Setting: Sorry, I’ve been sworn to secrecy. All I’m allowed to say is that the humidity is like a layer of sticky lotion on my skin, the rum punch is excellent, the Caribbean is lapping against a white sand beach not far from where we’re sitting and the sound of steel drums blends perfectly in rhythm with the swaying of the palm trees.
Me: I’m sitting here this afternoon with Jonathan Alexander III and Grace Dupont, the stars of Kiss Me Slowly. Thanks for meeting me. I know it wasn’t easy getting here.
Grace: If it were easy, then it’d be boring, right?
Jonathan: And we’re definitely not boring.
Me: That’s an understatement. (Laughter all around as the waitress brings us another round of rum punch.) Tell me, Grace, what was it like seeing Jonathan again for the first time after he broke your heart years ago?
Grace: Ooo...you’re going there, huh? Okay. Well, it was like a sucker punch to the gut. A part of me enjoyed seeing him desperate and in trouble...on your knees, boy, beg for my help--
Jonathan: I never begged, by the way. She likes saying I begged, but that never happened. I asked. Politely.
Grace: He begged...I should have made him crawl, but I didn’t think about that until afterward. Anyway, there was another part of me that wanted to lash out, hit him maybe, have an all out argument and then spend the rest of the night making up. (She smiles and pokes the ice in her glass with a straw.) What’s that cliche? There’s a thin line between love and hate?
Me: What made you go to her, Jon? I’m sure you knew she’d feel that way.
Jonathan: I didn’t trust anyone around me. I felt trapped. Grace is and always has been the best at whatever she does, whether it’s sailing or forensic accounting. I had faith she’d put our history aside and prove my innocence.
Grace: For a pessimist, that was an awfully optimistic thing to do.
Jonathan: I guess it was, wasn’t it? How unlike me. (He laughs as he links his fingers through hers on the table.)
Me: Grace, did you ever consider the possibility that he wasn’t as innocent as he seemed?
Grace: Who is? We’re all liars in one way or another. There are more gray areas than not in life. At least that’s how I see it.
Jonathan: (rolling his eyes) Please, don’t get her started about justice and gray areas...she’ll get all worked up and not in a good way.
Grace: What’s that supposed to mean? Are you suggesting I have a problem with justice?
Jonathan: Not suggesting...stating.
Grace: Yeah, well, thankfully for you I question the black and white and believe in gray areas. It’s what I do...look beyond the obvious to what lies beneath.
Jonathan: Yeah...I’m thankful for that and many, many other things about you. (He smiles at her and squeezes her hand.) I would have crawled...if you’d have asked, I would have crawled.
Grace: I’ll keep that in mind for the future.
Jonathan: (Looks at me with raised eyebrows.) See what I’m dealing with? The Dupont ego is legendary.
Grace: You like my ego just fine. (She laughs.) And, for the record, I like it when you’re on your knees.
Jonathan: Oh, I know you do, babe. I know. Likewise.
A brief excerpt from Kiss Me Slowly below:
“I’d prefer whiskey.” He drank the water, but couldn’t take his gaze from the blood that stained her. His blood on her. “Dead or jail by Monday. I knew it.”
"You’re not dying.” She tugged his T-shirt over his head. Her eyes snapped with an inner fire that hypnotized him. “If you’re going to be teamed up with me, I need you to fake some optimism.”
Regret washed over him for the things he had never said, for not following through with their plans, for not being the man she had expected him to be, for years of wasting time with if-onlys. Bad timing for regret.
“Bloody mess,” she whispered.
He glanced at the blood dripping down his chest and used his fingers to find the bullet wound that had taken a good chunk out of the top of his left shoulder. He finished the water and carefully set the glass aside while avoiding looking at her face.
Her hands were on him, too, examining his shoulder. When she leaned across him, her breasts brushed against his face. Perfectly round and tan, barely concealed by the plunging green fabric.
God, what he wouldn’t give for a taste. God, what he would give for an ounce of his sanity to return. No time for this kind of thinking. No time.
Kiss Me Slowly by Amber Lea Easton
Available at http://www.amazon.com/
and, for all other PC and ebook formats, at http://www.bookstrand.com-kiss-me-slowly/
Also available at Barns and noble: http://bit.ly/vafDAb
Book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wI89yCQHrHg