Amber Lea Easton grew up in Hartford, South Dakota, where she spent her time daydreaming of big adventures over the horizon under a giant blue South Dakota sky. Now living in Colorado, she is an avid traveler who incorporates her real life travels into her novels as much as possible (minus the illegal activities her characters become immersed in--she swears). To her, setting is another character in the novel and often serves as an inspiration. Although she is a romantic suspense author, she's an avid reader of all genres or "whatever turns her on in the moment". Love is her motivation for all things--whether it be writing, traveling, playing with her dogs or hanging with her two teenagers--if it's not done with love, then what's the point?
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Kiss me Slowly
Trapped in a set-up that could have him in jail or dead by Monday, Jonathan Alexander trusts no one in his inner circle. It’s Saturday. His only hope is Grace Dupont, the best forensic accountant in Miami. But there’s a glitch with that idea. She’s also his ex-girlfriend who'd rather watch him drown than throw him a life vest. Going to her feels desperate…because he is.
Grace enjoys seeing Jonathan squirm. On your knees boy, she thinks as he pitches for her help. Always a sucker for the dark-haired-blue-eyed boys, she risks her precariously balanced life of secrets to help him. Helping him slaps a target on her back–she’s the key to proving his innocence and that’s a bad, bad thing.
Tangled up in a whirlwind of conspiracy, murder, million dollar money trails and diamond smuggling, Jonathan and Grace flee to the sea to stall for time to prove his innocence. Romance sizzles beneath Florida Keys’ sunshine. Both scoff at happy endings. Both doubt justice. Both know each kiss could be their last.
“Let me go, Grace,” he whispered as more sirens sounded outside. By now he was certain they had found traces of blood in the sand, found her slippers, were searching for them. “No one will ever know about your involvement. I swear. I won’t expect you or Jerry to come forward with what you’ve found. Just get out of town. Forget about me, about this. Go.”
The lights reflected in her eyes. “The evidence…you’ll be arrested.”
“Probably.” He tried to smile but the effort simply was too much. “Let me go. I am sorry…for everything. Past and present. Forget you ever saw me again, Crazy Gracie. Protect yourself.”
“Stop being stupid.” Her hold on his arm tightened. “I know what I’m doing.”
“Running from the police makes us look like we have something to hide.”
“We do have something to hide,” she muttered, her gaze drifted over his shoulder toward the front windows. “We’re in this together now, Jon Ryan. Decision has been made.”
He pulled at the stickiness of his shirt and grimaced at the blood that had trickled to his fist. He noticed then that he had dripped blood on her floor, bloody fingerprints on her alarm box. “Damn it, Grace. I’m bleeding all over the place. I’ve probably left a blood trail a mile wide that leads directly to your front door.”
“Upstairs.” Her fingers curled through his and pulled him toward her apartment. “Sit.” She shoved him down on the edge of her bed. Sitting beside him, she ran trembling fingers across his shoulder. “Does it hurt?”
“I don’t know, maybe, yes,” he said with complete honesty. Shock pumped adrenaline through his veins.
Frowning, she grabbed her cell phone and ran to the kitchen. He heard her talking first to Simon and then to Jerry before returning with a glass of water that she shoved into his hand. “Drink this, stay hydrated.”
“I’d prefer whiskey.” He drank the water, but couldn’t take his gaze from the blood that stained her. His blood on her. “Dead or jail by Monday. I knew it.”
“You’re not dying.” She tugged his T-shirt over his head. Her eyes snapped with an inner fire that hypnotized him. “If you’re going to be teamed up with me, I need you to fake some optimism.”
Regret washed over him for the things he had never said, for not following through with their plans, for not being the man she had expected him to be, for years of wasting time with if-onlys. Bad timing for regret.
“Bloody mess,” she whispered.
He glanced at the blood dripping down his chest and used his fingers to find the bullet wound that had taken a good chunk out of the top of his left shoulder. He finished the water and carefully set the glass aside while avoiding looking at her face.
Her hands were on him, too, examining his shoulder. When she leaned across him, her breasts brushed against his face. Perfectly round and tan, barely concealed by the plunging green fabric.
God, what he wouldn’t give for a taste. God, what he would give for an ounce of his sanity to return. No time for this kind of thinking. No time.
“Just a graze. You’ll live,” she said. “I have bandages. Simon will be here soon.” She moved like a flash of lightning between the bed and the bathroom. She returned with hands juggling a washcloth and a first-aid kit.
“This will have to do until Simon arrives.” Pressing between his legs, she smoothed the washcloth over his shoulder, chest, arm and back with a tenderness that broke his heart. “You saved my life. You took a bullet that was meant for me. You said it yourself. I was the target.”
“I’m no one’s hero, Grace,” he whispered. “You know that better than anyone, don’t you?”
“You’re not exactly the scrawny teenager I remember, sailor boy.” Her fingers traced down his bare chest, face alive with curiosity. “I keep trying to hate you but end up…not.”
“You have blood on your dress.” He fingered the strap in question that had slipped off her shoulder. “You should probably take it off.”
“Careful. We can’t go there.” Sand clung to her neck and stuck to the tangles in her hair. The light from the bedside lamp shadowed her face.
“I meant change out of it, not…well, maybe I meant take it off. But then we’d be crossing lines that you don’t want to cross.” He let his fingers trail down her arm. “That would be wrong. Terribly wrong.”
“You are nothing but trouble.”
“You always liked trouble.” He rested his right palm against the bed, supporting his weight on his healthy arm.
“Listen carefully to me.” She pressed her finger against his lips. “I’m high on adrenaline, we’re alone, no witnesses, no regrets. One kiss won’t hurt anyone.”
“No witnesses, no regrets…” Heat flooded his veins. “Adrenaline…”
“If I don’t do this now, I’ll hate myself in the morning.”
“You mean you’ll regret it when they lock me up in the morning and throw away the key because you didn’t kiss me one last time?”
“Exactly.” She straddled his lap.
“You weren’t supposed to agree.” He smiled despite the circumstances.
“Shut up, sailor boy. Kiss me.”
She kissed him as if savoring the taste. Her hair fell forward, locking them in a caramel-colored veil of intimacy. Eyes open, they stared at each other as their lips moved against each other’s.
His hands slid up her long thighs, over her panties and pressed against the smoothness of her back. Every stroke of her lips against his awakened pure need in his veins. He no longer cared about what was right or wrong. All he wanted was her mouth on his, his hands on her body and her skin against his.
With a quick yank, she pulled her dress over her head. Breasts bared, she pressed him down on the bed and laughed against his mouth. “This is crossing all kinds of boundaries and breaking every rule I can think of.”
“Just like the old days.” He smiled against her lips. His hands moved over her bared breasts. The pain in his shoulder failed to slow him down. He didn’t know who groaned or if they both did, but the sensation of her flesh filling his palms trumped common sense.
Her bare foot slid over his leg, hands curled into his hair, and body flattened against his. All the anger, the terror and confusion poured from him as he deepened the kiss with an urgency that bordered on desperation. The silky warmth of her mouth erased his pain. Kissing her felt like coming home from an exhausting, lonely journey.
“A kiss…that’s all I wanted,” she muttered against his chin. A shiver quaked through her body when she sighed.
“I want more.”
“Impossible. We can’t.”
“We can do whatever the hell we want, Grace.” Despite the burning pain in his left shoulder, he maneuvered so that his body covered hers. He wanted more than a kiss. He wanted more heat.
“Jonathan…” Caution drummed beneath her tone but her eyes snapped with desire. “We can’t. Too dangerous. We can’t get distracted. Things are complicated enough.”
He dropped his forehead against hers and cursed timing. Her breasts flattened against his bare chest. Skin on skin. Blood on her flesh. Pain in his shoulder.
“I know you’re right, but…I can’t help but want more than a kiss.”
“It’s adrenaline talking. Shock.” She fisted her hands in his hair and held him close. “That’s it. Nothing more.”
“Adrenaline, huh? That’s your theory?” His lips moved over her neck. He felt her squirm, felt her legs part, felt her hips arching toward his. She wanted him as much as he wanted her.
Her hands moved over his back before fisting in his hair and pulling his face away from her skin. “Jonathan…please…stop.”
He curved his hand over the side of her face. Separated by a mere inch and a few pieces of clothing, he wanted more than anything to be inside of her. This close, alone, in the dark, he couldn’t help but remember what it had been like for them as two fumbling teenagers who had felt like immortals.
“And it has nothing to do with the mess you’re in,” she continued as his thumb caressed her cheekbone. “Our story ended over a decade ago. You wrote the ending, remember?”
He kissed her swollen lips as slowly as she had first kissed him. Tenderly. Eyes wide open. He knew she was right. A wall existed around her that he knew he couldn’t break through, not with the limited time they had left.
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