On August 4, 207 my fifth MacQuire Women book, PASSION’S PALETTE gets released in the romance book reading world from The Wild Rose Press! I’m so thrilled. I want to share another little snippet from the pages with you today to whet your appetites ( I hope!)
Portrait Artist Serena MacQuire is talented, witty, and successful…in everything but love. Her gift for capturing people on canvas is rivaled only by her fiery and legendary temper. A tragedy from the past keeps her heart securely locked away, preventing any man from getting close enough to claim it.
But Seamus Cleary isn’t just any man. Relationship-shy and dedicated to his work as an animal healer, the last thing the divorced Veterinarian is looking for when he moves to town is love. The more he tends to Serena’s horses, though, the more he realizes her own heart needs tender care and healing as well.
Will he be the man who, finally, unlocks and cures her broken heart?
Gingerly, Serena traced the scar lining his mouth down to his chin with her finger, then replacing it with her lips and tongue.
His breath hissed at the touch. “Serena—”
“How did you get this?” she asked.
Sighing, he laid his forehead against hers. “It’s a stupid story,” he said.
“That just means it’s embarrassing,” she said, grinning. “Tell me.”
He rolled over on his back and curled her into his side, her head resting on his chest.
“I was helping my dad and mom renovate another house when I was fifteen. They’d given me the job of restoring the banister leading to the second story. It was a lot of responsibility, and I was determined to do a good job since they’d put their trust in me.”
“I get the feeling you were always a responsible kid.”
He considered it for a moment. “Maybe. But we’d moved around a lot by then and I think I really just wanted the house to be so perfect they would finally settle and put down roots. It was hard, always packing up and moving, changing schools. Luckily I had football, was good at it, so wherever we’d wind up I always had an entrée.”
“I can just picture you,” she said with a grin. “Tall and gangly. All arms and legs. Like a monkey.”
His mouth pursed into a thin line. “Do you want to hear this or not?”
With a giggle, she kissed his chin. “I do.”
He took a deep breath. “Fifteen year old boys have two things on their minds ninety-nine percent of the time.”
“I know one is food,” Serena said “My sister’s, well I guess you can call him her step-son, Cole, is fourteen and he eats without stopping. David’s like a teenager, maturity-wise, so same goes.”
Nodding, Seamus trailed his fingers down her bare arm. “That’s one.”
“And the other?”
He didn’t answer her for a moment and she sat up on an elbow to stare down at him. “Oh, my God, are you blushing?”
He rolled his eyes. “Men don’t blush. The other is girls. Or more specifically, sex with girls.”
Her laughter flittered up to the canopy above them. “You have to tell me the rest of it now, or my imagination’s not going to let up.”
He squinted up at her and in one fluid motion, rolled both of them on the blanket, landing on top of her.
“What a horrible name.” She laughed.
“Her name could have been Attila the Hun for all I cared. She was seventeen, built like a Playboy bunny and had legs that went from heaven and back again.”
“I hate her already.”
“Yeah, well, at the time I was seriously in lust with her. Her house was next door to the one we were rehabbing and she would come over whenever I was there working, to talk.”
“Well, she talked. I stared. Open mouthed, most of the time. At her breasts.”
“I really hate her now.”
He grinned down at her. “She had world class breasts. Even at seventeen.”
Serena socked him in the bicep. “Back to the scar, Romeo.”
Wanting her more with every passing second, he said, “I was sanding the banister, getting all the old varnish and stain off it, when she came by. She had on a bikini top and Daisy Duke cut offs shorter than most underpants. My hormones were blasting. I shut off the electric sander and, not thinking, plunked it down on the saw horse I had on the staircase with me.”
“This is the stupid part. The sawhorse wasn’t very stable and I forgot about the hammer sitting on the plank. When the sander bumped next to it, it kind of careened the hammer up into the air.”
“Oh, my God.”
“I know it all happened in a few seconds, but it seemed like hours watching the hammer take flight, twist and come at me, the jagged edge facing me. It caught the corner of my mouth and as I tried to move out of the way, it tore at my face.”
“Seamus. Good grief, what did you do?”
“I didn’t do anything. I must have been in shock. My mother, unfortunately, watched the whole thing happen and couldn’t stop it. She screamed for my father and they hustled me into the car and to the nearest emergency room.”
Serena’s fingers came up and traced the scar again.
“Thirty stitches later and with a stern warning from my folks about safety and paying attention, here we are.”
“What happened with Carolyn Needleman?”
He smiled, slowly, remembering how she’d come by his house the next day bearing ice cream and, in an attempt to make him feel better, allowing him to play with her exceptional breasts.
“I don’t like the implications of that smile,” Serena said. “Tell me.”
He shrugged. “She went off to college in the fall and I never saw her again.”
One eyebrow crawled dangerously close to her hairline. “Why am I not convinced that’s all there is?”
“It’s my story and I’m sticking with it,” he said, bringing his lips down to hers.
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