Copyright © 2016 Marianne Stephens
   Some images from:
Excerpt:Back to Basics by Suzanne Rock
"Be quiet everyone!" The bartender said as she turned up the volume on the television set.
"It's almost time."
The music and chatter ceased. Celeste turned with the rest of the patrons to see a picture
of a crowded Times Square on the screen. The camera quickly panned the crowd and then
focused on a huge ball on the top of a building. The ball started to drop and the lights in the
club dimmed.
"Ten, nine, eight. . .”
Celeste fisted her hands. How unfair. Just when she had gathered enough courage to find a
lover, this happened. Now everyone would be paired off and her chance at a night of sexual
pleasure would be lost.
"Seven, six, five. . ."
She eased her way around the bodies to the door, then stopped as her gaze settled on a
man at the bar. She had seen him while she danced and found his short, dark hair a wire-
rimmed glasses charming. He was tall and thin, but the intensity of his stare suggested that he
wielded a lot more power than his thin frame suggested. He sat by her boss, who had his arms
around two men. As usual, her boss seemed more interested in flirting than paying attention to
what was going on around him.
"Four, three. . ."
On impulse, she pushed her way over to the stranger until she stood next to him.
"Two, one . . . Happy New Year!"
Grabbing his shirt, she jerked him toward her and kissed him with all of the pent-up sexual
frustration she had. Surprised, the man stiffened, then quickly recovered. Tilting his head, he
parted her lips in invitation. Celeste inched closer, straddling his hips and pushing her tongue
into his mouth.
He tasted of spice and man, a heady combination that fueled her desire. With a groan, the
man slid his arms around her waist and placed them firmly on her ass. Celeste wiggled,
moaning into his mouth as he swept his tongue against hers. As the cheers and chatter rose up
around them, Celeste slid her arms around his neck and pressed her breasts against his chest.
God, he felt so good. It had been a long time since she had kissed a man, even longer since
she had kissed anyone so handsome. With each passing second, her mind plunged further into
an erotic haze, and she found it more and more difficult to remember that they were in a public
He pulled back from the kiss, and as his stunned gaze met hers, she watched his
expression filled with lust. "How did you know?" he asked.
"Know?" She slipped her arms away from his neck in confusion.
"Know that this was exactly what I needed."
She smiled as took his fingers. "Come."
"Where are we going?" he asked as he followed her into the back hallway.
"Somewhere where we can be alone."
She stopped in front of the coat room door and put a long, manicured finger to his lips.
"Shh." When he stared at her in surprise, she pulled her hand away.
"I gave you something you needed." She reached behind her and flicked open the door.
"Now it's time for you to give me something I need."
He cleared his throat and swallowed. "What's that?"
"Oh. . ." She dragged her nail down his chest, enjoying the way his muscles twitched under
her touch. "I think you can figure it out." She flicked her gaze back up to him and offered a shy
He stepped forward, closing the distance between them. "Yes, I think I can."
Before Celeste could speak, before she could even think, he dipped his head and claimed her
lips with his own.