Jun 24, 2018

Sunday Smooch with Kandy Shepherd

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from BEST MAN AND THE RUNAWAY BRIDE but first 

... the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is Juanita

Can you please contact 
Michelle (at) Michelle - Douglas (dot) com 
to receive your copy of Reunited by a Baby Secret

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Best Man and the Runaway Bride by Kandy Shepherd

Scandal at a society wedding!
Can he resist the runaway bride?

After helping Nikki Lucas flee her high-society wedding, privacy-loving best man Max Conway never expected to be accused of having an affair with the bride! As the media scandal dies down, he escapes to a remote island—and comes face-to-face with Nikki! Their connection is undeniable but she’s completely off-limits. Yet as the sun sets in paradise, both are struggling to resist…

Scene set-up: Nikki escapes the scandal of running away from her wedding in the arms of best man, international tennis star Max, to a tiny Indonesian island near Bali without telling anyone where she’s gone. Six months later, by coincidence, Max arrives on the island. They’re crazily attracted to each other but the last thing they need is another media scandal so they keep at arm’s length and strictly hands off. (Not that its easy!) When this scene starts they are heading for a beachside restaurant to catch the fabulous sunset and sneakily review the menu for her hotelier friends, while incognito pretending to be a tourist couple. They’ve shared a very brief kiss earlier, red hot and fiery, as Max had just accidentally eaten a very hot chilli pepper. Now, they’ve been transported to the sunset restaurant in the back of a taxi truck. During the ride, they’ve kept studiously apart.

Smooch: Nikki called a ‘thank you’ to [the driver] then went to get off the back of the truck. Max jumped down first. ‘I’m here if you need help,’ he said.

‘Of course I don’t need help,’ she said as she prepared to jump. ‘I’ve done this lots of times and—oh!’ She stumbled a little on the uneven ground and landed heavily against him.

‘Whoa,’ he said as he caught her and steadied her with his hands on her upper arms.

‘Th...thank you,’ she stuttered.

‘You okay?’ He looked down into her face.

‘Fine,’ she said. And feeling finer every second he kept his hands on her arms. His tennis-player calluses felt pleasingly rough against her sensitised bare skin, his fingers strong and firm.

When she didn’t move away he pulled her closer, so close she could sense the hammering of his heart, breathe in the exciting maleness of his scent, thrill at the warm strength of his body. She slid her arms around his waist and looked up at him, feeling nervous, excited, uncertain, on the brink of something unexpected. His eyes seemed a deeper shade of blue in the waning light and the intensity of his expression made her breath come short. For a very long moment their gazes locked in what seemed a series of unspoken questions with only one answer. Yes.

The world had shrunk to her and Max. Her lips parted in anticipation and she murmured her pleasure when he kissed her. His mouth was firm and warm against hers, his beard surprisingly soft against her skin. She tilted her head so she could more easily kiss him back.

‘Is this because we’re pretending to be a couple,’ she murmured against his mouth.

‘No, it’s because I want to kiss you,’ he said.

“I want to kiss you too.’ She licked along the seam of his mouth with the tip of her tongue. ‘No chilli this time. You’re naturally hot.’

‘You think so?’

‘Oh, yes.’ She wound her arms around his neck and pulled him to her, deepening the kiss. What had started as tender very quickly escalated into something intense, demanding, passionate, so all-consuming all she could think about was Max and the heat they were generating. Desire burned through her. She pressed her body to his as lips and tongues became more demanding.

This. Him. Max. She wanted him.

She didn’t know how much longer they would have stood there in the middle of the narrow lane kissing, oblivious to their surroundings, if another truck hadn’t driven up to deposit visitors to the restaurant. At the sound of its blaring horn, she came plummeting back to reality. Reluctantly she pulled away, immediately had to hold onto Max’s arm to steady herself on legs that had turned to jelly. She blinked with bewilderment.

‘What happened?’ She choked out the words.

Max looked equally shaken. He took in a deep, shuddering breath. ‘The inevitable,’ he said.

Nikki didn’t have to ask what he meant. No matter how she’d tried to deny it, they’d been heading towards this.

‘The...the question is where do we go from here?’ She knew her voice sounded strained and uncertain. 

Max reached out and gently smoothed the strands of her hair that had come loose back off her face. She stood very still, briefly closed her eyes at the pleasure of his touch on her skin. ‘Wherever it leads us,’ he said. 

Best Man and the Runaway Bride is a July release from Harlequin Romance in North America, Mills & Boon Forever Romance in Australia and New Zealand, and Mills & Boon True Love in the UK

Author Photo and question: Have you ever bumped into someone, quite by coincidence, somewhere you’d never expect to see them? Do you enjoy a runaway bride story? Sportsman heroes—yes or no? 

I’d love to read your thoughts. Leave a comment below to be in the draw for a signed paperback copy of Best Man and the Runaway Bride (mailed internationally.)

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced and a smooch from Annie West will be posted!

Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver


  1. Woohoo Kandy what an excerpt I can't wait to fall into this one I love your stories ( I am madly trying to catch up a the moment) I have run into people here and there and a runaway bride I can't remember reading one before (I probably have though) so this is going to be good and yes I love a sportsman hero I do love sports and of course I am looking forward to spending time on the beautiful island you holidayed on :)

    have Fun


  2. Thank you for those kind words, Helen. I hope you enjoy this one and that the setting transports you away from our winter!

  3. Very nice this extract, Kandy!
    I like the idea of the bride on the run. I have already read some books that talk about this topic. I also like the idea of the sports hero.

    1. Thank you Franca, I'm glad you like the smooch! And that you like sports heroes!

  4. Ooh, love this smooch, Kandy! Fabulous tension. :-)

    I love a good Runaway Bride story, and I don't have anything against a sportsman hero either (I mean muscles, right?). I've never run into anyone in a particularly unexpected place, but I was with Mr Douglas in London when he ran into a friend from Australia, which was kind of funny. :-)

    1. Glad you like the smooch, Michelle. I don't know about you, but I find them very difficult to write! I have run into the least likely people in London and Singapore - such a surprise. The world is getting smaller!