Name the book this excerpt is from. Three of you will win my next book NOBODY BUT YOU.
“Face forward. Feet up.”
“What?” she asked, still lost in his story, aching for his regrets. She looked up just in time to gasp.
They were at the top of the mountain.
She barely got her feet and ski tips up before she was making the transition from chair to snow. She wobbled, squealed, and was one hundred percent going down—
But a hand fisted in the back of her jacket and lifted her enough that she got her skis beneath her. When Hud set her down, he gave her a push.
She gasped and clutched her poles and wavered.
“Bend your knees,” he directed, all calm and perfect on his skis, the ratfink bastard.
But she bent her knees and . . . didn’t crash. When she drifted to a stop off to the side, she turned her head and glared at him.
“Problem?” he asked.
“You pushed me!”
“Yes, because you stopped right in the lane and were about to get run over by the people getting off the lift behind us.”
She stared at him, but her pride was not sure if it was ready to forgive.
He smiled. “You’re welcome.”
“I’m not thanking you until I live to the bottom of this run.”
He flashed that badass smile. “How will you thank me?”
Instead of stabbing him with one of her poles, she pushed off and headed down the hill, which from here looked to be about one hundred miles of ski run but actually was probably only two. As it always did, the sensation of gliding over the snow, combined with the utter lack of control she had over that snow, gave her heart a hard kick. But . . . she was doing it. She was skiing! She laughed out loud with the sheer joy of it. “Look at me,” she yelled back to Hud, smiling wide. “I’m doing it!”
That’s when her ski caught an edge. For about three seconds she fought the valiant fight, no doubt looking like a cat trying to scramble across linoleum, unable to catch her grip. She heard Hud behind her, voice calm. “Find your center. Bend your knees. Lean forward, not to the side—”
Too late. She leaned.
And she fell.
Right on her face. And for extra shits and giggles, she slid on her face down the hill another twenty feet or so. Sprawled out, she pushed up and spit out some snow. She was hauled to her feet. Hud, of course. He dusted She was hauled to her feet. Hud, of course. He dusted off the front of her and then turned her to get her backside. He slapped her there more than a few times until she twisted free and glared at him.
“Excuse me,” she said. “Are you sure you were thorough enough?”
He smiled. “Can never be too thorough.”
She narrowed her eyes. “You didn’t ask me if I was okay.”
“You hate that question.”
And just like that, her annoyance drained and her breath caught. He wasn’t a coddler. It wasn’t his style. He’d absolutely give her what he thought she needed, but he knew she didn’t want to be babied. She smiled at him then because damn. Damn, she could really fall for him.
Not that she was going to. Nope. No way, no how. “You have any tips for how not to do that again?” she asked.
“Yeah. Keep your mouth closed so you leave some of the snow for the other skiers.”
He grinned and gave her a very gentle push off. “Again,” he said. “Without the sliding on your face part.”
She sighed and hunkered into her ski pose, trying to concentrate.
“Lean forward,” Hudson said from right behind her. “Turn into the fall line.”
She did and immediately saw the difference. For once she actually felt in control and adrenaline surged in her veins. She loved the wind hitting her face and loved the feeling that she was flying—
“Bend your knees,” he said.
“My thighs are burning.”
“Which means you’re doing it right.”
“Maybe I should rethink this,” she said. “And become a ski bunny who gets to sit all nice and warm and toasty in the lodge.”
“I’ll make you nice and toasty later,” he promised. “Watch your skis. When you traverse across the slope, your skis need to be more parallel.”
She was about to parallel him upside the head when a little girl called out to him.
“HudsonHudsonHudson!” The cutie pie swooshed around him on her tiny skis, beaming wide as she came up alongside.
She was missing both her front teeth.
“Emma,” Hudson said with a chuckle. “You escape from your dad again?”
“Yes!” She giggled. “Race me!”
Hudson turned to Bailey.
“I don’t mind,” she said. “I’d love to see her kick your butt.”
“Ready, set, go!” Emma yelled, and took off.
Hudson easily got ahead of her and turned to face her, skiing backward like it was no big deal.
But Emma was no slouch. She might be tiny, but she was very good. Her little body moved with easy confidence. But then she dove into a turn and—in Bailey’s humble opinion, because she bent her knees too much—fell. . . right into Hudson.
He dropped his poles to catch her in midair, twisting so that as they tumbled to the snow in a heap, he was on the bottom, not crushing her.
Emma immediately sat up, grinning wide. “That was fun! Can we do it again? Can we?”
From prone on the ground, Hudson lifted Emma off of him. “No, you little rug rat. Some of us are too old for this.”
Beaming at him again, she took off. “Gotta go,” she yelled back. “Mom and Dad are waiting for me at the bottom.”
And then she was gone.
Bailey came to a careful stop next to Hud. “You’re supposed to stay on your feet,” she teased, tossing his own lesson back in his face.
Not afraid to laugh at himself, he snorted as he got to his feet. They took off in tandem.
“Uh‑oh,” she said, moving in closer. “You have a little. . .” Pretending she was going to brush some snow off of him, she instead smacked his ass in the same way he’d done to her. Except maybe harder. Or, you know, a lot harder.
Hudson’s eyes lit with a heated challenge as he gave her a look that had every bone in her body melting. It was the only reason that she plowed right into him, taking them both back down to the snow.
This time everything flew off, her skis, her poles . . . her good wits, scattering along with her equipment.
“And that’s what you call a garage sale,” Hudson said.
“I’m sorry,” she gasped, sprawled out over the top of him. She pushed up off his chest and stared down into his face. “I didn’t mean to—”
“Wait.” He cupped the back of her head, his gaze dropping to her mouth. “You have a little something . . .”
She touched her face. “Where?”
“I’ve got it.” And he pulled her face down to his, kissing her long and wet and deep.
“Get a room,” someone yelled from the ski lift above them.
Bailey ignored it and so did Hudson. Only when he was apparently finished thoroughly ravaging her mouth did he let her go. “Ready?” he asked.
Ready? For what? She no longer knew her name. That she was still on a ski slope shocked the hell out of her. She looked down at herself to make sure her clothes hadn’t melted off. “I’m always ready,” she said.
He grinned. “That’s what I like about you.” He got to his feet in one move that made it look easy.
It wasn’t. First off, her legs still weren’t working, so it took her a minute to get them beneath her. Hudson patiently straightened her out.
Dazed, she stared at his mouth, which she knew could drive her halfway to orgasm with just a kiss. She let out a rough laugh and shook her head. “Hudson?”
“I know I’m the one who put limits on this . . . this thing,” she said, and bit her lower lip, suddenly nervous.
“But I’m pretty sure we’re not quite done with each other.”
He looked at her for what felt like a long time. “You want another night.”
Still unable to take her eyes off his mouth, she didn’t muzzle herself. “I want as long as it takes.”
He cupped her jaw, lifting her head up so that she was looking into his eyes again. “Don’t make promises you can’t keep.”
“What makes you think I can’t keep it?”
“Because you seem to like things one night at a time,” he said in that low, sexy voice. “But no way is one more night going to be enough.”
Again, her heart skipped a beat. “Cocky much?” she managed.
His smile was slow and sexy as hell. “That wasn’t bravado, Bailey. That was fact.”
So ... know the book?