A little something from Near Enough to Hold

A little something from Near Enough to Hold

Happy 2018! Last year I published a four-part serial love story called Near Enough to Hold, available exclusively for Kindle. Here’s a taste of it. Hope you like it! 

An excerpt from part four of Near Enough to Hold.

Something changed between us on Election Night. That night, we could have easily made love. We lay there in his bed, but we settled for holding one another.  “I’m almost scared to kiss you,” he’d admitted to me as we lay facing one another. His eyes were closed. I willed him to open them, to see me laying there topless and touch me. He’d tucked one hand under his pillow, the other lay still on my hip. His fingers pressed into my flesh, lightly at first.

“Look at me, Nick…”

He did as I asked. I knew he worried about what would happen to our friendship. In a way, I worried too. I didn’t want anything to disturb the balance…and yet, what I wanted most was to share my days and nights with him. I sometimes imagined what my life would have been like if I’d known him when I lived in New York, when my every waking hour focused on dance—on sewing elastic bands and thick ribbons to my pointe shoes, maintaining my flexibility and pushing myself to the limits to impress creative directors on the lookout for their next batch of principal dancers.

If I’d known him then…or if we’d met in London, would we have liked one another?

Would he want me in his life still?

Maybe all that mattered was the here and now. I didn’t need to know if he’d been a jerk in his past if he’d learned from his mistakes. Maybe he didn’t care that I’d been one of those dancers who didn’t care about anyone else as long as I got the roles I wanted. Maybe we’d both fucked up and learned from every single mistake we’d ever made.

But now, when he looked at me with those eyes that sometimes revealed so much of the sadness and the joy and the fear inside him…all I wanted was to crush my lips against his and lose myself in his touch.

 

 

 

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Just a Taste – ENAMORED

Just a Taste – ENAMORED

My latest release is ENAMORED, book 3 in my baseball series. I wove two romances together in this one, so I’m calling it a baseball romance double-header. 🙂

 

After a Spring Training stunt saddles Liam York with a broken ankle, the League’s Best Mascot is forced to share the spotlight with the team’s solution: a temporary friend for Fin the Shark. But his new co-worker tests the limits of his control.

Claire Devereux spent years caring for her siblings and is more than ready for some fun. She loves every aspect of being Fin’s new friend Fiona and is determined to make the temporary gig permanent.

As romance blooms between their on-field personalities, Liam and Claire give in to their passion off the field too. But curve balls from every direction test whether they’re better as a duo or if it’s every mascot for him/herself.

Meanwhile…

First baseman Slade MacInnes has a lot of balls in the air. His contract is expiring, he’s just found his birth parents, and his agreement to do some work with a children’s charity has led him to the very sexy and sweet Savanna Soto.

Savanna works hard granting wishes to kids with life-threatening illnesses, something her sister never lived to experience. Slade’s no-fear attitude and adrenaline-junkie adventures make her want to break out of her self-imposed safety bubble and live.

Slade figures he’s just the man to help her conquer her fears. Each activity draws them closer together with an attraction that sizzles. But when life pushes their differences to a head, will fear win out or can love save the game?

****

Here’s a taste from Liam and Claire’s story:

Thanks to traffic, forty minutes passed before she entered the stadium’s employee parking lot. Claire grabbed her purse, pulled out her badge, and jogged toward the entrance. She couldn’t afford to be late yet. Maybe no one had noticed.

Yeah right.

She flashed her badge at the security guard and increased her pace. Rushing to the third-floor office, she bypassed the elevator and ran up the stairs. The team wanted the mascots to be visible to the fans on the concourse prior to the game. People would see that she wasn’t there with Liam. Even if the fans didn’t notice, the staff would. Raymond had been pleased with her performance so far. She couldn’t let that change.

Her purse caught the edge of a maintenance cart and yanked her back. She stumbled into the wall, cursing as her shoulder met concrete.

“Claire?” Liam, dressed as Fin, slowed to a stop on his golf cart. “I tried calling your phone. Are you okay?”

Rubbing her shoulder, she pushed away from the wall. “Sorry I’m late. I’ll be dressed in under a minute.”

She slid past him, jogged the remaining steps to the office, and dropped her purse on the floor. Her damn shoulder throbbed. Hopefully, it wouldn’t hold back her performance. No one could see her wince in pain anyway during the game. The costume made sure of that.

The golf cart stopped in front of the door. Liam hopped off, grabbed his crutches, and lumbered into the room. The door closed at his back. “Are you getting in a pre-game workout by jogging around the floors?”

Laughter huffed out at the thought. “Right. That’s it.”

She tugged on the costume, tripping as her sneaker caught on the material. And then the zipper got stuck on the fabric. “Damn it, damn it, damn it.”

“Hey, relax. We’re good.”

“No, we’re not good. We’re due out on the concourse.”

“If you need more time, Fin can always pretend he locked Fiona in a closet so he could have fun on the field.”

“Raymond’s not going to buy that if he’s out there.” She sat on the couch and worked the material free of the zipper’s teeth.

He came closer and laid his hand on her shoulder. “I wouldn’t throw you under the bus. I’d tell Ray that you were stuck in a traffic backup caused by an accident or road construction.”

Her previous sales job had been cut-throat, with co-workers stealing customers and an everyone-out-for-themselves environment. She had never expected that Liam would back her up here. “Well, thanks. I appreciate it.”

“Just curious, but why were you late?”

“Lasagna and a missing gym leotard.”

She caught his grin through the mesh of Fin’s mouth. “Yeah, I hate it when that happens.”

They both laughed and he nodded toward the TV. “Today’s episode of Fin and Fiona is The First Kiss. We can tune in right here during the fourth inning.”

“With everything that’s gone on today, I’d forgotten. I’m glad Raymond was right about the fans loving the Fin and Fiona storyline.” Resisting Liam had been harder than she’d thought. Just one look into those laughing brown eyes and she’d melt. He made her wish for things that she shouldn’t. She stood and slid the zipper closed.

He moved backward, but his crutch landed on her purse and fell away from his grip. His body pitched to the side and he flung out his arm and casted ankle. Claire sprang forward. She couldn’t have him land on either of those. Yanking the front of his costume, she twisted toward the couch. His weight and momentum took them both down and they landed in a heap of tangled limbs.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” Buried beneath him, she panted the apology. She never left her purse on the floor. “Did you bang your ankle?”

“A little.” He pushed up on his arms but she couldn’t see his eyes through the dark mesh of the costume. “Can you pull off my mask?”

“Sure.” Berating herself, she slipped it off his head. His eyes kindled with that familiar spark and his dark hair was tousled in a sexy mess. She could picture him looking this exact way after a night spent together. Dragging her thoughts from going in that direction, she smoothed the strands, desperate to fix something after the near-disaster she’d caused.

His breath stilled when her hand tangled in his hair. And she realized she probably shouldn’t be touching him like this. She lifted her hand, but he shook his head. “Don’t stop. I like it.”

Her blood beating a steady thrum, she returned her hand to his hair. His gaze roamed her face and then settled on her mouth. He shifted his body and tugged his hand free of their tangle. When his finger trailed from her temple to her chin, her eyes fluttered closed. The touch was like thousands of points of electricity pulsing against her skin.

She opened her eyes. Liam’s gaze held hers captive and he traced his finger over the shape of her lips. “Fighting this hasn’t worked. If anything, it’s made me want you more.”

The words spoken in the roughened tone were both arousing and gratifying. She hadn’t been the only one who’d suffered. “So maybe we should stop fighting it.”

A slow, dangerous smile spread across his face. He moved his hand to her throat and stroked her skin with a feather light caress. Claire left one hand buried in his hair and slid the other to his neck, massaging the muscles.

Liam groaned and lowered his head and his mouth crashed down on hers faster and hotter than she’d expected. His lips coaxed hers apart and she let his tongue slide inside to dual with hers. He kissed a trail to her jawline then down her neck in a series of nips and licks that weakened her muscles and heated her blood. Tugging his hair, she nudged him until he returned to her mouth. His urgency matched hers and his body blanketed her, wrapping them in their desire.

A knock pounded on the door. Claire jolted and knocked her forehead into Liam’s. “Damn it.”

He pulled away, rubbing his forehead, and rolled to the floor. “Just a second,” he called out as he reached for his crutches.

Claire sprung to her feet. She adjusted her costume, slipped her mask in place, and helped Liam put his on.

When she opened the door, Tim, one of the security guards, stood with his hand on his radio. “You guys all right? Our guest singer for the National Anthem was late, but she’s ready to go now. You need to get on the field.”

They were much later than she’d thought. Claire groaned and glanced at Liam. “Sorry. I had some costume trouble.”

“I’ll have them hold the elevator for you.” Tim stepped away, speaking into his radio.

Liam locked the door and climbed into the golf cart. He rubbed Fin’s fins together. “Time to burn some rubber.”

She started the engine and sped down the hall. Her attraction to Liam couldn’t get in the way of doing her job. “Listen, about what happened…”

“It was a good first kiss, starting with the crash and ending with a bang.” He raised his hand to his head.

Laughing, she glided the cart onto the empty elevator. “Seriously. We can’t let it affect things here.”

He laid his hand on her thigh. “Believe me, I wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize this job. On the clock, we’ll make sure to keep a better watch on the time. But off the clock, all bets are off.”

A shiver tore through her. Anticipation rolled together with wariness. Losing focus of her responsibilities wasn’t an option. And Liam proved to be the biggest distraction she’d ever had.

You can get your copy here:

Amazon: http://a.co/7T7IHJ6

iBooks: http://apple.co/2tI3UC3

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2u7flFy

B&N: http://bit.ly/2uKUPIT

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2u2rxb3

 

Happy reading!

Just A Taste of Risking the Vine

Just A Taste of Risking the Vine

I’ve got a little secret … I love wine. So much that I’m writing a series set in and around vineyards. The research was fun and informative as I started. Risking the Vine features Jacqui Bishop and Luke Rossi, who have been sent to Team Vino, a team building camp in wine country. They’s met each other before, in Medford where they are from. But now, they are really going to get to know each other. Enjoy!

 

As the wait staff placed baskets of bread on the table, Luke asked, “So we met at a hospital happy hour, but you aren’t an employee. Where do you work?”

“MedServices. We’re a medical records management firm,” she replied.

“Hate to say it, I think we use your competition.”

“I know. Bella’s told me on numerous occasions.”

His eyes darkened. “Bella’s okay. We’ve worked together to settle a couple of issues with the nurses’ union. She strikes me as one of the sane ones in the HR department.”

“Hmm. Well, I’ve never heard her described that particular way.” Jac smiled at the idea of her zany friend being sane.

“In my experience the entire department thrives on a witch hunt.” Luke’s tone was glum. “They are constantly looking for a scapegoat to pin the latest trouble on, instead of considering the source of the trouble.”

“I think that’s the case with most organizations.” She reached for a piece of bread. Time to change the subject. “Where did you move from?”

“Most recently from Tampa. I’ve always lived in the southeast, so this is an interesting change.”

“How so?”

Luke spread butter on the piece of sourdough bread he’d selected. “The climate in Oregon is cooler and more temperate. Still terribly humid. There are a lot of rainy days in the northwest.”

“So right,” Jac replied, tugging on her hair, closer to straight than curly today. Humidity sucked, which was why she typically wore her hair up. She never had trouble making small talk, so why were they talking about the weather?

“Why are you here? And by here I mean at team building camp.” The expression in Luke’s eyes seemed open and curious. But something else lurked and smoldered, more than mere friendliness.

Low in her body, Jac experienced an answering heat. She cast about, trying to recall his question. “Oh . . . um, I’m up for a promotion and since I’ve never supervised people before, the owner wanted me to learn some tricks to boost cooperation between my department and other internal clients. Although, being out of the office hasn’t stopped the calls from coming in. I guess it’s nice to be missed.”

“Trouble?”

“Nothing I can’t handle. I’m in client services and sometimes our customers can be demanding. Medical billing, records and privacy concerns, all can be a bit of a nightmare.”

“Tell me about it,” Luke sympathized. His gaze clouded. “Probably a lot like personnel and budget management.”

Jac leaned to her right as the waiter put a bowl of stew in front of her. Her shoulder brushed Luke’s. Warm, welcome heat from the contact thrilled her. Even though she sort of already knew the answer, she asked, “What brought you here?”

Luke fisted his hand on the table, tapped it a couple of time, while a muscle in his jaw popped.

Oops, sore subject.

“Let’s not talk about work anymore, okay? Honestly, I’d rather talk about the weather or baseball than my job. Or whether or not you have a husband.” He lifted one brow and tipped his head to the side.

A small sizzle raced across her belly. “Uh . . . no, no husband. Not even a boyfriend in sight.” And she hadn’t been heavily involved with anyone since her college sweetheart. Damn him.

He nodded. “Good. I didn’t have a chance to get to know you at happy hour. I’m glad to fix that now.”

The slow lift at the corners of his mouth drew her in. Made her believe he really did think it was good she didn’t have a significant other.

Just a Taste of More Than Words

Just a Taste of More Than Words

more than words

My other job, aside from being a romance author, is being a voiceover artist. I absolutely love it and it was the perfect job for my heroine Skye. I also gave something I love to my hero Aidan. He plays hockey in a men’s rec league. I heart hockey so much. But that’s a post for another day… Please meet Aidan and Skye below. 🙂

This excerpt is from Chapter One:

 

Aidan MacKay prided himself on staying cool under pressure. His army days taught him the importance of an even-temper and self-control which served him well in civilian life, too—at work as the head of HR and at play, guarding the net for his hockey team.

But even Zen masters had a limit.

Waking up to a sick dog, followed by a dead car battery, two employee emergencies, then a showdown with the new payroll company had him clock-watching. At three o’clock, he’d barely made a dent in the pile on his desk, wading through seventy-five resumes for only three job openings, two of them temporary. Aidan teetered a breath away from his breaking point.

His head pounded. His mind swam with his never-ending to-do list. And his muscles ached from too many hours hunched over a desk.

Email after email appeared in his inbox and frustration mounted again. Blood pounded in his temples. He forwarded what could wait into Angie’s inbox, and then glared at the rest.

“Might as well get started,” he mumbled, scrolling down.

A name popped out at him from the mass of emails. A pleasant surprise. He lifted his fingers and sat back, staring at the screen.

Sky Galen.

The voiceover artist had been working with the company for the past six months, voicing sales training tutorials and workplace safety videos. Her friendly emails always made him smile. He closed his eyes and leaned back in his chair and hit play on the sound file.

Her voice glided out of the speakers, enticing him to open his eyes as if he expected her to be standing in front of his desk. Calming. Soothing. Like a spring rainfall cooling his hot skin. His heartbeat slowed. Breathing eased and his taut muscles loosened.

The recording ended all too quickly.

Holy shit.

He sat up straight, staring at the sound file on the screen, and hit repeat.

Wonderfully modulated.

Slightly husky.

Completely sexy.

Her voice contained magic. Real magic. No recording had ever affected him like that before.

He hit repeat again. Then, continual repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Perfection.

Her voice possessed the same relaxing effect as an hour’s worth of yoga, or several minutes of deep breathing, or time spent playing with his dog. Instant, utter peace.

Heartbeat quickening, he clicked on the link for her website below her email signature. A background in swirly shades of blue as peaceful as her voice, countless testimonials, and demos showcasing a broad range of projects, including a few for Kallis, filled his screen. Her About page spoke of a previous career in radio before pursuing voiceovers full-time. He’d known she liked music; they’d had an interesting email exchange on rock bands when he’d mentioned his hockey team listened to eighties hair metal bands in the locker room before games.

He clicked through each page. Unfortunately, no photo. He would have loved a face to place with the name and voice. They’d emailed back and forth, quite a bit during her last few projects. He’d learned that she loved scary movies, Italian food, and lucky for him, hockey—even though they rooted for two rival professional teams. Hell, he knew more about her than the last three women he’d dated—combined. And when was that last date?

She was funny, sweet, and now, he was eager, more than eager, to get to know her even better.

Screw it—why wait?

He jabbed his fingers at the keypad and dialed the number listed in her email.

Two rings later, she answered, “Hello?”

“Skye?”

“Yes?”

“It’s Aidan. Aidan MacKay. With Kallis Toys.”

“Aidan, hello. It’s nice to hear from you.” Her voice flowed around him like a gentle breeze. The way she said his name… He wanted her to say it again.

He shifted the phone to his other hand and relaxed against the back of his chair. “I wanted to let you know how happy we’ve been with you.”

“Thank you. I’m so glad. I love working with you. Kallis is one of my favorite clients.”

Damn. He was consumed by the urge to see her. Hearing her voice live only heightened his craving for more. Nothing short of face time would do. “I’d love to meet you sometime.”

“Yes, well—” A blast of hard rock music echoed through the speaker, drowning out her voice. Two feminine voices mixed in before he could hear her close a door. Quiet returned.

He glanced at the phone, wishing he could see her through it. “Uh… Are you okay?”

“I’m sorry. My sister is here visiting, and she accidentally turned on my sound system. In hindsight, having a universal remote wasn’t a smart decision.”

“Good taste in music. Can’t go wrong with The Fury. Great band.”

“I’m so embarrassed—not about the band—I saw them in concert twice, and they were amazing. I’ll be hiding the remote from Terri for the rest of her stay.” Skye spoke louder, over the other voice profusely apologizing in the background, strong enough to penetrate the closed door.

He chuckled, more relaxed that he’d felt in ages. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll let you get back to your sister.”

“Wait. Did you need something specific?”

She seemed flustered. And he didn’t want to continue the conversation when she had a captive audience. “It can wait. I’ll be in touch with more projects soon.”

“I look forward to them.” Her voice softened, and he smiled.

He was still grinning like a fool a full minute later.

He returned to her website and played the various demos. Her voice changed from friendly to informative to concerned, but each one had the same effect on his system—utter peace.

He’d give anything to bottle that up. And maybe, with Skye, he’d find something more than the words filling the air.

 

More Than Words is Book 2 in my Holiday Hearts series. It’s available at all retailers. You can find the links, and lots more, by visiting me at susanscottshelley.com.

Happy Reading!

Susan-Sig