Martha O’Sullivan – February 2014

osullivantrs0214Martha O’Sullivan

In Second Chance, star-crossed lovers Lindsay Foster and Brian Rembrandt get a second chance at love amid the brilliant blue waters and blazing-hot sand of Lake Tahoe. In Chance Encounter, Delaney Richards and Mike Savoy’s quest for love takes them from Tahoe’s fawn-colored shores to the serpentine streets of San Francisco. But the heat in Last Chance comes from the prurient fervor sweltering between lifelong friends Moira Brody and Paul Webster, not the summer sun. And even the single-digit temperatures of the Lake Tahoe winter are no match for their long-bridled desire…

Moira Brody has been secretly in love with Paul Webster for as long as she can remember. But she isn’t going to wait around forever…

It took Paul a long time and some unexpected competition to admit he’s hopelessly in love with Moira. And now that he has, he sure as hell isn’t going to let her get away.

Or let the past dictate the future.

But Paul is his own worst enemy.

Something Moira knows better than anyone.

And that’s only the half of it.

Secrets, sabotage and revenge are not easily thwarted. And Paul decides that pushing Moira away would hurt less than losing her. Until his heart reminds him that he doesn’t get to make that choice. And so does she.

Buy it today!

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Reviews for the Chances trilogy

Goodreads-Kim’s review Nov 04, 13: “Last Chance did not disappoint! This was my favorite book in the Chances trilogy. And to think I thought Paul was a bit of a pushover in Second Chance – definitely not the case. Moira also proves you can’t judge a book by its cover. It’s a sweet (and steamy at times) love story.”

Anonymous: “I really see a growth in character, plot and layering them all together in Last Chance. What makes this series sexy is that these are “good girls” and it’s not just lust, it is love. A winning combination!”

 

Excerpt

The black ice cast an eerie sheen on the road ahead and the glare of the oncoming high beams had Paul squinting as if at the summer sun. The weather was coming in fast and he wondered if Moira had gotten home safely.

Or at all.

Or alone.

He should’ve gotten her roses.

But he didn’t.

Because she’s…Moira. Effortlessly beautiful, remarkably grounded, perpetually good-natured Moira.

And tonight she was something else.

Irresistibly sexy.

In tight-fitting jeans and a scooped-neck top he’d never seen before.

With her freshly washed, begging to be touched spiral curls skimming her shoulders.

And eye makeup.

With red lipstick.

She smelled pretty good too. Like spring rain and lilac laced with desire.

All for the guy begging for roses at the flower shop. For someone he’d been “interested in” for a while. For whom he had a last minute arrangement thrown together.

From his cuttings.

For his girl.

Paul huffed out a harried breath.

Is that what she was?

Apparently not.

But he sure as hell wanted her to be.

He slammed on the brakes and the Beemer swerved, then leveled, sliding into the precarious U-turn.

It took Paul twice as long as usual to get back into town with the slick roads. And by then the temperature had dipped enough to turn the spitting rain into pellets of steel. A frigid, damp sleet akin to the block of ice that had staked a claim in the pit of his stomach.

Turning the high-curbed corner, he heaved a halfhearted sigh of relief when he saw no car in the driveway and a hodgepodge of lights burning inside.

She was home.

Alone.

Unless they came in one car, he prepared himself through gritted teeth.

Paul knew the garage code, but didn’t want to scare her, so he opted for the conventional route. He could see her profile through the slates of the plantation shutters as he made his way up the flagstone path to the front porch. She was in the kitchen fussing with something, still dressed up like she hadn’t been home long.

Alone, it would seem.

His throat muscles contracted as his mind began to race. Had her date seen her home or had they parted ways at the office? Gone somewhere for a drink after dinner? Made another date? He looked on as Moira stepped back from the beaded board kitchen island, arms drawn across her chest, and appraised her work. The midnight blue jeans sat just below her hips, hugging every one of her curves from hip to ankle and Paul found himself disturbingly covetous. The sheer shirt rested at her waistline and when she bent over, the dimples at the small of her back implored him to wonder what came next. And her breasts looked bigger somehow, like they’d grown overnight. The mere thought of it made his heart skip a beat and his cock begin to grow ridged.

Seemingly pleased with her work, she reached for the dish towel flung over her shoulder and dried her hands.

That’s when she saw him out of the corner of her eye.

She did a double-take, then mingled with his soulful gaze momentarily. He thought the corners of her mouth curved slightly upward, but the distance between them was too great to be sure. She shook off whatever she was thinking and walked toward the front door. He visualized her on the other side, squeezing her eyes shut and taking a few deep breaths before opening it. She greeted him with a wobbly, “Hey.”

She looked captivating in the amber light. Her eyes were languid and clung to his as if unwittingly attached. Her lips were naked now and Paul told himself it was from eating. The tendrils around her face had doubled, like some vagabond strands had fallen from the clip at the crown of her head. Also from natural causes, he forced himself to assume. “Hey,” he returned. “Can I come in?”

“Of course,” she invited blandly, ushering him in.

Stepping inside, Paul rapid-fired, “I’m glad you’re home. I wanted to—”

“Where else would I be at eleven o’clock at night?” she cut him off.

“I don’t know.” His mind was suddenly a mare’s nest and his palms were beginning to sweat. “I wasn’t sure what your plans were for the rest of the evening.”

“I’ve been home for almost an hour,” she informed him crisply.

“Alone?” His eyes scanned the house beckoningly.

“Yes,” Moira patronized. “It was just dinner, Paul.”

On Valentine’s Day, he silently added. “About that, I came by to apologize.” He wondered if she sensed the audible relief in his voice. “I shouldn’t have assumed we’d see each other tonight. And I certainly shouldn’t have assumed you’d be,” he bit off the word, “available.” He looked away then, into the cottage-style kitchen, and saw what she’d been working on.

Flowers.

His flowers.

She must have acquired clairvoyant powers in those few seconds, because her tone softened and she said, “I had to bring them home. They were too beautiful to waste.”

Like her.

No, like them.

With four wide steps he advanced into the antique white kitchen he’d designed. “Where are the roses?”

She followed him. “At the office.”

“They’re not too beautiful to waste?” he quickened in a thick voice, turning to face her.

“No, they are.” Her breath hitched. “They’re just not from you.”

Her emerald saucers were filling behind their licorice lashes and she was biting her bottom lip, trying to hold back the tears. Paul couldn’t have stopped himself from going to her if he’d wanted to.

“Moira, what are we doing?” he entreated, gripping her forearms. “What have I done? Have I lost you?”

She shook her head from side to side and her eyes began to empty, leaving sooty tire-like tracks on her china doll face. Tipping his head back in silent thanks, Paul took her in his arms. She moved into his body, sobbing through sawed-off breaths.

“Tell me nothing happened. Tell me there’s nothing between you and him,” he prayed out loud after an affecting moment.

She answered by burrowing her head deeper into his shoulder and wreathing his middle. He felt her breathing level off and he kissed the top of her coal-black mane. She smelled like a subtle version of earlier, infused with wine and garlic. Hope replaced the uneasiness in his stomach and he heard himself say, “I had to force myself not to go back there. I’ve been driving around for hours, going crazy.”

She angled out of his grasp just enough to make eye contact. Suddenly she was the girl he used to know again, not the woman tying his insides into knots. Or maybe the perfect combination of both. Her eyes began to shine and a satisfied smile curved her lips. “You have?”

“Yeah. Like outside my mind crazy.” He laid his lips on hers and tasted the salt from her tears. She melted into the kiss, then the next. He wondered if she could sense him growing behind the zipper. Or the spool of want unwinding into a thousand frazzled threads in his gut. Gasping for air, he released her mouth and cupped her face. “You make me crazy, Moira Brody. Absolutely crazy.”

Her breath caught in her throat and her eyes began to swell again. She swallowed hard and allowed, “Then I like you crazy.”

Resting his forehead on hers, he let the night roll down his back like a recalcitrant tumbleweed. Then he closed his eyes and appealed, “Do I need to fight for you, Moira?”

She laughed a little. “Well, Jason did bring flowers, dinner, wine.”

“I brought flowers, dinner, wine,” Paul defended high-mindedly, straightening. “Did you ever get the Chinese food?”

“Yeah, it’s in there.” She nodded over his shoulder at the sub-zero they’d picked out together.

“It’s your favorite. Cashew chicken.”

“Thank God,” she gushed, dabbing the outer corners of her eyes. “I’m starving.”

Paul’s nose wrinkled. “Did Bernini’s have a bad night?”

“Not from what I picked at.”

“Poor guy,” he gloated through a chuckle. “Went to all that trouble for nothing.”

“I wouldn’t say for nothing,” Moira demurred, her eyes dancing with innuendo. “He seemed to enjoy the evening.”

“Oh?” inquired Paul, stepping out of her embrace.

Gleaming now, she raised her eyebrows mischievously. “Yeah.”

He felt his expression plummet. “Did he kiss you good night?”

“He did,” preened Moira.

Paul couldn’t believe how much that bothered him. “Did you want him to?”

Her face instantly sobered. “No,” she avowed, then finished with hushed care. “I wanted you to come back.”

“I did.” As if he’d had any choice in the matter. Paul drew her to him again and ran his hands up and down her willowy back. “I had to.”

“That was all I could think about during dinner,” she lamented into the crook of his shoulder. “That I could’ve spent Valentine’s Day with you.”

“Don’t let it happen again.” He leaned back and dried her tearstained cheeks with his thumbs. “I know I won’t,” he warned gallantly.

“I didn’t want it to happen to begin with.”

“Good to hear.” He kissed her nose with the puissance of a snowflake. “Think he’ll call you?”

She shrugged matter-of-factly. “Yeah.”

“What will you say?”

“What should I say?” Her voice was hopeful.

“No.” He reached into his jacket pocket. “And thank you.”

Her eyes narrowed in confusion as she took the red velvet box from his open hands. “What is this?”

He gestured toward the white satin bow-topped lid with a tip of the head. “Open it and find out.”

Moira obliged as Paul looked on eagerly. A tiny gasp escaped her throat when she saw the studs inside.

“I know they’re on the small side, but you’re not one for flash.”

She glided her fingertips over each diamond. “They’re beautiful.”

“Megan thought they were perfect.” Just like you, he almost said.

Her astonished gaze shifted upward. “Megan?”

“She’s not sick. She found another sitter for tonight.” He paused to let the benevolent betrayal sink in. “So we could spend Valentine’s Day together.”

“Oh, Paul! I’m so sorry!” she effused. “I had no idea.”

Neither did he. Until just now. And the realization hit him like a ton of bricks. “You can make it up to me tomorrow night,” he told her extemporaneously. “We’re going on a date. It’ll be our first one.”

 

Biography

Martha O’Sullivan has loved reading romance novels for as long as she can remember. So much so that she would continue the story in her head long after the last chapter was read. Writing her own novels is the realization of a lifelong dream for this stay-at-home mom. Martha writes contemporary and erotic romances with traditional couples and happy endings. She is the author of the Chances trilogy available now from Red Sage Publishing. Her current work-in-progress in a Christmas novel set in Florida. A native Chicagoan, she lives her own happy ending in Tampa with her husband and two daughters.

 

Interview with Holly Hewson

HH:  Martha, thank you so much for talking with us at TRS. Your featured book is Last Chance, the third book in your Chances trilogy. What can you first tell us about this amazing trilogy?

MO: The books are about finding true love and trusting in it, even in the wake of unexpected and seemingly unsurmountable circumstances. And the various leaps of faith it takes to overcome them.  Each book focuses one couple’s story, with the others as secondary characters. As a reader, I’ve always liked series, where the story continues through another set of eyes, yet each book is its own entity with its own story. They are contemporary, light erotic love stories with traditional couples and happily ever after endings. The stalwart heroines are effortlessly beautiful and wonderfully flawed and the alpha heros are wildly handsome and unapologetically successful. Like old-fashioned romance novels cranked up a few notches! The books are set Lake Tahoe and San Francisco, two places for which I have a long-held affinity.

HH:    What can you tell us about the first two books?

MO: Second Chance is a reunion/love triangle romance and Chance Encounter has a hint of mystery and romantic suspense. But the books are really about taking chances and making choices. Second Chance is about Graduate Student Lindsay Foster finding the courage to take the chance her heart is telling her to take, if her head will let her. And then realizing she never had a choice at all. And in Chance Encounter, Marketing Executive Delaney Richards takes the plunge and trusts her heart again. But when blackmail turns to ransom, that choice becomes her only chance to survive.

HH:  How does Last Chance finish it?

MO: With a happy ending of course! When I started writing Second Chance five years ago, a trilogy was the farthest thing from my mind.  But as Lindsay and Brian’s adventure evolved, I realized there wasn’t room in the book to do the other characters justice, not to mention the unrivaled beauty of the Lake Tahoe winter. And since Delaney and Mike’s Chance Encounter in San Francisco was dancing relentlessly in my head, I put Moira and Paul’s story on hold. Their love story has been years in the making, so what better way to end the Chances trilogy than to bring them, and everybody else, full-circle. In more ways than one…

HH:  What do you like about Moira and why will readers identify with her?

MO: Moira is strong and independent, yet vulnerable, like many of us. She is loyal to a fault and her tough love forces others out of their comfort zone. And ultimately herself…

HH:    What do you like best about Paul and why will readers love him? 

MO: Paul’s character evolved more than any other in the trilogy. Now that he’s admitted he’s hopelessly in love with Moira, he isn’t going to let her get away–at any cost. He becomes the ultimate knight in shinning armor-but Moira makes him work for it.

HH:    What did you personally enjoy most about writing this trilogy?

MO: I fell in love with the characters I created, especially with Moira and Paul. By midway through the first book, you’re pulling for them, even though their story comes later in Last Chance. And there’s no competing with Mother Nature–Lake Tahoe is arguably one of the most beautiful places on earth, winter or summer. I had the privilege of exploring both seasons in these books.

HH:     What else do you have in store for lucky readers?

MO: I’m writing a sweet and steamy Christmas book set in Florida.

HH: What are you reading now?

MO: I’m still reading Whisper Falls by Toni Blake because I’ve been so busy promoting three books and writing another!

HH:  Where can readers find you online? 

MO: Red Sage Publishing

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One Comment

  1. Linda Andrews
    Feb 12, 2014 @ 22:44:09

    Nice interview and excepts. You have some lovely descriptions in your excerpts that drew me right in.

    Reply

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