Friday, November 24, 2017

First Kiss Friday – An Excerpt from “Daring Sarah” by Kayla Drake

Today on First Kiss Friday, we welcome romance author, Kayla Drake, and an excerpt from her Contemporary Romance novel, “Daring Sarah – Windy City Weddings Book 2.”

Sarah Williams can’t face the one-year anniversary of her husband’s tragic death, so she flees from Chicago to take the Scottish golf tour her husband had dreamed of doing someday. She has to live for both of them now, after all. While she’s there, she agrees to deliver a few small gifts to her friend Helen’s Scottish family. This puts her face to face with the grumpy, withdrawn, but incredibly handsome Duncan Mackenzie, a man haunted by a few ghosts of his own.

When Duncan promised his sister that he would welcome the American widow to Scotland, he’d expected to meet an elderly woman. Instead, he discovers a beautiful, willowy blonde who’s far too young to have faced such a tragedy. Suddenly, his own difficult past seems moderate in comparison. At least he survived. And now he wants to live again, really live, and it’s all because of Sarah.


First Kiss Excerpt

 “I’m a little scared, too.” His voice, a scratchy whisper, was mere inches from her ear. The sound sent a hot shiver down her skin. “I don’t want to do anything to hurt us. Either one of us.”

“I know you don’t. I trust you.” It was true, too. She trusted him. She didn’t quite know why—she didn’t really know him that well, and his moods were mercurial, but she knew he wouldn’t do anything to hurt her.

Now both of his hands were at her waist. Light and gentle. Oh, but she wanted him to wrap his arms around her and crush her to his chest. This careful caressing would drive her mad with desire until she was too on fire for him to be cautious anymore. Daring Sarah, that was who she would become in truth if he kept this up. Or maybe reckless Sarah. Bold, wild, and willing Sarah.

He moved closer, but remained behind her and slightly to her right. She could feel the heat of his big body and wanted to lean back and melt into him. His breath was warm on her bare throat, the softest caress. He bent his head down and nuzzled the sweet spot below her ear. Not a kiss, not the kiss he’d asked for but still hadn’t claimed. His cheeks and chin brushed her skin, the stubble on his jaw a maddening combination of soft and strong. His hands at her waist, his nuzzling at her throat, so light and teasing and full of promise, sent shivers rippling through her body. Her skin came alive with yearning.

One arm wrapped around her waist and turned her ever so gently toward him. The muscles in his arm were taut with tension, and she knew then how he held himself back despite the wild energy pulsing between them. Still his face was tucked against her throat, one moment breathing hot and urgent against her collarbone, then brushing against the sensitive spot just below her ear. At last, his lips, so soft and maddeningly tender, caressed her skin with a touch as light as a kitten’s fur.

She wanted to soften into his embrace and know the strength of his arms around her. She lifted both hands to his shoulders and slid her palms along fabric of his shirt, feeling only the solid muscles beneath the cloth. At her touch, his breath became ragged.

She wanted that kiss. His mouth on hers, his arms like solid bands crushing her against the length of his body, this was all she wanted now.

Why wouldn’t he take the kiss he’d asked for? She could have said no. Maybe she should have said no. But she’d told him the truth instead—it was fear holding her back, plain and simple. What was holding him back? His powerful body was tight with leashed passion. She could feel it under her hands and in the heat now radiating from his flesh.

Wait. Something really was holding him back. This wasn’t her imagination.

She tilted her face to look at him. His arms remained loose around her waist, but not so loose that she could break the embrace. When at last she was able to see his brown eyes, she saw passion, yes, but something else. Patience.

“Something is making you hesitate.” She moved her fingers in the curls at the back of his collar. She wanted to encourage him, but she suddenly felt awash in shyness.

“Aye.”

He didn’t say more than that. One of his hands came up to trace the line of her jaw. His gaze flickered over her face and settled on her lips. But even though he didn’t seem inclined to explain why he was hesitating, she felt close to him, closer than ever before. He seemed so vulnerable, such an improbable mix of hard masculine strength and tentative tenderness, that she couldn’t help but respond to him.

Still, no kiss.

“Aren’t you going to kiss me?” The whispered words surprised her. What a bold thing to say.

“Yes. You’ll let me know when you’re not so scared anymore. Then I’ll kiss you.”

“How can you be so patient with me?” It was all too much, the way he held back and reached for her all at the same time.

“Sarah, I’m watching you bloom right before my eyes. You’re changing almost hour by hour. I know how hard this all must be for you, after everything you’ve been through this past year. When you’re not so scared anymore, when you’re feeling a little more settled and safe, you’ll find me right here, aching to hold you, waiting to kiss you.”

But that wasn’t quite true. Soon she would be back in Chicago, and he would be drifting on the water without so much as a cell phone signal to link him to her. “You can’t wait too long. I’m only here until next week.”

He brushed his thumb over her lip. She melted a little under his touch, but her hands clung to his strong shoulders and helped her stay upright.

“I don’t want you to do anything that frightens you.” His lips were closer to hers now, and his arm tightened around her waist.

“Everything frightens me. I have to do it anyway. Kiss me, Duncan.”

He groaned. “Ah, Sarah, what you do to me.”

His lips drew closer. She felt the light tickle of his breath before his lips brushed hers. What a rush. This powerful, strong, tall man was being so tender with her. It made her feel like the most cherished, feminine woman, someone to adore and protect, even when her feet were covered in blisters and her hair was scrambled from the highland wind. He made her feel beautiful. Desired. And aching for more.

His lips eased away from hers, and it was all she could do not to grab his head and pull him closer. She wanted to feel his arms crush her to his chest and his lips savaging hers. She wanted that passion unleashed.

“Daring Sarah” is available through:

AMAZON  


First Kiss Friday – An Excerpt from “Lead Me Into Temptation” by Devon McKay

Today on First Kiss Friday, we welcome romance author, Devon McKay, and an excerpt from her Historical Romance novel, “Lead Me Into Temptation: Gold Dust Brides Book 1.”


Violet Webster is a bride on the run. The last thing she wants is to get married, especially to a stranger twice her age. However, agreeing to be a mail-order bride had been her only option and it paid the steep passage to San Francisco so she could locate her father. She’d find him too, if only her betrothed’s son would stay out of her way. 

Garrett Sutherlin is on a mission. Delivering the striking, ebony haired beauty to his father’s doorstep not only paid off his debt, the effort would grant him freedom from the man’s condescending hold. As far as he’s concerned, Miss Webster made her own bed. 

Unfortunately, his father will be the one to lie beside her. 

First Kiss Excerpt
“When I asked how you planned to repay me, I meant returning my gold and coins plus interest. However, a kiss, sounds much more rewarding,” he countered, stunned by her response.
So much for keeping his hands to himself. Violet Webster was going to be his demise. Perhaps the fox was more cunning than he cared to admit, using femininity to her advantage, or maybe there was a small chance the words spoken from those lush lips were the truth.
At this point it hardly mattered. He was obviously the fool she believed him to be. The swift acceleration of his heartbeat the second she mentioned a kiss only cemented the fact.
He was a goner. The witch had cast a spell on him. Disarmed by a mere suggestion. Already his mind spun with the reasons why her plan might work. Except for one tiny problem. The thought of anyone touching her enraged him. Especially his father.
She belongs to me.
He pulled her into his arms, rendering a soft sigh into the crook of his neck. The warm whisper of her breath prompted an urgent need to taste the sweetness of her lips. He lowered his head and found her mouth, claiming ownership.
She responded, parting her lips in eager anticipation and locking her arms around his neck, fusing her body into his. And for a moment, nothing else mattered, as the world outside this woman in his arms slipped away.
Mine.
He embraced the concept before the thought sank in, rendering a stronger hold than he was comfortable with. Drawing back, he gazed down at her in an attempt to gain some kind of control of his feelings. How could the mere slip of girl have so much power over him and not even know it?
The need to protect her overcame him. What the hell was wrong with him? Risking their lives for a kiss as if he were a love-sick fool? “You’re going to get us both killed. Go sit by the fire.” He thrust his finger in the air. “And quit being so damn kissable,” Garrett grumbled, cursing under his breath.
In the flickering light, he witnessed the furrow of her perfectly arched brow. She opened her mouth as if to object, but firmly pursed her lips closed instead. Without a word, she unwound her arms from his neck and briskly marched away.

“Lead Me Into Temptation” is available through: 


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Meet The Characters – An interview with Julia Marlowe from “Julia’s Star” by Bonnie Phelps

Julia Marlowe – a sweet, small-town widow with three active children and best-selling romance novelist – has decided it’s time to step outside her comfort zone and sells the rights to one of her books to a major movie producer. “Julia’s Star” throws our heroine into the love ‘em and leave ‘em world of Hollywood and directly into the path of action hero, Jason MacKenzie. Totally out of her element, Julia is pushed to become the tough, independent woman she needs to be to support her family.

Today we’re talking to Julia Marlowe, from “Julia’s Star,” a Contemporary Romance by Bonnie Phelps. It’s part of the box set, “Sultry Nights.” Let’s get started. I’m sure our readers are eager to learn more about you.


How old are you?
36 though sometimes I feel like 60. With 3 active children and a busy career as a romance novelist, the responsibility of keeping everything on track is draining.

What is your relationship status?
I’m a widow. My husband, Brian, was killed by a drunk driver 3 years ago. My life is so full, I’ve never really thought about getting serious about anyone else – until recently.

When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
A harried mom. A plain Jane. Someone who isn’t interested in designer clothes, the latest hairstyle, or hot makeup tips. I don’t have time to worry about things like that. I also see someone who has her head in the clouds which is why people may think I need a keeper – but really, I don’t. I am competent and capable.

Name three of your favorite things.
That’s easy. My kids, Beth – my best friend and sister-in-law who’s always there for me, and writing my books.

Name three things that tick you off.
Characters with minds of their own who head off in directions I hadn’t planned. That’s also a good thing because in the end I’m supposed to be telling their stories and need to get out of their way. People who carry on private conversations on their phones in waiting rooms and lines. People who are full of themselves and walk all over others.

What are you most afraid of?
All my life, people have been there to take care of me. My parents hovered like helicopters. My husband was the typical protector male who wanted to shield me from life’s harsh realities. When he died, Beth and her husband, moved in with me at the ranch to help out. They got me through the dark times when life was a blur. Now that they are moving out and getting their own place, I’m afraid I’ll fail the test of standing on my own and being independent. I can’t let that happen. My kids depend upon me.

Now on to something lighter, what is your favorite drink?
I live in one of California’s premier wine regions so a nice wine with dinner is a must. I also couldn’t live without my coffee. Don’t you just love the smell of fresh-brewed coffee and the warmth of the cup between your palms?

What is your favorite food?
Anything someone else cooks. I do know how to cook, but it’s something I do out of necessity not for the joy of it. I love comfort foods and would never turn down homemade mac and cheese. Oh, and I have a weakness for sweets. I almost never turn down dessert.

What was your first impression of Jason MacKenzie?
First impression? Hollywood all the way. Egotistical, a playboy with a woman on each arm and one in his bedroom, ruthless, too handsome for his own good. Not my kind of guy at all. Turns out Jason is a man of many layers – sex appeal by the boat load, money, and fame galore sure – but he also has a surprisingly sensitive side. He’s kind and thoughtful, makes me laugh, and even though he is definitely an alpha male, he doesn’t crowd me.

If you could go back in time, what one thing would you change in your life?
I always thought it would be the day my husband died. I’d have made sure he never got into that car. Now that time has passed, I realize I would not be the person I am today if he’d lived. Losing him, even though it broke my heart, made me stretch my wings. Maybe I would have changed anyway, but he made my life so easy. I will forever miss him, but I’ve discovered an inner strength I had no idea I possessed. I’m not at the soaring stage yet, but I’m not afraid to hop off the limb anymore.

Are you close to family?
Yes and no. My folks retired to Florida so visits are few and far between. I think we all realized that they needed to back off and give me space and a chance to stub my toe if I messed up. We talk regularly and I know they’d be here in a heartbeat if I needed help.

Describe a typical Friday night.
Would you believe board games or movie night? We all gather in the great room and enjoy being together. I know this won’t last forever. The kids are growing up so fast, so I plan to enjoy every second I can while they still want to be around mom.

What would make you completely happy?
I’m already doing it. I love taking care of my kids and I love telling stories. If Jason, is added to our family mix, then that would make life perfect.


“Julia’s Star” is one of 22 hot romances in the Sultry Nights Boxed Set. It’s available now for only 99 cents.



“Julia’s Star” as part of the Sultry Nights Romance Collection is available through:




Friday, November 17, 2017

First Kiss Friday – An Excerpt from “Teaching Trey” by Tracey Cramer-Kelly

Today on First Kiss Friday, we welcome romance author, Tracey Cramer-Kelly, and an excerpt from her Contemporary Romance novel, “Teaching Trey: Lady Biker Series #2.”


Amber Morell is in over her head.

When her father dies and leaves her the only thing he had left – four ramshackle apartment buildings – Amber has no idea what a burden she's just inherited. With debts mounting and her brother overseas, Amber will do whatever it takes to sell the apartments and save her family from financial ruin.

But she can't possibly handle it alone...

When real estate mogul Trey Jordan comes face-to-face with the feisty biker chick who also happens to be his friend’s little sister, more than his curiosity is piqued. So what if the deal he proposes is a little… unorthodox? After all, he loves pissing off his high-society parents, and they'd hate the street-loving biker chick.

Neither expects the sleezy building manager to be a problem.

As events grow from suspicious to violent, Trey realizes too late that Amber is in danger—and that there’s more between them than the freedom of the open road.

Now, Trey must put it all on the line to save Amber before it’s too late. With the odds stacked against this unlikely pair, can Amber teach Trey the true meaning of freedom, faith, and love?


First Kiss Excerpt

“Amber!”
She heard her name from across the parking lot and looked up from where she stood talking to Gina and Zac. Trey was moving toward her swiftly, and for a moment the sight of his trim hips encased in leather chaps made her want to break into Robert Plant’s song Tall Cool One.
“I need a word with you.” His voice was stern, and he took her elbow in his hand.
She allowed him to steer her away from Gina and Zac. He dropped her elbow when they’d reached the trees at the far edge of the lot.
“Did you go to the apartment buildings?” he said.
Oops. Now she knew what that fire in his eyes was. She swallowed. “Yes.”
She watched as emotions moved across his features. Surprise. Disappointment. Worry? She felt a strange gratification to see his carefully cultivated ‘even keel’ fraying.
“Why did you do that?” he demanded. “I specifically told you not to go there alone!”
“I wasn’t alone,” she said. “I had a meeting with Home Front First—”
“Damn it, Amber!” he interrupted. “Why can’t you just listen to me? Why do you insist on doing something just because I told you not to?”
“Maybe because I’m a grown woman and I don’t take well to being ordered around—”
“Did it not occur to you that I told you that for your own good?” he fairly growled. “Your own safety?” He paced. “That I might know what I’m talking about?”
“I didn’t think….” She stopped; he was really worked up. What was this really about? Was it possible he felt more for her than he let on?
There was only one thing she could think of to say. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.”
He stopped pacing. The look in his eyes went from angry to something she couldn’t define.
But instead of another scathing comment, he took her chin in his hand, tilting her head toward his as he stepped into her.
His mouth came down on hers. Rough. Possessive. An assault on all her senses. Her lips parted of their own accord, an immediate response to his invitation, and she grasped at his shirt as her knees went weak.
Abruptly he released her. He stepped back, his expression revealing that he was as shocked and surprised as she.
After a long moment of silence, he spoke again, this voice scratchy. “Don’t let it happen again.”
He turned on his heel and strode toward the lodge entrance. She watched him go, her head reeling. What had just happened?


“Teaching Trey” is available through:

BOOKS2READ (includes links to Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble)

First Kiss Friday – An Excerpt from “Fresh Beginnings” by Iris Blobel

Today on First Kiss Friday, we welcome romance author, Iris Blobel, and an excerpt from her Contemporary Romance novel, “Fresh Beginnings.”


Jared Fraser, a landscape business owner in Hobart, Australia, sets out for a holiday to the USA to travel along the Route 66 in a motorhome. Looking forward to his first holiday overseas, he’s excited as he prepares himself for the journey. But little could’ve prepared him for crossing paths with a beautiful hitchhiker.

Will he be able to put his past aside and grab onto happiness?

Ivy Bennett thought leaving her boyfriend would be the hard part. It doesn’t take long to figure out how wrong she was. As she struggles with making a new start in her life, the last person she expects to lead her to happiness is a laid-back Australian on vacation.

But she will have to say goodbye again? And not only to Jared.


First Kiss Excerpt
Her cheeks coloured a soft pink, and he watched her trying to hide it by looking away. There was no denying he was attracted to her, but wanting her was taboo.
They walked back to the motorhome and prepared a couple of simple sandwiches. With a beautiful day, Jared retrieved some chairs, and they ate outside. In silence.
He couldn’t believe he was sitting in America having lunch with this gorgeous girl who he’d met only a day earlier.
“A penny for your thoughts.”
Ivy’s question hauled him back into the moment.
He winked. “Sittin’ in America with a nice girl.”
Her laugh was music to his ears. “Do you have a girl at home?”
“Would I be sittin’ here with you?”
She tugged a stray strand of hair behind her ear.
“Nah, no girl. Haven’t got time for that.”
“I don’t believe you.”
Jared choked back a chuckle as he stood. “Ya think you know me?”
“I think deep inside this Aussie bloke wants a girl.”
He spun around to answer, finding her right in front of him. She’d followed him inside with her dishes. Her cheeks were slightly pink from the sun, and her chocolate brown eyes were staring up at him. There was hardly any space between them, and it would have taken only the slightest move for his lips to be on hers. The idea played in his mind for a moment and, the way her breath came out in shallow gasps, he could tell she was having the same thought.
“Once burnt, twice shy,” he said faintly.
“She left you?”
Ivy was still close, and her posture told him she wasn’t uncomfortable at all with the situation.
As he leaned in a little bit more, he replied, “Yup.”
“Why?” Her voice was so quiet he nearly missed the question.
“I snore.”
Ivy snorted and burst into laughter, and his mouth curved upwards. He’d averted the situation nicely. There was no way he was going to kiss her. No way to start a little flirt and hurt her even more. Or even hurt himself. He could see himself falling for her. To him she was a beautiful woman, both inside and out. Her brown eyes drew him in, made him wish there could be so much more between them. He imagined his fingers entangled in her wild, curly blond hair. And he would have loved to taste her skin with his tongue.
Letting out a small sigh, he stepped back and grabbed a soft drink.
“Thanks,” she said.
He met her gaze, not knowing what the thanks had been for.
“For being a gentleman and not taking advantage of the situation.”
Her comment made him pause. And, quite to his surprise, she stepped closer and touched his lips with hers. Damn, she tasted even better than he’d imagined. Sweet. Sexy.
“What are you doin’?” he asked against her lips.
She blinked a couple of times and increased the distance between them. “I… I’m—” A heavy sigh escaped her.
He stepped closer, gently cupped her face, and studied her through a haze of desire. “Never ever apologise for a kiss, mate.”
Her eyes were like an open book, telling him she worried about being stuck in a National Park far away from the nearest town.
“I… I don’t—”
He leaned in and kissed her. Slow and easy. Her warm lips against his own and a soft moan as he parted for her and took the kiss deeper. He savoured the moment, especially as it’d been years since a kiss had stirred so many emotions in him. Emotions that had lain dormant somewhere so far inside and hidden away he had often contemplated whether he’d ever find them again.
Yet, Ivy didn’t have any problems locating the direct route.

Fresh Beginnings” is available through:



Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Meet The Characters – An interview with Jake Cooper from “More Than Friends” by Krista Ames

Lanie Matthews is the classic girl next door.

Jake Cooper is her best friend.

Will they ever be more than friends?

One lust-filled night may prove more than they both expected.


Today we’re talking to Jake Cooper, from “More Than Friends,” a Contemporary Romance by Krista Ames. Let’s get started. I’m sure our readers are eager to learn more about you.


How old are you?
27 years old

What is your relationship status?
Single, at the moment, but you never know (wink and happy face)

What is people’s first impression of you?
Quiet, shy and withdrawn, or at least that’s how I feel. I tend to be more of a sit back and watch kind of guy instead of putting myself out there right off the bat.

What are you most afraid of?
Truthfully, I’m afraid of losing Lanie. She’s become an important part of my life.

What would you like it to say on your tombstone?
Lived life and loved to the fullest!

Now on to something lighter, what is your favorite drink? 
Oh, I’m a beer kind of guy all the way.

What is your favorite food? 
That’s an easy one, Pizza but not from a box. I’m down for a big greasy bar pizza with extra cheese.

What was your first impression of Lanie Matthews?
Ha, she was brash and mouthy, but quite the looker. I think I was hooked from day one.

Are you close to family? 
Yes, extremely close. Even go to my parents every Sunday for dinner.

Do you care about what others assume about you?
I do not. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but I am who I am.

If you could make any one thing happen, what would it be?
Hmmm, not to sound too forward or anything but it would be making Lanie mine.

Who in your life has the power to hurt you the most and why?
I’d have to say that’s Lanie once again. She doesn’t know she has that power though. Until recently, I’ve kept my feelings very much to myself.

Describe a typical Friday night: 
As of late, it’s been cozy on the couch with Lanie watching a scary movie. She hates them but insists we watch them anyway. She always hides her eyes.

Are you a morning person or a night owl? 
Can one possibly be both? I’m usually up early but I tend to stay up late too. I function better on less sleep.


“More Than Friends” is one of 22 hot romances in the Sultry Nights Boxed Set. It’s available now for only 99 cents.



“More Than Friends” as part of the Sultry Nights Romance Collection is available through:


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Exciting Book Giveaways!

Something fun and exciting coming your way!

I’ve teamed up with 25 bestselling Contemporary Romance authors to give away a huge collection of novels plus a total of $100 Amazon Gift Cards to three lucky winners!

You can win my novel "My Sexy Veterinarian" plus books from authors like Cindi Madsen and Tawna Fenske and Roxanne Snopek.

Enter the contest by clicking here.

Contest ends Nov 25, 2017.

Friday, November 10, 2017

First Kiss Friday – An Excerpt from “One Week to Win Her Boss” by Barbara White Daille

Today on First Kiss Friday, we welcome romance author, Barbara White Daille, and an excerpt from her Sweet Contemporary Romance novel, “One Week to Win Her Boss.”


When Amber is temporarily forced from her apartment, her only option is to stay at her boss’s private lodge, where she's the housekeeper. A stormy family reunion leaves Michael seeking the solitude of his lodge, where he finds Amber in residence—and in trouble. Attempting to save her from her matchmaking family, he announces they’re a couple. His good deed backfires when they’re instantly included in every holiday event in town. So much for solitude. 


First Kiss Excerpt

While Michael put the SUV away in the garage, Amber settled Penny in the playpen. Though it was nearly ten o’clock after a long day, the baby was still wide-eyed and excited.
Like mother, like daughter.
Smiling, Amber went to turn on the tree lights. The perfect touch for the best Christmas ever. The twinkling lights in the room matched the lights inside her. Who wouldn’t have felt a little glow with a man like Michael by her side? So what if she had only a week before her prince left town? By then, anything could happen.
At the sound of the kitchen door closing, she wrapped her arms around herself. The hug did nothing to settle her excitement. Her heart raced, but for a much different reason than when Michael had arrived…only last night?
As he entered the living room, he took one look at her and frowned. “Are you cold? Want me to start a fire?”
You already have. But who would say no to an invitation like that one? Curled up together on the couch in front of the fireplace, who knew how hot things would get. “That would be great. I haven’t thawed out from our walk through town.”
“You should have said something on the ride home. I’d have cranked up the heat in the SUV.” He knelt in front of the fireplace. “Another thing you forgot to mention—that Christmas caroling gig. Were you afraid I’d turn down your invitation to it in front of your entire family?”
“Try complete panic. What if you’d insisted on auditioning for them—and not been able to carry a tune?”
“Surprised you, huh?”
“That’s an understatement. You didn’t mention one single word about a tryout.”
He turned to scowl at her over his shoulder. “Very funny.”
She smiled. After a pause, she said, “Did you have a good time today?”
“Yeah, I did.”
Now who was surprised? The trace of emotion in his tone made her hopes soar. Forget memories and dreams. Focus on miracles. If Michael could learn to enjoy the holidays and get comfortable being around her family, what else might he come to like? “Don’t sound so shocked,” she told him. “We’re not that bad.” She laughed softly, not wanting to disturb Penny.
Michael crossed the room to her, and the laugh caught in her throat.
“Some of you aren’t bad at all,” he said.
“I’ll take that as a compliment.”
“You should.” He reached for her hand. She hadn’t realized nerves had left her toying with the zipper tab of her knitted jacket. Warmth from his fingers heated hers. “Want some help taking off your sweater?” She’d heard that same teasing tone this morning when she’d wondered if he meant to flirt with her.
No wondering now. And her imagination wasn’t working overtime. The curve of his lips and the gleam in his eyes told her he was going for the full flirt. And more. Slowly, he unzipped her jacket. With every inch the tab lowered, the higher her excitement climbed.
Words like boss and employee, paycheck, and independence, filled her mind. She brushed them away like snowflakes, leaving room for words like anticipation and possibilities and together.
Michael tugged at the final inch of the zipper. A shiver ran down her spine.
Once he’d helped her slip out of the jacket, he tossed it onto the couch. He moved a half step toward her, close enough for her to feel the heat from his body. His lips curved another few degrees.
“Beautiful,” he murmured. His gaze held hers for a long, silent moment, then drifted to her mouth. She could read his thoughts. They echoed hers.
The sparks inside her burst into fireworks, consuming every caution she could give herself, every warning she wanted to obey. For months, she had imagined what it would be like to have Michael kiss her.
She held her breath, watching…wanting…even willing to make the next move.
The warmth of his lips on hers, oh so briefly, sent a rush of pure pleasure through her. With one finger, he traced a strand of hair brushing her cheek. “As late as it is, I wasn’t sure you’d want to come all the way back up here to stay the night.”
“Of course,” she said softly. “I told you, I don’t have anywhere else to go. Or anywhere else I’d rather be.” She wanted to wrap her arms around Michael, to have him wrap his arms around her and hold her forever. But for now, she’d take another kiss. Smiling in anticipation, she stared up at him.
He lowered his hand and stepped back. “I’m sorry,” he said.

“One Week to Win Her Boss” is available through:


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First Kiss Friday – An Excerpt from “Injury” by Val Tobin

Today on First Kiss Friday, we welcome romance author, Val Tobin, and an excerpt from her Romantic Suspense novel, “Injury.”

If you could ask your father anything right now, what would it be?

Actress Daniella Grayson would love to be able to ask her father anything at all. She puts herself in the spotlight, hoping to attract the attention of the father she believes abandoned her when she was five.

Dani’s world falls apart when her father’s remains are discovered, and her mother is arrested for the murder.

In a moment of vulnerability, she turns to the handsome and caring Robert “Cope” Copeland, her limo driver, for comfort and support.

Can the budding relationship survive betrayal, Dani’s shameful past, and her obsessive ex-boyfriend?


First Kiss Excerpt
“Come in.” Cope stepped back into the foyer and held the door open for her.
Dani entered a modestly furnished apartment, small and cozy. Delighted to be in his space, she raised up on tiptoes to plant a kiss on his cheek. “Thanks for the invite. I’m so happy you called me over.”
“Want a tour? It’s not much, but I’m proud of it.” Cope swept his arm around the room, encompassing the living room, dining room, and kitchen, and grinned. “That’s most of it.”
He set the bottle on the kitchen counter as they walked by and led her into his bedroom. Her gaze diverted to the bed, which took up most of the tiny bedroom, Dani had an urge to grab Cope and pull him onto it.
Control yourself, crazy lady. Be classy. Dani almost laughed out loud as an image of her staggering drunk on the beach flashed through her mind. Cope had already seen her puking up alcohol more than once. Classy was already off the table.
What was she doing here, in her dress-up clothes and fancy hair and makeup? The prolonged silence made her glance at him. He stared at her, puzzled, expectant.
“You’ve seen me at my worst, Cope. I don’t know what you think of me or how to act around you.”
“You’re nervous?” He said it as if he was curious, not surprised.
Dani nodded. “If I were you, I wouldn’t like me very much.”
Cope stepped to her side. His arms went around her, and his mouth covered hers. He pressed her against his body, and she molded to him as though they were made to fit together. A moan escaped her when his tongue darted into her mouth, hungry and insistent. The next moment, he released her, but had to grab her again when she swayed.
“I’ve been wanting to do that since the day we met. But you were my boss, and I had to keep it professional. After that, I’ve been looking for an opening. How could I not like you?” He stroked her face, pushing the stray strands of hair from her cheeks and forehead. “Because you had a tough time coping with everything? It was difficult to watch, Dani, but it wasn’t your fault, and I did my best to protect you.”
To Dani’s horror, she burst into tears.
“Dani?”
Sobs continued to tear out from deep in her chest. An attempt to speak failed.
Cope pressed her head against his shoulder, one hand stroking her hair.
“I barely acknowledged you. What a snob. How could you put up with me? Almost every night, you had to either drag or carry me up to my apartment. More than once, you helped me to the bathroom to puke. God, I’m so embarrassed.”
Cope sighed. “I’ve had my share of nights like that, Dani—just perhaps not as many as you.”
Dani jerked her head up, but saw he was smiling. Unable to resist, she smiled in return. “You’re great at holding my hair back and never took advantage of me.” The wonder in her voice rang in her ears, and she flushed. “I don’t mean to imply you’d do that.”
“It’s okay. You were always this beautiful, fragile, vulnerable young woman, and I’d want to kill anyone who took advantage of that. The times you spent with Henderson were particularly grating. He used you, if you don’t mind my opinion, but I couldn’t interfere, because you chose to be with him.”
Not wanting to discuss Henderson with Cope, Dani changed the subject. “What happens now? Between us, I mean?”
“What would you like to happen between us?”…

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