Hola, fellow readers!
Welcome back to the weekly sneak peek at Book 3 of the Cardinal Series.
If you're here, then you are getting excited for the release of Cardinal of Hope, book 3 of the Cardinal Series! It's due to be released mid-March. We're still looking at a release on March 14th, in time to celebrate St. Patrick's Day if you're not all that into going out and getting rip-roaring drunk.
Also, if you're interested in purchasing a new hardcopy set of the first two books, The Cardinal Bird and Cardinal Caged, you can buy the first volume here. This volume is also available in the Kindle Unlimited store if you want to purchase or add to your ten-book Unlimited list to help free up a slot for another great book. I know I always have a hard time trying to cull my ten-books. Get the Kindle version here. Both versions save you some money by bundling :) Plus, it has an amazing new cover design.
I chose this week's excerpt because some people have stumbled across the fourth book, The Cardinal Sin and have been sharing it on social media. I created the preorder so that I could include the link within the third book, but I haven't been promoting it. Yet. So, it really warmed my heart when I saw that people had stumbled across it and had even already started ordering it. Anyway...so the cover of the book starts to reflect Callie's deepening relationship with the Delta guys. We see her start to explore her sexuality.
We're halfway through the series, so everything is starting to pick up and go full-throttle.
This exploration is touched on very, very briefly towards the end of book 3. So, to celebrate the fourth book, I've included a snapshot of that scene for your dark pleasure :)
Cardinal of Hope, Book 3
I was about to get up and go to my room for the restroom because no way would I use Bryce’s with him in the room, when Bryce put his guitar down and stood up. He dusted off some imaginary lint before approaching the bed.
His body plopped down close enough to mine that I rolled into him. He ran his hand through my hair to brush it back from my face and looked me in the eyes. “I want to kiss you.”
His voice was direct and shameless like someone used to getting his way. Then I remembered he probably was—trust fund baby and all.
His statement was out of left field though. Bryce had been one of the guys that hadn’t flirted with me before—that I could remember. In fact, after being in the car crash and later getting shot, I was shocked that he didn’t want to keep his distance.
I licked my dry lips, indecisive, but that ended up being the deciding factor. The way Bryce’s deep blue eyes followed the action got a feeling going low in my stomach. It had a way of turning my brain off so that I acted instinctively—the same state of mind that had resulted in many other kisses with the guys.
I quit thinking about the CIA. I quit thinking about Dell and Ivanov and Kaz. It all just stopped.
I moved forward an inch, and he crashed into me.
Just like that, Bryce and I were kissing.
My world narrowed down to the feel of his lips, his body angled halfway on top of mine and his hands in my hair. It was a whirlwind of touches and groans. I was in the middle of an ocean, feeling the waves as they crashed into me.
I had done nothing quite like this yet, and I knew that this was “making out.” My emotions rose with the tide, chaotic and disorienting until I couldn’t process them. There wasn’t a life-preserver in sight.
It was too much.
And just when I thought I might drown…
The sea settled. Bryce slowed down until he was giving me little nips and pecks here and there, but he didn’t back all the way off until I caught my breath. Only then did he lift but left his hands tangled in my hair and cradling my head. “Too much?”
I appreciated the fact that Bryce had not only somehow sensed my fears in the middle of what we’d been doing, but that he hadn’t just pulled away. If he had, I would’ve felt even more self-conscious than I did right now. Instead, he’d eased us both out of it and kept contact with me, letting me know with his actions that I hadn’t upset him.
It was reassuring and comforting enough for me to share my feelings.
“You’re such a good kisser,” I said, figuring flattery would be a good enough place to start.
Bryce smirked, but his smile was too much to contain and became a full-fledged authentic grin. I wasn’t sure I’d seen one before on him. “Practice,” he said.
I didn’t think that was entirely it. I think it was so enjoyable because it was Bryce.
Still, I said, “Well, it’s just...I’ve been kissed before—”
Yes, he had to have. Some of those kisses happened in front of him. I’d been kissed intently...very intently, but none of my kisses could’ve been considered make-out sessions which was where Bryce and I had been doing.
I was making a note to myself. Girl plus boy, plus bedroom—bed—equals...well, at the very least, a make-out session.
I explained this to him as best as I could through my embarrassment, but Bryce had an unreadable expression in his eyes as he untangled one of his hands and used it to brush my face. His drawl was nowhere in sight as he asked, “You feel embarrassed about your inexperience?”
I nodded, even though the question hadn’t really been a question.
He smiled at me. “Can I let you in on a secret, Callina?” At another nod from me, he leaned heavily into me, pressing me down into the bed. He put his full, aristocratic lips right against my ear. “Guys like it when they get to teach girls about this.”
With the way his deep voice breathed out against the sensitive shell of my ear, I had a hunch that Bryce would be a very good teacher. He could even be considered a professor on the subject if his implied practice was anything to believe.
Bryce trailed his nose down my neck and nipped at my collarbone, speaking against the skin there. “It makes us feel masculine. It gets us hot.” He trailed back up, dragging his body along the length of mine and setting places ablaze. “So, there is nothing to be ashamed of. I’m more than happy to fill in any...holes in your education.”
“Gaps,” I whimpered, as he played with my earlobe. Even though Bryce was a native English-speaker, I was picking up Jace’s habit of correcting language errors. “Gasps—I mean, gaps in my...m-my,” I gasped at what he was doing. “E-ducation.”
Bryce hummed against a spot that made goosebumps break out all over my body. “Are you sure? I meant what I said. Holes just seems so much more...fitting.”
Oh! Someone save me from this inferno and also curse the person who did.