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Out Now: Burning for Him by Kristine Cayne #MFRWAuthor #MWTease #99cents

Welcome to MidWeek Tease, where authors share tempting snippets to tide you over till the weekend. A huge shout out to author Angelica Dawson for hosting our blog hop every week!

All you Need is Love just released last week and is available for a limited time for just $.99!

You won’t want to miss Kristine Cayne’s contribution Burning for Him, from which we’ve drawn our Tease for this week. Should I mention there are firefighters?

Burning for Him by Kristine Cayne

EXCERPT

Val’s head hurt like a motherfucker. He cracked open an eye and was immediately seized by an intense feeling of disorientation. The bright paint on the walls seemed to attack his brain like a madman with the pick end of a Halligan. Why were the walls yellow? They were supposed to be gray-blue. The walls in his own bedroom were the soothing color of the ocean, not this aggressively happy sunshine color.

Rolling his head to the side, carefully, he spied a brown shoulder attached to a broad muscular back. The skin was so smooth and perfect he wanted to lick it.

That’s when he remembered—he had licked it. The man’s back and so much more.

Oh God. He hadn’t wanted to sleep with Chris. Okay, he had wanted to, but he hadn’t planned to.

It had been good though. So damn good. He smiled at the memory of Chris’s mouth stretched wide, that plump bottom lip he’d fantasized about cushioning his cockhead while the man’s tongue rolled around and around. Val let out an involuntary moan as his dick hardened and his belly clenched with need.

Sex with Chris had been amazing, even if all they’d done was give each other blow jobs. He could only wonder how good it would be when—no! Yes, when—Chris took his ass. His cock was long and thick, and Val wanted it inside him.

Damn. Val scratched at his already too long beard. He shouldn’t be here. This was going to be nothing but awkward at the station.

Chris rolled over. “Morning.”

Before Val could force enough blood back into his brain to respond, Chris pulled him against that wide muscular chest. His warm brown skin was smooth, almost hairless, and the dark, flat nipples made Val’s mouth water. He inhaled sharply, and Chris’s scent—a mix of cologne, sex, and Chris himself—invaded his nostrils. Val wanted to burrow under the covers and draw it deep into his lungs, mark himself with it. Jesus. What the fuck was wrong with him?

“You okay?” Chris asked in a sleep-laden voice that had Val’s morning wood jerking against the man’s leg. Chris snorted. “Ah… I see. That I can help you with.”

And without another word, he rolled them over so Val was on top of him. It felt as good as it had the previous morning. He loved that he could lie on Chris like this, their entire bodies connected. It was so completely different than being with Francesca. Thank God.

You don’t have time for this.

Shit. He didn’t want this, not a boyfriend or even a friend with benefits. Hell, he barely had time for the occasional Grindr hookup.

And the longer he lingered, the harder it was going to be to let Chris go.

“I-I’ve got to…” Val said, climbing off Chris. He stood and scanned the room for his jeans. After finding them hanging off the back of Chris’s dresser, he hurried to pull them on. With a feeling of déjà vu, he hopped around on one foot, nearly tripping and falling on his face. Damn it. He’d done this exact same thing two days ago when Holly had been banging on his door.

Holly. “Oh shit. I really need to go.” He glanced at his watch. It wasn’t a lie. He had to be at her place in fifteen minutes to pick up the kids or she’d be late for work. Holly was going to fucking kill him.

Looking like a mouthful of sex, Chris leaned against the headboard, the white sheet falling nonchalantly over his naked hips. Val swallowed his tongue.

“You free tonight?” Chris asked. “We could go out for dinner or back to O’Riley’s for a drink.”

Hell no! Val bent down to pick up his shirt and tugged it over his head so Chris couldn’t read his expression. The last place he wanted to be seen alone with Chris was at a firefighter hangout. “I can’t tonight. Sorry, dude.” It wasn’t exactly a lie. He’d be watching Mia and Charlie while Holly was on shift.

“Dude, huh?” Val heard the creak of the bed as Chris got up. His large hand clamped onto Val’s shoulder and spun him around. “How about tomorrow then?”

“Nope. Already got plans… Family stuff, you know?” Not a lie either.

Completely undeterred, Chris persisted. “Okay, well, the day after is out because we’re both working. What about the day after that?”

Val quickly averted his gaze and scooped up his shoes. “Sorry. Got plans then too.”

Chris took a step back and crossed his arms over that ripped chest. Val went through great pains to avoid staring or letting his gaze drop a few feet lower to take in that glorious erection in all its sleek nakedness. He should just leave. He wanted to leave. But Chris was blocking the way to the door.

“What I can’t figure out,” Chris said, tapping a finger on his lip, “is whether you’re blowing me off because you think you’re straight and that last night was a mistake, or whether you’re blowing me off because I’m black and last night was a mistake.”

“Fuck, Chris,” Val said, his chest heaving with shock. “I knew you were black when I came home with you.”

“And now the thought of dating a black man scares the shit out of you.”

“Dating?” Jesus. He didn’t plan on dating anyone, especially not Chris.

“I like you, Val. And I want to get to know you better.”

Breathe. Val hugged his shoes to his chest. He really shouldn’t have come here last night. He should’ve had one or two drinks, then gone to Holly’s to pick up Mia. That was what a responsible father did. But he hadn’t done that, because being with Chris had felt too good. Sure, they were next to strangers, but if he allowed it, they could be so much more. He knew it, felt it in his bones. And therein lay the danger. “I-I’m sorry. I really can’t.”

“Are you seeing someone?”

“No.” Val bent down to put his shoes on. When he straightened, Chris’s gaze was on him. His head was tilted to the side as though he were scrutinizing an intriguing problem, trying to determine the best way to attack a challenging fire.

After a few long, tense moments, Chris’s lips pursed. “You’re not out, are you?”

BLURB

Valerio DeLuca, firefighter and single father, is struggling to juggle his demanding job, his young daughter, and his dreams of working on Seattle Fire Department’s technical rescue team. Most of all, he’s been struggling to hide his bisexuality from his family and coworkers.

In walks Chris Edwards, the tall, black, and incredibly handsome firefighter determined to forget the past, forget the breakup that left his heart in tatters, and start afresh at Station 59. Never again will he get involved with a man who has children. Losing a child he’d come to think of as his own just about killed him.

When Chris meets Val, he knows that Val is the man who can bring him back to life, the one who can help him to feel joy again. That is, until he learns Val’s secret.

BLURB: All You Need is Love

Limited Edition Boxed Set

Romance Collections is proud to present these fourteen stories of love that knows no boundaries. Like rivers flowing through the canvas of earth, these stories will run deep, touch softly and leave you breathless.
No matter who it is with, passion is magnificent, desires are bold, and love is beautiful.

Stories by Tamsin Baker, Jess Buffett,‎ Kristine Cayne,‎ Adriana Kraft,‎ Cate Farren,‎ Valerie Ullmer,‎ Kai Tyler,‎ Lexi Thorne,‎ Izzy Szyn,‎ Aeryn Jaden, Dana Kenzi, Celia Fay, and Dani Gray.

BUY LINKS ~ Just $.99

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078PZR8HY

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/all-you-need-is-love/id1330261438?mt=11

B&N:  https://m.barnesandnoble.com/w/all-you-need-is-love-tamsin-baker/1127753593?ean=2940154950586

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/all-you-need-is-love-27

ABOUT KRISTINE CAYNE

Kristine Cayne is the author of romantic suspense, erotic romance, and lgbt romance. Her books have won numerous awards and acclaim. Her first book, Deadly Obsession, was an RT Book Reviews Top Pick and won Best Romance in the 2012 eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Awards. Her second book, Deadly Addiction, won two awards at the 2014 eFestival of Words and 1st place in the INDIE Awards, Romantic Suspense Category (a division of Chanticleer Book Reviews Blue Ribbon Writing Contests).

Her book Under His Command won Best BDSM Romance at the 2012 Sizzling Awards and was a finalist in the 2013 eFestival of Words and 2013 RONE (Reward of Novel Excellence) Awards, and her book Everything Bared was a finalist in the Erotic category of the I Heart Indie awards.

www.kristinecayne.com

Links

Website: kristinecayne.com

Newsletter: http://www.kristinecayne.com/newsletter/

Blog: http://www.kristinecayne.com/blog/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KristineCayneAuthor

Facebook Reader Group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/FansKristineCayneBooks/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/KristineCayne

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kristinecayne/

o ~ o ~ o ~ o

And don’t forget to check out the teases from these other marvelous authors!

 

Out Now! Wickedly Used, by Kryssie Fortune #MFRWAuthor @KryssieFortune #Regency #eroticromance

So excited to see Kryssie’s new release, and she’s stopped by for an interview, as well!

INTERVIEW

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

My heroine, Lady Elizabeth Blayneton is an heiress, but she can’t inherit until she marries or turns thirty. Her uncle and guardian is determined she will marry his slack-mouthed son, but she’d rather not marry at all than wed him. Only she doesn’t want to die a virgin.

Tell us about your hero.

Brigade Major Lord Rothbury carries the wounds his first love inflicted when she threw him over for his father. To silence the gossip, his father packed him off to fight in the Peninsula war and squandered the family fortune on his new bride. When the current Lord Rothbury inherited, there was nothing but mortgages and debts. He’s been trying to put things right and provide for his sisters ever since. Waterloo looms, and he’s recalled to Wellington’s staff. Then there’s this serving girl who keeps ending up in his bed, only wedding her would cause another scandal and ruin his sisters’ future.

What genre are your books?

I write romance. Any sort. Paranormal or contemporary. Wickedly Used is my first Regency Romance, although it’s darker than many.

What draws you to this genre?

I write the books I like to read. There’s always a strong plot, with lots of adventure. Then there’s the sex. My pet hate is cliff hangers. Each book in either of my series can be read as stand-alone romance. Add in that I’m a sucker for a happy-ever-after, and you’ve got my writing style.

What is your favorite motivational phrase.

It’s one of Mohamed Ali’s catchphrases. “If my head can conceive it and my heart can believe it, then I can achieve it.”

How do you select the names of your characters?

I try to pick a name that fits the world they live in. My paranormal heroines are often named for herbs and flowers. For my contemporary characters, I look at popular names in the year they were born. Sometimes they shout at me that I’ve named them wrongly, but that doesn’t happen often. The heroine in my book Claimed by Vampire, Seduced by the Werewolf went through three name changes before I got her name right.

Wickedly Used.

Release date – 17th February.

Publisher – Stormy Night Publications

Blurb

While he is no stranger to pleasurable company from ladies of the night, Major Richard Rothbury of the royal dragoons is not the kind of man who will stand idly by as a woman is taken against her will, and when he witnesses a disreputable cad attempting to force himself on a girl in a back alley, he does not hesitate to intervene.

But after the grateful young woman offers herself to Rothbury, he is shocked to discover that not only was she no harlot, she was a maiden and he has deflowered her. Furious at the girl’s scandalous behavior and her carelessness with her own safety, Rothbury chastises her soundly.

Though she is due to inherit one of the largest fortunes in England, the fact that she cannot touch the money until she marries or turns thirty has kept Elizabeth completely at the mercy of her cruel uncle, and for years she has been treated as if she were a servant. Her encounter with Lord Rothbury is by far the most exciting thing that has ever happened to her, but while he shows great concern for her safety, he refuses to believe that she is anything more than a serving girl.

Despite having made it clear that he doesn’t consider a match between them to be possible, when Elizabeth disobeys him Rothbury proves more than ready to strip her bare, punish her harshly, and then enjoy her beautiful body in the most shameful of ways. But can she dare to hope that he will one day make her his wife, or is she destined to spend her life being wickedly used?

Publisher’s Note: Wickedly Used: A Dark Regency Romance includes spankings and sexual scenes. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.

Buy links

Amazon USA     Amazon UK     Amazon Canada    Amazon Australia

Excerpt

The dragoon bristled when he glowered at Dawlish. Catching both her wrists in one hand, her rescuer held her at arms’ length. The breadth of his chest fascinated her, and she could sense his inner strength. She shuddered then stilled, but her heart still beat overtime in her chest.

Dawlish was older, with a thickset body and a mouth as mean as her uncle’s. Her dragoon’s good looks and protective manner delighted her. He had stepped in and saved her, sort of, but his gaze condemned her as Dawlish’s whore. He felt more friend than foe, but he looked ready to march away when she needed him to stay.

Lifting her head, she tried to sound brave. “Please, sir, let me pass.”

When he didn’t move, she tugged one hand free of his hold and shoved at his chest. He recaptured it in an instant. “Damn it, girl. Stand still for a minute.”

His touch sent a series of lightning strikes down her spine. Her nipples pearled and poked at the thin fabric of her gown. With him, she could fulfill her wickedest dream. The one where she gave her virginity to a handsome stranger. Memories of a stolen moment of passion would sustain her until she turned thirty—she hoped.

Dawlish snarled like a mongrel ready to fight over a bone. He still fumbled to lace up his breeches. “I saw her first. Come here, girl. I’ll pay whatever price you demand once you’ve spread your thighs for me.”

Self-conscious and horrified, Elizabeth stared at the ground. After six years of her cousins’ insults, she felt like the nonentity they called her. She hated that. Back before her parents died, she’d felt pretty. Her mother had told her that her hair shone like moonlight and her eyes gleamed like the palest topaz.

Washed out, her cousins called them.

For her dragoon, she wanted to be beautiful. She took a step closer to him. “I’m not here by choice, sir. I swear it.”

He spoke softly as if soothing a spooked mare. “Easy, girl. Allow me to escort you back to the Grand Walk.”

Dawlish yanked her wrist free of the dragoon’s grip and dragged her toward him. His touch felt like a million spiders scuttling over her skin. Does the wretched man ever bathe? Solid, square, and sweaty, he leered at her through piggy eyes. “Come on, Blondie, name your price.”

Just when she thought the dragoon’s gaze couldn’t be any colder, it turned into an arctic blast. Mouth set in a straight line, he pried Dawlish’s fingers from her wrist. “She’s not willing. Leave her be.”

The vein in Dawlish’s forehead bulged. His cheeks turned mottled scarlet. He shoved at the dragoon’s chest like a schoolboy spoiling for a fight. Her rescuer curled his lip and brushed him aside.

Once Dawlish realized he couldn’t move her dragoon, he shoved Elizabeth behind him. “Rothbury? Playing the hero? After the way you screwed your family? I don’t think so. Lavinia will laugh when I tell her you’ve taken to defending whores. Back off, and mind your own business. This little pigeon’s mine.”

The look the dragoon—Rothbury—gave Dawlish would have curdled milk. The atmosphere felt thick with menace. Elizabeth felt sure there were undercurrents at play here that she didn’t understand.

Rothbury’s jaw clenched with carefully suppressed anger. “The lady’s changed her mind.”

Elizabeth’s cheeks burned. Dawlish made her feel dirty and cheap. She pulled her free of his grip and shoved at his back. When he stared at her over his shoulder, his gaze held a degrading mix of menace and desire. “She’ll be willing once we’ve agreed on the price. Besides, you can have her when I’ve finished.”

About Kryssie Fortune.

Kryssie reads everything and anything, from literary fiction to sizzling romance. Her earliest memory is going to the library with her mother. She can’t have been more than two at the time. Reading, especially when a book’s hot and explicit, is more than a guilty pleasure. It’s an obsession.

Kryssie loves to visit historic sites, from Hadrian’s wall to Regency Bath. The first book she fell in love with was Georgette Heyer’s The Unkown Ajax. After that, she devoured every regency book she could. After a while, they went out of fashion, but part of Kryssie’s psyche lives in in in Regency London. She longs to dance quadrilles and flirt behind fans. Of course, Kryssie’s heroines do far more than flirt.

Kryssie lives in Bridlington on the Yorkshire coast –about thirty miles from Whitby, where Bram Stoker wrote Dracula. She enjoys gardening, travel, and socializing with her author friends. You’d be surprised how many erotic romance authors live in the North of England.

Social Media Links

Website      http://kryssiefortune.wixsite.com/kryssie
Blog            http://kryssiefortune.blogspot.co.uk/
Twitter         https://twitter.com/KryssieFortune
Facebook    https://www.facebook.com/KryssiesFortune
Pinterest      http://bit.ly/1OGFnjc
Goodreads     http://bit.ly/2kxqabJ
Amazon Author Page  http://amzn.to/2hA0ZVO

 

On Tour: One Night in Havana by Kathleen Rowland #MFRWAuthor #Havana #Contest

One Night in Havana 
#34 in the City Nights Series from Tirgearr Publishing
by Kathleen Rowland

Kathleen will be awarding 3 lucky winners a $10 Amazon Gift Certiticate. Winners will be chosen randomly with Rafflecopter. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here.

About the Book:  

A desperate competition and sizzling attraction leads to dangerous desire.

New York Marine biologist Veronica “Roni” Keane is attending the Havana Bay Conference in Cuba. Tomorrow only one grant will be awarded which will provide the winner with professional recognition, resources for a project, and living expenses for two years. She hopes to continue her deceased father’s work, but smooth operator, Carlos Montoya, has won many grants in the past.

Carlos, a freelancer for the Havana Port Authority, works to help protect Havana’s reputation as a bastion of safety. As international travelers flock to the island, attracted by its 1950’s time-warp and colonial architecture, the drug business is running rampant, particularly on Roni’s cruise ship. Something’s not right, and when her scuba tanks are tampered with, Carlos brings in the military police to investigate. For her safety, he keeps her close, but he craves her body.

Their attraction leads to a fun night with a bit of kink. But Roni finds herself in more trouble than she bargained for when the criminals blame her for alerting the military police and come looking for her. Can Roni trust Carlos to protect her? Will she stay in Havana if Carlos wins the coveted grant, or kiss her lover goodbye?

An erotic romance with mystery. 

Amazon Buy Link

Excerpt:

— Chapter One

“Why, Veronica Keane.” A voice heavy with a Spanish accent drawled from behind her. “A dive bar?” A taunting tsk. “What do we have? A slumming New Yorker?”
She stiffened and closed her eyes. She knew that voice and its owner, Dr. Carlos Montoya, a finalist like her, competing for the same damn grant at the biggest Cephalopoda conference of the decade. Her heart pitter-pattered against her ribs. To turn toward him would intimate distress, or worse yet, weakness. She wouldn’t fail to win this grant, not when she was a final contender. “I like this funky little place.” Sia Macario Café, smack in the center of Havana, allowed her to observe locals and their daily lives.
“You need to eat with all the mojitos you’ve downed.” The big tease wasn’t  counting. This was her first drink, but his rumbling, sexy timbre hinted at all kinds of dark, hot promises. She’d rubbed shoulders with the Cuban scientist all week. This splendid specimen of Latin male brought on a physical ache that punched low.
A flare-up stirred fear. For her own good, she needed to resist. “I ordered camarones enchiladas.” By now she knew the menu on the chalkboard by heart. She tipped her head back to whiff grilled shrimp soon to arrive in sofrito sauce with fried sweet plantains.
“The flan is good. Just like my abuela makes.”
“I bet. Your grandmother would be happy to hear that,” she said, knowing he brought out the best in most people. Two days ago he’d invited her and a handful of others scuba diving. The chance to ogle him had been one of the perks. He’d worn nothing but swim trunks, his bare chest on display. Every glistening muscle was finely etched. Not a drop of fat on him. Since he’d not given her the time of day, she’d checked him out without him noticing.
The hard-bodied host had led the way toward habitats of soft-bodied creatures. To find where invertebrates lived was never an easy task. Octopuses squeezed into narrow passages of coral for protection and gave females a place to keep their eggs. She’d discovered the remains of a few meals nearby.Octopuses scattered rocks and shells to help them hide.
 This grant meant so much to her and no doubt to him as well. Veronica mindlessly toyed with the gold necklace around her neck, but anxiety crackled through her brain. Unlike this man of action, she lacked the flamboyant personality necessary to talk people into things. Carlos had that ability. He’d made friends with judges on board while she’d conversed with an older woman about a box of scones made with Cuban vanilla cream.
That day the wind had picked up to a gale force, and this woman named Bela with Lucille Ball red hair needed help walking to her home. The half mile down the seaside promenade, The Malecón, had provided her with time to practice her Spanish. Turned out Bela was Carlos’s grandmother. She’d worked as a maid when the Castro government came to power. When private homes were nationalized, titles were handed over to the dwelling occupants. Bela owned a crumbling home in the respected Verdado district and rented out rooms.
What Veronica detested about Carlos was his abnormal level of talent for schmoozing. Not that he wasn’t charismatic; he drew her like a powerful magnet with emotions hard to untangle. Why was a self-assured woman who ran her own life thinking about a man who commanded everyone around him?
She inhaled a breath and turned around on the barstool, caught fast by a gut punch of Carlos Montoya in the flesh. She sighed and surrendered to the tendrils of want sliding up between her thighs.
Tall and muscular, his lush dark hair curled to his collar giving him a wild, roguish appearance. His face was lean and chiseled. His mouth full and tempting. His eyes the smoky-gray of a grass fire and fringed with black lashes as dense as paintbrushes. He smiled. A faint hint of mockery curved his mouth, a sensual mouth she imagined to be either inviting or cruel. Or both at the same time when he leaned over a woman with a diamond-hard gleam in his dark eyes while she drowned with pleasure. She fought a fierce desire to run her hand across his broad chest, tip her face upward, and…
His breath tickled her face.
Not going there. She blinked and forced her mind to focus. Carlos Montoya was not the kind of man you lost focus around. But that image of putting her mouth full on his and peeling away his shirt once introduced in her mind was impossible to expunge. Pointless even to try.
He was an intimidating blend of intellect and sexy danger. Both qualities had her leaning back against the bar’s edge. If it weren’t for him, she’d have a chance at winning the grant.
His lips twitched. “You’re staying on one of the cruise ships, am I right?” He rolled up the sleeves of his linen jacket to reveal a dusting of manly hair.
”Yes.” Her cabin served as her hotel room while attending the January meetings with perfect high-seventies temperatures. His eyes locked with hers. She willed herself to move and yet she remained seated, clutching heat between her legs, a wetness so intense that her breath stalled in her chest while her heart hammered faster. Soon she’d return to freezing New York City.
“So, Bonita, give.” He slid onto the bar stool next to her. “What brings you down from a lofty ship to grace us lowly Cubans with your presence?”
Bonita. Pretty lady was not an endearment coming from the mouth curved in a taunting smile, but not a slight either. Not with his deep, melodic voice speaking words as if he knew secrets about her. What secrets did he know? Would he pry into her personal life? She doubted this bad-boy college professor acknowledged boundaries.
“Just drinks and dinner.” She scrambled for composure. “Aren’t we attending a world-class conference? I find the local population to be friendly and kind. That’s not slumming.”
The bartender set down a saoco. “Hope you like it, senorita.”
“Gracias,” she said. “Very nice, served in a coconut.”
“Ah, the saoco,” Carlos said. “Rum, lime juice, sugar, and ice. The saoco,” he repeated, disbelief heavy in his words. “Um. Wow. Once used as a tonic for prisoners of the revolution.”
“Medicinal?” She couldn’t help it. She chuckled and sounded as if a rusty spoon had scraped her throat raw, but it was genuine. The warm glow in its wake was welcome and needed. .
He leaned an elbow on the bar, his beer bottle with the green-and-red Cristal label dangling between his fingers. “Be careful with that one.” He dipped his head toward the front door as if he needed to go somewhere soon.
That fast, the glow snuffed out. She cleared her throat and gripped the fuzzy surface of the coconut container.
He placed a five-peso coin with a brass plug on the counter and whirled it. The spinning motion mirrored a dizzying attraction going on in low parts of her belly.
She cleared her wayward mind and nodded toward artwork on the opposite wall. “I plan to buy a painting tonight.”
“Don’t buy anything unless the seller gives you a certificate. You’ll need one to take art from Cuba. Artists deal in euros in case you don’t have pesos.”
She’d come prepared but said, “Thanks for the info.”
His coal-black eyes widened as he gazed from her head down to the tiny straps around her ankles as if she wore high heels and nothing else. “You give off a Barbie doll image,” he replied and stood up.
“Huh?”
“Where’s Ken, anyway? Kenneth Morton. He came with you to the talks in Antarctica. Five years ago.” He grinned, and the mortification in her belly gave way to a longing which she had no business feeling toward her competitor.
“Ken and I broke up.” She hesitated for a moment. “You have a gift for remembering names. Like a salesman.”
“A person’s name is, to that person, the most important and sweetest sound. Back then I introduced myself to Ken in the men’s room.”
“I remember now. Didn’t you give a talk on a specialized pigment in the octopus?”
“Ahh, si.” He splayed his fingers over his chest. “A pigment in their blood is—”
 “—called hemocyanin. Turns their blood blue and helps them survive subfreezing temperatures. Were you awarded something?”
“The antifreeze protein grant? No. It went to a deep-diving photographer. He wasn’t chicken about getting lost or trapped under the ice.”
She slid from her stool and strutted around, jutting her chin in and out like a chicken. “Bock, bock, bock, bock, bock, begowwwwk.”
He chuckled. “Cute chicken dance. Very cute in that skimpy black dress.”
Her cheeks heated, and she clutched her necklace. He’d seen plenty of women in body-fitting attire. In Cuba, women wore dresses to meetings. If she’d harnessed sexier mojo, she’d have livened up presentations. Her presentations with an abundance of dull data went south. She slid back against her stool and clutched her purse to her stomach as if the small satin bag could calm the nerves playing deep down kickball. She belonged in her tidy New York office filled with computers, modems, and research manuals. Not in this softly lit café where passion oozed from a man’s pores, and artists displayed their canvases. Here was where Havana’s trendsetters congregated, and Ernest Hemingway wrote about desire.
“Good luck with your purchases, Veronica Keane.”
Okay, so they weren’t going to pretend they were going head to head for the grant.
As if he had more to say, he grinned at her, his perfect white teeth flashing.. “Do you find us different, like apples and oranges?”
“What am I, an apple or an orange?”
“Hmm. You’re an apple.” He was doing that sexy voice thing which made her brain shut down. Heady. 
It started with an unexpected spark, an instant attraction, the jolting jab of oh-I’m-feeling-something. Something like a flashfire in her belly, but now they were talking. “Am I the apple of desire? Want to take a bite out of me?” She pulled in a breath. Had she really said that?
Bonita, do I ever.”
“Tomorrow is the final ceremony.” Would she watch him walk to the podium to accept the grant? 

About the Author: 

Book Buyers Best finalist Kathleen Rowland is devoted to giving her readers fast-paced, high-stakes suspense with an erotic love story sure to melt their hearts.  Her latest release is One Night in Havana, #34 in the City Nights series.

Kathleen also has a steamy romantic suspense series with Tirgearr Publishing, Deadly Alliance is followed by Unholy Alliance. Keep an icy drink handy while reading these sizzling stories.

Kathleen used to write computer programs but now writes novels.   She grew up in Iowa where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and raced her sailboat on Lake Okoboji.  Now she wears flip-flops and sails with her husband, Gerry, on Newport Harbor but wishes there were lightning bugs in California.

Kathleen exists happily with her witty CPA husband, Gerry, in their 70’s poolside retreat in Southern California where she adores time spent with visiting grandchildren, dogs, one bunny, and noisy neighbors.  While proud of their five children who’ve flown the coop, she appreciates the luxury of time to write.

If you’d enjoy news,  sign up for Kathleen’s newsletter at http://www.kathleenrowland.com/
 
© 2020 Adriana Kraft. All Rights Reserved.
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