Part of the fun of writing the Coastal Heat series is exploring all the little treasures I’ve discovered about living in the south. I get to play with the family connections, friendships rooted in childhood, funny sayings, social foibles, and, of course, the food.
The first scene I wrote for FLIP THIS LOVE took place at a high-dollar society do. Where all the food was served on sheets of butcher paper. I’m talking about a crawfish boil, of course, and if you aren’t familiar with the way these are thrown down, here’s a visual image:
Want a taste of Laney and Harley’s story? Read on!
“That’s it. Suck, sugar.”
The husky timbre of Harley’s voice sent shivers down Laney’s spine. One warm hand slid from her shoulder to her back. The tips of his fingers dug into the valley of her spine. His hand could nearly span her waist. Her nipples puckered when he slipped that roving hand into her hair. Oh, how she wished she’d worn it up. She loved the feel of him. Loved being skin to skin with him. She almost wept with relief when he wrapped his big, broad palm around her nape. Heat seeped into the taut muscles of her neck. A thin stream of hot moisture escaped from the corner of her mouth and trickled down her chin.
“Oh, yeah. Suck harder.”
It wasn’t the first time he’d said those words to her. God help her, she knew it wouldn’t be the last. She was weak, a quivering mass of happy, hurt, and oh-please-touch-me-again. But she needed to toughen up. She had to be on her guard. The man was as insidious as the kudzu that crept into her mother’s flower garden.
Laney pulled the spent crawfish shell from her mouth and dropped it onto the butcher paper in front of her. Fingers tangled in her hair and tugged lightly; a tiny lightning bolt of white-hot desire streaked straight through her. She looked up in time to see Harley flash old Mrs. Hillbury a dimpling smile and commandeer the folding chair beside hers.
Scrambling to assemble her thoughts, Laney turned away from Harley’s choir-boy-gone-bad grin and searched the crowd. She sure could use a swallow of the cold beers her friend Brooke had gone to fetch for them, but her trusty pal was nowhere to be seen. Of course. Laney was on her own. She ought to be used to it by now. She should be a professional when it came to rebuffing this man’s advances. She only needed to tap into the sass. No better way to keep a man dancing on the string than to let him think he had half a chance. But only half.
The first time Harley Cade asked her out, Laney Tarrington laughed in his face. Then she locked herself in the ladies’ room and did a happy dance. The second time, she mocked him mercilessly. To his face. Perverse thing he was, Harley seemed to enjoy her abuse. So much so that she lay awake into the wee small hours plotting ways to entice him.
The third time he asked her out, Harley gave up any pretense of acting like a gentleman. He leaned in close, and right there, in the middle of the Saints Preserve Us fundraiser for their alma mater, St. Patrick’s Academy, in a voice barely above a whisper, he told her all the things he wanted to do to her. With her. For her.
In graphic detail. In language most Southern men would never consider using with a lady.
She almost cracked. How the hell could any red-blooded American woman resist him? Didn’t hurt that the man was built like some kind of old-time mafia muscle and sported a pair of dimples deep enough to bury a body.
But she had resisted.
She resisted the fourth, fifth, and sixth times, too. The seventh time got her. Lucky number seven. Oh, God, had it been lucky. She took him back to the tiny apartment she kept in her parents’ carriage house and let him have his wicked way with her. Unyielding as she might have been at first, Laney had to admit the man lived up to the hype.
And then the son of a bitch up and left town the next day.
If he thought he could waltz back into town and pick up where they left off… She waved the possibility away like she was batting at a pesky mosquito. “What the hell are you doing here?”
He blinked, all boyish innocence trapped in a bar bouncer’s body. “Why, I live here, sugar.” The dimples winked as he scooted his chair closer. “Did ya miss me?”
Laney hoped the shiver his molasses-thick baritone unleashed wasn’t visible to the naked eye. The moment the thought crystallized, she blinked, trying to strike the word ‘naked’ from her internal dictionary. She definitely needed to dispatch the too-tempting man beside her.
Hell, she’d spent most her life putting men in their place. It was child’s play for her. At least, it should have been. A smart mouth combined with a cool stare had long been her number one, never-fail defense mechanism. It worked like a charm. Except with Harley. For some reason, it always took a little extra moxie to dispense with this particular man.
Arching one eyebrow, she turned enough to catch sight of his eye. Big mistake. Those eyes were the smooth, clear green of old fashioned Coca-Cola bottles. Looking into them made her mouth run dry. She wanted a long, deep drink of this man. Damn good thing her own mama had drilled the art of self-denial into her almost from the cradle.
She could overpower this unseemly desire. She only needed to put her mind to it. And get her heart to stop thumping like a drum line. All the aforementioned physical reactions coalesced into one big pot of want, and judging by the knowing glint in his eyes, she wasn’t hiding a damn thing from him. She knew exactly how to wipe the smile from his face. Pursing her lips, she gave her head a slow, pitying shake.
“Well, they will let anyone into these things, won’t they?”
“It’s a fundraiser, so yes. Anyone with plenty of money in the bank.”
Read more on April 26th!