I think this is almost as good as my debut release with Ellora’s Cave. What you ask? Why my first print book, that’s what! Hot Fusion was originally release in October 2011 in the Oh! Canada line. I was so thrilled for it to be re-released in paperback, along with Letting Jack Watch by Katheryn Wallis. This two book treat is called Canadian Connections.
Hot Fusion is set in a beautiful Ontario town called Niagara-on-the-Lake. I’m fortunate to live close to NOTL and visit frequently. It’s a wonderful area and where the story of Kara and Max unfold. She is a Cordon Bleu chef and he owns a vineyard. In the cooking world when you combine two types of food, like Creole and Japanese for example, it’s called fusion. In this story I combine some steamy stuff between Kara and Max creating a delicious buffet of Hot Fusion. I hope you are inspired to give it a read.
I can’t promote this cover without a shout out to Christian Boeving. He’s the cover model on Canadian Connections. I had the wonderful fortune to meet him at RomantiCon this past October. All the way around he is one yummy guy.
I know Danica will have no problem at all with me talking about Christian, since she has a…ahem…*thing* for the Cavemen in case you haven’t noticed. They seem to turn up here at Unearthly Musings quite frequently.
So feast your eyes upon the delicious Christian, subject of my crush. Le sigh. But, you’ll have to wander on through the excerpt before the reward of Christian 😉 Yes, I can play naughty too, check out some of my other books for that 😉
Copyright © CRISTAL RYDER, 2011
All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.
The afternoon slipped leisurely by and Kara enjoyed a mellow languor she hadn’t experienced in such a long time. Sure, it was the wine and the company, but this little bit of patio time in her hometown was the best medicine.
Max ordered a scrumptious antipasto plate and slid his chair around the table beside her so they could share. Their knees touched, sending little shock waves of desire along her nerve endings to settle between her thighs, keeping her arousal at a nice, pleasant hum. She didn’t move her leg and neither did he. Their connection continued to grow like a live wire sparking between them. She wondered if he was as turned-on as she. And when he glanced at her over the rim of his glass, she knew. The look in his eyes that drove her to distraction as a ripe teenage girl reflected in his gaze now. A little shiver of delight ran down her spine.
She kept glancing at him over the plate of food, unable to take her eyes off him. They had since moved to a nice Pinot Grigio rather than the ice wine and both glasses now sat empty, begging to be filled. She wondered if it was wise to order more. But she longed to continue sitting here with him, sipping wine, people watching and being enveloped in the intoxicating scent of Max and the flowers. Kara was captivated by him all over again.
He draped his arm across the back of her chair in a casual movement and her heart did a little jump when his thumb stroked her bare shoulder. The air between them fairly crackled and she decided the decision had been taken from her. She’d stay. Here, with him, and let jazzy tunes from the hidden speakers wrap them in anonymity.
“So, you liked the wine, eh?”
“Yes, it was very nice. I should do a sweets night featuring your ice wine.”
“I like that idea.”
“Good.” Kara needed to bring something important up but didn’t know how, and was afraid it would shatter the fragile ease that was developing between them. But she had to for her own peace of mine.
“Max. A-are you still marr…” He shook his head and Kara let the word trail away. Relief flooded through her and she didn’t want to press it further right now, or know the reasons he was now single. Time for that later. The fact he was no longer married was all she needed to know.
He gazed at her intently and raised his eyebrows. “Do you want to know why?”
This time Kara shook her head and wagged her finger back and forth. “Not really. At least right now. I just needed to know your, um, situation.”
He sat back and smiled. “Don’t want be the other woman, eh?”
Kara laughed and covered her mouth with her hand, a little embarrassed. “No, definitely not on my bucket list!” She also felt a little ashamed being so thrilled by the news he wasn’t married. Divorce was never easy.
The rest of the afternoon fell to mindless, comfortable banter and Kara’s contentment grew. The stress and hectic days prior began to fade away and she relaxed more as the afternoon wore on.
Kara’s mind began to wander. What would come next? How would they part? Should she ask him to come back and open another bottle of wine? Worry furrowed her brow and she jumped when his hand cupped her shoulder. His fingers traced up the column of her throat and pushed into the curls at her nape, massaging gently. The movement chased the worry from her.
“Mmm, that feels nice.” Kara smiled and faced him. She shivered in delight and he chuckled at her involuntary reaction.
She shook her head and without a second thought leaned toward him. He encouraged her with a gentle pull. Their gazes stayed connected and just before their lips met, Kara’s eyelids fluttered close.
Her breath caught when he kissed her—chaste and gentle, but with an underlying power she longed to unleash. Kara craved it and kissed him back, opening her mouth to dart her tongue out and taste his. He met her with a sudden ferocity that liquefied her insides. She was helpless to him, her muscles slack and weak. If he didn’t have his arm around her, she would have dissolved into a puddle of passion at his feet.
Kara forgot where they were, all sense of place and time vanished. Her hand crept up to the back of his neck and her fingers played with his hair at the nape. Sound faded and Kara was only aware of him, nothing else. She sensed the sexual tension building in him and knew they should slow down before they embarrassed themselves in public. But she couldn’t stop and moved closer to him, needing the feel of his body next to hers.
The sharp ring and vibrating buzz of her cell phone on the metal table pierced the moment and she jolted away, almost panting. Kara couldn’t catch her breath and fumbled to grab the phone and flip it open. It was the bakery number.
“Hel—” Kara cleared the roughness from her throat and glanced at Max, who was flushed and watching her intently. His dark gaze made promises she wanted him to keep. Kara looked away to try to rebalance herself. “Uhm, hello?”
“Hi, Kara.” It was Jilly, one of her co-op students. “Hey, are you all right?”
“Uh, sure. Why?”
“You sound kinda weird.”
Weird? No, just incredibly horny. “What do you need?” she asked a little too harshly and immediately regretted it.
“Oh, anyway, the health inspector is here.”
“What? Holy shit, I completely forgot.” Kara’s passion extinguished as if a bucket of cold water had been sloshed on her. “I’ll be right there.”
Kara quickly gathered her bags and turned to Max. “I gotta go. Totally forgot an appointment.” She cupped his cheek in her palm. “Thank you, it was a great afternoon.”
She stood and ignored the curious looks from the other patrons and dashed from the patio. As she rounded the wall of flowers, she glanced over her shoulder at Max. He leaned comfortably in his seat, his arm once again draped across the back of the chair she had been sitting in. He winked and smiled at her.
That one simple and utterly sexy look totally reignited her passion for him. How could she possibly concentrate on a boring old health inspector now?
Ready for the whole caveman crew? I had the good fortune of posing with when I received my award for Rock-Hard Heat. The reason I look like a huge marshmallow is because I was still in my hazmat costume for the Mayan Survivor Party.
So, are ya’ll beefcaked out? I’m not. Anytime baby!
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