“An Uncommon Sense (Sensual Healing, Book 1)”
by Serenity Woods
Published by Samhain Publishing
Contemporary Erotic Romantic Comedy
The giveaway is a copy of An Uncommon Sense. Do you believe in mediums? I do. I believe that some people have the ability to talk to people when they have passed. Please leave a comment and an email address to get in touch with you. I will draw a winner on Saturday. Good luck.
All six senses tell him she’s the one.
High school science teacher Grace Fox doesn’t believe in any of that woo-woo stuff. So it’s easy to laugh off her friend’s prediction that she’ll have swear-out-loud sex with the next man who walks through her classroom door.
Who knew that local celebrity Ash Rutherford would have the time to attend his daughter’s parents’ night? Or that the Viking lookalike would trigger an attack of klutziness? He may or may not see dead people, but he certainly got a good look up her skirt.
A doctor turned medium, Ash spends his days communicating with unseen spirits. When it comes to his moody daughter, though, he hopes down-to-earth Grace will give him some insight. The racy lingerie she hides beneath her prim and proper clothing is an added bonus he didn’t expect.
Their attraction is instant and blazing hot, but Ash has been burned before. His ex-wife didn’t believe in his abilities, and no way is he going down that road again. At least not until Grace accepts the possibility there might be life after death. And the ghosts of his past are laid to rest.
Product Warnings: Contains a real live Viking, proof of life after death and sex on a 1970s sheepskin rug, but absolutely no Barry White.
“You are going to have wild, passionate, swear-out-loud sex with the next man who walks through the door.” Mia read the prediction aloud from the astrology section of her magazine.
“Even if I did believe the position of the stars could tell my future, I’d know you made that up.” Grace continued to study the latest batch of science exams. “And anyway, that doesn’t sound remotely like something I’d do.”
Grace put a big red cross against the answer she’d just read. “Very funny. I meant swear. I would never swear during sex. Very unladylike.” She read the next question. What happens to your body as you age? And then the answer. You get intercontinental. Massaging her forehead, she drew another red cross. Jodi Rutherford barely appeared to have retained enough information from her biology lessons over the past ten weeks to fill a postage stamp.
“That explains a lot.”
Grace shot the teacher sitting next to her an exasperated look. “What’s that supposed to mean? And will you please stop trying to distract me? I want to get these finished before I go home.”
Mia grinned. It was nearly seven o’clock on a typically cool New Zealand October evening, and moths had started to flit around the strip lighting. Even though the parents’ evening had been the busiest of the year, the stream of visitors to the auditorium was starting to wane, and the teachers sitting at the rows of tables were beginning to pack up their laptops and books. Neither she nor Grace had seen a parent for fifteen minutes, and she was quite clearly bored. “I meant that your reaction to my prophecy accounts for why you’re still a spinster at the ripe old age of twenty-nine. If you’ve never been with a guy who could make you swear out loud during sex, it would explain why you haven’t come close to settling down.”
“Don’t call me a spinster,” Grace grumbled, turning over the page. “And anyway, I’m only a year older than you. You make me sound like I’m eighty-five.”
“You dress like you’re eighty-five,” Mia said impatiently.
“What’s wrong with the way I dress?” Grace frowned as she looked at her clothes. Her neat pencil skirt and white shirt were hardly retirement-age clothing. Okay, maybe the flat, sensible shoes, hair in a bun and glasses were a bit more “traditional schoolmistress meets university librarian”, but she hardly looked as if she should be vacationing with the over-fifties.
“You’re practically Victorian.” Slim and pretty, with thick, shiny black hair, Mia always wore the latest fashions.
“Because I don’t have a skirt above my knees and my shirt unbuttoned to my cleavage?”
“Grace, honestly. You’re beginning to worry me. You really should try to have sex at least once each decade, you know, or you’ll forget how to do it.”
Grace stared at the floor in front of her desk and tipped open her hands in protestation. “Mia…do you mind?” When her colleague remained quiet, she tried to concentrate on the paper in front of her. Then she groaned. “God, listen to this. ‘If conditions are not favourable, bacteria go into a period of adolescence.’ I mean, honestly.”
Mia laughed. “Whose paper is that?”
She put another red cross on it. “Jodi Rutherford’s.”
“Ooh.” Mia perked up. “The medium’s daughter? I didn’t know you taught her.”
Grace sighed. “Oh Lord, don’t you start. What is it with the women in this school? One mention of that guy and I swear their bodies undergo some kind of chemical change, turning them into goo.”
“Grace Fox, seriously, have you not seen him? What the hell is wrong with you?”
Grace put her pen down impatiently. “Of course I’ve seen him. Well, a photo of him. You can’t avoid it. His picture’s been plastered over half of Wellington for the last week, for crying out loud. But he’s just a guy. Two arms, two legs. Nothing that warrants all the mooning about.”
Mia shook her head. “Now I know there’s something wrong with you. Sweetheart, Ashton Rutherford is sex on legs. Seriously. He’s, like, six-foot-four and played lock for the Hurricanes.”
“That means absolutely nothing to me, Mia.”
Mia rolled her eyes. She was an avid Rugby Union fan. “They’re the tall ones who jump up at the line-outs.”
“Is that supposed to impress me?”
“Don’t you find him a little bit intriguing? A rugby-playing doctor who became a clairvoyant—don’t you think that warrants even a little bit of interest?”
Grace snorted. “Any man who gives up a serious profession after years of training to become a fortune teller needs his head tested.”
“He doesn’t tell fortunes. He’s a medium. He speaks to dead people.”
Grace gave her a look. “This conversation does not sound like something I’d be even vaguely interested in. I’m packing up now. It’s nearly seven.”
Mia sighed and started logging off on her laptop. “I can’t believe you didn’t tell me he could have been coming to see you tonight.”
“I honestly didn’t expect the guy to turn up. I’m sure interest in the welfare and progress of his only daughter is way beneath such a superstar. On my to-do list, informing you which students’ parents were coming tonight was right at the bottom.”
“He wouldn’t be at the bottom of my to-do list,” Mia mumbled.
“You sound just like your mother when you talk like that.”
Grace shuddered. The ultimate insult. “Thanks.”
“Don’t mention it. You seriously need to get laid, though.”
Tell me about it. She didn’t say that, however. Instead, she said, “For the love of…will you desist?”
“Next guy that walks through the door, I’m telling you. Look—the door’s opening…”
“Please don’t let it be Professor Michaels,” Grace muttered as she got on her hands and knees to pull the plug of her laptop out from underneath the wall heater, making Mia laugh out loud at the mention of the overweight, balding, officious deputy principal who drove them all to distraction.
Mia’s laughter turned abruptly into a gasp. “I don’t believe it.”
“What?” The lead was stuck. Grace pulled it hard, but it had somehow got wedged against the plug of the heater and refused to come out.
“Well, this is going to be interesting.”
Grace took the plug in both hands but it still failed to move. “Sweetie, I don’t care if he’s Robert Downey Junior, I am not having sex with him.” She leaned all her weight on the lead, and all of a sudden, it gave and pinged out of the wall. She fell backward, banged her head and ended up sprawled in a most ungainly fashion facing the parent who was waiting at the foot of her desk.
“If you’d turn down Robert Downey Junior I guess I don’t stand a chance,” he said, amused.
Grace looked up at the face of the man she’d seen plastered on billboards all across town and then turned slowly to face Mia, whose eyes were practically falling out of her head. Mia stared at her and made a slight gesture with her hands, bringing them together, making Grace realise she was facing the guy with her legs open, giving him a splendid view right up her skirt.
His stormy-blue eyes met hers. This time, there was something other than amusement in them. Grace’s cheeks grew warm at the sparkle of interest glittering in their depths.
“There’ll be none of that,” she said before she could think better of it.
“Any funny business.” Her cheeks grew even hotter. “I’ll help you, but it will be purely a business relationship.”
“Of course.” The amusement was back.
“I’m sure you usually only have to bat your eyelids at a girl and she turns into mush, but I’m not that kind of girl.”
“Actually, I beg to differ. I’d known you precisely two seconds and you swooned at my feet.” He winked at her.
“I did not swoon.”
“There was definite swoonage going on. You were practically Victorian.”
“That’s the second time tonight I’ve been called Victorian,” she said indignantly. She patted her bun self-consciously. “Mia thinks I dress too conservatively.”
He ran his gaze slowly down her and then back up again. “On the surface, maybe.”
She frowned, not understanding, then realised when he grinned he was referring to what he’d seen when she’d sat on the floor before him, legs apart. Her stockings and garter belt. And maybe even her black, silky teddy. Oh God, I hope the teddy was covering everything.
“Oh.” Her cheeks burned again. “You did see.”
“Sorry, but you were right in front of me—it was difficult not to see everything.”
“You didn’t have to mention it. That was extremely impolite.”
His eyebrows rose. “You’re giving me lessons on being polite?”
She thought about it. “Touché.”
Smiling, he tapped her nameplate. “Are you really a Miss? Or is that just school-teacher licence?”
“Are you asking whether I wear nice underwear for a partner or whether I wear it for myself?”
He hesitated. Then he grinned. “Yes.”
“Then just ask, for God’s sake. I hate having to rummage around in people’s words looking for the true meaning behind them.”
He nodded. “Duly noted.”
She zipped up her laptop case. “I’m single. I happen to like pretty underwear.”
“So do I. So that’s two things we have in common.” Smiling, he pushed himself to his feet. “We’d better go. I think you’re getting the evil eye.”
Grace looked up, surprised to see they were the last two people left in the auditorium. Professor Michaels was standing in the doorway, tapping his foot impatiently, waiting to lock up. “Oh.”
“Come on. I’ll walk you to your car. It’s dark outside.”
She put the register and pen in her bag, slipped on her jacket and walked with him out of the auditorium, nodding to the professor as they passed and apologising for keeping him waiting.
“Jeez,” said Ash as they went out into the cool night air and walked down to the main road. “What a weird guy.”
“I know. Mia told me I was going to have swear-out-loud sex with the next guy who walked through the door. I was terrified it was going to be him.”
He stopped walking and looked down at her, smiling. “And instead you got me.”
She glanced up. She was five-feet-eight, hardly short for a woman, but he still towered over her. He was like essence of man. She was acutely conscious of the way his shirt sleeves stretched across his generous arm muscles. “You’re not Robert Downey Junior,” she said, a little breathlessly.
He smiled. “No.” His eyes glittered in the light from the street lamp.
“You are gorgeous, though.”
He gave a short laugh. “You really have no control over what comes out of your mouth, do you?”
“Not when I’m nervous. It lands me in heaps of trouble.”
“I kind of like it. I don’t have to worry about what you’re thinking.”
“I can see how that might be appealing.”
They studied each other for a moment. An impish smile gradually spread across his face. “Swear-out-loud sex, huh?”
Her cheeks grew hot. “Mia’s words, not mine.”
“It sounds like an interesting prediction.”
“I don’t believe in predictions.” She swallowed. His eyes had turned quite hot. “Or swearing.”
“You don’t swear?”
“Not even during sex?”
Her eyes widened. “Mr. Rutherford!”
“Yes, Miss Fox?”
“I…” For once, words failed her. He was a man who thought he could speak to dead people. He was certifiable, almost certainly delusional, and quite possibly an outright fraudster.
He was also the most gorgeous guy she’d ever met in real life, and the way he was looking at her made her knees go weak. She wrapped her arms around the laptop case as if it were a breastplate that could protect her.
“You’d be surprised how many predictions I’ve made that have come true,” he said, his deep voice husky.
She swallowed. “Well, for a start, Mia made up the stupid horoscope, and she’s usually about as accurate as a stopped watch.” Her voice was faint. “And secondly, there’s no such thing as the ability to see into the future. We exist at a fixed point in time. It’s not possible.” She lifted her chin determinedly.
He smiled. “Even a stopped watch is right twice a day.” His gaze had settled on her mouth. Ohmygod, he wants to kiss me.
She gave a little shake of her head. “You’re flirting with me.”
“Men don’t flirt with me.”
“I can’t believe that.”
“I scare them off.”
He laughed. “Now that I can believe.”
“Don’t I scare you?”
He stepped a little closer to her. “Not in the least.”
She looked up into his dark blue eyes. Her skin prickled with his nearness. She desperately wanted to kiss him. But she knew she couldn’t. It wouldn’t end well. She couldn’t bear to see the disappointment in his eyes.
“Don’t,” she whispered. “I’m not your type of girl.”
“Oh? And how do you know what type of girl I like?”
She moistened her lips with her tongue, not missing the way he watched her. “I know. I’m sure you like confident women, who’ve read the Kama Sutra from cover to cover and know massage techniques and own special equipment.”
“You mean like power tools?”
“Don’t make me laugh. I’m trying to be serious. I meant…” How on earth had she got herself into this conversation? She’d only just met the man, for crying out loud. “I mean, I’m sure the women you date are sexy and very good in bed and I’m…not.”
His eyebrows rose. “What makes you say that?”
“I…I’ve been told.” Her cheeks grew hot again.
He stared at her. A frown marred his forehead, and something like anger shone in his eyes. Then, gradually, his smile reappeared. “Maybe you just need more practice.”
“I’m a schoolteacher who dresses like she’s stepped out of the Victorian period. How good in bed do you really think I am?”
His smile widened. “Dresses on the outside.”
He was talking about her stockings again. She moistened her lips once more. “Silky underwear doesn’t make a woman sexy.”
He gave a small laugh. “Oh, I beg to differ.” He gave her a curious, amused glance. “You are an exceptionally sexy woman, Miss Fox. And I am sure that, given the right location, the right encouragement and the right man, you would be exceedingly good in bed.”
Grace pulled up in front of the house and turned off the engine. She got out and leaned across to collect her bag and papers from the passenger seat, giving him a beautiful view of her backside. She was wearing a pale pink skirt made of some floaty material that the wind had great fun playing with, showing him her stocking tops before she smoothed it down impatiently. Oh yeah. This woman was hot enough to make him hard at twenty paces.
She turned, locked the car then walked across the large, circular drive toward him. A chiffony white blouse peeked from under her cream jacket, and she’d wound the red scarf with the glittery thread loosely around her neck. He felt the usual sweep of relief at the knowledge that he’d been right.
She wore her light brown hair pinned up in a bun again, although the wind had teased some tendrils from the tight knot. They curled around her face, doing their best to soften the furious look plastered across her features and the blaze of her eyes beneath her Tina Fey glasses.
“Hi,” he said, trying to defuse the bomb before it exploded.
She walked up to him and glared, her beautiful brown eyes snapping with anger. “What the hell kind of game are you playing? Are you having me followed? How on earth did you know my scarf was under my bed?”
So angry rather than intrigued, then.
“You’re welcome.” He stepped back. “Won’t you come in?”
4.5 Stars – Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
This is my first book by Serenity Woods, and I can honestly say I will be reading more.
This is a great story with a little mix of everything you would want from a romance, a little paranormal with one of the main characters being a medium, and a teenaged daughter going through the adjustment of dealing with her dad dating for the first time after her parents’ divorce, the death of her mother, and a skeptical woman who has been hurt by the crazies she has dated in the past.
First we have Grace the tenth grade high school teacher, with absolutely no verbal filter on her mouth, who dresses like a Victorian spinster on the outside with racy lingerie underneath. Then we have Ash Rutherford the Viking lookalike father of one of her students, picture in your head Eric from True Blood (yummmmmm). Ash is a doctor turned medium, meaning he can communicate with the dead. He is a local celebrity doing shows similar to John Edwards. Grace is the ultimate skeptic, until she attends one of his shows with her two best friends, and receives a message from her dad.
This is not your typical sappy romance; you get a full range of emotions from laughter to almost tears. I honestly just really liked these two people, and want to see them get their HEA. There are some really hot sex scenes including one on a 1970’s sheepskin rug, but also a lot of heartwarming scenes. I really liked the paranormal aspect of this book. It was done without being cheesy. What I like most about this book was that the fact that Ash's daughter was not thrown into the back ground. Jodi was not just a sprinkled in character. She was as important to the romance as Ash and Grace.\
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Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/serenitywoods