Tarnished Hero by Tara Mills
Genre: Contemporary Romance
When Danica Strauss catches sexy Hero Hernandez stepping out of her mother's shower, her instant and intense attraction is most unwelcome.
The quintessential cougar, Margarite Strauss won't be denied when she wants something...or someone. That is, not until her daughter flies home unexpectedly and pulls her boy toy right out of her arms. Emotions run hot. Passions run even hotter.
Will Dani be able to accept what can't be changed and give her heart to Hero?
Danica tiptoed down the corridor and poked her head in the open door of her mother’s room. The door to the adjoining bath was ajar and the shower was going. Throwing the mess of covers back over the bed, she dropped down on the top, propped herself up on her elbows, and crossed her ankles. It was hard not to laugh out loud as she waited.
Her mom was going to be so surprised.
The shower squeaked off and the glass door clicked open. By this time, Dani was rocking with excitement. She loved a good joke.
Or she did until a strange young man stepped out of the bathroom, naked except for a low slung towel tucked loosely around his lean hips. He was ruffling his glossy black hair dry with a second towel.
Dani bolted to her feet, startled, scared, and outraged. “Who the hell are you and what are you doing on my boat?”
His hands stilled, the towel on his head bunched beneath them. His obsidian eyes widened and his mouth fell open. They stared at each other, both clearly stunned.
A confused frown marring his forehead, he broke the silence first. “What? Who are you?”
“Where’s my mother?” She shot back.
He looked completely lost. “Your mother?”
Losing patience with this back and forth, she snapped, “You’d better answer one of my questions, damn it, or I’m going to scream rape at the top of my lungs!”
“Who are you?” He enunciated each word as if she didn’t understand him!
Glaring gravely back, she shook her head slowly. “That wasn’t an answer.” Dani raised her chin and yelled, “HEL—”
That was all she managed to get out before he ran at her and clapped a hand over her mouth.
“What the hell?”
“I warned you,” she mumbled from behind his fingers, trying to pry them away. He smelled like her mom’s favorite body wash. Damn it! Another one of her mom’s boy-toys. Thrusting him aside so violently he had to grab for his towel or drop it, she glared. “Margarite. Strauss. Where is she?”
Comprehension dawned on his face. “She’s meeting a friend for breakfast.” Now he looked horror-struck. “You’re her daughter?”
“Yes,” she hissed. “And you need to leave. Go, and don’t you dare take anything of ours with you.”
Apparently, she'd struck a nerve. For the first time in her life, she fully understood what it meant to see a flash of anger. He looked furious. So angry in fact, she actually backed up.
He began to mutter and curse in Spanish. Grabbing the ends of the towel hanging around his neck with clenched fists, he shook his head and glared daggers at her. Then he went off on another rant.
“English!” She shouted over him. “Speak to me in English.”
To her chagrin, he did just that. “You spoiled little rich girl. What’s the matter, princess? Think anyone not in your income bracket is out to rip you off? Use you? Take advantage? Well guess what, honey. It’s the other way around!” He scowled and stomped over to the bed and yanked the towel off his shoulders. She half expected him to snap it at her. It might have stung less than his words.
He went back on attack. “People like you think you’re so special. You probably don’t even notice you treat anyone working a service job as if you own them. Not that it would probably matter to you anyway. But listen up, Princess. I’m not your damn servant. And I’m not your mom’s, either.”
“No, you’re her fuck buddy!” Just knowing he’d been sleeping with her mom gave Dani the shakes. The very idea sickened her.
He snorted in disgust, but then the strangest thing happened. His face actually fell and he turned sad. “I’m nothing to her. Do you honestly think she sees me as a person? As a human being?” The very idea made him laugh bitterly. “Dream on. I’m just a convenient tool, a useful outlet for stress. You wanna know something?” He shook his head. “She’s never even asked my last name. Not once.” The disillusionment in his beautiful dark eyes overwhelmed her.
Was this true? Was her mother callously using him? She couldn’t discount the idea.
“What is your name?” Her voice was soft now, gentle. She couldn’t bring herself to antagonize him further.
Caught pressing his palms to his forehead, he lowered his arms and looked at her, an odd expression on his face. “Hero.”
Smiling in surprise, she clarified. “Your last name.”
That’s when he finally showed her his perfect teeth behind those kissable lips. “Hernandez.”
Completely taken aback at the flare of attraction his smile set off inside her, Dani flushed and looked away before she gave herself away. She took a deep breath. Her voice shook anyway. “Hero Hernandez, I think you’d better go.”
I write stories I like to read–contemporary romances with identifiable characters and themes. Life is hard. Love makes it bearable. If you enjoy stories with heat and humor, I have a title for you.
I’m a pampered wife, lucky mom to three amazing sons and one wonderful daughter-in-law, and I recently became a very young grandma. I should probably underline the word very. Oh heck, why not the word young too? Nah, you get the picture. I’m also the daily monitor of one naughty dog with attitude.
Tara is giving away to one lucky winner a book of choice of her backlist.
For a chance to win please fill out the rafflecopter below.