Welcome to another First Kiss Friday. Today’s guest is Pamela Gibson, who is a author of our local Romance Writers of America Chapter. We hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt. Take it away Pamela!
Hi Sherry. Thanks for letting me share an excerpt from my favorite book in my Love in Wine Country series, Sauvignon Blanc to Sigh For.
Sam and Sarah have been best friends since the sixth grade. Sam is tall, gorgeous and macho. Sarah’s petite, cute, and organized. Both have had relationships, but nothing has ever quite jelled.
When Sam gets an opportunity to showcase his amateur winemaking skills and maybe win a hefty prize—enough to open his own tasting room—he cons Sarah into giving up a week of her vacation to help him. Sarah plots a bit of revenge, but nothing to jeopardize Sam’s chances. The competition is in Lake Tahoe, one of her favorite places.
Sarah is a city planner, but she’s also a gourmet cook. The competition Sam has entered pairs wine with food, with competitors being eliminated each day, until only one is left. They aren’t told which of five wine varietals they’ll have to pour each day and have brought food to pair with each one.
Sarah has sent Sam into their cabin’s kitchen to fix hot chocolate while she looks over his scoresheets from the day past. Then something unexpected happens.
He checked the cupboard, taking out the plastic box. The one next to it was larger. It contained flat, almost paper-thin vanilla cookies. He put a handful on a plate and shoved a few into his mouth. They melted on his tongue.
“What are these little cookies? They’re terrific.”
“Don’t you dare eat those. They’re to be crumbled into a pie plate as a crust for a dessert I’m considering if we draw cabernet sauvignon.”
“Too late,” he mumbled as he chewed.
“Sam.” She jumped up and put the computer in the chair, rushing into the kitchen. Snatching the container from his hands, she put it back in the cupboard, checking the milk heating on the stove.
“How many did you eat?” She put her hands on her hips and glared.
He tried to grin, but his mouth was stuffed with cookies. He held up both hands, folding down a thumb and one finger.
“Eight? What if we don’t have enough for the dessert? What do we do when we draw cabernet?”
He swallowed, trying not to laugh. She looked like a little street fighter, ready to take on the world over vanilla cookies. Her face was scrunched up, and she glared at him, standing her ground. She looked formidable. No, she looked adorable.
“Hey, it’s not the end of the world.” He finally got words out.
“There’s a crumb on your chin.”
“Yeah? Want to lick it off?”
“You’d like that, wouldn’t you, Mr. Macho Ladykiller?”
“Yeah, I would.”
That brought their playful banter to a screeching halt, and they stood there looking at each other. Her mouth softened, and her breathing seemed to still. A soft curl hung next to her face, and her eyes were half closed behind her glasses.
He reached out and pulled the glasses off, setting them carefully on the counter behind him.
“What are you doing?” Her whispered words belied the look on her face. He was sure she knew exactly what he was doing.
He didn’t speak. He reached out and put the errant wisp of hair behind her ear. Leaning down, he brushed his lips against her cheek. Her eyes fluttered and closed, her hands clenched at her sides. His lips moved slowly over to her closed mouth, pressing softly, until it opened for him.
Neither of them breathed.
The smell and sizzle of burning milk filled the air. Sarah took a step back, grabbed her glasses and turned off the stove.
“Here, I’ll make the hot chocolate. Go sit down and start reading the reports.”
He stood in place for a minute longer, watching her deal efficiently with the mess on the stove.
Why did I do that?
Taking a deep breath, he went back to the chair and picked up his score sheets, staring at them blindly. Ears registered sounds. The refrigerator door opened, a spoon clattered in a ceramic cup, water ran in the sink.
“Here.” She handed him a cup and set a muffin down beside him. “If you’re hungry, you can eat one of the cranberry muffins I brought for breakfast.” She sat down and picked up the laptop. “Now, where were we?”
Somewhere I never expected us to be.
Is it friendship or is it love?
Sarah James has always wanted to be part of a family. Her divorced parents are estranged and she has no siblings. But she does have friends, especially Sam, who’s always underfoot…eating her food, fixing stuff in her house, and seeking advice about his love life.
Aspiring winemaker Sam Reynoso has taken care of Sarah since the sixth grade. She’s smart, comfortable, and indulgent. They’re best friends until a wine and food pairing competition throws them together in an intimate, tension-filled setting.
As feelings neither of them expected start to emerge, each will have to decide if their relationship will evolve, or if their newfound love will be nipped in the bud by a crushing secret.
About the Author
Author of nine novels and eight history books, Pamela Gibson is a former City Manager who lives part time in Northern California’s wine country and part time in the Nevada desert. Having spent the last three years messing about in boats, a hobby that included a five-thousand-mile trip in a 32-foot Nordic Tug with her patient spouse, she now spends most of her time indoors happily reading, writing, cooking and keeping up with the antics of her gran-cats, gran-dog, and gran-fish. Sadly, the gran-lizard went to his final reward. If you want to learn more about her activities go to https://www.pamelagibsonwrites.com and sign up for her quarterly newsletter. Or stalk her in these places: