Celebrating 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.
Maddie 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.
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 lilydanes.com.