I want to welcome Tess Delacour back to my blog. Her new release,
Hello, Goodbye, is the second book in her romantic suspense series, The Murphys.
Mr. Push Pull is about to meet Ms. Irresistible Force. The result? Explosive!
Ryan Murphy and Jenn Kowalski were made for each other. Convincing him of this may take some persuasion. She’s a no nonsense girl who doesn’t believe in tiptoeing her way through life. He’s a damaged man who can’t trust a woman. Can she pull him in before he pushes her away?
Jennifer Kowalski watched her best friend, Kate Shaw—now Kate Murphy—dance with her new husband, Daniel. It was the traditional first dance, and the bride and groom had eyes only for each other. The song ended and the band requested the wedding party join in the next dance. Jenn looked around for Ryan Murphy, best man and her counterpart at this shindig. She located him leaning lazily against the bar, nursing a beer. She stared at him across the room and her body tingled from head to toe. Ooo la la. The man was gorgeous in a tux. She wondered what he looked like underneath those clothes.
Many a late night fantasy featured him in a whole lot of nothing. He was well over six feet, maybe six-three. She was tall at five-ten and not many men towered over her, but Ryan made her feel petite. He wore his coal-black hair cut super short and it looked soft and glossy. She fantasized about raking her fingers through those silky strands. He had dark brown eyes; so dark they looked almost black. The retinas and irises blended into one, giving him a mysterious air, like they were hiding secrets. His face was square- shaped, with a strong angular jaw. He didn’t smile often but when he did a dimple appeared on each cheek making him appear less menacing. She wondered why he always looked aloof and remote. Life was too short to live guarded all the time. He had a strong muscular build and it was obvious he worked out. She knew he’d played football in high school and college. It seemed he worked at staying in shape since those days, no going to gut for this guy.
He wasn’t moving away from the bar toward the dance floor on his own. Guess she’d have to strong-arm him into this. Well, she was the maid of honor and it was her job to make this the perfect day for Kate. She walked toward the disobedient best man, held out her hand, and gave him a big smile.
“Come with me. I promise it will be painless.” He scrutinized her from head to toe, but otherwise didn’t move a muscle. “Come on, Murphy. Get the lead out.”
With a frown, he took a slug of the Killian’s bottle he held. “I was assured I would not have to dance at this wedding. I hate dancing. I suck at it.”
“Tough shit. You’re the best man. It’s part of your job. The speech and the dance, that’s all you’re required to do.”
A lascivious smile spread across his face. “I got to plan the bachelor party, too. You want to hear about that?”
“No, thank you. I’ll pass. Come on, man up and get over it.” She grabbed his hand and started walking, dragging him behind her. “It’s a slow song. All you have to do is put your hands around my waist and sway. How hard can that be?” He put the brakes on and dug his heels into the floor. “Are you coming willingly or do I have to get your mother involved? You really want Nora dragging your ass out there?”
A pained look crossed his face. “You’re mean. When you put it that way, I guess I have no choice but to handle it. Let’s get this over with.”
She pulled him toward the center of the floor where the other couples were already dancing. He slid his hands around her hips and his palms glided over her ass. She cocked one eyebrow up at him but didn’t say a word. She snaked her arms up around his neck and they swayed side to side.
“This isn’t bad,” he said in a low drawl as he squeezed her butt.
“Seriously? You’re going there?”
“Why not? If I gotta suffer you should, too.”
Jenn was feeling many things but suffering was not one of them. She’d had a juvenile middle school girl crush on this man since she’d met him the previous year at Kate’s house. They’d watched a football game and argued over referee calls. She’d been right about a penalty, and he’d had a hard time accepting she might know as much about football as he did. They’d run into each other a few times during the wedding planning, but nothing had come of their encounters. Jenn wouldn’t mind going out with Ryan. The zing of attraction flew between them and he seemed a likable guy.
They had a lot in common, including their jobs. They were both lawyers at the District Attorney’s Office, although in different sections. Their work paths seldom crossed. To her chagrin he hadn’t taken the bait she’d dangled. She let him rock her side to side, and enjoyed the feel of a strong man’s arms wrapped around her. He smelled incredible. She caught a whiff of cologne, but she couldn’t tell where it left off and his own scent began. It was a woody, earthy smell, and reminded her of sunny days spent outdoors. Their bodies pressed closer together as they danced, and his heat soaked through her dress, loosening her muscles until she felt like she’d melt in a puddle at his feet. Muscles rippled under her fingers and she inhaled sharply. His scent and warmth held her captive.
Ryan loathed dancing. He felt like a big lummox stomping around on the dance floor. His brother, the groom, had promised him he could pass on the chore. Of course, Jenn Kowalski never got the memo.
If he hadn’t come out, his mom and sister Megan would’ve been all over him. Megan was dancing with Dan’s police partner Zach, and his parents were the other couple on the floor. To his utter shock it wasn’t too bad. Jenn was a beautiful woman and he was enjoying her indignation at his hands on her butt, a very fine butt. He chuckled to himself and she eyed him warily. The woman was tall. It was kind of nice not feeling like the Jolly Green Giant with a girl for a change, and it didn’t hurt that she was gorgeous. Her long auburn hair and hazel eyes were striking. She didn’t have much in the way of curves, but her long slender body felt nice pressed up against him. He knew she was athletic and into sports but this was the first time he’d had his hands on her. She felt good beneath his palms, lean but soft at the same time. He pulled her closer and his own body came alive. She had a killer smile and flashed it all the time. He looked at her face and that smile washed over him, filling him with happiness. That was a feeling he’d lost touch with the last few years.
He’d almost asked her out after the first time they’d met at Kate’s place. They’d clicked that day, arguing over football calls and sipping the Oktoberfest beer she’d brought to the party. It had been fun flirting and exchanging barbs with her. He’d changed his mind, though. The only women he spent time with these days were ones he never spent more than a night with, scratching an itch, and those encounters were few and far between. He’d pulled back from attempting relationships after Diana. Being jilted at the altar did that to a guy. It had been a long time since that hellacious day, but he still couldn’t shake it. He knew he was bitter. Every time he considered asking someone out his mind went back to that horrible time. Women couldn’t be trusted. They were all after something. Be it money, status, career advancement, or God knew what else. Jenn Kowalski was not a one-night stand kind of gal and diddling his new sister-in-law’s BFF was a bad idea. Wonder what she was after? She was a lawyer after all. Maybe she was looking for a guy to step on as she climbed the career ladder. He had no desire to find out what her game was.
He inhaled and caught a hint of perfume. She smelled delectable. He leaned in closer and gave her hair a sniff. Mmmm. Leaving one hand on that mouth watering ass, he stroked the other up her back until his palm met silky skin. Her hair cascaded over the back of his hand in a slow slide. The dress was getting his motor running, too. It was a pink, strapless number with a high slit up the thigh. It showcased those mile-long legs of hers and made him wonder what it would feel like to have them wrapped around his waist while he thrust into her. Whoa, cowboy, time to pull back on those thoughts. He did not need a hard-on while dancing with the maid of honor.
What the hell was happening here? Ryan pulled her closer to him as they moved with the music. His fingers were stroking lazy circles on the skin above her dress and it felt divine. That was a definite erection popping out to greet her. He nuzzled her hair and if she wasn’t mistaken…inhaled. Hmmm, interesting development. If memory served, those were signs of interest. She wound her arms tighter around his neck and rested her chin against his shoulder.
“What’s the name of your perfume?” he whispered in her ear. She glanced at him in surprise and smiled.
“It smells good.” Heat flowed through her veins like lava. She felt like she’d been drugged. What was happening to her? The song ended and he escorted her off the dance floor. They walked toward the bar side by side.
“Can I buy you a beer, Ryan?”
“It’s an open bar, Jenn.” He chuckled.
“I know.” She gave him a flirty grin. He ordered them each a Fat Tire and handed her the beer. “To the bride and groom.” He clinked her bottle with his.
“To dancing with the hottest guy in the room,” she toasted him back. His eyes narrowed but he didn’t say anything. Jenn was hoping he’d take the lead and ask her out. He wasn’t getting the hint, however. Jiminy Crickets, guess she had to do everything. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. “Ryan, would you like to maybe go out sometime? In a dating capacity, I mean.”
A frown marred his face and he looked surprised at her invitation. He leaned in close along side her ear and murmured, “I don’t think so, Jenn. That would be a huge mistake. You’re not the kind of girl I go for these days. Sorry.” He walked past her and made a beeline for the head table.
Oh. My. God. She felt her face flame red. How humiliated could she be? He’d shown definite signs of interest. He’d run his hands all over her backside. She had not imagined that erection. What the hell? What a jerk! Talk about mixed signals. She wasn’t good enough for him? Was that what the crack about not being ‘his kind of girl’ meant? Her face burned in mortification as she made her way to the bathroom.
Kate was walking in the same direction ahead of her. It would be tough to use the facilities with that gown in the way. “Do you need help with your dress, hun? I can hold it up for you.”
“It’s okay, I think I’ve got it.” Kate turned as they entered the bathroom and saw the look on Jenn’s face. “What’s the matter? You look like you’re on the verge of tears.”
“It’s nothing. Don’t worry about it.”
“Tell me now,” she demanded.
Jenn heaved out a sigh and confessed. “I asked Ryan out. We were slow dancing and I thought there was something between us. He shut me down. It took me by surprise, but I’ll recover.”
“Oh, Jenn. He’s been an ass since the business with his ex. I’m sorry.”
She gave Kate a huge smile and shook it off. “No worries. Forget about it. Time to get the bride taken care of and on the road to that honeymoon. Come on, I’ll help you with your dress. Don’t argue.” Kate hugged her tight and it helped, but she still couldn’t shake the feeling of complete humiliation at Ryan’s rejection.
1. What about Hello, Goodbye are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the developed characters in Hello, Goodbye. I like writing kick-ass heroines and Jenn is definitely a strong female. She doesn’t take crap off of anyone and doesn’t need a man to “save” her.
2. Tell me what you really like about Ryan Murphy.
Ryan is kind of a jerk at the beginning of the book, but you understand why. The fact he’s so deeply affected by being jilted at the altar shows us how sensitive he is.
3. Tell me a little bit about Jenn Kowalski. Why is she good for Ryan?
Jenn is a positive, outgoing woman. She is exactly who Ryan needs to bring him back to the land of the living.
4. How much of “you” do you put in your stories?
It depends on the story. In my first book, Play It Again, Dan, the heroine was a carbon copy of me. Her profession, appearance, mannerisms, are all me. In Hello, Goodbye, Jenn is my polar opposite. She’s tall, athletic and very outgoing. I had fun writing her because I got to live vicariously through her personality.
5. What else are you working on?
My third book, Only Trust Your Heart, is due out in late September. It continues The Murphys series with Megan and Zach’s story. For my next book I decided to mix things up a bit and started a new series set in my hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. It’s a longer, darker romantic suspense story about a newspaper reporter and detective. They attended the same Catholic grade school and their former classmates are turning up dead. They join forces to solve a mystery.
Contemporary romance author Tess Delacour writes fiction that will ignite your mind as well as your body. She fell in love with the genre as a young girl after reading Pride and Prejudice. Hooked by the ‘happily ever after’, romance fiction has been a lifelong obsession. She calls her writing ‘sexy modern romance with a dose of fun and humor’. She attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for undergrad and law school, and currently resides in rural Virginia with her family and dog.
She is a member or Romance Writers of America and Virginia Romance Writers.
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