Guest Post & Giveaway: HelenKay Dimon
The first hero, Declan, is a just out of the military and looking to find his place in the civilian world. For him, the idea of having a home is pretty compelling. The house he and his brothers inherited from their grandmother provides that opportunity, but nothing is ever that easy.
He's been deployed and moving from place to place. He's tough and used to getting his way. And, I have to admit, there's something about that kind of alpha guy – tough on the outside but mushy on the inside when it comes to the people he loves – that totally appeals to me. One of my favorite parts of a romance novel is watching a hero like that transform. But the first few peeks when you see the hero start to make a move on the heroine are the best.
I thought I'd show you a snippet like this from the Leah's perspective (the heroines). She's planned a business meeting and thinks she's in charge. Then Declan arrives…
Yeah, time to put the brakes on anything but contract talk. She had the man’s entire family history spread out only a few feet away. There was no opportunity for anything but work, which was the right answer anyway. Her father would go from heart attack recovery to a grave if she so much as smiled at Declan too long.
She meant to rub her hands together but clapped instead. The sharp whack wiped out the room’s quiet.“Speaking of work—”
“Were we?” One of his eyebrows inched up, and he managed to make the condescending look seem sexy.
“First, I need to know if you speak for all of the Hanovers.”
She clamped down on a growl. Clearly it was going be one of those evenings. “Your brothers.”
“Consider me the spokesperson.” He rolled back his shoulders and managed to highlight every rippling muscle on his arms and chest. Impressive skills, but no way was she getting sidetracked by all that hotness. “Let’s set some ground rules.”
“Yeah, I would have bet money you’d have ground rules.”
Before he could say something else to tick her off, which she assumed was inevitable, she walked to the back of the house. She didn’t know he’d followed until his husky voice hit her in the back of the neck from only inches away. The shiver that ran through her had nothing to do with fear.
The kitchen sat right in front of them. Instead of hanging out in there she took a left and headed into the dining room where she’d already closed the curtains to the deck and set up some notebooks for them. She’d toyed with the idea of having a notary waiting nearby but figured that was a bit presumptuous. No need to spook Declan this soon.
She kept moving until a table separated them. With her hands resting on the back of the chair at the head of the table, she let her gaze wander over him. No wonder Mallory turned into a giggly schoolgirl around him. He had the Holy-Hell-Hot thing down.
He wasn’t pretty-boy handsome. He had a dark edge that went far past his near-black hair. Strength radiated off him. Control oozed until an invisible wall surrounded him and he silently dared her to break through.
Maybe he learned it through the discipline of the Army, or maybe dear old Charlie passed the trait on, though she was starting to doubt that, but Declan’s self-assurance showed in every line of his body. He walked into a room like he owned it and argued as passionately as if he’d sat in on those fancy lawyer classes with Beck.
To keep from getting thrown off by whatever sly thing was bopping around in his head, she grabbed onto the last thing he said. “You gamble?”
That’s what her investigation suggested, but the quick response had her attention. “Not even a lottery ticket?”
“I don’t believe in luck.” He glanced down at the yellow lined notebooks and pens. “What about those rules?”
Following his gaze, she noticed how she had lined up the edges of the paper with the pens. Man, it looked like she used a ruler. Yeah, nothing like a good case of nerves to bring out a woman’s buried compulsions. “The rules are simple.”
“I’m betting they’ll piss me off.”
She wasn’t sure what to say to that, so she launched into her prepared speech. “No straying off topic. No touching. No chit chat. We negotiate and hammer this out, so you can move on to whatever other state suits you. Preferably one on the East Coast.”
Straightforward and in a calm voice, she ticked them off on her fingers despite the circus act spinning and jumping in her stomach. When she finished, her heart thumped loud enough to drown out her voice. That had to be a good sign. A teacher once told her panic was just a sign of her body preparing her to do whatever she feared doing.
He just stood there. The longer the silence stretched, the more she cursed that teacher and her idiot theory.
For what felt like an hour, but probably barely amounted to minutes, he didn’t move. Didn’t show any reaction until his lower lip twitched. “Go back to the second one.”
"The second thing on your list."
Touching. So much for thinking she’d handled everything well. She tightened her grip on the chair, letting the edge bite into her palm. “You know very well what I said.”
His head dropped to one side. “If this is a business meeting, why are you worried about touching?”
Well, damn. “Don’t read more into that than there is.”
“Is it the idea of me touching you or of you touching me that has you all prickly?”
Talk about a miscalculation. So much for trying to push his attention to business. “Neither.”
“Oh, I don’t think that’s true. You’re a grown woman. We keep running into each other, sparking off each other. Why can’t you admit you’d like to experiment with a little touching?”
If he smiled, she was going to punch him. She might anyway. “Declan.”
“It’s an honest question.” He shot her a you-started-this crooked smile. “A man needs to know these things in advance.”
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This contest is closed. The winner is JYL22075.