Thank you for dropping by for another excerpt for my First Kiss Friday blog. Today’s guest is my friend Kate Moore who is celebrating Christmas in July. Keep reading for an excerpt from Saturday Santa. Take it away Kate!
Hi Sherry, I know this isn’t my usual Regency historical story, but it’s definitely the sort of “fallen” hero I love to write. Jack Ryker and Mari Lynch have surprising things in common with the hero and heroine of my RITA finalist Regency Sweet Bargain from years ago.
“Christmas in July”
First Kiss Scene: It’s late on Thanksgiving evening at the beach. Jack’s alone in his fortress house when Mari brings him a Tupperware tub of leftover yams and he convinces her to sit with him in the dark on the big charcoal-colored sectional sofa in his lofty living room above the beach. …
“Tell me something,” he said. “Why did you come tonight?”
It was her turn to fall silent. He could sense her figuring out what she wanted to say. He didn’t know what he hoped. He lifted his arm from the back of the sofa and took her hand in his, resting their joined palms against his thigh. It was a bold move, but she didn’t resist.
“Something draws me to you. Well.” She laughed. “Something besides the obvious. I’m trying to understand it. And I want a ‘do-over,’ even if we still don’t …work.”
“Because of Huntington?” He had to ask.
He felt the little shake of her head. “Something he said got me thinking. But mainly because of you. You aren’t like ordinary men, you know.”
That didn’t sound good, but he had to ask. “I’m not?”
“Well, for one, you’re not watching a Thanksgiving football game with a beer in one hand, yelling madly at the TV as a herd of behemoths pushes on odd-shaped ball back and forth on a patch of artificial turf.”
“Right.” He didn’t think she minded that difference too much.
“And for two, I can’t imagine bringing you home to my family. There are expectations, you see.” She sighed.
He didn’t see. No woman had brought him to meet her family.
“I think you’d bolt when Mom put garlic mashed potatoes on the table. Or when Uncle Larry told a loud joke and everyone snorted with laughter.” She squeezed his hand as she spoke. He didn’t despair, but she was right that meeting her family would be a challenge for him.
“You brought other … dates home? Non-bolting dates?”
He had to wait an interminable time for an answer.
“You should know. There was someone in my life for two years. Until last January, I lived with him in a condo in the marina.”
It was a rushed little confession. And she left out how it ended. He wanted to know more. He wanted to find the guy and maybe rearrange the architecture of his nose.
“No one in the last two years,” he said.
She slipped her hand from his and twisted toward him, sitting up away from the sofa back. Her knee brushed his thigh, causing his brain to shut down briefly as sensation overwhelmed him. “That,” she said, tapping him on the chest, “is so you. Honest and utterly … uninformative.”
She swung around, lowering her feet to the floor.
“Wait.” He’d missed some clue. There was something he should have said.
“I have to go now, but I’m not walking out on us. We’re not done.” She stood and snatched up her coat. Soldier stirred at the door.
“I’ll see you again?” He sounded pathetic. He hadn’t been pathetic in a mud cell with guys beating him. “I know places we can meet in daylight. Private places.” He had to slow her down, borrow time to get off the sofa.
She shrugged into her coat. “Alone? Or with your…guards?”
He managed to get to his feet. “Security matters. Bradley will get you home tonight.”
“I’m working. I have to go to the mall.”
“Bradley will get you there.” Jack wasn’t going to back down on that point. Bradley could get her out of the house without anyone seeing her or seeing where she went.
“Fine.” She didn’t look at him as she spoke.
He took her by the shoulders and turned her around. “Mari.” Her name came out in a voice he barely recognized as his. “You asked me what I was thinking about tonight.”
She tilted her face up to his, her eyes big and dark with the question.
“This,” he said. He leaned forward and kissed her, and everything went still, her mouth soft and smooth under his, open in surprise. His heart paused, waiting long milliseconds to beat again. Then she kissed him back, leaning in, hanging on, her hands gripping his shirt, bunching the wool over his ribs. The box at his waist shifted, alerting his team.
The door opened. Light spilled in, and they broke apart. She stepped into the hall and spoke to Bradley in a cheerful, unaffected voice. The door closed, and Jack was alone again in the dark with the dog—and hope.
Saturday Santa is the climactic final romance of Kate Moore’s Canyon Club series about three millionaire former school mates who find love in LA. It’s a “Beauty and the Beast” story set at Christmas story with a twist of suspense.
A prince of privilege, Jack Ryker returns to LA determined to stop an enemy he unleashed from his past. Christmas is the last thing on his mind when he takes refuge in a house high above the ocean guarded by a team of security experts. Scarred and trapped in a specially made chair, every day from his beachside window Jack watches a beautiful woman coax a faltering old man on their daily walk. Jack doesn’t know why, but he’s determined to meet her.
Mari Lynch loves her job directing events at an upscale mall, especially at Christmas. This year her cheer plummets when a stroke prevents her grandpa from being the mall’s favorite Saturday Santa. Forced to find a replacement, she’s at a loose end.
Jack and Mari’s worlds collide and he topples her ideas about dating while she thaws his frozen heart. The truth about his past stands between them, and could cost Mari her life. When Jack’s enemy comes after the woman he loves in the mall as kids gather to see Santa, Jack knows now he truly has everything to lose.
About the author:
Kate was not orphaned. She never worked in a shoe-blacking factory or lived in an isolated country vicarage. Other than the threat of atomic annihilation, her childhood was an agreeable one in houses full of books in a family ready for adventures along the California coast, and magically on the island of Oahu. Her people were storytellers, fascinated with history, news, and gossip. While teaching Jane Austen to tenth grade boys, she saw her world in a new way and began to write stories of falling in love standing up (mostly fully clothed) in the midst of family. Many books, lots of writer friends, and a few awards later, Boroughs Publishing Group released her 19th Romance—Saturday Santa. Kate lives in a wooded canyon north of San Francisco with her surfer husband, their yellow Lab, a house full of toys for visiting grandkids, and miles of crowded bookshelves.
Find Kate Moore at: