No, not that first time – for me that would involve revisiting the eighties, and I’m not keen to do that again any time soon Oh my God, all that hair! And the shoulder pads! Instead I’m heading back just a handful of years to 2009, to talk about my first ever erotic romance release.
SEDUCING SERENA appeared in Red Sage’s anthology SECRETS (VOL. 28) together with novellas by the talented Juliet Burns, Kate St. James and Kathleen Scott. The anthology received a 4-star rating at RT Book Reviews, which said in part:
“This volume’s contemporary, science fiction and historical stories are hot and sensual. Characters are well developed, and the couples will take readers along in their path to a lasting relationship.”
SEDUCING SERENA is a contemporary love story set in my home town – Melbourne, Australia, as well as the picturesque Yarra Valley wine region. Here’s a look at how Serena and Nick first meet:
Serena Hewitt stared at the perfectly proportioned man and wondered at the cruel fate that had given this black-haired, green-eyed, bronze-skinned Adonis a brain the size of a pea.
“Why bother reading books when you can wait for the movie to come out?” he’d asked in that delectable voice, lifting his shoulders in a shrug. Just one more in a long line of opinions that had her head shaking in disbelief.
“Surely you’re joking,” she said. “Everybody reads something!”
The disappointment sat in her stomach like a lead balloon. How many men had she interviewed over the past three days? Seventeen? She’d thought, when he walked in…but no. Nicholas Wade was not the one for whom she’d been searching.
Not even when that quirk at the corner of his mouth and the gleam of amusement in his eyes caused a curl of anticipation deep down in her belly.
“Why would I joke about it?” he asked. “That’s what today’s about, isn’t it? Get to know each other a little and see whether we wanna hook up. And with me, honey,” he spread his hands wide and grinned, “what you see is what you get.”
Her eyes narrowed, even as she felt herself responding physically to the charm of his grin. See whether we wanna hook up? For a second she wondered whether he was teasing, but why would he do that in these circumstances? “Well, thanks for your time, Nicholas—”
“Please, not so formal. Make it Nick.” He leaned forward and the flash of a diamond in his left earlobe winked, as if mocking her attempt to categorise him.
“All right, er, Nick.” She crossed her arms, then uncrossed them when she realised the action highlighted her cleavage. “I’ve heard enough to be able to make my decision. I’ll be in touch soon.”
Liar, liar, pants are definitely aflame. She leaned back in her chair as he stood up and dwarfed the normally spacious room. Late afternoon sun, rare in mid-winter Melbourne, slanted through the window of her city office, casting odd shadows across his face.
“So business-like.” His teasing tone deepened into curiosity. “Let me ask you something, Serena. Do you really expect to find Mister Right this way? Where’s the passion? The excitement? Don’t you ever let your hair down and just have fun?”
“Of course.” Unexpectedly stung, she sat up and removed her glasses to glare at him. “I’m thirty two years old, Nick, and its taken me the best part of my life to discover there’s no such thing as Mister Right. Romance is well and truly over-rated.”
“If you believe that,” he said slowly, “then perhaps you’ve never been well and truly romanced.”
“Maybe, maybe not.” She held up a hand to still his response and continued, “I’m not looking for excitement, okay?” I had that and it didn’t work. “I just want someone I can be comfortable with. Besides,” she frowned, “if you’re just after a bit of fun, why on earth did you respond to my advertisement?”
He shrugged, blank faced, then leant over the desk towards her. She detected the faint aroma of an expensive aftershave and had to fight the urge to inhale more deeply. “Let’s call it a whim,” he said. “I saw your ad in the paper and it was so serious. Even the wording of the ad—”
“What was wrong with it?” Wanted, she’d written. A suitable man for the job. Nothing unreasonable about that!
He chuckled, a slow rumble as contagious as a child’s laugh. Her pulse quickened. “It stood out from the others for its lack of emotion, Serena. It made me curious. I wanted to hear your voice, get a feel for the real you.” He moved into a patch of sunlight and his eyes blazed. “And when I accessed your voice mail…”
He reached out a long finger to caress the line of her jaw. The touch, so slow, feather-light, sent unwanted tremors coursing through her system. “Your voice intrigues me. It’s totally unexpected. Deep. A little bit husky. Your voice gave out a completely different message to the business-like words of your ad. I couldn’t resist its sexy appeal.”
“I—well!” No one had ever commented on her voice like that. She tried to avoid moving back in her seat, out of the reach of his gentle touch. It was hard to concentrate with the almost hypnotic whisper of skin on skin. But she didn’t want that knowing look in his eyes to deepen, the one that said, I know what effect my touch has on you.
“And then I came here today and found a curious contradiction,” he continued. “A buttoned-up accountant with solemn grey eyes all set for business rather than pleasure.” His words were like ice water in her face. She suddenly had no trouble breaking away from his touch. Then she scowled uncertainly as he added, “But there’s one thing that tells me you might not be quite as straight-laced as you seem.”
“Oh?” She spoke through gritted teeth.
“That tiny red rose on your left ankle.”
SECRETS VOLUME 28 SENSUAL CRAVINGS is available at Amazon.
Want to connect with Jennifer Lynne? Click here >> Website/blog