|Check out all the 99c Specials here|
Happy Valentine's Day, Readers!
Today, I offer a gift from me and an opportunity to feel the love from some other authors, too. To celebrate Valentine's Day, THE PRINCE CHARMING HOAX and some other great reads are only 99c. (Just click the link below the banner at the top of this post to see them all.)
But's that not all I want to give to you. First, I'm including an excerpt from Chapter 19 below. Second, I'm going to giveaway a copy of My Secrets Discovered, a new novelette by my "sister" Layla Wilcox.
Stay with me after the excerpt for instructions on how to enter a giveaway.
Leah was stretched out in a bubble-filled Jacuzzi tub in their hotel suite when Doug came back from his day of conference meetings. She heard him come in and call her name, but she leaned her head back and closed her eyes, putting her ears below the water so she could pretend not to hear him. A good number of minutes passed, and she wondered how long it would take him to figure out where she was.To win a free ebook copy of My Secrets Discovered by Layla Wilcox, just comment below and tell me what brought Leah's spirits around on Valentine's Day. (Hint: You have to read the excerpt above.)
Finally she heard the bathroom door open and what sounded like a cart being rolled in, but kept her eyes closed. She didn’t move until she felt him kiss her gently on the forehead. When she opened her eyes, she burst out laughing. Doug stood on the steps leading up to the tub completely naked and covered in whipped cream. An open bottle of champagne, two glasses, a small vase of flowers, and a tray of unappealing pastries were atop the cart.
Doug held out a glass of champagne in each hand, and offered her one.
“It’s Valentine’s Day, and I couldn’t get a birthday cake or dinner reservations. Every decent restaurant is booked and every bakery only had heart-shaped cakes. So, I ordered the champagne and whatever cake they could find for me at the restaurant here.” He picked up the plate with a flat, stale-looking pastry assortment. “This leaves something to be desired, so let me be your cake. Come on, eat me.”
Leah stood up and wrapped herself in one of the oversize, fluffy white towels. “You look too good to eat. Why don’t you get in this bathtub, though, and clean yourself off. Then we can talk and drink the champagne.”
She walked past Doug, but stopped at the door. “Let’s hope room service hasn’t been overbooked too, and I can order dinner in the room. I’m starving.” She closed the door behind her without waiting for his reply.
Room service came about twenty minutes later and the wait staff set up a romantic table on the terrace overlooking the Gulf, but Doug still hadn’t emerged from the bathroom. Leah opened the door and stood in the doorway. “It’s safe to come out. I’ve officially defrosted, and dinner is waiting on the terrace.”
He was sitting at the vanity, drinking champagne. “There’s not much left in this bottle,” he said. “Should we order another?”
“I have a bottle of wine outside. Come on, let’s eat dinner.”
Doug stood up and approached her slowly. “I’m sorry, Leah. I know you’re angry that I missed your birthday. Is there anything I can do to make it up to you?”
“No. But I’m willing to let you try very hard. This wasn’t just any birthday, you know.”
“I know. Let me start begging your forgiveness with this.” He pulled her to him and kissed her lips and neck and nuzzled her ear. “I am so sorry, Leah. Please don’t be angry with me. I can’t stand it when I think I might lose you. Please forgive me.”
Doug reached into the pocket of the hotel bathrobe he had wrapped around him, pulled out a small box, and placed it into her hand like a peace offering.
“Open it, my love. It’s your birthday gift.”
Leah took the small, elegantly wrapped box and turned it over several times, then shook it, smiling at him. “Any hints?”
“No. Just open it.”
Leah ripped off the wrapping, not being careful to save the ribbon and lace, as she normally would have done.
“Diamond earrings! Very beautiful, like the roses. Thank you.” She kissed him on the cheek. “Let me put these on so I can dine in style.”
She went to the mirror and replaced the earrings she was wearing with her gift. She turned to show Doug, but didn’t try to hide her disappointment. “So, let’s hit the terrace before the dinner gets cold and ruined.” She smiled briefly as she walked past him and out to the terrace.
“Come pour the wine,” she called back to him when she didn’t hear him follow. She sat at the table but Doug didn’t join her. After several minutes, she was about to go in, but he walked out before she could get up.
He held another package out to her. “Maybe this one will suit you better.”
Leah sat with the box in her lap. It was heavy and wrapped in brown paper with a hand-drawn heart in the center. Inside the heart were their initials, as if written on a tree or scratched on the sidewalk: LG & DD 4-ever. She looked up at him. “What’s this?”
“Your Valentine’s surprise. Open it.”
Leah undid the wrapping carefully, making sure to preserve the inscribed heart, only to find a plain white box with no markings. She lifted the cover and gasped. A copy of The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand lay in the center of the box, surrounded by crumpled tissue paper for protection. She lifted it out carefully and opened the cover. It was a first printing, signed by Rand. A card fell out as she started to turn the pages. Leah retrieved it from the floor with shaking hands, opened it, and read:
Dearest Leah, I know that one day your books will be as well known and dearly loved as those of Ayn Rand. She may be your favorite author, but you are mine. Happy Valentine’s Day, Birthday Girl. Love, Doug
Leah put the card and the book back in the box and stood up, facing Doug. “That is the best gift I’ve ever received. Forgive me for doubting your love.”
They stood across from one another, not touching, but caressing each other with their eyes, until Doug abruptly scooped her up and carried her inside. “I promised you some whipped cream topping, and you are going to get it.”
When he placed Leah down gently in the bed, something on the nightstand caught her eye. She broke out in hysterical laughter as she grabbed the can of whipped cream and squirted it down her top. “I’d rather wear it and have you lick it off me, if you don’t mind.”
Doug’s bathrobe fell to the ground and he leaned over her on the bed, placing his face in her breasts. Leah heard a muffled, “My pleasure,” as she leaned back and let herself be devoured.
Happy Valentine's Day!