Friday, September 6, 2013

Lust at first sight (or maybe not quite) KISS ME SLOWLY #romance #asmsg

Mmm...first encounters. I love it when characters in both movies and novels meet for the first time. It sets the tone for what's to come. Sometimes there's snap, crackle, sizzle...or maybe there's that slow burn of borderline contempt that you just know is gonna be fun to watch. Today kicks off a new feature that will run every Friday--Lust at first sight (or maybe not quite). Our favorite romance authors will share a brief excerpt of when their characters first lay eyes on each other. Let's get started!

I'm kicking this off's my blog and I run it like a dictatorship.

“Grace Dupont?” 
She turned, false smile in place, prepared for the usual polite small talk, and froze at the sight of the man in front of her. 
Men like Jonathan Ryan Alexander III had no business walking the earth with mere mortals and tempting sensible women to do ridiculous things without much more than a smile from him. Damn him to hell. Black hair fell across his forehead and emphasized blue eyes the color of the sky over the sea at high noon. She hated him. Hated him, hated him, hated him. She swallowed the scathing words she had rehearsed for years in case she ever saw this snake again, but now she could not even form a syllable. 
“Grace?” he asked again when she merely stared. “Maybe you don’t remember me?” Doubt clouded his blue eyes. “It’s been over a decade…”
 Thirteen years, two weeks and five days…not that she remembered their breakup with much clarity. 
“Jonathan Alexander,” he said when she remained silent with her hands stiffly at her sides. 
She never forgot a face. Details were her forte. And his face still entertained her dreams at least once a week. Damn him yet again for that. She stepped back without taking his hand. Shocked at how similar he seemed to the memory she had held on to all these years, she tried to process the reality of him standing in front of her. Same smile. Same unruly black hair. Same predatory look in his eyes. 
“Lazy Jon, captain of the Lazy Lady. How could I forget?” she said. 
“I sold that boat a long time ago.” 
“And are you still lazy?”
“Are you still crazy?” 
No time for crazy, no time for self-indulgence, no time for trips down memory lane. She resumed walking toward the bar.
“Over the years, I’ve wondered whatever became of that wild girl with the rickety old boat.” He tapped his fingers against the bar while she ordered a much-needed bourbon. 
“Your boat ate that rickety old boat’s wake,” she said with more pride than she should have over an accomplishment so far into her past.
“I used to live for those weekend races down in the Keys,” he muttered more to himself than to her. 
“I heard you were sailing around the world.” She watched him nod even as he tensed. “And now you’re here.”
“And now I’m here.” He cleared his throat and looked at her as if seeing her for the first time. “Can you and your brother meet me at my office tonight? As soon as possible. I need your help.”
So much for small talk. She liked that. Straight to business. Zero nostalgia. 
“You need a forensic accountant, Mr. Alexander?” She sipped her drink and studied his profile. She would know him anywhere. Those blue eyes, that wide mouth, that long body…yes, she remembered. And she wished she didn’t. Another reason to hate him: the imprint he had left on her soul. 
“Call me Jon. You know me well enough, don’t you think?” Despite his grin, he looked troubled, almost scared. “I've heard that Dupont and Dupont are the best forensic accountants in Miami,” he whispered, “and I’d like to run some things by you.”
“Some things?” Instinct told her trouble had tied itself around him like an anchor. And she had vowed to stay out of trouble…at least for a few days. Hadn’t she just told Jerry they needed to lay low?
“I can’t get into the details here,” he said again, his voice low enough for only her to hear, “but if you don’t help me I'm confident I’ll either be in jail or dead by Monday.”
“So dramatic.” She chewed the inside of her lip. “Since today is Saturday, you’re not much of an optimist, are you?”
“No time for optimism. I need your help. Now. Tonight. Yes or no? This is urgent.”

She couldn’t look directly into his eyes. With a faint smile, she remembered more than a few particularly rowdy nights where Crazy Gracie and Lazy Jon had gotten down and dirty in the sand and against a palm tree or two. She could still taste him, feel his hips pressed against hers, feel him between her legs, hear his promises against her ear. Heat rolled across her skin at the memory. She held the cold glass to her neck.
“Urgent, hm?” A glimmer of fear entered his eyes and cracked her resolve to stay out of his business. “That’s a big word…urgent.”
“Urgent understates the problem,” he said. 
“I would think an operation as large as Alexander-Bennett would have a team of excellent accountants…why do you need us?”
“I can’t discuss it here.” He shifted his weight until he stood tall and straight in the dim light. “Will you meet me in my office tonight? Right now. Leave with me.”
Bad idea. Tell him to go to hell. Watch him slink out of here defeated. Do. Not. Look. Directly. Into. His. Eyes. Forget him. Again. 
“Let’s go now.” She pushed away from the railing and set her empty glass on a nearby chair. “Urgent is urgent, so let’s get started.” She noticed Jerry walking toward them with Alejandro beside him. “I like to avoid trouble.” She smiled as she said the words. “Unlike my brother, I prefer flying beneath the radar, if you know what I mean.”
“I know exactly what you mean.” He followed her gaze to Jerry and Alejandro. “I need to drop my fiancĂ©e off at her house, and then I’ll meet you at the office. I’ll tell the front desk that I’m expecting you.”
With a nod, he left her standing at the bar and walked to Ashley’s side. From her perspective, the conversation wasn’t going well as he led her toward the elevators. 
“Great, let me guess…you insulted him and ended all chances of us doing business with Alexander-Bennett,” Jerry said as he watched Jonathan stride toward the exit. 
“Hardly. He has an urgent matter for us to look into. I’m meeting him at his offices now.” She looked at Alejandro and braced herself for impact. 
“What kind of urgent matter drags you from a party on a Saturday night?” Alejandro asked with an annoyed slice of his hand through the air. “You can’t be serious.”
“She is serious.” Jerry frowned, too. “I should come.”
“No, you stay and make Simon happy. I’ll call you.” She met Alejandro’s gaze. “Both of you. I promise.”
She walked away without looking back. Jon Ryan waited for her—no, needed her—the man who had braved the ocean alone, the man who had once been the boy who had rocked her world, the man who had essentially begged her to help him, the man she had vowed to hate for the rest of her life.
She liked the begging. Liked it a lot. She laughed a little as she ground her thumb against the elevator’s down button.

Trapped in a set-up that could have him in jail or dead by Monday, Jonathan Alexander trusts no one in his inner circle. It’s Saturday. His only hope is Grace Dupont, the best forensic accountant in Miami. But there’s a glitch with that idea. She’s also his ex-girlfriend who'd rather watch him drown than throw him a life vest. Going to her feels desperate…because he is.

Grace enjoys seeing Jonathan squirm. On your knees boy, she thinks as he pitches for her help. Always a sucker for the dark-haired-blue-eyed boys, she risks her precariously balanced life of secrets to help him. Helping him slaps a target on her back–she’s the key to proving his innocence and that’s a bad, bad thing.

Tangled up in a whirlwind of conspiracy, murder, million dollar money trails and diamond smuggling, Jonathan and Grace flee to the sea to stall for time to prove his innocence. Romance sizzles beneath Florida Keys’ sunshine. Both scoff at happy endings. Both doubt justice. Both know each kiss could be their last.
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1 comment:

Happycolors and Granny Gee... That's Me! said...

I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect! :))) Gloria