My historical romance, San Francisco Dreams, is set during the turbulent 1906 earthquake. It’s now available on Amazon Kindle and Smashwords.
You can find more info, including the book trailer, first chapter, Story Elements and “Casting Call” on my blog.
Mac’s fingers danced across the keys, and he gave himself over to the music. Ah but it felt grand to play after so long.
Ending one of his favorite Beethoven sonatas, his neck hair stood on end. He glanced up to see her only a few feet away, staring as if transfixed by the music.
He drew his hands away. “Sorry. Couldn’t help myself. If I don’t practice, I get rusty.”
“It was beautiful.”
So was she. Her hair, loosely bound in a knot and hanging to one side, made his fingers curl, wanting to explore the silken strands.
He forced himself to look away. “People generally like it.”
“Do you know other such songs?”
Had she never heard classical music? “Yes.” His fingers stroked the keys, teasing out another song.
After it ended, she sighed. “I had no idea.”
“Does this mean you’ll let me play for your customers?”
Defeat slumped his shoulders. Such a hard-headed woman. He’d touched her soul with his music, but it wasn’t enough. “Right.”
“I can’t afford to pay a bartender and a piano player.” It sounded more like a plea than an argument.
“We could always play a hand of poker, and you could pay me with your winnings.”
“What if I don’t win?” She evaded him.
He suppressed a smile. “The odds are in your favor by design, aren’t they?”
“What do you mean?” The softness left her voice.
“Your methods are good, but not undetectable. I knew what you were doing on the train.”
Her eyes widened. “Why didn’t you turn me in then?”
“I figured you must need it.”
She tilted up her chin. “I left that lifestyle behind in Trenton.”
“Or on the train.” He meant to tease her, but it had the opposite effect.
Her cheeks flushed a rosy hue. She squared her shoulders. “Yes. On the train. I’m making a new life here.”
Slowly, he rose. “So am I.” Did he really need to remind her?
“I know. Maybe in the future, I can help you.”
He scanned her length. She could help him right now. If he didn’t depend on her for his weekly wage, he’d take three steps to whisk her up in his arms, carry her up to her bed, and unleash the devil on her. Maybe bring out the devil in her too. Yes, he’d love to see that. Feel her slender calf along his waist, her hair tumbling around her shoulders. He’d quench the desire burning in her eyes.
Without thinking, he edged toward her. “That would be nice.”
She tensed. “Yes.”
The word caught him like a hook and drew him closer. “Yes?”
In closing the narrow space between them, the meaning had changed. When, at the last moment, she ducked away, he caught her in his arms. “Norah.”
Pushing at his chest, she searched his face, lingering at his mouth.
His chest tightened, and his lips met hers. At her caress on his cheek, he tightened his hold. When she returned his kiss with equal passion, all reason fled his brain.
“Norah,” he murmured. His growing need urged him to press his lips against her cheek, her jaw, her neck. Explore every inch of her, though the more he tasted, the more he wanted.
She clutched his shoulders, exposing more of her neck. He trailed his lips along its length, his desire heightened by her moans.
Until he realized what she moaned. “No. No no no.”
Dazed, he froze to be sure he heard her right. “No?”
Pushing from his arms, she stumbled backward, as if equally unbalanced by the kiss. Her fingers sought out the edge of the table behind her.
“No,” she said, breathless.
“But you…” He stopped short of accusing her of inviting it. Had she? He’d wanted her to.
“No,” she said more certainly. “And never do that again.” Fear edged her husky tone. So she’s not as hard-hearted as she wants everyone to believe. He could almost smell her need. But again her frightened look gave him pause.
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