There is a saying that "paper is more patient than man";it came back to me on one of my slightly melancholy days,while I sat chin in hand,feeling too bored and limp even to make up my mind whether to go out or stay at home. Yes, there is no doubt that paper is patient and as I don't intend to show this cardboard-covered notebook,bearing the proud name of"diary",to anyone,unless I find a real friend,boy or girl,probably nobody cares.And now I come to the root of the matter,the reason for my starting a diary:it is that I have no such real friend.
Let me put it more clearly,since no one will believe that a girl of thirteen feels herself quite alone in the world,nor is it so.I have darling parents and a sister of sixteen.I know about thirty people whom one might call friends--I have strings of boy friends,anxious to catch a glimpse of me and who,failing that,peep at me through mirrors in class.I have relations,aunts and uncles,who are darlings too,a good home,no--I don't seem to lack anything.But it's the same with all my friends,just fun and joking,nothing more.I can never bring myself to talk of anything outside the common round.We don't seem to be able to get any closer,that is the root of the trouble.Perhaps I lack confidence,but anyway,there it is,a stubborn fact and I don't seem to be able to do anything about it.
Anne Frank (Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl)
I still don`t know if this is a good quality or a bad one, to be able to be in the moment and then step out of it. Not just during sex, or while talking, or kissing. I don`t deliberately pull away – I don`t think I do- but I find myself suddenly there on the outside, unable to loose myself in where I am. You catch me sometimes. You will say I am drifting off, and I will apologize, trying to snap back th present.
But I should say this:
Even when I detach, I care. You can be separate from a thing and still care about it. If I wanted to detach completely, I would move my body away. I would stop the conversation midsentence. I would leave the bed. Instead, I hover over it for a second. I glance off in another direction. But I always glance back at you.
David Levithan (The Lover's Dictionary)
Nobody hurt me, Sloane. No one made me who I am. I wasn’t molested or abused, or made to perform disturbing sexual acts. You have to know that there isn’t always a sinister shadow standing over the shoulder of someone like me. We’re a rare and dark breed. I carry that bag because I like it. I cut myself while I’m fucking sometimes because I like it. I play with a knife occasionally because I like it. I do all of the things that I do to you because I like it. And you know what, angry girl? The thing that disturbs you the most…” My breath catches in my throat. I can hardly fucking breathe. Zeth’s tongue carefully flicks out, teasing my upper lip just once. I close my eyes as his words hit home, words that are whispered yet more powerful than a shout. “…is that you like it, too. You’re just like me, Sloane. You’re just like me.
Callie Hart (Fallen (Blood & Roses #4))
By Jove, it's great! Walk along the streets on some spring morning. The little women, daintily tripping along, seem to blossom out like flowers. What a delightful, charming sight! The dainty perfume of violet is everywhere. The city is gay, and everybody notices the women. By Jove, how tempting they are in their light, thin dresses, which occasionally give one a glimpse of the delicate pink flesh beneath!
"One saunters along, head up, mind alert, and eyes open. I tell you it's great! You see her in the distance, while still a block away; you already know that she is going to please you at closer quarters. You can recognize her by the flower on her hat, the toss of her head, or her gait. She approaches, and you say to yourself: 'Look out, here she is!' You come closer to her and you devour her with your eyes.
"Is it a young girl running errands for some store, a young woman returning from church, or hastening to see her lover? What do you care? Her well-rounded bosom shows through the thin waist. Oh, if you could only take her in your arms and fondle and kiss her! Her glance may be timid or bold, her hair light or dark. What difference does it make? She brushes against you, and a cold shiver runs down your spine. Ah, how you wish for her all day! How many of these dear creatures have I met this way, and how wildly in love I would have been had I known them more intimately.
"Have you ever noticed that the ones we would love the most distractedly are those whom we never meet to know? Curious, isn't it? From time to time we barely catch a glimpse of some woman, the mere sight of whom thrills our senses. But it goes no further. When I think of all the adorable creatures that I have elbowed in the streets of Paris, I fairly rave. Who are they! Where are they? Where can I find them again? There is a proverb which says that happiness often passes our way; I am sure that I have often passed alongside the one who could have caught me like a linnet in the snare of her fresh beauty.
Guy de Maupassant (Selected Short Stories)
As he catches my eye he beams at me, his dark face bright with affection. Anyone can see it who cares to look at him, he is hopelessly indiscreet. He puts his hand to his heart as if swearing fidelity to me. I look to left and right, thank God no-one is looking, they are all getting on their horses and George the duke is shouting for the guard. Recklessly, Richard stands there, his hand on his heart, looking at me as if he wants the world to know that he loves me.
He loves me.
I shake my head as if reproving him, and I look down at my hands on the reins. I look up again and he is still fixing his gaze on me, his hand still on his heart. I know I should look away, I know I should pretend to feel nothing but disdain – this is how the ladies in the troubadour poems behave. But I am a girl, and I am lonely and alone, and this is a handsome young man who has asked how he may serve me and now stands before me with his hand on his heart and his eyes laughing at me.
One of the guard stumbled while mounting his horse and his horse shied, knocking the nearby horseman. Everyone is looking that way, and the king puts his arm around his wife. I snatch off my glove and, in one swift gesture, I throw it towards Richard. He catches it out of the air and tucks it in the breast of his jacket. Nobody has seen it. Nobody knows. The guardsman steadies his horse, mounts it, nods his apology to his captain, and the royal family turn and wave to us.
Richard looks at me, buttoning the front of his jacket, and smiles at me warmly, assuredly. He has my glove, my favour.
Philippa Gregory (The Kingmaker's Daughter (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #4; Cousins War, #4))
The answer to that question is…I won’t. You belong with me. Which leads me to the discussion I wanted to have with you.”
“Where I belong is for me to decide, and though I may listen to what you have to say, that doesn’t mean I will agree with you.”
“Fair enough.” Ren pushed his empty plate to the side. “We have some unfinished business to take care of.”
“If you mean the other tasks we have to do, I’m already aware of that.”
“I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about us.”
“What about us?” I put my hands under the table and wiped my clammy palms on my napkin.
“I think there are a few things we’ve left unsaid, and I think it’s time we said them.”
“I’m not withholding anything from you, if that’s what you mean.”
“No. I’m not.”
“Are you refusing to acknowledge what has happened between us?”
“I’m not refusing anything. Don’t try to put words in my mouth.”
“I’m not. I’m simply trying to convince a stubborn woman to admit that she has feelings for me.”
“If I did have feelings for you, you’d be the first one to know.”
“Are you saying that you don’t feel anything for me?”
“That’s not what I’m saying.”
“Then what are you saying?”
“I’m saying…nothing!” I spluttered.
Ren smiled and narrowed his eyes at me.
If he kept up this line of questioning, he was bound to catch me in a lie. I’m not a very good liar.
He sat back in his chair. “Fine. I’ll let you off the hook for now, but we will talk about this later. Tigers are relentless once they set their minds to something. You don’t be able to evade me forever.”
Casually, I replied, “Don’t get your hopes up, Mr. Wonderful. Every hero has his Kryptonite, and you don’t intimidate me.” I twisted my napkin in my lap while he tracked my every move with his probing eyes. I felt stripped down, as if he could see into the very heart of me.
When the waitress came back, Ren smiled at her as she offered a smaller menu, probably featuring desserts. She leaned over him while I tapped my strappy shoe in frustration. He listened attentively to her. Then, the two of them laughed again.
He spoke quietly, gesturing to me, and she looked my way, giggled, and then cleared all the plates quickly. He pulled out a wallet and handed her a credit card. She put her hand on his arm to ask him another question, and I couldn’t help myself. I kicked him under the table. He didn’t even blink or look at me. He just reached his arm across the table, took my hand in his, and rubbed the back of it absentmindedly with his thumb as he answered her question. It was like my kick was a love tap to him. It only made him happier.
When she left, I narrowed my eyes at him and asked, “How did you get that card, and what were you saying to her about me?”
“Mr. Kadam gave me the card, and I told her that we would be having our dessert…later.”
I laughed facetiously. “You mean you will be having dessert later by yourself this evening because I am done eating with you.”
He leaned across the candlelit table and said, “Who said anything about eating, Kelsey?”
He must be joking! But he looked completely serious. Great! There go the nervous butterflies again.
“Stop looking at me like that.”
“Like you’re hunting me. I’m not an antelope.”
He laughed. “Ah, but the chase would be exquisite, and you would be a most succulent catch.”
“Am I making you nervous?”
“You could say that.”
I stood up abruptly as he was signing the receipt and made my way toward the door. He was next to me in an instant. He leaned over.
“I’m not letting you escape, remember? Now, behave like a good date and let me walk you home. It’s the least you could do since you wouldn’t talk with me.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
Evie…” His whisper stirred the tiny wisps at her hairline. “I want to make love to you.”
Her blood turned to boiling honey. Eventually she managed a stammering reply. “I-I thought y-you never called it that.”
His hands lifted to her face, his fingertips exploring delicately. She remained docile beneath his caress while the scent of his skin, fresh and clove-like, drugged her like some narcotic incense.
Reaching to his own throat, Sebastian fumbled beneath his shirt and extracted the wedding band on the fine chain. He tugged it, breaking the fragile links, and let the chain drop to the floor. Evie’s breathing hastened as he reached for her left hand and slid the gold band onto her fourth finger. Their hands matched together, palm to palm, wrist to wrist, just as they had been bound during their wedding ceremony. His forehead lowered to hers, and he whispered, “I want to fill every part of you…breathe the air from your lungs…leave my handprints on your soul. I want to give you more pleasure than you can bear. I want to make love to you, Evie, as I have never done with anyone before.”
She was now trembling so violently that she could hardly stand. “Your w-wound—we have to be careful—”
“You let me worry about that.” His mouth took hers in a soft, smoldering kiss. Releasing her hand, he gathered her body closer, applying explicit pressure against her shoulders, back, hips, until she was molded completely against him. Evie wanted him with a desperation that almost frightened her. She tried to catch his gently shifting mouth with her own, and pulled at his clothes with a fumbling urgency that made him laugh softly. “Slowly,” he murmured. “The night is just beginning…and I’m going to love you for a long time.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, #3))
See you at breakfast?"
"Yeah.See ya." I try to say this casually,but I'm so thrilled that I skip from her room and promptly slam into a wall.
Whoops.Not a wall.A boy.
"Oof." He staggers backward.
"Sorry! I'm so sorry,I didn't know you were there."
He shakes his head,a little dazed. The first thing I notice is his hair-it's the first thing I notice about everyone. It's dark brown and messy and somehow both long and short at the same time. I think of the Beatles,since I've just seen them in Meredith's room. It's artist hair.Musician hair. I-pretend-I-don't-care-but-I-really-do-hair.
"It's okay,I didn't see you either. Are you all right,then?"
Oh my.He's English.
"Er.Does Mer live here?"
Seriously,I don't know any American girl who can resist an English accent.
The boy clears his throat. "Meredith Chevalier? Tall girl? Big,curly hair?" Then he looks at me like I'm crazy or half deaf,like my Nanna Oliphant. Nanna just smiles and shakes her head whenever I ask, "What kind of salad dressing would you like?" or "Where did you put Granddad's false teeth?"
"I'm sorry." He takes the smallest step away from me. "You were going to bed."
"Yes! Meredith lives there.I've just spent two hours with her." I announce this proudly like my brother, Seany, whenever he finds something disgusting in the yard. "I'm Anna! I'm new here!" Oh God. What.Is with.The scary enthusiasm? My cheeks catch fire, and it's all so humiliating.
The beautiful boy gives an amused grin. His teeth are lovely-straight on top and crooked on the bottom,with a touch of overbite. I'm a sucker for smiles like this,due to my own lack of orthodontia. I have a gap between my front teeth the size of a raisin.
"Etienne," he says. "I live one floor up."
"I live here." I point dumbly at my room while my mind whirs: French name, English accent, American school. Anna confused.
He raps twice on Meredith's door. "Well. I'll see you around then, Anna."
Eh-t-yen says my name like this: Ah-na.
My heart thump thump thumps in my chest.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
Will you tell me how you came to be living...' He stops, as if trying to find the words. 'As you were.'
I remember the care I'd given that he not know. How could I explain the way time seemed to slip from my fingers, the way I became incrementally more detached, more unable to reach out a hand to take something I wanted? I will not allow him to pity me any more than he does.
'You could have come to see me,' he says. 'If you need something.'
I laugh at that. 'You?'
He frowns down at me with his amber eyes. 'Why not?'
The enormity of the reasons catches in my mouth. He's a prince of Elfhame, and I am the disgraced child of traitors. He befriends everyone, from the troll guard at the entrance to all those Tiernan mentioned back in the High Court, while I have spent years alone in the woods. But most of all, because he could have asked his sister to allow me to stay on the Shifting Isles and didn't.
'Perhaps I wanted to save that favour you still owe me,' I say.
He laughs at that. Oak liking me is as silly as the sun liking a storm, but that doesn't stop my desire for it.
Me, with my sharp teeth and chilly skin. It's absurd. It's grotesque.
And yet, the way he looks at me, it almost seems possible.
Holly Black (The Stolen Heir (The Stolen Heir Duology, #1))
Ella?” Cinder asked when things got quiet. “Are you there?” He sounded hesitant. “Welcome to my life,” I said with a sigh of defeat. “Sorry about that.” “It’s okay.” It was definitely not okay. I was so humiliated. It was a miracle I wasn’t crying. I think that was only because I was still in so much shock. “Look, thanks for giving me your phone number, but maybe this is a bad time.” My dad scrambled to his feet, waving his hands at me. “No! You don’t have to end your call. We’ll give you some privacy.” He glanced at both Jennifer and Juliette. “Won’t we, ladies?” His blatant desperation for me to talk to someone—even a stranger from the Internet—was as embarrassing as Anastasia’s outburst. Even worse, Jennifer was just as bad. “Of course! You go ahead and talk to your boyfriend, Ella,” she squealed. “We can keep an eye on you from the kitchen. I have to get dinner started anyway.” While I was busy dying from her use of the word boyfriend, she hopped off the elliptical. She hurried to catch up to my dad, seeming more than happy to finish her workout early. As they started up the steps, they both turned back to Juliette, who had sprawled out on the couch instead of getting up. “I was here first,” Juliette said in response to their expectant looks. “There’s no way I’m going anywhere near the upstairs with Ana in the mood she’s in, and I really don’t care about Ella’s love life. Besides, she’s not supposed to be alone, anyway. What if she tries to throw herself off the balcony or something?” Was there anyone in the world that didn’t feel the need to humiliate me? I glared at Juliette, and she just waved a pair of earbuds at me and shoved them in her ears. “I’ll turn the volume up.” My dad and Jennifer both gave me such hopeful looks that I couldn’t argue anymore. I rolled my eyes and made my way over to the armchair my father had been lounging in. Once Dad and Jennifer were gone, I glanced over at the couch. Juliette was already doing what she did best—ignoring me. She was bobbing her head along with her music as she read out of a textbook. I doubted she could hear me, but I spoke softly anyway, just in case. “Cinder? Are you still there?” “I didn’t realize upping our relationship to phone buddies would come with a boyfriend title. Does that mean if we ever meet in person, we’ll have to get married?” Surprised, I burst into laughter. Juliette glanced at me with one raised eyebrow, but went back to her textbook without saying anything.
Kelly Oram (Cinder & Ella (Cinder & Ella, #1))
Soon thereafter, a maid brought Poppy a tray of neat boxes tied with ribbons. Opening them, Poppy discovered that one was filled with toffee, another with boiled sweets, and another with Turkish delight. Best of all, one box was filled with a new confection called "eating-chocolates" that had been all the rage at the London Exhibition.
"Where did these come from?" Poppy asked Harry when he returned to her room after a brief visit to the front offices.
"From the sweet shop."
"No, these," Poppy showed him the eating-chocolates. "No one can get them. The makers, Fellows and Son, have closed their shop while they moved to a new location. The ladies at the philanthropic luncheon were talking about it."
"I sent Valentine to the Fellows residence to ask them to make a special batch for you." Harry smiled as he saw the paper twists scattered across the counterpane. "I see you've sampled them."
"Have one," Poppy said generously.
Harry shook his head. "I don't like sweets." But he bent down obligingly as she gestured for him to come closer. She reached out to him, her fingers catching the knot of his necktie.
Harry's smile faded as Poppy exerted gentle tension, drawing him down. He was suspended over her, an impending weight of muscle and masculine drive. As her sugared breath blew against his lips, she sensed the deep tremor within him. And she was aware of a new equilibrium between them, a balance of will and curiosity. Harry held still, letting her do as she wished.
She tugged him closer until her mouth brushed his. The contact was brief but vital, striking a glow of heat.
Poppy released him carefully, and Harry drew back.
"You won't kiss me for diamonds," he said, his voice slightly raspy, "but you will for chocolates?"
As Harry turned his face away, she saw his cheek tauten with a smile. "I'll put in a daily order, then.
Lisa Kleypas (Tempt Me at Twilight (The Hathaways, #3))
Catching her chin between my thumb and forefinger, I held her still and said, “I am nothing if not professional, Agent Chase. You of all people should know that, especially while considering the fact that your biggest problem with me is that I refuse to play Romeo to your pathetic fucking Juliet. I have no time for love, pet names or even fucking first names for that matter. The fact of the matter is that you are confusing my agreement to allow you to ride my cock with the idea that I care for you. What makes matters even worse is the fact that you are attacking my professionalism as a result of your misguided anger.
Jaden Wilkes (Serial, Volume Two (Serial, #2))
This is the definition of peace.
The definition is interrupted by Toraf's ringtone. Why did Rachel get Toraf a phone? Does she hate me? Fumbling behind him in the sand, Galen puts a hand on it right before it stops ringing. He waits five seconds and...Yep, he's calling again.
"Hello?" he whispers.
"Galen, it's Toraf."
Galen snorts. "You think?"
"Rayna's ready to leave. Where are you?"
Galen sighs. “We’re on the beach. Emma’s still sleeping. We’ll walk back in a few minutes.” Emma braved her mom’s wrath by skipping curfew again last night to be with him. Grom’s mating ceremony is tomorrow, and Galen and Rayna’s attendance is required. He’ll have to leave her in Toraf’s care until he gets back.
“Sorry, Highness. I told you, Rayna’s ready to go. You have about two minutes of privacy. She’s heading your way. “The phone disconnects.
Galen leans down and sweeps his lips over her sweet neck. “Emma,” he whispers.
She sighs. “I heard him,” she groans drowsily. “You should tell Toraf that he doesn’t have to yell into the phone. And if he keeps doing it, I’m going to accidentally break it.”
Galen grins. “He’ll get the hang of it soon. He’s not a complete idiot.”
At this, Emma opens one eye.
He shrugs. “Well, three quarters maybe. But not a complete one.”
“Are you sure you don’t want me to come with you?” she says, sitting up and stretching.
“You know I do. But I think this mating ceremony will be interesting enough without introducing my Half-Breed girlfriend, don’t you think?”
Emma laughs and pulls her hair to one side, draping it over her shoulder. “This is our first time away from each other. You know, as a couple. We’ve only been really dating for two weeks now. What will I do without you?”
He pulls her to him, leaning her back against his chest. “Well, I’m hoping that this time when I come back, it won’t be to the sight of you kissing Toraf.”
The snickers beside them let them know their two minutes of privacy are up. “Yeah. Or someone’s gonna die,” Rayna says cordially.
Galen helps Emma up and swats the leftover sand out of her sundress. He takes her hands into his. “Could I please just ask one thing without you getting all mad about it?”
She scowls. “Let me guess. You don’t want me to get in the water while you’re gone.”
“But I’m not ordering you to stay out of it. I’m asking, no begging, very politely, and with all my heart for you not to get in. It’s your choice. But it would make me the happiest man-fish on the coast if you wouldn’t.” They sense the stalker almost daily now. That and the fact that Dr. Milligan blew his theory about Emma’s dad being a Half-Breed out of the water makes Galen more nervous than he can say. It means they still don’t have any answers about who could know about Emma. Or why they keep hanging around.
Emma rewards him with a breathtaking smile. “I won’t. Because you asked.”
Toraf was right. I just had to ask. He shakes his head. “Now I can sleep tonight.”
“That makes one of us. Don’t stay gone too long. Or Mark will sit by me at lunch.”
He grimaces. “I’ll hurry.” He leans down to kiss her. Behind them, he hears Rayna’s initial splash.
“She’s leaving without you,” Emma whispers on his lips.
“She could have left hours ago and I’d still catch her. Good-bye, angelfish. Be good.” He places a forceful kiss on her forehead, then gets a running start and dives in.
And he misses her already.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
Catching my breath, I lean against the front of the car and focus on the individual blades of grass hedging my flip-flop, trying not to throw up or pass out or both. In the far distance, a vehicle approaches-the first one to witness the scene of our accident. A million explanations run through my mind, but I can’t imagine a single scenario that would solve all-or any-of our issues right now.
None of us can risk going to the hospital. Mom technically doesn’t qualify as human, so I’m sure we’d get a pretty interesting diagnosis. Rachel is technically supposed to be deceased as of the last ten years or so, and while she probably has a plethora of fake IDs, she’s still antsy around cops, which will surely be called to the hospital in the event of a gunshot wound, even if it is just in the foot. And let’s not forget that Mom and Rachel are new handcuff buddies. There just isn’t an explanation for any of this.
That’s when I decide I’m not the one who should do the talking. After all, I didn’t kidnap anyone. I didn’t shoot anyone. And I certainly didn’t handcuff myself to the person who shot me. Besides, both Mom and Rachel are obviously much more skilled at deception then I’ll ever be.
“If someone pulls over to help us, one of you is explaining all this,” I inform them. “You’ll probably want to figure it out fast, because here comes a car.”
But the car comes and goes without even slowing. In fact, a lot of cars come and go, and if the situation weren’t so strange and if I weren’t so thankful that they didn’t actually stop, I’d be forced to reexamine what the world is coming to, not helping strangers in an accident. Then it occurs to me that maybe the passerby don’t realize it’s the scene of an accident. Mom’s car is in the ditch, but the ditch might be steep enough to hide it. It’s possible that no one can even see Rachel and Mom from the side of the road. Still, I am standing at the front of Rachel’s car. An innocent-looking teenage girl just loitering for fun in the middle of nowhere and no one cares to stop? Seriously?
Just as I decide that people suck, a vehicle coming from the opposite direction slows and pulls up a few feet behind us. It’s not a good Samaritan traveler pulling over to see what he or she can do to inadvertently complicate things. It’s not an ambulance. It’s not a state trooper. If only we could be so lucky. But, nope, it’s way worse.
Because it’s Galen’s SUV.
From where I stand, I can see him looking at me from behind the wheel. His face is stricken and tried and relieved and pained. I want to want to want to believe the look in his eyes right now. The look that clearly says he’s found what he’s looking for, in more ways than one.
Anna Banks (Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy, #2))
He ruffled her hair as he came in, all uncle and no cop about him now. She far preferred her uncle to the chief; he had inherited the sense of humor in the family, while her father got the receding hairline and mad skills with numbers. "Geez, Vi, you didn't need to break your own leg to get out of going to the dance with Grady Spencer. A simple 'no' would have been just fine, I'm sure."
Apparently no one had noticed that Jay had barely let go of her hand for a second. His thumb was now tracing lazy circles around her palm, and he answered her uncle's teasing comment without looking away from Violet for even a split second. "She's not going to the dance with Grady," he announced, smiling at her mischievously, and for a moment Violet forgot how to breathe. She hoped she never got used to how a simple look from him could turn her into a blithering idiot.
"Really?" her aunt Kat asked, her eyes narrowing as she glanced from Violet to Jay, and then down at their intertwined hands. Clearly she wasn't going to let the comment pass unnoticed. "Why is that?" she asked in a voice filled with unspoken meaning.
Stephen Ambrose looked at his wife curiously, a little slow to catch on, which was sad, really, considering it was his job to seek out clues and solve mysteries.
Jay answered Kat without missing a beat. "Because she's going with me." He winked at Violet, whose cheeks had flushed to a brilliant shade of scarlet. She wasn't entirely sure she was ready for this.
Violet saw her mom and Aunt Kat exchange meaningful glances.
They knew, she realized. And now her uncle did too.
Uncle Stephen gave Jay his best I'm-keeping-my-eye-on-you look, but a quick "Hmm" was the only sound he made.
How much embarrassment could one person possibly survive?
There was a moment of awkward silence, made even more uncomfortable by Jay's refusal to look anywhere but at her. He reached out and brushed his finger along her cheek. Violet almost forgot to care that everyone in the room was looking at them.
Her uncle Stephen cleared his throat, and Violet jumped a little.
Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder (The Body Finder, #1))
Bindi and I had been in Oregon for a few days, visiting family, and we planned to catch up with Steve in Las Vegas. But she and I had an ugly incident at the airport when we arrived. A Vegas lowlife approached us, his hat pulled down, big sunglasses on his face, and displaying some of the worst dentistry I’ve ever seen.
He leered at us, obviously drunk or crazy, and tried to kiss me. I backed off rapidly and looked for Steve. I knew I could rely on him to take care of any creep I encountered.
Then it dawned on me: The creep was Steve. In order to move around the airport without anyone recognizing him, he put on false teeth and changed his usual clothes. I didn’t recognize my own husband out of his khakis.
I burst out laughing. Bindi was wide-eyed. “Look, it’s your daddy.” It took her a while before she was sure.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
We have to stop and get lift tickets and sign a release today. Yesterday it was pre-arranged as part of the wedding. I grab a form and dash off a signature then turn towards the counter to pay when I realize Chloe is still reading the form. Line by line. She catches me staring at her and glances at my form.
“You already signed it? Without reading it?” She’s appalled. “This is a legal document, Boyd,” she says, jabbing a finger onto the paper in front of her.
“It’s just a slide, Chloe. Not a death trap.”
She glares at me and then goes back to carefully reading the form while I watch, amused as hell. Finally she frowns and, with a tiny shake of her head and a small sigh, signs the form.
“Are you satisfied now, safety girl? Are you fully prepared for the slide of death?”
“At least one of us is,” she retorts
Jana Aston (Trust (Cafe, #3))
And then I see it. Azure Helicopter Tours.
I drag Toraf to the landing pad. “What is that?” he asks suspiciously.
“Um. It’s a helicopter.”
“What does it do? Triton’s trident, it doesn’t fly does it? Emma? Emma wait!”
He catches up to me and burps right in my ear. “Stop being a jerkface,” I tell him.
“Whatever that is. You don’t care about me at all, do you?”
“You came to me, remember? This is me helping you. Now be quiet while I buy tickets.” It’s a private ride, no other passengers to worry about. Plus, we’re not stealing anything. The helicopter can return to land with its pilot as soon as we’re done with our part of the mission.
“Why do we need to fly? The water is right there.” He points to it longingly. I almost feel bad for him. Almost. But I don’t have time for pity.
“Because I think these helicopters can still cover more distance faster than you can haul me. I’m trying to make up for all the time we spent at security in LAX.”
“Humans are so weird,” he mutters again as I walk away. “You do everything backward.”
Since this is a sightseeing flight, the pilot, Dan, a thick Hawaiian man with an even thicker accent, takes his time pointing out all the usual tourist stuff, like the fishing industry, the history of the coast, and other things I have no interest in at the moment. The view of the blue water and visible reefs, the chain of islands, and the rich culture would be breathtaking if I weren’t preoccupied with crashing a Syrena get-together. I can imagine spending time with Galen here. Exploring the reefs like no human could, playing with the tropical fish, and making Galen wear a lei. But I need to stay focused if I ever want a chance to do it.
Anna Banks (Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy, #2))
However, this court is constrained by law, and under the law, I can only conclude that the Government has not violated FOIA by refusing to turn over the documents sought in the FOIA requests, and so cannot be compelled by this court of law to explain in detail the reasons why its actions do not violate the Constitution and the laws of the United States. The Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this pronouncement is not lost on me; but after careful and extensive consideration, I find myself stuck in a paradoxical situation in which I cannot solve a problem because of contradictory constraints and rules—a veritable Catch-22. I can find no way around the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the Executive Branch of our Government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret.
Half inebriated, he vaulted up the stairs to find them lolling in chairs in the hall outside Maria’s door. Gabe clasped a bunch of violets in his hand while Jarret held a rolled-up piece of parchment in his.
“What are you two louts doing here in the middle of the night?” he growled.
“It’s nearly dawn,” Gabe said coolly. “Hardly the middle of the night. Not that you would have noticed, in your drunken state.”
Scowling, Oliver took a step toward them. “It’s still earlier than you, at least, every rise.”
Gabe glanced at Jarret. “Clearly, the old boy doesn’t remember what today is.”
“I believe you’re right,” Jarret returned, a hint of condemnation in his tone.
Oliver glared at them both as he sifted through his soggy brain for what they menat. When it came to him, he groaned. St. Valentine’s Day. That sobered him right up. “That doesn’t explain why you’re lurking outside Maria’s door.”
Jarret cast him a scathing glance as he got to his feet. “Why do you care? You ran off to town to find your entertainment. Seems to me that you’re relinquishing the field.”
“So you two intend to step in?” he snapped.
“Why not?” Gabe rose to glower at him. “Since your plan to thwart Gran isn’t working, and it’s looking as if we’ll have to marry someone, we might as well have a go at Miss Butterfield. She’s an heiress and a very nice girl, too, in case you hadn’t noticed If you’re stupid enough to throw her over for a bunch of whores and opera dancers, we’re more than happy to take your place. We at least appreciate her finer qualities.”
The very idea of his brothers appreciating anything of Maria’s made his blood boil. “In the first place, I didn’t throw her over for anyone. In the second, I am damned well not relinquishing the field. And I’m certainly not giving it over to a couple of fortune hunters like you.”
The sound of footsteps coming down the hall from the servants’ stairs made them whirl in that direction. Betty walked slowly toward them, one hand shading her eyes.
That’s when it hit him. His brothers were here because of that silly superstition about a maiden’s heart being joined to that of whoever was the first man she spotted on St. Valentine’s Day.
“Good morning, gentlemen,” Betty murmured as she approached, carefully avoiding looking at any of them.
A devilish grin lit Gabe’s face. “Betty, catch!” he cried and tossed a violet at her.
She didn’t even move a finger to stop it from bouncing off her and falling to the floor. “If your lordships will excuse me,” she said in a decidedly snippy tone, “my mistress rang the bell for me.” With a sniff that conveyed her contempt for them, she slipped inside Maria’s rom and shut the door firmly behind her.
“That was shameful,” Jarret told Gabe. “You know bloody well that Betty and John are sweethearts.”
“It’s not my fault that John didn’t show up this morning so she could see him first,” Gabe said with a shrug.
Sabrina Jeffries (The Truth About Lord Stoneville (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #1))
Emma, calm down. I had to know-"
I point my finger in his face, almost touching his eyeball. "It's one thing for me to give your permission to look into it. But I'm pretty sure looking into it without my consent is illegal. In fact, I'm pretty sure everything that woman does is illegal. Do you even know what the Mafia is, Galen?"
His eyebrows lift in surprise. "She told you who she is? I mean, who she used to be?"
I nod. "While you were checking in with Grom. Once in the Mob, always in the Mob, if you ask me. How else would she get all her money? But I guess you wouldn't care about that, since she buys you houses and cars and fake IDs." I snatch my wrist away and turn back toward our hotel. At least, I hope it's our hotel.
Galen laughs. "Emma, it's not Rachel's money; it's mine."
I whirl on him. "You are a fish. You don't have a job. And I don't think Syrena currency has any of our presidents on it." Now "our" means I'm human again. I wish I could make up my mind.
He crosses his arms. "I earn it another way. Walk to the Gulfarium with me, and I'll tell you how."
The temptation divides me like a cleaver. I'm one part hissy fit and one part swoon. I have a right to be mad, to press charges, to cut Rachel's hair while she's sleeping. But do I really want to risk the chance that she keeps a gun under her pillow? Do I want to miss the opportunity to scrunch my toes in the sand and listen to Galen's rich voice tell me how a fish came to be wealthy? Nope, I don't.
Taking care to ram my shoulder into him, I march past him and hopefully in the right direction. When he catches up to me, his grin threatens the rest of my hissy fit side, so I turn away, fixing my glare on the waves.
"I sell stuff to humans," he says.
I glance at him. He's looking at me, his expression every bit as expectant as I feel. I hate this little game of ours. Maybe because I'm no good at it. He won't tell me more unless I ask. Curiosity is one of my most incurable flaws-and Galen knows it.
Still, I already gave up a perfectly good tantrum for him, so I feel like he owes me. Never mind that he saved my life today. That was so two hours ago. I lift my chin.
"Rachel says I'm a millionaire," he says, his little knowing smirk scrubbing my nerves like a Brillo pad. "But for me, it's not about the money. Like you, I have a soft spot for history."
Crap, crap, crap. How can he already know me this well? I must be as readable as the alphabet. What's the use? He's going to win, every time.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
The other night I had dinner with a good friend, a woman writer whom I’ve known for about ten years. Though we’ve never had a romantic relationship, I love her dearly and care about her: she’s a good person, and a talented writer, and those two qualities put her everlastingly on my list of When You Need Help, Even In The Dead Of Night, I’m On Call. Over dinner, we talked about an anguish she has been experiencing for a number of years. She’s afraid of dying alone and unloved. Some of you are nodding in understanding. A few of you are smiling. The former understand pain, the latter are assholes. Or very lucky. We’ve all dreaded that moment when we pack it in, get a fast rollback of days and nights, and realize we’re about to go down the hole never having belonged to anyone. If you’ve never felt it, you’re either an alien from far Arcturus or so insensitive your demise won’t matter. Or very lucky. Her problem is best summed up by something Theodore Sturgeon once said: “There’s no absence of love in the world, only worthy places to put it.” My friend gets involved with guys who do her in. Not all her fault. Some of it is—we’re never wholly victims, we help construct the tiger traps filled with spikes—but not all of it. She’s vulnerable. While not naïve, she is innocent. And that’s a dangerous, but laudable capacity: to wander through a world that can be very uncaring and amorally cruel, and still be astonished at the way the sunlight catches the edge of a coleus leaf. Anybody puts her down for that has to go through me first. So she keeps trying, and the ones with long teeth sense her vulnerability and they move in for the slow kill. (That’s evil: only the human predator destroys slowly, any decent hunting animal rips out the throat and feeds, and that’s that. The more I see of people, the better I like animals.)
Harlan Ellison (Paingod: And Other Delusions)
What else do you want to know?’ he asked. Possessed by morbid curiosity, her eyes darted to the scar that cut just over his ear. She’d found it shortly after they met, while he lay unconscious in the grass. He didn’t need to ask what had caught her attention. ‘I got that in a fight against imperial soldiers. Ask me why.’ She shook her head, unable to bring herself to do it. The cocoon of warmth that had enveloped the entire afternoon unwound itself in an instant. ‘Are you having second thoughts about being here with me?’ He planted a hand into the grass, edging closer. ‘No. I trust you.’ He was giving her all the time in the world to shove him away, to rise, to flee. Her heartbeat quickened as she watched him. Moving ever so slowly, he braced an arm on either side of her, his fingers sinking into the moss. ‘I asked you to come with me.’ Despite her words, she dug her heels into the ground and inched backwards. ‘I feel safe with you.’ ‘I can see that.’ He affected a lazy smile as she retreated until her back pressed against the knotted roots that crawled along the ground. His boldness was so unexpected, so exciting. She held her breath and waited. Her pulse jumped when he reached for her. She’d been imagining this moment ever since their first duel and wondering whether it would take another swordfight for him to come near her again. His fingers curled gently against the back of her neck, giving her one last chance to escape. Then he lowered his mouth and kissed her.
It was as natural as breathing to wrap his arms around her and lower her to the ground. He settled his weight against her hips. The perfume of her skin mixed with the damp scent of the moss beneath them. At some point, her sense of propriety would win over. Until then he let his body flood with raw desire. It felt good to kiss her the way he wanted to. It felt damn good. He slipped his tongue past her lips to where she was warm and smooth and inviting. Her hands clutched at his shirt as she returned his kiss. A muted sound escaped from her throat. He swallowed her cry, using his hands to circle her wrists: rough enough to make her breath catch, gentle enough to have her opening her knees, cradling his hips with her long legs. He stroked himself against her, already hard beyond belief. He groaned when she responded, instinctively pressing closer. ‘I need to see you,’ he said. The sash around her waist fell aside in two urgent tugs while his other hand stole beneath her tunic. She gasped when his fingers brushed the swath of cloth at her breasts. The faint, helpless sound nearly lifted him out of the haze of desire. He didn’t want to think too hard about this. Not yet. He felt for the edge of the binding. ‘In back.’ She spoke in barely a whisper, a sigh on his soul. She peered up at him, her face in shadow as he parted her tunic. She watched him in much the same way she had when they had first met: curious, fearless, her eyes a swirl of green and gold. He pulled at the tight cloth until Ailey’s warm, feminine flesh swelled into his hands. He soothed his palms over the cruel welts left by the bindings. She bit down against her lip as blood rushed back into the tortured flesh. With great care, he stroked her nipples, teasing them until they grew tight beneath his roughened fingertips. God’s breath. Perfect. He wanted his mouth on her and still it wouldn’t be enough. Her heart beat out a chaotic rhythm. His own echoed the same restless pulse. ‘I knew it would be like this.’ His words came out hoarse with passion. At that moment he’d have given his soul to have her. But somewhere in his thick skull, he knew he had a beautiful, vulnerable girl who trusted him pressed against the bare earth. He sensed the hitch in her breathing and how her fingers dug nervously into his shoulders, even as her hips arched into him. He ran his thumb gently over the reddened mark that ran just below her collarbone and felt her shiver beneath him.
Jeannie Lin (Butterfly Swords (Tang Dynasty, #1))
Drat. Daisy pulled back with a frown. She felt guilty that she had enjoyed the kiss so little. And it made her feel even worse when it appeared Llandrindon had enjoyed it quite a lot.
“My dear Miss Bowman,” Llandrindon murmured flirtatiously. “You didn’t tell me you tasted so sweet.”
He reached for her again, and Daisy danced backward with a little yelp. “My lord, control yourself!”
“I cannot.” He pursued her slowly around the fountain until they resembled a pair of circling cats. Suddenly he made a dash for her, catching at the sleeve of her gown. Daisy pushed hard at him and twisted away, feeling the soft white muslin rip an inch or two at the shoulder seam.
There was a loud splash and a splatter of water drops.
Daisy stood blinking at the empty spot where Llandrindon had been, and then covered her eyes with her hands as if that would somehow make the entire situation go away.
“My lord?” she asked gingerly. “Did you… did you just fall into the fountain?”
“No,” came his sour reply. “You pushed me into the fountain.”
“It was entirely unintentional, I assure you.” Daisy forced herself to look at him.
Llandrindon rose to his feet, water streaming from his hair and clothes, his coat pockets filled to the brim. It appeared the dip in the fountain had cooled his passions considerably.
He glowered at her in affronted silence. Suddenly his eyes widened, and he reached into one of his water-laden coat pockets. A tiny frog leaped from the pocket and returned to the fountain with a quiet plunk.
Daisy tried to choke back her amusement, but the harder she tried the worse it became, until she finally burst out laughing. “I’m sorry,” she gasped, clapping her hands over her mouth, while irrepressible giggles slipped out. “I’m so— oh dear—” And she bent over laughing until tears came to her eyes.
The tension between them disappeared as Llandrin don began to smile reluctantly. He stepped from the fountain, dripping from every surface. “I believe when you kiss the toad,” he said dryly, “he is supposed to turn into a prince. Unfortunately in my case it doesn’t seem to have worked.”
Daisy felt a rush of sympathy and kindness, even as she snorted with a few last giggles. Approaching him carefully, she placed her small hands on either side of his wet face and pressed a friendly, fleeting kiss on his lips.
His eyes widened at the gesture.
“You are someone’s handsome prince,” Daisy said, smiling at him apologetically. “Just not mine. But when the right woman finds you… how lucky she’ll be.
Lisa Kleypas (Scandal in Spring (Wallflowers, #4))
I hadn’t noticed, through all my inner torture and turmoil, that Marlboro Man and the horses had been walking closer to me. Before I knew it, Marlboro Man’s right arm was wrapped around my waist while his other hand held the reins of the two horses. In another instant, he pulled me toward him in a tight grip and leaned in for a sweet, tender kiss--a kiss he seemed to savor even after our lips parted.
“Good morning,” he said sweetly, grinning that magical grin.
My knees went weak. I wasn’t sure if it was the kiss itself…or the dread of riding.
We mounted our horses and began walking slowly up the hillside. When we reached the top, Marlboro Man pointed across a vast prairie. “See that thicket of trees over there?” he said. “That’s where we’re headed.” Almost immediately, he gave his horse a kick and began to trot across the flat plain. With no prompting from me at all, my horse followed suit. I braced myself, becoming stiff and rigid and resigning myself to looking like a freak in front of my love and also to at least a week of being too sore to move. I held on to the saddle, the reins, and my life as my horse took off in the same direction as Marlboro Man’s.
Not two minutes into our ride, my horse slightly faltered after stepping in a shallow hole. Having no experience with this kind of thing, I reacted, shrieking loudly and pulling wildly on my reins, simultaneously stiffening my body further. The combination didn’t suit my horse, who decided, understandably, that he pretty much didn’t want me on his back anymore. He began to buck, and my life flashed before my eyes--for the first time, I was deathly afraid of horses. I held on for dear life as the huge creature underneath me bounced and reared, but my body caught air, and I knew it was only a matter of time before I’d go flying.
In the distance, I heard Marlboro Man’s voice. “Pull up on the reins! Pull up! Pull up!” My body acted immediately--it was used to responding instantly to that voice, after all--and I pulled up tightly on the horse’s reins. This forced its head to an upright position, which made bucking virtually impossible for the horse. Problem was, I pulled up too tightly and quickly, and the horse reared up. I leaned forward and hugged the saddle, praying I wouldn’t fall off backward and sustain a massive head injury. I liked my head. I wasn’t ready to say good-bye to it.
By the time the horse’s front legs hit the ground, my left leg was dangling out of its stirrup, even as all my dignity was dangling by a thread. Using my balletic agility, I quickly hopped off the horse, tripping and stumbling away the second my feet hit the ground. Instinctively, I began hurriedly walking away--from the horse, from the ranch, from the burning. I didn’t know where I was going--back to L.A., I figured, or maybe I’d go through with Chicago after all. I didn’t care; I just knew I had to keep walking. In the meantime, Marlboro Man had arrived at the scene and quickly calmed my horse, who by now was eating a leisurely morning snack of dead winter grass that had yet to be burned. The nag.
“You okay?” Marlboro Man called out. I didn’t answer. I just kept on walking, determined to get the hell out of Dodge.
It took him about five seconds to catch up with me; I wasn’t a very fast walker. “Hey,” he said, grabbing me around the waist and whipping me around so I was facing him. “Aww, it’s okay. It happens.
Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels)
It is the last evening at home. Everyone is silent. I go to bed early, I seize the pillow, press it against myself and bury my head in it. Who knows if I will ever lie in a feather bed again? Late in the night my mother comes into my room.
She thinks I am asleep, and I pretend to be so. To talk, to stay awake with one another, it is too hard. She sits long into the night although she is in pain and often writhes. At last I can bear it no longer, and pretend I have just wakened up.
”Go and sleep, Mother, you will catch cold here.”
”I can sleep enough later,” she says.
I sit up. ”I don’t go straight back to the front, mother. I have to do four weeks at the training camp. I may come over from there one Sunday, perhaps.”
She is silent. Then she asks gently: ”Are you very much afraid?”
”I would like to tell you to be on your guard against the women out in France. They are no good.” Ah! Mother, Mother! You still think I am a child–why can I not put my head in your lap and weep? Why have I always to be strong and self-controlled? I would like to weep and be comforted too, indeed I am little more than a child; in the wardrobe still hang short, boy’s trousers–it is such a little time ago, why is it over?
”Where we are there aren’t any women, Mother,” I say as calmly as I can.
”And be very careful at the front, Paul.” Ah, Mother, Mother! Why do I not take you in my arms and die with you. What poor wretches we are!
”Yes Mother, I will.”
”I will pray for you every day, Paul.”
Ah! Mother, Mother! Let us rise up and go out, back through the years, where the burden of all this misery lies on us no more, back to you and me alone, mother!
”Perhaps you can get a job that is not so dangerous.”
”Yes, Mother, perhaps I can get into the cookhouse, that can easily be done.”
”You do it then, and if the others say anything–”
”That won’t worry me, mother–”
She sighs. Her face is a white gleam in the darkness. ”Now you must go to sleep, Mother.” She does not reply. I get up and wrap my cover round her shoulders. She supports herself on my arm, she is in pain. And so I take her to her room. I stay with her a little while.
”And you must get well again, Mother, before I come back.”
”Yes, yes, my child.”
”You ought not to send your things to me, Mother. We have plenty to eat out there. You can make much better use of them here.” How destitute she lies there in her bed, she that loves me more than all the world. As I am about to leave, she says hastily: ”I have two pairs of under-pants for you. They are all wool. They will keep you warm. You must not forget to put them in your pack.” Ah! Mother! I know what these under-pants have cost you in waiting, and walking, and begging! Ah! Mother, Mother! how can it be that I must part from you? Who else is there that has any claim on me but you. Here I sit and there you are lying; we have so much to say, and we shall never say it.
”Good-night, my child.” The room is dark. I hear my mother’s breathing, and the ticking of the clock. Outside the window the wind blows and the chestnut trees rustle. On the landing I stumble over my pack, which lies there already made up because I have to leave early in the morning. I bite into my pillow. I grasp the iron rods of my bed with my fists. I ought never to have come here. Out there I was indifferent and often hopeless;–I will never be able to be so again. I was a soldier, and now I am nothing but an agony for myself, for my mother, for everything that is so comfortless and without end.
I ought never to have come on leave.
Erich Maria Remarque (All Quiet on the Western Front)
I no longer require your services." With her head held high, she strode for the door.
Hell and blazes, he wouldn't let her do this! Now when he knew what was at stake.
"You don't want to hear my report?" he called out after her.
She paused near the door. "I don't believe you even have a report."
"I certainly do, a very thorough one. I've only been waiting for my aunt to transcribe my scrawl into something decipherable. Give me a day, and I can offer you names and addresses and dates, whatever you require."
"A day? Just another excuse to put me off so you can wreak more havoc." She stepped into the doorway, and he hurried to catch her by the arm and drag her around to face him.
He ignored the withering glance she cast him. "The viscount is twenty-two years your senior," he said baldly.
Her eyes went wide. "You're making that up."
"He's aged very well, I'll grant you, but he's still almost twice your age. Like many vain Continental gentlemen, he dyes his hair and beard-which is why he appears younger than you think."
That seemed to shake her momentarily. Then she stiffened. "All right, so he's an older man. That doesn't mean he wouldn't make a good husband."
"He's an aging roué, with an invalid sister. The advantages in a match are all his. You'd surely end up taking care of them both. That's probably why he wants to marry you."
"You can't be sure of that."
"No? He's already choosing not to stay here for the house party at night because of his sister. That tells me that he needs help he can't get from servants."
Her eyes met his, hot with resentment. "Because it's hard to find ones who speak Portuguese."
He snorted. "I found out this information from his Portuguese servants. They also told me that his lavish spending is a façade. He's running low on funds. Why do you think his servants gossip about him? They haven't been paid recently. So he’s definitely got his eye on your fortune.”
“Perhaps he does,” she conceded sullenly. “But not the others. Don’t try to claim that of them.”
“I wouldn’t. They’re in good financial shape. But Devonmont is estranged from his mother, and no one knows why. I need more time to determine it, though perhaps your sister-in-law could tell you, if you bothered to ask.”
“Plenty of people don’t get along with their families,” she said stoutly.
“He has a long-established mistress, too.”
A troubled expression crossed her face. “Unmarried men often have mistresses. It doesn’t mean he wouldn’t give her up when he marries.”
He cast her a hard stare. “Are you saying you have no problem with a man paying court to you while he keeps a mistress?”
The sigh that escaped her was all the answer he needed.
“I don’t think he’s interested in marriage, anyway.” She tipped up her chin. “That still leaves the duke.”
“With his mad family.”
“He’s already told me about his father, whom I knew about anyway.”
“Ah, but did you know about his great-uncle? He ended his life in an asylum in Belgium, while there to receive some special treatment for his delirium.”
Her lower lip trembled. “The duke didn’t mention that, no. But then our conversation was brief. I’m sure he’ll tell me if I ask. He was very forthright on the subject of his family’s madness when he offered-“
As she stopped short, Jackson’s heart dropped into his stomach. “Offered what?”
She hesitated, then squared her shoulders. “Marriage, if you must know.”
Damn it all. Jackson had no right to resent it, but the thought of her in Lyons’s arms made him want to smash something. “And of course, you accepted his offer,” he said bitterly. “You couldn’t resist the appeal of being a great duchess.”
Her eyes glittered at him. “You’re the only person who doesn’t see the advantage in such a match.
Sabrina Jeffries (A Lady Never Surrenders (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #5))
Our ongoing Hollywood education included the lesson that moviemaking is not finished once you actually make the movie. After that, you have to promote the movie, because if the audience doesn’t show up, all your hard work is a bit pointless.
But before we could sell Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course to audiences, we had to sell it to the theater owners who were going to show it to the public. So the first stop for our promotional efforts was a gathering of movie theater exhibitors called Show West, in Las Vegas. We would team up there with Bruce Willis, who had an interest in producing our movie.
Bindi and I had been in Oregon for a few days, visiting family, and we planned to catch up with Steve in Las Vegas. But she and I had an ugly incident at the airport when we arrived. A Vegas lowlife approached us, his hat pulled down, big sunglasses on his face, and displaying some of the worst dentistry I’ve ever seen.
He leered at us, obviously drunk or crazy, and tried to kiss me. I backed off rapidly and looked for Steve. I knew I could rely on him to take care of any creep I encountered.
Then it dawned on me: The creep was Steve. In order to move around the airport without anyone recognizing him, he put on false teeth and changed his usual clothes. I didn’t recognize my own husband out of his khakis.
I burst out laughing. Bindi was wide-eyed. “Look, it’s your daddy.” It took her a while before she was sure.
Our Show West presentation featured live wildlife, organized wonderfully by Wes. Bruce Willis spoke. “I sometimes play an action hero myself,” he said, “but you’ll see that Steve is a real-life action hero.”
Bindi brought a ball python out on stage. Backstage, she and Bruce hit it off. He has three daughters of his own, and he immediately connected with Bindi. They wound up playing with the lion cubs and the other animals that Wes had organized there.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
His words caused a rush of heat in her already damp passage. Yeah, she was ready, but it was too fast. They had all night, and she wanted to take advantage.
“Too soon,” she whispered, and moved her lower body out of his reach.
“Jill,” he warned. “I’m close. You want me in you, then don’t make me come.”
She didn’t answer, and instead lowered her mouth to swallow as much of his penis as she could fit.
“Urgh,” Rowan made an incomprehensible noise, and she suddenly found herself on her back with him looming over her. “It’s my turn to dare you. Ready?” He held her down, with his knees on her thighs and his one arm pressed against her shoulder. She could try to overpower him, but it wouldn’t work. He was stronger. And that’s when it hit her how far she’d come under Rowan’s love and care. She’d never dreamed a man could hold her down, and not only wouldn’t it scare her; it aroused her. Because she liked feeling him dominate her.
“Dare me,” she said.
“It’s not going to be easy,” he warned. “I’m still a little pissed you ran from me, and I had to chase you down. We could’ve had our orgasms and been sleeping in our own bed already.”
“I’m sorry,” she said.
“Don’t feel too bad. I got a hotel room with my nearly naked girl. Life is good.”
They smiled at each other. “Take off your jeans,” he ordered.
“Is that the dare?” she teased, “because that’s easy. I’ve been doing it since kindergarten.”
“Smart ass,” he muttered, but it was obvious he was distracted by her shimmying out of her worn jeans.
“Naked ass,” she corrected and shook it at him while on her hands and knees.
“Yep.” He gave it a sharp spank, and her head whirled around to stare at him in shock. She’d been hit on nearly every body part by Jack, and every punch and slap caused humiliation and pain, but when Rowan spanked her, she wanted to arch back and demand more.
“You okay?” he asked, clearly attuned to her stunned surprise.
She nodded and remained on all fours. “What’s the dare?” she asked, expecting a demand to get on her knees and open wide or on her back and spread her legs. Therefore she was stunned at his challenge.
“I dare you to try to run from me again.” He lay back against the headboard and watched her reaction.
It took her three seconds to catch on and another second to be off the bed, springing naked to the door. He’d better catch her before she made it to the hallway. She didn’t want to get kicked out of her hotel stay.
Bam! Her hand was reaching for the doorknob, when Rowan’s big body slammed into her from behind, pressing her breasts against the wood of the door. His hand gripped one wrist and held it above their heads against the door. Her right hand shimmied out from between their bodies to try to free herself, but he managed to grab that too and bound both her wrists in his left hand, holding them captive above her head.
“Get on your toes,” he growled in her ear.
As she rose onto tippy–toes, every inch of his erection slid along her lower back and down the crease of her ass until it bobbed between her legs. She adjusted her stance so the head of his penis probed at her entrance. His hips shifted and he was embedded deep inside. With this angle, she felt full to bursting and every nerve ending touched a part of his body. He overwhelmed her, crushing her front to the door, and pressing his chest to her back. The wood of the door felt scratchy against her cheek, and her toes felt as though they might fly off the ground entirely as he thrust upward.
“Move with me. I dare you,” he said in his deep voice against her right ear.
“It’s my turn to dare,” she said and gasped on a deep thrust.
“Go for it,” he grunted and continued thrusting.
“I dare you to make me come,” she said.
Lynne Silver (Desperate Match (Coded for Love, #5))
Oh, really,” I said, pushing myself to my feet. “I thought it was because you couldn’t get rid of me.” “Well, that, too,” she said with an impish grin. She groaned as she scrambled to her feet. “One thing’s clear at least. I’m going to have to go a little easier on all those refreshments at the balls and afternoon teas and soirees. I think they’re starting to take their toll.” “Very true,” I said, my face serious. “I’d been meaning to say something…” She shot me a worried look, and I couldn’t help grinning. “But I figured you’d notice yourself seeing as how you’ve started having to turn sideways to fit through doors.” She took a swipe at me, but I stepped deftly out of her way. “See?” I said, still smiling. “You’re getting slow, too.” She rolled her eyes, and I ducked in close enough to whisper in her ear. “You wouldn’t want to risk looking less than perfect for Miles now, would you?” She exclaimed in outrage and tried once again to catch me. I escaped her easily, and she proceeded to chase me around the fountains, much to the amusement of the children who followed behind us, shrieking encouragement to one or the other of us. I eluded her for several minutes, ducking behind fountains and jumping over benches, purely for the entertainment of our audience. She entered into the drama with equal enthusiasm, pretending to be slower than she really was. When I eventually let her catch me, we both collapsed onto a bench, laughing. “Don’t think I didn’t notice the blush,” I whispered, too quietly for the children to hear. “I hope you’re not forgetting who Miles is.” I shot her a warning look, and she met my eyes, her own full of guilt. But Ava approached us before she could reply. “If you two are quite finished, we should probably get back to the castle now.” I jumped to my feet, but she was smiling so I relaxed. “As you command, Your Majesty,” I said, bowing low. The children laughed again, and Ava shook her head at me. We were all still smiling when we left the square. None of us were really in a hurry to get back, so we walked, leading the horses behind us. Ava and Sarah were talking idly about the court when a voice called to Ava from across the street. I turned around and sucked in a sharp breath. It was Anhalt, one arm raised in greeting and a broad smile on his face. I had just enough time to whisper his name to Ava and Sarah before he had crossed over to join us. I was careful to keep my face free of all emotion as Sarah and I dropped back to walk respectfully behind Ava and the count. Anhalt seemed delighted with our chance encounter and determined to make the most of his unexpected audience with the queen. I watched the surrounding streets with my usual vigilance while I wondered if his voice really sounded so oily, or if it was my own feelings painting my perception of them. Sarah was listening intently to their conversation, her eyes never leaving the count’s form. I knew she would be paying attention for any clues, so I stopped listening myself, devoting my full attention to watching for any threat to the queen. I wasn’t sure if it was this extra attentiveness or just a heightened sense of alert due to the count’s presence, but I noticed an odd flicker of movement as we passed a small side alley. It was barely more than a shifting of shadow, and I could easily have missed it. Instead I tensed, my hand flying to my sword hilt. In one step, I placed myself between Ava and the alley. She turned to look at me, surprised out of her conversation by my sudden movement. I spoke to her but kept my eyes trained on the shadows. “It might be nothing, but I think it would be a good idea if we moved a bit faster, Your Majesty.
Melanie Cellier (Happily Ever Afters: A Reimagining of Snow White and Rose Red (The Four Kingdoms, #2.5))
Dear Wildest Dreams,
Although I am trapped in sadness and sorrow, you are one of my favorite thoughts. You give me faith to dream. I imagine I am falling, but you catch me and cover me in your bed of flowers. You smell so sweet. You are so loving. When I think about you, no harm can come to me. You protect me from my quiet thoughts, and if someone tries to hurt me, you will pierce them with your thorns and coil them up in your invasive vines. Dear Wildest Dreams, this moment, right here and right now, is perfect. You are a safe place. I feel so calm when I am in your presence. I am so happy here, please stay. In my wildest dreams, I have a family who cares. We do the simplest things, such as go on family walks while I hold hands with my mom, dad, and Kace. We have dinner at the table, and my parents asked me about my day. I have my own room, and it is beautiful! I have a real bed and many books! I have fresh water to drink. I can soak in the bathtub, play with bubbles, and just relax. I have the perfect simple life. Dear Wildest Dreams, thank you for this moment.
You made my day.
Charlena E. Jackson (Pinwheels and Dandelions)
Dammit, woman,” Kye cursed, rushing after me. “Slow down!”
I whirled around then, slipping but catching myself. Please, let’s pile on the humiliation with busting my ass outside the lodge.
“They think I don’t know I’m a mess?” I shouted, my voice shrill and filled with emotion I didn’t want to feel. “Well news flash: I know! I have to live with myself, it’s hard to miss!”
And now snot was leaking out of my nose. Perfect! I swiped it with the back of my hand, grossed out and embarrassed. God, why couldn’t I get anything right?
“Don’t look at me,” I cried when Kye was only a few steps away. “Why can’t I just be normal?”
Kye’s eyes were crinkled at the edges and I saw pity there. It nearly killed me all over again. “Please don’t look at me that way.” I couldn’t deal with pity.
“Holly?” Kye gently chucked his knuckles under my chin, lifting my gaze to his. “Fuck those people.”
His poignant sentiment caught me off guard and I regrettably snorted, which was disgusting in my current state.
“I mean it.” His fingers gave my chin a squeeze. And then he did the most startling, yet comforting, thing. He cupped my face, carefully brushing the cold tears off my cheeks with his thumbs while I stared up at him.
I’d been mistaken. It wasn’t pity in his eyes. It was only kindness. Maybe even a little buried rage if his grimace was any clue.
“They don’t deserve your time. They don’t even deserve the pleasure of your company.”
I shook my head, sarcastically mumbling, “Because I’m such a gift.”
“You’re damn right.” He smirked before his expression turned sincere. “You’re amazing Holly. This flawed, quirky, amazing woman.”
Why did my heart speed up? His words replayed in my head. Again. And again.
Flawed, quirky, amazing.
He said those words with such earnestness, they burned into me. They stamped all over my heart what I already knew about Kye.
What I forced myself to deny, to avoid at all costs, to pretend wasn’t real...
I loved him.
Against my better judgment and beyond all reason.
I love you. I love you, my silent voice screamed inside my head.
I was in love with Kye and I was doomed because I couldn’t free him. Didn’t know how and didn’t know if it was even possible.
This relationship—real or fake—was on a ticking timer to its imminent demise and there was no emergency exit off this road to misery.
Poppy Rhys (While You Were Creeping (Women of Dor Nye))
As Tim held the baby, I rested my head back on the pillow; I was too tired to hold it together much longer.
“How’s she eating?” Tim asked. A funny question. He seemed genuinely interested.
“Pretty good,” I said, squirming a little bit at the subject matter. “I think she’ll catch on after a while.”
Catch on? Latch on? I was so confused.
“You’re feeding her your own milk, right?” Tim asked awkwardly.
Feeding her your own milk?
“Um, yes…,” I answered. “I’m br…I’m breast-feeding.” Tim, could you please go now?
Then he let me have it. “You know, you need to be careful not to get a sour bag.”
I sat there, staring blankly ahead. Little did I know it was but one of the many times my brother-in-law would draw a parallel between me and livestock.
Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels)
But every once in a great while, the pull of her heritage would hit her, and Grand-mere would cook something real. I could never figure out what it was that triggered her, but I would come home from school to a glorious aroma. An Apfel-strudel, with paper-thin pastry wrapped around chunks of apples and nuts and raisins. The thick smoked pork chops called Kasseler ribs, braised in apple cider and served with caraway-laced sauerkraut. A rich baked dish with sausages, duck, and white beans. And hoppel poppel. A traditional German recipe handed down from her mother. I haven't even thought of it in years. But when my mom left, it was the only thing I could think to do for Joe, who was confused and heartbroken, and it was my best way to try to get something in him that didn't come in a cardboard container. I never got to learn at her knee the way many granddaughters learn to cook; she never shared the few recipes that were part of my ancestry. But hoppel poppel is fly by the seat of your pants, it doesn't need a recipe; it's a mess, just like me. It's just what the soul needs.
I grab an onion, and chop half of it. I cut up the cold cooked potatoes into chunks. I pull one of my giant hot dogs out, and cut it into thick coins. Grand-mere used ham, but Joe loved it with hot dogs, and I do too. Plus I don't have ham. I whisk six eggs in a bowl, and put some butter on to melt. The onions and potatoes go in, and while they are cooking, I grate a pile of Swiss cheese, nicking my knuckle, but catching myself before I bleed into my breakfast. By the time I get a Band-Aid on it, the onions have begun to burn a little, but I don't care. I dump in the hot dogs and hear them sizzle, turning down the heat so that I don't continue to char the onions. When the hot dogs are spitting and getting a little browned, I add the eggs and stir up the whole mess like a scramble. When the eggs are pretty much set, I sprinkle the cheese over the top and take it off the heat, letting the cheese melt while I pop three slices of bread in the toaster. When the toast is done, I butter it, and eat the whole mess on the counter, using the crispy buttered toast to scoop chunk of egg, potato, and hot dog into my mouth, strings of cheese hanging down my chin. Even with the burnt onions, and having overcooked the eggs to rubbery bits, it is exactly what I need.
Stacey Ballis (Recipe for Disaster)
Had a dream about you, y’know. Dreamt that ye slid into bed with me and kept me nice and warm. Dreamt of yer lips against—” “Captain O’ Devir, I do not care to know the content of your dreams.” “Ah, looks like someone else is out of sorts until her mornin’ coffee, eh?” “I do not drink coffee.” “Well, ye won’t be drinkin’ tea while aboard an American ship, Sunshine, for reasons both practical and political. So if ye want a good hot beverage to perk ye up, ye’ll have to take coffee. Soak some hard tack in it and it makes both more palatable.” “I am going to starve to death while I’m here, I just know it.” “I’ll catch ye another fish. Can’t have a dead hostage now, can I?” “You’ll be dead enough when my brother Lu—” He laughed, his eyes sparkling with merriment. “Yes, yes, I know, we’ve already sailed those seas, lass.
Danelle Harmon (The Wayward One (The de Montforte Brothers, #5))
Rolling my eyes, I took Dylan’s hand and followed Harlow inside. Jace sat in the front of the TV. I knew he was grumpy based on the way he didn’t look at me.
When I flopped next to him on the couch, he did smile.
“You smell like a strip club,” he said, narrowing his eyes at me.
“How would you know?”
“I’m not telling you my secrets.”
Shaking my head, I sighed loudly. “Why do you make me do this to you? It’s like you want to suffer.”
Jace knew what was coming, but his escape came too late. I pinned him on the couch and tickled him. Despite his efforts to seem unfazed, he couldn’t withstand armpit tickling.
While I tormented my laughing brother, Dad and Mom walked out from the kitchen.
“He missed you,” Mom said as I finally let Jace up.
Catching his breath, my brother leaned next to me on the couch. “I miss beating you at videogames.”
“I miss you beating me too,” I said, kissing his head.
Harlow flopped on the couch next to us and I smiled at the familiar comfort of my family.
Dylan watched us with a slight grin. When he caught Tad and Toni’s gazes, his smile grew.
Suspicious now, I glanced at Harlow who was busy gluing herself to me. “Are they up to something?” I whispered. “Am I going to be embarrassed?”
“I don’t know. If you feel embarrassed, I’ll punch Dylan in the crotch and distract everyone.”
Rolling my eyes at her threat, I studied Dylan who grinned at me.
“What?” I asked, nervous now.
“She’s on to you,” Dad said. “Better ask now before she gets squirrely.”
“Squirrely,” Jace snorted. “She gets batty too.”
Harlow laughed. “Winnie can do so many animal impressions.”
Ignoring them, I stood up and walked to a still smiling Dylan.
“What happened to patience?”
Without thinking, I reached to pinch my hand. Dylan took both hands then knelt on one knee.
“Don’t,” Harlow blurted, grabbing for me.
Everyone frowned at her. A moment passed where she stared at me in horror. Suddenly, she shrugged. “I meant don’t stop. Go ahead, Dylan.”
The mood in the room shifted back to anticipation. Our gaze focused on Dylan who smiled up at me.
“I know it’s been a few weeks. I don’t care. I love you and you love me, right?”
“I love you so much.”
“I’m not stupid. I know we’ll have problems. We run into issues. When we do, we’ll work them out. We’ll figure them out because we belong together. You believe that, don’t you?”
“Yes,” I whispered, staring into his beautiful dark eyes.
“Winona Todds, you are perfection and I refuse to live without you. Will you marry me?”
My legs turning to jelly, I knelt down too. “Yes,” I whispered, afraid he was about to change his mind. Maybe it was a trick. All these awful things rushed through my mind. I wasn’t good enough for Dylan. He was going to leave me one day. I didn’t deserve to be happy when I was so weak.
“You love me,” he whispered, pressing his forehead against mine. “You want me to be happy.”
“Yes,” I said, tears rolling down my cheeks.
“You’re what I need to survive.”
“I’m not really strong yet.”
“I love you now. I don’t want to wait. Do you want to wait for me?”
Shaking my head, I looked at my smiling parents then back at Dylan.
“We’re in love and planning to live together. We need to make our relationship official, so your daddy won’t kick my ass.”
Even laughing, I asked, “You want this?”
“I can give up everything else in my life, but never you. Married or not, you belong with me.”
I exhaled uneasily then smiled. “Yes, I will marry you.
Bijou Hunter (Damaged and the Bulldog (Damaged, #6))
He urged the horse a little faster and when he was within her hearing, he whistled. The piercing sound cut through the air and Vanni turned her mount toward him. She took one look at him, turned and kicked Chico’s flank, taking off. “Goddammit!” he swore. So, this was how it would be—not easy. He was going to have to take off the gloves. He risked being thrown by giving Liberty a snap with the end of his rein. The stallion reared. Paul hung on, then leaned low in the saddle while Liberty closed the space between them. By God, he was going to catch her, make her listen, get through to her. There was no one within shouting distance to distract them. For once in his life, he was going to finish! Even if he had to cover Vanessa’s mouth with his hand! It only took him a few minutes to catch up to her, thanks to Liberty, the champion of the stable. Pulling alongside Vanni he reached out over her hands and grabbed her reins, pulling Chico to a stop. The expression she turned on him was fierce. “What?” she demanded. “Listen to me!” he retorted. “Make it quick!” “Fine. Here’s quick. I love you. I’ve always loved you.I loved you before Matt saw you, but I didn’t have hisguts and I hung back. I’ve regretted that forever. Now I have—” “A baby coming,” she interrupted, lifting her chin. “Listen! I don’t know much about being a father! Just what I watched when I was growing up! And you know what I saw? I saw my parents with their arms around each other all the time! I saw them look at each other with all kinds of emotions—love and trust and commitment and—Vanni, here’s the ugly truth—if I made a baby, I’m not angry about that. It wasn’t on purpose, but I’m not angry. I’ll do my damn best, and I’m real sorry that I’m not in love with the baby’s mother. I’ll still take care of them—and not just by writing a check. I’ll be involved—take care of the child like a real father, support the mother the best I can. What that child is not going to see is his parents looking at each other like they’ve made a terrible mistake. I want him to see his dad with his arms around his wife and—” “Did you try?” she asked. “Did you give the woman who’s got your baby in her a chance?” “Is that what you want for her? She’s a decent person, Vanessa—she didn’t get pregnant on purpose. You want her stuck with a man who’s got another woman on his mind? I didn’t want this to happen to her—I’m not sticking her with half a husband! She deserves a chance to find someone who can give her the real thing.” “But she loves you. She does, doesn’t she? She wanted to get married.” “Vanessa, she’s scared and alone. It’s what comes to mind. She’ll be all right when she realizes I’m not going to let her down. And I’m not going to—” “All this because you couldn’t open your mouth and say how you felt, what you wanted,” she said hotly. “I wanted so little from you—just a word or gesture—some hint that you had feelings for me. Instead, you took your wounded little heart to another woman and—” She stopped her tirade as she saw his eyes narrow and his frown deepen. He glared at her for a long moment, then he jumped off the stallion, her mount’s reins still in his hands. He led the horses the short distance to the river’s edge, to a bank of trees. “What are you doing?” she asked, hanging on to the pommel. He secured the horses at a fallen tree, then reached up to her, grabbed her around the waist and pulled her none too gently out of the saddle. He whirled her around and pressed her up against a tree, holding her wrists over her head and pinioning her there with the whole length of his body. His face was close to hers. “You never opened your mouth, either,” he said. She was stunned speechless. She couldn’t remember a time Paul had ever behaved like this—aggressive, commanding. He leaned closer. “Open it now,” he demanded of her just before he covered her mouth with his.
Robyn Carr (Second Chance Pass)
ahead. He urged the horse a little faster and when he was within her hearing, he whistled. The piercing sound cut through the air and Vanni turned her mount toward him. She took one look at him, turned and kicked Chico’s flank, taking off. “Goddammit!” he swore. So, this was how it would be—not easy. He was going to have to take off the gloves. He risked being thrown by giving Liberty a snap with the end of his rein. The stallion reared. Paul hung on, then leaned low in the saddle while Liberty closed the space between them. By God, he was going to catch her, make her listen, get through to her. There was no one within shouting distance to distract them. For once in his life, he was going to finish! Even if he had to cover Vanessa’s mouth with his hand! It only took him a few minutes to catch up to her, thanks to Liberty, the champion of the stable. Pulling alongside Vanni he reached out over her hands and grabbed her reins, pulling Chico to a stop. The expression she turned on him was fierce. “What?” she demanded. “Listen to me!” he retorted. “Make it quick!” “Fine. Here’s quick. I love you. I’ve always loved you.I loved you before Matt saw you, but I didn’t have hisguts and I hung back. I’ve regretted that forever. Now I have—” “A baby coming,” she interrupted, lifting her chin. “Listen! I don’t know much about being a father! Just what I watched when I was growing up! And you know what I saw? I saw my parents with their arms around each other all the time! I saw them look at each other with all kinds of emotions—love and trust and commitment and—Vanni, here’s the ugly truth—if I made a baby, I’m not angry about that. It wasn’t on purpose, but I’m not angry. I’ll do my damn best, and I’m real sorry that I’m not in love with the baby’s mother. I’ll still take care of them—and not just by writing a check. I’ll be involved—take care of the child like a real father, support the mother the best I can. What that child is not going to see is his parents looking at each other like they’ve made a terrible mistake. I want him to see his dad with his arms around his wife and—” “Did you try?” she asked. “Did you give the woman who’s got your baby in her a chance?” “Is that what you want for her? She’s a decent person, Vanessa—she didn’t get pregnant on purpose. You want her stuck with a man who’s got another woman on his mind? I didn’t want this to happen to her—I’m not sticking her with half a husband! She deserves a chance to find someone who can give her the real thing.” “But she loves you. She does, doesn’t she? She wanted to get married.” “Vanessa, she’s scared and alone. It’s what comes to mind. She’ll be all right when she realizes I’m not going to let her down. And I’m not going to—” “All this because you couldn’t open your mouth and say how you felt, what you wanted,” she said hotly. “I wanted so little from you—just a word or gesture—some hint that you had feelings for me. Instead, you took your wounded little heart to another woman and—” She stopped her tirade as she saw his eyes narrow and his frown deepen. He glared at her for a long moment, then he jumped off the stallion, her mount’s reins still in his hands. He led the horses the short distance to the river’s edge, to a bank of trees. “What are you doing?” she asked, hanging on to the pommel. He secured the horses at a fallen tree, then reached up to her, grabbed her around the waist and pulled her none too gently out of the saddle. He whirled her around and pressed her up against a tree, holding her wrists over her head and pinioning her there with the whole length of his body. His face was close to hers. “You never opened your mouth, either,” he said. She was stunned speechless. She couldn’t remember a time Paul had ever behaved like this—aggressive, commanding. He leaned closer. “Open it now,” he demanded of her just before he covered her mouth with his.
Robyn Carr (Second Chance Pass)
When I got closer I heard Brandon’s warm animated voice and slowed, trying to hear whatever he was telling our son. I was already smiling to myself when I peeked around the slightly ajar door, he was talking to him about one of his surfing days. No … he was talking to him about one of Chase’s surfing days. And he had the scrapbook of Chase’s life on the dresser below them, pointing to one of the pictures. A soft gasp escaped my chest and I tried to slow my breathing so I could continue to listen without Brandon knowing I was here. “… he was always doing crazy stuff like that, it’s why everyone loved him, but it got him in trouble more times than not. No one else would have continued to surf after that, and we were all trying to get him to come in. Brad and I rode out to force him to, since he had this huge cut on his eyebrow from where that guy punched him, but by the time we got out there he was already catching another wave and riding it in. I swear he knew how to piss us off too, because those guys weren’t happy we started coming back out. Your dad could out-surf those guys, and I could fight them, but just a warning son, don’t ever try to fight someone while on your surfboard out in the ocean. It doesn’t really work out for anyone, and you look stupid trying to throw punches while treading water. We ended up laughing too hard and inviting them to the party that night, calling a truce.” Brandon flipped to the next page and chuckled lightly, pointing at one of the pictures again, “Like I said, he was crazy and always doing stupid crap,” flipping the page again he pointed to one and said softly, “but your mom changed that.” I froze and tilted my head in even further. “The day I met your mom, I knew she would be in my life forever. There was something about her and I knew I was already falling in love with her that first day. She made you want to be better, to attempt to be worthy of her love. Unfortunately your dad felt the same way; no one understood why he drastically changed, except for me. Even though she was with me, he stopped drinking, stopped sleeping with other girls, it’s like she made him instantly mature into the guy he eventually wanted to be so he could have an opportunity with her. I was always afraid I’d lose her to him someday, it’s like I knew it was a matter of when, not if. But your mom was different, I’d dated plenty of girls, but I hadn’t really cared if they were there or not. It was just someone to try to fill the ache of losing my dad. So when I met her and realized my feelings, I fought to keep her as long as I could. Don’t tell your momma, but Chase and I were constantly fighting over her when she wasn’t around. Hell, we even fought over her when she was around. We knew either of us could have any girl we wanted, but we both only wanted Harper. So of course, being us, words were used and fists flew whenever we were alone. I didn’t tell her this, but I already knew what had happened with your dad before she told me. When I got home from break, and Chase never bothered me again, I knew something had happened. I just didn’t know what yet. But you know what little man? I can’t even be mad about it anymore, because if it hadn’t happened, you wouldn’t be here right now.” He gently kissed our three month old son who was completely enthralled in his stories and pointed to the last picture in the book. “And he loved you and your mom, so much. I’ll always remind you of that, but I wish you could have met him.” I
Molly McAdams (Taking Chances (Taking Chances, #1))
He tips his glass and drinks. So does Matt. And everyone in the crowd. Except me. “What’s wrong?” Matt asks. “Nothing,” I say. I motion my mother forward, and she puts a box in my hands. It’s small, but it’s weighty at the same time. “I have a present for you.” “I thought our honeymoon was our present to each other,” he reminds me with a scowl. We’re leaving for the Carolina coast for a week with the kids tonight. I can’t wait. I motion for him to take my package. “The vacation is our gift. This is just extra.” I blink back the tears that are already forming in my eyes. He makes a face and opens up the box. He looks inside and then gets confused. He pulls the tiny little item out of the box. It’s a onesie that has tattoo designs all over it, and on the back, it has the name Reed. “What’s this?” he asks, confused. Then his eyes grow wide. Friday gasps when she realizes what’s going on, and the rest of the crowd rumbles and fidgets. “Is this…?” he asks. He stops, because he’s choked with emotion. “Yes,” I say. Tears roll down my face, and I don’t care. I lean close to him. “You knocked me up.” He takes me in his arms and pulls me close, and a sob rolls through him. “Are you serious?” “Completely serious, Matt,” I say. “But wait.” I look down and shake the onesie out. A second one falls out, and Matt catches it in the air. “Two?” he asks. I nod, so broken by his reaction that I can’t speak. “Two tiny little heartbeats,” I say as soon as I can. “Holy fuck,” he breathes into my ear. He squeezes me so tightly that I chirp. “I love you so fucking much,” he says to me. He takes a second to breathe me in and compose himself, then he drops to his knees and lays his forehead on my belly. He says something quietly to his unborn children, and I’m not even sure what it was, but I do know it was between him and them. Or him and God. I’m not sure which. Then he stands and looks up at the crowd. Half of them are as teary-eyed as we are. “Do you know what this means?” he asks our friends and family. They rumble, but he can’t hear one voice over another. He points to Logan. “This means my sperm are better swimmers than yours, little brother!” he says. He signs while he talks, and Logan flips him off. But he’s laughing. He wraps his arms around Emily and lays his hands on the small swell of her belly. I slap his shoulder. “What if it’s my eggs that are amazing and not your sperm?” “What if it’s just us?” he asks quietly, and he kisses me. “Us together.” “I told you I believe in miracles, Matt,” I say when I can finally lift my head. “You’re my miracle,” he says. “You. Just you.
Tammy Falkner (Maybe Matt's Miracle (The Reed Brothers, #4))
Miss Hathaway--” Christopher continued to object, but he fell silent, blinking, as she reached out and touched his chest. Her fingertips rested over his heart for the space of one heartbeat.
“Let me try,” she said gently.
Christopher fell back a step, his breath catching. His body responded to her touch with disconcerting swiftness. A lady never put her hand to any area of a man’s torso unless the circumstances were so extreme that…well, he couldn’t even imagine what would justify it. Perhaps if his waistcoat was on fire, and she was trying to put it out. Other than that, he couldn’t think of any defensible reason.
And yet if he were to point out the breach of etiquette, the act of correcting a lady was just as graceless. Troubled and aroused, Christopher gave her a single nod.
The men resumed their seats after Beatrix had left the room.
“Forgive us, Captain Phelan,” Amelia murmured. “I can see that my sister startled you. Really, we’ve tried to learn better manners, but we’re Philistines, all of us. And while Beatrix is out of hearing, I would like to assure you that she doesn’t usually dress so outlandishly. However, every now and then she goes on an undertaking that makes long skirts inadvisable. Replacing a bird in a nest, for example, or training a horse, and so forth.”
“A more conventional solution,” Christopher said carefully, “would be to forbid the activity that necessitated the wearing of men’s garments.”
Rohan grinned. “One of my private rules for dealing with Hathaways,” he said, “is never to forbid them anything. Because that guarantees they’ll keep doing it.”
“Heavens, we’re not as bad as all that,” Amelia protested.
Rohan gave his wife a speaking glance, his smile lingering. “Hathaways require freedom,” he told Christopher, “Beatrix in particular. An ordinary life--being contained in parlors and drawing rooms--would be a prison for her. She relates to the world in a far more vital and natural way than any gadji I’ve ever known.” Seeing Christopher’s incomprehension, he added, “That’s the word the Rom uses for females of your kind.”
“And because of Beatrix,” Amelia said, “we possess a menagerie of creatures no one else wants: a goat with an undershot jaw, a three-legged cat, a portly hedgehog, a mule with an unbalanced build, and so forth.”
“A mule?” Christopher stared at her intently, but before he could ask about it, Beatrix returned with Albert on the leash.
Lisa Kleypas (Love in the Afternoon (The Hathaways, #5))
Show off,” Taylor told him. “Just because Brody has only human strength right now.” Veris grinned. “Let me enjoy the superiority while I can.” She rolled her eyes. “Men. Who cares who is stronger?” Brody slid his hand over her waist. “He’s stroking his own ego, anyway. He’s always stronger, even when I’m vampire.” “And I’ve always told you strength is mostly a mental thing…” Veris drew in a breath and caught Brody’s face between his hands. “Guds, I missed you.” He kissed him, slowly and deeply, and Taylor’s body fizzed and bloomed as she watched them share the intimate expression. She loved this side of their three-way relationship. She loved watching them together and she loved catching hints of their long, long past together. Both of them were typical males; they didn’t share intimacies and didn’t like talking about themselves except for moment like now when their guard was down and they felt completely secure and safe. Taylor pieced together the story of their relationship before she had met them one fragment at a time and she still didn’t have the full picture for it was a story that stretched over a thousand years.
Tracy Cooper-Posey (Kiss Across Chains (Kiss Across Time #3))
cows. I thought that any cow that has had a calf can be milked. Even she isn’t totally sure about that, but she knows that these are bred for the purpose of giving milk. Luke doesn’t care, he just enjoys getting milk to drink. Tomorrow we will finish the fence to keep the cows in that pasture, then I will work on getting water to flow into the cabin. We started that project when Levi and Moses were helping me. Now I should be able to at least get the water to flow into the house. The way the stream that they have been getting water from runs, I kind of change my mind and talk to Miss Mary about it also. Instead of digging the path for the stream to go directly into the house we both kind of think it would be better to add a small room onto the addition and run the stream through there. That way there would not be access into the main cabin through the stream. There would be a door to the small room which could be locked from inside the cabin. With that decided I get to work building the small addition to the addition. That takes me a day and a half, then I dig the streambed into the addition. It loops into the room and also continues on the normal path that it always has. Miss Mary likes it because now when they want to bathe or do anything that takes water they do not have to go outside and carry the water back to the cabin. Miss Mary and Luke are really enjoying the milk. She got so excited about it that she and Luke took a ride over to the other farms to take them some. Martha Brown has a butter churn, but hasn’t had any use for it in quite a while. She lent it to Miss Mary so now she is going to make butter for all of them. I am continuing to keep up with the weeding and making sure that the crops get water when they need it. Luckily we have had enough rain to keep everything growing great. The newest crops that we planted are catching up with the original ones and should be ready to harvest in plenty of time before winter gets here. To make sure there are no problems over the cows and the calves that I brought in, I made a branding iron to Miss Mary’s specifications and branded all of them with it. I also branded all of the horses she has so that no one can lay claim to them. Not that anyone probably will, but it is always best to avoid problems when we can. Life on a working farm always leaves something for us to be working on. Whenever I find myself with what may be considered free time, I
Edward Vought (Nephi's Code)
I am SAM, and this is my first mission. Wish me luck. Actually, don’t bother. I’m that good. I need to move fast, but I have to be careful too.This high-tech fortress disguised as a middle school has security systems like Hershey, Pennsylvania, has chocolate. My biggest concern (and archnemesis) is Jan I. Tor. He’s the half-human, half-cyborg “cleaning service” they use for “light security” around here. Yeah, right. Tor’s definition of “light security” is that he only kills you once if he finds you. So I wait in super-stealthy silence while Tor hovers past my hiding spot with his motion detectors running, laser cannons loaded, and a big dust mop attachment on his robotic arm. He’s cleaning that floor to within an inch of its life, but it could be me next. As soon as Tor’s out of range, I slip off my tungsten gripper shoes. Believe me, once he’s been through here, you do not want to leave footprints behind. That would be like leaving a business card in Sergeant Stricker’s in-box. Stricker is the big cheese who runs this place, and she’s all human, but just as scary as Tor. I don’t want to rumble with either one of those two. So I program the shoes to self-destruct and drop them in the trash. FWOOM! The coast is clear now, and I sneak back into action. I work my way up the corridor in my spy socks, quiet as a ghost walking on cotton balls. Very, very puffy cotton balls—I’m that quiet. What I need is the perfect place to leave the package I came here to deliver. That’s the mission, but I can’t just do it anywhere. I have to choose wisely. Bathroom? Nah. Too echoey. Library? Nah. Only one exit, and I can’t take that risk. Main lobby? Hmm… maybe so. In fact, I wish I’d thought of that on my way in. I could have saved myself one very expensive pair of tungsten gripper shoes. Once my radar-enabled Rolex watch tells me the main lobby is clear, I slide in there and get right to work. I enter the access code on my briefcase, confirm with my thumbprint, and then pop the case open. After that, it takes exactly seven seconds and one ordinary roll of masking tape to secure my package to the wall. That’s it. Package delivered. Mission accomplished. Catch you next time—because there’s no way you’ll ever catch me. SAM out!
James Patterson (Just My Rotten Luck (Middle School #7))
When the Sky Woman was pleased with this new world, the Creator sent First Man down to be her husband and help her care for the new land. At first they were happy, but eventually they began to argue.
After one particularly bitter argument, Sky Woman grabbed her belongings and walked away from her husband. “I am going to find somewhere else to live,” she said. “You are lazy and you ignore me all the time.” She turned her back on him and left.
Soon, First Man began to regret his harsh words, and he tried to catch up with his wife so he could apologize. But after struggling to reach her, he realized that she was simply too far ahead of him. He cried to the Creator, “Slow her down, Creator! I want to tell her how much she means to me!”
The Creator heard his cries and answered, “Is her soul one with yours?”
“We have been one since time began,” First Man answered. “We have been one since you breathed life into us, and we will remain one until the end of time.”
The Creator was touched by the man’s words, and he intervened to stop her. As the woman walked, he caused plants to grow at her feet to slow her down. On one side of her, blackberries sprang up, and on the other, huckleberries, but she avoided them and walked on. He made gooseberries and serviceberries grow on either side of her, but she kept going. Finally the Creator grabbed a handful of strawberry plants that were growing in his garden and cast them down in front of her, where they began to bloom and ripen. The berries looked so good, Sky Woman paused to try one. As she picked and ate the berries, her anger disappeared, and while she filled her basket with the fruit, she began to wish that her husband was there to share it with her. Just then, First Man appeared, his heart full of gladness to have found his wife. With a smile, she took a strawberry from her basket and placed it in his mouth. He smiled with pleasure and gave thanks to the Creator. Together they returned home hand in hand, eating strawberries along the way.
Philip Stewart (Cherokee (North American Indians Today))
What has put that look on your face, Sophie?” “What look?” She laid the child in the cradle where Vim had set it near the hearth. “Like you just lost your best friend.” “I was thinking of fostering Kit.” And just like that, she was blinking back tears. She tugged the blankets up around the baby, who immediately set about kicking them away. “Naughty baby,” she whispered. “You’ll catch a chill.” “Sophie?” A large male hand landed on her shoulder. “Sophie, look at me.” She shook her head and tried again to secure Kit’s blankets. “My dear, you are crying.” Another hand settled on the opposite shoulder, and now the kindness was palpable in his voice. Vim turned her gently into his embrace and wrapped both arms around her. It wasn’t a careful, tentative hug. It was a secure embrace. He wasn’t offering her a fleeting little squeeze to buck her up, he was holding her, his chin propped on her crown, the entire solid length of his body available to her for warmth and support. Which had the disastrous effect of turning a trickle of tears into a deluge. “I can’t keep him.” She managed four words around the lump in her throat. “To think of him being passed again into the keeping of strangers… I can’t…” “Hush.” He held a hanky up to her nose, one laden with the bergamot scent she already associated with him. For long minutes, Sophie struggled to regain her equilibrium while Vim stroked his hand slowly over her back. “Babies do this,” Vim said quietly. “They wear you out physically and pluck at your heartstrings and coo and babble and wend their way into your heart, and there’s nothing you can do stop it. Nobody is asking you to give the child up now.” “They won’t have to ask. In my position, I can’t be keeping somebody else’s castoff—” She stopped, hating the hysterical note that had crept into her voice and hating that she might have just prompted the man to whom she was clinging to ask her what exactly her position was. “Kit is not a castoff. He’s yours, and you’re keeping him. Maybe you will foster him elsewhere for a time, but he’ll always be yours too.” She didn’t quite follow the words rumbling out of him. She focused instead on the feel of his arms around her, offering support and security while she parted company temporarily with her dignity. “You are tired, and that baby has knocked you off your pins, Sophie Windham. You’re borrowing trouble if you try to sort out anything more complicated right now than what you’ll serve him for dinner.” She’d grown up with five brothers, and she’d watched her papa in action any number of times. She knew exactly what Vim was up to, but she took the bait anyway. “He loved the apples.” This time when Vim offered her his handkerchief, she took it, stepping back even as a final sigh shuddered through her. “He
Grace Burrowes (Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish (The Duke's Daughters, #1; Windham, #4))
She was every bit of everything he remembered about her, all at once and all at the same time. That was Kerry McCrae in a nutshell, he thought. All at once, full on, 100 percent real. No bullshit.
She froze on seeing him, and while the wariness in her beautiful green eyes wasn’t a surprise, the vulnerability sure was. “Starfish--”
“Don’t call me that,” she said, then immediately, and less stridently, added, “Not here.” She ducked around him before he could react and was down the set of wooden steps leading off the narrow cement loading dock that ran along the back of the pub, heading across the gravel lot.
He started after her. He might not have handled any of this even close to how he’d planned, but he wasn’t flying all the way back home without at least a conversation. A private conversation. You might have wanted to lead with that, you yobbo. “Kerry, wait.”
“Not here,” she repeated, then opened the driver’s side door to a beat-up old navy blue truck that looked like it was more rust than actual metal. “Get in.”
“I’ve got a rental. I’ll be happy to--”
She swung her laser green gaze to his. “Get in.” She slammed the door without waiting for a reply, then slammed it a second time to get the handle to catch.
He climbed in the passenger side, not all that surprised to find the inside of the cab surprisingly clean and as well maintained as possible, given the thing had one tire, if not two, in the grave. Kerry McCrae had never fussed about how she looked or what she wore, but when it came to property or equipment, whether it be her own or simply entrusted to her care, no matter how old or worn out, she had a dab hand at keeping it clean and neat, all systems go. Her concern was never about appearance, just functionality and getting the job done.
It was sexy as hell then, and it was sexy as hell now.
Donna Kauffman (Starfish Moon (Brides of Blueberry Cove, #3))
Holes start to close fast.” He threaded the bar quickly through his left nipple, hissing at the slight sting of pain, which made him hard. And Prophet watched the whole thing with complete and utter interest. “Dude, that had to hurt.” “That’s the whole point.” His voice was rough, his hands were shaking, and, in tandem, his head was beginning to throb. He refused to tell Prophet any of it. But Prophet was next to him, taking the remaining piercings from him. “I’ll do it.” “No.” “Why?” Because I’m gonna get hard if you touch me. “Fine.” Prophet capped the piercing Tom had already put in. Then he tugged the other nipple toward him and slid the piercing in, capping it expertly while Tommy watched. He didn’t bother to hide his erection through the towel. He knows you’re already hard. “Okay?” Prophet asked, and Tom could only nod yes. “Towel off.” Tom dropped it. Wanted to say something like, I have to be hard for the piercings to go in, but he couldn’t. And Prophet didn’t seem to care, and he didn’t know how insulted he should be about that. “You’re sure?” Tom asked. “Yeah.” Prophet stared at him, and he didn’t want to make a bigger deal of the whole thing, so he grabbed his dick, positioned it up against his stomach, and let Prophet slide the piercings in. He tried to ignore the fact that Prophet had dropped to his knees and that his mouth was inches from Tom’s dick, but he couldn’t help but watch, fascinated, as Prophet threaded the piercings in, waiting for Tom to catch his breath between each one. When Prophet finished with all five, Tom pulled the towel back around him loosely and went to the bed. He sat back against the pillows, and Prophet watched him silently for a few moments before saying, “You’re your very own whipping boy. How’s that work?
S.E. Jakes (Catch a Ghost (Hell or High Water, #1))
Did my husband catch the man?” “Nay,” Seonag answered. “The laird didn’t give chase. He was more concerned with getting ye home to tend yer wound. He’s out there now with the men though, beating the bushes and searching for him.” “Oh,” Annabel murmured, oddly disappointed that he’d simply dumped her there in Seonag’s care and rushed off rather than stay to see her wake up and reassure himself that she was all right. She supposed it was silly, but after what they’d done in the woods she’d thought— “He wanted to stay,” Seonag added. “But he was driving me wild pacing about like a caged animal and hovering over me shoulder while I tried to clean yer wound, so I ordered him from the room. Told him did he no’ leave and go find the man responsible, I’d stop what I was doing and leave Cook to tend ye. Cook is no’ very good with wounds, so he left,” she added. “Oh,” Annabel murmured, feeling a little better about being abandoned. Although, she would have felt better still to hear that he’d left the room only to hover anxiously in the hall, haunting the door like a ghost in his worry. That, she supposed, was silly too, but she couldn’t help what she wished for. “Can
Lynsay Sands (An English Bride In Scotland (Highland Brides, #1))
What I’m trying to say is that you can trust me. You can trust me to help you carry the load. You don’t have to do all of this alone.” He catches an errant curl, rubbing it gently between thumb and forefinger. He twists it lightly and tugs once. “I know you can take care of yourself. You’ve been doing that as long as I’ve known you. But let me hold your hand while you do it, okay?
B.K. Borison (Lovelight Farms (Lovelight, #1))
I pull the fire escape door open, scoop my eyeshadow palette off the ground and slip back inside. For a moment, I pause in the corridor and catch my breath. Adrenaline is surging through me. Rage. A normal woman would call the police at this point. But a normal woman would never have been paranoid enough in the first place to pretend to go to the toilet, only to sneak out of the fire escape and spy through a window to watch what her date does when he has five minutes alone with her drink. Nope. A normal woman would have gone to the loo, done a pee and topped up her lipstick. Or she’d have texted a friend about her hot date, feeling giddy with hope and excitement.
Now, let’s think about what would have happened to a normal woman.
A normal woman would have headed back to her date, smiling prettily, before sitting down and drinking her drugged drink. Then, a short while later, that normal woman would have started feeling far more drunk than she normally does after just a couple of drinks, but she’d probably blame herself. She’d wonder if maybe she’d drunk too much. Or maybe she’d blame herself for having not eaten earlier in the day because she didn’t want to look fat in her dress. Or maybe she’d blame herself because that’s just what she does; she blames herself. And then, just as she started to feel woozy and a bit confused, her date would take her outside for some fresh air and she’d be grateful to him. She’d think he was caring and responsible, when really, he was just whisking her out of sight, before she started to look less like she was drunk and more like she’d been drugged. And then the next thing she’d know, she’d be staggering into the back of a cab and her date would be asking her to tell the driver where she lived. And when she’d barely be able to get the words out and her date made a joke to the driver about how drunk she was, she’d feel small and embarrassed. And then she’d find herself slumping into her date’s open arms, flopping against his big manly body, and she’d feel grateful once more that this man was taking care of her and getting her home safe.
And then, once the taxi slowed down and she blinked her eyes open and found they’d pulled up outside her flat, she’d notice in a fleeting moment of clarity that when the driver asked for the fare, her date thrust two crisp ten-pound notes towards him in a weirdly premeditated move, as though he’d known this moment was going to happen all along. As though he’d had the cash lined up, the plan set, and she’d feel something. Something. But then she’d be staggering out of the taxi, even sloppier than when she got in, and her legs would be buckling, and she’d cling to her date for support, her make-up now smudged, her eyes half-closed, her hair messy.
She’d look a state and he’d ask her which flat was hers, and she’d walk with him to her front door, to the flat where she lives alone. To the place that’s full of books and cute knick-knacks from charity shops and colourful but inexpensive clothes. She’d unlock her front door, her hand sliding drunkenly over the lock, and she’d lead him into the place she’s been using as a base to try to get ahead in life, and then he’d look around, keen-eyed, until he spotted her bedroom and he’d draw her in.
And then all of a sudden he’d be in her bedroom and she wouldn’t be able to remember if she’d asked him back or not or quite how this happened, and it would all be moving so fast and her thoughts would be unable to keep up – they’d keep sliding away – and he’d be kissing her and she’d be unsure what was happening as he pulled off her dress and she’d wonder, did she ask for this? Does she want this? Has she been a ‘slut’ again? But the thoughts would be weak, they’d keep falling away and he’d be confident and he’d be certain and he’d be good-looking and he’d be pulling off her bra and taking off her knickers. He’d be pushing himself inside her.
The next day, he’d be gone by the time she woke up. She’d be blocked, unmatched...
You don’t remember putting on a strip show for your friends in The Orb?” he asked, looking into my eyes.
I frowned a little. I could remember playing some Fae drinking game and forgetting the rules so that I lost a hell of a lot and consumed more than my share of the drinks. I had to admit that I wouldn’t have shied away from a dare like that but it didn’t really explain our current situation.
“No,” I said eventually.
“Well you ripped all the buttons off of your shirt right before you passed out. I brought you back here to keep an eye on you - much to the disgust of your little Pegasus friend I might add.”
“Sofia?” Yeah, I could imagine she wouldn’t have wanted Darius Acrux taking me off to his room after all the shit he’d put me through. He obviously hadn’t listened to her complaints though.
“She’s pretty loyal to you,” he said. “But as she couldn’t exactly challenge me, she had to accept that I was just going to look after you. You took care of stripping off the rest of your clothes after that. Right before you straddled me and stole my shirt.”
I opened my mouth to protest against the idea of that but it actually sounded vaguely familiar.
Darius was just watching me like I was somehow fascinating to him and I couldn’t help but stare back into his deep brown eyes. His thumb shifted, painting a line of fire across my thigh and my heart thumped a little harder in response.
“And then we just... slept?” I confirmed.
“I wouldn’t have touched you while you were wasted like that,” he said, his gaze travelling over my face and landing on my mouth.
But I’m not wasted now...
I reached out slowly and pressed my palm down on his chest so that I could feel his heart pounding to the same fierce tune as my own. I dropped my gaze to the back of my hand so that I didn’t have to see the way he was looking at me anymore.
His skin was flaming hot beneath my palm, the depth of his fire magic burning within him like an inferno. I wanted to look up again and catch his gaze with mine but if I did then I was fairly sure that I knew what would happen. And this dark temptation before me was so much more monster than man.
I’d never had an opportunity to really study the tattoos which marked his flesh before and I let myself look at the patterns which wove their way over his shoulders and chest in the dim light. A wing swept across his ribs from some design on his back, the feathers burning like they were made of fire themselves. The red Libra symbol on his forearm began a network of constellations and star signs which formed a sleeve over his bicep, though it stood out starkly as the only image with any colour in it.
Flames climbed over his left shoulder from the tattoo covering his back which I knew spurted from the mouth of a dragon. I was sure I could have lost myself in the art on his back if I could see it and I itched to ask him about them but it seemed too personal somehow and I held my tongue.
I shifted my gaze back to my hand above his pounding heart where his skin was bare of any marks. I cast about for something else to ask him as the silence spread and a kind of expectant energy seemed to build between us. I could still feel him watching me, waiting for me to look up and give him the answer to the question which was hanging between us.
Caroline Peckham (The Reckoning (Zodiac Academy, #3))
His grip tightened and he closed the distance between us, his mouth catching mine in a kiss that made my aching heart throb with the most painful kind of hope. I gripped his shirt in my fists and dragged him closer as I kissed him like the sky might cave in if I didn’t, even though it was more likely that it would if I did.
Thunder crashed like an explosion overhead, freezing cold rain pelted down on us and lightning slammed into the ground behind us. But I didn’t care. I would gladly take the rage of the heavens in payment for this moment in his arms.
Darius pulled me closer, growling hungrily as his tongue pushed into my mouth and he kissed me savagely, filthily, desperately.
I pushed up onto my tiptoes, my body pressing flush to his as I wound my arms round his neck and my heart pounded to a brutal beat like it wanted to force its way out ofmy chest and meet with his.
Lightning struck the ground so close that a crackle of electricity danced up my spine. I flinched, but my grip on Darius only tightened.
I dropped the barriers on my magic and Darius’s power flooded through me on a tide of ecstasy as we merged our essences together. We were meant to be together like this, it was painted beneath my skin and through my veins, even my magic ached for him and yearned for the caress of his power.
Thunder boomed and I growled in defiance, lifting my hand to cast a shield of solid air magic around us, cutting off the storm completely. Darius’s magic flowed alongside mine into the shield, the strength of our will blocking out the will of the stars.
The earth rocked savagely beneath our feet and we fell. Darius kept ahold of me as he hit the ground on his back and I tumbled aside for a moment, but I wasn’t going to let them drive us apart. I shoved myself to my knees, crawling over his legs as he pushed up on his elbows and kissed me again.
His fingers slid through my wet hair and his stubble grazed my skin as he kissed me so hard it was bruising, punishing, branding and yet it wasn’t enough.
My heart was aching, tears pricking the backs of my eyes as I fought to keep hold of him while the storm hammered against our magic, determined to tear us apart again.
I poured magic from my body to hold the shield as rain slammed against it so hard that the air rattled around us.
Darius dragged me against him and I could feel how much he wanted me in every hard line and ridge of his body.
We were both drenched, covered in mud and utterly incapable of giving one shit about it.
Lightning slammed into the shield and I gasped as it almost buckled, breaking our kiss as I looked up at the black sky above us. More lightning split the clouds apart, striking the ground all around us again and again, making the earth rock even more violently.
As a second bolt hit our shield, I almost lost control of it and I could feel my power waning as I threw everything I had into maintaining it.
We only had seconds before it was going to collapse and I reached out to catch Darius’s jaw in my grip, looking into his dark eyes with a pang of longing.
“I’m sorry I did this to us,” I breathed. I might not have been sure everything between us was fixed yet, but I was beginning to believe it could be and I was starting to think I’d made the wrong choice when I’d been offered it.
“It wasn’t you,” he replied, pain flickering though his gaze.
“It was both of us,” I disagreed, tears mixing with the rain on my cheeks.
Caroline Peckham (Cursed Fates (Zodiac Academy, #5))
Orion said I shouldn’t just accept getting bitten any more. If Caleb can’t catch me, he can’t bite me,” I reasoned as my heart rate picked up a notch.
“I don’t think this was what he had in mind...” Sofia frowned.
“Whatever. Caleb is the most powerful Vampire in Solaria. This is the best chance I’ve got to avoid a bite. And my headstart is going to run out if I don’t go now.”
“Class starts in ten minutes,” Darcy said half heartedly.
“Cover for me. I’ll be there!” I promised before turning and running for the exit.
I glanced back at the red couch in the centre of the room just before I ducked outside and found all four Heirs looking my way.
Caleb was saying something to the others with a smile playing around his lips. Max and Seth seemed mildly interested but Darius looked pretty damn pissed. As his heated gaze met with mine, my heart leapt a little at the anger I found there. I hadn’t spoken to him properly since we’d fought together against the Nymphs and I really wasn’t sure what I’d have to say anyway. In the moment, we’d been weirdly united. I’d saved his life and he’d saved mine. I’d even cried while he lay dying in my arms. But then Orion had appeared and healed him and the momentary insanity which had come over me, making me think I cared about him had gone in an instant. I only had to remember the way he’d tossed me into that pit to know all I needed to about him and who he was. And he was my enemy. The look he was giving me right then said he felt exactly the same.
I ducked out of The Orb and looked around quickly, wondering where the best place to hide would be. I didn’t have many options and I didn’t really have a good headstart either so I crossed the path and headed straight into Venus Library.
The librarian wasn’t at her desk as I entered and I hurriedly shot down the closest aisle, racing between texts on Fae biology before swinging left at the end.
Before I could respond, Caleb shot forward, lifting me into his arms and propelling me through the library with his Vampire speed until we ended up inside one of the private study rooms at the back of the building.
I gasped in surprise as he kicked the door shut behind us and pushed me back against the wall before sinking his teeth into my neck.
His grip on my waist tightened to the point of discomfort and I tried to push him back a step but he held on tight, releasing a growl.
“Ow,” I protested irritably and he finally released me with a sheepish grin.
“Sorry, I’ve been running on empty since the fight with the Nymphs and I don’t wanna bite anyone else.”
“Orion thinks I should be putting more effort into fighting you off,” I said, touching the tender skin where his teeth had pierced my skin. “I’m thinking he has a point.”
Caleb stepped forward slowly, reaching out for me and I let him. His fingers brushed against my neck and his magic slid through the wound as he healed it.
He stayed there, his hand on my skin as he held my eye.
Caroline Peckham (The Reckoning (Zodiac Academy, #3))
His scales were smooth and hot beneath my palms but I managed to gain purchase by grabbing hold of his wing and hoisting myself higher.
His body was trembling beneath me and he bellowed in pain again, urging me on faster.
I reached up, grabbing a thick spine which ran down the centre of his neck before coming face to face with the creature from my nightmares.
The Nymph shrieked, lunging at me faster than should have been possible and I almost lost my grip on Darius as I fell back.
My heart lurched violently but I managed to catch the top of his wing, swinging myself around as that paralysing rattle juddered through my core, halting my magic in its tracks and stealing my energy from me.
Fear shot through me as the Nymph pounced, its probes aimed right for my chest.
I screamed, throwing my fist out even though I knew it was no good. As my knuckles connected with the bony ridges of its face, pain exploded through my hand swiftly followed by a flood of red and blue flames.
The Nymph shrieked so loudly that I threw my hands over my ears as the flames consumed it, a wisp of black smoke sweeping up towards the sky where it had been moments before.
I fell forwards, my palms meeting the warmth of Darius’s blood as I braced myself against him.
More Nymphs were running straight for us and with an echoing roar which vibrated right through my body, Darius destroyed all five of them with a torrent of Dragon Fire.
His head fell forward as he used the last of his energy and I cried out, grabbing hold of his wing as he tilted sideways beneath me. He crashed to the ground on his side and through some miracle, I managed to keep hold of his wing before falling against his neck. I wrapped my arms around him, scrunching my eyes closed as a tremor tore through his body and the golden colour of his scales seemed to shine with inner power and heat.
My stomach lurched and I released a scream as I found myself falling over ten foot down to the ground as Darius retreated into his Fae form.
I kept hold of him as I fell, crashing down into the mud of the Pitball pitch on top of him with a cry of fear.
All around us the fight raged on but beneath my hands, blood was pulsing from his chest and he was lying deathly still.
“Darius?” I demanded, shaking him while still trying to press down on his wounds. It wouldn’t be enough though, his back and legs were bleeding too. A bloody gouge shone wetly on his neck and his breaths were far too shallow.
“Help!” I shouted, though my eyes stayed fixed on Darius’s face and my heart was pounding the rhythm of a war drum in my chest.
The hairs were rising along the back of my neck, a strange sensation prickling in my chest. This moment felt eternal and fleeting all at once, like we were hanging between two great points and everything could change on the turn of a coin.
“Wake up!” I demanded, pushing my magic towards him in hopes of being able to do something.
Instead of stopping the blood or healing him, my magic spilled into his body, merging with his in the reverse of what we’d been doing when he helped me with my fire magic.
His power welcomed mine instantly, drawing it in, blending with it completely like it had been waiting for this moment. The feeling took my breath away and though it didn’t slow the blood, I felt the tension ease from his muscles and the fear loosen its grip on his heart.
My hands were shaking as they ran slick with Darius’s blood and silent tears tracked down my cheeks.
His heart was slowing down, his power flickering like a candle in a breeze. If someone didn’t get to us soon, Darius Acrux was going to die.
And though it seemed like he should have been the last person in the world for me to care about after everything he’d done to me, I wasn’t sure I could bear it if I lost him here.(tory)
Caroline Peckham (Ruthless Fae (Zodiac Academy, #2))
The truth is that I am a mean, tired, furious bunny - a little supplicant turned apostate and unbeliever - and I'm not hiding because I am scared. I'm running from him because if he catches me I will kill him.
I will scratch out his eyes while reciting passages from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, I will hum Latin hyms while I bite his heart out. I don't care what kind of god he is, he is a dead god to me, and I will build a temple to bitterness out of his bones. He will be my burnt offering and I will send that smoke all the way to heaven. I will char the world with the pride he stole from me.
Sierra Simone (Supplicant)
the thick black trees. A light breeze lifted their hair as they looked into the Forest. ‘Look there,’ said Hagrid, ‘see that stuff shinin’ on the ground? Silvery stuff? That’s unicorn blood. There’s a unicorn in there bin hurt badly by summat. This is the second time in a week. I found one dead last Wednesday. We’re gonna try an’ find the poor thing. We might have ter put it out of its misery.’ ‘And what if whatever hurt the unicorn finds us first?’ said Malfoy, unable to keep the fear out of his voice. ‘There’s nothin’ that lives in the Forest that’ll hurt yeh if yer with me or Fang,’ said Hagrid. ‘An’ keep ter the path. Right, now, we’re gonna split inter two parties an’ follow the trail in diff’rent directions. There’s blood all over the place, it must’ve bin staggerin’ around since last night at least.’ ‘I want Fang,’ said Malfoy quickly, looking at Fang’s long teeth. ‘All right, but I warn yeh, he’s a coward,’ said Hagrid. ‘So me, Harry an’ Hermione’ll go one way an’ Draco, Neville an’ Fang’ll go the other. Now, if any of us finds the unicorn, we’ll send up green sparks, right? Get yer wands out an’ practise now – that’s it – an’ if anyone gets in trouble, send up red sparks, an’ we’ll all come an’ find yeh – so, be careful – let’s go.’ The Forest was black and silent. A little way into it they reached a fork in the earth path and Harry, Hermione and Hagrid took the left path while Malfoy, Neville and Fang took the right. They walked in silence, their eyes on the ground. Every now and then a ray of moonlight through the branches above lit a spot of silver blue blood on the fallen leaves. Harry saw that Hagrid looked very worried. ‘Could a werewolf be killing the unicorns?’ Harry asked. ‘Not fast enough,’ said Hagrid. ‘It’s not easy ter catch a unicorn, they’re powerful magic creatures. I never knew one ter be hurt before.’ They walked past a mossy tree-stump. Harry could hear running water; there must be a stream somewhere close by. There were still
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1))