NY Times Bestselling Author
It all started with a not-so-innocent sprig of mistletoe…
In retrospect, Rina Lowell should have known that Emma Montgomery’s mistletoe was a matchmaking ploy.
Rina is new to Ashford, new to her newspaper job, new to her whole life. And she can’t wait to write “Hot Stuff”, a series of columns that will definitively pin down what men really want.
When Emma maneuvers her under that pesky sprig of evergreen with Ashford’s prodigal son, Rina can’t resist the chance to plant one on that dark-haired, blue-eyed man’s sensual mouth. She never expected that kiss to go down like a shot of fine tequila. The man is perfect for her, or so she thinks.
When his adoptive father Joe falls ill, globetrotting news reporter Colin Lyons doesn’t hesitate to drop everything to fly home and take over Joe’s baby, the Ashford Times. Which, Colin discovers, is veering away from hard news to sexy, smutty fluff. Something he can’t let happen.
He’s only got until New Year’s to save this sinking ship, and to do that, he needs an ally. Rina, with her sparkling brown eyes and frumpy clothes that make his fingers itch to discover what’s underneath, is the perfect target to help him. Even if it means the job she loves will be cut in the end.
He never expected one kiss to take his simple plan to save the Times and tie it into impossible knots… and possibly cost him the woman he loves.
Thanks to her grandson Emma Montgomery has a new job, writing a Meet and Greet column for the local Times newspaper. She’s enjoying it immensely and it’s keeping her son the stuffy judge from putting her in a senior home. She really likes the feisty new member of the staff. Rena Lowell is writing a series of columns titled Hot Stuff. Her columns are trying to decipher the workings of the male mind.
Colin Lyons has returned to his hometown, his father Joe had a stroke and is out of commission. The Times is Jim’s lifelong work and now his wife Corinne is running it into the ground. The problem is Colin doesn’t have power of attorney, she does. He has to convince Corinne to drop the fluff and return the paper to it’s original news format. He thinks Rena might be the someone to help him, but his attraction to her has him rethinking that notion.
You know of course that anything involving Emma will also include matchmaking and it seems she has Rena and Colin in her sights. As Christmas approaches she is placing mistletoe strategically around the office. One notably over Colin’s chair.
This is a favorite scene.
From the corner of her eye, Rina saw Emma slip out the door.
“Emma’s gone,” Colin said. He sounded as stunned as she felt at this sudden turn of events, and his voice held a husky, low timbre that resembled rough whiskey.
“And she definitely left some excitement in her wake.”
“Is that what you’d call it?” He studied her shamelessly as if taking her measure. Looking for what Rina couldn’t be sure, but with each passing second, those blue eyes seemed to see inside her.
To read her mind. If he could, he’d know she took this tradition seriously. Now that Emma had put the idea in her mind, she wanted to know what it would feel like to be kissed under the mistletoe. Right now. By Colin.
His hands came to rest on her shoulders, his palms hot and strong. Heat burned within her and her stomach curled with silken anticipation as the need to taste him grew.
He removed her glasses, placing them on the desk, and stared. “Did you know you have golden flecks in those brown eyes?”
Unable to speak, she licked her dry lips and was rewarded when his hungry gaze followed the movement.
“Reminds me of sunshine.”
Warmth tingled through her veins. Born and raised in the Bronx and a New York girl at heart, Rina wasn’t shy about asking for what she wanted. And she wanted her new life to begin now. Despite barely knowing Colin, she was going to test the waters. Take whatever he was willing to give. “You should know I’m not one to let a mistletoe moment pass.”
“And you should know I’m not a man who takes a challenge lightly,” he said, obviously referring to her earlier question. Did he have the nerve to kiss her? “However, I’m not up for a sexual harassment lawsuit from an employee.”
She respected that. “But I asked you.” She raised an eyebrow, challenge continuing.
“Then far be it for me to defy tradition. No matter how unexpected,” he whispered an instant before he lowered his head and his lips touched hers.
He’d called her bluff, taken the initiative, and now he toyed with her, playfully testing, learning the feel of her mouth, and letting her discover him. Then his tongue slid briefly, seductively, over the seam of her lips, electrifying her with his touch until their tongues lightly met.
The experiment yielded high-impact results. Colin tasted of pure male desire, a flavor that stirred a hunger long-denied and awakened passions she’d never experienced before. Passions she’d never thought existed before now. She trembled, and in response he squeezed her shoulders, his fingers biting into her skin, providing a carnal awareness of the fact that she affected him, too.
But from deep inside, caution clawed its way to the surface, breaking through the surprising desire that still burned hot inside her. She’d been floored by a simple kiss.
As if anything about this kiss— or Colin— was simple.
She lifted her head, breaking the kiss but not the awareness. He met her gaze. Heat flared bright in his eyes and flushed his cheeks, and the shock that reverberated inside her was evident in his expression. Another emotion shared.
She stepped back and ran trembling fingers over her lips. “That was…”
Not exactly the word she’d have chosen, and Rina blinked, startled.
“Isn’t that what kissing under the mistletoe is supposed to be?” Colin shot her a boyish grin.
She wished it was as easy for her. She exhaled hard and forced a casual smile before meeting his eyes. “Of course, it was fun. Emma set us up and we responded like any two adults caught under the mistletoe would.”
She took a step backward, then another. A few more and she made it to her desk so she could regroup, leaving Colin alone under the mistletoe laden with tradition.
“Fun’s meant to be repeated.” His expression still showed shocked surprise, but he couldn’t hide the warm appreciation in his gaze.
She reached for her jacket, caught off-guard when he stepped forward and helped her slip on her wool coat. His hands were gentle as he adjusted her collar, and his calloused fingers brushed her nape, eliciting a tingling sensation that shot straight to her toes.
She hadn’t known he was a gentleman.
Without turning, unwilling to look into those blue eyes once more, she barely managed to grab her series folder, call a quick goodbye, and beat a hasty retreat to the door.
She turned, her heart pounding hard in her chest. “What?”
“You forgot something.”
She accepted her glasses and bolted into the cold night.
Carly Phillips. Simply Sexy (Kindle Locations 335-373). CP Publishing.
As much as Colin wants to discuss the paper and it’s issues with Joe, he can’t go against the doctor’s orders to keep stress away. Dealing with Corinne isn’t easy she’s convinced her changes are the right way to go.
As the paper is getting closer to failure, Colin’s relationship with Rena grows. He finds himself opening up to her in ways he’s never done before.
Oh the tangled mess that just keeps getting more so as this tale unfolds.
Plenty of drama, a touch of intrigue and a whole lot of sizzle in this book, I hope there will be more as we met someone who could use a happy ending and Emma deserves her own as well.
5 Contented Purrs for Carly!
Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!
Carly Phillips is the N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of over 50 sexy contemporary romance novels featuring hot men, strong women and the emotionally compelling stories her readers have come to expect and love.
Carly’s career spans over a decade and a half with various New York publishing houses, and she is now an Indie author who runs her own business and loves every exciting minute of her publishing journey. Carly is happily married to her college sweetheart, the mother of two nearly adult daughters and three crazy dogs (two wheaten terriers and one mutant Havanese) who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. Carly loves social media and is always around to interact with her readers.