FEATURE: Joan Kilby

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Award-winning author Joan Kilby writes sweet and sexy contemporary romance with a touch of humor. Joan’s hobbies are wine, growing vegetables, chocolate, cooking, traveling, yoga and reading–not necessarily in that order. Happily married with three children and a Jack Russell named Sparky, Joan lives in Melbourne, Australia, the setting for her indie novel, WIN ME. She loves to hear from readers so feel free to drop her a line. For contact details and more info on Joan’s books please visit her website.

Excerpt from Win Me (The Outback Bachelor Ball, Book 1)

Finally. Ellie had waited for Rick’s kiss for what felt like her entire life. Her breath caught in her throat and when he lowered his lips to hers it was everything she’d dreamed of.

His mouth greeted hers softly at first, testing and tasting, nibbling the corners of her lips in a way that made her mouth curl in a smile. She felt him smile, too, and they moved closer, into each other’s arms. He slid his tongue along the seam of her lips and she opened, welcoming him. His tongue swept over hers, stroking and caressing. The pressure of his mouth became more urgent, more demanding and emotion gave way to carnality. She’d always believed kissing Rick would be erotic but she wasn’t prepared for how he set her every raw nerve ending alight.

His hand skimmed down her back to grab her and haul her close. His body was, oh, good Lord, so hard. Pretty words were nice to hear but the heated steel of him burning through the thin fabric of her dress showed her without a doubt how he felt.

He wanted her. He wanted her, Ellie.

And she wanted him, God help her. She dragged his free hand, the one still in her hair, down to her breast. His palm brushed lightly across as if he was deciding how far he was going to go with this. And then with a groan he cupped his hand over her and his thumb and forefinger closed around her nipple. The electric sensation made her body jerk and she accidentally bit his lower lip. Warmth and the copper taste of blood only heightened the animal urges, compelling her to grind her hips against his.

She shocked herself with her actions. In this dress she was a different person – bolder, sexier, flaunting her body, and not afraid to take what she wanted. She bet if she asked to go to his swag now he wouldn’t say no.

“Ellie, I’ve never seen you like this.” His warm breath gusted over her bare shoulder as he pushed the spaghetti strap down. “You should wear dresses more often.”

“Yeah, I can just see myself in a dress on the quad bike mustering cattle –” Wait, what?  Alarm bells rang. “So it’s the dress?”

“Mmm,” he murmured absent-mindedly as he nuzzled his way up her shoulder to her neck. “Very hot.”

Insidious thoughts slithered in like snakes in the grass. He was hitting on her because he thought she was hot in this dress. And because of the make up and the hair style. She’d turned herself into an Amber-clone – all except the blonde hair – and it had worked to attract him. For now. While he might act jealous, and she knew he cared about her, she didn’t fool herself that he loved her the way she wanted to be loved by him. A forever kind of love. If he did, he wouldn’t be talking about going away.

She broke the kiss and buried her face in his neck, her heart beating like a jackhammer. She’d forgotten for a minute that she was trying to forget him. Tomorrow Cinder-Ellie would be back in her jeans and T-shirt and she’d look like a cowgirl again. Because that’s who she was. No amount of make up or fancy clothing was ever going to change her, and she was okay with that. But Rick wouldn’t be.

She should break out of his embrace right now to protect her heart and her pride. Oh, but his chest and thighs felt so good pressed up against her. As did his hands cradling her butt, holding her tightly against him. Every now and then he made a noise in his throat as if he was drowning and losing the fight to keep his head above water.

And she was melting, softening with spreading heat, losing her willpower and rationality. Through the lust haze, a tiny voice wormed into her brain. Did she have to forget Rick this weekend? Now that she had his attention, why couldn’t they enjoy each other before she let him go? As long as she had no expectations and promised nothing herself, what harm would it do to finally find out how it would feel to make love to Rick?

Could she really get busy with Rick and then be strong enough to say goodbye come morning? Honestly, she had no idea. The thought was both thrilling and terrifying. She wasn’t a flirty, sexy banter kind of gal. She didn’t have those things called feminine wiles. She was more of a straight shooter. But tonight, in this dress, she was a different Ellie. Tonight she could spread her wings and see how high she could fly. Could anyone blame her for wanting to explore this new persona of hers, and the freedom it gave her?

Yes, okay, she would do it. Tonight she gave herself permission to be the sexy, desirable woman Rick wanted. Tonight she would have the time of her life with him. And if tomorrow the real Ellie got hurt then she would suck it up and deal with it.

But she wasn’t ready to capitulate yet. She’d put herself out there with Rick and been knocked back too many times to trust that the evening might not still end badly. Besides, being with him as his date was a novelty that she wanted to enjoy.

She eased out of his arms. “Let’s go back inside.”

He blinked, dazed, and became instantly contrite. “What’s wrong? I shouldn’t have kissed you, should I? I shouldn’t have crossed that line.”

“It’s all right. Don’t apologize.” For God’s sake, don’t apologize.

“Then what’s wrong?”

“Nothing. I just want to dance with you.” She smiled and held out a hand. “Coming?”

The dress had given her a new confidence. Or maybe it was the euphoria of kissing him. She looped her arm through his and glided into the make-shift ballroom, feeling as if she was floating ten feet above the plywood flooring. Even if sexy, glamorous Ellie couldn’t last, for tonight at least she was Rick’s girl.

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