Oct 5, 2013

Sunday Smooch: Countering His Claim

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!


Today we have a smooch from  Countering His Claim but first ...

the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is -- Marcy Shuler


Can you please contact Annie West: annie (at) annie-west (dot) com to receive your copy of An Enticing Debt To Pay!


And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Countering His Claim.



Passion sets sail in USA TODAY bestselling author Rachel Bailey's tale of high-stakes inheritance

Never be distracted by a woman is hotel magnate Luke Marlow's golden rule, especially when the woman just inherited half his late uncle's luxury cruise liner. But ship's doctor Della Walsh is the exception. Her dignified beauty ignites Luke's desire despite his suspicions. Even so, he will gain full control of the ship at all costs.

For Della, the ship has been a sanctuary. Now she has just three weeks to change Luke's mind and save the ship—until passion comes along and steers them off course….





 [Scene set-up: Della has spent the day showing Luke the facilities on board the Cora Mae, and now they're on the deck in the moonlight, trying to avoid their attraction...]




He looked up to the stars and a flash of movement caught his attention. Within an instant he was beside Della, one arm around her waist, pointing skyward. “Shooting star.”

“Oh,” she said on a long breath, her gaze following his finger.

The feel of her against him was mesmerizing. Absorbed in the moment, she’d forgotten to be on her guard and allowed her soft curves to meld into his side, her head resting back on his shoulder as she tracked the star’s path.

“Make a wish,” he murmured beside her ear.

A kiss. In this moment, all he wanted was to turn her to face him, to lean down and touch her sweet lips with his. It was wrong, he knew it was wrong, but the blood in his veins thundered and a delicious heat began to rise.

The star faded and the night sky again grew still, the only movement the ship’s steady forward progress and the gentle breeze that danced in Della’s hair. But she didn’t move away. Part of him dared not move and break the spell, but the larger, rebellious part of him—surrounded by the scent of vanilla and woman—risked inclining his head down to hers, and was rewarded when she shivered.

“Like to know what I wished for?” he said, voice low.

Her eyes drifted shut. “You’re not supposed to tell. It won’t come true if you do.”


“Maybe,” he said, his mouth so close to her ear that his lips brushed her lobe as he spoke. “But if you knew what the wish was, perhaps you’d grant it.”

He pressed a light kiss on her neck, just below her ear. Della held herself still but didn’t pull away. “I don’t have any magical powers to grant wishes.”

“I’m not so sure.” He pressed another kiss to her soft skin, this one at the edge of her jaw.

As he cupped the side of her throat with one hand, he felt her racing pulse and turned her to face him. A small sound of protest passed her lips even as she leaned in and placed the lightest of kisses on his mouth. It took everything inside him, but he locked his muscles tight and didn’t move an inch. Della had held herself back so much, he wouldn’t ruin this by pushing too far, too fast. Instead, he waited for excruciating seconds for her to come back to him. Her warm breath caressed his face as she looked from his mouth to his eyes, fighting some inner struggle. Then she tilted her head forward and stole another butterfly kiss, and again, he gently moved his lips but nothing else, despite the protests of his straining body.

Her scent curled around his thoughts, leaving little reason in its wake, but he held firm until she tipped her chin up for a third time. Now, her lips were more confident and she wound her arms up around his neck. That was all the permission he needed, all the permission he could wait for. With a groan, he pulled her in.

He deepened the kiss, tasting her, needing to be close, connected to her. Holding her flush against him with the hand she’d stitched, he traced a path over the curve of her spine with the other, down over her hip, back up to feel the swell of the side of her breast. He’d wanted her from the moment she’d first appeared like an angel from the crowd on the deck the day he’d boarded, but now, he craved her with an urgency that rocked him. His body was ablaze; the kiss was nowhere near enough. Her fingers wound up into his hair and dug into his scalp, her mouth demanding against his.

“Della,” he rasped as he wrenched his mouth away to drag some oxygen into his lungs.

She stilled and looked up at him with eyes that were suddenly alert…and stunned.

“It’s okay,” he whispered as he rubbed a thumb over her damp bottom lip.

She unwound her arms from his neck and let them fall to her sides. “No, it’s not.” She said the words quietly, almost to herself, her eyes averted. Then she drew in a deep breath and met his gaze. “Luke, you don’t want to do this.”

He almost laughed at how far that was from the truth. “I can tell you that my body disagrees in the most strenuous of terms.”

“That’s because it’s under a misapprehension.”

“What would that be?” he murmured as he skimmed his fingers down her spine to the dip in her lower back, trying to bring the two of them back to the place they’d been only moments earlier.

For a full second, her eyes darkened in response to his caress, before she blinked the effect away. “Your body thinks there’s a chance this will go further.”

“Hate to be the one to break it to you,” he said lazily, “but your body agrees with mine.”





Della's trying to do the right thing and resist temptation, but she's finding it difficult. Tell me, what do you find hard to resist even though you know it's the right thing to do? I have a copy of Countering His Claim to give away to one commenter.

Countering His Claim is available now in paperback the US, and in eBook in the US, Australia and NZ. It will be on the bookshop shelves in Australia and NZ next week.

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from Backstage With Her Ex by Louisa George will be posted!


Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver

29 comments:

  1. Hi Rachel

    I so loved this it so sensual :)

    I find it hard to stop buying more books LOL even though I know it it a good thing because you can never have too many books but I really need more time to read them I must retire :)

    Have Fun
    Helen

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    1. Hi Helen! I know what you mean about the book buying. I'm promising myself my long weekend treat will be browsing the Book Depository site (poor credit card).

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    2. Helen, I'm afraid I suffer from that very same affliction! I think I must have a fear of being in the house and not having a book to read (the horror!) so I always make sure there are lots of books waiting for me. Of course it's never going to happen with the number of books I already own...

      Annie, what a treat! Maybe I should do the same... :)

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  2. Rachel, this such a lovely read and I loved the ending! Poor Della is in serious trouble, isn't she? But the best sort.

    The thing I find most difficult to resist is reading 'just another chapter' of a really good book. I was late for my computer (and my current manuscript) last week because I woke very early and got hooked on a new Sarah Morgan story. I've overcooked dinners because I've tried to fit in some reading while cooking. It's a common theme in my life and no matter how hard I try to overcome it, well....it's still a temptation I find hard to resist.

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    1. You're right, Della has found herself in a little spot of trouble. ;)

      Oh, yes, I do that too! Or I wake up tired because I read "just another chapter" before going to sleep.

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  3. Lovely kiss. But I keep hearing "The Love Boat" theme in my head since Della is a ship's doctor. :D

    I can never resist books. Or cookies. Yumm.

    Marcy Shuler
    bmndshuler(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Marcy, I wonder if The Love Boat was in the back of my mind when I decided to write a book set on a cruise ship. Quite possible!

      Books and cookies - a match made in heaven. No wonder you can't resist!

      By the way, Marcy, did you see you've won the copy of Annie's An Enticing Debt To Pay? Congrats!

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  4. Lovely smooch, Rachel! Can't wait to read this story.

    Hmm, what can't I resist - cheesecake - but that's not good for me. I with Helen, I already have more books than I can probably read in this lifetime, but I still keep buying them. And now, it's even more difficult as I have a iPad so can buy them anytime!!

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    1. Cheesecake! I'm a bit fussy about cheesecake, but if I find one I like, then it's definitely hard to resist!

      Haven't eBooks made impulse control that bit more difficult? Fabulous, though. :)

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  5. Now that's a great line to end on, Rach! Gorgeous smooch. :-)

    Something I can't resist? Well, like a lot of us here I can't seem to get enough of buying just one more book even though I have more than I can currently read. :-) And I will admit that on the weekend I do find it hard to resist a nice bottle of wine. ;-)

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    1. Books! They're so irresistible! I think it's hard to have too many books - you just need more bookshelves.

      Oooh, a nice bottle of wine. Yes!

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  6. That was such a beautiful smooch. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!

    I sometimes just can't resist having my say, even though I know it's not going to end well. Most of the time I can resist, but sometimes things need to be said.

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    1. Mary, you made me laugh - sometimes it's almost impossible not to have a say, isn't it? Knowing it will end badly isn't always the deterrent it should be...

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  7. Rachel, love that last line, and the smooch is right up there.
    What I can't resist? Chocolate comes to mind.

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    1. Sue, I can't believe you're the first person to say chocolate - it's what I was thinking of when I posed the question! :)

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  8. Sigh....What a perfect smooch, Rachel, and as I've read ALL of Countering His Claim I know there's even more to come. I just loved Della and Luke's story and the gorgeous ship setting.

    I find it hard to resist snuggling back under the covers when the alarm goes off for my run in the morning. It's all tied with either having read too late the night before or wanting to read one more chapter to start the day. I need to try talking books to beat the problem!

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    1. Barb, you *have* read all the way to the end of Luke & Della's book - and that's because you were such a big help with their story. THANK YOU!

      Oh, snuggling under the covers is a delight just in itself, let alone to avoid a run. ;) I can totally relate to having trouble in the morning because of reading too late the night before...

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  9. Smashing Smooch, Rachel! So sensitive to Della's needs - lovely Luke's going to make sure she gets her happily-ever-after!

    There are so many temptations in your comments that I can identify with! Snuggling under the covers for an extra few minutes of pretending I don't have to get up definitely rates! so does snatching opportunities to read while I'm getting ready to go to work - have nearly made myself late a couple of times with that one! Five minutes keeps sneakily turning into 10!

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    1. Sharon, your temptations sound very similar to Barb's! Lol. And another similar thing is that you were the other person who helped Luke & Della's story become the final book. THANK YOU, too! Where would I be without you both?

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  10. Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've just gone and bought the entire ebook after reading that. It was already on the to buy list, it just moved up the list.

    I'd say I'm really bad at continuing to read when I know I need to be sleeping. New books are incredibly tempting and too good to put down.

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    1. Lyn, I'm so glad you enjoyed the smooch! I have quite a soft spot for Luke and Della, so it really makes my heart smile when someone else feels the same. :)

      You know, I'm seeing a definite trend here of people who are sneaking in more reading time when they should be sleeping or getting ready for work, or buying too many books. I guess it shouldn't be surprising when you chat to avid readers like we are!

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  11. Can't think of anything

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    1. Hi bn100, sometimes we don't recognise our temptations until we are faced with them, do we?

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  12. LOVE this smooch, Rachel, so perfectly romantic. Della is in BIG trouble!

    My worst temptation is books. despite the number in my TBR pile and the number unread on my e-reader, I cannot resist adding more. Especially when I see bargains and/or favourite authors with a new release.

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    1. Bronwyn, I know exactly what you mean. What's that saying that's going around Facebook? I'm a few books away from an episode of Hoarders. That's me. And I think - I should read all these books before I buy any others. Then I see a lovely shiny new release and I'm gone.

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  13. Sara from the sunny coast...October 7, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    Hard to resist? My childhood best friend's home made caramel slice, hand made and home delivered with love, about every 18 months. Even though I'm doing a 10 week fitness challenge, it was worth working it off with a 5k run, in this heat! Her slice is nearly as delicious as your scene, but your scene will last forever... much better choice! Can't wait to read the book! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Home-made caramel slice? Home-delivered with love? Of *course* you had to give in to that temptation, Sara! And now I'm going to be thinking about caramel slice all day. :)

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  14. I find it hard to resist bugging my husband at bedtime. He goes to bed early (8-10pm) and gets up early (4:45-7 am), depending on his shifts. I go to bed late (11:30-2am) and get up late (7-8:30am). Yet every night when he sneaks off to bed, I follow him upstairs and "bug him", asking him about his day, plans for tomorrow, etc., all when he really just wants to go to sleep. I eventually stop the harrassment and let him sleep, but I think he might miss it if I don't realize he has gone to bed.

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    1. Laney, I love that you have such a cute bedtime ritual! Especially since you go to bed at different times. I think you're probably right that he'd miss it if you didn't do it. :)

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