Friends to Lovers by Christi Barth

FriendsToLovers Excerpt Monday! Yes, Book 3 in my Aisle Bound series releases today. And I’m super excited, because Friends To Lovers contains the absolute yummiest, sexiest hero I’ve ever written. Seriously, I’ve written three book since I finished this one, and I still can’t stop thinking about Gib!

So here’s the blurb: As florist and co-owner of a successful Chicago wedding planning business, Daphne Lovell has been there for the happiest days of other people’s lives. As for her own life? Well, it’s hard to be perfectly happy when you’re carrying a torch for your sexy, womanizing and oblivious best friend. So when the lights go out on New Year’s Eve, she seizes the opportunity to kiss him senseless.

British expat Gibson Moore has a lot on his plate. The hotel he manages is being bought out, his family is crazy and someone just kissed him in the dark. When the lights go on, he searches the room, trying to find the mystery pair of lips. Only, he never thinks to ask the woman standing by his side. He’s shocked when he discovers that Daphne is the woman he’s been searching for. But Gib’s also eager to act upon the attraction for her he’s always fought to ignore.

It takes trust to move from friends to lovers, and as Gib’s work situation worsens, he is no longer sure he can risk the friendship he relies on most. It’s up to Daphne to convince him that some things are worth fighting for…

Here’s a peek at my lusty British lothario, stuck at a wedding in the middle of a bouquet toss – enjoy!

Laughing, shrieking girls launched themselves onto the dance floor. Right on the edge, Daphne and Gib were caught up in it, unable to do more than be pushed into the center.

“God, it’s like a rugby scrum,” Gib shouted.

“Except that I imagine girls smell much better.”

“You forget, I went to a private boarding school deep in the English countryside. The only things we smelled of were old money and dry rot.” That broke the snarling tension between them, and they both laughed.

See? Gib was funny. So much fun to hang with, and tease. Why couldn’t they just be good friends? Why did she have this stupid crush, as impossible to remove as her own shadow? Life would be so much easier if she wasn’t always on guard, always braced against the onslaught of his charm and good looks. If only her hormones didn’t go into overdrive every time their thighs brushed when they sat on a couch. If she didn’t discard men faster than a losing hand at a poker table because none of them were Gibson Moore.

She reached for him, almost caught the crisp edge of his French cuff to pull him out of the throng. Then all the lights went off. Oddly enough, the noise stopped, too. As if everyone held their breath, waiting to see what would happen next. Having studied the schedule, Daphne knew the lights shouldn’t be off. No weather to speak of outside, unless you wanted to cuss a blue streak at the temperature hovering right above zero. Something had probably gone wrong at the breaker box. Any minute now a waiter would backtrack through the darkness into the bowels of the building to get a message to a custodian. Meanwhile, other waiters would break out emergency light sticks and pass them out to the guests. The glowing green-and-purple tubes would only add to the festive mood.

The professional part of Daphne knew all this. Aisle Bound planned for every eventuality, and had contingency upon contingency in place. She also knew she had at least two solid minutes of pure blackout. Two minutes, in the dark, with Gibson Moore. This could be her only shot. Who needed the magic of midnight? She’d steal her New Year’s kiss right now.

Daphne pushed her way closer as her hand moved up his arm. Light wasn’t necessary. She’d stared at Gib for endless hours, memorizing the contours of his face, the shape of his body. Once everything lined up, she framed his face in her palms. On tiptoe, she closed her eyes. And dove in.

The first brush of her lips against his was light, questioning. Oh so soft. Timid. As if with the mere touch, she’d open her eyes to discover it was all a dream. But why waste the moment with hesitancy? He feathered back a kiss, as delicate as the breath he’d blown on her neck earlier. It was all the green light she needed.

To brace herself, she slid her hands down, digging her fingers around his broad shoulders. Daphne slid her tongue along the crease of his lips. They opened, eagerly, she’d like to think. Gib’s hands came up, fingers thrusting into her hair, thumbs caressing her cheeks. She’d begun the kiss, but he owned it. He learned the shape of her mouth, tasting, then plundering the inside. Each sweep of his tongue pushed a sweep of warmth deeper into her body. Every nip, every deep, wet incursion that stood every nerve ending in her mouth up at attention led her to surge closer. To press against his rock-hard muscles, and something even harder which pressed back against her stomach in obvious appreciation.

Bodies still crowded around them. A buzz of worry spread through the room. Daphne focused solely on the sound of a low moan rumbling in Gib’s throat. At twenty-nine, she didn’t dispute she’d not only had sex before, but had her fair share of great sex before. But she’d never been turned inside out into a puddle of sensation with only a kiss. Lost herself to the intricate mating of two mouths, joining. Stirring and pulling sensations from all her senses to create a giant pool of hot, raw lust.

Without conscious thought, Daphne lifted her right leg to wrap around his calf, twining them closer. God, she wanted to cover him like a vine, leaving no inch untouched. And then, she knew without a doubt, Gib would make her unfurl like a blossom opening to the brilliance of the sun. She would open to his heat and—

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