Wednesday, 2 February 2011
I was thrilled yesterday to find out that my novel HIRED had won Reader's Choice Best Cover and Best Overall First Chapter at D Renee Bagby's First Chapter Blog. A big thanks to everyone who voted, I certainly did some celebrating last night.
One hundred grand to babysit bad boy Logan “Phoenix” Taylor on a paradise island—seriously, how bad could he be?
Frankly, it didn’t matter. Not when it would make my dreams of going to nursing school possible. I wasn’t even expected to talk to him, just hang out in a luxurious villa on a private beach and study. Simple, right?
But I hadn’t counted on Logan being so deliciously bad that he was oh so good. And when the temperature cranked to boiling point, he knew just how to satisfy the deepest, darkest part of my soul and give my body exactly what it needed. Amongst the sand and waves, we transported each other to an exquisite world of pleasure where only we existed, only we mattered.
But the heady mix of emotions and lust couldn’t keep things from spiraling out of control back in reality, where I had to keep the secret that I’d been hired to entertain him…even if it shattered my delicate heart. Even if it cost my destiny.
A palm tree overhead creaked ominously and I scurried closer into his side, wrapping my other hand around his thick biceps as I glanced upward.
“It’s okay,” he said, releasing my hand and circling my waist with his arm. “It won’t fall on you.” He dragged me against his body, urging me more quickly through the sand.
I found myself taking two paces to his one and within minutes we were climbing onto the deck. Shifting sand danced around the table and chair legs. The pillows and cushions from the bed had rolled to the floor and were tumbling about in the golden dust and lodging in leaves and branches. The parasol clattered against the table, the pole lifting up from the floor and threatening to take off into the sky.
“You grab the cushions,” Logan called over the noise of the flapping shrubbery. “I’ll anchor down the parasol.”
Unlocking the door to the living area, I grabbed three pillows and chucked them inside. I went back for the other three then tumbled in, half shutting the door behind myself. My hair was wild, my cheeks stung and my heart pounded as I caught my breath.
I watched Logan close the umbrella and secure the pole into place. He glanced around, shading his eyes with his hand, checking for anything else that might blow away, then headed my way with a train of dry, flat leaves skittering past his feet. I opened the door wide to let him through. He stepped in, still squinting against the dust, as I pushed the door shut with a loud click. The world went silent. After the howling wind and the roaring sea, the quiet of the house was acute and heavy and fell around us like a dense cloak.
Leaning back against the door, I pulled in a deep breath. “Made it,” I gasped.
“Yeah,” he said, stepping up close—real close.
When I looked up, his cheeks were stained red, several grains of sand hung in his long lashes and his hair was tousled and dusted with gold. “Is that everything tied down?” I asked, trying to ignore my breasts heaving against my halter-top.
“Well, almost everything,” he said with a decidedly carnal grin.
I swallowed and flattened my palms against the cool glass door behind me. “What else do you need to tie down?”
The right side of his mouth creased upward and his brows gave the tiniest of twitches. “I’d quite like to tie you down,” he said, his gaze coming to rest on my mouth. “To the bed.”
Licking my lips, I tasted salt. My stomach knotted as excitement, anticipation and sin collided in a delicious tangle.
“But I guess that’s moving a bit fast,” he murmured, bending his head lower. “We only just met.”
“A bit fast for me,” I agreed, absorbing the burning heat from his body as it radiated against mine.
“Brooke.” He raised one hand and rested it against the wooden doorframe by my left ear. His body moved in closer still. The gorgeous spiced aftershave he wore invaded my nostrils and settled not just on my tongue but somewhere else deep inside me. “Do you remember when you walked out of the water yesterday?” he asked in a low, rumbling voice.
“Yes.” How could I forget the toe-curling embarrassment? He’d stared silently toward me as I’d ambled up the beach, trying desperately to look cool and unflustered. I felt my cheeks warming further at the memory as my stomach twisted.
“It was a million times better than any Bond movie.”
“Hell, yeah. If they had you as a Bond girl it would be my favorite film by miles. Not just 007, but in general, any film ever.” His mouth slid upward in a grin. “You just about blew my mind.”
“I did?” My eyes widened in surprise. He’d liked what he’d seen, and I thought he’d been unimpressed with my curvy attributes.
“Oh, yeah, and other parts of my anatomy.”
He ducked his head, his lips a whisper from mine. I could almost taste the salt on his mouth.
“Well, we wouldn’t want that would we, Logan?” I murmured.
“Wouldn’t we?” His brows raised.
“Sounds painful.” I swallowed, my throat felt tight.
“It’s already getting painful.” He shifted his weight to the other foot. We were so close now my breast brushed against his chest and my nipples, which had tightened to hard pinched peaks, scraped against him.
I reached up to touch his jaw, his bristles catching on my fingertips. Our gazes connected and I rose onto the balls of my feet and pressed my mouth to his.
He opened up and took immediate control of the kiss. He tasted so good—man and ocean, wind and sun—he tasted of everything I was missing in my life and had been for so long. My hands moved to his shoulders and squeezed hard muscles through his soft cotton shirt. The tip of his tongue probed farther into my mouth, shooting desire into every fiber I possessed. My tongue searched for his and began to explore his mouth.
Logan groaned and let go of the doorframe, cradling the base of my skull in his palm and winding his other arm around my waist. He pulled me close and as the length of our bodies touched, right in the very center of my abdomen, he pressed his steely erection forward. He was right, he was painfully hard.
“Damn, you taste good,” he murmured, trailing a gentle kiss across my cheek.
I tipped my head back and let him explore the base of my ear, the angle of my jaw and the hollow of my throat. “I taste like salt,” I said.
“You taste of the beach and flowers and coconut,” he whispered between kisses. “The most delicious combination of flavors I’ve ever experienced.” He pulled back slightly, slipping his fingertips under the shoulders of my cardigan and easing it down my arms. It fell to the floor and he slid his palms back up over my elbows to the base of my neck. Each tiny section of flesh he touched came alive with sensation and pricked with greedy little goose bumps searching out his caress. I found his mouth again and ran my fingers into the collar-length hair at the nape of his neck. I pulled his head to mine harder. I wanted more. Much more.
His big fingers were busy, fiddling with the knot at the back of my halter-top. It was cleverly designed with a fitted bra, it had cost a fortune but was well worth it. I felt it slipping free and pulled back from the kiss, crossing my arm over my chest and gripping my opposite shoulder to hold it in place.
“What’s the matter?” Logan asked, his eyes heavy with desire and his voice thick with lust.
“I’m…I’m big,” I said in a rush then felt silly for saying something so insecure and obvious.
“Me too,” he said, a provocative grin playing on his mouth. “Relax, Brooke, it’s all good, trust me.”
First chapter still available to read here.
Buy HIRED here.
Thanks to everyone who voted!