They walked through the shadows individually. Will they emerge into the light together?
Leading a vagabond life as a curator for a traveling photography exhibit translates to a lot of bad days for Rikki Salerno. But her trouble doubles when a careless high school student shoves her into a marsh. Being rescued by teacher Sam Kerrigan should have made things better, but Rikki’s inability to confess her true identity casts a shadow over their budding affair.
When Sam refuses an overly aggressive parent’s marriage proposal, she’s determined to ruin him. Not only does she doctor photos to make it look like Sam’s behaved inappropriately in front of students, she hacks the foundation website to reveal Rikki’s true identity. Faster than the blink of a shutter, Rikki’s focus changes from pursuing her full-color future to the black and white necessity of clearing Sam’s name.
This story is filled with several deeper issues which add intriguing layers to the story. There are unexpected twists and turns along with a beautiful ending which had me cheering for Rikki and Sam.
This is the third book in Gemma Brocato’s Five Senses series, and it’s a fabulous one. If you enjoy contemporary romance with a great cast of characters, then this story is for you. - Goodreads
Rikki quietly set down the coffee cups onto the dresser and snatched up her camera. She liked the funny, considerate, responsible Sam, who interacted so well with the teens he taught. She loved the sexy, demanding, but giving partner he turned into behind closed doors. The sight of him, lying in her bed, completely relaxed, demanded she catch the image on film. It was a picture she could pull out again and again while she traveled, whenever she needed a reminder of this man she was in danger of losing her heart to.
Adjusting the F-stop for the natural lighting, she clicked off several shots, changing the angle of the camera and her position in the room. Zooming in on his face, she fired the shutter three times before she realized his lips had curved up in a decadent smile.
“I hear a camera whirring,” he said, his voice rough from sleep. Or the lack of it. They’d gotten very little last night, putting a big dent in the supply of condoms Rikki had picked up yesterday afternoon.
The sheet fell partially away when he lowered his arm and shifted to his side, coming to rest on his hip. The fire in his eyes heated her where she stood at the foot of the bed. There were those dimples again, and the muscular cuts on his sides. She needed to research spontaneous combustion, because she was pretty sure that’s what was happening right now.
“But I also smell coffee, which might make me forgive you for taking pictures while I was asleep.” Grabbing the sheet, he stared her down, as if daring her to snap more photos.
Smiling impishly, she put the camera on the dresser and picked up the cups. Walking over to the bed, she said, “Sorry, the artist in me had to capture the perfection. Christ, Sam, even your butt cheeks have dimples.”
He chuckled, scooting up in the bed until he reclined against the headboard, the sheet draped modestly across his lap. “There’s something you don’t hear in everyday conversation.” Accepting a cup from her, he grinned, humor and sunlight warming his eyes.
Settling cross-legged on the bed next to him, Rikki sipped her coffee, savoring the strong, crisp taste, the delicious smell of roasted hazelnuts wafting in her face. She smiled at him over the rim. “Did you want to run this morning?”
“What time is it?” He leaned forward to look at the old-style analog alarm clock on the nightstand. He scrubbed a hand over his mouth, stifling a yawn. “Is that thing right? Is it really eight already? I’m sorry, I can’t. I’m supposed to meet Avery in two hours to start work on the exhibit panels.”
“Oh,” she said, unable to hide the disappointment in her tone.
Setting his cup aside, he plucked hers out of her hand and put it down, too. He framed her face, then pressed a light, soft kiss on her lips. The simple gesture escalated until she was on his lap, wrapped in his arms, breathless and straining to get closer.
Ending the kiss much too soon, Sam lowered his hands to her hips, smiling ruefully at her. “Why don’t we go out? I’m meeting my brother and his fiancée at Red’s for drinks tonight. Maybe my parents, too. If Mom can drag Dad out.”
“I don’t want to intrude.”
“Rikki, it would only be an intrusion if I didn’t invite you. But I did, so…” He lifted a hand, as if to say, you know you wanna.
His eyes shone with hope, his grin charmingly lopsided. Her heart tilted in her chest. “Who could resist that look? If you want me to meet you there, you better give me details.”
“How about if we make this a real date? Not a field trip or a business meeting. Just a man and his smoking hot girlfriend going out to meet some friends.”
“Smoking hot girlfriend.”
Oh, jeez. A date—where his parents might show up. Good Lord! Was she ready for that? Maybe. “What time will you be here?”
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About the author:
Gemma's favorite desk accessories for many years were a circular wooden token, better known as a 'round tuit,' and a slip of paper from a fortune cookie proclaiming her a lover of words; some day she'd write a book. All it took was a transfer to the United Kingdom, the lovely English springtime, and a huge dose of homesickness to write her first novel. Once it was completed and sent off with a kiss, even the rejections addressed to 'Dear Author' were gratifying. After returning to America, she spent a number of years as a copywriter, dedicating her skills to making insurance and the agents who sell them sound sexy.
Eventually, her full-time job as a writer interfered with her desire to be a writer full-time and she left the world of financial products behind to pursue an avocation as a romance author. Her gamble paid off when she was a 2012 Finalist in the prestigious Golden Pen contest for Romantic Suspense and she received contracts for her first and second book.
Thank you so much for hosting Exposed To Passion today. I truly appreciate it.
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