Welcome to another First Kiss Friday. Today’s guest is my dear friend R.L. Merrill who will be giving you some info on her trilogy and, of course, an excerpt. Take it away, Ro!
Thank you, Sherry, for having me on your blog today. We’re going to go back in time a little…This week is the 4th birthday of my novel Teacher. The characters in this trilogy have been so near and dear to me, as well as my readers, that I was tickled to bring them back in my new series from Dreamspinner Press, the Forces of Nature Series. In the first book, Hurricane Reese, Jesse is mentioned in the epilogue as the choreographer for Reese and Toby’s new musical, and then in book two, Typhoon Toby, Jesse and Danny end up playing peace-and-matchmakers. Today, however, I’m taking you back to book one and this adorable couple’s first kiss. It happens quite late in the book due to a series of complications: Jesse is Danny’s home instructor. He hires her to help him earn his high school diploma as he recovers from vocal cord surgery which could have potentially destroyed his music career. For two-thirds of the book, he can’t speak, forcing them to use texts, notes, and whispers in order to communicate. It’s enough because these two fall madly in love despite some pretty heavy obstacles. They’ve had a couple of falling outs by this point and in this scene, she’s coming over to work with him but she’s no longer able or willing to hide her feelings for him.
I made myself get in the car and drive, telling myself I could do this a hundred times before pulling up at his curb. I got out slowly and trudged up the driveway. Nora opened the door and squealed.
“Jesse! You were beautiful last night! Connie and I saw the show! I am so proud of you. You got skills, baby!” She hugged me and it brought a faint smile to my lips.
“I’m glad you guys got to see the show. Weren’t the kids great?”
She stopped smiling and said, “Yeah, the show was fantastic.”
She frowned. “You ok?”
I choked back a sob and looked back at my car. “Nora, I don’t think I can do this today. Can you please tell Danny that I’ll come tomorrow? I can’t—”
Danny flung the door open, took one look at me then picked me up and carried me inside. I tucked my head into his shoulder and cried my heart out. He brought me into the library and sat me on the couch, kneeling next to me on the floor.
“I’m sorry, Danny, but I can’t do this anymore. I can’t keep coming over here and pretending I am just doing a job with you. I promise I’ll find a replacement to get you through the rest of your credits and I’ll pay you back the money. I just can’t do this anymore. I quit.”
Danny took my hands in his and whispered, “Good.”
Startled, I looked up at him. “What do you mean, ‘good’?”
A smile formed on his lips. He cleared his throat and spoke in a deep, raspy voice, “Good. I’m glad you won’t pretend anymore.”
I pulled my hands from his frantically and put them over his mouth. “What are you doing?! You’re not supposed to be talking!”
He took my hands in his again and held them to his chest. That deliciously deep voice said, “The doctor cleared me Friday. I’ve been waiting to have you alone to tell you.”
My eyes locked on his and his smile just about knocked me out. I reached out and touched his throat and giggled. “It’s not how I thought you’d sound,” I whispered and he took my hands in his again.
“Jesse, I wanted to wait until I could speak to tell you…I love you. I love you so goddamned much that I don’t want to stop saying it. I want you to quit. I don’t want you to be my teacher anymore. I want you to be mine.”
My hand clutched my chest to keep my heart from falling out on the floor. It was pounding so hard I thought I would burst. “But what about your diploma? You have to finish!”
“I will finish, but not with you as my teacher. You’re mean anyway.”
I gasped at him in shock and moved to smack him, but he grabbed my hand, placing it on his chest over his heart.
“Didn’t you hear the first part? I love you, Jesse! I’ve loved you since that first weekend when you fell into my arms in that very doorway. Or maybe it was that night you didn’t back off when I challenged you at the restaurant. I haven’t decided but the point is, I fucking love you.”
I smirked, sniffled, and took a deep breath. “Well, since you put it that way, I fucking love you too, Danny Black.”
He exhaled a relieved breath and pressed his forehead against mine. It felt so good to tell him, to remove the weight from my chest. Instantly I felt like I could breathe better.
“I am so goddamn glad you said that. I’m going to kiss you now. I’ve waited too goddamned long to kiss you.”
And then his lips were on me, his mouth was on me, and his hands were everywhere. I grasped the sides of his face and kissed him back with the same intensity. He tasted so good and he was so insistent that we were almost fighting each other trying to get closer. We pulled back laughing and he kissed me gently on the lips.
“Wow,” was all I could say. I’d had dreams about kissing Danny, but they didn’t compare to the real thing. His desire for me was barely contained. I could feel his muscles tensing under my hands as I ran them over his shoulders and back.
“Danny, are you sure about this?”
“We’ll figure it out. I’m not stopping my work.” His eyes were serious and I was relieved he wasn’t giving up on his goal. I figured we should make a plan.
“I think we should go see my boss tomorrow and tell her what’s going on. We’ll take her all you’ve done so she can evaluate it and maybe she can help us find another teacher to oversee your grades. I’ll still help you, but I won’t sign off on your grades.”
His eyes searched mine, thinking about what I proposed. “I like it. Now we need to go tell the Warden because I’m not taking my hands off of you for the foreseeable future.”
Thank you for joining me today. If you’d like to check out Teacher – The Hollywood Rock ‘n’ Romance Trilogy, you can find links as well as all kinds of info about my books on my website at www.rlmerrillauthor.com. You can also sign up for my newsletter-y thingie to keep up with my shenanigans and tomfoolery. Huge thanks to Sherry for being a gracious hostess. Stay Tuned for more Rock ‘n’ Romance…