Wednesday, November 18, 2009

First Scene from No Matter What

One-night stands were a lot like apple pie as far as Jaden Monroe was concerned.
The notion of having sex with someone just for the sex had honestly never appealed to her. Like apple pie. Jaden had believed her whole life that she didn’t like apple pie simply because she’d never seen or smelled one that tempted her. But the truth was, her senses just hadn’t been introduced to the right one. Once she tasted the apple pie, she couldn’t get enough.
Especially à la mode.
The man now sitting at table sixteen near the front door of Big Billy’s Bar and Grill was the one that could change her mind about one-night stands. He wouldn’t even have to talk. He’d just have to be there, completely naked—of course—with those eyes that had been on her all night.
This guy didn’t just look at her, he didn’t just watch—he seemed to be studying her, even appreciating her, like someone did a painting in an art gallery. He took in every detail of how she moved—and breathed for that matter. She could feel it.
It wasn’t creepy, though it probably should seem a little stalker-ish. It made her hot and tingly and a bunch of other things she hadn’t been in a long time.
Looking at him now, Jaden couldn’t think of one reason why ice cream and sex couldn’t go together too. But with this guy it couldn’t be just vanilla. It would have to be something much more decadent. Double Fudge Brownie, maybe. Or Peanut Butter Passion. Spread all over him. And she definitely wouldn’t need a spoon.
Jaden was so into her thoughts that she didn’t notice the full beer mug until the beer came over the rim, drenched her hand and sloshed to the floor.
“Unless you’re planning to squeeze all that beer from a sponge into the glasses, pay attention,” Billy said, reaching over her shoulder and flipping the tap handle off.
Jaden only had half her mind on swearing under her breath and searching for a towel to dry her hand. “Sorry, Billy, I’m distracted tonight.”
“And for the past five months,” he grumbled, but he elbowed her gently to one side. “I know you’re going through a rough time, which is why I’m not going to make you pay for the three glasses you’ve broken, the fifteen dollars you’ve undercharged or the case of lemons that are rolling around all over the floor in back.”
He took the very full beer glass from Jaden’s fingers and set it on the waitress’, tray. “I’ll get the rest.” Billy grabbed the order pad and started pulling bottles together as he read.
It had been a bad night.
A bad week.
Hell, it had been a bad half year.
Jaden wiped up the excess beer with barely a corner of her mind on the task. She glanced toward table sixteen again. The man was on his cell phone, but his eyes were on her. Which felt good. One small spot of fun and pleasure in an otherwise sucky five months, three days, fourteen hours and twelve minutes.
Playfully, she leaned out over the bar surface, wiping at a non-existent spill. It put her cleavage—more remarkable in the stretchy, gauzy purple top she wore—straight in his line of sight.
She scrubbed for a moment, then glanced up. She was startled into straightening when she found his eyes still on her face, rather than her other assets.
But a small knowing smile lifted one corner of his mouth.
“Four more.” Roxanne, half of Big Billy’s wait staff for the night, placed her tray of empty beer bottles on the bar. “Apparently turning thirty is thirsty business.” She gestured toward the rowdy birthday party occupying the four tables closest to the stage and live band.
Jaden smiled weakly, relieved that Roxy had moved in to block her view of the man. What the hell was she doing showing off her cleavage to some stranger? While she was standing there getting all hot and bothered, he could very well be studying her to determine how best to cut her body up so that the pieces would fit in his freezer.
She shivered. She was comparing him to apple pie while he was working on wording the ransom note.
Jaden laughed out loud at that. He was going to be so disappointed when he figured out he was kidnapping someone whose close friends had about seventy-three dollars between them.
“You okay?” Roxy asked, fishing in her apron pocket for a bottle opener.
Jaden rubbed her forehead. Good grief, she couldn’t even open beer bottles tonight. It had been a difficult past twelve months for her—professionally and personally—and had gotten downright hellacious in the past five. And while drinking a vat of Amaretto sounded enticing, she wasn’t here tonight to relax, drown her sorrows or to celebrate. She was here to help cover her friend Gina’s shift while she went skiing with her boyfriend. Which was good. It was simple, it was straightforward, it provided her money and it had nothing to do with her ex-professional life or her ex-fianc√©.
“Jaden,” Billy said wearily, holding up two large margarita glasses. “Why don’t you take a break?”
Jaden looked at the green contents of the glasses that looked barely touched. “What’s wrong?”
“They ordered mojitos.”
Well, at least she’d gotten the color right. Sort of.
“You know, Billy, maybe I’ll just head home.”
He looked relieved and Jaden smiled.
She glanced over to table sixteen again as she untied her apron and stuffed it in the laundry basket by the kitchen door. Being at home alone with her thoughts still rated higher than being tied up in the trunk of a car.
But for some reason, the idea of being tied up by the man whose eyes she met again, and whose gaze made even her pinky toe tingle, didn’t go in the direction of car trunks so much as four-poster beds. With silk scarves.
She huffed out a breath and wiped her hand across her forehead.
Yep, it was official. She was losing it.

You can read the whole first chapter at Samhain's site! Click here!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

First Kisses

One of my favorite parts of a romance-- book or movie-- is the first kiss. It's the moment when what we've seen coming, what the hero and heroine have felt coming, is finally confirmed.

One of my favorite first kisses comes at the end of one of my favorite movies. Oh, sure there are moments along the way leading up to it and "almost" moments, but the true lip to lip action is at the very end. And, worth it. I personally think it's one of the best. Because you love the heroine by this point. You want her to have this kiss so badly. And you want to love the hero. You have all along, really, at least up to the point where suddenly they might not get together-- and it's his fault (well, pretty much). So, now you're not sure and you're sitting there thinking "he better show up". Then he does. And you want to cheer! Ths kiss, after all of that, is so sweet. The movie is Never Been Kissed with Drew Barrymore and, the easy on the eyes Michael Vartan. Check it out if you've never seen it!

Every Thursday over on the Nine Naughty Novelists blog we're posting excerpts from our books according to a different theme!

November 12th's theme is First Kisses! Yay!

Here's the first kiss between hero Adam and heroine Jaden from No Matter What:

His voice slightly calmer, he spoke again. “It is important to me. At least tell me that you weren’t—”

“What? That I wasn’t…doing drugs? Drinking all night at the bars? That I’m not a call girl in the evenings when I’m not at the hospital? Smell my breath, Adam, if you don’t believe me. Diet cola was the strongest thing I had tonight.”

He came toward her quickly and she tipped her chin up to meet his gaze. He leaned in, braced his hands on the counter behind her on either side of her hips and took a deep breath.

She held hers. Having him suddenly this close was overwhelming and she fought to remember what they had been talking about.

He reminded her quickly. “How about all of the above?” His voice was lower now, huskier, and his eyes studied hers closely. “How about reassuring me that you wouldn’t dream of doing any of those things?”

She didn’t like that he doubted her. She wanted to stomp and yell and demand that he believe in her. But at the same time, this might just be perfect. She’d been off-balance since meeting him. He shook her up, as much as she hated it. Clearly her conduct during off-duty hours interested him, and worried him. This might be her chance to turn the tables a bit. Not that getting a man like Adam off-balance would be easy. But it would, very likely, be fun.

“I’ll tell you this much. Drugs and prostitution aren’t my thing.”

He pressed closer and she felt the edge of the counter against her low back. Perhaps it was her decision to try to overwhelm him for a change, but for the first time, when he got close to her, dropped his voice low and looked at her like he wanted to make all of her fantasies come true, she reveled in it.

She found the scent of his cologne and the warmth of the arm braced on the counter beside her appealing rather than aggressive. In fact, this close, she found that his blue eyes, swirling with emotion, were impossible to resist. He was a passionate man. He cared about his daughter, his household, and stood firm in his convictions. It was his unflinching devotion that made her want to know more about him. For instance, what else stirred Adam Steele’s passions?

“So tell me, what is your kind of thing?”

The huskiness in his voice made her nerve endings dance.

She studied his full lips for a long moment before her eyes traced his strong jaw shadowed with dark stubble. Eventually, she moved up slowly to again meet the midnight blue eyes that seemed to pierce straight through to her soul.

“Arrogant millionaires, evidently.”

As his lips met hers, she momentarily stopped disliking anything about him.

Adam’s lips were demanding as they moved, leading Jaden along on a stirring journey. But his mouth was warm and gentle, the edges of his lips rough from his late night whiskers.

She slid her arms around his neck and let her knees get just a little weak, let her little sigh escape and held him just a little tighter. There were so many things that she wanted to do and say and feel…

Then he pulled back.

She blinked as if someone had flipped on a fluorescent light in a previously pitch-black room.

Slowly her eyes focused on Adam’s face.

Adam. Lips. Kissing. Oh, crap.

“Jaden…” His voice was hoarse.

“Don’t.” She focused on the tiny, opaque button on his shirt collar. She resisted the urge to press her lips together, to relive the surprising, intimate moment for just one more second.


Don’t ever stop kissing me.

She was in big trouble.

More of this book!
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