I kidding? They weren’t all interested in me even – in my body, in my wallet, in my bed, but not always in me. I guarantee, I don’t think anyone I’d been with in the last ten years knew who Vivien Leigh was. Some of them would get that “I’d rather be watching paint dry” look if I suggested we watch a classic movie. After a while, I stopped trying to engage them on a personal level and just took them to bed.
“Why do you ask?” I took a long sip of my wine. Shadows of women from my past peeked around at me.
She looked at me like I was crazy. “Well, if the intent is to ‘rectify’ that we barely know each other, I think that’s a perfectly legitimate question. But the truth is…”
Lie. Lie to me, baby. Don’t tell me it’s about the money. Don’t ruin this. She took a deep breath, shoring herself up for the truth. Damn. I thought she was different. Well, at least, she wasn’t a liar.
She tilted her head and studied me again. “You look like a man with money. You’re well groomed. Your clothes are expensive. You’re wearing a Cartier watch.”
I stiffened at what I anticipated was coming. Vivien had paid more attention to me than I thought. But the question was … why? Was she not as attracted to me as I was to her or was she lured by the intimation of wealth?
“And you have this fortitude…this intensity about you.”
Then Vivien’s voice changed. It softened, wrapping around me with its sweetness, sincerity and something I couldn’t place.
She tilted her, her eyes sweeping over me. “You work, and you work hard. You have high expectations and a strong work ethic….and you don’t accept less in anyone else.”
Now I knew what that something else in her voice was. Respect. And it awed me. So many women wanted the money, but they didn’t appreciate the hard work that went into getting it. They enjoyed the vacations, the cars, the clothes, the jewelry, the penthouse – they wanted everything the money could buy. But they didn’t respect it. They didn’t want me to take time away from them to earn it. But she understood. She appreciated it. I could tell. Maybe she was learning to read me as well. Was I, too, an open book?
“So,” she prodded. “What do you do?”
“I’m a commercial real estate investor, among other business pursuits.” That was putting it mildly. I owned hotels and restaurants around the world, five-star establishments that were the envy of the upper class. I didn’t do too bad for a boy from Brooklyn. My mother was a teacher. My father was in real estate, but nothing on the same scale I was. Not even close. I was a white-collar kid living the life of a billionaire.
She smiled. “You have a diverse portfolio?”
I laughed at that. “You could describe it that way.”
She scrunched her nose again.
“You have a problem with seeing a real estate investor?” What the hell?
This time, her laughter was loud and playful. “No, not at all. But you work hard.” She tilted her head again. “Very hard.”
I just nodded in agreement, not revealing more. “Why the scrunchy face?”
She frowned. “What time do you get up?”
What did that have to do with anything?
She answered my unspoken question. “Because, I hate to get up early, and my guess is, you get up super early to manage this ‘diverse portfolio’ of yours. I’m not eating breakfast at five am. I just can’t do it.”
My laughter erupted before I could stop it. Instinctively, I grabbed her hand. “You’re fu- beautiful, you know that?” I stumbled over the f-word, trying to respect her wishes. She didn’t want my money. She just didn’t want to get up at the crack of dawn. But she was right. Well, except for the time. I was usually waiting for the sunrise as I got ready for the day. Four am was more like it.
She scrunched her nose again. “I’m not a morning person. I’d love to eat breakfast with you, but if it means functioning before seven o’clock, I’ll have to wait for dinner.”
I reeled her in. “And if I can make arrangements for breakfast at eight, will you join me for dinner as well?”
Somehow or another, my hand made it back to her cheek, but she didn’t pull away. Then came that sweet smile that brought me to her in the first place.
“Yeah. Yeah, I think I will.” Then she got serious again. “Unless you tick me off at breakfast.”
“Duly warned. I will not tick you off at breakfast.” I grinned at her.
What I did need to do was get busy. I had to rearrange a few of my morning obligations before I could do breakfast at eight, but I wouldn’t let her know that. I had to call my assistant Catherine and set it up, and I needed to do that before it got too late. I’m a demanding boss, but I’m not a jerk. Catherine doesn’t need to work til midnight just so I can have breakfast with the most beautiful, intriguing woman I have ever met. But I’d make her do it if I had to.
Reluctantly, I started my departure. Did I want to leave? Hell, no. I wanted to kiss those pink lips that had been alternately smiling and frowning at me all night. I wanted to run my tongue over hers and kiss her until she begged me to take her to bed. I wanted…..damn. It didn’t matter what I wanted. It wasn’t going to happen tonight. All that was in my future tonight was the coldest damn shower I’d ever had.
Slowly, I raised Vivien’s hand to my lips. Instead of kissing the top of her hand, I turned it over and ran my lips over the sensitive spot on her wrist. I thought the gesture would get to her, but it backfired when I felt the softness of her skin and married that with the scent of vanilla. I was so wrapped up in her physical appearance that I hadn’t noticed her the smell of her. Unable to help myself, I tasted her as well, running the tip of my tongue over the vein that ran through her wrist. She tasted as heavenly as she looked and smelled. This woman had everything, everything I wanted. She was made just for me. Perfection.
Vivien’s quick gasp at the touch of my lips against her skin was followed by a quiet little moan. I had to get her out of there before I threw my resolve out the window.
Gently, I tugged her to her feet. “If you’re staying here, I’ll walk you to your room.” I had to pretend I didn’t already know that she was.
She smiled as she stood and let me guide her with my hand at the small of her back. I knew it was a possessive and intimate move, but she didn’t balk at it this time.
“Condition number two?” I murmured as I guided her to the elevators outside the restaurant.
“Kind of moot at this point, I think,” she laughed as the door pinged and opened. Thankfully, it was empty.
“Good, because there’s something else I don’t normally do.” The elevator had just shut. It was a risk, but one I was willing to take.
“What floor?” I asked, though I already knew.
“Nine,” she answered. Curiosity got the better of her. “What else do you not normally do?” Her smile encouraged me.
I pushed the button. Turning quickly, I grabbed her hips and pulled her body into mine. “Hate me later,” I groaned as my lips covered hers.