Dr. Clara Evans' life has taken a turn for the worse. With a failed marriage behind her, Clara has only a bottle of wine and a romance novel for company on New Year's Eve while waiting for the dreadful year to end.Her lonely celebration is disrupted when her best friend Jackson Philips shows up and she couldn't be more delighted. Tall, muscular and handsome, what's not to love about the bighearted firefighter?It's not until she steals a desperately needed kiss for luck at midnight that secret desires and hidden heartaches rise to the surface, igniting an inferno of passion that burns hot enough to overwhelm even the most seasoned firefighter.
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Ellora's Cave Publishing, Incorporated
November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from A Kiss for Luck by Kele Moon
"Wow, you smell good," she whispered, leaning in to breathe in the spicy scent of his aftershave mixed with the crisp smell of his wet hair. "Frank never smelled this good."
Jackson's breath caught and he was deathly still for a long moment. Then he grasped her shoulders and pushed her gently away from him. "On second thought," he said. "I think you've had enough to drink. You ought to go to bed before you end up with a hangover tomorrow."
"It's not even midnight," Clara complained, leaning back against the couch and feeling oddly disappointed at being pushed away. "It'd be bad luck to go to bed now."
Jackson reached for her wineglass and drank its contents in one gulp. He looked suddenly nervous as he ran a distracted hand through his hair. "Since when do you believe in bad luck?"
"Since I've had so much of it," Clara said and turned to look at the clock, seeing there were only a few seconds to midnight. "Oh look, it's almost here!"
Wanting to start off the New Year on the right foot, she reached out to Jackson, feeling the first signs of stubble as she cupped his cheeks and brought his lips to hers when she heard them announce midnight over the radio. His body became rigid with obvious shock. His lips were soft but unyielding. It was a chaste kiss, but a kiss nonetheless and Clara couldn't help but feel better about the next year.
"What was that for?" Jackson rasped, looking shaken as he stared at her wide-eyed.
"It's New Year's," Clara explained, feeling giddy and refusing to let go of him as she slid her hands to his shoulders. "I needed someone to kiss at midnight, you know, for luck. I need it--lots of it."
"Right, New Year's," he said with a distant tone and then contemplated her for a second. "Well, that wasn't a very good kiss, was it? Not gonna gather much luck from that."
"I don't think it matters. Just so long as you get the kiss in at midnight."
"It's still midnight," he murmured and Clara squeaked in surprise when Jackson pulled her to him. "Might as well do it right."
Clara was stunned when Jackson leaned in and kissed her a second time. His lips were warm and possessive as they moved over hers. His fingers laced into her dark curls as he nipped gently at her bottom lip. Instinctually she parted to him, feeling white-hot fire spear though her when his tongue swept into her mouth. She mewled in acceptance and desire coiled inside her, pooling at her center, creating a dull ache that beat in rhythm to her rapid heart rate.
No kiss had ever affected her so profoundly. It didn't matter that this was her best friend. Images swirled in her mind, making her wonder what it'd feel like to have him hard and naked against her. She was breathless, stunned and overwhelmed with the rush of longing invading her senses, making her blind to everything but the need for more of him. If he could do this to her with one kiss she would never have to fake anything. With Jackson she would want it to last forever.
When the need for air overtook them, Jackson groaned and pulled away and her whole body mourned the loss of contact. Clara's disappointment halted when she caught him looking at her with heavy-lidded eyes dilated in desire. His breathing was shallow and with a sense of feminine pride, she realized the kiss had affected Jackson just as much as it had her. She'd never had a man look at her like that, not even Frank. For a moment she thought she saw more than just hunger in his gaze. A raw desire so profound, if wine and lust hadn't clouded her judgment she would have pondered it.
Years of fantasies swirled in her head, the ones she locked away in the smallest corners of her mind. When she was young, they had been soft and fanciful. Later when she'd been forced to endure Frank's attentions, she would close her eyes sometimes and try to imagine Jackson's lips on hers or his body pumping into her and it had almost made it bearable. Now here he was, wild eyed and flushed with excitement for her.
She should have played it safe, but she leaned forward and kissed him once more, savoring his stunned gasp against her mouth as she licked at his lips then slipped her tongue past them like he'd done to her. Jackson responded instantly and crushed her to him, kissing her back like a man starved. His passion shouldn't have been surprising, but it was. It stole her breath and left her body humming in need.
Months without sex, years without passion, and it must have worn on her because she literally ached for him. It didn't even matter that he was her best friend, that by moving against him seductively and inviting more intimate attentions she could be doing permanent damage to their relationship. All she knew was she wanted him and she told him so in a breathy sigh when she pulled away to inhale the alluring scent of his aftershave.
Jackson took a deep breath as his head fell back against the couch. "We can't do this." He gripped her shoulders and pushed her away. "You're drunk."
"I'm not that drunk."