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Magic of Spring
Spring and fall are my two favorite seasons of the year. If I had to choose between those two, I’d have to choose spring. While I love the crisp air, the rich scents and the colors, I’m not a fan of holidays or short, cold days and long, dark nights.
Spring on the other hand feels almost magical. The days are longer, the air lighter. Color emerges and people venture outdoors more often. But even more, there is a definite romance to Spring. A sort of curios spirit unique to the season. A restless spirit anxious to seek and learn and discover.
Those late, mild evenings of spring seem the perfect time for dreaming of new loves, walks on the beach and first kisses…that may lead…elsewhere.
In that spirit, I’ve brought an excerpt of my May 2012 Indie release, Intimate Enemies, and the first kiss between my hero and heroine on the beach at night. While the story is set in fall, the location is Baja, Mexico, which has a similar climate that time of year, and the scene holds a magical quality that reminds me of this fantastical time of year.
Hope you enjoy!
“I’ve thought of you.” The words just came out. And Cassie was glad she hadn’t tried to plan or force them, because they would never have sounded as fluid or natural. “I would have…you know…called, but I realized later that I didn’t know who you were.”
Rio’s jaw muscle tightened beneath tanned skin and dark stubble. She wanted so badly to lay her lips there. Almost did. Then his eyes slid closed and Cassie found herself fascinated by the length of his lashes, the beautiful curve of that fringe against his cheekbone, the way the sight both heated and softened her chest at the same time.
“Me too,” he said, voice low, rough. His eyes opened, but he didn’t look at her. “Thought of you, I mean. But I didn’t think it was…I don’t know…appropriate, I guess, to call.”
The center of Cassie’s chest was glowing now. Before she could think of what to say next, Rio cleared his throat. “I’ll get some bandages.”
He lifted his head. Met her eyes for a brief second, their mouths just inches apart. Two very disparate emotions coiled in her chest—fear and desire. One should smother the other, and she kept waiting for one to win out, but both were so strong they continued to battle, making her anxious and uncomfortable.
Logic whispered that she shouldn’t break that invisible crust on their formal relationship. That the comfort he’d show her at the funeral could still be played off as humanitarian kindness if they left things as is. And under the circumstances, every brain cell told her it was best to let this lie.
The same thoughts were in his eyes. The same desire versus consequence. If he kissed her, she wouldn’t have to make the decision. Wouldn’t have to battle all those damn demons.
Kiss me. Please. Kiss me.
His eyes lowered to her mouth.
“I’ll…um…” he rasped, “just go get—“
Screw it. A familiar spark of determination burned a millisecond before she put her free hand against his jaw and turned his face back to hers. And once there, looking into those beautiful green-grey eyes she’d always imagined would be deep brown, her heart filled with gratitude and affection as she pressed her mouth to his.
Warmer than Cassie had imagined, softer than she’d expected, his lips felt wonderful on hers. Absolutely wonderful. And right. So right. Since he didn’t immediately pull away, she let them linger there, sliding over his.
He made a sound in his throat and turned, dropping her arm. The movement broke the kiss and brought him fully facing her. A fresh attack of nerves skittered through Cassie’s belly. She started to step back, but Rio slid an arm around her waist. And, oh, hell, didn’t that feel amazing?
She laid a hand on his chest. She didn’t want to push him away, but still needed a barrier. A safety net.
“I’ve been wanting to thank you,” she said, stalling in the hopes her head would stop spinning, “for the kindness you showed me…you know…at the cemeter—“
He bent his head and kissed her. And—wow—he was a really nice kisser. Her head wasn’t just spinning now; it was as light as a cloud. His mouth stayed firm with intention, and that directness, that confidence, was a serious turn on. As was the way he held her, one arm tight low on her back, pulling her against his warm, wet body, not at all shy over the erection snug between them, which was, yeah, another wow factor. His other hand opened and pressed against the side of her face, his palm cradling her jaw and making her feel precious and fragile.
But he didn’t kiss her like she was fragile. The gentle exploration quickly gave way to hunger. Who initiated that jump, she wasn’t sure. Could have very well been her, because she wanted more. For the first time in years, she wanted more. And just when she was about to take it, his mouth pulled from hers.
Dizzy, she tightened her hands on the skin of his back. When she’d wrapped her arms around him, she didn’t remember. And didn’t care. She just wanted that mouth back on hers. Had she thought he was a nice kisser? Okay, so as an E.R. physician, she’d learned never to embellished or exaggerate, but nice had to be her most egregious understatement. Ever.
“I have been thinking about this,” he whispered, his breathing quick and shallow, “for months.”
She was trying to absorb that, what it meant in the greater scheme of things, when his fingers slid into her hair and his hand tilted her head back until she was looking directly into his eyes. They were heavy lidded with those long thick lashes the devil gave men and his green irises virtually smoked with lust. A matching level of desire flared through her body starting low in her pelvis and swept upward.
When he kissed her again, she was braced for heat and action. She got plenty of heat, but slow action as he took his time exploring her lips with soft kisses, teasing suckles. But the slow sweep of his hot tongue along her bottom lip snapped her patience.
“Rio.” She growled his name, dug her fingers into the skin of his back and pushed up on her toes to take what she wanted—his whole mouth. Which was curved in a smile, but not for long. Not when she tilted her head and opened to him.
Rio followed with a sexy sound of pleasure deep in his throat. By the time their tongues met for the first time, Cassie was breathless. Yet she managed to continue kissing him and kissing him and kissing him. He made the act both animalistic and artful. The movement of his tongue, the slide of his lips, the way he used his entire body to engage her was both sensual and demanding, sweet and erotic.
Mind completely clouded, lungs burning, Cassie broke away. “Air,” she laughed with a euphoria she’d never experienced. Certainly never from simply kissing. “I need air.”
Rio held tight, both arms now around her, his mouth sliding over her jaw, teasing her ear, traveling down her neck, his end-of-the-day stubble an exciting contrast to those soft lips.
His mouth stopped against her shoulder just beyond the strap of her cover-up. The warm night air whipped around them, bringing with it a painful dose of reality she wasn’t ready to acknowledge. Rio felt it too, she could tell by the slight change in his body language, the way his muscles loosened, the way his hands lightened on her waist, the way his mouth stopped moving over her skin. Now, he took the strap of her little dress between his teeth and restlessly snapped it against her skin, over and over.
“You’re gonna leave a mark,” she teased and reached up to comb her fingers through his wet hair, thick and silky on her palms.
“Mi Dios,” he breathed, and lifted his head to look at her. But he wasn’t smiling. And he didn’t look the least bit happy. In fact, he looked…tortured.
Share your favorite thing about spring in the comments and you’ll be entered to WIN a copy of winner’s choice FEVER or INTIMATE ENEMIES (note: IE comes out late May or June so if you pick it you will get your copy when it releasese). Winner will be selected using random.org on 4/27. Please fill out form at the bottom of this post.
She is on a quest for answers; answers that could just get her killed.
Six months after the mysterious yacht explosion that killed Cassie Christo’s mother and stepbrother, authorities still have no answers to the cause. Searching for closure, Cassie returns to her childhood home on the Pacific Coast of Baja, Mexico, where she launches her own investigation into the accident. She never expected to find an adversary in the man who had once touched her heart with kindness in her darkest moment.
Rio’s been fantasizing about reconnecting with Cassie for months. But not here and sure as hell not now. As an undercover agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he’s working the biggest sting operation in all of northern Mexico, and he definitely doesn’t have time for the wild attraction he feels for Cassie.
Not only is his cover on the line, so is his heart. Because as the end of a yearlong operation draws closer, Rio knows if he tells Cassie the truth about who and what he is, it won’t only jeopardize his mission, it may result in him losing her forever. And if he doesn’t, his lies and deception could get them both killed.
When Dr. Alyssa Foster is taken hostage by a prison inmate, she knows she’s in deep trouble. Not just because Teague Creek is desperate for freedom, but because the moment his fingers brush against her skin, Alyssa feels a razor-sharp pang of need…
A man with a life sentence has nothing to lose. At least Teague doesn’t, until his escape plan develops a fatal flaw: Alyssa. On the run from both the law and deadly undercover operatives, he can only give her lies, but every heated kiss tells him the fire between them could be just as devastating as the flames that changed him forever.
Joan Swan is a triple RWA® Golden Heart finalist and writes sexy romantic suspense with a paranormal twist. Her debut novel with Kensington Brava, FEVER, released February 2012 and her second novel, BLAZE, follows in October, 2012. Her first indie publication, INTIMATE ENEMIES, will release May 2012.
In her day job, she works as a sonographer for one of the top ten medical facilities in the nation and lives on the California central coast in beautiful wine country with her husband and two daughters.
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