Saturday, December 22, 2012

Giveaway & Excerpt: Holiday Sparks by Taryn Elliott

Taryn Elliott and I have  little holiday gift for you - an excerpt from her hot new erotic romance, "Holiday Sparks". It was released Thursday, December 20th by Ellora's Cave.

Book Blurb (from Taryn):
Darcy Tucker hates Christmas. Being lead supervisor at a department store shows her the very worst of humanity. When her holiday display is demolished, she turns to the least likely person she knows—her hot, tattooed tenant who seems to get off on the very idea of Christmas. Maybe she can get him to decorate the store and stop decorating her house.
Tattoo artist Ben Hartley may not look the part, but Christmas is his favorite holiday. When Darcy gets in a jam and reveals her vulnerable side, he finally gets to learn more about the sexy woman behind the cool fa├žade.
Thrown in close quarters to fix her store, Ben and Darcy realize the only chilly thing between them is the temperature outside. One supremely hot kiss leads to a night full of passionate surprises. Now Ben has to show her that there’s more to life than work, and that the season of hope is full of sexy possibilities with or without a Christmas tree.
Now, get comfy, grab a drink and enjoy.

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Excerpt

“Four, five, si—” Ben paused as the Christmas song fizzled out. “Shit.” He pushed up the last two reps then dumped his weight bar back onto the rack and rolled off his bench. He thought he’d worked all the kinks out of the program he’d written for the house.
 
He hurried down the steps and came to an abrupt halt. The lights on the porch were out. “Dammit.” He swung open the door and frowned. His landlady’s spectacular ass lined up perfectly with his face. Stunned for a moment, he simply stared before asking, “What are you doing?”

Their doors were side by side in the setup of the duplex. She had a pair of pliers in her hand and each of the clear clips he’d painstakingly tacked around the arched window were sprinkled across their shared deck. “I’m taking,” she grunted, “down these lights.”

The glow from the lights on the bushes highlighted the khaki material that hugged her ass a little too perfectly. He frowned and returned his focus to the window above. “Why?”

“Because,” she snarled and pulled, “I,” another clip fell and the string of lights sagged against her shoulder, “hate Christmas.”

“How can you hate Christmas?” Even his cranky old Grandpa Radley loved Christmas. “Hey, stop.”

“This is my house. And I will not have We Wish You a Merry Christmas blaring from some ridiculous speaker as lights sparkle and flash and cause seizures!”

He reached up and took the pliers from her, stuffing down a laugh. “Honestly, stop.”

She looked down at him, her eyes definitely on death ray instead of stun.

He cleared his throat. Nope, laughing would not be smart. “You’re the one tearing up the siding. I tacked them in so that there wouldn’t be any structural damage.”

“Fine. Then take them down yourself.”

“How about I just take them down on your side of the house?”

“No, take them all down. This is my house and this is my rule.”

His eyebrows shot up. The librarian tone zinged him in places it shouldn’t. “That wasn’t in the lease agreement,” he said amiably. The little pulse in the side of her neck was fluttering and her eyes were just a little too bright. She stood a few inches taller than him thanks to the stepladder. And he was pretty sure she was a minute away from a true meltdown.

“No structural changes to the house covers that, Mr. Hartley.”

“Well, Miss Tucker, I hardly think a few Christmas lights could be considered structural changes.”

“Oh no? There’s a freaking,” she widened her arms, gasping for breath, “sleigh in the yard with all—and I do mean all—the reindeer. Oh, and my house looks like a demonic jukebox!”

He wasn’t sure why her rant made him want to grin like an idiot, but it did. “I like Christmas. The kids get a kick out of it and it’s…well, it’s cheery.”

She turned on the stepladder and the whole thing tipped. Ben grabbed the first thing he could—a handful of curvy hip. She slapped her hand onto the siding for balance and stared down at him with disdain.
He cleared his throat and stepped back. Laughing would only tick her off more. The little voice in the back of his head wanted to keep going and see if she’d pull a Linda Blair. This was probably more words than they’d shared since she’d showed him the house over the summer.

He crossed his arms, digging his fingers into his quickly cooling muscles. It was a warm night, but not exactly muscle-shirt weather. “Look, it’s getting dark. I’ll take them down first thing in the morning, how’s that?”

A little muscle twitched in her cheek. He could tell that she wanted to argue with him, but she finally nodded and stepped down. “Tomorrow,” her chin tipped up, “please.”

Now this was the Darcy he was used to. The polite, almost icy woman he bumped into at the mailbox. She was usually rolling up the driveway as he was heading to his shop. Perversely, he liked the one that had flipped out a moment ago.

“Sorry you don’t like the display.” She almost met him eye to eye even off the ladder. It was odd for him to be around a woman nearly as tall as he was. The porch light illuminated her just enough to see her gaze drop to his arm. His voice gentled. “I’m even sorrier that you hate Christmas.”

 “I didn’t know I had to make myself clear on the subject.” Her gaze tripped to the tattoos that sleeved his right arm. The sweat had faded in the coolness of the night but his muscles were still tight from his workout. “You don’t seem the caroling, Christmas-is-my-secret-hobby type.”

He swiped his hand down his biceps and tightened it under her obvious perusal. He was proud of his ink. He turned until the evergreen in the middle of the flames of the dragon was in her line of sight. It wrapped most of his upper arm. Most people only saw the dragon. They didn’t notice that in the midst of the fire, a Christmas tree glowed bright with lights and a blue flame star at the top.

With all the crap he’d seen on this earth, one thing remained. He loved the hope of Christmas. It wasn’t the religion part for him, just the hope of it. Wars had yielded one night of peace, people smiled at strangers and children reminded everyone what it was like to have a bit of simple pleasure.

“And who would be the Christmas type?”

“Carly.”

He laughed. “Carly is definitely a Christmas mom, but kids have that effect whether you’re the type or not.”

“Christmas is ill-mannered people, impatient lines and the screams of overtired children that have been dragged to eight stores in three hours.” Darcy Tucker’s eyes were pinched and her mouth was now a grim line.

He swiped his thumb down the tree in his tattoo. “Christmas is alive and well no matter how awful things get.” Her dark-green eyes softened and she opened her mouth to say something but he lifted his hand. As she said, it was her place. “I’ll have them down tomorrow. Do you mind if I enjoy them tonight?”

She nodded slowly. “One night.”

“Sorry to inconvenience you.”

She snapped her stepladder shut, averting her eyes. “Thank you,” she said softly and slipped inside.
Ben collected the clips off the deck and stuffed them into his pocket. It had been an unusually bitter month on the all-around. His niece was wrapped up tight with a shoulder harness thanks to a bad fall from her bike. So instead of the art lessons he usually used to keep her occupied, she was moping around his shop, Luna Hart. With any luck she’d get the sling off before Christmas.

His brother was working extra hours to pay for her medical bills, which made Brittany even more bratty. And he’d just dented his savings to buy updated equipment for his shop.

Putting up a bit of Christmas cheer had calmed him. He’d just have to bring the lights over to the shop instead. It didn’t exactly suit the tattoo parlor. Cesar would just have to deal with a carnival of lights outside.

And maybe he could finally get Brittany to smile. She liked to order him around, and getting her involved in the decorating would distract her.

He gathered the white lights that sagged from the awning and took them down because now they just looked stupid. He worked quickly. Thanks to his height and Darcy Tucker’s rampage there were only a few left. He wasn’t sure why she’d taken them down on his side first. He shook his head. Now the house looked as though it was winking. He made a mental note to add that into his programming ideas.

It was too bad Darcy Tucker was so unhappy with the idea of Christmas.

She sure was pretty under the twinkle lights.

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Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Release Date: December 20, 2012
Format: ebook
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Erotica
ISBN: 9781419943904

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Taryn and the publisher, Ellora's Cave, have kindly offered one copy of "Holiday Sparks" to a reader. To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below. Please read my Giveaway Policy. You Must Be 18 Years Old to Enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

9 comments:

  1. My favorite part about Christmas is baking cookies with my mom...a tradition 30 years in the making! My least favorite part about Christmas is the crowds obsessed with shopping.

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  2. I do love decorating the house & Christmas tree. Least favorite - taking it all down again in the New year.

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  3. I love spending time with family over the Holidays -- I don't like the crowds at stores and the "Peace on Earth, good will towards man...but I'll knee you in the kidney to get that sale priced TV" attitude.

    Happy Holidays & thanks for the amazing giveaway!
    elizabeth @ bookattict . com
    GFC: BookAttict

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  4. I love watching holiday movies with my family. We can watch them for hours!

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  5. I don't like wrapping christmas gifts and i don't like big crowds. Thanks for the giveaway. Tore923@aol.com

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  6. I love decorating and making sugar cookies! Thanks for the chance to win and happy holidays!

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  7. taking everything off the tree

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  8. I love presents and staring at the pretty tree

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  9. I love cooking with my mom, the presents and the decoration! But I have to take down the decorations and the debt at the credit card haha

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