LOVE ME LATER Excerpt by Libby Rice

Love Me LaterScarlet eyed Ethan in speculation. “What kind of ‘take me home’ are we talking?”

“The multiple choice kind. You get whatever you want.”

Intriguing. He didn’t seem the type to rush, let alone into a woman he held in mild contempt. An empress like her.

Yet she slid her hand into his grip, a compulsion to get close overriding any doubts. Perhaps she felt compelled to play reckless. Or maybe she was driven to place herself in the hands of a man who offered her something of value.

Like time.

They rose from the table, his thumb discretely circling her palm. Wisps of heat trailed upward, at once arousing and endearing. She ought to pull back for at least appearance’s sake. But she didn’t. Instead, she let him lead her away from the sanity, or at least the safety, of her friends. On the street, they headed straight for the Maserati. Two hours ago, the car had been nothing but a reminder of emotional distance. Now it seemed thrilling as all hell.

The ride was smooth and quiet. Ethan slid behind the wheel, revved the engine, and glided into the night. A complete chameleon, he looked and acted like he slipped into the extraordinary every day.

Parked in her underground space, he leaned across her seat and pulled the passenger handle. On withdrawal, his shoulder grazed her chest. He didn’t acknowledge the subtle caress, so she kept quiet, resisting the urge to arch forward in search of an actual grope.

Swinging one leg from the car, she twisted back. “The earrings were my mother’s.” They were a living memory she rarely left home without.

Ethan had already unfolded himself from the car. At her words, he dropped to a crouch, meeting her gaze across the seats.

She lifted a hand to tug a stone. “They’re talismans for luck. For strength.” For the ability to enjoy life and spread warmth like her mother had. When he didn’t respond, she rolled her head back to examine the ceiling. “You said to lose them if I ever see a street fight.”

He leaned in. “You never will, so—”

“These rocks are like your attitude. I mean, they remind me who I am and provide the ultimate mask.” The earrings told the world she was nothing more than a pretty bauble, expensive and meaningless. They told her she was strong and resilient and, at least once, loved. Ethan’s cynic warned the world away, but maybe his harsh exterior provided mere camouflage.

His expression remained impassive, revealing nothing. “You surprise me, Scarlet.”

Calling her “Empress” had been fine until he said her name, long and slow like chilled maple syrup. His mouth, she decided distractedly, might be his best feature. Full lips curved over white teeth in patterns that injected everyday words with undeniable power. They let her in while his eyes locked her out.

When she stepped from the car, he was there, and she let him clasp her hand and guide her to the elevators. Fumbling for the key card in her bottomless purse, she worried she’d gotten in over her head. Awareness of the man who stood large and solid next to her, at once disarming and enigmatic, raised the skin on her arms into a thousand tiny bumps.

She came to a hard stop at the split doors. “Here we are.”

Ethan’s lingering smile fled. “We’re in a garage, Empress, standing at an elevator.”

Scarlet regarded him for a weighty moment. “Penthouse,” she explained, pointing up. “Private elevator. This, essentially, is my door.”

He stepped closer, and a nervous chill chased down her neck. For all her feeble attempts at rule-breaking, her life invited solitude. She lived behind walls, walls in the form of guarded buildings, alarm systems, and close confidants from her limited social stratosphere.

“So what’ll it be,” he murmured, eyes on her mouth.

She cleared her throat, refusing to step away, yet wringing the handle of her bag with two fists.

“Scarlet,” he said in that low voice big men use to soothe frightened animals, barely moving forward, but advancing all the same. “Relax.”

“Please, don’t say that.” First of all, she couldn’t obey. Worse, commanding her to simmer down, no matter how gently said, only pointed out that she clammed up at the mere hint of intimacy.
He backed her up with his body, then hunched over her smaller frame, bracketing her rear against the seam between the elevator doors. “All right. Should we get it over with?”

“A kiss?” she breathed. Yes, kiss.

He leaned in, and she felt heat seep from his tense thighs and stomach. “If you insist.”

By Libby Rice

Can they love right on the redo?

Scarlet Leore enjoys a glittering existence amongst society’s elite. Ethan Blake is a prizefighter knocking his way through school, counting on his winnings to bankroll the dreams that won’t fit in a boxing ring. When the two meet, neither can deny the instant attraction that wells between the hulking fighter and the heiress who is miles and millions out of his league. But a vicious attack leaves Scarlet physically and emotionally battered, and for Ethan, her allure crumbles along with the rest of his life after she accuses him of wielding the knife.
Years later, Scarlet has abandoned the high life for that of a hard-working lawyer, while Ethan has clawed his way to the pinnacle of a business empire. Drawn into his world of high-stakes tech mergers, they dance to a tune of revenge, desire, and finally, redemption. But their world won’t tolerate an attorney falling for her client. They’ll need more than lust and forgiveness. They must bridge the chasm of a tormented past to understand who they are today. Only then can they forge a future in the face of the resurging enemy who once tore them apart.

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Libby_Rice_Photo-WebResolution (1)_2BIO
Before becoming a writer, Libby was first a mechanical engineer in the data acquisition industry (voltmeter anyone?). Preferring writing to technical design, Libby headed to law school and eventually practiced patent law for several enterprising years (patent application covering a voltmeter anyone?). Finally realizing that technology just wasn’t her bag, she traded the voltmeters for alpha heroes and the women who love them.

Today, Libby writes contemporary romances from the foot of the Rocky Mountains, where she lives with her husband, a bona fide rocket scientist (he stuck with the voltmeters!). When not writing, Libby loves good food, even better wine, and traveling the world in search of the next great handbag story.

Libby loves hearing from readers! Join the fun at, where you can sign up for Libby’s new-release e-newsletter, or on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and/or Instagram.

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