THIS GIVEAWAY HAS NOW ENDED
Welcome to my post as part of the Hero’s Blog Hop that runs from July 27 through July 31. I’m delighted to be a part of this awesome event. There are a lot of giveaways happening at more than 100 different blogs, and then there’s the grand prize that’s up for grabs as well (check out the SWAG here!)
As a romance writer, I create a lot of different heroes. Sebastian, in my most recent indie release, Obsession, is a tortured soul. I’d probably have to label him a beta with alpha tendencies. When Sebastian falls for Helen, he crashes into the ground like a felled tree. It’s delicious watching him struggle every step of the way until he realizes he’s in love. From that point on he’s a man on a mission to make Helen realize she’s in love with him. All of this while Jack the Ripper is loose in the city.
Most of my heroes have strong alpha streaks, and there’s nothing I love more than seeing a strong hero brought to his knees by the love of a woman. I think it’s beautiful when they fall, and fall hard, for the heroine. Nothing quite so awesome as when a strong man realizes he’s lost the battle when it comes to love.
One such man is Baron Garrick Stratfield from my award-winning book Pleasure Me. Garrick was a wonderful character to write. He was my first virgin hero, and he’s clearly become a favorite of other readers as well as Pleasure Me has won several prestigious awards. The book was the 2011 RT BOOKreviews Reviewers Choice award winner, 2012 Desert Island Keeper status at All About Romance, and the 2012 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence for best historical. Ruth and Garrick’s story also just finaled the Georgia Romance Writers highly touted contest, the Maggie’s.
Below is an unedited excerpt from the book where Garrick has to tell Ruth that he’s a virgin. Not an easy task for any man to admit he’s inexperienced.
“You do not need to remind me of the age difference between us.” Her voice had all the warmth of winter and he spun around to face her.
“Fuck. Your age had nothing to do with it,” he snarled. “I couldn’t make love to you because I’ve never been with a woman before.”
“You bastard,” she gasped as outrage darkened her face. “You must truly think me an old fool.”
Stunned, he stared at her in disbelief. She didn’t believe him. The fear rolled back over him again. He’d spilled his guts and for what? What could make her think he’d never made love to a woman before? He clenched his jaw at the look of contempt on her face. This was not going like he’d expected. What the hell had he thought was going to happen?
“It is the truth,” he growled as he struggled with the fact that she didn’t believe him.
“Is it? Then tell me why Lady Kent says you were the best lover she’d ever had? Then there’s Mrs. Campton who said your touch set her on fire,” she scoffed with fury. “Not to mention the more than a dozen other women I’ve heard sigh over your sexual prowess. And what of the mistress you’ve kept for the last two years?”
He shook his head with incredulity at her words. As he slowly processed her fiery allegations, he remembered a few brief moments with Lady Kent in the Duke of Salisbury’s garden a few years ago. The kisses they’d exchanged had been quite pleasurable, and it had been one of the more difficult situations to extract himself from. The same for Mrs. Campton.
What was it Ruth had said? Sexual prowess. The women of the Set considered him a skilled lover even though he’d never bedded any of them. They’d lied to protect their own reputations, and in return they’d helped craft the reputation he’d worked for. The realization wound its way through him with a sluggish speed that left him speechless.
“You insulted me once before, my lord. Do not try to insult me again.” Ruth neatly sidestepped him and headed toward the door.
“I am not in the habit of lying,” he growled as grabbed her arm and tugged her backward into his chest.
One arm wrapped around her waist, he subdued her struggles and prevented her from breaking free of his grasp. The sensual fragrance she wore flooded his senses and sent lust slamming into him. Damnation, how was it he couldn’t get near her without feeling this intense need to hold her and never let her go. This need to kiss every inch of her until she called out his name. But worst of all was the craving to bury himself inside her.
Fear lanced through him at the images filling his head. But this time his terror was born of the desire crashing through him. He closed his eyes against the delicious view her loosely tied robe offered him as he looked over her shoulder and saw the full curve of her breast. She was the most beautiful creature he’d ever seen. Even despite his lack of experience, he knew what to look for in a woman.
His friends had discussed the finer points of a woman’s figure many times. Once or twice they’d even dragged him to a brothel despite his best efforts to extract himself from the visit. Although he’d managed to keep his secret under the pretense of being drunk, he’d received enough of an education so as to appreciate the lush curves of Ruth’s body. She was beautiful.
“Please let me go.” Her voice was a strained plea that made him flinch.
With a quick movement, he turned her to face him, his hands still holding her in place. Anger glittered in her eyes, but he could see the hurt and confusion reflected there as well. He drew in a deep breath and cleared his throat. He wanted her to believe him, but how could he make her understand without stripping himself bare—without giving in to the hunger tugging at him with vicious glee.
“I’m not lying to you Ruth. And telling you that I…my…about my lack of experience is damned difficult.” He released his hold on her. “You’re the first person I’ve ever shared this with. My family doesn’t even know. And the only reason I’m telling you is because I know you thought I rejected you because of your age.”
Her lovely mouth parted as if she was about to speak, and he pressed his fingertips against her lips. God, but her mouth was soft against the pads of his fingers. His insides knotted up with that familiar sensation she always aroused in him, and he clamped down on the desire building inside him.
“You’re the most desirable woman I’ve ever met. Every time I’m near you, I have to fight to keep from touching you. God help me, but I can’t get the image of you, emerging from your bathroom with water still clinging to every part of you, out of my head. You looked like a young Aphrodite with your hair tumbling down onto your beautiful breasts.”
He could hear how hoarse his voice had become as he met her gaze. The fact that she was dressed almost exactly as she’d been the other night was not helping matters. His cock had gone rigid in his trousers, and his tongue grew thick in his mouth as he remembered how badly he’d wanted her at that moment, almost as badly as he did now.
“The way your nipples became taut peaks the moment you realized I was looking at you made me come close to coming right then and there. Can you blame me for…I couldn’t help taking you in my mouth when the opportunity presented itself. And Christ Jesus, I didn’t know…never thought that a woman might think to shave…”
Bloody hell. He was stammering—acting just like he had all those years ago with Bertha. An inept schoolboy. He flinched at the memory and jerked away from her. This had been a mistake. A blunder of the worst proportions. Whether she believed him or not wasn’t the real danger. It was whether she’d keep his secret or not.
There’s something really vulnerable about these two characters in this scene that I love. Sometimes an author has to put time between them and book, but Pleasure Me has always stayed with me on so many levels. Now that you’ve read that scene, perhaps I’ve enticed you enough to read more here on my website.
I post the first two to four chapters for each book here on the website so readers get a feel for whether or not they want to keep reading. Nothing like buying a book based on the blurb, and it doesn’t live up to your expectations.
Since this is a Hero Blog hop, tell me what trait you think a great hero has to have.
I’m giving away a copy of Pleasure Me to one lucky winner, and a copy of Kismet to another winner. Answer the question above and be sure to include your email in the comment. We need a way to contact you if you’re a winner.
Added BONUS!! Love’s Portrait
FREE download on Amazon.
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THIS BLOG HOP ENDED July 21, 2012 – All prizes have been awarded (see first line of the post for open/close dates)