This Month's ExcerptThis month's excerpt is from Sound of a Voice that is Still (Oberon; Book 3). This scene, which is one of my personal favorites, takes place at a winemaker's dinner which Ryan and Siobhan are attending...
“Mind if I cut in?” he asked. His hair looked damp and his cheeks were ruddy, as though he’d just come in from outside. She took one look at his grim expression and her heart began to pound. He was going to be difficult.
“So. What happened?” Ryan’s eyes held more than a hint of anger as he took her hand. “I thought you didn’t feel like dancing tonight?”
For a moment she couldn’t speak. His hand was so warm. It practically throbbed with vitality. Or was it her own hand that was throbbing? Her boundaries were dissolving, she realized with a start of surprise. She was having real trouble telling where her hand ended and his began. And she had no idea how tightly she might be holding onto him. But what really frightened her was the insane desire that had suddenly taken hold of her, the desire to take his hand and place it on her breast.
The last time she’d held his hand, it had been icy cold, almost lifeless. There was nothing cold about him tonight, other than the look in his eyes.
“I didn’t say that.” She forced herself to answer him coolly, even as she felt the heat spread across her chest. Her heart was fluttering wildly, blood raced feverishly in her veins. She could not stop herself from imagining how it might feel if his hand were to slip inside the neckline of her dress, his fingertips lightly brushing against her skin, just as earlier she had watched them move across the tablecloth.
“Oh, no? My mistake, then. I thought you had.” His other hand was at her waist and there was a gentleness in his touch that was entirely absent from his voice. “Perhaps you just meant that you preferred another partner. Was that it, Siobhan? Or didn’t I ask correctly?”
She felt her eyes narrow. “Tell me
something, Ryan. Are you trying to be obnoxious tonight?” She was practically snarling with frustration as her mind persisted in its imaginings, now urging her to consider the thought of his other hand moving lower, leaving her waist to wander slowly down over her hip. Those long, warm fingers curving as they slid lower still to cup her butt. Then tightening on her, pulling her closer....
He looked startled. “No.” He shook his head. “No, I wasn’t...” He took a deep breath before continuing. “Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to--”
“Oh, just forget it,” she said with a sigh as she looked away from him. Trying to catch her breath. Trying to quell the desire to melt up against him, put her head on his shoulder, close her eyes and....
“Was I really being awful?” he asked after a moment, his voice quietly apologetic.
She looked at him again, wishing she could just tell him yes and walk away. But his eyes were pleading for understanding and walking away was not what she wanted to do. “No, you weren’t awful.”
He studied her expression for a moment and then, just as though he’d read her thoughts, he placed her hand on his shoulder and wrapped both arms around her. His hands urged her closer. He rubbed his cheek against her hair. “Thank you for dancing with me.”
Half a dozen short words. Yet his voice, dark and rich, smooth as melted chocolate, rolled through her in a warm, unstoppable wave. Her eyes closed. She breathed him deep into her lungs and for just a moment she let herself go.
What are you doing? The voice of reason shrieked in her head. Her eyes flew open. “Please,” she whispered, practically struggling for breath. “Ryan, I-- I’d like to sit down now.”
“What?” He raised his head to stare at her. “Oh, come on, not yet? I promise. I won’t say another word, if that’s--”
“No! It’s not that. It’s just-- look, it’s too hot in here, for one thing. I can’t breathe.”
“Hot?” He stopped moving and looked at her as if she’d lost her mind. “Siobhan, look around you. We’re in a cave, sweetheart. A wine cellar. This is the closest most people will ever get to dancing in a refrigerator. How can you possibly be too hot?”
“I don’t care if we’re dancing on the deck of the friggin’ Titanic,” she informed him through clenched teeth, holding onto her temper with everything she had. “Don’t tell me how I’m feeling, damn it!”
He looked at her for a moment longer, and then he shook his head. “Fine. Have it your way. Come on.” He grabbed her hand and turned quickly, probably twisting his leg again, she thought, as she heard him curse beneath his breath.
And just where are we going now? she wondered, as she was tugged through the crowd in his wake. They weren’t headed back to the table, that much was clear.
“Ryan, this is stupid. Where are we--”
“Someplace cooler. Okay?” he said over his shoulder, practically pulling her off her feet.
Cooler? Oh, terrific. She sighed, resigning herself to this new madness, and concentrated on not losing a shoe on the way to wherever cooler might be.
Copyright 2005 PG Forte All Rights Reserved
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