Today we have a smooch from A Kiss, a Dance & a Diamond by Helen Lacey, but first
... the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is Kari Angeles!
And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Helen Lacey........
Kieran O’Sullivan never let anything—or anyone—stand in his way.
Even the girl he claimed to love.
But fifteen years later, the successful doctor’s back in Cedar River. So is Nicola Radici, still as beautiful as the day he left her behind. The last thing Nicola wants is to forgive and forget. But when Kieran connects with her nephews, their guardian has to let him into their life. And maybe even her heart.
Scene set-up ( Kieran has arrived at Nicola's home to change a light bulb! And to talk to her about his mother's not-so-subtle matchmaking!)
She heard her doorbell chime.
From her spot on the couch she noticed the sensor light was on, so she quickly got to her feet and peered through the front window, recognizing Kieran’s tall, broad-shouldered frame instantly. She was through the hall in seconds and opened the door.
“What are you doing here?” she asked and held the screen back.
He held up a light bulb. “For your living room.”
She stepped back and allowed him to cross the threshold, her brows up. “A bit late for a house call. Where’s your car?” she asked, peering outside.
“I live two streets away. I walked.”
She remembered suddenly that Kayla had mentioned he’d sublet her old apartment. So close. Too close. “I have bulbs, so you didn’t have to go to this trouble.”
“It’s no trouble.”
She held her ground and her nerve. “You’re an idiot.”
“Around you,” he acknowledged and walked through the hall as she shut the door. “Yeah. History would say that I am an idiot.” Within half a minute he had the bulb replaced and the old one was left on the mantel of the fireplace. He flicked the light on and off a couple of times and remained by the door. “Disaster averted.”
Nicola stared at him, caught up in his blisteringly intense gaze. “What are you really doing here?”
He took a couple of steps toward her. There was uneasiness in his expression. And something else. Something she wasn’t quite sure she had the courage to admit. Until he spoke again.
“I wanted to find out if my mother was right.”
She frowned, unmoving, even when he reached her and there were barely inches of space between them. “About what?”
“About you. About me.”
Nicola swallowed hard, feeling the heat radiating from his body even through the layers of clothing. She hadn’t been this close to a man for so long; she hadn’t seen that almost hungry look in a man’s eyes since forever. And in that moment she knew that his mother was right. They had reconnected. There was no denying it, no running from it. But she knew she had to fight it.
Without another word, his hand looped around the nape of her neck, and he pulled her closer, until suddenly there was no space between them at all. Just heat and awareness and desire and memory.
And then, as though they had been transported back fifteen years, he kissed her.
Kieran hadn’t planned on kissing Nicola. Not ever again. But he’d forgotten how much she could make him feel. And even though he’d imagined she might push him away...she didn’t.
She kissed him back.
Her lips parted, and he gently drew her tongue into his mouth, curling it around his own in a way that was shatteringly familiar. He knew her mouth. He knew the sweet taste of her lips and the erotic slide of her tongue only too well. Time hadn’t diminished the memory. Time had only tucked the memory away, sending it into the shadows until this moment, and now everything resurfaced, making the memories of her more acute than he’d believed possible. And like an old video tape set to rewind, Kieran remembered everything they had been to each other. Every recollection amplified by the next, sending his senses hurtling toward a longing he’d forgotten existed. He didn’t press too close, didn’t want her to feel how hotly aroused he was by her kiss.
But he wanted to haul her into his arms and kiss her like they used to kiss. Touch her like they used to touch. Possess her and feel her shudder with pleasure beneath him.
“Please,” she muttered against his mouth. “Stop.”
He pulled back immediately, putting space between them. Her breathing was ragged, her cheeks flushed and her lips were red. “Nic, I—”
“What do you think you’re doing?” she demanded, cutting him off.
“Isn’t is obvious?”
She eyes flashed angry sparks. “Well, don’t do it again.”
“Okay,” he said and stepped back. “If that’s what you want.”
Kieran took a few steps down the hallway, got to the door and then turned back to face her. “You know, Nic, it doesn’t matter how much we try to deny it, we’ll always have a history.”
“I’d prefer to forget the past,” she said and stormed past him, opening the door wide.
She might prefer it, but Kieran suspected she had as much chance of forgetting their history as he did. For three years they had been inseparable—best friends as well as young lovers. They had shared dreams and plans—and the memories were acute. Forgetting Nicola had never been an option—he’d just buried the memories deep, forging another life, blurring the lines of how much they had once meant to one another. And, yeah, now she hated him and she’d never forgiven him for the way he’d humiliated her. But there was something else, too. Kieran could feel it right through to his bones. The pull between them was still there.
“We’re still attracted to one another, that much is obvious,” he said bluntly and watched as her cheeks burned with color. “And it feels like unfinished business.”
“We’ve been finished since graduation. You made that clear enough. But if you’re implying that we should act on some lingering...feelings...well, you can forget it. I’m not interested in reconnecting, revisiting or rewriting history.”
“Are you sure?”
Her eyes rolled. “God, you’re an egotistical jerk. Yes,” she insisted. “I am sure. But I do want to thank you for fixing the bulb. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.”
“Just not my honesty, right?”
Her gaze sharpened. “I don’t have time for...for...”
She laughed. “Seriously? Is that what you think is going on?”
“I’m not really sure what’s going on.”
“It’s sex,” she said, her voice little more than a whisper, before it rose higher after she sucked in a long breath. “Obviously. And I get it...you’re back in Cedar River, you’re trying to readjust to being here and, despite your family living here, too, you’re alone and maybe a little lonely. I understand, believe me. This town can do that to a person—you can be surrounded by people and friends and still feel alone. But now, you’ve discovered that I’m here—good old Nic—familiar and clearly struggling to work out a way to be a parent to the boys, and here you are—Doctor Dreamboat. It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?” she shot out, her face a glorious shade of pink because she was angry and passionate and clearly hating him with every fiber of her being. “We pick up where we left off, and everyone is happy—your mother, who clearly has matchmaking plans, and Marco, who thinks you hung the moon. The whole town knows how goddamned wonderful you are, I’m surprised they didn’t have a ticker tape parade to celebrate your homecoming!”
And there it was—her famous temper.
I love reunion stories! Do you have a favorite?
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Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver