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#ConferenceTime

In one short week I head to NYC for the annual RWA conference. Can I just tell you how happy I am that I don’t have to fly  to the event this year??!!  A quick drive to New Haven and then a hop on board Metro North and I can be in NYC much quicker than if I have to fly to ports west of here.

Any hoo…

This annual conference has become for me, a time to re-energize, revitalize, and reevaluate my writing career. I get to see writing friends I only see at conferences since we live in different places, and I get to fan-girl my favorite authors and do a little harmless stalking. Hee hee.

I’ll be updating the blog daily with fun stuff from NYC and the conference, so be sure to check out my hashtag #peggyworksaconference on my twitter and instagram feeds.

Until next time ~ Peg

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Why I like fictional #weddings more than real ones….

It’s my turn over on the ROMANCE GEMS today, and I’m talking about weddings – my own and fictional ones – and why I like the fictional ones more sometimes.

Here’s the link to the blog and while you’re there, don’t forget to enter the monthly contest for June. There are some great prizes up for the winners!

And don’t forget to preorder your copy of DIRTY DAMSELS. It releases in just 6 days ( altho you can get the print copy now!!)

Here are the links:

KU //Kindle  //POD

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June Is #weddingMonth on #RomanceGems

This month, The Romance Gems are celebrating weddings. All weddings! There’s even a rafflecopter with great prizes attached to it, one of which is my first “wedding” romance, DEARLY BELOVED (A Match made in Heaven, bk1). Now, please enter the contest!!! I’m not the only one with a prize to give away. The other authors participating are giving away some exceptional books and prizes.

And even if you enter the contest, please remember that DEARLY BELOVED is on sale until 6.21.19 at Amazon, Nook, and iBooks for just #99cents. That’s a great price to start your summer TBR reading list!

So, go ahead and enter the ROMANCE GEMS contest, and drop by daily to read the fabulous blogs our authors write!! There’s always something fun going on with us and we lovelovelove to share! Hee Hee

Until next time ~ Peg

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I have no voice…literally and metaphorically

Since last week I’ve been aphonic. For those of you who didn’t go to nursing school like me, that means, I have no voice. Allergy season is in full force here in New England and the pollen, rain, mold, moss ratios are uber-high, so when that happens and my allergies go “Yippie!” the polyps I have on my vocal cords swell, resulting in a very quiet Jaeger household. Hubby is pretty decent at reading lips, but I’ve become a real hermit this past week because leaving the house without a voice is difficult if you need to interact with people vocally. 

This isn’t the first time I’ve been aphonic. Several years ago my ENT doc put me on voice rest for 2 months because the polyps were gigantor and he wanted to give them a rest. Have you got any idea what it’s like for a girl who loves to talk not to be able to?? Torture is too tame a word.

Anyhoo….

This past week, and like with every event in my life, I started thinking about how I could use this aphonia, or some aspect of it, in my writing.

How would you help a person who can’t speak, communicate?

What tools would you give them ( if any) in order for them to go about their lives?

Would a character like this be sympathetic? ( In reality, I’m not a sympathetic character, so this one stumps me.)

What kind of love interest would be willing to become involved with someone who can never SAY Iove you?

This is where the show, don’t tell part of writing would be strong, because I would need the character to continually be in movement, trying to get their point across, because they couldn’t say what they wanted to say.

Can you see how difficult, challenging, and thought provoking an aphonic character would be to write?
Kinda like my life right now: difficult, challenging and thought provoking.

Oh, and for those people who think they will be helpful and write to me telling me I can have surgery or laser removal of my  polyps, know this: it isn’t a possibility for me. I would lose my vocal chords completely due to the size and scope of the polyps, so, no. I can tolerate a few days or weeks without a voice.But  the next 40-50 years. yeah, not so much. Thanks, though.

Until next time ~Peg

Oh, and don’t forget:

  1. I’ve got a BOOKSWEEPS contest right now for Romantic Comedies that DEARLY BELOVED is a prize in. Enter here: BOOKSWEEPs
  2. The ROMANCE GEMS are having a June giveaway. Enter here: JUNE 

 

TTFY

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A new #bookrelease from #author Charlotte O’Shay

I’ve said this a thousand times, but I lovelovelove  when one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs comes to visit, especially when she brings news of a new book release. Today, I’ve got dear friend and amazeballs writer, Charlotte O’Shay visiting me. Her newest book has just released and she graciously offered to tell me a little about it, and about the series it’s attached to. So, sit back and meet my lovely friend….

Charlotte:

Thanks Peggy for your generous invitation to chat with you today.

Woohoo! It’s release day for Their No-Strings Affair and I’m pumped to unleash this story on Romancelandia.

Their No-Strings Affair is the final book in my City of Dreams series. The story is a steamy, standalone contemporary.

My idea for this series came from the knowledge that NYC has always been a premiere destination for ambitious souls. It’s also a great place to get lost, or try to, if you’re running from a painful past or hiding a secret. All of the women and men in my series, Sabrina & Vlad, Lacey & Connor and Honey & Jake, are strivers and dreamers—all hellbent on achieving their goals. Dealing with painful pasts, the last thing they’re looking for is permanency in a relationship or romantic love. To a person they don’t believe in it. But sometimes fate has other plans.

Honey arrives in the city ready to jump start her art career. Her move to NYC was impulsively executed on the heels of a humiliating breakup with her long-term boyfriend. To make some fast cash she fills in as a server at a fancy, Pierre Hotel wedding (Sabrina and Vlad’s wedding ~The Marriage Ultimatum) and quickly runs afoul of security for the event run by Jake Ricco.

BLURB:

Honey packs everything she owns and heads to NYC to jumpstart her art career. Her cheating boyfriend is history, and she finally acknowledges the truth of her mother’s mantra: Careers are forever and happily ever after isn’t in their DNA.

All she needs is a job and a place to live. What she doesn’t need is a taciturn, sexy, ballbuster but she’s woman enough to know the difference between need and want. Isn’t she?

Jake’s childhood was marred by tragedy and his future hijacked to a promise born of guilt. His failure drove him to a career as a SEAL and a security expert.
But it’s not enough. Soon he’ll give up his freedom in reparation for the life he lost. Honey may be the last sweet stop on the road to a joyless future. If it’s what they both want, where’s the harm in a no-strings affair?

Excerpt:

A hand closed over her arm, and the tray of empties pitched sideways like the deckchairs on the Titanic. She heaved out a frustrated breath and stopped. The empties slid to a halt on the tray.

Honey was in no mood, especially not today, to be manhandled by a guy just because he was bigger and she stood only five-two in her sneakers.

“Get…your…hand…off…me. Right now. I don’t know who you think you are…” She pushed out the words low and slow. She could do this. She could get rid of him and squash her temper. This horrendous day was moments away from exploding into utter disaster.

But no, he wasn’t letting go of her arm, and it was either let the whole tray of wine glasses tumble to the floor, or let the bully have his say. Mother Nature had a nasty sense of humor, making Honey the size of a hummingbird and giving her the temper of a hippo.

“Who I am is your worst nightmare. Now plant your feet and give me your name.”

“Get lost.” Her words came out in a hiss. “Let go of my arm, and I’ll forget this happened.”

“Oh, really?” A sarcastic black brow lifted. “Give me your name now, and maybe”—his sneer said right, if you believe that, I have some bitcoin to sell you—“I won’t write you up.”

Honey stood her ground, lifted her chin, and stared him down in a way her brothers would’ve recognized as dangerous.

“First, let go of my arm.”

The volume of her voice inched up a couple of notches. Loud enough so any passing guests would wonder just what was going on in the midst of this glamorous wedding reception.

He released her arm but stayed so far inside her personal space she caught a hint of the lemon and leather of his aftershave. The heady scent fit the vibe of that TV commercial she loved, the one where the amber Italian sun cast shadows on a gorgeous guy on a motorcycle speeding down some scenic Roman side street at sunset.

Buy links

Their No-Strings Affair

Amazon US // Amazon UK //  Amazon CA // Amazon AU // Nook // IBooks  // Google play // Kobo

Look for books 1 and 2 in Charlotte’s City Of Dream trilogy:

The Marriage Ultimatum

and A Model Engagement

 

A little about Charlotte:

Author Charlotte O’Shay was born in New York City into big family and then married into another big family.

Negotiating skills honed at the dinner table led her to a career in the law.

But after four beautiful children joined the crowded family tree, Charlotte traded her legal career to write about happily ever afters in the City of Dreams.

Charlotte loves to challenge her heroines and heroes with a crisis and watch them figure out who they are while they fall in love.

You can connect with Charlotte here:

 WEBSITE // INSTAGRAM // TWITTER  // PINTEREST  // FACEBOOK PAGE  // BOOKBUB

 

 

 

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#TeaserTuesday 5.29.19

So I have a new series coming out from Wild Rose Press with the series title A PRIDE OF BROTHERS. It’s about a PI/Security agency made of 4 brothers. The first book is RICK’S STORY.

Rick Bannerman’s job is to protect. An elite bodyguard and P.I., he’s used to denying his emotions and ignoring his feelings in order to keep those in his care safe, at all costs. When lawyer Abigail Laine becomes the target of a vengeful client, Rick slips into protection mode even though Abby refuses his help. Four years ago Rick left Abby standing on a balcony alone, after walking away from a kiss that sent them both reeling. His refusal stung, and Abby’s sworn to forget it so she can shield her heart and move on with her life. But now she needs Rick’s professional help and her reluctance to accept it could just cost her her life. Can these two stubborn and independent people put their troubled pasts behind them and learn to trust one another?

Intrigued so far? Keep reading…

“You’re shirking your wedding guest duties,” she said with a slight head bob.

“There’s no such thing.”

“Yes, there is. As a guest, a male guest,” she lowered her chin, pinning him with her own intense glare now, “it’s your responsibility to dance with the female guests. There are quite a few unattached women at this wedding and it hasn’t gone unnoticed you’ve danced with no one except the bride. That’s bad form. And etiquette. And…rude.”

Her eyes narrowed when his laugh, loud and filled with humor, bounced through the trees. “Unnoticed by who? The wedding police? Kandy?”

Her gaze darted down to her shoes and then back up at him. “Among…others.”

With his head still cocked, he unfurled his hands from his pockets, stood upright and moved into her space. Even in her heels, she had to dip her head back to maintain eye contact.

“Others?” he asked, his voice low, so low she had to pitch forward a little to hear him. “Or…just you, Abigail?”

When he was close enough for her to know her breasts would bounce off his chest if she inhaled, he leaned down, fingered the lapel on his jacket, his knuckle grazing the column of her throat.

Her brain shut down the moment his fingers made contact with her skin. Despite the nippy bite in the air she was hit with a fireball radiating downward from his touch. It was a wonder she didn’t start sweating.

Abby swallowed.

And then did it again.

His eyes were focused on hers, those half closed lids doing nothing to shield the heat smoldering under them. “If you wanted to dance with me, all you had to do”—his gaze dipped down her lips again—“was ask.”

Dance? Lord, she wanted to do a whole helluva lot more than simply dance with this man.

“I—”

She licked her suddenly parched lips, her eyes never wavering from his sharp gaze.

In a move as natural as breathing, she stepped into the minute amount of space separating them, shot her hands around his neck and yanked his head down until their lips slammed together.

Holy Mother.
The heat from his fingers had been hot enough to singe, but it was an ice cube compared to the incendiary inferno of his mouth fused with hers. It briefly crossed her mind it was a miracle she didn’t burst into flames on the spot.

As stupefied as she was by what she’d done, she was able to glean a few pertinent details.

One, Rick’s jacket fell from her shoulders when she grabbed him, plunking down on the ground behind her.

Two, her shoulders and arms may have been bare once again, but the volcano of heat seeping from Rick’s body inoculated her against the cold air.

Three, the man’s body was as hard as it appeared to be. Pressed up against him without a whisper of space between their bodies, protected only by their clothes, every solid inch of muscle and sinew molded to her.

And four, but certainly not least, after a brief still moment, Rick was kissing her back.

Oh, mama, was he.

During all those late nights of studying when her eyes were starting to bleed with fatigue she’d close them and bring his face to mind, his lips were often the feature she dwelled on the most. Thick and smooth, she’d fantasized what they’d feel like against her own. Would they be soft and seductive? Hard and masterful? Taut and teasing?

Nothing she’d conjured in her lusty and frustrated imagination compared to the reality of Rick Bannerman’s mouth on hers. As smart as she was and as adept at language and words, she couldn’t think of one adequate way to describe how utterly delicious and amazing he tasted.

Her entire body relaxed when his hands slipped around her waist and pulled her flat up against him. The low slung back on the bridesmaid’s dress ended right above the dip in her spine. Rick’s hands rested on the space between her naked flesh and the silk material, one finger slipping below it to rest along the top of her hipbone. Lazily, he rubbed it back and forth across her skin.

Every nerve fiber south of his touch fired. The same wobbling sensation from earlier in the evening flowed through her again and her hands tightened around his neck for fear she’d fall.

Intrigued now? Check back periodically. I don’t have a release date or a cover yet, but I am in first edits, so YAY for that!!! hopefully, the book will go live before the end of the hear.

Until next time ~Peg

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#1stKissFriday 5.17.19

Today’s first kiss is from my newest novella, HOPE’s DREAM (Deerbourne Inn #2).

Hope Kildaire gave up her dream of becoming a nurse practitioner when a car accident killed her father and left her mother an invalid. Working two jobs and caring for her mother leaves the twenty-seven-year-old with no time for fun or relationships. When a law firm representing her paternal grandparents sends her several letters, Hope ignores them. She despises the family who disowned her father and wants nothing to do with them.

Lawyer Tyler Coleman’s job is simply to obtain Hope’s signature on a legal document. Getting it is harder than planned, though, when an unexpected attraction blossoms between them. If Ty is honest with Hope about why he’s in Willow Springs, he’ll fulfill his assignment but may risk hurting her.

The opportunity to have everything she’s ever desired is at Hope’s fingertips. Will her dream come true at the expense of Tyler’s love?

 

“Well.” He buried his hands deeper into his jacket pockets. “I can see for myself you’re fine. You’ve had a full day, so I’ll let you get on home. Thanks again for the great lesson this morning. And for keeping me company while you worked.”

“It was nice to have someone to talk with, so in reality, I should be thanking you. And for seeing that I was safe.”

She wasn’t sure why, but when his cheeks darkened and his chin and gaze dropped down again at her words, she was utterly enchanted.

Without thinking why she shouldn’t, Hope stretched up, intending to kiss his cheek. At the moment right before her lips touched his skin, Tyler lifted his head and turned toward her. The kiss meant for his face landed squarely across his lips instead.

They both went stone still at the contact.

She’d put no heat behind the kiss. After all, it wasn’t as if she were kissing a man she was involved with. No, she’d simply planned it as a sweet way to thank him for being so kind and solicitous toward her, as she would to anyone she considered a friend.

Why, then, didn’t this feel like a chaste kiss between friends?

Why, then, did she feel as if she’d been dropped into a spewing volcano?

And why, then, did the thought of breaking the kiss leave her cold and lonely?

Tyler kept his hands in his pockets, never moving closer, and yet she felt enveloped by him as if he’d wound her into his arms and pulled her against his body. He let out a deep, long breath, the warm air drifting over her face and sending little tingles of…something…straight down her spine. Anticipation? Expectation? Desire? She had no clue, but Hope felt more alive and more aware than she had in years.

A tiny gasp pushed from deep within her when Tyler shifted his head, changing the angle of the kiss.

His lips parted, the taste of hops and barley riding on his breath as she breathed him in. He kept the kiss light, never pushing her into more, giving her all the control of where it went.

Hope had no idea how long they stood there under the bright streetlamp on the empty corner. It could have been a minute. It could have been an hour. The notion briefly blew through her mind that they were out in the open in a town where everyone knew her and liked nothing more to do on long winter nights than gossip. As quick as it came, the knowledge that she didn’t care a whit countered it.

The jarring blare of her cell phone blasted through the silence around them. They both jerked back at the same time.

Tyler’s eyebrows were pressed together in the center of his forehead, the eyelids under them blinking at a rapid staccato pace, his lips parted ever so slightly. Hope would bet a month’s tips her face had the same kind of confusion crossing it.

Intrigued enough to want to read more? Here’s where you can get your own copy of Hope’s Dream:

Amazon// Nook //itunes//  Kobo //  // Google Play

And as always, you can connect with me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

 

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Food poisoning, a busted wing, and 3 deaths…oh my!

I was out of social media touch this past Tuesday because I had a horrible case of food poisoning. Don’t know what I ate, but I’m allergic to sososo many food items to begin with it could have been anything! I try to avoid the stuff I know I’m allergic to, so I don’t think it was something I ate by mistake, more that it was something I ate that was contaminated.

That thought alone sends shivers down my spine!

Thankfully, I’ve got a concierge doctor on call 24 hrs a day ( I call him Hubman!) and he was able to treat the rampant and complete dehydration I suffered from this bug/allergy/poisoning, take your pick. Within 24 hours I was back to my normal ( if you can call me normal) state.

So, while I was writhing in agony from diarrhea and simultaneous vomiting ( TMI?) I also got the MRI results from last weeks’ test. Torn rotator cuff.

Yeah, I know. When it rains, it friggin’ floods.

I go back to the doc next week for an eval and to see what we’re – and by that I mean him – is going to do about the tear. Surgery is the top option. Those of you who know what these initials mean will understand how I feel right now: FML

Andddddd beacause bad news always come in threes, the world said goodbye to 3 icons in the entertainment filed the same day I was down for the count.

Tim Conway, Peggy Lipton, Doris Day.

Each of these 3 amazing people made their mark in the world in different ways and each of them will be missed. I adored all of them for varying reasons, and their hordes of fans have all paid perfect homage to them. My favorite remembrance meme of the day, though, was this one:.

RIP Tim, Peggy, Doris. You brought us decades of love, laughter, and entertainment.

~Peg

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#Long&ShortReviews #wednesdaybloggingchallenge 5.15.19

Today’s blogging prompt from Long and Short Reviews couldn’t be any more perfect for me if they’d ask me to come up with a topic all by myself! What are your Favorite TV shows and why, is what we’ll discuss today.

Let me get this out of the way right now: I don’t watch  a lot of commercial television. I’m not a GoT fanatic, have never seen This is Us, never checked into Gray’s Anatomy hospital and couldn’t possibly care less about any Gotham villains.

I do happen to have a great love of old tv shows from the 50s-80s. plus anyone who knows me knows I love reality television and BRAVO

So, It was a big field to pull from, but I figured I’d start out with the new stuff and then give an overview of the old. In no real order, here are my favs:

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hill, NY, and New Jersey. Why, you ask, would I want to waste an hour each week with women who appear as vapid, obnoxious, and stupid as these women you ask? The answer’s simple: for all their success, money, and fame, there lives really do suck, which makes my humdrum, boring life seem sosososo much better. Is that petty? If so, oh well.

  

The Blacklist, simply because of James Spader. I mean, come on! JAMES SPADER!

Killing Eve. My new addiction. This show is crafted and written so perfectly, I swear a forensic psychologist wrote it! The inner workings of the minds of Villanelle and Eve are labyrynths of chaos, intelligence, and evil. This show is so much fun to watch!

NCIS, simply  because of Mark Harmon. At 60+ he’s still my vote for sexiest man alive ( People magazine agrees!)

Now for the oldies.

Secret Agent Man. The only show I know of that ever got made because of a theme song. Cool, sophisticated, and sleek, this show was only on for a year or so, but it was a goodie. And SAM is my favorite song of all time.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Ilya Kuriakian, aka David McCallum, was such a hottie when I was 8 years old! He still is at 70+ ( See NCIS!)

I Love Lucy. Because…Lucy. First, last and always, Lucy!

 

So, those are just some of my favs. Let’s see what some other authors in this challenge like to watch: L&SR

 

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#TeaserTuesday 5.13.19

I have another new series starting – hopefully- by the end of this year, titled A PRIDE OF BROTHERS. For those of you who remember my Will Cook For Love series, Joshua Keane ran a Private Investigative/Security firm with his 2 brothers and his best friend, Rick Bannerman. Rock made an appearance in A Shot At Love and I lovedlovedloved him so much I wanted to give him his own story. Book 1 of POB, Rick’s story, is it. Abigail Laine, one of the  7 Laine girls from the WCFL series, gets her story here, too. This is a long passage from the beginning of the book, but sets up their conflict and storyline.  Enjoy! ( or at least, I hope you do!!! HEEHEE)

A few hours and several glasses of wedding celebration bubbly later, Abby spotted the object of her lust-filled fantasies slip through the ballroom doors and out onto the terrace.

It never occurred to her not to follow him.

Spring had surfaced two weeks prior and the fading light between dusk and nightfall was grasping for a few more minutes to shine. Abby spotted him at the far corner of the balcony, overlooking Central Park. Elbows leaning on the railing, he was staring off into the distance. For a brief moment she was afforded the opportunity to study him unawares.

The person who invented tuxedos should be sainted. Or at least knighted. There was nothing else that made a gorgeous man even more attractive. If Rick weren’t a private investigator he could easily pose for a men’s eveningwear line. His physique was perfectly model proportioned according to Gemma, the professional photographer in the group, and his classic, carved-from-marble good features were captivating.

All in all a hunky, sexy guy. And one she wanted to get closer to—in the purely biblical sense. There was no doubt in her mind Rick Bannerman was a man who knew what to do with a woman, and please God she wanted to be that woman. Even for one night.

“Didn’t your parents ever teach you it was rude to stare?”

The quiet pitch in his voice bounced off the tree canopy in front of them and vibrated through her body from head to heels. She’d been hidden in the shadows and he hadn’t moved a muscle, and yet he’d known she was standing there, gawking.

Abby walked toward him, her hands clasped in front of her.

“Mom was too busy working three jobs and finding herself,” she said as she came closer, “and Dad bolted before he could teach us anything.”

Rick turned his head a fraction, his body staying in the same leaning forward, relaxed position, but the second his gaze landed on her she felt like a deer paralyzed in an on-coming truck’s blaring headlights on a lonely road at two a.m.

Her breath caught and she swore the cool temperature in the surrounding air went up a good ten degrees around him.

Maybe she should have had another glass of fortification before deciding to come outside.

“And I’m pretty confident you’re used to people, especially women, staring at you.”

He didn’t answer.

She’d give anything to know what he was thinking as his gaze trailed from her eyes, down to her mouth where they—gulp—lingered for a moment and then back up again. She couldn’t stop the shiver that jumped through her.

Rick finally moved when she ran her hands up her chilled, naked arms. He shrugged out of his tuxedo jacket in one fluid motion that had her mouth watering. When he took a step toward her and flung it around her shoulders he was close enough for her to stretch up and run her lips along his jaw and finally taste him.

In the time it took her to gather her courage to do it, he moved back and shot his hands into his pant pockets.

“You shouldn’t be out here in that slip of a dress,” he said, chinning her bridesmaid gown. “It’s still cool at night and you’re not dressed for the weather.”

Abby pulled the jacket tighter around her shoulders, sighing when she caught a whiff of Rick’s cologne clinging to it. Whether from the heady, musky scent she’d now and forever equate with him, or the dipping temperature, her nipples shot to bruising points under her soft strapless push-up bra. The dress was a shear, pale blue satin spaghetti-strapped tea length design and, as Rick pointed out, did nothing to protect her from the elements.

“Thanks,” she said.

“You should go back inside where it’s warmer, Abigail. I’m sure you’ve got minion duties to perform.”

Her back went ramrod straight. “I hate being called Abigail. Something I’ve told you many times before.”

He cocked his head a bit, the sexy, small smirk dancing across his lips again. “And still…” He lifted his hands from his packets in a “what can I say” gesture.

“That’s just mean. Calling a person something you know they don’t like.”

“It is your name, kiddo. Abigail June.” His careless shrug pulled his shirt tight across his massive shoulders. Abby’s fingers twitched to touch them. Instead, she tightened her grip on the jacket lapels.

How did he know her full name? She didn’t remember ever telling him because she did everything in her power to forget it. It was so…old lady-ish. Like she lived with seventeen cats and read sweet romances all day and night long. Alone.

“You’re such a pain.” She shook her head and pouted.

“Am I?”

“You know you are. And you’re making me forget the reason I followed you out here in the first place.” She almost stomped her foot, thought better of it at the last second.

Something shifted in his eyes. Even in the rapidly fading light, she saw it.

“You…followed me…out here, Abigail?”

Good Lord, she didn’t need the jacket at all. One glance at the hotter-than-a-poker glaze in his eyes heated her entire body.

“Ye-yes,” she answered, hating he could reduce her to a stuttering chit.

“Why?” He leaned a hip against the metal railing, his hands still secured inside his pockets. Comfortable, relaxed, and so damn hot she wanted to scream at him to take her in his arms and make her his for the night.

She wasn’t going to let him sabotage her seduction plan. No. She’d worked out everything she wanted to say, the perfect way to goad him into noticing her. If she could get him to dance with her, even once, get his arms around her, she’d be able to make him see how good it could be between them.

But first she had to get him on the dance floor and from everything she’d observed tonight, he was happy to let his dance card stay empty.

“You’re shirking your wedding guest duties,” she said with a slight head bob.

“There’s no such thing.”

“Yes, there is. As a guest, a male guest,” she lowered her chin, pinning him with her own intense glare now, “it’s your responsibility to dance with the female guests. There are quite a few unattached women at this wedding and it hasn’t gone unnoticed you’ve danced with no one except the bride. That’s bad form. And etiquette. And…rude.”

Her eyes narrowed when his laugh, loud and filled with humor, bounced through the trees. “Unnoticed by who? The wedding police? Kandy?”

Her gaze darted down to her shoes and then back up at him. “Among…others.”

With his head still cocked, he unfurled his hands from his pockets, stood upright and moved into her space. Even in her heels, she had to dip her head back to maintain eye contact.

“Others?” he asked, his voice low, so low she had to pitch forward a little to hear him. “Or…just you, Abigail?”

When he was close enough for her to know her breasts would bounce off his chest if she inhaled, he leaned down, fingered the lapel on his jacket, his knuckle grazing the column of her throat.

Her brain shut down the moment his fingers made contact with her skin. Despite the nippy bite in the air she was hit with a fireball radiating downward from his touch. It was a wonder she didn’t start sweating.

Abby swallowed.

And then did it again.

His eyes were focused on hers, those half closed lids doing nothing to shield the heat smoldering under them. “If you wanted to dance with me, all you had to do”—his gaze dipped down her lips again—“was ask.”

Dance? Lord, she wanted to do a whole helluva lot more than simply dance with this man.

“I—”

She licked her suddenly parched lips, her eyes never wavering from his sharp gaze.

In a move as natural as breathing, she stepped into the minute amount of space separating them, shot her hands around his neck and yanked his head down until their lips slammed together.

Holy Mother.
The heat from his fingers had been hot enough to singe, but it was an ice cube compared to the incendiary inferno of his mouth fused with hers. It briefly crossed her mind it was a miracle she didn’t burst into flames on the spot.

As stupefied as she was by what she’d done, she was able to glean a few pertinent details.

One, Rick’s jacket fell from her shoulders when she grabbed him, plunking down on the ground behind her.

Two, her shoulders and arms may have been bare once again, but the volcano of heat seeping from Rick’s body inoculated her against the cold air.

Three, the man’s body was as hard as it appeared to be. Pressed up against him without a whisper of space between their bodies, protected only by their clothes, every solid inch of muscle and sinew molded to her.

And four, but certainly not least, after a brief still moment, Rick was kissing her back.

Oh, mama, was he.

During all those late nights of studying when her eyes were starting to bleed with fatigue she’d close them and bring his face to mind, his lips were often the feature she dwelled on the most. Thick and smooth, she’d fantasized what they’d feel like against her own. Would they be soft and seductive? Hard and masterful? Taut and teasing?

Nothing she’d conjured in her lusty and frustrated imagination compared to the reality of Rick Bannerman’s mouth on hers. As smart as she was and as adept at language and words, she couldn’t think of one adequate way to describe how utterly delicious and amazing he tasted.

Her entire body relaxed when his hands slipped around her waist and pulled her flat up against him. The low slung back on the bridesmaid’s dress ended right above the dip in her spine. Rick’s hands rested on the space between her naked flesh and the silk material, one finger slipping below it to rest along the top of her hipbone. Lazily, he rubbed it back and forth across her skin.

Every nerve fiber south of his touch fired. The same wobbling sensation from earlier in the evening flowed through her again and her hands tightened around his neck for fear she’d fall.

He freed a hand from her back and dragged his knuckles across her cheek, then took her chin between his fingers and lifted her jaw, changing the angle of the kiss and giving him full access to every part of her mouth.

Every part.

Their tongues danced and twined, mated as if they’d done it every day of their lives. A strange sense of familiarity poured through her.

She’d been right during those imaginary make-out sessions she’d had with him. Rich Bannerman was a man who knew what to do with a woman.

No doubt about it.

The hand at her waist slid lower, down across her dress, to cup her butt and pull her in even closer. And she was proven right once again: he was hard.

All over.

A cavernous, low, primal growl pushed from deep within him as his hips swayed against hers. The butterflies flitting about within her moments before sprang free, pushed out by the firestorm running rampant through her insides. Abby knew—knew without a doubt—she wanted this man more than she had any other; that she would never want a man as much as she did Rick Bannerman.

There simply was no other man.

As the stunning realization of that thought hit home, Rick broke the kiss, tearing his lips from hers so forcefully, a sucking sound whooshed through the air when they separated. Rick pushed her away and held her at arms’ length. If the frown hugging his forehead was any indication, he was confused about what had just happened.

And unhappy.

Maybe even a little angry.

“Abigail.” His voice was rough and harsh in the still, quiet surrounding them and was tinged with…something. “You don’t want to do this.”

“Yes I do. “ She winced.

Jesus. Hard-up much, Abby?

Rick shook his head, his hands softening their grip on her arms.

“No, really,” she said. “I do. I’ve… I…I thought…”

“Whatever you thought, forget it.”

Hurt slammed up against mortification and anger.

The anger won.

“Why? If I’m not mistaken you were pretty into it a second ago. It was your tongue sliding down my throat, wasn’t it?”

The frown deepened into a scowl.

Rick dropped his hands and took a step back.

“Yeah. About that.” He shoved his hands into his pockets again. “It shouldn’t have happened.”

“Why the hell not?”

His eyes darkened, those sexy lids pulling tight at the corners. “It shouldn’t have. That’s all.”

“You say one thing, Bannerman but your body says another.” Abby shook her head and took a step closer to him, the champagne definitely giving her the courage she needed.

Rick took two back.

Now the hurt rammed to the front of the line.

“Yeah, well, when a beautiful woman throws herself into a guy’s arms and presses every inch of herself against him, his body will react. Pure and simple. “

And now the mortification blew forward.

Apparently, her good sense had taken a vacation day, because instead of listening to it as it screamed for her to retreat with the little dignity she still possessed, Abby continued on.

“I thought you liked me.”

“I do.” His head bobbled up and down. “I do. You’re a great…kid.”

“Kid?” She sucked in a breath and threw her shoulders back. “Okay, I’m gonna let that comment slide.” Hands on her hips, she nailed him with a piercing glare. “Why the brush off, Bannerman? I’ve been dropping hints left and right since we met about getting to know you better. You’ve ignored every one of them until a moment ago.”

Another step closer made him retreat again. This time his hip bumped up against the railing.

“I’m not repulsive,” she said, cocking her head at him. “Am I?’

“No. You’re not. You know exactly what you look like, Abigail.”

She nodded, her eyes trained on him. “I don’t have bad breath, or body odor, or some fatal flesh eating disease.”

A small, nervous laugh barked through his lips. “No. You don’t.”

“So why the brick wall? I like you. You like me. We’re both more than adults. Both uninvolved—you aren’t involved with anyone, right?”

He hesitated a bit before shaking his head and saying, “No.”

Relief flowed through her. “I know you’re attracted to me,” she said with a smidgeon more certainty than she actually felt. “You did kiss me back, after all. I don’t see a problem here.” The moment she said it another idea formed, took hold, and rooted.

“Wait. You’re straight, right? You flirt with everything with a vagina, so I figured…you don’t give off a gay vibe and I’m usually really attuned to guys who are. You’re not, are you?”

Again, he waited a bit before saying, “No, Abigail. I’m not gay.”

Before she could utter another word, Rick beat her to it. “Look, everything you’ve said it true. I do like you, and yes, I’m attracted to you. What red-blooded guy with a pulse wouldn’t be? You’re gorgeous and smart and—Christ.” He shook his head a few times.

She couldn’t help it: a huge smile pulled at her lips.

“But we’re not gonna do this.”

“Why not?” Good Lord, did that whine come from her?

“We’re just not,” he said, voice firm and resolute. “We’ll chalk this whole scene up to getting a little carried away with flirting and fueled by too much to drink. You probably won’t even remember much of it in the morning—”

“Yes I will.”

The heat rising up her neck and face now competed with the chill sluicing down her body. She folded her arms across her chest, hugging her upper body against the night air.

Rick shook his head again and dropped his chin. Night had decided to descend so she couldn’t see his face clearly. Was he trying to stifle a smile?

When he lifted his head a moment later, though, his features were blank.

“Go inside, Abigal. Have a slice of wedding cake, a cup of coffee. Get warm. Forget this happened.”

She should listen to him, she really should. But for whatever reason, her brain wasn’t receiving the memo.

“I could warm up right here,” she said, dropping her voice a level and hoping she sounded seductive and not like she was choking on something. “If you’d put your arms around me again.”

This time when she stepped closer, Rick purposefully shot out of her way. He sidestepped around her, stooped, grabbed his tuxedo jacket from where it’d fallen from her shoulders and slid it back on.

“You know what?” He stepped backward. “I’ll go in. I could use a cup of coffee, myself. You stay out here all you want.”

In the time it took her to register he was running away from her, he was gone, back through the ballroom doors and lost in the wedding guest throng.

Abby fisted her hands on her hips again and blew out a breath heated with frustration.

That had so not gone as planned.

I hope you’re intrigued.  POB has been contracted and when I have new details I’ll release them. In the mean time, you can see my vision for Abby and Rick on my Pinterest page: RICK AND ABBY   

~Peg

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