Marsha Canham's Blog

July 15, 2012

Sneak Peek Sunday

Filed under: Caesars Through the Fence — marshacanham @ 2:27 pm

Today’s sample offering comes from Shirley Jump, one of about 400 authors on an eloop that supports new and troglodyte authors like myself as we trek through this new world of ebook publishing. Grab a coffee, settle in for a few, and check out her snippet. *g*

Thanks so much for having me on the blog! I love reading samples and getting that great little taste of a book. Then again, I also love sample days at the grocery store, and the warehouse club. And the makeup counter…I think that explains the size of my Macy’s bill!

Today, I’ve got a sample of one of my Sweet and Savory Romances. The idea for those came from my love of cooking and reading. I subscribe to several cooking magazines and love trying new dishes. The ones in these books are my own—tested in my kitchen, and my hips ;-). THE DEVIL SERVED DESIRE features Maria Pagliano, who is desperate to diet down to her high school size before her reunion and Dante Del Rosso, the sexy chef who is determined to tempt her with his kisses and his pasta. Maria joins a quirky support group called the Chubby Chums, but can’t deny her attraction to Dante, who is oh-so-wrong for her diet and her heart.

Here’s the excerpt from The Devil Served Desire:

Chapter 4

She’d managed to escape without having to classify herself as either a mammal or crustacean, thank God and all the saints. Maria slipped her arms into her coat, ignored the growling in her belly that told her she should have at least taken the time to eat before she made her mad dash fromArnold, and picked up the pace. At home, there was a fork waiting for her. And in her hands, her leftovers.

Who needed men when she had that combination in her kitchen?

“Maria, wait!”

That was notArnold’s voice—it was Dante’s. She’d do well to keep on walking and not turn around. That man had “linguine in bed” written all over him.

Well… maybe stopping was a better idea than trying to outrun him. She was, after all, in heels. And linguine in bed wasn’t always a bad idea.

Maria spun around, the Styrofoam to-go box from Vita in her hand. “I’m on my way home.”

“I gathered that. But I couldn’t let you leave, not yet.”

“Don’t you have a customer to attend to?”

“He’s eating. I have a few minutes. Besides, if I stayed in the restaurant, I’d hover over the guy and if there’s anything that’s sure to piss him off again, it’s a hovering chef.”

She laughed. “I bet you’re right.”

“So why don’t you help me pass the time?”

Damn, he had nice eyes. The kind that seemed to bore into a woman and read every thought she’d ever had. He’d be the type—she knew—to anticipate what she wanted in bed, just by reading the signals in her gaze.

The volcano in her pelvis began to stir.

Dante took a step forward, his gaze never leaving hers. “I’m sure we could find something to while away the minutes.”

Antonio was the man she was supposed to be focused on. Antonio was the man she was starving herself half to death for. Antonio was expecting her to be ready and waiting, pom-poms in hand, when he arrived for the reunion.

But right now, she couldn’t even remember what Antonio looked like.

From somewhere beside them, violin music began to play, an old Italian love song Maria had heard her grandfather sing to Nonna after a few too many grappas.

“See? They’re even setting the mood for us.”

She smirked. “I bet you planned that.”

“Wish I could take the credit, but it’s Crazy Carlo. He opens his window, year-round, and practices his violin. Damned good thing he’s got some talent or I think the neighbors would kill him.”

“Why the open window?”

“He says it lets in his creativity.” Dante shrugged. “I think he just likes to put on a performance, whether it’s eighty degrees out or eight.”

Maria shivered in the chilly March night air and drew her coat closer around her body. “Dedicated, or insane.”

Dante laughed. “Maybe a little of both. Most people with a passion for something usually are.” He took a second step closer, bringing him within inches of touching her. His eyes met hers, connecting across the short divide between them, increasing the heat in the small space. “Don’t you agree?”

“Yes,” she said, exhaling the word more than speaking it.

What were the objections she’d had to Dante again? Something about another man? A man far, far away, who was probably out with another woman right now, not even giving her a second thought. Then there’d been something about a diet.

Well, hell, she was holding an antipasto. She’d covered the diet thing. And Dante did need to take his mind off the difficult day he’d had. She’d be doing him a favor.

Yeah, that was it.

The violin music continued, the melody carrying along the air like hummingbirds around them. The vibrations of the sound intensified everything stirring within Maria.

“Dance with me, Maria,” Dante said, his voice low and intimate.

“Here? In the middle of the sidewalk?”

“It’s late, there aren’t any cars. I can’t think of a better place.” He took her hands in his. He had a large, strong grip, firm around her own, as if he could hold her up, no matter the storm. “Or a prettier partner.”

“I’m not very good.”

“I’m not going to care.” With his other hand, he took the Styrofoam container and put it on a stoop beside them, then wrapped his arm around her waist.

Had she really objected to his touch? She had to have been crazy. Thinking with a half-starved brain. Because Dante felt good. No, he felt damned good.

Crazy Carlo segued smoothly into an aria Maria had heard before. Veracini was the composer, she thought absently, then wondered why she even cared about the detail when Dante was right there gazing so intently at her.

He stepped to the right and Maria moved with him, their bodies pressing together with the movement. The volcano in her gut began to erupt into hot, molten arousal. The music, deep and heartfelt, swirled around them, like an ancient rhythm of desire. She tried to step to the left, to pull him with her, but he insistently moved again in the same direction as before, completing a circle.

His hand drifted down to the small of her back, pressing against the valley just above her buttocks. A nerve existed there, and he’d hit it, igniting something within her that Harry hadn’t even been able to get a smolder on, despite his ten-minute effort at starting a fire with his stick and no kindling.

Dancing in the street in the middle of March was an insane idea. And yet, it was the exact kind of thing Maria knew her friends wouldn’t be surprised to see her doing. She, of all people, was the least conventional, the one voted Most Likely to Do Something Unexpected.

This was about as unexpected and unconventional as a woman could get while staying fully clothed.



Check out Shirley’s website:

and her cooking blog!


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