May 6, 2018

Sunday Smooch with Helen Lacey

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from The Child Between Them by Helen Lacey ......

The Men of Mulhany Crossing....

The Child Between Them

Reclusive widower Marshall Harris has tried to ignore the always smiling Holly Berrigan for six long months, even though she has a way of getting his attention. But he has no intention of replacing the wife he'd loved and lost. Until everything changes—after one incredible night in her bed, Holly is having his baby! Now Marshall is facing fatherhood and a second chance at love. But only if he has the courage to take it.

Holly has been in love with the seriously sexy saddle-maker since the moment they met. But she’s no fool. His heart belongs to another woman and she can’t compete with a ghost. But now there’s a baby on the way…and that changes everything!

Scene set-up ( Holly is spending time at Marshall's farm as they struggle to get to know each other, to try and form a truce and work out a way to co-parent the child they have coming. They are in the living, sitting together, looking through some old photograph albums that she has asked to see )

Smooch  -

Holly went through the pages slowly, asking questions, learning more about him as each page was turned. He told her about the farm, his grandparents and parents, his younger sister. There were pictures of him with his friends, with his horses, with him lounging against the side of his truck when he was a teenager, his hair longer and tousled. There was a lovely shot of him with Lynette, his arm draped companionably over her shoulder. They were young, probably around eighteen, and she was looking up at him and laughing.

Holly’s insides tightened and glanced sideways, trying to gauge his thoughts. But his profile was steady and reserved. “Do you have a wedding album?” she asked quietly.

His head jerked. “I don’t think—”

       “Please,” she said quickly, cutting him off and placing a hand on the album. “I’d like to see.”

 He took a moment, but eventually grabbed the album from the bottom of the pile. He opened the book slowly and she noticed he swallowed hard as the first few pages were exposed. The invitation. A pressed flower. Mementos of what was obviously the most important day of his life. Holly took a breath and eased the album half onto her leg. Their knees touched, and a jolt of electricity raced up her thigh and landed in her belly. Holly willed the feeling away, cursing the weakness she felt every time he was close. And as she turned the pages she experienced a range of emotions—sadness, regret, compassion and then, as she knew she would, some envy. The photographs were all filled with love and hope and the promise of dreams and happiness to come. Lynette looked radiant in her simple white gown and a few sprigs of baby’s breath in her hair.

     “It looked like a happy day,” she said quietly.

     “It was,” he said and tugged the album from her hands and then closed it. “We were always happy,” he said and placed the album on the coffee table. “That’s the damnable thing about illness and death, it doesn’t have any prejudice. It takes anyone in its path.”

     Holly sighed and shifted back into the sofa, putting space between them. “Thank you for showing me. “

     “Has it satisfied your curiosity?” he asked, his eyes darkening.

     Holly met his gaze. “About what?”

     “My marriage, my wife,” he said and rested one arm along the back of the sofa. “My life.”

     Holly shrugged. “It’s no secret that you loved her. That you still love her.”

     The room suddenly seemed smaller, the air between them thicker, fueled by a heightened level of awareness. Holly swallowed hard, realizing he’d moved closer to her and that his hand was now curling around her nape.

     “What are you doing?” she demanded.

     “I don’t know,” he said quietly, stroking the back of her neck and urging her toward him. “But Holly, I do know that if I don’t kiss you right now, I’ll go crazy.”


I’ve lost my mind…

     It was all Marshall could think. All he could feel.

     But something snapped inside him and suddenly he had to feel Holly’s mouth against his own. Sitting beside her, inhaling the faint scent of fragrance that had somehow become uniquely hers, of hearing her soft voice ask questions about his family and his life, had fueled his desire for her and all he could think about was having her pressed against him.

     And she came…willingly.

     Marshall wound one arm around her waist and pulled her close until she was half on top of him, her lovely curves pressed against his chest. And he found her lips, kissing her as he’d imagined doing for the past twenty minutes. Her mouth opened and he rolled his tongue around hers, tasting the sweetness of her mouth and lips. He ran one hand along her hip, urging her closer, and he hardened instantly. Only Holly could do that. Only Holly had the power to make him forget everything and everyone and drive him wild with feelings that were a mix of half-desire, half-agony.

     She sighed against his mouth and her hands moved to his shoulders, digging in, clinging to him like she couldn’t get close enough. He tore his mouth from hers and kissed a path along her jaw and to the sensitive spot below her ear and her moan fueled his response. The scent of her was intoxicating. The feel of her was suddenly like a tonic he needed for his very existence. The taste of her was like something that was etched into the core of his being. He wanted her beneath him. Around him. He wanted to be inside her until he wasn’t sure when she began and he ended.

     “Holly,” he muttered at her throat as one hand moved to her breast. He kissed her again, rolling her tongue around his own in an erotic dance that drove him wild. Her nipple sprang to life through the fabric, the peak hard against his thumb and he plundered her mouth, pushing her T-shirt aside as he cupped underneath, feeling the weight within his palm, experiencing such an acute and powerful sense of desire for her in that moment, he could barely take a breath. He’d never known a feeling like this, never been at the mercy of lust and longing like he was with Holly. It terrified him. It enraged him. It humbled him. And created a conflict that made Marshall question everything he was. Everything he believed himself to be. Honest. Upright. A man of morals and integrity. A man who had loved the woman he married and who would have remained faithful to her throughout his life.

     Until Holly.

     Because she was his weakness. His sexual Achilles heel.

            And the reason he knew he would have betrayed his wife.

     He caught a glimpse of the wedding portrait hanging above the fireplace. And then guilt spread through his blood like a wildfire. Before he could question himself, Marshall wrenched his mouth from hers and sucked in an agonizing breath. He gently pushed her away and stumbled to his feet, dragging mouthfuls of air into his lungs.

     She stared up at her, her lips reddened from his kisses, her eyes wide and searching his face for an explanation. “What did I do?”

     Marshall ran a hand through his hair. “Nothing. I’m sorry…I shouldn’t have started anything…”

     She tugged at her T-shirt and adjusted herself. “Then why did you?”

     He shrugged guiltily. “I dunno. I just…I can’t explain it. It doesn’t feel right to start something here. But you were sitting so close and you smell so good and when I’m around you I don’t think straight. I think about—”

     “Getting laid,” she said as she stood, cutting him off. “Yes, I know. I’m quite the temptress. Goodnight, Marshall.”

     “Holly,” he said as she began to walk toward the door. “Don’t be mad with me. It’s better for us both if we don’t get too involved.”

     Her hand automatically rested on her abdomen. “Too late. Just keep your hands to yourself and we won’t have a problem.”

     Annoyance, fueled by the unsated desire still churning through blood, snaked up his spine. His resentment was illogical, but he still felt it. “I won’t touch you again.”

     “Good,” she offered and left the room.

I have written several books about someone getting a second chance at love after losing the person they believed they'd be spending their life with. And I love books and movies where the hero gets a second chance, even if he wasn't sure he wanted one...some of my favorites are, Sarah, Tall & Plain, Suzanne's Diary For Nicolas, Fine Things, Jane Eyre (a stretch since the wife was in the attic, but the idea is the same)

Leave a comment to go into the draw to win a copy (Print or Ecopy) of The Child Between Them...

And then come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced and a smooch will be posted!

Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver


  1. Ooh, fab excerpt, Helen. :-) I have to admit I'm partial to second-chance romances. With all of that history between a heroine and hero, there's always so much angst to be mined. Which can be rather delicious. :-)

  2. Sarah, Plain and Tall, the book and the movie, are great favourites of mine. I love a fabulous second chance story.

  3. I love second chance romance. Not only with a new love but also when a previous lover returns to town and that old attraction is still there.

  4. Awesome Helen this is one book I am really looking forward to, I too love to see people get a second chance :)

    Have Fun


  5. I obviously need to go back and read my high-school classics again, as I read Jane Eyre and totally can't recall an attic (or anything else, to be honest). So sad....
    Thanks for the reminder that something old can be young again ... but I'm still looking forward to your latest, duh!