Today I am delighted to share with you an excerpt from the absolutely brilliant First Time in Forever by Sarah Morgan
Happily-Ever-After isn’t on Emily Donovan’s agenda…
Emily’s been too swept up in a challenging year of firsts, from becoming a stand-in mum to her niece Lizzy to moving to remote but beautiful Puffin Island, to think about love.
But that’s before charismatic local yacht club owner Ryan Cooper kisses her…
Ryan knows Emily has a complicated past that she’s struggling to face. So he makes it his mission to help her unwind and enjoy the chemistry they share.
Can the welcoming community of Puffin Island work their magic on Emily and get her to take her biggest leap of trust yet —putting her heart in someone else’s hands?
Let bestselling author Sarah Morgan whisk you away with the all new Puffin Island series!
“Good job.” Ryan was right next to her, and at last, now that the possibility of drowning seemed to have passed, she allowed herself to look at him.
His dark hair was slick, and droplets of water clung to the powerful muscles of his shoulders.
He was the sexiest man she’d laid eyes on.
And he wasn’t interested in her.
She gave a bright smile. “Thank you. That was brilliant.”
He didn’t smile back. Instead he eyed the changing room door, as if judging how fast he could get out of here. “You did well. Do you always work that hard at things?”
“If it’s something important.”
His gaze slid back to hers. “I think that’s enough for one day. I need to get back to work.”
“Of course. Thank you for taking the time to teach me. I can do it by myself from now on.”
He frowned. “You can’t do that.”
“I’ll stay in the shallow end, but I need to practice.”
“Tell me when you’re going to practice. I’ll make sure I’m here.”
“You’re busy. You don’t want to—”
“Damn it, Emily! The purpose of this exercise is to increase your confidence around water, and that’s not going to happen if you’re on your own, so just say yes.”
“Yes. Tomorrow,” she murmured. “Same time. But you don’t seem very happy about it.”
“Because you’re standing next to me in a swimsuit that looks like something from a porn movie.”
She stared at him, her heart pounding. “You said—I thought—”
“What did you think?”
“That you weren’t interested. That this was all too complicated for you. That—” she hesitated “—that I’m not your type. I don’t know enough about sex. I—I’m not exciting enough.’
There was a long pause.
The only sound was the soft lap of water against the side of the pool and her own breathing.
“If you were any more exciting I’d need medical attention.”
Her stomach dropped, but this time the feeling had nothing to do with fear.
The air was punctuated by a tension as unfamiliar and alien to her as the swimming.
“I thought—then why—”
“Because you don’t want what I’m offering.”
“How can you possibly know what I want when you haven’t asked me?”
His gaze held hers, and in that single moment the world consisted of the two of them and nothing else.
How could a single look be so arousing?
How could he do this to her?
“Emily—” He cradled the side of her face in his hand, stroking her cheek with his thumb as he looked down at her as if he was making a decision about something.
She was terrified he was going to change his mind. Walk away as he had the night before.
Instead he lowered his head with a slow inevitability that made her wonder if anyone had ever died of anticipation.
His mouth brushed over hers with unhurried, skilled deliberation, the gentleness at odds with the leashed strength of his body. His eyes looked darker than usual, almost drowsy, clouded with emotions she found impossible to read.
And then the kiss altered. Instead of a lazy, exploratory brush of his mouth, it became hungry and urgent, and she felt the strength in his hands as he cupped her bottom and pulled her hard against him, the movement bold and blatantly sexual. She felt the hard, thick ridge of his erection through the thin fabric of her suit and the slick stroke of his tongue against hers as he slanted his mouth over hers and kissed her deeply.
Her hands gripped the brutal swell of his biceps and then slid upwards over his wide shoulders and into the thickness of his hair.
He held her hard against him and kissed her with skill and purpose, the cool of the water contrasting with the heat of his mouth and the burning fire that blazed inside her. She was weightless in the water, slippery as a sea creature, and they kissed like demons, locked together and frantic.
He made a sound deep in his throat and then buried his mouth in her neck, and she tipped her head back, eyes closed, shaken and aroused as sensation ripped through her.
He backed her against the side of the pool and trapped her there. “I want you,” he growled the words against her mouth. “Can you feel how much I want you?”
Yes, she could feel it. The hard, intimate pressure of his body against hers. The rough demands of his hands and mouth.
She drove her fingers into his hair, her mouth colliding with his in a kiss that stripped away reservations and inhibitions. “I want you, too.” She felt his hand slide upwards and cup the weight of her breast. Then his thumb made a slow slide over her nipple, teasing it into an aching peak until she squirmed against him, engulfed in exquisite sensation and delicious anticipation.
Her mind shut down. All of her senses were focused on him, on his hands, his mouth, on the dangerous heat that burned through her body.
She hadn’t known it was possible to want someone this much.
They were doing everything except having sex, and just when she was hoping he’d cross that line sometime very soon, there was the sound of a door in the distance, and he released her.
“We’ve got company.” His voice was husky and uneven, and he kept his hand on her waist until he was sure she was steady on her feet.
Emily looked at him dizzily, thinking that it was a good thing her feet could touch the floor of the pool; otherwise she definitely would have drowned.
Gradually it dawned on her that they were in a semi-public place.
One of them needed to say something, and she decided that since he’d taken the lead on everything else, she’d do that part. “If I’d known swimming was this much fun, I would have done it years ago.”
He made a sound that was half laugh, half groan and brought his mouth back to hers. “Leave Lizzy with Agnes tonight. We can watch the sunset from my bed.”
She eased away, feeling the pull of regret. “I can’t.”
“Why not? She’d be safe.”
Lizzy would be, but what about her? Up until the past few weeks, she’d never thought of herself as particularly sexual. What if they got as far as bed and she disappointed him? This was a small island. She could be committing herself to a summer of awkward encounters.
Her nerve fled. “I’ll get changed and we’ll forget it ever happened.”
“Sure. That should work, as long as no one looks at the surveillance footage.”
She glanced up and saw a camera focused on the pool. “There are cameras?”
“Yeah, we just starred in our own private movie.”
Emily gave an embarrassed laugh. “Well hopefully no one will ever have reason to examine the footage.” She didn’t trust her arms to be able to haul herself out of the pool the way he did, so to avoid a potentially ungainly accident, she chose to use the steps. She could feel him watching her every step of the way from the pool to the changing room.
She turned her head. “Yes?”
“If you change your mind, you know where I live.”