It's First BOOK Friday! For the next few months, we're going to highlight the first book from each of the Nine Naughties. Sometimes people find us further down our backlist, sometimes readers think they're picking up our first book when really it's number 3 or so, sometimes our first book was so long ago even we've forgotten! (just kidding... it's true that you never forget your first!). So we thought it would be fun to revisit the books that started it all for each of us!
This month we're featuring the first book from Erin Nicholas, No Matter What.
A note from Erin:
My first book was No Matter What and was published by Samhain Publishing in November of 2009. No Matter What has always been special to me, not just because it was my first, but because the heroine is a physical therapist-- something I know *a lot* about! :) Everyone always said to write what you know, so... I took it to heart and made Jaden Monroe someone I could easily identify with. I loved being able to bring my two passions together and to have it be my first published book made it all the more fun!
Adam Steele is good. Good at using his money to get his way. Money always works—until he realizes he can’t buy his daughter’s way out of her new wheelchair. Three private physical therapists later, he’s almost given up on Emily walking again. Then he meets Dr. Jaden Monroe. And his match.
Jaden doesn’t know the meaning of the word “quit”. But she knows a lot about “fired” after a public blowout with her ex jeopardizes the donation her hospital was counting on. Now the most tempting man she’s ever met has made her just the offer she needs to save the new children’s rehab wing—one million dollars to rehabilitate his daughter. In return she finds herself making Adam rash promises: that his daughter will walk in time to take the lead in the school play. And that he won’t entice her into his bed. No matter what.
But Jaden didn’t anticipate a teen whose injuries are more than physical. Or a man so passionate and devoted—and as tenacious as she is. As Adam wears down her defenses with kiss after kiss, the only thing harder than keeping her promise will be keeping a hold on her heart.
“You’re not nervous at all about my attraction to you and your equal attraction to me? You’re not even a little anxious about me kissing you and where that might lead?”
She shook her head again and managed to pry her lips apart. “Even if you did kiss me—and I’m not saying that I think that’s a good idea—it wouldn’t lead anywhere. I think you should know that up front.”
“You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, Jaden,” he said soothingly, rubbing his palm up and down her arm where he still held her. “But I think that you should know up front that I’m very certain, eventually, I will kiss you and it will lead to something.” He moved in a little closer, making her press her back against the rough side of the pool. “But because you’re skittish about this, today I’ll settle for this.”
He slid his hand down her arm slowly, creating goosebumps in the wake of his touch. Then he took her hand and lifted it to his lips, pressing a firm but gentle kiss to the center of her palm. A shiver went through her and she knew that it did not escape his attention.
He pulled himself out of the pool and shook water from his hair. He stood on the side and shrugged out of his jacket, tossed it onto the chair, pulled his shirt from the waist of his pants and began unbuttoning it. He peeled it off, wadded it into a ball and squeezed water from it. Jaden watched every move, unable to tear her eyes away even when he turned and saw her studying him. He kicked his shoes off, watching her the whole time. She didn’t move. But when his hands went to his belt, she shook herself from her daze.
“You’re not undressing right here!”
He looked around. “I can’t go dripping water through the whole house.”
She pulled herself from the pool and stomped to the chair where there was another dry towel.
She tossed it toward him. “And I’m not skittish.”
He began toweling off. “That will make seducing you much easier.”
She spun toward him in the midst of pulling on a long T-shirt, only one arm poking through the sleeve. “Seducing me?” Her voice was almost a shriek.
Shrugging, he asked, “What did you think all the kissing would lead to?”
“We’re not kissing.”
“Not right now,” he agreed. “But that will change soon.”
“This is nuts. Is this the real reason Kathy and Cindy quit?” she asked, naming two of the three therapists who had come and gone from the Steele estate. “Because you were trying to get them into bed?”
Adam frowned at that. “The thought of taking either of them to bed didn’t even occur to me.”
The resoluteness in his statement left no room for doubt.
Jaden stuck her left arm forcibly through the T-shirt and finally pulled it over her head and down to cover her body. She crossed her arms and regarded him with narrowed eyes. “But it’s occurred to you with me, after only one day?”
Adam stopped drying off and walked toward her, stopping only when he was close enough that she could see the gold flecks in his eyes. He put one finger under her chin and tipped her head up to look into her eyes.
“Taking you to bed occurred to me the first moment I saw you.”
He had to stop doing that. If she lost her ability to breathe and think every time he said something like that, she was afraid she would quickly lose her professional credibility with him. If she hadn’t already. Finally, she spoke. “Maybe that should have come up when we were discussing the job with Emily.”
He dropped his gaze to her lips. “I have every confidence that you can do both very, very well, but if you’re concerned, maybe you would be more comfortable not being Emily’s therapist.”
Anger welled up in her so quickly she wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. “You want me to concentrate on you rather than Emily?” Then she took a deep breath and forced herself to calm down. She shrugged. “Sure, that’s a great idea. You can bring in another therapist to work on her rehab while I have sex with you all day long. In fact, thank you for thinking of it. I was just wondering how I was going to accomplish all of that by myself.”
He lifted an eyebrow. “You would have an affair with me and let another therapist work with Emily?”
She took a step forward, her eyes narrowed, pink staining her cheeks. “You are unbelievable!”
Suddenly both of her hands were on his chest and before he could react, she shoved him as hard as she could.
Jaden stood at the edge of the pool, hands on her hips, glaring down at him when he came up for air. “Of course I will not have an affair with you and turn Emily’s therapy over to someone else! My first and only priority is Emily. You’re just going to have to find another…outlet…for your sexual energy.”
“So you’re staying?”
“That’s what I said.”
“No matter what?”
“No matter what.” Then she marched to the heavy glass door and jerked it open, turning for only a moment to tell him, “And, just for the record, I’m also not kissing you…no matter what.”
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