Thursday, August 7, 2014

Natchez Nights by Eugenia Riley Excerpt

Natchez Nights by Eugenia Riley

Behind Door #1: The Sexiest Man in the World!

Leigh Carter wants nothing more than to lose herself in the antebellum homes and elegant magnolias of Old South Natchez, Mississippi. She can’t afford to tell anyone why she’s hiding out, or playing the piano at a restaurant Under-the-Hill. Just when she’s starting to feel comfortable, Leigh leads a group of ten ladies on a tour of the grand mansion where she’s staying . . . and unwittingly stumbles into the wrong room!

Wearing—just barely—a towel, handsome L.A. attorney Peter Webster seems delighted to have lovely Leigh crash in on him in his bedroom. Reeling at her first glimpse of the sexy stud-muffin, Leigh gathers her scandalized ladies and flees. Peter is thoroughly intrigued. He is here in Natchez to help his Aunt Myra restore the old house, but never did he dream she’d have such an irresistible tenant living across the hallway from him.

Although Leigh may have opened the wrong door, Peter soon becomes determined to convince her that he is the right man. But can their budding romance withstand the secrets Leigh holds in her heart, hidden hurts that could doom their love before it ever has a chance to bloom on some glorious Natchez night?

Natchez Nights is a breathtaking love and laughter romance set in contemporary Mississippi. Approximately 54,000 words. Eugenia Riley is the acclaimed, best-selling author of numerous historical, contemporary, and time-travel romances, including A Tryst in Time and Bushwhacked Bride.


“Good morning, darling.”
Peter Webster seemed to drift toward Leigh through her dream—he was standing in sunshine, naked to the waist, fiery highlights in his curly dark hair, his eyes full of desire. Slowly, he walked toward her . . .
“Um—good morning, Ms. Carter,” the voice repeated.
With a gasp Leigh awakened to a room flooded with early morning light, awakened to find Peter Webster standing across from her, a breakfast tray in his hands, that meaningful glint in his eyes, taken straight from her dream. She jerked upright in bed, pulling the covers up to her neck to hide her sheer nightgown. Her eyes were huge, her hair tumbling in radiant dishevelment about her shoulders. “Peter Webster! What are you doing here?”
He chuckled. “Why, bringing you breakfast, of course, Leigh. Aren’t you aware that it’s Monday? We have a date to go sightseeing.”
“We have no such thing,” Leigh blustered back, sinking deeper into the bed as she became acutely aware of the heated perusal of Peter’s dark, sexy eyes. “You made a date—I was not a participant. And quit changing the subject. What are you doing in my room? At least you could have knocked.”
“I did. But it looks like you and Sleeping Beauty pricked your fingers on the same spindle.” Grinning, he crossed the room, set the tray down on her night table, then summarily sat down on the bed next to her, reaching out to tousle her already-mussed hair. “You’re such a grouch, Leigh.”
Leigh jerked away at Peter’s nearness—not to mention his touch—catching her breath with an effort. Peter Webster looked entirely too good sitting beside her in his well-fitting slacks and a cream-colored polo that hugged his muscular torso. He smelled entirely too good, too—the spicy scent of his cologne, the fresh essence of his just-washed hair. And she well knew the dangers of that self-satisfied grin that sent sexy ripples out from the corners of his mouth. “Get off my bed, you letch.”
He laughed, glancing at the large rolling pin at the head of her bed. “Just because this bed came from another century, Leigh, doesn’t mean you have to act like you did too.” He studied her with frank amusement. “You know, it’s amazing, darling. You look damn sexy without your makeup, even without your hair brushed.” He playfully tugged on the covers she’d been hanging on to for dear life. “I wonder what else you look good without?”
Leigh dug her fingernails into the covers. “Get out of here, Peter Webster. Leave, or I swear I’ll call Miss Myra.”
“Go ahead,” he teased back. “But if you do, I promise that when Myra arrives—” he paused to wink—“she’ll have plenty to be scandalized about.”
“You wouldn’t!”
“Wouldn’t I?”
Leigh stifled a groan. How on earth was she going to get this infuriating stud-muffin out of her bed—not to mention her life? She tried logic. “You don’t want Myra to think you’re some kind of . . .”
“Oh, she already knows I’m a lost cause,” he assured her.
“Well put,” she dryly agreed. By now Leigh was floundering, inhaling the scent of crisp bacon—and him—as she clutched the covers, painfully conscious of how vulnerable she was underneath.
“You do look good,” Peter repeated, a husky note in his voice. “In fact, few women look better at this hour.”
“Are you speaking from experience, counselor?” she asked without thinking.
He laughed. “You’re jealous.”
“No, I’m not.”
“Oh, yes you are.” He picked up a small glass from her breakfast tray. “Here, drink your orange juice, you little hottie.”
“Stop it.” Leigh waved him away, almost losing control of the covers. “And you’re not feeding me my breakfast again, Peter Webster. I’m not touching a drop until you leave.”
“Only if you’ll agree to be ready for our date in half an hour.”
“For the last time, Peter, we don’t have a date.”
“Very well, then.” But instead of leaving, Peter set down the juice then audaciously swung his legs up onto the bed, settling himself beside her with an infuriating grin. “You have a deck of cards, darling?”
Leigh tried unsuccessfully to shove away his solid body, then, sighing her frustration, she gave up and scooted herself as far away from him as possible. “A deck of cards? Are you nuts? Will you get off my—”
“No cards, eh?” he cut in mildly. “Then I guess we’ll just have to find another way to amuse ourselves . . . all day long.” He wiggled his eyebrows.
Leigh’s eyes beseeched the heavens, even as her heart pounded traitorously. When he nudged himself even closer to her, reaching out to wrap an arm around her shoulders, she gave up. “Okay, then. I’ll do it.”
“Will you?” he quipped.
Leigh groaned at her own unintended double entendre. Shoving him away even as she fought a smile, she said, “I mean I’ll go sightseeing. Now get out of here, you bad boy.”
Grinning his triumph, Peter hopped off the bed. “I just knew you’d come around. As always, you’re so sweet, so reasonable, so even tempered—”
“Will you just leave?” she all but shouted.
“Will you drink your orange juice?” he teased remorselessly.
“Damn it!” Leigh grabbed the juice, only to put the glass clattering back on the tray when she heard Peter’s sharp intake of breath. Looking up, she glimpsed his eyes flashing with heat. Oh, geez, she had let the covers slip just far enough to . . .
Leigh frantically grabbed the bedspread, hiking it up to her nose, but it was too late.
Something feral flashed in Peter’s eyes, then he was kissing her, his strong fingers gripping her shoulders. Leigh’s muffled protest was drowned out by his hot seeking lips. She was unable to fight him, her hands frantically seeking the bedcovers he’d sent flying. But as she tasted the fierceness of his desire, as his hot tongue teased and tantalized her, she found she didn’t want to fight him. Her hands ceased searching for the covers and sought him instead. She ran her fingers along his smoothly shaven face and through his irresistible dark hair, even as the covers slipped down farther. Giving a groan, he clutched her closer to him, the sheer barrier of her gown no barrier to his warmth. Her nipples tingled in primal response. When his kiss deepened and he held her as if he would pour himself into her, all she could think was that he was good, so good . . .

Copyright © 1987, 2014 by Eugenia Riley Essenmacher

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