I'm giving away three signed copies of my June book over on Goodreads. You can enter here:
This post is short - I'm this close to launching my new website and wrapping up a few other things, then I'll post more reliably, I promise.
But I hate that I've been such a scoff-law about blogging lately so here's a teaser for An Heir To Bind Them. Jaya's half in love with Theo and has gone into his suite at the hotel he owns. It's her last day of work and she wants to say goodbye. She finds him on the sofa, arm over his eyes, seeming upset.
~ * ~
Blinking at the mess, Jaya told herself to back out. Men in a temper could be dangerous. She knew that.
But there was something so distraught in his body language, in the air even. She immediately hurt for him and she didn’t know why.
“Did something happen?” she queried with subdued shock.
“Jaya?” His feet rose in surprise. At the same time he lifted his arm off his eyes. “Did I call you?” Spinning his feet to the floor in a startling snap to attention, he picked up his phone and thumbed across the screen. “I was trying not to.”
The apology sounded odd, but sometimes English phrasing sounded funny to her, with its foreign syntax and slang. How could you try not to call someone?
“I don’t mind finding whatever paperwork you need,” she murmured, compelled to rescue the laptop and hearing the door pull itself closed behind her. “Especially if you’re dismayed about the way something was handled.”
“Dismayed. Yeah, that’s what I am.” He pressed his mouth flat for a moment, elbows braced on his wide-spread thighs. His focus moved through her to a place far in the distance. With a little shudder, he skimmed his hands up to ruffle his hair before staring at her with heartrending bleakness. “You’ve caught me at a bad time.”
For some reason her mouth went dry. She didn’t react to men, especially the dark, powerfully built, good-looking ones. Theo was all of those things, his complexion not as dark as her countrymen, but he had Greek swarthiness and dark brown hair and brows. With his short hair on end, he looked younger than his near thirty. For a second, he reminded her of the poorest children in India, the ones old enough to have lost hope.
Her hand twitched to smooth his disheveled hair, instinctively aware he wouldn’t like anyone seeing him at less than his most buttoned-down.
He was still incredible. His stubbled jaw was just wide enough to evenly frame his gravely drawn mouth while his cheekbones stood out in a way that hollowed his cheeks. His brows were winged, not too thick, lending a striking intelligence to his keen brown eyes.
They seemed to expand as she looked into them. The world around her receded….
“We’ll do this tomorrow. Now’s not a good time.” The quiet words carried a husky edge that caused a shiver of something visceral to brush over her.
She didn’t understand her reaction, certainly didn’t know why she was unable to stop staring into his eyes even when a flush of heat washed through her.
“I can’t take advantage of your work ethic,” he added. “It could undermine our employer-employee relationship.”
Appalled, she jerked her gaze to the floor, blushing anew as she processed that she’d been in the throes of a moment and hadn’t even properly recognized it as one until her mooning became so obvious he had to shut her down.
How? In the past few years, any sort of sexual aggression on a man’s part had stopped her heart. Terror was her reaction and escape her primary instinct. Wistful thoughts like, I wonder how his stubble would feel against my lips, had never happened to her, but for a few seconds she’d gone completely dreamy.
Her body flamed like it was on fire, but not only from mortification. There was something else, a curiosity she barely remembered from a million years ago when she’d been a girl talking to a nice boy at school.
If she had the smarts she always claimed to, she’d let his remark stand. She’d excuse herself to Marseille and never be seen again.
At the same time, as discomfited as she was, her ability to have a moment was so heartening she couldn’t help standing in place like someone testing cold waters, trying to decide whether to wade farther in.
~ * ~
Proper #SampleSundays will return with the launch of the new site. Seeya soon.