When Xcite invited me to write a romantic novella for their upcoming Secret Library series, my first thought was hell yes. Then I read their call where they specified they wanted “strong Alpha male heroes,” and my first thought was uh-oh. My male heroes tend to be, well, the opposite of alpha males. They’re usually a little geeky, kind of quiet, and sometimes even clumsy. I don’t know why men like that make me hot and wet, but they totally do. Maybe it’s because I like to see them come alive in the presence of the right woman.
Excerpt from “Safe Haven”
It was easy to talk about Shar, it gave Kallie something to think about besides Darrin sitting on her couch with his easy posture. His long fingers wrapped around the mug. Those blue eyes which seemed, impossibly, to be getting brighter and bluer as afternoon slipped into evening.
‘Thank you for letting me stay here,’ he said. ‘I feel ... like a ...’ He dipped his head to sip at his coffee.
‘I don’t even know what you’re doing here.’ It was out before she meant it to be, before she thought it through. ‘I mean ...’ she started. Shit, what did she mean? She meant she wanted to know everything: where he’d come from, what he was on his way to, whether he would stay just for a little while to strip her down and kiss the lonely parts of her body. If the answer to that was yes, that he would stay and then go, she thought she could let her guard down, invite him in. But she didn’t even know how to ask it.
‘I know what you mean,’ he said, and she thought he actually might.
‘What are you doing here?’ she asked.
Darrin seemed to consider this. ‘I’m a photographer, in LA. I got burnt out. My photos were getting ... stale. So I took a little time to ride around the country. See if I could find my, I don’t know ...’ He looked at her, that clear blue gaze steady and strong, the weight of it sending her desire up through her thighs, into the heat of her cheeks. ‘...passion again.’
Kallie returned the gaze as long as she could, savouring the stream of lust through her body, and then she lowered her head to stare at the surface of her coffee. ‘So you’re only passing through?’
‘Yes,’ he said. And suddenly, ‘I’d like to touch you.’
The words, the ease with which he’d said them, the strength, and his bright blue gaze as it fell on her, all of it made her feel unsteady again, as if gravity was changing its laws every second.
‘Nice segue,’ she said, trying to keep things light, refusing to admit the impact he was having on her.
He laughed, shook his head, setting his coffee on the table. ‘I feel stupid, like this. Not being able to get up and come to you, to make the first move, but, well ...’ He waved a hand at his calf, the pant leg still rolled up to his knee, the swelling visible from where she stood.
‘So you’re saying you’d like me to make the first move?’ Her smile surprised her; it felt sleek and sly. What was she doing? She held her cup tighter, as though that might stop the words from coming out, or stop the tumbling, falling lust that filled her stomach.
‘I’m saying I’d like someone to make the first move,’ he said. ‘And sadly, I’m clearly not up to it.’
‘Well, that could be a problem, don’t you think?’ She toyed with her coffee cup, hearing the tease in her own voice, feeling both excited and embarrassed by its obviousness. So much for not touching him. For not letting him touch her.
‘Please come here and kiss me,’ he said.
No one had ever asked her please like that before; no one had ever asked anything so simple. He wasn’t asking for permission, nor if she was interested. Instead, he was laying his desire out there so clearly and asking her to help him reach it. She’d never known anyone so quietly confident, so willing to ask for what he wanted.
Her mind, that last bastion of safe choices, shut off all its alarm systems as his request. Her body, already willing and wanting, helped her put the cup on the table without spilling it, and go to him. She thought she’d feel nervous or awkward making the first move. Instead, the closer she got, the more her body seemed to know what to do, how to settle itself near him without touching his injured calf, how to put herself where she needed to be in order to do the thing she’d been wanting to do since he first walked up her driveway: kiss him.
Shanna Germain claims the titles of writer, editor, leximaven, vorpal blonde and Schrodinger’s brat. Her work has appeared in places like Best American Erotica, Best Bondage Erotica, Best Erotic Romance, Best Gay Romance, Best Lesbian Erotica and more. Visit her wild world of words at www.shannagermain.com
The Secret Library is a new range from Xcite Books which will appeal to the female romance reader market. Each book contains three specially commissioned novellas guaranteeing a satisfying and varied selection.
The story content is relationship led with a strong alpha male hero, a level of conflict and a climactic, explicit ending.
The covers are deliberately designed without visual imagery to be discreet. These books could be comfortably read in public, given as gifts and left on a bedside table.
The Secret Library contains six books with three erotic romance novellas in each:
Traded Innocence – Toni Sands, Elizabeth Coldwell and K D Grace
Silk Stockings – Constance Munday, Jenna Bright and Lucy Felthouse
One Long Hot Summer – Elizabeth Coldwell, Penelope Friday and Shanna Germain
The Thousand and One Nights – Kitti Bernetti, Primula Bond and Sommer Marsden
The Game – Jeff Cott, Antonia Adams and Sommer Marsden
Hungarian Rhapsody – Justine Elyot, Charlotte Stein and Kay Jaybee