Hi Sue and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Breaking All Their Rules!
Thanks for having me back, and to all the readers an even bigger thank you for dropping by.
Tell us about the book with this fun little challenge using the title of the book:
Breaking All Their Rules
B is for Breathtakingly sexy
R is for Rules – meant to be broken, right?
E is for Enjoying the unexpected
A – Auction to save a man
K – Kahlua, what a drink
I – Intense
N – Nevada in Fiji
G – Going for it
All – each and every rule comes into question
Their – Zac and Olivia have constraints on their lives that need undoing
Rules – Self imposed rules, especially the “no sex” one, that have to be broken .
What’s your favorite line(s) from the book?:
Zac was very quiet for a few minutes, then blew Sophie away with, ‘Would you come to Fiji with me if we agreed to no sex for the whole trip?’
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?
Sophie’s dad walked out of her life when she was young, leaving her to cope with an alcoholic mother. This forced her to grow up too quickly and to become wary of relationships. No one was going to walk away from her again. When she and Zac first got together it was for sex only, and the moment she thought she might be falling for him she walked.
Sex and Olivia are two words for the same thing – hot, down and dirty fun, and Zac has never got over the fact she walked away from had to the best thing to happen to either of them. When the opportunity to get back into bed with her presents he’s not going to let her get away again. Not until they’ve had their fill of each other. He’s going to leave first this time.
When you sat down to start this book, what was the biggest challenge you faced? What were you most excited about?
Getting Sophie to stop and listen to Zac was the biggest challenge. She is a very determined lady and since she’d made up her mind to never go near him again for both their sakes there was nothing that would get her to change her mind.
Finding a way around this was fun and gave me enormous satisfaction to be able to pull the rug out from under her.
What, in your mind, makes this book stand out?
Sophie and Zac have big hearts when it comes to helping others. The book begins with an auction to raise funds for a dying colleague who needs treatment in the US, and they continue to help people throughout, even each other. It’s just that they don’t know how to help themselves, to grab at love and make the most of their own opportunity.
The First Kiss…
‘You mentioned one brother.’ Was that longing in her voice? Hard to tell from her face.
‘Mark. He’s married with two kids. I only get to see them at Christmas and birthdays.’
Olivia picked at an invisible spot on the counter. ‘That’s incredibly sad.’
‘Yep.’ He made himself busy getting mugs from the cupboard and teabags from the pantry.
She lifted her head and locked her blue eyes on him, suddenly back to being in control. ‘Think I’ll head back to the hotel. I don’t really want tea. Or anything.’ She slipped off the stool and turned towards the doorway. ‘Goodnight, Zac.’
With little thought he reached for her, caught her wrist and gently tugged her close. With a finger under her chin he tilted her head back so he could gaze down into her eyes. And felt his head spinning with wanting her.
Olivia’s eyes widened and her chin rose further as her mouth opened slightly.
Zac was lost. Any resistance or logical thinking disappeared as he leaned closer to place his mouth over hers. As he tasted her, the heat and need he’d kept tamped down most of the night exploded into a rainbow of hot colours. Olivia. She was in his arms, her mouth on his, her tongue dancing with his. Olivia.
Slim arms wound around his neck, pulling his body closer to hers. He felt her rise onto tiptoe, knew the moment when her hips pressed against his obvious desire. Those breasts he’d been fantasising about all night flattened against his chest, turning him into a molten pool of need. His hands spread around her waist to lift her onto the stool, where she immediately wrapped her legs around his thighs.
This is what I’ve missed so damned much. We are fire on fire. Feeding each other. Consuming the oxygen.
She tasted wonderful, bringing more erotic memories back to him. Making new ones.
Lifting his mouth, he began trailing kisses over her jaw, down her neckline, on towards her deep cleavage. When she whimpered he continued while lifting his gaze to her face, where he recognised the same fiery awakening racing along his veins.
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?
The following scene shows the tension between Olivia and Zac.
Olivia knew the exact moment Zac walked through the entrance of the plush hotel, and it had nothing to do with the sudden change in noise as the doors opened, letting in sounds of rain and car horns. She might’ve been facing the receptionist but she knew. Her skin prickled, her belly tightened, and the air around her snapped. Worse, she forgot whatever it was she’d been talking about to the young woman on the other side of the polished oak counter.
So nothing had changed. He still rattled her chain, made her feel hot and sexy and out of control—and he hadn’t even said a word to her. Probably hadn’t recognised her back view.
‘Hello, Olivia. It’s been a while.’
That particular husky, sexy voice belonged to only one man. ‘Since what, Zac?’ she asked, as she lifted her head and turned to face him, fighting the adrenalin rush threatening to turn her into a blithering wreck. This was why she’d left him. Zac undermined her self-control. How had she found the strength to walk away? Not that there’d been anything more to their relationship than sex. Nothing that should be making her blood fizz and her heart dance a tango just because he stood a few feet from her. No way did she want to jump his bones within seconds of seeing him. She shouldn’t want to at all. But no denying it—she did. Urgently.
Black-coffee-coloured eyes bored into her, jolting her deep inside. ‘Since we last spent the night together, enjoying each other’s company.’
‘Go for the jugular, why don’t you?’ she gasped, knowing how wrong it was to even wish he’d give her a hug and say he’d missed her.
Zac instantly looked contrite. ‘Sorry, Olivia. I didn’t mean to upset you.’
‘You didn’t,’ she lied. Behind her physical reaction her heart was sitting up, like it had something to say. Like what? Not going there. ‘The bedroom scene was the grounds of our relationship.’ That last night she’d got up at three in the morning, said she couldn’t do it any more, and had walked out without explaining why. To tell him her fears would’ve meant exposing herself, and that was something she never did.
‘So? How’s things? Keeping busy?’ Inane, safe, and so not what she really wanted to ask. Got a new woman in your life? Do you ever miss me? Even a teeny, weeny bit? Or are you grateful I pulled the plug when I did? Right now all her muscles felt like they were reaching for him, wanting him touching them, rubbing them, turning her on even more. Had she done the right thing in leaving? Of course she had. Rule number one: stay in control. She’d been losing it back then. Fast.
Zac had the audacity to laugh. ‘What? You haven’t kept tabs on me?’ His grin was lazy, and wide, and cut into her with the sexiness of it. There was no animosity there whatsoever, just a deliberate, self-mocking gleam in his beautiful eyes. He was as good as her at hiding emotions.
Shaking her head at him, Olivia leaned back, her hands pressed against the counter at her sides, the designer-jeans-clad legs Zac had sworn were the best he’d ever had anything to do with posed so that one was in front of the other and bent slightly at the knee, tightening the already tight, annoyingly damp denim over her not-so-well-toned thigh. ‘My turn to apologise. I haven’t kept up with any gossip.’
‘Dull as dishwater, that’s my life.’ Unfortunately that twinkle she’d always melted for was very apparent, belying his statement.
‘Right.’ She rolled her eyes at him, unable to imagine Zac not being involved in and with people, especially feminine, good-looking, sexy people. Was she jealous? Couldn’t be. She’d done the dumping, not him. But Zac with another woman? Pain lodged in the region of her heart.
‘Never could fool you.’ It was inordinately satisfying to see his gaze drop to the line on the front of her thigh where the mulberry three–quarter-length coat cut across her jeans. Even more gratifying when his tongue lapped that grin, which rapidly started fading. And downright exciting to see Zachary blink not once but twice.
She didn’t need exciting in her life right now, and Zac and exciting were one and the same. ‘I keep to myself a lot these days, too,’ she muttered, not really sure what she was talking about any more with the distracting package standing right in front of her.
‘Now I’m shocked.’ The grin was back in place, lion-like in its power to knock her off her feet and set her quaking.
‘Why? It’s not as though I’ve ever been a social butterfly.’
‘There’s never been anything butterfly-like about you, Olivia.’
Confidence oozed from Zac that didn’t bode well for the coming evening when they’d be in the same crowd, the same venue. At the same table. Of all the things she’d organised she should’ve been able to arrange that he sat on the opposite side of the room. It had proved impossible as they were the only two people attending the gala who were on their own. All the others were in pairs.
‘You’re saying I’m not a flapper?’ They were toying with each other. Reality slammed into her, made her gasp aloud. They’d teased each other mercilessly the first night they’d gone to bed together, and had never stopped. Well, she was stopping now. Time to put distance between them. She needed to get on with what she was supposed to be doing. ‘I’ve got a lot to do so I’ll see you later. I hope you have a great evening.’
Disappointment flicked through his eyes, quickly followed by something much like hurt but couldn’t be. Not hurt. She hadn’t done anything more than push him aside, though that’d probably spiked his pride. He had a reputation of loving and leaving.
It had taken the death of a small child in Theatre to throw them into each other’s arms for the first time. Desperate to obliterate the anguished parents from her mind, Olivia had found temporary comfort with Zac. She’d also found sex like she’d never known before. How they’d spent years rubbing shoulders at med school and not felt anything for each other until that day was one of life’s mysteries. From then on all it took had been one look and they’d be tearing each other’s clothes off, falling into bed, onto the couch, over the table. They’d done little talking and a lot of action.
Tonight, if they were stuck together for any length of time, she’d talk and keep her hands to herself. That had been the plan, but so far it wasn’t working out. Not that she’d touched Zac yet. Yet? With her mouth watering and her fingers twitching, it would take very little to change that. She had to get serious, and focus on what had to be done. ‘I’ll leave you to check in.’ Her voice was pitched high—definitely no control going on there.
‘I’m not checking in.’
She should’ve remembered that. She knew all the names of the people who’d elected to stay the night here instead of driving home afterwards. ‘Do you live nearby?’
‘Over the road.’
‘In that amazing apartment building designed to look like a cruise ship, overlooking the super yachts and high-end restaurants?’ Oh, wow. He had done all right for himself. Of course, he came from a moneyed background, but she recalled him saying he’d paid his own way through med school. She had never told him she also came from money or that her mother had used it to bribe her to keep her onside until she was old enough to work out that hiding bottles of alcohol from her father wasn’t a joke at all.
‘Are you staying here?’ he asked casually, making her wonder if he might have plans to pay her a visit if she was.
‘Yes.’ The house she’d bought last summer was less than twenty minutes away in upmarket Parnell. ‘I’m going to be busy here right up to kick-off, and going home to get ready for the evening would use up time I might not have if things go wrong.’ Which plenty had done already. She looked over at the receptionist, suddenly remembering she’d been in the middle of another conversation before Zac had walked up. ‘Can you let me know when Dr Brookes and his family check in, please?’
The girl nodded. ‘Certainly, Dr Coates-Clark.’
‘I’ll be in the banquet room,’ Olivia told the girl needlessly. The hotel staff had her cell number, but right now she wasn’t doing so well on remembering anything she should. Better get a grip before the evening got under way.
Zac shrugged those impressive shoulders that she’d kissed many times. ‘I’ll give you a hand.’
‘Thanks, but that won’t be necessary. I’m getting everything sorted.’ As much as having someone to help her would be a benefit, Zac would probably get her into a bigger pickle just by being in the same room. Turning on her heel, Olivia headed to the elevator that’d take her up to the room where tonight’s dinner, auction and dance would be held. The evening was due to get under way in a little over three hours and she wanted to check everything was in place and see if the flowers had finally arrived. Something about bad weather causing a shortage of flowers at the markets that morning had been the harried florist’s excuse. But bad weather didn’t explain why the place name cards were yet to arrive from the copy centre.
Unbelievable how she’d softened on the inside when she’d first looked at Zac, despite the heat and turmoil he instantly ramped up within her. Like she’d missed him. But she hadn’t known Zac beyond work and bed so not a lot to miss apart from that mind-blowing sex. Odd she felt there was more to him she wanted to learn about when she hadn’t been interested before. Not interested? Of course she had been. That’s what had frightened her into ending the affair.
A large palm pressed the button to summon the elevator. ‘It’s out there on the surgeons’ loop that you need some help with running the auction tonight. I’m stepping up. Starting now.’ Zac looked down his long straight nose at her, his mouth firm, his gaze determined. ‘No argument.’
Why would he want to do that? It meant being in her company for hours. She’d have sworn he would’ve planned on keeping well away from her, and that the last five minutes had been five too many in her company. ‘Thanks, but, no, thanks, Zac. I’ve got it covered.’ Second lie in minutes. She doubted she could spend too much time with him without dredging up all the reasons why she’d been a fool to drop him—instead of remembering why it had been a very sane move. No one was going to walk away from her ever again.
She made the mistake of looking at Zac and her tongue instantly felt too big for her mouth. Zac was so good looking, his face a work of art, designed to send any female who came near him into a lather. Including her. Olivia closed her eyes briefly, but his face followed her, seared on the insides of her eyelids. Zachary Wright. If ever there was a man she might fall for, it was Zac. That was a big ‘if’. Painful lessons growing up were a harsh reminder that there was only one person who’d look out for her—herself.
But one touch and Zac had always been able to do anything he liked with her. Not that he’d taken advantage in a bad way. He wasn’t that kind of man. See? She did know something about him. Hopefully he hadn’t known how close she’d come to being totally his, as in willing to do absolutely anything to keep him.
‘You all right?’ He touched her upper arm, and despite her layers of clothing the heat she associated with him shot through her, consumed her.
‘F-fine,’ was all Olivia could manage as she stared at him, pushing down hard on the urge to touch him back, to run her hand over his cheek, and to feel that stubble beginning to darken his chin.
Taking her elbow, Zac propelled her forward, into the elevator. ‘Third floor?’
‘Yes,’ she croaked. Go away, leave me alone, take your sexy body and those eyes that were always my undoing, and take a flying leap off a tall building. I don’t need this heat and need crawling along my veins. Go away.
‘I’m not going anywhere for the rest of the day, so get used to the idea, Olivia.’
Ouch. Had she said that out loud? What else had she put out there? One glance at him and she relaxed. He hadn’t heard anything about jumping off a building. But she couldn’t relax fully until tonight was put to bed.
Olivia groaned. Bed was so not a safe word when she was around this man. It brought all sorts of images screaming into her head. Images she refused to see or acknowledge. They were her past, not her future. Or her present.
If your hero had a sexy-times play list, what song(s) would have to be on it?
She Came Through the Bathroom Window.
Sophie likes theatre and something like climbing through a window is right up her alley. Or would be if Zac didn’t live in a penthouse apartment many stories up.
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
That sometimes we all need to look at ourselves and the barriers we’ve put up to protect ourselves from hurt. Life does hurt, but it also gives a lot of wonderful moments if only we’re prepared to accept them.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2016?
My next M&B Medical is Dr White’s Baby Wish and is due out in August.
I have just sold my twentieth medical book which will come out in January 2017, and I am working on the next.
I’m also polishing a single title, women’s fiction story set in the restaurant business. It’s a story of two best friends trying to reach out to each other after a huge break down of their relationship many years earlier.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: A copy of Breaking All Their Rules sent to anywhere that the winner lives.
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: If you could get away for a romantic interlude to somewhere exotic, where would you chose to go?
Excerpt from Breaking All Their Rules:
‘TOKORIKI.’ THE HELICOPTER pilot pointed to an island ahead of them.
Olivia gasped. ‘Oh, wow, it’s tiny.’
Zac grinned. ‘Perfect. You won’t be able to get away from me.’
She elbowed him. ‘Want to spend the night outside in a hammock? Alone?’
Zac just laughed. Damn it. ‘A night in a hammock would be a novelty. I wonder if there’s room for two.’
She did an exaggerated eye roll. ‘Not to mention mosquitoes.’
Zac stared down at the bright blue sea as the pilot brought the helicopter around to line up with the landing pad on the resort’s lawn. ‘Isn’t it stunning?’
Olivia leaned over Zac to get a good look at the island. ‘Pretty as a picture.’
‘Yes.’ Zac’s head was right beside hers, his scent tickling her nostrils.
Pulling sideways so that she no longer touched him, she tried to ignore the buzz of excitement fizzing along her veins. Not easy in the confined space with the smell of aftershave and hot-blooded male teasing her. How was she going to remain immune to him when they’d be sharing a bure? The photos on the internet had been a reality check, like a dousing under cold water. The one large room containing an enormous bed towards the back and lounge furniture at the front looked so romantic and had set her heart racing—and that had been back at home. Couples didn’t come here to sleep in separate beds. Not unless they were Zac and her.
The helicopter touched down with a bump and Olivia snapped open the clasp on her safety belt. A big, strapping Fijian man opened the door and held out his hand to help her out. Feet firmly on the ground, she looked around and was greeted by two young girls.
‘Bula,’ they said in unison, before placing leis made of pink and yellow hibiscus flowers around her and Zac’s necks.
‘Bula,’ she replied.
Zac took her hand. ‘Welcome to paradise.’
The bure was gorgeous, made from dark wood and covered with thatch. Wide doors and large open windows let the sea breeze through. An overhead fan spun slowly. A perfect spot for a couple to enjoy themselves and each other. Even with the sex ban? A second shower stall, outside and without a roof, made her smile. ‘All the better to star-gaze.’
‘Come here.’ Zac still held her hand and now he tugged her over the lawn to stand on the beach twenty metres from what was to be their home for five nights.
‘It’s going to be dark shortly,’ she sighed. The day had sped by getting here.
‘Let’s pop the cork on that bottle of champagne I saw in an ice bucket on the coffee table. We can sit out on our front porch and pretend we do this every night after a hard day at work.’
Olivia started walking backwards so she could watch Zac. ‘You’re as excited as a kid on his first holiday, aren’t you?’ His eyes shone, his mouth the most relaxed she could ever remember it.
‘I reckon. This is like my first holiday, only way better.’
‘We’ve barely started.’ She stopped so that his next step brought him right up close. Close enough to lean in and kiss that happy mouth, which she did. But when his hands spanned her waist she reluctantly pulled back. ‘Sorry, I shouldn’t have done that.’
‘Did the rule state no kissing?’ He was shaking his head at her, his smile only increasing. Was nothing going to mar his enjoyment? ‘I must’ve missed that.’
‘Maybe you didn’t put it in.’ She hoped not. Kissing Zac was too much fun not to be able to do it whenever she wanted. But then there’d be consequences. Looking around for something else to talk about, she spied two hammocks slung between nearby trees. ‘There’s your bed. You even get a choice.’
‘I am not spending my nights slapping at the mozzies, thank you very much.’ Zac caught her hand, laced his fingers through hers, then swung their joined hands up to his lips and kissed her knuckles.
Careful. That might start a fire I can’t put out. And we have rules. She slipped her hand out of Zac’s. ‘Where’s that champagne?’
He tried not to look disappointed, but she saw it and felt a heel. He’d only been having fun, and she had instigated the kiss.
Inside, Zac picked up the card leaning against the bucket in which the ice was rapidly turning to liquid. ‘Compliments of Andy and Kitty. They say thanks for the gala night and hope we have a wonderful time.’
‘That’s lovely. It’s not as though they haven’t got enough to think about at the moment.’
Minutes later they sat in front of their bure and watched the sun turning the sky red and yellow. ‘That’s an abrupt change from day to night,’ Zac commented.
‘Guess that’s the tropics for you. Hard to believe we left winter behind.’ The warm, heavy air made her clothes stick to her skin. She wouldn’t be wearing much for the next few days.
‘What’s your favourite season?’ Zac asked.
‘Summer, followed by summer. I hate being cold.’
‘Yet you bought an old villa that must be freezing in winter. Though, come to think of it, I didn’t notice a chill when I was there.’
‘First thing I did was improve the insulation in the roof and some of the walls. Then I had that firebox installed to replace the open fire. There’s also a heat pump in the hall.’
Zac chuckled. ‘I bought a very modern apartment and you went for the opposite.’
‘I love old villas. There’s something magical about them. Yes, they come with loads of problems, but get them sorted and there’s an amazing home waiting to be loved.’ She sipped her champagne. ‘There’s history in the boards. When I bought the place the vendors passed on to me a book written about the family who originally built it. The man had been an excise officer and his wife a nurse in the First World War.’
‘So you’re a history buff.’
‘Only when it comes to my property, but it’s neat knowing about the original owners.’ She laughed softly. ‘It was also a surprise finding I enjoy working on the redecorating. In spring I’m going to start putting in a garden to grow a few salad vegetables.’
‘I saw your pot plants in your hallway. Just go to the markets. That way you won’t starve.’
‘Thanks, pal.’ He was right. She always forgot to water the plants until they were drooping over the edges of their pots.
‘You grew up in Auckland, right?’
She nodded. ‘Remuera.’ One of Auckland’s most sought-after areas, where many of the city’s wealthy lived. On a street where fences were metres high, hiding a multitude of sins. ‘I went to a private school for girls, played the cello and joined the debating team.’ That was after the in-crowd had worked their number on her because her mother had followed her around dressed in identical outfits to hers, trying to look way younger than she was.
‘Was your childhood home another old house?’
She blinked, got back on track. Her mother wasn’t welcome on this holiday. ‘Yes. A massive, six-bedroom edifice with half an acre of gardens, a tennis court and a swimming pool.’
‘You played tennis?’ He didn’t hide his astonishment.
‘Me run around chasing a ball to bang it back over a net? Not likely.’
They were getting close to things she didn’t want to talk about when she was sitting in paradise. ‘I can’t wait to go snorkelling amongst the fishes.’
Zac went with her change as easily as butter melted on warm toast. ‘We should take a boat trip to Treasure Island and the marine reserve where the best array of fish is supposed to be.’
Zac had done some research before they’d left Auckland. She hadn’t had the time. ‘Five days might not be enough.’
How was he going to cope with not getting up close and naked? Zac grimaced. This magical setting was working mischief on his libido. What had he been thinking when he’d come up with that brainwave? Hadn’t been thinking, that was the trouble. Now his body was screaming out for Olivia’s, and he had no one to blame but himself.
‘Want a top-up?’ was the only lame excuse he could come up with in a hurry for getting out of the cane chair and putting some air between them for a moment.
‘Of course.’ When she handed him her glass she seemed to take desperate measures to prevent her fingers touching his.
Phew. Damn. Hell. He dragged his hand down over his hair. Less than an hour and he was a cot case. Certifiable. Had he been so desperate to come here with Olivia he’d have bargained with the devil if it had meant she’d agree? Seems like it. Didn’t make any sense, though.
Back on the porch he passed over a full glass. ‘Drink up. That ice bucket is now a water receptacle and the fridge is warmer than my toaster on full.’
‘Do we get dinner brought over? I’m kind of relaxed and comfortable now.’
And I’m in need of space and people around to break the grip you have on me. I am so not ready to spend all evening alone with you when I can’t touch you. ‘I’m thinking dining on the restaurant deck with candles under those palm trees would be special.’
‘I guess you’re right.’ When Olivia yawned there was nothing ladylike about her.
He grinned. ‘That’s it? No argument?’ Then she must be very tired.
‘If I stay here I’ll be asleep by seven, and probably awake again by midnight.’ Her throat worked as she swallowed.
‘CC? You all right?’
Olivia stood up and took a step to the edge of the porch. ‘Yeah,’ she huffed out over the lawn. ‘Good and dandy.’ Her voice sounded anything but.
Moving quietly, Zac stepped up beside her, rubbed his shoulder lightly against hers. Gave her a moment to regroup her thoughts. But his brain wasn’t quiet as it tossed up questions about this sudden mood swing. Was Olivia regretting the trip already? His stomach plummeted. Please, not that. No matter what happened after they left the island, he wanted this time with Olivia. Wanted them to have fun and be relaxed, to enjoy each other’s company. He felt rather than heard her soft sigh. A gentle lifting of her shoulder against his.
Or that’s what he thought she’d whispered. Olivia afraid? Of what? Him? The urge rose to rant at her, to tell her he’d never hurt her. But reason caught him in time. If she’d ever believed he’d hurt her she wouldn’t have come near him, certainly wouldn’t be on this island with him. ‘Want to talk about it?’
‘No.’ She spoke to the dark space in front of them. Then after a minute, in a stronger tone, ‘Let’s go eat.’ Back in control of her emotions.
Which bugged the hell out of Zac. How was he supposed to get behind the walls she put up when she kept doing this? He wanted to shake her, shake out her story, then begin to help her move past whatever locked her up so tight. But one look at that jutting chin said that now wasn’t the moment. Though when would be the right time was a mystery to him. Olivia had made self-control an art form.
The only place he’d seen her enjoy herself completely, without thought for anything else, was in the sack. Light-bulb moment. Because when she’d finished she could, and did, put on her corporate-style clothes again and the control they represented.
For which he should be glad, but wasn’t.
A vision of Olivia in track pants and a sweatshirt. That night she’d started making love to him and it had been as different from any other time as north was to south. Slow and tender, giving and sharing.
For him it had been a game-changer. Waking up in her bed in the morning had been a first. Lying tucked up against her back, his arm over her waist, holding her close, had been another first, and absolutely wonderful, like nothing he’d experienced before. So wonderful he’d settle for cuddling Olivia all night to wake up like that again.
Okay, he’d try, but it wouldn’t be easy. But he’d try really hard. Hard is the wrong word, buddy.
‘You plan on daydreaming all night?’ the woman causing these thoughts called from the door.
‘Why is it called daydreaming when I’m doing it at night?’
As they strolled along the lantern-lit path Zac found himself wondering for the first time ever if he was wrong to stick to his guns and deliberately deny himself a future that involved a beautiful, loving woman and maybe equally beautiful and loving children.
No, he couldn’t be wrong. How else did he justify keeping Olivia at arm’s length?
Later, Olivia slid beneath the bedcovers and tucked the sheet under her neck like a prissy girl from the convent.
Zac laughed. Long and loud. His eyes twinkled and his gorgeous mouth looked good enough to devour.
‘It’s not that funny.’ She tried not to laugh too, and only succeeded in making hysterical squawking noises instead.
‘Yeah, it is, when you think what we’ve got up to in beds before.’
That dampened down her mirth. ‘You want to change the rules.’
‘Damn right I do. I’d be lying if I said otherwise.’ He came and sat on the edge of the bed, on his side; no sign of laughter in his face now. ‘But I’m enjoying our time together. It’s like nothing we’ve ever done before and it’s…’ He waved his hand in the air between them. ‘Does fun sound boring?’
‘Fun is good.’
‘I want to get to learn more about you, what makes you tick, the things that you’d choose to do first if time was running out. Hell, I want to know everything about you. Before the gala night I didn’t know anything about you despite having spent many hours in your company.’
Wow. Really? Of course, he didn’t know what he was asking for. ‘We trained together. You can’t do that without learning some things.’ But she was ducking for cover, and that wasn’t fair. ‘Doctor things, I guess. Like how much you care about your patients, how intelligent you are, oh, and how pig-headed you can be.’
‘Thanks a bunch.’ Zac smiled. ‘Okay, random question. Do you still play the cello?’ He leaned back against the headboard and stretched his legs all the way down the bed.
She laughed. ‘No way. I sold my cello to buy an amazing pair of leather boots that were the envy of every girl at school.’ Which was why she’d wanted them. Now she bought the most amazing pairs of boots any time because she could, and loved them without needing any acknowledgement from others.
‘I bet you were good at music.’
‘Try very average on a good day. I think the music teacher only persisted with my lessons because he needed a cello in the school orchestra and no one else wanted to be hauling such a large instrument on and off the bus.’
‘Why are you doing that?’
‘Putting yourself down again. You’re a highly skilled surgeon, yet right now you’re sounding like you don’t believe in yourself.’
‘I’m not perfect, can’t excel at everything I do. For example, the pot plants in my house. But I am honest.’ Most of the time.
Zac reached for her hand and held it between both of his. ‘I know.’
Warm fuzzies uncurled inside her. It would be all too easy to lean her head against his chest and pretend they were a couple, a real couple with a history and a future that involved more than bedroom antics. The couple that woke up in the morning in each other’s arms.
Pulling her hand free, she shuffled further down the bed. ‘Time to get some sleep. Sunrise is early around these parts.’ As if she’d fall asleep with Zac barely inches away from her. Those pillows she’d stuffed down the middle as a barrier were a joke, and would take two seconds to get shot of. She could only hope his mental barrier was stronger. Hers was weakening.
Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Plastic Surgeon Olivia Coates-Clark knew her affair with handsome Dr Zachary Wright couldn’t last forever, so she ended it before she could get hurt. But when a chance encounter brings them back together, she finds herself considering breaking her one rule: not to give in to her reignited desire for Zac!
Zac watched Olivia walk away once, but he won’t let it happen again. Alone with her in paradise, he’ll prove once and for all that some rules are worth breaking…
Meet the Author:
With a background of working in medical laboratories, and a love of the romance genre, it is no surprise Sue MacKay writes Mills & Boon Medical Romance stories. an avid reader all her life, she wrote her first story at age eight – about a prince, of course. She lives wither own hero in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds at the top of New Zealand’s South Island, where she indulges her passion for the outdoors, the sea, and cycling and kayaking.