by: Isley Robson
Series: The Visionaries
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 1, 2017
Publisher: Montlake Romance
To stay sane, Andie Tilly must keep her mind on her work. Her job as a pediatric occupational therapist is the perfect distraction from the unspeakable tragedy she experienced as a child. But when she meets alternative-energy magnate Rhys Griffiths and his autistic toddler, Will, she quickly realizes her heart will never be the same. Especially when her name becomes Will’s first word.
After accepting a position as a live-in therapist for Will, Andie steels herself against the appeal of the disconcertingly attractive—and attracted—Rhys. But their chemistry can no longer be denied, and their heated affair seems destined for happily ever after. A destiny Andie’s terrified to embrace.
When Andie’s guilt, Rhys’s awkwardness, and the abrupt appearance of an erratic ex threaten to dismantle their delicately blooming relationship, they must decide if love is worth the challenge. Can Andie and Rhys find their way back to each other? Or will the demons of the past simply prove too strong?
First Kiss Gone Right by Isley Robson
Hello! I’m excited to be visiting Read Your Writes with a guest post on a very important subject: the first kiss between my hero and heroine.
As all dedicated romance readers know, the first kiss is a big milestone. By the time the characters finally break their lip lock and look up to catch a breath, their relationship has galloped into new territory. That’s certainly the case with Rhys and Andie, the hero and heroine of my debut novel THE FIRST WORD.
Rhys is an indecently attractive engineering genius at the helm of Zephyrus Energy, an alternative energy company. He’s also a single father to Will, an autistic toddler who has only ever spoken one word: Andie, the name of the occupational therapist who is the heroine of the story.
When Andie is laid off from her OT job due to budget cuts, Rhys—determined to do whatever it takes to help his son—rushes to offer her a live-in gig working with Will. Andie’s innate professionalism and her troubled family history make her wary of taking the unorthodox job, but Will has captivated her and the draw of helping him is too strong to resist.
She moves into Rhys’s mock-Georgian mansion in the Boston suburbs, where she is immediately thrown off-guard by her new employer’s blue-smoke eyes, his awkward charm, and his touching devotion to his child. Determined to steel herself against the emotional (and physical!) pull he exerts, she is nonetheless undone by the odd intimacy of working with Rhys to calm Will’s sensory sensitivities, handle his night wakings, and help him through the normal activities of daily life.
Bit by bit, she and Rhys develop a trust and a friendship that would be all very well—if not for the simmering attraction that lurks just beneath the surface. When an innocent fumble turns into a mortifying wardrobe malfunction one night, tensions reach breaking point. Rhys, desperate not to jeopardize his son’s treatment by messing around with his therapist, pulls a weeklong disappearing act that drives Andie to an ultimatum: Either he gets over himself or she’ll quit!
This scene was incredibly fun to write because the characters’ conflicting internal and external motivations suddenly collide and Andie is provoked into an impetuous move that leads where neither one expected. Here’s a taste:
Rhys gave a start when a knock sounded at the door that evening. He was hiding out in the wine room—another custom-built feature of the house that was surplus to requirements. It adjoined the den and connected on the other side to a butler’s pantry that led into the kitchen and great room. In addition to its climate-controlled shelves, it boasted a large humidor that sat empty year-round.
The knock sounded again, and he groaned inwardly, putting down the bottle he was contemplating opening. What was with everyone today? He’d have been perfectly content to get on with wallowing in his own misery, if people would just stop trying to stage interventions.
“We need to talk.” Andie stood in the doorway, her eyes blazing. It was so strange to see her in person after seeing her nowhere but in his dreams for longer than a week. He had to simply steady himself for a moment and drink her in. She was nervous, he realized. Keyed up. It touched him, making him want to fold her into a hug. But the exaggerated rise and fall of her chest, swathed in a fitted pale-pink T-shirt, also motivated him in other ways altogether.
“Come in,” he offered. There was really nowhere in the wine room to sit. But that didn’t matter, as she was clearly in a standing mood.
“I’ve made a decision,” she announced. “I’m leaving.”
A bolt of panic shot down Rhys’s spine. Leaving? No. That wasn’t supposed to happen. That couldn’t happen.
“No, Andie. You’re not going anywhere. Will needs you—”
“I’ll tell you what Will needs!” she fumed. “He needs his father. And if you want to keep a five-mile buffer zone between us just because you accidentally touched my . . . uh, nipple, then that’s up to you. But it should be you who stays in the house, not me. I can be gone first thing tomorrow.”
The way she said “nipple” was so charmingly self-conscious that Rhys felt a lick of delight, like a small flame, in his chest. He noticed for the first time that one of her eyes had more gold spokes; the other, more green. And actually, her pupils were dilated. Maybe it wasn’t only nerves she was feeling.
God, she killed him. Just destroyed him. He had to focus. Had to persuade her not to remove herself from his and Will’s lives. She couldn’t leave. He’d never been more certain of anything.
“This week has been a nightmare,” Andie continued, taking Rhys’s silence as resistance to her argument. “Will has been looking for you everywhere. He’s been having tantrums. He’s been more difficult with transitions—”
“Wait, Andie. Please,” he entreated. “I’m sorry. I never intended to set Will back and make things more difficult for you. I didn’t realize—”
“You’ve left me no choice,” she accused, her brow furrowed. “Making such a big deal about a stupid fumble.”
“It wasn’t about . . .” Rhys broke off helplessly.
Andie glared at him like he was the most maddening, incomprehensible idiot she’d ever laid eyes on.
“You think this is so catastrophic that it justifies deserting your child for a full week?” she demanded, grabbing his hand and pressing it to her left breast. Her eyes snapped with determination, and she arched one brow, full of challenge.
Every trace of awareness flew to his fingertips as she held them trapped against her body. Her skin was intoxicatingly warm, the delicious curve of her breast straining against the thin fabric of her T-shirt. Under the inadequate barrier of her lacy bra, the controversial nipple itself stood to attention beneath his touch. Her heart beat its insistent tattoo against his hand, reverberating through him until his own pulse seemed to match its rhythm.
He was powerless to do anything but reach out with his other hand and close the remaining distance between them, his fingers finally weaving into the heavy silk of her hair, his mouth zeroing in on hers as she gave a start, her lips parting on a breathless “Oh!”
I won’t give away exactly where their kiss leads, but it’s safe to say that the sexual tension is well and truly out of the bag!
Isley Robson is a word lover who, when not reading, spends her time writing about colorful characters and the people who love them. After earning a degree from the University of Technology Sydney, she moved to the Boston area to continue her studies and eventually took a job in corporate communications. Through it all, she continued writing and has now won a variety of romantic-fiction awards, including the Orange Rose 2015, the Fire and Ice 2015, the Catherine 2014, the Laurie 2014, and Show Me the Spark 2013. Her debut novel, The First Word, is book one in The Visionaries series.
Robson lives in New England with her writer husband, two children, and two dogs.
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