Ethan from Taste Test by L.B. Dunbar is one absolutely delicious book boyfriend! He cooks, which just makes him extra sexy in our eyes. Check out the Valentine’s Day excerpt from Taste Test below and take a peek at what Ella and Ethan would exchange as Valentine’s Day gifts!
I woke before the alarm. As exhausted as I was, I was excited to start another day. Ella was pressed into me, her wild hair tucked between us as her back rested against my front. I inhaled her familiar scent and felt her wiggle as my nose tickled her. She sleepily slid her hand down the arm resting over her hip and across her belly. The bracelet I was supposed to have given her for her birthday dangled a trail against my warm skin. She never took the silver bangle with the Michigan charm off. It was a fashion Up North. The state of Michigan was shaped like a mitten geographically, but if you turned it on an angle, it looked like a heart. When I gave it to her on Christmas night, she told me she loved it. She said it reminded her where her heart began to beat again.
I pulled her closer into my embrace and felt that tempting brush across my lower parts. We had spent the whole night making love, but I was ready for her again. We lived together under the guise of separate bedrooms in Jacob’s New York apartment. He was present up until last night, but I don’t think we fooled him. Our rooms were the only ones on the lofted second floor with a Jack-and-Jill bathroom adjoining them. We didn’t sleep apart, but we couldn’t make love every night.
Jacob had this crazy girlfriend who was rather vocal during their sexual encounters and it disturbed Ella. On those nights, I just held her close as we drowned out the strange behavior below with music. But last night we were finally alone and able to make our own noises.
With that thought in my mind, Ella made a purring sound as she asked what time it was.
“Go back to sleep, Princess,” I whispered in her ear before kissing it. Her shiver was a sign sleep was not coming back to her.
“Why are you awake so early?” she whined as she shifted, purposely rubbing against me with her hip before settling in to tuck her face into my chest.
The truth is that I woke early most days just to breathe in the few peaceful moments before our crazy days began. Ella had started design school at NYU while I was going to culinary school at City College. I was in this great program where I worked at a restaurant in the evening after I trained during the day. Between the late hours at night and Ella’s long days at school, it left us limited time with one another, which is why I’d purposely taken the night off last night even though I needed the money. I was trying to make it on my own, regardless of Jacob’s renewed offer of the promised scholarship. I said no to the funds, but yes to the living arrangements. I didn’t want to be without Ella again. It might have seemed fast to live together, but we’d been living together our whole relationship.
“Don’t you have class at eight?” I asked as Ella slipped a leg over my hip and wedged her slim body closer to me, teasing me by not getting close enough in the most important place.
“Yes,” she mumbled as she ran her tongue down my chest. I was instantly harder if that was even possible, and I yanked her hips to press into me. She giggled into my mouth as I tasted her sweet lips.
“Happy Valentine’s Day,” she said against my lips as my slow kisses grew more desperate.
“Valentine’s Day?” I faked my response.
Her eyes skimmed my face as I held still to tease her. Of course I hadn’t forgotten. I had a special menu designed with some new recipes I’d learned and I planned a living room floor picnic where I would feed her before I feasted on her.
“Valentine’s Day? You know, the day of lovers?”
“Hmm,” I moaned against her mouth. I wanted to hold out until dinner later, but I didn’t think I could wait.
“Lovers, huh? What if I don’t want to be considered lovers?”
She pulled back dramatically and I knew that look in her eyes. She was winding up to take me down, but I stopped her with another kiss. Unfortunately, she wasn’t kissing me back.
“Let go, Princess,” I pressed my lips to hers as I muttered the words.
She turned her head and I had her ear in my mouth.
“What do you mean you don’t want to be lovers?” Her voice was shaky with hurt, but I wasn’t intending to hurt her. I didn’t want anyone or anything to hurt her ever again.
“Actually, I want you to be my girlfriend.”
She pulled her head back further and looked at me. I was distracted by her hair sprawled on the pillow and moved in for more of that mouth, but she flinched.
“I thought…,” she began and stopped herself with a bite of her lip. Her blue eyes searched mine and I knew I had to keep going.
“I wanted to wait for tonight, but I don’t think I can.” Turning abruptly, I rolled to my back and reached into the night stand for the small box. I knew this would be difficult to explain, so I practiced several times, hoping to get it right.
Her eyes widened as I held the box between us, and her mouth opened to speak before she closed it to bite her lip again. I knew she was trying to contain her smile, but her eyes were worried.
“This might not be what you think,” I started and her shoulders relaxed. “But it’s a promise. I won’t be able to give you everything now that you’re used to…” She opened her mouth to cut me off, but I used my finger to cover her lips.
“Open it and I’ll explain.”
She took the box with shaky hands, opening it slowly to find another charm inside.
A silver castle.
I continued. “One day, I promise I’ll give you any castle you want, Princess, because you’re my home. We’re more than lovers; more than girlfriend and boyfriend. You are my home. Where you want to be is where I want to be, and this is a promise that I will always protect you. I will be your safety. Never leave me again, because I love you,” I said softly, full of meaning. A tear escaped her eyes.
“I know.” She did know. We had discussed it plenty that leaving me behind had almost broken me, and she agreed that she didn’t feel complete without me, even if she needed to prove to herself that she was strong. I made her stronger, she said, and I knew that as much as releasing her secrets was a challenge, she was well worth it. She could be that feisty beast at times, but now it was in a different way…in bed, and she proved it immediately as she pushed me back to climb on top of me, demonstrating once again that we were only whole with each other.
Ethan and Ella exchange Valentine’s gifts!
Ethan will give Ella something special (read excerpt). That evening, Ethan would put his cooking skills to work and make dinner for Ella, including something pumpkin flavored for dessert despite it not being pumpkin season. A heart shaped cake with cream cheese frosting, most likely. Ella is artistic and even though drawing was not her skill, she would still make a sketch of something important to him – the lake, the woods, and a house hidden in it. A reminder of where they met.
Don’t miss the rest of the Sensations collection:
Sound Advice (Sensations Collection #1)
Fragrance Free (Sensations Collection #3)
Touch Screen (Sensations Collection #4)
Sight Words (Sensations Collection #5)