Hee! This is almost release day! A Fine Romance came out yesterday! Super exciting! As you see then, Christi Barth is visiting with us sharing a lovely exclusive excerpt! So happy release day [belated] to her!
They say you form your first impression of someone within thirty seconds of meeting them. Or, in Mira Parrish’s case, within thirty minutes of not meeting them, when said person is supposed to pick you up from the airport and never shows. This is not a perfect start to her new life. Her friend Ivy is depending on her to run a new romance store, and Mira can’t afford to let her down.
Sam Lyons should probably apologize. But every time he sees Mira—which is often, since his family owns the bakery next to her shop—he can’t resist antagonizing her. There’s something about the sexy, straitlaced woman that drives him crazy. He can’t get involved, though. He has too much baggage to be any good in a serious relationship.
Despite his teasing attitude, Mira finds Sam too sweet to resist. (His hot body may be a factor.) But if there’s going to be anything permanent between them, they’ll need to let go of their pasts and look to the future…
Sam drew her off the path to the edge of a swath of something tall and purple and spiky. It smelled amazing. Two steps in and they were against a tree trunk. Sam twisted to put his back against the rough bark. Widening his stance, he pulled her in between his legs. Mira tucked her lower body against his, but placed her palms on his chest. She angled her head to the side and flashed him a knowing look, full of feminine wiles and guile.
“Is that an invitation?”
Did she want one of those thick, gold-edged invites Ivy liked to charge the sun and the moon for? God, she was toying with him. Could she see the base, animalistic need in his eyes? Or did she just feel it pressing against her thigh? She knew, all right. The hardworking, nose-to-the-grindstone, overachieving Mira had finally clocked out for the night. Now he was left with an armful of warm, willing, wanton Mira the seductress.
“If I win the pillow fight, would you promise to stay up all night, talking to me?”
“Sweetness, I’ll stay up all night, no problem. But we won’t be talking.” A man could only withstand so much. Sam crushed her against his chest and took her mouth. He laid claim to her, using his tongue to learn every soft and sensitive crevice. Mira moaned, a low sound that vibrated through every hair on his body. Dark, spiky lashes fanned out over her pale cheeks. His hands moved over her slender back, hugging her close. Didn’t matter—he wouldn’t be close enough until he was inside of her.
Mira moved her palms up, over his shoulders to twine around his neck. Added bonus? She rubbed her firm, tempting breasts back and forth with every breath, every movement. He couldn’t wait to get his mouth on them. Literally.
Grabbing her ass with both hands, he stepped away from the tree and urged her legs around his waist. It didn’t seem to take much urging. Mira clamped on like a rodeo star. Sam looked around the garden, desperate to find something more solid than flowers. His gaze landed on a large boulder, artistically encircled with—well—something delicate and blooming. He’d follow the Garden’s rules and not pick any of the flowers. But there were a few that would be the worse for wear in a few minutes.
Dropping to his knees, Sam leaned Mira back onto the boulder. To make sure her legs stayed around him, he kept his fingers kneading her ass. “I had a whole plan. Sunset. Wine. A civilized picnic.”
Mira opened one eye to squint at the sky. “Sunset’s still at least five minutes away. A man with your considerable talent should be able to show me a very good time in five minutes.”
“Are you double dog daring me?”
“Well, since we’re work neighbors, and need to maintain some element of professionalism, let’s call it a request for services.”
Sam almost choked on his chuckle. Good to know she still managed to find ways to parade her MBA. “Looks like we’re two peas in a pod. I don’t back down from a challenge, either.”
He lowered his head to the side of her neck with all the fervor of a blood-starved Dracula. Pale skin as translucent as phyllo dough made it possible for him to watch her pulse beat faster and faster just beneath the surface. Using the flat of his tongue, Sam took a long, slow, meandering lick. Then he latched on, trying to suck that pulse even faster. Once the rhythm beating against his taste buds increased, he moved down.
With her wriggling nonstop, it was difficult to keep a hold on Mira. He angled nearer to the boulder, pinning her in place at her hips with his more-than-willing dick. It surged into the notch between her legs, almost bursting through his shorts. Sam tried with all his might not to process any of the sensations his nerves were processing. He ignored how fan-fucking-tastic she felt, how they fit together more snugly than puzzle pieces. Above all else, Sam refused to acknowledge how much he wanted this beautiful bundle, currently writhing in his hands. If he reveled in it for even a second, he’d give in to those base instincts, rip her clothes off with his teeth and plow into her.
Instead, he concentrated on pleasing Mira. She made it so easy, moaning and smiling and lifting to his touch like a flower to the sun. Licking across her collarbone, he nudged aside the open collar of her shirt. In this position her breasts strained the fabric to its limits. It was easy to pop the top button open with his teeth. Then one more, for good measure. Now her beautiful breasts were laid out for his enjoyment. They were as white and perfectly round as a cup of powdered sugar, framed by the pale blue satin of her bra. Sam absolutely loved it when women matched their underwear to their clothes. It was a little thing, but it drove him crazy in a very good way.
With absolute concentration, he licked across one creamy mound, then over to the other. Sam could’ve died a happy man doing that all day. Mira, though, apparently had other ideas. She grabbed his head with both hands and maneuvered it into position straight over her nipple.
“Want something?” he asked, his breath feathering over the satin.
“Yes. You,” she panted. “Now.”
“Glad we’re on the same page.” Sam lowered his head a quarter of an inch and just exhaled. Her nipple immediately reacted, poking through the fabric. Target acquired. He laved back and forth across the pronounced tip, the pale blue darkening from the trail of dampness he created. A few more passes, and then he sucked in, biting down with a gentle nip.
Mira practically jolted out of his grasp. “Sam,” she cried, “oh, wow.”
“Funny, that’s just what I was thinking.” It was harder to talk now, harder to think, hard to do anything but give in to the monstrous lust she roused in him. Sam switched to the other side, replicating the teasing with his tongue. But it wasn’t enough. In one swift motion, he picked her up and deposited her on the ground.
He straddled her, but kept his weight off. Mira threaded her fingers through his hair and tugged him up for a thorough, drugging kiss. If his eyes were open, they would’ve crossed. Still, she couldn’t distract him for long. He was a man with a purpose. No time to wrestle with the stupid back clasp. Why the hell didn’t women have front clasp bras anymore? Oh, well. Just as easy to scoop her breasts in toward the center and sweep the cups underneath.
Now, finally, he had skin-on-skin contact. Even better, he could see her pretty nipples, the same vibrant pink as his strawberry icing. Sam drew as much of her breast as he could into his mouth, lapping circles around the nipple hardening to a sharp point under his tongue. It was so good that he eased his knees to the ground. Legs caging hers, they touched from toe to chest. The pressure of her body against his offered both relief and an immediate spiral into frustrating, driving need. Giving in, he rocked his hips back and forth, and she met his pattern, thrusting upward. As soon as a guttural moan of pleasure escaped his lips, he rolled off her to the side.
Stopping wasn’t easy. Not by a long shot. But Sam forced himself to for two reasons. Mira deserved better than a literal roll in the grass. He’d screwed up enough with her already. When they had sex for the first time, it wouldn’t be in a place where they ran the risk of being caught. He could only imagine what hell she’d rain down on him—rightfully so—if they got arrested, naked, for public indecency or something.
And he’d put a lot of thought into planning this date. Sex was not on the agenda. A long, romantic picnic watching the sun set over the lake was. Smarter way to go all around. Sam wasn’t in this for a one-night hookup. That would be the stupidity all his friends warned him against. He wanted to keep peeling back the fascinating layers to Mira, not just her clothes. So they’d spend the rest of the night talking. Okay, maybe a few more kisses. And he’d start thinking about a plan for getting her into his bed sooner rather than later.
So what’d you think? (Incidentally, book one was Planning for Love so if you’re someone who likes series, be sure to start there. As a bonus, I have an exclusive excerpt of that too! Incidentally, and someone who comments wins a copy of A Fine Romance today! So get talking!)