Y’all, I’m a walking talking Eeyore disaster today, but it’s all good because TEMPT is HERE!!!! I won’t bore you with my post card and packing disasters, instead I’ll give you the links and good vibrations from Theo and Allison.
In other good news, I’ll be in NYC for the very first time for Romance Writers of America next week! I’ll be presenting “Surviving Self Publishing” along with Mary Chris Escobar and Anne L. Parks! I’ll also get to see all my friends and fan girl over my favorite authors. If you live in the city let me know and we’ll see if we can meet up!
In the mean time, download some TEMPT and have a nice night!
“Tempt blazes off the page! The moment Allison and Theo meet, you know they’re meant to be together.” — Vivienne Thorne, author of The Lady Taken
Smart girls don’t use their bodies to get what they want.
Smart girls don’t pursue men they can’t have.
Which means I must have lost my damn mind. Since the night I tripped into sexy, reclusive genius Theo Sutherland I’ve given in to my body’s desires. Now the need to possess a man I can’t have is overriding my typically excellent smart girl sensibilities.
To everyone else Theo is cold and commanding, but with me he’s sweet, sexy, and almost shy. He shows me a side of him no one else knows, maybe even himself. And that makes me want to conquer him at all costs.
I want him.
He just doesn’t know it yet.
Tomorrow is the big day! Tempt: Volume 1 releases on all platforms! But today I have one last special sneak peek and this time it’s extra special because it is an alternative point of view. Tempt is told exclusively from Allison’s perspective, but every so often I write scenes from the other character’s side as a way of flushing things out. In this case it is how Theo meets Allison in the speakeasy. We get a little look at Theo and how he ended up catching Allison on the dance floor. It’s not polished and perfect, but it is a fun look! Enjoy!
I resisted the urge to scratch my neck as the host led me up the small set of stairs to the private party room overlooking the club. Well, not really a club. Not in the traditional sense anyway. This was a speakeasy.
“Theo! Bloody hell man! You’re actually here.” Higgins, a very old friend of mine, howled across the room.
I lost the battle. I scratched my fucking neck. Places like this made my skin crawl. Too many people, too desperate to escape their dreary lives. Too close to everything I wanted to forget.
I stopped where I was and waited for him to jog across the small room. “I can’t believe it. Theo Sutherland actually came to my party.” He shook his head, grinning like a fool and holding his hands out like he was going to hug me.
I stuck out my hand. “This is a nice place you’ve got here, Higs.”
He frowned at my hand and ignored it, just like I expected him to, and hugged me instead. “You can be cold to everyone else, but not me, my friend. Never to me.” He clapped me on the back and despite my better judgment, I clapped him back.
“How’ve you been?” I said.
He waved his hand around the room filled with fifty of his closest friends and (most likely) business partners. Higs never did anything alone. At least he’d finally stopped asking me. “Fucking good. The club is a huge hit. Apparently the more exclusive and secretive you make something, the more desperate people are to get inside and spend loads of money.” Then he hugged me again. “I can’t believe you’re here. It’s been too fucking long.”
“How are Bix and Diane?” Two more from my past that I couldn’t quite seem to escape.
“Good, good. They won’t be here tonight. You don’t have to worry about that. How’s Nicki?”
My shoulders instantly tensed at the name of my sister. “Same.”
Higgins made a face. “Sorry. How you holding up?”
“Business is good.” I’d gotten lucky with iON Innovations. It was the right company to start at the right time. Cutting edge technology was an increasingly crowded marketplace, but staying focused on bringing efficiency up was good business.
“I didn’t ask about work, Theo.”
I shrugged. “I am my work.”
“That’s the fucking saddest thing I’ve ever heard.” He waved at a roaming waiter and grabbed what appeared to be two shots of bourbon off the tray. “Just for an hour or two, forget the past. Forget Nicki. And for fucks sake, forget work. Be that smooth bastard that could charm the nickers off an old lady and ask someone to dance. When was the last time you danced?”
Forever. “It’s been a while.” I took the shot. It burned all the way down.
Higgins put another shot in my hand and pushed me toward the balcony. “There. Go watch some fine women dance and let the bourbon do its job.”
For some reason I did exactly that. Below was a stage filled with a live band playing a jazz number. The dance floor was sunk down from the booths and bars that surrounded it. Dancers of all types were spinning and hopping. Some very good, some very bad. My foot tapped to the beat.
I missed dancing. Spinning a beautiful woman across the floor. Feeling the curve of her hip beneath my hand. Having her trust in my ability. Dancing was sex—clothed—out in the open and on display for everyone to see.
I held in a groan. I really needed to get out more. I glanced from couple to couple. All having fun: smiling, laughing, red cheeked and full of life.
That was when I saw her. She had a spark I could see from here. She was alive in a way that I was not. She looked like she could take on the whole world and win. It was fucking sexy as hell.
“Ah, yeah man. She’s a looker. Fucking good dancer.” Higgins had returned with a mouthful of food and highball in one hand. I don’t know what surprised me more: that Higgins thought she was gorgeous too, or the way I reacted to that knowledge. Something I thought long dead inside me roared to life. “Keep your eyes to yourself.”
His eyebrows shot up. “Shut the fuck up. You have a thing for the blonde? If I’d only known it would be that easy…”
It wasn’t that easy. It was just her. She was different—I needed to know that woman. But she was dancing with someone and I wasn’t about to walk down and introduce myself if she was attached to someone else.
So I watched her dance. Lip between her teeth, a mischievous twinkle in her eye, feet flying. She didn’t dance like she was following steps—she danced like the music was inside her. She felt the music and her body reacted.
My body reacted.
My brain blew straight past the dance floor and was picturing her in my bed. Writhing under my touch, moaning into my kisses, coming apart because of me.
That light in her eyes… I wanted to get lost in it. Drunk on it.
She walked off the dance floor to a booth with another man and woman. They all laughed and drank, having fun. Was that what I was missing out on? Was that what fun could look like?
Or maybe it was just her. Maybe she lit up everyone and everything around her. I studied her a little closer. Her hair was curled in a 40’s style, long hair framing her face. Her lips were dark red, eyes lightly lined to highlight the blue of her irises. The dress was fucking fantastic. A deep blue with a full skirt that sparkled under the lights. I’d seen her carefully chosen bloomers when her last dance partner flipped her over his arm.
I wanted to see those again.
I held my breath hoping she returned to the floor with a different man. If she did then I knew I’d at least have a shot of getting a dance, even if she was dating someone. A dance wouldn’t be nearly enough, but it would be something.
I got my wish. A minute later the other guy in her group took her hand and led her out onto the floor. I was amazed by how quickly she changed her style to match his.
“You better get in there.” Higgins pointed to the pair. “Or you’re going to miss out.”
Why was I hesitating? “Maybe I don’t want to get in there.”
Higgins snorted. “Yeah you do.”
That’s when her dance partner spun her in close and held her there, practically whispering in her ear. Pure jealousy exploded inside me along with something that scared the piss out of me.
What the fuck was that?
All I knew was that I needed to get down there. To put myself between her and every other man. Before I knew what I was doing I was downstairs and pushing my way through the dance floor.
I’d just spotted her blonde head when I saw her lose her balance. I moved quickly, catching her just as she started to fall.
An electric charge shot up my arms as her skin made first contact with mine. She was soft and supple beneath my hands. Her hair danced along my skin as it fell forward. Her sweet citrusy scent drugged me. I wanted to feel all of this over and over.
I couldn’t stop that reaction. I kept happening. It was like I had no control over this impulse I couldn’t name.
I was so completely fucked.
I should never have let Higgins talk me into getting out for a night.
I’m so excited to finally get this story rolling! I have so much fun writing serials and I’m looking forward to several weeks of excitement as Theo and Allison’s story unfolds. Have a great Monday everyone!
Tempt: Volume 1 is out on Tuesday and I’ve started the process of uploading to each of the retailers! Today I’ve got a special little preview. This is a prequel, if you will. It is not in Tempt, but takes place a few weeks before our story begins. It will give you a taste of what is to come and a look at our heroine, Allison Riley. Enjoy!
“You’re evil, Allison.” My best friend, Elizabeth, huffed through the phone. She was not taking my move to London well, and I was still hearing it while trying to catch my flight.
“I’m not evil. Stop saying that.”
“You’re abandoning me in this new apartment. You’re forcing me to make friends. You’re evil.” Elizabeth was being dramatic, but not overly so. She was a unique case and I loved her for it.
Let’s just say making friends and being “out there” were not her forte.
“You know, not everyone is out to get you. There are actually a few lovely people out there in the world. You should meet some of them.” Heaven help me if I ever met anyone else like her.
She groaned and I could picture her pulling the comforter up over her head. “Fine. Have it your way. Good luck. Call me when you land.”
“Love you.” I was really going to miss her.
“Love you, too.” Then she clicked off the phone.
I took a deep breath and glanced up at the red letters on the board behind the flight attendant. Everything was still on schedule. By dinner I would be in my new flat in a new country starting a new job. Well, not new. My firm was sending me over to work on a project for our London branch. They did things like this all the time, but it was my first time.
Six months living in London, working on one of the hardest projects I’d ever handled. I was taking a secondary design position of a new state of the art business complex that would be housing everything from a small museum, to labs, to offices. Everything had to as efficient as possible, all while being unique and aesthetically gorgeous. In other words, this was huge.
After my phone conversations with Luis Menendez I knew I was going to love my new project lead, but my new boss, Margaret Hickman, I wasn’t too sure about her. The “H” in HDM2 Architects, she was cold, clipped, and seemingly never happy. I don’t even know why she requested me if she was so damn unhappy with everything I’d ever designed. But I was coming in hot with some new ideas that I really thought were going to put this building—and me, by extension—on the map. That is if I had the guts to actually follow through and not play it safe.
“Are you on vacation?” The man beside me leaned a little closer. I think he was flirting with me.
Oh god, what if he was flirting with me? He wasn’t going to ask if I’m a member of the Mile High Club or anything cheesy like that, was he? “No, work.”
“Ah. In London, or are you headed on somewhere from there?”
“London.” I kept my answers short. This strange man didn’t need any more information—he could be a stalker.
“I’ve been working there for about a year now. I don’t think they’ll ever get me to leave.”
“And why is that?” Why did I ask that? I didn’t want to make this conversation any longer than it already was. Dumb. Dumb move, Riley.
“The city just speaks to my soul. It has a vibe. Have you ever been?”
I took a second to look him over. He wasn’t my type at all. Baby faced and slender, he was a handsome enough guy, just not what got me all hot and bothered. I preferred my men manly. Broad shoulders, deep voices, and dark eyes did me in every single time.
God, I hoped I didn’t meet anyone like that in London. I was there to work, not play. I had a goal. Shit was getting real with my folks and if I stood any chance of making architecture my life instead of Riley Cosmetics, I needed this to be big.
It wasn’t going to be enough to be good at my job. I needed to be great. I needed to be the best. It was the only ammunition I had against being forced into taking over my family empire and still keep a good relationship with the people I loved.
Did we have a great relationship? No. It was far from perfect. But they were my family and we were all trying our best. We usually made it work. My parents just happened to come from a world in which empires were built and passed on generation after generation. They couldn’t conceive of a world in which their only daughter wanted nothing to do with their company.
Not to mention they were still scratching their heads about my refusal to marry Tristan Whittaker. I mean, he’s a Whittaker. According them, we were a perfect match.
And sure, I gave in and dated him briefly in college—back when I was still under the delusion I could be the daughter my parents envisioned—but the guy made my skin crawl. He was so boring. And obsessed with money and position. I could have gotten off a little bit if he was all about the power and control, but that wasn’t what got his juices flowing. It was money and superficial shit I didn’t care about.
Tristan was not an option. And neither were all the other guys my mom kept suggesting. I didn’t want an heir to a fortune as my partner in crime. I wanted someone with passion. Someone who took life by the balls and laughed at danger.
Okay, maybe that line was a little dramatic, but you kinda see what I’m saying, right?
I wanted more out of life than a stable merger of two companies.
The man cleared his throat and I realized he’d asked me a question. “I’m so sorry, can you repeat that?”
He smiled kindly. No, this man was not flirting me with me. He was lonely and making conversation to pass the time. “Have you ever been?”
“Yes, but it’s been a few years.” More than a few, actually. I hadn’t been since our family vacation in high school.
“Well, enjoy it. All work and no play…”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ll have some fun, too.” But not too much.
My phone vibrated in my hand. “Oh good god!” Elizabeth was photo bombing me pictures of naked men draped in the Union Jack.
The man chuckled. “Maybe not that much fun.”
I shrugged and powered off my phone before Elizabeth moved into porn. Maybe I could make time for a hot British guy or two. They did have sexy accents after all…
Tempt: Volume 1 releases Tuesday, July 14th!
Add it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25733048-tempt
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“Tempt blazes off the page! The moment Allison and Theo meet, you know they’re meant to be together.” — Vivienne Thorne, author of The Lady Taken
“Steamy, sultry, and sexy…Alexis Anne offers up her most mysterious and tempting hero yet!” Anne L. Parks, author of The Return
It’s not about a stripper, if that’s what you’re thinking. Nope. I mean, clothes do come off…it’s an Alexis Anne serial after all… but that isn’t the kind of stripping taking place in this story. This time around it’s all about the music.
I have a long love affair with stripped down songs. A major reason my husband and I like to go to concerts is to hear the different ways bands play their studio songs. Especially when they go acoustic. It highlights the lyrics, it gives the song a new twist, and sometimes it give us new insight into the singer and songwriter.
And because we love music so much, Nate and I are big fans of The Voice. Last season I was in the middle of writing Tease when Christina Grimme came on and sang “Hold On, We’re Going Home”. It instantly became one of my favorite songs. Then Nate turned to me and said I should write a love story about a singer who becomes famous for stripping down songs.
Stripped was born. The only problem was that I was still writing Tease. The good problem was that I was still writing Tease. It meant I had time to watch her sing a bunch more of these songs, including “All of the Stars” which she sang with Ed Sheeran. (I’m still convinced he was totally going gaga over her while they were singing. You’ll have to watch and tell me if you think so, too.) This duet was specifically the inspiration for Travis and Kristen and the way they sing together on stage.
Then she sang with her coach, Adam Levine, and I had all the inspiration I needed for Stripped.
This is another serial. I love serials. What’s a serial? A story told in shorter episodes over several episodes. My episodes are typically fifteen to twenty thousand words. Or, something you can read in about an hour. As a busy mom and writer, I absolutely love serials because they give me the opportunity to sit down and read a story in the short time I have available, while still giving me something to look forward to.
But if you hate serials, don’t worry! I always write mine in a set arc with a predetermined number of episodes. You can wait until the last episode goes live and then read the entire serial at once. Tease was five volumes, Stripped will be four.
Real quick I want to address a question I get pretty frequently. Will I write more Tease? Yes. Next year I will write another three-five episode arc for them that picks up somewhere along their journey. So if you are looking for more Adam and Elizabeth, it will be out later next year!
In the mean time, Stripped: down (Volume 1) is now available! Here is a look at what to expect:
Travis Brantley, the sexy rock musician from Tease, wants nothing more than to finally get his big break. When he lands a record deal with a major label, Travis is convinced all his dreams are about to come true. His dream turns into a nightmare when he is sent on tour with a pop princess who is more auto-tuned than talent. Kristen Holt may have a beautiful face, but the electronically garbled music and nonexistent clothing are more show than substance. While her body is sexy as sin, Travis is convinced she’s nothing more than another dead-end on his road to obscurity.
When Kristen sheds the the “Pop Princess” persona designed by the label and goes indie, she captures the attention of the audience, and the sexy rocker who never bothered to give her the time of day. Singing a stripped down acoustic song with him in front an eager crowd, their musical and sexual chemistry explodes, skyrocketing them on a fiery two week publicity tour…and into an intense love affair that takes them both by surprise.
With the label breathing down Travis’s neck, Kristen’s mysterious connections, and an overeager group of paparazzi, their two week tour comes with a lot of strings and a lot of passion—and it will change everything.
Stay tuned for Volume 2! Stripped: away
Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday, where I share a little bit of what I’m working on right now. For the last month I’ve shared the beginning of my new action/adventure series, but this week I’m changing things up and giving you a first look at the serial I’m starting to put together. It is very erotic, but this sample should be Safe For Work (SFW) (except for one line that kind of pushes things…). It will be a five-part serial coming to you as soon as I finish revisions (aka, very soon).
I think this first chapter is a little back story heavy and bogged down, feel free to let me know if you agree!
And don’t forget the First Kiss Flash Fiction Blog Hop that is going on this week! Twenty-five free stories to read!
“Your usual?” Mitch the bartender asked without even looking up.
“Please,” I huffed as I threw myself down onto the barstool and slammed my purse on the countertop. Seychelles Bar and Grill wasn’t just the restaurant I tended to eat dinner at every night, it was the restaurant on the ground floor of my apartment building. Inside was dim, but elegant. Dark wood was the main architectural feature and white table cloths covered every table. The bar was situated so that guests had a view out the back window of the beach.
I waved at Hannah, the hostess, as I settled in at the mostly empty bar.
Mitch grabbed the bottle of Wente Cabernet Sauvignon, my favorite of the month, and filled my glass generously.
“How’s it going so far? You aren’t lonely yet are you?” his forced smile told me my unhappiness was obvious.
“I’m up and down,” I confessed. In the short time since we moved to the South Carolina town of Calhoun Beach, Mitch had become a friend and sometime confidante. “I’m sure I’ll get used to it.”
I wouldn’t get used to it.
The problem was my entire world consisted of two people: my little sister Lily, and my best friend from college, Allison. Both of whom, as of two days ago, had left me. Lily was back at Yale for her last year of college, and Allison was on assignment with the London branch of her architectural firm for the next six months. Except for a group trip to London for the Thanksgiving break, I wouldn’t see either of them until Christmas.
I’d been abandoned, or at least that was what I told them as I put them each on their respective planes.
Mitch shook his head, “They’ll be home before you know it and the three amigos will be back here for drinks with me, yet again.”
“I need to make new friends, don’t I?”
Mitch nodded at me. “Pretty much.”
“Ugh.” I grunted and laid my forehead down on the cool surface of the bar. “But I don’t like people.”
I looked up but didn’t move. “Not you, you’re awesome. But most people… they kind of suck.”
Mitch just shook his head like I was a lost cause. “Look, give it a try, you might be surprised. You’ve only been here a few months and you’ve barely scratched the surface on all Calhoun Beach has to offer.”
I grinned as I sat up and shifted back against the barstool. “You mean there are places to eat other than Seychelle’s?”
An old historic building that had been completely refurbished ten years earlier, it was the perfect place to live in the tiny, historic beach town. We had food downstairs nearly every night, a bar any time we needed a drink, the beach out our back door, and a huge, gorgeous apartment. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when Allison and I did our first walk-through.
“As much as I love having a job…yes, there are other restaurants in town,” Mitch snorted.
“I eat at the diner across the street…”
“You’re hopeless,” Mitch agreed with a totally serious face. I would have punched him in the arm if there hadn’t been a bar between us.
“Fine, I’ll start getting out more, sheesh.”
“That’s my girl.” He pushed my wine glass closer and I took a sip. “Know what you want to have tonight? I can get your order in.”
“Scallops, please.” My stomach started growling at the mention of food.
“Coming right up.”
While Mitch busied himself with my order and the other two customers at the bar, I pulled out my Kindle and dove back into the book I’d wasted most of the day on: a ridiculously over-the-top romance. It wasn’t my usual fare, but with my friends gone, no life, and absolutely no desire for a relationship, it was actually kind of liberating to live vicariously through a fictional character. Love belonged on the page and as far away from my real life as possible. It was safer that way.
By the time Mitch brought me a water, I’d read three more chapters. “Dinner should be right up—” Mitch stopped mid-sentence as something over my shoulder caught his eye. “Hey Adam, It’s been a long time!”
I glanced back as a tall man strode up to the bar and enthusiastically shook Mitch’s hand. He was gorgeous.
Incredibly, perfectly, gorgeous.
My heart jumped and I had to swallow to stop a sigh from escaping my lips. Tan skin, chiseled jaw, straight nose, bright brown eyes, and a muscular body. The immediate physical reaction I had to the sight of Adam was embarrassing.
And much to my delight and fear, he grabbed the seat next to me, sitting down at the bar. Only inches away.
Why was he sitting so close to me when the bar was nearly empty?
Except the bar was packed. Sometime while I was zoned out in my book, the restaurant had filled to capacity—and the only empty seat was the one beside me. Lucky me.
“How’s Germany?” Mitch asked, leaning against the bar with his arms crossed. There was genuine curiosity on his face—this wasn’t small talk.
Adam leaned back in his seat and clasped his hands behind his head, giving me an enjoyable view of his long, lean body. The black t-shirt was fitted enticingly tightly around his biceps. “Man, it’s awesome. I’m having the time of my life. It’s been a real pleasure to see it all come together like this. I never would have imagined.”
“I’m so jealous, but happy for you. I always knew you’d do great things…”
“Thanks, I appreciate that,” Adam replied with a proud grin on his handsome face. “Glad to be back home, though. How are things here?”
Mitch chuckled, straightening up. “Same old stuff, nothing really changes. Can I get you a drink?”
“You still got that Golden Goose Ale on tap?”
I sat there listening, pretending to read, as Mitch and Adam continued to exchange random information. I couldn’t help but wonder what Adam did for a living, why it was in Germany, or what brought him back home to Calhoun Beach.
Or why he was so damn sexy.
For the first time in two days I wasn’t moping about Lily and Allison—heck I was half glad they were gone. I needed some fun in my life and Adam seemed like perfectly good way to start—if I could form coherent thoughts while looking at his delicious body.
My phone vibrated against the countertop, startling me from thoughts of stripping the stranger beside me naked. Allison’s name was emblazoned across the screen along with a picture of the two of us on the beach. An hour ago I would have been ecstatic to talk to her while I waited for dinner, but things were different now. Now, I wanted to soak up as much as I possibly could of the mysterious gentleman beside me.
I tapped out a message letting her know I’d call her later, when Mitch grabbed my glass and started refilling it.
“No problem Elizabeth. I just got the signal your dinner is ready. I’ll be right back.”
Mitch disappeared and Adam and I sat there, side by side, neither of us with anyone else. It was that awkward silence that comes when you are both fully aware the other one is also fully aware.
“You like the Wente? It’s a favorite of mine as well.”
My heart skipped a beat. He was talking to me in a deep, smooth voice that was softer than when he was speaking to Mitch.
“Yes, it’s very nice. I get it every time I’m here,” I answered quietly, flashing a small smile and making eye contact. Sweet Jesus… his eyes were amazing.
“You come here often then?” he asked, cocking his head to the side studying me as he turned to face me.
I blushed involuntary and suddenly wished I wasn’t wearing a sun dress. My telltale nervous flush extended all the way down my chest, I could feel its burning beacon prickling across my skin. It was a dead giveaway. “Yes, I actually live upstairs,” I point up towards my apartment, hoping to distract him.
But it didn’t work, his gaze was locked on me. It was steady and curious, with just a touch of confusion. “Really? How is it that we’ve never met before? I’ve been eating here for years and Mitch is a childhood friend.”
I took a steadying breath and tried to relax my nerves. It was scaring me how attracted I was to this man. My mind was filling with images of his hands against my skin, roving over my breasts, down my stomach, and between my legs. I wondered what it would feel like to have his lips on my breasts with his cock buried deep inside me as I rode him.
The images were so real and insistent. I felt like I needed a cold shower just to sit beside him.“I actually just moved to town about four months ago.”
He stroked his chin and I couldn’t stop focusing on his long fingers as the brushed past his lips. “Makes sense then,” he replied. “I’ve only been in and out of town briefly over the last few months. So what brought you to Calhoun Beach?” He leaned his elbow on the bar and I got the distinct impression he was genuinely interested in hearing about me. Which felt weird.
“Work. I’m an assistant professor at the college,” I answered his question but I didn’t want to talk about myself. I wanted to hear about him. “And what brings you to Calhoun Beach from Germany?”
His eyes didn’t move. “My family lives here, I come visit every few months.” The corners of his lips turned up slightly in a half-smile. “Where did you move here from?”
I fought my instinctive need to flee when his questions turned toward my past. I don’t ever talk about my childhood, I avoid all questions related to my parents, and I never tell people my real name. But there was something about Adam, so instead of asking for my check and ducking out the door, I searched for an answer I could live with. “I’m not really from anywhere. My family moved around a lot…the longest I lived anywhere was during college.”
“And where was college?”
Adam nodded thoughtfully, “Yale? Good school. And what are you teaching at the college?”
The questions were hard and fast. This wasn’t a normal, casual conversation between two people stuck at the same bar. This was a questioning. Why Adam felt the need to question me, I hadn’t figured out, but a small part of me was hoping it was because he was as attracted to me as I was to him.
“I’m in the Historic Preservation and Community Planning department.” Being a professor was the only thing I ever wanted to do. It was the furthest thing from my childhood I could imagine and it gave me the power and control I so desperately needed.
Adam’s eyebrows shot up. “Wow, you sure picked the right town for that.”
Calhoun Beach was pretty much one giant historic district, with buildings from nearly every era. The College of Calhoun Beach had one of the most prestigious departments for historic preservation in the country. Landing my job at my age was a coup.
It was at that moment that Mitch returned with my dinner. The scallops looked amazing and the smell alone made my mouth water. “Bon appetite, darling. Enjoy!”
“Thanks Mitch.” He caught my gaze, giving me the distinct impression that he was amused, then walked away to serve another customer.
“Those look delicious,” Adam murmured. “You’ll have to let me know what you think. I was going to order the steak tonight, but I think I might change my mind.”
I could swear his eyes were twinkling. Were they twinkling at me? I took a bite and the perfectly prepared scallop practically melted like butter in my mouth. I barely suppressed a groan.
A strange look of pleasure crossed Adam’s face, but he shook his head and closed his eyes, erasing it.
“They really are wonderful tonight, you should get them,” I said between bites, curious about his reaction.
He looked away from me as if he couldn’t stand to look into my eyes. Was I imagining it? I didn’t think that I was. Something had suddenly shifted and Adam seemed almost as uncomfortable around me as I first did around him. He downed the remainder of his drink, clinking the glass against the counter as he waved at Mitch, indicating he’d like a refill.
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Now, go read all the First Kiss Blog Hops!
I am very excited to share the first excerpt from my new project: The Storm Inside.
Eve and Jake were madly in love until life tore them apart. Ten years later Jake is determined to get back the life his demons stole. Check out this extended teaser and let me know what you think!
Jake nodded slowly, his green eyes deadly serious as he spoke, “Trust me I understand completely, Josh. I will never, ever hurt her again. I can guarantee that.”
An ache developed in my chest as I watched him talk. How could he guarantee that? I knew with absolute certainty having Jake around me would lead to more. And more would lead to heartbreak. It was just what Jake did to me. It wasn’t his fault I loved him so deeply, so completely there was no choice but to give him all of me. Just as it wasn’t his fault that he loved me so passionately he couldn’t control it.
But then his stare swung over to me. He looked deep into my eyes and straight into my soul the way only he could. I swear he could see all of me. I was naked in front of him, it didn’t matter what I hid or wore, this man could see all of me. So when he spoke it wasn’t just words, it was a promise between his soul and mine. “Ten years ago I ran away from my demons. I’m back to make those demons afraid of me, to set things right, and- ”
The waiter returned with our appetizers, but Jake didn’t look away. He had me trapped with his eyes. They were smoldering and intense, undressing me slowly and caressing my skin, the heat between my legs was pulsing.
Whoever this man was, he was a strange mix of the man I had loved and the man I always knew he could be, plus something else entirely. Something unexpected. He was darker and more intense, he knew what he wanted and I had the very distinct impression he never took no for an answer. This Jake got what he wanted. Period.
Panic ripped through me again. I didn’t like this feeling, the concept he would win me back against my will. That I had no choice in what was going to happen between him and me. “Excuse me,” I mumbled, clumsily standing up and tossing my napkin on the chair. “I need the restroom.”
Josh didn’t seem to notice the look of panic in my eyes, but Jake didn’t miss it. His intense green eyes silently watched me as I left the room.
But I didn’t go to the restroom, I ran to the kitchen. It was open and guests were welcome inside, but on a tour. I wasn’t with a guide, so I stopped dead in my tracks, looking around. A chef smiled at me warmly as he looked up from his work. For some stupid reason that made me giggle and I wandered over to the fish tanks like I belonged there.
Poor ugly fish were hours or minutes away from being someone’s dinner. I felt like one of those fish. I had been happily swimming along, blissfully unaware danger was right around the corner. Jake wanted me for his dinner and I wasn’t sure how I was going to keep him from killing me.
A throat was cleared behind me. I expected to see one of the many waiters ready to request I leave the kitchen until a proper tour was scheduled, but instead as I turned around my eyes fell upon Jake.
He was like a kid, no matter where I ran he kept turning up with a smile on his face.
“I didn’t mean to scare you away,” he kept a good five feet between us and his hands behind his back. He was making a conscious effort to seem safe and non-confrontational. “But I did want you to know how serious I am. Nothing about me is the same and I have every intention of righting every wrong I did before I left.”
He was wrong about one thing, there were many things about him that were the same. His smile was the same, his voice, and his heart. It may have been scared and buried beneath layers of crap parenting, but I’d seen it then as clearly as I could see it now.
And Jake had a truly good heart.
Didn’t make me any less terrified of loving him.
“Did you pick Bern’s on purpose?” I asked. I noticed how straight he always stood, it gave him an extra air of confidence and control.
“Yes.” he said flatly. “I told you, I’m taking my life back. All of it. Even if you don’t want me back, I’m damn determined to make sure that’s what you want. I want you to be absolutely positive. Doubts will tear a person in two, trust me on that one. So, yes, I chose this restaurant on purpose just like I chose to pitch to you myself today. I’m not going away, but I’m not going to force myself on you either. I didn’t expect you to fall into my lap and forgive me. This is gonna take time, time I am more than willing to invest. Because it needs to be done right. When you tell me you don’t love me, I want you to know it with every fiber of your being.”
Have a great Tuesday everyone! xoxo