Hannah O’Leary is running from a past she wants to forget. Arriving in Charleston, SC, she is immediately swept into Austin “Mac” MacDevin’s life when he renovates her property. When fighting their attraction is no longer an option, can Hannah and Mac’s hearts survive a love as vulnerable as them?
His eyes darkened, became serious. “Darling, when I want to get in your pants, I’ll seduce you like you’ve never been seduced before. I promise you. You’ll forget your name.”
“You won’t get the chance,” she said with heat.
His grin was devilish. “Oh, I will. There’s no sense us fighting our attraction. It’s just a matter of when we end up in bed and who’s the aggressor.” His hands lowered to her waist, his fingers kneading her skin ever so lightly. “Which, given both our personalities, should be quite interesting and something I must admit I’m looking forward to.”
Being held against that hard body distracted her thoughts. Her finger poked his chest. “You listen to me, Austin MacDevin. I’m not some game you can play. I’m a busy woman and don’t need to put up with shit from you. So let go.” She pushed out of his embrace and walked away, fighting her desire.
“Hannah,” he quietly called after her.
She stopped, hesitated and turned to face him, his voice tugging her heartstrings. The look in his eyes was of pure lust and hunger. Her temper lost its bite. She couldn’t deny she wanted him any more than she could live without air.
Slowly, he walked to her, his tall shadow cascading over the deck floor. She was mesmerized by the desire in his eyes as they roamed her face then rested on her lips. Those long fingers skimmed her jaw as his arm wrapped around her waist and gently held her against him.
“Aw, hell,” he whispered. “I give in.”
Mac bent his head, his lips covering hers, the kiss as gentle as a butterfly’s wings brushing over her skin. His hesitation was obvious, the way his arms quivered as they circled her. Her own nerves electrified as her heart pounded, the beating quickening against her breastbone.
He smelled of soap and cigar, a wonderful mixture of clean and rugged. Her hands skimmed slowly over his chest, the ripples of muscles under her touch hard and firm. His heart pounded against her fingertips, his breathing deepening as he held her up against him, her toes barely touching the floor.
As the kiss intensified, his lips moved harder over hers, his tongue tracing them, begging them to open. Giving in to her desires, she allowed him entry, his tongue darting into her mouth furiously. His hands slowly massaged her back, thrilling her all the way to her toes. Her mind went blank, her only interest was his exploration of her mouth. His tongue slowly roamed the inside, teasing hers, brushing along her teeth to the roof of her mouth and then started all over again, each time the pace becoming more frantic. He tasted of smoke, the bitter remnants of his cigar, but she didn’t care. She was dizzy with need. When he deepened the kiss further, he stole her breath away, the need to be taken erasing all rational thoughts.
When he finally removed his lips from hers, they were both breathing heavily. Her lips were gloriously swollen. His hands glided to her upper arms and slowly pulled her a few inches away from his chest, his eyes searching hers.
“Now that’s a fine thing you went and did,” she scolded, keeping her eyes locked on his. “My life is complicated enough without throwing sex into it.”
“It was a kiss, Hannah. Just a kiss,” he whispered.
“You know it was more. Much more.”
“Really? Do tell,” he said, grinning wickedly.
“Let me go.” She struggled but he held her firm.
“Can’t do that.”
“What do you mean you can’t? You will. Now let me go.”
“Only if you explain what you meant. Don’t pretend we haven’t been flirting with each other since we met or haven’t been using sexual overtones. Tell me how that simple kiss, which I happened to enjoy immensely, was more than just a kiss, more than just a man and a woman exploring their sexual attraction to one another.”
“Because you held me.”
He looked at her with a confused look.
“Damn it, Austin. You embraced me. You, you, well, you held back.”
“Okay. I’m sorry but you’ve lost me. Start over.”
She sighed. “You kissed me. Without groping me. Without dragging me to the floor to screw me. You kissed me. No one has ever just wanted to kiss me.”
He laughed. “For the record I want to do more than kiss you, darling. But I’d like to think I have a little more class than to take you here on my deck while my children sleep inside. And you deserve better from me.”
“Exactly. You could’ve tried but you didn’t. No one has ever respected me like that. I can’t deal with this right now.” She tried to pull away again unsuccessfully.
“Hannah.” His knuckles skimmed her cheek. “You kissed me back.”
“Yes. So?” Her heart was still pounding.
“So you enjoyed it, too.”
“I never said I didn’t. I’m mad I enjoyed it.”
“Now that’s one reaction I wasn’t looking for. Care to explain?” he said with a scowl.
“In case you’ve forgotten, Austin, I’m not staying in Charleston. I’m leaving as soon as my restaurant is completed.”
“What’s that have to do with me kissing you tonight, after we enjoyed a lovely evening together?”
“I don’t want to get attached. I’m not looking for a relationship,” she said, avoiding his eyes.
“Now there’s something we both agree on,” he said lightly. “It was a kiss, Hannah. Can we leave it at that? We’re attracted to each other. Nothing wrong with that.”
“No there isn’t but can you stop at that kiss, Austin?”
“For tonight I can. Do you know you drive me crazy when you call me by my real name?” His hands relaxed on her waist.
She wrapped her arms around his neck, giving in to the moment, defeated by the emotions swirling through her and needing help to hold herself up on her trembling knees. “Why don’t you use it? Austin is a nice name you know.”
He shrugged. “People started calling me Mac. I guess it was easier. Would you like more wine?”
“No.” She sighed. “Austin, I have to get home.”
“Kiss me good night, Hannah.”
She leaned up on her toes and touched her lips to his, lingering for a moment then stopped. “That’s all you get. More just wouldn’t be a good idea.”
“We’ll soon see about that,” he promised with a smile as he followed her into the house.
She grabbed her pocketbook and they walked quietly to her car. He opened her door and she slid in, rolling down the window.
“Good night, Austin,” she said softly, taking one last look into those serious blue eyes before driving home. Alone. Again.
By luvtoread on February 2, 2015 on Amazon: This book had plenty of characterizations and development. It is the things that stand out most in this story… Full length, fun, real and endearing story. I’d read another.
By Michelle on March 29, 2011on Amazon: A PLACE TO CALL HOME swept me up and took me on a sweet, satisfying ride. It’s a love story with all the tenderness right alongside the reality. Home life isn’t always apple pie and sunshine, sometimes it’s stolen kisses while you do the dishes…A PLACE TO CALL HOME was a satisfying full-length novel. I love how Christina James took the time and care to develop a serene Charleston for us to explore. It’s the south the way I love it, full of grace and hospitality. The town and the secondary characters were as intriguing as Hannah and Austin “Mac” themselves, but it really was the two of them who kept me riveted…So for those of you needing a break from the novella and wanting a big ol’ drink of sweet tea to quench your thirst, this is one to look into. I found A PLACE TO CALL HOME refreshing and enchanting. Enjoy!
5 hearts from Miz Love: A Place to Call Home is a sweet, sensual, sexy and hot read all rolled into one. I enjoyed the fact that Mac had kids. It was a refreshing change to read something where family issues are evident; it made the story more true to life for me.
Nominated for Best Single Title Book in the 2010 National Reader’s Choice Award contest; Best Long Contemporary Book in the 2010 Reader’s Crown Contest; Best Single Title Book in the 2010 Heart of Excellence Reader’s Choice Awards; 2nd Place Winner Published Beacon Contest
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