Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!
Today we’re excited to have a smooch from very talented RONA WINNER Scarlet Wilson, but first ...
the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is –LYN W!
Lyn, can you please email ash (dot) madeline(at) gmail.com to receive your copy of Breaking Good
And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Scarlet Wilson’s RONA winning book, Christmas In The Boss's Castle. Scarlet was a double RITA nominee last year too, so we're very proud of her and grateful for her to come visit us here at Lovecats.
Christmas In The Boss's Castle
The Maid Who Saved Christmas...
Set up: Grace Ellis loves Christmas, even though she's just lost her gran and will be spending her first Christmas alone. She works as a chambermaid at an exclusive London hotel and has already had an altercation with the boss Finlay Armstrong when she decorated his suite with Christmas decorations to get him in the holiday spirit.
But Finlay doesn't want to get in the holiday spirit, he lost his wife at Christmas five years ago, and Christmas is his most hated time of year. So, when he realises he's treated Grace a bit harshly he tries to apologise and Grace ends up chipping away at his ice-covered armour. When they both attend the hotel staff Christmas party things truly heat up. Finlay ends up taking her hand and leading her outside......
“I needed to get out of there.”
He kept his finger touching her cheek. It was the slightest touch of her skin. The tiniest piece beneath his fingertip. But it was enough. Enough to set every alarm bell screaming in his brain. Enough to let his senses just explode with overload.
He was past the point of no return.
Grace reached up and captured her hand around his finger, leaving it touching her cheek. “Why, Finlay? Why did you need to get out of there?”
He could hear the concern in her voice. She didn’t have a clue. She thought this might be about something else. She didn’t realise that every tiny part of this was about her.
Guilt was racing through his veins in parallel to the adrenaline. Feeling. He was feeling again. And the truth was that scared him.
Guys would never admit that. Not to their friends. Not even to themselves. But most guys hadn’t loved someone with every part of their heart, soul and being and had it ripped out of them and every feeling and emotion buried in a brittle, cold grave.
Most guys wouldn’t know that they didn’t think it could be possible to ever get through that once. Why would they even contemplate making any kind of connection with another person when there was even the smallest possibility they could end up going down the same path?
Once had felt barely survivable. He couldn’t connect with someone like that again. How could he risk himself like that again?
Where was his self-preservation? The barriers that he’d built so tightly around himself to seal his soul off from that kind of hurt again.
Somehow being around Grace had thrown his self-preservation out of the window. All he could think about right now was how much he wanted to touch and taste the beautiful woman in front of him.
She was still watching him with those questioning brown eyes. She was bathed in the muted lamplight – her silver dress sparkling – like an old-fashioned film star caught in the spotlight.
He stopped thinking. “Because I couldn’t wait to do this.”
He pulled her sharply towards him, folding his arm around her waist and pulling her tightly against the length of his body. He stopped for a second, watching her wide eyes, giving her the briefest of pauses to voice any objections. But there were none.
He captured her mouth in his. She tasted of cocktails and chocolate. Sweet. Just the way he’d imagined she would. One hand threaded through her tumbling curls and the other rested on the satin covered curve of her backside. He’d captured his prize. He wasn’t about to let her go.
After two seconds of tenseness the tension left her body, melding it against his. Her hands wound their way around his neck again, her lips responding to every part of the kiss, matching him in every way.
This is what a connection felt like. He hadn’t kissed a woman like this since Anna died. This is what it felt like to kiss a woman you liked and respected. It had been so long he hadn’t even contemplated how many emotions that might toss into the cold night air.
Her hand brushed the side of his cheek, running along his jaw line. He could hear the tiny scrape of his emerging stubble against her fingernails. The other hand ran through his hair and then down to his chest again. He liked the feel of her palm there. If only it wasn’t thwarted by the suit jacket and shirt.
Their kiss deepened. His body responded. He knew. He knew where this could potentially go.
Grace pulled her lips from his. It was reluctant move, followed by a long sigh. Her forehead rested against his as if she were trying to catch her breath. He could feel the rapid breathing of her breasts pressed against his chest.
His hand remained tangled in her soft hair and for a few moments they just stood like that, heads pressed together under the street light.
He eventually straightened up. Should he apologise? It didn’t feel as if the kiss was unwanted. But they were right in the middle of the street – hardly the most discreet place in the world for a first kiss. He could ask her up to the penthouse but somehow that didn’t feel right either – and he was quite sure Grace wouldn’t agree to come anyway.
“Thank you for coming tonight,” he said quietly.
Her voice was a little shaky. “You’re welcome.”
He took a step back. “How about I get one of the chauffeurs to drop you at home?”
He had no idea what time it was – but whatever time it was, he didn't want her travelling home alone. He trusted all the chauffeurs from The Armstrong. Grace would be in safe hands.
She gave a little nod. “That would be nice, thank you.” This time her voice sounded a little odd. A little detached. Had she rethought their kiss and changed her mind?
He put his arm behind her and led her back to the main entrance of the hotel, nodding to one of the doormen. “Callum, can you get one of the chauffeurs to take Grace home?”
She shivered and pulled the stole a little closer around her shoulders. “Do you want me to get you another coat?”
She shook her head, not quite meeting his gaze. “I’ll be fine when I get in the car. That’ll be warm enough.”
For a couple of minutes they stood in awkward silence. Finlay wasn’t quite sure what to do next. He wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do next. And he couldn’t read Grace at all.
The black sleek car pulled up in front of them and the driver jumped out to open the door. Grace turned to face him with her head held high. “Thank you for a lovely evening, Finlay,” she said as she climbed into the car.
“You too,” he replied automatically as she closed the door and watched the car speed off into the distance.
One thing was for sure. Finlay Armstrong wouldn’t sleep a wink tonight.
Scarlet is giving away a copy of her book to one lucky commenter! So her question to you is:
Christmas In The Boss’s Castle is obviously a seasonally themed story- although many readers love to celebrate the magic of Christmas any time of the year especially through the pages of a fabulous book. What’s your favourite time of year, and why?
Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced – Kandy Shepherd will be here with a smooch from Conveniently Wed To The Greek!
Oh I loved this story and that smooch was awesome to re-read truly fab story that was not put downable :)
Christmas is my favourite time of the year I have 8 grandkids so it is fab all over again the decorations the food the fun the presents and best of all family time together :)
Congrats on the RONA :)
This book is definitely on my TBR Helen! Wow, you must be busy with 8 grandkids, and Christmas is such a special time for children--I imagine it's very magical and fun at your house!Delete
Thanks for the fabulous smooch Scarlet and huge congrats on the RONA win!ReplyDelete
I love all times of year, but fall/autumn is my favourite. It's just so pretty (love those orange and gold colours) and I love the weather, too. Cool and comfortable, perfect for walks in the park and coffee on the way home :)
I love autumn too, Stef! It's lovely to have cooler weather and wrap up in warm clothes!Delete
Welcome to the LoveCats, Scarlet! It's so fabulous to have you here. :-) And super-duper congrats on your RONA win! Loved your smooch, it was gorgeous.ReplyDelete
I love Christmas-themed romances -- they seem automatically sprinkled with extra fairy dust. But like Stef my favourite time of the year is autumn. I too love all of those orange, golds and reds...and I really *really* love the cooler days without all of the awful humidity of summer.
Isn't it great to have Scarlet here? Fab smooch!! Another tick for autumn here too!Delete
Hey Scarlet! Waving madly!ReplyDelete
Christmas is my favourite time of year even though we have a slightly different one to you guys :-)
Wherever you live, Christmas is always fun if there's food and wine and family around!!Delete
Christmas is my favourite time of year and do love a good smooch and Christmas read :D Your book sounds great :DReplyDelete
Family and friends gather . Its warm here so ideal for yummy lunches and a swim at the beach or just to pop up a pool for the kids.
Christmas is such a lovely time of year if it means catching up with family and friends- oh, and presents and food and wine!!Delete
I do love Christmas and I love Christmas reads.ReplyDelete
You won't see any snow here for Christmas.
What a shame Mary, I'm in Scotland and it actually snowed today!Delete
Orange is my favourite colour, so it comes as a no surprise that I love Autumn. And that was one lovely kiss. Thanks for sharing!ReplyDelete
Thanks Natalija xDelete
Hello Scarlett, I love stories set in the Christmas season, I like the atmosphere that breathes. This extract I really liked ... I hope I can read it here too soon in Italy.ReplyDelete
The time of year I prefer more than Christmas is the summer. I love the heat and the sea, so for me summer is the ideal time of year
Thank you ladies for having me and all your wonderful replies! If the winner already has this book I'm happy to send something different!ReplyDelete
Lovely smooch, Scarlet, from a wonderful book. I really enjoyed reading it. I love Christmas, too. But my favourite season is spring!ReplyDelete
Thanks Kandy xxDelete
HI Scarlet! Thanks so much for sharing this lovely excerpt. I love Christmas-themed stories and this one looks so tempting.ReplyDelete
As for favourite times of year, it's a toss up. I adore Christmas for the family festivities and the prospect of some lazy summer days relaxing after the big celebration. Of the seasons though, I suspect spring is my favourite. I like that sensation of new life stirring and the many possibilities just waiting to be realised.
Thanks Annie xDelete
I do love Christmas, the season of good will to all, and love. I also really enjoy reading seasonal romance at the time, so absolutely glut myself on 'Christmas' romances over that time. There's just something very special about the season, Christmas decorations, lights, gifts, parties, family coming together and wonderful church services. A wonderful time of year. Thanks for your book, I read it last Christmas and totally fell in love with it.ReplyDelete
Thanks so much Malvina!Delete
Christmas holidays are my favourite time of year because we get to spend time with family that may live far away the rest of the year.ReplyDelete
Thanks Kerri, we're a matching pair!Delete
I do love Christmas, because it's about love, family and being together. And I do love a Christmas story. I have a huge dvd collection of Christmas stories, mostly Hallmark and watch them as a lead up to Christmas and many boxes of tissues are used. Loved your smooch. :)ReplyDelete
Jan I love the Hallmark movies too, aren't they the best!Delete
I love Christmas like Jan does. I watch Hallmark Christmas movies all year long..nothing like a nice romance in the holidays.ReplyDelete
My favorite time of the year is summer, but especially in Wisconsin where I live the first 30 years of my life. Nice sunny bright warm days where the colors are brighter after a cold and often rainy/snowy beginning of the year. Opening those windows and breathing fresh breezy air and playing in the garden. You really tried to make the most out of those 3 short months and it's wonderful weather. (Strangely, I have lived in Florida the last 30 years and even though it's summer about 350 days a year, it's not the same)