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.

~*~

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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.

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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!

Ready?

~*~

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.

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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.

~*~

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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.

~*~

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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.

“Fine.”

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.

~*~

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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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This Kiss Thursday: Alison Bliss #tkt

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Welcome to This Kiss Thursday #tkt, where we celebrate the first kiss in romance and YA stories. Something about that first one…when two characters slip on a kiss and tumble into love. Nummy.

This week, we welcome Alison Bliss and an excerpt from her contemporary novel, Playing with Fire. Enjoy!

~*~

PLAYING WITH FIRE 500x700

I opened it to find Cowboy filling the space with unnerving eyes, a strange look of desperation on his face, and his mouth held in a grim, firm line. “I should keep my hands off you,” he said with a hoarseness to his voice.

“Um, okay.” Guess he was more repulsed than I thought, because he was going ahead with the insincere apology, after all. “You came back to tell me that?”

“No, I forgot something.” He sounded even more irritated than when I first opened the door.

“Oh. What’d you forget?” I started to turn to look for a set of keys or something else that could be his, but he gripped my arm to stop me.

This,” he said, spinning me back to him and covering my mouth with his.

Instantly, I froze.

Since I’d first met him, I’d always wondered what it would be like to be under that perfect mouth of his, and now that I was finding out, I stood there stupidly with my fish lips smashed against his in the most unflattering way.

But that didn’t deter him. He moved his lips slowly against mine, patiently awaiting my response. And he got one. Within seconds, my passive lips became soft and pliant against his as our mouths began a seductive dance together. His warmth tempered my body, bringing it to just the right degree, until I melted into him, my fingers gripping his shirt as I kissed him back with no physical hesitation.

Mentally, I was still hesitating, though. “We shouldn’t be doing this,” I whispered between kisses.

In answer, his hands moved into my hair, tilting my head slightly to the right, as his breath tickled across my lips. “Open your mouth and shut up,” he murmured, bringing my face back to his.

I did as he asked, and his tongue swept inside, delving deep. My good sense flew out the window. He was warm and tasted like wild honey. The insistent rolling of his tongue against mine excited me more, enticing me to participate. Feeling braver than normal, I ran mine across his bottom lip and gave him a little nip.

He stilled.

At first, I thought I’d done something wrong, but my hand resting on his chest pulsed with the acceleration of his irregular heartbeat. Keeping his lips glued to mine, Cowboy spun me around with dizzying speed and planted me firmly against the door. Before I could say anything, he hungrily kissed me. His enthusiasm grew immensely, radiating off him with each insatiable thrust of his tongue, beckoning me with every curl.

His right hand moved lower, past my hip, and cupped the back of my knee, raising it to his waist. My robe lifted higher and left me feeling a breeze in places that shouldn’t be breezy. I arched my hips forward to keep my balance, and the large bulge in his jeans rubbed against the thin fabric of my cotton panties. The delicious friction shot sparks throughout my body, and a purr-like sound rumbled from deep within my throat.

His warm fingers found their way to the back of my thigh, stroking and kneading, as he moved higher and higher. He used the position we were in as leverage to access an intimate part of me and easily slipped two fingers under my panties.

I was long gone. He could’ve taken me against the door with the neighbors watching for all I cared. But as Cowboy’s fingers met damp flesh, he hesitated, then tore himself away from me completely. I could see in his lustful eyes it had taken everything he had to do so.

“One taste,” he said, panting heavily. “That’s all I meant to take.”

Flustered, I swayed unsteadily as my breath synched to his. I had never felt so alive. “I…I’m discombobulated.”

He released a shaky breath and squinted at me in confusion. “You’re what?”

“Discombobulated.”

Cowboy frowned with disapproval. “What the hell does that mean?” He stared at me intently, his gaze penetrating me so deep that my thighs trembled.

“It means…” That’s when my sanity came back full force, and I realized what exactly I would have let him do to me against the door. Correction: what I wanted him to do to me against the door. No matter how good it had felt, I couldn’t believe how out of control I’d let things get. “It means you have to leave,” I said with exasperation.

“What? Why? Because you say weird shit and expect me to know what it means?”

“No, I just…need you to go,” I told him, pushing him steadily out the door. Before I lost my godforsaken mind. Again.

He let me shove him out onto the porch, but he turned and grasped the doorjamb with both hands and leaned toward me with a smirk. “Discombobulated, huh? That’s not one of those sex change operations or something, is it?”

Oh, Lord.

Without another word, I shut the door in his face.

~*~

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Title: Playing With Fire (Tangled in Texas, #2)

Genre: Contemporary

Nothing ignites a fire like the perfect match…

Anna Weber is every inch the proper librarian—old-fashioned, conservatively dressed right down to her tightly clipped flaming red hair. She’s just moved to a small Texas town, and is determined to spend time with her friend before she has to disappear. Relationships aren’t easy for her. She knows too well what it means to be burned. And the last thing she ever wants to do is fall in love…

Especially not with a fireman who’s hot enough to set the entire state of Texas on fire.

Cowboy can’t resist the fiery little librarian, and he’s determined to make her his. Beneath that prim-and-proper exterior is a woman he very much wants to know—if she’d let him. She’ll test his patience. His control. Hell, his very sanity. And for the first time, Cowboy wonders if he’s found the one fire he can’t control…

 

Book Trailer: http://bit.ly/1iJunsx

Buy Links:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1QTEd6h
B&N: http://bit.ly/1KvADNm
iBooks: http://apple.co/1KqN39k
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1QtrrdV

About the Author: Alison Bliss grew up in Small Town, Texas, but currently resides in the Midwest with her husband and two sons. With so much testosterone in her home, it’s no wonder she writes “girl books.” She believes the best way to know if someone is your soul mate is by canoeing with them because if you both make it back alive, it’s obviously meant to be. Alison pens the type of books she loves to read most: fun, steamy love stories with heart, heat, laughter, and usually a cowboy or two. As she calls it, “Romance…with a sense of humor.”

Website: http://authoralisonbliss.com/

FB Author Page: http://facebook.com/AuthorAlisonBliss

Twitter: http://twitter.com/AlisonBliss2

Amazon Page: http://amazon.com/author/alisonbliss

Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/AlisonBliss
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/AlisonBliss2

This Kiss Thursday: Elle Kennedy

tkt headerWelcome to This Kiss Thursday where we celebrate first kisses in our favorite books. This week, amazing Elle Kennedy brings us Hannah and Garrett’s first kiss from her bestseller, The Deal.

Are You Ready?

~*~

“Tell you what, I’ll give you a free pass. If you’re too scared to kiss me, I won’t make you.”
“Scared?” I rumble. “I’m not scared, dumbass. I just don’t want to.”

Another sigh rolls out of his chest. “Then I guess we’re back to self-confidence issues. Don’t worry, there are a lot of bad kissers in this world, sweetheart. I’m sure with practice and perseverance, you’ll one day be able to—”

“Fine,” I interrupt. “Let’s do it.”

His mouth slams shut, eyes widening in surprise. Ha. So he didn’t expect me to call his bluff.

Our gazes lock in a stare-down for the ages. He’s waiting for me to back down, but I’m confident I can wait him out. Maybe it’s childish of me, but Garrett has already gotten his way about this tutoring thing. This time I want to win.

But I’ve underestimated him yet again. His gray eyes darken to smoky metallic silver, and suddenly there’s heat in his gaze. Heat, and a gleam of self-assurance, as if he’s certain I won’t go through with it.

I hear that certainty in the dismissive tone he uses when he finally speaks. “All right, show me what you’ve got then.”

I falter.

Fucking hell. He can’t be serious.

And I can’t actually be considering meeting this inane challenge. I’m not attracted to Garrett, and I don’t want to kiss him. End of story.

Except…well, it doesn’t feel like the end of anything. My body is engulfed with flames, and my hands are trembling not from nerves, but anticipation. When I picture his mouth pressed against mine, my heart races faster than a drum-and-bass track.

What the hell is the matter with me?

Garrett inches closer. Our thighs are touching now, and either I’m hallucinating it, or I can actually see his pulse throbbing in the center of his throat.

He can’t possibly want this…can he?

My palms grow damp, but I resist wiping them on the front of my leggings because I don’t want him to know how unnerved I am. I’m wholly aware of the heat radiating from his jean-clad thigh, the faint scent of his woodsy aftershave, the slight curve of his mouth as he awaits my next move…

“Come on,” he mocks. “We don’t have all night, baby.”

Now I’m bristling. Screw it. It’s just a kiss, right? I don’t even have to like it. Shutting that smart mouth of his will be reward enough.

Arching a brow, I reach up and touch his cheek.

His breath hitches.

I sweep my thumb over his jaw, stalling, waiting to see if he’ll stop me, and when he doesn’t, I slowly bring my mouth to his.

The second our lips meet, the strangest thing happens. Pulsing waves of heat unfurl inside me, starting at my mouth and then rippling down my body, tingling in the tips of my breasts before traveling even lower. He tastes like the peppermint gum he’s been chewing all night and the minty flavor suffuses my taste buds. My lips part of their own volition, and Garrett takes full advantage by sliding his tongue inside. When my tongue tangles with his, he makes a low, growling noise in the back of his throat, and the erotic sound vibrates through my body.

Immediately, I’m hit with a jolt of panic that spurs me to break the kiss.

I suck in a shaky breath. “There. How was that?” I’m trying to sound unaffected by what just happened, but the slight wobble in my voice betrays me.

Garrett’s eyes are molten. “Not sure. It wasn’t long enough for me to properly judge. I’m gonna need more to go on.”

His big hand cups my cheek.

This should be my cue to leave.

Instead, I lean in for another kiss.

~*~

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She’s about to make a deal with the college bad boy…

Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone andmake him take notice…even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish,cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.

…and it’s going to be oh so good

All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he’s worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he’s all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn’t going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.

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This Kiss Thursday: Kate Pearce #tkt

tkt headerWelcome to This Kiss Thursday, the place where we gather literary first kisses. This week, a historical from Kate Pearce called Jilted in January.

Are you ready?

~*~

 

“I… Thank you,” she whispered. “Yet again you have proved my true friend.” She rested her hand on his shoulder, went on tiptoe, and kissed him on the cheek. Her lavender scent surrounded him, making it difficult to breathe let alone think.
For a moment, he just stood there like a pillar of stone, and then his arm closed around her waist, holding her still as he kissed her on the forehead. In the shadowy darkness, he could hear her shallow breathing and the irregular bump of his own heart.
“You are most welcome, Miss Leyton.” He wondered what on earth had got into him, as he didn’t want to release her. He slowly let her go and took an unsteady step backward, almost falling down the stairs.
“Wait!” She darted forward again, and his heart gave a treacherous leap of joy. “You have one of my stockings stuck to your boot.”
He managed to laugh as he awkwardly attempted to remove the infuriatingly silky, clingy thing. “Thank goodness you spotted it. I would’ve had a hard time explaining that to Mrs. Pemberley if she’d encountered me in the hallways.” He went down a few stairs and looked back up at her silhouetted in the faint light coming through from her bedchamber.
“I’ll see you at dinner, Miss Leyton.”
Then he galloped down the rest of the stairs as if the hounds of hell were after him.

~*~

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A Year Without a Duke

The duke has died. Long live the duke! The only problem is no one knows who the new Duke of Beckworth is. All of England wonders, but no one more so than the people who depend upon Beckworth for their livelihood. In 1816, a year so cold that the word “summer” is a cruel joke, that livelihood is even more uncertain. However, they are all about to find out, with the duke away, there is nothing more warming than scandal and love…

Jilted in January, book 1

Rose Leyton is stuck at the Duke of Beckworth’s country estate waiting for the return of her betrothed. If it wasn’t for the handsome assistant land agent, Mr. Colin Ford, she might believe she had ceased to exist at all. But when her intended arrives things aren’t quite how she expected.

As the youngest son of an impoverished peer, Colin is all too aware of how it feels to be ignored. His impulsive offer to save Miss Leyton from an unwanted marriage quickly becomes more serious than either of them anticipated. Can they both step out of the shadows and find a way to true independence and happiness?

When matrimonial matters don’t go quite as planned, can one jilted bride and an unlikely hero save the day?

Other books in the series:

A YEAR WITHOUT A DUKE…

Book 1: JILTED IN JANUARY by Kate Pearce;
Book 2: FORBIDDEN IN FEBRUARY by Suzanna Medeiros;
Book 3: SEDUCED IN SEPTEMBER by Genevieve Turner;
Book 4: AN AFFAIR IN AUTUMN by Jennifer Haymore;
Book 5: A DUKE BY DECEMBER by Sabrina Darby

 

This Kiss Thursday: Serena Simpson #tkt

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This Kiss Thursday is out of this world…literally. Check out Niko from Serena Simpson.

Are you ready?

~*~

 

His lips were real and solid. Her body reacted immediately. The world around her dissolved and the reality of the game room intruded on her senses. Still, her lips were pressed against his, as his tongue snaked out of his mouth, searching for entrance into hers.

Her mind shouted stop, even as her mouth opened. Oh, he tasted so good, wild and untamed. Her breathing labored as he pressed into that kiss, wanting more.

His hand had unhooked her from the VR while he had moved her closer. She was practically on his lap. He wanted her, no mistaking that.

She pulled away, looking for sanity, or at least the willpower to say no.

“Do you need to run, Kitten?”

Hell yeah, she needed to run. She was going to do that in just a moment, but first she needed one more taste. She needed something to remember him by.

She leaned over and tugged on his lower lip with her teeth. He gave a low growl that made her panties wet and her pussy throb.

When his tongue pushed between her lips, she met it with her own, dueling with him for pleasure. The taste of him overwhelmed, making her heady with desire.

I am so gonna run. She went to her knees and found herself throwing one leg over his and settling on his lap. She rubbed herself over his erection.

She had sex to forget, she reminded herself. Sex wasn’t for pleasure. It was for power, for the drowning of one’s sorrows. It was even to show yourself that your body was yours, no matter what happened to it. But it was never, ever for pleasure.

She sucked long and hard on his tongue. She didn’t want to forget right now. She wanted to celebrate their small victory of staying alive in the game. She wanted to celebrate that she had beat the odds and was still here.

In the end, more than any of the lies she was telling herself, she wanted Niko Dare. She had wanted him from the moment she first saw him. She didn’t want to be strong or calculating. She just wanted to feel.

She pulled back and looked into his eyes, those amazing eyes she had seen in the game. They stared back at her now in all of their alien beauty.

“Kitten.” He raised his hand and stroked her cheek, rubbing his thumb along her jaw line. “I am not a man. I won’t sleep with you and be ready to let you go in the morning. I am going to want to keep you, but not control you.”

He would be the worst thing for her. She knew that. He would change her world, whether he wanted to or not.

~*~

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Niko OTHER SITESNiko came to earth with his brothers looking to escape the scientists that created them for war. He never expected or hoped to meet a mate of his own. Then he met Dee who was broken on the edge of destroying herself.

The enemy that followed them is after her.

Dee thinks she’s going crazy and is determined to go out in a blaze of glory, if only Niko would give her a chance. Instead he hounds her and demands that she deals with life no matter what it brings.

Now they are in a race against time. Who will win in the end? Will it be Niko or will the enemy they can’t fins beat him to Dee?

Available on Amazon

This Kiss Thursday: Gwen Hayes #tkt

tkt headerWelcome to This Kiss Thursday where we showcase first kisses in our favorite romance and young adult novels. This week we go all the way back to 1986 with Need You Tonight by Gwen Hayes in the ’80s Mix Tape Anthology. (Don’t worry, I didn’t WRITE it in 1986. It just takes place in 1986) Righteous, dude.

Are you ready?

~*~

 

He probably had more to say, but she didn’t intend to hear it. With more enthusiasm than skill, she reached for his ears and pulled him down to her kiss. It was certainly not like the first one on the tire swing, but neither was it magical like the ones in every dream her young heart had forged.

That is, until he groaned and returned the kiss.

The coat had slipped off her shoulders, but Becky was the farthest thing from cold. Jacob’s strong arms banded around her, and his body was hot like a furnace. He held her head still for a moment while his lips did a magical plundering thing that made her toes curl up with a new sweet pleasure she’d never encountered before.

It didn’t take long until she understood the rhythm of his kiss and gave back what she got. His hands moved down then, cupping her bottom and roaming her back. She twined her arms around him, desperate to get closer, to feel him everywhere.

He pulled away, putting distance between them with one strong arm. “No,” he said between ragged breaths.

Becky sat back on her haunches, her triumph not dimming even a little bit.

“I mean it, Becks. It’s never going to happen for us. We don’t make sense. Not even in a crazy world. You should be—”

“I love you.”

He blinked. “No.”

~*~

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book cover for 80s Mix TapeSeven New Adult stories of love in the ’80s, inspired by songs of the decade…

Save a Prayer by Karen Booth
Angie Dawson never wanted to see Graham Whiting or his cheating face again, but her dream job at Music Maker magazine has her photographing his band. Angie had prepared to be a grown-up about working closely with him, but there’s one scenario she hadn’t anticipated. Graham wants her back. She wants him to be the guy he says he can be, but the band has massive tours planned and the groupies will always be there. How does a reunion with her ex end up being anything more than a one-night stand?

Need You Tonight by Gwen Hayes
Jacob Stone is on the run for a crime he didn’t commit, but when he’s stranded by chance with the only woman he’s ever loved, he can’t deny the need to possess her one last time. Mind, body, and soul. Typical good girl Becky McDonald has loved bad boy Jacob since they were kids, but even as she gives in to the passion only he can ignite in her, she hides the truth. One night of passion. One night of need. That’s all they can have, but it will never be enough.

Kickstart My Heart by Autumn Jones Lake
Russell “Chaser” Adams knows he’s destined to take over his father’s outlaw motorcycle club one day, but for now his father encourages him to pursue his music. Raised in a strict family with old-world traditions and their own secrets, Mallory Delov longs for glitter and glamor instead of blood and deceit. Chaser is unlike any man she’s ever known, she can’t help being drawn to him. On the surface they seem like complete opposites. Little do either of them know how much they have in common.

The Fixer by Jenny Holiday
Jenny Fields is a crusader. The editor of her college newspaper, she never met a cause she couldn’t get behind. So when the administration announces it’s tearing down the historic art building, she’s on the case. All she needs to do is get Matthew Townsend, the art department’s most talented student, on board. If she could just get the moody genius to answer his phone…

Drummer Girl by AJ Pine
Sam Walsh is done—done with college, done with guys, done with the whole scene. But her roommate coaxes her out for an epic last night to see an up-and-coming band. Ben McCarthy is the sexy drummer, the would-have-been valedictorian who dropped out three years ago to follow his dream. Tomorrow he and the band leave for London, but for one unforgettable night, it’s just Sam, the music, and him. Can a girl with her feet planted firmly on the ground fall for the boy who reaches for the stars when the only result is a broken heart?

Young Teacher by Bobbi Ruggiero
Control freak Julia Powers hates surprises. With the skills of a ninja, she keeps her ad business and personal life in perfect order. Matthew Gordon wants nothing more than for his band Joyride to go national. While he waits for his big break, he spends his days working in a sandwich shop—a job he loathes—and teaching guitar on the side—a job he loves. His days get a bit more interesting when a mysterious woman comes in for lunch. Imagine his surprise when she shows up at his door for guitar lessons. Unfortunately, Julia can’t play guitar to save her life, and her frustration threatens to ruin any chance of her finding happiness. Will he ever be able to teach her that she’s perfect just as she is?

Just Like Heaven by Rachel Cowell
As a premed student, college junior Sarah Lattimore’s life is a carefully-calibrated system of studying, studying, MCAT prep courses, and more studying. But when she walks into the first day of anatomy lab and sees her gorgeous TA, Sarah’s brilliant mind is suddenly racing in new directions. Grad student Josh has future aspirations toward cancer research. But the unbelievably cute, nerdy Sarah is in his section, and she’s…distracting. When admiring from afar turns to up close and personal, both their academic lives begin to fall apart. Will Sarah realize in time that being with Josh was the smartest choice she’d ever made?