It's a quick Wolff Wednesday today as I am swamped, but I wanted to share the news. I just got a three book contract with Harlequin for my next three Superromances, including Matt's story (the best friend in From Friend to Father) so I am very, very happy today! And the news came yesterday-- on my birthday-- so who could ask for a better present???
Here's a quick excerpt from what I have written for Matt's book so far. Presently, the working title is What Love Means but that is definitely subject to change. My heroine, Camille, is a commitment-phobe to the extreme, so hopefully you'll enjoy the merry chase she leads Matt on before she catches him ;)
Prologue for What Love Means
“Do you have to go?”
A twinge of uneasiness worked its way down Camille Arraby’s spine at the words, though she continued to load her overnight bag. “My flight leaves in two hours—I’ve got to get to the airport.”
“That’s not what I meant and you know it.” Matt Jenkins climbed off the rumpled bed where they’d just spent another incredible night, and crossed to her.
She watched him prowl across the room, his long, lean, nearly naked form a truly beautiful sight this early in the morning. His dark auburn hair had fallen over his eyes and his too full lips were curved in the sexy grin she loved.
The twinge got a little more pronounced and for the first time that she could remember, Camille regretted the fact that she had to go. She wasn’t nearly as ready to leave Austin—and Matt—as she’d expected to be.
But Brazil—and Carnaval—were in full swing and they wouldn’t wait forever. Besides, it was better to walk away now, on a high note, than wait for things to sour as they inevitably would.
“So what did you mean?” she asked, lightly, as he circled her waist with his hands and pulled her close.
“I was asking you to stay.” He nuzzled her neck and she sighed, letting her head fall back as desire moved through her all over again.
His mouth moved lower, to the hollow of her throat, and she actually felt her knees tremble. “You can.”
“Matt. You knew all along I was leaving today.”
“So what’s the problem?” Her voice hitched as he flicked open the first two buttons of her shirt, ran his tongue over the curve of her breast.
“The problem is that when we made the deal, I didn’t expect that I’d want you to stay.”
“And now you do?”
He lifted his head so that his warm brown eyes met hers and Camille shuddered with unfulfilled desire. She’d never met a man like Matt, who could make her respond so effortlessly—and powerfully—to his lightest touch.
“Now I do.” He stroked the back of his hand down her cheek. “Stay, Camille. Please. I’ve never felt like this before and I want to see where it goes.”
“I’ve already given up my room and my job, already have my flights booked to Rio and then on to Italy.”
“You can stay with me for a while—and getting another one of those temp jobs of yours can’t be that difficult. You’ve been through three in the two months I’ve known you.”
For one long second, Camille let his words sweep over her. Let herself imagine staying here with Matt indefinitely—spending hours and days and weeks together, in bed and out.
Doing all those wonderful things couples did when they were falling in love.
The images that flashed through her mind didn’t send her running for the hills as they normally would have, and that—more than anything else could—had her taking a cautious step back.
Pulling free of Matt’s embrace, she turned back to her bag. Rearranged the items in it, once, twice, as she struggled for the right words to say. But nothing came and silent minutes dragged by as Matt waited patiently for her answer, not pushing her but not backing down either.
As she slid her make-up case to the bottom of the bag, Camille wanted nothing more than to run—as fast and as far as she could.
Wanted nothing more than to fling herself into Matt’s arms and stay until this thing between them burned itself out.
But doing that was only asking for trouble, only asking for entanglements. Already Matt had sneaked through a crack in her defenses and taken up residence in an untouched spot in her heart. If she stayed, his presence inside her would grow until she was no longer complete without him. And that was something she would never, could never, allow.
When she finally looked up at him again, Camille made sure none of her doubts—none of her longing—showed on her face. “I can’t stay, Matt. You know that as well as I do. I was perfectly clear about the fact that I was leaving when we hooked up.”
“I know. But plans can change.”
“Bull.” This time when he grabbed her, his hands weren’t quite as gentle as they had been. Somehow, the edginess was just as arousing as the care. “Your plans change all the time. They change with the wind, with your whims. Why can’t you change them now? For me?”
“My plane tickets are non-refundable.” Her answer was flippant, but her heart was pounding hard and fast.
He cursed. “I’ll pay for the stupid tickets. I’ll pay for a hundred tickets if you’ll stay for just a little while longer.” His hands slid up her arms and neck until he was cupping her face. “Please, Camille. Stay.”
“Matt.” She shook her head, fought against the lump in her stomach that was growing with every word he said.
“Damn it, do you think this is easy for me? I’m not used to having to beg a woman to spend time with me.”
Of course he wasn’t used to begging—he was gorgeous and smart, and if not rich, certainly well off from his partnership in one of the city’s leading architectural firms. He was a prime catch—just one more reason she was determined to throw him back before he could do the same to her.
Before she broke her own rules and let him all the way into her heart.
Before she was the one pleading with him to stay.
“I don’t want you to beg.” The words came out sharp, stilted.
“So what do you want?”
“To see Carnaval. To dance in the plaza and run through the streets with the parades. To visit the art museums and hanglide through the hills. I wasn’t to stand on the beach at dawn and watch the tide roll in.”
“Okay. All right.” He closed his eyes, ran a hand over his face. “Give me a couple days, let me rearrange my schedule and I’ll go with you. You’ll still see plenty of Carnaval.”
The twinge turned into a full-blown panic attack, and it took every ounce of willpower she had to keep her hand from shaking as she slung her bag over her shoulder. “Come on, Matt. It’s been fun, but we both know it’s time to move on—before things get messy and predictable.”
“They don’t have to—“
“Sure they do, sweets.” With a sassy grin, Camille reached up and patted her lover’s cheek. “That’s the way of relationships. Short and sweet turns long and nasty, until both people wish they’d gotten out when the getting was good.”
His eyes narrowed. “Do you really believe that?”
“I do. And so do you—at least you did six weeks ago, when we first met.”
“That was different.”
“Baby, it’s always different.” She started to say more, but a car horn sounded from the street in front of his house. “I’ve got to go. My cab’s here.”
“I thought I was taking you to the airport.”
“It’s still early—go back to bed.” Standing on tiptoes, she brushed her lips against his once, twice. Then gasped as his mouth turned frenzied on hers.
He kissed her like no one ever had—hard and hot and with a desperation that nearly overwhelmed her. That nearly had her dropping her bag and following him back into bed, where he was so sure they belonged.
That nearly had her saying to hell with Rio and Italy and the world—she was more than content to stay right here, in Austin, Texas.
But then the horn sounded again and she was pulling away. Smiling at him. Walking out the door and reminding herself, with every step, of all the reasons she was doing the right thing.
After all, there was a big, bright world out there and in her thirty-two years she’d only managed to see about half of it. It was time—past time—to get started visiting the other half.