As you know, Her Hero To Love – Book I of the Love, Montana series is FREE through Valentine’s Day, so I figured it was the perfect time to give new blog readers a chance to sample the other two stories in the series. (And give my regular blog readers — like Shelagh–a chance to wander down Memory Lane.) I had a lot of fun with this book and researching the climbing locale in Santa Barbara was pure bliss. If you ever have a chance to hang out along that stretch of southern California coastline, I highly recommend driving inland for some spectacular views and a surprising piece of history.
A masked ball. Two star-crossed lovers. A New Year’s Eve kiss at midnight.
“It’s that time, my friends. Grab a glass of champagne and that special person. Here we go. Ten…nine…”
Bailey’s voice got drowned out by the crowd.
He closed his arms around Nicole to keep her safe as more people flooded onto the dance floor.
“Six,” she said, looking directly into his eyes. The lights had come up so he could study the subtle hues mixed in the blue of her irises.
Beautiful eyes. Familiar, somehow.
“Five,” a voice boomed to his left.
Tucker, who was holding Amanda the same way Justin held Nicole, gave Justin a guy-nod that seemed to say, “Way to go, bro!”
Justin liked to think he didn’t need his friends’ validation to feel good about his choices, but this time he was navigating new waters. Dangerous waters. This woman was about to become his boss. That couldn’t be good.
But Nicole didn’t feel dangerous or threatening.
She felt as though she’d been made to dance with him. They fit together perfectly. He liked every thing about her, except her job.
“Three…” If he and Nicole were going to do this, he had to make sure they had an end game in place.
New Year’s Eve. Maybe the weekend. They’d play that part by ear, but after Monday nothing could happen between them.
“Two,” he said softly.
“One,” she whispered, looking into his eyes with a question he was ready to answer.
“Happy New Year.”
“Happy New Year,” he said before lowering his head to press his lips to hers.
He expected the usual few minutes of testing the waters, feeling each other out, but that didn’t happen. From the moment their lips met, he felt as if he’d crossed the Rubicon. This wasn’t a one-time deal. They’d done this a million times. Together. Theirs was a reunion of souls kissing across eons, remembering.
Her lips parted, her tongue seeking his without hesitation. He hadn’t expected such frankness, but her greedy pleasure made him need more, too.
He closed his eyes and immersed himself in her sweetness, a combination of honey and spice. He would have gone on exploring this newfound fascination forever if not for the sensation of something touching his head. He pulled back and look around.
“The balloons,” Nicole cried, letting go of him to tap at the large white, gold and silver balloons cascading around them.
Confetti shot from somewhere nearby added to the glitter and excitement. Nicole was pulled from his arms to exchange air kisses and hugs with perfect strangers. Justin found himself in a bear hug, too.
“Helluva thing, huh? Beats the crap out of last year,” Tucker said.
Justin clapped Tucker on the back. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“I mean starting the year off with someone you care about. There’s a first time for everything, Ona always says.”
Ona, Tucker’s Cajun grandmother, was a font of truisms. Justin had met her twice and loved the dear woman as the grandmother he’d never had. I wonder what Ona would say about me kissing my future boss? Probably something arcane about not defecating where you eat, damn it.
He caught up with Nicole before anyone else could dance her away. He grabbed her hand and spun her slightly off-balance back into his arms. “Unfinished business,” he mumbled against her lips.
She may have started to protest but her reaction changed the minute she realized this kiss meant business. His tongue wasn’t polite or inquisitive. Justin knew what he wanted, and it started now. They were both breathless when he broke off the kiss before embarrassing himself too badly. His body reacted to her in a way he didn’t remember happening with any of his previous lovers.
Last week’s kiss was from Book I in the Love, Montana series (currently FREE) and this week is Book II. Do you see a pattern here?😉
When I started brainstorming this series, I thought the heroes would be part of Tule’s Firefighters collection, but then I met Flynn, Tucker and Justin. Completely unique individuals who shared one thing in common: they were burned out and ready for a change. Flynn’s connection to Montana (his younger brother is the hero in Montana Darling) brought them to Marietta and the rest is…well, the stuff romance novels are made of.
Here’s Tucker’s and Amanda’s first kiss. Enjoy. You can be sure Tucker did. 🙂
He let out a sigh of relief when he saw Justin catch up to Amanda. They were arguing but Tucker couldn’t hear a word over the rumble of a second cement truck idling in line. The concrete guys all huddled in readiness to shovel the wet cement into the hole and spread it around the four-foot square base as soon as the wet concoction started down the chute.
At the last possible second, Justin snatched the box from Amanda’s hands and dove for the hole. Luckily, the plan called for six inches of cement to go into the hole as a base for the pole that would then be raised in place using winches and pulleys.
Tucker held his breath as he saw Justin check the box and then reach into the hole as far as he could. A second later, with the help of two concrete guys, he popped back to his feet.
Justin spun around to give Tucker a thumbs-up gesture at the same moment Amanda kicked him in the shins and stormed off.
Tucker was still laughing when Amanda reached him. “Your friend’s a glory hog. That was my job.”
“He didn’t want you to get dirty.”
“You didn’t trust me to do it right.”
It struck him that he and Justin accidentally had hurt her feelings. Did society girls suffer from wounded pride the way normal people did? “I was afraid you were going to break your neck or get run over by the cement truck.”
She crossed her arms and glared at him. “I’m tougher than I look. You have to be to survive in a family like mine. Next time you ask for my help, forget it.”
He moved closer and did something he knew he’d regret later. He grabbed her firmly by the shoulders, letting his crutches fall. Balancing all his weight on his good leg, he pulled to him and kissed her. Hard, but not fast. The opposite of fast. He took his time to experience every damn nuance, like how she resisted him for three and a half seconds. And how, when she gave in, her mouth softened and her lips parted to invite him in.
The thought crossed his mind that this was an I’ll-remember-this-moment-forever sort of thing. Was it? Would he never forget the first time he kissed Amanda Heller?
Of course not. She was just a pretty girl who kissed like a damn siren luring him to the wicked rocks where he’d crash and burn. There was nothing special about her, he told himself. Other than her taste, maybe. Honey sweet but with some intangible something all her own.
But even if Amanda was different from all the others he’d kissed–and enjoyed–over the years, she most definitely wasn’t a long-term prospect. God, no. Not that he was looking for a forever love–something he knew existed because Ona and Twig had been inseparable right up till the day he died.
But even if Tucker bought into that happily-ever-after fantasy, he had way too much on his plate to get involved with Amanda Heller–even for the short term.
Too bad he had a feeling that decision was completely out of his hands. Her kiss told him she might be up for a little tryst he decided to call: “Roommates with benefits.”
If that enticed you enough to read more, here’s the Books2Read Universal buy link to your preferred vendor: ROGUE
I’m picking her up early for our traditional celebration: lunch, movie and shopping. Today, we’re seeing A WRINKLE IN TIME. I’ve been hesitant to see it for fear it will not live up to my memory of the book, but Rya hasn’t read the book and we’ve heard good things about the movie so that’s her pick.
Have you seen it? What’s your favorite book-to-movie pairing? I’m curious. None come to mind at the moment.
#2 – Happy Mother’s Day
And by “Mother” I mean every person with a loving heart who cares for the “littles”–be they babies, toddlers, teens, puppies, kittens or other critters. We Mothers mother even when our babies are older than we were when we had them. We nurture, nurse, hug and hold them from first breath to, hopefully, our last breath. Give yourself a moment to appreciate what an important role you have played in your loved ones’ lives. That, to me, is what Mother’s Day is all about.
# 3 – treat yourself–and MOM–to a free book!
I am so blessed to be part of a great publishing team: Tule Publishing. Although it came right down to the wire, my editor, staff and Tule Reader’s Group came through to get the price changed on Amazon from $3.99 to FREE on my book, HER REBEL TO KISS, in time to make our BookBub deadline. #nailbiter #thankyouAmazonforthenewgrayinmyhair
If you’ve already downloaded REBEL, you know you can gift it to your MOM, right? Or splurge and buy her the complete series–3 books for the price of 2!
Life is interesting, isn’t it? I hope you have a great weekend and don’t forget to Hug A Mother.