Title: Hidden Scars
Author: Amanda K Byrne
Series: Hidden Scars #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 22, 2015Summary:
Sometimes the past won’t stay where it belongs.
Sara’s number one rule of dating: closed off, secretive men need not apply. Years of therapy helped her move past the damage done by her emotionally abusive boyfriend, and she’s ready to date again. Someone funny, laid back, and easy to talk to. All things her coworker Taylor isn’t.
Taylor’s quiet. Too quiet. He operates in permanent stealth mode, and he hides his secrets as well as Sara does. She doesn’t want to be attracted to him, but after a night spent in a hotel room together, trapped by a blizzard, she can’t deny there’s a fire-hot connection between them, waiting to ignite. Their working relationship inches closer and closer to friendship, until one day she gathers her courage and kisses him.
It’s the match Taylor was waiting for.
What starts as a sweet, fumbling friendship quickly becomes a passionate and intense affair. Just when Sara’s starting to feel safe in Taylor’s arms, his secrets come out, and she wonders if she’ll ever be able to stop looking over her shoulder.
She let the conversation lapse, mechanically eating most of the basket of fries. She was going to kiss him. It was the one step she could take. Maybe it was ahead of schedule, but they didn’t have one, did they? No written directive proclaiming the kiss had to come after so many more weeks of denying she really wanted to know what this man looked like naked.
Nerves resurfaced with her resolution. She excused herself and hurried to the restroom. The warm water ran over her hands as she soaped them, ridding her skin of the last of the salt. Taylor had already paid their tab by the time she returned, no steadier than when she’d left. Heart beating at a rapid pace, she brushed past him when he held the door open for her. Jittery excitement rose with each step toward the street her bus stop was on. If she was going to do this before she could talk herself out of it, she’d have to spring it on him. Trying not to telegraph her intent, she gave him a quick smile and turned to walk off, toward her bus stop. Then she spun around and kissed him. He didn’t respond. His lips remained immobile against hers, and a flush worked its way up her neck to the tips of her ears. Dropping onto her heels, she offered him another tight smile and headed off to her bus stop.
Stupid. Stupid stupid stupid to attempt something with a man who had only recently given her any indication he might be interested in something more. Her heels clicked over the sidewalk as she hurried toward the bus shelter, away from Taylor. The best, or worst, part of all of it was he’d probably act like nothing had happened.
Best. Best thing. It would mean they could continue to work together without awkwardness.
The part of her brain that wasn’t working overtime to rationalize the situation registered the sound of footsteps coming up behind her. Her shriek of surprise was muffled by a hot, firm mouth, lips molding to hers, begging her to respond. Taylor’s hands slid down, over her hips, gripping and yanking her to him, and her arms wound around his neck as she opened for him. His tongue tangled with hers, giving her exactly what she needed, lust and heat and a kind of claiming that crushed her doubts to a million tiny pieces.
She kissed him back, licking into his mouth, giving him more than he’d asked for, bound and determined to make him remember this one kiss, as if it was the only one they’d ever share.
The kiss was all demands. There was no softness, no gentle exploration. The need that had flared to life as his mouth continued to assault hers ratcheted higher, and she forgot they were on a crowded sidewalk during rush hour. She wanted that mouth all over her. On her neck. Her breasts. Over her belly. Between her thighs. Especially there, stoking the fire until it flamed out of control.
The kiss broke, the two of them panting, his eyes cloudy with desire. “Sara.” His hands were in her hair, and she dimly wondered where the pins holding it up had gone. He kissed her forehead. “You should go home,” he murmured.
Yes. Going home would be good. He should come with her so they could continue this with far less clothing. “Stay safe.”
His lips brushed over hers, and then he was gone.
You know these. The things where you dart furtive glances around, making sure no one can see you indulging in your…Guilty pleasure.
I’m pretty up front about my likes and dislikes, but I’ve got a few that I’m not all that keen on revealing for the teasing and/or lectures it might get me.
Like movie theater popcorn. This stuff is sooooo bad for you, with its fake butter and double count of your daily ration of salt, but sometimes I just have to have it.
Or Thirty Seconds to Mars. The band has plenty of eager and vocal fans, but I’ve kept my fandom under wraps (until now). Why? My friends are music snobs. I’m kind of a music snob. And the BF is one of the biggest music snobs I know, but at least for him, it makes sense (he’s a classically trained musician). The sound of Thirty Seconds to Mars is too slick and overproduced for me to really take them seriously, but I like them anyway.
Reruns of The Hills falls on the list, too. When it was still on MTV, I was much, much better about going to the gym. I’d climb on the elliptical machine and stay there until the episode was over, and I got deeply invested in the pseudo-relationship between Lauren and Brody. Like, I was really disappointed when they couldn’t work it out and get back together.
This last one is going to make me sound like a total snob, but I can’t help it. I am a film snob. I have a membership to the Seattle International Film Festival, and I go every year. Foreign films are my jam. And while I’ll happily watch good action movies (you know, the ones with an intricate plot, fast pace, and preferably starring Andy Lau), I sometimes need to watch a particularly bad action movie. Ones with unnecessary explosions, fight scenes that go on forever, and ridiculous, over-the-top plots that are so far off the plausibility scale it’s laughable.
Are you game to admit your guilty pleasure?
When she’s not plotting ways to sneak her latest shoe purchase past her partner, Amanda writes sexy, snarky romance and urban fantasy. She likes her heroines smart and unafraid to make mistakes, and her heroes strong enough to take them on.
If she’s not writing, she’s reading, drinking hot chocolate, and trying not to destroy her house with her newest DIY project. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and no, it really doesn’t rain that much.