I am so excited to participate in Berkley Bookmas and I’m thrilled to be hosting Helen Hoang today! I have an exclusive excerpt from Helen’s upcoming debut, The Kiss Quotient, a book that is SUUUUUUUPER high on my most-wanted list for 2018!
Berkley Bookmas is chock full of exclusive content from authors like exclusive excerpts, deleted scenes, author recipes and more! Make sure you check out the calendar of events and follow along for all the awesomeness!
Before I share the excerpt for The Kiss Quotient, I figured it’d be good to tell you a little about the book first. I think you’ll agree it sounds amazing!The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Series: The Kiss Quotient #1
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: June 5, 2018
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon
Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.
It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan--from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...
Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...
“Excuse me, are you Stella?”
Her eyes shot to his face, and Michael lost his train of thought. Those sexy librarian glasses showcased the most stunning pair of soft brown eyes. And her lips—they were just full enough to be tempting without detracting from her overall air of sweetness.
“I’m sorry. I must have the wrong person,” he said with a smile he hoped was more apologetic and less embarrassed. There was no way a girl like this had hired an escort.
She blinked and jostled the table as she flew to her feet. “No, that’s me. You’re Michael. I recognize you from your picture.” She stuck her hand out. “I’m Stella Lane. Nice to meet you.”
He stared at her open expression and proffered hand for a stunned fraction of a second. This wasn’t how clients greeted him. They usually waved him into a seat with a sly curl of their lips and a sparkle in their eyes—that sparkle that said they thought they were better than him but were looking forward to what he could offer anyway. She greeted him like he was…an equal.
Quickly recovering from his surprise, he wrapped her slender hand in his and shook it. “Michael Phan. Nice to meet you, too.”
When he released her, she motioned toward his chair awkwardly. “Please, have a seat.”
He sat and watched as she perched herself on the precarious edge of her seat, her back straight as a board. She searched his face, but when he arched an eyebrow at her, she switched her focus to the menu. She adjusted the position of her glasses with a wrinkle of her nose.
“Are you hungry? I am.” Her knuckles went white as she clung to the menu. “The salmon is good here, and the steak. My dad likes the lamb—” Her gaze jumped to his face, and, even in the dim light, he could see her cheeks go crimson. She cleared her throat. “Maybe not the lamb.”
Because he couldn’t resist, he asked, “Why not the lamb?”
“I think it tastes woolly, and if you…when we…” She stared up at the ceiling and took a deep breath. “All I’d be thinking about would be sheep and lambs and wool.”
“Understood,” he said with a grin.
When she stared at his mouth like she couldn’t remember what she was going to say, his grin widened. Women chose him because they liked the way he looked. Few of them responded to him like this, however. It was flattering even as it was funny.
“Are there any things you would prefer I not eat or drink?” she asked.
“No, I’m pretty easy.” He kept his voice light and tried to ignore the tightness in his chest. It had to be heartburn. Simple thoughtfulness wasn’t doing this to him.
After the waitress took their order and left, Stella sipped from her water glass and drew geometrical shapes in the condensation with delicate fingertips. When she noticed him watching her, she drew her hand back and sat on it, flushing like she’d been caught doing something she shouldn’t.
Something about that was kind of endearing. If she hadn’t already paid, he wouldn’t believe she actually wanted this. Why did she want this? She should have a boyfriend…or a husband. Against his better judgement—it was best when he didn’t know—he looked at her left hand resting on the table. No ring. No white line.
“I have a proposition for you,” she said suddenly, pinning him with a gaze that was surprisingly direct. “It would require a commitment of sorts—for the next couple months, I imagine. I would…prefer…to have sole access to you during that time. If you’re available.”
“What do you have in mind?”
“Please tell me if you’re available first.”
“I only do Friday nights.” That was non-negotiable. Escorting once a week was bad enough. If he had to do it more than that, he’d lose his fucking mind, and he couldn’t afford for that to happen. Too many people depended on him.
He never scheduled repeat appointments with the same client, either. They tended to get attached, and he couldn’t stand that. But he wanted to hear what she was proposing before he declined.
“You have the next few months open then?” she asked.
“It depends on what you’re proposing.”
She pushed her glasses up her nose and drew her shoulders back. “I’m awful at…what you do. But I want to get better. I think I can get better if someone would teach me. I’d like that person to be you.”
Understanding splashed over Michael in surreal waves. She thought she was bad. At sex. And wanted lessons to improve. She wanted him to tutor her.
How the hell did you teach sex?
This giveaway is AWESOME! The winner will receive a $100 Visa gift card and a book/galley/bound manuscript by each of the authors participating! Tell me you don’t want that prize!
Well that’s it for me! For tomorrow’s Berkley Bookmas fun, head to one of the following blogs:
- Delighted Reader
- BJ’s Book Blog
- Kindle Crack
- Always YA at Heart
- Wit & Wonder Books
- 2OCC Reviews
- Schmexy Girl Book Blog
- Once Upon a Twilight
- Fiction Fare
- Readers Live A Thousand Lives
If you’re looking for EVEN MORE holiday bookish goodness, check out Berkley Bookmas’s “12 Days of Shipmas” challenge on Instagram! I’m totally down for Shipmas!
Here’s the schedule of Ships:
- 12/1: I Will Go Down With This Ship = fave ship of all time
- 12/2: Paranormal Pairings = fave paranormal couple
- 12/3: Love Is Love = fave LGBTQ couple
- 12/4: Haters to Lovers = fave enemies-to-lovers couple
- 12/5: Game Baes = fave sports romance couples
- 12/ 6: Men in Uniform = fave couple with military/army/navy/etc. character
- 12/7: Angst on Angst on Angst = fave angstiest couple
- 12/ 8: 3’s Not A Crowd = fave ménage/poly pairings
- 12/ 9: Christian Bae Day = fave kinky couple
- 12/10: Heroes in History = fave historical romance couple
- 12/11: Biker Baes = fave MC romance couple
- 12/12: Hot Scots = fave Scottish heroes/heroines
Are you as excited about The Kiss Quotient as I am?