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Key of Pearl: A Timeless Novella

Say When RDB BannerSay When Title: Say When

Author: Tara West

Series: Something More (#1)

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Shifting Sands Publishing

Release Date: July 19 2013

Blurb/Synopsis:

He told me to say when, but I can’t. Not with Andrés. It’s so hard to say anything when he’s trailing feather soft kisses down my neck, or when his touch sends hot currents of lust rippling across my skin.

Then there’s the way he smiles and offers soft words of encouragement when I’m creating art, almost like he believes I have talent.

He’s not like any guy I’ve ever met. Not like my ex-fiancée. Not like my father. He’s got me thinking that maybe we can have something more. More than just lust, degradation, and abuse.

And now I’m scared, because that means I’ll have to trust him with more than just my body, but with my heart, too.

Christina Duval

***Warning: this book contains graphic language, sex, and mature situations. Not intended for young adult readers.***


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Tara WestA former Texas high school teacher, I enjoyed coaching the writing team and even the hectic deadlines that came with running the school publications. After taking a break to raise my baby girl, I now work from home as a cover artist.

In my spare time, I loves to read, exercise and spend time with family and friends. I contribute the cover art for my Whispers Series and have designed covers for over 500 other books.

Please visit me at http://www.tarawestauthor.wordpress.com/ or www.tarawest.com where you can check out my Whispers series and sample my artwork.

 

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Excerpt

 

Scene from chapter four…

“So how old are you today, mija?” He asks as he takes a swig from his bottle.

A blush creeps into my cheeks. I’ve heard Spanish speakers use “mija” as a term of endearment. I regain my composure long enough to answer. “Twenty-one.”

His eyes widen. “Wow. Special night. How come you’re sitting here with me?”

I laugh. Sexy and funny. Jackson would have never made such a joke. He always pretends I should be flattered he picked me out of his throng of money-grubbing admirers.

“I just broke it off with my fiancé,” I say, while trying to shake off dark memories of fart breath, sex and puking. I am so ready to move past Jackson. So ready. I realize the only reason I’ve clung to this failing relationship so long is because of my mother.  But too bad. I take a long drink of beer, before swiping my hand across my lips. It’s my life. Time to live it how I want. Or so I keep telling myself. I only hope my resolve will still be strong tomorrow after the beer buzz has worn off.

Andrés is looking at me. I read the uncertainty in his gaze as he holds himself ramrod straight. “Why’d you break up?”

“He treats me like shit,” I say. Then I avert my gaze, realizing I’ve said too much. I don’t want Andrés knowing I allowed a guy to treat me like a door mat. If he thinks I’m strong, maybe he’ll know better than to treat me like shit, too. Maybe he won’t be like other guys. “I don’t want to talk about him,” I say as I look at Andrés. I tilt my chin and do my best to put on a brave face.

Andrés takes a step back, smiles, and holds out his hand. “You want to dance?”

I can’t help but smile. “Yes, but I’ve had a few drinks and I’m a bit wobbly.” I point down at my heels, which have become the bane of my existence. I make a mental note to throw them in a dumpster as soon as I get my hands on a decent pair of shoes.

“It’s a slow song,” he says and nods toward the dance floor.

I follow his gaze, to the couples clutching each other tightly while slowly moving to the rhythm. I hadn’t noticed the music changed.  It’s an old song by Rascal Flats, something sappy that always makes me want to pull my hair out by the roots. Maybe it’s because it’s hard to identify with a song that talks about romance and forever, but I think I can enjoy this song with Andrés.

I tentatively give him my hand, and he pulls me to the floor. He wraps his arms around me as if holding me is second nature. I let out a slow breath as I force my stupid nerves to calm down. I’ve always hated being short. With these heels, I’m barely five foot six, but as I lean into his hard chest, pressing my head against his shoulder, I think we fit perfectly together.

Another slow song, by Carrie Underwood, follows. I wind my arms around Andrés’s waist, relishing the feel of him.

He leans down, his breath a hot whisper in my ear. “Christina, I’m usually not this open, but when I met you at that gas station, I thought you were the prettiest girl I’d ever seen.”

My heart soars as my brain seizes on that thought. Okay, he obviously likes me. Awesome!

“I’m not usually this open, either, but…” I pause as I bite my lip, silently cursing myself for being so stupid. I’m about to say too much. I’m about to make Andrés think I’m a total slut. And I’m not. In fact, Jackson is the only guy I’ve ever been with. Well, the only guy I’ve ever offered myself to willingly.

“But what?” he asks me.

I close my eyes and try to channel the Christina from earlier this evening. The Christina who speaks up for herself and tells people exactly how she feels. Even though what I want right now is very, very bad, that voice inside me is telling me to take it. I open my eyes and I can see the lust in his dark gaze reflecting back at me. I know he’s feeling exactly how I feel. I steel my resolve and summon the courage to speak. “I want to go home with you.”

 

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