Don’t you LOVE this cover! Every time I see Christine Nolfi’s series, I fall in love with the cover over and over. I’m on a cruise ship right now and when I’m not writing – I’m taking a break and reading. LOTS. Having just finished Burying the Honeysuckle Girls (which I LOVED), I’m now enjoying this story.
I’m in the mood for something a heart-warming but real and every time I pick up one of Christine’s books, I get that. I love how Christine writes from her heart. Have you read any of her books yet?
Christine was kind enough to let me post a short sample for you to read…I hope you enjoy!
In the kitchen he found Blossom sitting Indian-style on a counter, penned in by jumbo canisters of ice cream. Twin tracks of red and brown made a highway down her tee shirt. The sugary stream dripping from her tennis shoes was sure to draw ants before she finished drowning herself in dairy.
Striding past Finney, he approached his kid. “Blossom, what the hell are you doing?”
“Thoo thouldn’t thwear,” she garbled, her tongue evidently frozen.
He swung around to regard Finney, dashing between the oven and the grill. “How much did she eat?” he asked.
“No idea. She’s your kid, your problem.” Finney pulled a bubbling casserole from the oven. “Hey, Anthony—you’re a mechanic.”
“Thanks for noticing.” He spotted her ill-mannered son leaning against the wall. Patches of chocolate streaked his cheeks. “How much ice cream did yours eat?”
“This isn’t a contest. They’re both eating dairy. Leave it at that.”
“You don’t approve of this, do you?”
“It’s not heroin.” She placed two plates on the ledge of the pass-through window before giving him the once-over. “You fixed the walk-in cooler. How ‘bout you look at the stove? Something’s wrong.”
He watched her twirl the stove’s knobs for three seconds. “Stop! You’ll blow us up!”
Finney straightened. “You sound like Mary.”
“Where is she?”
“Hiding in the hallway.” The cook waved a paring knife due south.
“Stay away from the stove. I need to check the gas line.” He frowned. “Why is Mary hiding?”
“I think she’s crying.”
He hurried to check on her. Sure enough, she was trembling by the door leading out the back of the building.
“Planning to bolt?” He appraised her flushed, sorrowful face. “Hey, your lip is bleeding. Must’ve been the door that hit you.”
She pinned him with a gaze rife with desperation. “All I can feel are my arches,” she said. “They’re on fire. And I’m fed up with having to defend my life just because the ice cream melted.”
From his pocket he withdrew a rag. “I don’t know about defending yourself but you are bleeding. Here. Let me help.”
He dabbed at the crimson drop by her mouth. She stilled as he touched her, and he smiled. The wound was just a nick, really. By morning, it’d be history.
Pleased with his ability to forestall electrical fires and staunch the flow of blood, he began pulling back. As he did, his gaze slid to hers.
Connecting with her mossy green eyes made them open wide. There were golden flecks inside, a whole sunburst of color on top of the darker green. On an intake of breath, Anthony watched her lips part, her lower lip appearing slightly swollen and bruised—
The skin on his scalp tightened. Heat poured through his body. Sucking in air, he battled vertigo.
The reaction wasn’t his fault. During adulthood he’d enjoyed sex so infrequently, he’d entered the priesthood without taking vows. Did his attraction have to knock him over like this?
The suggestive tempo of his breathing affected her too, putting a nice sheen on her forehead. She sent her tongue across her lips on a languid journey that sent his heartbeat into a crazy dance. Come to think of it, she was also breathing fast, her breasts straining against her pretty blouse—
He swiped the Rain Forest dampness from his forehead. “Bleeding’s stopped,” he mumbled. At this rate, he’d need to wring his shirt out in Finney’s sink.
Mary regarded him with smoldering eyes. “Thank you,” she murmured.
He tried to clamp his attention on anything but her. No dice.
Succumbing to the urge, he looked closer. Mary wasn’t pretty in the classical sense. Her eyes were slightly close-set. Her nose—like his—was a tad too large. But her lips were full and pink, and her skin glowed. The combination made her beautiful.
“I’ll get Blossom, take her home.” He paused, confused. Why couldn’t he stop looking at Mary?
She had a nice shape. Small waist, good curves. Breasts that would fill his hands just right.
A second wave of heat pummeled him. He was sweating like a gorilla. If this was his big debut as Mary’s suitor, he’d blown the opening act.
“I’ll get Blossom out of your hair,” he said. “Need to pour some Pepto down her throat before she hits the sack.”
“Oh. The ice cream.” Mary stepped closer, effectively raising the temperature on his furnace. “It’s my fault,” she added.
“I doubt it. She’s nuts for the stuff.”
“I should have stopped her, Anthony.”
Anthony. Nice how she murmured his name. She had nice hair too. A reddish hue subtly layered the strands of brown. He’d never seen her stand directly in the sun. When she did, she probably transformed into a redhead.
Even better, the light had shifted in her eyes the moment she’d mentioned Blossom. Mary liked his kid, maybe more than she realized. “If she’s up at three A.M. with a sick belly you’ll be my first call,” he joked. “Seeing that you’re guilty and all.”
She bobbed her head. “I know.”
“I would never call you in the middle of the night.”
“I didn’t think you would.”
“What is your phone number?” He erased the distance between them, cornering her against the wall. “Just rattle it off—I have a good memory. No need to write it down.”
She did, in a quick, breathless voice.
Then she tipped her head to the side and tattooed his senses with a smile rife with enough mystery and spark to put him in danger. She finished the job by flitting her fingers down his rib cage.
But only for a second. Pressing her against the wall, he gave her a kiss she’d never forget. She gasped as he crushed his mouth against hers, sending them both into the stratosphere with the fuel of his desire. Something pure and sweet poured through him as they clung together like a couple that had been to the moon and back on more than one occasion. All his worries about his clumsy attempts at romance dissolved beneath her eager lips, and the hungry way she returned his every caress.
In the kitchen a pot clattered to the floor, the sound dousing them both with reality.
They leapt apart. Mary’s eyesight whirled as gravity slowly returned. What was she doing? Anthony’s pupils were dilated, his breath coming in stuttering gasps. The warmth flooding her blood scattered the thoughts from her head. With a start, she realized she was panting.
Anthony raked his hand through his hair. “I’ll be going.”
The formal remark started her neurons firing. “Thank you for stopping by.” She leaned into the wall to avoid sinking to the floor. She was damp in unspeakable places. “Nice seeing you.”