Posted by Leslie at Oct 16, 2012 6:00 am
It’s almost Halloween, which I know you all know is a BIG favorite around here. Daughter’s wedding is the weekend before, so the rehearsal dinner is actually a big costume party. Should be LOTS of fun.
Anyway, because it’s the season, and because I LOVE my first Halloween-themed book, I wanted to give it a little love today. I wrote TRICK ME TREAT ME way back in 2002, but it’s still a book I really adore. It’s one of my highest rated books and one I’m really proud of. So while we usually promote new releases here, I thought I’d share an excerpt of an oldie-but-a-goodie. It’s available in e-format for about 3 bucks…what a bargain, right? And it is the first story in my Derryville Trilogy, which is rounded out by my favorite of my five single-title length romantic comedies. (KILLING TIME.) It has amnesia and secret agents and ghosts and it’s super-sexy and has lots of laughs and a gorgeous cover. So, if you haven’t checked it out, give it a thought!
After spending more than a year overseas doing research, true crime writer Jared Winchester is dying for some excitement. So when he receives an invitation to a party his first night backâ€”an in-character Halloween party, at thatâ€”he decides to go for it. For one night heâ€™ll be secret agent Miles Stone. Too bad he doesnâ€™t know that the party already took placeâ€”last year. Or that one certain woman will find secret-agent men irresistibleâ€¦
…WILL BE HER TREAT!
Gwen Compton is tired of playing it safe. For months sheâ€™s thrown all her energy into turning an old haunted house into a bed-and-breakfast. Now itâ€™s Halloween. The inn is readyâ€¦and so is Gwen! Sheâ€™s going to find herself a manâ€”a dangerous man, an exciting man! And she doesnâ€™t have to look very farâ€¦.. Late that night she discovers a dark, sexy stranger in the kitchen. He says heâ€™s on a secret mission. But Gwen has other thrills in store for himâ€¦.
And for an excerpt…click below!
As he slowly regained consciousness, he became aware of an incredible softness against his cheek. And the smell of apples. Sweet, cinnamon apples. He tried to open his eyes, wanting to know the source of the delicious aroma, but even that tiny a movement sent a shard of pain rushing through his skill.
â€œAre you awake?â€
A soft voice. A husky voice. A feminine voice. A voice almost as intriguing as that smell. He crawled toward it, one mental step at a time, trying to climb out of the haze clouding his brain and making lead weights of his limbs.
â€œUmmm…â€ was the best he could do in response.
â€œMiles, Iâ€™m so sorry, I canâ€™t believe my aunt hit you.â€
The sweet-smelling womanâ€™s aunt had hit him? Didnâ€™t sound very dramatic, unless the aunt doubles as a heavyweight.
â€œSheâ€™s old and protective. I donâ€™t imagine she realized a bag of pennies would be that heavy.â€
An old lady had hit him causing this pain? With pennies? Not only not dramatic, it was beginning to sound downright pathetic.
â€œShe thought you were someone else. And I canâ€™t imagine what she must have thought, walking in here and seeing us…kissing.â€
This time, his eyes flew open in spite of the pain. Kissing? Heâ€™d been kissing this delightful sounding, delicious smelling person? That was the type of thing he ought to know, right?
Unfortunately, he couldnâ€™t grab hold of a single thought, couldnâ€™t remember a damn thing because of the jackhammer pounding in his head. Something he regretted when his eyes cleared enough to let him take in the vision of a woman kneeling next to him.
Beautiful. Blonde. Half naked. With long, shining hair that tangled on his own chest because she was leaning over him. And perfect, magnificent breasts almost spilling out of a shimmery white gown, mere inches from his face.
He swallowed, hard, as all the blood not involved in making the veins in his temples pound in agony descended due south. Funny how he could suddenly throb in two spots. His head. And his groin. Fortunately, she didnâ€™t appear to notice.
â€œMiles? Are you sure youâ€™re all right? Iâ€™m so sorry, I didnâ€™t see Aunt Hildy until it was too late.â€ She glanced at her own fingers. â€œWe were, umh, otherwise occupied.â€
Okay, what the hell had he forgotten? And, more important, how would she react if he leaned just a little bit closer and tasted that sweet, tempting curve? Because right now, all he could think about was sliding his tongue under the fabric, teasing that dark, puckered nipple with his lips and pulling one of her legs over his hips to straddle him.
If only he didnâ€™t feel as though someone had buried an ax behind his ears. â€œWhere am I?â€ His tongue felt thick and heavy in his mouth, the headache increasing with each word he spoke.
â€œYouâ€™re in the kitchen of the Little Bohemie Inn,â€ the blonde vision replied. â€œDonâ€™t you remember?â€
She nibbled at her lip, reminding him of how much he liked kissing women with sultry, pouty bottom lips. At least, he thought he did. For some reason, he wasnâ€™t entirely sure. Not sure of anything, actually.
â€œYou were unconscious for a few minutes. Itâ€™s natural that you might be a little confused.â€ She glanced around the room and lowered her voice. â€œDo you remember why youâ€™re here at the inn?â€
He tried to shake his head, then thought better of it. â€œNo, I donâ€™t. Christ, I donâ€™t remember much of anything.â€
A flash of disappointment tugged her brow down and he imagined how that must have sounded. If heâ€™d been kissing her, he must know her. If not, theyâ€™d had a fast-moving acquaintance.
â€œYou might need a minute or two for your head to clear.â€
He didnâ€™t know which of them she was trying to convince, but appreciated the concern, again wondering how well he knew her. Because, he had to admit it. While her face sparked something deep inside his brain–something instinctive and elemental–he couldnâ€™t have spoken her name if someone put a gun to his head.
â€œLet me help you get that jacket off,â€ she continued in that low, sultry whisper, as if afraid someone might overhear. â€œIâ€™m nervous about you lying here with your gun underneath you.â€
Holy crap. A gun. He had a gun? Why would he have a gun?
She nodded, nibbling her lip.
â€œShh.â€ She looked around again. â€œKeep your voice down. Youâ€™re lying here, exposed and vulnerable.â€
Exposed? He shifted his eyes, checking everything out, making sure nothing was…er…left undone. Considering the world class hard-on heâ€™d been sporting since sheâ€™d leaned over him, he figured heâ€™d have noticed if his pants werenâ€™t fastened. The room wasnâ€™t exactly warm, and he definitely wasnâ€™t feeling a draft. In fact, that particular area of his anatomy was getting damned hot.
â€œYou showed it to me.â€
Showed it? His brow shot up. â€œI did?â€
She nodded. â€œIt wasnâ€™t very big.â€
â€œYour gun, I mean,â€ she clarified quickly, a faint blush the only indication that sheâ€™d correctly interpreted the half-offended, half-disbelieving expression on his face. â€œI was talking about the gun. Youâ€™re lying on it. So you should probably take your jacket off.â€
â€œAll right.â€ Though the pain was beginning to recede until it resembled a butcher knife in his brain, rather than a hatchet, he still cringed as he lifted his shoulders to remove the jacket.
Her comments about being â€œexposedâ€ and â€œshowing itâ€ might have been made in perfect innocence. But he couldnâ€™t help risking another quick lap check. All clear. Except for the continued discomfort of a pair of pants that, like the Grinchâ€™s heart, suddenly felt two sizes too small.
She helped him slip out of the jacket, her body coming incredibly close to brushing against his. All his senses perked right up, conscious of the brush of her hair against his face, the sweet scent of her skin, the husky rhythm of each of her heavily indrawn breaths.
An inch. One inch closer and sheâ€™d be almost lying across his lap while she pushed the jacket off one shoulder and reached around to tug it out from under him. One inch and all that would keep them apart would be her silky white gown, his own dark clothes, and a headache the size of Milwaukee.
She pulled away, as if feeling the same flash of heated awareness. Tossing his jacket onto a chair, she turned a deeper shade of pink as he watched her, still trying to figure out just what had happened. Where it had happened. Why it had happened. And when it could happen again.
Unfortunately, without the leather coat as a barrier, he quickly became aware of a cold, wet sensation spreading on his back. â€œAm I lying in something? Iâ€™m getting wet. You sure you aunt didnâ€™t bash me with a snow globe?â€
â€œSorry. You tipped over a bottle of water when you fell.â€
â€œGreat,â€ he said with a heavy sigh. â€œIâ€™m soaked.â€ Not giving it another thought, he carefully sat up and reached for the waistband of his black jeans. He tugged the bottom of his lightweight black sweater out and began pulling it up.
â€œWhat are you doing?â€
Given the note of near panic in her voice as she watched him undress, he had the feeling he and the blonde one hadnâ€™t progressed to the clothes-taking-off-stage. Too bad. Heâ€™d half hoped theyâ€™d been about to have wild sex on the kitchen table. That mighta made up for him getting knocked out by a penny-armed granny. It also might have given him something to look forward to when his brain stopped throbbing and started working again.
â€œIâ€™m soaked.â€ His tone told her he was in no mood to argue over her delicate sensibilities. She watched, lips parted as she drew in deep breaths. She was all pink and flushed. So damned wide-eyed and innocent, her pulse beating wildly in her neck.
He suddenly had an almost uncontrollable impulse to growl, low in his throat, and gently nip at that neck. He wanted to taste her sweet skin, to feel her pulse beating against his tongue as he savored her. Later. Definitely later.
She didnâ€™t help him tug the shirt off at first, maintaining a physical and mental distance. But when he tried to tug the sweater over his head, it scraped painfully against a boulder growing out of the back of his skull. He groaned.
â€œLet me help you,â€ she insisted, sounding disgruntled.
She didnâ€™t act disgruntled, though. In fact, her hands almost lingered as she tugged the fabric free of his shoulders. He felt her fingers move lightly across his bare chest, and quivered a bit in instinctive reaction. Then she slid her hands under the mock-turtle neckline and eased it over his head.
â€œBetter,â€ he murmured.
â€œBetter,â€ she repeated, still kneeling close. So close he could see the flecks of gold in her beautiful amber irises, could see her gaze drop to his lips. To his shoulders. To his bare chest and stomach.
The throbbing in his groin became more urgent than the one in his head. Her stare held such heat. Such sensual want. Without thinking, he reached out and tangled his fingers in her hair, tugging her close. â€œI wanna kiss you so bad.â€
â€œBut your head…â€
â€œItâ€™ll damn well be worth the pain.â€