I'm very excited to tell you that there's a new Whiskey River novella available February 3. As you can see from the title, it's a Valentine's Day novella, although Katherine and I think you'll enjoy it any time. For those of you familiar with Whiskey River, this is Johnny Gamble and Fiona Lannigan's story. Johnny and Fiona are partners in the law firm from Where There's A Will, the very first Whiskey River novella, Ryder Ford and Addison Wells' story.
What's a Valentine story without a kiss? Since the first kiss took place before the book started Katherine and I thought you might enjoy this kiss.
“I always wear pretty lingerie, Johnny,” Fiona said. “So far nothing magical has happened.”
“Maybe that’s because you have more no trespassing signs than an abandoned building,” he said. What was her deal? And why was he looking at Fiona and thinking of romance and not poker or business? He knew the answer. Damned wine and dinner had changed the way he saw her. Or rather reminded him very fiercely that she’d never been only a co-worker.
From the moment she’d walked into his contracts class at the law school of the University of Texas, he’d been under her spell. Those long legs of hers and the short skirts she wore at work had kept him fully entrenched in the fantasy of someday until that night…one kiss. He had hung some mistletoe in the office and that was his downfall. He groaned.
“Nothing,” he said. No way was he admitting that she’d tasted like the holidays that night. Eggnog and cinnamon and she smelled like home. Their lips had met and he’d forgotten to keep it casual, that they were partners; all he’d wanted was to toss her over his shoulder and carry her into his office and make love to her on his desk.
But he’d pulled back and since then…well, things had been damned awkward for him. It was one thing to lust after a woman he was casually acquainted with, another entirely to be looking at Fiona and her cursed lingerie set and seeing her in his mind. Just that red balconette bra and those silky matching panties. Her thick blonde hair hanging around her shoulders and those pouty lips of hers beckoning him closer, calling his name…
“Huh?” he asked, not really paying attention.
“Snap out of it, Gamble. Carmen just buzzed to say your two o’clock is here. ”
Johnny took a step closer to Fiona and reached around her to hit the intercom button on her phone. “Hey, Carmen, will you put them in the conference room and offer them a drink? I’ll be down in a few minutes. ”
He disconnected the intercom but stayed where he was, close to Fiona. Her perfume was flowery and womanly. It did nothing to quell the desire he felt for her. It simply fanned the flames.
“Are you wearing that to the dance?” he asked, motioning to the lingerie set.
“None of your business,” she said.
“Fair enough. I just. . .”
“Just what? You’re the one who said that we had to work together and mistletoe kisses and wine in the office were mistakes,” she reminded him.
He still felt that way. He’d let one woman into his life and that had been a mistake. He hadn’t been cut out for domesticity more than ten years ago and he was honest enough to admit that though he’d matured and grown as a lawyer, as a man he still didn’t feel ready for that. And he knew that dating Fiona didn’t mean marriage but there was something about her that had always made him want more. Much more.
“I did,” Johnny said. “Your mouth has a way of making me forget. ”
Her lips parted as she tipped her head back. “How does it do that?”
“By making me remember how good it felt under mine,” he said.
“Maybe it was the alcohol,” she said.
“No, it was you,” he admitted.
He put his hand on her shoulder, caught a tendril of her silky hair between his thumb and forefinger and then lowered his head. The kiss was meant to be soft and light but a zing arched between them and he groaned as his blood started to flow heavier in his veins and his groin responded.
Her lips parted under his and his tongue slid in to taste her. It definitely hadn’t been the alcohol that had enticed him. It was Fiona.
Suddenly he realized the problem was that he’d been denying the both of them this. They wanted each other and he’d never been a coward about anything else.
He lifted his head, rubbed his thumb over her bottom lip. “What do you say to a little wager?”
“I’m game,” she said; her cheeks had a pretty pink flush on them.
“If you don’t meet Mr. Right tomorrow night at the ball, we give it a shot,” he said.
“A shot? Stop with the romance or I’ll melt into a puddle,” she said, stepping back to put some distance between them.
“Do you need romance?” he asked.
“If you have to ask then you’re not the man I thought you were,” she said.
“I can bring the romance but I don’t really know Fiona the woman, just the hard-as-nails attorney. ”
“If you can’t handle the challenge…”
He threw his head back and laughed, then pulled her into his arms and kissed her hard and quick. He heard someone clearing his throat. He lifted his head and let Fiona’s hair drop from his fingers, stepping away from her to greet the intruder.
“Damn, son, I know that we have a pretty open fraternization policy in the office, but you are meeting the Cole brothers and they aren’t patient men,” Ryder said from the doorway.
“Mind your own business, Ford,” Fiona said. “Johnny, get back to work. ”
Fiona moved behind her desk, all-professional now. She had tucked her lingerie back into the bag and chewed on her lower lip briefly.
“Yes, ma’am,” he said, walking toward the door. “Oh, and Fiona?”
“Yes?” she asked one eyebrow arched at him.
“Challenge accepted. ”
The Valentine Gamble is available for pre-order at your favorite digital outlet. Release date is February 3.
What's the most fun you ever had on Valentine's Day?