This Kiss Thursdays: Rachel Grant #tkt

tkt headerWelcome to This Kiss Thursday where we celebrate first kisses in romance. Two months ago, I scheduled this installment with author Rachel Grant–and by a strange stroke of kismet–we are together today on a writer’s retreat! Last night, she made me a chocolate martini. And I know so many spoilers……

Are you ready?




They tumbled sideways, coming to a stop inches from the high water line of the unfettered surf, his body on top of hers. Exhilaration coursed through him. His senses ran high. The hard, fast run. The unintended tackle. Having Undine’s sleek body pressed against his as he sheltered her from the chill wind. The threat of the rising tide and crash of waves that lapped at the shore just feet away.

He was angry and turned on, and Undine Gray was the cause of both. He straddled her waist and grabbed her arms, pinning her wrists above her head with one hand. Her body paralleled the shoreline, and the slow, reaching wave threatened to soak her.

She stared up at him, her big, beautiful eyes wide with shock. Her chest rose rapidly as she panted from her hard run. Then her breathing changed, and the moonlight showed dilated pupils.

She was as turned on as he was.

“I hate it that you said something to me today that made me question my judgment of you, then you turned around and did exactly what the old Undine would have done.” He wanted to lean down and dip his tongue into the hollow of her collarbone, to taste the salt of her sweat. “I hate even more that even after you’ve screwed me over again, I want you. I hate that I want to slide deep inside you. To taste you. To feel your heat.”

“Yes,” she said in a whisper. Her hips bucked upward, pressing herself to him in the only way she could.

He buried his face in her neck, taking in the scent of her as his heart rate kicked up. It had been a ridiculously long time since he’d been this ramped up for someone, and he’d never ridden the fine line between anger and lust before.

It was intense, this feeling. An adrenaline rush very different from what he’d experienced in combat. Her swimmer’s body turned him on in a way he’d never expected from a purely physical attraction. And that was all this could possibly be—straight-up physical lust—because there was no way in hell he was falling for Undine Gray again. Ever.

“Either kiss me, or let me up,” she said. “The sand is frigging cold.”

He grinned and leaned over her. Pinning her chest with his, trapping her under his weight. “It’s about to get a lot colder,” he whispered.

The slow, reaching wave licked her side and his leg, and she squealed at the shock. “Oh my God, the water is liquid ice!”

He laughed and rolled her, planting himself in the surf with her above him. No way was this ending before he got his kiss, even if it meant he was the worst sort of fool. “Is this better? Now my ass is the one freezing.”

She straddled him. Further copying his action, she took his hands and pinned his wrists above his head. A wave crashed, and from the roar of it, he didn’t have to look to know this one would climb the sand and swamp them. She waited until the frigid deluge was a certainty, then flashed a wicked grin and pressed her mouth to his. The water reached him as her tongue slipped inside his mouth. He couldn’t help but gasp at the shock of the cold even as the kiss filled him with heat.

She laughed against his mouth as water splashed over them both. Salt sprayed his eyes and seawater seeped past the seal of their lips. He ripped his hands free from her grasp to capture her face, preventing her from ending the scorching, ice-water-invaded kiss.

The sea retreated, and still he kissed her. His tongue slid against hers, the hot, salty kiss worth every discomfort and chill.

He felt her chest shake against his, recognizing the laugh she held in as she sucked on his tongue. With his cradling hands, he lifted her mouth from his as he rocked his hips upward, pressing his erection into her straddling crotch.

“Wow, Sevick. That was pretty damn hot for being so fricking cold.”

Shit. What was he doing? And why did he want to keep on doing it? “I don’t know what’s worse, that you’re steamrolling me into working with you, or that your dad is getting up in my business trying to prevent it.” And then, because he was a dumbass masochist, he pulled her head down for another kiss.


Want more?

COLD EVIDENCE (Evidence Series #6)

ColdEvidence-FrontCover-Final-72dpiThe frigid waters of the Pacific Northwest are about to get hot…

The only thing Navy underwater archaeologist Undine Gray fears more than facing former SEAL Luke Sevick is never scuba diving again. But when a dive on a Cold War-era US Navy submarine ends with an accidental explosion, she’s terrified of going into the deep, forcing her to beg the most experienced diver she knows to take her back to the bottom of the cold Salish Sea.

Luke wants nothing to do with the woman who destroyed his career a dozen years ago but finds it impossible to turn his back on her plea. Caught off guard by an attraction he doesn’t want to feel, he’s eager to be done with this mission of mercy. But when they dive on the wreck, he only gets sucked in deeper. Someone has been digging on the Navy sub…and it appears the explosion that almost killed Undine was no accident.

To find the truth, Undine must navigate murky waters and the unexpectedly hot undercurrents swirling between her and Luke. Worse, divers are searching for something lost in US waters during the Cold War, and they’ll do anything to keep Luke and Undine from finding it first.

Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | B&N

This Kiss Thursday: Lily Danes #tkt

tkt headerCelebrating first kisses in romance every week is sorta what I do. This week, welcome Lily Danes.

Are you ready?


Gabe moved toward her, so close she felt the heat of his body and learned what he smelled like. It was clean sweat and spice, and she breathed it in.

“What did some man do to you, Maddie?”

She swallowed. She’d never meant to give away so much. Her past wasn’t a secret—every damn person in town knew about it—but she didn’t want him to know. It would sting for Gabe to look at her like she was just another foolish girl. Just another victim.

“It doesn’t matter. It’s in the past.” She held his gaze with effort.

Gabe didn’t look convinced. “The past has teeth, Maddie. It doesn’t just bite. It will chew you up and spit you out, and you’ll never be the same again. If I’m not standing here and pretending my past doesn’t matter, then you can damn well do the same. What the hell happened to you?”

She tightened her lips, refusing to answer him.

“Come on, Maddie. Give me something.”

He didn’t move, and she thought he might stand there all night if she didn’t answer him.

“Something?” She rose up and pressed her lips softly against his. That should distract him.

Gabe froze, just for a second. That was the only chance he gave her. Her last chance to escape before his arms wrapped around her and he hauled her against his chest. One hand gripped her back. The other wrapped around the nape of her neck, holding her to him.

He groaned into her mouth, a desperate sound of pure need.

Maddie pressed her hands against his chest, but when she should have pushed him away she dug her fingers into the hard muscles, fighting the desire to claw his shirt from his body and feel his hot skin.

His tongue stroked hers, sliding deeper into her mouth, and she met him every step of the way. His touch was a flame against dry tinder. Under his hands, she ignited.

Gabe’s lips slid to her jaw. His touch slowed and his body tensed, as if even that much restraint pained him. “Tell me what you want.”

Her breath came out in pants as she tried to find words. Gabe moved his lips to her ear, holding the lobe gently between his teeth. “What do you want, Maddie?” he asked again.

She wanted him to drag her into the house and throw her on the couch. She wanted his body on her, inside her, moving fast until she forgot everything. Forgot who she was, and forgot what she needed to be.

Forget everything she’d worked so hard to become.

Maddie whimpered and stumbled backwards. Gabe let her go, though his eyes were full of questions.

She didn’t want to push him away, but she had to. Gabe might be the most dangerous man she knew, and not because of his past. Because of hers—and the way he could send her right back there.


Want More?

KissOfAStranger400x600Maddie Palmer lost everything when her ex-husband betrayed her. Years later, she’s rebuilt her life. It’s safe and stable—everything she thought she wanted. Until a dangerously sexy ex-con appears in Lost Coast Harbor…


Gabriel Reyes spent six years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit. Now he’s returned, determined to expose the men who set him up. His best chance at redemption is seducing the straight-laced woman working for the enemy…until he realizes he’s the one being seduced.


As passion ignites, Gabe and Maddie find themselves drawn deeper into the corruption behind the town’s richest family, even as they face the greatest danger of all—losing their hearts.

Amazon | Apple | Kobo | ARe| Nook


Lily Danes is a native Californian who loves cold weather, snow, and rain. A recovering city girl, she now lives in the Sierra Nevadas, where she gardens, knits, herds cats, and plans DIY projects she’s too lazy to complete. She has few practical skills and would be absolutely useless in the zombie apocalypse. 


Lily writes the odd books in the Lost Coast Harbor series. The odd-numbered books, that is. Whether the books themselves are odd is really up to the reader. Learn more and sign up for the newsletter at

This Kiss Thursday: Angela Quarles #tkt

tkt headerEvery Thursday, the blog highlights a first kiss from a romance novel. This week, we combine This Kiss Thursday with Throwback Thursday with  time travel romance Must Love Chainmail by Angela Quarles

Are you ready?


He tilted his head and studied her features, the openness of her eyes, the set of those shapely lips. Dealing with men-at-arms under his command and unruly villeins made him sufficiently competent in detecting falsehood. None existed in that statement.
Very well. But she was hiding something—the sure knowledge an itch under his skin. But if her secret wasn’t a danger to him, or to his king, he could afford the time to coax it out of her, cultivate her trust. For he would know her secrets. Secrets were valuable. Especially if such secrets benefited the English crown, and thus himself.
Then an itch of a different sort tightened his skin and made his blood pound. She was breathing heavily through her nose, obviously struggling to regain her calm, but her chest rose and fell in the small space between. If he stepped forward, just an inch, those lovely breasts would be pressing against him.
He stepped forward.
And…Christ, yes.
The pulse visible in the pale column of her neck vibrated faster, her intoxicating scent washed over him, and he was dizzy with lust.
Even through his mail and gambeson, he could feel her womanly curves crushed against his hard chest. He uncurled his fingers from her throat and ran the tough leather of his palm’s mitten along her neck and to the enticing curve of her shoulder. He nudged her mantle an inch, exposing skin.
He cursed that his hand was covered in mail. How long had he wanted to taste, to touch her precious skin? Unable to resist, he bent and, with his tongue, touched, tasted the heat of the skin on her collarbone.
Oh, Christ, she was lovely. She shivered, and satisfaction roared through him. He dragged his lips up the soft skin of her neck and gently nipped her ear lobe, sipping on the soft flesh. Her hands splayed against his chest.
Expecting a shove, his senses careened when her fingers fisted his surcoat. Their ragged breath overloud in the forest, he eased his face away, nose rubbing against her jaw on his retreat, and sought her eyes. Hers darkened and—Lord help him—held no censure, only interest.
He stepped back.
Curse his newly recovered scruples. Why did she have to excite him physically and dredge up his long-dead chivalry? He dropped his hand, and her fingers loosened from his surcoat. He turned to glower at the approach to Harlech and slowly flexed his fingers.


Want more?

AngelaQuarles_MustLoveChainmail_800Trapped in the wrong time, she needs a knight in shining armor, but this damsel in distress might be the real savior.

A damsel in distress…

With a day planner attached to her hip, the last thing Katy Tolson wants is a romance that threatens her well-ordered life. She’s set to marry the safe–but bland–guy, but something’s not quite…right. A careless wish thrusts her through time into medieval Wales and into the arms of…

A knight in somewhat shining armor…

Sir Robert Beucol, half-Norman and half-Welsh, lives with the shame of his father’s treason and vows to reclaim his family’s holdings and thereby his honor. To prove himself to his king, he must be more Norman than a full-blooded Norman. What better way to show loyalty than to fight his mother’s people? He has no desire to be sidetracked by the mysterious wench with pink toenails, peculiar habits, and passion smoldering behind her cool, collected exterior.

A rebellion that challenges both…

The Welsh uprising fits perfectly into Robert’s plans. Katy’s on the other hand? That’s a no. As they embark on a perilous journey through the heart of Wales, each passionate encounter pulls them closer together, but farther from their goals. When everything they value is at stake, can they save each other and their love?

This Kiss Thursday: Phoebe Rose #tkt

tkt headerWelcome to This Kiss Thursday where we showcase first kiss scenes from our favorite authors every week. Today we welcome Phoebe Rose.

Are you ready?



“I’m going to kiss you,” he says, holding my gaze. “How’s that sound for a prize?”

My heart skips. Body’s screaming Yes…but my body is a known traitor. “Depends on how well you kiss.” Body has wrested control of voice function.

“Great.” He smirks, unfazed—no delighted—by my swagger. “Can’t wait for my performance review.”

He leans in and I close my eyes. His approach is slow and deliberate, a tease in and of itself. I’m terrified he’s never going to get to me. But then his warm lips close on mine with the lightest pressure, and without warning I’m thrown into his orbit, towed into the deep rhythms of his body. His heart’s hypnotic, steady pounding. The force and heat of his chest surging against mine, divergent tides. His energy surrounds me, bright, frenetic, and irregular. An alien vibration, yet somehow familiar too. I press my lips against his softly, surrendering to the pleasure of touch, touch as travel to another’s world.

Gently he takes my face in his hands and guides me closer, so much closer that I’m almost sitting in his lap. Burying thick fingers in my hair, he kisses me more firmly, drawing out my lower lip, biting. I gasp. No moaning, I chide myself, like that’s going to help. I’m in over my head.

Every guy I’ve ever kissed has had a different vibe. Gid’s was playful, languid and sly like a ferret. My last ex-boyfriend’s was brittle, reticent. Then there’s my first kiss, an anonymous dance-floor grope at a sketchy all-ages club called Intensify. The boy had a wild energy that pulsed and skipped and jolted like a torch in the rain…for all the twenty-five seconds we explored each other until my BFF crew, fearing for my rep, dragged me away. Intensify-boy is the only thing that can begin to compare to this Thomas guy.

He pulls back, and I open my eyes to see him looking at me expectantly. Checking on me, I realize. I’d gone nonverbal there.

“You…” I try to catch my breath. “Are not what I expected.”

He gives me a serious look. “And what exactly did you expect?”

“Nothing special.”

I regret my snark the moment his face falls.

“Then why kiss me?” He looks lost, dejected.

I open my mouth and helplessly close it. I don’t know how to tell him the truth. That when I saw him talking to a scared feral cat it was like his mask slipped and I caught a glimpse of something. Something light-bright, moving fast, and maybe feral itself. And then I kissed him and he was on fire, and maybe I need to borrow some of his fire, because I feel like a candle that’s been snuffed out.

I can’t answer with words, so instead I reach for him. Our lips lock and he grabs the back of my hair, rougher, growling, holding my face still so he can kiss me deeper. My nails rake the back of his neck, urging him on. I’m soaring, melting. The tip of his tongue pushes my lips apart. Feeling languid, I open my mouth to let him taste me. He tastes like the whiskey, smoke and ocean. This is the real firewater. This here.



Want More?

Rescued - Phoebe RoseAt twenty-three, successful entrepreneur Thomas York has to be one hundred percent focused on his latest startup. He has no time for the drama of dating and even less time to deal with the litter of stray kittens who’ve claimed his patio as their new home. Falling for the pretty and passionate animal rescue volunteer who shows up to help with his feline problem is not on his agenda.

A born nurturer, Tessa Cantalupe is used to caring for everyone but herself. She has a history of giving too much and getting too little, and she has no doubt a sexy, ambitious businessman like Thomas has nothing more to offer her than one more dead-end relationship. But can a hot geek who loves kittens be all bad? Maybe it’s time she let someone rescue her and give her lonely heart a forever home.

A lighter New Adult romance with a few steamy pages, a romcom feel, and much witty banter. And kittens.

Available on Amazon

This Kiss Thursday: Olivia Gaines #TKT

tkt headerHappy Thursday! Are you ready to be kissed? Every week, we celebrate first kisses in romance and YA. This week, author Olivia Gaines brings us a first kiss that even happens on a Thursday!



The tension between the two of them was palpable. The pheromones he had deposited in that small space ignited something in her. Savannah wanted him with a fierceness she had never experienced. Leaning against the door jamb, taking in all of the awesomeness of Jesse Orison, a fleeting thought crossed her mind.… What if?


“I brought a first aid kit back as well,” she told him as she sat it on the counter. Jesse checked the contents and found some gauze and antibacterial ointment. Without warning, his massive paw encircled her forearm and pulled her into the bathroom and attempted to turn her to face the mirror. His nose hadn’t completely stopped bleeding, so Savannah turned back around and removed an applicator-less tampon from the first aid kit and shoved it up his nostril. His grip was firm as he turned her again to face the mirror, his man parts just inches away from her hips, radiating heat and beckoning her girl parts to join him for a party. Jesse’s careful hands slid her blouse off her shoulders, easing it away from the skin and fabric that had begun to stick to the scrapes and bits of torn flesh.


“It’s not too deep,” he said in a deep voice as he washed the affected area with a cotton ball, applied the salve, and then the bandage. Two pats to her collarbones and he took a step back. “There you go, all better.” She intentionally turned around slowly, allowing curious fingers to graze his midsection. As Jesse reached for the shirt she had brought him, she reached for his hands, interlacing her fingers within his own. Her ring scraped his fingers and he stepped back even further.


“I don’t dig in another man’s garden. I’m sorry.” He started to pull on the tee, raising it over his head, and Savannah became the aggressor.


Before he could get the shirt on, she grabbed the fabric, trapping his hands and blinding him. “What if the gardener hasn’t weeded in a while?” Savannah hopped onto the bathroom counter, pulling Jesse closer so he could feel the heat that was rising from her body. Her mouth touched the skin on his chest. Jesse jumped back as if he had been burned. Her fingers trailed across the broad expanse of his pectorals as she held him captive with her other hand. Pulling the fabric forward, he moved with it so their mouths were only inches apart.


“Jesse, I believe in staying in my own backyard, but there are times when you need to sink your toes in a new piece of real estate.” Her tongue ran across his bottom lip, causing his breath to catch.


Although he couldn’t see her through the cotton fabric, her scent permeated his nostrils, sending signals to his male parts to wake up. It was go time. “Is that your plan, to borrow me for a few hours?”


“If that is okay with you. I promise not to hurt you.” She licked his top lip.


“What if I don’t make that promise?” He leaned forward and kissed her lightly.


“I don’t need your assurances, Jesse Orison, I need your body.” She released the shirt by yanking it over his eyes.


“I can’t,” he told her, grabbing for his shirt. “I am not prepared and you are not in your right mind.”


It took her a minute to understand what he was saying as he backed away. Within seconds, he slipped the tee over his head, put his tool belt back on and handed her a business card, a simple one with his name and phone number on yellow card stock.. Nothing else.


Savannah looked at the card like it was a complex math problem. “What am I supposed to do with this?”


Jesse took her face into his hands and kissed her lightly on the lips. “You have had an intense evening, with the attack and all. If you are serious and you want to be with me, here’s my number. Call me in a week.”


“And if I choose not to?” she asked as she stuck his card in the first aid kit.


“Then …” he smiled as he tightened his tool belt. “… my lovely lady, it was a pleasure to meet you.”


Savannah was still sitting on the countertop in her bra looking confused. This man was actually going to walk away from her and leave her like this, all worked up with no man to ride. Quickly bounding to her feet, she stood in the bathroom door, staring at him in disbelief.


“You have the number,” he told her as he looked back at her one last time before he walked out the door.


It was a sorry Thursday and an even worse Valentine’s Day.


Want more?

Jesse Orison knew he was on borrowed time, but he had a plan. Savannah was set to marry another guy in a year. Experience had taught him that a man could make a lot of things happen in 12 months.

His first priority starting next week, was to make her fall in love with him.

He would begin his methodical plan by paying her a visit on Thursday.

Savannah Niden had everything a girl could want, a nice condo, a great job and a fiancé. The only problem was the maintenance man, Jesse.

Jesse started coming over on Thursdays and he liked to stay all night.

Savannah’s primary problem, she was learning to love Thursdays and Jesse a whole lot.


This Kiss Thursday: Kaia Danielle #tkt

tkt headerWelcome to This Kiss Thursday where we highlight the first kisses in romance that make us lovestruck. This week, Kaia Danielle brings us our lip smacker.




She stopped short of entering the bedroom and closed the door again. She was so lost in her thoughts that she had forgotten to grab the hair lotion and oil she needed to re-twist her damp locks. The sash on her robe loosened and fell as she grabbed the bag that held her hair care products. Just at that moment the door leading to the suite’s living room opened.


Confused, Kamaria looked up into Jack’s shocked face. Her toiletry bag slipped out of her fingers, further widening the gap between the already gaping robe lapels. Jack’s gaze immediately zeroed in on her nudity. His eyes momentarily shone with desire. Silently, she urged him to make a move. There was no way she would resist the hungry way he looked at her. But then, the corners of his eyes crinkled with regret.


“I heard the door shut. I thought you were in your room. My bad.” Jack swallowed. She watched his Adam’s apple bob up and down. But he didn’t look away. “You look great when you’re naked.”


Her breath caught at Jack’s last blurted out statement.


“I’m an asshole for saying that.”


She shook her head. “No. But, you do have a great ass.”


“Isn’t that what Chastity said?” Jack threw up air quotes. Now that his suit jacket was off, she could see how his biceps bulged under his dress shirt. Her new resolve to not use Jack as a sexual crutch was crumbling. Oh, who was she kidding, it was totally crushed.


“I never said I disagreed with her assessment of your backside.”


Jack smiled. “I like that you like my ass.”


And Kamaria liked it when he smiled at her like that. It made her swoony. Now wasn’t the time to develop a swoony habit. “Jack.”




“Get out.”




“I’m naked.”


“You’re wearing a robe.”


Kamaria pulled the open edges of the robe together. “A robe that was wide open.”


“I wasn’t complaining.”


Her attempt to frown failed. She allowed herself to return his smile. Why must he be so irresistible? “I think it’s time to lay down some rules.”


 They came to her instantly.


Jack crossed his arms across his chest and leaned on the doorframe. “Lay it on me.”


“One, we’re together for the weekend only. When I check out, that’s it.” Know when to hold ’em…


“Fair enough.” That surprised her. She had hoped he would object.


“Two, sex only. If either one of us starts catching feelings, it’s over.” Know when to fold ’em…


She prayed her face didn’t betray her.


His frown said everything. He didn’t like that caveat. “Is that all?”


Three, stop being such an amazing guy.


“Yes.” Know when to walk away… She lifted her chin. “Do you agree to these terms?”


“Not really. But I’d like to add one more condition.”


Wait, what? She felt more vulnerable than when her robe was wide open.


“A wild card, if you will. I’ll play your game for now. But, when you finally admit that you like me, you know, like that, I get two more days. Outside of Vegas. Location, my choice.”


“I don’t like you like that, Jack.”


“That’s what you say now. I don’t think either one of us believes it though.”


Know when to run…


Shit. He’d just called her bluff. “Maybe this was a bad idea. We should stick with the original plan. You sleep on the floor and…”


“Push me away all you want. I’m not going anywhere.”


He started to back out of the bathroom. His line of vision shifted from her body to her eyes. “Next time, make sure this door is locked if you don’t want me to come in.”


Kamaria took a deep breath. Her resolve to not be tempted by this man was completely gone now. She crossed her arms just beneath her breasts, propping them up. “What makes you think I didn’t want you? To come in, that is.”


“From what I know of you so far, you’re a no bullshit woman. If you want something, you say it.” He shortened the distance between them in a few steps.


“Do you want me, Kamaria?” Jack grabbed her wrist. His fingers began stroking the sensitive flesh just beneath the padding of her thumb. He closed his eyes. “Should I assume that silence implies agreement?”


For a woman who made her living with words, she was shocked to find herself rendered speechless.


When she didn’t reply, he said, “Do you really want this to end before it’s begun?”


“No, I—”


His mouth swooped down to claim hers. His tongue invaded her mouth and she quickly forgot her smart-ass retort as his hands flicked the terrycloth away, then encircled her waist. He yanked her hips flush against his thigh, then walked her back against the steam-slicked tile wall. Sweat beaded on her brow. He had the unobstructed access to go further, but held back. He was waiting for her. She lifted her hands from his shoulders, her fingers frozen with indecision. She should swat his hands away. But she wanted… So much for her plan of a cool and collected approach.


Her fingertips stroked the neatly trimmed whiskers of his beard. Oh, that beard. She shuddered as she remembered the scruffy feel of those whiskers against her sensitive inner thighs as he had nuzzled her intimately.


She had to be stronger than this…


Want More?

 He wasn’t the score she was looking for…

Romance author Kamaria Wilson came to Las Vegas with nothing to lose. A one-night stand with a delicious man is just the distraction she needs…until one night with him doesn’t feel like enough. Panicked, she skips out on the morning-after encore and hides out at the poker tables.

After his hot one-night stand goes MIA, security specialist Jack Aldirisi is sure he’ll never see her again. But when he’s called in to the casino for an unexpected “special assignment,” Lady Luck smiles down on Jack. For the rest of the weekend, he’ll be by his missing woman’s side.

She insists their powerful connection is nothing more than sex. He begs to differ. And this time, he’s calling her bluff.

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This Kiss Thursday: Brighton Walsh #tkt

tkt headerThis Kiss Thursday (#tkt) highlights the first kiss in our favorite romances. This week, Brighton Walsh brings us a tasty kiss from her book, Paige in Progress.



He hasn’t even done anything yet, and the anticipation is freakin’ killing me. What the hell is he working at? I can’t figure it out. Unless he was telling the truth when we were sitting in the car outside the batting cages. Maybe he really does need to get himself under control so he doesn’t crack.


Adam doesn’t crack often. And by often, I mean ever. That much is certain.


In the short trip to our apartment building, he’s relaxed in degrees, little by little, until he’s perfectly at ease as we walk down the steps inside, standing on the landing between our doors.


I’m a little tired of this waiting game, to be perfectly honest. It’s making me jumpy, flustered. I just want to get it over with. I have no idea what he has in store for me, but I’m anticipating the worst. What the worst is, I don’t know. I haven’t been brave enough to even allow myself to contemplate it. With a bravado I don’t feel, I say, “Time’s up, buster,” then I occupy myself as I fish for my keys in my bag. “It’s now or never.”


I don’t even feel him moving close, not until his breath whispers across my lips as he says, “Now.”


Startling, I glance up and he’s right there. Stepping into my space and causing me to retreat until my back presses against my door. “What…” I internally curse myself at the breathless quality of my voice, then swallow and try again. “What did you decide you want?”


He’s quiet for a minute, his eyes assessing me in a way that makes me nervous. “That’s a loaded question if I’ve ever heard it. I want it all, Paige. Don’t for a second think otherwise. But since you’re not ready to give me that, I’ll settle for something else. Something you’ve managed to keep from me.”


This man has licked my breasts, my thighs, the space between. He’s had me on my knees, on my back…has taken me in the most primal ways, so I’m having a really hard time figuring out what I’ve kept from him. But when his eyes drop to my lips, I know. I know. The thought causes me to suck in a breath. How is that possible? How can I crave him as much as I do and not even know what his lips feel like against my own? How do I not already know the taste, the texture, the pressure of his mouth?


And how I have lived without it?


“Last chance to back out.” He’s so close. Less than an inch of space between our parted mouths. His eyes are connected with mine, so dark despite the pale blue of his irises. Desire has him in a chokehold. Desire for me.


Reaching out, I grab his hips and pull him against me. Feel the power of his arousal straining in his shorts. “I don’t back out of bets.”


The corner of his mouth kicks up. “If that’s what you need to fall back on to let me taste those cocktease lips of yours, take it. I’ll give you a hundred bets if it gets your mouth on mine.”


I open my mouth to respond, but he’s already there, his parted lips pressed against mine, his tongue sweeping inside. On a groan, he presses against me harder, rotating his hips and pushing me flat against the door, and I can’t hold in a whimper. Adam kisses me like he can’t get enough. Like he wants to devour me. Like he owns me. That should turn me off. It should make me want to shove him away and slam the door in his face. It shouldn’t make me want to melt into a puddle at his feet. Shouldn’t make me want to hook my leg over his hip, climb him like a tree, and rub up against him until we both come in our pants like a couple of horny teenagers.


He sucks my bottom lip into his mouth, then trails his lips down, nips at my chin, licks up the column of my neck. “You know how many nights I’ve stayed awake thinking about these lips?” He tugs on one with his teeth. “How many times I’ve stroked my cock to the thought of them?”


I shouldn’t ask. I shouldn’t ask. I shouldn’t— “How many?” Goddammit.


“Too many.” He closes the space between us again and slants his mouth over mine. His hands cradle my head, his thumbs pressed to my chin, guiding my mouth open even farther so he can take the kiss deeper as he rotates his hips against me.


I’ve been kissed a lot. And I’ve been kissed. The kind that make you breathless and giddy. The kind that make you want to rip your clothes off and fuck right where you stand. So then if I’ve had those kind of kisses before, how can Adam make it feel like he’s the first? Like he’s the only one who’s ever done this to me? The only one who ever could.



Want more?

She wanted a one-night stand…and then he moved in next door. 

Paige Bennett is more than content with her life and what she does—and does not—have in it. She’s got a supportive family, a great apartment, and the best friend a girl could ask for; so what if her relationships expire faster than a carton of milk? After a disastrous detour courtesy of poor judgment in the boyfriend department, her plan is back on track and her dream job is finally within her grasp. Nothing can make her lose focus now. Well, nothing except the one-night stand she had with her best friend’s surrogate brother. The one-night stand she can’t stop thinking about.

Adam Reid has always been reliable…the responsible son, the loyal friend, the steady boyfriend. Two years ago, he graduated Magna Cum Laude and is well on his way to making a name for himself at an accounting firm in Denver—a far cry from working as a helper in the Mom and Pop store his parents own in Michigan. But when said store starts failing, he’s the only one who can step in and help. So reliable Adam does what he always does, and he comes to the rescue.

Paige thought Adam was a safe bet because he lives halfway across the country. But then suddenly he’s moving back to their town, and then into her apartment building, and soon he’s worming his way right into her life. If she’s not careful, he might sneak his way into her heart, too…



This Kiss Thursday: Rebecca Paula #TKT

tkt headerHappy This Kiss Thursday where we showcase first kisses in our favorite romance and YA novels. This week, Rebecca Paula brings us a historical lipsmack from her book A Proper Scandal.

Are you ready?


Minnie was surprised when his hand reached for hers and squeezed once, twice, and a third time, as Alex pulled her forward into absolute darkness.


She was still breathless after running through the dark streets. She felt the cold sting of the night’s air on her cheeks as he remained quiet, leading her further still. Strange noises surrounded her—wings cutting through the musty air, a building groaning from neglect, then the hopeful scratch of a match being struck.


A small ball of light illuminated Alex’s eyes as he glanced back to Minnie. His hand traveled to her wrist, his cold thumb rubbing life back into her as he traced circles over her skin. “We can stay here tonight.” His voice was craggy and uncertain. “It’s safe.”


After everything that happened, this wasn’t the end she wanted. But how could she fight it off now? Her failure was as consuming as the black cavern they were attempting to navigate.


She stumbled over something large, jerking her from Alex’s grip. Her fingers stung at the sudden disconnect. Minnie stood still, lost in the dark abyss, all alone to wallow in the numbness and shame rooting itself inside her stomach. What had she proved by running away, other than she was a foolish, stupid, reckless, girl.


“This way,” he coaxed.


Minnie shivered, taking a blind step forward. Her hand fumbled in front of her as she tumbled forward in search of Alex. He seemed so far away.


The match extinguished and that small glimpse of hope vanished. She collided into Alex’s back. She wanted to wrap her arms around him and not let go. He was the rooted tree in this raging storm. Without him, she would be ripped away, discarded and left battered. Ruined.


Though she wanted him near, she knew she needed to let him go. It was time to return to Burton Hall. The world made it clear she was no ballerina.



All Alex could do was introduce Anne to a drafty dream and try to keep her warm for the rest of the evening. He had no right looking after her when his cheating robbed them of the roof over their head. Christ, he had nearly been thrown back into the asylum, leaving her alone.


He had grown up surrounded by madness. He had lived it. But this—this foolish charade was no longer child’s play. They had gambled against Lady Luck and lost. This was restitution.


His head throbbed and the unwelcome metallic taste rose in his throat once more. This had become the only place he could feel safe since he first arrived in London. It was cold and broken, but it was all he had to offer Anne. He struck the last match, the flame flickering in the draft as he took the last steps into the darkness and beyond.


Anne drew up beside him and sucked in a breath as the moonlight flooded in through the dilapidated ceiling rafters. For once, he wished she would say something. She had been so quiet since she retrieved him from the station. Alex would do anything to know what was running through her mind.


He took a nervous swallow. “This is going to be mine.” Somehow that secret that he had kept locked away sounded possible now that he had said it aloud.


She must have thought him mad now as she took in the place—the chandelier broken in a heap before them, the curtain moth-eaten and stained, the peeling plaster, the crumbling cherub statue above the stage. His stage. The idea was madness, but he would continue to fight for it nonetheless. To have something of his own, to be able to work for something that brought others happiness, was worthy of a good fight.


She dropped her bag beside him and drifted gracefully up the aisle to the stage. She paused on the steps to search for the source of the silver light flooding her feet, finally discovering the hole in the rafters above. Her head tipped back once she reached the center of the stage. She clamped her eyes shut and lifted her arms into the air and spun, one twirl after the next.


She was beautiful spinning on stage, her eyes closed to their sad reality. Anne didn’t belong with him here in an abandoned theater, and she certainly had no place living in the street. There was magic in that girl. She did something funny to Alex. It drew him closer, always closer.


She stopped and turned her back against a silent audience. He didn’t know what to say. Finally, he settled on, “What is it?”


Anne gave a short laugh, void of feeling. “It’s been a long day.”


An uncomfortable twist happened in his chest. He had just been beaten, he was cold to the bone, yet the pain her words caused was far worse.


She turned to him suddenly, taking a small step forward as she lowered her voice. “We’re in trouble, Alex.”


That small plea was the trouble with Anne Gibbons. He was falling for the guarded girl, not the one who stole and cheated under the guise of her charms. That was a front, a grand lie, to trick the world into surrendering at her feet. He doubted Anne was even her true name.


“Nonsense.” He forced a smile of his own. She smiled for his sake, too. Alex was certain of it. “There is nothing we cannot weather.” He leaned closer, fighting the urge to wrap his arms around her.


“I want pretty things again,” Anne whispered into the dark.


Alex knew better. She didn’t just long for pretty things, she aired the regrets they both harbored. He felt regret every day, and now he knew she did as well. He let out a deep sigh. “This is a very pretty ribbon.”


She was so skilled at lies, now was time for one of his own. He would lie and be strong for her if that meant shouldering the burden of their foolish follies. He had survived far worse.


Alex pulled the navy satin ribbon from her hair. “Very soft,” he murmured. His fingers brushed against her neck and they both shivered in unison. “I wonder,” he said to himself aloud. He slipped the ribbon over her eyes and tied it behind her head. “I wonder,” he whispered again, “what happens if you cannot see me?” Anne leaned back into his touch. “Do you see pretty things now?”


Her breath hitched. Anne pulled the ribbon away from her eyes with her bony fingers. “What do you want me to see?” Her voice shook.


He couldn’t tell the difference between the beating of his heart and the heavy breaths escaping Anne’s parted lips. “Whatever will make you happy.”


She smiled then, even with tears brimming in her hazel eyes. “Liar.”


Until now, he had behaved properly. Until now, he was the perfect gentleman when it came to protecting Anne Gibbons. Until now, he hadn’t thought much about kissing her…


Her cold lips pressed against his, sending an icy shock through his body, rooting Alex to the stage.


To share a kiss with her…well, it hadn’t killed him as he feared. The feel of her close was a comfort he hadn’t spent time dwelling on before. He hadn’t realized he needed it until she was there in his arms. Still he pulled away, his lips hovering above hers in fear of what would become of him if they continued.


Anne’s hand rested on his cheek as the silence beat around them. He wanted more, but the loathing had already started to mount in the pit of his stomach.


Her fingers touched his jaw in the way she explored everything in her life—with careful reverence. Her gentle touch made him believe for a small moment that miracles existed.


Her fingers slowly brought his gaze back to hers, his lips closer. She kissed him again, a quiet demand that broke through his disgust one small caress at a time, until he was kissing her back with sweet slowness.



With each breath, Anne sparked to life—her lips growing warmer under his, her skin thawing under the touch of his hands. Alex could bring her back from the brink of her melancholy. He could protect her if she allowed him to do so.


They stood onstage kissing in the dark and cold, washed in moonlight. Except it wasn’t cold anymore. Somehow, he was warm now. They weren’t penniless and hungry, either. With Anne in his arms, he thought himself rich and well-fed, kissing her beneath the warm sun.


Her hands cinched the tattered collar of his coat, her fingers darting over the edge now and then to steal a touch against his neck. Her fluttering made him want to fold himself around her and share the little warmth he could offer. His hand slid back to cradle her head, her silky hair tangled with the navy ribbon, winding around his calloused fingers in a web.


Her thin body pressed against his until her hands circled around his neck and held firm as if she were worried she would be ripped away. Anne was never one to show all of her cards, but she was doing so now. The way she touched him, the way she was leaning into him, her belief in him—wedged its way into a place he never knew he had the capacity to feel.


He failed in having winning fists, and he was a prized idiot for allowing any of this to happen. She had become skin and bones from fighting for her dream beside him in London. It made him sick with guilt. She deserved a proper meal and a warm bed. She deserved to be with people who cared for her and could show that they cared for her. Not with someone broken.


The soft sound of her quickened breath was sweet to his ears as his lips travelled from her mouth to the tip of her nose. He would erase the traces of cold that lingered behind from the freezing London streets.


Alex sighed and closed his eyes, lowering his forehead to rest against hers. Why he ever robbed himself from the luxury of her warmth he would never understand.


On a gentle exhale, her lips brushed against the tip of his nose. “Well,” she said.


Those four letters hung between them, daring him to make sense of what just happened. His mind raced ahead as the words fell at his lips, his eyes still shut tight.


“Alex?” She placed her hand over his heart.


He couldn’t breathe then. It was as if a parade marched over his chest. So instead of speaking, he wrapped his coat around her. Anne nestled against him and sighed so deeply it caused another uncomfortable fissure in his heart. The wetness of her quiet tears bled through his shirt. “Darling,” he whispered, his own voice choked. He pulled her closer and pressed a lingering kiss onto her forehead. If he could keep Anne Gibbons, he would do whatever it took to overcome his circumstances—London be warned.


Want more?

A wild spirit trapped by Victorian propriety, Minnie Ravensdale runs away from finishing school to pursue her dream of becoming a ballerina. She teams up with charming Irish pickpocket, Alex Marwick, who pretends to be her husband when they rent a room together in an East End brothel. But her new independence is threatened when Alex asks for her help in finding a mysterious society lady. Minnie knows who he seeks, but to offer up the answer would mean sacrificing her freedom and returning to her family a ruined woman.

And he has everything to gain…

Alex must find the mysterious woman who rescued him from a hellish asylum as a young boy. Without her, he is a ghost amongst the living—no identity except for the one he’s made for himself as pickpocket and card cheat. When he spots Minnie lost in the East End, he decides her social connections are the solution to discovering his true identity. But when she flees without supplying answers, Alex chases. They cause a proper scandal from the streets of London to Belle Époque Paris, as the pauper falls madly in love for the ruined lady.

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This Kiss Thursday: Jenny Holiday #tkt

tkt header

Welcome to This Kiss Thursday, our celebration of first kisses from our favorite authors. This week, we bring you an excerpt from The Engagement Game by Jenny Holiday.

Are you ready?


When Rosie unlocked her apartment and pushed the door open, she initially thought Marcus had changed his mind and not waited for her. The apartment was dark and utterly silent. Which was a little disappointing.
Which was, in turn, a little alarming.

But then, just as her eyes were adjusting to the faint light coming from the dining room, he said, “Hey.”

It was just a hey. One little syllable. But just like when he’d snuck up behind her at his office, it was a very…compelling syllable. Low and gravelly, he drew it out in a way that went straight to her core.

“How was the underage management consultant?”

She moved deeper into the apartment and set her keys on the table. He had moved a lamp from the living room and was ensconced in a circle of warm light. He wore his work clothes from earlier in the day but had lost the jacket and tie. He shot her a boyish grin, which was funny because he obviously wasn’t a boy. There was the premature gray hair to start with. He was also decidedly not a boy at work. She had only observed him in his natural habitat for a short time, but it had been enough to see that he utterly commanded the situation.

Still, there was a vulnerability about him that she caught a flash of sometimes in the rebel who had broken from his father and forged his own path.

“How old are you?” she asked, not really caring that the question was abrupt and probably borderline rude.

He didn’t seem flustered by it, though. “Forty.”

She sat down. “The management consultant was fine.”

“Just fine?”

“He was…” How to explain? “He was not forty.”

“I told you he was a kid.”

“Yeah, he kind of was. Not living in his parents’ basement or anything—not that kind of kid. He was obviously very successful professionally. But he talked a lot about bands I’d never heard of. He was a bit of a music nerd. Not that that’s a bad thing.” She shrugged. There had been nothing overtly wrong with her date, and yet…

“But he didn’t insult you like the last one. Or do anything creepy or unwelcome.”

“No, not at all,” she rushed to assure him because a fierceness had made its way into his tone. Apparently “fake fiancé” came with a dose of protectiveness. “He was very solicitous. He seemed into me, asked if he could kiss me, in fact.”

“What? Just now? Outside?”

“No. We went to a restaurant in the beaches, and he suggested a walk on the boardwalk afterward. I think he was going for the big romantic gesture because he stopped us under this tree where you could see the moon over the lake.”

Marcus shut his computer and began stacking some papers he had scattered around her table. “And?”

“It was kind of awkward, actually. The first kiss always is.”

He stood and shoved his computer into a bag. “I myself am not a fan of the grand gesture brand of first kiss. That’s not my M.O.”

“Oh!” she exclaimed, following him toward the door. “You have moves!” For some reason, the idea of Marcus having a kissing philosophy, of him trying to impress a woman, surprised her. She would have thought he just had to exist for women to be interested in him. But… “I thought you didn’t do relationships.”

“I don’t. But I’m not a monk. I keep things casual, though. I just make sure everyone knows the score. And as for my so-called moves, I just think people put too much stock in the big, all-important first kiss.”

“You think so? Because—”

And then he was kissing her. Oh, God, Marcus was kissing her, his lips gentle, impossibly soft.

But then, as suddenly as he had started, he stopped. Which was oddly disappointing.

But he didn’t pull away as his mouth left hers. “I’m more a fan of the low-key first kiss,” he rasped, his lips brushing over her cheek as he spoke.

She was trying to calm her out of control heart, to think what to say, when he was back, framing her face with both his hands this time, pressing his lips a little more firmly against hers, letting his tongue test their seam. She was just about to open for him when—damn him!—he pulled back again.

“Disarm,” he whispered, his lips moving against hers as he spoke. “You can talk while you’re kissing, even.” He trailed a few kisses along her jawline, saying, “Kissing doesn’t have to be such a big deal,” as he went. She was tempted to disagree, to point out that this was, in fact, a Very Big Deal, but she feared that to do so would make him stop. As each kiss deposited a tiny pinprick of electricity on its target, one part of her brain was aware that kissing the fake fiancé who didn’t do relationships was a bad idea. But the other, bigger part couldn’t remember why.

“There doesn’t need to be a big, grand lead up for a kiss to be good,” he went on, having made his way back to her lips and begun nipping the bottom one.

She kissed him this time, and just as her lips hit his, he murmured, “Exactly.” And as she twined her hands around his neck, he pulled her closer, and she felt the unmistakable evidence of his arousal. He didn’t try to hide it, like many men would during a first kiss. He also didn’t try to rub it against her like other, creepier men would. It was just a fact between them—a very impressive fact—and the idea that it was her who’d inspired this response was intoxicating. He was intoxicating. Disarm, he’d said, but dis-knee was more like it because she had to concentrate harder than she would have liked for hers not to buckle under the assault of his mouth. His tongue was making incursions into her mouth, and one hand stroked down the side of her throat and grabbed hold of the neck of her shirt, as if he were trying to anchor her to him. It was maybe the sexiest thing that had ever happened to her, and she couldn’t contain a moan of pleasure.

But she must have been mistaken to assume the shirt-grabbing gesture had been an anchoring one, because all of a sudden, he was gone.

The kiss was over.

She wanted to howl her protest. But there was no way to do that and retain any shred of dignity.

And damn him if he didn’t then wink at her and say, “You have a letter to write, don’t you? I’ll talk to you later,” before slipping out the door.


Want More?

TheEngagementGame_JennyHoliday_low-res Amazon |B&N | kobo |Google Play | ARe | iTunes

What’s a little blackmail between friends…

The black sheep of the old-money Rosemanns, advertising executive Marcus has made his own way in the world—and done extremely well for himself—but his family is still pressuring him to join their investment firm and settle down with a quiet, unobjectionable girl.

Which is why the sexy Rose Verma is the perfect date for his family’s charity ball. A bleeding-heart lefty from the wrong side of the tracks, Rose has never met a stray dog she didn’t love or a polka-dotted mini-dress she couldn’t rock. Marcus has enough dirt on Rose to “convince” her to play along. And if he lets it slip that they’re engaged, all the better.

But all’s fair in love and blackmail, and Rose is ready to play a few cards of her own…

This Kiss Thursday: Bria Quinlan #tkt

tkt headerHappy Thursday! We celebrate first kisses this week with an excerpt from Bria Quinlan and her Young Adult book, Wreckless.

Are You Ready?


His hand brushed over my hair, the shorter strands falling through his fingers before he used it to pull my head back with a light tug.

“Bridget, the only guy you’re going to be kissing who isn’t your boyfriend is me.”

Through the fog of all the punch and wobbly-headedness, I still knew what he was saying. I heard his ticked off tone and felt the tight muscles of his shoulders under my fingertips. I wondered why. Why was he so annoyed, and why did he want to kiss me? At the same time, I heard the message loud and clear—the not your boyfriendmessage.

But mostly I didn’t care. I just wanted to skip the figuring-this-stuff-out and get to the sweet part.


Jake’s mouth came down on mine like he needed it to breathe. I pushed up on my toes, trying to get closer, trying to burrow into him. It was like every moment—even before we’d met—had led up to this one.

He pushed me against the wall, one hand sliding down my waist to my butt to pull me up closer. Closer.

His hand ran along the edge of my panties, and I didn’t bother to wonder how it had slipped under my skirt. All I knew was that if I didn’t get closer to him, I might die. Right there in the hall. Life might slip out of me and leave me limp and nothing on the floor.

I wanted to climb him to get closer to his mouth. I let one leg wrap around the back of his calf, bringing me up higher. Pulling us together, fusing us. There was nothing beyond Jake. Not that hallway, not that party, not that messed up, rebellious night of list breaking.

And, in that moment, I thought that for him there might be nothing else, either.

“Damn, Moore. Why don’t you get a room?” Jake pulled back and behind him I could see Dave. “Oh, I forgot. You already did.”

He slapped Jake on the back and disappeared into the bathroom.

Jake stared at the door and then back at me.

“That’s it.” He wrapped his hand around my wrist, dragging me back up the hall after him. “We’re getting out of here.”

I was just thinking that alone with Jake was exactly where I wanted to be when he added, “You don’t belong here, kindergarten teacher,” and pulled me up the stairs, through the crowds trying to get out of his way, and out the back door.

I had no idea what he was so angry about. Was it about me kissing him like that? I’d never kissed someone like that before…like I’d do anything to not to ever have to stop. Certainly not Tanner. Of course, Tanner had never kissed me like that, either. Compared to this, Tanner’s kisses had felt…respectful.

All I knew was that Jake had stopped kissing me, and if what he’d said before was true, there weren’t going to be any more kisses.

Just a kiss. I’d finally traded in boring and safe for drunk and stupid, and all I’d gotten was one Moore kiss.

I’m not sure if that was a win or not.


Want More?

Wreckless…Where obsession and rebellion collide.

Bridget Larson’s never met a rule she didn’t like. Drawing inside the lines isn’t just a way of life – it’s the only way she can make it through the day. And through it all her BFF Leah has stood inside those lines and weathered the unspeakable with her. Then Bridget catches her boyfriend with Leah–and the last thing on her mind is staying safe.

Salvation… A bad boy and his jacked up pickup.

Jake Moore was everything she needed and nothing he claimed to be. With one night of freedom and a spontaneously scribbled Rebellion List, Jake leads Bridget down every path she thought was forbidden… And into the one place she’d thought was lost to her forever.

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