Today we have a smooch from Annie West but first
... the winners of the big book bundles from Friday's welcome party for Clare Connelly are:
Can you please contact annie(at)annie-west.com to receive your prizes.
And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Annie West's book HIS MAJESTY'S TEMPORARY BRIDE.
As the illegitimate secret daughter of royalty, Cat's life has been far from luxurious. After years of bullying, she's set against a return to her childhood home. But her princess half sister has mysteriously disappeared ahead of her engagement to charismatic King Alexander.
…into the bed of the king!
Cat agrees to stand in for her—but she didn't agree to the electric attraction between her and Alex! He might have no idea who she really is—but when their insatiable desire threatens to strip away every boundary between them, Cat cannot hold back from the temptation of Alex's caress…
Cat is installed in the palace of St Galla, covering for her missing half-sister, Princess Amelie, who's gone missing. Cat has agreed to pretend to be Amelie for a few days. To Cat's horror, she discovers the man she'd met and been instantly attracted to just days before, is King Alex of Bengaria, now staying in the palace as a potential suitor for her sister. Could life get more complicated? Especially when the sizzle of attraction between her and Alex is stronger than ever? Now, seeking privacy away from the palace, Alex has followed her on her morning jog along a private coastal path. Not knowing about her true identity, and believing the woman he wants so badly is Amelie, he explains that he's not ready for a marriage of convenience, despite the simmering passion electrifying the air between them.
Cat nodded. ‘You don’t want to marry.’
‘I’ve got too much to do. There’s still so much work to get Bengaria back on track. I haven’t got time for a wife. I’m not ready to be a father.’
Yet Alex didn’t draw back. If anything he seemed closer.
‘If I wanted a bride it would be different.’ His voice was husky.
Cat didn’t trust herself to speak. His expression held her spellbound, though logic screamed that she needed to put distance between them.
‘If I wanted a bride I couldn’t go past those big green eyes. Or those lips. I’d be suggesting we got to know each other much better.’ His thumb dipped from her cheek to her mouth, pressing her lower lip and dragging it down. Cat exhaled, lungs tight, nipples budding against the constraint of her bra as his thumb stroked her lip, once, twice, till she couldn’t resist and tasted him with the tip of her tongue. He was salt and spice and frighteningly addictive.
His eyes dilated, his breath warm on her face, he crowded closer, long legs bracketing hers. His other arm stretched out to the tree trunk behind her as if Alex too felt the sudden need for safe anchor as the ground seemed to ripple and swell.
‘And as for this body…’ To her dismay his hand dropped but before she could frame a protest she felt his touch, tantalising and soft, brush her collarbone, then trace the wide neckline of her T shirt, before sliding down.
Cat’s breath stalled as his knuckles brushed the outer swell of her breast, slowing then tracing down her ribs then splaying at her waist. Those long, hard fingers made her aware of how small she was compared with him. Of how much strength resided in those large, capable hands and that taut, athletic body.
Her mouth was parched but she had to find words to make him back off. This was too dangerous. To her masquerade but also to her. She teetered on the brink of feelings that made a mockery of all her training, her strength and control. She swallowed and moistened her lips with her tongue then opened her mouth to speak.
But the words didn’t come because Alex’s mouth settled on hers and the world exploded.
A shudder of satisfaction ripped through him as he delved into Cat’s mouth. The hairs on his nape lifted and his flesh prickled in a wash of excitement.
He angled his head for better access and found his eyes closing as he concentrated on the lush, moist warmth of her. Cat tasted like no other woman. A flavour he couldn’t name, yet had surely craved all his life.
He let go of the tree and cupped her jaw, caressing, holding her still when she would have moved. A mighty shudder racked her. He heard the swift intake of her breath and knew she felt that slam of recognition too.
Instinctively he crowded her against the pine tree, not hard, but enough to stymie an easy escape. He needed her here where he could explore the rightness of them together.
It must be an illusion. Yet it felt as if their bodies recognised and welcomed each other.
But he’d never met Cat till two days ago. Neither at an official function or even incognito in the years he’d worked as a pilot. He’d have remembered her taste, those stunning eyes, and the vibrant challenge of her.
He’d swear he’d be able to identify this woman even if he were blindfolded.
She refused to kiss him back, standing rigid. But he’d heard the hum of pleasure she hadn’t been able to stifle, felt that initial tremor of delight. He loosened his grip on her waist and trawled his fingers up over her ribcage and a shudder ripped through her.
Alex stifled a smile of satisfaction.
He should resist this as she tried to. Getting tangled up with Princess Amelie at the same time he was rejecting an offer to marry her was fraught with potential disaster.
Yet the tug of need was so compelling he couldn’t shut it off.
Didn’t want to shut it off.
This was about sex, not dynastic machinations. It was raw and real, not finessed.
After years of royal duty this was a lungful of clean air after claustrophobia. Like putting a new jet through its paces, the freedom of skimming to the horizon on a slipstream of pure adrenaline.
He slid his hand from her jaw, across that smooth cheek to her thick, silky hair. Desire spiked, driving heat through his belly as he dug his fingers in, revelling in that rich softness and enjoying her tell-tale movement as she tilted her head into his caressing hand.
Deftly he pulled away the tie that kept her hair up and again she moved, helping him. Then his hands were cupping her skull as he deepened the kiss.
Her hands rose to his arms. He felt her tight grasp as if she’d wrench his hands away. Her chest expanded mightily, pushing those ripe breasts against his torso and sending his blood south in a sudden rush.
Tension held him immobile, knowing and hating she was about to break away when he wasn’t ready to stop.
But she surprised him. Her hands slid up his shoulders, clinging tight and strong, tugging him closer, not pushing away.
With a soft sound that might have been relief or possibly dismay, she leaned in. Her breasts crushed against him, her lithe body supple and urgent in all the right places.
Then she was kissing him back with an urgency that sent the last of his control spiralling into nothingness.
Cat didn't want to masquerade as her sister, but in the end, gave in to pressure and accepted the role, partly out of curiosity about her royal sister's life.
If you were given the chance to live in someone else's shoes for a day, who would you choose?
Leave a comment and you'll go in the (international) draw to win a signed copy of 'His Majesty's Temporary Bride'.
Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced and a smooch from Melanie Milburne will be posted!
Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver