Another of my Texas friends! ~DD
Hi, all, I’m Meg Benjamin, and I write about South Texas where I lived for twenty-plus years, mostly about a mythical Hill Country town called Konigsburg. However, my DH and I recently moved northwest of Denver. Just before moving, I retired from twenty years of teaching writing, Web design, and desktop publishing.
Be My Baby, released by Samhain on December 8, is the third book in my Konigsburg series. The hero is another Toleffson brother, Lars, an accountant who broke up with his vicious wife Sherice in Wedding Bell Blues. My heroine, Jess, is the babysitter for Lars’s two-year-old daughter, but she has problems of her own in the form of some nasty, kidnapping former in-laws. In the excerpt, Lars and Jess have both been awakened by noises outside her house (where Lars is staying as a live-in bodyguard). As you’ll see, there’s a lot of unacknowledged sexual tension between them that finally comes to a head (so to speak). Hope you all enjoy it!
There’s no room in her life for love. Love has other ideas…
Konigsburg, Texas, Book 3
If Jessamyn Carroll had only herself to consider, staying in Pennsylvania after her husband’s death would have been a no-brainer. Her vindictive in-laws’ efforts to get their hooks into her infant son, however, force her to flee to a new home. Konigsburg, Texas.
Peace…at least for now. She’s even found a way to make some extra money, looking after sexy accountant Lars Toleffson’s precocious two-year-old daughter. She finds it easy—too easy—to let his protective presence lull her into thinking she and her son are safe at last.
Lars, still wounded from enduring a nasty divorce from his cheating ex-wife, tries to fight his attraction to the mysterious, beautiful widow. But when an intruder breaks into her place, and Jess comes clean about her past, all bets are off. Someone wants her baby—and wants Jess out of the picture. Permanently.
Now Jess has a live-in bodyguard, whether she wants him or not. Except she does want him—and he wants her. Yet negotiating a future together will have to overcome a lot of roadblocks: babies, puppies, the entire, meddling Toleffson family—and a kidnapper.
Warning: Contains Konigsburg craziness, creepy in-laws, a conniving two-year-old, a lovelorn accountant, a sleep-deprived Web developer, and lots of hot holiday sex.
Jess stood next to the sink, her bathrobe pulled tight across her chest. She was leaning forward, trying to see out the kitchen window.
“Jess!” he whispered.
She whirled toward him, her hands over her mouth.
“Sorry.” He stepped beside her. “What do you see?”
“N-nothing,” she stammered. “I don’t know what’s making the noise.”
He put his hand on her shoulder, moving her gently to the side. Beneath his fingers, her skin felt like ice.
Lars peered through the window, but all he could see was blank darkness. The thumping subsided to an occasional clang. “Where’s the backyard light?”
“In there.” Jess turned toward the utility room.
“Okay.” Lars nodded. “Go in there and turn it on. I’ll stay here and see if I can tell what’s happening.”
Jess stepped down into the utility room. A moment later, he heard the click of the switch and light flooded the backyard.
Two raccoons stared up at the window from the side of the house, blinking. Jess’s bird feeder lay on the ground between them. After a moment, they lumbered into the trees. Lars stood watching their furry brown rumps disappear into the cedar brush.
“What is it,” Jess whispered.
He turned to look at her. She stood in the doorway, her arms wrapped around her waist, her face pale in the moonlight. He couldn’t be sure, but it looked like her lips were trembling.
“Raccoons. They knocked down your bird feeder. It must have thumped against the house when they were trying to tip it over.”
“Oh.” She pressed a hand to her mouth. Lars watched as her chin began to wobble. “Oh, god,” she whispered, bending forward at the waist. Her shoulders began to heave as she gasped for breath.
He stepped toward her quickly and pulled her into his arms, running his hand in circles against her back. “It’s okay,” he murmured. “It’s okay, Jess. Just raccoons. Don’t worry. Everything’s all right.”
Jess’s words were jumbled together with sobs. “I was so scared.” Gasp. “I thought he’d come back.” Gasp. “I thought he’d get in.”
“Jess.” He worked on keeping his voice level. “Jess, listen to me. You’re all right. Everything is all right. It was just raccoons. Here.” He pushed her gently to the window. “Look. Your bird feeder is on the ground. They knocked it over to get at the seed.”
Jess looked through the glass and then turned back to him, her eyes still brimming. Gasping for breath between the sobs, she pressed her face against his chest again.
His bare chest. He was suddenly aware of warm breath, warm skin, the smell of her hair—rosemary and mint. His heart beat accelerated.
Go. Leave. Now. Back to your bedroom. Do not put your arms around her!
His body was apparently unconnected to his brain. His hands drifted toward her hips, almost automatically. He felt the smooth indentation of her waist beneath his palms.
“I just…give me a minute,” she whispered. “It’s just reaction.” She kept her face pressed against his chest, and he felt tears on his skin.
“It’s okay,” he repeated. Then he brought his hand to her chin, tipping her face back so that he could see her eyes.
The color of moss, of sea foam, of the leaves on the mountain laurel in his backyard. Jess watched him, blinking, her lips slightly parted as she drew another sobbing breath. Her nose looked damp. One leftover tear left a track down her cheek.
She was a mess. Also the most gorgeous woman he’d seen in at least a year, bar none.
Well, hell. He lowered his mouth to hers.
A jumble of sensations washed over him, the salt on her lips, the smell of rosemary and mint, the softness and warmth of her mouth. For a moment, her body tensed in his arms, and then her lips opened beneath his, as her tongue darted across his teeth.
Lars shifted against her, angling his mouth over hers, deepening the kiss. His tongue moved, rasping against hers.
Oh lordy, he hadn’t done this in so long. And those last few times with Sherice hadn’t been anything he ever wanted to repeat. He hoped to god he remembered how to do it right.
Jess’s hands moved up his chest, her fingers sliding through his chest hair to clasp around his neck. She pulled herself flat against him as he bent over her, bodies touching now from shoulders to crotch.
Crotch. Right. He could feel his arousal pressing against the thin fabric of his sweatpants.
Jess rubbed herself against him again, the smooth satin of her robe sliding over his skin. Without thinking, he reached for the sash at her waist, pulling it free, then pushed her robe down off her shoulders. Underneath she was wearing a sleep shirt and nothing else.
He ran his hands across her breasts, feeling her nipples jutting hard against his palms. She moaned against his mouth, her fingers tangling in his hair.
Lars reached for the edge of the sleep shirt, pulling it up slowly so that he could slide his hands underneath.
Jess’s fingers moved to his chest again, rippling through his chest hair. For a moment, he was afraid he might explode where he stood.
“Easy,” he gasped. “Control is not exactly my strong suit right now.”
Jess didn’t seem to hear him. He felt her fingers moving again. And then she leaned forward and ran her tongue across his nipple, sending a jolt of sensation straight to his groin.
He was in deep, deep trouble.