Today on First Kiss Friday I’m featuring an excerpt from my Contemporary Romance novel, “Julia’s Star.” It’s part of the Sultry Nights Romance Collection box set—featuring 22 amazing authors.
You chug along life’s highway, minding your own business, and all of a sudden - wham - something smacks you upside the head. For smart and sassy widow, Julia Marlowe, it was something as simple as a flat tire that landed her squarely in the path of action hero, Jason MacKenzie, who slams into her life with the force of an 18-wheeler.
She doesn’t want to like the guy. The lifestyle he represents stands contrary to everything she believes in. He has that Hollywood ‘love-them-and-leave-them’ attitude written all over him – but despite her best intentions, he has a way of getting under her skin. Besides, her kids like him and so far he hasn’t flinched at tarantulas, errant goats, space aliens and the chaos an active household creates.
Then again, there is the little matter of his ex-wife, Barbara, who clings to Jason like plastic wrap on steroids. Further complicating the situation is the 200 mile distance between the places they call home. She has no desire to live in his world but can he possibly live the country life after the bright lights of the big city? Can she trust a man who only has to smile to make millions of women’s hearts go pitter-pat to give her the happily ever after ending she seeks?
First Kiss Excerpt
Jason tried to look like a repentant child. “I promise I’ll be good.” Innocence took a hard left and zoomed out of sight.
“Right. Why don’t I believe you?” She held up her hands before he could respond. “Truce? I believe you promised me a tour of your art collection.”
“That I did.” Jason slung an arm across her shoulder and flashed that thousand watt smile.
So this is what an ice cream cone on a hot day feels like. He only needs to aim those pearly whites and sexy dark brown eyes at me, and I melt. She knew she tempted fate by prolonging their contact. She tried to tell herself the paintings were the main attraction, but that argument was as full of holes as Swiss cheese.
Jason led the way back into the foyer. “This is my floral and still-life collection. It’s small because it’s not my favorite form.”
“Your taste is excellent.” She stopped her hand in mid-air, resisting the impulse to run her fingers over the canvas. “The pictures are so soft and sensual. If I touched them, I’d expect to feel the silkiness of the blossoms.”
“Soft and sensual. I’ll keep that in mind.”
She gave him a ‘you’re impossible’ head shake. “I notice you have a few works here by the unknown artist I mentioned earlier. This bowl of fruit is wonderful. It’s like I could pluck that peach out of the painting and take a bite.” She smiled at him, her features glowing as she warmed to her subject. “You still haven’t answered my question. Who did these?”
“You really like them?” His voice sounded like he had something lodged in his throat.
“I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t mean it.” Julia shook her head to clear it. Curious. How do you put endearing and lethal in the same sentence. He took her breath away. “Let me guess. You don’t want to tell me because you have the artist locked in your basement.” Her hands flew as she talked.
Jason leaned back and grabbed her hands in self-defense. Julia tilted her head to peer into his eyes, trying to gauge his reaction to her bantering. His eyes filled with a light that danced about her like a prairie fire ready to burn out of control. Dangerous yet fascinating. Something she should back away from but couldn’t. Julia knew in that moment she would never forget those marvelous, sensuous eyes. A force too powerful to resist pulled them together—he the magnet, she the iron.
With great care his hands drifted from her wrists to her shoulders. Every nerve in her arms inclined toward his touch as though he were home. Her eyes flickered shut. With a gut-wrenching groan his hands framed her face, fingers tunneled into her hair, and he lowered his head. Lips met. Resistance vanished like a snowflake caught in your palm with only a moment to marvel at the beauty before sensation takes over. Like smooth satin his mouth brushed first her lower, then her upper lip, expertly teasing them apart. The tip of his tongue traced the fullness of her lips before sliding inside her willing mouth. She tasted the mint from the tea they’d shared. Her body contracted in pleasure. Her sigh mingled with his.
Julia’s knees turned to putty, no longer supporting her weight. She inhaled, dragging the musky scent of him deep into her lungs. Her hands crept at a snail’s pace up his masculine chest testing the firmness, learning its planes. The pressure of his hard body against hers, their hearts beating in unison, made her feel like lava flowing to the sea to create something new. What would the hair at his neck feel like? As silky as it looked? Julia’s hands edged higher until her fingers intertwined in his hair. It was. She melted.
While Julia’s hands moved upward, Jason’s traveled along the feminine curve of her sides, gripping her hips, pulling her into him. She could feel his growing desire. Pinprick fires raged along each part of her he touched. Jason devoured her moan of pleasure. Experienced fingers applied undulating pressure like a cat’s paws, inviting her closer, an invitation she readily accepted. His hands slipped from her hips to find a home in the gentle curve of her spine.
Lost in the clouds, that’s what it felt like. Julia impatiently pressed her body closer to his. She trembled in his arms and delighted in his responding shudder. Nothing else existed for her except him.
Jason drew his lips away from her mouth, showering butterfly kisses on her cheeks and across her eyelids. He brought his hands back up to her shoulders, gently putting some distance between them. Julia was surprised and inexplicably disappointed. A protest lodged in her throat.
The corners of her subconscious heard him murmur, his lips brushing her temple, “You’re much too fascinating for my own good. If I’m not careful, you’ll completely destroy my peace of mind.” Jason’s words had scarcely penetrated her foggy mind when he added, “By the way, that mystery artist you’ve been asking about… is me.”
“Julia’s Star” as part of the Sultry Nights set is available through:
PRONOUN (listing of all buy links)