Since her divorce two years before, Kelsie Collins has been determined to guard her heart and steer clear of seemingly ‘perfect’ men. An easy task considering the kind of men her matchmaking mother and her best friend, Nanci, keeps setting her up with. She allows them to set her up, knowing their hearts are in the right place and that there is no risk of her letting any man close enough to hurt her again. Her growing experience in ways to slip out of those ‘dates from hell’ prompts her to start writing a bad date survival guide. One aptly titled - OPERATION: DATE ESCAPE. And it’s during one of those escapes that sexier than sin firefighter Cole Maxwell comes to her rescue.
Cole isn’t sure what to think when the sexy redhead he’s just ‘rescued’ from a bad date informs him that he’s too ‘perfect’ to date. That’s a first. He’s had relationships end because the women couldn’t handle the risks that go along with his chosen profession, but never because he’s too perfect.
When his crew gets called out to rescue someone who is stuck in a tree, Cole finds himself once again coming to Kelsie’s rescue. This time he’s not about to let her get away without agreeing to give him a chance, even holding her high heels hostage to make it happen. She finally gives in and things heat up between them like a 3-alarm fire. But there’s more than passion between them and Cole sets out to prove to Kelsie that he’s nowhere near ‘perfect’, but he is the ‘perfect’ man for her. Can he get past the wall she’s built up around her heart? Or will he end up being just another chapter in her book of men she ran from?
*Operation: Date Escape was a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist as well as a finalist in the American Title III Competition put on by Romantic Times and Dorchester Publishing.*
He turned into his driveway and pulled into the garage even as the door was still lifting, giving her room to park in the drive behind him.
“I hear there’s a party happening here,” she said to him as she stepped from her car.
He gave a deep, husky chuckle, eyeing her up as he did so. “You’ve come to the right place.”
“What kind of party is it?” she asked with playful innocence.
Excitement moved through her, making her body tingle. “Sounds like fun. Only problem is I left my P.J.’s at home.”
They stepped up onto the porch. “No problem,” he said as he unlocked the door. He motioned her inside. “You wouldn’t have had them on very long anyway.”
“Promises. Promises,” she tossed back as she stepped past him into the kitchen.
“I’ll show you promises.” Closing the door behind them, he pulled her into his arms, capturing her mouth beneath his own in a hungry kiss.
She sank into him, the soft curves of her body molding against his much harder ones. A body toned from years of the physical demand that came along with being a firefighter. Her fingers threaded through his dark hair and then slid down the back of the dark gray t-shirt that clung to his muscular back.
They moved through the kitchen, peeling away each other’s clothes on their way back to his bedroom. Lips and hands connecting with heated flesh.
“I never realized this hall was so damn long,” Cole complained as he kicked free of his shorts.
“Too long,” she replied in a breathy groan as her shorts joined his on the floor.
He stopped and turned, pinning her against the hallway wall. His dark eyes sought hers as his fingers moved to tangle through her hair. Their labored breaths echoed in the confined space. With a coaxing tug, he tilted her face up to his.
“Cole,” she whimpered, wetting her lips in anticipation of what was yet to come if the heated look in his eyes was any indication.
His gaze settled on her lips as if he wanted to devour them. Then, he did. He captured her mouth beneath his in a frenzied kiss that nearly took her breath away.
“I can’t get enough of you,” he muttered against her parted lips and then kissed his way along her jaw and down the curve of her neck to the sensitive flesh at the top of a bare shoulder.
She knew the feeling. Tipping her head back with a soft moan, she urged his mouth to continue its sensual assault.
He did, moving lower to tease the tip of an aching breast.
She clutched at his head, gasping with pleasure as he took more of her breast into the heat of his mouth.
“Mmm...” he murmured, urging her legs apart with an impatient knee until she was imprisoned there between the wall and his hard, naked body. Then his large hand slid down her bare leg to the back of her knee, lifting it.
She looked down, watching as Cole’s long fingers eased beneath the slender strap of her leather sandal, pushing it down over her heel. The shoe clattered onto the hardwood floor below.
Closing her eyes, she enjoyed the sensation created by the friction of flesh against flesh as her freshly shaven leg slid down his muscular thigh. Thank God she had shaved.
Her bare foot had barely touched the floor before he was reaching for her other leg, his knee still planted firmly between her parted thighs. Liquid heat pooled, dampening the crotch of her silken panties.
“Cole,” she pleaded, needing him inside her.
“Sorry, doll,” came his husky reply. “This is my party and I get to pick the games.”
She nodded in total compliance, more than willing to let him lead the way. “So what are we playing?”
“A little game of Red Rover, Red Rover, Hand All Your Clothes Over.” He removed her other sandal and then ran his hand slowly up her bare thigh until he reached the lacy edge of her silken panties.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Romance author Lindsey Brookes grew up reading romance novels. She penned her first romance, a historical, at the age of seventeen. From there she went on to join Romance Writers of America where she learned the ins and outs of the publishing business and ways to hone her craft. She switched to writing contemporary romance and has finalled in/or won more than 75 RWA chapter sponsored contests with over a dozen different manuscripts. She is also a four time RWA Golden Heart finalist as well as a past American Title III finalist and winner of Harlequin's Great American Romance Novel contest. She's married to her childhood sweetheart, her hero, with whom she has two beautiful daughters.
Check out her websites:
Operation: Date Escape purchase links:
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/operation-lindsey-brookes/1115662939?ean=2940016420349
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