|Now Available from Still Moments Publishing|
|Now Available from Whispers Publishing|
Drunken laughter floated just above the thrumming bass line of Lenny Kravitz’s Are You Gonna Go My Way, competing with the steady buzz of conversation. Soft pastel strobe lights flickered through the muted illumination. Darlene Williams, or “Darling” as she was known to friends and associates, surveyed the banquet hall full of guests.
She heaved a sigh as she glimpsed a swirl of ivory on the dance floor. For one wistful moment, where fairytales glowed bright and rosy, she imagined her own wedding. Her fairytale didn’t have a happy ending. She sighed again. Or a beginning.
A familiar face bobbed in the crowd, and her breath hitched. Twice he tried to take her picture, and she was determined he wouldn’t succeed. His gaze found hers, and her heartbeat matched the pounding bass line. He turned away, and she focused on a set of broad, muscular shoulders. She could spend hours smoothing her hands over his brawn. When he found her again, the corners of his mouth creased, and a familiar tingle crackled through her veins.
Just once she’d like to not react when she saw him. Despite the warmth knocking at the wall of her heart, Darling followed his movements to a group of similarly clad women. When they clustered around him, he raised his Nikon to his rugged face.
She loved his face, all angles and planes, and all that sharpness melted away when he smiled. Sadness and longing wiggled through a crack in her wall and squeezed her heart. They weren’t meant to be. Still she stared after him, envying the way he leaned close to one woman and lowered his camera. He gave a nod before moving away. When he passed beneath a wall sconce, the warm glow gave his smooth brown skin the fine sheen of melted chocolate. He should’ve been out of place in his black polo shirt and khaki slacks as he moved among the tuxedoes and long dresses, but his sexy smirk and camera made things easy.
The discordant clash of a body colliding with cymbals and snare drum drew Darling’s attention toward the dais next to the dance floor. A glassy-eyed young man in a tux tried to untangle his limbs from the instrument without spilling his drink. Succeeding, he then lurched onto the crowded dance floor and crashed into a couple of dancers. She shook her head when he sprawled on the floor, still trying to drink from the glass in his hand.
Not her problem. Darling regarded the decimated buffet, the food reduced to crumbs and half-dried globs of gravy—this was her problem. Swiping sweat from her forehead with the back of her hand, she lifted her gaze again, this time scanning the room for the tall, sexy photographer. He was now taking pictures of the drunk on the floor. Good, she didn’t want to run into him or his camera again. Turning, she hefted the silver chafer by the handles and placed it on the rolling cart behind her.
She reached for the next chafer, moving the serving spoon aside when strong hands seized her shoulders. The spoon slipped from her grasp, splattering white sauce on her black slacks, before settling on the floor. A sensuous chuckle tickled her ear, sending warmth scurrying through her veins, and puckering her nipples. Yanking free, she spun around to glare into dark chocolate eyes. She shoved the owner of those eyes and straightened her clothes. He laughed softly, his gaze drifting leisurely over her white chef’s coat and work pants.
Darryl Manning, the sexy photographer, grabbed her hand and gently tapped the thick bandage wrapped around her index finger. “What did you do to your finger?” She tugged her hand from his grasp, wincing when she smacked the digit on the chafer. “I cut it.” She bent to retrieve the spoon from the floor, straightened, and placed the utensil in a gray plastic tub.
Darling wiped her hands on a towel. Darryl folded well-toned arms across his broad chest, the black knit shirt he wore strained to accommodate the expansion of muscle. She stifled a groan and the urge to run her fingers along the bulging biceps and perfect pecs. Why did her body pick today to rebel? “I don’t have time for this now,” she snapped, “What do you have time for?” His rich baritone conjured nights of hot, steamy sex and decadent morning afters. He lifted his camera, with a sexy smirk. “Maybe a photo or two?”
She resisted the seductive note in his voice and placed her hand on the lens. “I’m working.”
“And I’m not, just finished.” He stepped closer, the heat of his body instantly warming hers. Darling tilted her head back to maintain eye contact.
She studied his face, waiting for the familiar ache and longing to subside. It didn’t. Being this close to him, surrounded by his scent, a little soap and a whole lot of male, made her yearn to be in his arms, to feel his full lips against hers. What was she doing? She couldn’t think about him, about them. She moved away. Not today.
Book Trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAo7CX8l_rU
Delia has just three rules for dating. First, a man should never assume he’s the only one. Second, he must stick to his scheduled day and time. Third—and most important—no sex. Enforcing the rules has never been a problem until she meets the hottie from the pool.
Jace has only five days to make every moment count. The more time he spends with Delia, the more he realizes she may be The One. With the clock ticking, he realizes there is only one course of action left to take if he wants Delia’s heart. Can he convince Delia that rules are meant to be broken?
He rested a large hand against her thigh and brushed lazy circles along the sensitive skin near her knee with his thumb. She inhaled sharply at the sparks zigzagging through her veins.
“So how ‘bout it?” Jace smiled. “Commit to one man for the rest of the cruise.”
She laughed, tugging off her glasses and setting them on top of her book. “Did you have someone in mind?” A sigh escaped her lips when he inched his fingers higher up her thigh.
His hand stilled. “Yeah.” Her pulse raced when he slid his gaze down her body a second time, and his continued touch did nothing to alleviate her predicament.
Delia moistened her dry lips. She should leave before she did something stupid, like fling herself into his arms and demand hot, sweaty sex.
“I should go.” She stood, grabbing her book and glasses.
Jace stood as well and clasped her hand. Butterflies took flight in her belly. He tugged hard enough to pull her off balance and she stumbled against him.
“Hot date?” he asked.
Delia stared into his eyes, her heart hammering at his closeness. “I...” She couldn’t push anymore words across her dry tongue.
“You’re just going to run?”
The challenge in his voice pricked her feminine pride and she straightened. She had to let him know she was still in control. “You never said who you had in mind,” she countered. Instead of stepping away, she moved closer. Every time she exhaled, her breasts brushed against his chest. Tingles trickled down her spine, but still she didn’t step away.
He smiled wolfishly. “I can’t believe you haven’t figured out who I have in mind.”
“I want to hear you say it,” she said.
“You do like a challenge.”
She grinned. “Who said I didn’t?”
“Good, ’cause here’s one more.” He dropped a kiss on her upturned mouth.
I think the publisher did a fab job on the cover. This is a re-relrease of a self-pubbed title I did four or five years ago. I'll add this to the goodie pile and a lucky commenter will have a chance to win a copy.
I have three short stories in the works. Breaking Delia's Rules was contracted by Breathless Publishing and Decadent Seconds was contracted with Whispers Publishing.
Stealing Christmas was contracted by Wild Rose Press.