Feb 5, 2012

Sunday Smooch: Rachel Bailey's What Happens in Charleston...

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from What Happens in Charleston... by Rachel Bailey, but first ...

the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is -- Marybelle!

Congratulations, Marybelle! Can you please contact Rachel Johns at

Rachaeljohns077 (at) gmail (dot) com

and she'll send you a copy of One Perfect Night.

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from What Happens in Charleston... by Rachel Bailey.

Money has always given Matthew Kincaid whatever he wanted. Yet now his son needs something even his millions can't buy. The widower's sole recourse is the surrogate who gave birth to his child—for she is also the boy's true biological mother.

Susannah Parrish needs no prodding to offer her assistance—a child's life is at stake. But to their mutual surprise, the minute she's back in Charleston and residing in Matthew's home, passion consumes them. Is this a relationship doomed by deception? Or is it the one chance at a love they both secretly crave?

[Set up: Matthew and Susannah have just shared a meal in Matthew's kitchen, topped off by Susannah's coffee and hazelnut cheesecake and a heart to heart about their families. When Susannah becomes upset by a memory, Matthew pulls her into his arms to offer comfort.]

Lately Matt wasn’t used to having any woman in his arms besides his mother or his sisters. Susannah Parrish didn’t feel remotely like his sisters. Her eyes, filled with strength and hurt at the betrayal had been his undoing. He couldn’t have stood another second with the distance between them. And, even though he rubbed a palm slowly up and down her back the way he might for Lily, Laurel or Kara, he couldn’t begin to fool himself.

This wasn’t platonic—her nearness was setting his skin on fire.

He’d never known why she’d carried his baby, what she’d used the money for, but the story of her resilience was amazing. Could he have ever done something as difficult for similar reasons?

"If I’d known, we’d have paid you more.” Heck, if he thought she’d take it, he’d give her more now.

“It was enough,” she said softly. “But thank you for saying that.”

“What if I give—”

She pulled back in his arms and he could see her face again. “Please don’t offer. I’ll be fine.”

“Noble as well as generous and beautiful,” he said, cupping her cheek in his hand. Her pupils dilated and her breath came faster, and he wanted to kiss her so badly that he ached with it. He leaned down, wanting…

“Matthew,” she said, and he stopped close enough to feel her breath on his face as she spoke. “This isn’t a good idea.”

“It sure feels like a good idea,” he said, not retreating an inch. And, God help him, at this moment he couldn’t consider anything other than how her mouth would feel opening beneath his.

“Things,” she began, then paused to swallow. “Things are too complicated already.”

“It’s just a kiss, Susannah,” he told her…told himself. “It doesn’t have to mean anything.” He brushed his lips across hers lightly, needing to feel them. “Just—” over one corner of her mouth “—one—” then the other corner “—kiss.”

On a sigh, her lips parted, and a shudder ripped through his body. He’d been trying to deny that he’d wanted her ever since she’d walked through the arrivals gate at the airport. In the past year, any flicker of desire—no matter how minor—had felt disloyal to Grace, and had been followed by a tidal wave of guilt. Despite the talks of divorce, they’d still been married when she’d died. Worse, if he hadn’t suggested divorce in the first place, Grace would still be alive. The confusion had kept him closed to the idea of other women for twelve months.

But what Susannah stirred within him was too strong to deny. Her mouth tasted of the sweet dessert, combined with an allure all of her own that drew him ever deeper.

He plowed his fingers through her silken hair, holding her for his kiss, unwilling to risk her withdrawal. The wet slide of her tongue against his was sinfully erotic, her teeth nibbling at his lip explosive.

Mindless, he found her hips and drew her closer. As close as he could get while clothes provided a barrier. Her hands skimmed over his shoulders and down his back, and he wanted nothing more than to feel those hands on bare skin. To have his hands on her bare skin. He wanted her with an all-consuming need that was beyond thought.

He reached for the first button on her blouse but before he could make any headway, she pulled back.

“Matthew,” she rasped, resting her hands on his chest. “Please.”

The rough edges in her voice reverberated through his body. “Please what?” he asked with a smile.

“If you try to kiss me like that again—” she paused, as if gathering enough breath to continue “—I won’t be able to resist.”

His pulse leaped. “Good,” he said and his head began a descent again.

To be in the draw to win a signed copy of What Happens in Charleston..., simply leave a comment. And if you want to, let us know what your dessert specialty is - Susannah not only makes a coffee and hazelnut cheesecake, but a whole range of sumptuous desserts!

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from Courting His Favourite Nurse by Lynne Marshall will be posted!


  1. Love the smooch and I can't wait to read the series especially to see what happens with the family and the company.

  2. Rachel, it's great to start a Sunday with a delicious smooch and you've done it again. This is just lovely! What an intriguing set up for the story too.

  3. Amanda, I'm looking forward to the whole series too! As my book is second, the books after mine weren't yet written when I turned Matthew and Susannah's story in. I know what the other stories are about, and we'd discussed lots of details that pertained other books, but as everyone knows, it's the author voice telling the story that counts!

    Kathie DeNosky's 'Sex, Lies and the Southern Belle' (isn't that a fabulous title?) is already available in the US and will be out any day now down under. I think I might buy them all and wait, then read them all in one gulp. :)

  4. Annie, thank you for the sweet words! I totally fell in love with Matthew, Susannah and little Flynn, Matthew's three-year-old son (who of course, is also Susannah's biological son). Actually, there's another reward to reading the other books in the series - I'll get to see the three of them again. :)

  5. This is a great premise for a book. I bet it's gonna be a tear jerker. I'm not a fly by the seat of my pants cook. My husband always tells me that good cooks don't need a recipe to follow. I like to follow a recipe, thank you very much. I make a wonderful dessert I call "Blueberry Delight". Of course any berry will do. My family loves it. thanks for the giveaway.

  6. Shelley, I'm a great believer in recipes as well! At the very least, I think following a recipe the first time you make something is a good idea, then you can experiment and make the dish your own. Blueberry Delight? Sounds delicious... =)

  7. I love a man who knows what he wants, and is determined to get her! Great excerpt and fabulous book! (I know coz I've read it =)

    I'm not a sweet tooth at all, as you know, so I don't cook dessert (which is a very good thing for my husband's waistline!)
    But I do enjoy a slice of homemade caramel tart at Christmas time. If you're going to do sweet, you might as well do it right! =)

  8. What an amazing cover! And I loved the kiss too - so much tension, conflict and passion!

    I love to cook desserts, I bake something special for a family dinner each week - but I think my speciality is Lemon Meringue Pie.

  9. Robbie, I'm almost jealous about your non-sweet tooth but then I'd miss out on all the lovely flavours! Both sides definitely have their advantages.

    You know, most of my books have at least one food scene - there are desserts, dessert wine and gelato in What Happens in Charleston. In fact, I feel like a gelato now... ;)

  10. Thanks, Chey! It was a fun story to write. :)

  11. Leah, I love a lemon meringue pie! The lemony the better. Maybe you should whip one up at the August RWA conference for the Cats...? ;)

  12. Ah yes...I haven't tasted lemon meringue since I was a kid! Great combo of flavours and textures.

  13. Rachel - for Perth 2013 - you have a deal!

  14. Mmm, lovely kiss and a bit of a masterclass for those of us getting our First Kiss competition entries in order. I'm not much of a dessert maker but when I do it usually revolves around seasonal fruit. In the winter, pears braised in red wine and bay leaves. In the summer, grilled peaches with amaretto or a fruit salad of lychees, cherries and mango in lime and lemongrass syrup. Great post, Rachel.

  15. Robbie, we'll have to search a good one out for next lunch.

    Leah, yay! But be careful what you promise - when it comes to desserts, I have a good memory. ;)

  16. A delicious smooch. Speaking of delicious, I've been experimenting with Gluten Free desserts - for my daughter. We made a decadent chocolate fudge cakey slice thing. I think we need to do more experiments because it was divine.

  17. I forgot to say THANK YOU!! Email is on the way.

  18. Rachel, fabulous kiss. Looking forward to reading the rest. Regarding dessert - I do make a mean mango trifle. :)

  19. Ooh, I can't wait to find out the reason why Susannah was a surrogate! Gorgeous smooch, Rach. So glad I don't have to wait much longer for this book. :-)

    Ahhh desserts...well now...for starters I am the Trifle Queen of my family...and also the cake maven. If there's an event or just a getting together for any reason whatsoever with my family, everyone knows there will be cake because I'll make one. Cake...yum! Dessert...yum. Sweet tooth? Oh yes. :-)

  20. Marybelle, my sister eats gluten free and she makes some fabulous chocolatey desserts. Your decadent chocolate fudge cakey slice thing sounds like something I'd enjoy - you definitely need to experiment more. ;)

    Btw, did you see that you won Rachael Johns's book from last Sunday's smooch?

  21. Helen, I love a mango trifle! What's not to love - it has mango and it has trifle. ;)

  22. Michelle, you say the sweetest things. :)
    Cakes and trifles, hey? I'm thinking between all the Cats we could put on a pretty good spread!

  23. I really enjoyed today's smooch. All these desserts sound great... but I can only make gooey chocolate chip cookies and lemon bars, yummy but not gourmet.

  24. Kasiquared, I would sell pretty much anything to get good gooey chocolate chip cookies! I've been experimenting with them a bit and think I've worked out a fairly good one now, but I have a friend from Canada who makes the *best* ones. I'd pick her cookies over a dessert any day!

  25. Actually, that should have been to KAISQUARED, not Kasiquared. Forehead slap!

  26. (happy sigh) I adore Matthew and Susannah! Great Smooch, Rachel!


  27. Aw, thanks, Sharon. :) They liked you too (and your critting!)

  28. I'm late but I did enjoy this smooch. I'll think I'll be buying the series based on this one hot smooch.

  29. Aw, thanks, Kaelee!

    The rest of the series should be fab - with people like Day Leclaire, Kathie DeNosky, Heidi Betts, Jennifer Lewis and New Zealander Tessa Radley writing the books, it would be hard to go wrong!