First, thanks, Becky, for hosting me on your blog today. I’m happy to talk about “Lights, Latkes, and Love” with your followers. It’s a Christmas/Hanukkah story that started out to be a sweet short story. No, really. That’s what I planned. How difficult could it be, I thought? I mean, I’m a writer. I can write sweet. Can’t I?
Wrong. Apparently I can’t.
When I read that my publisher Crimson Romance was looking for short stories for a holiday anthology I set out to write a lovely Christmas story, full of sentiment and no carnal activity. It would be short, sassy and sexless. Maybe there’d be a chaste little kiss but nothing else. I knew who David and Hannah, the hero and heroine, were. Knew how they’d meet. Figured out a couple complications to throw in their way and we were off.
The first thing that happened was that, when they kissed for the first time, David kept trying to, shall we say, deepen the kiss. And Hannah liked it. So I let that go. After all, a little French kissing wasn’t all that graphic. I could still keep to my sweet love story idea, couldn’t I?
Then, the editor asked to have the story expanded to novella length. She suggested I amp up the heat a little bit, show more of the attraction between the hero and heroine. Fade to black before the actual love scene if I wanted but walk them right up to that bedroom door. I agreed.
On their third date, Hannah’s roommate had gone out of town for the weekend and David had plans. As I set it up, I had the happy couple steaming up the windshield very effectively as he told her what they were. Then he decided actions spoke louder than words and he acted on some of those plans. And she liked that, too. It was close to embarrassing. For all three of us. The hero and heroine because they were in public, for heaven sakes. Me because I was once again failing at writing a sweet story.
With great difficulty I got them off the street and into the house where they were safely out of sight and where I might be able to salvage some of my resolve to finish a now-slightly-hot romance without being in bed with them.
Failed. Again. Once they got started, it was impossible to get them to stop. I couldn’t figure out a way to segue to the morning after without leaving the reader, not to mention the couple, in limbo. So I flung wide the bedroom door and let them live out their fantasy.
I’m now thinking maybe another holiday would be better for a sweet romance. Maybe Easter. Arbor Day? I’ll figure it out. Meanwhile, here’s the blurb for “Lights, Latkes, and Love” which releases on November 24th, as well as an excerpt. And, if you’ll leave your name and email in the comments, I’ll be happy to gift a copy of the novella to one lucky reader.
Ah, the holidays. David Shay can’t get enough of the December festivities. He especially enjoys sharing his love of the season with the underprivileged children at his non-profit organization SafePlace for Children and Parents. Hannah Jenkins, on the other hand, turns into a jaded Scrooge every year on Black Friday. As manager of a large retail store, she’s seen first-hand how the rampant commercialism of the holiday can bring out the worst in people.
When David’s organization is the charity Hannah’s boss picks for their annual donation, it falls on her to organize a huge holiday party, whether she likes it or not.
Can a nice Jewish boy—with the help of some Christmas lights, a little girl, and a latke party—teach Hannah the true meaning of the season and guarantee them both a New Year’s Eve kiss to remember?
He yanked on the steering wheel and pulled over to the curb. Without saying anything, he turned off the engine, unclipped his seatbelt, and slid toward her. He wrapped his arms around her and claimed her in a kiss he hoped would answer her question.
When he had thoroughly explored her mouth with his lips, tongue, and teeth, he eased off—but didn’t release her. Instead he began kissing along her jawline until he reached her ear. “What I have in mind is to start like that,” he whispered, “then, if it’s okay with you, I’ll unwrap you with all the attention I’d give to the best present I ever got.”
He pulled back. “I’d start with this.” Matching his actions to his words, he began opening the front of her coat, pushing it to the side so the front of her dress was exposed. “After I take care of those buttons, you’ll take me to your bedroom and I’ll work on these.” He slipped his fingers behind the V at the neckline of her dress and undid the top button. His index finger strayed under the cup of a lacy-feeling bra to the soft breast underneath.
“When I’ve gotten your dress undone, I’ll be able to see this lacy thing you’re wearing. Doubt that I’ll look at it too long, though. It would have to go.” He brushed the palm of his hand over one breast and felt her nipple begin to pucker and harden. “Because I definitely want to kiss what’s behind it.”
He stopped playing with her clothes and drew her close again. Beginning at the swell of her breasts, now exposed, he kissed and licked his way up to the notch between her collarbones. “Then, after I get both our heart rates going, I’ll find out if what else you wear under this dress is as lacy as your bra.” His hand slid up her thigh to the edge of her panty leg. “Oh, good. I won’t have to worry about getting you out of tights.”
He could feel his own arousal increase as he continued to explore her hip, her belly, and the smooth bit of something silky that covered her sex. It was getting tougher to focus on seducing her with words when all he really wanted to do was get her into a bed someplace and finish the seduction with his body.
He heard her swallow—gulp, really—after she licked her lips a few times to moisten her mouth. “Go on,” she said, “What else?”
“Then, I’ll finish undressing you. It might be challenging to get all your clothes off because I imagine it’ll be difficult to keep from kissing up your neck and finding your mouth again. Just like it is now.”
She moaned as he demonstrated with a kiss what he meant. He wanted her so badly that he had a hard time keeping the kiss under control.
“After you’re all undressed, I’ll lay you down on your bed where I can see how beautiful you are. And I’ll watch you while I take off what I’m wearing. Then I’ll lay down beside you.” He brushed his thumb over her mouth. “Do you like what I’ve got planned so far?” he asked.
Peggy, it was a pleasure having you take over the blog today to tell us about your holiday novella. I can't tell you how much I love the fact you couldn't keep it sweet - we East Coast girls are wanton. ;) I ♥ you, woman!
Don't forget to leave your name and email in the comments below for a chance to win a free copy of Lights, Latkes and Love by Peggy Bird.