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Another week and another fine guest post. This time from the lovely Lynn Collins who reminds us that our relationships are precious. Check out her own blog here ‘LynneLives’. Thanks Lynne…
Simon got me blogging. My first post was a guest spot on his blog about 8 months ago. When he said he’d like more guest posts I nearly didn’t offer as I’ve already got one, months overdue, for someone else though that’s about writing and Simon’s open with topics. My first post here was about Mum and when I wanted to write something about Dad your blog came to mind. Many thanks for the offer.
Do we ever know our parents?
This year, what with all the wonderful weather, hot, wet, wet, hot, my garden, like yours too maybe, has been rather overgrown and all the expectations I had of it were dashed. It became even more of a wild woodland than it usually is.
Finally I decided I had to brave the nettles and bramble to go gathering blackcurrants. It would be my last chance of the year, the birds would already have had many, but the bush decided to expand beyond it’s boundaries last year and I knew there would still be a great crop.
What does this have to do with Dad? Lots, please bear with me.
Every time I do anything with any of my blackcurrant bushes I think of Dad, smile and wonder if he liked blackcurrants or not.
I’ve only had blackcurrant bushes for the past 6 years and have had a wonderful crop every year. More bushes have grown and I now have quite a few all cropping well. I prune occasionally and try to follow the pruning as suggested in Dads month by month gardening book which I remember him pouring over.
My smile? Every year when there was just Dad and I after others had left home and Mum had died I would look forward to having some blackcurrants fresh from the bush. Every year the bush did poorly. Dad would explain to me how sad he was that the bush had done so bad and I believed him. Now having grown my own blackcurrants I am left wondering. They only do badly if you have a dreadful year or if you over prune them. Dad was a brilliant gardener and grew fantastic fruit and veg. I can only conclude that he deliberately over pruned them each year as I remember having tons of blackcurrants when mum was alive.
Each year, when I pick my blackcurrants, I can’t help but smile and remember how much I love my Dad.
What will your children know about you? What do you know about your parents?
© 2012 Simon Poore
Here is another guest post for you. This time from the interesting writer that is Ashley McCook. If you wish to peruse more of her words see her website and blog, linked below. As always all comments are welcomed. To Ashley, I humbly thank you for your lovely words…
I Love Words…
I love how they taste just before you say them, how some of them have to roll around your mouth for a while before they can be uttered (try saying ‘Stromboli’ ) and how others just explode off the landing pad of your tongue, excited to be leaving your thoughts and heading out into the world (like ‘jet’ or ‘fish’).
I love coming across words that I’ve never heard before – sometimes just hearing them is enough to satisfy my appetite but more often than not I need to get the full effect of them and look up the meaning too. My most recent discoveries are:
‘Dendrophobia’ – a fear of trees. Eeek!
‘Nycthemeron’ – which is the natural amount of time in a day & a night; 24 hours basically.
Will I be able to use them in a sentence anytime soon? Probably not, but I like knowing that I know them…if you know what I mean.
There are some words that you can’t help but ‘feel’ as you say them – try saying ‘soothing’ without feeling calmed; or what about ‘irritable’? You can’t say it without frowning a little. And the best ‘feeling’ word? In my humble opinion it’s ‘whisper’ – the very air around you changes as you say it, it’s hard to say it loudly and you can’t help but glance over your shoulder and pull friends into a confidential huddle as it leaves your mouth.
Words are beautiful to say and hear but they really come into their own when they’re written down – the simple act of marking a page with them is exciting and addicting. Words in all their forms have a certain effectiveness but they are at the height of their Jedi abilities when written down; think about all the important documents out there – contracts, laws, declarations, certificates, receipts – why do we write the words that make them down instead of just saying them to one another? Because writing those words onto paper that can be shown to others makes something ‘real’ and powerful.
I’m not a very ‘scholarly’ writer – by that I mean that I don’t use a lot of those beautiful but complicated words that I love knowing. I’m certainly not as clever with the use of words and language as I’d like to be and I probably use each and every forbidden type of grammar and style known to man (and warned of in lots of ‘How To Be A Proper Writer’ blogs all over the Web) but when I saw the first print copy of my first book, felt the solidity of it and the excitement of each little letter printed on its pages, straining to be read…well, I fell in love with words all over again.
© 2012 Simon Poore
The best thing that writing this blog has brought me is the opportunity to think. And one would think that writing a blog would be a introspective thing. However, I have been prompted to think in different ways by the interesting, talented and kind people who have agreed to do guest posts here. This blog is relatively new compared to some, and yet somehow a new world of interaction and thought has opened up since I began it.
Some of you will know that this Christmas will be my first in new circumstances, that of a separated man. I will see my daughter, but the circumstances will be oh so very different.
So I am gratified to present a heartfelt guest post by another of my esteemed twitter friends Lynne Collins (@lynneinPborough – follow her please and encourage her to write her own blog!).
Her words make me think about Christmas, and what I feel it should be about.
So thank you Lynne and Happy Birthday. I shall light a candle for my Father, give a kiss to my daughter and remember to smile when it all seems difficult. And I shall wish Merry Christmas to all I encounter, including you, dear reader.
I was a day early – why do I always have to say that? When people ask when my mum died my stock response has always been “My mum died two weeks before my 12th birthday”. It took me years to acknowledge what that meant. Mum died 2 weeks before Christmas. I’m not brilliant with dates and ages and I’ve just realised that next year will be 40 years since her death.
I’ve drafted 2 novels, each have a death at the beginning. Lots of people talk to me when they are bereaved because I’ve carried the memories of what it was like for me for a long time. I’m not sure I’ve helped anyone though I can tell you what might happen if you don’t grieve at the time. I grieved for my mum nearly 20 years ago, not the forty as you might imagine. 20 years later it all came out. Spouting from every pore. How I never had a car crash or why any of my friends stayed with me I’ll never know but the hurt; anger; self torture; blame… I could go on but I won’t.
I don’t talk to Mum as much as I do Dad, but I do, occasionally, particularly around Christmas. I remember her with great admiration and love and wonder how she’s doing.
Merry Christmas Mum.
© 2011 Lynne Collins @lynneinPborough
© 2011 Simon Poore
Firstly apologies for the lack of posts recently. I am engaged in the delicious torture that is NaNoWriMo – where one foolishly agrees to attempt to write a WHOLE novel of fifty thousand words in one month. Tis my very first attempt at a novel so wish me luck! At this point I have ten thousand words to go and less than a week! What drives me? Well mainly FEAR. Firstly fear of failure seems to be doing the trick, but maybe, just maybe I am doing it to face those fears. To conquer them. Maybe, just maybe, I can write a good novel…
So it’s fitting that I present to you a guest post that ruminates on this very subject by the deliciously dark REN WAROM:
Tremendously tall Simon requested I write something dark and terrible for my guest post on his blog. So I bent the not very considerable powers of my mind to hunting up a suitably dark and terrible topic. There was a great deal of black smoke. Fire alarms went off in a ten-mile radius. I may have required minor damping down. But all that’s in the past now…
And lo, I have one. Possibly the darkest and most terrible of them all, because not only is it invisible, all pervasive and utterly subjective, it is something we are all slaves to, something we all battle. A mutual foe. A deadly assassin. The thing I speak of my friends, is fear. Oh yes… that nasty little gremlin that lurks within the frontal lobe whispering sweet nothings of doom to the subconscious, placing the plastic explosive of doubt into the soft matter of confidence.
See, I picked up Dune to re-read very recently, and it sparked many thoughts of how one faces fear and drives it out so it can never again darken the door of ambition. How did Dune do this? Simple. It contains my favourite mantra against fear, from the code of the Bene Gesserit. A mantra we encounter when Paul is to face the box with the Gom Jabber against his neck. It’s possibly the finest mantra against fear ever created and it reads as follows (and I’m sure I’m just repeating something everyone knows but it’s so beautiful I couldn’t refrain):
‘I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain,’
Not only is it narrative poetry, it hits directly on the nub of what fear is, an invader, an interloper, seeking to tear down the walls of our self-belief, our assurance, and bury us in the rubble of defeat. It’s the invading alien that seeks to stop us in our tracks, hold us back, prevent us from growing. It’s the flight not the fight. But often, we’re running away from nothing but shadows.
But what if no one likes me? What if I can’t do this? What if I try and I’m actually not that good? These words, and many more like them, are the tools of fear. The quakes that rock the ground beneath your feet, that weaken the strength beneath your resolve. Fear is why so many of us stop before we ever really even start. Which, when you really think about it, is daft. The shadows may grow large and terrible but, in essence, shadows is all they are. Figments of the gremlin’s powers, wisps, illusions.
They are like the desert oasis reversed. With the lush verdant waterhole being your confidence and the fear as illusions of barren, life-stealing desert. They rise up not to give us hope but to drive hope from us. Make us think that all there is, for miles, is that desert, and that we were fools to think anything otherwise.
As a writer, it’s kind of appropriate to be talking about fear at this time of year, when NaNoWriMo is in full force. It being a giant, heaving mass of bison charging straight at the voice of fear to drive it from the internal prairie (I apologise for that metaphor profusely). It says ‘what the hell if you can’t?’ ‘who cares if no one likes it?’ ‘who cares if it’s not that good?’ ‘Just go DO it.’
That’s the purest essence of facing your fear. Permitting it to pass over you and through you as you just sit down and let the words come, forgetting such notions as ‘can’t’ and ‘failure’. Let’s shove some concrete boots on them and drown them in the Wrimo. Let’s raise pens or fingers and conquer. Let us, in fact, pour the waters of triumph on the gremlin and nuke his arse with a thousand volts of up yours accomplishment.
That’s how it starts, the fight, seeing that gremlin melt to pile of green goo, seeing the lush waterhole of confidence reappear and realising that you’ve been duped by fear. Now don’t think that’s the end of it all. Oh no. You’ll have to do it over and over again if you want to turn that mass of undirected words into a published novel, or make that film career happen, or run that marathon, or begin that baking business, or just get out there more amongst people and live a little.
But if every time you face that gremlin head on, clutching in the one hand your hose of triumph and in the other your thousand volts of up yours accomplishment, then you’ll find that each battle becomes easier and easier. It’s like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Until one day, you look that Gremlin in the eye… and it turns into a cute, singing Mogwai.
And that, my friends, is the day you stop using the hose. And er… stop fearing too. Yeah. Because I totally had a point here. Suck on that fear. Yeah. Suck it.
Ren is a writer of the strange, dark and bizarre. She’s also a certified Pirate-Nun, mum of three spawn and slave to several cats. You can find her stories in The City of Hell anthology and the Aesthetica Creative Works Annual coming this December and in the ofAlteredStates and Machine of Death anthologies coming in 2012. You can check out her blog, including her weird serial ‘The Umwelt’ here: http://renwaromsumwelt.wordpress.com/ or you can stalk her on twitter: @RenWarom
© 2011 Ren Warom & Simon Poore
Emma Marie Hunneyball…a name and a person I could easily obsess about. Thanks to her for a remarkable and entertaining guest post today. Gives me a lot to think about, hope it does you to. For those that haven’t come across Emma she is a talented writer, reader, reviewer and editor. As well as being a lovely person. Check out her website – Inpotentia, or look her up in twitterland – @EmmaHunneyball.
I would like to thank Simon for inviting me to set up my soap-box in a corner of his blog. When he asked me to write a guest post a couple of weeks ago he told me to write however much I wanted of whatever I wanted, without being hindered by restrictions on subject, word count, or the laws of reason. He therefore has only himself to blame if this post is too long/short/boring/ridiculous/ irrelevant.
“I knew that I had come face to face with someone whose mere personality was so fascinating that, if I allowed it to do so, it would absorb my whole nature, my whole soul, my very art itself.”
-Oscar Wilde, “The Picture of Dorian Gray” Ch. 1
It’s dashed hard to write something when you have the whole of space and time from which to choose. I wanted to pick something that would hopefully be a little different, maybe even a little interesting. I’d like to introduce you to my work by with an exploration of Obsession: one of the central themes of my Work in Progress, a collection of short stories entitled “Phantasmagoria”.
For better or worse, obsession is at the heart of almost every action undertaken by my characters. Their personalities are irrational, obsessive and they love and hate to extremes.
The idea of a fascination which drives one to the edge of one’s personality is intriguing. “The Picture of Dorian Gray” has had a great deal of influence over me.
Most definitions of “Obsession” focus on it as a negative concept. Words like “dominate” “beset” “haunt” “disturbing” “excessive” and “unreasonable” abound. Apparently the word itself comes from the Latin root “Obsessio” meaning to blockade or lay siege.
This idea of obsession as a “siege” fascinated me. It created the image of an individual as a fortress, with a battle being raged between objectivity and rationalism on the inside, and the extreme emotions of obsessive love or hate on the outside, bombarding one’s senses, battering one’s defences, seeking chinks in the battlements for ingress. This notion leads to the natural inference that if the defences are breached and you are overcome, the obsession will overwhelm and destroy you. I concluded that according to this notion obsession does not come from within; it is the result of an influence, supposedly negative, from without. It is a corrupting influence on the pureness of our existence. To continue the example from “Dorian Gray”: Dorian’s fixation with his youth and beauty is a result of the external influence of the painting. Basil Hallward’s fixation with Dorian is a result of Dorian coming into Hallward’s studio to sit for the painting.
But is this really the case? The changes in the picture are wrought by Dorian’s own soul, the corruption is within, it is only given form externally. Of course it can be argued that the influence of Lord Henry sets Dorian on his destructive course, but I would counter that Dorian’s vanity, curiosity and flirtatious nature are visible from chapter one. Lord Henry merely provides the opportunity. The same is true for Basil: Although it can be argued that he is vulnerable; he has lowered his guard, to follow the original metaphor, and allowed himself to become infatuated with his new acquaintance, he has actively sought the sensation of obsession as it allows him to create his best work. Too late, he realises his mistake in courting danger:
“The reason I will not exhibit this picture is that I am afraid that I have shown in it the secret of my own soul.” (-Chapter 1)
And here Basil hits the nail right on the head: Obsession is a heightened state leading to enhanced creativity. It is an exploration of the inner workings of the soul which exposes our deepest thoughts and allows us to recreate them as art. Obsession spreads through your being and examines every dark corner. It brings darkness into the light and pushes light into the darkness. Through obsession you can discover truth about yourself and the world around you.
Or you can use your new perception to create truths about the world. Yes it can be dangerous, but growth and creativity cannot be experienced without stepping beyond the bounds of what is safe.
In “The Picture of Dorian Gray” the obsessions of Basil and Dorian ultimately destroy them both. While I would posit that obsession comes from within us, I do not underestimate the part played by the external influence: our obsession leads us to discovery through a focus on something-or someone- else. The classification of obsession rests on the question of whether or not the subject is worthy . If the subject is unworthy the attachment is described as obsession. However, if the subject is lofty and worthy we call it something else entirely. We call it love.
“Difference of object does not alter singleness of passion. It merely intensifies it. We can have in life but one great experience at best, and the secret of life is to reproduce that experience as often as possible.” (-Wilde, “The Picture of Dorian Gray”)
And how do we determine whether or not the subject is worthy? This requires objectivity, which obsession precludes and often the determination cannot be made until the infatuation is over. Until it is too late.
So it turns out there is a fine line between love and obsession, as there is between desire and hate, religion and fanaticism.
Obsession breeds art: the whole of “The Picture of Dorian Gray” deals with this subject. Relentless thinking, questioning, self-doubt and fixation on something outside of ourselves breeds the best art and reveals the truths at the core of our beings. Whether those truths ought to see the light of day only we can decide, but often at that stage it is often far too late.
So the characters of “Phantasmagoria” battle with obsession. And it’s possible that some of those obsessions are mine, working their way out of my mind and onto the page. Like Basil Hallward, I occasionally wonder if too much of my soul is on view, but if my work turns out half as well as Basil’s, I would probably consider the experience to be worth it.
“If this girl can give a soul to those who have lived without one, if she can create the sense of beauty in people whose lives have been sordid and ugly, if she can strip them of their selfishness and lend them tears for sorrows that are not their own, she is worthy of all your adoration, worthy of the adoration of the world”- Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray Ch. 7
Did I just write a whole post about Oscar Wilde, obsession and sort-of-philosophy, but still manage to make it all about me? Wait, what do they call that? Oh, yes. Self-obsession.
So another week and another wonderful guest post. I feel blessed that people are being so generous and contributing to my humble blog. I also feel a bit challenged and guilty that I haven’t contributed myself for a while! But when quality is offered who am I to refuse?
Today’s post is a thoughtful piece of short fiction from another of my great twitter compadres, Krystal Wade. You can contact her on twitter – @krystalwade or read more of her writing at her blog – www.krystalwade.blogspot.com or on Facebook Krystal Wade
Thanks to Krystal. As always all comments are highly welcomed…
Mark and Lilly
A chill crept its way into my sleeping bag, drawing my eyes open. I’d fallen asleep next to the fire and it had long since died down, leaving only a few cracking embers. Night fought against the first dim-gray lights of dawn, reminding me so much of my favorite time spent on this mountainside with Mark.
But now I found myself alone, sitting in the very spot he’d proposed.
My love was killed long ago. He lost his life in a senseless war, fought for reasons no one could possibly understand. I’m not even sure those who started it understood.
I breathed in the fresh mountain air, allowing the smells of pine and freshly fallen oak leaves to fill my weary soul.
Our children grew up without a father. I refused to remarry, refused to replace him in my heart. How could I? I promised to love him forever, in life and death. I couldn’t open my heart any wider than I already had for him. There wasn’t room for another love.
This place reminded me of who we were together. Who we dreamed of becoming together. When I sat on the rocky earth covered in slick dew, I felt connected to him, at peace, whole.
Being old made the trips to our spot more difficult. The children—if I could call them that anymore—tried to convince me not to come. Begged me even. Being eighty-three shouldn’t stop me from being me. Shouldn’t stop me from doing what I desire in my core. But the thin air must have played tricks on my mind. In all the years I’d hiked to Turk Gap, I’d never heard him speak to me before—and never had I wanted to speak to him so badly.
My organs gave out on me often, landing me in the hospital with my children and their children around me, exchanging worried glances, hugs, tears. But they didn’t know how much I welcomed my passing, how much I needed it. Those damned doctors brought me back every time, stealing me away from my hope for Heaven, for my hope to see Mark again.
“Lilly you old fool. Stand and face me.”
I closed my eyes, picturing the face that went along with the voice I kept hearing. Fair skin accentuated his high cheekbones and striking-blue eyes. His short brown hair is what I loved the most and how it complimented the rest of him. His jaw was chiseled. Mark’s lips were perfectly pink and never pouty. In our fifteen years together I never caught his gaze on any woman but me. Never saw him cradle a hand the way he did mine. We had love. We had hope. We had the world in our grasp, but then he was gone, and I had everything he left behind.
“I’m sorry, Lilly.” A warm, strong hand clamped my right shoulder. The touch, just like Mark’s, sent an ache to my heart, matching the pain I felt on the day of his funeral.
Giving into my aging desires, I looked up to face whoever it was disturbing my solitude. “Mark . . . ?”
But how could this be? He appeared the same as the last time we were here. The man before me couldn’t be my Mark, couldn’t be my love, could he? I pat his hand, feeling for the ring, for some sign this was anyone but him.
He smiled, genuine, loving, wide. “I know you don’t understand, Lilly, but take my hand and we can be together again.”
I glanced at my cane lying on the ground next to me. “You may have to help me up. I am nothing but an aged old woman now, Mark. Look at you . . . .”
Trembling, I broke down and cried. I was going crazy—losing my marbles as the grandchildren would say. My stomach stirred, agony ripped up my chest and escaped my mouth. “God, why? Why did you steal him from me? Why are you playing games with this old woman’s heart? Just end me. Let me be with him again. Let me be free.”
The hallucination gripped me under the arms and chuckled. “My dearest, Lilly, I’m here to bring you home. Please, take my hand.”
How could I say no? I couldn’t. Grasping Mark’s hand with my knobby fingers, I stood and walked with him through the forest. My breathing calmed. My aches and pains of age diminished. The world around us grew bright. Trees blended in with the light. Leaves and rocks no longer crunched under our feet. Night was replaced with nothing but soft white and Mark.
The way we were meant to be.
The way we would be for the rest of eternity.
© 2011 Krystal Wade
© 2011 Krystal Wade
Again I am proud and pleased to present another fab and interesting GUEST POST. This time from the wonderful Raine Thomas. She asks the difficult question about sex; when is it too much for young people to read about? Please give your comments and feelings about this subject and check out Raine’s books, blog and twitter listed below. Thanks Raine!
“Sex: How Much is Too Much in YA Fiction?”
Thank you, Simon, for thinking to invite me to take over your blog for this guest post. I’m honored and thrilled to be here!
I’m still getting the hang of this guest blogging thing, so I hope you’ll bear with me out there. I think the toughest part of any guest blog , especially for a Type A such as myself, is identifying a topic. What do you mean, I can write about anything? What do you mean, there aren’t any guidelines or restrictions? Really??
It’s almost enough to make a gal’s head implode.
But I’m not one to back down from a challenge, so here I am. In reviewing other guest posts featured on Simon’s (awesome) blog, I realized that some of the writers presented excerpts or samples of their work and that this was well-received. So I considered doing this myself and wondered how to package it in an engaging guest blog.
That got me thinking about just what excerpt I should present. I write young adult fantasy/romance. I know Simon’s specialty genre is science fiction, which is quite different. Would I even have an excerpt that would appeal to Simon’s blog audience?
And then it occurred to me…the one topic that interests just about everyone: sex.
Oh, don’t try to deny it. I’ve caught your attention now, haven’t I?
Romantic fiction doesn’t have to include graphic sex, though many romance novels do. In particular, YA romance doesn’t typically include sex. So when I decided to have my characters pair up, I had to ask myself this: just how much is too much in regard to scenes hinting at or directly involving sex when it comes to YA fiction?
This is a topic that has been written about quite a bit, and I knew when I made my decision to have my teenage characters engage in sex that I’d probably take some heat for it. Surprisingly, that hasn’t happened yet. Perhaps that’s because my heroines are all eighteen and my heroes are much older than that (being Estilorians and thus immortal). Then again, that might just be another point of contention for some readers. Time will tell.
Anyone who hasn’t had their head in a hole in the ground is aware of the popularity of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. Without getting into spoiler territory, the last book of the series includes sex. The scenes were essential to the plot and occurred between characters who were at least nineteen, but Ms. Meyer still received criticism about them. Did this weigh into my decision to include sensuality in my books?
In my opinion, an essential part of being a young adult is exploring sex and intimacy. Any teen who isn’t curious about the birds and the bees is, well, outside of the norm. Thus, a YA romance (particularly one that features older teens and is targeted to high school-age readers and older) would practically be outside the norm NOT to touch on sex.
Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. That said, I’ll present you with an excerpt from my book Becoming, the first book in the Daughters of Saraqael Trilogy. The scene, featuring the main characters, Amber and Gabriel, is reflective of other scenes involving sensuality throughout the trilogy. I welcome your comments on whether you think this crosses a line in YA fiction:
Her stomach fluttered nervously as she reached for the doorknob, and she mentally chided herself. This was Gabriel, for goodness’ sake. She opened the door at last, but didn’t see him down the hallway. Figuring he was sitting in the living room, she tossed her bag onto the bed in their room and walked out to join him.
The back of his head was visible from where he sat on the sofa watching SportsCenter on the television. At the sound of her shoes on the wood floors, he called out, “You should’ve seen the highlight they just showed, Am.” He turned with a smile as she paused a few feet into the room. “You would’ve—” The smile dropped from his face, his mouth hanging open on whatever he had been about to say.
He slowly got to his feet, but his eyes never left her. Amber instantly decided all of her effort had been worth it just to see his expression right now.
As he stepped closer, his gaze moved from her head to her toes and lingered in places that brought a hot blush to her cheeks. His expression intense, he reached out, took her hands and slowly lifted both of her arms up above her head. When she felt the cooler air in the room against her suddenly bare midriff, she tried to pull her hands away from his.
“Uh-uh,” he argued, his grip tightening to hold her in place.
Then he started turning her, his gaze settled on her waistline. Fighting back her blush, she indulged him by turning in a complete circle.
“My, oh, my.”
He drawled out each of the words as she once again faced him and caught his gaze. His eyes had picked up the sharp blue of the T-shirt he wore and were filled with male appreciation. He released his hold so she could lower her arms, but his hands moved to either side of her hips to pull her within a couple of inches of his tall frame. His thumbs ended up resting against her skin where her sweater didn’t quite meet her jeans, and his touch evoked an excited stutter in her heartbeat.
“Wherever did this come from?” he asked, his gaze searching her makeup-enhanced features.
Trying to sound nonchalant, she replied, “Alicia took me shopping. At the Gap.”
“Did she now?”
She nodded as his hands idly caressed the bottom edge of her sweater. Her skin flushed with heat wherever he touched. “And Victoria’s Secret.”
He blinked a couple of times as he processed that blurted admission. Finally, he managed, “Is that right?”
His eyes had darkened a bit in color and he had swallowed hard after her last statement. So she added, “And Bath and Body Works.”
Rather than comment, he closed the meager distance between them by pulling her up against him. Then he leaned down toward her neck and slowly drew in her scent. The feeling of his warm breath against her skin made her entire body simmer with pleasure. With barely a thought, she tilted her head sideways to give him better access. His lips gently brushed her exposed neck and collarbone, making her pulse race.
“I’d thank Alicia, but I think she’s trying to kill me,” he whispered into her ear. She gripped his arms and closed her eyes as all of her nerve-endings blazed. His lips then moved along her jaw line. “Still, I can see you intend this to be a kind of a present for me. I can’t help but appreciate it for what it is.”
Then he captured her mouth. Her every thought centered on him as passion flared. His scent: like the ocean wind before a storm, calm with the potential for aggression. His taste: rich, potent and heady. His body: hard, strong and enveloping.
As he kissed her, his hands moved slowly from her hips up along her ribcage, leaving a blazing path of sensation behind. She could barely breathe as he reached ever higher. His hands explored her leisurely, the feelings he generated with his touch both intensely pleasurable and inexplicably tormenting. She issued a ragged sound that might have been a sigh or a moan.
When he eventually broke away from her, he stepped back and held her at arm’s length, his head lowered as he caught his breath and struggled to center himself. Although the move had been abrupt, she couldn’t take offense. It was obvious she had inadvertently pushed him to an edge she hadn’t even realized existed. She warred with delight and guilt over having trampled on his usual gentlemanly sensibilities.
What do you think? Please leave a comment here and look me up at one of these handy places:
© 2011 Raine Thomas