Tag Archives: Christi Barth

Teaser Tuesday Exclusive Excerpt: A Fine Romance by Christi Barth

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.

“You bet.”

“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!)

Teaser Tuesday: Planning for Love by Christi Barth

Today we’ve got an exclusive excerpt from Carina Press author Christi Barth. We’re going back to a slightly more regular schedule. Isn’t that exciting?

Hopeless romantic Ivy Rhodes


anti-Cupid Bennett Westcott

request the pleasure of your company for

their disaster of a courtship

Wedding planner Ivy Rhodes is the best in the business, and she’s not about to let a personal problem stop her from getting ahead. So when she gets an offer to star in the reality TV show Planning for Love, it doesn’t matter that the show’s videographer happens to be a recent—and heartbreaking—one-night stand.

Bennett Westcott can admit that he didn’t handle his encounter with Ivy very well. But looking at her beautiful smile—and, okay, great body—through the lens of a camera every day? He can’t be faulted for suggesting they have a little no-strings fun.

The more time Bennett and Ivy spend together, the more he realizes that Ivy isn’t the wedding-crazed bridezilla he’d imagined. But if he doesn’t trust himself to make a relationship last, how can he convince Ivy to give him another chance?

“Bennett Westcott, you’re the bravest man I know.”

Ben took a long sip of his wine. Then another. By the fourth sip, Ivy wondered if she should try matching him drink for drink. Clearly Sam had been right on the money when he begged her not to say anything to Ben. She’d assumed it to be a guy thing, a way to allow him to keep his emotions under lock and key. But Ivy couldn’t keep her admiration to herself. Even went so far as to assume Ben would be elated to finally discuss the true version of the day that turned him into a pariah. As the chasm of silence widened, Ivy began to wonder if she’d managed to set a record for quickest ruined date ever.

With the harshness of fingernails down a chalkboard, the scrape of metal chair legs against concrete rent the air. Ben shoved back, tossing his napkin on the table as he stood. He sucked in a deep breath, expanding his already wide chest. Then he scrubbed his hand from his forehead all the way down to the nape of his neck. Still staring out at the lights twinkling on block by block across the city skyline.

“Trust me when I say I’m about as far away from brave as this planet is from Pluto—all I do is make it through the day.” Finally, he directed his gaze straight at Ivy. “But I’m honored and humbled you think so. It goes a long way toward mending the tattered shreds left of my so-called pride.”

Ben bent from the waist to drop a soft kiss in the middle of her forehead. He pulled back, looked at her with those slice of summer sky eyes. Ivy held her breath, afraid the smallest puff of air would break the cobweb of intensity spinning ever wider between them.

“Damn. I was planning to save this for the fireworks.”

“Save what?” She didn’t understand, and she almost didn’t care. Who needed the power of cognitive thought when a handsome man held you tight in the unwavering tractor beam of his eyes? “What fireworks?”

“Gib told me there’d be fireworks in about an hour. Because of Memorial Day. It’s why I brought you here—for the view.”

Her heart flipped. Turned right around in a somersault like she used to do down the grassy slope at her grandparents’ house.

“On the other hand, why should I wait for the City of Chicago to light up the sky?” He framed her face with those big, wide palms, tilted her head back. “Let’s make our own fireworks.”

Before she could savor the sexy promise in his words, Ben kissed her. A gentle touch for the space of a heartbeat—well, three beats at the rate Ivy’s heart raced—and then he sank into her mouth, as if it were a feather pillow to cradle him. Firm, deep kisses that somehow contained the richness of melted chocolate, the kick of a strong margarita, and the undeniable allure she’d succumbed to all those months before.

The earth tilted on its axis. No, it was Ben bracing his hand on the back of her chair, tipping it back for a better angle. Her feet dangled in the air. She hooked them around the chair legs in an attempt to anchor herself. Silly, really. The floor had dropped out from under her the minute his tongue slipped in between her lips, tasting, questing. And she knew without a doubt those strong arms wouldn’t let her fall.

Her hands reached out to feel them, to caress the tight, corded steel beneath his jacket. A quiver grew deep in her core at discovering she couldn’t wrap her hands all the way around his biceps. Muscles like that belonged to a broadsword-wielding knight. One who carried her off on a white horse while the crowd cheered.

The crowd cheered. It wasn’t just one of her flights of fancy. Ivy pulled her concentration from where it lay, writhing, somewhere close to the edge of her red lace panties. The roof deck had erupted into applause, catcalls and whistles. Her eyes flew open. She tapped her toe against Ben’s calf, wrenching out of the lip lock.

“We’ve got an audience.”

Undeterred, he nuzzled just below her ear. “Put on a good enough show, maybe we’ll get a free meal out of it.”

Ivy kicked once more, this time aiming the hard point of her sandal against his shin. But she made sure to let the laughter in her throat burble through. “Enough.”

With a gentle tap he lowered the chair to the ground. Then he ran the side of his thumb across her lower lip, setting off one last chain of sparklers in her veins. “Nope. Nowhere close.”

For a man who eschewed romance, he sure managed to say the right things. While Ben straightened his coat and sat back down, Ivy let her brain catch up to her speeding pulse. What the heck just happened? Hadn’t she just spent two endless months trying to get Ben out of her system? To no avail?

It was one thing to accept his invitation to dinner, to try and work through the white hot…whatever that flared through her system every time she looked at him. She’d banked on a couple hours of basic conversation in a noisy restaurant to lay a groundwork of knowledge about what made Bennett Westcott tick. Her master plan for tonight only played out through the end of dinner. A simple dinner between colleagues. With a side order of chemistry sizzling loud enough to drown out the shouts of Opa as a waiter walked past with a platter of flaming saganaki cheese held aloft.

You can read an additional excerpt here.

Bio: Christi Barth earned a Masters degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage. A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning. Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes contemporary romance. Christi lives in Maryland with her husband.

So what’d you think? Does this sound like your kind of romance? P.S. She’s doing a giveaway!! 😀