I'm posting this from the RT (Romantic Times) Convention in New Orleans where I accepted a Reviewer's Choice Award last night for my first Harlequin Presents, Proof Of Their Sin. Here I am with my daughter, Delainey, whom I am calling my assistant so people think I'm important enough to have one.
PS: I'm on the left in red. Thought I'd better mention it because it's so hard to tell us apart. Go ahead and comment on how cute her dress is. Everyone who saw it in person did.
This convention is amazing, by the way. So much fun. I'll definitely be at the one in Dallas next year. I hope you'll come see me there.
Meanwhile, on to the business at hand: #SampleSunday, instalment #4 from An Heir To Bind Them.
If you missed the previous posts, they're here:
Prologue and Opening Scene in which Theo has his baby niece and nephew in his helicopter and tries to find Jaya to help him with their care. Then a fall back in time eighteen months to Jaya quitting her job at the Makricosta Hotel chain. She has just entered Theo's suite to tell him goodbye.
Here's what happens next:
~ * ~
“You really want to take your mind off things.”
“I really do,” he admitted, dropping onto the sofa and bringing her down beside him. “Will you take your hair down for me?”
After a tiny hesitation, she did, feeling incredibly vulnerable, like she was removing her clothing. Her severe appearance was a shield. Freeing her hair invited him to stroke his fingers through it. He fanned it out from her ear, creating tickling sensations in her scalp as he marveled at the length.
“It’s so silky,” he murmured.
No product or bleach to make it brittle, she almost said, then decided this would go better if she didn’t compare herself to other women whose hair he had petted.
His patience surprised her. She didn’t know why, seeing as he was the most unflappable man she’d ever met, but his contentment to take his time combing her hair with his fingers when he seemed so intent on getting physical almost made her worry he was changing his mind. Just when she grew restless, however, he flicked the tie at her throat.
“Can we take this off?” He tugged to loosen the bow.
“Are you going to tie me up with it?” she asked, trying to sound light, but filled with trepidation.
“Do you want me to?” His gaze skimmed over her as though he was reassessing all his preconceptions about her.
“No.” Firm. Prudish even.
His lips twitched, but when his gaze came up from watching the scarf trail down her lapel, his lids were heavy and his voice laconic. “Good, because I want to feel your hands on me.”
The scarf floated away and he moved in, settling a lazy, drawn out kiss on her mouth that was reassuringly tender and sweet.
And, after a while, a tiny bit frustrating. She wanted more than this slow pace. She wanted the hand climbing her waist to quit stopping at the underside of her breast. Touch me, she willed, breasts feeling swollen and achy. She wanted the space where they leaned into each other to close so she could press herself to his wide chest. He’d come out of the private lap pool here once, when she’d arrived with a file. Even though he’d shrugged on a shirt immediately, his washboard abs had been full on. He was gorgeous and she wanted to see his naked chest again.
She plucked at the buttons on his shirt, not quite nervy enough to tug them open.
He broke away to look down at where her indecisive fingers lifted away from his breastbone. Without a word, he one-handedly yanked, disregarding the exceptional quality by tearing its holes, pulling it free of his waistband at the same time so it hung loose on his shoulders.
Gasping at his near savagery, she touched her fingertips to her sensitized lips.
He caught her hand and bit softly against the plump pad at the base of her thumb. “I’m dying for you to touch me. Don’t worry, I won’t rip your uniform. We’d have to account for the loss.”
His husky comment made her laugh. Half of her dry chuckle was mild terror because he was taking her hand to his chest. She caught her breath as her fingerprints made contact with the heat of his skin, taut over his hard muscles.
He shivered under her touch.
“You’re so hot,” she murmured.
“Thank you. I’ve always thought the same about you.”
Smiling, she did something she hadn’t imagined she could. She leaned in and kissed his mouth while both her hands skimmed over the intriguing ripples of his upper chest, exploring the texture of a light sprinkle of hair and satin skin over muscles that flexed under her caress.
He groaned, but rather than gather her into a tight crush, she felt a tickling graze of fingers between her breasts. A second later, she was the one to draw back and watch as he finished opening her white and red Makricosta blouse.
Her ivory bra beneath was practical and almost adolescent. She didn’t have much to support and had never seen the point in spending money on something only she would see. An urge to apologize rose to the back of her throat, but the way he traced the top of one small cup, caressing the upper slope of her breast, had her holding her breath.
“I have a wicked addiction to cocoa,” he told her as he took his time spreading the shirt wide on her shoulders, patiently tugging it free of her skirt. His returning touch was whisper soft as he grazed her ribs and found his way to the clasp in the middle of her back.
Her back arched from his caressing touch and her bra loosened. She drew in a breath, hesitant, but his hand came around and cupped her breast. The sensation blanked her mind, holding her in thrall. So much heat. He was like an inferno, and so masculine, but reverent. There was aggression, she could feel the possessiveness in the way he enclosed her like he had every right, his touch firm, but he was gentle at the same time. Softly crushing, as if he knew she would enjoy the sensation of pressure increasing by degrees. He massaged flesh that felt heavy and achy and prickling in one tight spot.
His touch shifted as he leaned in to capture her mouth. Muscle flexed under her hands as she met his searching kiss with welcome. Sensations overwhelmed her, but one sharp one pierced through her psyche. He thumbed her nipple, making it feel knotted and tighter and more sensitive. And so vulnerable, yet excited.
She whimpered, distressed by the rocketing spikes of pleasure going straight through her abdomen into a place that had retreated to hibernation a long time ago.
“God, Jaya, let me taste you.”
He pressed her onto her back on the cushions, covering her so smoothly she didn’t realize how she’d wound up under him, her bra pushed up and his weight pinning her hips, one leg between his, the other dangling off the edge of the cushions.
A gasp of shock scraped her throat as she pulled in air, trying to catch up to this new circumstance, trying to decide if she was okay with it.
Damp heat closed over the pulsing tip of her breast. Knifing spears of delight pulled upward from her flesh.
Be scared, she told herself, but the scariest thing was how devastating this pleasure was. Her hands couldn’t get enough of roaming his back. His bunched shirt kept getting in the way, irritating her. His weight on her should have terrified her, but when she bucked, it was slowly, because she couldn’t help herself. Her leg couldn’t find purchase alongside his so she let her ankle curl behind his thigh.
And she moaned. Aloud. Even though a distant voice said, Don’t. Don’t be sexual, don’t encourage him, don’t embarrass yourself. She couldn’t help it. He had both her breasts cupped into mounds that he sipped and licked and tortured. It was incredible.
“Theo, I can’t stand it.”
He lifted to kiss her, swooping like a predator to ravage her mouth as he shifted their position and was fully between her legs. The layers of her wrinkled skirt had climbed so his fly came into firm contact with the cotton of her underpants.
Panic began to edge out her arousal.
She pressed his shoulders and he broke their kiss to set his damp forehead against hers. “I know, I’m pushing it, but this is as far as we’re going. I’ve just realized I don’t have any condoms.” He smoothed her hair back from what must have been a stunned expression and kissed her once, quite hard. “You have no idea how sorry I am.”
She did. Her hips wriggled involuntarily and he shuddered, pressing that most assertive part of himself to her vulnerable softness, pinning her motionless as he released a dry laugh.
“Okay, maybe you do.” Kissing her with regret, he grazed his lips over her cheekbones and eyebrow. “You feel so good. You’re so pretty. I don’t want to stop touching you.” His hand skimmed the outside of her thigh, making her trembling muscles contract to tighten her leg against him. “Will you let me make it good for you, at least? Can I know what it feels like to touch you?”
~ * ~
I'm off to the FAN Tastic events, the TEEN Day Party for my daughter and the HARLEQUIN Party tonight. Have a great week!
If you'd like to enter to win a signed print copy of An Heir To Bind Them, I'm giving away three copies over at Goodreads. ENDS MAY 19th so click below to enter now. Or you can join my newsletter here. I always draw for a free copy among my subscribers right before the book comes out.
My Masked Desires Contest opened May 1st and will run until August 17th. If you want to go straight to the entry form, it's here:
Watch for two more #SampleSunday posts on this book, which will take us to launch day, June 1st. So perfect.
Then hold onto your socks becauses I have THREE books to promote for August, two of them hotsy totsy eroticas. I have no idea how I'll sample all of those. If you have some ideas, let me know. Should I space them out through the 6 weeks leading up to launch?