Today’s featured Book Bash author is Renee Carlino and her latest release Nowhere but Here: A Novel. This is another author that has tugged at my (and many of our) heartstrings with her beautiful, heartfelt love stories. Yep. I couldn’t help but 5-star love her *other* beautiful love story (Sweet Thing).
And while this latest release is a standalone (and not connected to that series), I’m hearing it’s just as fabulous!
Cheryl: Nowhere but Here by Renee Carlino. I LOVE how she writes. It was sweet and touching with some angst.
Rebecca: I’m currently reading and loving Renee Carlino’s Nowhere But Here (so dreamy!!)
Rachel: Nowhere But Here by Renee Carlino was really good. It was so sweet and had a good dose of achy-ness.
Jaime: Nowhere but here is so so good so far. Im 50% in and totally swooning over Jamie. It’s sweet, sexy and oh so funny.
Wow! I love her swoon-worthy men, so I need to get on this and fall in love. And what makes today even more special is that she has a wonderful “extra” for us from that very book! She says:
“I am so excited to share this with you. This is a never before seen bonus scene from Nowhere but Here in Jamie’s POV.”
Ready for that bonus scene?
NOWHERE BUT HERE by Renée Carlino (bonus scene)
PAGE X: A Case of Bad Timing
I brushed the dirt from my hands and looked up to the sky to see a flock of birds darting in and out of the clouds in a well-choreographed dance. It was a fascinating sight, but not nearly as breathtaking as the sight of Kate standing at the end of the row, watching me with a shy smile. She was pink-cheeked, hair going crazy, and she had no shoes on, just the dress she had worn the night before. My eyes focused on her mouth as I stalked toward her.
Her lips parted the moment I reached out for her. I gripped the back of her neck, pulled her into my body, and kissed her until I felt her go boneless in my arms.
When I pulled away, there was a tiny bit of humor in her smile.
“Do you get it yet?” I asked.
“You will, except there’s no one here to stop us but ourselves.”
“Hmm. your riddling prowess is quite impressive.” She laughed nervously, but I didn’t crack a smile.
“Where are you headed?”
“To my room.”
“Can I come to your room when I’m through here?” I wiggled my eyebrows.
“But, Jamie, what will the townsfolk say?”
“That’s true. I can just hide your clothes again, lock you in my barn, and fuck you silly.” I smirked at her and watched her cheeks flush instantly.
She put one hand on her hip and socked me with the other. “I knew you hid my clothes.”
“I had no choice. I needed you naked.”
“I’ll let you stay with me in my room, but I’m making no promises beyond cuddling. We can always cuddle.”
“That’s enough to keep me going for a hundred years.”
She took a deep breath through her nose and then sighed quietly before twirling around and walking away. The truth was that it took everything in me, every ounce of strength I had, to stop myself from taking her right there on that dusty ground in the middle of a sea of vines.
“What will you do, son?” Guillermo’s voice came from behind me.
I turned to see his broad smile. “I’m not sure, but I like her. I know that. I have to think of something before she leaves.”
“This is a first. I never thought I’d hear that from you, Jamie. Go to her. I can finish up out here.”
Instead of going back to the barn, I headed straight over to Kate’s room. Even covered in dirt and dust, I didn’t want to spend one more minute away from her.
She opened the door wearing only a small white towel. I stepped into the room without a word and then flicked the top of the towel, causing it to fall open and onto the floor.
I paused and glanced up and down her naked body. “You need a shower.”
“I just took a shower.” Her eyes were wide.
I bent down and threw her over my shoulder and took three long strides into the bathroom. She had a little fit, kicking and punching as she hung upside down against my back while I turned the shower on and waited for the water to reach the right temperature. I put my mouth to her hip and bit her. She tasted sweet.
I thought about the short time I had known her and how all I could think about was being holed up in a room, naked with Kate. Showering with Kate naked, eating dinner with Kate naked. Talking to Kate… naked. I had to find a way to talk to her about the truth. I knew I had to find a way to make things work with her.
“Ouch!” she screamed.
I was still sucking vigorously at the skin on her hip, leaving a little mark. “Oh, sorry, baby.” I kissed the same spot, running my tongue along it until she was writhing above me. I set her in the shower, removed my clothes, and then took one step, picked her up, and pinned her against the tile.
“This is like cuddling, right?” I said, smirking.
“You are dangerously close to breaking my rule.”
“Okay, let me just wash you.” I had every intention of breaking all of her rules.
“I think you need a once-over.” I started on my knees, using my mouth and listening for the perfects sounds she made as I kissed every inch of her body.
After the shower she was ready, but I made her wait.
“I’m saving you for later,” I said as I held a robe open for her.
“What shall we do for dinner?”
We talked about whether I needed to get dressed before our food arrived form Chef Mark. For reasons I couldn’t explain, Kate was opposed to dinner without clothes, but she said dessert was open for discussion. I called the restaurant and ordered one of each kind of dessert, a scoop of each flavor of ice cream, and a bowl of whipped cream.
“Aren’t you embarrassed? You work here,” she said after I hung up.
“Embarrassed about what?”
“You’ll have to see Chef Mark, and he’ll wonder what you’re doing with a giant bowl of whipped cream.”
“I’m going to eat it.” I acted like I didn’t know what she was talking about. “What’d you think I was going to do with it, Kate? God, you have such a dirty mind.”
“Truthfully, who cares? Chef Mark has seven kids. I’m sure he knows his way around this kind of thing.” I smiled and then slipped my hand inside her robe and up her thigh until I could feel the heat between her legs. “Especially when you add food to the mix.” I scrunched up my nose and shook my head. “Ugh, I don’t want to think about Chef Mark anymore. I just want to think about you and me and dessert.” All I wanted to do was dwell in the places my hand was roaming at the moment.
Sometime after making a colossal mess with the whipped cream, Kate and I ended up in the bathtub. She seemed quiet and distant. “What is it, Kate?”
“Nothing,” she said, shaking her head.
“Tell me.” I pulled her onto my lap so she straddled me. My erection was poking at her and I grinned, but she didn’t smile back.
“What are we doing, Jamie?”
“We’re taking a bath.” I dropped my head and circled her sweet nipple with my tongue. I moved to her neck, hoping she would just go with it. I wanted to talk to Kate, I did, but I knew it could wait. I had a far more pressing matter to attend to.
“I want to talk to you.”
“How long should I stay here?” Her voice was soft and musical, but there was a hint of fear in it, and that made me feel guilty.
“As long as you want,” I said nonchalantly, but she took in a sharp breath at my response, as if it shocked her. Did I seem indifferent?
But I didn’t mean it that way.
I just hadn’t managed to tell her the truth yet…
“Jamie…” She was trying to sound strong but her voice cracked at the last second.
I pulled away and then cupped her face. “When do you have to be back?”
“Well, when do you have to turn in the article?”
“I should go back sometime next week, maybe Tuesday, to turn in the article, and then I don’t know what.”
“Well, today is Friday, so we have some time,” I said, and then my mouth was back at her neck. I kissed and sucked all the way from her breasts to her ear, and then I whispered, “Doesn’t it feel good to just be… together?”
She shivered and then said, “Yes,” before kissing me slowly. She was tender and sweet when she took me into her hand and guided me inside her.
After the bath, I watched Kate read through winery pamphlets as we lay facing each other on our sides… naked. I told her all about the fermentation process, at times getting a little too enthusiastic about wine-making, even to my own ear.
“God, Jamie, you could teach a class on this stuff. What was your major in college?”
The question made me laugh. If she only knew.
“Seducing young journalists,” I said, and then I pulled the covers up over her and disappeared underneath them.
The hotel phone startled me out of the perfect, dreamless sleep I was in, pressed against Kate’s smooth body.
I reached for the phone. “Yes?” I said. And then I received the worst news of my life. Time seemed to freeze. I couldn’t remember what I said to the stranger on the phone, I just know that I hung up, sat at the edge of the bed, and tried to comprehend the information I had been given. Kate’s voice momentarily brought me out of the wretched pain I was feeling.
“Jamie?” she said as she moved to the end of the bed where I was sitting. “Are you okay?”
She kissed my back and in that moment I made a decision. I turned and quickly lifted her to the head of the bed.
“Shh,” I said, and then I kissed her hard and fast on the mouth before moving down her body. When I pushed off of her, she held on for a second and then let go as I sat back on my heels.
She fell back onto the bed and looked up at me, her chocolate eyes wide with curiosity. There was just enough moonlight slicing through the curtain and stretching across the bed that I could see Kate’s face, her white, smooth skin on display for me. She was so innocently willing to give herself to the person she thought I was. How quickly she seemed in love with and open to me. I could have done anything to her. I could have told her the truth. I could have told her it was all a lie and asked for her forgiveness right then before she gave herself to me again, but I didn’t. My own heart was broken so I chose the worst option. I took advantage of her.
“What is it?” she whispered.
Without a word, I reached behind the back of her thighs and pulled her legs open to me, and then I buried myself inside of her with one strong motion. I moved hard and fast above her and kept my eyes open so I could see all that she wanted to give me. She was the most giving person I had ever met, and I was lying to her about everything.
The moment I felt a pang of guilt, I moved harder inside her. She tried to pull me down against her body, but I wouldn’t let her. I pushed her chest back and brought her leg up over my shoulder so that she was there, splayed out for me. I thought she would stop me, but she didn’t, not even when I moved my thumb down and teased her until she was on the brink. I slowed my movements, waited, and then built her up again until finally I could tell she wouldn’t be able to take another minute. She gripped the sheets and arched her back and screamed something unintelligible before I felt her pulsing all around me, then my own body tensed.
Collapsing onto her, I buried my face in her neck. My throat started to ache. I was overcome with guilt. I rolled off her, sank down next to her, and took her nipple into my mouth. I kissed and sucked sleepily, taking the comfort that I needed from her without giving anything back.
I didn’t sleep that night though; I couldn’t. I was shattered over the news I had received, and I had to figure out how to handle things and move forward. I watched Kate sleep, looking beautiful and smelling sweet, and then I made my decision.
To purchase NOWHERE BUT HERE visit: http://reneecarlino.com/books/nowhere-but-here/