Sunday, May 15, 2011

Always - excerpts

Rick blew out a sigh. “I’ll leave him mine.” He took off his blazer, shirt and unfastened the vest. Rick’s vest was custom made and always worn under his clothes, not wanting to advertise he was wearing one.

Alex stared as his muscles rippled through his undershirt as he moved. She flushed at the thought of them sharing a bed the night before. She wondered what it would have been like to make love to Rick instead. He never would have shut her out, the way Thane had. He had matured over the years. He was tan, lean and well-muscled, like a fine thoroughbred. His eyes were the blue-green and crinkled at the corners when he smiled at her. They were both getting older. The strong jaw was offset by a mouth that looked both soft and demanding. Every time he said her name it was like a lover’s caress. She’d looked at him so many times, taken comfort in those strong arms, yet she never allowed herself to see the man beneath the cop. He was amazing. Maybe she had needed to look death in the face to really appreciate the second chance she’d been given.

Rick started to unzip his pants and tuck in his shirt when he noticed Alex staring. Their eyes met briefly and he saw something new in her expression that caught him off guard. He saw desire. He turned his back and finished redressing. Maybe the moment he’d been waiting for all these years finally arrived. Now was not the time or the place for romance. What he needed from her would take time.
“Have you been working out?” Alex asked casually, a sensuous smile played across her lips.
“I need something to do when I’m not busy saving you,” he teased. He’d built up some heavy duty muscles working on his house and was shocked but pleased she had noticed.

Always - excerpts

   Rick walked through the old house listening to the familiar squeaks of the hardwood floors as he made his way to her office, hoping to find the answers to his questions. A picture of the two of them sat on her desk, their smiling young faces staring back at him. The day he met Alex, he felt like a blind man seeing for the first time, as if she had been hiding in some dark corner of his heart all along. When their hands touched, the electricity flowed between them, intense and undeniable. It broke his heart to think Alex didn’t remember what they had shared. They were in love but never lovers. She’d been afraid to tell him she was pregnant with Chris’s child but he knew. It was true what they said about women glowing during pregnancy, Alex had never been more beautiful. Instead of seeing the joy of impending motherhood in her eyes, he saw fear and uncertainty. He would gladly have raised another man’s child simply because it was a part of Alex. Seeing her smile, radiate happiness, was worth any sacrifice he had to make. His heart ached at the thought of a child with her amazing eyes and unruly hair. Would there ever be a child in their future? That was the day he realized his heart belonged to her forever. She was like the wild violet you found growing in the yard. It made no sense why it was there alone in a sea of weeds but it made you smile anyway. It needed so little to survive but something about it made you want to give it all you could. But when you dug it up and put it in the garden it withered and died. 
   He’d bought her a ring that day but never had the chance to give it to her. The ring still sat in its red velvet box in his dresser, a constant reminder of his love for her. Her memories of their love died that day with her, but Rick’s never would. As long as there was life there was hope. That thought got him out of bed every day. Now Chris was out and threatening to take her from him all over again. Neither one of them was prepared for this confrontation.

Always - excerpts

    Thane carried the tray up the stairs and gently knocked on the door. Alex threw open the door expecting to find the annoying little man from earlier but instead was staring at the broad expanse of chest that belonged to Thane Hunter.
    “I believe you ordered room service,” he said. Alex stood there speechless. He was even more incredible in person. The tight fitting T-shirt and jeans looked like they were painted on, every bulge and every ripple left nothing to the imagination. The media dubbed him “the incredible hunk” and she thought it was a well deserved title. His six-foot two frame filled the door way causing Alex to take a step backwards at the sheer maleness of him, which Thane took as an invitation to come inside. He set the tray down on the table.
    Alex was momentarily lost in the most amazing dark blue eyes she had ever seen. They reminded her of the spring sky before a storm, dark and mysterious. The man exuded a raw sexuality she found overwhelming, or maybe it was just the fact she hadn’t made love in ten years. She felt an instant vulnerability to Thane Hunter and found it quite disconcerting. Alex prided herself on her self-control and she knew with this man she had none.
    “Are you capable of speech?” He said, staring down at her, flashing his killer smile.
    “I … I was expecting the other guy,” she stammered, momentarily unable to remember Dan’s name. At the moment there wasn’t any other man in the world but Thane Hunter in all his masculine glory. “It’s been a long day and people keep interrupting me while I’m trying to work. I’m Alex Martinson.” Thane reached out his hand but she looked at it suspiciously.
    “I won’t bite,” he murmured. “Well, not unless I have your permission.”
    Alex reached out, her dainty hand was swallowed by his massive one, yet she was amazed at the gentleness of his touch. Her mouth went dry and the palms of her hands began to sweat.
    “It’s nice to meet you,” she said, looking down at the floor. It’s said, “the eyes are the gateway to the soul”, and she didn’t want anyone to see the pain and vulnerability that lived there, especially someone like Thane Hunter, womanizer extraordinaire.
    “Likewise.” Thane pulled her chin up and looked into her dark hazel eyes for a moment, trying to decide if they were more brown than green. Then he spotted a fleck of blue and smiled. “Dan was right. You are beautiful.” His hand was soft and its heat radiated through her, leaving her trembling. She felt exposed, as if he looked deep he’d see the need within her.
    She didn’t invite him to sit so he took the hint, deciding not to push her.           
   “Well, I’ll let you get to your lunch and your work.” He headed to the door with her close behind. “I’ll see you later.”
    Alex locked the door behind him and whispered. “Not if I can help it.” She leaned against the door and let out a big sigh. She had no luck with men and had sworn off them long ago. The only man in her life was Rick Ryan. A patient and kind man who rivaled Thane Hunter in the looks department. Maybe there was something about her that turned them bad. First her father, then her husband betrayed her. She held the cold can of pop up to her cheeks, trying to put out the fire he stirred in her. She thought she’d get used to the loneliness and isolation but lately it had become harder and harder to accept. No amount of pills she took could dull the ache within her. The walls she put up weren’t meant to be breached no matter how beguiling the intruder. Alex sat down on the bed and ate her lunch while reading through the script.

Always - excerpts

“Movie people,” Bob grunted. He handed Alex a long handled steel fork. “Help yourself.” He motioned to the table filled with goodies. “Hot dogs are in the cooler.”

Even though she wasn’t hungry she couldn’t resist the idea of a hot dog cooked over an open flame. The more burned the better. She stuffed the burned piece of mystery meat in a bun and ran a thin line of ketchup along the top. Now only if it was stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon it’d be perfect.

The fire sizzled when Bob put another log on top. The wet wood made the fire’s sparks shoot upward like hundreds of frantic fireflies dancing in the evening sky. Alex loaded chocolate onto the graham crackers and waited for her marshmallow to catch fire. She blew it out and squished it in between the chocolate, waiting impatiently for it to melt and cool enough to eat. She took a big bite and the chocolate oozed in between her fingers; giggling like a happy child she licked the chocolate from her hand.

“They sure are messy,” Bob said, biting off the end of a hot dog. “I ate so many I made myself sick.”

Alex trembled when a deep booming voice said. “I could help you with that if you like.” A part of her knew he was there even before he spoke. He was an irresistible force that she was powerless to resist. Even beside the roaring heat of the fire the dangerous feel of his presence sent chills up her spine.

“Do you want to show me how to do this? I’ve never had one before.”

She looked perplexed and sad, unable to fathom a child that had never eaten a S’more. He saw the sadness in her eyes and shrugged. “What can I say? While other kids were camping, I was making money.” He was surprised someone who’d experienced so much pain could feel sympathy for him over such a little thing.

“Sure,” Alex murmured.Her heart went out to the man who stood before her, for all the things he’d missed in a normal childhood. He had given that up, along with his privacy, for the sake of fortune and fame. She wondered if he’d make the same choice again; from what she knew of the man that would be a “yes.”

Thane blew furiously on his flaming marshmallow. “Quick,” Alex said, holding out the graham cracker and chocolate. She smashed the concoction together and handed it to Thane. “Give it a couple seconds for the chocolate to get melty.”

“Is “melty” even a word?” He asked, eying the mess as the chocolate began oozing out the side. Thane took a big bite and the chocolate dribbled down his chin. He chewed, smiling like a happy child, wondering what other things he’d missed. Alex pointed to his chin and Thane rubbed his finger across it and licked the gooey chocolate provocatively.

Alex rolled her eyes and handed him a napkin. She suddenly felt flushed, unsure if it was the heat from the fire or from the amazing hulk of a man standing next to her. There was a primal sensual appeal to him. He was the epitome of testosterone overload. When she was near him, her emotions ran from terror, to desire, to despair.
“How about a burned hot dog?” she asked.

Thane leaned in close and said, “I’ll try anything once, how about you?”

“Thanks, but I’ve had enough,” she replied. That was a lie. As much as she wanted to run from him, she wanted to run to him, to be enveloped by powerful arms. To lay her head on the broad chest and get lost in the feelings she’d been denying herself for too long.

Threading his hot dog on the long steel fork; he raised an eyebrow and said, “I wasn’t talking about hot dogs.”

Alex let out a long audible sigh. “I know.