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1130481_99649363valentinebytnineketinThis week’s guest is Ayla Ruse (who has one of the prettiest names ever, in my opinion), here to help me talk about this month’s theme, doubtlessly better than I. :) Let’s make her feel welcome!

Hello and Happy Wednesday! Thank you, Aurelia, for having me drop in today, I’m excited to be here.

The theme this month on your blog is Romantic Gestures, and this brought a smile to my lips. Why? Because if you were to look this up, most information you will find is geared toward men and how to express romance to his woman. In a way this makes sense. I mean, it seems that most women have that necessary gene that tells us how to be romantic with our guy, but it seems the reverse is not true. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of guys out there who do wonderful on the romance scale, but overall, not many.

So what do these oh-so-informative articles say are gestures that can be construed as romance? Well, there is the typical answers of take her to dinner, make her dinner, give her flowers, write her a love note, give her chocolates, etc. Some even were pretty original, I thought, in saying things like make her something she’d like or give her tickets to see a show she wants. But overall, I didn’t learn anything new.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love a well thought out romantic gesture as much as the next woman, but sometimes, I want more. I want something that you can’t put a price tag on and that takes me out of the blue. In other words, I want a gesture that actually means something. Something that’s more than just the token expectation. When I write my stories, I try to use more meaningful gestures to bring the characters together.

Let me elaborate: In my latest story, Raspberries and Wine, an older woman (Stacy) finds herself uncomfortably attracted to a younger man (Graham). There is a happily ever after, but what does he do that makes her swoon? I’ll give you a hint. It’s his confidence.

That’s a quality, you say. Not a gesture. But from Graham’s confidence comes his decisions and his words and thus, his gestures. But see, he’s a Dominant. His romantic gestures are built-in (sly wink). He helps Stacy with dinner, he looks her in the eye, he’s honest in telling her what he likes and what he wants. When he touches her there’s no second thought or indecision. He pays attention to what she likes and wants as well. (In my opinion, having a man pay thorough attention to you in this way tips the scales of romantic gestures!)

Below is a little information on Raspberries and Wine, as well as an excerpt in which you can get a taste of this delicious combo.

raspberriesandwine_exlargeSummary: When Stacy opens her door on Valentine’s Day, it’s not to the man she expected, but to the man who’ll give her what she needs.

It’s Valentine’s Day and newly liberated divorcee Stacy Dalton has a plan: seduce her former classmate and end the post-divorce intimacy drought. She’s cooked a meal, she’s dressed to the nines, and she is crossing her fingers that tonight she will not go to bed alone. There is a slight hiccup in the plan when it’s not her former classmate that shows up with an easy smile and a hungry look–but his drop-dead gorgeous son. 

Twenty-nine year old Graham Rosen has always been attracted to older women. So making last-minute plans to take out his father’s cancelled date seems an effortless and enjoyable task–especially when he sees the sable-haired beauty who opens the door. Unfortunately, Stacy seems hung up on their age. Even after giving in to Graham’s erotic attentions, the beautiful cook refuses to acknowledge any possible future to their relationship. 

Some women need a strong man–with an even stronger hand. Graham is no mere boy to shy away from a challenge and he is more than willing to show Stacy he’s serious about his desire for her beyond just one lustful night. But will his erotic discipline succeed in dissolving Stacy’s hesitations and bring her closer to him? Or will it scare her away?



Then Graham turned around. Stacy’s mouth went bone dry. With a casualness that seemed innate, he leaned back against the counter and set his hands to the edge on either side of his hips. He’d taken off his tie and undone the top button of his shirt. Her fingers itched to touch him. She licked her lips, wondering what it’d be like to taste him in the hollow of his throat. If he’d let her. Her ex had been so straightforward with sex there had never been the time or the want to explore. She wanted to explore Graham.

She sighed. At least her dreams tonight would be fueled.

He cleared his throat and she flushed, meeting his eyes. He was smiling at her.

“Do you need help with dessert?” he asked, looking like she amused him.

“What? Oh, no,” she said, finally moving to the refrigerator and taking out the raspberry cheesecake she’d made the day before.

She caved to her nagging thoughts. As hot as she found Graham, as lustful as her thoughts were, she couldn’t do it. She had no clue how to go about getting a man like him into bed. So what that he was younger and his entire body screamed sexual knowledge, the kind she’d probably never even known about. He was out of her league.

The fact that he was still here said a lot. He no doubt pitied her. Poor old woman, dumped on Valentine’s Day. He’d see his buddies tomorrow and tell them how he’d done his duty by having dinner and flirting with an old lady.

She grimaced as she took down dessert plates and prepared to cut the cake. Tears welled at her foolishness. She set down the knife, fisted her hands on the counter and squeezed her eyes shut. Her back to Graham, she spoke.

“Graham, I’m sorry, but I think you need to leave. Thank you for staying for dinner. I’ll wrap a slice of cheesecake for you if you want to take it with you.”

She bent down to pull plastic wrap from the drawer, but his voice stopped her.

“Stacy. Turn around.”

She stood up and pivoted without a second thought. He’d spoke and she’d responded. He’d not moved from his position at the opposite counter, but his demeanor had changed from relaxed to tense. Sexually tense.

“Come here,” he told her, barely raising his voice above a whisper.

She wondered at what he was doing even as she moved toward him.

His eyes did not waver and were so intense her spine tingled. Her nipples pebbled beneath her lacy bra and her nerves were so taut she couldn’t take a deep breath.

She stepped within his arm’s reach, and he set a knuckle beneath her chin, tipping her head up until their eyes met.

She may have had doubts, but this man knew what he was about. She’d only dreamed a man would look at her like this—like he wanted to devour her.

She bit her lip and his eyes flicked down. She pleated the sides of her skirt as the heavy silence built.

Should she say something? Do something? She was too afraid to break the twilight moment building between them.

When Graham stroked her jaw with his thumb, she sighed. Then he said the unthinkable.

“Stacy. I’m going to kiss you.”

She should laugh. She should move away and shake her finger at him, blowing away his comment. She should admonish him for being so forward.

Instead, her belly clenched in anticipation.


You can pick up your copy of Raspberries and Wine from any of these fine ebook sellers:

Totally Bound

Amazon US

Amazon UK

All Romance eBooks

Barnes and Noble


Bio: I’m a stay-at-home mom rearing and teaching three wonderful boys. I love to read just about anything I can get my hands on but believe it or not, my all-time-favorite stories to read are historical romance and action/adventure. When I’m not teaching, reading or writing, I love to get outdoors and find some peace. In fact, one of my sons recently asked me if I could go anywhere, where would I go? My answer: A cabin in the mountains. Alone. ;)

Thank you again, Aurelia, for having me stop by. I had a great time and now I’m all hyped up on making my own lists of out-of-the ordinary romantic gestures. Oh, and I love to hear from readers. I can be reached or followed from any of these places:

Website    |    Facebook    |    Blog    |    Twitter    |    Goodreads


Thank you, Ayla, for joining us! That was a perfect post-Valentine’s post and excerpt to share. Can’t wait to see what happens between them. Have a wonderful week, everyone!