Tag Archives: First Impressions

Apple Picking with Cleary’s – Snarkology Halloween Blog Hop

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Welcome to the 2016 SNARKOLOGY BLOG HOP! At the end of this post you’ll see a list of links you can click on to visit other authors participating in the great hop-event.

Fall in New England is a magical time. The leaves turn lawns into  a hodgepodge, chaos patchwork of colors. Jack-0-lanterns sit on doorsteps, cut into funny or scary or even artistic faces. There’s a brisk, crisp, and clear bite to the morning air. One of my favorite things about autumn, and especially autumn in New England, is apple picking. There are hundreds of family owned farms dotted in every town and there’s nothing more fun that a hayride up a mountainside to an orchard chock filled with delicious, sweet and tart apples.

We took my daughter every year of her life until she left for college. We’d pick our favorite apples, then bring them home and makes pies, can applesauce and jelly, and even used our juicer to make fresh apple juice. I have a picture of my daughter every year from ages 2-18 taken in our favorite town apple orchard.

I love apple picking so much, I just had to include a scene in my book FIRST IMPRESSIONS, where Padric Cleary takes Clarissa Rogers apple picking for the very first time in her life. If you look closely at the cover here, you can see they are in an orchard!firstimpressions_w9816_2_85-copy

Clarissa has had a sheltered life and never had an opportunity to do any fun-family type things growing up since she was raised by an elderly grandmother, whereas Pat’s life has been filled with his loving family and all sorts of adventures.

Here’s a little snippet of that scene:

“Come on. Let’s pick.”

They strolled along row after row of apple-laden trees, looking for the perfect additions to put in their pail. The fresh, pungent smell of the fruit ripening on the trees, the cool, subtle fall breeze billowing about them, even the riot of changing colors in the panorama of hills surrounding them, all had Clarissa thinking this was a perfect day. She wanted to memorize every part of it.

At one point, Pat pulled out his phone and said, “Let’s get a picture of your first time.” He pulled her in close and with the orchard framed behind them, held up the phone.

“A selfie? Really?” She laughed out loud. “How old are you?”

“Sixteen. Smile like you’re having fun and enjoying this.”

“I am,” she said, facing the camera and doing as he asked.

She heard the shutter click several times before he lowered the phone. “How many did you take?”

“A couple.” He played with the phone for a few seconds, then stuck it into his back pocket. “You need a few to get the perfect shot.”

This sweet encounter sets the tone for their relationship – Pat wants to introduce Clarissa to everything she missed out on growing up and he wants her to experience it all –  with him.

So, I have a question for you: what’s your favorite, fun, Fall thing to do? It can be anything from taking rides up the coastline and being a “leaf Peeper,” to apple picking, or even canning fruits and veggies. Place your favorite thing in the comment section below and on November 1, 2016 I’ll pick 2 winners to receive an e-copy (KINDLE) each of FIRST IMPRESSIONS.

And please, stop by the other authors participating in this blog. There’s a great story in each and every one of them, plus a chance on a rafflecopter prize! Here’s the link. Click on it and it will bring you to a landing page with all the other HOp Paricipants PLUS  the links to the rafflecopter prizes. And those are plenty!!!

Hop Authors and rafflecopter prizes

 

 

 

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The Cleary House…ABA Halloween Blog Hop

 

halloween-hop1-680x863-1For this lovely Halloween Blog Hop, I wanted to give you a little view of how I envision the Cleary house from FIRST IMPRESSIONS. The book takes place in the Fall. Since the East Coast is so lovely this time of year, I simply had to set the plot in what many consider the most beautiful place to be in the autumn, namely, New England.

Seamus Cleary bought the rundown, abandoned farmhouse when he first came to Carvan, thirty years ago, and spared no expense restoring it. He found out from Serena  MacQuire that the farm was originally owned by the Johannsen family. When Mrs. Johannsen died, her husband was so grief stricken he wouldn’t let anyone take her body from the home. Serena’s mother, Alaina, was the one to convince him to do so. Ever since then, the house has stood vacant. The villagers in Carvan believe Mr Johannsen haunts the house – something Seamus wasn’t told when he purchased it! A native of Scotland, Seamus isn’t one to be bothered by the thoughts of ghosts and hauntings, though. This is the house he brought Serena to as a bride, and the one in which their 4 children grew up in.  In fact, twins Padric (FIRST IMPRESSIONS) and Moira (THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME) were born in the guest room because their parents couldn’t get to the hospital fast enough!

All my MacQuire Women stories take place in the fictional town of Carvan, Connecticut. Since FIRST IMPRESSIONS is an autumn story, I pictured the Cleary house as decorated for the season much like this:

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I can picture the 4 Cleary kids running around this farm in Halloween costumes, helping their mom give out the candy to the Trick-or-Treaters who come by, and generally just enjoying a childhood steeped in love and laughter.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS tells Padric  Cleary and Clarissa Rogers’ story.

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Family Practice Doctor Clarissa Rogers’ first impression of Padric Cleary is biased and based on gossip. The handsome, charming veterinarian is considered a serial dater and commitment-phobic by his family and most of the town. Relationship shy, Clarissa refuses to lose her heart to a man who can’t pledge himself to her forever.

Pat Cleary, despite his reputation, is actually looking for “The One.” When he does give his heart away, he wants it to be for life. With his parent’s marriage as his guidebook, he wants a woman who will be his equal and soul mate in every way.

Can Pat convince everyone – including Clarissa – she’s the only woman for him?

I’ll be giving away 1 free e-copy ( from AMAZON) of FIRST IMPRESSIONS to a lucky winner who tells me this:

What Halloween candy was your favorite one to receive when you trick-or-treated as a kid?

Leave me your answer in the comments section of my blog post.

Have a wonderful, candy-filled Halloween, and don’t forget to visit the plethora of wonderful authors participating in this blog hop!

1. Casi McLean ~ A Haunting Halloween 2. Anna Durand ~ Spunk & Hunks
3. Claire Gem 4. Tena Stetler ~ Colorado Hauntings
5. Sorchia DuBois 6. Tricia Schneider
7. J. Rose Allister 8. Nell Castle
9. Jana Richards 10. Linda Nightingale ~ Wordsmith
11. Kayden Claremont ~ Tartan Temptation 12. Holland Rae
13. K.K. Weil 14. Peggy Jaeger
15. Maureen Bonatch 16. Jeannie Hall
17. Beth Caudill 18. Mary Morgan
19. Karen Michelle Nutt 20. Hywela Lyn ~ Romance That’s ‘Out Of This World’
21. Whitney Cannavina 22. Devon McKay
23. Starr Gardinier 24. Erin Bevan
25. Nancy S Reece 26. Kathryn Knight ~The Haunted Jail Haunting Halloween
27. Judy Davis ~ A Writer’s Revelations 28. Katie O’Sullivan
29. Darlene Fredette 30. Alicia Dean
31. Lisa DeVore

 

 

 

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A picture is worth….?

What my characters look like is important to me. I’m one of the most visual people you will ever meet. Yes, I’m nosy, and will ask 1 million questions when I meet you, but…

I will also be looking you over from head to toe. Not blatantly; not rudely; but very, very  intensely. The color of your hair, eyes, the way you carry yourself, the clothes you wear, if you wear flats or high heels… all those things are important to me. And the reason they are is because when I think about you, the person, I get a mental picture of what you actually look like. One of the greatest things about smart phones is when you’re receiving a call from somebody now you can actually have their picture show up on the display  as the phone is ringing so you know exactly who it is  calling. Love that.

But I digress.

Whenever I start a new book and I get to meet my characters, I always look for pictures online or in magazines of people I think they will resemble. For instance, in my most recent novel, First Impressions, Clarissa Rogers in my mind was a young looking Julia Roberts. Think Steel Magnolias. Mid back length curly cinnamon colored hair, flashing chocolate colored eyes. Padrick  Cleary  is a dead ringer for Matt Bomer. A simply gorgeous, delicious man.

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When I was writing the book and creating dialogue between the two I actually had their pictures on my desk so that I could refer to them while I was writing dialogue tags and visceral descriptions.  I do this with all my stories. I need to know what my people look like when they are smiling, frowning, crying, and  even eating. It shouldn’t surprise you to discover you can find pictures of just about anyone well known doing anything from sleeping to running, online. And yes I will admit, I feel a little voyeuristic when I do this, but for the creative processes of description and narration it really is beneficial for me to have an actual photograph of  what I think my character looks like.

We live in a very visual society. How we look to others is way more important than it should be, but is a very telling fact. When someone reads my  novels I really want them to get a feel for  what the characters look like. I do this when I read other people’s books. I have a picture in my mind based on the author’s description of the character and I try to liken it to someone well known to me, be it an actress, actor or even a personal friend.  This really gets me invested in the story. I simply love knowing what people look like, characters as well.  I’ve read some stories that will describe the character as, “a young Julie Andrews”  or “Marlon Brando –ish.”  That’s all well and good and it does bring a picture of what the character looks like to your mind. But for my purposes I would rather describe the young Julie Andrews, denoting her short cropped golden blonde hair and centered, angular chin to my reader than to let them fill in the blanks.  This may have something to do with my sense of wanting to be in control of what the reader thinks when they read my words. I’ll have to ponder on that and get back to you…

So, when you write your character descriptions, do you have someone in mind they resemble? Do you, like I do, go online or research through magazines looking for someone who can depict your character to perfection? And if you don’t, then how do you come up with a description? Does it come out of your head? Do you base it on someone you’ve seen on a corner? In the Mall? How does this person jump to life for you so  you can make the character jump to life for me?

You knew this was coming… Let’s discuss…

Coming soon:: 3 Wishes, A Candy Hearts Story 2/8/16 from The Wild Rose Press. Buy Links available soon

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Mannerisms mean more…

I’m currently reading an exceptional book titled, Getting Into Character: 7 Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors, by Brandilyn Collins. Collins shows you how using the techniques actors use to “get inside the heads of their characters” can help you flesh out more realistic, memorable characters of your own in your writing. One of the fascinating aspects of this is developing and incorporating character traits or mannerisms.

Each one of us has some individual mannerism that helps define and shape how we present ourselves to others. For example, when I get nervous around people ( which is most of the time!) I have a habit of folding my hands in front of myself because they tend to shake and I don’t want anyone to notice the shaking. In my latest book. First Impressions, I gave that mannerism to my heroine, Clarissa, because she, too, is nervous when she meets new people. The hero notices it and whenever he spots this behavior, he attempts to quell her nerves. I know… le sigh!

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I know someone who, when she gets angry, instead of blustering and bellowing with rage, becomes deathly quiet and speaks so lowly, it forces everyone around her to listen. What a powerful tool that is. I’m incorporating it into my next heroine.

Think of characters you have read or seen on television. What quirks made them memorable? Would Columbo have been as memorable if it hadn’t been for the way he cocked his head, squinted an eye and said, “just one  more thing, if I may?” How about Magnum, P.I.? Forget about Tom Selleck’s moustache for a moment and think about the way he lifted his eyebrows and grinned whenever he wanted to be charming. Worked for me. Or how about Arthur Fonzerelli, aka The Fonz? Would he be as cool and remarkable if he hadn’t entered every room saying “Ayyyyyyy?” Or more recently, what about Fox Muldur and all those sunflower seeds he was perpetually eating?Columbo_resize_2

Think of some of your own favorites, because as you can see, these all date me as a 70’s and 80’s chick!

 

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In an old Agatha Christie Hercule Poirot book, whose title I can’t for the life of me remember, Poirot was able to catch a criminal who was an expert at disguises because whenever the bad guy ate bread, he would pull it apart into little pieces. Poirot spotted the guy doing this at a cafe and voila! Bad guy caught.

I think for the next few posts I’ll be discussing character development this way, and referring to the Collins book.

But first, here’s a sigh worthy photo:

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Le sigh*****

So, what character traits do you find fascinating, in books, or tv, or movies? Let’s discuss….

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My Sexy Saturday #119

mysexySatWelcome to the 119th week of My Sexy Saturday.  This week’s theme: Imagine Sexy   Click on this link to see the slew of sexy writing authors on this blog hop. Who knows…you might find your next favorite author.

This week’s theme is Imagine Sexy. As writers of sexy books, we have all imagined sexy. Whether he comes riding in on a horse or in a space ship, we know sexy. We know how it looks, we know how it tastes and feels and the sounds associated with sexy. We can imagine each and every one of them. And this week we want you to share what you’ve imagined as an author about sexy. Readers can’t wait to read more about your sexy imagination.

Sexy can be anything, such as romantic moments like walks on the beach, a home cooked meal or even in another galaxy. It could be two lovers here on Earth dreaming about the day where they go on a magical vacation to another planet. Or staying right here at one of those wonderful places we can find in our own world.

Readers want to see those characters, the ones who can’t get enough of each other as well as ones who are fighting their way back to being part of the world once again. These are the types of characters they can’t forget, the one they want to take home and keep forever. Readers love the kisses, the looks or touch of each and every one of our characters.

Sexy has nothing to do with looks or status or even wealth. It doesn’t demand perfection and it isn’t pretentious but it does make us want to read those books.

We know that everyone has their own idea of sexy and we all love sexy!

Here’s a little sumthin sumthin’ from my newest release FIRST IMPRESSIONS. 

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From the doorway, he went unnoticed as his eyes scanned the room. His mother was at the stove, his father next to her, his arms crossed over his chest, listening intently to something Alastair was saying. Dennis Cleary, Pat’s other brother, home for the weekend from college, sat at the table in conversation with Quentin Stapleton. His brand new wife, Moira, Pat’s twin sister, stood next to him. Each sported a deep tan and Moira had one hand on her husband’s shoulder, her hip snuggled against him, as she spoke with Clarissa Rogers.

The good doctor’s attention was focused on his sister, a small smile dancing across her utterly desirable and kissable mouth. A mouth he’d almost kissed yesterday in the hallway of her clinic.

Pat remembered in graphic detail how the thought to take those lips with his had blossomed in his mind while they’d been speaking about his father. Her perfect mouth was plump and naturally pink, and all he could think about was what it would taste and feel like against his own.

Clarissa had mistaken his momentary lust-filled lapse for something else, and worry for him had quickly risen in her eyes. He’d pleaded a quick retreat to save himself further embarrassment, when in truth, he’d wanted nothing more than to stand there, all afternoon, and be with her.

As she stood so casually in his parent’s kitchen, Pat was struck with the notion she looked like she belonged there, with his family, as one of them.

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My Sexy Saturday #117 While you were sexy…

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This week’s theme is a take on the movie, While You Were Sleeping, and can be fun, quirky or not. So many things can happen while you were sexy…things like falling in love with someone other than your boyfriend/girlfriend…or maybe taking a risk you wouldn’t normally take. That’s what the movie is all about…having a dream and risking for that dream…only to find it wasn’t what you really wanted or needed anyway. Our stories have lots of those type themes.

Love is a dream for some, a risk for others. Sometimes it’s fulfilled or sometimes it just isn’t what the characters imagined. Remember Scarlett O’Hara at the end of Gone With The Wind…she realized she never really loved Ashley to begin with…it was Rhett all along. We think you get the drift of what this week’s theme is. But we want more and we definitely want it hotter than ever before. So show us those sexy, hot characters in those sexy, hot stories.

Sexy can be anything, such as romantic moments like walks on the beach, a home cooked meal or even in another galaxy. It could be two lovers here on Earth dreaming about the day where they go on a magical vacation to another planet. Or staying right here at one of those wonderful places we can find in our own world.

Sexy has nothing to do with looks or status or even wealth. It doesn’t demand perfection and it isn’t pretentious but it does make us want to read those books.

click on this link to read the other authors in this weeks MSSBlogHop.

                           FIRST IMPRESSIONS 

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Here’s a little thought process from Pat Cleary. He’s beginning to realize Clarissa Rogers may just be what he’s needed in his hectic busy like.

He grabbed his cell phone from where it rested on his desk, and pressed the screen. He’d programmed one  of the pictures he’d taken of him and Clarissa in the apple orchard as his screen display. He’d stared at it so many times since that day. Just seeing how happy and relaxed they both looked made him feel better no matter how busy or tiring his day was. He wanted to see her smile like that every day.

And at him.

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Snarkology Halloween Hop – Pumpkins Everywhere!

Snarkology Halloween Blog Hop 2015

WELCOME to the 2015 Snarkology Halloween Hop. From now until October 31 ( Halloween, anyone?!) click here to Follow the hop for more fun, great books, and awesome prizes plus, visit almost 70 authors, all with a Halloween story to tell. And don’t forget to enter for a chance at a rafflecopter prize. Just click the highlighted rafflecopter word in the previous sentence to be entered.

FALL is my absolute favorite time of the year, bar none. I live in New England,  home of Leaf Peeping Season, re-enactments of the Salem Witch Trials, and apple picking – just to name a very few.

There’s nothing better to me than apple picking at a local farm once the fruit is ripe and ready, or carving a series of  Halloween pumpkins into gruesome and scary faces. I live in a town that has the distinction of being the Guinness World record holder for a number of  years for the most lit jack-o-lanterns at one time, an event we natives call “The Pumpkin Festival.

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My daughter was just 5 when we attended our very first Pumpkin Festival. We met tourists from all over the United States, who’d come in for the three-day weekend/event to help us crack the Guinness Record.  And we did. And then went on for several more years to hold- and increase-the record.

During one Presidential political campaign year, George Bush ( 43) came with a carved pumpkin and added it to our count. On the dozens of towers set about our downtown you could find any sort of carving from intricate, professionally artist-carved ones to kindergartener simplistic ones with happy triangular cut-outs.pumpkin6  At twilight, all the pumpkins were lit with votive candles, and then the official count was done by the Guinness representatives. As these pictures show, 30,000+ lit jack-o-lanterns is an amazing sight to behold.pumpkin 5

The Pumpkin festival was a source of unending pride for our little ‘burg because it united all of us from every political party, religious persuasion, age, ethnic background, and economic class in an event that not only increased our tourism rate by the thousandth-fold, but also served as a beacon for all our citizens, and a source of civic self-respect. My town truly became a unified community for those three days in October.

As I said, I love the fall and I love New England, so  for those reasons, I set my newest book FIRST IMPRESSIONS in the autumn season. There’s apple picking, pie making, and even a Red Sox game depicted in the novel. The cover art is simply the best illustration of this season for me: Two lovers, kissing, in an apple orchard in September. If that isn’t swoon-worthy, I don’t know what is!

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Autumn in the North East…does it get any better???

SNARKOLOGY HALLOWEEN HOP

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Our Sexy Love

Welcome to the 114th week of My Sexy Saturday.

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This week’s theme: Our Sexy Love

The theme this week can mean anything from a couple who have been together a long time, even forever or it could be about a couple whose love is new and hot and very sexy. It could be about couples pulled apart only to find each other again, maybe even in another lifetime. These stories are hot and sexy and everything our readers want and expect from us. They are sexy and can happen anywhere, anytime or in any universe.

If your story has one or more of these fabulous moments with some very sexy, hot characters in a love that’s destined to last forever, please share them with us…share all those sexy moments that you have between your characters …remember every relationship is important!

Sexy can be anything, such as romantic moments like walks on the beach, a home cooked meal or even in another galaxy. It could be two lovers here on Earth dreaming about the day where they go on a magical vacation to another planet. Or staying right here at one of those wonderful places we can find in our own world.

Readers want to see those characters, the ones who can’t get enough of each other as well as ones who are fighting their way back to being part of the world once again. These are the types of characters they can’t forget, the one they want to take home and keep forever. Readers love the kisses, the looks or touch of each and every one of our characters.

Sexy has nothing to do with looks or status or even wealth. It doesn’t demand perfection and it isn’t pretentious but it does make us want to read those books.

We know that everyone has their own idea of sexy and we all love sexy! Click on the link below to find your next favorite Sexy author. But first……

here’s a snippet of sexy love from my newest romance novel FIRST IMPRESSIONS. Serena and Seamus have been married for almost 30 years, but the passion has never burned out for them…

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“How are you feeling, Dad?”

Seamus held up his bandaged arm. “My arm’s a little sore, but my pride’s worse. Still can’t believe the dog got me.”

Serena sat next to her husband and reached over to take his hand in hers. “Admit it, Seamus,” she said, laughter pulling at the corners of her mouth, “you’re not as fast as you used to be.”

“I’ll show you who’s fast.” He moved so quickly, Pat blinked and his mother was pulled into his father’s lap, his arms securely around her. Capturing her lips with his own, he gave her a resounding kiss that had her laughter bubbling through to the surface.

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Food for Thought

Welcome to the MFRWBookHooksBlogHop.

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Click on the link below to find your next favorite author. But first….

here’s a little snippet from my newest release FIRST IMPRESSIONS. A simple dinner between friends is never as simple as it seems…

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In the next instant, Pat’s stomach rumbled loud enough to be heard above the kitten’s deafening purrs.

Clarissa tried to contain her giggle so she wouldn’t startle the animal, but when Pat’s neck heated with a ruddy flare and he thrust his hands into his pockets, she couldn’t hold it in.

He squinted at her, and, with a menacing glare, pushed nearer to her. “You’re always quietly laughing at me,” he said, stopping so close she could feel his hot, moist breath on her face. “I can’t figure out why I want to be around someone who always laughs at me.”

“I know why,” she said, kissing the kitten again.

When his left eyebrow shot up his forehead, she answered. “It’s easy. Whenever we’re together, we’re usually eating. You’re hungry, so you want me to cook for you.”

His face went blank, and she couldn’t for the life of her discern what he was thinking. She could hear him breathing now, not only feel it, the air pushing out of him a tad faster than it had moments before. The flushed heat on his neck spread up his jaw. She could have melted to the floor when his eyes turned hot too, the lids hooded, so much so, Clarissa finally understood the meaning of a smoldering look.

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Friendship is Sexy….

Welcome to the 113th week of My Sexy Saturday.

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This week’s theme: All About Sexy

Sexy can be an anniversary date, a hot first meeting, love in the morning, love in the afternoon, sexy on a beach, sexy on a spaceship and the list goes on and on. Well, we want your best sexy and more sexy. We did mention sexy…and hot and sizzling…right?

Sexy can be anything, such as romantic moments like walks on the beach, a home cooked meal or even in another galaxy. It could be two lovers here on Earth dreaming about the day where they go on a magical vacation to another planet. Or staying right here at one of those wonderful places we can find in our own world.

Sexy has nothing to do with looks or status or even wealth. It doesn’t demand perfection and it isn’t pretentious but it does make us want to read those books.

We know that everyone has their own idea of sexy and we all love sexy!

 

Here’s a sexy little snippet – a moment in time – from my new release FIRST IMPRESSIONS. Clarissa and Pat are trying, really trying, to just  be friends, but, damn, it’s hard!

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She tried to pull away. Pat’s arms tightened. “No. Don’t. This feels too good. You feel too good.”

Their gazes stayed locked. Pat’s hands wound around her waist, settling above the dent in her spine. She was pressed fully against him and he knew without doubt she could feel how hard he was.

“Pat. You promised. Friends.”

His grin was quick. “I’m sticking to my promise, Clarissa, but I can’t help it if my body doesn’t listen.” He tightened his grip, making a soft gasp push out through her lips.

“I can’t tell you how much I love that little breath,” he said, barely above a whisper. With no will to fight his mounting desire, he dipped his head and skimmed his mouth along her jaw. “It’s sounds so hot and bothered, it makes me hot whenever I hear it.”

When his tongue traced along the skin he’d kissed, he could feel her push in closer to him. She tilted her head, giving him more access. And he took it.

Her satin skin was smooth and so seductively soft. Pat lost himself in the feel of it. He wet his lips and kissed the sweet spot behind her ear. Her pulse pounded against his mouth and the jolt of knowledge he was the cause filled him with an emotion he couldn’t name, but felt so damn good.

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