Blush
Contemporary Erotic Romance
Related to Bliss (some common characters)

June 2008
St. Martin's Griffin

ISBN-10: 0312367791
ISBN-13: 978-0312367794
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For every woman who's ever been curious about the ancient sensual arts of Tantra and Kama Sutra, Opal Carew delivers a thrilling new erotic romance that's sure to make you blush...


Original Cover

Hanna's relationships have always have always fizzled because she's never been able to shed her inhibitions and get comfortable in the bedroom. She recently ended a two year relationship with Grey, a guy she was crazy about, because there just weren't any sparks.

Enter J. M., an instructor who teaches workshops on Tantric sex and Kama Sutra. When a friend asks him to give Hanna some hands-on lessons and help her learn to relax, he's intrigued. As they embark on a tantalizing path of discovery, they explore the sensual arts and discover new techniques that allow Hanna to unlock her most taboo fantasies and make them a red-hot reality.

But when Hanna's ex-boyfriend Grey re-enters her life determined to show her sensual bliss, Hanna has an important decision to make. Both men delight her senses, but which man will win her for keeps?

 

Recognition:

Laurel Wreath, Long Contemporary, 3rd place

HOLT Medallion Award, Finalist

Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, Finalist

2008 Judge A Book By Its Cover Contest
Sexiest Cover, 3rd place

Dark Angel, Recommended Read

 

People who liked this book also liked...
 

Bliss

Forbidden Heat

Secret Ties

Twin Fantasies

The Cinderella Obsession

Virgin Wanted

 


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5 Stars!
"...intriguing and extremely sexy..."
Lani Roberts, Affair de Coeur

4 Stars!
Romantic Times Book Reviews

Recommended Read!
"Full of mind blowing emotions sure to take your breath away, I was on the edge of my seat… very sensual erotic scenes… If you are in the mood for a wonderfully descriptive romance with some very hot bedroom scenes and a unique take on both, give BLUSH by Opal Carew a chance. She truly is a goddess of sensuality in her writing."
Amanda Haffery, Dark Angel Reviews

4 1/2 Blue Ribbons!
"As far as characters go, Gray, J.M. and Hannah are so realistically written that I often felt overwhelmed at their emotional intensity and connection with each other. I love how Ms. Carew made their relationship work. In addition, I found the ending be to an unanticipated and complete surprise.

BLUSH is the third book I have read by Opal Carew and it is the third book by this author that I have loved. BLUSH was intoxicating and liberating! I couldn't put it down!"
Natasha Smith, Romance Junkies

4 Stars!
"...While this was a smokin' hot read it was also kind of educational. The author really took the time to explain the tantric and kama sutra methods being used to assist our heroine. I enjoyed the way Hanna just went with it. I thought her very gutsy even though she was portrayed as somewhat shy and reserved. Both men in the story are dreams come true; who wouldn't want to be stuck with a decision like this?... A great book..."
Chris, Night Owl Reviews

"...Blush is without a doubt one of the best erotica I have read. It is definitely on my 10 best list..."
Vicki M. Smith "Passionate Reader" (Union Bridge, MD)


Chapter 1

"I want an orgasm." Hanna's hands clenched in her lap as she stared at her sister across the table.

Grace cleared her throat.

"I think the drink is called A Screaming Orgasm," Grace said loud enough for the people around them to hear.

They both knew that wasn't what Hanna had meant, but she glanced around the restaurant and noticed people staring at them and her cheeks flushed hotly. She lowered her voice.

"I'm sorry, I'm just a tad frustrated."

"I'll bet. Have you tried one of those vibrators with the thing -"

"Yes, it doesn't work," Hanna answered shortly, not really wanting to talk sex toys with her older sister. "Nothing works."

She didn't really want to have this conversation at all, but she didn't know what else to do.

Grace patted Hanna's hand. "You'll find someone soon. When you're in a relationship again -"

"No, it won't matter."

"Honey, I know what you and Grey had was very special, but you'll find someone special again and with him -"

"No, you don't understand. Grey and I never…" She stared into Grace's intense gaze. "I mean, I've never…"

"Ever?"

Hanna shook her head, her gaze fixed on the water glass in front of her and the condensation beading on the crystal surface.

"Even with Grey? But he was so sexy. And considerate, and patient."

Hanna nodded. "I know. It wasn't his fault."

Grace nodded. "That's true. The only person who can give you an orgasm is you. You have to let it happen."

"You're not going to tell me just to relax, are you? If I hear that one more time, I'm going to scream."

She'd read every book she could find on the subject and they all insisted that the woman just had to relax and allow it to come. But what if she couldn't relax?

Grace's lips pursed as she watched Hanna.

"Why haven't you told me about this before?"

"It isn't exactly the kind of thing you want to go running to your big sister about."

Grace squeezed Hanna's hand. "It is exactly the kind of thing you can come running to me about, honey." She paused. "Is that why you broke up with Grey?"

Hanna had known her sister would ask that. After all, Hanna and Grey had seemed perfect for each other. In fact, they were perfect for each other - except for two things. He couldn't bring her to orgasm. And, more importantly, in the year they'd been together, he had never once told her he loved her.

Which had hurt all the more because she loved him so much.

Her heart had ached to hear the words. She had wanted to ask him outright if he loved her, but she remembered when Grace had separated from her husband and one long tearful evening her sister had confided to her that Derrick, Grace's ex-husband, had said the words of love throughout their marriage, but had only been mouthing what he'd known she'd wanted to hear.

Hanna didn't want false words of love from Grey. If they weren't genuine, they were better not said.

She had finally decided that if he still didn't love her after all that time, he probably never would. She remembered Susan, her friend from school, who had stayed with a guy for over six years, longing for a commitment from him, only to finally break up and see the guy marry someone else a couple years later. Hanna didn't want to end up wasting that much time. She wanted marriage and a family, but she refused to push Grey into it. That didn't make for a sound relationship. And it would never satisfy her heart.

So she had ended it.

Even though she still loved him.

Pain lanced through her heart. She missed him every single day…and night. As distant as he seemed during the day, she'd always felt loved and cherished snuggled in his arms in bed.

Tears welled in her eyes and she dashed them away.

"Oh, honey." Grace pulled her into a warm embrace and patted her back.

Hanna accepted her big sister's hug, then slowly drew away, still thinking about Grey.

"We just weren't right for each other."

How could she settle for less? How could she ask Grey to settle for less?

Grace looked skeptical, but she let the subject drop.

"Okay, honey, what are you doing to solve the problem?"

Her sister, who was a holistic healer, was a firm believer that everyone was responsible for their own problems… and solutions.

"I've been reading books." She gazed at Grace. "And I'm talking to you."

Grace's eyes glowed with warmth and she smiled.

"There's a ten week course at the university, in the evenings. I believe it starts next week. I know the guy who's teaching it and he's exceptional."

Hanna's eyes narrowed. "What kind of course?"

"It's called KAMA SUTRA FOR THE BEGINNER, but he discusses different sexual issues and one of the things he talks about is female orgasm and the fact that a lot of women have trouble achieving it. I know the instructor and I've recommended a couple of my patients take the workshop."

"I'm already signed up."

"You are?" Grace's eyebrows rose. Obviously, she didn't believe her.

Grey had signed them up for that course, hoping it would help her with her problem. Now that they'd broken up, though, she couldn't bear to take the course. Not that she would tell Grace that.

Taking the course would remind her of the frustration she and Grey had both shared. It would remind her how hard he had tried to make it work between them, despite her problem.

It would remind her that she no longer had Grey in her life.

"You know…" Grace stared at Hanna over the frosty water glass she held in her hand. "… the instructor's single…"

"Forget it."

Grace sipped her water, then placed her glass on the table.

"Okay, so why don't you do something wild and different. Something you've never done before."

"Like what?"

"Well, maybe find some sexy guy - someone you don't even know - and make wild, passionate love with him. If you don't know him, you can act differently. You don't have to be yourself. You can be wild and uninhibited. Maybe then you can let go of what's holding you back."

Wild and inhibited. Hanna's stomach tightened..

"Oh, no, I don't think so."

"Why not?"

"A complete stranger? That's crazy."

"Sometimes you need to let loose. Do something crazy. But it doesn't have to be a complete stranger. It could be someone you've seen a few times. Maybe been attracted to. You could even form a relationship after… or not. The point is not to worry about it. That's where the freedom lies."

Goosebumps shivered down her spine. The thought actually excited her. How insane was that?

In fact, she thought about the tall, sexy man who'd started coming to the Hot Spot Café, the coffee shop she owned, about a month ago. He had eyes the color of espresso and a deep, melodic voice that sent tingles down her spine every time he spoke. And he was exceptionally good looking, with a strong, straight nose, a square jaw softened by the waves of dark curls that caressed his collar.

She had found herself making an excuse to help out behind the counter whenever he came in so that she could serve him. Organic Earl Grey tea with milk and natural cane sugar. He was always warm and friendly… and he exuded a sexual magnetism that sent her senses whirling and had triggered some exciting and embarrassingly erotic dreams.

Maybe her sister's suggestion wasn't so crazy after all.

* * *

J.M. walked along the stone path through the campus, lit by the street lights and the soft glow of an almost full moon. A light, warm breeze rustled through the trees as he stepped toward the traffic light on the corner of Stevens Street and Main, Brock University campus behind him.

He liked it here in Spring Falls, a quaint university town where the people were friendly, the pace was easy and the scenery stunning. The Shannonista River meandered through town, banked by bike paths and parks filled with flowering shrubs and bright gardens.

Ordinarily, he would head straight home at this hour, but he had a craving for an Earl Grey tea with Bergamot oil. Or more, a craving to see the attractive woman who frequently served him his tea in the coffee shop across from the campus.

The light turned and he crossed the street. It was unlikely she'd be on duty now, since he usually saw her there late afternoon, but it didn't really matter. All they'd ever done was exchange a few friendly words while he'd waited for his tea. Of course, if the shop was still open, which he doubted on a Thursday night at nine-thirty… and if she was there…and if the opportunity presented itself… then maybe he'd ask her out.

His intuition told him this could be his lucky night.

* * *

The bell over the door rang and Hanna hurried to finish clearing the tray of dishes, wishing she'd locked the door after the last customer had left a few moments ago.

"I'll be with you in a moment," she said over her shoulder as she wiped the tray and placed it on the stack of clean ones.

She was already here twenty minutes after closing. There had been a rush of people about a quarter to nine, and they'd just kept coming in. Someone had mentioned there'd been a special speaker at the psychology building tonight and the talk had ended at eight thirty.

She turned around and stopped cold as she found herself facing the tall, dark haired man she'd been dreaming about ever since her sister suggested she jump a stranger. Her cheeks flushed and a tremor of awareness quivered through her body.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to startle you." He smiled. "I'm glad you're still open."

"Well, actually, we aren't." Oh, damn, why had she said that? "I mean, I can still get you something, but… I'm just closing up now."

"You're sure?"

"Of course. I haven't turned off the machine yet, and there's still plenty of hot water." She smiled, but glanced toward the door, hoping no one else would come in. "An Earl Grey? I have decaf if you'd like. Naturally decaffeinated."

"That would be great."

Her gaze strayed to the large front window and a couple walking by, gazing into the shop. She grabbed the key from the drawer under the till.

"Look, would you mind locking the door for me?" She placed the key with the brass cup and saucer key holder on the counter. "It's actually past closing time and I don't want any more customers tonight."

"Absolutely."

She grabbed a tall mug from the shelf and filled it with hot water, then ripped open the foil pouch on the tea bag as he walked across the store. When she heard the click of the lock, she realized she was in the shop all alone at night with a sexy, attractive man.

One she'd been having hot dreams about. Dreams where they'd done intimate, erotic things together.

She dipped the bag in the steaming water until it reached the darkness she knew he liked and she filled it with milk and one packet of cane sugar, then placed the cup on the maple counter. He placed the key beside it, along with a couple of bills to pay for the tea.

"I was going to take it to go so I wouldn't keep you."

She stared at the ceramic cup she'd given him.

"Oh, sorry. I can put it in a take out cup.... or… you're welcome to enjoy it here, if you like. I've.. uh… got some left over banana walnut muffins I can't serve tomorrow." Great, she'd just offered him what sounded like stale muffins. "On the house."

She lifted the glass cover from the decorative plate containing three muffins, picked up the tongs and placed the biggest, fattest muffin on a plate and handed it to him.

He smiled. "Thank you. These are my favorite."

She knew that. He ordered them every time they had some. So she'd added them to the menu more often just in case he came by.

She dropped the rest in a paper bag and curled the top.

"Actually, take the rest, too. I'd just wind up taking them home and I don't need any more muffins."

As he took the bag, his hand brushed hers and an explosion of sensation burst along her arm. She had to work at not snatching her hand away.

"Are you this generous with all your customers?"

"No, not really, I… uh…" She paused, worried he would think she was flirting with him, then realizing that's exactly what she was doing. She just wasn't very good at it.

"I just hate to see them go to waste."

She really wasn't good at this!

"Here's to finding myself locked in a coffee shop with a cup of tea, a muffin… and a beautiful woman." He held up his cup. "Would you join me?"

His warm, inviting smile chased away any thoughts of refusal.

She smiled shyly. "Okay."

Someone tried the doorknob, rattling the door a little. When the man peered in, she shook her head, mouthing 'we're closed'.

"I… uh…need to turn down the lights so people know we're closed, otherwise that'll keep happening."

She dimmed the lights, then grabbed a bottle of water from the cooler and followed him to the table with the two loveseats in the far corner. It was in the back of the seating area and people couldn't see them from the window.

"This is nice," she said as she sat across from him.

She watched him as he sipped his tea, her gaze straying to his lips. Full and sexy. She could imagine them pressed against the back of her hand, playing along her knuckles. Goosebumps blossomed along her arm as she thought of those lips taking a long, leisurely stroll up her arm, then nuzzling her collar bone. He would stroke behind her ear, then tip up her chin and capture her lips in a firm, passionate kiss.

Oh, man, she wanted him. Maybe her sister was right. Maybe she should just jump him here and now. Have a sexual romp totally devoid of relationship or baggage. Just consume each other's bodies in a hot, wicked flight of fancy.

But how could she be so bold? Her gaze shifted from his lips to his hot, simmering eyes and she felt her breasts swell with the need to feel his hands on them. His lips. She wanted him. Here. Now.

"Exactly what are you thinking?" he asked.

"I was thinking that…"

She drew in a deep breath, seeking the courage to say what she wanted to say.

J.M. watched her as she licked her lips. This sweet, innocent nymph clearly had passion on her mind. He could feel the desire radiating from her. But he could see she was struggling with how to act on her desire. The hot look of lust in her eyes sent his blood boiling and his cock straining.

She needed a little help getting over her inhibitions - clearly she'd never done this before - and he was determined to help her get what she wanted. Because it was exactly what he wanted, too.

He leaned over the table toward her.

"I'll tell you what I'm thinking."

His gaze shifted to her lips and lingered, just as hers had on his.

"Yes?" She seemed mesmerized.

"I'm thinking how lovely it would be to kiss your luscious lips. To feel their softness against mine."

Her eyes glittered in the dim light.

"Me, too."

 

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