How was your week? Ours was a little stressful when smoke filled the valley, but all is well again for the moment.
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In fact, last night I even got a fresh perspective of our lake and valley when a friend invited me for a Ladies' Night at her new house. Here's the view from her deck.
It was a little cool, however, which always makes me sad. I really love summer and don't complain (much) about the heat. When the nights begin to cool, I really feel the approach of fall.
I know some of you will already have children back in school. Ours (in BC, Canada) always start on the Tuesday after Labour Day, so we're still two weeks away. But my youngest is entering Grade Twelve this year. This time next year we'll be empty-nesters! It's hard to fathom.
Okay, let's get to your #SampleSunday.
If you missed the previous posts, they're here:
- Melodie arrives to plan a wedding
- Roman doesn't plan to get married, ever
- Roman realizes who she is and plots his revenge
- Melodie has a fall from grace
Last week I skipped ahead a bit. Here's what immediately follows Melodie's tumble:
~ * ~
ONCE MELODIE REALIZED her fall was inevitable, she let it happen, only splaying out her arms and holding her breath. Above her, through the rippled water, three blurry faces stared. Roman was throwing off his jacket and looking as if he might dive in.
She let herself sink, waited until her foot tapped the bottom, then kicked herself back to the surface.
What an idiotic thing to do!
But that damned Roman had been throwing her for a complete loop, being all masculine and sexy, sending mixed messages of lust and disapproval, hovering next to her like a raptor, smelling tangy and male. She’d been standing next to him, admiring his build, thinking his voice was too hypnotic, when he’d reached toward her as if he knew she was there, as if he was a lover searching for the hand of his mate.
Her reaction had been startled fear that she’d betray how thoroughly he was affecting her if he touched her. She’d jerked back and…
“Pah!” she spat as she came up for air. “You might want to change the design of that grate before the wedding. Either that or we advise all the women to skip the stilettoes and wear flip-flops.”
Ingrid and Huxley laughed unreservedly. Roman wore a more severe look.
It wasn’t easy to tread water in a narrow skirt. Her second shoe came off as she kicked toward the edge.
Roman squatted as she reached for the lip of the pool. His strong hand grasped her forearm, dragging her closer whether she wanted his help or not. His other hand got hold of her opposite arm and he pulled her up and out of the pool as though she was a teensy ballerina, not a five foot ten mermaid pushing a hundred and thirty pounds. Soaking wet, she added with a private cringe.
Water sluiced off her and she rather wished he had let her take stock before landing her in front of him, dripping and plastered with wet clothes, not a single thing left to the imagination. Her make-up had to be running and— Okay, good. Her pearls were still here, but seriously. She felt absurd.
She crossed her arms to hide the way her nipples hardened and risked a quick sweep of her gaze around the faces goggling at her. Ingrid was still snickering, hand cupped over her mouth while her eyes danced with laughter.
“What on earth, Mel?” she asked.
“You left your shoe on the bottom, Cinderella,” Huxley teased, moving to where a large net lay against the low garden wall.
“I can’t believe I did that,” Melodie grumbled, mortified but able to laugh at herself. It was so ludicrous.
Roman didn’t seem to think it was funny, though. He was staring at her so hard her wet clothes should have been nuked off her body.
“May I have a towel?” she prompted.
“Of course.” He snapped into motion.
“Oh! I have a bathing suit you can wear,” Ingrid exclaimed. “I bought it yesterday and left it in my bag.” She disappeared into the house and Melodie shook her head. It was far too late for swimwear.
She followed Roman into the nearby cabana where he turned with a towel in his hand. His gaze raked down her again, making her acutely aware of how her clothes were suctioned to her like a second skin. She plucked at her knit top, which only stretched the neckline and ruined it.
Roman came forward, shaking out the towel and slinging it around her. He was so tall it was no problem at all for him to get it around her.
Her heart did another somersault and his musky scent stole through the air of chlorine as his wide chest filled her vision. Weakness attacked her.
“I—” It would be silly to apologize. She hadn’t fallen on purpose, but he looked so thunderous. “Thank you,” was all she could manage as he drew the edges of the towel to where her waiting fingers brushed his.
“When you sank like that, I thought I was going to have to come in after you.”
“It was quite refreshing, to be honest. I needed to cool off.”
She shouldn’t have said that. The sexual tension she was fighting became something they both had to acknowledge, like it was a real thing holding them in its vortex.
She found herself staring at his mouth, anticipating its feel against hers. Kisses were about as far as she went these days after losing her virginity for all the wrong reasons. Even kisses, however, always seemed to fall short of the hype. She always felt as though she was going through the motions, not really losing herself to the experience. If she couldn’t get caught up in that much, there was no use going further, she’d decided.
But she remained ever hopeful that she’d find a man who made things different. Today, at least, she wanted to be kissed. Deep longing filled her, making her ache to know how it would feel to kiss the man before her.
Distantly she was aware of his hand grasping her upper arm. He stepped closer. His head tilted.
She should have been startled, but it felt so natural. She dampened her lips. Parted them. And gasped when he branded her with the heat of his mouth.
So hot, so smooth and commanding, instantly hungry. Claiming her like a desert warrior stealing her for his harem. His hand splayed in a firm pressure behind her tailbone, bringing her imperiously into the wall of his muscled frame.
Heat burned through her wet clothing, sealing them tight with only the friction of dampened fabric between them.
He kissed her as though he meant it. As though he was making sure she’d never forget this moment. As though she was his and he was ensuring she knew it.
She kissed him back with the same passion, not thinking of anything beyond exploring this new pleasure. Letting him have her because what he was doing to her was fresh and exciting and incredible. His kiss made her feel desired. His tongue touched hers and shivers of delight stung her skin. A flood of arousal seared between her thighs, urged her to lean into him and let a moan of pleasure fill her throat.
“Here you are—oh!” Ingrid said on a breathless burst, then laughed with embarrassed hysteria.
Roman jerked back, keeping one hand on Melodie’s arm to steady her. His firm grip hadn’t hurt her, but his touch left a tingling impression. She massaged the spot, trying to dispel the odd vibration while she noted the front of his clothing wore her moist imprint.
“I’ll come back,” Ingrid offered, grin mischievous.
“No,” Roman blurted, brushing past Ingrid as he moved swiftly out of the cabana.
Ingrid, nearly doubled over she was laughing so hard, she stepped and pulled the curtain across. “O. M. G,” she said with exaggerated significance, eyes huge.
Melodie dropped her burning face into her damp hands, eyes closed in mortification. “I don’t know how that happened,” she groaned.
“Oh, please,” Ingrid chortled. “He’s Roman Killian. You should see what the office looks like when it’s announced he’ll be in. It’s like a red carpet event, there are so many women wearing push up bras and designer labels. I’m not the least bit surprised you—pun intended—fell for him.”
“No, I haven’t…” Melodie tried to protest, but her bones were still weak, and if Roman had walked back in and told her to come with him, she would have gone without a second thought.
“Don’t bother,” Ingrid instructed with a shake of her head. “If I hadn’t been crushing on Huxley my entire life, I would have fallen for Roman. He’s gorgeous. What intrigues me, though,” Ingrid lowered her voice to murmur, sidling closer with a little wiggle of excitement across her shoulders, “is the way he is falling for you.”
Melodie shook her head. “You’re mistaken—”
~ * ~
Next week is our last #SampleSunday for VOWS OF REVENGE. I'll start a new series mid-November for my Harlequin Presents Duet that will be releasing in January and February. I've been impatiently waiting for the covers for those so I can share them. Hopefully I'll have them for my newsletter going out Sept 1st.
- Want to join my newsletter? Click here and get Cruel Summer, a free short story ebook, as a welcome gift.
As I said above, Vows Of Revenge is available (print version) on Amazon now. You can get the ebook on the Mills & Boon's website now or you can pre-order it here:
My plans for the rest of August involve writing some proposals for new stories. Then I'll spend the rest of the year hunkered down, writing them. How are you going to spend these last days of summer?