Snippet Saturday – Author’s Choice

snippetsaturdayIt’s College GameDay! First Saturday of the 2013 football season and I’ve finally sat down. I’ve been in the kitchen today making yummy snacks, nothing fancy just enough that I don’t have to move from the couch and go cook, only go refill the plate.

Today’s snippet is going to be from my upcoming Ellora’s Cave release, Slide Down On Me. I don’t have a release date yet, but oh boy I can’t wait! Oh and if you haven’t had the chance to view the cover, I’ll give you a few minutes to pull your tongue back in your mouth…

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You good now? Okay… How ’bout a snippet?

“Twenty-five hundred dollars?” Bella barely got the words out before she had to close her mouth. Her throat seized up and nausea rolled through her belly. She was going to throw up. That’s all there was to it. If she said anything more, her breakfast of toast and coffee from several hours earlier were going to be all over the garage floor. They probably wouldn’t even notice, given the stains of oil, gasoline and what she could only hope were other car fluids dotting the concrete.

“Close. Twenty-five hundred, sixty-seven dollars and thirty-nine cents.”

Bella lifted her gaze to meet that of the man standing in front of her. He was as gorgeous as ever. His cobalt eyes held no hint of emotion, no matter the sarcasm that dripped from his lips, but she was riveted by them just the same.

His arms were covered in tattoos, which disappeared under his short-sleeve shirt and drifted up the sides of his neck. Black hair brushed his collar and was so dark that in the right light, one could swear it shown blue. He was tall, broad and she’d wondered for years how it would feel to have those rough mechanic’s hands on her skin.

She’d had a secret crush on him when she was growing up. She’d see him around around town and out on the lake, but they were from two different worlds and though their paths rarely crossed, when he was near, she was always acutely aware of him. “I…I don’t have access to that kind of money anymore, Travis,” she said quietly. No thanks to her brother. Humility seemed to be her new best friend, but in front of Travis? That was a new level she wasn’t exactly comfortable with.

Heat bloomed in her cheeks, but at the same time she refused to show the embarrassment she felt in every cell of her body. She wanted to get out, run as far as she could, but there was nowhere for her to go, no place for her to hide from it all. And now, thanks to the transmission in her car, no way for her to get anywhere. She squared her shoulders and swallowed past the queasiness.

“That’s as low as I can go, Bella.”

Bella sighed. “Going that low or lower or raising the number doesn’t matter. Not even the sixty-seven thirty-nine. At least not until pay day, but that might even be a stretch.” Her voice sounded stronger than she felt it should under the circumstances, but she’d take it. He might be sexier than a man in ugly blue coveralls ought to have the right to be, but she wouldn’t let him be the one to break her. “Can you hold the car for a little while? A couple of days until I can figure something out?”

“Don’t generally do that for anyone other than friends. The lot is pretty small, you see,” he observed, looking over her out the bay door. “I don’t want legit customers thinking I can’t take care of them because there’s a fancy piece sittin’ out front.”

She ignored his emphasis on the word piece. His hard-as-marble tone was better than the condescending or mocking ones she usually heard from some of the people in town, though. She once thought Travis might have had a thing for her too, but she guessed that was well and truly dead now. She might have been able to flirt her way out of a few hundred dollars years ago, but not now. “It’s a Cadillac. People drive them all the time. Please, Travis. Just a couple of days until I get paid on Friday.”

Please had become the most-used word in her vocabulary. She’d always used it, along with thank you, excuse me, yes ma’am, no sir among other courteous terms, but they had all taken on whole new meanings since she was no longer the heiress who lived in a mansion. She was a regular person now, working class, and while she’d never looked down her nose at anyone, she’d learned quickly that her perceptions were vastly different than the perceptions of the average person.

He stared at her with unblinking, cold eyes. He probably trusted her about as far as he could throw her, but her word was pretty much all she had anymore and she’d been trying hard to stick to it.

“It was all I could do to get it here this morning. You know I don’t have any way to get it back to the lake or anywhere else to keep it.”

He heaved a sigh. “Until Friday. Not a day later.”

Relief swelled inside her and she smiled. “Friday. Yes. Th-thank you, Travis. Thank you. I have to get back to work, but I’ll be in touch Friday when I get off.” She turned, her heart thumping in her chest, her mind whirling with the fact that she had no way to come up with the money to get her car fixed in so short a time frame, but at least she had a couple of days to deal with it.

His voice from behind abruptly stopped her forward progress.

“Do you need a ride?”

Bella  masked the lust his words brought to the surface before she turned to face him again. Yes, she’d love a ride. A long, hard, naked ride. On him. He hadn’t moved but she could’ve sworn there was a flair of heat between them. Maybe he wasn’t as indifferent as he’d have her believe. “N-no. I walked here from work. I can walk back. I don’t want to owe you any more than I already do.”

Travis shrugged, the gesture full of indifference. “Suit yourself. Have a good day then.”

This has been a fun book to work on. The edits so far are a bitch, but the book itself… It’s fun and HOT!

I’m going to settle in for football and you have other snippets to take in on the following blogs:

Lauren Dane
Caris Roane
Eliza Gayle
McKenna Jeffries
Shiloh Walker
Taige Crenshaw
Delilah Devlin
HelenKay Dimon
Myla Jackson
Shelli Stevens
Jody Wallace
Felicity Heaton
Leah Braemel
Mari Carr

~lissa

Snippet Saturday – Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around

snippetsaturdayWe’ve all had this happen, haven’t we? Boyfriends, lovers, even friends. They come and go and come and go and at some point (hopefully) we get to the point where enough is enough and we scream and yell or just tell them to go. Our hearts can only take so much and we need to heal and they need to stop draggin’ it and us through the mud.

And then again, sometimes, we’re the ones draggin’ our own hearts around…

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Justin liked exposing her where they might or might not get caught. The thing that made it okay, made it better, made her want it more was that he was willing to expose himself too. He would stand by her, stick with her and take the brunt of anything if someone caught them.

He was slowly, or rather not so slowly, showing her the risk of being vulnerable. The pleasure of such was high if she trusted him, and his protection of her was worth everything.

“I want them to smell sex on you. I want them to smell me on you.”

“It’ll single me out. I don’t like that.”

“Why not?”

“Because you won’t be with me.” That was the crux of the matter. She was helpless and hopeless in the best of ways when it came to him, especially when he was with her, but when he wasn’t, when she was on her own, she was shy, uncertain in most things save her job. Divorce had been a big personal chance she had taken on her own and she’d made a life by herself, but she honestly didn’t want to live alone or exist alone. Sure she had friends, but what she really wanted was a lover, a man to share life with. She’d had a man, but not a lover and well, hell, she needed and craved and hungered for the lover part of the equation. It was as important as talking and communicating. At least to her. She’d lived enough years with just talking and no real communication, no intimacy or physical affection that being lonely had been inevitable.

She didn’t want that again. She didn’t want to be alone. She’d learned she could do it—she just didn’t want to. She didn’t want the dating scene either. Her single friends from work had enough horror stories about trying to date that Ella didn’t want to venture into those waters.

“I’m always with you, baby. Every word I’ve ever said to you is either inside your head or just a push of an app button away in your email.”

And that was true. “But you won’t be there holding my hand or there for me to hide my face against.”

“Why would you want to hide? Hell baby, you know how many people would be envious of what we’ve been doing the last few days?”

She didn’t know, but she could remember when she had been envious of people that had that same kind of wild and crazy sex life. If anyone had told her a year ago that she’d be sitting in the lap of a twenty-nine year old bartender-fireman in an airport parking garage having sex, she’d have told them they were just shy of admittance to the nut house.

Yet here she was.

If anyone had told her a year ago that she’d be divorced and free to be having sex in the lap of a twenty-nine year old bartender fireman, she’d have told them they were a few watts short of a light bulb. She’d have immediately hoped for and wanted it, but she wouldn’t have believed it possible, wouldn’t have believed herself fed up enough with mediocre and status quo.

Yet, there she was.

“I need to go,” she said.

“I don’t think so, Ella.”

“Justin, the time.” She looked at her watch. “I—”

“Not that.”

“Then what?”

His hands gripped the hair that framed her face. He twisted his fingers in the strands and held her head immobile, his gaze intense and dark, mesmerizing. She was once again amazed at the many different facets of her cowboy’s personality. “I don’t think I love you. I don’t think you think you love me either. I know I love you. I’ve known for a long ass time that I loved you, and we’ve both known you loved me too.”

“Justin, I—”

“You’re just scared to say it without qualification or justification and that’s okay. You’ll get there.”

“It wasn’t supposed to be like this,” she said, leaning her forehead against his.

“It was supposed to be exactly like this. Now, you’re right. You do need to go. I don’t want you to miss your flight. Your job is important to you, and that makes it important to me.”

“What about after, though?” The worried tone was back in her voice.

“You’ll know what to do and whatever you decide is best, I’ll be here to support you.”

At first, she wasn’t sure they were talking about the same thing, but as she stared at those eyes, crystal clear but for the love shining back at her, she realized they were talking about the exact same thing. He was leaving it up to her, the direction or not, of their relationship.

She nodded, and he kissed the tip of her nose before opening his door and helping her down from his lap to the ground. She leaned against the inside of the door and adjusted her skirt, and did her best on the wrinkles in her top. She might need to make a few shopping stops once she got to New Orleans. She turned to him in time to see him adjusting his jeans. She hated to see his cock put away. He was gorgeous enough that he should walk around naked all the time.

She giggled at her fanciful thoughts. Must be the after hot sex in the truck giggles.

He handed her her purse and reached back for her laptop and carry-on bag and handed both of those to her as well. “You ready?” He got out of the truck and shut the door, locking it behind him.

“Yeah.” She wasn’t really. She didn’t want to leave him, but at the same time, she needed to get away from him. When he was near, it played tricks on her mind and all she wanted was him, day and night, night and day. She needed a break, her body needed a break, her head needed a break, but damn…. Leaving him again was hard. Leaving him again without knowing what was going to happen next was hard.

She took one step and another and had just started to take another when a gust of wind blew through the garage. The scent of sex coming from her was stronger than she’d imagined it would be. It was as though he held his come-coated fingers right beneath her nose.

Heat crept up her neck and into her cheeks. She dared a look up at him, and the grin on his face told her that he’d caught a whiff of it too. Damn.

He took her hand. “C’mon baby. I don’t want anything to delay you coming back to me.”

She didn’t budge when he tugged. He turned to her with a raised brow. The challenge was there in his green eyes, and she hoped there was challenge staring back at him from hers. “Coming back to you? I thought you said it was my decision where we went from here?”

“It is your decision.”

“Then why did you assume I’d be coming back to you?”

He tugged and she started walking, her hand firmly clasped in his and though she might be a bit irritated at him, she didn’t want him to let go of her. Not by a long shot. Instead though, for good measure, she huffed out an irritated sigh.

“I wasn’t assuming anything.”

“You said coming back to you. That’s assuming that that’s what I will decide.”

Buy Links: All Romance eBooks | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Samhain Publishing

I need to get writing and editing and you have the following blogs to visit for more snippets…

Lauren Dane
Caris Roane
Eliza Gayle
McKenna Jeffries
Shiloh Walker
Taige Crenshaw
Delilah Devlin
HelenKay Dimon
Myla Jackson
Felicity Heaton
TJ Michaels

~lissa

Snippet Saturday – Smooth Operator

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Smooth operators.We’ve all known them, right? They deliver smooth lines, quick with compliments, and in general give you the willies. They make your spine feel as though a snake is slithering and you can’t wait to get away.

The Sade song, Smooth Operator, comes to mind when you see the words. At least for me it did.

But, maybe there’s another kind. The one who means the lines, who means the compliments, who doesn’t give you the willies, but instead works his way under your skin before you even know what’s hit you. He can be the good one, the fun one, the right one…

Of course, what about the smooth friend? The one who tricks you without you even realizing what he’s up to and all for your own good…

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“He drove all the way into the city, and he left just like that?” Edward questioned. He drained the rest of his latte and carefully wiped his mouth. Jane wanted to slug him for always being neat and tidy and so put together when half the time, she was less than all that.

“Yep.” What the hell was up with that? All because she told him to go? He didn’t have to give up so easily.

She really was better off that he did go, she knew that. There were just too many complications that came with being involved with a man like him. Life would be simpler without the want, the lust, the sheer hunger to crawl naked all over him.

If he had stayed, would she have given in? Of course she would have. She huffed out a frustrated sigh. She needed to shed the leftover shit from her relationship with Phillip. More than anything, reminders lingering in the house weren’t helping her move on. What was that thing about writing a letter and then burning it being somehow cathartic? Would the same hold true if she burned all the stuff he’d left at her door? Most of it was what she’d given him as gifts, so perhaps that would count as sort of her “letter.”

Indecision gnawed at her. Might be worth a shot. She didn’t want to hold on to someone that had walked away without a backward glance. She didn’t want to hold on to someone she had proved to herself she could live without, even if she had done so while consuming untold pounds of chocolate.

“Hey.” Edward snapped his fingers in front of her face. She blinked and focused on him.

“What?”

“Where’d you go? I was talking to you and you zoned out on me.”

“I’m tired,” she lied. “You know I don’t get up until the sun is high overhead.”

“Time to get over that. C’mon, finish up.”

“It’s illegal to be this perky this early.” Jane lowered her head to the table. “I don’t want to go shopping.”

“Liar.”

“Am not,” she whined. “You said we were going out for breakfast and coffee.”

“And we did. Now, I want to go shopping and don’t want to go alone, so you’re going with me.”

“What about your date from last night. Why not call him to go with you?”

“Because he’s the reason I’m going shopping.”

Edward usually didn’t need a reason to add to his wardrobe, but this was kind of interesting. “Are you ever going to tell me about this guy?”

“Are you ever going to stop moping around the apartment?”

Oh that was low. He was right, but still a low blow. “I’m not moping at the apartment right now.”

“No, you’re moping in this lovely little café.”

“I wouldn’t have to if you hadn’t promised me espresso drinks and pastries I don’t have to make.”

“I’m a sneaky bitch.” Edward winked at her and Jane couldn’t stop the laugh that bubbled up but she did her best to cover it up with a sip of espresso. Straight, unsweetened, smooth, rich espresso. If that didn’t wake her up, nothing would.

“That you are.” She took a big gulp of air and let it out in a huff. “Two stores. No more and if you don’t find what you’re looking for, tough.”

“Four stores and I’ll buy you lunch.”

“Three stores and you buy me lunch anyway.”

“Deal. And you have to try on this hot little black dress I saw yesterday.”

“No deal on that. I don’t need a little black dress, hot or not. I don’t want any new clothes. You can’t tempt me with them.”

“Again with the lies.” Edward shook his head. “Jane honey, you do need that dress and you do need new clothes.”

“Can we just go and get this over with? I want to get back to my sweat suit before it thinks I don’t love it anymore.”

“I’m going to burn it when we get back.”

Jane got up and set the pretty cup and dessert sized plate on the counter. “You’ll do no such thing.

“You’re right. I won’t. At least not the gray one. That one I tossed it in with the trash this morning when we left,” Edward said in his sing-song voice as he pushed the door open and walked outside. Jane was speechless. Momentarily so before she went chasing after him.

“You did what?” she asked, out of breath from jogging to catch up.

“I stuffed it in the trash bag while you were in the shower.” Edward paused outside his favorite kitchen store. “Do you want to go in? We could use a few more silicone spatulas.”

“Don’t change the subject. Why would you throw out my sweat suit?” Edward pushed open the door to the store and disappeared inside. He kept walking away. Did he think she wouldn’t kick him in the shin if they were in a crowded place? “And stop trying to get away from me,” she hissed.

“I’m not trying to get away from you. We need spatulas.”

“Oh you are so full of it. We have a whole drawer full of spatulas.”

“But I like these.” He pulled a wood handled silicone spoon out of a canister sitting on a small mosaic garden table. It was white with orange dots and Jane had to admit they were fun and that she would love to have a few of them in a variety of dot colors, but right at that moment…

She ground her jaw together and forced words through barely moving lips. “What are you up to, Edward?”

“I’m up to seeing you come out of hiding, Jane. I’m up to seeing you get over this depression.”

“I’m not depressed and I’m not hiding.”

“Oh?” He looked at her. “Then what would you call it?”

What did she call it? “Minding my own business,” she offered. “Something you should maybe think about.”

“Nice try.” Edward pulled three more spoons from the canister. One with green dots, one with blue dots, and one with yellow dots. “Do you want the red one, as well? We could have a complete set.” Jane flipped her hair and turned her back. She didn’t want to talk to him anymore. “Pouting won’t get you anywhere, but fine, I’ll get the red one, too.”

“While you’re being generous, I need a new cookie scoop too.” She walked around the end of the row to the next row over. In another canister, this time on the shelf of a book case, Jane picked up two different sized cookie scoops. One with a purple squeeze handle and one with a pink squeeze handle. She really didn’t need new cookie scoops for the truffles, but she and Edward were a lot alike when it came to kitchen stores. She found it impossible to resist them. Before candy making, she’d never really cared for cooking or baking, but she’d learned a lot by  devoting and dedicating herself to her craft. The success of their boutique business, dreamed up over a box of candy and a good bottle of wine, was proof of that.

Which, now that she thought about it, Phillip–

“Do you want to look for anything else?” Edward nudged.

Jane shook herself from the puzzle pieces that still didn’t fit from her break-up with Phillip and turned her gaze to Edward. “No, I’m good.” She handed the scoops over and Edward fairly skipped to the counter and the sweet man manning the register. To see the two men flirting, she had to smile. Edward was really the sweetest, most adorable man she could have ever hoped to fall into lifelong friendship with.

She was still pissed at him though.

Do you have friends like Edward? I think we all should have at least one…

I’m headed off to work on edits, and you can head off to read more Smooth Operator snippets from the following authors:

Lauren Dane
Caris Roane
Eliza Gayle
McKenna Jeffries
Shiloh Walker
Taige Crenshaw
Delilah Devlin
HelenKay Dimon
Myla Jackson
Shelli Stevens
Jody Wallace
Felicity Heaton
TJ Michaels
Leah Braemel
Mari Carr

Snippet Saturday – Can’t Fight This Feeling (Friends to Lovers)

snippetsaturdayFriends to lovers.

This is one of those snippets that won’t be too difficult to come up with. I have a few books with the friends to lovers theme.

Different types of friends create different types of lovers. Sometimes it’s easy and just falls right into place. Sometimes it takes a little more work to make the transition.

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Thoughts of Johnny, the sole reason for her being in a swanky hotel, kept creeping in. Why had she thought this was a good idea again? Why had she felt so compelled to ask him, of all men, to fulfill her fantasies? You know why. Liz sighed. The secret naughty girl voice inside her head shouldn’t be allowed to talk until coffee was flowing through her veins. Her angelic good girl voice had no energy to mount a defense yet.

When the doors to the elevator opened, the aroma of freshly brewed heaven hit her before she crossed the threshold and she inhaled deeply. A sign outside the elevator pointed her in the direction of Bar Espresso and she made a beeline for it.

The first thing she noticed as she crossed the threshold was the menu. It stretched four panels long. One for coffees and teas, one for hot espresso drinks, one for cold and one for pastries. She scanned the espresso drinks. What would they think if she ordered one of each?

‘Hello, Liz.”

“Oh dear God,” she whispered under her breath as the voice rippled over her. He was early. He wasn’t supposed to arrive until late tonight or maybe even tomorrow. It was meant to be a Friday to Monday weekend. What was he already doing here?

The deep chuckle from behind told her she hadn’t spoken quietly enough. “No, and I didn’t expect you to refer to me as God quite yet.”

Johnny Trouble. She knew that voice almost as well as she knew her own. His nearness, his gravelly rumble, was nearly as potent for her as the coffee she couldn’t live without.

Everything in her line of sight faded and centered on this one location. It was only the two of them in the universe as far as her mind and body were concerned. They’d spoken just last night right before she’d drifted off to sleep. She’d told him she wanted to back out, that it was a bad idea. He’d told her she was lying, and while she hated to admit it, he’d been right. She’d initiated this, she’d arranged this and no matter how scared she was, she intended to go through with it.

What he hadn’t told her was that he was arriving early.

But he was here in the hotel now, standing behind her with one specific purpose in mind and she was quaking in her flip-flops.

She’d lost her ever lovin’ mind.

“Liz.” The tone of voice was impatient. “Turn around and look at me.”

She shook her head, mute. She couldn’t look at him, couldn’t talk to him. This was crazy. She needed to get her coffee and get the hell out until she was more fortified to handle him.

The air around her shifted and crackled. He was closer, within inches of being pressed to her back. His breath fanned her ear and breezed through the loose strands of hair at her nape. Heat rolled off him and seeped through her thin, worn shirt.

“Turn around, Liz.” He spoke softer, and directly against her skin now.

He was teasing her, taunting her, and it was exactly what she needed, wanted. Only, she wanted so much more too. She just had to get her mind to communicate with the rest of her.

“Really? You’re not going to turn around and look at me?”

What was she afraid of? She’d done the hard part. Well, not the hard hard part, but she’d asked him to give her a long, fantasy weekend and he’d said yes. He wasn’t nervous, or at least he didn’t appear to be, so what was her issue? It was an easy answer. She was the wallflower. It had been her Achilles’ heel all her life. In the safe haven of her home, of her little neighborhood, she was open and comfortable with her life. He represented the opposite of all that, and though it scared her, when she was with him, she couldn’t help but be drawn to it.

“I get it,” he said, coming to stand beside her now. “You’re taken aback by my celebrity, aren’t you? It’s finally hit you just how famous I am.” Johnny sighed dramatically and Liz couldn’t stop herself from looking at him. He didn’t turn his head to meet her gaze, but there was a little smirk on his lips that, as she stared at it, started to ease the nervousness coursing through her. “I knew it would catch up to you sooner or later. I know I’m quite the catch for women. I mean, look at me? I’m the quintessential over-the-hill rock star who still wears leather, has long hair and thinks he’s smokin’ hot. Chicks still dig me, baby.”

Liz laughed and nudged him with her shoulder. The familiarity of their long-standing friendship settled in the small space between them. He was as much a smartass now as he’d ever been. He knew his celebrity didn’t matter to her. She was proud of him, proud to know him as a person, as an imperfect, but gorgeous man. She was proud to have known him before he’d ever struck it rich with a hit song, and he knew how hard something like this weekend was for someone so quiet, how out of character it was for her to make the first move. Her inability to turn around and face him was not for any reason other than fear, a little anxiety and a whole lot of discomfort with the immediate situation. She didn’t like being this way sometimes, but more often than not, the homebody in her kicked in and she stayed rooted to what she knew. “Thank you,” she said softly.

“There’s nothing to thank me for.”

“There is. You’re helping an old friend step outside herself for a while.” She’d spent a great deal of time living her personal life vicariously through other people, the characters from her books and, Johnny. He was well traveled and he never failed to entertain and amuse her with some of his stories, the antics of his band, the daring things their fans would do just to be able to touch their coattails.

It was high time she did some real life living of her own.

“True… In a way,” he added softly.

“What do you mean, in a way?”

 

So, now it’s time for you to visit the following blogs for more friends to lovers snippets…

Lauren Dane
Caris Roane
Eliza Gayle
McKenna Jeffries
Shiloh Walker
Taige Crenshaw
Delilah Devlin
HelenKay Dimon
Myla Jackson
Shelli Stevens
Jody Wallace

~lissa

Snippet Saturday – Ain’t Over Til It’s Over

snippetsaturdaySometimes it’s over but we still hang on. Sometimes it’s over and the other one still hangs on. Sometimes it’s over but you simply can’t move on. And sometimes it’s over and you just want to forget it ever happened at all.

Relationships. Friendships. Jobs. Books. Movies. Sometimes we don’t want it to be over, sometimes we do.

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Then again…

“I got your package in the mail as well and decided to take that as a good sign,” he was saying.

Chrissie forced herself to refocus on him. Marriage. What the hell did she feel about it? On one hand, it was completely ridiculous. On the other though, the man was delicious and gorgeous and she could definitely see herself getting lost in those eyes.

What was she thinking? What had he said? “Package? What…?” Her confusion lasted for barely a second. “You mean the ring?”

“Yes. Thank you. Russ’s mother was thrilled to have it back in her possession.”

“I’m sure. I had no intention of keeping it. I just couldn’t bring myself to send it back to Russ.” It was the first time in one hundred eighty two days since the last time she’d said his name, not that she was counting, and she found that she felt… “Nothing.”

“I’m sorry? Nothing?”

Chrissie thought she’d feel something. Pain. Bitterness. Regret. Something. Anything. But there was nothing at all. She couldn’t help the smile that crossed her lips.

She’d spent so much time healing. When she was awake, that is. Asleep was a different story. Colt somehow healed her in her dreams. Damn, the man was fine. And he was standing in front of her, flesh and blood. Yummy.

“What’s that smile for?”

“I’m over him,” she said. “I’m over him,” she repeated, louder this time, with a wider smile and a lightness she hadn’t felt in months.

Colt laughed. “Are you just now realizing that?”

“For certain? Yes.” She wanted to bounce and jump and run and dance around. “I am just now realizing it. It feels really good.” The weeks of simply going through daily life, one foot in front of the other, crying when she needed to, seeing her parents when she was desperate for a hug, hanging with friends when she needed a beer, had healed her tarnished pride and wounded heart.

And her pride had been the biggest thing. It was something she hadn’t wanted to admit to herself or to anyone else for a long time, but it was no less true. She saw the pitying looks when she went back home, and so she learned to stay away. Then there was her mother, who, bless her heart, kept telling Chrissie of all the eligible men who’d inquired after her.

Mostly though, she’d just wanted to be left alone. “Lonely” hadn’t entered into her equation. Less sexed than she’d have liked, definitely, but she wasn’t lonely. She liked her own company.

She’d even started to convince herself that she’d be fine alone for a good long time, that if she could just find someone to ease the sexual urges, she’d be good to live alone. Maybe for always. She could take care of herself, do things her mother shuddered over, like fixing a leak under the sink or cleaning a dryer vent.

A naked Colt, even if only in her head, hadn’t hurt either. On some level it was probably wrong to have erotic thoughts about her ex-fiancé’s brother, but she hadn’t while she was engaged and wouldn’t feel bad about it now that she wasn’t. The man was sexy and hotter than the day was long.

But in the flesh, within touching distance, she wasn’t so sure about that “alone” thing. Just his presence made her think of sharing and home and warmth and together and rolling naked in the sheets for days on end.

“I’m glad to hear you feel that way.”

Feel what way? Shit, the sun must be getting to her. She didn’t she say she wanted to be naked with him out loud, did she? No. Over Russ? It took her a moment to remember what they were talking about. With Colt in front of her, Russ was really the last thing she wanted dominating the conversation. “I’m glad to feel it. To say it. It—”

“Maybe you’d like to have dinner with me to celebrate.”

Just like that, her smile fell and her eyes grew wide. “Huh?”

“Oh, that was elegant,” he teased. “I’ll chalk that effort up to my having surprised you.” He touched her again, rubbing his thumb over her bottom lip. “How about a real answer now? Yes or no?”

“I, uh…” She was doing her very best to keep from tasting him with the tip of her tongue. Her lips were dry, and she felt the need to lick them, but she wouldn’t. Him right there, touching her, was doing more to her insides than her dreams of him had, and she wanted to crawl all over him. “I have to work tonight.”

Colt removed his sunglasses and pierced her with a stare that had her looking away quickly. Those eyes… Then she met his gaze again because she couldn’t stop herself. He was beautiful to look at, dark where she was light, big and bold where she was a muddle of putty in the palm of his hand.

Take some time if you have it, to visit the following blogs to see what they’re up to getting over…

Lauren Dane
Caris Roane
Eliza Gayle
McKenna Jeffries
Shiloh Walker
Taige Crenshaw
Delilah Devlin
HelenKay Dimon
TJ Michaels
Myla Jackson
Felicity Heaton

~lissa