Welcome to my stop on the Summer Reads Blog Hop.
The hop's Grand Prize is a $100 Amazon Gift Card, and, through the end of July, I'm also running my own separate giveaway with a $25 Gift Card on offer. Both widgets are included at the end of this post along with the full list of participants.
Stop Giveaway: I'll also be sending an electronic copy of my summer contemporary romance from last year, More Than Strangers, to a random commenter. Just let me know if you prefer a desert getaway, day on the beach, or hike in the mountains. Remember to leave me a way to contact you!
When I think of summer weather, I envision sticky hot days interspersed with torrential downpours. The romance author in me views this series of events as an opportunity to give my characters the extra nudge they need to be naughty.
In keeping with this theme, here's a sexy excerpt from my most recent contemporary romance, Operation Owl. Zack and Maya have just walked through a summer thunderstorm, and now they're both soaking wet:
" Inspired by a Grimm’s fairy tale, Operation Owl is a multicultural romantic comedy featuring a pair of best friends—a geek hero and bookish heroine—who work together to expose cyber conspiracy at the heart of the US government.'
Outside, it had been warm enough for comfort. With the air conditioner at full blast, Maya's wet clothes threatened to freeze. She shivered.
“I bet you’re dying for a hot shower. Let’s start by taking those sandals off.” He reached to their side and opened the sliding closet door. Within the enclosed space stood a multi-tiered shoe rack. To its left she saw a stacked washer-dryer.
“Okay, now I’m impressed.” In-unit laundry appliances weren’t standard in converted buildings. She contemplated her next move as Zack yanked off his wet sneakers and dripping socks. Steeling herself for pain, she detached her sandals’ back Velcro straps and tried to step out of what had turned into instruments of torture. She winced when a blister scraped the side of her foot.
He knelt in front of her. “Here, let me help.”
With infinite care, he slipped one foot free and set the shoe aside. The other one came off with even less discomfort. As if afraid of looking at her legs for too long, he leapt to a standing position. “All your skin is intact. It doesn’t look like you’ll need Band-Aids.”
She took a step back to stand on the floor mat near the entrance door. “I should strip here so I don’t drip everywhere.”
The panicked expression on his face almost made her laugh. “I’ll get a towel—”
She grabbed his wrist before he could turn. Having thought through this moment ever since she threatened to kiss him back on the bridge, she knew what she wanted to do. But now that the time for execution had arrived, fear of rejection kept her from making a move. What if she got naked and he still pushed her away?
Pulling her shoulders back, she filled her lungs before letting out a calming breath. Sometimes, a girl must take a leap of faith. “Stay here.... Please.”
Seconds ticked passed, marked by the sound of water dripping off their hair and clothes onto the hardwood floor. He clenched the hand she held into a fist, his brows furrowing as if in concentration. If he yanked free of her hold, that would be that.
But he didn’t walk away. For now, it had to be enough. Without releasing him, she used her free hand to pull down the zipper of her sweatshirt.
He followed her slow progression with his gaze as the waterlogged metal hinges came apart. His forearm muscles tightened in her grasp, which she took as a positive sign. When the zipper reached the end and detached, the hoodie’s heavy sides separated to reveal her camisole.
Heat flooded her cheeks, but the moment of brazenness brought him a step closer. Inches away from each other, she could feel heat rolling off him in waves. The scent of rain, minty aftershave, and something uniquely Zack overwhelmed her senses. His labored breaths and heightened color urged her to continue despite increasing self- consciousness. Something—female intuition, perhaps—convinced her she held the upper hand.
He came even closer, bringing them toe-to-toe. “I’m not going to kiss you.”
So do you think they kissed? Thanks again for stopping by, and don't forget to visit the other authors for more awesome giveaways.