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WHEN WE KISS
Ribbon Ridge #5
Releasing on January 19, 2016.
Denver real estate mogul, Liam Archer, has always been a thrill-seeker, and the loss of his identical twin brother has only intensified his reckless behavior. Sky diving, heli-skiing, motorcycle riding…he’s tried everything once. Except falling in love. Liam doesn’t do relationships, but a no-strings fling with Aubrey Tallinger-the smart, gorgeous lawyer handling his brother’s estate-is totally his speed.
At first, hooking up with Liam whenever he’s in Ribbon Ridge is perfect; but Aubrey fears she could fall hard for the sexy daredevil, if he’d only stop refusing to acknowledge the demons he’s trying to outrun. To protect herself from heartbreak, Aubrey ends their affair. But this time, Liam isn’t leaving town and instead of seduction, he wants to be…friends.
The white hot attraction between them still sizzles but Liam knows that winning Aubrey back won’t happen in his bed. He’ll have to convince her that he’s more than the careless, adrenaline junkie she believes him to be. Because when they kiss, Liam feels whole again… and he isn’t ready to give her up without a fight.
Aubrey grabbed her purse from the back of her chair and fished her wallet from the depths. “Here, let me pay you for my part of the bill.”
Liam’s hand closed over hers as he pushed the wallet back into her purse. “It’s fine. Come on, let’s go.”
This time she couldn’t seem to shake his hand away. She didn’t even try. She let his warmth, his masculinity seep into her and feed the fire burning in her core.
When they stepped outside, the cool, damp night air rushed over her, giving her much-needed clarity. She took a deep breath and moved away from Liam, taking her hand from his grasp and slinging her purse over her shoulder. Then she started to walk down the street. Away from him.
But he only fell into step beside her.
“You’re cute when you’re drunk. Reminds me of Labor Day weekend.”
She threw him a glare. “Do not talk about that.”
It was chilly, so she wrapped her arms around herself. She realized it was also misting, like it had been earlier, and in her haste, she’d left her raincoat back at The Arch and Vine.
She turned a smile on Liam. “Any chance you want to run back and get my coat?” Then she could get rid of him.
He chuckled. “You really don’t want me walking you home, do you? I’ll grab it later. After I make sure you’re tucked into bed.”
She turned the corner onto her street. “Oh no you don’t. You aren’t coming anywhere near my bed.”
“I promise to keep my hands to myself.”
“I just realized your name is almost spelled the same as liar.” She arched a brow at him. “Coincidence? I think not.”
He laughed again. “You are too funny tonight.”
It started raining harder. He pulled his jacket off and wrapped it around her. “Come on, let’s pick up the pace.” He grabbed her hand and pulled her along at a steady clip.
The cooler temperature had given her a much-needed jolt of sobriety, but the speed walking was making her feel off-kilter again. “Not so fast,” she said, trying to tug her hand from his.
“Yes, fast. Or should I carry you?” His blue-gray gaze raked over her, and she realized it was possible to feel a shiver and a blast of heat at the same time. Or maybe she was just super extra drunk.
No, because if she was, she wouldn’t be thinking that, right? She’d be blithely unaware and probably gleefully clutching more than Liam’s hand.
They reached her house, and he ushered her up the driveway and onto her porch. He let go of her hand and held out his palm. “Key?”
Standing beneath the porch light, she rummaged around in her purse. Why did a woman’s purse always get more cavernous when she was looking for something?
Liam took it from her and stuck his hand inside. He immediately came up with her keys.
She put her hands on her hips. “How’d you do that?”
He flashed her a heart-stopping smile. “I think I told you once that I had magic fingers.”
Even if he hadn’t, she remembered. For a brief moment, she gave herself over to the memory of his hands on her body, the way he stroked her inner thigh, the manner in which he cupped her breast.
He opened the door and pulled her inside. “You’re wet.” He tugged his leather jacket from her shoulders and let it drop to the floor.
Bummer because it smelled deliciously like him—cedar and citrus. God, she loved that scent.
“Did you drink any water?” he asked.
She blinked at him. “What?”
“Water. You need water, or you’re going to be miserable come morning.”
Right. Water. No, she didn’t think they’d been drinking much water. Just tequila.
He took her hand again and led her straight back to the kitchen. He moved away from her, then came back and sat her down on one of the barstools. She half expected him to pat her on the head or something.
“You don’t have to take care of me like a lost puppy,” she said.
He laughed. “Is that what I’m doing?” He pulled a glass from her cabinet—he knew exactly where they were, which was remarkable since he’d only been inside her house a few times. She thought of the first time—that night last summer. Not cold and rainy like tonight, but hot and humid. Wet and sexy in a completely different way.
Holy hell she was horny.
He set the water on the counter in front of her. “Drink.”
She saluted him before picking up the glass and downing it.
He swept it up and went for a refill. In the meantime, she realized she was wet. Her sweater was damp from the mist and the rain before he’d covered her with his coat. She glanced at his back and realized he was wet, too. Wetter than she was. His shirt was plastered to his skin, delineating every spectacular muscle.
She swallowed and splayed her hands on top of the granite to stop herself from leaping up and grabbing him. Would that be so wrong? How terrible would one more night with Liam be? She was a grown-up. She knew not to expect more from him. She could do that, right? Trade her common sense for a night of unparalleled, mind-blowing, soul-satisfying sex?
Aubrey whisked her wet sweater over her head and tossed it on the stool beside her. Common sense was extremely overrated.
Darcy Burke is the USA Today bestselling author of hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance. Darcy wrote her first book at age 11, a happily-ever-after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations.
A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids-who each seem to have inherited the writing gene in some form-and two Bengal cats. In her "spare" time Darcy is a serial volunteer enrolled in a 12-step program where one learns to say "no," but she keeps having to start over. Her happy places are Disneyland and Labor Day weekend at the Gorge.