Kathy Lyons writes light, funny, sexy stories for Harlequin Blaze. She loves the faster pace of category books and that her humor can shine through.
She leaves the dark, tortured love stories to her alter ego, USA TODAY bestselling author Jade Lee.
Visit them both on the web at www.kathylyons.com or www.jadeleeauthor.com
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David is confronting Kim about her unknown “illness.”
"Goddamn it, David—"
"If you say you're fine one more time, I'm going to throw you over my knee and spank you."
"As if you could," she taunted.
"You know I can," he shot back. He'd done his share of wrestling as a kid. Against her, he had the height and weight advantage, and a growing need to put his hands on her. Hell yes, he could best her.
Apparently, she knew it too. So with another angry huff, she dropped down in the chair diagonal to the couch. Then she folded her arms and glared at her drooping plant in the corner.
He sighed. "Kim—"
"I'm sick, okay? Like seriously sick. I've seen a doctor. It's all under control, but…but it's taking me some time to adjust."
His blood ran cold and he abruptly leaned forward. "You're sick?"
"It's no big deal."
He threw his hands up on the air. "Criminy, you're like talking to a parrot. It's no big deal. I'm fine. Bull-fucking-shit, Kim."
Her gaze shifted to him. "Criminy? Where the hell did you learn that?"
He flopped back onto the couch. "Really? You're going to start asking me about my swear words?"
"It's from, like, the 1800s."
"It's from my friend's aunt Tilde, okay? It's one of her favorite words. Have no idea what it means. Don't even know how to spell it. Now for the love of God, will you tell me what's wrong with you?"
He stared at her. He looked at her, replayed the conversation in his brain, and still didn't get it. What the hell did “developing” mean? "Um—"
"I'm going through puberty, okay? I've suddenly got real periods, I've gained like a hundred pounds, and these things won't stop!" She gestured to her breasts. Come to think of it, they were fuller than he remembered. Beautifully so.
"Um, Kim. Aren't you twenty-four?"
"And a half. Yes."
"So didn't you—"
"Go through puberty eons ago? Yeah, that's what I thought. But think about my life for the last decade. I was working out six, eight, sometimes ten hours a day. It wasn't just the racquetball training. I was teaching aerobics classes, self-defense, and lifting weights too. Add to that my school schedule, and I've never had more than fifteen percent body fat. Apparently, that's not enough to develop into a full woman."
He nodded slowly, processing her words. It aligned pretty clearly with what he had already guessed. Given her knee injury, she'd suddenly stopped most of her activity. Her body had finally had a chance to rest, put on some fat, and get back on track in the propagation-of-the-species way. It all made sense.
So why did she say she was sick? Why did she write in her journal that she was insane?
"Look, my doctor says it's normal—and let me tell you, that was one conversation I never want to have again—but it's just driving me insane. Everything's accelerated, apparently. More intense because I'm so late doing this. But until my hormones balance out and…whatever…I have trouble focusing. I'm antsy and irritable and…and…"
Her skin flushed a bright red and she suddenly dropped her head into her hands. "Kill me now," she moaned.
He laughed. What would it be like to be going along in what you thought was a normal adult life, then suddenly lose your career and get hit with puberty all at once? Not only did she have all this grief about racquetball, but suddenly her hormones were throwing her emotions around like a Ping-Pong ball. No wonder she thought she was going insane.
He exhaled loudly, feeling his tension drain away. "Well, that's a relief. At least I know you're not dying of a brain tumor or something."
She lifted her head to glare at him. "So glad I could help."
He smiled at her. "Come on, Kim. You've got to see the humor in this. I've always envied how together you are—so cool under pressure, unstoppable on the court, driven at work. Hell, I have no idea how you managed to train and go to school at the same time."
"By being focused."
"Well, yeah. It's easy to be focused when you don't have adolescent distractions hitting you all the time. You basically grew up in a hormonal monastery and now—"
"I'm stepping onto a porn set."
He knew she was joking. He knew it, and yet his belly tightened up as his stomach sank to his heels. The image of her shaking her stuff and moaning in orgasm during an orgy had him nearly choking on his combined lust and horror.
"Oh my God, Pepke, you should see your face." She threw a pillow at him. "I'm not actually doing a porn show."
"I didn't think—"
"Hot, sweaty men?"
"They don't even have to be hot, David. I'm seeing everything and everyone."
She made it sound as though she was depraved. She certainly looked as if she'd rather die than admit this to anyone, but he was still trying to process the details.
"You mean you've never gone through adolescence at all?" That couldn't be true. She had breasts and hips. Granted, they were curvier now than before, but she had to have gone through some sort of puberty. Right?
She sighed, the sound mournful. "Well, that's what I thought too. And yes, I've had periods and stuff, but they were always light, never regular. And they'd stop altogether during tournament season."
Okay, so she'd been slowed, not stopped. "But you've had boyfriends. I've seen you date."
The men lined up in his brain and he realized that she'd never spoken about them with any kind of passion. Just a casual kind of he-and-I-used-to-hang-out way. She'd made it sound as though they'd barely been a blip on her radar. Now he knew why. She'd been dating more because that's what people did, not because she had any true interest in it.
He nodded slowly, his mind finally processing what had happened. "All your time was spent at school or training." Until a little over ten months ago when she'd blown her knee. Then there'd been surgery and three months in a cast and now…and now her body was making up for lost time.
She pushed out of her chair to pace around the room. "Look, I haven't been like a monk or anything. I've kissed. I've had sex…sort of."
"But you never got into it?" he asked.
"Not like everyone else did. I just never understood what the big deal was."
He felt his lips curve at that. Boy, was she in for a change in perspective. "So are you figuring it out now?"
"Yeah," she ground out. "And it sucks!" She stopped pacing, closed her eyes and let her head drop back with an anguished moan. It was a pose of defeat, and yet he couldn't help but see every line over her curvaceous body. She'd been too thin before, too much like a marathon runner with no body fat, minimal curves, and no chest to speak of. Now she was bursting out of her yoga gear, and it was all he could do not to throw her over his shoulder and drag her back to his caveman bedroom.
He tried to wipe the smile off his face, but he couldn't quite do it. It was terrible of him—she was really struggling here—but all he could think was: no wonder. No wonder he was just her sports buddy. It was because her body had been shut down. Her female urges had been locked away, but not any more. Finally, he could relate to her as a man who wants a woman.
Except he had to tread carefully. After all, any Tom, Dick, or Harry could sexually overwhelm a woman, especially one as confused as she was right then. But he didn't want to overwhelm her. He wanted to seduce her correctly, show her the delights of sexuality in the right way. He wanted to love her, and that took a delicate hand.
Excerpt from ONE NIGHT IN THE SPA ©2013 by Kathy Lyons. All rights reserved.
Length: 74 pages
Publisher: Entangled: Ever After (August 26, 2013)
What starts out as a simple massage treatment for spa manager David’s best friend Kim, turns into a night of seduction and sexual discovery.
Always relegated to the friend zone, David is determined to show Kim what she’s been missing…one erogenous zone at a time. Sure, their friendship is on the line. And sure, David’s hiding a motive larger than either him or Kim. But the second his hands touch her smooth skin, he just doesn’t care anymore.
Kim’s been so focused on the loss of her sports career that she’s had no time for romance or sex. But her response to David can’t be denied. Is it just that her body’s been missing out, or could her heart be involved too?
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