FIRST KISS=TUESDAY from HER FOREVER COWBOY by Debra Salonen #westcoastHEA

HER FOREVER COWBOY

West Coast Happily-Ever-After, Book 1

 

FIRST KISS © Loner Llama Press

“Why is it so important to be number one?”

He shrugged. “No doubt Dr. Freud would say it’s wrapped up in my dad dying. People have told me he might have won Best All-Around Cowboy the year he died. My folks were on their way home from a rodeo when their truck rolled and went into a ditch.”

In an effort to brush away the sadness in her eyes, he said, “Or, as your mother liked to say, it could be cussed orneriness. She said I inherited that from my grandfather. Bull riding is what I do.”

“Even if it kills you?”

Will startled. Did she know about his doctor’s report? He knew rumors had been circulating when he left, but surely Anne couldn’t have heard anything. “What’s that mean?”

“You’re getting older. Your body isn’t as malleable as a young kid’s. You could land wrong and break your neck.”

He released the breath he’d been holding. “Actually, I may not look it, but I’m in better shape today than I was fifteen years ago. I lift weights and run. And my timing is sharper.”

She took a deep breath. “I wasn’t casting any aspersions on your body.” The compliment seemed to loom between them and she quickly added, “So, you’re planning on going back to the circuit this fall.” It wasn’t a question.

“Definitely.”

She rose to her knees and started to gather up their mess. “And, I’m taking a new job, too–a promotion that’s long overdue. It sounds like we have our futures all lined up and ready to go. To get involved on an emotional level would be terribly foolish, don’t you agree?”

“When you put it like that…but–“

She didn’t let him finish. “We’re adults, Will, not kids. Proximity and unresolved lust just aren’t good enough reasons to risk involvement.”

Will agreed on an intellectual level, but the shimmer on her lips was speaking to him at a different level altogether. “So, we won’t get involved, but one kiss every fifteen years isn’t going to kill us.”

She started to disagree, but Will knew a proven way to distract a woman. He pulled her into his arms and kissed her.

Anne gave a token resistance–a mumbled uh-uh that almost immediately turned to uh-huh. There was a small clattering sound as the colored pens scattered on the floor. Her arms encircled his shoulders, her body flattened against his as her mouth opened.

She tasted salty and sweet. Popcorn and soda, plus an intangible quality that made him groan. And as their tongues met, Will knew he’d made a serious mistake. Fifteen years hadn’t been enough to make him forget, and now, he had nowhere to run.

~~~

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Happy reading!

Deb

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY from CAPTURED BY CHOCOLATE by STEENA HOLMES #WHATLOVETASTESLIKE

CAPTURED BY CHOCOLATE

Love at the Chocolate Shop, Book 11

Holmes-CapturedChocolate-LARGE

Radio DJ Dylan Morgan enjoys small town life in Marietta. Unlike his longtime girlfriend and globetrotting photojournalist Casey Michaels, he’s never been tempted to spread his wings. Until an east coast job offer at a major radio station catches his eye. He considers taking the position, but then Casey calls… She’s coming home.

After years of wandering the globe, Casey Michaels is tired and needs a break and while she didn’t plan on coming home for good, the idea is starting to grow on her. All she wants to do is spend time with her forever boyfriend, Dylan. But all she meets is suspicion as everyone waits for her to pack up her suitcase once again. To convince Dylan she’s home for good, she plans a grand gesture–a photography show celebrating Marietta life. And then, the phone rings. She’s needed in London…

 ~~~

FIRST KISS snippet © Tule Publishing

Everything should have been perfect.

And yet, it wasn’t.

He broke the silence between them. “Don’t you think it’s time to tell me what happened?”

Casey didn’t move, yet her body stiffened at his words. He refused to release his hold, not ready to have her pull away from him.

From the moment she’d walked through his door, she’d been a little off. Her smile too bright, her gestures too forced, her laughter too fake. He’d watched as she barely touched her steak, played with the food on her plate, pushing it around until it was a big ole’ mesh of potatoes and fixings.

He filled her in on things that had been going on around Marietta, sharing stories in order to hear her laughter, and then asked her about Nepal.

Dylan couldn’t wait to see the photos she’d taken, to hear her stories of the life she’d lived while there. He loved how excited she became, the way her eyes lit up, how her body came alive as she shared everything with him.

Except, she’d brought no photos this time. She’d lost her phone and hadn’t bothered to bring her computer, saying she wanted to focus on only him for the night.

Any other time, he’d be a happy man.

But…for some reason, this didn’t seem like any other time. This time was different.

She was different.

Maybe they were different.

Regardless, something was wrong. Something had happened. Something she’d been keeping from him, and that wasn’t okay with him.

Casey looked up and shook her head at his question.

“Not tonight. Is that okay? I’d rather just sit here and just…be…then bring all that up right now.” Her voice was quiet, full of sadness and heartache.

“How can I make it better?” He wanted to take her pain away, to replace that sad smile with one full of life and love.

Right now, in this moment, if she were to tell him she was home to stay, that she realized it was time to put them first, he’d be the happiest man in the world.

It was what he decided to focus on.

Tomorrow was another day.

She stared at him before reaching up and gently cupping his cheek with the palm of her hand.

“Just kiss me.” The words flowed off her lips and into his soul.

When his lips touched hers, it was as if time stood still just for them. A personal birthday gift from the universe.

He welcomed her home with his kiss. Told her how much he missed her, loved her, worried about her as he breathed her in.

This was where she belonged, with him, and he told her that and more as his lips moved over hers with tenderness and need.

Until she pulled away.

Dylan searched her face, noticing the tears that trailed down her cheeks. He tried to find the words that would make it all better.

Instead, all he could do was be there for her until she was ready to open up. As much as it killed him.

~~~

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 #10 & #11Happy reading!

Deb

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY from SWEET SUMMER’S KISS by Debra Salonen #whatlovetasteslike

SWEET SUMMER’S KISS

Love at the Chocolate Shop, Book 10

 Salonen2-ChocolateShop-Debra-Salonen

A storybook kiss on New Year’s Eve at the Big Sky Mavericks Masked Ball in Marietta, Montana should have been the beginning of a grand romance for Gretchen Zabrinski and Daniel Andrews. But when Gretchen overhears a phone call from Daniel to his brother about what he really wants from a woman, she takes off…without leaving so much as a glass slipper behind.

Daniel wants a family. Gretchen will never be able to give him that. So why does fate keep throwing them together so cruelly? First, at a Copper Mountain Chocolate Shop Speed Dating event, then when he’s hired to open a new division at her PR firm. But competing, shoulder-to-shoulder, to sell the most exotic chocolate kisses for charity really is the last straw.

Is love a cosmic connection or a karmic joke? Sometimes, the answer reveals itself in a kiss—a sweet kiss shared beneath a warm Montana summer sky. 

~~~

FIRST KISS snippet © Tule Publishing

“How did you become such a wonderful dancer?”

“Lessons. My parents are both teachers. They don’t believe in leaving anything to chance—and given my father’s terrible lack of rhythm, Mom refused to inflict that on any woman in case two left feet was a dominant gene.”

“Please tell her I owe her a debt of gratitude.”

“You can tell her yourself. Dad called this morning. They’re starting home in the morning. My sister is ready to deal with her new reality alone. She might move back to Montana at some point, but for now, she doesn’t want to uproot the kids on top of adjusting to losing their dad.”

He’d alluded to a sad mystery surrounding his late brother-in-law’s death, but there were too many getting-to-know-each-other topics to get into any one conversation too deeply. Including her reason for dropping out of college and moving to Montana.

That would come out later. After the music ended. After the countdown began. After their kiss. After a night of unimaginable bliss in each other’s arms.

She crossed her fingers and stopped thinking. Tonight was about feeling. About taking risks and experiencing life to the fullest.

Moments later, the DJ played an Ed Sheeran song Makayla had shared with her earlier that week. Perfect. A shiver ran down the length of her spine.

She’d immediately downloaded the song and added the video to her playlist. She imagined the love story he sang about was her love story—the one that never happened. She squeezed her eyes tight, wishing she still wore a mask.

Daniel’s hold tightened a tiny bit, then he kissed a bare spot where her neck and shoulder met. “Nice song. I’ve never heard it before, but you truly do look perfect tonight.”

She swallowed the lump in her throat. “Thank you. I love my Cinderella dress. Krista’s sister has great taste.” He pulled back, a questioning look in his eyes. Did he think she was pretending to show false modesty or fishing for compliments? She blurted out a question she’d meant to ask earlier. “So, do you always take a tux with you when you travel to a dog-sitting gig?”

“My best friend has a key to my condo. He took it to a shipper I use all the time.” He looked down. “Luckily, he remembered my Ferragamos. Dancing wouldn’t be quite the same in snow boots.”

She recognized the designer’s name even if she hadn’t recognized the brand on his feet. My first time is going to be with a guy who can afford designer shoes.

In what felt like a blink, Austen returned to the stage, carrying a large digital clock and a microphone. “We are fast approaching the bewitching hour, my friends. A new year is about to begin. On behalf of the Big Sky Mavericks Charitable Group, thank you all for coming. We promise to put your generosity to beneficial use locally, and we’ll see you next year.”

On cue, people started shouting, “Ten…nine…eight…”

Gretchen turned in Daniel’s arms so their fronts were pressed together. Reaching up, she slipped her fingers under the rim of his mask and pulled it free. They looked into each other’s eyes as what she hoped was an unspoken understanding passed between them.

She looped her arms across his shoulders and brought her face closer to his. “Two…one…Happy New Year!”

His lips were warmer than she’d expected. And softer. And when she gave a little “Oh,” his tongue slipped inside her mouth. Curious, friendly, interested. His taste was hers. His smell? Completely his own and something she’d forever identify as Daniel Andrews.

She melted against him, needing to touch as much of her body to his as possible. Gretchen wanted him to be the one. Her first. From what she’d learned about him on social media, he was a fun-loving go-getter who didn’t seem the least bit interested in settling down.

Perfect.

When it came to women, he was…um…experienced. Perhaps a bit of a player.

Works for me.

She wanted to be with someone who would treat her with gentle finesse…or maybe not-so-gentle finesse. How would she know what she liked until she tried it?

An unnatural buzzing sensation near her breast made her startle.

Daniel groaned and pulled his phone from his inside jacket pocket. “My brother. Do you mind? He and Krista are in California. Different time zone.”

“Not at all. We wouldn’t be here if not for them. Please.”

“They’re on FaceTime. With all the noise, we won’t be able to hear a thing. Oh, well.”

He touched a button. A second later, two faces appeared on the screen. Krista let out a squeal of glee. “Oh, Gretchen, you look fabulous. Show me the dress, Daniel. Show me the dress.”

Daniel rolled his eyes, but he took one step back. He lowered and raised the phone as Gretchen did a spin. Then, he pulled her in close again.

Krista blinked as if to keep away tears. “I absolutely love it. You look like a fairy-tale princess. Are you having fun?”

“It’s been magical. Daniel hired a limo, and he dances like a dream. He’s been a perfect gentleman.” Until later, I hope. She bumped her nose against his cheek. “Thank you so, so much for making this happen.”

“No thanks necessary. Jonah and I are having a wonderful time, too. We only called to wish you Happy New Year.”

Jonah squeezed in. “We’re an hour behind you, so we get to make out in public twice. But hey, Daniel, quickly, did you leave the TV on for the dogs? In case someone starts shooting off guns? You are in Marietta, Montana, after all.”

Gretchen missed Daniel’s reply when Sarah Zabrinski walked up to them. “Aunt” Sarah was Gretchen’s father’s first cousin by marriage, but because of their age difference, people forgot they were part of the same generation.

She gave Gretchen a quick hug. “You two are just the cutest couple. We really enjoyed meeting Daniel. I hope you bring him tomorrow.”

Tomorrow. Since she’d never spent the night with a man, she didn’t know what to expect from the morning after.

Gretchen made what she hoped was a noncommittal reply and waved goodbye as the crowd swept Sarah away.

She turned back to Daniel. She reached out to touch his shoulder but stopped when she heard him say in a low, confidential tone, “I never thought I’d say this, brother, but I think I just kissed the mother of my future children.”

She sucked in an involuntary gasp when a pain as sharp and gut wrenching as the one she’d felt in her doctor’s office the day he’d explained the ramifications of her diagnosis made her knees wobble. Panic hit a second later.

No. No. It’s not supposed to be like this. Tonight is mutual fun, no commitment. No future. Period. Anything else wouldn’t be fair.

Especially to Daniel.

But she couldn’t speak those words aloud because then he’d ask why…and she hadn’t said those words to anyone. Not yet.

Intent on disappearing, she turned and melted into the crowd exiting the party. She grabbed her jacket from the coatroom, grateful her tiny purse held her cell phone. Her Uber app showed one driver in her area. Three minutes later, she was on the road back to Paradise. Her sister and niece might not be expecting her, but Sam would understand. And that was all Gretchen wanted. Someone who wouldn’t ask for something she couldn’t give.

~~~

SWEET SUMMER’S KISS is available at these vendors:

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 Kiss Reviews Shelagh

 

Happy reading!

Deb

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY from SWEET HOME COWBOY by Marin Thomas #whatlovetasteslike

SWEET HOME COWBOY

Love at the Chocolate Shop, Book 9

 Sweet Home Cowboy cover

When Marietta newcomer Elena Puente is coerced into attending a speed-dating event at the popular Copper Mountain Chocolate shop, she’s blindsided by a serious attraction to local cowboy, Wesley Banks.

Still recovering from a broken engagement, the first-grade teacher from Las Vegas isn’t looking for romance. She’s in Montana to get to know the great-grandfather she never knew existed until she found some hidden family letters. Judge Kingsley is a grouchy recluse and he’s far from welcoming, but Elena is determined to stay in town long enough to give his neglected estate on Bramble Lane a facelift.

Elena’s resolve to avoid romance is tested when she discovers Wesley is the caretaker of her grandfather’s rural property. Soon, she and the cowboy are attending more speed-dating events at the chocolate shop and she’s seeking his advice on how to deal with his ornery boss. Local gossips wager the old Judge will run Elena out of town before anything serious develops between her and Wesley. But Wesley’s a determined man, too, and he’s betting Elena belongs in Marietta forever…with him.

FIRST KISS Excerpt © Marin Thomas:

             Wes pointed to the river where Elena’s bobber went under the water. “You caught a fish.” He set his pole aside. Wrapping his arms around her, he placed his hands over hers before turning the reel slowly—very slowly, savoring the feel of Elena against him.

            “Where’s the fish?” she asked. “I can’t see it.”
“Shh… It’s there.” He could stay right here in this moment with Elena all day and never tire of touching her. When he turned the reel twice more, a small trout rose out of the water.

            “I caught one!” She jerked the pole too hard, and the fish plopped into the water. “What happened?”

            “Your excitement scared him off the hook.” Wes loved staring into her eyes—blue as a clear Montana sky. Her gaze lured him closer but right when her mouth was within reach, the judge’s voice rang out. They jumped apart and Elena dropped the pole, which fell into the water and was swept away by the current.

            Elena climbed to her feet. “Hello, Gramps.”

            Gramps?

            The judge’s mouth twitched as if he found the endearment amusing.

            “I thought you were spending all day in court?” She left Wes at the end of the dock and walked over to her grandfather.

            “Two of my cases were rescheduled.” The judge eyed Wes as he approached. “Are you going to finish mowing the yard or sit out here and fish all day?”

            Wes opened his mouth to respond, but his boss turned on his heel and disappeared through the gate in the hedge.

            Elena retrieved the tackle box and surviving pole, then stopped at his side. “I’ll take a rain check on that kiss.”

            He grasped her wrist. “I don’t give out rain checks.”

            “Then maybe you should pay up now.” The pupils in her eyes dilated, leaving only a sliver of blue visible.

            “Gladys Simons is still on her porch.”

            “Then we’ll give her something to watch,” she whispered.

            Wes brushed his mouth against Elena’s not once but twice before he pulled away.

            “Is that all you’ve got?” she teased.

            He cupped her face, tilted her head to the side then he swooped in and kissed her again—not a flirty peck, but a long, soft exploration of her mouth that left them breathing hard. “How was that?”

            “Much better.”

            Wes watched her fanny twitch back and forth as he followed her through the gate.

~~~

SWEET HOME COWBOY is available at these vendors:

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Happy reading!

Deb

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY from Judy Does Christmas by Debra Salonen

First Kiss= TUESDAY

Debra Salonen-4358-Color-Sm

Good Tuesday, my lovelies!

Can you believe it’s December? Where has the year gone?  I hope yours was filled with wonderful books and hot, steamy kisses! 

I want to apologize in advance. FIRST KISS: TUESDAY has run into the time crunch we’re all so familiar with–too much to do and not enough time to extra stuff…like blogs. I can only share what others have shared with me and, alas, the well is looking a bit dry at the moment. But don’t despair, I’ve put out the call and hope to have more wonderful FIRST KISS excerpts to share with you soon.

In the meantime, I may re-visit some oldies but goodies, starting with my dear friend Judy Banger. She’s a naughty one, Miss Judy, but she’s got a big heart and she truly earns her happily-ever-after in JUDY UNCENSORED…but then comes the holidays! Eek!

Judy Does xmas

FIRST KISS excerpt:

As much as she wanted to blame the mid-day wine for her fatigue–aggravated by the hard cider she’d had with her pizza–in truth, she hadn’t been her usual perky self for weeks. Some mornings, she had to drag herself to the gym. Normally, she could count on an endorphin high after a workout, but not tonight. Even the promise of delicious sex with the man she loved more than life wasn’t enough to keep her eyes open.

“Damn holiday stress,” she muttered, hoping to grab a quick catnap…fully dressed…on their bed until Wiley got home.

She must have dozed off because the next thing she heard was Wiley’s voice calling out her name as he walked down the hallway.

“Judy? Honey? Are you okay? Don’t you want to get undressed?”

The effort it took to open her eyes made the process feel like slow motion. “Are my eyelids glued shut?”

Two soft lips kissed her cheekbones. “Nope. You’re just tired. I know how much you hate to shop for clothes. And it is the holidays.”

She held out a hand for his help sitting up. Her feet hit the thick carpet like bags of cement. Thunk. Thunk. “Remind me to make an appointment to see your doctor. I’d hoped to wait till our new marriage warranty expired before somebody confirmed my long list of flaws, but if I don’t perk up, you’ll trade me in for a new model anyway.”

He sat and looped one strong, reassuring arm around her shoulders. “You goof. Life doesn’t come with any guarantees.”

“You already had one sick wife…”

He nuzzled her neck. “Different circumstances completely. Apples and oranges.” His lips felt warm against her cool skin. “Your life has changed in a hundred different ways over the past few months. By all means, get a check-up. Maybe a B-12 shot. But the holidays wear everybody down.”

She took a deep breath, ignoring the voice in her head that sounded a lot like Alvin and the Chipmunks singing, “Hurry, Christmas, don’t be late.” The damn season couldn’t get over fast enough to satisfy her.

She turned into him and hugged him fiercely. “Have I told you today that I love you?”

“Once or twice. But I never get tired of hearing it.” He kissed her lips. “By the way, I got a text from Carla as I was leaving the gym. She asked if you liked everything.”

Judy tensed. She couldn’t help herself. “What did you say?”

“I told her you thought the place looked great, and because we’re both tied up with other interests, we trusted her to handle the details for the party.”

She rubbed her forehead against the hollow of his cheek. “Tied up, huh? Are you suggesting something kinky?”

“Maybe. Shall we discuss our options in the shower?”

Judy took a deep breath and got to her feet. A dozen or more tiny silver dots danced across her vision for a moment, but they quickly disappeared. She grabbed his hand. “Great idea. Turn the steam generator on, too. I’m thinking hot and heavy. And, no, that’s not a reference to my weight.”

He backed her up until she was pinned to the wall. “Your weight is perfect. How many times do I have to tell you that?”

A million and two. Just enough to make up for hearing people call me fat most of my life. “I’ll let the doctor be the judge of that, Judge. Come on. Let’s get naked, steamy and slippery.”

(You can read the entire first chapter for free at my website: http://littl.ink/+bebd)

~~~~

Buy links:  AMAZON    Barnes & Noble   iTunes Store   KOBO

~~~~

 

Have a marvelous week, everyone!  Happy reading!!

Deb

And for those of you celebrating Hanukkah, my wishes for a most joyful celebration!

Happy Hanukkah

First Kiss Tuesday: Mr. March by Ann Roth

First Kiss= TUESDAY

Ann Roth Cover

Mr. March is the third in my Heroes of Rogue Valley: Calendar Guys series. Twelve months, 12 gorgeous firefighter heroes and the women who sneak into their hearts and forever change their lives.

In Mr. March, firefighter Gus Viggio needs to convince the stubborn great aunt who raised him and recently suffered a stroke to give up the house that has become too much for her. When she refuses, Gus enlists help from her flamboyant hairstylist, Wanda Lippman. The two women get along well, and Gus’s great aunt just might listen to her. Wanda and Gus have each been hurt by love, and neither is ready to venture back into those dangerous waters anytime soon. But sometimes the heart knows best….

 ~~~~~

Excerpt: Mr. March Book #3 of the Heroes of Rogue Valley:  Calendar Guys Series

If anyone could get Aunt Polly to think seriously about moving, Wanda could. Hopeful for the first time in weeks, Gus slipped on his Ray-Bans and escorted her out of the Coffee Shack.

As the door shut behind them, she stiffened. “That’s Betty Randall,” she muttered, nodding at the gray-haired woman exiting a Ford. “Aka gossip central, and Carole Sue’s mainline to other people’s business. God only knows what she’ll say about running into us, together out here.”

She donned her own shades–as if that could mask her identity.

Gus had seen Betty in action on the day Sam’s son, William, had gone missing. As concerned and caring as she’d been that afternoon, she’d wasted no time spreading the news of Adam and Sam’s romance. The last thing he wanted was for her to speculate all over town about him and Wanda.

“C’mon.” He took Wanda’s arm and steered her around the building, out of the blabbermouth’s sight range.

Hurrying to keep up, Wanda giggled for the first time today, a tinkling sound he enjoyed.

“You’re clever,” she said, sounding breathless.

He grinned. “That goes without saying.”

They dashed around the corner to the back, where they were less likely to be noticed. Wanting to see her eyes, he slid his sunglasses to the top of his head and removed hers.

“Hey,” she said, as he pocketed them. “What did you do that for?”

“We’re on the shaded side where we don’t need them. Don’t worry, you’ll get them back. What do you think she’s doing so far out of town?”

“Gathering intel? This place is really close to Guff’s Lake, where a lot of romantic stuff happens. I’ll bet she stops by for coffee and gossip.”

“Are you referring to the old myth that when a couple kisses under the big ash tree at the lake, they’ll find true and lasting love?” Gus snorted.

“You don’t believe it?” Wanda’s purple lips pursed a fraction.

Mesmerized, he shook his head. “It’s just a story invented to bring lovers out here, in hopes they spend money.”

“What a cynical thing to say.”

“Don’t tell me you believe the hype.”

“I’ve never kissed anyone there, and no one I know has, either, but I like the romance of it.” She gave him a dirty look. “You’re doing it again. Staring at my mouth.”

“It’s a very sexy mouth, even when you frown.”

Her widened eyes as if she hadn’t expected this. “It is?”

He nodded. “I like you better when you smile.” With his fingers, he gently prodded the corners upward, but as soon as he dropped his hand, they flattened out again. “Have it your way. FYI, you look amazing without fake lashes and colored contact lenses.”

“Don’t lie to me, Gus. My natural eye color is dull as dirt, and my lashes are too short.”

“I wouldn’t lie. Brown eyes, with green and gold flecks…very attractive.”

“Attractive,” she repeated, sounding skeptical.

She didn’t seem to think much of her looks, but he was too distracted to wonder at that.

“Uh-huh.” Hands on either side of her head, he leaned in nice and close. “You smell like summer flowers.”

“It’s the lavender shampoo.” Furrows lined her normally-smooth forehead. “What are you doing, Gus?”

“Getting ready to kiss you.”

She raised her chin, no doubt to tell him to knock it off. He smiled into those eyes and they lost their back-off spark.

Seconds later, her eyelids dropped to half-mast in a clear go ahead. So he did.

One brief brush of his mouth over those soft, welcoming lips wasn’t enough. Cupping her face he went in for more, this time sliding his tongue along the seam of her mouth. She let him in. He tasted coffee, blueberry scone and something all her own.

She slid her palms up his chest and…. Shoved him away?

“Don’t, Gus.”

Hands up, he stepped back.

“I’m taking a break from men,” she said.

“That’s right. After Larry.” Gus silently cursed the bastard for fouling up what he wanted more of. “What did he do, anyway?”

“He was just the latest in a long string of bad relationships. I don’t have much luck with men, and I need to figure out why.”

Gus nodded. “You’re preaching to the choir here.”

“Have you figured out the reason it keeps happening?”

“Things don’t work out,” he said, shrugging. “What more is there to know?”

“If you figure out the why of your problems with women, you might have better luck next time. Hand over my sunglasses. I have to go.”

As soon as Wanda slid her shades into place, she headed at a brisk clip around the building. Gus stayed right with her.

“You don’t need to run,” he said. “I won’t bite.”

“I’m trying to arrive at the salon ahead of my noon appointme–

They almost collided with Betty Randall.

The woman had been making her way to the door all this time? Damn. She moved slower than Aunt Polly.

She stopped smack in their path. “Well, hello, Wanda and Gus.”

Judging by her wily grin, she was already making up a story to broadcast. He gave a curt nod. “Hey, Betty.”

“Hi,” Wanda chimed in.

“Fancy running into you two all the way out here. One would think you didn’t want people to see you together. If that’s the case, you ought to wipe that purple lipstick off your face, Gus.”

Wanda’s eyebrow shot up. She touched the corner of her lip with her little finger. Gus rubbed the corresponding place on his mouth with his knuckle, and she gave a covert nod.

“We had a meeting,” she explained to Betty.

“It seems to have been very productive. Bye, you two.” Looking like the proverbial cat that swallowed the canary, she broke speed limits getting through the front door, proving she could move quickly when she wanted.

Wanda groaned. “She already has her cell phone in hand.”

This was not good. “She’s right about one thing. I asked to meet out here because I wanted to avoid running into people I know. I don’t want Aunt Polly to find out you and I talked about her, or to get any cockeyed ideas about us.”

“If she does, I’ll set her and everyone else straight. I don’t want people thinking my break from men is over.”

With most of the purple gone from her lips and her hair on the messy side, she looked the opposite–thoroughly kissed. Red-blooded male that he was, he considered going in for more.

But Betty Randall was probably watching from the window. Gus shoved his hands in his jeans pockets. “Then why did you kiss me?”

You kissed me.

Like that explained her warm response.

“We have to make sure everyone knows this morning was strictly a friend thing,” she went on.

With Aunt Polly in mind, Gus agreed. “One friend helping another.” He scratched his head. “What are we helping each other with?”

“Polly, remember? But you don’t want her to find out, so we won’t mention that. I know–our problems with the opposite sex.” She checked the screen on her phone and frowned. “If I don’t leave immediately, I’ll be late for my twelve o’clock. Thanks for the scone and coffee.”

“Thanks for agreeing to help. And for those kisses,” he added.

She blushed. “Bye, Gus.”

She almost ran toward her car, as if she couldn’t get away from him fast enough.

*


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  ~~~~

 

Ann Roth

Award-winning author Ann Roth lives in the greater Seattle area with her husband. After earning an MBA, she worked as a banker and corporate trainer. She gave up the corporate life to write, and if they awarded PhDs in writing happily-ever-after stories, she’d have one. Ann has traditionally published numerous romance and women’s fiction novels, novellas, a serialized online romance and many short stories. She is now indie publishing and having a ball with her Heroes of Rogue Valley: Calendar Guys series. Twelve months, 12 gorgeous firefighter heroes and the women who steal into their hearts and forever change their lives.

Ann enjoys interacting with readers.

Visit her author Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AnnRothAuthorPage.

Find her on Twitter at @Ann_Roth

Stop by her website at www.annroth.net.

 

Hugs and kisses,

Deb

 

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY (from The Billionaire’s Charade by Eve Gaddy)

First Kiss= TUESDAY

Eve Gaddy Charade Cover

Summer St. Croix hates weddings. But when she meets hot-as-sin Luke Vanetti at her oldest friend’s ceremony, he promises to give her a reason to like them.

It’s all sexy fun and games until Summer realizes that Luke is none other than her new boss. Summer refuses to continue to have a fling with her superior, even though the passion between them still runs wildfire hot. But the billionaire private investigator doesn’t see the problem, especially since he knows that one night with Summer won’t be enough.

When Luke’s cousin sends an SOS asking for help in stopping a ring of jewel thieves from robbing his luxury hotel on the Amalfi Coast, Luke agrees. And Summer’s first assignment will be posing as his very sexy, rich, and bejeweled fiancée  at the Hotel dei Fiori Isola del Sole.

Playing the happy couple is hard enough during the day, but the nights… will those romantic Amalfi nights turn the charade into more than just a job for both Summer and Luke… for good?


They found a booth in a corner of the bar. “Would you like another glass of champagne or do you want something else?” Luke asked.

“It seems a shame to pay for drinks when there’s free champagne and beer at the wedding.”

“But then we’d have to go back. I like it here.”

“I do, too,” Summer said, looking around. The bar, like the rest of the hotel, was elegant, tastefully decorated, and it whispered “money” in dulcet tones. “I’d like a mojito.”

Luke signaled the waitress who came over instantly. After he ordered two mojitos, he said, “Are you staying at the hotel or are you local?”

“Staying. I’m from Dallas. What about you?”

“Staying, and I live in Dallas, too.”

While a coincidence, it wasn’t much of one. Summer imagined a good third of the guests lived in the DFW metroplex.

They talked some more and the waitress brought their drinks. “To your eyes,” Luke said and touched his glass to hers.

“If you say I have eyes the color of jade or emeralds, I’m outta here.”

He studied her, then tipped her chin up with a finger and looked into her eyes. Summer stared back, words deserting her as she fell into the depths of his gaze.

“No, your eyes are an unusual shade. If I were to describe them, I’d say they look like malachite.” He dropped his hand and added with a wicked grin, “With some jade and emerald swirling around.”

“You’re very smooth, aren’t you?” And he was revving up her heartbeat with a look and a touch.

She took a sip of her drink to steady herself. It didn’t help.

“I try,” he said modestly. “How am I doing?”

“You’re good and you know it. Okay, what color is my hair?” She was curious how he’d describe it. Lots of men had tried, so she’d heard a gazillion variations of redhead and red.

Luke picked up a strand of hair and rubbed it between his fingers. “A thousand shades of wildfire.”

Summer’s breath caught in her throat. They were playing a game, but my, oh my, he was good with words. She wondered what else he was good at.

“My turn,” she said.

“You want to describe my eyes and hair?”

“No, although I’d describe your eyes as espresso.”

“I like that.”

“But what I really want,” she said, moving closer, “is to touch your hair.”

He looked surprised, then gave a deep, hearty laugh. He tilted his head toward her. “Feel free.”

“Not like that.” She slid her hands over his very broad, very firm shoulders to loop behind his neck. “Like this.” Summer threaded her hands through his hair. It was as soft and silky as it looked. Their faces were close together, so close she could kiss him if she wanted. And she wanted.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been seduced by a woman playing with my hair before. Although, I can’t say I haven’t tried it the other way around.” He wrapped one arm around her pulling her closer and put his other hand on the back of her head, his fingers gently sliding through her hair.

“Is that what I’m doing? Seducing you?” she murmured.

“Like a siren.”

And then he kissed her.

#

She tasted hot, sexy, spicy, and somehow, mysterious. Luke moved his lips over hers softly, slowly, teasing them open and flicking his tongue into her mouth. He wrapped his hand in her hair, which really was a thousand shades of wildfire, and as soft, silky and seductive as the rest of her.

Her tongue met his, then retreated. She did it again, retreating but asking him to join. He slid his tongue inside and knew without a doubt that this was the sexiest first meeting he’d ever had with a woman. Luke couldn’t remember a kiss quite like this. Her hands were in his hair, her fingers playing with it, her body and his getting closer by the moment.

“Luke!” an outraged feminine voice said. “Oh, for God’s sake, Luke, come up for air,” she insisted.

    Damn, he knew that voice. What was his sister doing tracking him down? 


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eve gaddy first kissEve Gaddy is the award winning, nationally bestselling author of twenty-three novels and counting.  Her books have won and been nominated for many awards, including winning the 2008 Romantic Times Career Achievement award for Series Storyteller of the year, and being nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Innovative Series romance.

Eve loves her family, spring and fall in east Texas, the Colorado mountains, dogs, chocolate, books, and electronics. She enjoys cooking except when she is in the throes of creating, and has been known to tell her husband that is what peanut butter and jelly was created for.

Eve also loves a happy ending. That’s why she writes romance.

Catch up with Eve on her newly updated website www.evegaddy.net or visit her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/EveGaddyAuthor

or Twitter: www.twitter.com/evegaddy

You can also email her at eve@evegaddy.net 

Happy reading…and XOXO,

Deb

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY (from Hold Me, Cowboy by Alissa Callen )

First Kiss= TUESDAY

 

alissa callen cover

Rancher Brent Ashton is back in small town Marietta but haunted by the death of his father he’s determined to resist rekindling the romance with the only girl he’s ever loved. But Kendall is no longer shy and uncertain, she wants Brent and will do anything to make sure he won’t ever walk away again. Even if that means dressing up in a little red dress and breaking down his self-control.


At the kitchen doorway Kendall paused to tug down the short hem of her fitted red dress. Tension tightened her neck and she rolled her shoulders. She was no longer the shy and insecure girl who’d no idea what to do once she’d caught Brent’s attention. Life had ensured she now possessed the self-confidence that would enable her to walk into the kitchen, head high, and go after what, and who, she wanted.

            She pushed open the door. Dressed in jeans, a black tee, hair tousled and shower-damp, Brent leaned against the kitchen bench. Coffee in his hand, he stared at the fresh roses in the center of the table she’d picked from her town garden yesterday. Expression grim, he lifted his coffee mug to take a swallow. Then he saw her. His mug stopped halfway to his mouth.

            “Hey,” she said, tone light as she sat her jacket and purse on a kitchen chair. “I was hoping I’d catch you. Your dinner’s in the oven and Ruth’s gone to bed early to read.”

            She headed for a cupboard and stretched to collect a glass. All the while she felt the heat of his hooded gaze tracking her.

            “Going to meet Izzy?” he asked, voice low.

            Kendall nodded as she walked past to the sink to fill her glass with water. His words were casual but the huskiness of his tone gave her hope his self-control had taken a hit. “Yes. We’ll go to Grey’s for a drink and then out for a late dinner somewhere … maybe Rocco’s.”

            “It’s Friday night, town will be busy.”

            Kendall took a sip of water. “It will be.”

            He twisted to set his coffee on the bench behind him. He faced her again and folded his arms.

             “I guess the cowboy you were talking to at Big Z’s will be at Grey’s too?”

            “Digby? Probably. His fiancée, Holly, lives in the new part of town so they could be.”

            Kendall couldn’t be sure but she thought relief eased the grooves beside Brent’s mouth.

            “Say hi to Izzy and enjoy yourself.” He turned to collect his coffee.

            Kendall’s hope deflated. She may as well be dressed in a paper bag. Not once had his attention dipped below her collarbones. His iron-control appeared unbreakable. “I will. Why don’t you come too?”

            Brent’s tanned throat rippled as he swallowed a mouthful of coffee. “Thanks, but I’ll stay and keep Mom company. I’ve got bookwork to do.”

            Now was the point where she said good-bye, gathered her purse and jacket and left. But if their conversation ended now, the only place she’d be going to was Izzy’s for a big tub of toffee ice cream and she was determined that wasn’t going to happen.

            She sat her half-full water glass on the sink. “You did a good thing bringing Ruth home. She’s eating more and getting stronger. Every day she walks a little further into the garden.”

            Brent stared into his coffee cup. “Yes, she’s doing much better.”

            “She’s just happy you’re home … and so am I”

            Brent shot her a quick look and in the intensity of his eyes she glimpsed every emotion she’d ever hoped to see. Pain, longing, hunger. But then he pushed himself away from the bench and turned to pour his coffee down the sink.

            “Kendall.” He spoke quietly over his shoulder, not looking at her. “Don’t go there. Please.”

            Pulses racing, she stepped closer and breathed in the clean scent of soap on his skin.

            “Why. We can’t keep ignoring the elephant in the room.”

           He slowly faced her, his face stony and set as though chiseled out of Copper Mountain granite. “You’re right, we can’t. I’m sorry I hurt you by not staying in touch. Things happen. People … change.”

            Kendall had wanted him to talk, but now that he was, she focused not on his words but on what his body said. Brent had two tells. He dragged his hand through his hair when on edge, but he also stood intensely still when he wasn’t telling the whole truth. Like now.

            Things did happen. Loved ones were no longer with them. People did change. But that’s not what had happened with them. Brent’s feelings for her hadn’t withered and died. The reason why he now fought what he felt and why he kept her at arm’s length had to be connected with why he’d stayed away. But for now, she’d follow her instincts that said she needed to dismantle the wall between them. While ever it remained, Brent’s emotions and words would stay hidden.

            “Some things don’t change.” She moved in close to touch her fingers to his clean-shaven jaw. He didn’t pull away. His gaze briefly dipped to where the red pendant hung low around her neck.

            “You’re always so in control, always so honorable. I’m not the only one who thinks of others first or who goes out of their way to make people happy.” She stood on tiptoe. Her breasts brushed against his chest, the pendant filling the tiny space between their bodies. Still he didn’t move. “But sometimes,” she whispered, her breath tracing the path her fingertips had travelled, “The person we need to make happy is ourself.”

            For a moment she’d thought she’d never reach him. His control was impenetrable. Then she felt him shudder. His fingers tangled in her hair and his mouth claimed hers. Hot, urgent and out of control, he demanded, consumed and gave. This was no sweet and gentle kiss like they’d shared at the rodeo. This kiss was raw, untamed and … perfect.

            She moaned as he angled her head to deepen their kiss. She had no idea when she’d wrapped her arms around his neck or when her fingers had dug into the soft, damp hair at his nape. All she knew was that kissing Brent was like coming home. She fitted her body to his. And the only place she truly belonged was in his arms.

 


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Alissa Callen headshot

When Alissa Callen isn’t writing she plays traffic controller to four children, three dogs, two horses and one renegade cow who really does believe the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Once a teacher and a counselor, she remains interested in the life journeys that people take and her books are characteristically heart-warming, emotional and character driven. She currently lives in rural Australia.

 

 

 

Happy reading…and XOXO,

Deb

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY (from Hold Me, Cowboy by Alissa Callen )

First Kiss= TUESDAY

alissa callen cover

Rancher Brent Ashton is back in small town Marietta but haunted by the death of his father he’s determined to resist rekindling the romance with the only girl he’s ever loved. But Kendall is no longer shy and uncertain, she wants Brent and will do anything to make sure he won’t ever walk away again. Even if that means dressing up in a little red dress and breaking down his self-control.


At the kitchen doorway Kendall paused to tug down the short hem of her fitted red dress. Tension tightened her neck and she rolled her shoulders. She was no longer the shy and insecure girl who’d no idea what to do once she’d caught Brent’s attention. Life had ensured she now possessed the self-confidence that would enable her to walk into the kitchen, head high, and go after what, and who, she wanted.

            She pushed open the door. Dressed in jeans, a black tee, hair tousled and shower-damp, Brent leaned against the kitchen bench. Coffee in his hand, he stared at the fresh roses in the center of the table she’d picked from her town garden yesterday. Expression grim, he lifted his coffee mug to take a swallow. Then he saw her. His mug stopped halfway to his mouth.

            “Hey,” she said, tone light as she sat her jacket and purse on a kitchen chair. “I was hoping I’d catch you. Your dinner’s in the oven and Ruth’s gone to bed early to read.”

            She headed for a cupboard and stretched to collect a glass. All the while she felt the heat of his hooded gaze tracking her.

            “Going to meet Izzy?” he asked, voice low.

            Kendall nodded as she walked past to the sink to fill her glass with water. His words were casual but the huskiness of his tone gave her hope his self-control had taken a hit. “Yes. We’ll go to Grey’s for a drink and then out for a late dinner somewhere … maybe Rocco’s.”

            “It’s Friday night, town will be busy.”

            Kendall took a sip of water. “It will be.”

            He twisted to set his coffee on the bench behind him. He faced her again and folded his arms.

             “I guess the cowboy you were talking to at Big Z’s will be at Grey’s too?”

            “Digby? Probably. His fiancée, Holly, lives in the new part of town so they could be.”

            Kendall couldn’t be sure but she thought relief eased the grooves beside Brent’s mouth.

            “Say hi to Izzy and enjoy yourself.” He turned to collect his coffee.

            Kendall’s hope deflated. She may as well be dressed in a paper bag. Not once had his attention dipped below her collarbones. His iron-control appeared unbreakable. “I will. Why don’t you come too?”

            Brent’s tanned throat rippled as he swallowed a mouthful of coffee. “Thanks, but I’ll stay and keep Mom company. I’ve got bookwork to do.”

            Now was the point where she said good-bye, gathered her purse and jacket and left. But if their conversation ended now, the only place she’d be going to was Izzy’s for a big tub of toffee ice cream and she was determined that wasn’t going to happen.

            She sat her half-full water glass on the sink. “You did a good thing bringing Ruth home. She’s eating more and getting stronger. Every day she walks a little further into the garden.”

            Brent stared into his coffee cup. “Yes, she’s doing much better.”

            “She’s just happy you’re home … and so am I”

            Brent shot her a quick look and in the intensity of his eyes she glimpsed every emotion she’d ever hoped to see. Pain, longing, hunger. But then he pushed himself away from the bench and turned to pour his coffee down the sink.

            “Kendall.” He spoke quietly over his shoulder, not looking at her. “Don’t go there. Please.”

            Pulses racing, she stepped closer and breathed in the clean scent of soap on his skin.

            “Why. We can’t keep ignoring the elephant in the room.”

           He slowly faced her, his face stony and set as though chiseled out of Copper Mountain granite. “You’re right, we can’t. I’m sorry I hurt you by not staying in touch. Things happen. People … change.”

            Kendall had wanted him to talk, but now that he was, she focused not on his words but on what his body said. Brent had two tells. He dragged his hand through his hair when on edge, but he also stood intensely still when he wasn’t telling the whole truth. Like now.

            Things did happen. Loved ones were no longer with them. People did change. But that’s not what had happened with them. Brent’s feelings for her hadn’t withered and died. The reason why he now fought what he felt and why he kept her at arm’s length had to be connected with why he’d stayed away. But for now, she’d follow her instincts that said she needed to dismantle the wall between them. While ever it remained, Brent’s emotions and words would stay hidden.

            “Some things don’t change.” She moved in close to touch her fingers to his clean-shaven jaw. He didn’t pull away. His gaze briefly dipped to where the red pendant hung low around her neck.

            “You’re always so in control, always so honorable. I’m not the only one who thinks of others first or who goes out of their way to make people happy.” She stood on tiptoe. Her breasts brushed against his chest, the pendant filling the tiny space between their bodies. Still he didn’t move. “But sometimes,” she whispered, her breath tracing the path her fingertips had travelled, “The person we need to make happy is ourself.”

            For a moment she’d thought she’d never reach him. His control was impenetrable. Then she felt him shudder. His fingers tangled in her hair and his mouth claimed hers. Hot, urgent and out of control, he demanded, consumed and gave. This was no sweet and gentle kiss like they’d shared at the rodeo. This kiss was raw, untamed and … perfect.

            She moaned as he angled her head to deepen their kiss. She had no idea when she’d wrapped her arms around his neck or when her fingers had dug into the soft, damp hair at his nape. All she knew was that kissing Brent was like coming home. She fitted her body to his. And the only place she truly belonged was in his arms.

 


BUY LINK:

AMAZON

Google play

Kobo

iBooks


Alissa Callen headshot

When Alissa Callen isn’t writing she plays traffic controller to four children, three dogs, two horses and one renegade cow who really does believe the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Once a teacher and a counselor, she remains interested in the life journeys that people take and her books are characteristically heart-warming, emotional and character driven. She currently lives in rural Australia.

 

 

 

Happy reading…and XOXO,

Deb

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY (from Claim Me, Cowboy by Charlene Sands)

First Kiss= TUESDAY

ClaimMeCowboy-Sands

When Summer Nichols inherited half of the Circle W Ranch, she didn’t know her rodeo-riding, bad boy ex-boyfriend came with the deal. But sure enough, Tyler Warren, the man who broke her heart and left her in Marietta years ago, is back and living on the ranch again, claiming he wants no trouble. He’s certainly not back to rekindle their decade ago romance.

Ty only wants what’s rightfully his, and then he’s gone, but not even family secrets and Summer’s deep betrayal can keep him from remembering the good times he had with the preacher’s sweet, beautiful daughter, once upon a time. Summer is more woman than he expected…


They ate quietly, Summer watching Becca take her meal.

And when Tyler was through and the baby was content, he said, “Text me if you remember

something you need in town. I won’t be long. Just getting wood and supplies and then I’ll be back. You want me to get Becca to sleep before I go?”

“No, it’s okay. We’re getting along real well. But if you have any hints about naptime I’m all

ears.”

He grinned. “Are you now? Well, let me see. She likes for you to sing to her, and she likes to be

rocked, but you gotta hold her real tight, tuck her into your body, keep her warm and secure. That should do it. She’s already taken with you. I doubt she’ll give you an iota of trouble.”

She rose from the table, taking up their plates. “Then she’s not too much like her daddy at all.”

“You saying I’m trouble?” He rose from his seat, towering over her.

She backed up a bit, noting the playful gleam in his melt-your-heart eyes. Maybe she shouldn’t

have provoked him, because he was moving like silk now, swooping in, taking the plates out of her hands and setting them on the counter. Warmth spread through her body as his hands wrapped around waist. He tugged her forward and she landed just shy of his chest.

Taking in the teasing smile on his face, she asked, “What are you doing, T-ty?”

He stared at her lips and all rational sense fled her mind. “Showing you the difference between me being good, and me giving you trouble.” And then he bent his head and brought his mouth to hers, claiming her in a kiss that stole vital breath from her lungs.

He tasted like home, the way she’d always remembered, the first boy to ever hold her close and

kiss her like she was treasured. What might have started out as a tease, began to feel like much more. He deepened the kiss, and the powerful melding of their mouths made her forget time and place. He’d been learned in the art of kissing she’d found out later, after kissing a few frogs in her day. When he tucked her into his body, a little squeak rose up from her throat and Tyler took notice, as if he too was lost. He ended the kiss then and stepped back, studying her, the intensity in his eyes revealing too much.

Then he scrubbed his chin. “It seems Becca is more like me than I thought. I’m taken with you,

too. But I’m not here to stir up trouble, Summer. Regardless of what you might think.”

He left her standing by the sink to say goodbye to his daughter. Then the back screen slapped shut and the sound of his boots clicking on the path faded away.

Slowly, her fingers traced over her lips, still burning from his kiss. “You may not be here to

cause me any trouble, Tyler. But you’re doing a fine job of it anyway.”


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CLAIM ME, COWBOY – Sept 2015 
A Royal Temptation  – Desire Continuity- Oct 2015 
The Billionaires Daddy Test  Desire – July 2015
Her Forbidden Cowboy – Desire  Feb 2015
The Cowboy Contract 

CharleneSands

Charlene Sands is a USA Today Bestselling Author of 35 novels, writing both western and contemporary romance. She’s a lover of all things romantic, especially her bold, rugged, heart-melting “real good men” heroes! She’s the recipient of the National Readers’ Choice Award, the Bookseller’s Best Award, Cataromance Reviewer’s Choice Award and Romance Times Magazine’s Best Harlequin Desire of 2014!  When not writing, she spends time with her “hero” husband, enjoying Pacific Beaches and drinking iced mocha cappuccinos!

Charlene loves to hear from her readers. Drop her a line at www.charlenesands.com or write her at PO. Box 4883, West Hills, CA 91308 “LIKE” her at www.Facebook.com/CharleneSandsbooks

Happy reading…and XOXO,

Deb