2007-12-03

Release Day Today and I'm still Counting

I'm sorta doing the Release Day pre-release Happy Dance. Today's the day that Let Me Count the Ways is supposed to be released. And yet, at last count, it's still apparently LAST week at Liquid Silver Books.

Not to worry, I'm sure they're just a little busy and will get to it very, very soon. In the meantime, here's the blurb and a cover pic and an excerpt--cause you know how I love my excerpts...

Let Me Count the Ways

Blurb:

As the owner of The Body Electric, LA’s hottest new exercise studio, sexy, former film star Claire Calhoun has her pick of studly young men eager to do her bidding. Small wonder she’s used to calling the shots, both in and out of bed. But everything changes the night the actress-turned-entrepreneur has one mojito too many at a party and decides it would be fun to pick up her accountant, Mike Sherman. She's thinking fling. He's thinking forever.

Claire has been Mike's fantasy since the first time he saw her bare it all for the camera. Now, she's in his bed and he'll do whatever’s necessary to keep her there. But he's not a stalker, right? He's just a devoted fan.

Excerpt:

This scene (which is in Mike's POV) takes place shortly after Claire has asked Mike to take her home. He's completely misunderstood her intentions, and thinks she's not feeling well...

"Where to?’ I asked as I pulled away from the gallery entrance.

Claire didn’t answer right away. She seemed distracted—as she had ever since the valet pulled the Jag up to the curb. "Well... I don’t know." Her gaze was thoughtful as she glanced around at the car’s interior. "How would you feel about taking a drive along Mulholland first to get some air? Maybe stop for a moment to see the lights?"

"Air?" She mustn’t be feeling well, I thought and groaned inwardly. Shit. Isn’t that great? I’m really not overly anal when it comes to my possessions, but I happen to love my car—a classic Jaguar, built in the years before all the electrical problems; before the company was taken over by GM. I really hated the idea of anyone getting sick all over the upholstery. Even Claire. If a little fresh air was going to prevent that, "Mulholland it is."

Neither of us said anything as we sped along the mostly deserted streets. I was just praying that the winding road wouldn’t make her even more sick.

The turnout that you always see in movies is all the way at the western end of the highway, close to where the pavement stops. I was pretty certain she wouldn’t want to drive that far, but there are plenty of places to stop along the way to admire the view. I pulled into the first likely spot and turned off the ignition.

Claire removed her seatbelt but she made no move to open the door, which I took to be a good sign.

"How are you feeling now?" I asked, watching as she stared at the lights below us.

She laughed a little, as though I’d said something funny. "You know, I used to drive up here all the time, when I was younger, when I was new to LA and depressed about my career. Somehow, it always seemed to help me put things in perspective. I’d sit up here and listen to the radio and try to remember why I was putting myself through all that misery. So, I guess... compared to then... I’m feeling pretty good right now. How about you?"

"Me?" I thought about that. There I was, in the middle of a clear, star-studded night, parked atop the Hollywood Hills, with Claire Calhoun in the passenger seat of my Jaguar. I didn’t really see how things could get much better than that. But, at a time when I should be feeling like the king of the world, what was the main thing on my mind? Something I never thought I’d be worried about. Carpet cleaner. Un-freaking-believable. I shook my head, pushed all thoughts of cleaning products from my mind and smiled. "I’m fantastic."

"Are you?" She slanted me an amused glance, then looked away again, running the fingers of her right hand along the wood of the dash. "So, tell me about your car. It’s a Jaguar, right? I can’t believe..."

"What?" I asked, mesmerized by her fingers, wondering if she could possibly have been reading my mind. Or did she just think it an unlikely vehicle for an accountant to drive?

"Nothing." She shook her head and prompted. "The car?"

I shrugged. "Not that much to tell, really. I just always... well, I’d seen this exact car in a showroom years ago—this model, I mean—back when it was new. It was love at first sight. I must’ve gone back there oh, a dozen or so times, just to sit in it. Never even took it out for a test drive. I think I was afraid to. Afraid I wouldn’t want to bring it back. I was young then, just starting out, couldn’t come close to affording it. I mean... it wasn’t even in the realm of possibility, at that point. It was just... a dream, you know?"

"So what happened?" she asked quietly.

I sighed. "Nothing happened. After a couple of weeks, I gave in to the inevitable and bought something else. It was damned hard having to settle for something—for anything—less when my heart was set on this, but what could I do? I told myself ‘some day’ but, then, later, when I had a little more money, there were always other things that seemed more pressing, more important, more practical. I found a piece of land I fell in love with, built a house; that took money. Plus, the newer Jags... well, they just weren’t the same. So, I guess I just put it from my mind. But then, a couple of years ago, I was in the market for a new car, once again, and I came across an ad for this one—used, in need of a little work, selling for a song. It’s not what I’d been looking for. In fact, by then, I’d pretty much given up on the dream entirely. But, when it came right down to it, it was My Car. How could I resist? I had to buy it."

Claire was looking at me strangely when I finished talking. "That is a very romantic story."

"You think so?"

"Mm-hm. And it’s a beautiful car."

Well, that part I agreed with. "It is. It’s a classic. Beautiful, elegant, it can’t ever really go out of style. And it handles... well, like I always knew it would." Suddenly, I remembered that she wasn’t feeling well. "I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have gone on so long. You must be bored."

Claire shook her head. "Not a bit. And don’t be sorry. I asked, remember?" Then she flashed that wonderful smile at me again. "Why don’t we get going now?"

I nodded, feeling just a little sorry because this was a moment I knew wouldn’t likely come again. It would have been nice to stretch it out a little longer.

If only she were feeling better. If only I’d thought to pack a picnic, a blanket, a bottle of wine. But, given the circumstances—really not a good idea. I’d started the car when I remembered, "I still don’t know where you live."

"That’s all right," she said as she re-fastened her seatbelt. "I don’t want to go there anyway."

My eyebrows rose. "Well, then, where are we going?"

Her hands stilled on the buckle. She looked at me questioningly. "I thought... your house. No?"

"My house?"

She nodded. "Mm-hm. You know, the one you said you helped design? I’m intrigued. I’d really like to see it."

"But... that’s... that’s all the way out in Topanga Canyon." Surely she didn’t expect me to drive all the way out there, then back here, then back out there again? All in one night? Or was she so drunk the idea seemed reasonable?

Claire’s lips quirked. "I know where it is. Is there a problem?"

I sighed. That would be a Yes on the drunk question, wouldn’t it? "Look, Claire, that’s a little far for a joy ride, don’t you think?" I hinted, as gently as I could.

"Weren’t you planning on going home tonight anyway?"

"Yes. Once. But not... not two or three times." Not that the idea of spending all that time alone with her wasn’t heavenly but... well, no, damn it, this was not quite what I’d had in mind. "I know I said the drive back into town only takes a matter of minutes but, even so, those minutes do add up. And I’ve driven out there and back once tonight already. Besides, it’s getting a little late. Wouldn’t you rather I just take you home now?"

Claire was staring at me fixedly, as though attempting to puzzle something out. Finally, "Michael, I thought you understood? When I asked you to take me home I meant I wanted to spend the night with you."

This time, I knew for certain I was hearing things. I shook my head, hoping to clear it. "Spend the night?"

She nodded. "With you. Yes. Is something wrong?"

The only thing wrong was the way the blood had left my skull, headed straight for my dick. Somehow, I’d have thought that would make my brain feel clearer, but it didn’t. "Just—Jesus, how much did you have to drink back there anyhow?"

Laughing, Claire slipped her seatbelt off again. She leaned in close and lifted one of her hands to frame my face. Her fingers felt as cool as they had before; but this was even better than before because this time she was touching me on purpose. Her eyes were dark, her smile was sultry and her voice and her words were something out of a dream. "You’re a very sweet man, Mike. You shouldn’t sell yourself short." Then she kissed me.

For a moment, I think I forgot who either of us was. We were simply Man and Woman and nothing had ever felt more right. Her lips were soft, her scent was sweet and everything male in me responded. Mine. Fierce and insistent, the instinct to claim her, to take her as my own—now, tonight, forever—overrode everything else.

I kissed her back, tugging her hard against me, my tongue coaxing hers into play. Touching everything I could get my hands on, I practically tore the material of her dress as I sought for the zipper. Then my hands registered the feel of the sequined gown they were coasting over—the same glimmering garment I’d been trying, all evening, not to stare at. Suddenly, I remembered where I was and who I was with.

"Claire. Oh, my God. I’m sorry, I—"

She opened her eyes. Something dark flickered in their depths—heat and passion and something else. Alarm, maybe?

"Wow." Her voice emerged hoarse and breathless. "Mike. You really shouldn’t sell yourself short."

copyright 2007 PG Forte All Rights Reserved

1 comment:

Toys said...

Really good story and execllent content,