Kate St. James, Juliet Burns, Jennifer Lynne, and
Red Sage Publishing December 2009
"Kiss Me at Midnight "
TV co-hosts Callie Hutchins and Marc Shaw fake an on-air romance to top November sweeps, but before long the battle of the sexes burns up the sheets and the ratings. Callie thinks Marc is a womanizer who should help her snag her dream job...on the other side of the country. As the month progresses, however, she realizes Marc isn’t the handsome playboy he portrays on their show—he’s funny, kind, and too sexy for words, damn it. So...can she give him up when November ends?
Excerpts may contain mature content. By clicking to read excerpt, you are stating that you are 18 years of age or older. If you are under 18, you must leave this web site.
4.5 Cherries for SENSUAL CRAVINGS & Kiss Me at Midnight - "The sex scenes in this story were absolutely sexy and hot, but you could tell that love was in the air and not just lust. Marc...is a truly exceptional man and one any woman would be proud to call her own." Whipped Cream Erotic Romance Reviews.
4 Stars for SENSUAL CRAVINGS - "The Secrets anthologies never fail to thrill and entertain. This volume's contemporary, science fiction and historical stories are hot and sensual. Characters are well developed, and the couples will take readers along on their path to a lasting relationship." Romantic Times BOOKReviews.
4/5 for SENSUAL CRAVINGS - "The latest in the Secrets Anthologies, all four stories had something to offer in the way of a steamy, erotic read." Night Owl Reviews.
Kiss Me at Midnight - "I loved this story. It was fun, realistic and super hot. The erotic scenes are steamy and will get the attention of all the right places.... A definite great read for me." Bitten by Books.
4 Hearts for SENSUAL CRAVINGS & Kiss Me at Midnight - "...a sexy romance with comedy and spicy sex scenes which will have you cheering with the TV audience for this couple to survive when the cameras are turned off." The Romance Studio.
“It doesn’t matter how you try to justify your attitudes, Marc.” Callie Hutchins glared at her handsome nemesis beneath the eyeball-searing bright TV studio lights. “I’m a woman, and I’m telling you today’s women still like to be romanced.”
Marc Shaw flaunted his aggravatingly perfect smile at camera one. “And I say chicks today appreciate a guy who knows how to cut to the chase. It’s a busy world, too much to do...too many women to do it with.” He winked, eliciting low chuckles from the men in the small studio audience. “Why waste her time with flowers and chocolates when a king-sized mattress awaits?”
The jerk’s knee bumped Callie’s thigh beneath the tiny desk they shared for the “He Vs. She” segment of L.A. Tonight. Despite the warm tingles scooting to body parts north, Callie refused to budge. Marc always prodded her when he realized he was losing one of the battle-of-the-sexes spots they taped three out of the five weeknights L.A. Tonight aired. He did it to throw her off-balance, and it drove her insane.
“Oh, please.” She rolled her eyes at camera two for the benefit of their female viewers. “What chase? In your world, relationships fast-track from ‘How ya doin’?’ to ‘Let’s get it on.’ Honestly, you’re nothing more than an overblown Joey Tribbiani.” Mindful of plugging their guests whenever possible, she mentioned a character from the syndicated Friends TV show immortalized by the actor they’d interviewed last night.
Marc’s gray eyes twinkled. “Ouch.” He grinned into camera one, then followed the floor director’s hand signals to camera three, which spanned them both. “How about it, L.A.? Is Callie right about relationships today, or am I? Light up the callboards, zap us some emails, and we’ll give you the verdict Monday. Until then, have a great time in L.A. tonight and stay safe this weekend. So long from Marc Shaw.”
“And Callie Hutchins.” Callie smiled stiffly for camera three until the floor director counted down the seconds and the red light blinked off.
“We’re clear!” the burly man announced.
Callie blew out a breath and detached the microphone clip from her blouse. “Marc, what the hell was that?” she mumbled through tight lips so the exiting audience wouldn’t notice. Normally, she interacted with viewers following a taping, but tonight embarrassment kept her seated. “I’ve seen you off your game once or twice since Jada kicked your ass to the curb, but tonight was bad.”
He lifted a hand. “I know plenty of women who appreciate the efficiency of my approach.”
“I’m sure you do.” But she’d never be one of them. Marc Shaw was conceited, arrogant, and too sexy for his own good. And hers. She might dream about him whenever exhaustion left her incapable of banishing the erotic images of his hands and mouth all over her body, but she’d die before letting him know how strongly he affected her. Until the actress Jada Reilly publicly humiliated Marc six weeks ago, his love-’em-and-leave-’em reputation had assumed epic proportions within local television circles. While the breakup had sucked some of the wind from his sails, his ego certainly didn’t need any help from Callie.
“So what’s the problem?” he asked. “‘He Vs. She’ doesn’t work if we agree with each other.”
“You’re kidding, right?” Callie pushed back her chair and removed the mic transmitter hooked to her skirt. Standing, she wrapped the wire around the miniature black box. “Your argument rehashed one of our July shows. It’s like you weren’t even watching the teleprompter.”
“Uh...” Easy humor relaxed his face as he stood and removed his own mic. With his sun-streaked dark blond hair and devil-boy smile, he resembled a thirty-ish version of Brad Pitt.
“Ugh, don’t tell me,” she half-whispered. “You weren'twatching the teleprompter, were you?”
He shrugged and pocketed his transmitter in his navy sports jacket. “The segment relies on spontaneity and ad-libbing—”
“But usually we try to follow our hazy outline!”
“Tut-tut, Hutchins. I thought we decided not to critique one another on-stage.”
Callie counted to three. “Marc. Not that I don’t love creaming you on ‘He Vs. She,’ but if you don’t take the segment seriously, ratings will continue to tank.” She turned toward their dressing rooms, but couldn’t out-pace his long strides. His black dress shoes scuffed the concrete floor.
“If Angela isn’t happy with our work tonight, she’ll tell us at the post-production meeting,” he said, referring to their producer, who supervised the taping from the upstairs booth while communicating with assistants and the floor director through headsets. “She can always replace the segment with a back-up. That’s the beauty of taping at eight and airing after the eleven o’clock news.”
“A pre-taped segment with canned laughter? No thanks.” Callie shot him a glance. “And maybe you don’t care if tonight’s segment stinks, but I do.” She sounded like a shrew, but the success of the show meant everything to her. “The network will never notice me at this rate.” She entered her shoebox-sized dressing room.
“Still dreaming of New York, huh?”
Callie waited for him to cross the hall. Instead, he leaned against her doorjamb, crowding her, his spicy aftershave oozing sex appeal. Not many men radiated do-me vibes in stage makeup, but Marc Shaw managed it, damn him.
“Yes,” she bit out. Her national-morning-show aspirations were no secret at KCLA. “I might have ridden your coattails our first year co-hosting L.A. Tonight, but I have more experience to offer the network now.”
“You’ve never ridden my coattails, Callie. Granted, I’ve been with KCLA longer, but you’re the hardest worker I know. You’re disciplined and creative—a rare breed. Plus, you’re only slightly irritating.” Grinning, he brushed the tip of her nose with a finger. Her nerve-endings sparkled to life. “For the record, I care. More than you know.”
His gaze held hers for a mystifying moment, and tremors of attraction rippled low in her belly.
Move. She needed to escape Marc Shaw’s undeniable magnetism. Now.
She strode toward the lit mirror, gaze darting to her reflection. “Crap!” Pulse racing, she whirled on Marc. “Why didn’t you tell me there’s a knot of hair sticking up at the back of my head?”
His grin broadened. “Thought it was part of the ’do.”
“You know it’s not!” She wore her hair in a simple, shoulder-length style every night. “Marc, I looked like a fool on-camera!” She squashed the sticky blond lump, but it returned with a bounce.
“Maybe if you didn’t use so much hairspray, it wouldn’t have stayed in that position.” He shut the door and watched her idly.
Callie plunked her transmitter on the counter. “I don’t use too much hairspray—Zeta does.” Damn the third-trimester pregnancy that sent their hair and makeup artist waddling to the restroom every twenty seconds lately. Zeta had sprayed Callie’s fine, flyaway hair during the break preceding the battle-of-the-sexes segment, so at least she hadn’t suffered this hair indignity long.
Still, she asked Marc, “When did it happen?”
“After I articulated one of my more salient points near the end of ‘He Vs. She,’ and you scratched your head.”
He’d had no salient points. “I did not scratch my head.”
“Yeah, you did.”
She checked the mirror again. “Well, not alerting me to the problem was juvenile.”
He laughed. “Callie, I tried to tell you. Why do you think I kept bumping your leg?”
To turn me on. “To annoy me.” She frowned at their reflections. She hated the animalistic lust that kept her fine-tuned to this Lothario.
“Believe what you will, Hutchins, but I was not put on this earth simply to annoy you.”
He moved behind her, forcing her against the counter. Of course, his jacket and tie didn’t have one thread out of place.
He reached around her waist, his reflection growing thoughtful. Her nipples tightened.
“Wh-what are you doing?” she asked as her panties warmed.
“Fixing the knot before we meet Angela.”
He gently tugged the clump with a hair pick. Callie struggled not to shiver in ecstasy as his well-honed body pressed against her. That she considered him the finest specimen of male pulchritude this side of the Sierra Nevadas served as a great source of mortification in the middle of her lonely nights. She couldn’t have him realizing she actually enjoyed their nearness. He’d never let her live it down.
Suddenly, she detected rigid evidence that he enjoyed their proximity, too. At six-one to her five-five, his pelvis settled just above her butt. His cock moved.
Callie stiffened. Marc’s favorite pet followed suit.
“Nearly done,” he murmured, plucking the knot.
Again with the movement!
Callie pushed off the counter, shoving him backward.
“Oof.” He groaned—in pain, not pleasure. Served him right.
“Marc Shaw, you’re disgusting.” She jabbed his chest. “You got an erection untangling my hair.”
“Ow.” He rubbed the impressive bulge in his pants. “Sorry. It’s not like I’m in control of the thing. It’s a compliment.”
“A compliment, my ass.” Any woman in a pinch, that was Marc.
His devil-boy grin returned. “You’re right. It’s a compliment to your ass.”
Callie snatched her purse off the chair. “We need to meet Angela.”
“Sure, but later we could go to my place and...compliment each other?”
“In my nightmares.”
More like her fantasies.
And there her pathetic cravings for Marc Shaw would remain.