by Jaine Diamond
Published by DreamWarp Publishing
Book 3 in the Players series
Bodyguards don’t fall in love.
This job comes with benefits.
I knew that from the moment I laid eyes on her.
Summer Sorensen, party queen. Super-hot DJ and soon-to-be-rockstar.
She’s sexy, sassy, strong…
But she’s in danger.
I know she doesn’t want to hire me.
She doesn’t want to need me, but she does.
And this job is getting more complicated by the hour.
Damsel in distress? Yeah, right.
Try ball breaker. Seductress.
I never mess around with my clients.
But I’ve never been so tempted before.
They call me alpha… boss… hero… because I’m always in control.
It’s my job to protect her, and I do my job well.
But how the hell do I resist her?
Sweet Temptation by Jaine Diamond is the third book in the Players series. It centers around keyboardist and DJ, Summer, and Ronan, a newly retired bodyguard, who finds himself volunteering to protect Summer after someone attempts to break into her house. She doesn't want a bodyguard, but it doesn't hurt that Ronan is really nice to look at. There is a tension between them, but Ronan doesn't mess around with his clients. But Summer sure does make it hard to resist ...
I am not a fan of the whole bodyguard trope. I think it is because the first ever book I read with this trope, I didn't like, and it just ruined it for me. Usually, I am ALL for a forbidden romance, but if this was a standalone, I would have never read it. Just knowing it was a bodyguard trope. However, I didn't mind this one. It was fine. I liked it. Didn't love it. Oddly, it wasn't the bodyguard part that bothered me. It was the fact that a man who had been hanging around Summer's shows unwanted was caught trying to climb through her BEDROOM WINDOW, and she still didn't want a bodyguard. Independence is one thing, but no one would turn down protection in that situation. That being said, the romance was hot enough to sustain the level of entertainment I needed to get through this book. I rooted for Summer getting a happy ending. I liked the balance of Summer's wild partying ways, and Ronan's strong and silent personality. It was a little too fast for my liking, but hey, Jaine Diamond wrote a book with the bodyguard trope, and I didn't hate it.
Sweet Temptation wasn't my favorite in this series, but honestly, it had nothing to do with Jaine Diamond's writing. Jaine Diamond is quickly becoming one of my favorite contemporary romance authors. This is all on me, and my dislike of the trope. Worth the read if you are into it, and of course, if you are reading this series.
I blinked at Elle’s bodyguard.
Summer: “Did my hair just catch on fire?”
Jessa said. I supposed she and Brody had missed the entirety of the spectacle.
Elle" “You’re okay,”
Elle told me, which didn’t really answer my question.
Summer: “Of course it did. My hair just caught on fire. Because this is exactly the kind of day that my hair would catch on fire.”
Elle: “It’s out now.”
Ronan: “Were you trying to lose me?” I turned on him. He looked about as annoyed as I felt.
Summer: “I sure was.”
Summer: “Because it was fun.” Summer: “I’m out. Have a day,”
she said to Ashley. Then she kissed him on the cheek and strut away, heading down the driveway to her car.
Ash: “What, you’re not even gonna wish me a good day?”
Summer: “I wish you whatever kind of day you dream of,”
she tossed back over her shoulder. Flynn: “If I had a daughter who needed a bodyguard, I’d hire Ronan.”
Summer: “Daughter? What are you, like four years older than me, and now I’m your daughter?”
Flynn: “I meant… you know, someone who was precious to me.”
Summer: “You’re adorable, Flynn. I can’t wait to see you hook up with this dream girl of yours.”
He did that silent groan thing again. Summer: “This is Ronan. He’s a superhero. Super Ronan.”
Friends: “Hi, Super Ronan,” As it turned out, Roni did understand.
Roni: “Jude told me he’d put a guy on you,”
she told Summer as soon as they’d sat down at a table in the restaurant. I’d taken a seat at the nearby bar, where I could clearly hear them.
Roni: “I’m impressed. He looks like he could choke someone out while he fucks you up against the wall.”
I almost choked on my water.
Summer: “Doesn’t he, though,”
Summer said, and I could feel them both checking me out. Summer: “Why the hell were we not doing that from day one?”
Ronan: “Uh… because I’m a fucking idiot,” Naveen: “Huh.”
I said, picking up on his tone.
Naveen: “Pardon my bluntness here, but are you falling in love?”
Ronan: “What? Where the fuck did that come from?”
Said the guy who was totally busted.
Naveen: “You forget I’m a fool in love myself,. Know all the signs. And yours have been flashing with all the subtlety of a Vegas strip show for a while now.”
Ronan: “What signs?” Naveen: “You been having trouble sleeping? Worrying about what she’ll think of which way you part your hair? Wondering what kinda babies she’d make?”
Naveen: “Cute ones, I’m pretty sure.”
Ronan: “Let’s get back on track here.”
Naveen: “Sure. You want someone to take over as her bodyguard, you just say the word.”
Ronan: “I’ll keep it in mind. Thanks.”
Naveen: “I’ll let Tam know she can start shopping for baby clothes.”
Ronan: “Too far,”
I grumbled, and hung up on him. Summer: “I think he really likes you, Ronan.”
Ronan: “Good. Because I have a feeling you’d be getting rid of me pretty damn fast if he didn’t.”
Summer: “And what makes you think that?”
Ronan: “You’re thirty years old, and I heard him call you both princess and honey-bunch. You tell me.”
She rolled her eyes.
Summer: “I’m a daddy’s girl. And I’m not sorry. It’s an awesome thing to be.” God. She was killing me. Just take my heart, for fuck’s sake. It’s yours. Elle made what sounded like a gagging noise.
Summer: “Why is this grossing you out?”
Elle: “Because if I have to hear my bodyguard and my sister getting it on in the next room all over the goddamn globe now, you’re in deep shit.”
Summer: “Fine. I can live with that.” Summer: “You just agreed that you’re my boyfriend and I’ve convinced you to introduce me to your favorite uncle. But I haven’t even seen your apartment. Do you have an apartment?”
I knew he did. He’d told me so.
Ronan: “I do.”
Summer: “You don’t spend much time there.”
Ronan: “Not lately.”
Summer: “Then maybe we should swing by. You know… make sure your plants haven’t died, that kind of thing.”
Ronan: “I don’t have plants.”
Summer: “Ugh, Ronan,”
Summer: “Work with me here. I want to see your place. I was trying to be subtle about it.”
I took a sip of my drink, eye-fucking him over the rim of the glass.
Ronan: “Were you?”
he said, eye-fucking me back.
Summer: "Yes. Now what does a girl have to do to get you to take her back to your place, throw her down and fuck her on your bed?”
He watched as I licked Crantini off my bottom lip. Slowly. Then his eyes met mine again, hooded with desire.
Ronan: “That’s pretty much it.” Mine. I’d licked him—thoroughly—and he was totally mine. I had dibs all over the man, and I was keeping him. My drunk mind made the decision, just like that. Ronan: “You look great.”
They did. They even had lace-up wrestling booties on. Summer’s were black and Carissa’s were white.
Summer: “Good. Now will you please be our Sam Sylvia,” Summer said, annoyed. It was far from the first time she’d asked me this. She wasn’t even asking this time, more like insisting, because she knew I was about to say no, yet again. They wanted me, badly, to dress up as another character from the show—the director of the ladies’ wrestling show. They’d insisted that the fact that his character was “a grumpy asshole” had nothing to do with it.
I told Summer, just like I had all week.
Ronan: “I will not under any circumstances be your bitch.” Summer: “You leave me no choice. You get the consolation costume.”
Summer: “If you won’t be Sam—”
Ronan: “I won’t.”
Summer: “Then you get the bunny.”
Ronan: “Please tell me that’s code, for some kinda kinky sex thing.”
Carissa said, digging something out of a bag on the floor. It was fluffy and white. Looked a hell of a lot like… bunny parts. Ears. I definitely saw bunny ears.
Summer took the ears from Carissa, leaving her holding what looked like a puffy tail.
Summer: “It’s the only costume I have left,”
Summer lied, giving me a fake-innocent look. She held the ears up in front of me. They were white and fuzzy, with pink satin insides, on a glittery gold headband, and looked like they were meant for a little girl. They appeared to be adult sized, though. When I made no move to take them, she thrust them at me.
Summer: “Put them on.”
I studied her for a moment, considering my options here.
Summer: “Do not be a party pooper, Ronan. I hate party poopers.”
I took the ears and put them on. Mostly because she probably thought I wouldn’t. Carissa gasped.
Carissa: “He’s wearing them!”
Summer: “Of course he is.”
Summer: “He knows he can’t show up at my Halloween party without a costume. I won’t allow it.”
Ronan: “No fucking way I’m putting on that tail,”
I informed them, as Carissa held up the puff ball. Summer thrust out her hand to Carissa, like a surgeon demanding a scalpel, her eyes locked on mine.
Summer: “Hand me the bowtie.”
Carissa dug in the bag and produced another fuzzy white thing, draping it over Summer’s hand.
Summer: “It’s either the tail, or the bowtie.”
She held it out to me. It was fuzzy and white, on a glittery gold strap that matched the headband. I glanced at the puff-ball tail again, and Carissa held it up, waving it at me.
Carissa squealed. Summer gave me a warning look—like she was bidding a naughty dog to stay put while she fitted him with a collar. Then she stepped toward me, carefully, like she wasn’t sure if I was gonna bite her. She slipped the bowtie strap around my neck.
Ronan: “You’re loving this,”
I murmured into her ear as she leaned in, reaching around to secure the velcro behind my neck.
Summer: “Of course I am.”
She stood back, straightening the bowtie.
Summer: “There. You look hot.”
She grinned, pointing to the mirror behind me, and I turned with a sigh. And there I was, in my black button-up shirt and jeans… with a white-fluff-and-glitter bunny-ear-and-bowtie ensemble.
Ronan: “I look ridiculous.”
Carissa: “You look like you’re dressed up for Halloween,. You’ll fit right in.” Piper: “Ronan. Nice to see you, bunny. I mean, buddy.”
I choked back a groan, though he couldn’t hear it in the noisy bar.
Ronan: “And what are you dressed up as, this fine Halloween?”
I looked him over. The black leather vest he wore was unadorned, no Kings patches.
Ronan: “Let me guess. Biker. No, wannabe biker. Wait, low-level thug? Criminal mastermind? Help me out here, I can’t figure it out.” The outfit was masculine, but she was gorgeous in it. Xander was wearing a dress. It was tight, covered with pink sequins, and he did not look happy about it. He stopped right in front of me as I checked him out. He took a long look at my bunny ears, like he was trying to make sense of who I was and what I was wearing. Actually, he looked wasted. His gaudy makeup had been smeared. He looked like a used-up cross-dressing hooker, honestly.
Ronan: “Welcome to the party,”
I muttered, and he grunted, sipping his drink.
Courteney: “Hi, Ronan,”
Courteney practically sang.
Courteney: “Xander lost a bet with Ash,”
she explained happily, slipping her arm through her boyfriend’s.
Ronan: “Must’ve been some bet,”
He wasn’t wearing anything under the sleeveless, low-cut dress, and his muscles, tats and body hair were really fucking weird accessories for the dress. So were his sneakers.
Courteney: “Oh, it was. I dressed up like his man to make him feel better. It didn’t work.”
Xander: “Because you look good. I look like an unemployed drag queen.”
Courteney: “C’mon, baby. Let’s get you another drink.”
He rolled his eyes and they headed over to the bar. Ronan: “You couldn’t have defied my orders, just this once, and showed up in costume?”
Andre: “I got you, bro.”
He unbuttoned his black blazer, under which he wore one of those cheesy black T-shirts with a tuxedo picture printed on it. You could barely make it out in the dark. Hardly passed as a costume at an event like this.
Andre: “Always got your back, brother,”
Summer: “Don’t you dare take those bunny ears off,”
Summer said in my ear. She’d slipped up to me and squeezed my ass.
Summer: “No matter what the boys say. I wanna tear that bowtie off with my teeth at the end of the night.”
Yeah, I kinda figured that. Was the only reason I was keeping it on. Maddox: “Jesus. How much meth you need to smoke to believe the shit comin’ outta your mouth right now?” I knew now how very personal this was. All of it. I wasn’t acting as a bodyguard tonight. I was acting as an enraged boyfriend. And all of it was for her. Tailing Sanchuk here and pulling a power drill on him, threatening to torture him, beating the shit out of him? Leaving the Kings to take care of him? That was all personal. Because I was in love with Summer Sorensen.
And you did not fuck with a woman I loved. Whatever this was, he wanted away from it right now. So I kissed him. If he wasn’t going to talk to me now, if he couldn’t talk to me… I just wanted to make whatever was weighing on him a little lighter. I could take some of that weight and help him carry it. He’d come to me. He’d come home to me and gotten undressed. I was his safety, just as he was mine. Summer: “You know, you can try to stop this.”
Summer: “You can try… but it’s too late for me,”
I confessed, and damn, did it make me feel vulnerable. But I removed my arm from my eyes and looked at him.
Summer: “I already love you, Ronan.”
Ronan: “I don’t want to stop this,”
he said in a low voice. Then he leaned in and kissed me gently, his luscious lips dragging over mine.
Ronan: “Fuck, I love you, Summer.” Ronan: "That’s one drawback of being strong, I think. People think you don’t hurt. But it fucking hurt.” Ronan: “You turned it all over to the cops?”
Piper: “Riiight. Because I walked into a meetin’ with a cop and handed him a pile of meth, and he believed me that it wasn’t mine. I wore my Sunday best and gave him a pinky swear. We’re friends on Facebook now.” He took the gifts from my hands, hesitantly, when I shoved them at him.
Ronan: “So, basically, you give gifts that make people you care about uncomfortable?”
My jaw dropped.
Summer: “Excuse me? These are gifts to make people I care about smile.”
He held the underwear up next to his face.
Ronan: “Is this making me smile?”
He definitely wasn’t smiling.
Summer: “Well, not right now, sweetie. But later when you strip down and slide them on, and I get insta-wet… trust me, you’re gonna be happy.”
His eyebrow spiked at that. Then he stuffed the underwear in the back pocket of his jeans.
Ronan: “I’ll just save these for later, then.” Summer: “Summer’s dildo factory! We have them in all shapes and sizes!”
Ash: “Shapes? Do I wanna hear this?”
Summer: “Absolutely. We’ve got eggplant shaped, mini cucumber, stuffed sausage…” Summer: “Right… But you need to know, if we do this, I want a giant, lavish wedding. Or to elope. It’s one or the other. I don’t do things halfway. Oh my God.”
Summer: “Think about all the parties. Engagement party, bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, the wedding reception…”
He groaned again.
Ronan: “And I want to at least see the budget before you spend a dime.”
Summer: “We’ll discuss that.”