About the Author
Niobia Simone Bryant's a nationally bestselling and award winning author of both steamy romance and compelling mainstream/women's fiction. To date she has more than ten releases that have brought her a devoted fan following and much critical acclaim for her storytelling. Currently she is busy on her next drama filled novel Show and Tell
--the follow-up to her mainstream debut Live and Learn
. She writes full time and lives in both New Jersey and South Carolina.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Excerpted from Hot Like Fire
(Kensington/Dafina) by Niobia Bryant. Copyright © 2006. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
"Puedo tener yo este baile?"
Garcelle Santos looked over her bare shoulder at the tall and handsome dark-skinned man requesting a dance at the reception of Kahron Strong and his new bride Bianca. The man was Bianca Strong's friend from Atlanta. Armand Touissant.
There was no denying the interest in his eyes but Garcelle was looking for nothing more than someone to dance and maybe laugh with. She smiled as she placed her hand in his and let him twirl her rather dramatically onto the center of the dance floor. She actually flung her head back and laughed as he pulled her body to his while Syleena's James "I'm Your Woman" played.
"You are one of the most beautiful women I`ve ever seen in my life," he whispered in her ear with his hand at the small of her back.
"Thank you," was all that Garcelle said. She hoped that was the end of the talking.
But he continued with his compliments, even trying to press Garcelle's body closer to his. She stepped back from him with a chastising smile. As they two stepped, she looked over his broad shoulder with her beautiful doe-shaped eyes. All of Holtsville was in attendance. Some faces she recognized and others she didn't.
Kahron and Bianca were dancing in a playful and sexy way together. There was no denying the love and passion. `The fire burns between them so strongly,' she thought, wishing them well as Armand guided their bodies into a series of turns.
Bianca's father Hank was dancing with that whacky Mimi. They made an odd pair with him so tall and broad while she was so petite and crazy as hell. Garcelle just shook her head at that pairing.
Kaeden and Kaleb, stood at the bar watching a pretty dark skinned beauty saunter by. Kaleb said something and both men then looked absolutely wolfish before they laughed. The Strong men really were strikingly handsome men particularly when all four of the brothers were all together. Somehow each of them made being prematurely grey hair the sexiest thing ever.
But one was missing.
The mean and sullen one.
Feeling mischievous, Garcelle's head swung to the left and then to right. How like him not to enjoy the festivities. When Armand again sent their bodies into a series of turns that drew the attention of the crowd, Garcelle caught a glimpse of silver curls and broad shoulders over in the rear of the reception tent. Alone. She whipped her head around and looked at him only to find that his intense stare was already locked on her.
Her heart raced madly.
He once angered her when he accused her of stealing. That day they had insulted each other like children and now they barely spoke to one another. But she couldn't deny that of all the sexy Strong brothers he was the most divine. And the thought of his eyes on her made her muy caliente.
The music changed to an up-tempo song and Bianca broke free of Armand's hold to grab the full skirts of her crimson dress to begin dancing the salsa all alone. Soon the dance floor cleared and she was left alone to give in to the passion and electricity of the dance. But she noticed no one. No one but Kade.
Her eyes were locked on him. Even when she spun she would stop so that she was facing him and their eyes would lock once more.
With each of her spins she found he was moving closer and closer to the edge of the dance floor.
Garcelle enjoyed the warmth of his eyes as she handled the footwork with ease as the crowd applauded her. She moved her body like a snake when need be. She circled her hips like she was working a hoola hoop. She danced like her life was dependent on it.
She danced for him and even though he stood there with his hands in his pants pocket, his face that same brooding and unchanging mask, she knew he missed not one bit of it.
When the music came to an end Garcelle spun her body across the dance floor until she came to a dramatic stop before him with her flared skirt floating in the air before it slowly drifted down around her shapely legs. Everyone applauded her but Garcelle's eyes were locked on Kade's. Pure electricity shimmied over her body. Even as she moved away from him, only casting one last look at him over her shoulder, Garcelle knew that in that one moment everything between them had changed.