FIRST KISS =TUESDAY from “One Night with the Tycoon” by Katherine Garbera

First Kiss= TUESDAY

KARTHINE G COVER

 

Meet the Kellys of Whiskey River, Texas, men who have always gone through life, and women, with their father’s legendary charm.

Wyatt Kelly, CEO of Kelly Boots, is rumored to do everything with his cowboy boots on, including seducing women into memorable one-night stands. Growing up the second eldest son of a philandering charmer, Wyatt’s seen first hand how messy relationships can get when the heart’s involved, and he’s determined to leave no scars. No woman’s tempted Wyatt to break his vow until he meets Juliette Rossi.

Juliette is all about business. She’s focused on turning the lavender farm she and her cousin inherited into a successful, world-wide company. Her meticulous plans are on the right track until she accepts a dare to spend the night with Wyatt after the annual Boots & Bangles Gala. Juliette’s fantasized about Wyatt for years… One night will get him out of her system for good, right?

Wrong.

Can she convince Wyatt that he’s more than his Kelly heritage? Will Wyatt agree that one night just isn’t enough?


 

One Night with the Tycoon

By

Katherine Garbera

 

She went up on tiptoe and kissed him.  The moment their lips touched she was gone.  It was everything that brief kiss in the ballroom had promised it would be.  His lips were soft but firm, moving over hers like he owned her.

And he did.  Tonight.  In this moment she knew she was gone.  She’d left the real Juliette behind and become a different woman for this night.  One of moonlight and magic.

Wrapping both of his arms around her hips, he lifted her off the ground. She put her hands on the side of his face and kissed him, thrust her tongue deep into his mouth, and tasted passion, margaritas, and something she’d never experienced before.

She was hungry and couldn’t get enough of him.  He lifted his head, rubbing his lips over hers and then dropped little kisses along her jaw.  He set her on her feet and stepped back.

She stood there in her ball gown and fancy boots but felt naked as he watched her.  It was the first time she’d felt this kind of lust.

He held his hand out to her and she took it, following him out of the elevator and into the foyer of his penthouse apartment.

 

Available at these fine distributors:

Amazon Kindle

B&N Nook

Amazon Kindle UK


 

Well, hekatherine_garberallo, short, sweet and sizzling! Just what we expect from my friend Katherine Garbera.

One Night With The Tycoon is Book 3 in the Whiskey River, TX series, written in conjunction with the amazing Eve Gaddy.

Serendipity brought these two authors together more than 15 years ago when they were assigned to room together at a writers conference in Savannah, GA.  Their friendship was cemented by arriving late to a publisher get-together and being forced to drag chairs across the lobby to join the gathering.  It was the kind of thing that has happened more than once to the two friends.

Eve is a lifelong native Texan and Katherine moved there in 2005.  Their love of the south has always been one of the many things the authors have in common.  The best-selling, award-winning authors had long wanted to collaborate on a series and so Whiskey River was born.

They have filled the town with all the things they love about Texas.  Sexy Texan tycoons and cowboys with smooth southern drawls, feisty women who go toe to toe with magnates and know how to keep those smooth talking cowboys in line. Experience the beauty of the Texas Hill Country and the sexy men who live there with them.

Happy reading!

DEB

WTAW       OneNightwiththeCowboy-300x450


 

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY (from Where There’s A Will by Katherine Garbera and Eve Gaddy)

First Kiss= TUESDAY

WTAW

 

Where There’s A Will

By

Katherine Garbera and Eve Gaddy

Tule Publishing Texas Born

Whiskey River

This is a FIRST KISS first: co-authors! Please welcome my friends Katherine Garbera and Eve Gaddy.

katherine_garberaeve gaddy first kissSerendipity brought the two authors together more than 15 years ago when they were assigned to room together at a writers conference in Savannah, GA.  Their friendship was cemented by arriving late to a publisher get-together and being forced to drag chairs across the lobby to join the gathering.  It was the kind of thing that has happened more than once to the two friends.

Eve is a lifelong native Texan and Katherine moved there in 2005.  Their love of the south has always been one of the many things the authors have in common.  The best-selling, award-winning authors had long wanted to collaborate on a series and so Whiskey River was born.

They have filled the town with all the things they love about Texas.  Sexy Texan tycoons and cowboys with smooth southern drawls, feisty women who go toe to toe with magnates and know how to keep those smooth talking cowboys in line. Experience the beauty of the Texas Hill Country and the sexy men who live there with them.

 

Are you ready for your kiss? Pucker up and read:

Intro:  Ryder and Addison have taken shelter during a tornado.  He’s her boss and she’s focused on leaving but she did sneak a kiss under the mistletoe at Christmas that they have both been pretending didn’t happen.

~~

She lifted her hand and stroked her finger down his jaw to that tiny scar and shifted back just a little bit so she could see his face more clearly. “Why haven’t you tried to kiss me again since the Christmas party?”

She could tell she’d shocked him. His pupils dilated and his arm around her shoulder tightened and then he lowered his head and she felt the brush of his breath over her lips before he kissed her again.

She tasted just like he remembered. No, better. Sweet, like melted honey. With a spicy kick that made him want more. Ryder knew there were reasons he shouldn’t be kissing Addison. But he’d spent the last three months thinking about kissing her again. Kissing her, and more.

He pulled her closer, deepening the kiss. Running his hands up her back, feeling the softness of her body against his.

Instant heat. She felt it too. He could tell by how her body molded against his and her tongue answered his in a wicked rhythm.

Wow.

Addison moaned and snuggled closer, but it wasn’t close enough. He helped her straddle him, her dress pushed up and then flowing around them. She wiggled her hips, not much, just enough to have his eyes crossing and him thinking about the only thing that would feel better—skin to skin contact.

He drew back to look at her. “Addison.”

“Ryder.”

Her lips were already swollen, her eyes dark pools of emerald. Damn, he was really going to regret this. Firmly, he moved her to sit beside him, wrapped his arm around her shoulders and gave her a hug.

“That’s why I haven’t kissed you again.”

Confused, she said, “Because it was good?”

With his free hand he traced his fingers over that beguiling, pouty mouth. Unable to resist, he kissed her again, brief and hard. “Too good. In about thirty seconds we were going to reach the point of no return. We were going to make love right here, right now.”

She thought about that a moment. “And that would be bad, why?”

“Because the first time with you should be special. I don’t want it to be in a closet in the middle of a tornado warning when you’re doing anything you can to forget the memories the tornado brings up.”

If we made love, which is by no means a given, it wouldn’t be because I was afraid of a tornado.”

He raised an eyebrow. “You can’t deny that was at least part of the reason you kissed me.” He’d bet the Kelly ranch on that.

Addison raised her chin pugnaciously. “You kissed me. I merely responded like any woman would have when—“ She broke off abruptly.

“When her boss kisses her?” he asked.

“I’m pretty sure you weren’t thinking like my boss just now. I know I wasn’t thinking about being your secretary.”

“My point, exactly. I want to do this right, Addison.”

“Do what right?”

Irked, he kissed her. When she would have spoken he kissed her again. “Honey, if you’re trying to frustrate me you’re doing a good job of it.” He continued before she could speak. “I want to get to know you and you get to know me,” he explained.

Buy it here:

AMAZON 


 

THANKS for sharing, Katherine and Eve!  Congratulations on your exciting new adventure.  

Deb

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY (from Limbo by Amy Andrews)

First Kiss= TUESDAY

LimboFinal

Limbo

By

Amy Andrews

fn0NT7DB_200x200I’m so pleased to welcome back multi-award winning and USA Today bestselling author Amy Andrews to the FIRST KISS blog. Amy is an Aussie who has written fifty romances from novellas to category to single-title in both the traditional and digital markets for a variety of publishers. Her first love is steamy contemporary romance that makes her readers tingle, laugh and sigh. At the age of 16, she met a guy she instantly knew she was going to marry so she just smiles when people tell her insta-love books are unrealistic because she did marry that man and, twenty odd years later, they’re still living out their happily ever after.

Amy works part-time as a PICU nurse and spent six years on the national executive of Romance Writers of Australia where she organized two national conferences and undertook a two year term as president. She loves good books, fab food, great wine and frequent travel – preferably all four together. She lives on acreage on the outskirts of Brisbane with a gorgeous mountain view but secretly wishes it was the hillsides of Tuscany.

Are you ready for your kiss? Pucker up and read:

ALERT: language and mature subject matter (cold shower optional)

 

She turned abruptly again and looked at him in that direct, serious way of hers. ‘You got beer in this fridge?’

‘Yep.’ Christ. She was making him monosyllabic.

She grinned, turned, opened the fridge, leaned over — seriously, that ass — and pulled out two beers.

Dash moved closer, keeping the desk between them as she passed him one, and he took it, thankful to have something to do with his hands other than putting them all over her. ‘What time is your flight leaving?’

‘Five a.m.’

‘Oh…’ Seven long hours. ‘So…’

She nodded as she cracked the lid then took her first swallow. ‘I have all night.’ She walked around the desk towards him and Dash, not for the first time, wished his office was bigger. She stopped right in front of him, only millimetres separating them and looked up at him. Considering he was six three and she couldn’t be more than five four, she had to tip her head back quite a ways.

‘Whatever shall we do?’ she asked.

Dash had two options. Play it coy and extricate himself, or tackle the elephant in the room.

Or the pixie, as the case may be.

‘Don’t you think I’m a little too old for you?’

She shrugged. ‘Too old to marry, sure. To fuck? Not necessarily.’

Dash swallowed as her deliberate profanity went straight to his dick. ‘Are you always this direct?’

A small smile played on her otherwise serious mouth. ‘Am I shocking you?’

‘The last time I saw you, you were a kid with your head buried in Edgar Allen Poe.’

She placed a hand on his chest and he felt it all the way to his groin. ‘I’m twenty-three. Welcome to the future.’

Twenty-three. Christ! ‘I’m thirty-five years old, Joy. Maybe you should be playing with boys your own age?’

‘I don’t like to limit myself.’

Her hand dropped to the button of his jeans and he quickly grabbed it before it went any lower. ‘I thought I wasn’t your type.’

She shrugged. ‘What can I say? I’m fickle.’

‘I thought you said you weren’t fucking me tonight?’

‘Hence the aforementioned fickleness.’

Dash was trying damn hard to be a gentleman here. She was Pete’s little sister for crying out loud. ‘I don’t think Pete would approve,’ he said, clutching at mental straws now. ‘There is a guy code, you know.’

‘And when was the last time you saw Pete? Fifteen years ago?’

Yeh. He sucked at keeping in touch.

‘I think,’ she said, raising herself up on her tippy toes and tilting her head until their mouths were almost touching, their drinks trapped between their combined bodies, ‘there’s a statute of limitations for guy code stuff and you are well and truly absolved from your responsibilities. It’s just sex, Dash. Recreational sex. I’m getting a plane to the other side of the planet in seven hours. I’m not interested in anything past tonight.’

And she planted a beer-infused kiss on his mouth that was like rocket fuel to his groin.

Screw it. He removed the beers, plonked them on the desk beside him then reached for the cheeks of her ass and hauled her up his body, slamming his mouth into hers, welcoming the feel of her legs as they locked around his waist.

Her tongue pushed into his mouth as he took three paces, pushing her against the wall near the door, groping for the light switch, plunging them into darkness.

Here’s a link that will take you to:

 AMAZON


 

THANKS for sharing, Amy!  Please come again. 

Deb

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY (from HIS DEFIANT PRINCESS by Kathleen O’Brien )

First KISS=TUESDAY

Please welcome my old friend and Tule author, Kathleen O’Brien to First Kiss=Tuesday. I’ve loved Kathleen’s writing since our Superromance days and can’t wait to introduce you to her new Princess story.

Today, you’ll read a darling snippet from :

HIS DEFIANT PRINCESS

Prince Ronan Vicenza has hired Brenna Tinley to deal with a public relations snafu in the royal family. Only the two of them know that nine years ago he posed as a commoner and became her summer lover. He broke her heart when he left without a word, and he hopes offering this high-profile job will help make amends. But will it? He still wants her, and if he isn’t careful he might just break her heart all over again.


 

 

HIS DEFIANT PRINCESS

by Kathleen O’Brien

He couldn’t believe he was saying this crap out loud to anyone, even Brenna.

He had no intention of sharing the rest of the crazy story.  They’d send the men in the white coats if they knew he went to the cemetery every year hoping that someday he would walk away a free man.  Either his father’s spirit would send a message, releasing him from his promises, or he’d finally stand up to the old tyrant and explain that he didn’t need a ghost’s permission to be happy.  He was setting himself free.

“Anyhow,” he said.  “It never happens, of course.  I end up annoyed at myself for being so daft and wishing I’d gone fishing instead.”

She nodded—not agreeing, exactly, but just acknowledging.  She probably didn’t understand, but she was one of those rare people who didn’t use her own experience as the yardstick by which she measured everybody’s truth.

She was willing to accept that this was Ronan’s reality, and that was enough to make it legitimate.  He’d always loved that about her…

“You’re a very kind person, Brenna Tinley,” he said, out of nowhere.

She flushed, but he meant it, with his entire being.  What a gift she was…had always been.

Truth was, he had never deserved her.  Prince or no prince, he’d always been unworthy to kiss the ground this woman walked on, much less those generous, tender, loving lips.

And yet…

He didn’t think it through.  He didn’t ask permission.  Letting go of Pepper’s reins, he took three steps forward.  He gathered Brenna into his arms, bent his head, and kissed her.

Heaven help him…this might be wrong, but nothing in the past nine years had ever felt so right.  She belonged here.  His arms knew her, his mouth knew her, even his hungry heart knew her.

He knew he must never do this again, so he made it last.  Slowly, he dragged his mouth across hers, his heart pounding as he discovered she tasted just the same as she always had.  Wild violets and climbing roses bloomed in his veins, and he went deeper, parting her lips and driving into the sweet, wet shadows.

He could have stayed like that forever, with her fragile, intoxicating body warm against him, and her swollen lips trembling under his.

It was heaven, but he was greedy, and even heaven suddenly wasn’t enough.  He wanted to press her down against the cool grass right here, right now, and make love to her under the moonlight.  The way he used to do.

He would give every inch of his sorry soul to see her like that again, naked and unashamed, washed in ivory light.

 

BUY HERE:

Amazon



Happy reading, my friends!

Deb

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY (from HER LONG WALK HOME by Linda Barrett)

First KISS=TUESDAY

Please welcome my friend and fellow ON FIRE FICTION member: Linda Barrett. Linda’s just released the first two books in the Sea View House series. How timely this story is given the heroine was injured in the Boston Marathon two years earlier.

 

Linda Barrett head shot

Rebecca Hart has her life together—great job, great friends and ready to run the Boston Marathon. Her life turns in an instant when she’s injured in the bombing.

Single dad and veterinarian, Adam Fielding, intends to remain a bachelor after being “abandoned” twice. Once by the love of his life and once by a second-best girlfriend.

When Rebecca arrives at Sea View House to recover, neither she nor Adam is prepared to let the magic of the place affect them.

Will these two open their hearts and run toward a new finish line together?


 

Some say it’s magic, some say it’s love. Others credit the sea, sun and sand as the healing power behind Sea View House. Does the truth really matter for the temporary residents of this special place? In the coastal town of Pilgrim Cove, strangers are welcomed, and everyone else takes a front seat as a love story unfolds.

 

e-covers_longwalk

 

HER LONG WALK HOME

BY

LINDA BARRETT

 

“Ms. Rebecca is doing quite well,” said Adam. “With or without Ginger.” He turned to Becca. “I really mean that. It’s barely been two months, and your gait is excellent.”

“My gait?” she snapped, unconcerned now about another conversation with this man. “I appreciated your help this morning at the parade, Adam, but I’m not your patient. Maybe you’re the one who needs a class in manners. Take another look. I’ve got two legs, not four.”

He stepped closer, but held his hand up. “Believe me, I’ve noticed the whole package. I notice a lot. My brain works automatically, and I can’t turn it off on a whim. It’s the same thing as an optometrist checking out people’s glasses at a party, in a supermarket, everywhere.” He pivoted toward his daughter. “Sara, honey, we’ve got to get going. You have school tomorrow.”

As Adam gathered his family together, Becca gazed over his shoulder, her last words echoing in her mind over and over again.

“I do have two legs! Two good legs. Which work just fine.” If she needed to convince herself, so be it. She waved her arm at the powerful Atlantic and the expanse of sand before it. “And tomorrow, I’m going to walk on that beach. And someday, somehow, I’ll get into the water and swim.”

Adam glanced toward the shoreline. Only at the water’s edge was the sand hard-packed and perhaps possible for Becca to navigate. Maybe. A big maybe. Unexpected dangers could lurk. Hidden air pockets, clumps of seaweed, piles of shells or a visitor’s forgotten item. Between the house and the water, however, he saw bigger trouble. Dry shifting sand. Irregular and uneven, the kind of surface anyone could struggle with. What she attempted, of course, wasn’t really his business, but his mouth had other ideas.

“No. You’re not ready.”

“Excuse me?”

One look at her outraged expression, and he wanted to eat his words. He should have realized that Becca wasn’t one to take orders. At least not from him. He’d back off. For now.

“Just stating the obvious, but…what do I know?” He shrugged. “Do what you want. And carry a cell phone. You’ll probably need it.”

“I’ve been an athlete all my life. I’m betting on me.”

He saw her chin rise, her mouth tighten. He saw her determination as she rose from the rock wall and stood, poised for flight. Like the nightingale in its cage, this beautiful woman yearned for freedom, yearned to fly along the shore. She didn’t hide her emotions—didn’t try to—and he read them as clearly as if she’d shouted her desires to the world. She’d run marathons once, only a short while ago. How could she now sit and wait?

“Make no mistake, Rebecca. I’m betting on you, too. But not tomorrow.” He stepped closer and her chin rose, her eyes resting on him. His hand automatically moved to her cheek, and he stroked the soft skin. As soft as the singing bird’s delicate wings. “Your recovery isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon, exactly as your races were.”

Her eyes remained open, shiny and curious. His thumb trailed over her lips. He stroked them and felt her warm breath as they parted slightly. His heart rate surged. “So approach it the same way,” he advised, his voice hoarse. “Little by little. With a lot of training. You’ll run again, you’ll race again. Just not yet.”

Sweet. Strong. A beautiful siren. He leaned in, wove his fingers through her thick hair, and kissed her.

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 And don’t miss: HER PICTURE-PERFECT FAMILY

SEA VIEW HOUSE (Book 2)
April 2015


 I’m reading this book right now and I love it. Did I mention the greyhound? Oh, you must come check out Sea View House.

Happy reading, my friends!

Deb

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY (from THE FROGMAN, PRINCE by Rogenna Brewer)

First KISS=TUESDAY

Please welcome my friend and fellow ON FIRE FICTION member: Rogenna Brewer.

photoThe Frogman, Prince — her “book of the heart” 20 years in the writing – is now up on pre-order. Woo-hoo!!

I’ve been lucky enough to read parts of it and the story has everything you want in a romantic, fairytale adventure: nuclear warheads, pirates, sexy frogmen, take-charge women–all set on the high seas.


 

 

FrogmanSmall copy

 

THE FROGMAN, PRINCE

BY

ROGENNA BREWER

 

Rogenna: Because I don’t want to give too much away about the Frogman and Lily’s first kiss, I mean The Frog Prince fairy tale is all about “THE KISS” and The Frogman, Prince is based on that very same premise, I thought I’d share a snippet from his first thoughts of kissing her…

And…um…you should probably know our Frogman, aka Navy SEAL, is in his wet gear and has his hand around our heroine’s throat at this point…

      In spite of the captain’s obvious trepidation she tilted her chin.

      Daring him?  To what?

      Take control of more than just her ship?

      Delicate features lightly kissed by the sun taunted him.  A loose strand of long sun-streaked blond hair playing at the corner of her mouth teased him.  Even when held in a determined line, pouty pink lips begged him.  Kiss me.

      She wet her lips.

      His stomach clenched.  Lower still, his body stirred.

      The distance between them measured the length of his bent arm.  Sliding his hand down the slender column of her throat, he hooked his finger through the gold chain around her neck and tugged the malformed gold charm free of this nesting place between her breasts.

      Similar to the one he wore.

      His promise.  And his purpose for being here.

 

A Princess, A Toad and a Shipwreck… The Frogman, Prince A contemporary romance fairytale. Preorder here” http://amzn.to/1C5fRxG


Oh, man, not fair. I want more!!!

And because I’m in love with Rogenna’s clever marketing skills, I thought I’d share her adorable froggie ad man–look out Don Draper.

FrogmanCover copy

Keep up with what’s happening underwater and above at www.rogennabrewer.com where you’ll meet: Daring women, dangerous men!

Join her Newsletter http://bit.ly/1a58kTX 

Thanks for reading!

Deb

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY (from HEARTS IN RUIN by J.C. Conway)

kissing image  

Please welcome my friend and fellow Yosemite Romance Writers member: J.C. Conway.

JCCHearts in Ruin is a romantic archaeological mystery published by Liquid Silver Books. Below is the first kiss scene from the book, described in Romance Junkies’ 5-star review like this:

“My favorite part: wait until you get to their first kiss. Never in the history of romance novels has there been a kiss like it. The second kiss leads to even better things.”

As the scene begins, archeologists Daniel and Andrea, who have been at odds about how their dig should be handled (despite an undeniable attraction to each other), are at a formal dinner at Daniel’s former university. It’s been strictly business. Daniel is restless, disliking some of his former colleagues and frustrated at being forced to navigate academic politics this evening instead of actively working in the field.


 

 

HeartsInRuin_306x408

 

HEARTS IN RUIN

BY

J.C. CONWAY

Later in the evening, Daniel slipped out to the patio for a reprieve—just a few moments of peace. The wide balcony overlooked the east side of campus with the lights of town beyond, backed by the night shadows of the mesa. He inhaled. Even here, amid streets, buildings, miles of surrounding commercial and residential neighborhoods, the scent of the uncivilized desert predominated. Its stillness soothed him.

“So there you are.”

He turned, startled. Andrea stepped into view, stunning in Pamela’s dress. He’d seen her in it all evening, but not in the moonlight like this.

He struggled for composure. He hadn’t expected anyone to join him here, especially Andrea. She was a hit at the dinner, a fresh young woman, as smart as the stuffy regulars, but piercingly direct and good humored.

“Is everything all right?” he asked.

“Sure.” She stepped toward him. “Except my date ditched me.”

“I didn’t think you needed me in there.”

Her eyes glinted. “So, you tired of the crowd?”

He laughed. She could not have nailed it much better. “Let’s just say I’ve already been to enough meetings, dinners, and functions of all kinds with this group to fill a lifetime.”

She stood next to him now at the railing and stared across the campus. “It’s a pretty school.”

He shrugged. “It has its charms.”

A subtle hint of perfume mingled seamlessly with the desert breeze. Amazing. Most of the women inside seemed anxious to disguise or completely cover up the smell and feel of the dry desert environment. But Andrea, who had never lived in the climate or even visited the desert before, chose a fragrance that accepted it and even complimented its arid beauty.

“Not all fake Ivy-League like the U,” she explained.

He smiled. “No. And if you have a thing for adobe and stucco then you can really learn to love it.”

She turned, leaning back against the railing. “The people seem nice,” she ventured. “I don’t really know why you left. Just because they didn’t support the dig? It seems you could’ve worked it out with these folks.”

Daniel could not tear his gaze from her profile and the bare shoulders just touched by soft and inviting golden-brown hair. But he was held by more than that. All of her qualities were admirable. Not only was she fascinatingly attractive, and perhaps even in spite of it, she was brilliant and clear minded, and she loved her work.

“They um…” Daniel’s throat thickened, as if he were trying to talk underwater. There was something about her—something between them that transcended this project, he knew. He’d been avoiding it. He wanted no complications during the dig. But that was only part of the problem. The fact was, he didn’t want to draw her too far into his private quest. He couldn’t do that to her. Not now, not at this critical juncture with her career poised to launch. It was bad enough that she was the project leader, and he hoped she didn’t have to explain that away the rest of her life after he finally published his findings. But why then, if he felt that way, did he recruit her? She was clearly in the running for a post at a good school. This project, once the controversy surfaced, was not a good stepping stone on that path. Did he really think if he kept her role limited that it could minimize the fallout to her career?

It had been different for him. He didn’t work so hard for his opportunities. He had been young when he reached that point. Just eighteen, still a kid. He met Madeline and willingly abandoned most of the career courses Andrea should follow. He was committed to his project. He never saw it as a choice. But how could he lead Andrea down the same path—especially after she worked so hard for so many years to gain a solid foothold in academia?

Andrea’s brow furrowed with contemplation and she turned to him. “I think you should have just stuck to your guns here. They like you more than you know.”

He drew a breath. “Not all of them.”

She lowered her chin. “You’re about as likeable as they get.”

He smiled, and without thinking, touched her hand. She didn’t retreat. The air warmed with electricity. A remnant of his rational mind searched for a response to her statement—a quip, a compliment, a rebuttal…anything. But the futile effort was overshadowed by the sharpening of his senses, an awakening triggered by her presence and warm touch.

“I uh…”

She turned to face him squarely. He touched her arm, feeling the impossible softness of her skin. Her hand touched his stomach and slide to his waist. Her expression shifted. Her eyes surveyed his face. Was she searching for resistance or its opposite? He didn’t know. He wasn’t sure he cared. But he could tell that this closeness was something they’d both thought about before.

The moment grew, nearly eclipsing all else. He knew in his mind and heart that if he didn’t embrace her now, the moment could vanish forever. His heart pounded. He did not weigh options. This was not a matter of choice. It was roaring compulsion. He leaned close. He felt the heat of Andrea’s cheek, her warm breath. Their lips brushed across each other. Daniel savored the soft pass once, twice, then opening slightly more and connecting, pressing, tasting and melding. His chest filled with fire. The world fell away. He reached around her, pulling her close. She nestled in, leaving no gap.

He felt no barrier between them. His lips touched her nose, her cheek, the crook of her neck. He returned to her lips and they tasted each other again. Andrea mewed. It felt right to be lost in her touch and her breath. Their chests heaved together. Their embrace softened. Daniel roamed the curve of her spine. She responded with equal, soft passion. He felt the release of a long, satisfied sigh.

They touched foreheads.

He smiled. She giggled lightly.

A rough, “Ahem,” broke the moment like shattered crystal. They weren’t alone.

Eyes widened, they released their holds and turned.

“I don’t mean to disturb you.”

Daniel regained his bearing. William Lassiter and Morgan Hamilton stood near the patio door holding cocktail tumblers.

Hearts in Ruin is available in print or e-book formats:


 

Thanks for reading!

Deb

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY (from MONTANA COWGIRL by Debra Salonen)

kissing image

It’s me, again.

We had a little hiccup this week with scheduling, so I’m going to share a first kiss from my FIRST book in the Big Sky Mavericks series, which is now available on all platforms. I’m so excited to be able to share this big, heartfelt story with more readers. If you know anyone who favors Nook, Kobo, Google Play or iBooks, please forward this link. I’d appreciate it so much.

Everybody deserves a second chance, don’t they?

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MONTANA COWGIRL

 

Paul watched four hours slip by as if it were minutes. A part of him couldn’t believe Bailey Jenkins–his Bailey Jenkins–was playing Marco Polo in his pool with his children.

At first glance, she looked the same as she had at eighteen, but that wasn’t quite true. Her body had matured. Her breasts filled out the demure, navy blue and white stripe two-piece–even if she could use a couple of pounds.

What changed the most about her wasn’t physical. This Bailey enjoyed playing with his kids. The old Bailey never had time for children. The teenage Bailey wouldn’t have asked Chloe and Mark clever, revealing questions…then listened, truly listened, when they answered.

Later, when they gathered around the stone fire pit for dessert, Mark asked the question he and Chloe had probably discussed at length. “What happened to your foot?”

The children had been skeptical when Bailey produced marshmallows, graham crackers and Hershey bars for dessert. It wasn’t that they’d never eaten s’mores, they simply couldn’t conceive of roasting marshmallow over glowing embers of broken glass.

“Car wreck. My foot got pinned under the front end of our truck. I was lucky.”

“What do you mean?”

“They had to use those big hydraulic Jaws of Life to get me out. I only had a concussion and a broken ankle.”

Only. Paul had work to keep from cringing.

“Were you driving?”

“No. I was in the passenger side.”

The tremor in her voice told him the memory still brought her pain. So, Paul cut off Mark before his morbid curiosity–typical of eight-year-old boys–asked for details about blood and missing body parts. “Where are the rest of the candy bars?”

“Mark,” Chloe cried. “You didn’t? Oh, my gosh, you are such a pig.”

His son’s lips were ringed by a suspicious brown outline, but Markie fervently denied the charge until Bailey hauled him onto her lap and ticked him until he confessed.

“Okay. Okay. I did it. I ate the last of the chocolate. So sue me.”

Bailey put him down. “Not necessary. A perfectly roasted marshy doesn’t need chocolate.”

She pushed a white square onto her skewer and leaned forward, resting her elbows on her knees. Her loose off-white cover-up slipped from one shoulder.

Paul had forgotten how lovely her natural skin tone was. How smooth and silky her skin felt when they were laying in the sun trying to get a deep brown tan. Fools.

A minute later, she lifted the golden treat to her lips and blew.

His groin reacted.

“Nothing beats a sticky, gooey marshmallow straight off the fire.” She pinched a hunk and pulled the bite upward, strings of glistening white sugar trailing behind. With a flourish, she spun the filaments onto the bite and lowered into her open mouth.

Chloe clapped and grabbed another marshmallow to try for herself.

Mark squinted at Paul. “What’s wrong, Dad? You look like you swallowed a marshmallow whole.”

Outed by an eight-year old. Damn.

Paul jumped to his feet, gathering the empty wrappers and used napkins. He carried the mess to a nearby trashcan then said, “Bath time, kiddos. Your mother gave me hel–heck last week for not making you wash your hair after swimming. She says it’s going to turn green.”

He made a mad scientist gesture that brought a grin to Bailey’s lips. Her sticky sweet lips. “Scoot, you two. I left bottles of anti-chlorine shampoo in each of your showers.”

Mark and Chloe took off with a minimal amount of grumbling. He could see they were worn out. The best part of owning a pool, in his opinion.

Bailey waited until both kids were gone before getting to her feet. She didn’t want to intrude on their nightly family rituals. She picked up the children’s half-empty water glasses and followed Paul into the kitchen, which had all the bells and whistles any TV chef might expect: granite countertops, polished chrome appliances, hardwood flooring and dark golden oak cabinets. The recessed lights in the ceiling turned the butter yellow walls a warm, inviting color.

“Your home is beautiful, Paul. Could be right off the pages of a decorating magazine, and yet it seems perfectly functional at the same time.” She pulled out one of the chrome stools tucked under the island and sat.

He wiped a spill on the gorgeous marble countertop before her elbow connected with it then tossed the rag into a big white apron-front sink.

Was it possible to have sink envy, she wondered?

She’d wasted so much time designing a dream kitchen to fit in Ross’s dream log cabin. A kitchen not unlike this one, with windows behind the sink overlooking the backyard.

“Jen spent more money on this room than the rest of the remodeling combined. I told her we wouldn’t be able to afford food to cook by the time she was done.” He carried the bag of leftover marshmallows to a walk-in pantry about the size of her mother’s guest room.

He returned a moment later, a liter-size green bottle of imported water in hand. She recognized the label but rarely splurged on the pricy brand.

“Although compared to the cost of our divorce, the kitchen was a real bargain,” Paul told, grabbing a couple of glasses from a cabinet with beveled glass panels.

His cynicism made her uncomfortable. Was she ready to talk exes?

Not really.

He unscrewed the cap with a powerful twist and poured two glasses of the fizzy water. “My new go-to drink, instead of beer. Chloe’s class stared a recycling campaign. When I loaded all the bags in the truck, it looked like a flaming alcoholic lived here.” He held out his glass. “Cheers.”

She touched the lip of her glass to his and looked into his eyes. Friendly, yes. Interested, too. The kind of interest a part of her desperately wanted to explore. Too bad the thinking part of her brain knew better than to start something she couldn’t finish. She hadn’t talked to OC yet. Could she trust him or not? Was she staying or going?

She took a sip of bubbly water then slipped off the stool. “Excuse me a minute. I’m going to try Mom’s phone again.”

Coward. She walked to the dining table where she’d left her purse hanging over the back of her chair.

She carried her phone outdoors and took a seat by the fire pit. The flame had been shut off but the night was warm enough without a fire.

She could understand the attraction of these one-click-to-start units, but they didn’t compare to the romance of a wood campfire like the one she and Paul made love beside that last summer. They’d lied to their parents and spent an entire weekend hiking, fishing and camping alone. They’d shared a single sleeping bag. She’d never experienced sex as pure and delicious–lust combined with the stamina and abandon of youth.

Her breasts tightened and her nipples puckered inside the cups of her mostly dry swimsuit. The still damp crotch of her bottoms felt unnaturally warm and moist.

She couldn’t remember the last time she had sex–aside from the occasional self-pleasure that usually left her a sobbing wreck.

“You need to get laid,” Maureen told Bailey at their last physical therapy session. “Sex is a great healer. So is forgiveness. Once you dump that heavy burden you’re carrying around, you’ll be able to run and ride again.”

Run? Maybe. She’d been walking a lot the past few days and her ankle felt much stronger. But, ride? She couldn’t picture it. Her riding days were over.

Before she could call up her mother’s cell phone number, Bailey’s phone rang. Mom’s image appeared on the screen.

Bailey sat on the chaise and crossed her legs. “Hi. Are you home?”

An awkward pause–as if someone fumbled the phone–made her sit up. “Mom?”

“No. It’s me,” OC said. “She’s asleep. They gave her something.”

They? Bailey’s pulse jumped.

“Luly has a lump on her side. I made her call the doctor. He saw her right away and sent us to Bozeman.”

“T…to the hospital?”

“Yeah. Took six hours to get a room. Can you believe that? The surgeon’s going to do something in the morning.”

“What time?”

“Nine. But you know how that goes.”

“Wh…what do they think it is? Cancer?” Her voice cracked in a broken whisper.

“Not sure. One of the doctors thought it might be some kind of infection. Endimidercondriac or something.”

“Endometriosis?”

“That sounds like it. Could be leftover from her gallbladder surgery.”

“Her gallbladder? But that was last year.” Bailey’s last trip home before Ross and Daz died.

“I know. I don’t get it. But, she says it doesn’t hurt.”

Oh, mom. Do you ever complain? “Do you need me to come pick you up?”

“No. The nurse made a bed for me on the couch. I got my pills. I’ll be fine. But I know your mother wants to see you before she goes in.”

“Of course. I’ll be there first thing. Text me if you need anything from home.”

“I…” He paused. “I’m sorry about today. You were right to think the worst. They say you have to hit rock bottom before you can start to climb out of the pit. I’m climbing, Queen Bee. And this time I’m gonna make it. You’ll see.”

He ended the call before she could get her emotions under control to reply. Did she dare hope? He’d made promises before. Did OC’s problems even matter now? Her mother–the glue that had been holding them all together– was sick, dealing with a potentially serious disease.

Dad isn’t the only one who has to step up.

She got to her feet and walked inside. Her expression must have conveyed her distress. Before she could say a word, Paul cleared the distance between them. “What’s wrong? Your dad?”

“Mom. She’s in the hospital in Bozeman. They’ve scheduled her for surgery in the morning. Some kind of l…lump.” She shared what little OC told her. “If it’s cancer, they’ll discuss a protocol. If it’s not–please, God–they’ll remove it and release her.”

“How big a lump?”

“I…I don’t know. She never told me. All this time. I can’t believe it. I don’t know whether to cry or scream.”

He took her in arms. “Whichever makes you feel better.”

She closed her eyes and for a moment she felt…home. Was this what it was like to know somebody had your back?

I could have had this. But she chose to leave. And she knew why. Because, bottom line, she was Bailey Jenkins, and Paul Zabrinski always deserved better.

That hadn’t changed.

She started to pull away, but Paul tightened his hold. “Don’t run away, cowgirl. Not tonight.”

“I have to leave early in the morning.”

“I know. I wish I could drive you, but…”

“You have the kids. And a business to run. A life. I appreciate all the help you’ve given me, Paul, but I’ve got this. Really, I do.”

He stared into her eyes a good minute then released his hold. “Okay. But call if you need me.”

“I will. Thank you.”

Then she leaned in to kiss his cheek. His cheek.

How her lips landed on his lips she couldn’t say for sure. And they didn’t mess around with a grateful peck. Her lips remembered…as if she and Paul had never been apart.

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And don’t forget, you can read Louise and OC’s love story for free…

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Happy reading, my friends. 

 

Deb

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY (from DUTY BOUND GUARDIAN by Terri Reed)

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Please welcome back the wonderful, award-winning and bestselling author Terri Reed, who is sharing a scene from her soon-to-be released Love Inspired Suspense: DUTY BOUND GUARDIAN.

This is from book 2 of the Capitol K-9 Unit continuity series from Love Inspired Suspense. It will be available to buy on April 1, or order your pre-ordered copy NOW.

To introduce you to the world of Capitol K-9 Unit check out Terri’s short online read at www.harlequin.com titled “Dangerous Justice.”


 

Terri Reed’s romance and romantic suspense novels have appeared on Publisher’s Weekly top 25, Nielsen’s Bookscan top 100 and featured in USA Today, Christian Fiction Magazine, More To Life Magazine and Romantic Times Magazine. Her books have finaled in Romance Writers of America’s RITA contest, National Reader’s Choice Award contest and two times in American Christian Fiction Writers The Carol Award contest. Contact Terri @ www.terrireed.com or P.O. Box 19555 Portland, OR 97224


 

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DUTY BOUND GUARDIAN

BY

TERRI REED

He pulled her into the hall, away from the girls’ room, and leaned toward her even as his head bellowed a warning signal. His heart hammered a staccato rhythm in his chest so loud he actually heard the beat in his ears. He hovered over her mouth, waiting for her permission, half hoping, and half dreading she’d move away.

Instead, she rose on her toes and closed the distance between them. Her lips were soft and moist and fit so perfectly against his. He wrapped his arms around her and drew her closer until their hearts beat together in the same erratic rhythm.

He couldn’t have said how long they stood there locked in an embrace that melted his mind and touched him deeply. When the kiss eased and they withdrew from each other, he couldn’t bring himself to release his hold on her. Not yet. He dropped his forehead to hers.

Her hand touched his face, her palm warm against his cheek. He lifted his head and searched her face for regret.

 


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Thanks for reading!

Deb