At Any Price
Silver Griffon Associates
January 13, 2014
Gaming the System, Book 1
This New Adult book is intended for readers over the age of 18 due to adult language, sexual content and adult situations.
Achievement Unlocked: Geek Virgin
When Mia Strong, proud geek-girl and popular gaming blogger, auctions off her virginity online, she knows she’ll make waves. But what she will not be making is a love connection. Her rules are set in stone: One night. No further contact.
It’s a desperate step, but it’s the only way she can go to medical school and pay her mother’s mounting hospital bills.
Difficulty Level: Millionaire CEO
Adam Drake, the enigmatic auction winner, is a software prodigy who made his first million at seventeen. Now, in his mid-twenties, he’s sexy, driven and–as CEO of his own gaming company–he’s used to making the rules. Before Mia knows what’s happening, he’s found the loophole in the rules of her auction. Every stipulation she’s made to protect her heart gets tossed by the wayside.
She can’t tell if he’s playing her…or if he’s playing for keeps.
Connected Books: Gaming the System
What the Critics Say
“Brilliantly written, beautifully plotted and deliciously wrapped up, this story from Brenna Aubrey made me happy, page after page.” —Tammy Falkner, bestselling author of Tall, Tatted and Tempting
“It’s sexy, it’s emotional…and a great read. I would definitely recommend Brenna’s debut and she’s now on my authors-to-watch list.” —The Season for Romance Blog (Top Pick, 4.5 stars)
“This book was a real page-turner! 4.5 engaging, emotional, passionate stars!” —A Bookish Escape NA Blog
“The chemistry between Adam and Mia is fantastic…Honestly, I couldn’t stop reading. I stayed awake until stupid o’clock to finish it…” —The Book Lovers Codex Blog
“By far one of the best books I’ve read in the New Adult genre so far…Ms. Aubrey [has] raised the bar for the genre with a perfectly told story.” —Coffee Table Reviews
“I really am in awe of this book…At Any Price ended up being one of the best New Adult books I’ve read in a long time.” —Book Labyrinth
“The story goes in some unexpected directions and creates powerful emotions.” —Dear Author
“From the complex, interesting characters to the phenomenal writing style, At Any Price captured my attention, and easily made me fall in love with this sensual and unique story.” —Smokin’ Hot Book Blog
“I loved this novel. I tore through it in a matter of hours and it made me smile and laugh.” —Bookalicious Reviews
“Strong characters with emotional pasts! I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait until the next one!” —Three Chicks and Their Books Blog
Read an Excerpt
My hands drummed on my lap, slapping against my bare knees. Heath stopped me once by placing his large hand across mine but I only resumed the minute he removed it.
“You’re driving me up a tree with that.”
I shot him a look. He’d just have to deal with my nerves. “Are we really that early?”
“No, he’s late.”
“If he was that anxious to meet me today, shouldn’t he be here on time?”
“He’s coming up the 405. After three, it’s an instant parking lot. He’s probably stuck in traffic.”
I huffed. “Can’t he take the filthy rich limo lane or something?”
Before I could even finish my sentence, two men approached the frosted glass door into the conference room. One of them leaned forward to snap open the door. He was the taller of the two and wore his dark hair in a close-cropped style. The other man—well, I hardly noticed him when I locked eyes with the first man’s obsidian stare.
Heath and I jerked to our feet. My pulse ratcheted up to a near-fatal rate, threatening acute hypertension. The first guy with the dark eyes was the software mogul—I would have bet my every measly belonging on it. He hesitated at the doorway once he’d caught a full glimpse of me and my breath caught when I looked into his stunningly handsome face.
He was about six feet tall and wearing an expensive suit—the kind with a vest under the jacket that looked like it had been tailored for him, hugging his tapered waist and slim hips. The suit looked so good on him that I knew it had to be designer, even though I was the first one to confess that I knew nothing about designer anything.
He was finely built but not imposing. His slacks clung to muscular thighs, his jacket stretched across solid but not broad shoulders. His suit was a crisp, steel gray with a slightly darker shirt and tie. The silver tie clip caught the light and my eyes flicked to it and then back to his face. He had the chiseled masculinity of a marble god. All angles and strong, clean lines.
My heart felt like it might fibrillate or—as a nonmedical student would say—flutter. I’d never been so strongly affected by a man. Especially one I’d only just laid eyes on. His dark eyes met mine and my chest felt like it was about to explode. He stopped, his eyes narrowing. While he gave me the once-over, I sucked in a lungful of air because I’d almost forgotten to breathe during this initial lightning strike.
Shit. It was at that precise moment that I realized I was in trouble.
Drake never took his eyes off of mine, not until he came to a stop just opposite the conference table. He moved like a cat—a sleek predator.
Heath leaned forward, offering his hand and Drake finally looked away to shake hands with him, an arrogant smile on his lips. “Good to see you again, Bowman,” he said with a clear, deep voice that only made my heart race faster.
His voice was a caress—a gentle but firm hand that skimmed down my bared spine to settle in a tight fist just at the base. Every sense came alive and my awareness of everything around me heightened. Elevated respiration. Increased perceived body heat. Speedy pulse. Classic signs of sexual arousal.
I almost fell off my heels in shock over the strength of it. Was this me? Me? Who’d wondered for at least a year if I might be a lesbian because I didn’t find any men I met attractive?
His gaze flicked back to me as Heath laid a hand on my shoulder. “This is our semi-famous blogger, Girl Geek.“
Drake’s chin tilted in a fetching way as he seemed to be studying me. I bit my lip, every nerve pulling taut. It was amazing how the body’s response to arousal and fear were so very similar. And at that point, I’d have been hard put to discern the difference.
Drake waved a hand to my seat while he took his. I sank slowly into mine, the leather sticking to the backs of my sweaty knees. I looked at the man flanking him for the very first time, suddenly realizing I hadn’t even spared a thought or a glance for him before this. He was older, balding, with a middle paunch and appeared in his midfifties. He carried a briefcase and appeared to be a lawyer. When I looked back at Drake, I almost jumped at the intensity of his gaze. His eyes shot points right through me, like icy darts. My eyes held his but I swallowed what felt like a watermelon in my throat and tried to ignore the pulse bumping at my temple.
Heath began riffling through a stack of papers on the table before him and Drake looked away from me to follow what Heath was doing. By coincidence, I’m sure, I finally remembered to breathe at that exact same moment.
Heath pulled out the paper he was looking for and Drake turned back to me. “So do I call you Girl Geek or do I get to know your name?”
I cleared my throat and refolded my hands in my lap. “My name is Mia.”
His eyebrows rose. “Mia?”
I fought the urge to fidget, tightening my hands on top of my bare knees. He looked down, as if watching my hands through the glass table. “Emilia. But everyone calls me Mia.”
A small smile danced on his lips when he looked up again and met my gaze. “I’m not everyone.” His eyes traveled down to my conservative neckline—but no lower, to his credit—and back. “Emilia.”
“Theme” Song for the novel: Wicked Game by Chris Isaak
The rest of the playlist:
Ambient Raspberry Swirl ~ Tori Amos
Anyone ~ Yaz
Apologize ~ OneRepublic & Timbaland
Back At Your Door ~ Maroon 5
Before I Walk On Fire ~ Sophie B. Hawkins
Believe ~ The Bravery
Big Girls Don’t Cry (Personal) ~ Fergie
Blood Of Eden ~ Peter Gabriel
Breakaway ~ Kelly Clarkson
Breathe ~ Thea Gilmore
Can’t Let Go ~ Mariah Carey
Cry Me a River ~ Justin Timberlake
Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover ~ Sophie B. Hawkins
Don’t Go ~ Yaz
Dream On ~ Depeche Mode
Drive ~ Incubus
Drops of Jupiter ~ Train
Everlong (Acoustic Version) ~ Foo Fighters
Every Breath You Take ~ The Police
Everywhere ~ Michelle Branch
F**kin’ Perfect ~ P!nk
Fade Into You ~ Mazzy Star
Fading Like A Flower ~ Roxette
Far Away ~ Nickelback
Feels Good At First ~ Train
Fighter ~ Christina Aguilera
Flying High ~ Jem
For You Only ~ Alison Moyet
The Funeral ~ Band of Horses
Genie In a Bottle ~ Christina Aguilera
Good Life ~ OneRepublic
Harder to Breathe ~ Maroon 5
I Belong To You ~ Lenny Kravitz
I Like It Rough ~ Lady GaGa
Shall Believe ~ Sheryl Crow
I’ve Been Thinking About You ~ Londonbeat
In Your Eyes ~ Peter Gabriel
Kiss From A Rose ~ Seal
A l’envers à l’endroit ~ Noir Désir
Let’s Go Forward ~ Terence Trent D’Arby
Little Black Submarines ~ The Black Keys
Lonely No More ~ Rob Thomas
Love You Like a Love Song ~ Selena Gomez & The Scene
Lovesong ~ ADELE
Makes Me Wonder ~ Maroon 5
Mermaid ~ Train
Mirrors ~ Justin Timberlake
My Love (feat. T.I.) ~ Justin Timberlake
Never Let Me Down Again ~ Depeche Mode
No Ordinary Love ~ Sade
Nothing Lasts Forever ~ Maroon 5
Ode To Boy II ~ Alison Moyet
One More Night ~ Maroon 5
Only You ~ Yaz
The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack ~ Liars
Pleasure, Little Treasure ~ Depeche Mode
Quelqu’un m’a dit ~ Carla Bruni
Rhythm of Love ~ Plain White T’s
Right Beside You ~ Sophie B. Hawkins
Right Here Waiting ~ Richard Marx
Right Round When You Go Down ~ Flo Rida
Rock Your Body Justin Timberlake ~ Justified
Running Up That Hill ~ Placebo
Sad ~ Maroon 5
Sail ~ AWOLNATION
Save A Prayer ~ Duran Duran
Scar Tissue ~ Red Hot Chili Peppers
Scream ~ Chris Cornell
Secret ~ Maroon 5
Secret Garden ~ Bruce Springsteen
Set Fire to the Rain ~ ADELE
Shape Of My Heart ~ Sting
Shiver ~ Maroon 5
Slow Like Honey ~ Fiona Apple
So Happy I Could Die ~ Lady GaGa
So The Story Goes ~ Erasure
Softly Over ~ Yaz
Somebody’s Crying ~ Chris Isaak
Something To Save ~ George Michael
Sometime Around Midnight ~ The Airborne Toxic Event
Starstruck ~ Lady GaGa, Space Cowboy & Flo Rida
Stay A Little Bit Longer ~ UB40
Steal Me Blind ~ Alison Moyet
Strangelove ~ Depeche Mode
Sweater Weather ~ The Neighbourhood
Sweetest Perfection ~ Depeche Mode
Sweetest Thing ~ U2
Take My Breath Away ~ Berlin
Tangled ~ Maroon 5
Time And Tide ~ Basia
Tunnel Vision ~Justin Timberlake
Under the Milky Way ~ The Church
Waiting For That Day ~ George Michael
Waiting For The Night ~ Depeche Mode
Walk Away From Love ~ Yaz
We Belong ~ Pat Benatar
What Is Love? ~ Howard Jones
Whataya Want from Me ~ Adam Lambert
When I Was Your Girl ~ Alison Moyet
Wicked Game ~ Chris Isaak
World In My Eyes ~ Depeche Mode
Wreck of the Day ~ Anna Nalick
Your Body ~ Christina Aguilera
Your Tongue Like The Sun In My Mouth ~ Sophie B. Hawkins
Your Woman ~ White Town
Click on the images for a larger view.