Release Date: August 21, 2023
Who knew the grumpy single dad next door would turn out to be The One?
As Sloane Chambers stood at her window and creeped on the new guy moving in next door, she was immediately drawn to the tattoos, muscles, and the way his jeans hugged his perfect . . . frame. But when she caught him hacking up her rose bushes with a chain saw, the battle was on.
For Silas Bridger, moving to a new town and starting a new job was his chance for a fresh start. He’d already failed at being a husband, but he was determined to make things right with his teenage daughter and be the father she deserved. Which meant there was no room in his life for complications. Especially in the form of his gorgeous, sassy next-door neighbor.
When the attraction to Sloane becomes too intense to ignore, that line he kept firmly drawn is crossed. But there is no way he’ll let a handful of passionate, earth-shaking encounters turn into something more. He’s done with the dreaded L-O-V-E, or at least that’s what he tells himself. Because Sloane is quickly becoming the kind of complication he may not survive.
PRAISE FOR TEMPTRESS:
I am head-over-heels in love with this book! The swoons, the feels, the steam—Prince hit the trifecta with this one! – USA Today Bestselling author Adriana Locke
Beautifully-written and rich with character, Temptress is a smash hit. I fell in love with the supporting cast just as much as our main couple, who you can’t help but root for from the very first interaction. Fans of single dad and small town romances will find everything they love and more within these pages. Five stars for my first Jessica Prince book and a declaration that it will not be my last! — Amazon #1 Bestselling Author Kandi Steiner
As always Jessica Prince didn’t disappoint with Temptress! This book is full of chemistry, friendship, love, sexy times, emotions, family and so much more!
I loooooooved it!!! – Goodreads Review
Jessica Prince DID. IT. AGAIN! Temptress hooked me from the very first page! Swoony and steamy and all-consuming! The Grumpy/Sunshine, push and pull between these two was my favorite. ALL THE STARS for Silas and Sloane! Laura Pavlov, USA Today Bestselling Author
Silas and Sloane are absolute fire!!! I love a broody, sinfully delicious single dad, and Silas absolutely delivers! Add in the sassy Sloane, and Temptress is a must read! – Bestselling Author A.L. Jackson
Temptress is officially my favorite of the Whiskey Dolls series!! Silas and Sloane make a perfect grumpy/sunshine couple, then when you throw in his quick-whited daughter Darcy the story is TO DIE FOR. – Goodreads Review
My favorite Jessica Prince book to date! I couldn’t help but get swept away with Sloane & Silas and their story. – Goodreads Review
My new neighbor was moving in today. The moving truck had shown up earlier, blocking half of my driveway, but I didn’t really mind. It wasn’t like I was going anywhere. They’d been unloading for a little over an hour, but so far, I hadn’t seen any sign of the person who would be replacing the elderly woman who’d lived there before, Lucille Kleiner.
I loved Lucille. She had lived next to me since I bought my house a few years back. She was a total badass. An old woman knocking on the door of ninety who had lived an extremely colorful life and loved to share stories with me when I visited once a week for Martini Hour. She’d still had a ton of get-up-and-go for a woman her age and had been in impeccable shape, but the fact of the matter was, she’d needed help when it came to some things, and an assisted living facility was just easier.
I visited her regularly, so I knew firsthand that her new place was posh. It was more like a five-star resort for seniors in the foothills of small-town Virginia than a nursing home, and I wouldn’t have been surprised in the slightest if the place housed more than a few celebrities who wanted peace and quiet at that time in their lives.
I’d been sad when she informed me she was moving, but luckily, she was still close enough I could visit once a week for martinis and gossip. It had been a joy to live next to Lucille these past few years, so I could only hope that the people replacing her were half as nice.
I hadn’t been home any of the times they’d come to look at the house before and after the offer was made, and Lucille didn’t know anything about them beyond the fact they’d offered her asking price without trying to haggle over things such as repainting and other cosmetic touches, which was surprising. Lucille decorated how she lived, bold and loud. Each room of her house was painted a different eclectic color. There were no grays or beiges or neutral tones to be found, and I couldn’t image it working for anyone other than Lucille.
Apparently, they were eager to get moved in, something about the start of the school year coming up. I was excited to have a family next door and was looking forward to meeting them.
For the fifth time that morning, I peeked through the slats in my blinds, hoping to get a view of the new owners, when a large, black SUV with heavily tinted windows pulled into the driveway and came to a stop.
My lips pulled into a smile of anticipation as the passenger door was thrown open and a girl who I’d gauge to be in her early teens climbed out. She had long, straight hair that hung past her shoulders, the strands streaked with different shades from deep caramel to the palest blonde that you could tell was natural, a gift from the sun. She was dressed in cut-off shorts and a cropped tee that showed a figure that hadn’t quite matured yet. Our houses were close enough that I could make out her features well enough to see the girl was destined to be a looker. Even with the unhappy, pinched scowl marring her pretty face.
I was able to see the driver of that big SUV once he rounded the hood and Oh. My. Sweet. Lord. Above. My new neighbor was gorgeous. Tattoos of varying designs covered his arms starting at his wrist, up defined forearms corded with thick veins, and beyond rounded biceps before disappearing beneath his gray T-shirt that fit him well enough to show off a broad chest and shoulders. Perfectly worn jeans hugged tree-trunk thighs and a lean waist.
“Holy momma,” I breathed as I leaned close enough to fog the glass with my breath. I pulled back and wiped it clear with the side of my fist and studied the man as closely as the distance between our houses would allow.
His dark hair was clipped short on the sides, only an inch or so longer up top, a style designed for easy maintenance, but one that worked very well on him. I couldn’t see his eyes due to the mirrored sunglasses, but I could tell he had sharp features and a strong, square jaw. And he looked equally as unhappy as the girl when the two of them met at the front of the SUV.
I could just make out his mouth moving as he said something to the girl, and from her body language, it looked like whatever it was only made her mood worse. With her back to me now, I couldn’t see her face to gauge her reaction, but she crossed her arms over her chest, cocked a hip, and threw one leg out. It was the classic pissed-chick stance.
She must have said something in return, because a moment later, the guy’s chest rose and fell on what looked like a huff before he braced his hands on his trim hips and dropped his head forward, giving it a shake.
The two of them were incredibly entertaining to watch. If my best friend, Asher, had been there just then, the two of us would have been imitating their voices and trying to make up what we thought they were saying.
Speaking of Asher, my cellphone started to ring. I pulled it out of my back pocket and looked down to see her name dancing across the screen.
I quickly swiped and brought the phone to my ear so I could get back to my peeping. “Hey. What’s up?”
“The new neighbors arrive yet?”
“Do you have ESP or something? I’m literally watching them this very second, and omigod, Ash! You should see this dude. He’s basically the stuff of every woman’s wet dream.”
She whistled through the line. “Snap pics. I want to see.”
“Hold on.” Ever the loyal friend, I held my phone up and zoomed in, then snapped pic after pic before shooting them off in a text. “Incoming.”
I went back to my stalking as I waited for her to open her text. Less than a minute later, she was back. “Damn, Sloane! You weren’t lying. That guy is hot enough to fry an egg on.”
I heard her boyfriend in the background say, “You know I’m standing right here, right?” he deadpanned. “Just want to make sure I didn’t become invisible in the past thirty seconds.”
“Ah, honey. You know there’s nothing for you to worry about. I’ve been yours since you rescued my drunk ass from that biker bar the day I ran out on my wedding.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. My bestie’s boyfriend wasn’t lacking when it came to looks either. And like my new neighbor, he too was covered in tattoos. Asher and I had that in common. We were both drawn to a man with ink. You wouldn’t have guessed given her ex-fiancé had been the picture of country club preppy. Fortunately, they jilted one another—long story—on their wedding day, opening the door for Asher to find her actual soul mate in the form of a sexy tattooed veterinarian.
I heard the sound of kissing through the line for a few seconds before Asher’s attention returned to me. “Who’s the girl in the picture?”
“I think that’s his daughter,” I answered. “Her back is to me now, but when she first got out, I could see her face and she looks young.”
“You see a wife or mom anywhere?”
My gaze occasionally darted back to the SUV to see if anyone else emerged, but it looked like it was only the two of them, and they appeared to still be arguing.
“Not that I can tell.” I leaned in so close I practically smushed my face against the glass. “I can’t tell if he’s wearing a ring from this distance.”
“Then you know what you need to do, right? You need to go over there and introduce yourself to your sexy new neighbor. Then you’ll at least be able to spot whether or not there’s a ring.”
She was right. “I will. But they only just arrived, and it looks like the dad and daughter are arguing. I think I’ll give it a bit so I don’t interrupt anything.”
“All right, babe. Keep me posted.”
I promised her I would and clicked off just as the girl slammed her arms down at her sides, locking her elbows and clenching her fists as she threw her head back. I could almost hear what she would likely be saying with that posture. It was probably along the lines of what I’d said to my own father a million times growing up. “God, Dad!”
A moment later, she stormed into the house. The man stayed behind, either oblivious or uncaring of the movers passing back and forth, witness to whatever had just gone down.
His expression and the way his shoulders slumped as he pinched the bridge of his nose was exactly how my own father would react to me storming off after the earlier mentioned, “God, Dad!” It was the look of every father of a teenaged daughter since the beginning of time.
Instead of following her into the house, he leaned back against the front bumper of his SUV and crossed his thick arms over his equally thick chest and watched as the movers worked.
I decided it was the perfect time to go over and introduce myself to my new neighbor. I grabbed a bottle of wine from the rack on my kitchen island and headed for the door.
Making a pit stop in the powder room off the kitchen, I gave myself a once over in the mirror. There wasn’t anything special about my thin cotton tee and pale gray joggers, but the top showed a hint of cleavage, and the pants made my behind look good. Well, the pants and the fact that my job as a dancer for the popular burlesque club, Whiskey Dolls, kept me in peak shape.
It was my day off, so I was in my comfy clothes with no makeup, but my new skin care regimen was giving my complexion a nice glow, and my hair was still looking good after my trip earlier that week to Pure Elegance, the best salon in the county. I lived one town over from Hope Valley, but the drive was worth it to have Nona work her magic. She’d chopped five inches off my light chestnut hair so it rested right at my shoulders. Without the added weight, I had volume for days, and was really pleased with how it still had that shine that seemed to only be accomplished in a professional salon.
I gave my locks one last quick fluff, then headed into the sunny day. I moved through the strip of lush green grass between our houses, letting my right hand gently crest over one of the bright pink roses on the bushes that I’d planted on the property line a couple years back. I’d always loved gardening and Lucille had always been a fan of beautiful flowers, so I’d planted the roses for both of us. I’d been tending and caring for those bushes, and now they stood tall, thick, and full of lush green leaves, the stems speckled liberally with bright, happy pink flowers.
My own yard was filled with them as well, along with a ton of other plants and flowers.
“Hi,” I called out as I crossed over onto his property. A moment later, my bright yellow flip flops slapped against the concrete of his driveway. I lifted my hand in a wave. “I’m your new neighbor,” I told the man, pointing over my shoulder at my house. “I just wanted to stop by and introduce myself, welcome you to the neighborhood.” I held out my free hand for a shake. “I’m Sloane Chambers.”
The man didn’t straighten from his position, still leaning against the front of the SUV, and he didn’t uncross his arms from his chest, which, now that I was up close, I could tell was just as cut as the rest of him. I was willing to bet he was sporting a six-pack at the very least. I could also see that the ring finger of his left hand was bare, not even a hint of a tan line indicating he’d taken one off recently. That finger had been bare for some time.
Asher would be happy to hear that.
He swiveled his head toward me, keeping those mirrored shades in place, and I couldn’t shake the feeling he was giving me a once over, but it felt more like being under a microscope than a look of interest. I was used to men looking at me the second way.
Sometimes I enjoyed it when I was in the mood for a little fun flirtation, and sometimes it grated, but such was life, right? I wasn’t above admitting I knew how to attract a man. I had skills—and a vagina, which basically meant I was magical—and if a man caught my eye, I’d use those skills to reel him in. And I would have been lying if I said I wasn’t throwing a bit of that magic out just then to see how my sexy new neighbor would react.
But judging by this guy’s flattened lips and the crinkle I could see forming between his brows, he was unaffected.
His head dipped down as though he were looking at my offered hand, but he didn’t bother taking it. “Silas Bridger,” he grunted in a deep baritone that held a hint of rasp, like he’d been a lifelong smoker.
I cleared my throat, suddenly feeling a bit awkward. “Well, um, it’s nice to meet you, Silas. I saw a very pretty young woman go inside. I take it that’s your daughter?” He answered by cocking a single brow high on his forehead but otherwise remained mute. “I’d love to give you and your daughter and wife an official welcome by making a home cooked meal for you guys.”
“Don’t got a wife, and no thanks.”
Well that answered one question. But also, ouch. Was this dude a robot or something?
Remembering the bottle of wine I gripped in my hand, I extended it out to him. “This is for you. A housewarming gift. Hope you like red.”
He did that head dip thing again, looking at the bottle from behind those sunglasses. Finally, he pushed off the SUV, but instead of turning to face me full-on, he started in the direction of the front door.
“Don’t drink wine,” he called without a backward glance. “Got shit to do.” Then he was gone.
And I was left wondering what the hell just happened.