in this post: A Match for Emma
Happy February – official (according to me) KissingBooks month! And welcome to another Love Stories giveaway post! This LOVE STORIES giveaway series is thusly named for two reasons – first, because I love stories and second, because I love Love Stories.
Throughout the entire month of February, I’ll be spotlighting swoony Christian fiction & ‘clean read’ romances. Three cheers for KissingBooks!!! So… grab a fan or two, your trusty fainting couch, and maybe a freezer just to be safe and start making your KissingBooks tbr list! Oh… and did I mention there are GIVEAWAYS with EACH POST in this series??!! (Because authors are awesome!)
Today’s next book on this VALENTINE’S DAY is A Match for Emma by Pepper Basham – complete with a swoonified ‘kissing friends’ excerpt!
A MATCH FOR EMMA
SERIES: Mitchell’s Crossroads #3
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: November 21, 2019
Emma Mitchell may enjoy sprinkling romance into the lives of others, but her own plans involve a single first-class ticket to culinary school in Europe.
When her best friend, Jon Noble, suddenly moves back to Ransom, Emma’s fairly certain her life can’t get any better…until her matchmaking schemes nosedive, her culinary future falls flat, and a life-long friendship begins to teeter on the brink of something unexpected.
With a little inspiration from Jane Austen’s classic and a touch of Blue Ridge charm, will Jon and Emma discover that what they need the most may be the last thing they’re trying to find?
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I ADORE writing romance books!
And I love all the ways romance can be shown.
It’s important to me to try and make the romance as unique and varied as the characters who are growing in love with each other, so with each new book, it’s a challenge to bring about that romance in an authentic and unique way that fits ‘them’.
I know that romance comes in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes the more nuanced build-up is more beautiful than the actual kissing, but I am a die-hard lover of kissing books, soooo…I’m going to share a sneak peek of a LEAD UP to a first kiss from my newest release, A Match for Emma!
Just as a set-up, this book is a friends-to-more romance between two lifelong buddies who slowly start to realize they’re the perfect match for each other. I hope you enjoy it!!!
Without a hitch, she skated her arms over his shoulders as his palms rested against her back, neither speaking at first. The air weighted with unspoken confessions. Unvoiced possibilities. They moved in comfortable synchrony, in contrast to the erratic rhythm of his pulse. He opened his mouth to say something, but she beat him to it.
“Is this the first time we’ve ever danced together?” Her words quivered on a whisper, those hazel eyes, searching his.
“Do elementary school sock hops count?”
Her curls bounced as she laughed, a sound no video call could emulate. Actually, he was enjoying every benefit of in-person interaction at the moment. Her animated expressions, how she fit in his arms, the way her eyes glimmered with wit and life. “Well, I have to say I prefer this sort of dancing with you over a sock hop.”
His gaze trailed over her familiar face, a crushing tenderness deepening his voice. “Most certainly.”
A flicker of uncertainty sobered her countenance, as if she wanted to say something but couldn’t quite get out the words. He straightened his shoulders and drew in a deep breath. Though eloquent speeches and flirtatious innuendos had never been his forte, perhaps he could bridge the awkward gap between friendship and more with a little gentle directness.
“Emma, I need to tell you something, and I’m not sure how you’re going to take it.”
One slender brow rose in response. “And the dancefloor in the middle of a wedding sounds like the perfect time for a serious conversation?”
His grin flared at her sarcasm. “You are pretty much my captive at the moment, so if I say something you don’t like, you’re less likely to leave me in the middle of the room with the whole town watching.”
A pixie glint lit her expression. “Well played, my friend.”
He cleared his throat. “Yes, about that friend thing.” He nodded, looking away. “Being in Ransom has clarified a lot for me. I’ve come to terms with my own grief, remembered how much I love small-town life—”
“Which is mighty smart of you.”
“Well, not so smart, since I’ve only just figured out something else I should have known a long time ago.”
His gaze found hers, ready to step into the unknown, to risk a shift one way or the other in their friendship. “I… I love you, Emma.”
Her attention drifted from his lips to his eyes, the pulse of her breath brushing against his chin with an increased pace and the scent of cake. Heaven help him, how much willpower would he have to exert before he internally combusted from the desire to kiss her?
“I know you do.” Her smile gentled and she squeezed his shoulders. “But, well, as a…little sister? Or, as just friends?”
Oh yes, she knew.
“Emma.” Her name breathed over his lips, bringing her gaze to his. He slid his palms up her back in a much-more-than-friend kind of caress and leaned in to tickle his lips by her ear. “I want to be your best friend ‘til death do us part. I want my best arguments, memories, and celebrations to be with you.” Her hands tightened against his neck with a hitch in her breath. “I want to have dinner with you every night and wake up with you in my arms in the morning. I want to be your friend—”
“In a kissing kind of way?” Her breathless interruption erupted softly against his cheek, right to the point—so very much like Emma herself—as her body melted against his.
His fingers curled into the fabric of the back of her gown, the simple question nearly propelling him into kissing her in the middle of the dance floor. He locked eyes with her, to ensure his words brooked no confusion. “Definitely the kissing kind of way.”
“Oh, I’m so glad.” Her smile bloomed so broadly he thought she might burst into another laugh. “It would be incredibly awkward to be one-sided on that topic.”
She rose on tiptoe, her nose almost touching his, the glow on her face reflecting the relief in his chest. “Would you be my kissing friend, Jonathan Noble?”
Would he? Heaven help him, would he. And he had no intention of waiting any longer. He took one of her hands from around his neck and made determined steps off the dancefloor, weaving through the crowd with Emma trailing behind.
“Jon? Um, are you going to answer my question?”
Without looking back, he left the pavilion, searching ahead for anything private enough for his actions to speak louder than his words ever could. A stone walkway led to the back of the church. He followed it, a faint memory of childhood bringing a nice hiding spot to mind.
“Where are we going?”
“To a place where I can prove this kissing friendship thing is definitely not one-sided.” He tossed a look over his shoulder. “Or awkward.”
Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with southern Appalachian flair. Both her historical and contemporary novels have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inspys, and ACFW Carol Awards. Her historical romance, The Thorn Healer, was a finalist in the 2018 RT Awards. Her most recent historical romance, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge, showcases her Appalachian heritage and family history, as well as her love for humor and family. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus. Her upcoming release, A Match for Emma, is the third book in her popular Mitchell’s Crossroads series.
Pepper Basham is offering a print copy of A Match for Emma OR any other one of her books (winner’s choice) to one of my readers! (US only for print, ebook available for international winner. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What interests you most about A Match for Emma? Why do you like friends-to-more romances?