Today on First Kiss Friday, we welcome Val Tobin and an excerpt from her romantic suspense novel, “Gillian’s Island.”
Forced to sell her island resort after a messy divorce, Gillian Foster must now teach new owner Daylin Quinn how to run it. But someone resents Daylin’s presence on the island more than Gillian does and will stop at nothing to run him off—even if it costs Gillian her life.
First Kiss Excerpt
… Behind her, Daylin switched on the radio, and rock music spilled out. The tune was upbeat rather than raucous, but Gillian would have preferred her folk station. He reduced the volume to background music and went to set the table.
She peeked at him sporadically as he moved around the kitchen.
He had on jeans and a T-shirt and wore them well. He’d wear anything well.
Daylin caught her peeking and grinned. “It smells wonderful.”
The scent of frying bacon now dominated.
Gillian checked the omelette under the broiler and removed the skillet from the oven. “Everything is ready. I hope you have an appetite.”
He wiggled his brows. “I do.”
When the double meaning of their words hit her, she scowled. Was this how it was done? Flirtation, double entendre, and sly touches until the woman gave in? Was that how Josh had seduced Candi, or was that how Candi had seduced Josh?
“What?” Daylin stared at her, puzzled.
“It’s nothing.” How could she tell him harmless flirting made her suspicious?
She’d believed she was well over Josh. They’d been apart for more than two years now. Daylin’s presence had aroused the desperate rage Josh had left her with that she’d believed she’d long ago released.
“Gillian, did I offend you?” He drew close to her and she involuntarily took a step back, nudging into the fridge as she did.
Daylin’s eyes narrowed, and he sighed in frustration. “Do I frighten you? Didn’t we establish when I arrived that I’m not a psycho?”
Some of her tension evaporated in a gasp of air, and she managed a smile. “For the most part, we did, yes.” She turned back to the stove and lifted the cast iron frying pan of eggs with an oven mitt. After setting it on a trivet on the table, she went to get the bacon and toast from the warming tray.
“Wait.” Daylin laid a hand on her shoulder.
She managed not to flinch, even when he gently spun her around to face him.
“What puts that fear in your eyes, Gilly?” His hands rested, one on each of her arms. The touch was light and warm.
“It’s not you.” His name caught in her throat. Afraid if she said it, he’d hear the desire, she kept it inside.
“What can I do to help you relax?”
Thoughts flicking to the moment in the barn when he’d massaged her shoulders and she’d snapped at him, Gillian shook her head. “It’s not anything you can help me with. I need to work through this on my own.”
“You’ve stayed isolated, haven’t you? He hurt you so badly you’ve locked yourself away. I’ll make you forget him.” He leaned toward her. “I want to kiss you. If you don’t want me to, tell me.”
The darkness of his eyes filled her vision until she couldn’t see anything else. His desire engulfed her until she couldn’t feel anything else. His scent, his voice. He became her craving, her lighthouse in a sea of fog and storm.
“Yes.” She choked it out, and a second later, he captured her mouth with his.
He was hungry and demanding, but then, so was she. The more he poured into her, the more she wanted to take, and the more she took, the more she had to give. Her head spun and her body quivered. A moan escaped her. How long had it been since she’d been with a man?
Years, her body answered. It’s been years.
Daylin lifted his mouth from hers, raised a hand to stroke her cheek, and smoothed a stray lock of hair from her forehead. “Tell me you don’t want me, and I’ll never touch you again.”
Arms wrapped around his back, hands clutching his shirt, Gillian clung to him. “That’s not fair. You can’t kiss me like that and then ask that of me.”
He dropped his head again, and the tsunami of desire returned, wave upon wave of it, dragging her under. She battled an urge to pull him to the floor, to ask him to take her right there. The ache for him was unbearable, and another moan escaped her.
She broke the kiss.
“Daylin, I do want you to touch me. I want it. But I need …” She trailed off, uncertain what she wanted to say.
Daylin hugged her to his chest. One arm held her close while his other hand stroked her hair.
“Okay. We’ll let it go for now.” He shifted her back until their eyes were level.
“You have the most intense gaze of any woman I’ve ever met.” Tilting her chin up, he kissed her on the nose and then planted another one on her lips. It was tender, yet playful.
He grinned. “Our food is getting cold.”
“I guess we should eat then.”...
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