Oct 1, 2011

Rachel Bailey Sunday Smooch

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from RETURN OF THE SECRET HEIR by Rachel Bailey, but first ...

the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is:
Amanda Gardener!

Congratulations, Amanda! Can you please contact Leah at
leah (at) leah-ashton (dot) com, and she'll send you a copy of SECRETS & SPEED DATING.

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from RETURN OF THE SECRET HEIR by Rachel Bailey ...

More than he bargained for...

He's returned for a fortune and is confronted by memories. Though tycoon JT Hartley is a success in his own right, he's set on claiming his share of his late father's legacy. But first he has to get past the estate executor - none other than Pia Baxter, a woman he's never forgotten.

Theirs had been a fast-and-furious union that ended all too suddenly. And though desire still courses between them, JT knows starting anything with Pia again is just asking for trouble. His future is set in stone. But even the best-laid plans are no match for true passion.

[Set up: Pia has agreed to JT's request for one meeting to lay some ground rules on how they will interact with each other while JT challenges his biological father's will, a will for which Pia has been appointed executor. After JT arrives at her apartment on his motorbike, they began with the basics, like JT agreeing not to visit Pia's office again, and Pia agreeing not to bias her clients against JT. But things have started to veer off track...]

She crossed her arms under her breasts, mirroring his pose, and his eyes followed the action, resting too intimately for her comfort level.

"Fair enough, princess," he said with a rasp in his voice.

Her heart missed a beat. "Don't call me princess."

"Is that a rule or a request?"

"A ground rule, JT."

"Sure," he said too casually. "If you stop saying my name like that."

She did a quick mental scan of how she'd been saying it, but couldn't see anything to give offence. "Like what?"

"Say it," he commanded in a low, seductive voice.

"JT," she said.

A lazy smile spread across his face. "Yeah, like that."

Pia stared at him, perplexed, but he didn't explain why simply saying his name could be a problem.

"And while we're at it," he said, "that chain has to go."

She glanced down at her necklace. A simple gold chain with a P that hung low. "I've always worn it."

"I know, and it's always driven me crazy. If you want our past off the table, then you need to remove it." He blinked slowly. "It sits in your cleavage and you don't want my mind going there any more than I can help."

His gaze locked on hers and didn't waver. Her pulse raced erratically. He'd cornered her with a few words and he knew it. If she refused, she'd be inviting his flirting and she was so close to doing that already that she couldn't take the risk of sending the wrong signals. With trembling fingers she slipped off the chain. As soon as he left, she could put it back on—he'd never know because she shouldn't be seeing him again. She dropped it on the coffee table.

"And," he said, seeming to warm to his subject, "you need to keep your feet covered."

Her mouth dropped open. "What?"

"You're not the Pia I remember. You're buttoned down and covered up. The only hint of my Pia is those brightly painted toe nails."

A delicious shiver zipped across her skin at the way he said my Pia, but she ignored it as she looked down at the hot pink she'd painted on yesterday while she'd been home sick. "It's just nail polish. Lots of women wear it."

"But they wear it somewhere people can see. I'm guessing you never wear it on your fingers. Only on your toes, and then you always wear closed-toe shoes at work. No one sees your polish, do they, Pia?" he said, voice low.

She lifted her chin, not happy with his assessment—or its accuracy. "It's not professional."

"Then don't flash your toes at me either."

She moistened her lips. This was becoming ridiculous. "You won't be in my house again to see," she said, but her voice wavered.

"Even so…" He left the thought hanging and her pulse hammered with the tension in the air.

"Then you keep your biceps covered," she blurted.

"My biceps?" he said, his eyes widening.

She waved a hand in the general direction of his arms, trying not to look. "You swagger in here in a T-shirt that stretches tight over your arms, and then have the gall to tell me to have my toes covered and take off a chain."

"My biceps?" he asked again, slowly, as if realizing that meant she'd noticed them. Awareness flashed in his eyes. "It sits better under the jacket if it's firm," he said absently.

Feeling edgy, she closed her teeth over a long index fingernail and watched him follow the move with his eyes.

He swallowed hard, then swallowed again. "And don't do that."

"Do what?" she whispered.

He took a step closer. "Touch your mouth."

She lost her breath. He was so close.

"Why?" she said, heart racing, knowing to ask was playing with fire, but nonetheless helpless not to say the words.

JT looked down at that lush mouth and was tempted beyond endurance. He closed the last inches that separated them and brought his mouth down, groaning when he could feel the moist softness of her lips. His arms reached out and snared her waist, pulling her sumptuous curves against his body. No woman had ever felt like Pia against him.

He touched his tongue to her lips and she hesitated for a moment, then he felt her throw caution to the wind and part them, granting him access to the heated depths. A tremor ran through her body and he held her tighter, feeling her hands reach to twine behind his neck, holding him in place. There was no need—he wasn't going anywhere. He hadn't planned on kissing her, but there was nothing he wanted more in this moment. Her mouth, with its taste of ambrosia, moved under his, and she rubbed seductively against him, inviting. As he nipped at her bottom lip, his hands roamed down from her waist, over the flare of her hips, wanting more.

RETURN OF THE SECRET HEIR is available now at eHarlequin and in US shops, and will be on sale in Australia & NZ in November. It's connected to AT THE BILLIONAIRE'S BECK & CALL? and MILLION-DOLLAR AMNESIA SCANDAL (the heroes in all three books are half-brothers) but each book stands alone.

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from RETURN OF THE STRANGER by Kate Walker will be posted!


  1. OMG! Thats such an awesome smooch, Rachel! Loved, loved the way they observed each other - painted toe nails and biceps, indeed!

  2. You had me on biceps, too!

    I was thinking what an arrogant, tyrannical SOB this bloke was dictating to Pia - thank goodness she stood up to him and gave as good as she got! LOL

    Great smooch, Rach! Tension and conflict abound!!! :-)

  3. Ju, glad you liked it! I had fun writing these two. :)

  4. Love the smooch...I have eagerly been awaiting JT's story and this little peek into it is just fab!!!

  5. Lol on the biceps, Kylie!

    Yep, Pia stands up - in fact, before this smooch excerpt, it had been Pia laying out most of the rules, like JT not mentioning their past, not arriving at her office, etc. He was due a few points back. ;)

  6. Fabulous sizzle, Rach!


  7. Ooh, just LOVE the interplay between Pia and JT, Rach! Can't wait to get my hands on a copy of Return of the Secret Heir.

  8. Hi Rachel ~ This smooch makes me very happy that I ordered your book on Friday from eHarlequin. Just got to wait until it gets here. Winston made me order the book but this smooch is sizzling.

  9. Sonali, how lovely of you to say! I remember looking forward to writing their story too - because I had the characters in my head from when I started the first brother's story in At The Billionaire's Beck & Call. So JT and Pia became quite comfortable living in my head, lol.

  10. Zana - these two were fun to write with their sizzle and spark. :)

  11. Michelle, thanks for the sweet words. But it's kinda sad for me too because I loved these three brothers and I'm reluctant to let them go! (Though I do have a big soft spot for my Feb hero, Matthew, so that will pull me through .)

  12. Kaelee, so glad you liked Winston! My heart sighs every time I see the photos on the post, but now I can share his awesomeness with more people. :)

  13. Gorgeous angsty kiss, Rachel! I love JT and Pia!

    (happy sigh)

  14. Well, Sharon, JT and Pia love you too - since you helped them become what they are today. :)

  15. Very fun build up to the kiss, Rachel -- love the toenails and the biceps! This sounds like a great read -- can't wait to get my hands on a copy!

  16. I loved the excerpt for RETURN OF THE SECRET HEIR thank you.

  17. Thanks, Emily! It will be out in November in NZ and Aust, with a bonus novella. I just saw my ANZ cover a couple of days ago - it has cute Christmas decorations. =)

  18. Marybelle, so glad you liked it! Thanks for dropping by. :)

  19. JT if my fave Rachel Bailey hero!! These two so belong together - the chemistry is amazing in this scene and it only gets better!

  20. Aw, thanks, Robbie! For liking JT and for reading his story before it became a book. I have the best CPs. =)