I’m delighted to welcome back Callie Carmen to help support her fabulous new addition to her RISKING LOVE series…
Joseph is ready and waiting for you!
Grab him here! https://amzn.to/2pqMsUF
Check out JOSEPH Book Three in the Risking Love series to find out why this automobile executive is everything that Violet wants but can’t have.
Read as a series or as a stand-alone.
by Callie Carmen
COMPLETE FIRST CHAPTER PEEK!
I stood on the landing off to the side of the altar as a bridesmaid for my best friend Jaq. I looked over the wedding guests, searching for that one special person I’d desired for over a year. In the second row, behind Jaq’s parents, I saw my friend Bella. Did I dare look to Bella’s left to see if her date, Joseph, had attended the wedding with her? The man I longed to hold, to cherish, and to love from this day forward? Oh, wait, that was Jaq’s line—shame on me.
There were two problems with what I wanted. He didn’t know I was crazy about him, and he belonged to Bella. Well, at least until after the wedding. The other bridesmaid, my friend Carlie, had told me earlier that Bella was breaking up with Joseph after the reception. For a moment I worried about ruining my relationship with Bella, but then I realized I had to follow my heart. It might be my last chance to find out if he had any interest in me. After today I’d probably never see the man again. That thought shot a stabbing pain right to my chest.
If I found the courage to approach Joseph after Bella dumped him, what would my friends think of me? After all, Bella was their friend too.
If at first, they were mad at me, it would be worth it because, deep in my heart, I knew Joseph was my soul mate. I’d never been surer of anything in my life. He’d lost both of his parents too. He would surely understand the loneliness and longing that overwhelm me at times.
Why should I give up the possibility of true love after I’d already lost so much in my lifetime? Didn’t I deserve some happiness?
Shiznit. I hated self-pity—it never got anyone anywhere good.
I turned my gaze to Bella’s left, just as Jaq and Patrick were about to say their vows. My breath caught and time stopped as I looked into Joseph’s eyes and saw him staring back at me. Why was this handsome man looking at me during the most important part of the ceremony? I froze. I couldn’t look away. I watched as his gaze lowered to my lips. It caused an involuntary response— my mouth opened, and I glided my tongue over my upper lip.
He leaned forward and wrapped both hands tightly around the pew in front of him.
My heart began to skip. Every. Other. Beat.
His eyes wandered to my breasts, which were now heaving from the deep breaths I had to take after unconsciously holding my breath for so long. I shifted the flowers from my right hand and placed my hand over my heart. When I saw that his knuckles were turning white from the intense grip on the pew, I darn near forgot where I was and almost went to him.
A hot blush rushed up my body, over my breasts and up my neck, and the warmth of it didn’t stop until it reached the top of my head. I looked back into Joseph’s eyes and the heat there was so overwhelming that I had to look away.
I tried to focus on the beautiful vows that Patrick was saying to Jaq, but all I could do was question what was going on with Joseph. He wasn’t acting like the sexually repressed man who Bella had repeatedly made clear hadn’t even tried to get to third base with her, even though they’d been dating for a little over a year. He was acting like there was no one else in the church except us.
Was it possible that he’d been waiting for me to be free of the muscle man that I’d been dating up until a couple of months ago? I hadn’t seen him since I broke it off with the guy, so this would have been his first opportunity.
At the back of the church, I stood in the receiving line greeting all of the guests. “Violet, sei troppo bella.” I had to smile at Bella because she was always throwing out Italian hand gestures or words and we’d gotten pretty good at knowing what most of them meant, and in this case, she thought I looked beautiful. “At the reception, us girls would have to be sure to make time to hit the dance floor together.”
“Thank you, and as always, Bella, you look beautiful, too. I can’t wait to hit the dance floor with you and our other friends. Especially since I don’t have a date for this event.”
She leaned in and whispered, “Then you’ll probably have a lot more fun than me.” She slightly nodded her head to the right toward Joseph.
I grimaced. Clearly, she was over him. Thank goodness for that. Maybe if something happened between Joseph and me, I’d be able to salvage my relationship with Bella. God, I hoped so. It was important I talk with her about my feelings for Joseph as soon as possible. I wanted to be honest and upfront with her and let her know I wanted to be with him. Hopefully, she’d approve, but if she didn’t I had to follow my heart. She hugged me, then moved on to the next person in line.
I turned back to greet the next guest, and it was Joseph. He pulled me in for a hug, kissed my cheek, then whispered in my ear, “Sorry to hear that you don’t have a date. The single men will be lining up to dance with you.” His breath on my neck caused me to shiver, and I felt my nipples change into tight pebbled points. “Please save a slow dance for me.”
A nod was all I could muster to confirm that I would indeed save him a dance. When I looked down, I saw that my nipples looked like two missiles ready to launch. How embarrassing.
His eyes had followed mine to my breasts, and the sound of his elongated hiss shot through my body, ending at my clit. We lifted our gazes, and our eyes met. I saw that his were dilated and flashes of light were shooting through them like sparklers that would be lit later tonight at the Memorial Day weekend fireworks celebration.
Thank heavens, he kissed my cheek again and quickly moved on down the line. After that encounter, the rest of the guests who came through the line were a blur because my mind had moved on to fantasies of being wrapped in his arms on the dance floor. I felt like a character in one of the romance novels I like to read.
Wedding party pictures were finally finished, and everyone was having a blast at the reception. Jaq and Patrick were on the dance floor with friends and family members. We had all formed a large circle and were having fun taking turns in the center showing off our dance moves.
When it was my turn, I moved my hips in such a sexy way that all the men started to make wolf calls. One spin around had me catching the smiling eyes of all my friends and their men. Then I looked into Joseph’s darkened eyes. I instantly became embarrassed and had to end my turn. I reached over and grabbed his hand and pulled him to the center for his crack at it.
As I started for the spot he had vacated he reached out and grabbed my hand from behind. With my hand in his, he moved me back to the center.
At his touch, my heart sped up to the fast rhythm of the song that was playing. He spun me once around and I nervously laughed, then he whispered, “Can you Swing?”
It had been a while, but I had been in the Swing Club in high school, so the answer was yes, but all I could manage was a nod.
“Good, then let’s have some fun.”
I placed my right hand on his broad shoulder, and he put his hand on my shoulder blade. It set my body on fire, and I thought I might pass out from the heat. He started with the simple rock step, triple step, triple step. Our rhythm was quickly in sync, so he began to use the kick ball change step. He turned me and even did the change behind the back type moves. Everyone started to clap along to the beat, and Bella, Jaq, and a few others yelled out, “Go, Violet.” The fluid movement of his hips and the pressure on my back had me wishing we were alone. After that fun display, everyone joined in and began dancing together.
In my peripheral vision, I saw Bella head toward Joseph. She took his hand, said a few words to him, then they left the dance floor. I turned in their direction, so I could see what happened next. She led him toward the back exit, and they disappeared outside. She must have decided that it was late enough in the evening to give him her break up news.
Poor Bella and Joseph. Wait—poor Joseph and Bella; that meant he might get in his car and leave and I might never see him again. That felt like a stab to my gut. I knew now he had some interest in me. The scene that had played out during the ceremony and the look in his eyes while I danced were proof that he at least lusted after me. That was a start. I hoped I could build on that if I were given a chance.
Book 1 PATRICK: books2read.com/u/3krqEW Jaq had no interest in a serious relationship because life at an early age had taught her that men weren’t to be trusted. But she wasn’t expecting to meet Patrick the man that might convince her to risk her heart and virginity.
Patrick wasn’t the only man who wanted Jaq, and the other man was willing to kill to have her.
Book 2 NICOLAS: http://books2read.com/u/mqVGQv Carlie planned to finish at the top of her class, get a corporate job, and work her way up the ladder. She refused to risk having a life of poverty ever again. Within her plans, there was no room for a relationship. So she had sworn off men; especially the good Dr. Nicolas Antonis.
Nicolas had other plans. They included her becoming his.
As if Nicolas wasn’t a big enough distraction; Carlie had to worry about her roommate’s, abusive ex-boyfriend, coming for her too.
I started in the book business as a bookstore manager which was the perfect place for me since I was an avid reader. After two years, I moved to the corporate office as a buyer and eventually became a senior book buyer. This was a rewarding career that I loved.
Along the way, I decided to become a stay home Mom. I couldn’t give up working around books altogether. I volunteered to run the book fairs in our small farm town, six per year. At the same time, I started and ran for five years, A Child Oasis Company, with the sole purpose of placing a small book library in the homes of all the needy children in the nearby city. As my children became teens, I found I needed more in my personal life than the volunteer Mom for the schools. I sat down at the computer one day and Patrick, book one of the Risking Love series, was born. Book two, Nicolas is now available and receiving five star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Joseph book is now available for preorder. My latest publication adventure is Dream Catcher which is a short story as part of the Mystic Desire Anthology.
I am lucky that I found my soul mate and married him. Like my characters, I am a firm believer in true love and love at first sight.