My new contemporary romance release, Anonymity, explores those feelings of restlessness that we all get from time-to-time, but especially around the new year when we tend to reevaluate where we are compared to where we want to be.
I wrote some tough books in 2013--Free Fall (memoir) and Reckless Endangerment (human trafficking)--and welcomed writing a fun, adventurous, sexy romance that made me smile and laugh out loud all the way to the last page. It felt like a much needed release and a fresh beginning for 2014! Having more fun is one of my goals this year. As Jimmy Buffet says, "Fun is about the best habit there is."
Here's a blurb followed by a sexy excerpt:
New year; new beginnings. Alyssa McNeil is on a mission of breaking free of her comfort zone, reinventing herself, and forgetting the fact that her ex is getting married on New Year's Eve. She's in Belize for a week of sun, fun, adventure, and flirtation. Meeting Luke is an unexpected bonus…falling in love with him, though, simply isn't part of the plan.
Luke Picket is more than happy to go along with her idea of a no strings, uncomplicated weeklong fling. He embraces his bachelor lifestyle and can't see that changing any time soon. But when they find themselves trekking through the jungle and facing turbulent seas together, his hard heart starts to soften.
But they'd agreed on anonymity, on a first-name-only-no-strings love affair, and neither wants to ruin the moment with unwanted declarations. Old beliefs are challenged. Doubts questioned. Will they stick to their deal and go their separate ways when the week is over? Or will the new year bring them a new attitude about love?
Adult Content Excerpt (Yeah, that means sex on the beach.):
He enjoyed teasing her and seeing nervousness battle with boldness. The contradiction fascinated him. He leaned back in his chair and enjoyed his view. Extending his vacation had been the best decision he'd ever made. He hadn't felt this relaxed with anyone in years, not even his family with all of their expectations and concern. Sighing, he watched the torchlight reflect in her eyes.
"If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?" he asked after a long silence.
"The Four Seasons on Fiji...you know the place with the cabanas out over the water? I'd love to go there." She leaned back while the waitress poured them each a glass of wine. "What about you?"
"South Africa on a photo safari."
"Oh, if only we had all the time and the money in the world to indulge our fantasies..." Her eyes darkened at the word 'fantasies'.
He shifted in his seat, suddenly feeling like a teenage boy on his first date. Why did everything she say sound like sexual innuendo to him?
"Time is what you make of it and there's always enough money for your priorities." He tapped his fingers on the table, his gaze steady on hers. "It's hard not asking more about you. There's so much I'd like to know."
"I'm a woman of mystery."
"Well-played. I'm officially intrigued." He toasted her with his glass.
"I like this, it's simple. No pressure."
"You're an easy person to be with, woman of mystery and all. Your ex must be an idiot."
"He's a certifiable moron." She waved a finger at him. "That borders on too personal."
"You'll have to punish me later."
"Are you sure you'll be able to handle it?"
"I can't wait to find out." Damn, he enjoyed flirting with her. The blush on her face warred with the dare in her eyes. He laughed and drank more wine. This is what vacations were meant to be, he felt certain of it.
They ate dinner, discussing topics like global warming, the health of the oceans, and favorite rock bands. It was the best date he'd ever had. Both kept to their promise of zero personal revelations. No talk about work, no trying to impress one another.
One bottle of wine later, dinner ended and possibility stirred between them. All of their flirtation hung in the air as they walked back onto the beach in silence.
He hardened at the slightest physical contact; doubtful he'd be able to be a gentleman much longer. Her body was made for a man's hands with curves he ached to touch. She radiated heat that burned through the clothes separating their bodies as they walked side-by-side down along the water's edge. Shoes dangled from their fingertips as they allowed warm waves to caress their ankles.
Screw it. He only had six more days before returning to his tidy well-constructed life. He stopped, pulled her against him, lifted her up and kissed her.
Hand at the nape of her neck, he pulled back a fraction to look into her eyes. "Are you sure you want this, that you want me? Tell me now before I let myself go."
She wrapped her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist, eyes bright with desire. "I've never been as sure about anything as I am about you right now."
He smiled against her mouth, loving that she was entwined around him like an exotic vine. "You're one intense lady, do you realize that? It's like you're on fire."
"It's an illusion, I'm a fraud," she whispered against his lips.
"I don't think so. Neither of us has anything to gain or lose."
"Stop talking." She kissed him with passion that drove him over the brink of control.
They needed to get someplace—anyplace—private. Now.
Not breaking the kiss, he dropped her gently to her feet. Kissing, touching, laughing, they stumbled down the beach toward the resort. A crowd had assembled on the beach in front of the bar where Dave the One Man Band presided. The group of scuba divers played beach volleyball amidst it all. Maneuvering through them would be a challenge, especially with Savannah overly curious about Alyssa.
"Locals come out for Dave," he said when she simply stared at the transformation from tranquil paradise to party central. "Come here." He dragged her into the gardens surrounding Ramon's Village and pressed her back against a tree. "Feeling adventurous?"
"What do you think?" She pushed her hands beneath his shirt.
His mouth ravaged hers while his hands slid beneath her dress and squeezed her ass. One hand moved up the front of her dress, teased her breast beneath the fabric, while the other inched her panties aside. He felt like a man hell bent to touch her skin.
"Not very romantic, I'll make up for it later. I need to have you."
"I'm not complaining. I want this just as badly as you do." She bit his neck while her fingers fumbled with his zipper. Her hands slid inside his waistband before closing around his erection.
God, he'd never wanted anyone like this. It's like he would die without being inside of her. Urgency pulsated through his veins.
He fumbled with the condom he'd stuffed into his back pocket while he kissed her neck and reveled in her hands moving up and down on him. He lifted her up until they were eye level, her feet off the ground and linking behind his waist. Her hair fell across her eyes when she laughed and lifted her hands over her head to grab the tree at her back.
"You're the sexiest woman I've ever met." He pulled one of the straps of her dress down and squeezed the heavy breast he'd been salivating over since seeing her sitting at the bar. His thumb toyed with her nipple.
He thrust inside of her and felt the velvety tightness envelope him. He grabbed her wrists and held them against the trunk of the tree. She ground her tongue into this mouth.
This was sex, animalistic, raw, intense, passionate, no-holding-back sex.
Closing his eyes, he surrendered to the sensations...the palm tree hard against his knees as he ground his hips against hers, her tongue driving him insane, his mouth on her neck, her breasts pressing against his chest, her heels grinding into his ass, 80s rock music blaring from behind them, people laughing only fifty feet away, ocean lapping against the shore, scent of flowers mixing with barbecue, breeze tossing the palms above them, and the feel of her thighs squeezing him tight.
He hadn't let himself go like this in years, maybe ever.
They came together, both moaning into each other's mouths, eyes wide open, connected in the moment. They laughed against each other's lips, neither pulling apart.
She curled her fingers into his hair. "I want more."
"Insatiable...I like it." His teeth gently tugged her lower lip.
"Best. Vacation. Ever." She kissed him with each word.
"On fire, I'm telling you." He dropped her wrists and smoothed his hands over her breasts. "You're like an inferno."
"Only with you." Curls danced in front of her eyes as she pulled him back for another kiss. "I'm not lying. If I'm on fire, it's because you found the fuse."
"That sounds like a bad song lyric. I think you've been exposed to Dave the Gringo's music too long, we'd better get you inside and away from his influence." He kissed her, not wanting to step away from the tree but knowing they were pushing the limits by staying here too long. Something stirred deep in his chest with her words, with the kiss, with this entire scenario.
She laughed against his mouth before dropping her legs from around him and sliding down his chest. He felt like the entire world would know what they'd been doing in the bushes. He laughed to himself as he stuffed her panties in his pocket. He had never had sex against a palm tree before and definitely never within yards of a group of people. Exhilaration hammered through his heart.
She smoothed hair from his eyes. "You look like you've been having sex on the beach."
"So do you." He turned them into an impromptu dance on the sand, his mouth clinging to hers in a slow kiss, while he held her close.
"You're too good to be true," she whispered. "I can't believe you're real."
"Like you said...it's all an illusion." Regret flashed in her eyes, darkened them in the moonlight, before she looked away.
Maybe it was, but then again maybe it wasn't.
He flattened his palms over her shoulders and wondered at the glimpse of pain he'd seen. Anonymity had its pros...and cons.
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