Today on First Kiss Friday, we welcome Karla Brandenburg and an excerpt from her contemporary romance (with paranormal elements) novel, “Epitaph.”
“Crazy Amy” Benson has an unusual talent for hearing epitaphs as the dead pass on. The men she dates who aren’t unnerved by her ability are usually scared off by Amy’s brothers. When reporter Kevin McCormick shows up to do a story at the cemetery, Amy tells him his dead sister is calling for justice, except Kevin’s sister died in an accident.
First Kiss Excerpt
The rain had stopped and the wind had subsided. Amy shoved her hands into her coat pockets, shrugged against the chill and started for home.
Kevin fell into step beside her. “Can I walk with you?” he asked.
Another adrenalin rush made her light-headed.
He bent his arm and invited her to slip hers through with a nod of his head. “I can block the wind for you.”
“Not much left to block.” She tightened her hand around his biceps and then remembered Sandra. “I hope being seen with me doesn’t cause any problems for you.”
“What kind of problems?”
“Your girlfriend might not appreciate you walking arm-in-arm with another woman.”
Kevin laughed, a sound that turned her insides to jelly. “I’m not dating anyone.”
“I thought maybe Sandra. She seemed to know you.”
“I know a lot of people. That doesn’t mean I’m dating them.” Kevin stopped walking and faced her. “Would you like to go out some time?”
Her heart skipped a beat with the hell yeah that screamed in her brain, but she was bound to be disappointed. She wasn’t the dateable type. “I have to be honest,” she said. “I don’t have a lot of dating experience. In my line of work, I tend to frighten men away. Me, or my brothers. They can be somewhat intimidating.”
He grinned. “I noticed. I’m not scared.” Kevin took a step closer. “And I’ll let you in on a secret. I don’t have a lot of dating experience, either. I have a very strict Irish Catholic mother.”
Amy laughed. “She screens your dates?”
“Not anymore,” he said. “How about tomorrow night? Do you like Italian food?”
She searched his eyes for hidden motives and got lost in the unusual color.
Kevin crooked his elbow again and she hooked her arm through. He glanced at the sky. “I should have offered to drive you home. In case it starts to rain again.”
“You don’t have to. I like to walk.”
“Can I take you to dinner tomorrow night?” he asked again.
The wind had colored his cheeks. The glow from a streetlight showed the stubble on his chin. He seemed sincere, and what’s more, she liked Kevin. Enough to brave another first date? “Yeah,” she answered.
“There’s one more thing,” he said.
There was always a catch. Amy stopped walking and pulled free again. “What’s that?”
Kevin leaned in and touched his lips to hers. “So that it’s not awkward wondering if and when,” he whispered while he laced his fingers with hers.
He’d stolen her breath along with the kiss. “Now’s good for me,” she replied. “Mind if we try again?”
His arms circled her and he pulled her in, angling his face to meet hers while he deepened the kiss.
She had a new benchmark. Kevin’s kiss was so much better than the one with Nick Benedetto…
“Epitaph” is available through: