I love autumn and the weather getting cooler. Maybe it’s because I get tired of the heat here in Phoenix. I do miss the change of colors.
But even though Autumn can cool down the days, the nights can sure heat up with the right person. My two absolute favs for Autumn evenings is roasting marshmallows by a fire wrapped up in a blanket with someone special or hot tubbing. A nice butterscotch martini in hand sure takes the edge off the day too.
Below is an excerpt from Protecting Katie. There is a moment in the evening where the hero, Morgan, and Kristen, the heroine’s relationship changes dramatically. I thought it was a sweet moment in the story. No fire roaring in the fireplace or hot tub in sight, yet….
After several minutes of playing, Katie waved the cards under her father’s nose. “I won! Hah, Dad! What do you think of that?”
“I was not!” Katie retorted.
“Yes, you were.”
“No, I wasn’t!” A frustrated look crossed Katie’s face until she must have realized what Kristen had guessed all along. Her father was teasing.
Groaning, Katie hurled the cards in his face, and laughed when one caught in his hair.
Kristen suppressed a giggle. “I think your father’s trying to cover up his own cheating.”
“You think so?” Katie sent her a conspiratorial smile.
“Oh, most definitely.” Nodding, Kristen attempted a grave expression.
“Then he gets a tickle torture!” Katie launched herself at Morgan. She showed no mercy, relentlessly wiggling her fingers into his ribs.
After some struggle, he managed to hold his daughter at arm’s length and get out, “I swear I didn’t cheat. It was Kristen all along.”
Kristen burst out laughing. “Not on your life! I don’t cheat.”
“Oh, yes. That’s right. Kristen wouldn’t think to lower herself to such behavior.”
Kristen saw the evil intent in his eyes and protested, “Oh, no you don’t.”
Pausing with her attack, Katie looked up and the same impish expression formed in her eyes. Just then, Kristen realized fondly, although they might not be related by blood, the two of them were a matched pair all the same.
“I think you should get her, Dad. She’s too big for me.”
Kristen’s eyes widened. “You wouldn’t dare—”
“I think Kristen just dared me. What do you think?” he consulted Katie.
His daughter nodded vehemently. “That was a dare.”
Before she knew it, Kristen was on her back with Morgan straddling her waist and tickling the breath from her lungs.
“Stop! Stop!” Kristen cried between peals of laughter and gasps for air.
“Then you cheated, right?” Morgan demanded, his face inches from her own. The twinkle in his eyes ruined his serious expression.
“Yes! Yes!” she cried. “Anything!”
Her last word echoed through the room. Morgan stopped the torture to her ribs and slid his hands to her waist.
“Did you say ‘anything’?”
This time, she knew the seriousness in Morgan’s expression wasn’t an act. Something far more dangerous than humor smoldered in his eyes. Desire. It darkened his eyes to deep, steamy cocoa, and did crazy things to her heart rate and breathing. And that sensuous half-smile of his did even worse things to her mind.
Kristen couldn’t stop staring even if she wanted to. She drank in the strong column of his throat, the dark slash of brows, the square jaw and platinum hair, then finally she found herself drowning beneath his gaze.
A movement in the corner of her vision reminded her of Katie, and her wayward mind came to a jarring halt.
“You better let me up,” Kristen said in a voice huskier than she liked. “Katie…”
Flushing, he rose to his feet and held out his hand. She took it, and deliberately ignored the electrical current of awareness that rushed through her. She was burning up already. And he hadn’t even done a blasted thing to her yet! She needed to get a hold of herself. My goodness. By the time he got around to kissing her, she’d be already dead from spontaneous combustion.
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