Gypsy Heart was my first attempt at a novel. I say attempt because my goal was to make it 65,000 words and submit it to the Harlequin Blaze line. When all was said and done, I was a little over 20,000 words short. No matter though, because after a request for the partial from a pitch I made at a conference, Gypsy Heart was rejected by Harlequin due to my ‘writing style’.
Let me just say Thank You to Julie Leto and Alison Kent, who helped me to realize that being rejected for my writing style wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Gypsy Heart soon found it’s home with an ePublisher, and every now and then I get a reader email saying how it’s earned it’s place on someone’s keeper shelf. Every now and then I also get an email asking about a few of the secondary characters….let’s just say it’s something I always keep in the back of my mind.
“Ms. White has written an intensely sensual book with GYPSY HEART. Gage is every woman’s fantasy… Sable is feisty, self-assured and independent, all wrapped up in a voluptuous body that could bring a man to his knees.” – 4 Blue Ribbons, Romance Junkies
Can a man bent on settling down convince a free-spirited woman that doesn’t believe in “happily ever after” to risk her GYPSY HEART?
Reformed bad boy Gage Dougherty wants to settle down.
Free spirited bartender Sable Castle wants to live up to her bad girl image.
When Gage steps into Sable’s bar there’s an instant attraction that has her throwing traditional roles out the window and chasing him down. But when she finally catches him, can he convince her to give up her free-spirited ways and trust him with her GYPSY HEART?
This scene starts off their first “morning after”. :)
“Insatiable, aren’t you?”
A flush of heat crept up Sable’s neck and she fought a surge of shyness. Did he think she behaved like this with all the men she met? Glancing up from beneath her lashes, she saw that the eyes watching her were full of desire, and something she wasn’t ready to put a name to, so she brazened it out. “Think you can handle it?”
“I’m willing to give it a try.” His lips lifted in a lazy grin
“Then you’ll have to catch me first!” She jumped from the bed and, with heart pounding, dashed naked from the room. Choked laughter and muffled curses sounded behind her, but she didn’t stop until she came to an abrupt halt in the entrance to the bathroom. She had nowhere to run, and that didn’t bother her as much as it should. Gage was right behind her, and she was quickly wrapped in his arms and hauled against his solid chest.
Giggling like a schoolgirl, she turned in his arms and pressed her nakedness against his. “Yes, you do. Now the question is what are you going to do with me?”
“I’m gonna pretend that you didn’t make that easy on me,” he laughed softly and walked her backwards into the small room. “And I’m going to worship every inch of you until neither of us have any energy left.”
A shiver danced down her spine at his declaration and her arms tightened around his neck. Without turning on the lights, he lifted her effortlessly into the tub and her heart fluttered in her chest. She steadied her breathing and fought the urge to stroke her fingers lovingly through his hair. Instead, she just stood there and watched, palms tingling with the urge to touch him.
He turned on the taps and adjusted the water temperature before stepping into the tub with her. He pulled the shower curtain closed behind him, flipped the lever that had the water raining down on them from above and they were engulfed in a hot and steamy semi-dark cocoon.
Pushing her newfound tender emotions to the back of her mind, she reached into the corner and came away with a sponge. She squirted shower gel onto it and, with a slightly sinister chuckle, reached for Gage.
“Whoa!” he said, putting up his hands in front of him defensively.
“What’s wrong?” She blinked at him.
“What did you put on the sponge?”
“Shower gel.” She looked at him and gave an unladylike snort. “I never noticed that you had something against smelling good.” Quite the opposite in fact, his distinctive scent was something that she’d never forget.
“I don’t. But I also don’t want to smell like flowers.”
She held the sponge up to his nose and waited for his response.
“Hmmm, that’s nice stuff. Smells like the ocean or something.”
They laughed together and Sable raised her eyebrows at the hands he still held out in front of him.
Spreading them out to the side, he nodded regally. “You may wash me now.”
Her breath caught in her throat and her pulse raced at the sight of him standing before her in the dim light, magnificently naked with open arms and a devilish grin plastered across his face.
He’s trouble all right!
She let out a low growl of appreciation and started rubbing the sponge over his chest in small circular motions. His flat nipples hardened and poked through the suds the sponge left behind, making her lips part with the need to lick and nibble her way down his body. Trying to maintain some semblance of restraint, she forced her hands to travel slowly up to his shoulders and then back down his chest and under his arms.
Her breasts brushed against his chest as their eyes locked and she ran the sponge over his backside. Gage leaned his head down and placed his lips softly against hers, only to have her pull back teasingly.
“Uh-uh,” she taunted. “Not until we’re both so clean we squeak.”
Gage let out a snicker and wrapped his arms around her once again. “You think you’re running this show?”
“I’m the one with the sponge.”
“I’m the one that caught you and put you in here.” He reached for her hands and they wrestled for the sponge in slippery space. “Ah ha!” he declared and held the sponge over his head in triumph. “I’m the one in charge now.”
She hooted at his antics and made a grab for the sponge.
“Uh-uh.” He slapped her hands away playfully and ducked to the left, letting the spray of the shower hit her full in the face. “You’re the one that made the person with the sponge the person in charge. You can’t change the rules of the game now.”
She sputtered and stepped back in mock defeat. Shaking wet tendrils of hair out of her eyes, she smiled sassily at him. “Ok then, Big Boy. What’s next?”
A shiver ran down her spine and her insides turned to liquid fire at the look in his eyes when Gage gestured to the tile wall and commanded her to “assume the position.”
She faced the tiles and placed her palms on the slick surface, spreading her feet apart. She watched over her shoulder as Gage soaped up the sponge.
Before doing anything else, he gathered her hair up and placed it over her shoulder. When her back was bared completely to him, he rubbed the sponge teasingly from her shoulders to her hips, leaving a trail of tingling flesh in his wake. Hand over hand, he stroked the sponge and his empty hand over skin. She purred, arching her back like a cat being stroked by its master.
“You like that?” he asked softly.
“Hmmm.” Unable to form words, she hummed her pleasure and rested her forehead against the smooth tile. Her mind was relaxed, but her body was awake and begging for attention.
“You like to be touched, don’t you?”
Only by you. Biting down on her bottom lip, she managed to keep her instinctive response quiet. Instead, she just nodded her head.
“I’m going to touch you all over.”
A soft moan escaped as her nipples tightened to an almost painful hardness and her knees softened at his declaration.
“And all I want you to do is stand still. Do you think you can do that for me?”
Taking a deep breath, she forced some words out into the steam. “If you can touch me all over without losing control, I can stand still for you.” She knew it was like waving a red flag in front of a bull, but she couldn’t resist.
Gage stopped stroking her back and placed his hands on the tile wall next to hers. Leaning his body in until his front brushed temptingly against her back, he whispered in her ear. “Really? Would you care to bet on that, sexy lady?”
Turning her head, she could see the evil glint in his dark eyes and a ripple of excitement whipped through her. He seemed to know she needed to keep things light. “Name your prize.”
Chuckling softly, Gage rested his chin on her shoulder and thought for a moment.
“If you move before I lose it, you have to perform a striptease dance for me. And…” he continued before she could interrupt. “You’ll have to give it to me whenever and wherever I ask for it.”
Sable felt a thrill at the conditions. She was also shocked to realize that she trusted him enough to accept a bet like that. Not that it mattered, because she intended to win.
“All right. And if you lose control before I move from this position, I get to tie you up and play until I can’t play any more.”
Gage nipped sharply at her shoulder before pushing away from the wall to resume his stroking. It only took a minute or two before Sable arched her back into his strokes, and her soft moans echoed on the enclosed space.
“You like this on your back, hmm? Close your eyes and imagine how it’s going to feel all over. The soap’s making your skin so slick and smooth my hand just glides across it. No friction at all.”
His hands slid lower on the next stroke, brushing over her butt lightly before starting at the top again. She sucked in her breath at the tease and decided it was time to fight back.
Without moving her hands or feet, she shifted her weight so that her bottom thrust out rudely. She brushed against Gage’s growing erection and the rhythm of his strokes stalled. A surge of power flowed through her at his hesitation. Just because she was the one unable to move, didn’t mean she was without her own weapons.
Soon Gage’s strokes stopped completely and he switched to a circular movement. One that focused on her backside and made her stomach tighten with awareness.
“Oh, yes,” she moaned softly.
“You have a fabulous ass, lady,” he taunted as he stroked his hands over her rounded cheeks. “I noticed it that first night in the pub. Your jeans were tight and stretched nicely over your plump cheeks. You know what I thought when I watched you bending over to get me another beer?”
“I thought ‘Now there’s an ass made for spanking.’”