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Thursday, May 29, 2014

DELECTABLE by Adrianne Lee Spotlight

About DELECTABLE:
Montana real estate agent Quint McCoy will tell you that the most important thing is location, location, location. It's a lesson he learns all too well when he goes incommunicado for a four-week fishing trip to Alaska. While he's away, his mother Molly turns his office into the pie shop she has always dreamed of, Big Sky Pie. But that's not the only surprise in store for him.

On her way out of town, Callee McCoy only wants to say a fond farewell to her beloved mother-in-law. But Molly soon persuades Callee to stay and lend a hand at the new shop, even if it means heating up the kitchen with her soon-to-be ex. As Callee and Quint rediscover their recipe for love, they realize that some couples are so sinfully good together that one delectable taste is never enough . . .

Excerpt: 
She started, then inexplicably froze. His hands came down on hers as he leaned over her, their bodies spooned. Her heart began to race. His cheek touched hers, his mouth near her ear, his voice husky. “Keep the pressure even. Like this. That’s right.” 

He leaned into her and away from her with each extended roll, his body heat like a comforter she wanted to snuggle. She didn’t mean to nuzzle his head, but she did, and the next thing she knew...

“Oh, God, Callee,” Quint groaned, spinning her into his arms, his mouth finding hers, his body meeting hers. A fiery rain of irresistible sensations washed through her, burning away her resistance. She kissed him with all the need she’d suppressed for months and months and tore at his chef ’s coat as he tore at hers, their lips locked in an ever-deepening reunion. His hands were in her hair, hers were in his. He tasted of red wine and Thai food and smelled even better. Her sweater vanished, followed by her bra, and his shirt, his belt, his jeans. He pulled her naked torso to his, eliciting a gasp of pure pleasure at the ached-for feel of his body. Her nipples were rock hard against his chest, his arousal against her thighs. 

She didn’t remember kicking off her boots, or her jeans, or her panties. Every breath, every touch, raised her higher and higher toward the heavens, and she didn’t want it to ever stop. 

Quint swept the parchment paper, pie crust, flour, and rolling pin from the island. The ensuing crash brought Callee to her senses with a bang. Dear God, what was she doing? She shoved against Quint’s shoulders, tore her lips from his and pushed him away, panting. “No. No. I don’t want this.”

“Could’ve fooled me.” His words came out in a breathless rasp. 

Callee gathered her clothes, tugging them on, humiliation and embarrassment scorching her insides. She glanced at the mess on the floor. It was just like their marriage. It had started out as something wonderful and ended up thrown away. She left him standing there, naked, aroused, and making no attempt to cover himself. He looked perplexed and angry and sexier than any of her memories.


About Adrianne Lee:
Adrianne Lee lives with her husband of many, many years on the beautiful Olympic Peninsula in Washington State in a pole barn building her husband transformed into an upstairs apartment with a shop below for his hot rods. Adrianne creates her stories on her laptop, in her recliner with her adopted cat, Spooky, curled between her calves, snoozing.  Over thirty years of summer vacationing in the Flat Head Lake area near Kalispell and Glacier Park has given her a love for all things Montana.

Adrianne’s social media:
@akaAdrianneLee

Buy links:
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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

THE GAMBLE by Kristen Ashley Blitz

Love is the greatest gamble of all . . . 

Nina Sheridan desperately needs a timeout vacation. With a fiancĂ© who can't even remember how she takes her coffee, Nina wants some distance to rethink her engagement. Flying halfway around the world from England to a mountain town in Colorado should do the trick. But when she finds a gorgeous man at her rental cabin, Nina's cold, lonely adventure suddenly heats up.

The owner of the house, Holden "Max" Maxwell is surprised by the beautiful woman who turns up at his door. But when Nina becomes ill, Max spends days nursing her back to health. A private man with a broken heart, Max finds himself drawn to the strong-willed woman. Soon it becomes impossible for Nina and Max to deny their growing attraction to one another. Yet even as these two wounded lovebirds think about taking a chance on a relationship, a dangerous secret from Max's past emerges-and threatens to end their love for good.

Except: 

I woke up, my eyes opening, and I registered immediately firstly, that it was the dead of night, dark with a hint of moonlight and secondly, that I was awake like I was ready to take on the day. This was likely because if I was at home I would already be up, taking on the day.
Then I registered that I didn’t have my head on a pillow. Against my cheek I could feel sleek skin and hard muscle. It hit me that I had my head on Max’s shoulder, my torso was part on him, part pressed to his side, my arm was resting across his belly and my knee was cocked, my thigh thrown over his. His arm was under me and up my back, his hand resting at my waist.
Oh my God.
I didn’t speculate about what he was doing there. I just thought about getting away.
I rolled to my back and then to my side, wondering if I could get my car keys out of his jeans and my suitcase to the car without waking him up.
I slid partly across the bed but I felt movement then a strong arm hooked around my belly. A soft, surprised gasp escaped from my mouth when I was hauled back. I hit the wall of his warm, hard frame and Max leaned his chest into me, cocking a knee, taking mine with it so his heavy thigh was resting against mine.
“Max,” I whispered.
No answer.
“Max,” I whispered louder.
“Mmm?” 
Then I felt his face in my hair and my body froze as his hand slid up my belly and his fingers curled around my breast.
I sucked in a breath and held myself still. He didn’t move or say anything more.
“Max,” I whispered, and his name was barely a murmur, as evidently my voice was frozen too.
Again, no answer except the heavy weight of him settled deeper in my back.
He was asleep but he hadn’t let go of my breast.
I could, and should, lurch out of his arms and escape him and his house, maybe throwing a tantrum between the former and the latter.
He had no business detaining me, keeping my car keys, bossing me around, crawling into bed with me while I slept, even if he had nursed me back to health and made me oatmeal.
But I’d never been held like this, not in my whole life, and I couldn’t ignore the fact that it felt good. So. Very. Good. To be held, in bed, in the arms of a tall, strong, handsome man.
Unbelievable.
And it was more than that. I tried not to think about it, to let it penetrate my brain but in Max’s bed, in his arms, I not only (obviously) wasn’t alone, I didn’t feel lonely. I felt warm, safe, protected with his big body cocooning mine.
And it felt good.
In fact, since I walked into his A‑frame, except for the time I spent in the backseat of the rental, I hadn’t felt lonely. Not in the times I woke up during my illness when Max was there or even when he wasn’t and knowing he was close. Not even yesterday when I was alone. It had been a long time since I felt that safe contentment of knowing my solitude would be fleeting, gone before the wretched loneliness settled back in.
And it was more than even that. His hand at my breast, his leg cocked into mine, it felt sexy and it made me feel sexy. I hadn’t felt that way in a while. A long while. Too long and I missed it.
Niles and I, when we first met, had a healthy relationship in every aspect. But once I said yes to marriage, for some reason that changed. The sex came less and less frequently until now it’d been months since we’d been intimate. More than a few months. In fact, way too many.
Niles and I didn’t live together. He liked his modern three-bedroom flat in Bristol with its view of the river. He could walk to work from there and practically anywhere else he needed to go.
My place was huge, way too much space for me but I liked my rambling, four-bedroom semi-detached mainly because it had been Charlie’s. But Niles couldn’t walk to work from my place. He’d have to take a bus, which he would never do. And taxis every day would cost a mint. Unlike me, Niles was a barrister and he made really good money, not to mention his family came from it. Still, a taxi every day was a bit much.
Charlie had bought the house for a song and started to fix it up and when he was gone, I’d made it my mission to finish his work and I did. I couldn’t let it go because it had been Charlie’s and because I’d put so much into it, but Niles had no interest in moving there.
We were at a stalemate. Niles telling me to put it on the market and move in with him. Me resisting. And while I was resisting, I buried the feeling of resentment that if Niles paid attention, if he listened, he’d know how much that house meant to me and I wouldn’t have to resist.
Furthermore, these days Niles and I rarely saw each other during the week. Maybe to have a drink, sometimes I’d go to his house and make dinner. But we spent most of our weekends together, usually me at his house again spending the night just sleeping.
But he didn’t hold me when we slept. We didn’t make love. He didn’t curl his fingers around my breast in the unconscious but still possessive way Max was doing at that very moment.
And even though I tried not to think about any of that, told myself to move, to get out of there, to get away from Max, that it was insane to lie in this man’s arms, I couldn’t do it.
Instead I lay in the dark, the moonlight bright and coming through the A‑frame window, held by Max and I decided to allow myself a moment of insanity.
He was asleep. He didn’t know what he was doing, what I was allowing him to do. I was fully awake. There was no way I’d get back to sleep. I’d slide away from him later, after I let myself have this. This haven of safety. This feeling of being desired, and if I pretended (which I decided to do), even cherished. This feeling of being anything but alone and the opposite of lonely.
I let my body relax and I snuggled deeper into Max. In response, his fingers automatically tightened on my breast and he settled further into me. My torso went into the bed, his hand pinned under me, his chest pressed into my back.
I closed my eyes. That felt even better.
I slid my hand along his steely arm, allowing myself another forbidden treat. Then I pushed my hand under my body, my fingers wrapping around his strong wrist and holding on.
I lay there a long time, probably hours, dozing sometimes, sometimes alert. When I was alert, I took that time to memorize the feel of what I had in that moment, over and over. Liking it enough to allow myself a bit more, just a bit. I’d move away later.
Dawn was just beginning to light the A‑frame when I fell into another doze that was more than a doze.
It was me falling fast asleep.

* * *

I woke, the sunlight bright against my eyelids and for a scant second I was confused.
Somewhere along the line I hadn’t only fallen asleep, Max and I had both moved back to our original position of him on his back, me partly sprawled on him.
I felt myself being moved and I kept my eyes closed at the feeling of it. With an exquisite gentleness the likes I’d never experienced before, he slid out from under me. Then he moved me so my head was on the pillow. I felt the covers pulled up over my shoulder and I listened to Max moving away.
For a moment I just allowed the fact to wash over me that big, solid, bossy, ungentlemanly Max could move me that way, touch me that way. Not only that he could but that he would and he did.
Then I listened to the noises in the bathroom, taps turning on and off. He came out and a drawer opened, then closed. I felt his presence leave the loft.
Then reality intruded.
Drat it all! I was such an idiot.
I heard soft noises from downstairs, the kitchen sink going on, then off. I threw back the covers and ran to the bathroom.
I used the facilities, brushed my teeth, flossed, washed my face, my mind blank except for the fact I was an idiot. I should have taken my opportunity at escape. Max was apparently a heavy sleeper. I could have gotten away.
I gathered all my stuff in the bathroom and went out to the loft, going straight to my suitcase. I dumped the stuff in willy-nilly, frantic, sorting through my clothes to pull together an Escape Max Outfit.
I was so focused on this I didn’t hear him hit the loft, and when his arm snaked around my waist, I jumped.
“Mornin’, Duchess,” he said into my hair when my back hit his front.
I went stiff and started, “Max—”
“Coffee,” he interrupted me.
“Max—” I began again, pulling at his arm and he let me go.
I took a step to the side, turning to him, opening my mouth to tell him exactly what was on my mind (though I didn’t know what that would be since nothing, at that moment, was on my mind) but he caught my hand. When I pulled back and took a step away, to my shock he twirled me, his arm lifting mine
over my head like we were on a dance floor. He stopped me with my back to him and curled his arm around my belly, my back to his chest and he turned me toward the stairs.
“Coffee,” he repeated, forcing me with his body to walk forward while I was still held in his arm.
He was stronger than me and way bigger, so instead of pulling away, I focused on a fight maybe I could win.
“You slept with me,” I accused.
“Yep,” he replied casually.
“Yes, he replied casuallyj. I’d known him essentially a day!
“You crawled in bed with me when I was asleep.”
“Yep,” he said again, and we hit the stairs. He let me go but put his hands firm to my waist and propelled me down.
“Max!” I snapped.
“Coffee,” he said yet again.
His hand was now between my shoulder blades and he wasn’t stopping. I was forced to descend the staircase with him behind me or be shoved down them.
Seriously, he was so annoying!
“I’d like to put on some clothes,” I snapped.
“You’ve got on some clothes.”
“I have on a nightgown. ”
“That’s clothes.”
“It’s a nightgown,” I said, hitting the foot of the stairs and whirling on him.
He grabbed my hand and headed toward the kitchen. I pulled back but he was stronger than me and he was apparently on a coffee mission.
He yanked me into the kitchen close to the coffeepot, which was filling, turned, and tugged at my arm so I was close. His hand dropped mine but his arm went around my waist, pulling my lower body into close proximity with his.
I looked up at him, opened my mouth, ready to let him have it, but he got there first.
“Oatmeal with one sugar or satisfy your hankerin’ for some toast with grape jelly?”
I pulled in so much breath I felt my chest expand with it, filling me up, warm and sweet.
Men didn’t remember things like you saying you missed grape jelly. Not if you just muttered it in passing. Charlie would remember that but he wasn’t just any man. He was Charlie. There’d never been anyone like him.
Niles didn’t remember things like that. In fact, the incident that drove me to deciding to take this Colorado adventure time-out was when I had trouble sleeping one night, dragged myself exhausted to his kitchen the next morning, and Niles, in an unusual mood, offered to pour me a cup of coffee. When I’d gratefully accepted, Niles asked me how I took it.
Since I’d known Niles for two years, had woken up in his house so often there was no way to count, been to breakfast with him, dinner, to his parents’ house for lunch and dinner and he didn’t know how I took my coffee, didn’t pay even that amount of attention to me, it hit me I needed to think about our situation and I needed to do it fast.
“Duchess?” Max called, and I blinked at him, fighting back that warmth in my chest.
“Toast and jelly,” I whispered.
“Gotcha,” he said, letting me go but his hand came up, his fingers gliding along my jaw in a touch that was there, then gone physically. But the feeling of it remained. It tingled and it tingled in a nice way.

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About the author:
Kristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening tothe strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake. Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up.  And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

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BABY IT'S YOU by Jane Graves Spotlight

About BABY IT’S YOU:
With only the wedding dress on her back and her honeymoon luggage in the car, Kari Worthington is running away. Determined to put her controlling father, her rigidly structured life, and the uptight groom she left at the altar in her rearview mirror, she escapes to the Texas Hill country . . . and lands on a tall, dark, and gorgeous winery owner's doorstep. All she needs is a job and a place to live until she can get back on her feet. So why is she fantasizing about losing herself in his powerful arms?

For Marc Cordero, freedom is so close he can taste it. He's devoted his life to managing the family business and being a single dad. Now with his daughter away at college and his brother taking over the winery, Marc is ready to hop on his Harley for parts unknown-until a runaway bride bursts onto the scene. Free-spirited and tantalizingly sexy, Kari excites him like no other woman has before. But when irresistible passion turns into something more, will Marc give up his future to take a chance on love?

Excerpt: 
The ibuprofen, the wine, the heating pad, a sexy man putting Band-Aids on her blisters…what didn't make her feel good?

"Much better," she said. 

Marc applied the last Band-Aid and removed her foot from his thigh, and she settled back with a sigh of pure contentment. Nobody in her adult life had anyone ever done anything like this for her. On the surface, Marc was big and gruff and demanding, but beneath it all was a kindness and compassion she never would have imagined, and it drew her to him like nothing else. Now she hoped he would pour himself a glass of wine and stay for a while. After that, who knew what might happen?

"Okay," he said. "It's time for me to go."

Kari's eyes flew open. "Go? Why?"

"I'm finished here. I'll leave everything. You'll probably need all of it again tomorrow."
No! She didn't want him to go. She wanted him to stay there forever so this feeling would never go away. 

"You don't have to go," she said.

"I have work to do."

"After dark?"

"Accounting stuff."

"Why don't you forget that for tonight? Stick around? Have a glass of wine?"

"Can't," he said. "Things piles up."

"Don't you ever relax?"

”Not when there are things to do."

As he rose to leave, Kari felt a rush of disappointment. But what was she supposed to do? Grab him by the arm and forbid him to leave?

"Wait,” she said. “I'll lock the door behind you. Assuming you lock things all the way out here."

"Always lock doors," Marc said. "You never know."

Of course he would say that. Mr. Practicality. And of course Mr. Practicality couldn't stick around and have a glass of wine if there was an iota of work to be done. To say she was attracted to him was an understatement. To say he was frustrating the hell out her was a bigger one.
Suppressing a groan of pain, she rose from the sofa and followed him. When he reached the door, she called out to him. 

“Marc?”

He turned back. “What?”

She stopped in front of him. “Thank you for all this.”

“It was no big deal.”

“No. It was a big deal. Believe me. A really big deal.”

“A pair of shoes, a heating pad, a couple of BandAids—“

“No. You don’t understand.  Nobody's ever done stuff like this for me before."

The words were out of her mouth before she really thought about them. Now she was stuck feeling 
just a little bit pitiful, particularly when a look of disbelief came over Marc's face.

"Ever?" 

"Yeah. Ever."

"But when you were a kid, surely--"

"When my mother was alive, I guess."

"How old were you when she died?"

"Eight. After that, my father's staff was nice to me. But it wasn't the same." She shrugged. "You can pay people to do all kinds of things. Doesn't mean they care."

Marc just stared at her as if her words didn't compute, and suddenly she wished she'd kept her mouth 
shut. She'd looked pitiful enough when she'd almost quit her job. The last thing she wanted to do was look even more pathetic now. 

"What made you change your mind about the job?” Marc asked.

"I don't know. It doesn't matter. Thanks again for helping me," she said, having a hard time looking at him. She nodded toward the door. "Go ahead. I'll close it behind you."

But he didn’t move. Instead, he continued to stare at her. It was just like at Animal House that night, when he hadn't even blinked. He just stared at her stoically, as if he was feeling absolutely nothing. 
Zero. Nada. Zilch. 

So why wasn't he leaving?

He flicked his gaze to her almostempty wineglass. "Now that I think about it," he said, "they say people who drink alone have a drinking problem. You're new in town. We wouldn't want people jumping to the wrong conclusion."

Kari's heart bumped hard against her chest, her stomach quivering with anticipation. "Exactly. It's like you said when we were at the inn. This is a small town. Word gets around."

But he made no move to grab another wineglass and fill it. She held her breath, wondering what he was thinking. His gaze played across her face, then moved downward to her chest, then lower to the V of her robe where it dipped down between her breasts. It had fallen open slightly when she rose from the sofa, but the last thing she wanted to do right then was pull it shut. As far as she was concerned, he could look at anything he wanted to as long as he wanted to.

They both stood motionless, the air between them growing hot and heavy. Evening was turning to dusk, and the dim light from the single lamp gave the room a dreamy, otherworldly feeling. Or maybe it was the wine. Maybe she didn't know. She only knew she loved the feeling and didn't want to lose it. 

Then his attention turned to a spot above her eyes, and his brows drew together with concern.

"What's the matter?" she asked.

"Is that a bruise on your forehead?"

"Yeah."

"What happened?"

"I came out the kitchen door. Unfortunately, it was the door you're supposed to use to come in. I've learned that's a felony when you're working in a restaurant."

He lifted the hair on her forehead to examine it more closely.

"It's okay," she said. "It doesn't hurt."

"If I'd known about it, I'd have brought an ice pack."

"No need. I'm fine."

He moved his fingertips downward, letting her hair fall back against her forehead. But to her surprise, instead of pulling his hand away, he traced those two fingertips all the way along her cheek to her jaw, then wrapped his callused hand around the side of her neck and stepped closer. 

Oh, my God.

She couldn't meet his eyes. Didn't dare. She just stared straight ahead at that big, rockhard chest and prayed he didn't stop. She leaned into him, closing her eyes at the heavenly feeling of her body pressed against all that bone and muscle. All the sexy thoughts she'd been having about him since she came to his door two nights ago melted into a red-hot jumble in her mind until thinking wasn't an option. She couldn't have mustered up a single coherent thought if her life depended on it. Whatever pain she'd felt earlier had vanished. She only knew she wanted Marc. She wanted him here. And she wanted him now.

"This is a bad idea," he whispered.

Kari felt a shot of desperation. "No. It's a good idea. An excellent idea. In fact, it's the best idea I've come across all day."

He moved his other hand around to the small of her back to pull her closer, and her heart went crazy. 
But he still did nothing else. Good God. Did he have to have so damned much self-control? 

"What's wrong?" she said, barely able to breathe for the anticipation she felt. "Do you have a girlfriend I don't know about?" 

"No. No girlfriend." 

"And I no longer have a fiancé."

"But you just left him at the altar two days ago."

"Which was better than marrying the wrong man."

"Okay, that's logical," he said.

And then he kissed her.

About Jane Graves:
New York Times bestselling author Jane Graves is a nine-time finalist for Romance Writers of America's RITA Award, the industry's highest honor, and is the recipient of two National Readers' Choice Awards, the Booksellers' Best Award, and the Golden Quill, among others.  Jane lives in the Dallas area with her husband and a very sweet kitty who kindly keeps her lap warm while she writes. You can write to her at jane@janegraves.com.  She'd love to hear from you!

Jane’s social media:
@JaneGraves

Buy links:
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Thursday, May 22, 2014

A DREAM OF DESIRE by Nina Rowan Spotlight

About A DREAM OF DESIRE
Talia Hall has long been in love with her adventurous friend James Forester, Baron Castleford. But rather than explore their mutual attraction, James chooses a year-long expedition over Talia. He discovers his mistake when he returns to London and finds himself desperately drawn to Talia's fiery beauty. However, now the storms of their irresistible passion might be too turbulent to endure.

Excerpt
“I…I’ve a confession to make.” She gripped her shawl close to her throat. The heat of the fire filled the air around her. A bead of perspiration rolled down her spine.

“What sort of confession?” James peered at a slice of fruitcake, then exchanged it for a muffin.

“You already know a great deal about me, considering we’ve been friends since childhood.” Talia wiped her brow with the back of her hand. The sound of her heartbeat filled her head. “But there is…there is one thing you do not know about me. One thing you haven’t yet discovered.”

“What might that be, poppet?” James bit into the muffin and glanced at her.

Now.

Talia released her shawl and let it fall to the floor behind her. Hot air cascaded across her already-flushed skin.

“I want to marry you,” she said.

The muffin dropped to the carpet. For one awful moment James just stared at her. All the blood rushed from Talia’s head as she waited with heart-stopping fear for his response.

Then it happened. His eyes flickered to the creamy swell of her bosom. And lingered.

About the Author
Originally from California, Nina Rowan holds a PhD in Art History from McGill University, Montreal, with a specialization in 19th century French and Russian art. A librarian-at-heart, she also has an MA in Library and Information Sciences. Nina lives in Wisconsin with her atmospheric scientist husband and two children.
Website



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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

LUCKY HARBOR by Jill Shalvis Blitz

Lucky in Love
Mallory Quinn has had enough of playing it safe. As the local good girl, she's expected to date Mr. Right. But for once, she'd like to take a risk on Mr. Wrong. And who could be more wrong than Ty Garrison? The mysterious new guy in town has made it clear that he's only passing through, which suits Mallory just fine. Besides, his lean, hard body and sexy smile will give her plenty to remember once he's gone . . .

At LastAmy Michaels loves her new life in Lucky Harbor. A waitress in the local diner, she's looking forward to her first weekend hike through the mountains. But when a wrong turn takes her off the trail, she finds herself up close and personal with forest ranger Matt Bowers. After a hot night under a starry sky, Amy can't deny their attraction but she won't make the mistake of getting involved with the local heartthrob.  

Forever and a DayGrace never thought she'd be starting her life over from scratch. Losing everything has landed her in Lucky Harbor, working as a dog walker for overwhelmed ER doctor Josh Scott. But the day his nanny fails to show up, Grace goes from caring for Josh's lovable mutt to caring for his rambunctious son. Soon Grace is playing house with the sexy single dad . . . 

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Excerpt from LUCKY IN LOVE
“Mallory.” There was a warning in that low, sexy tone of his, a very serious warning.

She’d wanted a kiss, but hearing him say her name like that was almost as good. And now she wanted more. She wanted things she didn’t even have names for. So she wriggled some more, hoping like hell she was getting her message across because she wasn’t all that practiced in the bad girl department. Amy had been right; she needed lessons. She made a mental note to address this as well at the next chocoholics meeting. For now, she’d wing it.

“Yeah?”

“Are you coming on to me?”

“Well, technically, you’re on top of me,” she pointed out. “So I think that means that you’re coming on to me.”

With a groan, he pressed his forehead to hers and swore beneath his breath, and not the good kind of swear either. And though she should have seen this coming, she hadn’t.

He didn’t want her.

It was perfect, really. Perfect for the way the rest of the night had gone. Horrified, humiliated, she pushed at him. “Sorry. I got caught up in the moment. I’m not very good at this, obviously.” He didn’t budge so she shoved him again. “Excuse me.”

He merely tightened his grip. “Not good at what, exactly?” he asked.

“Really? You need me to say it?”

When he just waited, she sighed. “Attracting men. I’m not good at attracting men. Now if you could please get off.”

He lifted his head and cupped the back of hers in one big hand, his eyes glinting with heat. “You first,” he said rough and gravelly, leaving no mistake to his meaning.

She gasped, and he took advantage of that to kiss her, his lips moving against hers until she gasped again, in sheer pleasure this time.

Things went a little crazy then. Ty’s mouth was firm and hungry, his tongue sliding against hers, and God, she’d almost forgotten what it was like to be kissed like this, like there was nothing on
earth more important than her. That long-forgotten thrill of feeling soft and feminine rushed over her.

Then Ty lifted his head, and she realized she was touching his face, the stubble on his jaw scraping against the pads of her fingers.

“To be clear,” he said, “I’m very attracted to you.” And she believed him because the proof of that statement was hard against her hip.

“I think it’s your eyes,” he said.

She was a little startled by the unexpected romance of that. And then she was drowning in his eyes, which were smoldering. But then they were kissing again, and she couldn’t think because he happened to be the world’s most amazing kisser. Ever. She lost herself in it for long moments, loving the fact that he didn’t seem to be in a hurry at all, or using the kiss as a means to an end. Kissing her was an act all unto itself, and she was panting for air when he finally broke from it. He shifted to pull away and she reflexively clutched at him. “Wait—We’re stopping?”

Dropping his head, he rubbed his jaw to hers. “Yeah.”

“But . . . why?”

He let out a low, innately male groan. “Because you’re not the fuck-a-stranger-in-a-storage-room-with-her-boss-waiting type of woman.”

Well, when he put it like that . . . Damn. Her inner bad girl retreated a little. More than a little.

You don’t think you deserve to be happy.

Amy’s words floated in her head. No, she’d never been the type to let a stranger into her heart, much less her body.

But this wasn’t about her heart.

And Ty was no longer a complete stranger. He was the man who’d good-naturedly stepped in tonight when she’d needed him. Multiple times. He was the man who’d just given her the most amazing kiss of her life.

She wanted him to also be the man to vanquish her restlessness and loneliness. “I am for tonight,” she said, and wrapped herself around him.

Excerpt from AT LAST
“You were married?” She was surprised, though she shouldn’t have been. Matthew Bowers was a catch.

“For about twenty minutes,” he said. “Just after I got out of the military.”

“When you were a cop,” she said.

“Yeah.”

“Is that why she thought you weren’t family material?” she asked. “Because of your job?”

“Partly. And partly because I failed her. But mostly because she was pissed off at me.”

Amy wanted to ask how he’d failed, but that felt too intimate, especially given that she was lying in his arms with his ice pack on her ass. But his ex’s words didn’t make sense. He wasn’t the sort of guy to fail a stranger, much less someone he cared about. What he’d done for her today proved that. His job might have brought him here to check on her, but it hadn’t been his job or responsibility to stay the night with her and keep her safe.

And yet he’d stuck.

She’d had people in her life who had been responsible for her and hadn’t stuck. “Matt?”

His wordless response vibrated through his chest to hers, and he turned his head so that his face was in her hair, inhaling as he rubbed her back.

“I think you’re pretty good with people,” she said softly.

She could feel him smile against her. “Thanks,” he murmured. “Now tell me about you.”

“Nothing as interesting as you.”

“Try me,” he said.

That was the last thing she intended to do. “Well, I don’t have an ex-husband . . .”

“How about a mom? Dad? Siblings?”

“A mom. We’re not close.” An understatement, of course. Her mom had gotten pregnant as a teen and hadn’t been mom material. “I was raised by my grandma, but she’s gone now. She died when I was twelve.”

“Any other family?”

No one she wanted to talk about. “No.”

He tightened his arms around her, a small, protective, even slightly possessive gesture. It should have made her claustrophobic.

It didn’t.

They fell quiet after that, and Amy wouldn’t have imagined it possible since she was snuggled up against a very solid, very sexy man, but she actually fell asleep.

She woke up what must have been hours later, as dawn crept in, poking at the backs of her eyelids. For a moment, she stayed utterly still, struck by several things. One, she was no longer cold. In fact, she was quite warm, and the reason for that was because she’d wrapped herself like a pretzel around her heat source.

Matt.

She cracked open an eye and found him watching her from his own heavy-lidded gaze. He was looking pretty amused at the both of them. “Hey,” he said, and to go along with that bedroom gaze he also had a raspy early morning voice. Both were extremely distracting.

He wasn’t looking like a forest ranger right now. He was looking sleepy, rumpled, and sexy as hell.

“Are you taking this anywhere?” he asked.

Not exactly a morning person, it took her brain a moment to process what he meant. And then she realized that by “this,” he was referring to the fact that her hand had drifted disturbingly low on his abs. If she moved her fingers even a fraction of an inch south . . . “Sorry!” Face hot, she pulled back and closed her eyes. “This is all Mallory’s fault.”

“Actually,” he said, looking down at his obvious erection. “It’s not.”

“No, I mean—” She broke off at his low, teasing laugh and felt her face flame again. “She sent you out here because she thinks something’s going on with us.”

“Is there something going on with us?”

She didn’t want to touch that with a ten-foot pole. Or an eight inch one. “It has nothing to do with us. It’s payback for how I set her up with Ty at the auction a few weeks back.”

“What if it’s not?”

She met his warm gaze. “Not what?”

“Payback,” he said.

Their legs were entwined. At some point in the night, the sleeping bag had fallen away so that there was no barrier between them. He was warm and hard.

Everywhere.

She felt herself soften as the heat of arousal built within her. Worse, her fingers itched with the need to touch him.

“Amy.” Matt’s voice was pure sin, not a warning so much as a statement, and her hands reacted without permission, migrating to his chest.

“Mm,” rumbled from his chest as he slid a hand into her hair, tilting her head up to his. He searched her gaze. “You’re all the way awake, right?”

“Yeah. Why?”

“Just making sure,” he said, then rolled her beneath him.

Excerpt from FOREVER AND A DAY
“There’s one last thing,” he said.

She wondered if he looked as good without his clothes. “What?”

“That ship sailed?” he asked, repeating her earlier words to Anna.

Again she tilted her head up. “I just meant we’ve been there, done that. We already kissed, remember?”

His gaze heated. Yeah, he remembered.

“And it was . . . fine.”

He’d probably shaved that morning but he had a shadow coming in. And his eyes. Fathomless dark pools, as always, giving nothing away of himself or his secrets. “The kiss was . . . fine,” he repeated, eyes narrowed.

“Well, yeah.” Fine plus amazing times infinity.

He just looked at her.

“Okay,” she admitted, sagging back against the door. “So it was a little better than fine. But I’m not looking for this. For a guy like you.”

“Like me,” he said slowly, as if the words didn’t quite compute any more easily than “fine” had.

And probably they didn’t. Look at him. He could have chemistry with a brick wall. “It’s just that I’m not going to be in Lucky Harbor much longer, so while I’m here, I’m aiming for . . . fun.”

“Fun.”

“Yeah. It’s a new thing I’m trying.”

“And you think I’m not,” he said with a hint of disbelief, “fun.”

“It’s nothing personal.”

“Hmm.” He took a step toward her, and since there was already no place to go, she found herself once again sandwiched between the door and his deliciously hard body. His hands went to her hips, where they squeezed lightly and then slid up her sides, past her ribs, to her arms and her shoulders. By the time he got to her throat and cupped her face, her bones had gone AWOL.

“What are you doing?” she managed.

“Showing you how much fun I can be.”

Oh boy. Just his husky whisper sent a shiver down her spine, the sort of shiver a woman wasn’t supposed to get for a man she didn’t want to be attracted to. And then her body strained a little closer to him.

Bad body!

Josh’s eyes met hers and held. He was purposely building the anticipation, along with the heat working her from the inside out.

“Still think I’m not fun?” he asked softly.

“You’re not.” She swallowed hard. “You’re . . .”

He quirked a brow.

Hot and sexy, and damn. Fun. Which meant that she was in big trouble here, going-down-for-the-count kind of trouble. Time to wave the white flag, she decided. And she would. In just a minute . . .

“Say it, Grace.”

“Okay, so maybe you’re a little fun,” she admitted. “But—”

He nibbled her lower lip, soothing it with his tongue, then stroked and teased her with his mouth until she let out a helpless murmur of arousal and fisted her hands in his shirt.

His eyes were heavy-lidded and sexy when he pulled back. “Bullshit, a little fun.” His mouth curved as he looked down.

Following his gaze, she realized she was still gripping his shirt. She forced herself to smooth her fingers over the wrinkles she’d left. “Fine. You’re a barrel of fun. Happy now?”

“Getting there.” His eyes were dark with lust and focused on hers, his hands on her back, fingers stroking her through the thin material of her dress. When he lowered his head, he did it slowly, giving her plenty of time to turn away.

She didn’t.

Their eyes held until his lips touched hers, and then her lashes swept down involuntarily. She couldn’t help it; his lips were warm, firm, and oh how just right . . .

With a deep, masculine groan, he threaded his hands through her hair and tilted her head to better suit him, parting her lips with his, kissing her lightly at first, then not so lightly. And then everything felt insistent and urgent, and all her bones melted.

By the time he broke the kiss, Grace was unsteady on her feet, and her breathing was more in line with a marathon run. “I’m not sure what that proved exactly,” she managed. Except he was the best kisser on the planet . . .

About the author:
New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill's bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

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