A Hot Winter by C.J. Lake
Publication date: December 2nd 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance
*Story contains explicit/steamy scenes that are intended for mature readers.
**All books in C.J. Lake’s Attraction Series are standalone novels with NO cliffhangers.
It was supposed to be a simple job. A favor for a friend, nothing complicated. But that was before I realized who Emma was. I knew I wasn’t imagining the tension between us–still there and getting stronger every second. She wanted to keep things professional now. I suppose we’d have to try–because if we gave in…once would never be enough…
I never thought I’d see Matt Winter again, and now here he was. Working on my house! Making me nervous, flustered, and almost breathless. Disarming me and making me feel things I haven’t even considered since my husband died four years ago. No, I don’t want to want him. My life was in order before he came, and I’m leaving Boston anyway. Forget Matt. It’s the only logical option. So…why can’t I stay away from him?
Wordlessly, she handed him the check. Folding it, he shook his head. “Man, I’m so glad nothing happened between us last night,” he muttered as he stuck the check in his pocket.
Emma’s face crumpled. “What?” she said, feeling insulted and hurt (even though she’d basically given him the longer version of the same sentiment).
With a short, humorless laugh, Matt said, “I don’t need this drama.”
“No one has ever accused me of being overdramatic.”
“If you give me this big of a hassle over a bill, God knows what you’d do to me in bed,” he said.
“I wouldn’t do anything to you! Wait--I didn’t mean it the way it sounded…” she fumbled.
“You’d probably tell me I’m doing it wrong.”
Rage boiled inside her, as she struggled for a comeback. “I’d only tell you that if you were.”
With a cocky laugh, Matt leaned his face toward hers and said, “I do it just fine.”
She pasted on a patronizing smile. “Well good for you.”
“It could have been good for you, too,” he remarked plainly. “But that ship has sailed.”
At first, Emma’s mouth dropped open. Then she let out a shocked sort of laugh. “Oh my God! I hope you’re not seriously trying to use reverse psychology to get me to sleep with you?”
Impatiently, Matt said, “Emma, aren’t you listening? I don’t even want to sleep with you anymore.”
With her fists balling at her sides, she said, “Good. Actually, that works out well, because I really don’t want to sleep with you.”
“Uh-huh, sure, okay,” Matt said briskly. “Well, I’m glad we’ve cleared that up now.” He turned toward the door, adding, “Now it won’t have to be unclear when I cross paths with you again someday.”
“Don’t worry, you probably won’t cross paths with me anyway,” she called after him. “I’m leaving remember?”
At that, Matt paused, looked back at her. His expression seemed more solemn. “Right, I forgot, well…good bye, Emma.”
With his hand on the doorknob, Matt turned.
Impulsively, Emma reached for the stack of envelopes that was sitting on hutch by the stairs. She flipped through it and pulled out the one with Matt’s name on it. “Here,” she said, walking toward him. At first he just eyed the envelope, confused. “It’s a Christmas card,” Emma explained offhandedly. “You might as well take it now.”
Wordlessly, Matt shifted his gaze from the envelope to Emma’s face. His dark eyes burned into her. She swallowed feebly, still holding the card out for him. “To hell with this,” he uttered gruffly, and slid a hand around her neck, pulled her to him and kissed her.
C.J. Lake is a storyteller who is passionate about art, surfing, and skiing/snowboarding. Residing near the coast of Massachusetts, C.J. is working on a new book that will feature Tragan Barrett's friend, Matt Winter. Readers can get in touch via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Q&A with C.J. Lake
What was the inspiration for A Hot Winter?
I didn’t originally intend to write this story, but Matt and Emma seemed to have instant chemistry in my first book, Constructing Us, so I was compelled to explore them as a couple. They ended up being perfect for each other (though it’s a ride to get there!).
What makes Matt & Emma such a great couple?
There’s a current of attraction between them when they first meet, but neither knows who the other is. Once they discover the connection (to Tragan and Andy), they try to dial it back--especially once Matt begins work on Emma’s house. But it’s virtually impossible not to be aware of each other or to keep their distance. That initial attraction is always there--and building every time they’re together, despite Emma’s determination to keep things platonic. Something that works in their favor is that while Matt is four years younger than Emma, he is strong and responsible, with a maturity and a protective nature--exactly what she needs!
If you had to choose, what is your favorite scene?
Well, here’s a very short excerpt from it:
“Jesus, Emma,” Matt rasped, pulling back just enough to look into her eyes. “Why do you torture me?”
Gazing into those intense, dark eyes, Emma became overwhelmed by a longing that was almost painful. She reached up and brushed her lips across his. “I didn’t mean to,” she said softly, and it was the truth. “Don’t go,” she whispered, digging her fingers into his hair and keeping him close. Lightly she bit his lower lip. “Don’t go…”
>>I love this whole scene; it’s erotic and emotional and represents a major turning point for Matt and Emma. Also, it’s literally just the beginning of their first intense night together…
Can you pick a favorite quote?
“Being with Matt did something to her. It brought back a younger version of herself, a younger time in her life.”
>>This is a theme that’s played implicitly throughout the story and a concept that Emma wrestles with and embraces at the same time. She’s only twenty-seven, but has responsibilities that make her feel older and more settled than that. Matt taps into her youthful, fun-loving spirit and almost makes Emma forget the reasons why they shouldn’t be together…
Did you have a music play list for this book?
Yes! My “soundtrack” for A Hot Winter includes songs that fit Matt & Emma so well. Like “Teenage Dream” (Katy Perry), “Safe and Sound” (Capital Cities), “Am I wrong” (Nico & Vinz), “Everybody Talks” (Neon Trees), “Green Eyes” (Coldplay), and “Everything Has Changed” (Taylor Swift).
What else should readers know?
- A Hot Winter is set in one of my favorite places: snowy Boston!
- Tragan & Andy, along with other familiar faces from Constructing Us, are back.
- Though my books have overlapping characters, they are all standalone novels--no cliffhangers!
In 2015, look for Sky High (Book 3 in The Attraction series). Sky High is a fast-paced, romantic and sexy New Adult romance, featuring Jamie from Books 1 & 2. Stay tuned for more updates, both on Amazon and Twitter (@brightbluesurf) -- plus, readers can email me at: email@example.com.