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Worth the Effort (MF)

Red Hook 6

Siren-BookStrand, Inc.

Heat Rating: SCORCHING
Word Count: 36,258
Available Formats
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[Siren Classic ManLove: Erotic Contemporary Romance, M/F, HEA]

Ray Garcia loves running his family's restaurant. Settling down was not something he thought he wanted or needed. Not now. Until he met one of his employees: Corina Ramirez. Unfortunately, he listened to false rumors and fired her unjustly. Discovering his mistake made him realize he cared deeply about Corina and, if he didn’t want to lose her forever, he needed to make amends quickly.

Corina Ramirez had goals for her career. Working at the Garcia family restaurant was temporary. As much as she was attracted to her boss Ray Garcia, she was hurt by the fact he never gave her a chance to defend herself. Suddenly, he claimed not only could she have her old job back, but he was also interested in getting to know her more romantically. Men were too confusing. It was safer to stick with her goals for a better job than to trust in men.

Can Ray convince Corina his change of heart is real? Can he protect her from the threat of having a jealous enemy wanting to destroy them both? The path to love is never easy, but it is worth the effort.

 

 

A Siren Erotic Romance

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Excerpt

 

STORY EXCERPT 

 

“You sure you don’t need me to walk you out, Corina? It’s dark outside. I didn’t mean for you to stay behind so long.” Ray Garcia asked her in a friendly voice. They were the last two employees left in the restaurant, a fact Corina Ramirez was only too aware of. It made her nervous and slightly afraid. She had not wanted to take her old job back at The Hacienda. Ray’s family owned the successful business together but his parents had semi-retired and rarely ever came in. She heard Mr. Garcia had some heart problems and had to cut back on his work hours but he refused to stay home permanently.

She set her purse down on an empty table to put on her jacket. The nights were chilly even though it was springtime in Texas. She looked over at her boss as she zipped up her jacket over the white buttoned down shirt that was part of her uniform. She had only been back to work for two weeks and this was the first time they’d spoken to each other face-to-face. Alana had promised Ray would leave Corina alone and never deal with her. That was one of the only ways Corina would come back to work at her old job. She had been so humiliated to have him scream in her face in front of the other employees. Alana had promised to schedule her only when she or Alicia, her sister, were working. She felt childish making that stipulation but she was afraid of being alone with Ray and yet here she was stuck alone with him. Alana had left early to pick up her sick son from daycare. Alicia had felt sick and clocked out too, thinking Corina’s shift was ending soon. Only, they ended up needing someone to stay behind when it got so busy, and Corina offered. She needed the money after being out of work for more than a month.

“I’ll be okay. I’m parked right across the street,” she reminded him. She secretly loved how he said her name. He rolled the r in a Latin way, making her pulse pick up speed. Ray was a handsome man. He stood over six feet tall, with short black hair and deep brown eyes that seemed to see deep into her soul. He had a very fit, athletic body, with muscles, but was still lean. That made him too popular with the ladies. He was out of her league but she could secretly drool over him with the rest of the female employees. It was no wonder her cousin had gone to such extreme lengths to try to land him, even trying to stab her in the back. Jackie was selfish and looked for the easy road in life. She was, however, shocked by Ray’s automatic acceptance she was a thief.

Corina looked out the big picture window of the restaurant. The rest of the block was empty and dark since all the businesses closed early in the evening, only The Hacienda stayed open late. The restaurant was popular in this town. They served authentic Mexican food and she was worried about gaining weight if she kept eating here. She tried bringing a salad from home but how could a mere salad compare with the aroma of spicy Mexican food?

“Thanks for staying behind to cover Lydia’s shift. Alana told me to keep my distance from you,” Ray admitted, arching his back and stretching. He had taken off his white chef’s coat and his gray t-shirt stretched over his muscled chest. His jeans molded his trim waist. He had sexy masculine appeal and she knew she wasn’t the only woman who thought so. “I’ve been wanting to tell you how much I regret that scene in the restaurant that day. I was way out of line, Corina. Words can’t even express how badly I feel.”

Corina wasn’t sure how to respond so she pretended to fiddle with her zipper. She didn’t want to get caught staring at him too much. She’d learned the hard way that men had no staying power and things could turn ugly with the snap of a finger. From her dad to every boyfriend she ever trusted, men had disappointed her in one way or another, even Ray. Before the big incident, as she called it, she did have a bit of a crush on him. Her cousin had thrown it in her face often, saying Ray felt sorry for her and thought it was funny someone as plain as Corina thought he would notice her. The words had hurt but it cured her of her crush on her boss. She didn’t even like being around him now. Her stomach was filled with fear and an overwhelming desire to get away.

“Look Ray, I had my doubts about coming back here but pride doesn’t pay my bills,” she explained sadly. “I know you hate me. I will stay out of your way and you do the same. Soon I will be able to work at nursing full time.”

“Who said I hated you? My sisters?” His brows creased downward and he looked mad again. She slowly took a step backwards and shook her head no.

“Jackie,” she whispered.

“Jesus, Corina. I’m not going to hurt you.” His brown eyes were filled with sorrow. “You’re one of my best workers. Alana and Alicia think the world of you.” He mentioned his two sisters who helped him run the family business. His voice was so soft and calm as if he was trying to pacify a growling dog. She was a little embarrassed but she couldn’t help but fear him. The day he had accused her of stealing from him he had reminded her of one of her dad’s drunken rages when she was little. He would often berate Corina and his wife for whatever little infraction he thought they committed. He never hit them but Corina had been afraid one day he would.

“Jackie has a lot to answer for,” he muttered.

“Maybe coming back here was not a great idea. I was embarrassed to face everyone again. I don’t want them thinking of me as a thief. So far everyone has been nice in welcoming me back,” she explained grabbing her purse tightly and holding it in front of her like a shield.

“For the record, everyone including my sisters, defended you. I was the only fool, Corina.” His voice was filled with real angst and that surprised her. He was a tough boss and never admitted he was wrong. “I can’t even begin to apologize to you. I saw how you looked at me with such fear and—”

She put her hand up and stopped him. She didn’t want to bring up the past. It was a painful memory.

“It’s all in the past. Jackie is very convincing, believe me,” Corina said bitterly. She never understood why her own cousin hated her so much. Jackie was older and more sophisticated. Corina had looked up to her as a child but Jackie had always been vain and cruel. Corina soon learned to avoid her.

He walked with her as she headed toward the front door. She just wanted out of here. He stopped to turn off the brighter lights. The room was bathed in a dim glow of low lights. The music was off for the night and it was so quiet.

She opened the heavy glass door and walked out of the building. The cool breeze felt good on her heated skin. Ray locked the door and turned back to her. She felt his eyes roam over her body and damn if her body had a positive reaction to his gaze. Stop it, Corina, he checks every woman out. You are not special.

 

ADULT EXCERPT 

 

“I missed you too, Ray,” she whispered when the kiss ended. “The residency at the hospital has been hectic but I’m learning so much.”

He went back to the table and pulled her on to his lap and kissed her bare shoulder. She immediately felt her stomach do a somersault. “You look so pretty, baby. I love this dress. Pink is your color.”

He played with the strap of her dress and her skin got goose bumps. Her nipples hardened into little pebbles and she wondered if he could see through the material of her satin bra. He smelled so delicious.

She placed a light kiss on his lips, deciding to be forward. She let her lips trail to his cheeks and then to his neck. She was done being cautious. All she thought about was Ray and wondering how his hands on her body would feel. “I find you so sexy, Ray. I’m surprised I can put two words together when you smile at me.”

“Yeah?” He grinned and she nodded. She unbuttoned a few buttons on his shirt. She could see sprinkles of dark hair on his chest. She rubbed her hands on his skin. “I watch you at work sometimes and I feel like I am so lucky you noticed me. I feel like a plain jane next to you.”

His eyes widened with surprise. “Corina don’t you know how beautiful you are. I like that you don’t wear tons of makeup and complain about your nails all the time. Your eyes show when you are happy or sad. I love how you dress. I love using my imagination and wondering what color of bra you have on.”

He pushed her strap down and peeked. He looked at her with a wild grin. “You have a pink bra. Reminds me of cotton candy. Time for dessert?”

She felt herself blush but she nodded. She wanted this man and she did not want to wait another minute. His kisses were hot but she needed more. “Yes, please.”

He pushed her dress all the way down exposing her strapless bra. He cupped her breasts with his hands and pushed her breasts up, his thumb swiped the tip of her nipple over the material. Corina let her body relax. Her head laid on his shoulder. Thinking was out of the question but she was glad, she just wanted to feel. “Oh, that feels good.” He was exploring her breasts with his hands but she needed more.

He pushed her bra down and tugged on her breast. His tongue soon replaced his fingers and she felt his tongue swirl around her nipple. She squeezed her thighs together knowing she was getting wetter by the second. Her hands opened up his shirt and she explored his hard chest. She could feel the bulge underneath his jeans grow and become harder. My God, the man was lethal.

Ray stood up with her in his arms. She wrapped her arms around his neck as he walked her to his bedroom. He set her on her feet and turned on a dim lamp. His bed was made neatly. She looked around with curiosity but them he kissed her and she forgot everything but him. The kiss was hot and made her body feel like it was melting. She helped him out of his shirt and he pushed her dress and bra down until it was on the floor. She stepped out of it hoping he liked her body. She felt self-conscious.

She stood in light pink thongs and her sandals. Maybe she should have gone for the heels, she thought to herself.

“Beautiful,” he whispered.

Soon she couldn’t form a single thought. All she could do was moan. He was on his knees kissing her slightly rounded stomach. His fingers lightly swiped the edge of her panties close to her pussy. “I knew you were beautiful but the reality blows my mind. You are a sex goddess.”

Ray slowly slipped her panties down her thighs. His warm breath on her bare skin made her tingle all over. She was so glad she had gone to the spa for a waxing now. His tongue swiped her pussy lips. He pushed her thighs open and touched her wet vagina with his fingers. “Well, what do we have here?”

“Ray,” she whispered, grabbing onto his hair. His tongue explored between her thighs making her feel weak and lightheaded. When he swiped her clit she felt herself grow wetter and her knees grow weaker. He licked up all the cream.

“You’re so ready for me, baby.” His voice was deep and husky. She jumped when he licked the juices on her thighs. He used his fingers to push her open and allow his tongue in deeper. Her knees felt shaky and she hoped she didn’t fall flat on the floor. All she could do was hang on to his shoulders, close her eyes and let him have his way with her. The need to have him inside of her was intense and she felt impatient.

“You taste better than I imagined.” His murmered.

“Mmm,” she mumbled closing her eyes and drifting off into heaven. Putting two words together was impossible. Before she realized it she was flat on her back on his bed. He removed his jeans and boxers. His thick cock sprung forward and her eyes widened. He was big. The mushroom head was shiny with wetness. It had been a while since she had sex. “Oh boy.”

He chuckled, reaching for a condom from his nightstand. She watched with fascination as he opened the package and rolled the condom over his cock with expertise. “Is that good or bad, baby?”

She smiled. “Good.” She let her thighs fall open so he could see how excited she was at this moment. He made her feel wild and brave. With her last ex it had been quick and in the dark. She wanted to savor every second of this night. She didn’t want to worry about tomorrow. She wanted to savor the excitement.

He leaned down between her thighs and used his tongue to drive her wild. She writhed back and forth on his comforter while he ate her like a man starving. “Oh Ray, that feels amazing.” He didn’t stop until she came hard, screaming his name.

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