Hungry Hearts Holiday Hop – Celebrate!

It’s that time… Or it’s almost that time. 2014 is nearly upon us and Christmas is right behind us. Let’s hope we don’t have to go through that again anytime soon! Hahaha…

hungryhearts banner(STATIC713x316)(1)

So, how do you celebrate New Year’s? Do you go to parties? Do you go find fireworks and big downtown celebrations? Do you stay home in the relative peace and quiet, safe and sound? We aren’t party people, so it’s stay at home for us. Football games, Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, the superstition of burying a quarter right before midnight and digging it up right after, bed, and football all day New Year’s Day. Oh yeah, we’re definitely livin’ the life!

My husband isn’t a drinker and I’m not a heavy drinker. We usually have finger foods… sausage balls, veggies and dip, chips and salsa, taco cupcakes or buffalo chicken cupcakes… There’s sometimes champagne, but for New Year’s I like Ice Wine. It’s a little a sweet, kind of bubbly, and utterly delicious.

One of my other celebratory drinks… a Kahlua Latte. I’d found the recipe on the Kahlua website, but use homemade Kahlua… I’ll be posting both of those recipes below.

First though… I want to tell y’all how much fun this 3-part blog hop has been. I have enjoyed the authors, the recipes, and new-to-me readers. I love food and I love being in the kitchen and that I’ve gotten to share with all of you my passion for it and for writing, it’s been a real treat for me.

Second…Not only will you have my recipes, you’re going to have mouthwatering dips, appetizers, and other drink recipes to choose from to add to your New Year’s celebrations! There will also be excerpts at all the stops along the way from all the hot food-loving romance authors.

So, what do you need to do? Hop around each author’s site for a new recipe, and fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter our GIVEAWAY: 3 Amazon or Barnes & Noble GIFT CARDs!

In addition to the HUNGRY HEARTS HOLIDAY HOP giveaway, Amanda Usen will be featuring Hungry Hearts authors on Writer.Chef.Romantic this week and gifting their books to lucky winners. Stay tuned to get in on the fun! If you’d like to party in real time, please join our Facebook Party December 26th – January 1st.

Facebook Party link: https://www.facebook.com/events/124060241101099/

Writer.Chef.Romantic: http://www.amandausen.wordpress.com

Third… Happy New Year!

Homemade Kahlua adapted from The Cupcake Project:

6 cups brewed coffee (I used a dark roast coffee, freshly ground)
1 pound light brown sugar (This recipe is really sweet, so if you use one pound, just know it’ll be sweet)
3 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 liter of vodka (I used Rain Organic Vodka, but you can use any kind you prefer)

While the coffee is still hot, mix in the brown sugar. The sugar will dissolve. Let the coffee/brown sugar mixture cool. Mix in the vanilla and vodka.

Serve over ice or with cream or over ice cream or as a latte…

Whipped Iced Kahlua Latte

3 parts Kahlua
1 part Vodka
1 part Milk or Cream
2 parts Chilled Coffee

Stir or shake, pour over ice, and top with whipped cream. This really is a delicious coffee drink. I do believe I’ll be having one myself for New Year’s Eve!

Now, how about an excerpt from my book, Arresting Holli…

ArrestingHolli_200x300“Everything all right?” Officer Hunky called from the kitchen.

“Just peachy. She’s doing good. Made a friend to keep her company.”

“That’s good. Did you sleep okay?”

“I think so. I don’t really remember much after the shower.” She didn’t even remember how she’d gotten into the bed. She barely remembered the grilled cheese sandwich. Did she eat it?

And where did he sleep? She knew he’d held her, but for how long? Crap. If he’d slept in the bed with her all night and she’d missed it, she was going to be really pissed.

“You okay? You’re scowling.”

Holli focused on him as he walked into the room with a tray. He really had brought her breakfast in bed. “Yeah. Only I don’t remember much from last night. I must have been really tired.”

She fluffed the pillows behind her and scooted back against the headboard. It was an odd piece. The top and sides were a dark, red wood, but the center had vertical, spiral rods made of metal.

He set the tray across her lap. Yeah, she wanted to cry. Scrambled eggs, bacon, toast with a little bit of jelly on the side, and hot chocolate. With marshmallows. And they looked like the real ones, not the round ones in the bag from the grocery store. She’d only had the square ones a few times in her life.

The way they melted across the top of the chocolate, the steam that rose up from the cup… She couldn’t remember the last time she’d had hot chocolate that wasn’t instant.

“It’s not going to bite you,” he said softly, climbing into the bed from the other side.

“No, I know, it’s just… Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. I figured I owed you.”

“Well, it certainly wasn’t the way I’d intended to spend my vacation, but you’ve more than made up for it with a warm place to stay that isn’t concrete and you’ve provided me with access to a warm shower.”

He sat on the other side of the bed, finishing off a piece of bacon. “I know, but you haven’t had much in the way of decent food either. That’s another thing I can and am happy to do.”

“You’re a bachelor. You’re supposed to be eating frozen pizzas and fast food, not fixing gourmet breakfast for damsels in distress.”

Michael laughed and the sound traveled warmly from her chest to her belly. Just like his voice when he talked, she loved when he laughed. It was comforting, friendly.

“Is that what you are? A damsel in distress? Nice. Perhaps I’ll try to rescue you. As for the food…” He snagged a piece of bacon off her plate, “I can’t very well eat junk and preservatives and then expect to run the marathon in the spring.”

Holli glanced over at him as she picked up a piece of bacon as well and took a small bite. Slightly sweet, caramelized, crunchy. Sugar? “Marathon? And did you put something on this bacon?”

“Brown sugar,” he confirmed. “The marathon is something I’ve been training for, for about seven months or so.”

He could cook. He was a cop who put his life on the line every day. He was a genuine person. He was training for a marathon. She couldn’t have been more impressed with him or more in lust. The man oozed dedication and confidence, and like a moth to a flame, she was addicted. “I’ve never done anything at all like that. Takes serious commitment, I imagine.”

“It does. I haven’t had fast food in so long I’m not sure I’d like it anymore, and I never developed a taste for frozen pizza. I prefer the piping hot delivery kind once in a while, though.”

His wink was sexy, and he was absolutely the hottest, sweetest, kindest man she’d met in a really, really long time. Too damn bad she was going to be leaving him in a few days.

She picked up her fork and took a bite of the eggs. “Oh my God.” She covered her mouth when she spoke, then chewed and swallowed before taking another bite. “These are… What’s in them?”

“A secret.”

“What do I have to do to get that secret? They’re delicious. So smooth and creamy and…herbs? Cheese? Garlic?”

“Very good. It’s from a local farm that makes a lot of artisan cheese.”

“I don’t cook, but maybe you’d give me their information before I leave.”

“Or you could come back to visit when it thaws outside, and I can take you.”

She stopped with the fork halfway to her mouth and turned her head toward him. He was serious. The look on his face ? in his eyes ? told her so, and she didn’t know what to say in response. She wanted to say yes. She wanted to say she’d just stay until the spring, but she couldn’t. She couldn’t say anything at all, so she just nodded and took the fork between her lips, used her teeth to pull the eggs off into her mouth, and looked down at her plate.

“I’m sorry. I guess I shouldn’t have said that.”

Holli shook her head and swallowed. “No, it’s just…”

“I know.”

She picked up the hot chocolate and took a small sip. She took another sip. And another. Holy God. “Okay. I’m staying. If you’ll make this for me to drink every morning, I’m staying.”

“Like it, do you?” His tone of voice was nothing less than self-satisfied.

“No. I’m in love with it. I’m loving it a lot more than coffee at the moment, and I never say that. I’m so addicted to coffee.”

“Yes, I kind of figured that when you didn’t make a face drinking the coffee at the station.”

She smiled a little sheepishly. Her need for java embarrassed her, though she wasn’t sure why. She didn’t want to need it, but sometimes it was the only thing that hit the spot. “If it’s caffeine and hot, I’ll drink it.”

“No sodas?”

“No, but I think your hot chocolate trumps coffee.” She took another sip. “Mmm. Yeah, definitely trumps it.”

“My mother’s recipe. And to confess, there’s a teaspoon of espresso powder in it. That’s what gives it that rich, dark flavor.”

“What about the marshmallows?” If he said he made them himself, she was going to marry him. A girl didn’t pass up a man who could make his own marshmallows.

“A candy shop here in town.”

Not a deal breaker. Officer Hunky was just about as perfect as perfect could be before she’d found out he could cook and make his mama’s hot chocolate. She’d never wanted a man more.

“What’s that look?” Had his voice gotten deeper? And what was that buzzing in her ears? “Holli?”

She shook her head and put the mug down. “Will you please take the tray away?” That didn’t even sound like her voice. It was totally different and far sexier than she ever remembered her voice being. It was throaty and a little rough, and her southern accent was stronger. Who the hell was she?

“Sure. What’s wrong?”

He looked so alarmed, and she didn’t want him to be. She didn’t want him to be concerned. She wanted him to be as turned on as she was right at that moment.

He picked up the tray and placed it on the floor, and then she was on him. The second he sat back, she crawled over him.

The kiss was instantly arousing, much like it had been last night in the kitchen. She wanted to climb up and down his body, then do it again. She slid her hands through the soft hairs on his chest, flicked her nails over his stiff nipples, memorized the solid strength of his shoulders before coasting over his flat abs to his hips.

He shuddered, and his belly fluttered under her touch. She felt it through the skin of her hands and fingers and in the kiss they shared. His tongue stroked and stabbed harder into her mouth, his lips matching hers for urgency and that undeniable inability to get enough. His groan answered her moan, and he flipped her over, sliding on top of her.

His hazel eyes were dark now, almost brown, with slight flecks of green when he lifted his head to look at her. “Who are you kissing now?”

Huh? “What do you mean?”

“Are you kissing me, Michael, or are you kissing him, Officer Hunky?”

The slight smile was the first clue to her lust-hazed brain that he was teasing her. Embarrassment filled her, but she refused to lower her gaze. “How did you know?”

He nipped at her nose. “You murmured it in your sleep last night when you curled up against me.”

At least she hadn’t imagined it. “You stayed all night in bed with me?”

“I did. I hadn’t meant to, but I fell asleep and…”

“You hadn’t meant to? Does that mean you don’t ?”

“No, it doesn’t mean that. It simply means that my intentions were to sleep on the couch so I wouldn’t disturb you.”

“No disturbing. I evidently didn’t even know you were with me. The tension from the last few days must have kicked my ass harder than I thought.” She turned her head on the pillow and closed her eyes. Damn. In bed with the hottest man north of the Mason-Dixon, and she hadn’t even realized it.

He tucked her chin between his thumb and forefinger, bringing her face back to him. “You didn’t answer me, Holli.”

“About what?”

“Who were you kissing?”

She answered with a smile. “You’re Michael, Officer Hunky. One and the same, though honestly, Michael is a bit more serious and kind and caretaking. Officer Hunky, he’s the one I want to be naked with, play with.”

Michael laughed. “I don’t think anyone has ever referred to me as Officer Hunky before. I kind of like it. Maybe I’ll officially change my name.”

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | All Romance eBooks

‘); // ]]>

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a blessed, wonderful, and safe New Year’s celebration.

~lissa

Snippet Saturday – Belong To The City

snippetsaturdayI’m back y’all! Did ya miss me? 😉 I’m sure ya did.

Today’s snippet is about the big city. I don’t write much about the big city. Most of my books take place in small towns but I have a few that feature bigger places.

I’ll think I’ll use something newer… There’s talk of the city if not the city featured itself…

Batter Up

Middle of the fifth inning and his Phillies were down. Michael smacked at the steering wheel and let a string of curses fly from betweenLS_BatterUp_coverlg clenched teeth. She was going to be impossible if the Braves won this game. They’d already won the first two in the series this week, but if they won this last one? “Fuck.”

He pulled into a parking spot. The walk to Turner Field would take him to at least the end of the inning, but he would be there, with her. Living down south with the woman he’d arrested on a clerical error, the woman who, even though she was a lifelong Braves fan, had turned out to be the love of his life…

Atlanta was so different than his small Pennsylvania hometown. Okay so maybe different wasn’t exactly the right word. It was a whole other universe. From the sheer number of events, crowds of people, lines of traffic, and crime. It was a wonder he could find his way from home to work and back again as it was. And the food? He couldn’t even wrap his head around the food. A heart attack couldn’t be too far away given the sauced and cheesed and smothered southern dishes his girlfriend’s mother was fond of making for them every Sunday.

He wouldn’t trade any of it, though. The few days he and Holli had spent holed up in his apartment that Christmas a couple of years ago had been eye-opening for him. The connection, the ease, the sex. He smiled. The sex with Holli had been anything but boring that week. He liked hard, fun, even kinky sex, and Holli was definitely his match in that.

At the gate of the stadium he handed his ticket over. He made his way down the steps from the pavilion and saw the back of her head. Well, the back of her ball cap. Her brown waves were pulled back in a ponytail. Even without seeing more than her head and the top of her shoulders, he knew she’d be decked out all the way down to her toes in Braves gear.

He looked down at himself and grimaced. No wonder the Phillies were losing. He didn’t have a stitch of supportive clothing on. Midstep he turned and headed to the nearest gift shop. They didn’t have a big selection of anything Phillies, but there were a few caps to choose from. He plucked one from the hook and at the register found a small bat that brought a smile to his face and dirty thoughts to his mind. It was roughly twelve inches, and maybe the circumference of a quarter at the end.

Without a second of hesitation, he grabbed the bat by the grip and laid it down with his hat. The cashier smirked, and Michael grinned. “Mixed relationship,” he offered.

“I hope she’s not the Phillies fan.”

“Why’s that?”

“With as bad as they’ve been playing this series, if she’s the fan, you’re gonna be in the dog house until they win a game.”

Michael laughed. “You’ve got a point. Good thing I’m the Philly.” He paid for his items, ripped the tag off the cap and tossed it in the trash, then fit the cap on his head.

He jogged back down the steps, then slid into the seat next to Holli. She didn’t look at him, just took his hand and smiled with a small tilt of the corner of her mouth. “You really think that hat is gonna help?”

Michael squeezed her fingers. “It can’t hurt.”

“This is why when you get dressed on game-day morning, you put on your gear.”

“I know.” It was a superstition she had. If she wasn’t dressed in a Braves shirt, Braves socks, and Braves cap the day of a game, no matter where they were playing, they had a better than average chance of losing than if she was wearing it all.

He couldn’t fault her thinking. After all, he hadn’t worn any Phillies stuff since they’d come to town to play this three-game series, and they’d lost every game and not gracefully. “Maybe I should ask Santa for some Phillies boxers or something this year. At least I can wear them to work and not be mobbed. I can’t walk into the station with a Phillies tie or shirt visible to all.”

“You could always switch teams.”

“I’m going to ignore you said that.”

“Just a suggestion.” She lifted their joined hands and kissed the back of his. “I wasn’t sure you were going to make it.”

Michael shifted to get comfortable in the small confines of the stadium seats and glanced out over the field. Middle of the top of the sixth, the Phillies were up to bat and centerfield was so close, Michael felt as though he could reach out and run his fingers through the grass. He couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Thursday night. “Traffic sucks here. Even with the light flashing on the dashboard.”

“You put the light on?”

“Of course. The Phillies are in town.”

“And this is police business?”

“If I find someone to arrest, yes.”

“Been there, done that,” she muttered, but loud enough for him to hear, and he laughed.

“Yes you have. So, what’s been going on? I caught some of it on the radio, but when the announcers are biased, it kind of takes some of the fun out of it.”

“Yeah, that’s what takes away the fun. Whatever you have to tell yourself to feel better.”

Her sarcasm wasn’t lost on him, and he nudged her shoulder. “Shut up.”

“Fat chance. As you can see, the Phillies are really what sucks in this town. Third game in the series, and y’all can’t get a batter on base.”

“They were waiting for me to show up. They knew I couldn’t be here for the first two games, and they were waiting for me to be here before they turned it on.” Two could play the smartass game.

“Oh. Well, by all means, work your magic then, Officer, but be forewarned, my Braves are still going to kick your butts all the way back to Pennsylvania.”

Much as he loved his team, she was likely going to be right. “Just watch the game.”

“Oh come on now. You’re not a sore loser, are you?” Her sarcasm was not lost on him, and she knew it.

“You know better than that. You should just keep your eye on the ball. I don’t need any further comments from the peanut gallery.”

“Or what?”

“Or seventh-inning stretch, I’ll give you something to be sore about.”

Buy Link: Loose Id

For more Big City snippets, visit the following blogs:

Lauren Dane
Shelli Stevens
Leah Braemel
Jody Wallace
Caris Roane
Eliza Gayle
Mandy M. Roth
McKenna Jeffries
Shiloh Walker
Taige Crenshaw
Delilah Devlin
HelenKay Dimon
TJ Michaels
Myla Jackson

Have a great weekend, y’all!

~lissa

Snippet Saturday – Author’s Choice

snippetsaturdayYay! Author’s Choice. Only, I’m struggling to figure out which new release to choose from. I have three, you see. Keep It Together is the one that just came out. Trouble In The Making comes out next Friday, the 3rd. Batter Up will come out on May 14th. And Wait For Me is targeted for May 31st.

There’s a lot going on in my small corner of the writing world. And I’m very excited for all these releases. But as for today, author’s choice? Let’s go with Batter Up. It’s part of Loose Id’s Spring Fling line and will be available exclusively through Loose Id.

LS_BatterUp_coverlg

“And this is police business?”

“If I find someone to arrest, yes.”

“Been there, done that,” she muttered, but loud enough for him to hear, and he laughed.

“Yes you have. So, what’s been going on? I caught some of it on the radio, but when the announcers are biased, it kind of takes some of the fun out of it.”

“Yeah, that’s what takes away the fun. Whatever you have to tell yourself to feel better.”

Her sarcasm wasn’t lost on him, and he nudged her shoulder. “Shut up.”

“Fat chance. As you can see, the Phillies are really what sucks in this town. Third game in the series, and y’all can’t get a batter on base.”

“They were waiting for me to show up. They knew I couldn’t be here for the first two games, and they were waiting for me to be here before they turned it on.” Two could play the smartass game.

“Oh. Well, by all means, work your magic then, Officer, but be forewarned, my Braves are still going to kick your butts all the way back to Pennsylvania.”

Much as he loved his team, she was likely going to be right. “Just watch the game.”

“Oh come on now. You’re not a sore loser, are you?” Her sarcasm was not lost on him, and she knew it.

“You know better than that. You should just keep your eye on the ball. I don’t need any further comments from the peanut gallery.”

“Or what?”

“Or seventh-inning stretch, I’ll give you something to be sore about.”

“Are you threatening me, Officer?”

“Only if you take it that way. I prefer to look at it as more of a promise. Less incriminating that way.”

“Ah.”

She said nothing further, only smiled slightly. They settled in and watched as the Phillies struck out twice, were walked once, and had a ball ground out at second. Michael fought the urge to bury his face in his hand or poke his eyes out.

Holli leaned her head close to his. “So, exactly how sore?”

“What?”

“You said you were going to give me something to be sore about. How sore?”

“Really? My guys are down four nothing heading into the bottom of the sixth, and you want to have a conversation about how sore I can make your behind?” Michael shook his head and smirked. He wasn’t bothered by the conversation or that she talked near constantly during a game. He didn’t mind the running commentary. That he’d found a woman who loved baseball as much as he did thrilled him.

“Well, I wanna know, and it’s not as if us talking is going to change anything happening on the field.”

She was right about that. “Very,” he answered. But he had to have a little hope left. “And you never know. It’s not as if the Braves haven’t been known to give a game away every now and then.”

“But at least we try. How sore is very?”

He pressed his lips to her ear. “It’s you-won’t-be-able-to-sit-still-in-your-seat-if-you-don’t-cut-it-out sore.”

“Oh.”

Batter Up is a short story continuation of my book Arrested Holiday.

Please take some time today and read through the following blogs for their choice of snippets:

Caris Roane
Eliza Gayle
McKenna Jeffries
Shiloh Walker
Taige Crenshaw
Delilah Devlin
HelenKay Dimon
Lissa Matthews
Myla Jackson
Lauren Dane
Jody Wallace
Leah Braemel
Mandy M. Roth
Felicity Heaton
Mari Carr
Selena Blake

Snippet Saturday – Author’s Choice

There’s no theme song for this today’s snippet. You’ll just have to come up with one on your own. The next few weeks are going to find me writing like a mad woman with a September 18th deadline, home schooling starting on September 4th, and College Football starting Thursday, August 30th.

I have got some amazing books planned for all my readers. Promise. Some you’ve been waiting on and some you’ve never heard o, including two that were plotted while I was on road trips this month. But, because I have a holiday book to write in September, I thought perhaps I’d find a snippet from my holiday book a couple of years ago…

Snippet:

She was going home with him. She couldn’t believe it. When was the last time she’d gone home with a man? Or had a man go home with her? Holli wasn’t sure she could remember that far back. She wasn’t quite sure this particular instance counted, but…

It was the second time since she’d been pulled over that she’d been in his squad car. This time, though, she was sitting up front and not in the back behind the cage. In all her thirty-five plus years, she’d never gotten so much as a speeding ticket and had never been arrested. If she wasn’t so bone tired, so damned horny, or feeling so freakin’ gross from not having had a shower in — how many hours had it been? Too many for her to remember without the clock in front of her. She knew there was some humor in this whole situation; she simply felt too much like shit to find it.

Just the thought of how tired she was and of curling up in a warm bed had her yawning. Would she be sleeping in a bed? Or on the couch? Did he have a second bedroom? Did it matter? She looked over at him. Yeah, it did matter. It would matter a lot more when she was rested and fed.

Then she’d see about feasting on him.

His profile was beautiful. He was beautiful. His face had that guy next door handsomeness that was just over the top, but his eyes were so bright and fun and compelling. He was easy to smile and laugh, open, and very kind.

And she wanted to fuck him. Officer Hunky indeed.

She wanted to be naughty with him. She wanted to get down and dirty with him. She wanted to snuggle into his arms and sleep with him. He was exactly the kind of man she didn’t let herself get involved with, but again, not that many that looked like him had ever been interested in her. He was the good, way-too-good-to-be-true-in-the-long-run kind — she didn’t do short runs very well — so she stayed away from the sexy men that made her blood boil when it was ten below outside.

But just this once. During this season. On her vacation. She wanted to fuck him.

It wasn’t often she met men she wanted to fuck either, but this one — oh hell yes. He wanted her too. That was a shock in and of itself. Just looking at him and knowing what she must look like right then, it was a wonder he even wanted her in the same car. In general, though, he wasn’t usually the kind of man who would want her. He was toned and lean and perfect to look at, and she was curvy — like way, way curvy — a little pudgy in some areas, and truthfully pretty average looking. But she wasn’t going to second-guess or question or bemoan the wonderfully good luck landing her in his lap, so to speak. She —

“Is everything okay?”

She’d been staring. She knew that. She’d been all but drooling while imagining him naked. “Yes.”

“You were yawning and looked kind of dazed.”

Dazed with lust. “I’m pretty tired.”

“I bet. You can shower and sleep when we get to my place. It’s right up the road here.”

He pointed in the direction of “here.” Light snow was falling, but she could still see clearly through the windshield. A river flowed to the right, and small shops and businesses lined the left side of the road. It was a small, quaint town right outside Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The kind you’d see in a magazine or something in a Norman Rockwell painting.

Up meant up a hill, and then he was turning into a drive that wound around to the back of a rather large, Victorian-style house complete with a wraparound porch. “You live here?”

“I live in one part of the house, yes. It was gutted and renovated some years ago and was divided into four apartments. I live in one of the upstairs ones.”

“It’s beautiful.”

“Yeah. It was once a summer home for a Southern family that would spend, well, the summers up here. When the last descendent passed away and no one came forth to claim it, the city was going to demolish it. Instead a local businessman bought it to use as rental property. And here we are. C’mon. Let’s get you inside.”

He helped her out of the car and grabbed her bags from the trunk. With a hand holding her elbow, he guided her around ice patches and unsafe mounds of snow. The inside of the house was warm, and the smell of gingerbread assaulted her senses. Her stomach rumbled its approval of the aroma. Michael laughed, and she was starving again, still, for something other than food. She was starving for Officer Hunky.

She’d separated him in her mind. Michael was the one caring for her. Officer Hunky was the one inciting her lust and making her want to do naughty things so he’d be forced to “arrest” her.

“Mrs. Collins bakes gingerbread all the time. All year long. Even in the summer. She’s one of those competitive bakers that you see traveling all over the country to participate in recipe contests.”

“Has she ever won?”

He guided her up the stairs to the second-floor landing. “Yes. She’s won a lot, and every time she comes home, she shows off her ribbons or asks me to come down to see her brand-new kitchen equipment.”

Holli chucked him on the chin and winked. “Well, aren’t you a good neighbor?”

“It doesn’t hurt that I’m pretty handy with basic installations either.”

“Oh I’m quite sure it doesn’t.”

They were talking, bantering, sort of flirting. They’d had an easy enough rapport behind bars, and it seemed to be translating to the outside world as well. She liked that they could relax and connect, that they could tease each other. She was fairly certain she could keep from throwing herself at him too. At least for a little while longer.

He unlocked the door to his apartment, and she immediately shivered as a cold gust of air hit her.

“Sorry about that,” he said, wrapping an arm around her to usher her inside. He closed the door behind them, then moved to a fireplace in the center of the large wall running the length of the living space.

At least her teeth weren’t chattering. “That’s beautiful. The scrollwork on the mantel, I mean.”

“Yeah it is. When I said the house was gutted, I mean gutted. All except the fireplaces. There are four total, all original to the house. One in each apartment, but there is gas heat as well. I generally don’t have need to use it myself, but with you here, I’ll be happy to turn it on so the bedroom gets warm.”

“It’s okay. I can sleep on the couch.”

“No. You’ll sleep in the bed.”

There was no arguing with that tone of voice. She knew from experience. He’d used the same one with her when she’d tried to argue her way out of being arrested and booked for fraud. Until he’d seen the clerical error on her social security number, he’d given her that implacable, in-charge voice. If she hadn’t been scared and pissed off, she’d have found it incredibly arousing. Kind of like she did now.

Remember Holli, no jumping Officer Hunky.

“Can I shower?”

“Of course. This way.”

His tone was light again, easygoing, and she followed him into the one and only bathroom. “It’ll take a few minutes for the water to heat up, but once it does, be sure to monitor it before you get in or it’ll scald you.”

“Okay. Temper the water.”

“I’ll get some food started.”

He backed out of the room and closed the door behind him. He’d become formal, businesslike, and she wasn’t sure why. Was he nervous? Had he changed his mind about bringing her to his home? Had he changed his mind about wanting her? Should she have attacked him in the closet after all?

end Snippet

Now, while I’m headed out to Trader Joe’s for some food stuffs, y’all can start reading snippets from the following blogs and authors:

Megan Hart:Read in bed!
Leah Braemel
Eliza Gayle
Mandy M Roth
Mari Carr
McKenna Jeffries
Myla Jackson
Taige Crenshaw
HelenKay Dimon
Lauren Dane
Shelli Stevens
Delilah Devlin
Jody Wallace

Have a great Saturday!

~lissa