We're about 7 weeks out from the release of STOLEN KISSES (book 2 in the Blushing Bay series). I thought it was time I gave you a little excerpt from this sweet, sexy best friends to lovers story! I seriously love this couple together, you guys.
Here you go!
“You should give the guy a chance. Maybe you’re just a little picky.”
Krista’s mouth fell open at the suggestion, and her heart ached a little that Noah suggested she go on a date. A part of her wanted him to be a little jealous over the prospect. But nope, looking at him now, all relaxed and grinning, she didn’t see a trace of the green-eyed monster. “Maybe I will give him a chance,” she said, “just to prove I’m not picky.” And to see how Noah reacted. Not that he would. He didn’t think of her as anything other than his best friend.
“Great. Can’t wait to hear all about it.” He pushed his drink away. “Guess I’m driving you home tonight. It’s the least I can do since I stole your brother away for the Summerly.”
Krista slumped even farther in her chair. “No more free DDing from Joey. That’s going to hurt. Guess I’ll just have to start flirting with the guys here. Have a new one take me home each night,” she said, watching Noah again.
He continued to smile easily. “This is Blushing Bay, but there are still lowlifes out there. You have my number. You call me anytime and I’ll drop what I’m doing and come get you. That’s a promise.”
She stared at him across the table. “What if you’re on a date?”
The left corner of his mouth kicked up, poking a dimple in his cheek. She’d always liked that dimple. Had always craved to touch it, kiss it. God, she was pathetic when it came to him. “You always come first,” he said.
Butterflies swarmed her chest. “What if it’s a get-lucky kind of date?” She waggled her brows.
Now both corners of his mouth curved into a widespread grin. “Then my lucky date and I will take you home together.”
“A threesome.” She let out a tipsy giggle. She hadn’t even realized she’d crossed the tipsy threshold. She should really stop after two beers. She’d learned that lesson a long time ago, but some lessons needed to be learned over and over again. One of which was that Noah Sawyer was never going to be more than a friend. She really should start looking at her dating options before her youth withered away and all the “good ones” were taken just like her mother kept warning they would be.
Tina appeared and set a plate of wings at the center of the table. “Anything else?” she asked.
“How about another beer?” Noah said.
“Sure thing.” Tina looked at Krista. “What about for you?”
“Can I have another, too?” Krista avoided Noah’s look of consternation. This was the most relaxed she’d felt in ages. She needed another beer. That or she needed a man in her bed melting the tension off her body—and that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon.
“I’m going to have to carry you to your bed, aren’t I?”
Krista’s gaze snapped up and her body warmed. My body nestled in Noah’s arms? Yeah, that sounded all kinds of good to her.
Stop it, Krista. Stop, stop, stop.
“Want to talk about it?” he asked, leaning forward over the table.
For a moment she thought he was asking about the wicked thoughts running rampant through her mind. Then she realized he was talking about the reason she was drinking more than usual.
She shook her head, her thoughts immediately returning to Adam who’d cried a few times that day. He’d never really had a dad. Today he’d seen another dad come to visit one of the other children on the floor and for some reason he’d decided to get upset about it. Krista had sent his mom home to sleep, so Krista had been the one to comfort the poor little guy while he’d cried about all the things he’d never get to do with his own dad. Like play catch outside. Go camping. Go on a fishing trip.
Krista’s gaze snapped up and met Noah’s.
“Uh-oh. You’ve got that look in your eye,” he said, sitting back.
“The one that says I’m about to regret I even asked the question.”
“I have an idea,” she said.
“A drunken idea.” Noah nodded at Tina as she placed his drink in front of him. “Thank you.”
“I’m not drunk,” Krista said, pulling her fourth beer in front of her. “Just a little flimsy.”
“Don’t you mean tipsy?” Noah laughed. “Okay. Spill. What’s your idea?”
“I have this patient. He’s seven and his name is Adam.”
Noah nodded. “Uh-huh. I think you’ve mentioned him before.”
“Well, it’s just him and his mom. His father bailed right after he was born. He’s a sperm donor and a check-writer once a month, but that’s all.” Krista ran her tongue over her lower lip. “Anyway, he was really upset today. Sometimes things just set kids off, you know?”
“Is that why you’re drinking?”
Krista held his gaze, getting lost. There was a myriad of reasons why she was drinking. Adam was one. Karen at work was two. Noah was another reason. She was always thinking of him more than she should. It was crazy-making really. “Yep.”
“I thought you decided to pull away from getting too close to your patients. At least until your boss retires and makes you head nurse.” He winked.
“And I will. Just not Adam. I’ve seen Adam in and out of the pediatric floor since he was a month old. I couldn’t love him more if he was my own child. Anywayyyyy,” she said, dragging the last syllable out like a drumroll into her genius idea, “Adam has never been fishing before.”
Noah straightened. By the look in his eye, Krista knew his razor-sharp mind had already connected the dots with lightning speed. “Your brother is a fisherman,” he pointed out.
Krista shook her head. “One, he was a cabbie until last week. Two, Joey isn’t good with kids. He’s awkward around them. When he tries to play with them, he usually scares them.”
Noah laughed while shaking his own head. “I’m not good with kids, either.”
Krista slapped a playful hand across Noah’s forearm on the table in front of her. “Liar. You’re awesome with kids. You come to the peds unit every Christmas and you’d think that you were actually the real Santa Claus.”
“One, Santa isn’t real. Two, I don’t even know this kid. He’s your patient and you’re the one who has a problem getting too close.”
“And you never get too close, right?” she asked, surprised by the sudden switch of her emotions. Suddenly she wasn’t talking about Adam anymore. She was talking about her and Noah. Crap.
“Getting close complicates things. This boy doesn’t have a father. What if he . . . what if he, I don’t know, starts to think of me as a father figure if I take him fishing?”
“He’s not a duck, Noah.” Krista put on a smile that didn’t feel quite right. “He isn’t going to follow you around. He wants to go fishing. With his compromised immune system, he doesn’t get to do a lot of things that other kids do. The fresh salt air will do him good. I know it. It’s not easy being in a hospital bed.”
When she’d been sick as a child, waiting for her new kidney, Noah had barely left her side. He was her protector, the one who made her smile and laugh even when it was the very last thing that felt natural. He’d been doing it ever since.
Their entire history was written in the space between them. After all this time, how the heck did he not feel the same way that she did? But he didn’t. If he did, he’d treat her the way he treated the other women she’d seen him with over the years. He’d flirt with her. Touch her. Do all the things she’d only ever fantasized about him doing to her. Instead, when he was with her, he acted the way he would around any of his other friends. She was just one of the guys, and that was all she’d ever be.
Hi everyone! I’m still recuperating from the Romance Writers of America convention last week. I arrived in Orlando on Tuesday and it was a blur until I returned home on Sunday. I learned so much, though. Every year I come back feeling invigorated with my writing (and yes, equally exhausted too). It’s a wonderful experience for beginner and seasoned authors alike. There’s something there for everyone who enjoys romance (including bloggers, librarians, and readers).
Today, I wanted to share with you my top takeaways from the conference:
So on that note, friends, until next year in Denver!