A Once Touched Christmas
Hi, everyone! It’s so great to be here at Romance Junkies and chatting with you about my new release, Once Touched.
With the holiday season upon us, and our heads filled with ideas about what gifts to make and buy for the people in our lives, I thought I’d talk about my heroine and hero in Once Touched–Quinn Knowles and Ethan Saunders–and their first Christmas together. The holiday is a tricky one for them because they’re both discovering the depths of their feelings for each other and yet haven’t mustered the courage to put those feelings into words. What can Ethan and Quinn give that will show how special the other has become and that will convey thought and care and understanding–all without revealing how much their hearts are involved?
Such a dilemma.
Now, I’m not going to spoil it for you by telling you what Ethan and Quinn get each other for Christmas, but I will tell you what they know about each other’s characters and how that guides their search for the perfect present.
So this is what Quinn knows about Ethan: He’s a talented photographer who’s traveled the world taking pictures. His last assignment to him to Afghanistan, where he was embedded with an army unit. He’s returned to the United States injured and carrying terrible memories inside him. While Ethan came to Silver Creek Ranch, the sprawling cattle and sheep ranch owned by Quinn’s family, to hide from the world, what Quinn realizes is that Ethan needs to feel a part of it. He needs to feel connected to something outside of himself. After a long search, she finds what she hopes will make him understand that he does belong.
And here’s what Ethan has learned after observing Quinn closely: While Quinn loves her family and her friends, few things in the world are as important to her as the animals in her care. He witnesses this firsthand when her rescue horse Tucker comes down with colic and he helps her keep the horse walking and upright until the veterinarian arrives. He also knows that her happiness grows with each animal in need she is able to help or rescue–her heart is that big. His gifts to her reflect that knowledge.
Below is an excerpt from Once Touched. It’s Christmas morning for Ethan and Quinn. I hope that when you read the rest of Once Touched and discover what Ethan and Quinn give each other, you’ll approve of their choices!
Excerpt from Once Touched:
“Merry Christmas, sleepyhead,” Ethan whispered before he pressed a kiss to Quinn’s lips.
Her mouth answered him, her soft lips opening, moving beneath his. He released them and watched her lashes flutter and then open. She blinked and then smiled as she stretched in a move that shoved her arms under the pillows and arched her back. It was a beautiful sight.
He had a moment to appreciate the mounds of her breasts beneath her navy tank top that had whiskey and yoga emblazoned across the front before she settled back against the mattress.
“Merry Christmas,” she replied in a husky, pre-coffee voice, adding, “FYI, my internal clock is telling me it’s nowhere near time to wake up. It’s infallible.”
“Got a couple presents to give you before we head over to your parents’ place.”
“Wait a second. We took them over to my parents’ place yesterday so that Reid could do some one-stop snooping.”
The Knowleses were having a family celebration this morning before Tess and Ward took off to the airport for New York, where they’d celebrate with Tess’s parents and visit her brother Christopher, who lived in a facility that cared for adults afflicted with severe autism.
“Yeah, well I held a few in reserve.”
“Did you now?”
“Yeah. I’m feeling indulgent, moved by the holiday spirit and all that.” “All that” being the way his heart seemed to expand whenever he looked at Quinn, or thought about her.
“Well, then, bring ’em on, bud.”
“Scoot yourself up first. Here,” he said, grabbing the pillows he’d slept on and placing them behind her back. Once she was upright, he leaned over and picked up the wooden tray. Setting it across her lap, he plucked off the dish towel, revealing a freshly brewed double espresso in her favorite mug, which had two goats butting heads on it, and a sticky bun that he’d reheated according to Roo Rodgers’s instructions.
“Oh man, I thought I’d just dreamed the scent of coffee and sugar—two of my favorite smells.”
“Nope. Christmas breakfast in bed.” He grabbed his own cup and sat beside her on the bed.
“Wow. This is great. Thank you.” She took the time to look at her tray in appreciation. Then she lifted her cup and, cradling it between her hands, inhaled deeply. “You know, I’ve never been given breakfast in bed—not since I was, like, twelve or something. I think I had the flu. Mom brought me up some buttered toast with grape jam and a big glass of orange juice.”
“Funny thing to have missed out on, considering you live at a high-end guest ranch,” he said with studied casualness. Once more a fierce possessiveness had seized him. There were countless things he wanted to be the first at when it came to Quinn. Her first and only, he added silently.
I’m going to be giving away a copy of Once Touched (paper or e-book, winner’s choice–U.S. residents only, please). To enter, just leave an answer to the following question in the comment section below. The winner will be chosen at random by The Romance Dish.
Question: What present do you remember giving to (or receiving from) a special person in your life? This can be anyone–a family member, friend, or sweetheart.
The youngest of the three Knowles siblings, Quinn has in her blood the love of the land and its beautiful creatures. Raising enough money to build an animal sanctuary is a dream Quinn lives every day—while fending off her family’s well-intentioned matchmaking schemes. Though harboring secret fears about intimacy, Quinn soon realizes she cannot fight her growing attraction to a man who has suddenly entered her life.
Scarred by his months in Afghanistan and the violence he witnessed there through his camera lens, photojournalist Ethan Saunders throws himself into hard ranching work as a prescription for healing. But falling for Quinn has given him the one thing he thought he’d lost forever: hope. Ethan discovers that Quinn, like the innocent animals she rescues, is shy, and afraid of entrusting her heart to a man. Passion soon awakens Ethan’s strength, and his tender seduction may be just what Quinn needs to believe in herself—and in his love.
Buy Links for Once Touched:
Bestselling contemporary romance author Laura Moore’s first story filled a coffee-stained notebook before she realized she might actually have written a love story that others would enjoy. Ride A Dark Horse was published a year later.
An accomplished equestrian and lifelong animal lover, Laura Moore lives in Rhode Island with her husband, two children and their black Lab. Their cat, Zevon, keeps them all in line.
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