We are so lucky to have not one but two exclusive excerpts from New York Times bestselling author Brenda Jackson. Jackson’s Forged of Steele series is perfect for fans of the popular Westmoreland series, and folks that love passionate contemporary romances. Seduced by a Steele is the penultimate book in the series and features Mercury Steele, a notorious heartbreaker meeting his perfect match in Sloan Donahue. Seduced by a Steele is out now.
The thirteen book Forged of Steele series finishes its run with the May 5th release of Gannon Steele’s story. Gannon agrees to a PR stunt to help his trucking company and invites investigative reporter Delphine Ryland along for a cross-country ride. The “strictly business” trip turns “strictly pleasure” pretty quickly, and sworn bachelor Gannon has finally met his match.
Today, exclusively on Frolic, you get to see the dueling excerpts when these Steele fellas meet their lady loves for the very first time. Consider this a little taste of the beloved Forged of Steele series – if you’re already a fan, I’m sure you’ll find it tasty if you’re new to the series, there’s a lot more to quench your thirst where this came from! Enjoy and let us know who wins the battle for your heart, Mercury or Gannon Steele. (or in romancelandia, why pick just one? Why not both?!!?)
Seduced by a Steele (Forged of Steele #12) Out Now!
“So, where are you from?”
Sloan hadn’t wanted to glance over at the man whose name was Mercury Steele, but with his question she felt compelled to do so. She had been satisfied with pretending to view all the sights outside the car’s window but now that had to come to an end. It wasn’t that she was ignoring him, because to ignore a man who looked like him would be nearly impossible. However, she did have a lot to think about.
Because of her naïveté in trusting that man who’d sold her that car, she could have been thrown in jail. She could just imagine her parents’ reactions if she’d been forced to call and ask them for bail money. Their accusations that she couldn’t fend for herself would have been proved right.
Shifting in her seat, she glanced over to Mercury Steele and asked a question of her own. “How do you know I’m not from here?”
“Trust me. I know.”
She raised a brow. “How? My accent?” She honestly didn’t think she had one.
“No, it wasn’t your accent. It’s your looks. I know every beautiful woman in this town. If you were from here, we would have met already.”
Was he serious? Sloan studied his profile as he maneuvered the car in traffic and figured that, yes, he was serious. “I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio.”
“I represented a kid from there once.”
“You’re an attorney?”
“No, a sports agent.”
She nodded. Although she didn’t know a lot about hat occupation, other than they brokered deals for athletes wanting to play certain sports for a living, she thought he fit the part. First off, he was a sharp dresser. She was convinced the suit he was wearing was the same designer brand her father and Harold often wore. And then there was this car he was driving. A Tesla, like hers. It was obvious he was a successful man. Why hadn’t she noticed that before accusing him of trying to steal her car? A car it seemed was rightfully his.
Sloan released a long sigh and inwardly admitted that, considering the circumstances of how they’d met, she appreciated him giving her a lift to the police station. It was time she told him that and apologized for her earlier accusations.
“Mr. Steele?” They’d come to a traffic light and he glanced over at her. In a way, she wished he hadn’t. There was something about his green eyes that unsettled her.
“I want to apologize for everything. I honestly didn’t know the car was stolen.”
He didn’t say anything and for a minute she wondered if he would. Instead he stared at her. Finally, before turning back to the road, he said, “Apology accepted.”
That made her feel better, although to her way of thinking, he’d said it almost grudgingly. “And I want to thank you for giving me a lift to the police station.”
“Don’t mention it.” A few moments later, he asked, “How old are you, Ms. Donahue?”
He didn’t say anything, nor did he glance back over at her. Since he’d asked hers, she could ask his. “And how old are you, Mr. Steele?”
They’d come to another traffic light and he did glance over at her when he said, “Thirty-four.”
He kept staring at her as if he expected her to say something, and when she didn’t, he said, “When you refer to me as Mr. Steele that makes me feel even older. I prefer being called Mercury.”
She lifted a brow. “Like the planet?”
He chuckled. “Yes, like the planet, and also like the chemical element. However, I was named after one of my father’s favorite football players.”
She nodded. “I understand about being named after someone.”
He turned back to the road and asked, “Do you?” “Yes. I was named after my grandfather. I’m Sloan Elizabeth.” She missed her grandfather and often wondered how different things would have been had he lived. He’d died of cancer six years ago. She would never forget when her parents had shown up on her college campus to deliver the news to her. At least they’d ad the insight to know that receiving such news over the phone would have devastated her.
She snapped out of her reverie and saw they’d arrived at their destination.
“Here we are,” Mercury said.
Claimed by a Steele (Forged of Steele #13), Out Now!
“Well, I didn’t skip lunch but I’m still hungry,” he said, walking beside her out of the hotel and toward his parked car. “I have quite a hearty appetite. Ac-cording to my mother, it’s because I’m still growing.”
Delphine wasn’t sure if Gannon Steele was still growing or not, but what she saw now was pretty dang impressive.
She couldn’t help giving him a discreet glance as they walked toward the shiny black Tesla. She had to admit, he looked pretty darn good in a pair of black slacks and a white shirt. Almost too good. She had seen photos of him before in different kinds of attire—business suits, jeans, sweats, jogging shorts. She’d even seen him in a pair of swimming trunks when he’d been in one of those male calendars as part of a charity fund-raiser. He’d been Mr. September. She re-membered that quite well, since her birthday was in September, and she’d enjoyed seeing him pinned to the wall in her office. However, she was certain that seeing him in the flesh was altogether different. She preferred the real thing.
“Here we are.”
She paused as he opened the car door for her and then she slid onto the smooth leather seat. “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome, Ms. Ryland.”
He closed the car door and she watched him walk around the front of the vehicle to get into the driver’s side. She noticed he had a manly stroll unlike any she’d seen before. It was a purposeful stride, filled with confidence, but not arrogance. After he backed out of the parking lot, he glanced over at her.
“When did you arrive in Phoenix?” he asked her.
“Friday evening. And again, I want to apologize for disturbing you at your brother’s wedding. Lucia had mentioned a wedding in your family, but I thought it was last weekend.”
“No harm done. I’m sure my brother Mercury wished it had been a week earlier.”
“He was that anxious?”
Gannon Steele laughed. “Yes, he was just that anxious to tie the knot, and I’m happy for him and Sloan. They left immediately after the wedding for a three-week honeymoon to Paris, parts of Germany and Switzerland.”
“For them, I’m sure it will be. Now tell me about yourself, Ms. Ryland. And please call me Gannon. If you don’t mind, may I call you Delphine?”
“No, I don’t mind, and there’s not a lot to tell. I’ve been working for Simply Irresistible for a while now.”
“Was it your first job out of college? You look rather young.”
She shook her head, grinning. “I’m not all that young. I’ll be twenty-six in September. After college I got a job with a small publishing house in New York as an editor. I worked there almost a year before my mother became ill. I left New York to move back to Denver to take care of her.”
“I hope she got better.”
She couldn’t hold back the sadness she knew shone in her eyes. “She didn’t. Mom had MS and died last May.” It was hard to believe the one-year mark was coming up next month. There was never a day that went by that she didn’t think of her. Miss her.
“I’m sorry to hear that, Delphine. That had to have been hard on you.”
She nodded. “It was. Mom and I were extremely close.”
Delphine paused and then said, “Because of the nature of Mom’s condition, she needed full-time care and I wanted to be the one to take care of her, along with the visiting nurses who came to check on her every week. Lucky for me, I was hired by Simply Ir-resistible as a freelancer, writing articles from home. I also became a blogger.”
He nodded. “What about your father?”
She could understand Gannon asking about him. In the world he’d grown up in, both parents had been present. “My parents divorced when I was six. I never saw him again after the day he left.” No need to tell him why her father had divorced her mom, or how both she and her mother had cried themselves to sleep for months after he’d deserted them.
“Do you still live in your mother’s house?”
“Yes. It’s been in our family for a couple of generations, since it used to be my grandparents’ home. I love living there, although I’ve decided to give it a much-needed face-lift,” she said. “While I’m gone, I’m getting my floors redone. Replacing the carpet with wood.”
“Who’s overseeing the project while you’re away?” “My best friend from high school, Mandy. She likes doing renovation stuff. I trust her to make sure things will be done to my satisfaction and within my budget.”
Gannon nodded. “According to Chloe and Lucia, you’re a good journalist—one of the best.”
Delphine appreciated him changing the subject from her personal life to her professional one. “Oh, I don’t know about that, but I appreciate them for thinking so. Lucia’s mother and mine were best friends from their high-school days.”
She thought about how much support she’d gotten from the Conyers family over the years and added, “During Mom’s last days, I don’t know how I would have made it without the Conyerses being there for me and for Mom.”
He nodded again. “It’s always great having good people in your corner when you need them the most.”
He brought the car to a stop. “Here we are.”
She glanced out the window and saw the restaurant. The Grip. There was one in Denver, although she could never afford to eat there. “Nice restaurant.” “One of my favorites,” he said, opening the car door. Just lovely, she thought. She couldn’t afford to eat at The Grip and he considered it one of his favorites, which meant he probably ate here a lot. She tried not to think about the differences in their livelihoods. In-stead, she watched him walk around the front of the car to open the door for her. Normally, she wouldn’t sit and wait for any man to open her door, but she knew from articles she’d read about him that Gan-non had impeccable manners.
W hen he opened the door, she took the hand he offered and got out of the car. It had rained earlier and the scent of damp grass and wet soil permeated the air. And then there was his woodsy scent, which suited him. It definitely suited her since she liked the fragrance on him. She thought it made him even more manly.
As they were walking side by side toward the building, he suddenly took hold of her arm to skirt around a couple of puddles. Why did his touch feel so warm and comforting?
When they reached the entrance, he released her arm and stepped back to smile down at her. She was wearing high heels, yet she knew he was at least six-two or six-three. “Welcome to The Grip, Delphine. I hope you enjoy dining here as much as I do.”
She couldn’t help but return his smile. “Thanks, Gannon. I’m sure that I will.”
About the Author:
Brenda Jackson is a New York Times bestselling author of more than one hundred romance titles. Brenda lives in Jacksonville, Florida, and divides her time between family, writing and traveling. Email Brenda at email@example.com or visit her on her website.