In order to celebrate all those shiny new books--AND my Oberon website overhaul AND my new Oberon Facebook page "The Crone's Nest" I'll be hosting what I've decided to call Oberon's Endless Summer.
In order to celebrate all those shiny new books--AND my Oberon website overhaul AND my new Oberon Facebook page "The Crone's Nest" I'll be hosting what I've decided to call Oberon's Endless Summer.
This week's excerpt is from Sound of a Voice That is Still, book three in the Oberon series. In this scene, Nick is trying to rescue Sam from a flooded canyon. For more about this series, check out the Oberon website at www.OberonCalifornia.US. To purchase this book from Amazon click HERE. Also available in paperback.
Rain hammered against the SUV’s roof as Nick leaned his arms on the steering wheel and stared out at the muddy, brown water that raged through the canyon. In the time it had taken him to get to Sam and turn around again, the river had over flown its banks.
An unbroken expanse of water stretched in front of them now, blocking their way out and trapping them in the canyon. It was choppy and thick. Exactly the color and consistency of a chocolate milkshake.
The image surprised him, as did the rush of hunger it brought with it. This was a hell of a time to be thinking about food.
“What are our odds of our making it out of here now?” Sam asked.
Nick glanced across at his passenger and shrugged. “I dunno. Not too bad.” They were not too good, either, if he was going to be honest about it. But there was no reason Sam had to know that. Not yet, anyway.
“Really,” Sam muttered dryly, giving Nick the distinct impression that he wasn’t fooled for an instant.
Well, what had he wanted him to say, Nick wondered, as he shifted his gaze to stare out the window again. Did Sam really want to hear that all that water out there, thick with silt, might soon be what they’d be trying to breathe through?
Nick let his eyes wander over the landscape, searching for a way out of their predicament. Any way at all.
The canyon wall rose on their left; a bare, yellow rock embankment, too sheer to hold much vegetation, and also far too friable after months of rain, to even attempt to climb. One misstep and the ground would crumble away beneath them, like a doughnut dunked for too long into coffee. They’d be pitched headlong into the mud. Into the water. Into the churning brown mass that lay ahead, spread out like a lake in front of them.
Like a gigantic, lake-sized chocolate milkshake.
Nick shook his head. Shit. That was a hell of an image, all right. And now that he’d thought of it, he couldn’t get it out of his head. If he made it out of here, when he made it out of here, he’d have to get himself a milkshake--a big one, with whipped cream and a cherry. And maybe a hamburger, to go along with it.
There was a diner out on the coast, where he used to take Scout, back when they were first dating, when she was still in her teens. Usually, they’d both have burgers, and he’d order a beer to go with his, but she’d always order a milkshake.
He remembered the way she’d toy with the cherry, making him go crazy, without even knowing she was doing it. And he remembered kissing her afterwards. Even after all these years, he could still recall how the sweet tastes of chocolate and cherry had mingled in her mouth, and how his body ached to claim her.
He didn’t guess he’d ever know how he’d found the strength to resist doing just that. Just like he’d never stop wondering how things might have been different if he hadn’t.
Scout. She’d been so young, back then. Younger than he’d even known. Just a kid, really. And he’d always counted it a good thing that he’d had the sense to keep his distance. But, they’d wasted so much time, because of it. And now--
Nick punched the steering wheel with his fist. Jesus, he had to figure some way out of this mess, and damn quick too! Because the water was rising with perilous swiftness. And there was no way he was going to lose everything now--not now, when he was this close to having it all.
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Here's the full scene. Enjoy!
Brandon Ablemarle sat on a barstool in the cantina section of the Totawka Brewery & Restaurant, nursing his beer and brooding about the wreckage of a once promising financial career.
His future, which only four months ago had been running smoothly on the inside track, headed straight for success, now seemed in imminent danger of being derailed. And the worst part was: it looked like his father had been right. Once again.
When Brandon arrived in Oberon the previous August he’d been filled with optimism. Sure, UC Abraxas might not seem like the likeliest or most logical place to pursue an MBA, as his father had been all too quick to point out. But the opportunity to assist the legendary Sam Sterling—who’d inexplicably re-located to the little town a year earlier— was too good to pass up.
Except...how was he supposed to have known that the man was a total flake?
Sure, Sterling’s track record was impressive, and he could definitely talk the talk. He could converse knowledgeably about trends and price points, resistance and support, he had technical analysis down to a fine art. But all too often, without warning and for no good reason that Brandon could discover, the man would digress into more esoteric subjects.
Astrology. Numerology. Arcane mystery schools. Sacred geometry. Lunar eclipses. Star charts. Cuniform tablets from ancient Babylon. Shit, if tomorrow Sam claimed that all the buildings on Wall Street had been built using bricks recovered from the lost continent of Atlantis, Brandon wouldn’t even blink.
Had he always been crazy? Was Sam’s phenomenal trading record nothing more than a fluke? Or had he been corrupted by the self-proclaimed witch with whom he was living?
Brandon knocked back the rest of his beer, signaled for another and thought about his Nemesis. The woman who had destroyed one of the greatest technical analysts alive today.
At first glance, there didn’t appear to be anything obviously or especially evil about Marsha Quinn. In fact, there wasn’t anything special about her at all, at least not that he could see. She certainly wasn’t his idea of an enchantress. In fact, she looked just like anyone else—like someone’s mom. She wasn’t young or thin or particularly beautiful. She wasn’t wealthy or talented or otherwise interesting. She dressed like a hippie, she talked like a New Age nutcase and, in Brandon’s opinion, she pretty much personified everything that was wrong with the State of California.
But enchantress or not, she’d sure done a number on Sam.
A small commotion at one of the booths across from the bar caught Brandon’s attention. Wow. Talk about your enchantresses, the young woman seated alone in the second booth in from the door made a much better candidate for the title than the woman Brandon had been contemplating.
The two women couldn’t be more different. Although their hair color was eerily similar, that, and their gender, were about the only things they seemed to have in common.
Marsha, for example, would no doubt fit right in here—in fact, it was from her that Brandon had learned of the brewery’s existence. While the stranger, on the other hand, with her dark skin and long auburn hair, carefully arranged in dozens of tiny braids, appeared as out of her element in the dim, dusty, countrified atmosphere of the tavern as a rare, exotic orchid would be in a field full of dandelions.
He watched her for several minutes—covertly, because he wasn’t a jackass like the other guys in the bar, most of whom were openly staring—and, man, she was definitely something worth staring at. She looked as regal as a princess, composed and elegant, yet with all the poised-to-flee hesitancy of a young gazelle, and she aroused a whole range of conflicting instincts within him. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to protect her, admire her beauty from a respectable distance, or chase her down and devour her.
Not that the eventual outcome posed much of a question. Base appetites were a lot more compelling than abstract constructs, after all. He hadn’t even needed the psychology elective he’d taken in his junior year to know that.
As he watched, she was approached by no less than seven different men in about twice as many minutes. Obviously, he was not the only orchid aficionado in the vicinity. She smiled at each one, and time and again Brandon felt the same peculiar wrenching in his gut. It seemed all wrong that she should hook up with any of the men here tonight, and he hated the idea that he might have to actually sit by and watch as it happened. It was a relief every time she turned one away, and Brandon’s appreciation for the unknown beauty grew stronger.
Clearly the woman had taste.
But, despite her lack of encouragement, he doubted the barrage would let up any time soon, she was just too tempting. Unless someone did something to stop it, he was sure she’d continue to be prey to unwanted advances all night long.
An odd collection of impulses brought him to his feet. It was part chivalry; his mother had been determined that her son grow up to be a proper southern gentleman, and a true gentleman must always come to the aid of a lady in distress.
And it was in part an innate belief in his own superiority—as well as in hers. A lady like this deserved someone a damned sight better than the kind of hick who made it a habit to hang around in dusty old bars. She deserved him, in fact. And he was not at all adverse to showing the local losers just how the game was played back home.
But mostly, he was driven by an overriding desire to get close enough to determine the exact color of her almond shaped eyes. To find out if all those bead-studded braids were real. To learn her name, her scent, the sound of her voice.
He asked the bartender for a second beer and a basket of peanuts and then, when they’d been delivered, he headed across the room; like Sir Galahad off to save a princess.
“Excuse me,” Brandon muttered, flattening himself against a pillar to avoid being bowled over by The Orchid’s latest reject. The angry, embarrassed look on the other man’s face as he shambled, somewhat unsteadily, away from her booth, was worrisome. The man was big and, if his gait was anything to go by, none too sober. Brandon could sense trouble brewing there. But in the next moment he was face to face with the enchantress herself, and he found himself unable to think of anything else.
Close up, she was even more beautiful than he’d first imagined, even despite the slight frown that creased her forehead, and the angry flush on her cheeks.
She glanced up at him as he approached her and something in her expression struck a faint chord. She seemed vaguely familiar. Probably wishful thinking, he decided.
And that brief flicker of interest, of relief, of welcome in her stunningly green eyes, was that just wishful thinking, too?
Green eyes were not what he’d been expecting, and by the time he’d recovered from his surprise, the look—if it had ever really been there—was gone, replaced by an expression of weary impatience and something akin to despair.
She sighed. “You’re not gonna ask what my sign is, are you? Or, if we’ve already met?”
Was that the kind of lines she’d been getting? Sheesh. Brandon shook his head. “Nope. I don’t believe in astrology. And, if we’d met before, I’m sure we’d both remember.” He smiled sympathetically, and then added, “You know, it’s just a suggestion, but you might be better off at the bar. If you’re gonna sit all alone in a big booth like this, you’ve got to expect that guys like that bozo who just left will keep stopping by, trying to pick you up.”
She looked at him in surprise. “Isn’t that what you’re doing, too?”
“Not at all. I just thought I’d be helpful and pass along that little bit of advice.” He arched an eyebrow at her, questioningly. “That is, unless I’ve got it all wrong and you’re here ‘cause you’re looking to be picked up?”
She shook her head. “No, I just don’t happen to like sitting at bars, that’s all.”
His own smile stretched wider as he set the bottles and the basket of peanuts on the table and slid onto the bench across from her. “Well, what a coincidence. Neither do I. But, come on, you must have been expecting something like this when you came in here by yourself?” It couldn’t be the first time she’d attracted unwanted attention in these kinds of places.
She frowned, her lips pursing into a sullen pout that was almost as bewitching as her smile. “I don’t know why you’d say that. Should I have come in here expecting to be harassed? Besides, if you must know, I wasn’t planning to be by myself. I’m here for dinner. I’m just waiting for the rest of my party to show up.” She shrugged and looked away. “What I really didn’t expect was that they’d be this late.”
Brandon sipped his beer, hoping to slake the thirst her pout had stirred up, as he tried to hide his chagrin at her obvious disappointment. Did the rest of her party include her date for the evening? For some reason, he hadn’t even considered that.
He cleared his throat. “Well, the way I see it, you have a choice. You can either spend the time until they get here fending off every unattached guy in the place—plus probably a few who’re here with other women—or, you can pretend you’re here with me. My name’s Brandon, by the way,” he added, not extending his hand, first because he didn’t want to alert anyone who might be watching them to the fact that they’d only just met, and secondly, because he’d had proper social protocol drilled into his head from a very young age. It was up to the lady to initiate the handshake, if she were so inclined.
Not that she looked like she was. Her eyes narrowed. “Well, gee, Brandon, I don’t know. Much as I appreciate the offer, pretending to be with you seems like it might be even more of an effort than fending off bozos. I’m not really in the mood for company tonight.”
He pushed the peanuts closer to her, nodding as he said, “Here. I think that’s why they serve these. It gives you something to occupy your hands and mouth so you can ignore the person you’re with without appearing rude.”
A faint smile touched her lips. “Oh, so now you think I’m being rude?”
He smiled back. “Well, you’re not ignoring me yet, but on the other hand,” He gestured at the bottle in front of her. “You haven’t thanked me for the beer, either, have you?”
She looked startled. “That’s supposed to be for me?”
“Sure. Who else?” He shot a quick glance at the glass in her hand. What is she drinking? Something clear on the rocks, as far as he could tell. Damn. He should have noticed she already had a drink. The better move would have been to ask the bartender what she’d ordered. “Sorry. I couldn’t tell what you were drinking from where I was seated. If you don’t want the beer, I’d be happy to order you something else?”
She gazed at him for a moment, her expression uncertain, and then she pushed her glass aside and picked up the bottle. “No, this is good.” An enchanting blush warmed her cheeks as she took a quick sip and mumbled, “Thank you.”
“My pleasure,” Brandon replied, relaxing against the booth. He ate a few peanuts and listened to the band, which, inexplicably, seemed to have improved over the last few minutes.
But not by much, he decided after a moment. The only thing he liked less than Country music itself, was Country Christmas music. White Christmases were overrated, inconvenient and too damn cold. And he had no stomach for songs about reindeer sung by men for whom venison was as much a part of the holiday tradition as candy canes, spiked eggnog and mistletoe.
Speaking of mistletoe, he could sure use a sprig of that now. The girl sipping beer on the other side of the booth had a pair of lips he’d dearly love to sample. He was half tempted to say something stupid, just to see if he could get her to pout again.
“So, what’s your name?” he asked, instead, when it became obvious that his companion had no plans to volunteer the information. “I mean, for the sake of the pretense that we’re here together, it would be helpful if I knew what I’m supposed to call you.”
She studied his face for a long moment. Then, just when he’d decided she wasn’t going to answer, “It’s Jasmine,” she murmured, reluctantly.
Brandon couldn’t help but smile as he thought about that. “Oh, so, you’re named after a flower, huh? How very apropos.” It seemed he hadn’t been that far off track with the orchid reference, after all.
Apropos of what? Jasmine wondered, suppressing a groan. Was he going to tell her she was as pretty as one, now, too? Like she hadn’t heard that one a dozen times, she thought as she tilted the bottle up, drank it all down. “There are a lot worse things to be named after than flowers, trust me.” Things like alcoholic beverages, for example, or famous outlaws.
She set the empty bottle down gently, resisting the urge to smash it against the table. Really, she thought sourly, and not for the first time, when it comes to naming kids, my mother has a lot to answer for.
“Oh, I don’t doubt it,” Brandon answered, seeming not to notice her worsening mood. He signaled a passing waitress for a refill, then turned back to face her. His eyes glimmered warmly as he smiled, and Jasmine felt a delicious shiver of awareness run through her. She’d always been a sucker for brown eyes and his were killer. “But, that’s all it was, you know. An observation. It wasn’t a criticism.”
Maybe. Could be she was a little oversensitive on the entire subject. It wouldn’t be the first time she’d been told that, either. She gazed at him doubtfully. He looked sincere, anyway. And he had a real sweet smile. The rest of him wasn’t bad, either, she decided, taking her first real look at him. Soft, brown hair, long fingers, an athletic build, the faintest hint of stubble on his face, and just a trace of a southern accent. The cumulative effect was charming, but tonight she was in no mood to be charmed. Her mother, along with the rest of her posse, was sure to arrive any minute for her surprise bridal shower, and the thought of that was enough to sink Jasmine’s spirits to new lows. Jeez, Mom, what are you thinking?
She sighed, disconsolately. Screw it. Maybe she should let Brandon pick her up, after all. That way the evening wouldn’t be a total waste. Except…well, hadn’t he said he wasn’t trying to pick her up? She glanced across the table at him, again. Had he meant it when he said that, or was it just a line? And how hard would it be to change his mind?
He was definitely a hottie, as well as the best dressed guy in the bar; not like that was saying all that much. And, considering that the Totawka wasn’t exactly known for attracting a big metrosexual crowd…maybe he was gay? That would figure, wouldn’t it?
“So, do you live around here?” Brandon asked. A hint of exasperation marred the charming voice.
Jasmine stared at him in silence. Gay or not, he apparently thought he was being ignored. Well, she’d warned him, hadn’t she? Still, he had bought her a beer and stemmed the flood of scrubs who’d been beating a path to her booth, so she supposed the least she could do by way of recompense was to keep the conversational ball rolling. “Yes. I’ve been away at school. I just got home this evening, in fact. What about you?”
“I’m back in school, as well,” he answered, looking pleased to talk about himself, Jasmine thought, not at all surprised, as the waitress returned with two more beers. “UC Abraxas. I’m going for my MBA. I landed a job as an intern with--”
An MBA? “Oh, my God,” Jasmine muttered disgustedly. He was one of those, was he? A stodgy, conservative, capitalist throwback to another generation. Just like her mother’s socially regressive boyfriend. Perfect. What were they doing—taking over the whole town now?
“What’s the matter?” he asked, frowning, as if her response puzzled him. “Something wrong with the beer?”
Jasmine shook her head. “The beer’s fine. It’s just...business? Please. Couldn’t you have picked something a little more boring?”
His frown deepened. “There’s nothing boring about it. Business is what makes the world go round. It’s possibly the most fascinating subject there is.” He stared at her for a moment and then asked suspiciously, “So, what are you studying?”
She shrugged and drank some more beer. “Graphic Arts.”
Brandon snorted. A small, superior smile, not half as charming as his previous one, appeared on his face. “Couldn’t you have picked something a little more useless?”
Useless? Jasmine bristled. “Art is not useless,” she informed him. “Let me guess, you’re probably a Republican, too, aren’t you?”
“As a matter of fact, I am,” he answered. He shook his head. “But I’m not going to discuss politics with you. And I don’t think we need to establish how either of us voted in the last election, do we?”
Considering she’d been too young to register at the time? “It would be pretty pointless,” she answered, doing her best to hide her smile. No sense in alerting him to the fact that he was buying drinks for a minor. He was so uptight, he’d probably call the cops on himself if he knew.
Obviously the pick up idea had been a bad one. They both lapsed into silence once more. Jasmine glanced at the clock over the bar. Where was everybody? They were over half an hour late now.
“So, who is it you’re supposed to be meeting here, anyway?” Brandon asked with a weary sounding sigh.
Aww, could it be the future captain of industry was getting tired of pretending they were together? Well, too damn bad. Who had asked him to ride to her rescue, anyway? “My mother, a couple of my aunts— It’s a family thing. Sort of a surprise party for my mother. Actually, I’m part of the surprise; I’m not supposed to be here for another couple of days.”
“You don’t look very happy about it.”
Jasmine shrugged. “I’m not.” In fact, she still couldn’t believe she let her mother’s friend Lucy talk her into this. “I really don’t feel like seeing my family right now, and I definitely don’t feel like celebrating.” What were they supposed to be celebrating, anyway? Her mother’s most recent lapse in judgment? I don’t think so.
“So, then, don’t,” he said, elaborating when she looked at him in surprise. “Leave a message with the hostess saying you couldn’t make it, and then come out and have dinner with me, instead.”
Dinner? “I can’t do that.” She’d always been the responsible one in the family. The one who held everything together. The one her mother depended upon and her two younger brothers looked up to. Until she went away to school, and Sam moved in to take her place. Still, despite how she felt about the whole debacle, she couldn’t just not show…or could she?
“Why not? Your mother doesn’t know you’re supposed to be here, right? So she won’t even miss you. And as for the rest of them—”
She wouldn’t even be missed. Didn’t that just sum up her life at the moment? “You’re right.” Jasmine nodded, reaching her decision. She grabbed her backpack from the seat beside her, picked up the suitcase which she’d stowed under the table, and slid from the booth. “Come, on. Let’s go.”
The hell with being responsible. Where was it gonna get her tonight? She was still going to catch flak from her aunts later, anyway, since she wasn’t about to jump on board the happy wagon and cheer for her mother’s stupid plans. So what did it matter if she skipped out on the party? In fact, come to think of it, she’d be doing everyone a favor by staying away.
Besides, if her entire winter break was going to be one, long, wedding nightmare, she deserved at least one night to enjoy herself before she had to face the wreckage of her home and family, didn’t she?
But Brandon was still seated, staring wide eyed at her bags. “W-wait a second, what’s all that?”
“My stuff.” She looked at him in surprise. “I told you, didn’t I? I just got home tonight. I caught a ride with a friend and she dropped me off here. She couldn’t have taken me home first—it would have spoiled the surprise, right?”
“Yeah, but, where will you stay? I mean, I guess I didn’t think about later, and—”
Jasmine rolled her eyes. “Brandon, what’s the big deal? You can drop me off at home after dinner, can’t you? Believe me, I’m not looking to move in with you.” He continued to hesitate and she felt her temper start to rise. She pushed out her lower lip and scowled at him. “Okay, look, this was your idea, remember? Now, if you’ve changed your mind about dinner—”
“No, that’s not it at all,” he said, shaking his head as he reluctantly got to his feet. “I just…sorry, I wasn’t thinking.”
Not thinking, huh? “Yeah, there’s a lot of that going on in Oberon these days. You’d be surprised. But, come on. Let’s get out of here—quick, while I can still make a clean getaway.”
copyright 2005 PG Forte All Rights Reserved
Buy this book HERE.
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Is there anything better on a cold winter’s night than curling up with a good book?
Um…okay, besides that!
Uh-huh, didn’t think so.
That’s why a group of Samhain authors (and our editor) have dreamed up the perfect holiday contest—happening now!
Check out www.editortera.wordpress.com every day, from November 16th to December 14 to read an interview with one of the participating authors. To enter the contest, all you have to do is:
#1. post a comment on the blog regarding that day’s interview
#2. send an email to answer that day’s scavenger hunt question.
Details are posted HERE.
What might you win? Just a brand new Kindle, pre-loaded with lots of great new books, including my own up-coming release, In the Dark.
Here’s the list of authors and dates:
Day 1, November 16 = Leslie Dicken
Day 2, November 17 = Nicole Austin
Day 3, November 18 = Denise Belinda McDonald
Day 4, November 19 = Avery Beck
Day 5, November 20 = P.G. Forte
Day 6, November 23 = Kelly Jamieson
Day 7, November 24 = Angelle Trieste
Day 8, November 25 = Dawn Brown
Day 9, November 30 = J.K. Coi
Day 10, December 1 = Cheryel Hutton
Day 11, December 2 = Rita Oberlies
Day 12, December 3 = Kate Johnson
Day 13, December 4 = Leah Braemel
Day 14, December 7 = Deidre Knight
Day 15, December 8 = Cooper Davis
Day 16, December 9 = Kimberly Nee
Day 17, December 10 = Joely Sue Burkhart
Day 18, December 11 = T.A. Chase
Day 19, December 14 = Samantha Sommersby
Since this is our first excerpt event, it’s fitting that we’ve picked the first kiss as the theme for the week. This kiss is from Touch of a Vanished Hand, the fifth book in the Oberon series, and I have to admit it’s one of my go-to scenes for the fact that it combines a hot kiss and a lot of sexual tension between the h/h.
“What are you doing?” Sinead protested, as he pulled her into the narrow space between two of the booths. It was dark there, quiet, away from prying eyes.
Adam leaned back against the side of the booth, braced one foot against the wall, and pulled her toward him. “Something I’ve been wanting to do for a while,” he murmured, as his heart began to pound in anticipation. Something he’d been wanting to do for a very long while. Years, in fact.
“Adam, I don’t think this is a good idea.” Her hands were fisted on his chest, and the look in her eyes was one of worry, as well as awareness. Still, she didn’t pull away, and her protests sounded half-hearted and weak.
“Well, I do,” he answered, as he settled her closer; his lips just barely making contact with her mouth. “I think it’s an excellent idea.”
The first kiss was meant to reassure her, it didn’t even ruffle the surface of his desire. The second sent little waves lapping through him. But it was the third kiss that sent him under; when she leaned into him suddenly, breasts flattening against his chest. When her hands unclenched and slid upward, until her nails were digging into his shoulders. When a soft moan of surrender escaped her lips.
He forgot about being gentle then. Forgot about holding back, conserving his energy, waiting for Lammas. Waiting for anything. His hands traveled over her back, pressing her closer, as though he could meld them, body and soul, with just his touch.
He slanted his head to the side and kissed her harder, deeper. Reveling in the taste and the feel and the smell of her. In the singing certainty that filled his brain. The rightness of it all. Of her. Of them. Of this.
He slid his hands around to cup her breasts, ran his thumbs across her nipples. They tightened immediately. She gasped and pulled away.
“Okay, that’s-- That’s good. You can stop now. I think that’s enough for tonight,” she muttered, as she pushed at his hands.
He smiled at the sight of her, mouth swollen, eyes darkened, face flushed. Who was she trying to kid? He wasn’t ready to stop yet, and neither was she.
“No, it’s not,” he answered, sliding his hands to her waist and pulling her back against him.
She stopped pushing at him and frowned. “What’s not what?”
“It’s not enough. For either of us. Kiss me again.”
She was staring at him as if he’d gone mad. And possibly he had, he thought, because here he was, doing exactly what he’d sworn he wouldn’t do. But he didn’t care. He could read indecision in her gaze now, and curiosity. And want.
They both wanted this. There was no reason they shouldn’t reach out and grab it. With both hands. “Please?”
Her eyes narrowed. A spark of something flared to life within them. Determination, maybe. Or challenge. Something that should be frightening the hell out of him, given the effect he knew she had on him. But all it did was set his heart to pounding harder as adrenaline flooded his system. God, he wanted this. He’d been wanting this for far too long. And he was so tired of waiting.
“All right,” she purred as she grabbed hold of his shirt with both hands and lifted herself back against him. “Have it your way.”
She had to be crazy for doing this, Sinead thought, as she pressed her lips to his. But she was going to wipe that smug, arrogant look off his face if it was the last thing she did.
The tingling in her breasts was a huge distraction, as his hands squeezed and released with steadily growing pressure. The tips of his fingers had slipped into the vee of her T-shirt, where they caressed her bare skin until she was practically shivering with need.
She tried her best to ignore the sensations, pressing her hips against his in a futile effort to relieve the aching need inside her, but the heat just seemed to thicken. Dear lord, he felt good. He tasted good. He was just what she’d needed for too damn long.
But. She would not. Let him. Get. To her.
Summoning all the energy she could locate, she blocked out every other thought and focused her attention on her mouth. On his mouth. On the feel of his lips. On the taste of him on her tongue.
She made love to his mouth with single-minded determination. Learning, exploring, possessing.
Until the heat from his fingertips threatened to scorch her skin. Until the pounding in his chest shuddered through her as well. Until his breath was a shattered gasp for air. His hands clutched her shoulders as he pushed her away, as he wrenched his mouth free.
She licked her lips, still hungry for the taste of him. He stared at her through slitted eyes. She saw his throat spasm as he swallowed, and she couldn’t help smiling.
“Enough now?” she asked.
He nodded, his hands trembled as they slid from her shoulders to stroke her arms, and then they tightened again—as if he’d changed his mind. The look in his eyes was wholly uncivilized. Alarmed, she took a step back, freeing herself from his grasp. Another minute, and she was afraid she might find herself being dragged to the ground. An idea her body was finding a little too appealing.
“Well, I guess I should be going. I’ll see you around...sometime.”
“Tomorrow.” The word emerged as a growl.
“You’ll see me tomorrow. At the brunch.”
Oh, hell. She’d forgotten about that. How was she supposed to face him, and the rest of Oberon, in less than twelve hours, without everyone suspecting something was up between them? She’d need a couple of days to regain her equilibrium. A week would be better. “Oh. Yeah. About that--”
“Tomorrow,” he repeated stubbornly. “Ten a.m. You’ll be there.”
Sinead sighed. She supposed if she didn’t show, he’d waste no time in coming to get her and dragging her back with him. “I’ll be there.”
He nodded. “Good.”
Her gaze softened as she looked at him, his back still pressed against the wall of the booth as though he’d been stapled to it. Lord, she hadn’t meant to cripple him, but it had been his own damn fault. And she never could resist a challenge.
“Okay, then, um...good night,” she stammered as she slowly backed away from him. “I’ll see you in the morning, I guess. And, uh...you know, sleep well.”
A hoarse laugh escaped him and she felt her heart trip at the sight of the smile that gleamed for an instant in his eyes and even more briefly curved his lips. “Doubtful. Extremely doubtful.”
If you liked this, please be sure and check out all the other smokin’ “First Kiss” excerpts at www.ninenaughtynovelists.blogspot.com
And if you want even more kissing, I’ve decided to let some of my other characters come out and play today, as well.
Gabby and Derek’s first kiss (Waiting for the Big One) is featured at www.rhymeswithforeplay.blogspot.com
And an unedited look at my new novella, Edge of Heaven, can be found at the Midnight Bell: http://midnight-bell.livejournal.com
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To that end, I've been pampering my muse, getting her all comfortable and in the mood. I'm stocked up on aromatherapy candles, LUSH cosmetics, candy canes, Vosges' Haut Chocolat, eggnog (organic, of course!), gingersnaps and Christmas music--including my newest acquisition the very awesome (in a totally head-banging kind of way)"Let it Snow Baby... Let it Reindeer" by Relient K.
If that's still not enough, I'm prepared to break out the big guns--fresh pine branches, frankincense and myrrh and sparkly lights.
'Cause one way or another, she's going down! These stories will get written...at least one of them will.
Who cares if the calendar says today is Halloween? It's Christmas in Oberon, baby. Joyeux Noel!