Congratulations, Estella, you are the winner of Olivia Drake’s Seducing the Heiress! I’ll send you an e-mail for your snail mail. Now, as promised, I have special guest Bella Andre visiting this week! She is one of my very favorite authors, and her firefighters are hot! Leave a comment with your email address to be entered to win a copy of Wild Head, the first in the Men of Fire series, winner to be chosen on May 29th. And with that, I turn it over to Bella!
I'm so thrilled Jasmine invited me back to blog with her. Not only do I adore her as a person, but every time one of her books comes out I devour it that day! :)
My new book - NEVER TOO HOT (the third book in my Men of Fire series) – is officially out on Tuesday, so I was thinking I would share an excerpt and talk a bit about the book. Sound good?
NEVER TOO HOT
A TOUCH IGNITES. A FIRE BURNS...AND THE HEAT HAS JUST BEGUN.
Deep in the cool green mountains of the Adirondacks, wounded firefighter Connor MacKenzie has come to rebuild the 100-year-old MacKenzie family cabin--and to be alone. A horrific blaze has left him scarred inside and out and certain of two things: He'll get back on his Hot Shot crew no matter what it takes, and any woman who ventures too close will not stay long.
Ginger Sinclair has been burned by a different kind of fire. Having just escaped from a bad marriage, she's retreated to the safety of the lakeside vacation town in upstate New York to start a new life. She's done with men, with relationships, with the danger of desires that can rage out of control--until she unexpectedly encounters Connor MacKenzie. As a hot summer on the lake grows ever hotter, they find themselves sharing a cabin and a romance that will swiftly engulf them both.
Ginger was wrapped deep in a dark and swirling dream where she was running through a forest full of falling widow makers when a cross between a scream and a roar woke her. Sitting up in bed, her hand on her heart, it only took a second to realize it was coming from Connor's room.
Her stomach clenched with fear as she threw on a flimsy robe and shot out of her room. My god, what could possibly be happening to him? She shoved his door open.
From the dim light in the hall she could see that he wasn't on the bed, but on his feet now, swinging at the air like a tortured beast, his eyes closed, his beautiful face taken over by rage. And deep, deep pain. His fists were closed so tightly the scars on his knuckles stood in out sharp relief and her heart broke into a million pieces as she watched this big, strong man fighting like hell against some demon in his head.
A voice in the back of her mind told her to leave him. That she should let him fight his battles alone. That he would probably break her in two if she got involved and he didn't wake up.
But she couldn't do that.
Not after he'd rushed in to save her from the falling limb tonight. Not after he'd taken the full force of the hit on his own back.
Not after he'd been so gentle, so protective of her out on the beach just hours before.
She ran over to Connor, any thoughts of fear gone. She put her hand on his arm and as soon as he felt her touch, he grabbed her forearm in a vice grip and pulled her against him, her robe opening and falling off her shoulders.
Oh god, he was squeezing her so tight, and she cried out with whatever breath she could find.
“Connor! It's me. Ginger. You're having a bad dream. It's just a dream. Please wake up.”
His eyes opened but she could tell he didn't see her, that he was still trapped in his own personal hell. And then, in a flash, his eyes cleared and he came back to her, to his bedroom, to Poplar Cove.
His chest was rising and falling hard against hers and as their bare skin rubbed together in the back of her mind it registered that he was naked and she nearly was. But it didn't matter. Not when she'd just seen him go through something so horrible, not when she was so worried about him.
“What are you doing in here?” His words were as gruff and hard as he'd been when she'd first met him on the porch.
“I had to come, when I heard the -” She cut herself off as she realized just how much he was going to hate her having seen him like this. “I had to help you.”
His hands that had been so tightly gripping her shoulders moved, slightly at first, down over her shoulder blades, then farther down her spine, to her hips. His next words were so low she almost couldn't make them out.
“And you thought this was how you could help me?”
She could hardly breathe, certainly couldn't move, not when he was still holding her so tightly. Not when leaving his arms was the very last thing her body wanted. And then one of his hands curled into her hair and her head was tilting back and he was kissing her. Every part of her that was woman wanted to take this moment and give into it. Give into him.
Connor needed healing more than anyone she'd ever met and imprisoned in his arms, with his mouth ravaging hers, while his hands cupped her ass as if he owned her, she wanted to be the woman to heal him.
All the while knowing that it wasn't just giving, it was taking, that she was seeking her own pleasure too.
* * * *
I had the most amazing time writing NEVER TOO HOT. I loved the setting at a lake in the Adirondacks. I loved writing about the town and the locals. And I looooooved my hero. Connor MacKenzie is wounded both in and out and, frankly, was simply delicious to be with for the months I wrote the book. :) I like all kinds of heroes – the funny ones and the cocky ones and even the hot mean ones – but right now, I'll admit to a slight preference for the tortured ones. You know, the heroes who so desperately need to love, who so desperately want to love, but just can't. Fortunately, my heroine knows better – and she's not going to give up on him, even when he tries to push her away. LOL.
And on a totally random final note – does anyone have good / exciting / fun news to share? :) I love hearing about great things happening for other people!
NEVER TOO HOT ~ coming May 25th! ~ http://www.bellaandre.com/