On today’s First Kiss Friday I’d like to welcome my guest Kilby Blades who is a member of my local Romance Writers of America chapter. I think your going to enjoy this excerpt from her novel, Snapdragon. Now I’m off to go order the book! Happy reading, my lovelies!
“You want the truth?”
“I always want the truth.”
Trepidation crossed his face. He took a breath before he spoke again.
“The truth is, I like you. I think you’re the kind of girl I’d like to have dinner with and take to social functions. I think we’d have more good conversation, some fun times, and sizzling hot sex.”
He paused long enough to measure her reaction. In the dark, he wouldn’t have been able to see the goosebumps that prickled her flesh.
“But I don’t need to start something with you to know how it’ll end. Experience has taught me that women are biologically incapable of having unattached relationships. Since I’m too busy for the kind of commitment they want, I go without. I’d rather do that than lead them on.”
Darby let out a measured breath. “Wow, that was…” presumptuous, she wanted to say. Though he delivered them gently, his words still cut.
“I know my share of women who are obsessed with getting a man to commit,” she returned in the same tone. “But your broad categorization of women is short-sighted.” And borderline sexist. “If you think there aren’t plenty of single women who want to stay that way, you are mistaken. My parents’ marriage was a disaster, and the idea of emulating that repulses me. Despite all you’ve heard about biological clocks and maternal instincts, not all women have them. I have a career I love that has me working just as many hours as you do. The last thing I need is to come home after a hard day to somebody who is biologically incapable of not needing his ego stroked.”
She didn’t let on how much she was enjoying watching the widening of his eyes, the subtle slacking of his jaw. “And because I can’t find a man who wants nothing more than to give me four toe curling orgasms twice a week and then get the hell out of my house…”
She saw the bob of his Adam’s apple and was dying to know what other reactions she may have caused.
“Do you honestly expect me to believe that you can’t find a guy who only wants to have sex with you? Because I don’t believe that.”
His voice was so low that it wiped out any doubt that the attraction was mutual.
“I expect you to believe girls like me have only two options: one-night stands and Romeos. I don’t do one-night stands because the world is full of psychopaths who like doing bad things to pretty girls. And I stay away from Romeos because I find it insulting to watch someone go through the pomp and circumstance of ”dating” me because he thinks that’s what it’ll take for me to sleep with him.”
By the time she finished, she noted a change in his expression and wondered whether her words had triggered something. Men could be fragile, especially the better looking ones.
“So, paint me a picture of someone who’s different.” Her body hummed with the awareness of how quickly their conversation was leaving the realm of the hypothetical. “How would that someone come into your life?” he implored.
For Darby, there could be no innocent flirtations, no absent minded affairs, no tawdry trysts. Her father was a public figure, and she had her own respectable career to protect. She wasn’t like every other woman her age who could take to Tinder every time she wanted a good time.
“I like complex things.”
His breath near her ear made her tingle, and she had to concentrate to calm her voice lest it betray her emotions.
“He couldn’t be a complete stranger. I’d have to meet him someplace safe and know that I could trust him.” Saying it felt strange. As if she were creating a different persona. As if she were pretending some alternative could exist. “And there’d have to be a real attraction,” she added.
“He’d respect me enough to be honest about our arrangement and respect himself enough to be mature, conscientious, and discreet about the whole thing.” She took a shaky breath. “And I, uh…wasn’t kidding about the orgasms, either. They need to be toe-curling and there’d need to be at least four, every time we…”
He closed his eyes for a moment too long for it to be a blink. Darby wondered what he was imagining.
“What about you?” she said finally. “If you could find a woman who was different, how would things be?”
He took his time to answer, his eyes focused toward the water. Before he did, he turned back to her with a look of halting intensity. She sensed that he wanted to be honest, though his deep blue eyes reserved an ocean of secrets. It only made him more intriguing. As a psychiatrist it was her job to read people, but she couldn’t read him fully.
“I want a woman who doesn’t confuse me loving her company with me being in love with her. She has to know that whatever we have today may not be there tomorrow, not because I’m heartless or distant or incapable of intimacy—but because right now, I choose my career, and my love isn’t in play—only my companionship.”
“I need a woman who’s prepared for the fact that what we share won’t feel transactional. It will feel intimate and intense, because I only spend time with women I genuinely like and because I take pride in doing things well. She needs to know that me showing her respect and treating her like a lady and making her feel worshipped has nothing to do with her being more special to me than a good friend and everything to do with my idea of how a woman deserves to be treated.”
He put down his empty champagne flute, placing it absently on the cushion next to him so that he could turn his body toward her.
“She’d have to understand that it’s never more than meets the eye—and that each of us is responsible to the other to break things off the second things get too complicated. And she has to be prepared for what’s inevitable. Because the end will come, Darby. Even if it doesn’t get complicated, I’ll make partner one day, or get transferred halfway around the world, or maybe even go to work for another firm. And my job comes first. It just…does.”
They held hands all the way back up the beach, feet sinking into the sand as the foamy surf lapped at their ankles. Words seemed unnecessary—perhaps enough had been said that night—but she was still disappointed to see the evening come to an end. The look he had given her when he had taken her hand hadn’t been gentlemanly. His small touches and glances were magnetic, and she thought about what it would be like to see him again.
When they separated at the steps to brush off sandy feet and put their shoes back on, Darby almost spoke, convinced she should say something before she lost her nerve. Instead, his arm came around her shoulders, the other sweeping her up behind her knees. She drew a breath as she felt him start to carry her up the steps.
“You didn’t think I was going to let you walk up a hundred steps in four-inch heels, did you?”
She felt the words vibrate as they formed in his chest, felt the solidity of his body beneath her. With her nose so close to his neck she could smell his skin, could easily inhale more of him. His fragrance was as complex as everything else about him. She wrapped her own arms around him, and leaned her head against his shoulder. Strong arms hadn’t held her in a very long time.
They reached the top far too quickly and she was sorry when he gently set her down. Before they untangled themselves from each other’s arms, he leaned in for a soft but thorough kiss. His thumbs caressed her cheeks as his tongue massaged hers with such expertise that she knew instantly that he’d be incredible at certain other things.
“What if I promised you five?” He pulled away only long enough to ask the question and fix her with a hawkish gaze before leaning in for seconds. “Would you see me if I promised you five?” He asked again only after he’d gently devoured her mouth once more.
“Lofty goal, Don’t you think?” she murmured against his chin, not waiting for an answer before capturing his lips once again.
“I’m an overachiever,” he said darkly as he pulled back. “Six?” He nipped at her neck.
She might have laughed at his bravado if kissing him hadn’t felt so good, and had his voice held any of the humor that should have accompanied such a ridiculous dare, yet his voice held no mirth. The idea was ludicrous—six orgasms? Even the four she’d mentioned had been an exaggeration. Still, a stab of anticipatory pleasure tingled up her spine as she realized this talented man might just deliver.
“This ends at sunrise,” she managed, still out of breath as she pulled away long enough to say the words.
“I thought you didn’t do one-night stands.”
“It’s not a one-night stand. It’s an interview.”
The rules are simple: unattached companionship, toe-curling sex and a clean break whenever it ends. Darby’s groundbreaking medical research will launch her to career stardom. Michael’s status as an architectural wunderkind will send him to a far-flung locale. Either one can say the single word that will break it off: Snapdragon.
Buy Link: Amazon
Kilby Blades is a business executive by day, a writer of smart contemporary fiction by night, a lover of words and an admirer of the artists who arrange them cleverly. She’s also the mother of two, an oenophile, a cinephile, and above all else, a hopeless fic fiend.
Snapdragon, the first novel in her Love Conquers None series was a Semi-Finalist in the 2017 Publisher’s Weekly Booklife Prize for Fiction. She is the author of two other erotic romance novels, Chrysalis and The Art of Worship, and the author of Marketing Steamy Romance, an advertising manual for erotic authors.
Web Site: http://www.kilbyblades.com