Contest! Blush by Cherry Adair

blushAmelia Wentworth is in hot water: she didn’t become the powerful CEO of a multi-billionaire cosmetics company without stepping on a few toes in her six-inch heels, and now someone is after her and won’t stop until she’s six feet under. Amelia goes into hiding as Mia Hayward, and thinks herself safe and finally free from the constraints of the high-powered corporate lifestyle. Enter undercover hit man Cruz Barcelona, posing as a handyman so he can ‘take care’ of Amelia permanently. But when the chemistry between them starts to sizzle, will they risk everything in the name of love?

Keep reading for an excerpt from New York Times bestselling author Cherry Adair’s BLUSH, now on sale from Gallery Books, and enter the sweepstakes below to win a Sephora gift card and a free copy of the book!


No gun. Cruz Barcelona didn’t require a weapon. Death by natural causes was his trademark. His specialty. Speculation had his target currently somewhere in Europe “on vacation.” Read plastic surgery.

Amelia Wellington-Wentworth, aka Mia Hayward, was neither in Europe nor having surgery. Currently his target resided in Bayou Cheniere, Louisiana. His for the taking.

Her death tonight would be clean. Uncomplicated. A tragic, unfortunate accident. He was being paid a king’s ransom to ensure that it appeared that way. The balance of his kill fee—7.5 mil—wired to his offshore account on proof of death. He didn’t give a shit about the money. Cruz considered what he did a public service.

He didn’t need the shelter of night to do his job. But he enjoyed the thick darkness of the Louisiana night, and the unfamiliar sounds and smells surrounding him. The chirp of crickets, the hollow bark of a dog, the intermittent splash of water in the nearby bayou, were the subtle musical score for the evening. The air smelled a little like overripe strawberries and a lot like stagnant swamp water with a touch of ozone. The bug-laden air was thick enough to eat with a spoon. It was going to rain long before he started the three-mile return trek back to town.

Without benefit of a flashlight he edged down the side of the house. Ducking under a thick, curved branch, he shoved his way between dense, dripping vegetation. All the windows on this side of the overgrown walkway were dark, and he couldn’t get near enough to look inside the house without a fucking machete to slash his way through the foliage.

Oh, how the mighty had fallen. From a thirty-milliondollar Pacific Heights mansion in San Francisco to a rundown plantation house that hadn’t seen a renovation, from what Cruz could tell, since the Civil War. And next door to a graveyard, of all places.

The odds against anyone other than himself finding her here were astronomical. No one would imagine or believe that the powerful Amelia Wentworth would detour through this small town, let alone live there.

No security lights to illuminate a skulking killer. How convenient. Of course, out here in the heart of rural bayou country, no one expected a skulking killer. Here people left their doors unlocked and let their children play outside until well past dark.

The hundred-plus-year-old house was crumbling around her diamond-studded ears, from what he could see by the iffy moonlight playing tag with heavy rain clouds. Fixer-upper was an understatement. Two stories of broken siding, peeling paint, and encroaching unidentifiable flora. The house was too big for a woman by herself. No hot and cold running servants. Not presently, anyway. Was she expecting a large group of houseguests or just so used to living in a mansion, she forgot it needed people to maintain it?

The chatty gas station attendant—while repairing the “broken” manifold on Cruz’s truck—had told him about the new woman who’d bought the old Broussard plantation house three weeks ago. Killer legs. Pretty. Single, he thought. The heavy-set, middle-aged owner at the diner told him Mrs. Broussard’s place had been “empty these last ten years, a money pit; mark my words that uppity Yankee woman will live to regret it,” as she poured lukewarm coffee and lingered to chat. And the friendly woman at the B and B said Miss Mia kept to herself but had nice manners.

Cruz had an unshakable code. He accepted jobs to off only people who deserved to die. He was judge, jury, and executioner. The dossier he had on Amelia Wentworth filled in details that would disturb the people of Bayou Cheniere. Deeply disturb.

Driven. Obsessive. Manipulative. Power hungry. Considered herself above the law. None of which were grounds for her death. However, keeping underage kids in horrific working conditions in her factories in China was a different story.

The woman was directly responsible for numerous deaths in her factory in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China. Not that she gave a fuck that hiring kids under the age of sixteen was illegal, even in China. Her factories were staffed by minors working under subhuman working conditions, in cramped living quarters, with too little food, forced to work killer hours with few breaks. All in the name of bigger profit margins and bigger dividends for herself and her shareholders.

Yeah. Deciding to accept this job—whether she deserved to die—had been easy. The transgressions were so heinous, they could’ve paid him less. It had been a bitch to find her due to her wily and convoluted disappearing act, and the number of underworld creeps she’d paid to keep changing her ID across first Europe and then back into the US. Cruz had finally caught up with her in Atlanta, then followed her to Louisiana.

He was eager to kill her. Move on.

Tucked under a freestanding carport was the truck she’d purchased in Atlanta last month. A shiny, new black F-150 pickup with all the bells and whistles. She’d had her own chauffeur since the age of six. He doubted she’d bothered with a driver’s license.

Driver, bodyguards, and little kids dying were the norm for her just to maintain her multibillion-dollar world. His fee was half her annual income of thirty mil minus the perks— fifteen million dollars. Half up front. Balance on completion.

Cruz understood money. Had plenty of it. Only the world he used to obtain it rotated on a completely different axis than Amelia Wentworth, aka Mia Hayward. He disposed of evil individuals who deserved to die. She killed and exploited innocent children.

He turned the corner onto a large, open area sloping down to the water. A pale gold square, shining from a cracked window, illuminated scraggily grass and the twisted wheel of an ancient bicycle as Cruz emerged like Bambi through the goddamned undergrowth onto a wide expanse of mud, dirt, and weedy grass passing for a back lawn.

The moonlight glinted off the water of the bayou, which was filled with alligators, water moccasins, and assorted other useful creatures as backup should he need to make the scene look more convincingly accidental. He wasn’t fond of snakes and kept an eye open as he walked.

He was dealing with the situation in China himself. The kill, the cash, all of it had been set up on a fast track. Just the way he liked it. Anonymity all the way. Cruz was the best. He didn’t give a fuck who hired him. As long as the target met his strict criteria, his unique skill set could be bought.

The bayou side of the house was littered with the body parts of toys, garden implements, and assorted debris scattered among tall weeds. A pirogue and what appeared to be a gator lay on a sliver of dirt near the water, both barely visible for the thick grass and deep shadows.

A scattershot of fat raindrops struck his bare head and shoulders with the portent of a deluge. The impending rain would effectively wash away any sign of an intruder. As far as the town knew, his truck was still at Bucky’s Repair Shop, and he was in his room at the back of Miss Gracie’s B and B drinking beer and watching the game.

He’d be done and gone in less than fifteen minutes, and in time to get back to the B and B to catch the end of Stanley Cup Finals with his team, the Chicago Blackhawks. Which was ironic, since he hasn’t lived in Chicago in more than twenty years.

Keeping his steps nimble and light despite his height, Cruz made his way toward the deep, shadowy wraparound porch. The sagging steps needed replacing; the rickety handrails were dangerously useless. A bullfrog croaked as he quietly crossed the porch to peer through an uncurtained window.

The living room, illuminated by light coming from the hallway, revealed scant furnishings, a swaybacked red velvet sofa, a stepladder, paint cans, and drop cloths that looked like rippled beach sand on a scarred, worn wood floor. With her money, she could easily afford to have an army of workmen and decorators flown here from San Francisco to restore the old house to something special. Why hadn’t she done so?

For a nanosecond, Cruz had an insane desire to get his hands dirty in another way, and could almost feel the vibration of the sander, smell the sawdust and tung oil. A throwback to his youth working at his father’s construction sites.

Then that life-altering moment that had changed everything. He checked his memories. Water under that bridge. All he wanted these days was to breathe in salt air and the perfume of an uncomplicated, naked woman. Hot, sunny, uncomplicated. This time tomorrow, he’d be basking on a beach on Fernando de Noronha, Brazil.

New name, new look, new life. This was Cruz Barcelona’s last job. Retirement was in reach.

As he quietly made his way to the next window, the brightly lit kitchen, he paused as music suddenly blared through the open window. No one in the kitchen, a throwback to the fifties, with harvest-gold appliances and crap piled on every flat surface. The smell wafting through the heavy night air changed to that of hot, baking cookies.

Then he saw her.

Amelia Wentworth, one of Forbes magazine’s top ten richest women in the world, danced into the kitchen wearing a skimpy silky burgundy robe and high animal-print shoes with gold heels. Creamy legs, long and toned, kept the beat as she danced to the radio, twirling around the room with an imaginary partner.

Chin-length dark hair, shaggy and sexy as hell, arced around her head, catching the light as she spun. He knew her eyes were blue, stood five six, and she was left-handed. What Cruz hadn’t known was that her mouth was lush and a little too big, and just looking at that mouth made his dick twitch to life as he imagined what she could do with it.

Right now she didn’t look anything like the president and CEO of Blush Cosmetics, with more money than anyone could spend in a lifetime, and hundreds of thousands of employees under her thumb. She looked sexy, innocent, and drop-dead gorgeous.

Cruz swiped his palm over the prickle on the back of his rain-damp neck. A warning. Even more alert now, he stopped in his tracks, looking beyond the dark night reflected in the window to see if he’d been followed. He knew he hadn’t. He was no amateur. Yet that warning itch persisted.

Something was . . . off.


What’s one thing that makes you blush? Tell us in a comment below and enter for your chance to win a free copy of Blush and a Sephora gift card! Contest begins at 9:00 a.m. Friday, April 10th and ends at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, April 24th. Sorry, contest open to U.S. residents only. Please click here for complete contest rules

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Cherry Adair

New York Times bestselling author Cherry Adair delivers a sizzling erotic romance about a sexy billionaire who's on the run and the hit-man-turned-handyman who's supposed to kill her.



85 comments so far

  1. A nice compliment can make me blush if it takes me by surprise! Or, a surprise kiss in public… that would work too… 🙂

    • wolf2644

      yeah a compliment will make me blush too. I’m just not used to people saying nice things to me, especially if they mean it.

  2. lrhubble

    that sounds so very good. Loved the excerpt. Of course now I really, really want to read the book to find out what else happens in it. 🙂

  3. AngelNicholas

    Fabulous excerpt!

    I blush with embarrassing ease for a forty-year old woman, typically over something particularly outrageous that managed to circumvent my brain-to-mouth filter. Or a bit of atypical clumsiness. Attention from a handsome man will do it as well, though that happens with sad rarity. 🙂

  4. hafelina

    Any sort of flirting, unfortunately.

  5. meredithfl

    Whenever my sweetie starts bringing up our private time in conversation. LOL

  6. dlandlrd

    I tend to blush if my son claims to have heard things going on in my bedroom….whether or not anything actually happened! (in you know what I mean!)

  7. Lots of things make me blush; having super fair skin really shows my shyness!

  8. I blush fairly regularly, especially when someone brings up kink in public if there are people I don’t know around.

  9. emmjaepenniman

    Thank for the excerpt. What usually makes me blush is when I think about sex with my fiancè and I’m in a public place.

  10. janie_422

    A nice Compliment out in public will make me blush like a little school girl. I don’t know why maybe because I never hardly get any.

  11. Oh my so much makes me blush .The look in my man’s eye that mischievous twinkle.

  12. SierraRaven

    I often blush when I receive a compliment.

  13. reich1st

    I can even make myself blush if I say something “dirty”.

  14. When someone gives me a compliment

  15. Donamuree

    The one thing that makes me blush is when my husband of many years takes me into his arms for an impromptu dance around the house and tells me I’m beautiful. Corny, maybe, but I blush every single time.

  16. stormyrose39

    When a stranger catches me admiring them and winks at me 😉

  17. don’t blush

  18. I blush a lot. Usually whenever I talk to a stranger, but talking/reading/watching something about sex doesn’t make me blush.

  19. RobGrieco

    I honestly cannot remember ever blushing. 🙂
    Sorry I’m not more interesting. 🙂

  20. Zandalee

    Nice and/or dirty compliments make me blush. Especially if I really like the person! 😉

  21. Linda Henderson

    I don’t blush very easily but I found out I had a rip in my pants a couple of weeks ago and I’d worn them all day. I sure someone saw my underwear. That makes me blush.

  22. bombi9923

    I blush is someone gives me too many compliments regarding anything really!

  23. sshapley

    I blushed when I forgot to wear a half slip with a see-through skirt while teaching high school seniors.

  24. For a woman that I am not intimate with to see me naked.

  25. souperme

    My daughter just turned 12 and has lots of personal questions and observations about becoming a teen. I find myself blushing quite often!

  26. Shadgates

    I blush at simple eye contact lol It comes with being extremely awkward in social situations.

  27. What makes me blush? Looking forward to 50 SHADES OF GREY coming out on DVD so that I can watch it in the privacy of my home.

  28. What makes me blush? That would be entering this giveaway to win a copy of “Blush” by Cherry Adair.

  29. cuppajoe

    Watching Game of Thrones, or any explicit show on TV with my 20 year old son watching along with me.


    If I have a wardrobe malfunction, especially at the public swimming pool, I blush profusely.

  31. tchoughtby

    off-color joke.

  32. missmaria

    If I see anything very sexy, I blush. Getting a compliment from a handsome man also makes me blush!

  33. nice eyes 🙂

  34. Flirting and compliments gets me every time.

  35. Reading a smexy scene in a book while working out at the gym.

  36. I don’t blush very easy but I would love to read this book. It sounds great!

  37. AquarianDancer

    It’s not hard to make me blush. A joke, compliment, naughty words. 😉

  38. ladymorrighan

    I blush sooo easy! But the worst is when my husband surprises me from behind with kisses and a butt grab.

  39. I blush when I’m told I’m beautiful, because I feel that I’m not. I’m not used to getting compliments, so I blush.

  40. Being serenaded with Happy Birthday in a public place

  41. debprice60

    Being publicly recognized in any way.


    giving a public speech

  43. jwarner6

    Asking a woman when she is due only to find out she isn’t pregnant.

  44. I am on the shy side and often just talking to a stranger I will turn a bright shade of pink! This book looks wonderful.

  45. riley0003

    I blush when my husband pulls my head back for a kiss. Or when he gives me “that look” in public.

  46. What makes me blush? I would have to say someone talking dirty when they didn’t know i was near them.

  47. blacksnake

    I have an olive complexion, so you can’t see my blushing, but I can feel it! I blush when I am complimented!

  48. What makes me blush is dirty sex talk.

  49. keizerfire

    I have a bad habit of saying things at inappropriate times. Something pops in my head, and straight out of my mouth, and there’s no taking it back. I seriously don’t know why but right in the middle of a steamy moment, a joke popped into my head one night, and I burst out laughing. Explaining didn’t quite smooth things over. I guess I’m a little quirky.

  50. Cgreenleaf

    Compliments and certain kinds of looks make me blush.

  51. karatheredhead

    Compliments always make me blush!

  52. an honest compliment

  53. Compliments make me blush big time!

  54. jodiinnj

    The excerpt of Blush made me blush.

  55. Stacenator

    Being caught with a” bathing suit top malfunction” and a very long walk back to my towel at the beach.

  56. readsbyrose

    I blush terribly when I have to dance in front of people. Or any other time in which I am in the middle of a group. It’s ridiculous.

  57. lindymaejax

    I blush when complimented by a nice man

  58. when I’m caught watching someone

  59. Diane Sallans

    unexpected compliments – sometimes you know someone will say something nice, but other times they catch you unawares.

  60. lynnpooh

    hubba hubba from husbaned as I modeled a new pair of heels

  61. pattycake

    I blushed when I realized my jeans had a hole in the rearend the summer I supervised playground. They were old and somehow the fabric disintegrated as I sat against the concrete wall. I was a young college student, very poor, but I soon bought new jeans.

  62. The last time I blushed was at a comedy club, funny show, but glad it was dark so no one saw my red face.

  63. Flirting with a sexy man can make me flush or blush

  64. Gebhardt53

    I’m not sure nowadays, hasn’t happened in a long time. Always looking for new books and new authors to read.

  65. I blush mostly when something embarrassing happens.

  66. skkgagnon

    When someone pays me a compliment. 🙂

  67. Definitely photographs shown to everyone when I was a baby and the ‘Oh, what a cute baby!’ remarks.

  68. Compliments. Or a secret exposed.

  69. tawnysea

    Compliments from strangers make me blush every time. I’m trying to learn to say ‘thank you’ without flushing and stuttering.

  70. When something is said to me and I am caught off guard , not expecting it

  71. pricillaelvis

    unexpected flirting-sometimes not prepared!!

  72. sunshinehdfan

    compliments make me blush

  73. being called upon in a group makes me blush.

  74. ladiemarci

    What makes me blush is walking in on someone else in an embarrassing situation.

  75. ellenraeschroeder

    Compliments always make me blush

  76. I blush very easily but mostly a compliment will do it for me.

  77. orelukjp0

    I blush when someone stares intensely at me or flirts with/compliments me.

  78. Compliments will make me blush and when I get caught doing something I’m not supposed to be doing.

  79. itsamanderr

    Compliments are quickest way to make me blush.

  80. queeniecondie

    When I know someone is hanging on my every word.

  81. momof3boysj

    blush if I realize too late my top is too low cut for church

  82. Unfortunately, I just blush very easily. However, reading Christina Lauren’s books always seem to make me blush as well.

  83. KarnagesMistress

    I don’t know what makes me blush anymore; I’m usually not looking in a mirror when it happens! I know I get really, really embarrassed when people call my given name in public (I was teased about it when I was younger).

  84. Sunnymay

    I blush when trying hard not to, especially when embarrassed from a comment or compliment about how I look from the opposite sex.

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