Jul 10, 2011

Sunday Smooch

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a retro smooch from Christmas At Candlebark Farm by Michelle Douglas, but first ...

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

Congratulations, Juanita! Can you please contact Natalie Anderson at

natalie (at) natalie-anderson (dot) com

and she'll send you a copy of Dating and Other Dangers.

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Christmas At Candlebark Farm by Michelle Douglas...

Pregnant Keira Keely is lodging at beautiful Candlebark Farm this festive season, while she organises a place of her own. Grumpy owner Luke Hillier seems too caught up in his own troubles to worry about anyone else's. But when Keira has a crisis Luke is surprisingly, amazingly supportive.

Keira is shocked that she actually likes being looked after by gorgeous, gruff Luke. Maybe now he'll let her help him too. As fairy lights sparkle and Christmas approaches, could Keira have found her perfect home?

[Luke has just saved Keira from being bitten by a brown snake. An event that has, understandably, left her shaken.] 

She gestured to herself in his lap. ‘What a big baby you must think me.’

He didn’t think her a baby. Not at all. She was feminine and soft and, for all her slightness, curvy where it counted. Which was an unfortunate thought to have when she was in his arms like this. Very unfortunate. And bewitching.

‘I think you’re brave and lovely.’ Perhaps he shouldn’t have said that last bit.

Dammit, though, she was lovely!

With a smile, she reached up and brushed her lips across his cheek in the lightest of kisses. He felt its impact all the way down to the soles of his feet.

‘Thank you,’ she whispered.

The scent of vanilla engulfed him, and something inside him melted. He stared into her grey eyes–her beautiful grey eyes–then he leant forward and placed his lips on hers.

She didn’t close her eyes. He didn’t close his. He moved his lips over hers–gentle, testing, ready to draw back at the slightest hint or hesitation from her–but after a moment of stunned stillness her lips softened and shaped themselves to his.

And then her eyelids fluttered closed.

With a groan, Luke gathered her closer. She tasted so good. She tasted so...good!

He ran his tongue across her bottom lip. She gasped and trembled. That gasp reached right inside his chest and dragged him under. Her hand dived into the hair at his nape to pull him closer. Her lips opened under his and he lost himself in the taste, the sensation...the freedom of kissing Keira.

The taste of her, the feel of her, woke parts of him that had been dead and numb for too long. Her hand burrowed its way beneath his shirt to trace the contours of his chest. He thought his lungs might burst with need when she ran the palm of her hand back and forth across his nipple.

With one arm anchoring her to him firmly, he traced her body from hip to breast. Slowly. He cupped and teased her through the cotton of her singlet top until she writhed and arched against him.

‘Oh, Luke...please,’ she begged, her moans and his ragged breathing filling the interior of the car.

He knew what she meant. He’d never wanted a woman with such a savage need before.

With something midway between a groan and a growl, he swept his hand down to her hip and across her stomach to the waistband of her shorts. He wanted to touch every part of her. He wanted to kiss every inch of her. His fingers brushed across her stomach again, and something tugged at his consciousness.




He stilled. He knew enough to know that making love would not harm her baby, but the reality brought him up short.

He met the clear grey eyes surveying him. He swallowed, then forced words out of uncooperative lips. 'I can't offer you anything more than this.' His voice came out hoarse, as if he needed a drink.

He couldn't offer this lovely woman any of the things she deserved. All he could give her was momentary pleasure...a brief affair.

He watched her consider the idea. If he were an honourable man he'd let her go, but he couldn't. God help them both if she reached up and kissed him now—gave him her tacit agreement—because he would not have the strength to hold back.

Christmas At Candlebark Farm was originally released in December 2010. It's still available in print from The Book Depository and Amazon, or as an ebook from eHarlequin or Mills & Boon Australia

Michelle has one signed copy to give away to a lucky commenter! To be in the draw to win a signed copy of Christmas At Candlebark Farm, simply answer the following question:
Have you ever had a close encounter with anything that slithers, creeps and crawls, or has nasty big teeth?

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from When One Night Isn't Enough by Wendy S Marcus will be posted!


  1. Michelle
    It was great reading that excerpt again I soo loved this book whoo hoo

    As for slithery things yes I have seen a few snakes out in the bush when I was a kid growing up on my grandparents little farm and they really do give you a big scare when they slide in front of you but luckily Keira had Luke to make sure she was fine.

    Have Fun

  2. I was walking along a cleared bush track a couple of winters ago and I almost put my foot on a brown snake. It was curled up on the side of the track soaking up some rays.

    I did one of those little two-step, double-take dances - the adrenaline took a long time to wear off!

    I almost stepped on a goanna once too as I stepped over a log out in the bush - could just see the tail at first and thought 'snake'!

    Like Indy - I hate snakes! Loved this book though :)

  3. Hi Michelle,

    I loved Christmas at Candlebark Farm! It was a super read and one of my favourites!

  4. What a gorgeous excerpt, Michelle! I *love* your hero =)

    My dd had a slimy experience once when she was about six. Staying at her Nan's place, they'd gone outside to study a palm-sized visitor clinging to the wall. My dd was hesitant at first, but Nan encouraged her closer...closer. The BIG bright green frog suddenly leapt and landed on my poor baby's face!

    I love frogs but...yee-uck!

  5. Great kiss Michelle - he sounds just lovely (sigh).

    Snakes??? well, I live in a an Eastern Brown snake area and my Tenterfield Terrier gets about a dozen every summer. She goes into her 'snake trance' for a day or so before I find it in the yard, so we always know when there's one around.
    I do have a small carpet python in the horse feed shed though - keeps the rodents down. Just have to make sure I don't stick my hand in any dark place :)

    Great post!

  6. You know, I think this is the only Michelle Douglas book I haven't read yet, and after that gorgeous kiss I'm wondering why I've missed it! Might just pop over to the eBook store...

  7. Hi Helen,

    So glad you enjoyed Christmas at Candlebark Farm! Snakes? *cue shuddering here* -- I can just imagine that adrenaline burst. I'd definitely want a man like Luke about to deal with those. :-)

  8. Kez -- arghh! Stepping on a brown snake? Oh man, my heart would've just been thumping! I am applauding you for your dandy two-step, though.

    And a goanna, huh? I don't know what it is about woman and reptiles, but I have had a heroine and goanna encounter in a previous book too. :-)

  9. Thanks, Robbie -- I have to say that I loved Luke too. ;-)

    OMG -- a frog on the face? I love frogs too, but honesty! Does you daughter have an enduring horror of them now? Am making note to self -- don't peer too closely at frogs.

  10. Well, Helen... I did think Luke was pretty sigh-worthy. :-)

    Oh man, I LOVE the sound of your Tenterfield terrier -- he sounds like a hero in his own right. Brown snakes -- no, no, major shuddering. But a carpet snake? Hmm...if he kept the rodent numbers down then I'm sure the two of us could come to some sort of arrangement. :-)

  11. That's a great excerpt, Michelle.
    As for that encounter - I would have to say the native Weta is pretty frightening. Scary, scary, scary. I once used an obscene amount of fly spray to kill one in the house, and I think they might even be endangered. The cat brought it in and I felt so mean after, poor Weta, out of place. But they are so scary.......

  12. Joanne, I had to race out to Wikipedia to find out what a Weta was. You're right *giving a strategic shudder here* they are scary looking. I have a similar aversion to huntsman spiders -- they just look soooo gross (killing them, though, makes me feel terribly guilty too).

  13. Well, as an enviro scientist I've had to handle most things that slither, creep, crawl and have big teeth.

    But the thing that freaked me the most was when I was helping a friend in Arizona (he was a herpetologist) collect rattlesnakes. Walking through rattler territory and you hear the rattle - and freeze - because they can throw their sound, so you never really know where the snake is. Still get shivers thinking about it.

    Loved the kiss, Reeze, and like Rach this is the one still missing off my shelf, so must add it to my next BD order :)

  14. Yes I have ran across a few snakes in my time. I was raised in the country on a small farm so you would see a snake, and I don't like them at all. One time we had one in the house in the dinning room. It was on my mothers dinning room chair. My mother was standing there with a hole waiting for it to get out of her chair, she said if it crawl up the wall she was going to chop it up, but she wasn't going to chop up her dinning room chair.

  15. Rattlesnakes throw their sound? Oh, Anita, you are so much braver than I am. There is NO way I would be walking in rattler territory to collect said rattlesnakes. Not in the name of science, not in the name of anything!

    But I am glad you liked the kiss! :-)

  16. LOL, Virginia, that is a brilliant story! I can just see her standing there with the hoe, determined not to do damage to her chair.

    It reminds me of my great aunt. When she was a teenager, she was babysitting all her younger cousins when a brown snake was discovered on the mantlepiece in the dining room. She calmly got her father's shotgun and took care of it. Apparently she didn't disturb a single canister or ornament on the mantlepiece either -- and that's the part that really made family folklore. :-)