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Romancing the Mystery of Yesterday, Today and Tomorros
Smolder was the debut Book of the Month for the All Romance eBook Club and a bestseller.
The New York City Fire Department's most eligible bachelor is Johnny Newman. His avocation is pleasure. Through serial monogamy, he perfects the nuances to transport women to nirvana. Little do any of them realize once he turns out his boudoir light, the woman on his mind is the only one he can't have, Susan Cervini--his best friend's wife. When 9/11 makes her a widow, Johnny supports Susan through her grief. Two years later she is building a new life for herself while caught up in a mystery, trying to locate her presumed dead cousin. When smoldering Firefighter Newman makes his move, Susan is consumed by his inferno.
Excerpt from Smolder
By Sammie Jo Moresca:
The doorbell rang. Her eyes grew large as she jumped up and yanked the belt tight on her pink and powder blue chenille robe. She finger combed her hair as she passed by the foyer mirror. She peeked through the peephole. Johnny Newman. Good old Johnny. Susan opened the front door and the storm door.
"Hi Johnny. Excuse my appearance, I was reading my e-mail and the morning got away from me."
The tall and buff auburn haired hunk handed her a bouquet of white lilies. "Not a problem. How'd it go at the soup kitchen yesterday?"
Susan smiled. "These are for me?"
"Thank you. What's the occasion?" As soon as she'd asked the question, she realized it was two years ago today that they'd found Brandon's remains in the smoldering rubble of Tower One. "Oh—that's right." She swallowed hard and pushed the bouquet to her nose, inhaling the sweet scent.
He hugged her. She noticed the smoke. A familiar sensory memory of her late husband.
As Johnny wiped orange pollen off her nose with his finger, he stared into her eyes, trying to make a connection.
Susan looked down and said, "Last Thanksgiving was much easier. It was good being around the other volunteers. But I never want to see another yam ever again."
"I was carrying one of those big aluminum trays and I tripped. I looked like one of the bag ladies myself, with marshmallow matted hair for the rest of the day."
He touched her shoulder. "Sorry."
"It's okay. It's kind of funny now. How was work?"
"Thanksgiving is always an interesting watch. A couple fire calls for food on the stove. And you get there and everyone is drunk. Grandma and all." Johnny leaned down to scratch Bob. "So, who's this guy you're sending dirty messages to?"
"What?" Susan tugged her robe closed at the neck.
"Why so much Internet lately?"
Embarrassed but enthusiastic about her new found addiction, Susan confessed, "Well, I was hooked on the auction sites, but my credit card statement snapped me out of that nonsense. Then I found Gobbledy Groups and I love chatting with people from all over the world. I'm on a romance readers e-mailing loop, but I just joined a music fan group."
Johnny hung his brown leather bomber jacket on a wall hook built into the mirror over the foyer bench. "What's the topic?"
"Oh, it's a fan website for Mister Wright."
"I thought he OD'ed."
"No! He's not a druggie. He's a good family man. His wife's a doctor. He takes the kids on tour with him. They've got three children."
Johnny did an Elvis smile, out of one side of his mouth. "What happened to the classy Susan who only listened to jazz?"
"Would you like some coffee?" she asked, "I don't make it just for myself, but I can brew a fresh pot for us."
"No, thanks, I've had too much. I want to try to get the framing done today." He turned on the basement light.
"Okay, thanks, Johnny. You really don't have to do this—"
He placed a finger on her lips. "Shh…stop it. Brandon was my best buddy. I'm finishing what he started…"
Susan wiped a tear from her eye and smiled, looking away. "Let me take a shower, then I'll come down and give you a hand."
* * * *
In the basement, Johnny measured and cut the studs for the final wall. He laid them out on the concrete floor, spacing the two-by-fours eighteen inches on center. His mind wandered to how attractive Susan looked this morning, standing in front of him in that robe with her long black hair all tousled. He'd never known anyone else with crayon blue eyes like Susan's. He'd fallen hard for her the first time their eyes met, at the awards ceremony where Brandon received his medal. Brandon was the one who pulled her out of the apartment fire. Johnny couldn't compete with her hero. The Lieutenant had Johnny up on the roof, ventilating. Damn it. It should have been him rescuing the goddess from the fire.
She had occupied his mind for much of the last six years. The one woman he couldn't have. In Johnny's fantasies, he'd steal Susan away from his best friend—the man with whom fate had erroneously paired her. But now all of that had changed.
Johnny put his finger on his lips, the one he shushed her with. He softly stroked his mouth. Water clunked through the pipes. Johnny Newman envisioned the chenille robe falling to the floor and Susan stepping into the hot spray. Oh, to be her pump bottle of foaming body wash…
©2008 Sammie Jo Moresca
For Adults Only! Complete novella contains graphic love scenes