(6) $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Cards
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Winners for the (6) Grand Prizes will be drawn and announced on THE ROMANCE TROUPE blog by June 10th.
Here on Kisses, Caresses, & Whispers in the Night I am giving away a $25 Amazon or BN gift card so the potential to win is high! However, to win here there's a catch: You must leave a comment regarding my post, not just your email address. I'll have a question at the end. See how I am? Yep, I'm tricky like that.
Sizzling Summer Nights
Whenever I think of summer and romance, I think of songs like "Summer of '69' by Bryan Adams or movies like Grease (Summer Lov'n...anyone else know that song?) I remember being a young college student hanging out by the lake at night with my boyfriend sitting on a dock watching the moonlight flicker on the water, skinny dipping, making out on a towel, and our laughter echoing over the waves. I remember sitting on the hood of his car drinking beer and believing we had a forever kind of love.
I think of being a little bit older, and lying with my husband in the hammock watching meteor showers while the kids slept soundly inside the house. We'd hold hands and whisper while pine trees swayed overhead. Stolen kisses and moments that reminded us of why we fell in love in the first place.
Summer nights and romance go hand in hand. Kisses are sweeter, nights are longer, clothes are skimpier, and possibilities are endless. When you think of summer romance, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it recent memory or one of a boy from long ago who made you laugh on a dock on a lake far away? Please share in the comments with your email address for a chance to win.
Here's an excerpt of my new release, just in time for summer reading! Dancing Barefoot is a contemporary romance about breaking free of the status quo, daring to risk all that you've worked for on a dream, and embracing a life of extraordinary possibility.
"I." He kissed her lightly. "Will." He slid his mouth from her lips to the line of her jaw. "Never." His tongue flicked over her earlobe. "Date you."
Somehow she'd kicked off the high heel and now her bare foot slid up the side of his lower leg. "Yes, you will."
He laughed at her audacity, relieved to see that fire in her eyes. "It is good to know you have big dreams, Jess."
"Ava said you'd make Boston your home base if only I asked." She moved her hand over the bulge in his pants and grinned with satisfaction. "I know there's a lot of heartache here, that you don't trust me, but the way I see it, you're worth me making a fool of myself over."
He couldn't believe her, even though he wanted to very much. He'd given back the ring, said all he had to say, had vowed to erase her from his heart. The gallery idea with Miranda had slipped from his lips without conscious intent. Looking at her now, he knew it would be too risky to let her close.
"And then what? I leave for South America, you have a fit about me wandering off, we break up again? Is that how this will play out?"
"Technically, we never broke up," she whispered, gaze intent on his. "We never had a fight, I still wore the ring, so did you."
"You're confusing me and I don't like it." His dropped his forehead against hers and tried desperately to reign in his desire.
"If you don't want a date, then let's go back to my place, lock the door and see what happens."
"You know what would happen." He grabbed her wrists and made her stop touching him. "What are you really asking me, Jess?"
"What do you want?"
“You're ashamed of me, of what we were to one another. Didn’t you say that last week? Yes, you said you don’t talk about Italy to anyone here.” He knew it was the truth when her eyes darted away from him. “You don’t want anyone here to know about our affair. You don’t want your lover to get upset—”
“You have the wrong idea about Marc. He—”
“Stop lying. Is it even possible for you to stop?” He pressed his thigh between hers, pushing her tighter against the bark of the tree. “You two are lovers. Deny it.”
She dropped her head against tree trunk and stared at him. “It’s complicated.”
“Of course it is. Nothing with you is simple. Come back to my hotel with me. Right now. Intervene.”
"You think I won't, but I will." Her lips trembled, eyes searched his.
His gaze locked on her mouth. “Is that your plan? Seduce me away from Simone? How would Marc feel about that?”
“Stop throwing him in my face.”
“You want me back in your bed, Jess? Is that all you want? Sex and nothing more?”
Blue eyes darkened to indigo. Body shifted toward him. Teeth bit into her bottom lip. He knew she wanted him, but he wanted more than that.
“Do you want me to beg?” Her hands settled on his hips.
“Yes, I do. Beg me.”
The war in her eyes was evident.
“No more.” He closed his eyes. “We aren't capable of a casual affair and you know it. We'll get sucked in and then what?”
“It could be different this time. We'll make it work.”
"Why the change of mind? Ava? Last Friday night? What? Why? If you hadn't seen me last week, I wouldn't be on your mind at all. If I hadn't come to Boston for the exhibit, we would not be standing here. If I am the great love of your life, then you would have tried to contact me and explain. According to Kevin, I have a huge social media following. Not too hard to catch up to me. I don't trust you. I don't trust this, not at all. Are you using me again? Is this promotion scaring you and I happened along at the right time?"
"I never used you, never. I thought about contacting you so many times, but what would I say? Then what? I waited too long, was too messed up—maybe still am, I don't know—I didn't know how to say what I felt. Think of all the places you've been in the past five years, all you would have given up for me."
When she stopped speaking, he started thinking. Without opening his eyes, he moved his hands over her arms, felt the softness of her dress beneath his fingertips, heard her sharp intake of breath, felt her lips caress his chin.
He shook his head, reality waking him up like a cold shower. “We no longer fit.”
Her hands fisted in his shirt when he tried to step away. “What does that mean?”
“It means I think you and Marc will have a nice life together.”
“Marc and I are not a couple. He does his thing and I do mine, that's it.” Her hold on him intensified.
He looked at her—really looked—and saw a woman who was as far removed from his lifestyle as he was from a corporate boardroom.
“I haven’t been fair to you. I came back here hoping to see you, that’s true. All of it was designed to open that door for me.” Confusion twisted his thoughts into meaningless meanderings going nowhere. “We were what we were and had what we had. I gave you back the ring, meant what I said. We've had our closure, bellazza mia. The end.”
“The end?” Fire returned to her eyes.
“I look forward to seeing you at the gallery on Friday. I hope you'll change your mind about showing your art.” A hole opened up where his heart once existed. “You should be there with me, like Ava says. You were there in the beginning—”
“The beginning.” Her eyes flickered with pain. “There are other reasons that I keep Italy to myself, Jacques.”
“What other reasons?”
"You're mine, my memory, mine alone. I don't share you, us, with anyone who wasn't there because no one would understand the magnitude of it. I don't tell anyone because it's sacred to me, you, Ava, our life together that summer...sacred to me." She shook her head, disbelief and sadness transforming her eyes into the color of the deep ocean. “Even when I boarded the plane home, I thought somehow, someway we'd be together. That's why I didn't leave a note, I was trying to figure it out. I didn't want it to end, but I needed to come home. I returned too late, I know I screwed up, but I never intended to end us, can't you see that? Now we have a chance to begin again. Brand new. Jessica and Jacques the sequel. Think about how amazing it could be.”
She made him doubt himself. The look in her eyes, the way her hands fisted in the material of his shirt at his waist, the longing that emanated from her. It was as if he had been caught beneath a wave and didn’t know which way was up.
Without answering, he disengaged from her and strode across the park. He had to give up the idea of her, surrender the notion that they'd once had a great love affair. Memory had a way of glossing over reality. He broke his stride and looked over his shoulder. She leaned against the trunk of the tree, a vision in yellow surrounded by green.
And he wondered why walking away felt so damn wrong.
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