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About the author:
A former Communications professor and journalist, Nikky Kaye has been writing professionally for 25 years–but never about heartbreak or happy endings until now. Her experiences with Hollywood actors, Ivy League brainiacs, the United Nations, and her own 5 year-old twin boys have trained her in how to deal with conflict, greed, power, and motivation. It is the latter that she searches for almost daily, when she’d rather be hiding in bed with a book and a bucket of M&Ms.
What inspired you to write your book?
I’m a lot less idealistic and naive now, but the search for a HEA is still appealing. Now that I’m all grown up (or at least more disillusioned), I’m enjoying writing shorter (and MUCH sexier) stories (coming to Amazon soon).
Here is a short sample from the book:
“You’re kidding me, right?”
“Nope.” Sophy beamed. This was going to be interesting. Max’s eyes were nearly bugging out of his head as he surveyed the costume she brandished. “Just be thankful I don’t write pirate romances,” she reminded him.
“At least I’d have a sword,” he muttered. The flash in his eyes didn’t appear to be gratitude, and Sophy took a halting step backwards.
“Don’t worry, this won’t take long,” she promised. “They should be locking everything up soon, so we don’t have much time anyway.”
She glanced around the wardrobe room. The college’s drama department was well stocked with all sorts of period costumes, and she had “borrowed” them once or twice during the last couple of years for research and inspiration. They were beautifully made, with an attention to historical detail that had made Sophy sigh when she first saw them. She sighed now, but not in admiration.
“At least I’m not asking you to put on historically accurate underwear.” She raised an eyebrow, curious if he even knew that would have entailed.
Max glared at her, as if to say that he’d like to see her try it.
She hung the suit back on the rack and walked towards the door. “The faster you put it on, the faster you can take it off,” she told him. The sudden vision of him peeling the breeches from his legs made her swallow tightly, and she strode out the door before he could see her blush. “I’ll just, uh, wait out in the hallway.” In the dark, behind the stage. Research, remember?
Her ears pricked up at the sound of Max unzipping his pants and the muffled whoosh as they fell to the floor. Resisting the urge to clap her hands over her ears, Sophy hummed softly to herself, hoping that it would drown out the hushed sound of the material rasping over his skin and the soft sighs of exasperation bursting forth from Max’s lips as he clearly struggled with the costume.
Soon the sound of his boot-clad feet stalking towards the door interrupted her mid-chorus, and she straightened from her leaning position against the wall. The door opened and the light from the wardrobe room streamed out into the dark hallway.
She squinted at him. Half his body was cast in shadow. “Let’s go out on stage where there’s better light,” she suggested.
He pulled the cravat away from his neck in obvious discomfort.
“Don’t worry,” she said, pointing towards the badly tied neckcloth. “I’ll fix that in a minute.”
“Oh, great,” he replied dully.
She maneuvered through the curtains and frog-marched him to centre stage. She had asked a tech earlier to throw on the lights for her, and a warm glow now enveloped the scuffed black platform punctuated with different colors of tape.
Reaching up, she gently slapped his hands away as he tugged at the cravat again.
“Alright, alright,” he grumbled.
She retied the cloth into a perfect knot, definitely not noticing how his Adam’s apple pressed against it. Or how his throat looked when he swallowed. Or the scent of his… whatever it was. Splaying her fingers over his shoulders, she smoothed his coat down and flicked some dust from the soft wool.
She stepped back a couple of feet and took in the effect of his powerful figure in the Regency costume. It was pretty impressive.
The tan cutaway coat hugged his broad shoulders and shifted subtly with every frustrated sigh. She circled him slowly, her pulse leaping in tandem with the twitching of his shoulder blades underneath the linen shirt, waistcoat, and coat.
While she was behind him, her gaze dragged down his back to admire the fit of the buckskin breeches. They dripped down his body like melted butter, revealing every muscular curve and the lean line of his legs.
His backside wasn’t so bad either, she realized as she gently lifted the coat tails. Although it was always disconcerting to meet a man whose derriere appeared smaller and tighter than her own.
“Hey, what are you doing under there?” His torso twisted a little.
She dropped the tails and scooted away quickly. “Research.”
His leather boots tapped an impatient tattoo on the stage and as he crossed his arms over his chest, the coat pulled over the breadth of his back.
“Damn, this is tight,” Max grumbled.
“Of course. That was the style then.” She moved around to face his scowl. “I just want to take a few pictures, and then we’ll be done. Just remember how happy you should be to be born in this era.” Sometimes she wished the opposite, wondering if her old-fashioned nature would be better suited to a time before… well, everything now.
“I think I would have preferred the pirate costume.”
She grinned and pointed her phone at him. “Don’t be too sure,” she said. “It comes with an eyepatch and a stuffed parrot pinned to your shoulder. Can you move a little more upstage? The light’s better. Yeah, just there. Perfect.”
“How is this romantic?” Max flicked the silk cravat with his forefinger disdainfully.
“It’s from a different era, where women were elegant and men were gentlemen.”
“And uncomfortable. I’m surprised they could breathe in this get-up, much less seduce anyone. Seriously, what’s so great about this?”
Sophy eyed the costume embracing his body. Suddenly her light silk sweater was feeling very very heavy. “It makes you look powerful.” She shrugged.
“You almost done? I’ve got a wine and cheese to get to.” He sounded positively thrilled about it.
“Almost,” she promised. “Need a date?” What? She’d said what?
“Sure, why not,” he said, shocking her. “At least it won’t be boring then.”
Was that a compliment or an insult? She couldn’t tell. “Hey, why did you go into psychology?” She hoped that by talking about himself she could get him to relax a little, so he wouldn’t look so stiff and uncomfortable. But the drama department had only provided the clothes, not the stick up his backside as well. Apparently he came armed with that already.
“To find out what makes people like you tick. And then institutionalize you,” he muttered under his breath.
Sophy rolled her eyes. How flattering. She was beginning to get the feeling he thought she was a complete fruitcake. It didn’t matter, though—it kept him on his toes. She lowered the phone and smiled politely. “No, really.”
“Really? I’m not sure. I was always interested in it, even when I was a kid. Remember Linus’s psychiatry booth in Peanuts?”
“It was Lucy,” Sophy corrected.
“Okay. But you know what I’m talking about, right?”
“I thought that was a great idea, and when I was eight I put my own booth up on our front lawn. I was more of an entrepreneur than—”
“Right. I charged a buck a session instead of five cents.”
She could just imagine an earnest young Max trying to convince neighbors that they were in need of psychiatric help. “Any customers?”
He frowned. “No, not really. But a few people brought their pets to me. I spent six hours a day trying to analyze them until I realized I had just become a dogsitting service.”
“Did you quit?”
“No, I started charging more.”
She raised her phone again, turning off the auto flash. Did she dare try a selfie with him in costume? “Did you have a picture of, uh, Freud in your locker at school?”
“Jung,” Max replied absently, seemingly lost in his trip down amnesia lane and his previous life as Doctor Doolittle.
Hmmm. Could her noble hero be a hot nerd? Sophy stepped around him and aimed the camera at his backside. Hey, it couldn’t hurt, she told herself.
“Hmmm?” Her brow furrowed in concentration as she kneeled to capture his calf muscle.
“I think these clothes are cutting off my circulation.”
“Oh.” She put her phone down and stood up to see a distinctly uncomfortable expression on his face. “Okay, I’m done.”
His shoulders slumped in the tight jacket, his relief evident.
She stooped to retrieve her phone, her long flowered skirt billowing around her. When Max bent over beside her to tug on his pant leg, she put a hand on his arm and stopped him.
“You’d better not do that,” she suggested.
He frowned. “Why?”
Sophy avoided his gaze and tried desperately not to blush. “You might split those breeches. They are pretty tight.”
“Oh.” Max shot up, holding himself ramrod straight while she tried to hold in a giggle. “I’ll just go get changed,” he said stiffly.
“Let me know if you need any help,” she called out after him. “I’m great at undoing buttons,” she murmured to the empty stage.
She scrolled through the pictures. There were some great shots, and two that she knew would soon be wallpaper for inspiration. And maybe on Tumblr. Staring at her phone, she made her way backstage towards the wardrobe room.
She didn’t see Max until she walked straight into him.
His arms automatically flew up to steady her and his warm breath caressed her forehead. She felt the swift rise and fall of his chest and breathed in the spicy scent of his skin.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
His voice was low and dangerous in the shadows. “The wardrobe room is locked,” he ground out.
She inhaled sharply. “Oh.” Her arms fell from their light hold on his waist. “I guess they locked everything up when we were out on the stage.”
“My clothes are in there, Sophy.” His voice nearly cracked in the darkness and she peered up at him, her heart sinking. Uh oh.