I’m really excited to share a bit from my new 12-Novella Hot Nights in St. Blaise boxed set – available now for only $0.99!
The St. Blaise Regional Medical Center Board of Directors never imagined their most prominent doctors, nurses, and support staff would resort to stripping down to their birthday suits in order to beef up the hospital’s bank account. Six men and six women were chosen to represent the best and brightest of this little blip nestled in the heart of the Mark Twain National Forest. They also happened to be the hottest tickets in town. Soon, the fundraising calendar is spiking temperatures throughout the Show Me state while the men and women of St. Blaise set their small-town nights on fire.
Since it’s the first day of December, here’s a peek at Daring Miss December:
Straight-laced hospital administrator Oliver Watkins has the heart of a rebel.
Coming of age in the free-wheeling seventies meant that Oliver’s rebellion manifested itself in always doing precisely what he was expected to do.
With his wife gone and his daughter grown, the survival of St. Blaise Regional Medical Center has become his main focus in life. That is, until the results of a routine blood test give him the nudge he needs to indulge in forbidden fruit.
Dietician Anne Silverstein has enjoyed a smorgasbord of experiences, but none shaped her life more dramatically than finding a lump in her breast at the ripe old age of twenty-six. In the years since she triumphed over death, Anne has learned to embrace life by taking each new day as it comes.
When Ollie Watkins, stumbles into her office looking for more than a few tips on lowering his cholesterol, throwing caution to the wind is a no-brainer for free-spirited Anne. But the home remedies Anne and Oliver cook up together leave them both ravenous for more. Suddenly one finds one day at a time is not enough and the other fears it’s way too much.
“Come in,” she coaxed. “I won’t bite. Unless you’re into that,” she added with a waggle of dark brows.
Heat rose inside of him. Desire bubbled like molten lava. He wouldn’t mind a little biting, but he wanted to be the one to do it. He’d leave his mark on that sweet, plump lower lip if she’d let him.
But he didn’t. Instead, he stood there in the open doorway hugging a couple bottles of wine and staring at her like a boy peeking into the girls’ locker room for the first time. For a moment, he reveled in it, enjoying the novelty of feeling young and carefree for a change.
She placed the pan on a back burner then nudged the handle, centering the bubbling pot on the glowing red coil. Cocking her head, she regarded him with a gentle smile. “You brought wine?”
“Oh!” Startled from his trance, he nodded. “I hope you like red.” He surged forward, caught in the tractor beam of her soft smile. “I have a full-bodied Cabernet, but if you want something lighter, this is a nice Beaujolais.” He frowned at the label on the second bottle. “Not as young as it should be—”
“None of us are,” she quipped.
“But still….” He trailed off, a smile quirking his lips as her words sank in. “No, I suppose we’re not.”
Anne plucked the Beaujolais from his grasp and whirled, setting the fringed scarf aflutter. He wanted to sink his teeth into the taut, firm flesh of her bare shoulder. He might have made a lunge for it if she hadn’t pulled a corkscrew from a drawer and waved it at him.
“Let’s start with this over-the-hill Beaujolais.”
He set the Cabernet aside when she thrust the bottle and opener at him, but instead of retreating to the stove once more, she closed in on him. Oliver blinked, praying he hadn’t imagined the gossamer brush of her lips against his ear. Hot breath sent a shiver racing over his skin.
“We can be full-bodied later.”
Before he could respond, she danced from his reach. Drawing a steadying breath, he applied himself to peeling away the protective seal on the cork. Somehow, somewhere between telling her he wanted her and the Cheez Whiz admonishments, he’d lost control of the situation. While he was a man who admired a strong and independent woman, he was not accustomed to taking someone else’s orders. He wanted his edge back, and damn it, he was going to take it.
He pried the cork from the bottle and held it up to the light, eying the contents critically. “Glasses?”
“Oh.” Spinning on her heel, she scanned the bowls, jars, and utensils scattered along the countertop. “They’re here somewhere.” Even white teeth sank into her lower lip. A bolt of envy-laced lust shot straight to his groin. “A-ha!” she cried as she collected a battered and smeared set of reading glasses from the counter and offered them to him. “Here, you can use mine.”
His huff of laughter surprised them both. Lowering the bottle, Oliver shook his head. “No, I meant wine glasses.”
“Oh.” She looked down at the readers in her hand and shook her head in dismay. “Of course.”
A full-blown laugh burst from him when she pitched the eyeglasses over her shoulder without a moment of hesitation. They landed amidst a pile of abandoned garlic cloves, but Anne didn’t seem to care. She was too busy poking through cabinets as if their contents were unfamiliar. The urge to tease her rose inside him. It tasted warm and sweet on his tongue. His heart beat a playful pitter-pat. He was about to ask her if she actually lived in the cluttered flat when she stood on the tips of her toes and stretched.
The sweater rose up; the scarf slipped down. In a heartbeat he stood behind her, thunking the bottle on the counter and reaching for the hand-painted goblets on the top shelf.
Anne froze the second he grasped her hip. The glasses clinked as he laced his fingers through the stems. She slumped against him when he rocked back onto his heels, placing the glasses on the counter in front of her. His breath stirred her hair. The notch of her hipbone fit his palm to perfection. He braced his other hand on the counter, surrounding her willowy body with his.
“I did that on purpose,” she confessed in a whisper.
“I’d hoped so.”