EXCERPT FROM THUNDER SNOW by Mimi Foster
“Make yourself at home.” I tried for nonchalance but it came out too breathy.
“I keep an eye on the place for Charles when he’s not in town. I’ll try to break the habit while you’re here,” he said. He continued to stand with his back to me, not moving. “How long is that going to be?” he asked quietly.
I wasn’t sure I understood the question so I didn’t answer immediately.
“How long are you staying, little one?” My heart danced at his endearment. I sat down on the polished rocks of the hearth, trying to gather my composure.
“At five foot eight, I’m hardly little.” I was working on casual; I wasn’t sure how to get there.
“A few months, at least,” I finally replied. “I plan on riding out the winter here. I have competent staff taking care of my business, and I shouldn’t have to make the trip to town too often. Why?” I asked as gently as I could, not wanting to break the spell that was surrounding us as the sunset was turning the sky orange and giving an eerie glow to the room.
“I heard what you did for Griz today. I came to say thank you.”
“No thanks necessary. It was easily within my power to fix his problem, and I was happy to help. It’s important to me to fit in as much as possible.”
I could see his shoulders lose their rigidity as he leaned his head against the window. As though he thought better of it, he came and stood in front of me, not saying a word, just looking at me broodingly.
“Can’t imagine that will bode well for either one of us,” he said as he took my hand and helped me to my feet. We stood with only breath between us, not talking, absorbing the moment, each other.
Swimming in the sea of his blue eyes, the sunset was creating an aura of enchantment through the expanse of window. I wanted him to kiss me but didn’t want this moment to end. When he finally did, the world stopped. Wait, did I think it stopped? Then why was it spinning so frantically out of control? His tantalizing kisses were unlike any I had known. Until this moment, I didn’t know this feeling existed.
“I could do this for hours,” I said breathlessly. I didn’t want it to stop. Again his lips were on mine. He seemed to absorb me into his being. My first conscious thought was that I was glad his arms were around me so I didn’t fall.
As he broke the kiss, we stood staring at each other. “Dear God, a freight train would have done less damage,” he said. He made sure I was steady on my feet, then was gone.