If You Dare

By: Jessica Lemmon

He regarded her earnestly. “Is that a bet you’d be willing to make, McIntire?”

When she found her voice, it was a whisper. “Marcus—”

He kept her against him, his hands on the underside of her thighs. “Yeah, you’re probably right.” The setting sun caught his brown eyes, making them look the color of bourbon. “Our parents would kill us if we eloped.”

“You haven’t even met my parents yet,” she said vacantly.

“Guess you’d better call them.” He gave her a quick kiss. “I don’t think they’d appreciate you being engaged to a guy they’ve never met.” His grin was cheeky.

She didn’t hesitate to return it.

This was fast. Maybe a little crazy. But no crazier than the way they’d knocked down the wall that had kept them apart for two years. All it had taken was a hockey mask and way too many luxuries for an overnight stay in a crumbling haunted mansion.

Lily tightened her arms around his neck and leaned in, brushing her nose against his. “Yeah, that’s a bet I’d take.”

His wide, genuine smile warmed her heart. She admired his handsome face in the sunshine and it hit her she still owed him a declaration. After all, Marcus had gone out on a limb for her. Or, more accurately, a sandbar, she thought as she scanned the clear water lapping against their bodies.

She swallowed down her fears and reminded herself that with great risk came great reward. Marking his lips with a soft kiss, she whispered, “I love you, too, Black.”

He grinned against her mouth.

“Yeah,” he said, leaning his forehead onto hers. “I know.”


A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…I wrote a short story for a call for submissions. A little more than a year later, the story sat untouched on my hard drive while my agent continued to sing its praises. The timing wasn’t right until just now, and I’m thrilled Marcus and Lily get their day in the sun!

Thank you, first and foremost to God, for gracing me with more blessings than I deserve. It’s a bit of heaven on earth, this job. I once read writing was the act of taking “divine dictation” and I must agree. I am grateful every day for the words that come, even though I’m never exactly sure where they’re coming from.

Readers, thanks to you I put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). Because of your willingness to spend time reading my words, I have a reason to write them.

Sincerest thanks to my critique partners. Michele Shaw, for your eagle eye and accuracy in pointing out errors. To Piper Trace: it is with pride I admit that there are a few lines in this story that belong to you. If I can return the favor, please let me know.

To my agent, Nicole Resciniti, thank you for loving this story (and Marcus!). You worked for a year to help this book see the light of day, and your comments and editorial remarks were spot-on. Thank you for telling me this short story had a great big heart. That compliment went a long, long way.

Lastly, but not leastly (ßthat’s not a word), to Liz Pelletier. When I met you at RT 2013, your comment to me was, “Someday…” I’m proud to say that someday is now and If You Dare is my maiden voyage at Entangled! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your editorial comments and your pinpoint honesty.


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