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Teaser “Tuesday” Exclusive Excerpt: Flirting with Disaster by Ruthie Knox

My friends! It’s Teaser TuesdayThursday! Because we’re in June! And that’s fun! We’ve got the ever fun and fabulous Ruthie Knox sharing with us today! I know you don’t want to hear what I’ve got to say when Ruthie’s on deck, so here we go!

Hi, Lime! Thanks for inviting me to visit today.

I’m sharing an excerpt from Flirting with Disaster, which is the third book in my Camelot series. I call it, with fondness, my “stuttering hacker” book, because the hero of this one, Sean, is just that—a (sort of) former hacker with a stutter he’s tried to ditch, with some success . . . until he returns to his hometown and the past hits him upside the head. Here’s the blurby thing:

Flirting with Disaster by Ruthie Knox
Camelot series, book 3

In the latest eBook original novel in Ruthie Knox’s scorching-hot Camelot series, a no-strings fling looks an awful lot like falling in love—or flirting with disaster.

Fresh out of a fiasco of a marriage, Katie Clark has retreated to her hometown to start over. The new Katie is sophisticated, cavalier, and hell-bent on kicking butt at her job in her brother’s security firm. But on her first assignment—digging up the truth about the stalker threatening a world-famous singer-songwriter—Katie must endure the silent treatment from a stern but sexy partner who doesn’t want her help . . . or her company.

Sean Owens knows that if he opens his mouth around Katie, she’ll instantly remember him as the geeky kid who sat behind her in high school. Silence is golden, but he can’t keep quiet forever, not with Katie stampeding through their investigation. It’s time for Sean to step up and take control of the case, and his decade-old crush. If he can break through Katie’s newfound independence, they just might find they make a perfect team—on the road, on the job, and in bed.

And here’s an exclusive excerpt. Sean’s just gone for a run, at night, in Buffalo, in February—because yeah, he needs to get distance from Katie that badly. Unfortunately, she’s waiting for him at his hotel room when he returns. Poor Sean. There is very little hope for him at this point.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~

He passed through the parking lot and let himself in the side entrance, peeling the traction cleats off his running shoes and trying to knock most of the snow out of the coils before he came fully indoors. The Mansion hosted wedding receptions in its plush downstairs rooms. It was no place for a smelly, irritable guy to be dropping chunks of ice and snow.

On the way up the stairs, he pulled his jacket over his head, knocking off his hat in the process. The lightweight wool shirt he’d worn as a base layer was soaked with sweat, and he barely had the strength left in his legs for the second flight.

He definitely didn’t have strength for the sight of Katie knocking on the door to his room with a bottle of wine tucked awkwardly under her arm and two mugs dangling from her free hand.

He’d just have to find some.

“What do you wuh-want?”

Focused on the door, she hadn’t heard him coming. When she turned, her free hand went to her throat. As he approached, her eyes raked over him, head to toe and all the way back up.

“Sweet Baby Jesus,” she said. “You were running? Outside? It’s, like, minus two hundred degrees out there.”

According to the outdoor thermometer, it was 3 degrees, not counting wind chill. The sight of Katie’s smooth, bare shoulders was nearly enough to make him break a sweat.

She wore her flannel pajama pants and the sleeveless top she’d had on in the car. What the hell was she doing with bare arms in the middle of the winter?

Sean brushed past, careful not to touch her, and opened the door to his room. “Go away, C-Clark.”

“Don’t be rude,” she said. “There’s a Jackie Chan marathon on, and I brought wine.”

“Chicks don’t like Jackie Chan.”

“I do. You want me to tell you all my favorite parts of Rumble in the Bronx to prove my credentials?”

“No. I wuh-want you to g-go away.” He walked into the room, leaving her in the doorway and hoping she’d take the hint and quit torturing him. The red bra straps weren’t peeking out from under her top anymore, which could only mean one thing.

No bra.

Sean dropped his jacket, hat, shoes, and cleats on the towel he’d left inside the open door to the bathroom. Katie walked in like she owned the place, setting the wine bottle and mugs down on the table by the TV.

“Hey, no fair. Your room is bigger than mine.” She peeked into the bathroom. “Your shower is bigger, too.”

When she looked back at him, he was staring at her, hoping she’d be intimidated by the glare he sent her way.

“What?” she asked.

“Are you ffflirting with me?”

“Maybe. Would that be really bad?”

“Yes.”

She stepped closer, giving him a view right down her shirt. She had small breasts. Soft swells on either side of her sternum. Shadows and valleys, a dozen places where his mouth would fit.

He closed his eyes.

He hated this. This weakness. The sound of his own voice, choking on feelings he didn’t want to have. The sound of him losing his grip.

“Okay,” she said. “Then I’m not flirting with you.”

He exhaled and searched for some kind of response. Some way to get Katie out of his room before he fucked up irrevocably.

“I’m n-not sssleeping with you.”

Smooth.

She narrowed her eyes and parroted back the line he’d given her a week ago. “I didn’t ask you to.”

The challenge in her eyes was unmistakable, though. She would play it this way, I just stopped by braless in my jammies with a bottle of wine, as buddies do, and anything that happened would be an accident. It would be his fault for not being able to keep his hands off her.

Damn it, he wouldn’t play along.

“You d-did, c-coming over here d-d-dressed like that.”

She looked down at her flannel-clad legs. “It’s not like I’m wearing a French maid outfit.”

“You haven’t g-got a b-bra on.”

“I hardly have any boobs. What’s the big deal?”

“The b-b-big d-deal is I c-can ssee your arms and yuh-your . . .” Sean gestured at the expanse of her chest and her neck.

“My arms, Sean?” Her voice sliced at his composure. “You think I’m trying to seduce you because you can see my arms? Is your virtue that easy to compromise?”

“That’s n-not what I m-m-m—”

“You seem like a civilized guy. Can’t you control your animal impulses?”

Because he wanted so badly to grab her and kiss her until she shut up and glazed over and turned into an animal, too, he grabbed two fists of shirts at the back of his neck and pulled it over his head. Then he edged even closer, so he was breathing right up against her, his bare skin separated from hers by a millimeter of empty space charged with sweat and sex.

“C-can yuh-you?”

She didn’t say anything, but her eyes jumped around, flitting from his chest to his shoulders, his neck, his face. His cock grew heavy and began to ache.

“Want to watch a m-movie, ssweetheart?” he asked. “Want to ssit on the c-couch, getting drunk and not t-t-touching each other for a few hours?”

Katie raised her eyes to his. “Holy shit,” she said. “Sean. Oh my gosh, Sean, look at you.” She placed one palm flat on his chest, over his heart, and he knocked it away.

“Don’t p-p-play with me,” he warned her. “We’re going to be p-partners. That’s all.”

A perplexed frown knit the space between her eyebrows. “You were hitting on me in the car.”

“I knuh-know.”

“And at my house, right? I didn’t just make that up?”

He shook his head, disgusted with himself. “I wuh-was. Buh-but I sh-shouldn’t have. We’re not g-going to watch m-movies together, and we’re not going to ffflirt, and we’re not g-going to sleep together.”

Katie’s gaze slid below his waist and held there for a moment, then meandered its way back up. When she met his eyes, hers held a single question. Why not?

He looked away from her and counted to twenty. It didn’t help. “I’m luh-leaving t-town.”

“What? When?”

“Ssoon. When we ffinish the c-c-case.”

“Why?”

“I have a juh-job b-back in C-c-california. A c-computer sssecurity c-company I ruh-run. I nuh-need to g-get b-back to it.”

The furrowed forehead again. “I thought you’d moved back to Camelot.”

Sean shook his head. “N-no. I’m juh-just . . . It’s t-temporary, the juh-job with your brother. I’m luh-leaving. So I d-d-don’t wuh-want to . . .” He raised his arms out to the side, palms flat, a gesture that encompassed his bare-chested self and her compromising outfit. The room. The bed. The entire situation. “I d-don’t wuh-want to.”

Katie flinched, but Sean couldn’t think of any way to take it back without actually taking it back.

“You’re being a gentleman.”

“Sssort of.”

“Don’t. The last thing I need—the absolute last thing—is for you to be a gentleman. You know, people do have meaningless flings. It’s a thing. I keep hearing about it from, like, every form of popular culture ever.”

“N-no.”

She crossed her arms and took a step back. The confidence had drained out of her, and she looked younger. Smaller. “You’re confusing.”

“I know.” He sighed. “I’m ssorry. It’s c-c-complicated.” He clenched his hands into tight fists. It was even harder to keep from touching her when she looked so bewildered and hurt. Hard not to comfort her, but he knew where that would lead.

“It’s really not.” She fiddled with the ties to her pajama bottoms. “The way I remember it, it’s super simple. Kind of an Insert-Tab-A-into-Slot-B thing. I might be remembering wrong, though. I haven’t had sex in almost two years.”

Two years. She hadn’t been with anyone since Levi—which meant she probably hadn’t been with anyone but Levi—and now she wanted him, and he was turning her down. He was out of his fucking mind.

“Fffind someone else.” Even as he said it, the thought of her having sex with another man made him homicidal.

She lowered her eyes to the carpet. “No,” she said, crossing her arms over her chest. “I think I’m all tapped out.”

Slowly, it sank in.

First Levi, then Judah, now him. The third man in a row to tell Katie she wasn’t good enough. She’d gathered up her courage and come over here, maybe not throwing herself at him but at least open to the possibility. She’d done it because he’d encouraged her to, the way he’d talked to her at her house, and in the car. And now he was turning her down.

Not gently, either. Badly. Clumsily.

“I’m ssss—” He couldn’t make the word come out, but he had to. She deserved a decent apology. He tried again. “I ap-p-p—”

She flapped a hand and turned her back on him. “Don’t worry about it. You want a drink?” She popped the cork out of the wine and poured two measures into the mugs. “Hope you don’t mind, I already started the bottle. Liquid courage and all that.” Turning toward him, she lifted one mug in invitation.

“I n-n-need a sh-shower.”

“Yeah, I noticed. Well, it’ll be here.” She put one mug down on the table and settled onto the couch with her own drink. The remote was on the coffee table, and she lifted it, turned on the TV, and began flicking through channels.

“Go shower, Sean,” she said after a moment.

He didn’t move. He couldn’t figure out why she was still in the room, much less talking to him.

Katie raised the mug to her lips and drank down the contents in four long gulps. She wiped the back of her hand over her mouth and sighed.

“You don’t want me,” she said without turning around. “It’s not a crime. I know I’m not, like, centerfold material. It’s fine. We’ll watch kung fu movies and work our way through this bottle of wine. You’ll stay on your side of the couch, I’ll stay on mine, and by the time I go to bed after three or four hours of Jackie Chan, we’ll be friends, and I’ll be able to sleep.”

He stared blankly at the back of her head.

Balls. Katie had balls.

She went through life with her heart on her sleeve, saying what she meant, telling people how she felt, what she wanted, what she needed, and she got slapped for it. But she didn’t let it set her back.

He couldn’t remember ever having been like that. Not one day in his life had he been that unguarded.

She found the right channel, and the screen filled up with a young Jackie Chan wearing a tank top, high-waisted jeans, and what looked like a woman’s belt while he beat the crap out of three bad guys.

“Take a shower,” she said flatly. “I don’t want to sit by myself in my room feeling like a complete waste of space, okay?”

He didn’t know what to say, so he grabbed some clothes from his bag and headed for the bathroom, leaving her alone, bathed in the flickering light of the television.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Fun, huh? If you like torturing characters. Which I do. Very much.

Speaking of torture, who’s your favorite flawed hero? The flaw can be physical, mental, or both. Tell me, and I’ll give away an ebook copy of Flirting with Disaster to one random commenter in the format of your choice!

About Ruthie: USA Today bestselling author Ruthie Knox writes contemporary romance that’s sexy, witty, and angsty—sometimes all three at once. After training to be a British historian, she became an academic editor instead. Then she got really deeply into knitting, as one does, followed by motherhood and romance novel writing. Her debut novel, Ride with Me, is probably the only existing cross-country bicycling love story. She followed it up with About Last Night, a London-set romance whose hero has the unlikely name of Neville, and then Room at the Inn, a Christmas novella—both of which were finalists for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award. Her four-book series about the Clark family of Camelot, Ohio, has won accolades for its fresh, funny portrayal of small-town Midwestern life. Ruthie moonlights as a mother, Tweets incessantly, and bakes a mean focaccia. She’d love to hear from you, so visit her website and drop her a line.

Did you love it?! 😀 No need to wait long because Flirting with Disaster will be available on June 10! Whee! You know the deal – what’d you think? (Answer Ruthie’s question for a chance to win! To remind you: who’s your favorite flawed hero?)

Teaser Tuesday Exclusive Excerpt Raw & Unedited: Drove All Night by Marquita Valentine

Tuesday! April! Eek! As you see we welcome Marquita Valentine back with us again! So much fun! She’s very patient and get a gold star for being very gracious about some behind the scenes “oops.” I also want to point out, the cover I’m sharing is not attached to the excerpt she’s sharing – that isn’t available yet! So I posted the first two in this series. 😀

Thanks for hosting me again Lime! Today I’m sharing an exclusive excerpt  (raw and unedited) of the next full-length novel in my Going the Distance Series, Drove All Night.

The hero,  Jake Henley, and the heroine, Allie-May Rogers, have known each other since they were kids, but they are far from being friends. In fact all they do is one up each other with practical jokes and digs.

But now a huge Power Company wants to put up enormous power lines on Allie-May and Jake’s farms (they adjoin one another) and she needs his help to fight them.

In this scene, Jake has decided to call her bluff and tell Allie-May the he’ll help her, but everything goes wrong. <G>

Cornering her beside the jukebox, Jake smiled. “We need to talk.”

Despite repeating those very words to him at least twice a day for the past week, Allie-May gulped. This couldn’t be good. No good ever came of that smile. “I’m busy.” She tried to skirt around him, but he simply blocked her path.

“You ain’t busy.” He leaned against the way, one hand beside her head. “Besides, I figure you owe me for that stunt you pulled last year.”

“What do you mean I owe you?” She internally winced at his scowl. Maybe she shouldn’t have said that, not when she actually needed his help.

“C’mon, Allie-cat. We’ve been doing this for years: He said some shit. She said some shit.” He took a pull of his beer. “It’s time to break the cycle. You want something from and I want something from you.”

Her lips twisted, almost involuntarily. “God, you’re such a guy, Jake.”

He leaned in, smelling of beer, leather and that cologne of his. A lethal combination for any woman between the ages of sixteen and dead. Or maybe just for her. “Not sex, baby. I’d have to be drunk, blind and desperate.”

If she hated him so much and didn’t give a rat’s tail what he thought of her, why did his usual insults hurt? “At least we agree on something.”

“Oh, yeah?”

Taking a step closer, she rose on the balls of her feet, putting herself inches from his handsome face. “Completely.”

“Jesus, I can’t stand your ass,” he said, his breath fanning over her mouth.

“That’s because you’re a horse’s ass.”

He dipped his head again, their lips brushed and her knees got all weak while her eyes went wide. Desire shot through her, warming everything inside of her that had been cold for so long. She wanted him to kiss her again. She wanted this warmth he offered, with only the fleeting touch of his mouth on hers.

Ohmygod,ohmygod,ohmygod, her mind frantically chanted.

Those dangerous lips of his pressed against hers once more, his hand that had been on the wall finding the curve her neck. Slowly but surely he coaxed her mouth open and her eyes closed. She slid her arm around his back, then let it coast down to grab a butt cheek. His oh so very fine butt.

She heard him murmur her name, his tongue glided across her bottom lip and two fingers traced the skin under the straps of her camisole.  The man knew how to touch, she’d give him that. He nipped at her chin, kissing his way to her ear and bit down.

“Like that, honey?” he asked, his voice like gravel.

She answered him with a shaky nod and moan.

Jake stood paralyzed by that moan, by what he’d just done and the fact that her hand was on his ass. Her hand. And his…his wasn’t that far away from her breasts. Breasts that he shouldn’t even know she had, not in the her-tits-were-crushed-against-chest type of way. But there they were, firm…maybe a handful. Definitely perfect.

And he was definitely out of his mind. He shoved away from her, watching as her big blue eyes opened. All dazed and sexy as hell as she blinked up at him. Her mouth was red and swollen, tempting him to kiss her again.

“Was that my punishment?” she croaked, wiping off her mouth with the back her of hand. Damn, but if he didn’t expect her to spit on the floor.

Ego and anger flashing, he said, “Nah, that was mine. Guess I only have to be drunk to kiss you. Desperate can’t be far off though.” He wanted to kick himself at the kicked-puppy look she gave him.

“What’s wrong with you?” she cried, thankfully her face stayed tear-free. “I knew you were a dumb jock, but I never dreamed you could be so mean.” When her efforts to shove past him again failed, she crossed her arms and tipped her cute nose in the air.

“Prepare yourself, baby doll, because I’m about to get downright cruel.” Taking a deep breath to clear his mind of visions that involved him, her and his bed, he said, “You want my help going up against CoPat, then for the next three weeks you have to be nice to me.”

“In public. And sing my praises,” he added.

She gasped and made then made a face. “Oooh, I swear—”

“A month.”

She punched him in the shoulder. “Who do you think I am-Mother Teresa? No one could be nice to you that long.”

“Fine. Six weeks and you have to sit in church with me, go as my date to XXX’s wedding and the Watermelon Festival. It’s my final offer. Take it or leave it. I couldn’t care less where those power lines go.” He took another pull of his beer, emptying it this time and set it on top of the jukebox while waiting for her answer. It was very possible that she would tell him where he could shove his offer.

“Deal.”

He blinked. Son of a bitch. He never expected her to go for it.  “Deal.” Pivoting on his heel, he strode to the dance floor and found Lila. Grabbing her wrist, he headed for the entrance

“Allie-May doing her ice queen routine?” Lila asked as they walked outside.

The moon and stars shone bright in the night sky. But he didn’t give a shit. He was horny as hell, all because of that damn mule-headed redhead he’d left by the jukebox.

“I’m not looking to talk, Lila.” He opened the door, lifted her by the waist and set her on the seat.

She giggled, something that usually got him going, but tonight it left him cold as the ice queen she’d accused Allie-May of being. Shit. He had to stop thinking about her.

“Get over here and kiss me, Jake,” she said.

He obliged her, slamming his mouth against hers, his hands cupping her big tits and… felt nothing but lust. Not like with—“Motherfucker!”—he jerked away from Lila and punched the door, wincing as pain exploded in his knuckles. Yeah, he really was a dumb jock.

“What in the world is wrong with you?” Lila’s nose scrunched.

“Sorry, sugar. I’ve had too much to drink,” he lied.

“Oh.” Rimming her lips with her pinky finger, Lila shrugged and sauntered back inside. “Have a good night. Don’t forget to take your pill.”

Pulling a face, he managed a weak laugh. “Very funny.” Another strike against Allie-May. He slid in his truck, slammed the door shut and cranked the engine. “Just you wait, Allie-Cat,” he muttered. “Being nice to me is going to be the death of you.”

What’s your favorite book of 2012 and 2013 (thus far)? Two lucky commentors will receive my newest book, a novella in the Going the Distiance Series, Driving to You.

 Nationally Bestselling author, Marquita Valentine, writes small town romances that are anything but small. Lisa Kleypas, Carly Phillips and Rachel Gibson are among her favorite contemporary authors. Marquita met her husband aka Hot Builder at Sonic when they were in high school. She suggests this location to all of her single friends in search of a good man — and if that doesn’t work, they can console themselves with cheesy tater tots. She lives in North Carolina in a very, very small town with Hot Builder and their two children.

You can find Marquita all over the internet, staring at her webpage.

What fun, yes?! A raw and unedited excerpt! Right here for you all! What did you think? Have you read any of these series? Did this little taste tempt you to? ;D

Teaser Tuesday: Exclusive Excerpt Wolf Nip by Vivian Arend

Ack! Can you believe January is almost over?! On Thursday ALL THE WINNERS get posted. But let’s focus on today, which holds a fabulous excerpt from author Vivian Arend who is a total lifesaver rock star! Whee!

Granite Lake Wolves, Book 6

Cat got your tongue?

Tessa Williams is looking to make her mark outside the family business, and the unusual landlocked paddle wheeler she spots in Haines, Alaska, strikes her as the perfect location. Only the owner is being difficult, refusing to sell. Still, she’s sure that replacing her written queries with a little in-person charm is all she’ll need to shortly have her Eco-tour B&B on the road to success.

Local wolf-slash-owner of said vessel, Mark Weaver, isn’t hanging on to the landmark building out of spite. There are more reasons for holding back the sale than are easily explained on paper. A face-to-face meeting to resolve the matter only confounds it—when Mark recognizes Tessa as his mate.

But she’s a cat…and cats don’t do insta-mates.

The sexual attraction between them isn’t in question, just everything else. He wants her. She wants twue wuv. His wolf can’t figure out what the holdup is. Her cat thinks the entire situation, and the pack, are rather amusing.

Somewhere in here is the beginning of a beautiful relationship—if they don’t drive each other mad.

Warning: One hyper cat, one laid-back wolf. Inappropriate use of permanent markers, and a heaping side dish of cat/dog jokes. Shenanigans (read: nookie) in front of a roaring fire. Spiced liberally with sarcasm. Enjoy!

Soft, sweet-smelling woman in his lap, a plan in place for the future. While he hated that she’d said no to being mates right now, Mark couldn’t fault her for anything else.

Only if they didn’t move, he was going to have a tough time not acting on his wolf’s urgings and stripping her down and taking her right there in his office.

A loud bark rang from the doorway, and they both turned to face his Gramps, who had shifted to his wolf and now paced around the chair they occupied.

Tessa stiffened. “Oops?”

“Don’t worry. He’s a wolf. He knows what’s going on. Well, most of it.” Mark leaned over and waved. “You heading back to the lodge?”

His Gramps dipped his chin, yipped a couple times. His final howl echoed off the walls as he headed out the door and left them alone.

“He said it was great meeting you, and he hopes to see you soon.” Mark refrained from interpreting the rest of the old man’s comments to Tessa. She didn’t need to know what else his grandfather had suggested.

Then again, she was a shifter. She probably knew.

Tessa leaned away until her arms were fully stretched out. “So. Now what?”

“Now we get you settled.” Mark couldn’t wait to have her things in his place. Their scents mixing together, as well as a visible sign of them as a couple. “After that you can tell me what you’ve got in mind for the other floors, and I’ll do some preliminary drafts so we can get started on renovations.”

She tilted her head. “You are a most interesting person. Does nothing faze you? I mean, I tossed a lot at you today, and yet you seem so calm and relaxed. How do you do that?”

“Good genes.”

Tessa smiled. “I’d noticed that as well.”

She leaned in and brushed her lips against his cheek before crawling off his lap and tugging him upward. “I think your plan is awesome. And thank you. I’d far prefer to live here than at some hotel. We can have all kinds of fun together as we work on the project.”

Fun. Oh goody. “Sounds great.” He forced out the words. Really? Fun?

Damn.

She took off down the stairs like she was jet propelled. Mark followed more leisurely. If she was happy running at high RPM, who was he to try to change her?

Although, when he opened the front door and discovered she’d already returned with an armload of luggage, he wondered. “How do you move so fast?”

She sparkled at him. “Good genes, I guess.”

Mark snorted. “You want everything inside?”

Tessa nodded. “You sure I should put my things in your bedroom? I could…clean up one of the rooms on—”

A snarl escaped without warning, and her cat eyes blinked rapidly as she stepped away.

Drat. “So much for my calm. Tessa, don’t push the wolf, okay? Not now. Yes, my bedroom. Even suggesting anything else pisses him off.”

“Sure. I can do that.”

Poof. She was gone again. Up the stairs with only the swirl of her scent lingering on the air to torment him.

Mark went for another load, wondering how long it would take for his dual personalities of shifter/human to have a major breakdown.

He unloaded everything, carrying it into the main entrance before locking up and taking the first stack all the way upstairs. Rounding the corner into his bedroom, his heart was already racing at the idea of finding her in there. His mate, part of his future…as soon as he discovered more about her.

She wasn’t there.

Neither was she in the bathroom or the living room or the kitchen. He’d just about given up when a flash of blonde hair drew his attention to the balcony.

She sat on the railing, happily kicking her feet as she stared over the ocean.

His heart rate tripled. Mark opened the outside door cautiously, making sure he didn’t spook her. It was a long, long way down if she fell.

“Tessa?” He spoke softly. “What are you doing?”

She twisted her head to flash him a brilliant smile. “Sunset colours are so pretty tonight. Come…” She patted the spot next to her. “Watch with me.”

He strolled over, leaned on the railing and casually slipped his arm around her waist to make sure he had her anchored. Only then did he start to breathe again. “Very pretty sunsets from here.”

“We’ll set up drinks and snacks in the evening for the B&B guests. They can sit here and talk about how wonderful their day was, and then new people will want to go on the same trips, and it’ll work in a circle. More happy visitors coming all the time.”

She leaned her head against his shoulder and sighed contentedly.

“I think this is the first time since we met you haven’t been moving at a breakneck pace,” Mark pointed out. The sensation of her in his arms was so right. He dragged in breath after breath of her scent in an attempt to satisfy his need.

A yawn escaped, and she stretched, teetering precariously toward the wrong side of the railing. “Sunsets do that to me. Soporific effect? Is that right?”

He stepped behind her and caught hold of her tighter. “If that means you’re ready to curl up in front of the fire, I’m good with it.”

“I like fires.” Her voice slipped into lower, sleepy tones that tickled along his spine and promised slumbering kitty within minutes.

Then she sent him into near panic mode as she twirled in his grasp, her arms around his neck the only thing stopping her from tumbling to the ground many feet below them.

You can read an additional excerpt here and buy a copy here.

So what’d you think? 😀 Have you read any of the previous books in the series? Are paranormal romances or shifters your thing? Incidentally, this book is out on February 12th! Double bonus awesome sneak peek!

Teaser Tuesday: Waking Up Immortal by Rachel Carrington

Hi! *Waves* A bit of crazy today – but we’ve got a new addition Teaser Tuesday as new-to-me author Rachel Carrington visit us! As you see, she’s got an excerpt from Waking Up Immortal.

I could die today, and it wouldn’t matter. I’d still wake up tomorrow. Some people might consider that a good thing, and the time I took my first bullet, well, I can’t say I complained when I woke up, but that’s the middle of the story.

At first I didn’t want this “gift” which led me to a long search for my father. I thought he could help me. Turns out my father was in prison, and I just happened to get on the bad side of his warden—a huge, cyborg type of guy who could body double for Sylvester Stallone. He didn’t want me to see my father, and he was a pretty big obstacle for me to overcome.

So here I am trying to convince this guy, Kier, to let me see my father when all hell breaks loose. Then I suddenly learn I really don’t want to see dear old Dad after all. My life isn’t in danger, but how I spend the rest of my immortal existence is. The only thing standing between me and certain torture is Kier.

I don’t doubt he’ll protect me, but being so close to him makes me forget about things like safety. And the first time he kisses me turns into heat up the windows type of scene in the front seat of my car.

My immortal existence is safe with Kier. My heart is on shaky ground. How could I have fallen in love with a cyborg?

I opened my eyes to inky darkness. My head was nestled against something hard yet yielding, my back pressed against the seat cushion. I was back in the car. Confused, I tipped my head back and met Kier’s stoic gaze. It was his shoulder I’d been cozied up to.

The knowledge propelled me upwards, and I scooted back over to the driver’s seat. “You drugged me.” I snapped out the accusation, but Kier didn’t look affected.

“I told you what I gave you, Chloe, and it doesn’t cause loss of consciousness.”

“So what did?” I still wasn’t willing to let go of my suspicion.

“I imagine your panic.”

Humiliation loomed on the horizon. “I wasn’t panicked. I had no reason to pass out.”

“And yet, you did.”

My eyes had adjusted to the dark, and I could now see the smile on his face. My urge to pummel him returned full force.  Instead, I plastered on a smile of my own and asked sweetly. “Well, all that matters is it’s done. I’m assuming it’s safe to see my father now?”

“Considering it only takes a few minutes for the medication to take effect and you were unconscious for a good ten, you should be fine.”

The smile on my face faded. I couldn’t believe I had thought about being naked with him. “Great.” I started the engine, but Kier twisted the key in the ignition. My Ford sputtered to silence while I glared at him. “What now?”

“We can’t get to your father by driving.”

“So what, we fly?”

When he continued to look at me, I grew nervous. True, the guy could run fast but fly? Really? “What are you?” I had to have more information before I took off for parts unknown with this man-mutant.

“That’s classified.”

“Are you trying to be funny?” I folded my arms, giving him the impression I wasn’t going anywhere until I had the knowledge I required.

Kier lifted a shoulder in a dismissing shrug. “Why does it matter what I am? I’m not the one you’re interested in.”

That wasn’t entirely true. “I wouldn’t have asked if it didn’t matter.”

“Some things are best left unknown.” The husky tone raised goose bumps on my arms.

“Are you really that much of a mystery?” My breath hitched.

He touched my chin with the tip of his index finger. “Are you always so curious?”

“You’re very good at deflecting.”

“I’m good at a lot of things.”

The response sent my blood pressure soaring. The conversation had tangoed its way into dangerous territory. “We should probably go.”

The seat creaked beneath his weight as he shifted. “Probably.”

He certainly didn’t sound like he was in any hurry to leave. I leaned closer toward him for a better look at his face. Not that looking at him was a hardship. My gaze focused on his lips. Full. Sensual. I’d never seen such perfect lips on a man. I wondered if they tasted as good as they looked.

I lifted my eyes in time to see Kier’s gaze pull away from my mouth. That got my heart to racing. We were both thinking about the same thing now. Or the same body part at least.

Silence squeezed all the life out of the interior, making even the thought of further conversation awkward. I shifted in my seat, my knee bumping Kier’s. He didn’t flinch or pull away.

Our breaths synchronized. His pupils dilated as I inched closer. Maybe one taste. A short quick kiss to feel—

Kier squelched the rest of the thought when his hands snagged hold of my arms, and he hauled me onto his lap. Hard, firm thighs provided an unyielding seat, and as I straddled his hips, his sex notched with mine.

His hands tangled in my hair, and I wished I’d taken the time to check my appearance. I could only see the chestnut ends of my hair, and the tangled strands were screaming for a brush. But my lack of grooming wasn’t holding Kier’s attention.

He tugged my head back and pulled me closer at the same time. I gasped and pressed my breasts into his chest. The heat from his skin scorched through his shirt and my blouse.

The oxygen in the car dwindled until we were forced to share one another’s. The scent of his skin—a unique combination of woods and musk—enveloped me, and as he drew me in, surrounding me with his arms, his presence, I whispered his name.

The sound ignited him, and his lips crushed mine, his hands holding my head still. From the little I knew about Kier, I hadn’t been expecting gentle, and I wasn’t disappointed.

I clung to his shirt, the buttons digging into my palms, but I needed the connection to keep me bound to reality. In spite of my craving for this fantasy world Kier dragged me into, I didn’t believe it could last. My mouth opened beneath the onslaught of his, and our tongues tangoed in a heated frenzy.

Blood rushed to my head, filling my ears, and I arched my hips, wanting to be closer. My temperature rising, I tore open his shirt to press my palms flat against his naked chest. His heart thundered against my hand, reassuring me I wasn’t the only one affected by this erotic exchange. The hardness of his chest gave me a momentary pause. What I felt wasn’t just muscle.

Kier tore his lips away from mine and trailed a line of kisses down my neck. My stomach quivered while I pushed his shirt off his shoulders. Rationale fled at the speed of sound. All I wanted, needed, was his touch, his scent. Him.

So what do you think? Have you read Rachel Carrington before? What do you think of the genre? And more… what do you think about Teaser Tuesday? Should I keep on with it?
Ms. Carrington has very generously offered a copy of Waking Up Immortal to one lucky commenter!

Teaser Tuesday: Third Time’s a Charm by Marquita Valentine

Today we’ve got as you see Marquita Valentine sharing an exclusive excerpt with us. She’s also very generously offering a giveaway today, so be sure to tell us what you think!

Not even Holland Springs’ Most Notorious Resident can stop this Love Spell.

Customers come to Rose Holland’s apothecary shop for three things: to hear her uncanny matchmaking advice, to buy the “magical” hair and skin products she sells, and to accuse her of trying to steal their men. For years Rose has been entirely innocent and almost content with that status quo. But that was before sexy, smooth-talking Sasha Romanov came to town and made her want to use her love potions on him… until he broke her heart. Now corrupt town officials want to seize her land and sell it to an industrial giant, and her only hope for help looks like the one man she can’t trust—or stop herself from falling under his spell.

Alexander “Sasha” Romanov seems like every woman’s dream: charming, handsome and fabulously rich. But while the people of Holland Springs think he’s in town to generously invest in their economy (and possibly one of their daughters), Sasha struggles to save his sick mother from his vicious uncle’s plans by doing everything the greedy businessman wants. And Vlad Romanov wants Rose Holland’s land—at any cost.

Despite Sasha’s vow to get the job done and keep his hands (and everything else!) off Rose, the blue-eyed witch enchants him. But his mother’s life remains in the balance. Sasha must find a way to protect his mother, sabotage his uncle’s plans, and win the woman who’s captured his heart without destroying everything she loves.

Thank you Limecello for hosting me today and letting me give your readers an exclusive excerpt of the second novel in my Holland Springs Series, Third Time’s a Charm.

Exclusive Excerpt:

Silently they walked to the kitchen. He followed her to the back porch. On the way out, she grabbed Ivy’s baby monitor and clipped it to her pocket. After scooping up the basket she always kept by the back door, she walked to the chicken coop to gather eggs.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

Turning to look at him, she swung the basket from side to side. “Getting eggs for the last time.”

He nodded at the chickens pecking at the ground. “Tonight’s dinner?”

She opened the chicken coop and began to gather the eggs. “No, I sold them.”

“Do you usually sell your chickens?”

No, she loved all the animals that lived at Strawberry Grove. Even the stinking chickens. She could see his very nice, very expensive boots as he paced. Her own Wal-Mart specials were faded and scuffed.“The Johnsons made it worthwhile,” she said, sidestepping his question.

“They have a farm?” he asked, unwilling it seemed to just let it go.

“Yes. It was their field I found you in that time.” The euphoria from having a well-deserved nap was wearing away. The reality that she was selling everything she owned just in case she couldn’t keep her home and land replacing it faster than she liked.

“One more question.”

Couldn’t he leave her the hell alone? “What?” she snapped, then immediately regretted it. She needed to be cool Rose. Reasonable Rose.

Silence greeted her and she stood up, searching for him. Maybe he’d left.  Her shoe brushed against something soft and one of the chickens began to squawk. “Sorry, Colonel Sanders,” she said.

“Behind you.”

She spun around and found him leaning with one hip against the door.

“I need to go into town. Can I borrow your Jeep since Ivy’s asleep?”

Taking the Jeep would leave her stranded. The only other vehicle on the property was an old Chevy truck parked in the barn. It had quit working ten years ago when Skye had poured grease in the gas tank in an attempt to make it environmentally friendly.

“I’m not sure…”

“I promise to return it.”

Something in his tone made her reconsider saying no. “Just replace the gas you use.”

He regarded her thoughtfully. The wind brushed at his hair, lifting the burnished gold strands.

“Please,” she added, slipping past him and making her way back to the house.

A hand on her arm almost made her drop the basket, but then his hand moved to cover hers and kept the basket from falling.

“Is there any way I can help you, Rosebud?”

She couldn’t take her eyes off of his mouth. Or the small freckle at one corner that she wanted to lick. He also had some on his nose, light in color, but if one was close enough…If a woman was able to get past his very kissable mouth, she could find them. Count them. Tease him about them, before kissing each one.

Heat pooled in places she’d prayed were dormant when it came to him. Her body vibrated, throbbed. The woman that she’d buried deep inside of her wanted a man’s touch, a man’s kiss and demanded to be let out. No, not a man’s touch. Sasha’s. And that woman could think of a dozen ways he could help her. Although none of them were sane and some of them probably weren’t legal in North Carolina.

She licked her dry lips. “Paying me rent in advance is enough.” But it wasn’t. And she couldn’t ask him to loan her a hundred thousand dollars, could she?

“Have it your way, but if you need something, all you have to do is ask. I won’t think less of you.”

He sounded so sincere that she couldn’t stop herself from blurting, “Cheesecake.”

His brows drew together and his chin dropped. “Cheesecake?”

She almost told him to forget it, but the woman who wanted him also wanted a decadent dessert that she hadn’t been able to eat in what seemed like forever. “I would like some cheesecake.”  She dug the keys out of her pocket and placed them in his free hand.

“Then cheesecake you shall have.”

They stood there, hand in hand, not moving, and yet Rose could feel gravity slipping away.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment to enter, and I’ll give away two copies of Third Time’s a Charm (e-book only) to randomly chosen winners!

Marquita Valentine writes small town romances that are anything but small. Lisa Kleypas, Carly Phillips and Rachel Gibson are among her favorite contemporary authors. Marquita met her husband aka Hot Builder at Sonic when they were in high school. She suggests this location to all of her single friends in search of a good man — and if that doesn’t work, they can console themselves with cheesy tatertots. She lives in North Carolina in a very, very small town with Hot Builder and their two children.
You can find Marquita all over the internet: Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Website, Blog

Teaser “Tuesday”: Sway by Lauren Dane

I know we’ve got super awesome author Lauren Dane sharing an exclusive excerpt of her upcoming book with us today… and it’s even part of an anthology with Maya Banks. The story, Sway, is a novella in the book Cherished.

CherishedSway by Lauren Dane
Copyright 2012, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, The Berkley Publishing Group
Releasing August 7

The Sway blurb:
Levi Warner is an established, older man—wealthy, powerful, and above all, respectable. Then Levi meets Daisy, an uninhibited 24-year-old dance instructor and artist, not exactly the kind of woman Levi is accustomed to. But the young, free spirit, brings out something in him he only experienced in fantasies. When their scorching affair turns into something unexpectedly deeper, Levi finds himself torn between preserving his reputation, and exploring a wilder and much more satisfying kind of life.

She tasted like honey.

Odd and yet, not entirely unexpected.

Her lips were soft, opening on a sigh. He took her invitation and took the kiss deeper, his tongue sliding into her mouth.

His hand remained in hers, though he wanted to haul her close and take her to the couch. He hadn’t wanted to get horizontal on a woman with this much intensity in a very long time.

The more he tasted, the more he wanted until need beat in his head like a pulse.

The depth and intensity of his desire shook him. Hit him so hard he had to fist the hand she wasn’t holding to keep it from shaking.

He kissed like a master. Daisy knew she was in way over her head and all he’d done was kiss her. They weren’t even touching except for lips and tongues and his hand in hers, but it was enough. Enough that it was a full-body caress when he groaned as she sucked his tongue.

So very controlled, this man. But it was there, just under the surface. Levi Warner was a very dominant male and she wondered if that extended to his sexuality.

Hoped so. It wasn’t that she’d had many dominant lovers or anything. But he’d awakened something inside her. Curiosity, yes, but a sense of satisfaction in letting him lead. Something she’d never experienced before.

The weight of his focus on her was tangible. It made her a little drunk, needing more even as she barely managed to process what he gave her through a simple kiss.

It was enough to let him lead the kiss, enough to step back and wait for whatever he had in mind next.

Her body ached, her nipples throbbed and her pussy was wet and swollen. She shivered, imagining what he’d be like naked. In her bed. In his bed with her in it. Whatever, it didn’t matter where, the naked part was important.

He was patient. So very patient as he continued to kiss her. A nip of her bottom lip that had her gasping for air. His beard stubble gave her just the right amount of friction. Nearly painful. Enough to make her imagine what it’d feel like against the skin of her inner thighs as he went down on her. And she bet he did it well. If his kissing was any indicator, he’d be a marvelous pussy eater.

With a sharp intake of breath he broke the kiss and stared at her. His pupils were huge again and it gave her yet another shiver of delight.

“I should go.”

“You should?” She grabbed the front of his shirt without meaning to and released it quickly. If he left, she’d never speak to him again.

“Christ.” He scrubbed a hand through his hair and she let the other one go. Whatever it was he was fighting with himself over, he had to deal with it. He was a big boy and she sure as hell wasn’t his mother. Nor did she plan to beg him to stay.

She knew her worth as a woman. She’d been raised by not only a kick-ass mother, but her grandmother and sister were also strong, smart women. Whatever her concerns about her talent and art, she’d never beg a man for his attention.

He wanted her or he didn’t. So she sat back a little and let him work through it.

“You’re too young. I shouldn’t even be thinking about sex.”

She sighed. “You keep saying that. I’m far over the age of consent. Also, you’re assuming a lot. I don’t fuck on the first date.”

Then he laughed and she felt better for it.

“You’d leave me with blue balls?” he teased.

“I’m too young? You give me that line and talk about my age? I’m sure I heard that one back in the day. Do you think I’ll give you a pity hand job?” She grinned. He was adorable and damn, she might have broken her no fucking on the first date rule earlier, so it was probably good that they both stepped back for a moment. He made her feel . . . unfettered. And as lovely as it was, no man had ever made her want to jump so foolishly into something.

He grinned back. “Well, all right, it’s been some time since I’ve used that line.”

“What’s next? Will you tell me you’ll only put the tip in?”

You can read another excerpt here. And you know what else?! Lauren is giving someone a copy of Never Enough which is the book that takes place right before Sway begins! (Sway is part of a new series – here’s the info:

The Delicious series will feature Gillian’s friends – Daisy – Sway, Jules – Tart (11/12), Mary’s book and Raven’s book both out in 2013. The books are about a group of friends, all set in Bainbridge Island, WA. More info as we get closer. Sway will be in the Cherished Duology with Maya Banks out in August of 2012 and for those of you who wanted an epilogue in Never Enough, you’ll see Adrian and Gillian’s wedding prep in Sway. Sway is contemporary erotic romance with BDSM themes. Tart is Jules, Cal and Gideon’s story and you’ll meet Mary’s hero at Gillian and Adrian’s wedding…

Are you excited? Tell me what you think!) p.s. if you have any questions about how this giveaway will/is run it’s likely answered here.

Teaser “Tuesday”: An Heir of Deception by Beverley Kendall

For the new friends, you’re saying “That Limecello chick is dumber than rocks. She doesn’t even know how to use a calendar! Her post says it’s Tuesday, but it’s obviously Thursday!” Well, I explain it here. For all the friends who have been with me… well you’re all nicer than I am so you’re more patient and tolerant. Thank you for letting me repeat myself!

As you see, we have author Beverley Kendall here today sharing an exclusive excerpt of her newest novel, An Heir of Deception. Another self-pub success story, I’d say, as she recently quit her day job. She started writing full time in June. See how awesome June is?!

A man devastated by love

After three years of carousing and debauchery, Alex Cartwright, heir to the Duke of Hastings, has put his life back in order. Having embraced sobriety for two years, he has no intention of revisiting the past or risking his heart again. But the return of the very woman who introduced him to the darkest side of hell brings not only the painful, haunting memories of bittersweet love and abandonment, but the son he never knew he had…

A woman silenced by secrets

Threatened by the revelation of a secret that could destroy her family’s place in society and forever tarnish a dukedom, Charlotte fled England on her wedding day five years ago. Now, although it appears that secret is safe, when Alex discovers her other secret—their son—Charlotte has an altogether different battle ahead. She must now fight one love to hold onto the other—the man whose touch still makes her burn, for the child who is her very world.

Charlotte affixed her signature below Alex’s. There, it was done.  She looked up at him to find him steadily regarding her, the tick of his jaw hinting at deeper emotions simmering inside him than his otherwise inscrutable countenance conveyed.

Calmly, he reached over and retrieved the document from in front of her. He gave it a cursory glance, and then with a tight smile said, “It appears now we are man and wife.”

Yes they were. But what did that mean? “How are we to explain this to everyone?”

“We have been estranged and you’ve only now come home desperate to give our marriage a second chance.”

If only that were true. At least then, there’d be some hope for them.

“And Nicholas, what will you say about him? Won’t people find it strange you’ve never mentioned him?”

“Half my peers do not discuss their children. I won’t be that much of an oddity,” he replied wryly.

Charlotte rolled her eyes. He was deliberately being obtuse.

“Alex, you know this is different. First a wife everyone would swear you did not marry, and then a son—your heir—you never once spoke of? You don’t think people will question that? Even the most trusting of souls will find all this incredulous.”

“They can question it all they like but I’ll have marriage papers to support everything I say.”

How utterly confident he looked and nothing in his voice gave the impression of hesitation or uncertainty. But then the world he’d been born into no doubt led him to believe he could commit marriage fraud with impunity.

“I heard there is talk you were to court the Earl of Cranford’s daughter. Is that true? Had you plans to marry her?” It was a fair question but a small part of her wanted him to know she knew. Which was silly as it wasn’t as if there had been any betrayal on his part.

His lips twitched. “My, my, my,” he said in a deceptively soft voice. “Gossip is becoming more dependable than the papers. And travels ten times the speed of trains.”

“I’m certain my sister did not know it was supposed to be a secret as your mother was said to be quite vocal in her approval of the match. I heard all parties involved hoped for a wedding by year’s end.”

“Heard?” he asked, his voice pitched low. A dark eyebrow rose and a faint smile curled his lip. “Can you truthfully tell me you did not ask?”

Katie, will you tell me about Alex? And now? How is he now?

Of course she had asked.

Charlotte averted her gaze from his too knowing one.

“I thought as much.” The low pitch of his voice thrummed her sensitized nerves.

The tick of the clock had the power to deafen in the ensuing silence. Charlotte could feel his relentless stare. After too long under the crushing weight of his scrutiny, she waved a white flag of surrender and looked him directly in the eye; something she now tried to avoid at all cost.

That was all it took. Desire jolted her with the force of a thunderbolt. Her nipples beaded, her stomach contorted itself into a knot and she felt the relentless throb of desire below.

Tension crackled the air. Her breathing grew ragged, her heartbeat erratic as she devoured him with her eyes. She had never wanted a man more—and couldn’t imagine she ever would.

A look of pure want and need flared so hotly in his eyes, it burned her everywhere it touched: her parted lips, her breasts, her belly, her hips, the apex of her thighs.

For seconds, they hovered on the precipice of something raw and explosive, hot and all consuming. Caught up in a sexual haze, Charlotte stepped forward without conscious thought or will, mouth parted and head tipped back for the kiss she ached for so badly, she could already feel it on her lips. Taste it in her mouth.

But with her advance came his abrupt retreat.

“You want me,” he said softly, running his gaze down her body.

A denial would be ludicrous all things considered and Charlotte was not about to admit to the obvious.

The only thing preventing the smile curving his lips from being completely overbearing was the rapid rise and fall of his chest as if his breathing wasn’t under his control, and not even his mocking words could mask the desire in his eyes.

“I could stand before you now and tell you it gives me no satisfaction to know that you want me.” His gaze lit her on fire as it lifted slowly, lazily, from her rapidly rising breasts to look her in the eye. “But that would be a lie. I want you to want me,” he said, his voice silky and low. “I want you to want me so much you burn every night when you lie in bed and dream of me. Dream of all the things you want me to do to you. The things you want to do to me.”

Know why else Ms. Kendall is great? She’s giving away two digital copies of An Heir of Deception to two lucky winners. You know the drill. Have you read anything by Beverley Kendall before? Do you read historicals? What’d you think of the excerpt. Show of hands 😉 who is going to go buy a copy?!