Thank you Lucianne Rivers for stopping by Escape by Fiction!
Lucianne writes romantic suspense for Entangled Publishing and Cobblestone Press. Born and raised in Ireland, she currently lives in New Mexico with her young daughter.
Formerly a stage and television actress, she now manages a non-profit and is NM State Champion in her weight class for Olympic style weightlifting. Long story.
DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHEN YOU WRITE? WHAT KIND?
I generally require silence while writing, but after I tune into the U2 Channel on Pandora Radio. LOVE IT.
WHAT WAS THE LAST CONCERT YOU WENT TO?
The Frames, an Irish band, back when I lived in Ireland...it's been a while.
WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING THIS SUMMER?
Season Five of DEXTER from Showtime. He's deliciously evil, yet somehow lovable.
IF YOU COULD PICK A $500 GIFT CARD FROM ANY STORE YOU WANTED, WHICH ONE WOULD IT BE?
Anthropologie. Love their clothing.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST FEAR?
To never love completely or be loved in return.
WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT STATE OF MIND?
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE OCCUPATION?(WAY OF SPENDING TIME)
Crossfit and Olympic weightlifting. Followed closely by Jiu Jitsu: Wrestling with hot, built, sweaty men. (I probably shouldn't say that.)
WHICH LIVING PERSON DO YOU MOST ADMIRE?
My daughter, Lily, who is twenty months old. God, I love her.
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE FICTIONAL HERO?
Ah, that's more like it. Gonna have to go with Jacob Black, 'cause Taylor Lautner's so freakin' hot - I'm seeing a pattern in my answers…
WHO ARE YOUR REAL-LIFE HEROES?
WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSION?
My laptop. I'm a material girl in a material world.
WHEN AND WHERE WERE YOU HAPPIEST?
Sigh. Can't answer that here.
WHAT IS THE TRAIT YOU MOST DEPLORE (HATE) IN YOURSELF?
My commitment phobia.
WHAT IS THE TRAIT YOU MOST DEPLORE IN OTHERS?
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE MOST OVER-RATED VIRTUE?
Staying in a relationship even when it's not working. I guess some people consider that a virtue.
ON WHAT OCCASION DO YOU LIE?
I've lied to myself on a couple of occasions. Usually involving a love affair with a totally unsuitable man. My brain's screaming TRAIN WRECK ahead and my heart's singing LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. I'm not listening.
WHICH WORDS OR PHRASES DO YOU MOST OVER-USE?
IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
My unrealistic, yet desperately hopeful belief that true love DOES exist.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?
Loving my daughter so completely. Getting published is up there too. Finally, turning from couch potato into complete athletics freak in the space of five months.
WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO LIVE?
I love living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. So much sunnier than my home in Ireland.
WHAT DO YOU VALUE MOST IN YOUR FRIENDS?
A sense of humor and frequent use of Facebook.
HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO DIE?
In the arms of my soulmate.
IF YOU WERE TO DIE AND COME BACK AS A PERSON OR AN ANIMAL, WHAT DO YOU THINK IT WOULD BE?
I shudder to think. There's a couple of people I never EVER want to see again in this life OR the next.
IF YOU COULD CHOOSE AN OBJECT TO COME BACK AS, WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
A dog-tag. :)
Thanks again to Lucianne Rivers for stopping by Escape by Fiction. I know I can't wait to read The Kiss Test!
THE KISS TEST
Newly divorced Dolores Coffey is determined to prove her ex-husband wrong; she is not a prude! Ready to work on her bedroom skills, Dolores checks into the Massey Institute for Research in Sexuality and Reproduction, presided over by Dr. Charles Massey.
Charles keeps a close watch on Dolores and when she fails The Kiss Test, he makes the prim little Ms. Coffey his first priority for treatment. A series of "accidents" makes Dolores think that someone is trying to take Massey out of the picture. Will either of them live long enough for her to pass The Kiss Test?
The Kiss Test by Lucianne Rivers
Dolores Coffey was determined.
Her divorce was finalized last week, sparking a spiteful voicemail from her ex-husband saying how he pitied the next man she would “dupe into marrying her.”
Jack Coffey was a piece of work, no doubt about it.
But Jack was her primary reason for being in the lobby of the Massey Institute for Research in Sexuality and Reproduction. The MIRSAR Institute was renowned for helping women like her cut loose. She gritted her teeth.
Cut loose. That was what Jack had always wanted her to do. In their case, “irreconcilable differences” meant “very bad sex.” According to her ex-husband, Dolores was frigid, and her inability to let her hair down had caused the downfall of their marriage.
In order to prove Jack wrong and bolster her beaten down sense of self-esteem, she had dipped into her savings to pay for a long weekend in this five-star clinic. She’d read about MIRSAR in a women’s magazine and hoped she’d made the right choice in coming here.
The reception clerk looked up from his desk with a smile when she walked over to him. “Ms. Coffey, we were expecting you.”
Like everyone else who worked in this building, the man was stunningly handsome. It was probably a requirement of the job. From the luxurious décor down to the manicure on the clerk’s brown hands, Dolores could tell that to Dr. Charles Massey, attention to detail was of paramount importance.
As an accountant, she had a great respect for the fine details in life. If Jack had bothered to pay more attention to the fine details of their relationship, then perhaps their sex life may have improved. Jack didn’t know the meaning of the word “foreplay,” although it had been so long since she had engaged in any, she’d begun to think she may not know it either. She hoped the good doctor could tell her if she was normal or not, assure her that other women had similar problems drumming up excitement at the prospect of sex. After all, there was no better authority on the subject than Dr. Charles Massey who was supposedly some sort of prodigy in the field.
The clerk motioned to a bellhop.
“James will take you to your suite. Here’s your itinerary for the weekend.” He handed her a packet of information. “You have an orientation session with Dr. Massey at ten a.m.” Dolores checked her little gold watch. That was only one hour from now.
Butterflies churned in her stomach. Apparently, the clientele were encouraged to get a little frisky during their stay. When she’d done the research on MIRSAR, she discovered that each guest of the Institute underwent testing to ascertain their level of comfort with their own sexuality. The website hadn’t gone in to too much detail, but judging from the battery of blood tests she had experienced during her application for a spot, they would be doing more than talking.
It wasn’t too late to flee.
“Ms. Coffey?” the bellhop said, eyebrow raised.
She was staying, she decided and followed the beautiful young man into an elevator.
Jack could go to hell.
* * * * *
The Institute was designed like an exclusive resort. Every comfort was available at the press of a button. Her suite was huge. She glanced out the floor-to-ceiling windows and saw she had a view of an enormous courtyard garden three floors below. Japanese-style water features dotted the tree-filled landscape. There was a Tai Chi class happening in the grassy space at the center. As she watched, one student brushed arms with another. The two of them stopped their slow Zen-like movements and started to kiss. The rest of the class continued as if this was no unusual occurrence.
Dolores’ jaw dropped as the couple proceeded to take one another’s clothes off. The man then picked the woman up and walked her backward to a secluded park bench. Dolores, however, still had a bird’s eye view. She continued to watch, enthralled, as the guy pulled off his partner’s loose white pants and mounted her. The woman threw her head back in a silent scream as he rode her.
Dolores turned away from the window, her heart going a mile a minute.
Now that wasn’t a sight one saw every day.
She shut the curtains and unpacked her luggage. Neat by nature, she liked to fold her clothes in the borrowed drawers, and hang her suits in the closet provided. As she did so, she looked more closely at the room. The bed was huge and draped with deep gray satin sheets, and vases filled with red roses stood on every polished flat surface. The floor was a rich, dark wood. The walls were a pale gray, and the lighting was soft.
She checked out the bathroom, impressed by the vastness of the whirlpool tub and the unlit candles in the corners. Various bubble baths and salts stocked the shelves. The stone floor was heated, and the toilet discreetly tucked away behind its own door.
Suddenly, her wardrobe of prim suits seemed totally inappropriate. Quickly she ran through what she had brought with her to wear. One evening dress, a pair of blue jeans, and a plain white nightgown would not stretch very far. She sighed. This morning she had pulled on her white blouse and cream skirt suit as usual and thought nothing of it. Did one have sex therapy while wearing a business suit? Probably not.
In the bathroom, she smoothed her pale blonde hair, and reapplied her make-up. She checked her watch. It was nine forty-five. Why was she so nervous? Surely she had nothing to fear from an aging psychologist and hotel full of sexually impaired guests.
Eager to occupy her mind, she left the room. A map of the facility hung on the wall by the elevator. Locating the room she was to be in ten minutes from now, she noted the restaurant, the bar, and the swimming pool. She’d forgotten to bring a swimsuit.
A man in a suit joined her in the elevator, giving her a smile as he pressed the button for his floor. Her floor. Perhaps she wasn’t dressed so improperly after all. The man cleared his throat, and she turned. He had a nice smile with very white teeth, short brown hair spiked with gel, and looked around her own age, perhaps only a couple of years older. He filled his suit out nicely. When the doors dinged open, she heard him follow and angled to check. She tripped on her heels and sprawled onto the plush carpet, skinning a knee from the friction. She lay there, spread-eagle, and utterly mortified.
Gentle but firm hands lifted her to her knees.
“Are you all right?” the man asked, his voice deep, concern filling his features.
Blue eyes pierced hers, and his lips, on closer inspection, were beautifully full. Distracted, she tried to focus on his words. The feel of his hand on her arm through the fine material of her jacket and blouse was unusually pleasant. She couldn’t remember the last time a man who was not Jack had touched her. It felt…nice. He smelled amazing. She noticed his scent right away, a mixture of body heat and spicy aftershave. She was staring. How embarrassing.
He lifted her to her feet and checked his watch. “Let me help you.”
He guided her into a nearby office, sat her down in a leather-covered chair, reached up to a shelf, and took down a first-aid kit.
He seemed to know his way around.
“Do you work here?”
He nodded and smiled again, approaching her with a band-aid and some antiseptic cream. “Let’s take care of your knee.” He glanced pointedly at the rip in her pantyhose.
She’d barely noticed the pain but looking down, realized it looked worse than it probably was. Her pantyhose, however, were destroyed.
He waited, and she peered up at him, wondering why.
“You’ll need to roll down your stockings.”
She felt an unexpected shot of heat sear her between her legs. The image of taking them off in front of him was a shocking turn-on.
At second glance, the man was incredibly hot.
Politely, he turned away. From behind, his hair was cut close to the neck. She could see the muscles running down it from the side of his jaw and into his shirt.
She wondered what he looked like without his clothes on and thought about her purpose for coming here. This was healthy, right? Why not explore a little? Let loose? Holding her breath before she could second guess, she stood up. “What do you do here?” she asked, walking closer to him.
He’d moved near the window.
He looked back at her and caught her eye. She reached up under her skirt and slowly pulled the nylons down, as if she did that sort of thing every day with an audience.
His eyes darkened, and she saw them flash with heat.
A-ha! Take that, Jack!
The man by the window stared at the bare skin above her knees, now exposed.
She continued the steady unfurling of the soft fabric until it reached her ankles, then stepped out of her heels.
She untangled her feet from the hose which pooled on the carpet and looked at him.
He seemed to have temporarily lost the use of his tongue.
Since she was on a roll here, she wanted to take full advantage of her newfound courage and walked back to the seat, letting her hips sway. Upon sitting, she parted her bare legs slightly, just enough to be suggestive.
His eyes narrowed.
She held up her grazed knee. “Aren’t you going to take care of me?”
He took a couple of steps, closing the distance between them, knelt down in front her, and leaned in.