Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!
Today we have a smooch from The Wedding Must Go On by Robyn Grady, but first ...
the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is -- Bn100!
Congratulations, Bn! Can you please contact Nikki at
Nikki (at) nikkilogan (dot) com (dot) au
and she'll send you a copy of Wild Encounter.
And now for today's Sunday Smooch from The Wedding Must Go On by Robyn Grady ...
Designs on the best man...
With his best friend’s wedding suddenly cancelled, and an important business deal riding on it, Nate Sparks needs to get them back up the aisle ASAP! The best person to help is feisty maid-of-honour Roxy Trammel – otherwise known as Trouble… Luckily Roxy also needs this marriage to go ahead – her reputation as a wedding dress designer depends on it! Nate proposes a plan to get the jilted lovers back together – and if it doesn’t work…? He’ll walk Roxy down the aisle in her design himself! All Roxy can wonder is: is that a threat…or a promise…?
(Set up: Nate and Roxy have a single 'goodnight kiss' history. While he'made clear he's not up for a relationship, he does need Roxy's help to get their best friends' cancelled wedding plans back on track. After that embarrassing kiss'n'run incident, Roxy wants nothing more to do with Nate. However, she does want to see her friend happy. She'll talk, but first - needing to attend customers waiting out in her shop - she grudgingly asks Nate to help to unjam the zip on the wedding gown she's wearing - a much prized dress that is in the running to win an international contest.)
Outside, the desk bell pinged. Roxy jumped, called out, ‘I’ll be right there,’ then glanced down at the gown she still wore.
Which, frankly, looked great on her. The white satin suited her skin’s natural glow. The sweep of her waist in that bodice was hypnotic.
Not that he would allow himself to be concerned with any of that. He was here to get his plan on the table and any bugs ironed out before they went ahead with Operation Back Together.
He said, ‘I thought you were changing.’
‘I couldn’t get a hold of the zip.’ She whirled around. As the train slapped his shin, he was presented with a tantalizing rear view. ‘You’ll have to help.’
Alarm bells—red and flashing—went off in his head. An invitation and bare flesh equalled temptation. Sure, what Roxy proposed seemed innocent enough but, in essence, she was asking him to help her undress. To open himself up and be vulnerable to the call of his baser urges, which he had trouble enough containing where Roxy Trammel was concerned.
He held up his palms.
‘You can’t pass.’
Believe me, ‘It’s safer I don’t.’
‘I trust you not to do any damage.’ When he didn’t budge, she groaned and muttered, ‘Okay. Time to get this out in the open.’ Her fists finding her hips, she rotated again. ‘I won’t lie and say I didn’t enjoy the kiss we shared that night because, while I’m loath to admit it, I did. And I admit my reaction was…enthusiastic. But if you think I’m so desperate that I’d use sex to manipulate a marriage proposal, think again. And if I were to do such an abhorrent thing—’ her nose rose a regal notch ‘—it wouldn’t be with you.’ She hesitated, then went on. ‘In fact, I’ve been kissed since and, frankly, yours pales in comparison.’
Nate’s gape turned into a smirk. And she called him a liar. He knew just how much she’d enjoyed that kiss. Almost as much as he had. Still, if she could play this Arctic ice-shelf cool, couldn’t he? Hell, it was only a zip. She wasn’t asking him to slip off a garter or nightdress or that itty-bitty pair of silk panties—which he’d best not think about right now.
When he lifted his chin, she lifted hers. He twirled his finger—turn around—and, hoisting up her skirt, she whirled again.
The dress’s back was scooped low and, with her long fair hair twisted up, Nate was greeted by an unobstructed, blemish-free landscape. Delicate twin shoulder blades bracketed a sweep of smooth tan skin and two accidental curls spiralled either side of the dent of her spine. Pleasant warmth pooled then solidified high on Nate’s thighs. But he took a deep breath and, focusing not on the view but the task, doggedly searched.
After a full-on few seconds, he huffed. No wonder she couldn’t find it.
‘There is no zip.’
‘It’s invisible,’ she told him. ‘Feel around inside the bodice facing.’
Nate scratched his head. Did she say invisible? And, ‘Bodice what?’
‘Slide your finger up and down the inside top of the seam.’ She dropped a wry look over one shoulder. ‘You do know what a seam is, don’t you?’
‘A rich deposit where minerals are found.’
She rolled her eyes as if to say, Men. ‘Just don’t tug too hard.’
When she turned back, Nate shook out his hands, rubbed his palms together. Not sweaty. Not cold. All good. He edged one fingertip inside.
Her skin was toasty-warm and smooth as the satin. And now he was aware that she was wearing the same perfume she had that fateful night. Subtle. Something with lavender? Whatever the ingredients, the scent was light and fresh and…
Nate filled his lungs.
The kind of bouquet I could breathe in all day.
He snapped open eyes that seemed to have drifted shut.
Roxy had implied that she’d dated since their evening together. Leaning closer, he slid his thumb down and felt around. He hated himself for needing to ask but couldn’t a guy be curious?
‘So, I take it you’re seeing someone.’
‘No one in particular.’
Chewing that over, he found something small and difficult to grab high at the top of the crease. Squeezing just enough to get a grip, he added, ‘And yet someone’s swept you off your feet.’
Those curls tickled the back of his hand as she purred. ‘I’ve been swept off several times since that night.’
His bite tightened and grip firmed more. He was jiggling in earnest when, outside, the desk bell rang again.
‘I’ll be right out,’ Roxy called pleasantly, then to him, ‘What’s taking so long?’
‘Inexperience,’ he growled. With a wedding gown, at least. This darn thing didn’t glide as it should.
‘Don’t force it,’ she told him.
‘I’m not forcing anything.’
Shifting, he began to work it in a hopefully more fruitful and earnest kind of way. Clearly this exercise needed a little more of the ol’ Nate Sparks finesse.
Three seconds later, she complained, ‘You’re too rough.’
‘Relax.’ His fingertips rolled, then tugged and rolled again. ‘Just a few seconds more.’
‘Nate, not so hard.’
‘Almost got it—’
The zip suddenly gave.
Actually what gave was the fabric splitting either side.
While Roxy stiffened, Nate’s heart stopped beating as he held his breath and stared.
It wasn’t much of a tear. Really barely noticeable. But when Roxy turned around, her expression said it all. Her face was a mask of disbelief, anguish. Rage. And her eyes, which had looked merely annoyed earlier, now spat green fire.
‘Tell me you didn’t tear the dress,’ she groaned. ‘You didn’t, did you? Not this dress.’
The anger in her eyes turned to fear then they edged with moisture and Nate felt the walls press in.
To be in the draw to win a signed copy of The Wedding Must Go On, tell us your idea of the perfect wedding dress.
Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from Defying His Desert Duty by Annie West will be posted!