After months of bad luck and even worse men, Luciana Diaz just wants to crawl under the covers and forget the year ever happened. Her friend has other plans, convincing Luci to attend a New Year’s Eve party on the affluent shores of Kiawah Island.
Luci never expected to have fun. She also never expected to wake up next to a man she just met, or for this man to be the new attorney at her firm.
Landon Summers is done with drama. After an ugly separation and even worse divorce, he has no desire to jump into another relationship.
When his sister Trinity drags him to a New Year’s Eve party, he doesn’t plan to stay long. One drink, a few hellos, and he’s out. Until he meets Luci, the first person in months to draw his smile and incite his passion.
Neither Luci nor Landon planned on each other, and they definitely didn’t plan on love. But the New Year means a fresh start, and eternal possibilities neither could deny…
That smile that faded in Blythe’s presence returns. I ease my way out of the bathroom and return to the kitchen, but Landon is gone. So is my purse and our drinks.
My heart falls to my belly, only for it to quicken when a hand presses tenderly against the small of my back. “Are you hungry?” Landon asks. He motions to the corner where a set of heavy curtains sway in the breeze. “I figured with all that we’re drinking, we should get something to eat.”
“That would be lovely,” I say, realizing how much I mean it.
He passes me my clutch and leads me forward, a server slips out from behind a curtain with an empty tray, nodding Landon’s way. As he passes, Landon slips something into his palm. “Thank you, sir,” the young man tells him.
Landon smiles when I look up at him. “After you,” he says.
He parts the curtain, allowing me into a small terrace surrounded by tall glass dividers that repels the wind and allows a magnificent view of the ocean. There’s not much room, the space only large enough for a rectangular fire pit radiating with turquoise glass and a small table with two chairs. To our right people laugh from a larger more open terrace a level down. They can’t see us well, and I don’t really care to see them.
Our beers are placed beside two empty plates, along with two unopened bottles of water. At the center, there’s a large plate filled with food. “Becca likes to eat breakfast out here when she’s home. But she’s not using it and I didn’t want to waste the view.”
“It’s amazing,” I say, taking in the splendor.
I didn’t expect to see the ocean this far into the shore, especially at night. But with moon as bright and as low as it is, its light spills across the waves, illuminating the water and casting a glow along the sand.
Landon pulls out my chair. “I wasn’t sure what you liked, so I asked the staff to bring a little of everything.” He pauses. “You’re not one of those crazy vegans are you?” I laugh. “If you are, I can ask them for some of that crazy vegan food you people like to eat.”
“My people like everything,” I assure him, watching him take a seat in front of me.
“Good,” he says. “So do good ol’ Southern boys.”
We spend an outrageous amount of time talking, and even more simply gazing at each other, smiling softly when the words don’t quite come, and laughing when they finally do.
It’s only when Rihanna’s Love on the Brain begins to play that Landon tears his attention away from me and back in the direction of the party. “Don’t you hate it when everyone is dancing, and you have no one to dance with?” he asks.
I glance down, playing with the fabric of my skirt. “I think it’s worse when the wrong person asks you, and you’ve been waiting for the right one.”
“Oh, yeah?” He grins when I nod. “I suppose I should ask you, before the wrong person gets his chance.”
He doesn’t really ask. He doesn’t need to. I place my hand in his when he opens his palm.
He pulls me up and into him, wrapping his arms securely around my waist as mine circle his neck. He smiles as he looks down and meets my eyes. I return it, losing myself in his stare.
We move to the beat as if we’ve danced a hundred times, despite what I’m feeling is a slew of firsts.
The first time his hard body presses against mine.
The first whisper of his breath against my skin.
The first touch that has no inkling of innocence.
And the first stroke of desire.
His hands slide to my hips as the bass pounds deeper, craving more. “It’s almost midnight,” he rasps against my bare shoulder.
I shudder as his lips graze over my skin, not quite touching, trailing lightly just enough to tease. “Almost,” I agree.
The allure in his voice robs me of air. “I didn’t plan on having anyone to kiss.”
I almost reply, but the way Landon’s mouth hovers over the sweep of my neck keeps me silent, as does the way he draws an invisible line to my ear with his lips.
My heart thuds mercilessly as I wait for his next words.
“But I guess I didn’t plan on you either,” he murmurs, each word softly tortured.
His mouth feathers over mine as the song ends and the countdown to New Year’s begins, opening and closing tentatively, giving me a chance to pull away.
I don’t. I can’t. Not with how good he feels and not with the way his body curls protectively around me.
Urgent voices and anxious steps echo from inside as people rush to find partners to kiss as the countdown reaches ten.
Landon and I aren’t waiting. His tongue dives deep, prodding me possessively and taking me deep.
He grips my hips tighter, pulling me closer, turning the sweet, tentative kiss passionate and daring.
I’m no longer simply kissing him, I’m moaning.
And I’m not alone.
A rumble builds in his throat, ending in a long, dragged out groan.
My body trembles with need, responding and following the rough caress of his palms along my spine.
The clock strikes twelve, people are cheering, bottles of champagne are exploding, and the ocean waves crash harder against the shore. I barely hear them. I only see Landon as he pulls away, his breaths labored like mine, his intensity welding me in place.
CECY ROBSON is an author of contemporary romance, young adult adventure, and award-winning urban fantasy. A double RITA® 2016 finalist for Once Pure and Once Kissed, and a published author of more than eighteen titles, you can typically find her on her laptop writing her stories or stumbling blindly in search of caffeine.