Dec 9, 2012

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch! Today we have a smooch from Once A Rebel by Nikki Logan.

Buy Once A Rebel
 (only avail in UK edition)

Shy teenager Shirely Marr fell for her mother's most brilliant student: the charismatic rebel Hayden Tennant. Wen her mother passed away, both vowed to keep her memory alive by fulfilling her 'bucket list' wishes. Ten years later, Shirley's nearly done, but Hayden has yet to begin. And Shirley wants to know why.

Hayden is happily set on a path to self-destruction, and is not best pleased to find his late mentor's daughter judging his choices. The blushing girl he remembers was easy to resist, but this Shirley is older, curvier and--worryingly--far more formidable.

What has happened up until now:  Hayden Tennant has a Masters degree in ‘Influence’ and has used it to teach some of the world’s biggest corporations how to subliminally affect their customers. Social campaigner and low-end Goth, Shirley Marr isn’t a fan of his line of work but is undeniably curious about his methodology, especially his claim that love is just a series of strategic steps to secure and then exploit someone’s buy-in.  She challenges him: if it’s true that everyone does it then no-one would fall for it. But Hayden believes that knowing something is happening does little to reduce the effectiveness of the technique. He challenges Shirley to a demonstration…

 ‘For instance, I find myself very interested in the shape and taste of your lips,’ Hayden said, theatrically. ‘And I’m declaring that you so you’re aware of the direction of my thoughts and so you can plan to resist when the moment comes.’

He reached down and pulled Shirley to her feet. She rose to stand before him, pushing extra hard to get words past her suddenly tight chest. ‘This is a hypothetical, I assume?’

His smile reminded her of the Huntsman-wolf in Red Riding Hood. All the better to eat you with…

‘If that makes you feel better about your chances of resisting,’ he said.

He pulled her a little closer. Closed his arms around her, hot and strong. Her heart went berserk. ‘So the question is, Shirley…knowing what I’m doing and knowing what my goal is—’ he breathed down on her ‘—are you any less inclined to let me kiss you?’

She licked her lips. Struggled for air. ‘You’re assuming you already have my buy-in?’

Hayden blinked; slow, confident. That caused Shirley’s own lids to follow suit, growing heavier. She tried to glance away to break the contact.

‘A kiss is the touching of flesh on flesh. You started buying-into me touching your flesh months ago, the first time you let my glance rest on your porcelain skin. Then later, when you let my fingers graze your hair. Then take your hand. Even now…my eyes are roaming where my lips cannot and you’re allowing it.’

Sure enough his veiled gaze browsed her mouth and made it part in breathless anticipation. She forced it closed.

‘And now, even knowing what I plan to do and why, you’re still in my arms. I think I’d call that buy-in.’

‘Pretty clever,’ she breathed, desperate to preserve some dignity. ‘Assuming it’s going to be any kind of kiss at all.’

His teeth flashed white and dangerous. ‘And there it is. Full commitment.’

He took her weight on his arm and leaned her back into it, his mouth pressing down confidently onto hers, sliding against it, still half-smiling in his victory. She held firm against the heavenly feel and smell of him so close, refusing to give in.

She would have loved to stand, unmoved in his hold. To let him kiss her senseless and then to emerge untouched. Indifferent.

But that wasn’t going to happen.

Not in this lifetime.

The moment she resisted, holding her own—barely—against the breathless spin of her mind, he upped the ante. Plying her with the technique that must have unzipped many a skirt in its time. His mouth glided over hers, alternating pressure, his tongue teasing the firm line she maintained where her lips met. His flesh blazing against hers. Her head spun wildly.

He pulled back a little, breathed words against her flaming skin, and something about the shift of colour in his eyes told her he wasn’t playing a game anymore.

‘I’m going to kiss that dark gloss off until I reveal what’s underneath it.’

To be in the draw to win a copy of Once A Rebel, tell me which item on your bucket list are you planning on doing in 2013. Do you even have one? Or have you finished it already?

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from The Nanny who Saved Christmas by Michelle Douglas will be posted.


  1. Hi Nikki,

    Lovely scene! Once a Rebel sounds like a treat.

    I don't have a bucket list but interestingly yesterday was talking to someone who did and wondered if it might be fun to make one. There's one trip I might make in 2013 that I've been meaning to do for ages. Hopefully I manage it. It would mean a stay in the Dolomites of N Italy or in Sicily. Fingers crossed.

  2. Ooh, Nikki, great scene!! Love your hero. Poor Shirley doesn't stand a chance.
    I've started on my bucket list. Next is a Mediterranean cruise. Did some Melanesian islands last month and have decided vacations on the high seas are for me!

  3. Ooh, I can sense the fun this pair are going to have, Nikki -- very intriguing scene!

    Ah, the infamous bucket list! I'd love to tick off visits to interesting and faraway Freemantle. :-)

  4. That's a WOW kiss. ONCE A REBEL indeed.

    I don't have a bucket list, but visiting New York City would be on it if I did. Not in the plans for 2013 though.

  5. Tried to buy your book but the ebook listing has disappeared, just hardback and paperback. Any ideas??
    Going to New York and staying in the Waldorf Astoria for my 40th with hubby and kids. Can't wait!

  6. Scarlet - yes, unfortunatley this book is victim to the big Riva/rebranding exercise that has been underway. It was removed from sale from the M&B site, but it's avail in a few places (acidentally I suspect) including UK Amazon:

  7. Annie - I guess it can't hurt to start one kind of 'casually' even if you don't want a formal one. So many of my friends have lost loved ones unexpectedly and they are all so sad that their person never did X, Y or Z.

    And it's a good reminder to us all to *do* and *experience* not just tick along.


  8. Robbie - yay for starting your list and for adventure on the high seas. Maybe you should have a writing retreat on a Medditeranean cruise (tax deductible!)

    Michelle - ooh! I have soemthing in Fremantle you might enjoy... ;)

    Mary - *waves* I guess that's the thing with bucket lists, you don't just want to knock them off 1,2,3. They need to be a bit hard won in order to retain their meaning. So seeing NY is a great one to have on the list and you just chip, chip, chip your way towards achieveing it. I took my mum with me to NY last year becuase she knew she'd never see it if she didn't go soon (she's 70+) and I was so glad to do it with her.

  9. Scarlet!!! The Waldorf Astoria *sigh*. Got a glimpse of that hotel in 2011 and I wondered what the rooms and other facilities might be like. Now *thats* a spoil worthy of a 40th. Hope it's fabulous.

  10. Nice excerpt. Don't have a bucket list.


  11. Hi Nikki ~ It's still one hour until Monday where I live in Canada. I loved the smooch. I'm hoping the book will come out in NA.

    My husband and I hope to get to Olympia National Park in Washington USA next year. We have to renew our passports and would like to spend the night at a Great Wolf Lodge. They are a family style resort and have great water parks. We are planning on starting on our second childhoods going down the water slides. Also being a bit more sensible and going for a long hike in the coastal forest.

  12. Nikki, that's a glorious kiss! He had my buy-in. :)

    We've been working on our bucket lists in this house for a few years. Problem is, for every one we tick off, we think of three more!