Bess, Nicholas & A Dog Called Bones
by Tessa Armytage
Bess Saint Clair is about to lose everything and the only man who can save her is Nicholas Blake. It’s just a pity she can’t stand him.
Nicholas is a record industry hotshot with a reputation for being a Big, Bad Wolf. That’s okay by publicist Bess – she’s the sort of Little Red Riding Hood who eats wolves for breakfast. From the moment Nicholas and Bess clap eyes on each other they share a common bond: they want to tear each other’s throats out.
When Nicholas discovers that the man he has hired for the job is a woman, he’d like nothing better than to boot her out of his office. When Bess discovers he is one of those creatures of prehistoric legend – a male chauvinist – she’d like nothing better than to flip him the bird and turn on her heel.
But he needs her talent and she needs his money.
Each is hell bent on teaching the other a lesson. Both are about to learn a lesson they’ll never forget. The battle over who will wear the pants will be fiercest when neither is wearing any.
Funny, tender and deeply sensual, Bess, Nicholas & A Dog Called Bones is set in a picturesque valley vineyard and features a heroic, shameless sausage extortionist of a dog who is almost as human, and every bit as unforgettable, as Nicholas and Bess.
The bedroom door slammed shut. Bess jumped and whirled around.
Nicholas leaned back against the door, his arms crossed and one knee bent, his foot upon the door.
“This rule of yours.”
He had on the shirt she had touched in his wardrobe. It was open at the neck and he had nothing on beneath it and he was bright-eyed from rest and clean-shaven and fresh from the shower and Good God, he was glorious.
“What rule?” she breathed.
“The one about no making love with a man you’re not in love with.”
He pushed himself away from the door.
Her legs wanted to run. Bess didn’t know – to him or past him – only that they wanted to run somewhere.
“Oh, that one.” The words were barely audible; her lungs were bellows.
Nicholas took a step toward her.
“Does it apply to… kissing?”
Her mouth went dry. He advanced another step.
“I… hadn’t thought about it.”
One more step. He towered over her. Bess looked up into his face.
“Strictly speaking… kissing isn’t lovemaking.”
“It can be.”
“You think s–”
One kiss – one soft, warm, hungry-making kiss – and then he was gone, just beyond her reach, his tilted face hovering above hers, his lips parted. Somehow she had come to be balanced on her tiptoes. Bess swayed toward him.
“I know so,” he breathed, and his eyes closed as his lips found hers once, twice, thrice he caressed her mouth with a seeking gentleness that breathed sweet life into her mouth, and she tilted her chin and reached for him as his arms swept around her and gathered her into his embrace.
His lips were tantalising, his kisses so soft, so meltingly, deliciously soft, they made her ache and they made her thirst and she tilted her chin higher and reached for more, and sweetly, tenderly, Nicholas answered her need, his fingertips drawing a feathered trail over her throat.
One more – the softest of kisses, it was a billowing cloud against her lips – and then he withdrew almost imperceptibly; his lips, touched to hers, became still. Bess opened her eyes. Amber eyes, flashing and dancing in the firelight watched her. Her fingers curled into his shirt.
“Please, sir,” she whispered, “May I have some more?”
He covered her mouth with an appetite that shocked her.
Hungry as she was, her appetite was no match for his. She gasped into his open, seeking mouth and, overwhelmed, she tried to turn her face away, even as her hands gathered his shirt into her clasping fingers. He arched her back and deepened his kiss, dipping her back to receive him. Bess closed her eyes and took her medicine.
He pulled away. She held onto his shirt for support.
Nestling his cheek against hers, he nuzzled the words into her ear. “What say you, Miss Saint Clair? Was that lovemaking or kissing?”
Seized by the hips she was borne up and around; Nicholas held her aloft, then, holding her eyes, he slowly slid her against his body until her dangling feet touched the floor.
He unclasped her fingers from his shirt and drew her arms around his neck, pressing her chest to his. Without a word, he studied her upturned face, his eyes alight with swirls of burnished copper. He covered her mouth, kissing her deeply, then drew away.
Suddenly grasping her hips he parted her legs with his hips and thrust her back against the door.
Bess swallowed the cry that rushed to her lips. She had asked for more, she’d bitten off more than she could chew, and…
Damned before she’d admit to it.
She held Nicholas’s eyes, her chest heaving against his.
A half-smile toyed devilishly with his lips.
His tilted head came down slowly, inch by inch by tormenting inch. His lips a whisper away from hers, he stopped.
“How about that, Miss Saint Clair?” he murmured, “Was that kissing or lovemaking?”
Swiftly he descended and how eagerly she rose to his mouth, but at the last moment his lips glanced off the side of her face and lit on her neck. He set to work with breathtaking purpose, his pulsing lips warmly provocative, a living electrical current on her throat. Her legs were having trouble holding her up.
His hands were under her cashmere sweater; his fingers were cool and long, their delicate stroking utterly sumptuous. Her head fell forward, she was drowning in sensation: his body was hard, his touch was soft, his lips were electrifying and she could stand no more; Bess took a ravenous taste of that damnable jaw before she placed her lips to his ear and whispered her plea to be kissed.
He smiled against her neck.
Understanding flashed with blinding clarity – once before, she had deflected his kiss. He was punishing her.
She turned her head to make it easier for him.
Caressing her shoulders he pulled her away from the wall and bent her backwards; further parting her thighs to accommodate him, he pushed himself between them.
He took to her throat like a honeyeater awash in a wealth of nectar.
Bess gasped silently and shuddered beneath him. Nicholas paused, his lips on her throat, his breathing ragged against her skin. He seemed to be having trouble speaking. “Kissing…” he drew a breath, “…or lovemaking, Be–”
His head flew up. His eyes were lightning. “Just–”
Bess shrieked as Nicholas hefted her from her feet and swung her against him, her legs astride his waist.
His forearms brandishing steel against her back, Nicholas carried her to the bed.
The eiderdown rustled loudly as he threw it back. The bed rocked wildly as she was tossed onto it.
Nicholas knelt above her.
When Tessa Armytage isn’t writing, she likes to take long solitary walks near her country home, thinking about cooking, writing and whatever else tickles her fancy. Bess, Nicholas & A Dog Called Bones is her second book.
To win an e-copy of Bess, Nicholas & A Dog Called Bones
Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below.