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See What Our Favorite Romance Couples Are Up To This Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day, love birds!

 We've been sitting on this for a while, but FINALLY. In the spirit of V-day, we have for you all exclusive scenes featuring our favourite couples! We invited a few of our favorite authors to share wth us how they thought our faves would celebrate Valentine's Day, and guys! The results were amazing. We are so, so excited to finally share this post with all of you, and we hope it brings a smile to your faces as it did for us.

Ainslie Paton

The 37th Question: A The Love Experiment Valentine’s Day Story

© Ainslie Paton, 2018

It was starting to look like he’d forgotten. He’d been gone from the apartment before Derelie woke and all day she’d waited for an email, a call, a text and nothing. That wasn’t unusual. Jack was busy, and it wasn’t uncommon not to hear from him during the day, but it was Valentine’s Day, their first Valentine’s Day, and she’d been working on stories for the Courier on love lost and found and celebrated for weeks leading up to today so it would’ve been nice to get an I love you from her own lover.

She climbed the stairs to their apartment and tried not to feel low. Maybe when she flung open the door there’d be flowers or balloons or a teddy bear the size of a five year old, and Jack would be standing there looking a little tired but happy and he’d say, Happy Valentine’s Day, baby, I love you. He’d be wearing a suit or maybe he’d be barefoot in old jeans and a washed soft T-shirt and he’d have a sexy five o’clock shadow, and he’d smile at her in that way of his that made every atom she was composed of zing.

Hah. He’d never buy her a bear the size of a kid, Ernest would have it in pieces in less time that it would take to stop Martha making a break for an open door. But flowers, he could at least buy her flowers, suggest they go out for a meal. She tried to shake off the feeling of impending emotional devastation. It’s not like she didn’t know he was in love with her. He told her all the time, if not with words, with his body, with his deeds. He would whisper it in her ear, in the mornings when she was half awake, cleaning her teeth, her mouth too full of foam to respond. He would caress it into her skin at night when their bodies came together, and their hearts were full. He would make her breakfast and do her washing and iron her shirts, and never once expected to be thanked for that.

Martha was merrowing on the other side of the door as she eased it open and slipped inside the apartment. There was no Jack. But Ernest, waggy tail and paws dancing, holding his collar and lead in his mouth was glad to see her.

She took him for his walk and tried to shake her blue mood. Valentine’s day was shmaltzy and artificial. Great for florists and chocolatiers and really, really horrible for people who were made to feel lonely and unloved by not having someone special in their lives.

Loving someone wasn’t about one day, it wasn’t about showy demonstrations of affection and flashing cash for needless gifts, and Jack wasn’t one for buying into crass commercialism.

He had to be dragged into doing the thirty-six question experiment. He probably thought Valentine’s day was an appalling con, and he wouldn’t understand if she was upset by that.

So she wouldn’t be. “I love him. I love my life with him and I have no complaints,” she told Ernest as he sniffed at a favourite patch of concrete. She felt happier until a woman walked by struggling to juggle her purse, shopping and a dozen red roses. Jack often bought her flowers so seeing someone she didn’t know with them shouldn’t make her feel bad. Next year she’d assign the damn romantic stories to someone else to write. Now she was talking Ernest for an extra long walk to wear out her mood. She could easily hide the cufflinks she’d got him, engraved with the coordinates of the Courier’s office where they’d met until his birthday.

She knew Jack was home when they got back a good hour later, because there was no merrowing on the other side of the door. Didn’t mean she could fling it wide open and saunter through. Martha was sneaky. She opened it a slice and let Ernest in and followed him.

The whole room had been rearranged. All the furniture was pushed back, and the celling was strung with coloured fairy lights. On the rug in the middle of the floor was a picnic blanket, and a basket, an ice bucket with a bottle in it, and Martha with a scraggly toy mouse in her mouth.

Jack hit play on the remote and Sam Smith started crooning. Derelie started laughing.

“You thought I’d forgotten,” he said.

“No, I. . .” she gave it up and leaned back on the closed door to take it all in. Picnics had been important moments in their time together. This was better than flowers, better than dinner out.

He bent to throw Martha’s dropped mouse, making her give chase. “Admit it.”

She looked to Ernest for help, but he was already asleep, head on his front paws. “Okay, I thought you’d forgotten and I get it because it’s kind of dumb.”

“You don’t think it’s dumb.”

“No, but I get that you do.”

“I don’t’.”

He smiled fully for the first time and her atoms stopped doing their usual thing and paid attention “You don’t’?” “If you’re a bird, Derelie I’m a bird. If you want romance on Valentine’s day you get it.” Oh my heart.

In the other room, Martha was scrabbling about, in front of her Jack said, “Question one. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want to as a dinner guest?

She laughed. “Oh, you’re going there.”

“Answer the question, Derelie.”

“Oh, I don’t know. There was this boy in the fourth grade. I always thought he was cute. Be fun to see what he was doing now.” Jack scrunched his face, tried not to laugh. “For the record I want you. Next question. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?”

She pushed off the door and took a couple of steps towards him. He was in his jeans, the ones she liked, wearing a shirt she’d bought him for Christmas. That wasn’t an accident. She’d really like to just kiss now. “How long do you have?” “Funny. Mine is being loved by you.”

Martha stopped scrabbling. Ernest whined in his sleep. Sam Smith crooned. They stared at each other and all of Derelie’s atoms were vibrating with emotion. Oh Jack. “I think it was convincing you to do the thirty-six questions with me.” “Question nine. What roles do love and affection play in your life?”

“What happened to questions two through eight?”

He gestured at the floor. “If you want what’s in that basket before it gets cold answer the question.”

She took another step towards him and exercised extreme constraint in not throwing herself in his arms. “Affection is very important to me. I would die without love.”

“Duly noted. I would be a miserable bastard without your affection and it’s a privilege to love and be loved by you.”

Oh my God, full system overload. She was going to melt into a puddle of goo.

“Question 14. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share …”

“Everything,” she said. It was too much to ask of him, but she did it anyway.

He gave her his you know all my secrets grin. “Back at you. Question thirty-seven—”

“There’s no thirty-seven.”

“If you want what’s in this box there is.”

The red velvet box he had in his open palm. Her atoms panicked. “I thought you’d forgotten. Skipping out early this morning and hanging me out to dry all day. You had a plan, and that was sneaky.” Here voice dropped to a whisper. “What’s in the box, Jack?”

He closed the distance between them. “The future.”

The future could be a scary place. Or a wonderful one. It wasn’t something you could control. You had to go along for the ride and hold on tight. “What’s question thirty-seven?” If he asked, if he said what she thought he was going to say, the future would be all the things she’d ever wanted; scary and wonderful and so full of love she might flood the apartment with happy tears. Jack’s breathing was affected, his expression was stern, his brow furrowed. He went to one knee and winced. He’d had a sore hip from a hard bout at the Church of the Cocked Fist, but there he was on his knees asking the most important question she’d ever have to answer.

“Derelie Honeywell. Will you be my valentine forever?”

“Question thirty-seven is a doozy.” That slipped out, like the tears that were on her cheeks. She was so nervous. Atoms exploding in fits of joy, rewriting the code of her life and making it part of his.

“I’m asking if you’ll marry me.”

“Yes.” She pulled him up by the hands, the box forgotten as he took her in his arms and felt the tremor running through him. “Yes. Oh Jack. Yes.”

And there were no more questions just kisses that

Thjere would alswya be questions they asked of each other and the world around then but for now the only question was how long they could make out before EArnst got hungry and started whipping them with his tail and Martha started up her feed me slave meow.

You can meet Jack and Derelie in THE LOVE EXPERIMENT, out now, and Ainslie's next couple, Tom and Flick in THE LOVE COUPON, out March 2018.

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Kate Clayborn

Under the Lights: A Kit & Ben Valentine’s Short
© Kate Clayborn, 2018


“I shouldn’t have ordered something with so much garlic,” Kit says, raising a hand to her mouth self-consciously. In the cold night air, her breath makes a small white cloud before her, and she laughs softly. “Look. It’s visible. Do you think it’s coming out of my pores?”

I squeeze the hand she’s got tucked in mine. “Just cold out here, honey. Your pores look great.” She looks up at me, her black eyes shining under the streetlights along Cedar Street, little winking stars on the surface of her glasses. I smile, and lean down to kiss her.

“No,” she says, leaning back, the hand going up again. “When we get home, I’m going right up those steps and performing a cleansing ritual. It’s basically going to take a chemistry experiment in my mouth to take care of this situation.” She pauses, taps a finger from the kiss-blocking hand to her chin, mutters something about baking soda, and I know she’ll be in her head for the next thirty seconds at least, science-ing her way out of an aggressively-flavored pasta dish.

It gives me the perfect opportunity to discreetly check my phone, pulling it from the pocket of my coat and lighting the screen. A single message there, from Sharon: YOURE ALL SEP. The caps lock and the typos are typical, Sharon punching out stuff on the T9 of her old flip phone like she’s hammering nails, but it’s better than my dad’s efforts, who usually gives up after a half a word of a text and just calls. That would’ve been no good tonight, what with all the preparation I’ve made to make this Valentine’s Day gift for Kit a surprise.

“Frankly,” she says from beside me, and I tuck my phone back in, clearing my throat as I pretend to scratch a spot across my chest. “I don’t think that restaurant deserved its spot on the ‘Best Valentine’s Date Plans’ list.”

“No?” I ask, keeping my chin lowered as we walk, only a block away now from our place, and my nerves kick up a bit, my hand squeezing hers reflexively. All through dinner, sitting across from her at our candlelit table, I’d had to concentrate on keeping my leg still beneath the table, my hands from wringing the cloth napkin across my lap. Normally I don’t get restless around Kit, but tonight—with my gift to her waiting at the home she’s welcomed me into since I moved back here, with her emerald green dress and red-glossed lips—I feel all the intensity of our first days together, when fully ninety percent of my brain was focused on how to get her to like me.

She shrugs, wrinkles her nose so her glasses wobble slightly on her face. “Maybe I should’ve gone with number two. Number two was a guided tour of the most romantic paintings at the museum.”

“I liked the restaurant,” I say, squeezing her hand again, chasing the furrow out of her brow. Kit’s favorite thing, when I first met her and still, is exploring this city, scouring “best of” lists and planning excursions to out-of-the-way neighborhood haunts, working on giving herself the kind of knowledge that makes her feel well and truly local. Since I’ve been back here, she’s relished the chance to do the kinds of things we’ve done tonight—couple things, special date nights at restaurants or at university-sponsored concerts, paired-off adventures like the bike ride along the river we’d done late in the fall. Lucky for her, I guess, most of the stuff we’ve done is new to me, too, no matter that I grew up here—and every little excursion makes it feel like we’re closer, more stable, more like the permanent fixture I want us to be.

And speaking of fixtures…

The last length of sidewalk we go to get to our place takes a by a few other row houses in various states of repair. Up ahead ours is starting to look like one of the sharper properties on the block, the porch light illuminating the fresh paint job, the new house numbers I installed only last week shiny alongside the front door’s moulding.


Beside me, Kit takes a deep breath, her chest expanding in a particular way, a way I know means she’s thinking the same as me—that this place feels special, close, perfect, ours.

I drop her hand as we go up the walk, open the low, wrought-iron gate for her to pass through, and no matter if she’s had ten tons of garlic, I can still catch the scent of her, clean and sweet, as much home as anything inside that front door. The nerves I’ve been sweating since this morning dissipate like so much dust in the wind, and suddenly I can’t wait for her to see what I’ve done in there, what I’m giving her for our first Valentine’s Day.

“Hey, Kit?” I ask her, before she takes out her keys. “You mind closing your eyes for a minute?”

She blinks up at me, her cheeks flushing pink. “We said no gifts!” she exclaims, because she knows me pretty well these days. I shrug. “I’m bad at directions. Just close ’em, honey. I’ll make it worth your while.”

For the next couple of minutes I’m working to get Kit right where I want her—I guide her through the front door, making a quick stop to slide her coat off her shoulders, dropping a soft kiss to the side of her neck as I go, trying not to get distracted yet. She clings to my forearm, one hand held sideways over her eyes as we maneuver around the furniture in the living room, and then we’re there, right at the threshold between it and the dining room, the place where I first kissed Kit, the taste of her chocolate cake in my mouth and our lips fitting together like to halves of a perfect whole.

“Okay,” I say. “You ready?”

She’s quiet for a few seconds, and I think it’s because she’s trying to guess, or use her other senses to suss out what I’ve got planned. “I can’t smell anything over the garlic,” she says finally, the corners of her mouth tipped down. “All right, I’m ready.”

I step away from her, flip the switch on the wall, and take a couple of seconds to admire my handiwork. My dad and Sharon may have handled the final installation, but this—this is all mine, done with my own two hands, and all for Kit and this place, even though I hadn’t known it when I started. “Happy Valentine’s Day,” I say, stepping back beside her and taking her hand in mine right as she opens her eyes and sees it.

The chandelier.

The bowl is cobalt blue, the first thing that caught my eye in the salvage yard, perfect condition, ringed with two filigreed bronze bands I’d first removed and then polished for hours. The candle tubes are a bright, even cream, six out of nearly eighty I’d scrounged up around the yard or ordered to get perfectly matched coloring. The draped prisms wink in the light that emanates from the small, flame-shaped bulbs, and my only regret of doing this now, tonight, is that Kit’s missing the way they’ll catch the sunlight, dappling the walls with tiny rainbows.

It’s a relief to feel her hand jerk out of mine, because she does it so she can clap it over her mouth, gasping in thrilled surprise, her eyes welling immediately behind her glasses as she takes a step forward, getting closer. “Ben,” she says, muffled, and I follow her, setting my hand on the nape of her neck, my heart all swelled with pride. “Like it?”

She turns to face me, her smile big and bright. “Like it? It’s—it’s incredible. Is this—did you buy this at auction, or was it at the yard?”

“A true salvage project. I found the bowl last year, not long after I got to town. Been putting it together for awhile.” I pause, duck my head. “For you.”

“You made it?”

“I—I reconstructed it. Took me awhile, but I finished the last piece two days ago. Got my dad and Sharon to come over while we were out and do the installation.”

She looks back at it, and it’s my favorite thing, that look—Kit wonder and Kit curiosity and Kit happiness. Kit love. “The bronze pieces,” I say, filling up the space of her awed silence, feeling a little sheepish now, “Well, it’s an alloy, mostly copper and a little bit of tin, so it’ll get a patina over time, but if you don’t like the look of that, we can polish—” “Ben,” she says, interrupting me, stepping right into me and wrapping her arms around my waist. “Did you look up the physical chemistry of this metal for me?”

I feel my own cheeks heat. “I thought you’d want to know that.”

“I would want to know that. This is the most romantic present I’ve ever gotten.”

She presses up onto her toes, her lips closed as she sets them against mine, a little tear springing out beneath one of her closed eyes. I reach up, swipe my thumb gently across her cheek, open her lips with my own, and soon enough the kiss is deep, close, hands wandering and tongues tangling.

“Oh no,” she says, leaning back, putting her hand over her mouth again. “The garlic.”

“I don’t even notice it, honey,” I tell her, but listen, the God’s honest truth is, now that she’s pulled away, I feel like I’ve eaten a couple of cloves, too. That pasta was potent.

She can tell I’m lying; that’s clear by the narrow-eyed look she’s giving me. “Give me five minutes,” she says, pulling away, but I catch her hands in mine, stilling her.

“I’ve got something for the garlic,” I tell her. “A temporary fix.”

“Is it one of those sneeze guard things, like they have at a salad bar? To put over my face?”

I laugh, linking our fingers together. “No. There’s a chocolate cake in the kitchen. Don’t worry; I didn’t make it.” “A chocolate cake, huh?” She gives me a slow, teasing smile, her eyes lit with memories of me and her, me and her and this house and this home we’ve been making together.

“To go with the chandelier,” I say. “A new little memory we can make in here. Maybe even on this table. Under the lights.” Kit wraps her arms around me again, tucking her face between my neck and shoulder, murmuring soft words there, I love you and Happy Valentine’s and best boyfriend spoken right into my skin. When she pulls away, it’s to give me another garlicky kiss, and it feels like a good luck charm, this kiss, like almost everything with Kit does.

“You and me,” Kit says, “You and me and chocolate cake, under this gorgeous light. The best night ever.”

And just like every night I spend with Kit, it absolutely is.

Ben and Kit met and fell in love over electron microscopes and home renovation in BEGINNER’S LUCK, and you can catch your first glimpse of Ben’s salvaged chandelier in their book here.  
And check out the next book in the Chance of a Lifetime series, featuring Kit’s best friend and fellow lottery winner, Zoe—releasing April 2018! 

FIND KATE: InstagramTwitter | Facebook | Website
Kate Meader

Remy ♥ Harper
Irresistible You (Chicago Rebels #1) 
  © Kate Meader 2018

It was a truth generally acknowledged that nothing could faze Harper Chase. Not the NHL Commissioner with his piggy eyes and grim seal of a mouth. Not those online haters who had an opinion on everything and no problem spewing it. Not even Remy DuPre—though there was a time the Cajun made her heart beat dangerously and her knees buckle whenever she saw him.

Ah, hell, he still had that effect on her.

But right now, as she gazed at the rink in the Rebels arena, symbol of the kingdom over which she ruled with a velvet fist, she realized there was one thing that could throw this CEO off her stride.

“Remy, honey, I don’t know about this—”

Before she could finish, that wicked boy from the Bayou gathered her close and rubbed his nose against hers, likely trying to steal her warmth because he’d just come in from the February cold. The man was a rogue to the core.

“Now, you said I could have anythin’ I wanted on Valentine’s Day, minou.”

“I did, but—”

“And this is what I want.”

Harper swallowed. “But I thought you’d want something, well, sexy. A massage. A naughty toy. Maybe even a new position.”

“Harper, baby, by the time we’re finished, I expect I’ll see you in a new position.”

“Flat on my ass!”

He laughed. God, how she loved his laugh, even when it was at her expense.

“Now, minou, I have a vested interest in making sure that beautiful ass of yours stays bruise-free. Do you trust me to hold you tight and keep you safe?”

With those strong arms of his—the same arms she woke wrapped up in every morning, thanking her lucky stars he’d stood by her—she knew he wouldn’t let her fall.

But that didn’t make this any more appealing! What he was asking her to do …

She dropped her gaze to the “gift” he’d given her. Hand-stitched white leather, beautifully monogrammed, with gleaming blades as sharp as knives.

Her very own pair of ice skates.

Only she had a problem. Harper Chase, co-owner of the Chicago Rebels NHL franchise, daughter of a legendary Hall of Famer, and the most powerful woman in pro hockey, couldn’t skate to save her life.


Remy had thought it a superlative idea. Harper once told him she hadn’t skated since she was an ankle biter, so he hatched a plan. Give her a pretty pair of skates, take her to the Rebels rink, and help her exorcise some demons. This woman—this strong, resilient, kick-ass woman—was the bravest person he’d ever met.

But right this minute, she didn’t look so happy.

Shoving his second guesses down deep, Remy pulled Harper to her feet, held a light grip on her hands, and guided her to the rink’s entrance. Carefully.

“Just one foot in front of the other, minou.”

Rolling her eyes, she screwed her mouth in determination. “Don’t ‘minou’ me, Remy DuPre! This is not going to be sexy.” Minou was dirty French for kitten, but more specifically an X-rated term of endearment he couldn’t use in mixed company. “Now, you know I can make anythin’ sexy.”

He backed out onto the rink, still holding her hands. “Tell me about the last time you were on the ice.”

“I was—” She placed a foot on the frozen floor and wobbled.

“I got you, minou.”

Her eyes, previously wide with panic, softened with his words. A second foot found the ice. With a tentative glide, she stayed with him as he backtracked to the center of the rink. No Plexi, no rails, only her man as her rock.

“The last time?” he prompted.

“I was four. Dad threw me on the ice, a case of sink or swim.”

“Spill or skate, huh?”

“Right. And I fell down. A lot.” A shadow crossed her face. “I wouldn’t be the one to carry on the great Chase legacy on the ice.”

That crusty ole bastard, Clifford Chase, had the parenting instincts of a slug—though that might be off because maybe slugs were parents par excellence among invertebrates. Anyway, Cliff was a bastard through and through, of that Remy was sure. That he’d made Harper ever doubt she would be amazing in every possible way still chapped his ass.

“This great Chase legacy you speak of? More than one way to skin that cat, minou.”

Harper had to know she’d gone above and beyond all expectations for a woman in testosterone-drenched hockey. Hell, she’d traded him in—genius management decision right there.

She smiled, making his chest light up like a firecracker. “What would I do without you propping me up all the time?”

“Oh, I expect you’d be okay.”

Though it killed him to put any distance between them, he figured now was as good a time as any. He skated back a good five feet. Harper looked down at her toes and seeming to realize that he was no longer holding her hands, she gasped.

“Remy, I’m—holy shit—I’m skating!”

“You sure are.” He chuckled. “See, you don’t need me at all.”

Her green eyes glittering with excitement, she took a couple of confident strides, closing the gap between them. But just as she reached him, her legs went from under her and she fell on that cute little tush of hers.

“Oh!” she said and then burst into laughter.

Remy pulled her to her feet and into his arms. “So close!”

“Next time, I’ll get it,” she said, her tone filled with grit. He’d set a fire under her for sure. “I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to try again. Only you, Remy.”

“Only me what?”

“Only you could take a, let’s face it, pretty sucky childhood experience, and use it to build me up.”

“It’s all inside you, minou.” He lowered his lips to hers and captured all that sweet resolve in a kiss. “Which is where I plan to be very soon.”

She giggled, all sunshine. “I knew this was about sex.”

“It’s hard not to think of sex when you’re here looking hot enough to melt this rink.”

“We’d better leave, then.” His gorgeous sex kitten pivoted like an ice dancing queen and skated back to the edge of the rink. Like she was born to it.

It was in her blood, after all.

“And if you play your cards right, Mr. DuPre, I might break out my fun V-Day purchase.”


She turned as she reached the Plexi, a saucy smirk on her lips. “It’s ten inches, ribbed, and got a surprisingly lifelike curve. I’m not saying it’s a replacement for a man, but you are getting older and I do have needs …”

Remy DuPre had never skated off a rink quicker.


Meet Remy & Harper in IRRESISTIBLE YOU and the rest of the Chicago Rebels.

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  Lucy Parker 

© Lucy Parker 2018

You’re invited to a party at the Lamprey-Savages’. No RSVP necessary.

The red-faced gentleman in the rather startling outfit seized Luc’s hand and flung it up and down in an enthusiastic arm-flail. It looked more like an attempt to shake the wrinkles out of their sleeves than a greeting. Lily watched, entertained, as her husband’s expression became even more blandly charming. The other man was a theatrical investor and, despite the fact that he was wearing a gold brocade pantsuit, as if he’d been stuck for an outfit at the last minute and had gone all Fräulein Maria on his curtains, he was loaded and had the excellent taste to prefer Luc’s productions over any other director in the West End. Hence the reason why Luc had been conversing for at least ten minutes with someone whose conversation he called the verbal equivalent of a general anaesthetic.

Luc caught sight of her where she was perched on the window seat with a plate of appetisers, enjoying a brief respite from her own schmoozing duty. The faint lines at the corners of his grey eyes deepened as his practised smile took on a different quality. She refuted any silent accusation that she was hiding from their guests.

Even if she was one more forced laugh and insincere comment away from building a fort with the cushions.

Three hours into the party that she’d suggested, to celebrate the signing of all the contracts for his new show, because she was a supportive, proud wife and had temporarily lost her mind, she was thinking wistfully of his own suggestion that they spend Valentine’s Day in bed with a box of chocolates.

When his very shiny companion turned away to greet another acquaintance, Luc’s air of suave professionalism slipped into a lightning-fast grimace, a dead accurate impression of the tragedy mask, and Lily ate another miniature quiche to suppress her giggle.

A minute or two later, the scent of his cologne was deliciously warm and spicy when he pressed his nose against her throat. “Could have been in bed hours ago,” he murmured, and kissed her jaw before he sat down to steal her salmon puff.

“Ninety-eight percent of husbands who say ‘I told you so’ end up in the divorce courts, Savage. Scientific fact. I read it in the Sunday papers.” She propped her chin on his shoulder, and they both leaned sideways into the shadow of the drapes when her agent wandered past, holding a glass of wine. “Sleep,” she said mournfully.

Luc’s fingers ventured near her snack plate again. “I mean, I was thinking sex, but…”

“That too.” Lily pulled the food out of his reach. “Paws off.”

He transferred his hand to her knee, tracing his fingers in tickling circles, and she turned her face into his. Their smiles touched, and she teased him with a dart of her tongue to his. “Well done on keeping your fist away from Richard Troy’s nose.” Luc made a muffled sound of irritation. “Remind me again why I voluntarily plunged myself back into hell.”

“Because despite the total lack of social skills, he’s a brilliant actor. He’s perfect for the part. The public loves to hate him. And he’ll sell out every show within a fortnight and make you a fuck-ton of money.”

“And I must have been momentarily insane.” He looked towards the archway into the living room and lounge, where most of their guests were mingling to the accompaniment of a quartet playing songs from the latest popular musical. “Where is the human root canal?”

Lily addressed her yawn to the opening in his shirt, rubbing her cheek against the sparse tuft of hair there. “He and Lainie left about an hour ago. She came back from the loo and said she had a headache.” She snorted. “Her acting seems to have gone slightly downhill since she abandoned the stage for the small screen. Her lipstick was smudged, Richard’s shirt wasn’t buttoned up properly, and when they went to their car, I saw them snogging from the kitchen window.”

Luc lifted his mouth from the curve of her bare shoulder, where he’d pushed aside her silk wrap, and looked faintly revolted. “Troy was messing about in our bathroom?”

Lily set her empty plate aside and looped a supportive arm around his neck. “Don’t worry,” she said. “I’m sure they were just shagging, not ferreting about in the medicine cabinet. Your dentures and little blue pills are safe with me.”

He grinned, and as usual, the slashing lines in his cheeks made her stomach do a lustful little flip. “One-hundred percent of wives who mock their aging husbands end up sleeping on the couch, Lamprey. Unchivalrous fact.”

As of yesterday, he was forty-three, had about four more grey hairs than last year, continued to look curiously and very satisfyingly like Gregory Peck, and was demonstrably not in need of pharmaceutical assistance. Or false teeth. He nipped her earlobe.

“Although if anything was going to make me feel like I’m moving swiftly into middle-age,” Luc added drily, inclining his head towards the open doors into the kitchen, “it would be those two.”

Lily peeked around him at where Trix and Leo were helpfully loading their dishwasher for them, and multi-tasking with a dance-off to the musical soundtrack as they passed each other dirty glasses and plates. Her best friend tucked a strand of pink hair behind her ear and cocked a brow at Leo as they stopped mocking and imitating one another and moved into the choreography from the musical, in perfect sync and rhythm. They faced off, arms up, hips swivelling, feet stamping down, eyes dancing. Trix was always as graceful on the dancefloor — or apparently, kitchen floor — as she was on the aerial straps in her circus show, but her makeup artist boyfriend was equally fluid, despite his towering build and bulky muscle.

Trix slotted a last glass into the rack and twirled into Leo’s waiting arms, his fingers spread against her ribs, his large hand cradling her as they spun through a rapid series of footwork across the tiles.

They were both laughing when he lowered his head and their mouths met.

Grinning, Lily played with Luc’s fingers. “If it makes you feel any better, I suffered about five seconds of guilt for letting them tidy our kitchen, then decided that if the dancing is a mandatory part of their usual washing-up routine, I was going to embrace laziness. There’s a reason I never auditioned for musicals and it wasn’t only the chipmunk voice. In my TV flapper days, it took me about six weeks to rehearse a forty-second Charleston and I still needed fifteen takes.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. You never had a chipmunk voice.” Luc smoothed back her hair. “At worst, it was an asthmatic mouse.” “My loving husband, ladies and gentlemen.”

There was a renewed outbreak of chatter from the lounge.

“I suppose we should get back in there,” Lily said gloomily. “We did invite these people. We ought to be polite. Professional.” “Quite.” Luc sounded equally unenthusiastic. She shivered as his fingers slipped under her top and stroked up the line of her spine.

“On the other hand, most of them are so drunk they’ve probably forgotten who we are by now, and it is Valentine’s Day.” She cast him a sidelong glance through her lashes. “And I’m getting a headache.”

His eyes alight with amusement, Luc touched her forehead and then cupped her cheek with a warm, strong hand. “Then, as your loving husband,” he murmured against her lips, “it’s really my duty to help you…ferret through the medicine cabinet.”

Her fingers tangled in his, Lily smothered her laugh against the shifting muscles in his hard back as they snuck into their own hallway. “Sad day for you when Richard Troy has the right idea.”

“Don’t kill the mood, darling.”

* * *


Lily Lamprey and Luc Savage met and fell unexpectedly and slightly scandalously in love in PRETTY FACE, available now. 

Richard Troy irritated everyone around him and found his HEA with Lainie Graham in ACT LIKE IT, also available now. 

And before they were dancing around a kitchen together, Trix Lane and Leo Magasiva will face off in MAKING UP, coming May 2018.

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Lia Riley


Discover how Talia & Bran first fell in love in the OFF THE MAP series.

You can also enter to win a copy of Upside Down (US/CAN/Mexico only) by commenting on this post!

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Nick also has a romance giveaway going on on Twitter that you can now enter below! You can win any books featured in the image or this post!

In a good mood today, so here's a giveaway! 🎉🎉

Before we end this post, we would like to say a huge huge thank you to all the wonderful authors who agreed to be part of this event for us! The fact that you responded to us mere fans means a lot! <3 <3

Have you read any books featured in this post? Which excerpt was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!


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