Title: Keyed Up
Author: Laura M. Baird
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pianist Penelope Dixon, at age twenty-eight, is finally stepping out of her father’s shadow to embark on a solo career with the Seattle Symphony. How will an unexpected reunion with her first love from ten years ago play into those plans?
Sebastian Mauer, once famed performer, now reclusive composer, foolishly pushed aside his love for Penelope, thinking it was for her own good. Can he redeem himself and show her they are meant to be together?
Penelope made her last pass and decided to slow it down. As usual for her, she flipped onto her back intending to swim a few cool-down laps. She approached the wall and was ready to turn when a figure loomed above her. Pulling up short, she gasped and inadvertently took water into her mouth. Sputtering as she reached for the side of the pool, strong hands clasped hers and hauled her out of the water. Bringing her face to face with Sebastian.
Penelope’s attempt at gaining composure was lost as she felt Sebastian’s hands on her body, and their close proximity reminded her of his impressive form.
One of Sebastian’s hands had slipped to her back and was rubbing soothing circles while the other cupped her chin, forcing her to look at his face. Worry lines marred his brow as his lips moved, but she couldn’t hear a thing because of all the blood that rushed to her head. Her wet body was plastered against his, making her aware of the heat that radiated off of him as his muscles flexed with his every move.
Penelope’s body betrayed her as gooseflesh broke out across her skin. She was chilled and heated all at once. Looking into Sebastian’s eyes, her nipples contracted and her breath escaped on a near moan. And although he had stopped speaking, his lips didn’t stop moving as they slowly lowered to brush with hers.
Tender at first, just a feather of a kiss, it may as well have been a mallet for all the force Penelope felt from it. Her legs threatened to give out on her, but Sebastian’s arms held her tight against his solid form. The kiss deepened and she gave in to the dreamy feeling, matching his intensity and making it the most delicious kiss she’d ever experienced. Not that she had much to compare it to, given her limited encounters. It seemed like so long ago that Sebastian was her first kiss, and now, to be kissing him again…
She felt the bristle of his mustache and beard tickling her lips and skin. His heat threatened to melt her into a puddle of nothingness, and there was no mistaking the nudge she felt against her center as he pressed his hips closer to hers.
Sebastian broke away from her lips to trail kisses along her jaw and down her neck. She leaned her head back, closed her eyes, and called out to him.
“Bastian,” she murmured, sighing in pleasure.
As if slapped, she felt him jerk away as he tried to untangle their entwined bodies. But Penelope held tight to his arms, preventing him from retreating as she looked into his eyes. She didn’t want him to stop, and she certainly didn’t want to see that look of regret all over his face.
“Don’t,” was all she said.
Sebastian halted his movements as his hands rested on her hips. “Penelope, I –"
“No, please don’t say you’re sorry. And please don’t say that was a mistake, when it was the most wonderful thing I’ve ever experienced,” she confessed.
She watched as his expression lit up in surprise while he looked down at her lips before returning his gaze to her eyes. “I’m not sorry, but it may have been a mistake. I –"
Penelope was quick to stop any further words from him as she pressed her lips back to his. She boldly ran her tongue across the seam, parting them, willing them to accept her invasion. And they did. Sebastian’s mouth opened, allowing for her exploration. His hands tightened around her, pulling her in closer to once again feel his warmth; and his arousal.
Penelope nibbled and licked, testing herself as to how far she could go. Would go. Although they were alone, it was still a public space, and anyone at any time could enter. As soon as the thought entered her head, it faded just as quickly. She pressed on, mingling her tongue with his, delighting in the taste, the feel, even the sound as she realized they were both breathing heavily.
Penelope reached up to tangle her hands in his hair as she had wanted to do since first seeing him again. It felt soft and thick, and slightly damp. As she massaged his scalp, Sebastian ran his hands up and down her back, leaving a trail of heat that quickly dissipated in their absence.
The kiss became deeper, more urgent as Sebastian took over, thoroughly devouring her. He kissed across her cheek, stopping at her ear to lick. He sent chills across her entire body as he whispered her name. Slowly she released a long sigh, surrendering herself to his ministrations.
Penelope envisioned Sebastian scooping her up in his arms and whisking her away to his room. What a lovely fantasy that would be. But when he pulled back, she tried to protest. His words came before she could utter a sound.
“We need to stop before this becomes more than we can handle.”
Penelope met his gaze with more boldness than she truly felt.
Act now before it’s really too late.
“I can handle whatever you have to give me, Sebastian.”
Sebastian closed his eyes, sighed, and pressed his forehead to hers. “I’m afraid it won’t be enough.”
“You are enough; that’s all I need. It’s all I ever needed,” she said with near desperation in her voice.
Penelope watched the surprise on Sebastian’s face as he leaned away from her. How could she make him see that her feelings had never diminished? Just seeing him again for the first time in nearly ten years sent the passion she felt so many years ago flaring to life stronger than ever.
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It’s a brand-new year, full of possibilities Did you make any resolutions/goals for 2020? If so, please share one.
I set goals, mentally telling myself I’ll take better care of me, or eat healthier, or it’s okay to be a bit selfish, and so on. I rarely write such goals down, yet I read all the time about doing so because it makes it more “real”. I also read about having a gratitude journal, and how even noting the smallest thing to be grateful for can be healthy for your psyche. I carry pen and paper with me thinking I’ll jot down notes or random thoughts, but more often than not I foolishly tell myself, “Oh, I’ll remember that!” Nope! It doesn’t get written down and I lose those thoughts I think I’ll be able to hold onto. So for 2020 I’m going to get a journal as well as an organizer to keep myself focused and on track, while also writing down my thoughts, bright moments in my day, and so on.
Why is your featured book a must-read in 2020?
Keyed Up takes the reader on a journey of young love and infatuation, to maturing, redemption, and finding one’s path in life. It’s a sweet, heartwarming romance with tender moments as well as humorous scenes.
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Runs January 1 – 31, 2020.
Drawing will be held on February 1, 2020.
Laura M. Baird is a veteran, a dental hygienist, and a romance author. She’s been working on her own happily-ever-after with her husband of over twenty-nine years, and not only has she been blessed with two wonderful sons, but recently with a grandson. When not writing or reading, she and her family live in the Pacific Northwest, and dream of traveling to Canda, Fiji, Scotland, and New Zealand.
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