Excerpt for Access Denied, now available at http://www.cerridwenpress.com/productpage.asp?ISBN=9781419911330
He stood there, looking into her eyes, searching for something. She didn’t know if he found it, but in the next moment his head lowered and his lips touched hers. The soft feel of them brushing over her mouth made her head spin. She felt his beard scrape against her skin and the flesh seemed to come alive. His arm slipped around her waist and he pulled her close as he continued to press his kiss deeper. As she let her arms wrap around his chest and gave in to the need to kiss him back, she heard a piece of her soul cry out in joy and another more somber piece painfully whisper,
You had to let yourself love him. You are well and truly damned, and this time there will be no escape.
She couldn’t remember a kiss ever feeling or tasting so good. Not that there had been a lot of them in her life, but not even… well, no one had made her feel the way James was making her feel as he used his tongue to urge her lips apart. Stop this, her mind warned, stop this before you can’t stop it. But she wasn’t listening. She opened her mouth to him and felt the rough velvet slip past her lips and explore her with increasing insistence.
James’ arm tightened and his free hand rested on the slope of her hip. Slowly he brushed it up her side, over the fullness of her curves. She expected him to stop, to pull away at the reality of touching her, but he didn’t. His hand skimmed the outer curve of her breast and moved up to cradle her face. He responded to the shudder that moved through her by sighing against her lips.
He coaxed her tongue to follow his as it retreated and she eagerly complied. Brushing over the full lips, she felt the hairs of his beard scratch at her face as she tilted her head to claim the inside of his mouth. James’ body reacted with a jerk and suddenly both arms now pulled her tight to him. One hand slipped up her spine and crushed her against his chest. The other curved over her hips and pressed them against him.
James broke the kiss to draw in a ragged breath. He was looking down at her and she could see the unspoken question in his eyes. One she had never believed she would ever see again in any man’s eyes, least of all these golden spheres. He lifted his hand from her back and ran his fingers down her cheek, moving softly across her jaw and then trailing along the skin of her neck. He pushed back the collar on the flannel nightshirt and bent his head low to follow the path of his fingers with his lips. He paused, hovering next to her ear.
“Leah” he whispered her name softly and she felt the jolt of the touch of his tongue as it brushed the curve of her ear. Her body responded with a deepening of the need she was feeling for him.
But her mind reacted with fear.
Never Leah, do you understand. Never. It was her father’s voice, the only time he had ever been harsh or firm with her. A few days after she had reached menarche and her mother had explained the physical side of love to her, her father had taken her for a long walk in the woods. It is not for those like us, Leah. We do not play at love. Your sister, your brothers, your friends, they may experiment, they may play with the carnality between men and women, but not you. We are different, Leah. His fingers had gripped her arm painfully, forcing her to take her passive, easy-going father deadly serious. Head my warning, Leah. Make no mistake. Play that game and you will never know happiness.
Her father’s voice in her head broke the last of her resistance. She put her hands against James’ chest and pushed him away. He did not release her, but eased his hold to let her put some space between their bodies. She drew a deep breath and looked up into the eyes still darkened by his want. No words would come and all she could do was shake her head. James’ hands fell to his sides and he stepped away, turning from her. Standing there staring at his back, the only thing she could think to say was, “I’m sorry,” before she, herself, turned and left the room.
Standing with her back to the coolness of her closed bedroom door, she let the tears begin to fall. This was something new, something she didn’t understand. This had never happened to her before. Never had the voice in her head failed her as it did now. All her life she had spent reaching people with affection and compassion; friends, family, everyone. Each of the men who had drifted into her life these past couple of years she had handled the same. Each time she had tapped into their friendship, their warmth. She had never believed she could excite passion in a man and had never attempted to do so, instead she tried to reach his heart.
But with James her world was tumbled over. She couldn’t understand the want, the desire she had felt in him just now. Suddenly she found she could reach his body, but knew she’d never be able to reach his heart. She was the love of my life, Leah. There’s never been anyone in my life like her, before or since. You didn’t get much clearer or final than that.
On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Seven Seductive Santas
Champaigne Santa is still my favorite, but our final Santa is rather a fine bit of eye candy. Still, I can't help but think how itchy that shoot must have been.
Have a happy holiday everyone. May your own Santas be as sweet, generous and sexy as you wish.