My love affair with California began at the tender age of fifteen and continues today, three decades later. So it should come as no surprise that the book of my heart, which somehow turned into a trilogy, is set there.
Maybe it was the indescribable thrill of a Midwestern girl seeing the ocean for the first time. Or the unapologetically bronzed coeds with movie-star teeth driving silver metallic convertibles and playing volleyball in the sand. Perhaps the towering palm trees swaying against the impossibly blue sky? But that was in Southern Cal; my Chances trilogy takes place in Lake Tahoe and San Francisco, hundreds of miles north.
I was an inadvertently lonely, only child of the 1970s, growing up in a place where a short, precious summer turned into a long, cold winter seemingly overnight. In high school, I often opted for the city bus because it stopped in front of the library. Just a branch, but they had loads of paperback books. And I always found myself drawn to the wire rack of slightly musty and lovingly tattered romance novels. The books took me to places all over the world where effortlessly beautiful, wonderfully flawed heroines were swept off their feet by dynamic, irresistible heroes. I preferred the books to the afternoon soaps because I could use my overzealous imagination to fashion the characters to my liking. And if I found the ending disappointing or abrupt, I would simply continue the story in my head.
Writing such ideas down, however, took another thirty years.
In the interim, I went to college and met my own alpha hero. And he took me to San Francisco on our honeymoon.
And, as cliché as it sounds, that’s where I left my heart. Well, part of it anyway. Because eight years and two babies later, he took me to Lake Tahoe for the very first time.
And my frisson with California moved even farther north.
I hope my Chances trilogy will take you there. And you’ll leave a little piece of your heart behind too.
Martha O’Sullivan’s Chances trilogy is available now from Red Sage Publishing. Second Chance, the trilogy opener, is a reunion/love triangle romance that keeps the shores of Lake Tahoe blazing hot long after the sultry summer sun has set. Chance Encounter, the trilogy’s second installment, heats up San Francisco’s chilly days and blustery nights with white-hot passion and pulse-pounding suspense. And in Last Chance, the conclusion of the trilogy, lifelong friends-turned-lovers melt the snow-packed Sierras into lust-fueled puddles despite the single-digit temperatures of the Lake Tahoe winter.
Chances trilogy #3
Moira Brody knows Paul Webster better than he knows himself. But neither one of them know that he’s as in love with her as she is with him. These friends-turned-lovers will have to look at each other with fresh eyes and brave hearts. And even the single-digit temperatures and snowcapped peaks of the Lake Tahoe winter are no match for their long-bridled desire.
Paul laid Moira down on the rumpled bed, and standing above her, got out of his shirt and pants. She’d seen him shirtless countless times before. But it was as if she was seeing him through different eyes. His pecs were firm but not overbearing; his abs ripped but not enough to make him barrel-chested; his arms defined but not herculean. And every bit of that thoroughbred-like body was lowering itself on top of her.
Along with something else.
And it was throbbing against her thigh through form-fitting briefs.
Arrows of fear and excitement shot through her and she wondered if he could hear her heart beating outside her chest. He framed her head with his arms. “I’ve wanted you for so long,” he effused, “without even knowing it.”
Moira gulped. “Then take me.”
Her newfound initiative seemed to surprise, then intrigue him and began to indulge her.
She welcomed his mouth, his tongue, his bite. She loved the way he brushed his fingers across her cheeks, combed his hands through her hair and down the nape of her neck before cocooning her in his arms. He kissed her with his whole body, feasting on her throat and shoulders before scooting back and finding his way to the hem of her dress.
“I’ll go easy. I promise.”
“I’m not going to break.”
His sultry eyes fired with desire. “Be careful what you wish for.”
Lifting her arms above her head, she silently yielded to him.
Paul slipped his hands under the silk and began shimmying the dress up her thighs. He stopped appraisingly at her hips, then continued up her torso to the swell of her breasts. He tasted them impalpably, then slipped the dress over her shoulders.
He extended his arms in invitation and she raised herself on her knees to meet him. Cupping the back of her neck, he brought her to him. She surrendered to his mouth, his hands, and soon she knew, as a chord struck deep inside her, to his burgeoning erection.
Not a word passed between them, but her eyes granted him the permission he so desperately sought. His impatient hands unhooked the strapless bra with disturbing deft. He’d done this before, she reminded herself.
His fingertips grazed her chest and throat as if looking for a place to start. He settled on her breasts, making concentric circles on her nipples with his thumbs before easing her back against the upholstered headboard.
His shaft was nudging at her as he began where he’d left off.
But with his teeth this time.
Nibble by tortuous nibble, he tugged, snagged, bit until her nipples stood on point. A lightning bolt of lust flashed in her bundle of nerves below as he licked his way down to her bellybutton. He paused to circle it with his tongue, then returned to her mouth, sampling her all the while.
His hands continued south to the strings resting below her hipbones. He waggled the panties down, then jettisoned them with a nimble kick.
“You are so beautiful,” he venerated, finding her. “Everywhere. I want to touch every inch of you.”
She reached for him more clumsily than she liked. He was as stiff as a board and globules of need were oozing through the black cotton. “I want to touch you first,” she ventured. “Show me what to do.”
He made quick work of all that separated them and lying next to her, placed her hand on his pulsating cock.
She gripped him, and going on instinct, began to stroke. His breath instantly caught in his throat, encouraging her to quicken the pace. Head falling back in praise, he mumbled something indistinct as his body tensed and penis curved into the crook of her hand.
His moans filled the heavy air as she began to milk him with long, lazy titillations. She wondered if he could grow any more engorged without bursting.
The tip of him was seeping thick, heavy drops and she likened it to the hedonic wicking between her legs. She had never felt that kind of sweeping heat before. And the flame was spreading at an alarming rate. Her wetness was chasing the rush, only to ignite it again.
Just then he reached for her and felt it for himself.
“Oh God,” he droned, eyes rolling back in his head. “You’re dripping.” In one smooth move, he rolled on top of her. His erection rested on her damp nest of curls and he skirted his lips across hers. “I need to be inside you now.”
Bracing herself, she answered the prayer in his voice by spreading her thighs in wholehearted invitation.
She felt his hand between her legs, then his erection find her. She winced a little when the head of his manhood began inching into her center.
“It’s gonna hurt a little. I’ll go slow.”
He was right; it did hurt. But she bit back the pain and arched beneath him.
Working her into the gap between his thighs, he slid his hands up her back and pushed her breasts against his chest. His glistening eyes found hers. “I love you, Moira.”
She felt her heart swell along with his member. “I love you, too. So incredibly much.”
Interlacing their fingers and plumbing his elbows, he began to move inside her. “Oh, baby,” he cried out in a low, throaty growl. “You’re so wet, so warm, so tight.”
She wondered if he could also feel the fever scalding her from top to bottom. Or the barrier of resistance shattering in its wake. Her hips began to sway in sync with his. Each thrust brought less sting and more urgency.
Rising to his knees, he positioned himself between her legs, then began to rock above her.
He was tapping the very essence of her now, teasing her with climax. She felt aglow, like all the energy in her body had dovetailed into a cluster of ecstasy between her legs.
He broke pace only to grab her by the butt cheeks and draw her flush to him. “Put your legs up on my back,” he pleaded more than bid.
She obliged and Paul impelled himself deeper into her. And just as the ecstasy overtook her, he roared her name and claimed her.
Martha O’Sullivan has loved reading romance novels for as long as she can remember. Writing her own novels is the realization of a lifelong dream for this stay-at-home mom. Martha writes spicy, contemporary romances with traditional couples and happy endings. She is the author of the Chances trilogy from Red Sage Publishing. Her current work-in-progress in a sweet and steamy Christmas novel set in Costa Careyes, Mexico. A native Chicagoan, she lives her own happy ending in Tampa with her husband and two daughters.
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