Contemporary Book Excerpts By Kathleen Lawless

Excerpt from UNTAMED by Kathleen Lawless

     Paris heard a shout from the far end of the street. She strolled down to join the onlookers outside a split rail fence, then squeezed forward for a better view of the cowboy who stood inside the corral, where an extremely skittish-looking mare eyed him warily.
    While most eyes were drawn to the horse, Paris’s gaze was riveted on the man and the way all six-plus denim-clad feet of him exuded power and control.  Nut brown leather chaps gloved long, muscular legs and slapped together as he walked toward the horse.  Did any garment better enhance a man’s masculinity, the way they emphasized the exposed denim-V of his crotch?
    Not that he required special clothing to emphasize the fact that he was every inch a virile male.  From fathomless dark eyes beneath winged brows, a square jaw peppered with a day’s growth of whiskers, and capable broad shoulders tapering to lean hips, everything about the man proclaimed him pure alpha male.
    Paris sighed.  When he removed his leather gloves and tucked them into his back pocket her sigh deepened, for he had fabulous hands, big and strong.  And judging by the way he handled the horse he certainly knew how to use them.
    What would those hands feel like caressing her—sliding slowly up over her hips and waist to cup her breasts, as his dark smoldering eyes gazed into hers with desire?
    Her nipples tightened.  He’d slowly unbutton her blouse, drawing out the anticipation one button at a time, finally unveiling her lacy bra.  Beads of perspiration dewed her hair line and her breathing grew shallow.
    When his gaze met hers Paris flushed, unable to look away.  It was almost as if he could read her thoughts, know her desire.  The possibility inflamed her further, making the blood pound in her veins. After a long breathless moment, he turned his attention back to the horse.  Suddenly feeling in need of a cold drink, Paris headed back down Main Street.
    The saloon doors swung open on silent hinges and her footsteps rang against the wooden floor as she crossed the room.  She leaned against the gleaming mahogany bar and hooked her foot on the brass railing, examining the gleaming liquor bottles lining the shelves behind the bar.
    “What’ll you have?” asked the burly bartender.
    “Just a club soda.”
    A deep, masculine voice drawled from the doorway.  “Tearoom’s at the other end of town.”
    Paris slowly turned toward the speaker silhouetted in the doorway.  His face was shadowed beneath a black Stetson, and a faded denim jacket clung to his shoulders.  As he started toward her, brown leather chaps shifted on his hips, emphasizing the triangle of equally faded denim sheathing his masculine attributes.
    Her cowboy.
    He advanced with a jangle of spurs and the solid tread of well-worn boot heels. Up close he was even more ruggedly good-looking, and his dark eyes hinted at something untamed about their owner.  Right now, those eyes were freely checking her out.
    His gaze moved from her eyes to her lips, then dropped to linger on the shadowy cleavage revealed by the scooped neckline of her costume.
    His X-ray vision breached the exotic lingerie she secretly indulged in and devoured her beneath the clothes.
    “You’re not going to make me drink alone, are you?  You look like a chardonnay kind of girl,” he drawled.
    “Actually, I prefer sauvignon blanc,” she said coolly.
    A half-filled wine glass instantly appeared before her next to a tumbler of whiskey.  His eyes locked to hers, the cowboy clinked his whiskey glass against her wineglass and swallowed.  Her gaze followed the long, tanned line of his throat as he drank.  They sure didn’t grow men like this in Seattle.
    “What’s your name, Princess?”
    Princess?  She rolled her eyes but couldn’t deny his charm.
    “Paris.  Paris Sommer.”
    “Mitchell Brand the third.  Folks call me Brand.”  His tone told her he was proud of his name, proud of who he was.  “Well, Paris Sommer, you’re in Forked Creek now.  The normal rules don’t apply.”

“Imagine Nancy Drew meets Sex in the city.” ROUNDTABLE REVIEWS

Excerpt from UNDERCOVER by Kathleen Lawless

     Steele scooted across the pool to stand before her. 

     She felt the brush of his bare legs against hers in a way that could have been either accidental or deliberate.  She gave as languorous a stretch as she could manage with him this close. 

     Close enough that she could see individual droplets of water on the curl of thick dark eyelashes, and the way dozens of shades of blue colored his irises. The light spray of a simulated overhead rain shower added to the lush, steamy atmosphere of their own private spa grotto. 

      Steele raised his head, opened his mouth and slowly licked his lips,  causing a flutter deep within Montana’s belly as she recalled the knowing pressure of those shapely lips on hers. He turned his attention back to her, almost as if he knew what she was thinking.  “Tell me what we’re soaking in.  It tastes salty.”

     “This particular pool mimics seawater with over one hundred essential trace elements and minerals to rebalance and replenish depleted body stores.”

      "Do you actually buy that?”

      “I’ve seen the scientific data.”

      “I prefer the data that when you put a naked man and a scantily clad woman in warm water with over a hundred minerals, one thing will inevitably lead to another.”

     “Are you always so sure of yourself?”

     “Always.” Montana laughed.  “I have the feeling you might be just what Black Creek needs.”

     “Not what Montana Blackstone needs?”

     “Save it, Steele.  There are other ways in which you can be of use to me.”

     “Do tell.”

     “I’ll go one better.  I’ll show you.”  As she spoke, she rose, expecting he would yield.  She expected wrong.  He took full advantage of their close proximity to move in closer, his damp torso flush with her chest.  Her sheer silk bra was no barrier and her nipples hardened against the wet silk in a way that was more arousing than if she wore nothing at all. 

     “We haven’t renegotiated my contract.”

     “What did you have in mind?”

     “How about a flat fee, renewable on a daily basis.  That way if you don’t like what I’m doing, we walk away from each other, no hard feelings.”

     “And if I like what you’re doing?”  Her voice had a husky catch.  She doubted her meaning could be easily misconstrued.  He was potently, blatantly, irresistibly male.  His nearness stirred something primal inside of her, something she feared had been forever extinguished by Charlie’s infidelity.

      He trailed his fingers down the length of one arm, the light stimulation of his touch far more powerful and arousing than if he’d clutched her close.  He linked his fingers through hers and raised their joined hands overhead, slowly leaning into her as he pushed her back against the rock.  His eyes were on hers with deliberate intent as he pinned her in place.  

     Talk about finding herself between a rock and a hard body.  Montana felt an internal jolt as if he’d suddenly jump-started something deep within.  Something that threatened madly to ricochet out of control.  

     Her breathing quickened.  She watched his eyes darken, the pupils dilating till the intriguing rim of blue all but disappeared into the smoldering darkness. 

     He was fully aroused, his body brushing hers with slow and deliberate intent and she felt herself soften in response, every female hormone, every quivering nerve ending on full alert.  She all but held her breath, wondering what he’d do next.

     How far would he push her? 

     How intoxicating to yield the control for once.


Excerpt from UNDERTOW by Kathleen Lawless

     "You don’t recognize me, do you?”

      Sloan Hardt gave the red-headed beauty his sexiest smile, the tilted head, the frank blue-eyed interest and the ‘come keep me warm’ crooked half-grin.  “Should I?”

      “Perhaps.  Since we went to school together.”

     “What school?” Sloan challenged, convinced she was mistaken.  He would have never forgotten such a looker.

     “West Bend High.”

      “Apparently I owe you a drink and an apology, Miss...?”

       He waited expectantly, having already checked out her unadorned ring finger.

       She tilted her head up to meet his gaze, revealing eyes the color of warm sherry.  “I think I’ll keep you waiting a little longer for that.  See if it comes to you.”

     “That would be cruel beyond words.  What are you drinking?”

     “Champagne, of course.  What else at a wedding?”

     “You’re here for a wedding?  What a coincidence.  Me too.”

      “It’s no coincidence, Sloan Hardt.  We’re here for the same wedding.”

     Miss Red turned and sashayed away, leaving him with his mouth hanging open as she greeted his brother.  Luckily, he could hear every word.

      “Steele, when do I get to meet your wife?”

      “Soon as I find her I’ll do the honors.  Since she’s pregnant she’s always in the bathroom.” 

       After the redhead left, Steele went over to Sloan with a grin.  “Jeez man, pull up your jaw.  I know she looks good, but----"

      "Who the hell is she?”

      “Are you kidding me?”  He cocked his thumb toward the departing redhead.  “Little Cassidy Ferrill.”

      “Fatty Ferrill?”

      “Be kind.  She had a serious crush on you, man.”

      “What the hell is she doing on our parents’ wedding cruise?”

      “If you ever went to visit Gramps, you’d know that Cassidy’s mother is his current squeeze.”

       Sloan let out a low whistle.  “Go, Gramps, go.”

      “Yep.  Louise Ferrill has given him a whole new lease on life.” 

      “A whole new reason to get out of bed in the morning.  Or better yet, stay there.”

       Steele punched him on the forearm.  “Pretty sad state of affairs when our grandfather has a better love life than you do.”

     “Cut me some slack.  You know I’ve been busy building the house and running Black Creek Ranch.”

      “I also know you need to get laid.  I’d go talk nice to Cassidy, if I was you.”

      “For once, big brother, I am about to heed your advice.”

       It took him a while to hunt her down.  A rancher, he wasn’t used to crowds the way Steele was.  It seemed like Angel and Rake, his parents, had invited everyone they knew to witness their rekindled love, making progress slow as people he barely recognized stopped him constantly. 

      Watching his folks across the room, he had to say they sure looked happy, and he felt a sudden and unaccustomed flash of envy.  Ever since Steele had married Montana, and Rake and Angel had rediscovered true love, it felt as if everyone was paired up except him.  He wasn’t accustomed to being on the outside looking in.

      If memory served, Cassidy had never been much for crowds, either, so he took the hunt out onto the ship’s Promenade Deck.  Up-deck he spotted a flash of red hair shimmering in the sun and sped up his pace, careful not to spill the champagne he picked up on the way.  As if she sensed his pursuit Cassidy turned, and waited for him. 

       “I bear champagne and an apology.  Shame on me for not knowing who you were.”

She dipped her fingers in the champagne and spinked them playfully his way.  “Double shame.”

       His grin widened.  “I should be punished.”

       “Spanked perhaps,” she said in a way that sent blood surging to his loins.  This was a whole different Cassidy from his memories.

       “To getting reacquainted.”  He chinked the rim of his glass to hers.  “It’s great to see you again.  I hear we’re practically related.”

Cassidy might have changed physically but her smile still lit up her face.  “It’s a treat to see my mom so happy.  She loves having James to fuss over, and he treats her like gold.”

       “She deserves that,” Sloan said.  Cassidy’s father had not been a nice man, not to Cassidy or to her mother.

       “So how are we going to amuse ourselves, stuck out here at sea?” Sloan asked.

        Cassidy flashed him a secret half-smile over the rim of her glass.  “I would have thought that was obvious.  We’re going to be lovers.”


Excerpt from UNDONE by Kathleen Lawless

     “Remember girls,” Kennedy said, as she led her two friends through the clubhouse to the bar.  “Tonight is just for practice. Our sexcapades don’t officially start until tomorrow.”

     “Tomorrow being midnight?” Justine asked. 

     “Or daybreak?”

      Lisa smiled to herself.  Typical Justine-like question; her friend had voiced dozens, ever since their plane landed on Walker Hook and Kennedy presented them with a challenge none of them could resist. Lisa, normally the meekest of the three, was determined to show her friends that she could play as wild and hard as they could.

     “Your interpretation of tomorrow,” Kennedy said, as she wangled a spot for the three of them at the bar before she scampered off.

     “Gotta admire her style,” Justine said, as their vivacious, red-headed friend lost no time in becoming the center of attention among a gaggle of male golfers.  “When I see her like this I wonder, is she for real?  Or just so deep into her public relations persona that Kennedy ceases to exist?”

     “I doubt even Kennedy knows the answer to that one,” Lisa said.

     “I have all the answers.” Kennedy squidged in between the two of them and linked an arm around each of their necks.  “Smile,” she said.  “The long, tall Texan’s taking our picture.”   

      Lisa turned her attention to the man with the camera.  Very yummy.  “Think it’s true what they say about Texas?” she asked.

     “That everything’s bigger?  I sure do hope to find out.”  With a quick kiss to the cheek of each of her friends, Kennedy scampered back to her waiting fans.

     “You know she’ll win.  This is her kind of game.”  Lisa slipped her hand into her skirt pocket and fingered the folds of the sexcapades hunt Kennedy had distributed upon their arrival at the luxurious private villa where they were staying on the island.

     “Kennedy went to a lot of trouble to surprise us with this vacation and invent an excuse to behave outrageously.  And she did it because she loves us.”

     “I know,” Lisa said.  “It’s just me, freaking at the thought of kissing someone new, never mind anything else.  It might be easier to get my wallet out here and now.”

     “I don’t know about you,” Justine said, “but I fully intend to give Kennedy a run for her money.”

     “Me too,” Lisa said quickly.  Whoever lost got their bar tab for the week.

      How hard can it be? Lisa chided herself. I used to be a first-class flirt.  Just because I married a loser doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten how to attract a man.

     She pushed herself to her feet.  “Time to troll.  Wish me luck.” 

     She navigated her way through the room, pleased to see more than one man giving her the bar-code.  Except they’re probably all married and looking for a quick, easy diversion.

     Stop that, she told herself.  Not all men cheat.

     Suddenly the meet-market atmosphere of the bar became stifling and she stepped out onto the wrap-around verandah, blessedly quiet, not to mention balmy warm coming from Seattle’s typical soggy spring.  She breathed deeply of a tropical air, heavy with the scent of magnolias.  In the background the rhythmic chirping of the watering system did its part to keep the golf course lush and green.

    “A pretty lady without a flower is a crime against nature,” said a deeply masculine voice from the shadows.  The voice’s owner stepped forward and presented her with a lily.  “Please allow me to right that wrong.”

    Not knowing what else to do, Lisa took the flower and buried her nose in its center.  “Thank you.”  She gave her companion a covert once-over.  Nice-looking without being flashy.  Dark hair, dark eyes, a cute dimple.  “Does that line usually get results?”

    “I wouldn’t know; I’ve never used it before.”  He brushed her cheek with the tips of his fingers. “You have pollen on your face.”

   “Oh.”  Lisa didn’t know what to say or where to look.  Her face was burning in the aftermath of his touch and it took every ounce of self preservation not to grab his hand and hold it against her cheek. He had the kind of smile that lit up his eyes and made him even more attractive. 

    “ I’m not used to following the beautiful, but sad-looking woman to see if I can make her laugh.”

     Lisa stiffened.  “I’m not sad.  I’m on vacation.”

    “I was watching you earlier.  You hide it well, but there’s a faint shadow behind your smile, if one takes the time to really look.”

    Did she want anyone looking that close?

    Before she fully digested the fact that he’d been watching her, a second man stuck his head out the door.  “Hey, Rich.  Early tee-time tomorrow.  You coming?”

    “Be right there.”  He turned to Lisa.  “I hope to see you again.  Maybe next time you’ll tell me your name.”

    “It’s Lisa,” she called after him, with no idea if he heard her or not.  She stared down at the flower in her hand and wished it didn’t remind her of her wedding bouquet. Tucking the flower behind her ear she turned and made her way back inside. 

    Justine raised her brow at the sight of the lily.  “A conquest so soon?”

    “Perhaps,” Lisa said.


Excerpt from FABULOUS AT FIFTY by Kathleen Lawless

“Have you ever been with one of those guys whose idea of foreplay is to undo his pants?” 


     Rachel heard a rip as her expensive panties were dealt with.  “Do you have any idea what I pay for lingerie?”  

     His espresso-warm eyes laughed up at her.  “I’ll buy you new ones.”    

     “You can’t afford it.”  

     “Wanna bet?  I live to buy lingerie.”    

      She angled her pelvis, pivoting in a teasing way as they talked.  He teased her back, stimulating her clit and spreading the heated honey of lust.  She rocked, gliding his length back and forth, her inner lips kissing his glans.  He slid in a half-inch.  Pulled back.  Laughed at her frustration.  Did it again.  Third pass she was ready for him and they came together with an intense fusion, him palming her breasts as she guided the pace.  Ripples of pleasure radiated through her as she rode him fast, gripping his shoulders for balance.  She lost count of her orgasms by the time he arched up into her with a groan of release and she flopped, sated across his chest.   

     “Damn!”  Seconds later he struggled to sit up, forcing her to move before she was ready.  She followed his gaze and laughed.  The tide had risen.  They were going to have to make a run for it or get trapped between the rocks.      

     The next day Rachel sashayed into Janece’s office and struck a pose in the door.  “I’m on You Tube.”    

     When Janece failed to respond, she pushed her friend aside from the computer keyboard and searched the link.  “Look!”    

     The screen captured a distant grainy image of her and Liam en flagrante.  You could only see her back and the picture quality was terrible, but the tag-line was a give-away.  “KGLB anchor dedicated to his research.”     

     “A buddy of his called last night and warned him.”  She giggled as she perched on one corner of the desk.  “I can’t remember the last time I had sex outside.  It was great.  The sunshine.  The sound of the ocean.”    

     “The sand,” Janece said wryly.  “Have you thought of doing it in a bed?  Curtains closed and all that?”  

     “We did that later.”  She hugged her friend.  “I’m having so much fun.  Who knew that being a slut was so great?”

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 Excerpt from FINAL HEAT by Kathleen Lawless

      As the door closed behind Hunter, Tessa slathered body lotion on her bare arms and legs, aware of the sensuality of her hand against her own skin.

      How would it feel if Hunter’s roughened palm and blunt fingers took over?

      Her movements slowed.  Her breath caught.  A gush of warmth seeped through her, prickling the sensitive flesh at the back of her knees. 

      The object of her thoughts was back before she’d regained her breath, a towel loosely wrapped around his hips. 

      Droplets of water clung to his chest, emphasizing the V of dark hair shadowing his muscles. 

      She straightened, a catch in her throat.  It would never do for him to know she was thinking about him.  “What was your take on the others?”

      “What does it matter?”

      “I like to know the competition.”

      “I like to know the enemy.”

      She blanched at his words.  “Are you saying we have enemies?” 

      He cocked her a look that was more telling than anything he might say.

      Abruptly his entire demeanor changed. 

     “What is it?”  Instinctively she dropped her voice to a whisper.

      Stepping into his pants, he put a finger to his lips, crossed to the French door and disappeared outside. 

      Tessa  followed.  Already he’d been swallowed from sight.

      She crept through the shadows, senses on full alert, her heart thundering.  Surf pounded the nearby shore, drowning out any tell-tale sounds.  She flattened herself against the trunk of a palm tree and forced herself to listen. 

      She jumped when a breeze whispered through the palm fronds, then swallowed a scream as a hand was clapped across her mouth.  She jabbed her elbow into human ribs, felt it glance off ineffectually.

      Reaching behind with her free hand, she grappled with her attacker till she recognized Hunter’s voice. 

     “Be still.”

      She spun and glared at him.  “Don’t run off on me.”

     “No time.”  His words were followed by the sound of shattering glass, the flash of an explosion.  Seconds later their villa lit up with flames.

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