Welcome to Sweet N Sexy Divas. I'm your tour host for today and every month on the 13th, Nicole Morgan. So sit back, relax, maybe even prop up your feet and enjoy your visit!
Love... It's so very grand. It is the only thing in the world that can make you so happy you want to cry, and so sad you want to cry. It takes a hold of us from within the deepest parts of our souls and makes us feel things which are at times indescribable. But what happens when you've found love and are on the verge of losing it? Would you stay and fight? Or would you give in, walking away defeated and alone?
These are the questions my characters in Audacious are forced to answer. Aubrey and Jackson have lost touch with one another. Their marriage is on the brink of crumbling and while they still love one another, they find themselves doing no more than just going through the motions of being a couple.
Will a retreat to The Oasis rekindle the fire they once shared, or will one of them have to take matters into their own hands and become...Audacious?
Below is a sneak peek at Audacious which will be out later this year. I hope you like it. I fell in love with these characters while writing them.
Aubrey extended her hand to the man who stood at the edge of the dock. His smile was warm and welcoming as he made the attempt to assist her off of the boat. The sway of the choppy water rocked the small vessel and she nearly lost her footing. The quick reaction of the deckhand behind her was all that saved her from twisting her ankle, or worse.
It shouldn't have surprised her that two complete strangers had been more willing to come to her rescue than her own husband. That had seemed to be the norm these days, anyway. If there was a problem, the one thing she could count on with Jackson, was…not counting on him.
She glanced at him once she was steady and only saw annoyance in his eyes. Annoyance for what, she wondered. Had she embarrassed him once again? Surely he didn't believe that she had singlehandedly made the waves crash against the boat, causing both it and her to be unsteady?
Actually, now that she thought about it, knowing her husband and the way things have been between them lately that was probably exactly what he thought. It seemed no matter what happened the blame could somehow be placed with her. Ever since the night that… No. No she would not go there again. She would not let him see her cry.
Jackson climbed out of the boat and handed the captain a folded up bill. As usual, he was the quintessential image of sophistication and charm. He still looked like the same man she had married three years earlier.
His brown hair was still as dark as chocolate and his eyes had a matching hue which seemed to look striking rather than ordinary. The way he kept it trimmed short and never let it grow to long just accentuated his handsome appearance. There was never a woman within his sight that didn't take a second glance at him.
Jackson Taylor had a presence about him. When he walked into a room, people took notice. It wasn't just his wardrobe or the impeccable social skills. It was him. There was something about him that just radiated excitement and power. That was the part that caught her eye five years ago. It was the man he was who kept her attention.
She couldn't believe the irony of her thought. Who he was, the type of man he was, had been the reason why he had so easily gotten her to fall for him. He was a charmer in every sense of the word. Jackson was kind, compassionate, carried himself with an immense amount of honor, and held himself to a personal code of integrity.
Those were all the reasons she fell in love with him anyway. Was being the key word. That was in the past. He wasn't that same person anymore. She didn't doubt that he still had those traits buried somewhere deep inside himself, but she hadn't seen them for quite some time. Maybe too long.
Sure, she still heard people talk about how lucky she was, how lucky they both were to have each other. They would rave about what a wonderful man he was. Again, he was. Once before, he was a good man, but that man hadn't shown himself to her in so long she was starting to worry she would never find him again.
That was her biggest fear. After everything that had happened, everything that they lost, she had managed to survive. She didn't know if she could also survive losing him, too. There were days when she didn't think that was a possibility. Days when she believed that no matter what obstacle they faced, they would somehow find a way back to one another.
Then there were days like today. Days when she felt nothing but his cold presence. It was as if he was with her out of obligation, not love and certainly not desire. Lord knew that was true. He hadn't touched her in the nearly twelve months since the accident. The night that was filled with so much heartache also changed the course of their lives. She prayed that it wasn't forever.
That was why they were here. After months of couples therapy and counseling, she was finally able to convince him they needed to get away. She thought a change of scenery and maybe somewhere romantic would bring back the Jackson she knew and loved so much.
These past few weeks, she had been feeling so desperate and full of fear that she'd be willing to try anything. If their therapist has suggested she burn incense in the house while doing a ritualistic dance around a circle of flowers in the nude, she would have done it. She would have done anything to save what they once had.
Jackson saw it differently, though. Oh, he never said it in so many words. It was his actions that spoke loud and clear. Even when he begrudgingly gave into this trip, he had all but shouted at her with some speech about him doing whatever it would take to shut her up about saving their damn marriage.
The memory of his words still replayed in her head and stung. Their damn marriage, he had said. He told her he'd do anything to get her to shut up about it. That was not the Jackson Taylor she fell in love with. It wasn't the man she ached to have back.
God, how she missed him.
It wasn't just the marriage she wanted to save. It was their love. The marriage was a piece of paper to her, a fancy certificate they received from the courts after they had a big party to celebrate their love. To her that wasn't what mattered. Their love, who they were together was what truly meant more to her than anything else.
None of her plans to soften him with this trip had panned out so far. They had a one night layover in Miami the night before, and she had purposely booked them in the nicest hotel and gotten one of the largest suites.
Claiming she was a bit jetlagged from the flight, she had asked him to order dinner from room service and have it sent up but insisted that since they were in Miami that they should enjoy a glass or two of bubbly since it was their first vacation in such a long time.
He went along with her charade, and she wondered if he knew it was all a rouse just to keep him all to herself, but she didn't care. She wanted him. She wanted her husband. She wanted the man who used to kiss her, touch her, make love to her.
All through their dinner he had been quiet, reserved and barely uttered a single word unless she initiated the conversation. He was polite, not as angry as he had been at home, but still cold. That was the word that came to mind so many times in the past year.
Cold. There was a definite chill in the air every time he was near her. She hated how he could be so warm and inviting with their friends and family, but once they were alone, once he was forced to spend one on one time with her, he acted as though there was no fate worse than that of being isolated in a room with his wife.
This morning was no different. He was cordial during breakfast and treated her with as much warmth as he would a business associate. The plane ride and subsequent boat ride to the island was a repeat performance.
He sat near her. Their bodies close, but there was nothing there. No electric charge, no spark that once seemed to emanate from their bodies. All day long she had clung to hope that they could get that back. She was already prepared to pull out all the stops to seduce her husband.
The mere idea that she even had to do anything by way of seduction with Jackson was a blow to her ego of epic proportions. Her insecurity had already been on overdrive for months, she refused to consider what it may feel like if she threw herself at him and he rejected her.
So many times the possibility had gone through her head. All of the what ifs played through her mind like mini movies. Regardless of these nagging fears she pushed them aside.
All hope was not lost. She had spent the day before they left at the spa and had them tend to every inch of her body. From the manicure and pedicure to the waxing and all the way down to the exfoliating body scrub so her skin would be soft and hopefully just as sexy to him as it was the first time they made love.
She had purchased the sexiest and most exciting lingerie she could find. Not only did she go to Victoria Secrets for some of those bras which pushed up her small breasts to accentuate her size, but she also went to a few of the local boutiques who specialized in lingerie made to custom fit each of their clients. She had black, red, white and even a racy little coral colored number that had matching heels.
In her time at the spa, she had also done some reading. Tricks To Tempt Your Man, it was called. She had read it from cover to back, paying special attention to certain areas that focused on giving him pleasure.
She had never been a prude in their marriage, but maybe there was something she could do better. Maybe there was something that would finally make him want her again.
When she heard Jackson's voice it snapped her back to reality. Somehow they had walked into the lobby of the resort while she had been completely lost in her thoughts.
He raised his brows at her and pointed behind her. "The gentleman asked if you'd like a cocktail."
She turned and saw another man, obviously of native descent with his tan skin and jet black hair. "Oh, I umm…"
She hesitated and turned to Jackson who had been having his fair share of Gin and Tonics lately. While she desperately wanted something to take the edge off of her frayed nerves, she didn't want to push him towards the bottle if he had no intentions of ordering one for himself.
"Actually, no. Thank you." She smiled politely as the man left them alone.
When she turned back to Jackson he had already moved up to the front desk to check them in. His body language spoke volumes about his mood. He was stiff and in no mood for a relaxing vacation. His backside looked like he had a steel rod from head to toe.
Oh how she missed the Jackson who would reach for her hand in public. The same man who would steal a kiss from her regardless of where they were. He had to be in there somewhere. He just had to. He couldn't be gone.
Almost a full year had passed since the accident. Almost a full year since that tragic night which took their unborn child. Almost a year since she had cried so hard she thought she may never stop.
With all the time that had passed she knew it was possible that what they once were had died with their child. She prepared herself for that potential so many times that it made her numb every time she thought of it.
She had to take the chance though. She couldn't not try. Jackson Taylor was the love of her life. He was her soul mate. She already lost their child. She couldn't, she wouldn't lose him too.
Watch for Audacious later this year at Siren Publishing!
Thank You for joining me today! I'll see you all next month on the 13th. Have a great month and remember to be SWEET and SEXY!
Nicole Morgan is an author of erotic romance novels, which more often than not have a suspenseful back story. Erotic romance mixed with good old-fashioned whodunit. While she's written everything from contemporary to paranormal her leading men will more than likely be wearing a uniform of some kind. From military to police officers, she has a love for writing about those who protect and serve. From her very first novel about Navy SEALs to her more recent releases you will be sure to find a few twists and turns you were not expecting.
Until next month lovies ~ Nic