Rub Your Feet Quotes

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… What about the main thing in life, all its riddles? If you want, I'll spell it out for you right now. Do not pursue what is illusionary -property and position: all that is gained at the expense of your nerves decade after decade, and is confiscated in one fell night. Live with a steady superiority over life -don't be afraid of misfortune, and do not yearn for happiness; it is, after all, all the same: the bitter doesn't last forever, and the sweet never fills the cup to overflowing. It is enough if you don't freeze in the cold and if thirst and hunger don't claw at your insides. If your back isn't broken, if your feet can walk, if both arms can bend, if both eyes can see, if both ears hear, then whom should you envy? And why? Our envy of others devours us most of all. Rub your eyes and purify your heart -and prize above all else in the world those who love you and who wish you well. Do not hurt them or scold them, and never part from any of them in anger; after all, you simply do not know: it may be your last act before your arrest, and that will be how you are imprinted on their memory.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956 (Abridged))
Tally sighed, tipping her feet again to follow. "Maybe that's because they have better stuff to do than kid tricks. Maybe partying in town is better than hanging out in a bunch of old ruins." Shay's eyes flashed. "Or maybe when they do the operation-when they grind and stretch your bones to the right shape, peel off your face and rub all your skin away, and stick in plastic cheekbones so you look like everyone else-maybe after going through all that you just aren't very interesting anymore.
Scott Westerfeld (Uglies (Uglies, #1))
Modern womanhood was more about rubbing snail mucus on your face than she had thought it would be. But it had always been something, hadn’t it? Taking drops of arsenic. Winding bandages around the feet. Polishing your teeth with lead. It was so easy to believe you freely chose the paints, polishes, and waist-trainers of your own time, while looking back with tremendous pity to women of the past in their whalebones; that you took the longest strides your body was capable of, while women of the past limped forward on broken arches.
Patricia Lockwood (No One Is Talking About This)
Marry the man who’s going to walk with you through the next fifty or sixty years. Open doors, hold your hand, make your coffee, rub lotion on the cracks of your feet, put you up on a pedestal where you belong. Is he marrying your face and your bottle-blond hair, or will he love you when you look like whoever you’re going to look like in fifty years?
Charles Martin (The Mountain Between Us)
[Crisco] ain't just for frying. You ever get a sticky something stuck in your hair,like gum?...That's right, Crisco. Spread this on a baby's bottom, you won't even know what diaper rash is...shoot, I seen ladies rub it under they eyes and on they husband's scaly feet...Clean the goo from a price tag, take the squeak out a door hinge. Lights get cut off, stick a wick in it and burn it like a candle....And after all that, it'll still fry your chicken.
Kathryn Stockett (The Help)
I, too, stood on the sacred image. For a moment this foot was on his face. It was on the face of the man who has been ever in my thoughts, on the face that was before me on the mountains, in my wanderings, in prison, on the best and most beautiful face that any man can ever know, on the face of him whom I have always longed to love. Even now that face is looking at me with eyes of pity from the plaque rubbed flat by many feet. « Trample ! » said those compassionate eyes. « Trample ! Your foot suffers in pain ; it must suffer like all the feet that have stepped on this plaque. But that pain alone is enough. I understand your pain and your suffering. It is for that reason that I am here. » « Lord, I resented your silence. » « I was not silent. I suffered beside you. »
Shūsaku Endō (Silence)
But this isn’t just sex for me, Rachel,” Jake adds, his face solemn. “Hell, at this point, I’ll settle for just breathing your air. I’ll rub your feet on the couch after a long day. I’ll do your laundry. I’ll hold your purse while you shop for trail mix. That’s how crazy I am about you. I have to be me, and this is who I am. This is how I feel. Move in and be with me. With us. Whatever that looks like to you, we’ll figure it out. Just give me more than this nothing. I can’t bear another second of the nothing.
Emily Rath (Pucking Around (Jacksonville Rays, #1))
I'll love you forever. Nothing can change how I feel about you. Nothing. I'd take a bullet for you, walk on hot coals. I'll watch chick flicks and hold your purse at the mall. When babies come I'll rub your feet, and when we are old and gray, I'll love you even more than I do now. But I can't stand here and say 'Do whatever makes you happy,' because happy is temporary. I want us to have more, Kate. I want us to have joy.
Victoria Bylin (Until I Found You)
You know when you’re going to be decidedly less amused? When I’m sendin’ you to the store at 3am because I’m craving a certain brand of pickles.” Carter takes a step back, rolls his eyes at me again, and grabs his plate. “Come on, wifey.” “And my back is already aching from carrying around your spawn. I hope you’re plannin’ to give me a back rub later.” “Are your feet swelling up, too? Maybe I should just buy you a whole spa day.” “I mean, it’s the least you could do for the mother of your child.
Sam Mariano (Untouchable (Untouchables, #1))
The key is to make sure that even if you’re not doing “it,” you’re still doing something – touching, kissing, hugging. Personally, my heart gets warm and mushy when my husband rubs my feet after a long, tiring day. He may not be anywhere near my g-spot, but that little bit of touch and attention keeps us connected even when we’re not having spine-tingling sex. (on 8 things no one tells you about marriage)
Good Housekeeping
I was just wishing for you," he said. "And here you are." "Must be your lucky day, Ace." "Eve." He lifted a hand, not quite steady, skimmed his fingers along her jaw. "Eve," he said again, and his arms were around her, banded like steel as he lifted her off her feet. "Oh God. Eve." She felt the shudder run through him as he buried his face in her hair, against the curve of her neck. And knew she'd been right to come. Whatever else there was, she'd been right to come. "Everything's okay now." To soothe, she ran her hands over his back. "It's okay." "You landed in a field of cows, in a jet-copter." "You're telling me?" He rubbed his hands up and down her arms before linking them with hers and easing back to look at her face. "You must love me madly." "I must." His eyes were wild and beautiful, his lips warm and tender as he pressed them to her cheeks. "Thank you." "You're welcome, but you missed a spot." She found his mouth with hers and let him sink in. When she felt the heat, the punch, her lips curved against his. "That's better.
J.D. Robb (Portrait in Death (In Death, #16))
Early on a difficult climb, especially a difficult solo climb, you constantly feel the abyss pulling at your back. To resist takes a tremendous conscious effort; you don’t dare let your guard down for an instant. The siren song of the void puts you on edge; it makes your movements tentative, clumsy, herky-jerky. But as the climb goes on, you grow accustomed to the exposure, you get used to rubbing shoulders with doom, you come to believe in the reliability of your hands and feet and head. You learn to trust your self-control. By and by your attention becomes so intensely focused that you no longer notice the raw knuckles, the cramping thighs, the strain of maintaining nonstop concentration. A trancelike state settles over your efforts; the climb becomes a clear-eyed dream. Hours slide by like minutes. The accumulated clutter of day-to-day existence—the lapses of conscience, the unpaid bills, the bungled opportunities, the dust under the couch, the inescapable prison of your genes—all of it is temporarily forgotten, crowded from your thoughts by an overpowering clarity of purpose and by the seriousness of the task at hand.
Jon Krakauer (Into the Wild)
We’ll be happy here,” I whispered and rubbed my socked feet over yours. “I thought we always were.
Ashley Audrain (The Push)
Take off your damned wrapper! The old buffer ordered, looking intensely at her lower part. Comfort was on her knees, rubbing the old man's dirty feet. All her plea and tears continually worsen the whole matter. I want to do you harder cos you gonna be fucked by other folks who needs a large hole, said the man, moving towards her. Comfort struggled with all her feminine might, but the old masculine but old man ripped her wrapper and slapped her on the face. Lie here, Lie here! I'm gonna do what your old man did to your mama and its gonna sweet you. She screamed as the man's organ prick her glory hole like a sharp needle.
Michael Bassey Johnson (Comfort)
Coconut,” I say. “You always smell coconut-y.” Then, because it’s dark in the van, and because I’m wiped out from all the panic and my guard is down, I add, “You always smell good.” “Sex Wax.” “What?” I sit up a little straighter. He reaches down to the floorboard and tosses me what looks like a plastic-wrapped bar of soap. I hold it up to the window to see the label in the streetlight. “Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax,” I read. “You rub it on the deck of your board,” he explains. “For traction. You know, so you don’t slip off while you’re surfing.” I sniff it. That’s the stuff, all right. “I bet your feet smell heavenly.” “You don’t have a foot fetish thing, do you?” he asks, voice playful. “I didn’t before, but now? Who knows.” The tires of the van veer off the road onto the gravelly shoulder, and he cuts the wheel sharply to steer back onto the pavement. “Oops.” We chuckle, both embarrassed. I toss the wax onto the floorboard. “Well, another mystery solved
Jenn Bennett (Alex, Approximately)
The Devil's Rose You would never take a rose from a beast. If his callous hand were to hold out a scarlet flower, his grip unaffected by pricking thorns, you would shrink from the gift and refuse it. I know that is what you would do. But the cunning beast will have his beauty. He hunts not in hopeless pursuit, for fear would have you sprint all the day long. Thus, he turns toward the shadows and clutches the rosebud, crunching and twisting until every delicate petal is detached. One falls not far from your feet, and you notice the red spot in the snow. The color sparkles in the sunlight, catching your curious eye. No beast stands in sight; there is nothing to fear, so you dare retrieve the lone petal. The touch of temptation is velvet against your thumb. It carries a scent you bring to your nose, and both eyes close to float on a cloud of perfume. As your lashes lift, another scarlet drop stains the snow at a near distance. A glance around perceives no danger, and so your footprints scar the snowflakes to retrieve another rosy leaflet as soft and sweet as the first. Your eyes shine with flecks of golden greed at the discovery of more discarded petals, and you blame the wind for scattering them mere footprints apart. All you want is a few, so you step and snatch, step and snatch, step and snatch. Soon, there is enough velvet to rub against your cheek like a silken kerchief. Your collection of one-plus-one-more reeks of floral essence. Distracted, you jump at the sight of the beast in your path. He stands before his lair, grinning without love. His callous hands grip at thorns on a single naked stem, and you look down at your own hands that now cup his rose. But how can it be? You would never take a rose from a beast. You would shrink from the gift and refuse it. He knows that is what you would do.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Making Wishes: Quotes, Thoughts, & a Little Poetry for Every Day of the Year)
Sir Bird preens next to me, tucking feathers into place with a low noise in his throat almost like he’s talking to himself. A slow smile spreads across Finn’s face as he rubs his knuckles—black and blue with several bruises from Sir Bird’s beak. “Let’s see,” he says, flipping through his father’s book. “Here! I’ll need some water in a shallow bowl . . . ink . . . yes, I think this is everything.” He gathers the items, then reads over the entry several times, eyebrows knit in concentration. Dipping his pen in the ink, he whispers strange words while writing on the surface of the water. The ink drips down, elongating the form of the symbols that still hover where he wrote them. I recognize one—change. But the rest I haven’t learned yet. Then, without warning, he lifts up the bowl and dumps the whole thing onto Sir Bird. Only instead of getting wet, as the water washes over his body, Sir Bird’s feathers turn . . . blue. Bright, brilliant, shimmering blue. Squawking in outrage, Sir Bird hops and flies around the room, frantically shaking his feathers. He lands on the desk with a scrabble of clawed feet, then begins trying to bite off the color. “Ha!” Finn says, pointing at his knuckles. “Now you’re black and blue, too!” I can’t help but laugh at my poor, panicking bird. Not to mention the ridiculous pettiness of Finn’s magic show. Picking up Sir Bird, I stroke his feathers and speak softly to him. “Hush now. I’ll make him fix you. You’re still very handsome, but blue isn’t your color, is it?” He caws mournfully, still pulling at his own feathers. “Finn.” He puts his hands behind his back, trying to look innocent. “What? He deserved it.” “He’s a bird. You can’t really find this much satisfaction in revenge against a bird, can you?” His voice comes out just a tad petulant. “He started it.
Kiersten White (Illusions of Fate)
I've never heard a writer feel that way about a device with a screen. Oh sure, they're functional, practical. We would be lost without them. But just as we need to feel our feet on the earth, smell and taste the world around us, the pen scratching against the page, sensory and slow, is the difference between looking at a high-definition picture of a flower and holding that very same flower in your palm, feeling the brush of its petals, the color of its stamen rubbing off on your fingers.
Dani Shapiro (Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life)
If he scratches my baby . . .” Ben tried to scowl, but it didn’t take. He seemed relieved. And still hadn’t let go of my hand. I heard a shoe scuff the ground. Shelton and Hi were standing across from Ben and me. Shelton took a deep breath. “So it’s like that, huh?” “Guys.” I felt my stomach lurch. “I know this is weird. Ben and I, we—” Hi’s face was pained. “I don’t even get a chance? No shot to say how I feel?” My head jerked back. “What?” “So it’s all decided.” Shelton sullenly kicked a rock, his voice resentful. “What does Ben have that I don’t?” I stared, openmouthed. Hi dropped to a knee and pinned me with solemn eyes. “I can’t hide it anymore, Victoria. You need to know the truth. I love you, too. Forever and ever. I want to be your sweet babushka.” My mind reeled. “Hi, I . . . I didn’t—” “I’m gonna wring your stupid necks.” Ben’s face was burning. Hi burst out laughing, rolling away from his kick. I glanced at Shelton, who was trying—and failing—to hold it together. “I love you, Tory Brennan!” Hi bounced to his feet, ready to bolt at Ben’s slightest twitch. “Let me rub your supple feet!” I covered my face with both hands. “Oh God.
Kathy Reichs (Terminal (Virals, #5))
Get rid of nighttime coughs by putting Vicks VapoRub on your feet and then placing socks over them. Your cough will stop within minutes. 411
Keith Bradford (Life Hacks: Any Procedure or Action That Solves a Problem, Simplifies a Task, Reduces Frustration, Etc. in One's Everyday Life (Life Hacks Series))
I promise I’ll be the best husband I can. I promise to listen to you and help carry your burdens. I can’t promise that I’ll cook for you every night or rub your feet after a long day every night, but I promise that I’ll try. Above anything, I promise that I’ll always talk to you, always respect you, and always put you above everything, even my work, even myself.
Claire Contreras (My Way Back to You (Second Chance Duet, #2))
Slowly the lights of the torches in front of Merry flicked and went out, and he was walking in a darkness; and he thought: ‘This is a tunnel leading to a tomb; there we shall stay forever.’ But suddenly into his dream there fell a living voice. ‘Well, Merry! Thank goodness I have found you!’ He looked up and the mist before his eyes cleared a little. There was Pippin! They were face to face in a narrow lane, but for themselves it was empty. He rubbed his eyes. ‘Where is the king?’ He said. ‘And Eowyn?’ Then he stumbled and sat down on a doorstep and began to weep again. ‘They must have gone up into the Citadel,’ said Pippin. ‘I think you must have fallen asleep on your feet and taken the wrong turning. When we found out you were not with them, Gandalf sent me to look for you. Poor old Merry! How glad I am to see you again! But you are worn out, and I won’t bother you with any talk. But tell me, are you hurt, or wounded?’ ‘No,’ said Merry. ‘Well, no, I don’t think so. But I can’t use my right arm, Pippin, not since I stabbed him. And my sword burned away like a piece of wood.’ Pippin’s face was anxious. ‘Well, you had better come with me as quick as you can,’ he said. ‘I wish I could carry you. You aren’t fit to walk any further. They shouldn’t have let you walk at all; but you must forgive them. So many dreadful things have happened in the City, Merry, that one poor hobbit coming in from battle is easily overlooked.’ ‘It’s not always a misfortune being overlooked,’ said Merry. ‘I was overlooked just now by—no, no, I can’t speak of it. Help me, Pippin! It’s all going dark again, and my arm is so cold.’ ‘Lean on me, Merry lad!” said Pippin. ‘Come now. Foot by foot. It’s not far.’ ‘Are you going to bury me?’ said Merry. ‘No, indeed!’ said Pippin, trying to sound cheerful, though his heart was wrung with fear and pity. ‘No, we are going to the Houses of Healing.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings, #3))
I danced on light boxer’s feet over to Barrons. “Punch me.” “Don’t be absurd.” “Come on, punch me, Barrons.” “I’m not punching you.” “I said, punch--Ow!” He’d decked me. Bones vibrating, my head snapped back. And forward again. I shook it. No pain. I laughed. “I’m amazing! Look at me! I hardly even felt it.” I danced from foot to foot, feigning punches at him. “Come on. Punch me again.” My blood felt electrified, my body impervious to all injury. Barrons was shaking his head. I punched him in the jaw and his head snapped back. When it came back down his expression said I suffer you to live. “Happy now?” “Did it hurt?” “No.” “Can I try again?” “Buy yourself a punching bag.” “Fight me, Barrons. I need to know how strong I am.” He rubbed his jaw. “You’re strong,” he said dryly.
Karen Marie Moning (Bloodfever (Fever, #2))
Modern womanhood was more about rubbing snail mucus on your face than she had thought it would be. But it had always been something, hadn’t it? Taking drops of arsenic. Winding bandages around the feet. Polishing your teeth with lead. It was so easy to believe you freely chose the paints, polishes, and waist-trainers of your own time, while looking back with tremendous pity to women of the past in their whalebones;
Patricia Lockwood (No One Is Talking About This)
Now, the last one was that the demon king can’t stand either in heaven or on the earth. Urga set the demon on his lap, which means I guess I’ll have to…sit on your back.” Awkward. Even though Ren was a big tiger and it would be like riding a small pony, I was still conscious that he was a man, and I didn’t feel right about turning him into a pack animal. I took off my backpack and set it down wondering what I could do to make this a bit less embarrassing. Mustering the courage to sit on his back, I’d just decided that it wouldn’t be too bad if I sat sidesaddle, when my feet flew out from under me. Ren had changed into a man and swept me up into his arms. I wiggled for a minute, protesting, but he just gave me a look-the don’t-even-bother-coming-up-with-an-argument look. I shut my mouth. He leaned over to pick up the backpack, let it dangle from his fingers, and then said, “What’s next?” “I don’t know. That’s all that Mr. Kadam told me.” He shifted me in his arms, walked over to stand in the doorway again, then peered up at the statue. He murmured, “I don’t see any changes.” He held me securely while looking at the statue and, I have to admit, I totally stopped caring about what we were doing. The scratches on my arm that had been throbbing a moment ago didn’t bother me at all. I let myself enjoy the feeling of being cuddled up close to his muscular chest. What girl didn’t want to be swept up in the arms of a drop-dead gorgeous man? I allowed my gaze to drift up to his beautiful face. The thought occurred to me that if I were to carve a stone god, I’d pick Ren as my subject. This Urga half-lion and half-man guy had nothing on Ren. Eventually, he realized I was watching him, and said, “Hello? Kells? Breaking a curse here, remember?” I just smiled back stupidly. He quirked an eyebrow at me. “What were you thinking about just now?” “Nothing important.” He grinned. “May I remind you that you are in prime tickling position, and there’s no escape. Tell me.” Gads. His smile was brilliant, even in the fog. I laughed nervously. “If you tickle me, I’ll protest and struggle violently, which will cause you to drop me and ruin everything that we are trying to accomplish.” He grunted, leaned close to my ear, and then whispered, “That sounds like an interesting challenge, rajkumari. Perhaps we shall experiment with it later. And just for the record, Kelsey, I wouldn’t drop you.” The way he said my name made goose bumps rise all over my arms. When I looked down to quickly rub them, I noticed the flashlight had been turned off. I switched it on, but the statue remained the same. Giving up, I suggested, “Nothing’s happening. Maybe we need to wait till dawn.” He laughed throatily while nuzzling my ear and declared softly, “I’d say that something is happening, but not the something that will open the doorway.” He trailed soft, slow kisses from my ear down my neck. I sighed faintly and arched my neck to give him better access. With a last kiss, he groaned and reluctantly raised his head. Disappointed that he’d stopped, I asked, “What does rajkumari mean?” He laughed quietly, carefully set me down, and said, “It means princess.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
When California goes bankrupt, the Golden State's woes will be nationalized and shared with the nation at large: the feckless must have their irresponsibility rewarded and the prudent get stuck with the tab. Passing Sacramento's buck to Washington accelerates the centralizing pull in American politics and eventually eliminates any advantage to voting with your feet. It will be as if California and New York have burst their bodices like two corpulent gin-soaked trollops and rolled over the fruited plain to rub bellies at the Mississippi. If you're underneath, it's not going to be fun.
Mark Steyn (After America: Get Ready for Armageddon)
my fingers penetrated your bushy hair, pulled it up in tufts, squeezed the tension out of your head, to your quiet, grateful groans. I untied the Gordian knots in your shoulders with juniper oil, pummelled your back with my fists, knuckle each vertebrae down to your coccyx, knead your hard buttocks, rub oil into your legs, bathe your tired feet, squeeze them until your tingles shoot up my arm, I chew each toe in turn until it is softened, bite into your soles like a joint of pork, you cannot help but giggle, sir, I turn you over, with my palms, rotate your temples, trace the curves on your face, touching yet not, three fingers inside your mouth, let you suckle, baby, from belly to breast, I massage your chest in concentric circles, pinch your nipples, nibble gently, set my belly-dancer tongue on to them, take your hands, my love, tie them above your head, with your belt, I sit astride my steed, take the reins, my flexible muscles holding you in, flexing like strong fists, tighten and release, teasing you, taming you, your eyes are shut, you have died and gone to Olympus, smiling, I slap it off, so hard my hand hurts, your eyes shoot open like a dead man dying, I slap you again, you feign amusement, your eyes suggest so this is slap and tickle? I take your riding crop, fold it, lash your chest. ‘Take that!’ I hiss. ‘How dare you humour me. Who’s the boss now?
Bernardine Evaristo (The Emperor's Babe)
Early on a difficult climb, especially a difficult solo climb, you constantly feel the abyss pulling at your back. To resist takes a tremendous conscious effort; you don't dare let your guard down for an instant. The siren song of the void puts you on edge; it makes your movements tentative, clumsy, herky-jerky. But as the climb goes on, you grow accustomed to the exposure, you get used to rubbing shoulders with doom, you come to believe in the reliability of your hands and feet and head. You learn to trust your self-control. By and by your attention becomes so intensely focused that you no longer notice the raw knuckles, the cramping thighs, the strain of maintaining nonstop concentration. A trancelike state settles over your efforts; the climb becomes a clear-eyed dream. Hours slide by like minutes. The accumulated clutter of day-to-day existence — the lapses of conscience, the unpaid bills, the bungled opportunities, the dust under the couch, the inescapable prison of your genes — all of it is temporarily forgotten, crowded from your thoughts by an overpowering clarity of purpose and by the seriousness of the task at hand. At such moments something resembling happiness actually stirs in your chest, but it isn't the sort of emotion you want to lean on very hard. In solo climbing the whole enterprise is held together with little more than chutzpah, not the most reliable adhesive.
Jon Krakauer
One of the most persistent problems of the day was “offensive feet,” caused by the prevailing habit of washing feet only once a week. To combat this, Hollingsworth wrote, “Take one part muriatic acid to ten parts of water; rub the feet every night with this mixture before retiring to bed.” To rid your mouth of the odor of onions, drink strong coffee.
Erik Larson (The Devil in the White City)
He tries. So I reward him with some kisses right where he wants them. “Mmm,” he says. “That I like.” I give him some more. Since I’ve weirded him out with the ass play, he’s not teetering on the edge anymore. I lean down, sucking and licking and just generally bringing out my A game. And at the same time, I’m working a finger slowly toward his prostate. When I finally get there, everything changes. “Ohfuckohfuck,” Jamie whispers, his thigh muscles trembling. I rub his prostate again and give another good suck. He moans, and I reach up with my free hand to cover his mouth. “Shh,” I remind him. “Don’t make me stop.” He shakes my hand off his mouth. “It’s… You’re… My feet are tingling.” That’s a good sign.
Sarina Bowen (Him (Him, #1))
Will you just tell me, Brian.I need you to tell me you love me." "I'm getting to it." He turned back. "I never thought I wanted family.I want to make children with you,Keeley.I want ours. Please don't cry." "I'm trying not to.Hurry up." "I can't be rushed at such a time.Sniffle those back or I'll blunder it.That's the way." He moved to her. "I don't want to own horses, but I can make an exception for the gift you gave me today.As a kind of symbol of things. I didn't have faith in him, not pure faith, that he'd run to win.I didn't have faith in you, either.Give me your hand." She held it out, clasping his. "Tell me." "I've never said the words to another woman. You'll be my first, and you'll be my last.I loved you from the first instant, in a kind of blinding flash. Over time the love I have for you has strengthened, and deepened until it's like something alive inside me." "That's everything I needed to hear." She brought his hand to her cheek. "Marry me, Brian." "Bloody hell.Will you let me do the asking?" She had to bite her lip to hold off the watery chuckle. "Sorry." With a laugh, he plucked her off her feet. "Well, what the hell.Sure, I'll marry you." "Right away." "Right away." He brushed his lips over her temple. "I love you,Keeley, and since you're birdbrain enough to want to marry a hardheaded Irish horse's ass, I believe it was, I'll go up now and ask your father." "As my-Brian, really." "I'll do this proper. But maybe I'll take you with me,in case he's found that shotgun." She laughed, rubbed her cheek against his. "I'll protect you." He set her on her feet.They began to walk together past the sharply colored fall flowers, the white fences and fields where horses raced their shadows. When he reached to take her hand, Keeley gripped his firmly.And had everything.
Nora Roberts (Irish Rebel (Irish Hearts, #3))
The heartwood," Rob murmured, looking at me. "You wanted to marry me in the heart of Major Oak." I beamed at him grateful that he understood. "And Scar," he whispered. I leaned in close. "Are you wearing knives to our wedding?" Nodding, I laughed, telling him, "I was going to get you here one way or another, Hood." He laughed, a bright, merry sound. Standing in the heart of the tree, he reached again for my hand, fingers sliding over mine. Touching his hand, a rope of lightening lashed round my fingers, like it seared us together. Now, and for always. His fingers moved on mine, rubbing over my hand before capturing it tight and turning me to the priest. The priest looked over his shoulder, watching as the sun began to dip. He led us in prayer, he asked me to speak the same words I'd spoken not long past to Gisbourne, but that whole thing felt like a bad dream, like I were waking and it were fading and gone for good. "Lady Scarlet." he asked me with a smile, "known to some as Lady Marian of Huntingdon, will thou have this lord to thy wedded husband, will thou love him and honour him, keep him and obey him, in health and in sickness, as a wife should a husband, forsaking all others on account of him, so long as ye both shall live?" I looked at Robin, tears burning in my eyes. "I will," I promised. "I will, always." Rob's face were beaming back at me, his ocean eyes shimmering bright. The priest smiled. "Robin of Locksley, will thou have this lady to thy wedded wife, will thou love her and honor her, keep her and guard her, in health and in sickness, as a husband should a wife, forsaking all others on account of her, so long as ye both shall live?" the priest asked. "Yes," Rob said. "I will." "You have the rings?" the priest asked Rob. "I do," I told the priest, taking two rings from where Bess had tied them to my dress. I'd sent Godfrey out to buy them at market without Rob knowing. "I knew you weren't planning on this," I told him. Rob just grinned like a fool at me, taking the ring I handed him to put on my finger. Laughs bubbled up inside of me, and I felt like I were smiling so wide something were stuck in my cheeks and holding me open. More shy and proud than I thought I'd be, I said. "I take you as me wedded husband, Robin. And thereto I plight my troth." I pushed the ring onto his finger. He took my half hand in one of his, but the other- holding the ring- went into his pocket. "I may not have known I would marry you today Scar," he said. "But I did know I would marry you." He showed me a ring, a large ruby set in delicate gold. "This," he said to me, "was my mother's. It's the last thing I have of hers, and when I met you and loved you and realized your name was the exact colour of the stone- " He swallowed, and cleared his throat, looking at me with the blue eyes that shot right through me. "This was meant to be Scarlet. I was always meant to love you. To marry you." The priest coughed. "Say the words, my son, and you will marry her." Rob grinned and I laughed, and Rob stepped closer, cradling my hand. "I take you as my wedded wife, Scarlet. And thereto I plight my troth." He slipped the ring on my finger and it fit. "Receive the Holy Spirit," the priest said, and kissed Robin on the cheek. Rob's happy grin turned a touch wolflike as he turned back to me, hauling me against him and angling his mouth over mine. I wrapped my arms around him and my head spun- I couldn't tell if we were spinning, if I were dizzy, if my feet were on the ground anymore at all, but all I knew, all I cared for, were him, his mouth against mine, and letting the moment we became man and wife spin into eternity.
A.C. Gaughen (Lion Heart (Scarlet, #3))
At first Alexander could not believe it was his Tania. He blinked and tried to refocus his eyes. She was walking around the table, gesturing, showing, leaning forward, bending over. At one point she straightened out and wiped her forehead. She was wearing a short-sleeved yellow peasant dress. She was barefoot, and her slender legs were exposed above her knee. Her bare arms were lightly tanned. Her blonde hair looked bleached by the sun and was parted into two shoulder-length braids tucked behind her ears. Even from a distance he could see the summer freckles on her nose. She was achingly beautiful. And alive. Alexander closed his eyes, then opened them again. She was still there, bending over the boy’s work. She said something, everyone laughed loudly, and Alexander watched as the boy’s arm touched Tatiana’s back. Tatiana smiled. Her white teeth sparkled like the rest of her. Alexander didn’t know what to do. She was alive, that was obvious. Then why hadn’t she written him? And where was Dasha? Alexander couldn’t very well continue to stand under a lilac tree. He went back out onto the main road, took a deep breath, stubbed out his cigarette, and walked toward the square, never taking his eyes off her braids. His heart was thundering in his chest, as if he were going into battle. Tatiana looked up, saw him, and covered her face with her hands. Alexander watched everyone get up and rush to her, the old ladies showing unexpected agility and speed. She pushed them all away, pushed the table away, pushed the bench away, and ran to him. Alexander was paralyzed by his emotion. He wanted to smile, but he thought any second he was going to fall to his knees and cry. He dropped all his gear, including his rifle. God, he thought, in a second I’m going to feel her. And that’s when he smiled. Tatiana sprang into his open arms, and Alexander, lifting her off her feet with the force of his embrace, couldn’t hug her tight enough, couldn’t breathe in enough of her. She flung her arms around his neck, burying her face in his bearded cheek. Dry sobs racked her entire body. She was heavier than the last time he felt her in all her clothes as he lifted her into the Lake Ladoga truck. She, with her boots, her clothes, coats, and coverings, had not weighed what she weighed now. She smelled incredible. She smelled of soap and sunshine and caramelized sugar. She felt incredible. Holding her to him, Alexander rubbed his face into her braids, murmuring a few pointless words. “Shh, shh…come on, now, shh, Tatia. Please…” His voice broke. “Oh, Alexander,” Tatiana said softly into his neck. She was clutching the back of his head. “You’re alive. Thank God.” “Oh, Tatiana,” Alexander said, hugging her tighter, if that were possible, his arms swaddling her summer body. “You’re alive. Thank God.” His hands ran up to her neck and down to the small of her back. Her dress was made of very thin cotton. He could almost feel her skin through it. She felt very soft. Finally he let her feet touch the ground. Tatiana looked up at him. His hands remained around her little waist. He wasn’t letting go of her. Was she always this tiny, standing barefoot in front of him? “I like your beard,” Tatiana said, smiling shyly and touching his face. “I love your hair,” Alexander said, pulling on a braid and smiling back. “You’re messy…” He looked her over. “And you’re stunning.” He could not take his eyes off her glorious, eager, vivid lips. They were the color of July tomatoes— He bent to her—
Paullina Simons
They dream of the happiness of stretching out one's legs and of the relief one feels after going to the toilet. In Orotukan the earth thaws only in the summer and only to the depth of three feet—and only then can they bury the bones of those who died during the winter. And you have the right to arrange your own life under the blue sky and the hot sun, to get a drink of water, to stretch, to travel wherever you like without a convoy [escort]. So what's this about unwiped feet? And what's this about a mother-in-law? What about the main thing in life, all its riddles? If you want, I'll spell it out for you right now. Do not pursue what is illusory—property and position: all that is gained at the expense of your nerves decade after decade, and is confiscated in one fell night. Live with a steady superiority over life—don't be afraid of misfortune, and do not yearn after happiness; it is, after all, all the same: the bitter doesn't last forever, and the sweet never fills the cup to overflowing. It is enough if you don't freeze in the cold and if thirst and hunger don't claw at your insides. If your back isn't broken, if your feet can walk, if both arms can bend, if both eyes see, if both ears hear, then whom should you envy? And why? Our envy of others devours us most of all. Rub your eyes and purify your heart—and prize above all else in the world those who love you and who wish you well. Do not hurt them or scold them, and never part from any of them in anger; after all, you simply do not know: it may be your last act before your arrest, and that will be how you are imprinted in their memory!
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (The Gulag Archipelago)
I put on my best shirt because the painting looked so bad. Color bleeds, so make it work for you. Gravity pulls, so make it work for you. Rubbing your feet at night or clutching your stomach in the morning. It was illegible - no single line of sight, too many angles of approach, smoke in the distance. It made no sense. When you have nothing to say, set something on fire. A blurry landscape is useless.
Richard Siken (War of the Foxes)
Hey,” he says. I feel foolish for being out of breath and standing over him. The moonlight cuts a line down my chest. “Hey,” I say. “Checking on me?” “I couldn’t sleep. Scottie. She’s in the bathroom.” I stop talking. “Yeah?” he says and sits up. “She’s playacting.” I don’t know how to say it. I don’t need to say it. “She’s kissing the mirror.” “Oh,” he says. “I used to do some messed-up things as a kid. Still do.” I feel wide awake, which always makes me angry in the middle of the night. I’m useless without sleep. I can’t get myself to go back to my own room. I sit on the end of the bed by his feet. “I’m worried about my daughters,” I say. “I’m worried there’s something wrong with them.” Sid rubs his eyes. “Forget it,” I say. “Sorry for waking you up.” “It’s going to get worse,” he says. “After your wife dies.” He holds the blanket up to his chin.
Kaui Hart Hemmings (The Descendants)
I have salt and sugar at home, but I'm paying eighty bucks to have ya'll rub it on my feet. If I want to yell at my sister-in-law about that fact that I just found out I am pregnant, and how my boyfriend, the recovering alcoholic, is still fragile and I don't know if he'll make it, whether I'm going to miscarry like I did before, and a whole other list of shit, like, hell, I don't know, what I'm going to be when I grow up, then I will! And maybe, just maybe, for the eighty bucks you're charging me, I can yell a bit." The woman only blinked as Lacey snickered beside her. "Keep it down and congratulations." "Thanks, and I'll try," Kacey said as the woman walked away. She then turned to Lacey, who was fully laughing at this point. "Really> This is not funny." "Oh, I'm cracking up because if you're already this emotional and bitchy, God help us all once you reach the third Trimester.
Toni Aleo (Overtime (Assassins, #10))
Goggles but no bathing suit?" she asked. Daniel blushed. "I guess that was stupid. But I was in a hurry, only thinking about what you would need to get the halo." He drove the paddle back into the water, propelling them more quickly than a speedboat. "You can swim in your underwear, right?" Now Luce blushed. Under normal circumstances, the question might have seemed thrilling, something they both would have giggled at. Not these nine days. She nodded. Eight days now. Daniel was deadly serious. Luce just swallowed hard and said, "Of course." The pair of green-gray spires grew larger, more detailed, and then they were upon them. They were tall and conical, made of rusted slats of copper. They had once been capped by small teardrop-shaped copper flags sculpted to look like they were rippling in the wind, but one weathered flag was pocked with holes, and the other had broken off completely. In the open water, the spires' protrusion was bizarre, suggesting a cavernous cathedral of the deep. Luce wondered how long ago the church had sunk, how deep it sat below. The thought of diving down there in ridiculous goggles and mom-bought underwear made her shudder. "This church must be huge," she said. She meant I don't think I can do this. I can't breathe underwater. How are we going to find one small halo sunk in the middle of the sea? "I can take you down as far as the chapel itself, but only that far. So long as you hold on to my hand." Daniel extended a warm hand to help Luce stand up in the gondola. "Breathing will not be a problem. But the church will still be sanctified, which means I'll need you to find the halo and bring it out to me." Daniel yanked his T-shirt off over his head, dropping it to the bench of the gondola. He stepped out of his pants quickly, perfectly balanced on the boat, then kicked off his tennis shoes. Luce watched, feeling something stir inside her, until she realized she was supposed to be stripping down, too. She kicked off her boots, tugged off her socks, stepped out of her jeans as modestly as she could. Daniel held her hand to help her balance; he was watching her but not the way she would have expected. He was worried about her, the goose bumps rising on her skin. He rubbed her arms when she slipped off he sweater and stood freezing in her sensible underwear n the gondola in the middle of the Venetian lagoon. Again she shivered, cold and fear an indecipherable mass inside her. But her voice sounded brave when she tugged the goggles, which pinched, down over her eyes and said, "Okay, let's swim." They held hands, just like they had the last time they'd swum together at Sword & Cross. As their feet lifted off the varnished floor of the gondola, Daniel's hand tugged her upward, higher than she ever could have jumped herself-and then they dove. Her body broke the surface of the sea, which wasn't as cold as she'd expected. In fact, the closer she swam beside Daniel, the warmer the wake around them grew. He was glowing.
Lauren Kate (Rapture (Fallen, #4))
You know, there’s no need for you to stay here against your will. You could come home.” Kestrel splattered oil onto Cheat’s feet and smeared it into the rough skin. “No. There’s nothing there I want.” She felt his gaze on her bowed head, on her hands moving over his feet. “Do you do this for Arin?” “No.” “What do you do for him?” Kestrel straightened. Her palms were greasy. She rubbed them into her skirts, not caring that disgust was at least one of the things Cheat wanted to see. Why, why would he want that? She turned to leave. “We’re not done,” he said. “We are,” said Kestrel, “unless you’d like to see how much my father taught me about unarmed combat. I’ll drown you in that fountain. If I can’t, I’ll scream loud enough to bring every Herrani in this house running, and make them wonder what kind of man their leader is, that a Valorian girl so easily snapped his self-control.” She walked away, and he didn’t follow, though she felt his eyes on her until she turned a corner. She found the kitchens, the most populated place in the house, and stood by a fire, listening to the metal clatter of kettles. She ignored the strange looks. Then she was shaking, as much with fury as anything else. Tell Arin. Kestrel waved that thought away. What good would telling Arin do? Arin was a black box hidden below a smooth tile. A trap door opening beneath her. He wasn’t what she’d thought he was. Maybe Arin had known that this would happen, or something like it. Maybe he wouldn’t even mind.
Marie Rutkoski (The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1))
You asked me for some advice. I’m going to tell you the same thing I told my girls before they married. Marry the man who’s going to walk with you through the next fifty or sixty years. Open doors, hold your hand, make your coffee, rub lotion on the cracks of your feet, put you up on a pedestal where you belong. Is he marrying your face and your bottle-blond hair, or will he love you when you look like whoever you’re going to look like in fifty years?” I broke the silence. “Grover, you missed your
Charles Martin (The Mountain Between Us)
Lazily...possessively he ran a hand down her back. "Mmm, again," Shelby murmured. With a quiet laugh, Alan stroked up and down until she was ready to purr. "Shelby..." She gave another sigh as an answer and snuggled closer. "Shelby,there's something warm and fluffy under my feet." "Mmm-hmm." "If it's your cat, he's not breathing." "MacGregor." He kissed the top of her head. "What?" She gave a muffled laugh against his shoulder. "MacGregor," she repeated. "My pig." There was silence for a moment while he tried to digest this. "I beg your pardon?" The dry serious tone had more laughter bubbling up. Would she ever be able to face a day without hearing it? "Oh, say that again.I love it." Because she had to see his face, Shelby found the energy to lean across him and grope for the matches on the nightstand. Skin rubbed distractedly against skin while she struck one and lit a candle. "MacGregor," she said, giving Alan a quick kiss before she gestured to the foot of the bed. Alan studied the smiling porcine face. "You named a stuffed purple pig after me?" "Alan, is that any way to talk about our child?" His eyes shifted to hers in an expression so masculine and ironic, she collapsed on his chest in a fit of giggles. "I put him there because he was supposed to be the only MacGregor who charmed his way into my bed." "Really." Alan tugged on her hair until she lifted her face, full of amusement and fun,to his. "Is that what I dd?" "You knew damn well I wouldn't be able to resist balloons and rainbows foever.
Nora Roberts (The MacGregors: Alan & Grant (The MacGregors, #3-4))
All right, now that the weirdness between us has caused actual physical damage, I think it’s time we talked it out, don’t you?” He gave a half smile and then turned back to the path. “We don’t need to be weird,” he said. “These past few days, since the thing with Elodie, I’ve been thinking.” He took a deep breath, and I knew that this was one of those rare occasions when Cal was about to say a lot of words at once. “I like you, Sophie. A lot. For a while, I thought it might be more than that. But you love Cross.” He said it matter-of-factly, but I still caught the way his ears reddened. “I know I’ve said some pretty awful stuff about him, but…I was wrong. He’s a good guy. So, I guess what I’m saying is that as the guy who’s betrothed to you, I wish we could be more than friends.” He stopped, turning around to face me. “But as your friend, I want you to be happy. And if Cross is who you want, then I’m not gonna stand in the way of that.” “I’m the worst fiancé ever, aren’t I?” Cal lifted one shoulder. “Nah. This one warlock I knew, his betrothed set him on fire.” Laughing so I wouldn’t cry, I tentatively lifted my arms to hug him. He folded me against his chest, and there was no awkwardness between us, and I knew the warmth in the pit of my stomach was love. Just a different kind. Sniffling, I pulled back and rubbed at my nose. “Okay, now that the hard part’s over, let’s go tackle the Underworld.” “Got room for two more?” Startled, I turned to see Jenna and Archer standing on the path, Jenna’s hand clutching Archer’s sleeve as she tried to stay on her feet. “What?” was all I could say. Archer took a few careful steps forward. “Hey, this has been a group effort so far. No reason to stop now.” “You guys can’t go into the Underworld with me,” I told them. “You heard Dad, I’m the only one with-“ “With powers strong enough. Yeah, we got that,” Jenna said. “But how are you supposed to carry a whole bunch of demonglass out of that place? It’ll burn you. And hey, maybe your powers will be strong enough to get all of us in, too.” She gestured to herself and the boys. “Plus it’s not like we don’t have powers of our own.” I knew I should tell them to go back. But having the three of them there made me feel a whole lot better and whole lot less terrified. So in the end, I gave an exaggerated sign and said, “Okay, fine. But just so you know, following me into hell means you’re all definitely the sidekicks.” “Darn, I was hoping to be the rakishly charming love interest,” Archer said, taking my hand. “Cal, any role you want?” I asked him, and he looked ruefully at the craggy rock looming over us. As he did, there was the grinding sound of stone against stone. We all stared at the opening that appeared. “I’m just hoping to be the Not Dead Guy,” Cal muttered. We faced the entrance. “Between the four of us, we fought ghouls, survived attacks by demons and L’Occhio di Dio, and practically raised the dead,” I said. “We can do this.” “See, inspiring speeches like that are why you get to be the leader,” Archer said, and he squeezed my hand. And then, moving almost as one, we stepped into the rock.
Rachel Hawkins (Spell Bound (Hex Hall, #3))
Early on a difficult climb, especially a difficult solo climb, you're hyperaware of the abyss pulling at your back. You constantly feel its call, its immense hunger. To resist takes a tremendous conscious effort; you don't dare let your guard down for an instant. The siren song of the void puts you on edge, it makes your movements tentative, clumsy, herky-jerky. Bus as the climb goes on, you grow accustomed to the exposure, you get used to rubbing shoulders with doom, you come to believe in the reliability of your hands and feet and head. You learn to trust your self-control.
Jon Krakauer (Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men and Mountains)
Poem for My Father You closed the door. I was on the other side, screaming. It was black in your mind. Blacker than burned-out fire. Blacker than poison. Outside everything looked the same. You looked the same. You walked in your body like a living man. But you were not. would you not speak to me for weeks would you hang your coat in the closet without saying hello would you find a shoe out of place and beat me would you come home late would i lose the key would you find my glasses in the garbage would you put me on your knee would you read the bible to me in your smoking jacket after your mother died would you come home drunk and snore would you beat me on the legs would you carry me up the stairs by my hair so that my feet never touch the bottom would you make everything worse to make everything better i believe in god, the father almighty, the maker of heaven, the maker of my heaven and my hell. would you beat my mother would you beat her till she cries like a rabbit would you beat her in a corner of the kitchen while i am in the bathroom trying to bury my head underwater would you carry her to the bed would you put cotton and alcohol on her swollen head would you make love to her hair would you caress her hair would you rub her breasts with ben gay until she stinks would you sleep in the other room in the bed next to me while she sleeps on the pull-out cot would you come on the sheet while i am sleeping. later i look for the spot would you go to embalming school with the last of my mother's money would i see your picture in the book with all the other black boys you were the handsomest would you make the dead look beautiful would the men at the elks club would the rich ladies at funerals would the ugly drunk winos on the street know ben pretty ben regular ben would your father leave you when you were three with a mother who threw butcher knives at you would he leave you with her screaming red hair would he leave you to be smothered by a pillow she put over your head would he send for you during the summer like a rich uncle would you come in pretty corduroys until you were nine and never heard from him again would you hate him would you hate him every time you dragged hundred pound cartons of soap down the stairs into white ladies' basements would you hate him for fucking the woman who gave birth to you hate him flying by her house in the red truck so that other father threw down his hat in the street and stomped on it angry like we never saw him (bye bye to the will of grandpa bye bye to the family fortune bye bye when he stompled that hat, to the gold watch, embalmer's palace, grandbaby's college) mother crying silently, making floating island sending it up to the old man's ulcer would grandmother's diamonds close their heartsparks in the corner of the closet yellow like the eyes of cockroaches? Old man whose sperm swims in my veins, come back in love, come back in pain.
Toi Derricotte
Love is more than desire. It’s more than passion and moonlight and poetry. Love is a choice you make; it’s things you do. Love is holding hands when your wife’s morning sickness is so bad she wants to die. It’s forgiving when you’re mad, and listening to her when you want to talk. It’s rubbing her feet when she’s tired and you want a whole lot more. It’s seeing each other at your worst and choosing to overlook what you know is true because you believe they can be better. It’s doing the right thing for the other person. Even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard. That is love, Jaime.
Brandon Gray (The Soulstealer's Child)
...Here, let me see. Stop rubbing it so I can -" He wicks his hand away from his eye just as I lean, and his elbow collides with the side of my face, hard enough that I'm knocked sideways. I try to grab the bedpost, but my hands are so slippery that Islide right off, and crash to the floor, my head connecting painfully with the corner of the drawer I left open. The bottle of oil falls off the edge and shatters into a soupy, amber pool. "What happened! Are you alright?" Percy's got one eye open but blinking frantically, hand extended blindly to me. "I'm fine!" I touch the back of my head, and it comes back damp and red. "No, wait, I'm bleeding." "You're bleeding!?" He yelps. "It's fine! " "It's clearly not if you're bleeding." I can feel a trickle down the back of my neck, and I clap a hand against it, like I can force the blood to stay inside me if I just press tightly enough. "It's fine!" My wrist is wet, and I look just as a drizzle of blood courses down my arm into the crook of my elbow. "God, this is really bleeding!" My vision swims, and when I reach to steady myself I put my hand straight into the oily puddle of lineament, and I crash backward onto the floor. Percy tries to come to my aid, but with one eye closed, he misjudges were he places his foot and steps on me. I screech and he slips and he slips, one leg tangled up in the sheets, and then suddenly the bedroom door bangs opens and there's Scipio. I scream and Percy screams and Scipio lets loud a horrified gurgle, and then Felicity appears behind him in the doorway, claps her hands over her eyes, tries to run with her hands still covered, and slips in one of the dripping puddles we left on the stairs. Her feet go out from under her, and she lands flat on her back at the top of the stairs, hands still valiantly clapped over her eyes, which rather ruins it all.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky (Montague Siblings, #1.5))
I don't understand, Jenna, why you couldn't give him a ride home?" Mom struck the archetypal Mom pose-hands on hips, perplexed look on face, head tilted at that I cannot believe you came from my womb angle. "He walked home in the pouring rain. With a cold, I might add." "I didn't know he had a cold. I was at the JCC with Steph," I said, knowing that was not going to fly. Cameron padded into the kitchen on bare feet, rubbing his hair dry with a towel. "It's fine," he said. "I didn't have to walk that far." Mom shook her head. "It's not fine. While you're living with us, you're part of the family, and we don't leave each other stranded in the rain.
Sara Zarr (Sweethearts)
After another second had passed I added, “But you’re pretty, pretty,” and as soon as I said it I thought, “Pretty, pretty? John, you’re an idiot.” But she squeezed my hand and when I looked at her I saw her entire lovely face was aglow with a wonderful smile, the kind of smile you get when you have won something. “Why do you rub your fingers together all the time?” she asked me, and I felt the breath leave my body and gasped for air. She had seen me do my crazy finger thing, my affliction. I clenched my teeth while I searched for a long, exaggerated lie to tell her about why I did what I did. I didn’t want to be the crazy kid with tics, I wanted to be James Bond 007, so slick ice avoided me. “It’s okay,” she said. “I bite my nails, see?” and she showed me the backs of her hands. Her finger nails were painted a color I later learned was puce. “My Dad, he blinks all the time, he doesn’t know why either,” she continued. She looked down her feet and said, “I shouldn’t have asked you that. I’m really nervous and I say stupid things when I’m nervous. I’m a girl and this is my first date, and for girls this really is a very big deal.” I understood completely. I was so nervous I couldn’t feel my toes, so I started moving them up and down to make sure they were still there. “It’s all right,” I said. “I don’t know why I do that with my fingers; it’s a thing I do.” “Well, you’re really cute when you do it,” she said. “I know,” I said, and I don’t know why I said it, but I did.
John William Tuohy (No Time to Say Goodbye: A Memoir of a Life in Foster Care)
Dominic, with the powerful aura, got under my skin before I had a chance to ward him off and now I’m screwed. Even more now I know his taste and how hard he feels against the soft, wet parts of me. Dominic just introduced me to the most dangerous man in New York. Fuck. Fuck. Clarity pours over me. Does this mean Dominic is a member of the mafia after all? Only it wasn’t only a little kiss, was it? I’m sexually frustrated and Dom is standing there with his hands in his tailored pants pockets, aroused. The bulge is unmistakable. “Gabriella…” God, I’m wet too. If I rub my thighs together, I’ll feel how much. He’s hard, I’m wet… it’s a match made in heaven. “Gabriella…” he says again, thick and tarnished as I look him up and down. “Yeah?” “I said you’re too far away,” he murmurs, cutting his dark gaze my way. Stirring me. “Come here to me, cara.” he hooks two fingers with a motion and smirks like a devil with the key to all my desires. I swear my belly bottoms out as my feet carry me forward. Unable to refuse the invisible rope he has around my waist, pulling me closer. “Bossy aren’t you?” “I am your boss.” “I don’t think you want to remind me of that.” He hums and the rumble hurtles down between my thighs. How does he do that? Turn me on with just a noise. “I guess you’d like it if I called you sir, wouldn’t you?” His eyes flare and then darken, he drops his chin to his chest. “Do you really wish to turn me on right this moment?” Oh, fuck. Do I? I do. Yeah, I really do.
V. Theia (Manhattan Target (From Manhattan #6))
hot and close. The walls were hung with deep-dyed tapestries and old weapons kept gleaming by servants. Achilles walked past them and knelt at his father’s feet. “Father, I come to ask your pardon.” “Oh?” Peleus lifted an eyebrow. “Speak then.” From where I stood his face looked cold and displeased. I was suddenly fearful. We had interrupted; Achilles had not even knocked. “I have taken Patroclus from his drills.” My name sounded strange on his lips; I almost did not recognize it. The old king’s brows drew together. “Who?” “Menoitiades,” Achilles said. Menoitius’ son. “Ah.” Peleus’ gaze followed the carpet back to where I stood, trying not to fidget. “Yes, the boy the arms-master wants to whip.” “Yes. But it is not his fault. I forgot to say I wished him for a companion.” Therapon was the word he used. A brother-in-arms sworn to a prince by blood oaths and love. In war, these men were his honor guard; in peace, his closest advisers. It was a place of highest esteem, another reason the boys swarmed Peleus’ son, showing off; they hoped to be chosen. Peleus’ eyes narrowed. “Come here, Patroclus.” The carpet was thick beneath my feet. I knelt a little behind Achilles. I could feel the king’s gaze on me. “For many years now, Achilles, I have urged companions on you and you have turned them away. Why this boy?” The question might have been my own. I had nothing to offer such a prince. Why, then, had he made a charity case of me? Peleus and I both waited for his answer. “He is surprising.” I looked up, frowning. If he thought so, he was the only one. “Surprising,” Peleus echoed. “Yes.” Achilles explained no further, though I hoped he would. Peleus rubbed his nose in thought. “The boy is an exile with a stain upon him. He will add no luster to your reputation.” “I do not need him to,” Achilles said. Not proudly or boastfully. Honestly. Peleus acknowledged this. “Yet other boys will be envious that you have chosen such a one. What will you tell them?” “I will tell them nothing.” The answer came with no hesitation, clear and crisp. “It is not for them to say what I will do.” I found my pulse beating thickly in my veins, fearing Peleus’ anger. It did not come. Father and son met each other’s gaze, and the faintest touch of amusement bloomed at the corner of Peleus’ mouth. “Stand up, both of you.” I did so, dizzily. “I pronounce your sentence. Achilles, you
Madeline Miller (The Song of Achilles)
Before she could don her wide-brimmed hat and leave the sanctuary of their willow bower, Val did wrap his arms around her again, this time positioning his body behind hers. “I will come back after dark,” he whispered, “if you’ll allow it.” She went still, and he knew a moment’s panic. “Talk to me, Ellen.” He kissed her cheek. “Just be honest.” “My… tonight might not be a good time.” “Sweetheart…” Val let her go and turned her to face him. “I will not force myself on you, I just want… I want to see you.” To make sure she was all right, whatever that meant in the odd, new context in which he was trying to define the term. She must have sensed his bewilderment, because she turned away and spoke to him from over her shoulder. “My courses are due.” Val cocked his head. “So you become unfit company? Do you have the megrims and cramps and melancholy? Eat chocolates by the tin? Take to your bed?” “Sometimes.” Ellen peered at him, her expression guarded. “Then I will comfort you. I’ll cuddle you up and bring you tisanes and rub your back and your feet. I’ll read to you and beat you at cards and bring you hot-water bottles for your aches.” Ellen’s brows knit. “I truly am poor company at such times and usually before such times, as well.” “You are poor company for people who expect you to play on without missing a note, perhaps,” Val replied, holding her gaze. “May we sit a moment?” She nodded but had gone too shy even to meet his eyes. “My Uncle Tony’s wife,” Val said, wrapping an arm around Ellen’s shoulders, “is blunt to a fault. She told me relations with Tony were the best way to ease her cramps.” “Valentine!
Grace Burrowes (The Virtuoso (Duke's Obsession, #3; Windham, #3))
He let go of her hands and cut her off, placing a finger over her lips as he rubbed her arm. “The only thing I want tonight is you. The only thing you need to know tonight is I’m going to have you...as I wish...for as long as I wish.” He rolled his head in a circle to stretch before looking directly back into her eyes, and added as an afterthought, “Hmm... Hurt you? Your arousal will likely hurt you excruciatingly until I allow your release.” And as his sensual voice streaked through her, Kate’s mind shorted out like a tripped wire snapping, completely blank. Her whole body betrayed her yet again by flushing with unrestrainable heat. “Stay as you are, Kate.” He pushed the bunched-up nightgown at her waist, down to the floor to pool at her feet. Shivering hard, she moved her hands to cover her nakedness, dropping her head to her chest, avoiding his steady gaze. Grabbing her hands, he moved them back to her sides. He lifted her chin high to face him and said, “I told you to stay as you were, Kate. You will do good to listen to me.” His fingers pressed into her hair, curling a bit of it around her ear as he leaned in to the side of her head. His voice lowered seductively until it was a purr in her ear. “I know how to please a woman to the point her voice is hoarse from her screams of desire, her bed linens soaked, and her legs quivering for hours after I’m done.” His lips scantly apart from her ear, his voice dropping lower, he continued, “In the matter of choices, I know which sounds best to me. Do you, beautiful girl? I’ll prove I was worth the trouble of opening your door. Can you allow yourself this indulgence? It’s just one night.
Elaine Barris (Master for Tonight (Master for Tonight, #1))
No. It couldn’t be. I shook my head, still disbelieving. Maybe the poison had warped my brain and I was delusional after all. I pulled myself to my feet, swaying against Drake, allowing his warm, hard body to prop me up. “You know what that means.” “I do.” His jaw tightened, his eyes flashing with intermingled anger and passion. My heart, leaden and sick, suddenly was enveloped in a gentle warmth that did much to dispel the ills that had possessed it. “Are you sure? Really sure? It’s not something else? Maybe you’re sick.” His face grew harder. “Do you think I’m a fool that I could mistake it?” “No, but you don’t look very happy about it.” “I’m not,” he snapped, irritation rampant on his handsome features. A smile curved my lips as I kissed the corners of his mouth, ignoring the presence of those around us. “Are you going to say it?” “No.” “Come on. I want to hear it.” “No!” I allowed all the love I had for him to show in my eyes as I rubbed my nose on his. “Please?” His face took on the most martyred expression I’d ever seen. “If I say it once, do I have to say it again?” “Yes. With increasing frequency. It gets easier with time, honest.” He sighed again. “I knew this would not come to a good end. Very well, I’ll say it. But I reserve the right to refer you to this conversation on occasions when you wish me to say it again. Aisling, I love you.” I fought hard to keep the smile off my face. Drake’s declaration of love was delivered in such a brusque tone, I knew it had to be costing him a lot to admit the truth. “I love you, too,” I answered, and welcomed his mouth when it came to claim mine, my heart singing a joyous song of happiness and fulfillment.
Katie MacAlister (Light My Fire (Aisling Grey, #3))
What about the main thing in life, all its riddles? If you want, I'll spell it out for you right now. Do not pursue what is illusory - property and position: all that is gained at the expense of your nerves decade after decade, and is confiscated in one fell night. Live with a steady superiority over life - don't be afraid of misfortune, and do not yearn after happiness; it is, after all, all the same: the bitter doesn't last forever, and the sweet never fills the cup to overflowing. It is enough if you don't freeze in the cold and if thirst and hunger don't claw at your insides. If your back isn't broken, if your feet can walk, if both arms bend, if both eyes see, and if both ears hear, then whom should you envy? And why? Our envy of others devours us most of all. Rub your eyes and purify your heart - and prize above all else in the world those who love you and wish you well.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (The Gulag Archipelago)
That’s not fair,” Sophie grumbled through a yawn. “Yeah, wow,” Keefe said, rubbing his eyes as he stumbled to his feet. “If I don’t go now, I’m going to be drooling on your desk—unless you need me to stay.” Sophie couldn’t tell if he was asking her or her physicians. Either way, she told him, “Go home, Keefe. You’ve been stuck here long enough.” He shook his head, studying her with sleepy eyes. “I’m never stuck with you, Foster. Someday I’m going to make you see that.” “Sounds like I’d better get Hunkyhair home,” Ro said, striding out of Sophie’s closet in a silky pink gown that somehow looked both right and wrong with her armor strapped on top of it. “I was bored,” Ro added when she noticed the way everyone was staring, like that explained her new fashion choices. “I’ll bring the dress back tomorrow.” “Keep it,” Sophie told her. “You… look really good.” Ro glanced down, sliding her hands across the shimmering skirt, then rolled her eyes and muttered something about sparkles going to her head.
Shannon Messenger (Legacy (Keeper of the Lost Cities, #8))
Nick tugged her head back, his tormented gaze raking over her face. His trembling fingertips traced the line of her cheek and jaw. “My God. Lottie…” As his panicked exploration continued, he discovered the bruises on her throat, and he uttered a cry of fury. “Holy hell! Your neck. He dared to… I’m going to slaughter that bastard—” Lottie placed her fingers over his mouth. “I’m all right,” she said gently. Feeling the way his large body shook, she drew her hand over his chest in a calming stroke. After the traumatic events of the past hours, it was so wonderful to be with him that her lips curved in a wobbly smile. She gazed into his dusty, sweat-streaked face with concern. “In fact, I believe I may be in better condition than you, my darling.” A primitive groan came from his throat, and he clutched her with his right arm, bending over her hungrily. “I love you,” he said in a low, shaken voice. “I love you so much, Lottie.” His lips covered hers in a fiercely ardent kiss. Clearly he was too unsettled to recall that there were others in the room. Lottie turned her face away with a muffled laugh. “I love you, too,” she whispered. “Not here, darling. Later, with more privacy, we can—” She was silenced as Nick seized her mouth once more. Suddenly she found herself pushed up against the wall by six feet of aroused, overwrought male. Realizing that there was no hope of subduing him, Lottie stroked his broad back in an effort to soothe him. He possessed her with deep, fervent kisses, while his lungs worked so violently that she could feel his rib cage expanding with each breath. She tried to comfort him, gently rubbing the back of his neck as his mouth worked roughly over hers. His breath came in ragged shivers, and in between kisses he breathed her name as if it were a prayer. “Lottie… Lottie…” Each time she tried to answer, he dove for her mouth again. “Sydney,” Sir Grant said after some prolonged throat-clearing had failed to capture his attention. “Ahem. Sydney…” After a long time, Nick finally lifted his head. Lottie pushed at his chest, making him loosen his grip on her. Red-faced and breathless, she saw that Sayer had developed a keenly absorbing interest in the weather outside the window, while Daniel had excused himself to wait outside.
Lisa Kleypas (Worth Any Price (Bow Street Runners, #3))
He was walking down a narrow street in Beirut, Lebanon, the air thick with the smell of Arabic coffee and grilled chicken. It was midday, and he was sweating badly beneath his flannel shirt. The so-called South Lebanon conflict, the Israeli occupation, which had begun in 1982 and would last until 2000, was in its fifth year. The small white Fiat came screeching around the corner with four masked men inside. His cover was that of an aid worker from Chicago and he wasn’t strapped. But now he wished he had a weapon, if only to have the option of ending it before they took him. He knew what that would mean. The torture first, followed by the years of solitary. Then his corpse would be lifted from the trunk of a car and thrown into a drainage ditch. By the time it was found, the insects would’ve had a feast and his mother would have nightmares, because the authorities would not allow her to see his face when they flew his body home. He didn’t run, because the only place to run was back the way he’d come, and a second vehicle had already stopped halfway through a three-point turn, all but blocking off the street. They exited the Fiat fast. He was fit and trained, but he knew they’d only make it worse for him in the close confines of the car if he fought them. There was a time for that and a time for raising your hands, he’d learned. He took an instep hard in the groin, and a cosh over the back of his head as he doubled over. He blacked out then. The makeshift cell Hezbollah had kept him in in Lebanon was a bare concrete room, three metres square, without windows or artificial light. The door was wooden, reinforced with iron strips. When they first dragged him there, he lay in the filth that other men had made. They left him naked, his wrists and ankles chained. He was gagged with rag and tape. They had broken his nose and split his lips. Each day they fed him on half-rancid scraps like he’d seen people toss to skinny dogs. He drank only tepid water. Occasionally, he heard the muted sound of children laughing, and smelt a faint waft of jasmine. And then he could not say for certain how long he had been there; a month, maybe two. But his muscles had wasted and he ached in every joint. After they had said their morning prayers, they liked to hang him upside down and beat the soles of his feet with sand-filled lengths of rubber hose. His chest was burned with foul-smelling cigarettes. When he was stubborn, they lay him bound in a narrow structure shaped like a grow tunnel in a dusty courtyard. The fierce sun blazed upon the corrugated iron for hours, and he would pass out with the heat. When he woke up, he had blisters on his skin, and was riddled with sand fly and red ant bites. The duo were good at what they did. He guessed the one with the grey beard had honed his skills on Jewish conscripts over many years, the younger one on his own hapless people, perhaps. They looked to him like father and son. They took him to the edge of consciousness before easing off and bringing him back with buckets of fetid water. Then they rubbed jagged salt into the fresh wounds to make him moan with pain. They asked the same question over and over until it sounded like a perverse mantra. “Who is The Mandarin? His name? Who is The Mandarin?” He took to trying to remember what he looked like, the architecture of his own face beneath the scruffy beard that now covered it, and found himself flinching at the slightest sound. They had peeled back his defences with a shrewdness and deliberation that had both surprised and terrified him. By the time they freed him, he was a different man.  
Gary Haynes (State of Honour)
shoving a clump of weeds off her face, she clambered to her feet. When she looked at the bank, there stood Lincoln, now in shirtsleeves and barefoot. He stretched out his hand toward her. She crossed her arms over her chest and shook her head. “I know you could get out all on your own.” His voice was tender, and the mirth was gone from his face. “But you don’t have to.” Her anger blew away like the down of a dandelion, and her insides swirled. He was making a point, and he was offering her much more than assistance in getting out of this lake. But did he realize what he was asking her to do? She was the oldest sister. She took responsibility. She handled everything life threw at her, and she didn’t count on anyone’s help. Not even the Lord’s, a small voice whispered inside her. Rubbing her chilled arms, she took one step closer and stopped. “Hannah, I’m giving you the freedom to choose.” His dove-blue eyes were filled with hope. “I won’t push you, but I thought you liked taking risks.” “I do.” “Then take a risk on me.” Hannah stared at Lincoln’s outstretched hand and smiled. She’d take a risk, all right. As soon as his hand clasped around her own, she yanked him with all her might toward the water.
Lorna Seilstad (When Love Calls (The Gregory Sisters, #1))
What about the main thing in life, all its riddles? If you want, I’ll spell it out for you right now. Do not pursue what is illusory—property and position: all that is gained at the expense of your nerves decade after decade, and is confiscated in one fell night. Live with a steady superiority over life—don’t be afraid of misfortune, and do not yearn after happiness; it is, after all, all the same: the bitter doesn’t last forever, and the sweet never fills the cup to overflowing. It is enough if you don’t freeze in the cold and if thirst and hunger don’t claw at your insides. If your back isn’t broken, if your feet can walk, if both arms can bend, if both eyes see, and if both ears hear, then whom should you envy? And why? Our envy of others devours us most of all. Rub your eyes and purify your heart—and prize above all else in the world those who love you and who wish you well. Do not hurt them or scold them, and never part from any of them in anger; after all, you simply do not know: it might be your last act before your arrest, and that will be how you are imprinted in their memory! But the convoy guards stroke the black handles of the pistols in their pockets. And we sit there, three in a row, sober fellows, quiet friends.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (The Gulag Archipelago [Volume 1]: An Experiment in Literary Investigation)
The rock came loose, but Jake’s satisfied grunt turned into a howl of outraged pain as a set of huge teeth in the next stall clamped into Jake’s ample rear end. “You vicious bag of bones,” he shouted, jumping to his feet and throwing himself half over the rail in an attempt to land a punch on Attila’s body. As if the horse anticipated retribution, he sidled to the edge of his stall and regarded Jake from the corner of his eye with an expression that looked to Jake like complacent satisfaction. “I’ll get you for that,” Jake promised, and he started to shake his fist when he realized how absurd it was to threaten a dumb beast. Rubbing his offended backside, he turned to Mayhem and carefully put his own rump against the outside wall of the barn. He checked the hoof to make certain it was clean, but the moment his fingers touched the place where the rock had been lodged the chestnut jerked in pain. “Bruised you, did it?” Jake said sympathetically. “It’s not surprisin’, considering the size and shape of the rock. But you never gave a sign yesterday that you were hurtin’,” he continued. Raising his voice and infusing it with a wealth of exaggerated admiration, the patted the chestnut’s flank and glanced disdainfully at Attila while he spoke to Mayhem. “That’s because you’re a true aristocrat and a fine, brave animal-not a miserable, sneaky mule who’s not fit to be your stallmate!” If Attila cared one way or another for Jake’s opinion, he was disappointingly careful not to show it, which only made Jake’s mood more stormy when he stomped into the cottage. Ian was sitting at the table, a cup of steaming coffee cradled between his palms. “Good morning,” he said to Jake, studying the older man’s thunderous frown. “Mebbe you think so, but I can’t see it. Course, I’ve spent the night freezin’ out there, bedded down next to a horse that wants to make a meal of me, and who broke his fast with a bit of my arse already this mornin’. And,” he finished irately as he poured coffee from the tin pot into an earthenware mug and cast a quelling look at his amused friend, “your horse is lame!” Flinging himself into the chair beside Ian, he gulped down the scalding coffee without thinking what he was doing; his eyes bulged, and sweat popped out on his forehead. Ian’s grin faded. “He’s what?” “Picked up a rock, and he’s favoring his left foreleg.” Ian’s chair legs scraped against the wooden floor as he shoved his chair back and started to go to the barn. “There’s no need. It’s just a bruise.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
Help,’ Jo moaned. ‘I think I’m in a coma.’ It was seven o’clock. The library walls were scrubbed clean and Allie’s neck and shoulders ached whenever she even thought about raising her arms as she sat on the dust sheet next to Jo. ‘Do your arms hurt?’ Allie asked, rubbing her shoulders. ‘God yes.’ ‘Then you’re not in a coma.’ Gingerly Allie stretched out her legs. ‘Jesus. What have I got myself into? Rachel has a swimming pool and horses. Horses, Jo. I could be floating in a pool and petting soft pony noses if I were still at her house.’ ‘Here.’ Jo turned to face her. ‘My nose is soft. You can pet it.’ Allie stroked her nose tiredly. ‘Wow. This is just like being at Rachel’s. Where’s the pool?’ ‘No pool,’ Jo said. ‘Showers.’ ‘Sucks.’ ‘Totally.’ ‘Are you two just going to lie there complaining? Or are you coming to dinner?’ Allie looked up to see Carter standing above them, studying them doubtfully. ‘Jo’s in a coma,’ Allie informed him. ‘She no longer needs food.’ ‘Wait. Did you say food? I think I’m actually awake.’ Jo scrambled to her feet. ‘My God,’ Allie said mildly. ‘It’s a miracle.’ ‘You’ve only been doing this one day, Sheridan.’ Carter reached down to pull her up. ‘You can’t be tired already.’ ‘Everything hurts,’ she said. ‘Shoulders, arms, back …’ ‘Legs, feet, head …’ Jo offered helpfully. ‘Ankles. Shins. Name a body part,’ Allie said. ‘It hurts.’ Carter didn’t look impressed. ‘Food will ease your pain.’ He steered them towards the dining hall. ‘He’s very wise,’ Allie told Jo. ‘Clearly,’ Jo replied.
C.J. Daugherty (Legacy (Night School, #2))
Far, far better to die. One by one the rest of the Zavaedis came to cast their stones for either exoneration, exile, or death. Some spoke to the assembly of their reasons why, others simply placed the stone according to their choice. Unfortunately, his mother’s plea moved many people to pity him. When all the rocks had piled up, the orange mat held the most stones. Exile. Kavio swallowed hard to conceal his reaction. You have murdered me all the same. Father pounded the rain stick. “Kavio, you have been found guilty of the most heinous of crimes—hexcraft. Though you remain a member of the secret societies that initiated you and are therefore spared death, nonetheless you are forbidden to enter the Labyrinth, to take with you anything from the Labyrinth, or to study with any dancing society of the Labyrinth. Do you understand and acknowledge your punishment?” “I understand it all too well,” Kavio said through gritted teeth. “But I will never acknowledge it as just.” “So be it,” Father said tonelessly. “Bring the pot of ashes.” Two warriors hefted a ceramic pot from where it had rested in the shadow of the tall platform. They forced Kavio to lean back while still on his knees. They smeared him with a paste and rubbed in the gray-black powder. His bare chest and clean shaven face disappeared under a scum of grey crud. Humiliation itched, but like poison ivy, he knew it would be worse if he scratched it. He forced himself still as stone while the warriors slapped on more mud. “You must wear mud and ash for the rest of your days,” the Maze Zavaedi concluded. His voice broke. “I am ashamed to call you my son.” Kavio struggled to his feet. The warriors escorting him surrounded him with a hedge of spears. Did they fear him, even now? “You never could just trust me, could you, Father?” Kavio asked. Father’s jaw jutted forward. A muscle moved in his neck. Otherwise, he might have been rock. “Escort my son out of the Labyrinth.
Tara Maya (Initiate (The Unfinished Song, #1))
I flip the lock back in place and turn, hitting a concrete wall of a man. “What’s he made of? Concrete and sex?” I whisper into the phone like the man in front of me can’t hear me. “Good, he’s already there,” I hear Elle say as my eyes travel up and up an endless span of chest. Up, up, up, until my eyes finally land on a hard face with a clenched jaw. He’s hot in that oh-my-God-he-could-crush-me way. Wait, is that hot? “Listen here, Hulk. You can take your incredible body and vacate my home. I won’t be needing your services.” “I’m standing in the middle of your apartment, and you didn't so much as scream. This is despite you knowing someone has been stalking you. I could have been that someone. Fuck. I could be that someone.” I snort and roll my eyes. “Yeah right, Hulk-man.” I pat him on the chest before resting my hand there. I start to rub. I only meant to do a quick pat, but now I can’t seem to remove my hand. I like the feel of him. I don’t think I’ve ever liked the feel of a man before. I don’t think I’ve ever had the urge to touch one before. “You think I couldn’t hurt you?” He grabs my wrist, pulling it away from his chest. The action makes me frown. Oh, I know he could hurt me, but someone like him would never stalk me. That just didn’t add up to me. If anything, I’d end up stalking him. “Oh, I’m sure you could Hulk smash me.” Now that I’m not touching him, I bring my other hand up to his chest and continue doing what I was doing before, but he just grabs that wrist, too. “Then why aren’t you worried?” His words are hard and laced with anger. So unlike the soft hold he has on my wrist. I could easily pull away with one good tug. Maybe. “Someone like you wouldn’t stalk me.In fact, I don’t see anyone stalking me. There has to be a mi...” His mouth hits mine, cutting off my words. He gives a little tug on my wrist, and I fall into him, gasping when I feel his erection press into me. He takes the opening and pushes his tongue into my mouth. I let my eyes close as he devours me. My body feels like I’m buzzing. I push further into him, wanting to be closer. I deepen the kiss. He goes to pull back, but I wrap my hands around his neck, not even noticing that I’m eye level with him and that my feet are no longer on the floor as I pull him back to me. I move against him, needing the friction. His cock is settled against my core, and I move my hips against him, taking what I want. What I need. Everything else is forgotten, my mind just shuts off. He growls into my mouth, and I swear the sound vibrates through my whole body and goes straight to where I need it. My body explodes. A moan falls from my lips as I finally pull them from his. I let my head drop back and enjoy the sensations rocking through my whole body. I feel like I’m floating. When I finally come back down, I realize I kind of am. My legs are wrapped around his waist and I’ve somehow ended up with my back to a wall. I feel his tongue come out and lick my neck, making my body jerk. “I wanna do that again,” I say lazily. I think I could do that over and over again. “Your place isn’t secure. Come to mine and I’ll do it over and over again.” “Mmkay,” is all I say. I’d probably go anywhere he asked me at the moment. “Holy shit.” I roll my head to the side and see my sister standing in the doorway. A man stands beside her with a shocked looked on his face, mirroring Elle’s expression. I’m guessing that’s her guard. “I’m keeping this one,” I say, locking my arms around him, not wanting to do a trade. “Fuck,” Hart says, placing me on the floor. I regretfully let my arms fall from around his neck. He steps in front of me, blocking my view of my sister and the other man. “I don’t think you should be her guard, Hart,” I hear the other man say. His words make my heart drop. “I’m moving in with him,” I retort, popping my head out from behind him. Elle giggles.
Alexa Riley (Guarding His Obsession)
I know he makes mistakes, but basically he’s a good kid,” she told him. “Trust him, and trust yourself.” She looked so earnest, he thought, as aroused as he was amused. “You’re the one who shouldn’t be trusting me,” he told her, right before he kissed her. As he lowered his mouth to hers, he wrapped his arms around her and drew her close. She leaned into him, her slender body warm and supple in his embrace. Her lips clung, then parted. When he swept inside, she was hot, sweet and more than willing to take him on. The second his tongue touched hers, she moaned. Her fingers dug into his shoulders, and he felt a shudder ripple through her body. He went from hard to ready to explode in two seconds. The way they were next to each other on a log didn’t allow him to explore her the way he wanted, so he broke the kiss and pulled her to her feet. Phoebe went willingly, if a little unsteadily. When they were both standing, he pressed his mouth to her jaw before sliding to her neck. She moaned and leaned back her head. Their lower bodies brushed against each other. When her belly came in contact with his erection, it was his turn to groan. He slid one hand from her waist up to her breast and cupped the feminine curve. Even through the layers of her shirt and bra, he could feel her tight nipple. One sweep of his thumb against it had her gasping. She touched his head and guided his mouth back to hers. This time when he entered her, she closed her lips around his tongue and sucked. He dropped his free hand to the small of her back, holding her in place so he could rub against her. The thick ropes of his control began to unravel. When she curled both arms around his neck, it seemed natural to place his around her waist and pick her up. She wrapped her legs around his hips, bringing herself in direct contact with his hard-on. It was paradise. It was pure torture. He swore. She broke the kiss and smiled at him. “So you find me annoying, but you still want me,” she whispered. “I don’t find you annoying.” He pushed against her crotch. “I don’t find you annoying, either.
Susan Mallery (Kiss Me (Fool's Gold, #17))
You don’t have to decide anything now. If you will allow me to be near you for a time, then we can see.” He rested his head back, and they looked at each other, their faces inches apart. He always was so good at looking at her. And it occurred to her just then that she herself was more Darcy than Erstwhile, sitting there admiring his fine eyes, feeling dangerously close to falling in love against her will. “Just be near…” she repeated. He nodded. “And if I don’t make you feel like the most beautiful woman in the world every day of your life, then I don’t deserve to be near you.” Jane breathed in, taking those words inside her. She thought she might like to keep them for a while. She considered never giving them up. “Okay, I lied a little bit.” He rubbed his head with even more force. “I need to admit up front that I don’t know how to have a fling. I’m not good at playing around and then saying good-bye. I’m throwing myself at your feet because I’m hoping for a shot at forever. You don’t have to say anything now, no promises required. I just thought you should know.” He forced himself to lean back again, his face turned slightly away, as if he didn’t care to see her expression just then. It was probably for the best. She was staring straight ahead with wide, panicked eyes, then a grin slowly took over her face. In her mind was running the conversation she was going to have with Molly. “I didn’t think it was possible, but I found a man as crazy intense as I was.” The plane was moving, that scatty slow motion that seemed to go both forward and backward at once. Jane kept looking back and forth between the window and the man next to her, checking to see if he was really there. Was this a better ending than tallyho? “So,” he said, “is New York City our final destination?” “That’s home.” “Good. There’s bound to be work for an attractive British actor, wouldn’t you think?” “There are thousands of restaurants, and those waiter jobs have high turnover.” “Right.” “Loads of theaters, too. I think you’d be wonderful in a comedy.” “Because I’m laughable.” “It doesn’t hurt.
Shannon Hale (Austenland (Austenland, #1))
EVEN BEFORE HE GOT ELECTROCUTED, Jason was having a rotten day. He woke in the backseat of a school bus, not sure where he was, holding hands with a girl he didn’t know. That wasn’t necessarily the rotten part. The girl was cute, but he couldn’t figure out who she was or what he was doing there. He sat up and rubbed his eyes, trying to think. A few dozen kids sprawled in the seats in front of him, listening to iPods, talking, or sleeping. They all looked around his age…fifteen? Sixteen? Okay, that was scary. He didn’t know his own age. The bus rumbled along a bumpy road. Out the windows, desert rolled by under a bright blue sky. Jason was pretty sure he didn’t live in the desert. He tried to think back…the last thing he remembered… The girl squeezed his hand. “Jason, you okay?” She wore faded jeans, hiking boots, and a fleece snowboarding jacket. Her chocolate brown hair was cut choppy and uneven, with thin strands braided down the sides. She wore no makeup like she was trying not to draw attention to herself, but it didn’t work. She was seriously pretty. Her eyes seemed to change color like a kaleidoscope—brown, blue, and green. Jason let go of her hand. “Um, I don’t—” In the front of the bus, a teacher shouted, “All right, cupcakes, listen up!” The guy was obviously a coach. His baseball cap was pulled low over his hair, so you could just see his beady eyes. He had a wispy goatee and a sour face, like he’d eaten something moldy. His buff arms and chest pushed against a bright orange polo shirt. His nylon workout pants and Nikes were spotless white. A whistle hung from his neck, and a megaphone was clipped to his belt. He would’ve looked pretty scary if he hadn’t been five feet zero. When he stood up in the aisle, one of the students called, “Stand up, Coach Hedge!” “I heard that!” The coach scanned the bus for the offender. Then his eyes fixed on Jason, and his scowl deepened. A jolt went down Jason’s spine. He was sure the coach knew he didn’t belong there. He was going to call Jason out, demand to know what he was doing on the bus—and Jason wouldn’t have a clue what to say. But Coach Hedge looked away and cleared his throat. “We’ll arrive in five minutes! Stay with your partner. Don’t lose your worksheet. And if any of you precious little cupcakes causes any trouble on this trip, I will personally send you back to campus the hard way.
Rick Riordan (The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1))
She is pissed off all the time,” he mumbled and I remained silent, letting him ramble. “She wants chocolate ice cream, I go in search of chocolate, but the time I get back she’s pissed because she wants strawberry instead. I can’t win.” He looked me straight in the eyes and I swear his expression was one of desperation. “It wasn’t like this before. With Liam she was so sweet. But I swear the damn devil has possessed my wife and she might kill me in my sleep one night.” It was then I laughed. “What the hell is so funny?” he asked. “I sleep with one eye open and one leg hanging off the bed touching the floor at my side. This way if I have to move fast I feel I’m one step closer.” He didn’t smile. There was absolutely no humor in his words. “Weren’t you the one that said you wanted five kids?” I asked. “I changed my mind. After this one, we’re done. I want Trinity back.” Again, complete seriousness. Poor guy looked lost. And it was the best damn thing to witness. Within four months of having Liam, Trinity was pregnant again. And this time she was cranky as hell. Everyone noticed it, but she directed all that aggravation toward the man she said was to blame. And the rest of us loved to witness his hell. “Go home, Chase,” I told him and he looked as if he wanted to argue. “Stop at the store and pick up every flavor of ice cream they got,” I told him. “Tell her she’s beautiful and rub her feet.” “I do that already,” he whined. “I tell her she’s beautiful, and no other woman has ever looked as amazing as her. I tell her I love her and that she is my world, but she is like the exorcist.” “Well it’s your job to take it. Let her growl and complain and just take it,” I told him. “Because at the end of the day you just need to remember one thing.” He looked at me like I was about to give him the best piece of advice. I almost felt bad about the fact that I had nothing reassuring to say. “What?” he asked and I cracked a smile, almost talking myself out of taking the chance at being an asshole. Then I thought about the fact that had the roles been reversed he would have jumped at the chance. “You are to blame for the state she is in.” He narrowed his eyes at me. “And the rest of us guys are loving that it’s you and not us being tortured.” “You’re an asshole,” he mumbled as he turned around and walked off toward his truck. I laughed the entire drive home.
C.A. Harms (Trinity's Trust (Sawyer Brothers #5))
On these lands, in both the occupied places and those left to grow wild, alongside the community and the dwindling wildlife, there lived another creature. At night, he roamed the roads that connected Arcand to the larger town across the Bay where Native people were still unwelcome two centuries on. His name was spoken in the low tones saved for swear words and prayer. He was the threat from a hundred stories told by those old enough to remember the tales. Broke Lent? The rogarou will come for you. Slept with a married woman? Rogarou will find you. Talked back to your mom in the heat of the moment? Don't walk home. Rogarou will snatch you up. Hit a woman under any circumstance? Rogarou will call you family, soon. Shot too many deer, so your freezer is overflowing but the herd thin? If I were you, I'd stay indoors at night. Rogarou knows by now. He was a dog, a man, a wolf. He was clothed, he was naked in his fur, he wore moccasins to jig. He was whatever made you shiver but he was always there, standing by the road, whistling to the stars so that they pulsed bright in the navy sky, as close and as distant as ancestors. For girls, he was the creature who kept you off the road or made you walk in packs. The old women never said, "Don't go into town, it is not safe for us there. We go missing. We are hurt." Instead, they leaned in and whispered a warning: "I wouldn't go out on the road tonight. Someone saw the rogarou just this Wednesday, leaning against the stop sign, sharpening his claws with the jawbone of a child." For boys, he was the worst thing you could ever be. "You remember to ask first and follow her lead. You don't want to turn into Rogarou. You'll wake up with blood in your teeth, not knowing and no way to know what you've done." Long after that bone salt, carried all the way from the Red River, was ground to dust, after the words it was laid down with were not even a whisper and the dialect they were spoken in was rubbed from the original language into common French, the stories of the rogarou kept the community in its circle, behind the line. When the people forgot what they had asked for in the beginning - a place to live, and for the community to grow in a good way - he remembered, and he returned on padded feet, light as stardust on the newly paved road. And that rogarou, heart full of his own stories but his belly empty, he came home not just to haunt. He also came to hunt.
Cherie Dimaline (Empire of Wild)
Jak’ri nodded toward the cliff’s edge. “Shall we?” “Not if you give me time to think about it.” He flashed his teeth in a boyish grin. “One-two-three, jump!” he called and took off running, pulling her after him. Ava’s eyes widened and her heart thudded hard in her chest as she ran alongside him. Their feet hit the edge at the same time, and together they leapt off. Jak’ri whooped as they plummeted toward the ocean, the sound so wonderfully carefree and appealing that Ava found herself grinning big even as she shrieked and squeezed the hell out of his hand. He hit the water a split second before her. Cool liquid closed over their heads. Bubbles surrounded them as if they’d just jumped into a vat of club soda. Then he looped an arm around her waist and propelled them both to the surface. “That was crazy!” she blurted, unable to stop smiling as she swiped water from her face. “Crazy but fun?” he quipped, eyes sparkling with amusement. “Maybe,” she hedged. “But not as fun at this.” Propelling her upper body out of the water, she planted her hands atop his head and dunked him. As soon as she released him, she began a lazy backstroke. Jak’ri surfaced with a sputter and a laugh. When his silver eyes found her a few yards away, they acquired a devilish glint. “Oh, you’re going to regret that, little Earthling.” Ava shrieked when he dove for her. Rolling onto her stomach, she took off, swimming in earnest. Jak’ri’s fingers closed around one of her ankles. “Caught you!” She swam harder, getting absolutely nowhere, breaking into giggles as he issued dire threats in a villainous voice. When was the last time she had honest-to-goodness giggled? She yelped when he gave her ankle a yank. Then she was in his arms and he was grinning wickedly at her. “Think you can get the best of me, do you?” he taunted. Tucking his hands under her arms, he kicked his feet. Ava laughed as he tossed her up out of the water. Through the air she flew, landing on her back several yards away. The water again closed over her head. When she surfaced, she quickly bent her head to hide her smile and rubbed her eyes. “Hang on a sec,” she mumbled. Jak’ri immediately stopped laughing and swam toward her. “I’m sorry. Did you get something in your eye?” “No.” She grinned at him. “I just needed to lure you closer.” Then she swept her arm through the water in front of him, sending a cascade over his head. Sputtering, Jak’ri dove for her. Laughter abounded as they played, even more so when he started sharing tales of his exploits with his brother. Clunk. Ava jerked awake. Damn it! She really hated to wake up. She and Jak’ri had been romping and playing like children. Having to come back to the reality of this cell and the assholes who’d put her in it sucked.
Dianne Duvall (The Purveli (Aldebarian Alliance, #3))
Sophie?” He knocked, though not that hard, then decided she wasn’t going hear anything less than a regiment of charging dragoons over Kit’s racket. He pushed the door open to find half of Sophie’s candles lit and the lady pacing the room with Kit in her arms. “He won’t settle,” she said. “He isn’t wet; he isn’t hungry; he isn’t in want of cuddling. I think he’s sickening for something.” Sophie looked to be sickening. Her complexion was pale even by candlelight, her green eyes were underscored by shadows, and her voice held a brittle, anxious quality. “Babies can be colicky.” Vim laid the back of his hand on the child’s forehead. This resulted in a sudden cessation of Kit’s bellowing. “Ah, we have his attention. What ails you, young sir? You’ve woken the watch and disturbed my lady’s sleep.” “Keep talking,” Sophie said softly. “This is the first time he’s quieted in more than an hour.” Vim’s gaze went to the clock on her mantel. It was a quarter past midnight, meaning Sophie had gotten very little rest. “Give him to me, Sophie. Get off your feet, and I’ll have a talk with My Lord Baby.” She looked reluctant but passed the baby over. When the infant started whimpering, Vim began a circuit of the room. “None of your whining, Kit. Father Christmas will hear of it, and you’ll have a bad reputation from your very first Christmas. Do you know Miss Sophie made Christmas bread today? That’s why the house bore such lovely scents—despite your various efforts to put a different fragrance in the air.” He went on like that, speaking softly, rubbing the child’s back and hoping the slight warmth he’d detected was just a matter of the child’s determined upset, not inchoate sickness. Sophie would fret herself into an early grave if the boy stopped thriving. “Listen,” Vim said, speaking very quietly against the baby’s ear. “You are worrying your mama Sophie. You’re too young to start that nonsense, not even old enough to join the navy. Go to sleep, my man. Sooner rather than later.” The child did not go to sleep. He whimpered and whined, and by two in the morning, his nose was running most unattractively. Sophie would not go to sleep either, and Vim would not leave her alone with the baby. “This is my fault,” Sophie said, her gaze following Vim as he made yet another circuit with the child. “I was the one who had to go to the mews, and I should never have taken Kit with me.” “Nonsense. He loved the outing, and you needed the fresh air.” The baby wasn’t even slurping on his fist, which alarmed Vim more than a possible low fever. And that nose… Vim surreptitiously used a hankie to tend to it, but Sophie got to her feet and came toward them. “He’s ill,” she said, frowning at the child. “He misses his mother and I took him out in the middle of a blizzard and now he’s ill.” Vim put his free arm around her, hating the misery in her tone. “He has a runny nose, Sophie. Nobody died of a runny nose.” Her expression went from wan to stricken. “He could die?” She scooted away from Vim. “This is what people mean when they say somebody took a chill, isn’t it? It starts with congestion, then a fever, then he becomes weak and delirious…” “He’s not weak or delirious, Sophie. Calm down.
Grace Burrowes (Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish (The Duke's Daughters, #1; Windham, #4))
You don’t know me! You know Miss Erstwhile, but--” “Come now, ever since I witnessed your abominable performance in the theatrical, it’s been clear that you can’t act to save your life. All three weeks, that was you.” He smiled. “And I wanted to keep knowing you. Well, I didn’t at first. I wanted you to go away and leave me in peace. I’ve made a career out of avoiding any possibility of a real relationship. And then to find you in that circus…it didn’t make sense. But what ever does?” “Nothing,” said Jane with conviction. “Nothing makes sense.” “Could you tell me…am I being too forward to ask?...of course, I just bought a plane ticket on impulse, so worrying about being forward at this point is pointless…This is so insane, I am not a romantic. Ahem. My question is, what do you want?” “What do I…?” This really was insane. Maybe she should ask that old woman to change seats again. “I mean it. Besides something real. You already told me that. I like to think I’m real, after all. So, what do you really want?” She shrugged and said simply, “I want to be happy. I used to want Mr. Darcy, laugh at me if you want, or the idea of him. Someone who made me feel all the time like I felt when I watched those movies.” It was hard for her to admit it, but when she had, it felt like licking the last of the icing from the bowl. That hopeless fantasy was empty now. “Right. Well, do you think it possible--” He hesitated, his fingers played with the radio and light buttons on the arm of his seat. “Do you think someone like me could be what you want?” Jane smiled sadly. “I’m feeling all shiny and brand new. In all my life, I’ve never felt like I do now. I’m not sure yet what I want. When I was Miss Erstwhile, you were perfect, but that was back in Austenland. Or are we still in Austenland? Maybe I’ll never leave.” He nodded. “You don’t have to decide anything now. If you will allow me to be near you for a time, then we can see.” He rested his head back, and they looked at each other, their faces inches apart. He always was so good at looking at her. And it occurred to her just then that she herself was more Darcy than Erstwhile, sitting there admiring his fine eyes, feeling dangerously close to falling in love against her will. “Just be near…” she repeated. He nodded. “And if I don’t make you feel like the most beautiful woman in the world every day of your life, then I don’t deserve to be near you.” Jane breathed in, taking those words inside her. She thought she might like to keep them for a while. She considered never giving them up. “Okay, I lied a little bit.” He rubbed his head with even more force. “I need to admit up front that I don’t know how to have a fling. I’m not good at playing around and then saying good-bye. I’m throwing myself at your feet because I’m hoping for a shot at forever. You don’t have to say anything now, no promises required. I just thought you should know.” He forced himself to lean back again, his face turned slightly away, as if he didn’t care to see her expression just then. It was probably for the best. She was staring straight ahead with wide, panicked eyes, then a grin slowly took over her face. In her mind was running the conversation she was going to have with Molly. “I didn’t think it was possible, but I found a man as crazy intense as I was.
Shannon Hale (Austenland (Austenland, #1))
Sophia counted six clangs of the bell before Mr. Grayson jolted fully awake. He looked up at her, startled and flushed. As though he’d been caught doing something he shouldn’t. She smiled. Rubbing his eyes, he rose to his feet. “Will I shock you, Miss Turner, if I remove my coat?” Sophia felt a twinge of disappointment. When would he stop treating her with this forced politesse, maintaining this distance between them? How many tales of passionate encounters must she spin before he finally understood that she was no less wicked than he, only less experienced? Perhaps it was time to take more aggressive measures. “By all means, remove your coat.” She tilted her eyes to cast him a saucy look. “Mr. Grayson, I’m not an innocent schoolgirl. You will have to try harder than that to shock me.” His lips curved in a subtle smile. “I’ll take that under advisement.” She watched as he shook the heavy topcoat from his shoulders and peeled it down his arms. He draped the coat over the back of a chair before sitting back down. The damp lawn of his shirt clung to his shoulders and arms. A pleasant shiver rippled down to Sophia’s toes. “It doesn’t suit you anyway,” she said, loading her brush with paint. He gave her a bemused look as he unknotted his cravat and pulled it loose. She inwardly rejoiced. Now, if only she could convince him to do away with his waistcoat…” “The coat,” she explained, when his eyebrows remained raised. “It doesn’t suit you.” “Why not? Is the color wrong?” The sudden seriousness in his tone surprised her. “No, the color is perfectly fine. It’s the cut that’s unflattering. That style is tailored to gentlemen of leisure, lean and slender. But as you are so fond of telling me, Mr. Grayson, you are no gentleman. Your shoulders are too broad for fashion.” “Is that so?” He chuckled as he undid his cuffs. Sophia stared as he turned up his sleeves, baring one tanned muscled forearm, then the other. “What style of garments would best suit me, then?” “Other than a toga?” He rewarded her jest with an easy smile. Sophia dabbed at her canvas, pleased to be making progress at last. “I think you need something less restrictive. Something like a sailor’s garb. Or perhaps a captain’s.” “Truly?” His gaze became thoughtful, then searching. “And even dressed in plain seaman’s clothes, would you still find me handsome enough? In my own way?” “No.” She allowed his brow to crease a moment before continuing. “I should find you surpassingly handsome. In every way.” She mixed paint slowly on her palette and gave him a coy look. “And what of my attire? If you had your way, how would you dress me?” “If I had my way…I wouldn’t.” A thrill raced through Sophia’s body. Her cheeks burned, and her eyes dropped to her lap. She forced her gave back up to meet his. Now was not the moment to lose courage. Nothing held sway over a man’s intentions like jealousy. “Gervais once kept me naked for an entire day so he could paint me.” He blinked. “He painted a nude study of you?” “No. He painted me. I took off my clothes and stretched out on the bed while he dressed me in pigment. Gervais called me his perfect, blank canvas. He painted lavender orchids here”-she traced a small circle just above her breast-“and little vines twining down…” She slid her hand down and noted with delight how his eyes followed its path. “I feigned the grippe and refused to bathe for a week.” Desire and jealous rage warred in his countenance, yet he remained as immobile as one of Lord Elgin’s marble sculptures. What would it take to spur the man into action?
Tessa Dare (Surrender of a Siren (The Wanton Dairymaid Trilogy, #2))
EVEN BEFORE HE GOT ELECTROCUTED, Jason was having a rotten day. He woke in the backseat of a school bus, not sure where he was, holding hands with a girl he didn’t know. That wasn’t necessarily the rotten part. The girl was cute, but he couldn’t figure out who she was or what he was doing there. He sat up and rubbed his eyes, trying to think. A few dozen kids sprawled in the seats in front of him, listening to iPods, talking, or sleeping. They all looked around his age…fifteen? Sixteen? Okay, that was scary. He didn’t know his own age. The bus rumbled along a bumpy road. Out the windows, desert rolled by under a bright blue sky. Jason was pretty sure he didn’t live in the desert. He tried to think back…the last thing he remembered… The girl squeezed his hand. “Jason, you okay?” She wore faded jeans, hiking boots, and a fleece snowboarding jacket. Her chocolate brown hair was cut choppy and uneven, with thin strands braided down the sides. She wore no makeup like she was trying not to draw attention to herself, but it didn’t work. She was seriously pretty. Her eyes seemed to change color like a kaleidoscope—brown, blue, and green. Jason let go of her hand. “Um, I don’t—” In the front of the bus, a teacher shouted, “All right, cupcakes, listen up!” The guy was obviously a coach. His baseball cap was pulled low over his hair, so you could just see his beady eyes. He had a wispy goatee and a sour face, like he’d eaten something moldy. His buff arms and chest pushed against a bright orange polo shirt. His nylon workout pants and Nikes were spotless white. A whistle hung from his neck, and a megaphone was clipped to his belt. He would’ve looked pretty scary if he hadn’t been five feet zero. When he stood up in the aisle, one of the students called, “Stand up, Coach Hedge!” “I heard that!” The coach scanned the bus for the offender. Then his eyes fixed on Jason, and his scowl deepened. A jolt went down Jason’s spine. He was sure the coach knew he didn’t belong there. He was going to call Jason out, demand to know what he was doing on the bus—and Jason wouldn’t have a clue what to say. But Coach Hedge looked away and cleared his throat. “We’ll arrive in five minutes! Stay with your partner. Don’t lose your worksheet. And if any of you precious little cupcakes causes any trouble on this trip, I will personally send you
Rick Riordan (The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1))
Miss Gail yanked open the screen door and charged straight into her room, immediately to the left of the front entrance. He jumped to his feet, the cord of the earpiece pulling him up short like a dog on a leash. She slapped the door shut behind her. In the brief seconds he had, he catalogued mussed hair, pale face, red nose, and fresh tears. “Would you like to join my family for supper, Mr. Palmer?” Miss Honnkernamp asked. “Now that we know what your favorite is, I’m sure—” Throwing off the earpiece, he yanked the cable from the jack and rushed to her bedroom door. “Miss Gail? Are you all right? Are you hurt? What’s happened?” No answer. He cocked his ear and held himself still. The sound of suppressed sobs came from the direction of the veranda. Pushing open the screen, he stuck his head out. The crying was louder. He looked toward the swing, then remembered. Her window. It was open. Easing onto the porch, he stood and listened. Whatever happened had been catastrophic. She took deep, broken breaths, followed by a long series of quiet, staccato sobs. He rubbed his mouth. What in tarnation?
Deeanne Gist (Love on the Line)
Who is Blue?” “You’ll see. She’ll be out in a minute.” Jenna walked out leading Blue by a rope, the three guards following. Blue sidestepped and nearly knocked down one of the men. “You let her ride that stallion. Are you crazy? He’ll kill her.” “Watch. That horse is the meanest sonofabitch I’ve ever put into that barn. He’s bitten just about every ranch hand on the spread. Given a chance, he’ll kick the shit out of you.” “And you trust him with your pregnant fiancé?” “Patience,” Jack said and smiled with pride. Jenna stopped just outside the doors and stood in front of Blue and rubbed a hand down his long nose. He bent his head and rested it between her breasts and down her chest and belly like he did every time she came to see him. She rubbed his ears and his face. “Oh my God. She just turned that big, giant stallion into a puppy.” Jack’s pride swelled. She was amazing. “Just watch, Sam.” Jenna kept rubbing and talking to Blue. Blue raised his head and rested it over Jenna’s shoulder and down her back as if giving her a hug. She wrapped her arms around his head and neck. He raised her right off her feet. He put her down gently again. She whispered into his ear and walked to his side. She pulled on the lead rope indicating she wanted him to go down to the ground, and he happily obliged. Sam watched in astonishment as the stallion literally kneeled on the ground with his front legs and allowed Jenna to mount him. Still very high off the ground, even when kneeling, but Jenna managed as if she’d done it a hundred times. Then she gave him a tap in the side with her heels and the horse stood up. “Amazing,” Sam said. “That horse is in love with her.” “Yes, I know. I hate to admit it, but sometimes I’m jealous.” -Sam, Jack, & Jenna
Jennifer Ryan (Saved by the Rancher (The Hunted, #1))
So, what are you doing here?” She couldn’t help it if her tone sounded a little tired. This was becoming farcical. “I came to tell you that I--” he rushed to speak, then composed himself, looked around, and stepped closer to her so he did not need to raise his voice to be heard. The brunette leaned forward just a tad. “I apologize for having to tell you here, in this busy, dirty…this is not the scene I would set, but you must know that I…” He took off his cap and rubbed his hair ragged. “I’ve been working at Pembrook Park for nearly four years. All the women I see, week after week, they’re the same. Nearly from the first, that morning when we were alone in the park, I guessed that you might be different. You were sincere.” He reached for her hand. He seemed to gain confidence, his lips started to smile, and he looked at her as though he never wished to look away. Zing, she thought, out of habit mostly, because she wasn’t buying any of it. Martin groaned at the silliness. Nobley immediately stuck his cap back on and stepped back, and he seemed unsure if he’d been too forward, if he should still play by the rules. “I know you have no reason to believe me, but I wish you would. Last night in the library, I wanted to tell you how I felt. I should have. But I wasn’t sure how you…I let myself speak the same tired sort of proposal I used on everyone. You were right to reject me. It was a proper slap in the face. No one had ever said no before. You made me sit up and think. Well, I didn’t want to think much, at first. But after you left this morning, I asked myself, are you going to let her go just because you met her while acting a part?” Nobley paused as if waiting for the answer. “Oh, come on, Jane,” Martin said. “You’re not going to buy this from him.” “Don’t talk to me like we’re friends,” Jane said. “You…you were paid to kiss me! And it was a game, a joke on me, you disgusting lurch. You’ve got no right to call me Jane. I’m Miss Erstwhile to you.” “Don’t give me that,” Martin said. His patience was fraying. “All of Pembrook Park is one big drama, you’d have to be dense not to see that. You were acting too, just like the rest of us, having a fling on holiday, weren’t you? And it’s not as though kissing you was odious.” “Odious?” “I’m saying it wasn’t.” Martin paused and appeared to be putting back on his romancing-the-woman persona. “I enjoyed it, all of it. Well, except for the root beer. And if you’re going to write that article, you should know that I believe what we had was real.” The brunette sighed. Jane just rolled her eyes. “We had something real,” Nobley said, starting to sound a little desperate. “You must have felt it, seeping through the costumes and pretenses.” The brunette nodded. “Seeping through the pretenses? Listen to him, he’s still acting.” Martin turned to the brunette in search of an ally. “Do I detect any jealousy there, my flagpole-like friend?” Nobley said. “Still upset that you weren’t cast as a gentleman? You do make a very good gardener.” Martin took a swing. Nobley ducked and rammed into his body, pushing them both to the ground. The brunette squealed and bounced on the balls of her feet.
Shannon Hale (Austenland (Austenland, #1))
Then, impossibly, another figure ran toward her. The sideburns and stiff-collared jacket looked ridiculous out of the context of Pembrook Park, though he’d stuck on a baseball cap and trench coat, trying to blend. His face was flushed from running, and when he saw Jane, he sighed with relief. Jane dropped her jaw. Literally. She had never, even in her most ridiculous daydreaming, imagined that Mr. Nobley would come after her. She took a step back, hit something slick with her boot heel, and tottered almost to the ground. Mr. Nobley caught her and set her back up on her feet. Is this why women wear heels? thought Jane. We hobble ourselves so we can still be rescued by men? She annoyed herself by having enjoyed it. Briefly. “You haven’t left yet,” Nobley said. He seemed reluctant to let go of her, but he did and took a few steps back. “I’ve been panicked that…” He saw Martin. “What are you doing here?” The brunette was watching with hungry intensity, though she kept tapping at a keyboard as though actually very busy at work. “Jane and I got close these past weeks and--” Martin began. “Got close. That’s a load of duff. It’s one thing when you’re toying with the dowagers who guess what you are, but Jane should be off limits.” He took her arm. “You can’t believe a word he says. I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you earlier, but you must know now that he’s an actor.” “I know,” Jane said. Nobley blinked. “Oh.” “So, what are you doing here?” She couldn’t help it if her tone sounded a little tired. This was becoming farcical. “I came to tell you that I--” he rushed to speak, then composed himself, looked around, and stepped closer to her so he did not need to raise his voice to be heard. The brunette leaned forward just a tad. “I apologize for having to tell you here, in this busy, dirty…this is not the scene I would set, but you must know that I…” He took off his cap and rubbed his hair ragged. “I’ve been working at Pembrook Park for nearly four years. All the women I see, week after week, they’re the same. Nearly from the first, that morning when we were alone in the park, I guessed that you might be different. You were sincere.” He reached for her hand. He seemed to gain confidence, his lips started to smile, and he looked at her as though he never wished to look away.
Shannon Hale (Austenland (Austenland, #1))
This is the basic position. It’s important to maintain your space. No noodle arms, got it?” “Got it.” She stiffened her arms, all the better to keep him at a distance. “Let’s go through the basic box step slow. I’ll count it off.” She drew in a breath and blew it out slowly through her mouth. “Five. Six. Seven. Eight. One-two-three. One—that was my foot.” “I know that was your foot.” She pulled her arms away and rubbed the back of her neck with her cold hand. She couldn’t think when he was so close. Didn’t like the way he made her feel, all agitated and nervous and awkward. Why was she doing this to herself? “Let’s try again.” “I don’t think I can do it.” “You’ll get it.” He took her in his arms. Meridith took another calming breath. Focus. He counted them off and took them slowly through the box step. This time she made it around without treading on him. “You got it. Again.” They repeated the box step a dozen more times, faltering a few times when she stepped on his foot or knocked him with her knee. “Again,” he said over and over each time she misstepped. When they were almost up to tempo, Meridith started feeling more confident. She could do this. One-two-three, one-two-three. She was doing this. “Straighten up, Quasimodo.” Did he have to be so rude? She shot him a glare. If it was posture he wanted, it was posture he’d get. She pulled herself up to her full five foot three. In her concentration on posture, her steps suffered, and she trod on his foot. He stopped. “Too much give in your arms. When they’re loose, I can’t lead you. You can’t feel where you need to go. Close your eyes.” “What?” “Close your eyes. Communication between partners is through subtle movements. I’m waiting.” She sighed hard but closed her eyes. Suddenly all the periphery details now took center stage. The feel of his fingers on her back, his thumb aligned under her arm. The roughness of his palm against hers. The manly smell of him. “Maintain resistance.” No problem there. “Your arms are like spaghetti, Meri.” “Meridith.” She stiffened her arms. Her mouth felt as dry as sand. She didn’t like that he could see her and she couldn’t see him. “Better. Let’s go through the box step again with your eyes closed. Feel me guiding you with my arms.” He counted them off, and they started around the box slowly. Her feet knew what to do by now, and he was right. She could feel him guiding her if she kept her arms rigid. They went around and around the square.
Denise Hunter (Driftwood Lane (Nantucket, #4))
Meridith stepped down from the chair and scooted it a few feet. “Let me.” Jake took the string and looped it over the hooks one at a time. It took him two minutes to finish the porch. “Show-off,” she said. “Being tall has its benefits.” And being strong. Words of gratitude formed in her mind, but it took a moment to order them. “I never thanked you last night.” He scratched behind Piper’s ears. “No need.” He plugged the lights in the wall outlet, and they glowed dimly. “Hopefully there’s a wall switch inside.” “I mean it, Jake. I don’t know what I would’ve done.” Heat worked into her cheeks. She pulled a cornflower blue pail from the box and set it on one of the tables. “Your arms . . .” She looked down, noticing the bruises. Brownish-gray blotches, Sean’s fingerprints on her skin. She rubbed the spots, wishing she could wipe them away. Seeing them there, she could almost feel Sean’s grip on her, feel the helplessness welling up. “I should’ve beat the kid to a pulp.” Jake’s fists clenched. “He’s long gone. That’s all that matters.” “He should’ve been arrested.” “I don’t think he meant to—to attack me that way. We stumbled, and he fell on me.” “You’re wearing evidence that says otherwise.” He had a point. And the night before, sand grinding into her back, she’d been convinced she was in danger. “Don’t like the idea of you and the kids here alone.” “Aren’t you the one who thought the partitions were silly?” “Never said that.” “Didn’t have to.” She gave a wry smile. She was pretty good at reading people. Like just now, he was thinking she was right. “Maybe I did.” He leaned a shoulder on the shingled wall, looking every bit as cocky as he had that first day he’d turned up on her doorstep. It didn’t bother her just this minute. “I know I said I was done with the repairs, but what would you think of finishing the ones that aren’t too costly?” His gaze intensified. “Really?” Meridith collected a basket and began filling it with shells. “You mentioned the fireplace. I’d like to get it working again. We have tree branches hitting the house, a couple trees that a stiff wind would blow over—if you do that kind of work. Not to mention the other things on the list.” Jake walked to the railing, staring out to sea. When Piper joined him, Jake ruffled her fur. Maybe he didn’t want to stay now. Maybe having the kids underfoot all week had been a pain. Maybe he’d been offended at the way she’d confronted him about being alone with Noelle—a notion that now seemed ludicrous in light of the way he’d come to her rescue. “I mean, if you can’t, that’s all right. You probably have other work lined up.” It was only a couple months. They’d be safe that long, right? She saw Sean’s hardened face, heard the bitter slur of his words, and shuddered. “I’ll stay.” “Are you sure?” Her words rushed out. “Glad to.” She smiled. “All right then.” He straightened, winked, and she felt it down to her bones. “Back
Denise Hunter (Driftwood Lane (Nantucket, #4))
Her father doesn’t like me.” “He doesn’t know you yet.” “He knows I’m deaf and that I’m all tatted up.” I look down at my arms. Every single tattoo means something to me. I wouldn’t erase them if I could. Paul shrugs. “And neither of those things makes you bad for his daughter.” He quirks an eyebrow at me. “Getting her pregnant, on the other hand…” He lets his thoughts trail off. “He brought her ex-boyfriend to New York to live with her. That’s why she’s here at our apartment.” Paul purses his lips like he’s whistling. “Sorry,” he says, when he remembers I can’t hear whatever noise he’s making. “That’s shit.” “She refused to stay there.” “Good girl,” he says with a smile. “I knew I liked her.” “Her father is going to be a problem.” “Win him over, dumbass,” he says. “You’re smart. You want to succeed. You’re talented as hell. And you love his daughter. He’ll get over the tats and you not being able to hear.” He motions absently toward his ears. I’ve been deaf so long that my family doesn’t see it as a handicap. Neither do I. I push to my feet. “I’m going to bed.” Paul arches his brow at me. “None of your fucking business,” I grouse. But I rub his head as I walk by, and he shoves my hip to get me away from him. “Love you, dumbass,” I say. “Love you better,” he replies.
Tammy Falkner (Smart, Sexy and Secretive (The Reed Brothers, #2))
How did you learn to ballroom dance? That’s quite an accomplishment for a boy your age.” “My mom taught me.” He glanced at her. The anger had faded from his eyes. “I’m pretty good.” “I’m not surprised.” She liked the way he’d perked up. It was good to see his confidence emerging. Too bad he couldn’t showcase his talent for tomorrow’s audience. She was certain it would be beneficial. “Is there anything else you could do for the show? What other talents do you have?” Max shrugged. “Nothing, really.” His feet shuffled under the table. “’Cept being a goalie and building boat models, but I can’t do those for a talent show.” “Is there some other kind of dance you could do?” “It’s too late to come up with a new dance. The show’s tomorrow. Besides, it’s for a parent and their child.” His eyes pulled down at the corners, and he ducked his head. “I wish I could help, but I don’t know how to ballroom dance. I guess it wouldn’t be the same without your mom anyway.” His head lifted. Hope sparkled in his eyes. “You could learn.” “Oh, I—I think it would take longer than a day, Max.” Meridith laughed uneasily. “Especially for me.” His head and shoulders seemed to sink. “I guess you’re right. I only know how to lead, and I don’t know how to teach it.” “I know how.” Jake appeared in the doorway, filling it with his broad shoulders and tall frame. “Didn’t mean to eavesdrop.” “He could teach you!” Max’s eyes widened. He looked back and forth between Jake and Meridith. “Oh,” Meridith said, “We couldn’t ask—” “I’m offering,” Jake said. “I can be here bright and early tomorrow morning.” Max’s dimple hollowed his cheek. “No, I—you don’t understand, the show’s tomorrow night, and I’m a bad dancer.” Jake leaned against the doorframe, crossed his arms. “You said you wanted to help.” “Well, I do, but I don’t see how—you know how to ballroom dance?” The notion suddenly struck her as unlikely. “I can do more than swing a hammer.” “I didn’t mean—” “So you’ll do it?” Max bounced on the chair. She hadn’t seen him this excited since she’d arrived. She looked at Jake. At his wide shoulders, thick arms, sturdy calloused hands. She remembered the look in his eyes just minutes ago and imagined herself trapped in the confines of his embrace for as long as it took her to learn the dance. Which would be about, oh, a few years. “And why would you do this?” It wasn’t as if he owed her anything. Unless he was punching the time clock on the lessons. “Let’s just say I was picked on a time or two myself.” Max rubbed his hands together. “Toby and Travis, eat your heart out!” “Now, hold on. We already missed dress rehearsals. I don’t know if Mrs. Wilcox will let us slip in last minute.” “Call her,” Jake said. He had all the answers, didn’t he? She spared him a scowl as she slid past on her way to the phone. “Hi, Mrs. Wilcox? This is Meridith Ward again.” She looked over her shoulder. Max waited, Jake standing behind him, thumbs hooked in his jeans pockets, looking all smug. “I was wondering. If Max can get a replacement for the dance, could he still participate?” Please say no. “I know he’s missing dress rehearsals and—” “That would be no problem whatsoever.” Mrs. Wilcox sounded delighted. “We’d fit him in and be glad to have him. Have you found him another partner?” “Uh, looks like we have.” She thanked Mrs. Wilcox and hung up, then turned to face a hopeful Max. “What did she say?” he asked. Meridith swallowed hard. “She said they could work you back into the schedule.” She cast Jake a plea. “But I don’t know if I can do this. I wasn’t kidding, I have no rhythm whatsoever.” “Look at the kid. You can’t say no to that.” Max was grinning from ear to ear. It was Meridith’s shoulders that slunk now. Heaven help her. She winced and forced the words. “All right. I’ll do it.” Max let out a whoop and threw his arms around her.
Denise Hunter (Driftwood Lane (Nantucket, #4))
Her whole body shook as big, fat drops slid down her cheeks. Mortified, she covered her face as though she could hide her wailing. Strong arms enveloped her and Mitch pulled her close. She gave one thought to protest, and then sank into the warm, solid strength of his chest. He was big and broad, so different from what she was used to. The thought made her cry harder. She should push him away, but instead she curled closer. Needing him. She was the most wicked kind of woman. There’d be no escaping hell now. All those years of penance washed away by one night of rash behavior. Mitch kissed her temple, rubbing his hands over her bare skin. That he let her cry, and didn’t start lecturing her on emotional outbursts, made her want to crawl into him and never let go. He swayed them both, murmuring nonsense and tracing slow, soothing circles over her back. “Come on now, Princess. Tell me what’s wrong so I can help you.” She hiccupped into his shirt while she clung to him as though he were her life vest on a sinking ship. A great gush of air was followed by a hiccup. She blurted her very pressing and very embarrassing need. “I-I h-have to go to the b-b-bathroom.” The gentle sway stopped. A rumble in his chest was followed by a cough. He was trying not to laugh. The jerk. She sobbed harder: great heaping wails straight from the pit of her stomach. Now that she was on a roll, she keened pitifully, “A-and m-m-y f-feet hurt.” “It’s okay.” His tone was most definitely amused. “Why didn’t you go?” Now came the worst confession. “M-my dress i-is too b-big.” “Well, take it off.” Did he think she was an idiot? “I c-can’t get it off.” With a fresh batch of hysterics, her shoulders trembled as she buried her face in his T-shirt, now wet with tears. No one at the store had mentioned she’d need a crew of people to go to the bathroom, and now a stranger had to undress her. She hiccupped. They really should mention these kinds of details at the time of purchase. He ran his fingers down a million tiny buttons from the blades of her shoulders to the curve of her ass. “It’s okay. We can take care of this.” “B-but,” she cried. The thought almost unbearable. She was being tested. How was she supposed to be good when she had to disrobe in front of the most gorgeous man alive? “You’ll s-see me almost n-naked.” When he said nothing, fresh tears welled in her eyes. He probably thought she was propositioning him. Surely women threw themselves at him all the time. He rubbed her bare arms. “I’m thirty-four, Princess. I’ve seen a naked woman before.” “But you haven’t seen me.” No one had seen her—well, except Steve, but he hardly even counted. “I’m twenty-eight, and only one guy has seen me. And he isn’t like you. Why can’t you be someone else?” “Like who?” He trailed a path over her bare skin, creating a rush of tingles up and down her spine. She burrowed closer, some of her hysterics finally calming as his soothing but intoxicating presence worked its charm. “You’re not Mister Rogers, you know.” “You can trust me, Maddie. I won’t attack.” Ha!
Jennifer Dawson (Take a Chance on Me (Something New, #1))
Max, she’s your daughter. It’s okay. I understand. She should come first. I would think you a jerk if you didn’t drop everything for her. I like this side of you.” He grinned up at me. “Yeah?” “You’re a good father, Max.” He got to his feet and came to stand before me. He gently drew me near. “Yeah?” I looked up at him and loved the softness of his eyes. My thoughts scurried about, but I managed not to succumb to their magic. “You love her. You want to protect her.” “You’re okay with a boring dad?” He rubbed my arms gently. “It’s kind of sexy,” I admitted. His eyes lit and he grinned. “Yeah?” Lifting up on my toes, I kissed the stubble of his chin. “Yeah,” I said softly and started for the Shelby.
Sarah Brocious (What Remains (Love Abounds, #1))
Deputy Ennis Dickhead tipped back his stupid hat and smirked at me. “Hello, Bailey.” “What do you want?” “I came to talk to your friend here. Just wondering if he’d seen his dad?” Nick showed no reaction, but I was pissed to have an asshole ruining my good mood. “If his dad was smart, he’d have run the fuck away once out of jail.” Dickhead tried intimidating Nick with a dark glare. When that didn’t work, he focused on me. “Bailey, I want to talk to you alone.” “No way. Nick and I are going home to have lots of sex. Now go away.” “Why are you slumming it with this loser?” Dickhead asked, poking his thumb at Nick. “You’ve got options and here you are settling.” “Fuck the hell off, asshole!” I yelled, gaining the attention of a lot of people who immediately looked away when I glared at them. Focusing my rage back on Dickhead, I growled, “You need to learn your place, loser. The only time I was slumming it was when I dated a rent-a-cop.” “Listen here, bitch...” I never saw Nick move. One moment, he was a few feet away, looking passive then his fist made contact with Dickhead’s face. The cop toppled back against his car as Nick stood in front of me. Since he looked hotter than sin, I wanted to feel him up. I was thinking naughty thoughts when Darling forced his cuffs on Nick’s wrists and shoved him against the car. “I guess I’m the one who gets restrained this time,” Nick said, trying to keep the moment light. Dickhead was going to ruin Nick’s chances at teaching and I refused to allow anyone to steal my man’s dream. Love made people do weird shit and I was no exception. The Taser from Dickhead’s belt felt good in my hand as I aimed it at his ass. The idiot cop didn’t even realize I’d stolen his weapon until the volts surged through his system. My ex-nobody fell to the ground and twitched. A cuffed Nick stepped back and looked between Dickhead and the Taser. “He wet himself,” I said to Nick. “I see that. Now what? You just assaulted a cop.” “So did you.” “True. We’re both fucked.” “No way,” I muttered. “He attacked me and I was defending myself.” “You shot him in the ass with that thing. I don’t know how you make self-defense stick, babe.” “What a pessimist,” I said, digging the keys out of Dickhead’s pocket. “Let’s throw on some Jerry Reed and race home like the cops are on our asses.” “They might be soon enough,” Nick said, rubbing his wrists before cupping my face. “My hero.
Bijou Hunter (Damaged and the Dragon (Damaged, #5))
Very gently Jacques lowered her feet to the ground, retaining possession of her waist to help her trembling legs hold her up. Shea raised a hand to push back her rain-slick hair. He caught her fingers and raised her palm to his mouth. “You are the most beautiful sight I have ever seen.” She smiled, shook her head at him. “You’re crazy, you know that? This is one of the most magnificent lightning storms I’ve ever seen, and I didn’t even notice until now.” He grinned at her suggestively, rubbed the bridge of his nose. “Says something.” “Exactly,” she agreed. “You’re crazy, and I must be, too.
Christine Feehan (Dark Desire (Dark, #2))
My walk to Alex’s study is like the green mile. I wonder what he’s going to say. This isn’t going to be fun. I step inside his study, but no one announces me, and he doesn’t notice. So I just stare. He’s writing something. With a quill and ink. The well is sitting next to his right hand. He’s so intent on whatever he’s writing he keeps at it for thirty seconds before he sees me. Long enough for me to see the way he narrows his eyes when he’s concentrating and the way he purses his lips. Long enough for me to wonder what it would be like to kiss him. Oh God, where did that come from? I hate him. Hate him. There’s no way I could possibly want to kiss him. He looks up at that instant, and I do my best to just smile right at him and not give away my thoughts. “Please sit,” he says, rising. I nod and sit down in the same fancy chair as before. The door stays open. I sit as erect as possible, my hands in my lap, my ankles crossed beneath me. Victoria must be rubbing off on me. Alex comes around to the front of his desk and rests on it, crossing one ankle over the other as he leans back. “What you did was overstepping your bounds.” I clench my teeth, hard, to stop from snapping back. I have to see where he’s going with this before I get angry. “You went behind my back and orchestrated one of the most ill-planned, riskiest schemes I’ve ever seen. I am shocked.” “But--” He puts his hand up to silence me. “I won’t tell you what I had to do to convince her father to consent to the new arrangement. You are lucky Mr. Rallsmouth will have the means necessary to support Miss Emily, as she will not be receiving a thing from her father from here on out.” All I hear is convince her father. So it worked?” A grin spreads across my features and I jump to my feet. “She’s going to marry Mr. Rallsmouth?” Alex pushes off the desk behind him and stands in front of me. “Have you not heard a word I said? You made grievous errors of judgment. You--” “But I was right! And thanks to me, she’s going to marry the love of her life!” He’s standing right in front of me, inches away. “You were not right! You interfered and it was not your place!” I clench my fists as my anger flares to match his. “You think nothing is my place because I’m some lowly, untitled girl! But someone had to do it, and you didn’t care to!” “You should not have gotten involved!” he growls. “You should not have forced me to!” I say, jabbing my finger into his chest. “You should have been there for her when she needed you!” In an instant, he closes the gap between us. His lips hit mine so fast I can’t even close my eyes. His hands find a place on either side of my face and pull me close, and for two-point-five seconds, I’m lost somewhere between closing my eyes and standing there, frozen. Somehow the eyes win out and I shut them, and my knees start to buckle as I press my lips into to his. I stop breathing and grip his sleeves with both hands to keep from falling straight over. His lips are warm and soft and… And then I realize what’s going on. Who I’m kissing. You’re not a lady, he’s said. It stings as much now as it did the moment he said it. He thinks I’m unworthy. What am I doing? I reel back and knock into the wall with a loud crash that makes him jerk his eyes open. “I, uh…” I stutter, then spin around so fast my skirts twist around my legs and I have to wait for them to swing around again before dashing out of the room.
Mandy Hubbard (Prada & Prejudice)
Ian knew he had to kiss Elizabeth when he saw that fire in her eyes and heard the passion in her voice. He pulled her against him, and his kiss was urgent, like that of a hungry lover. Licking her lip, he forced her to open her mouth, and she did not resist. How he wanted to devour her softness, her innocence. “Och, Elizabeth.” He clutched her as if he could not get enough. His lips left her mouth, trailing down her neck to her collarbone. She moaned at each touch, her mewling sounds firing his passion even more. Trying to maintain some sense of reason, he pulled back, giving her the opportunity to deny him. But she only looked at him with glazed passion. Ian molded her to him, his arms wrapping around her like a vise. Her breasts flattened against his chest, and he shuddered with desire. She gently pulled away from him, breathless. “Laird Munro…” She placed her hands on his arms, and a chuckle escaped him. “I would think after that kiss, ye’d call me Ian.” Rather than releasing her as he should, he pulled her close. “We will cease, but let me simply hold ye.” Rubbing his hands over her back, he felt her hands on his chest. What the hell was he thinking? He’d almost lost control with Elizabeth. God’s teeth! If the lass would have permitted him, he would’ve taken her standing here. That wasn’t necessarily true. He still had some sense of chivalry left within him. He would have at least thrown her on the bed. Reluctantly, he pulled away from her. “Come. I will escort ye back to your room.” She couldn’t look him in the eye. “That’s not necessary. It’s late. No one will be in the hall.” He placed his hand at the small of her back. “I insist.” Neither spoke as he escorted her to her chamber. He did not know what to say. Besides, he was trying too hard not to fall over his own two feet. Opening her door, he waited as she entered her room. She turned around and gave him a tender smile. “Ian…” She spoke softly, and her eyes never left his. “I don’t understand what just happened between us, but I don’t want to be hurt anymore.” His eyebrows shot up. “What do ye mean? I doona understand all of this either, but I assure ye, my intentions are nae to cause ye pain.” At least he spoke the truth because he wasn’t sure what his purpose was in kissing her. “I don't want you to push me away. My heart couldn't bear it because I’ve loved you from the first time I saw you.” Elizabeth slowly closed the door in his face, and Ian paled.
Victoria Roberts (Kill or Be Kilt (Highland Spies, #3))
She lies.” Deep looked at his twin and something—some understanding or silent communication—passed between them. “There is no other male. There hasn’t been for months.” Slowly he rose to his feet and took a step toward Kat. Towering over her, he looked down into her eyes. “No male in your bed to hold you, to stroke your luscious, curvy body and make you purr. Now why would you lie about something like that, little Kat?” Kat had taken enough of his crap. Reaching up, she slapped him as hard as she could. “I don’t know what your problem is,” she told Deep, breathing hard. “But my personal life is none of your goddamn business.” Deep rubbed his jaw and gave her a sardonic smile. “Forgive me. I was just making a point.” “What
Evangeline Anderson (Hunted (Brides of the Kindred, #2))
She came to a complete stop when she realized that the fountain, one that sported stone mermaids spouting water out of their mouths, seemed to have acquired additional statues. These statues, however, did not fit in with the mermaids but instead seemed to be mud-covered blobs with lily pads stuck all over them. When one of the blobs suddenly raised a hand and rubbed what surely had to be a nose, Millie moved forward again as amusement bubbled up inside her. “How absolutely brilliant!” she exclaimed as she stopped right next to the fountain, earning a smile from little James, his teeth looking remarkably bright against the mud he’d used to cover his face. The blob next to him, six-year-old Edith, rose to her feet and let out a dramatic sigh. “Mother ruined everything by pointing us out to you.” She pulled a lily pad from her arm and dropped it into the shallow water pooling in the bottom of the fountain. “It’s a good thing she did point me in the right direction, or I could have been searching for the two of you for hours.” Millie grinned. “I’ve played many a game of hide-and-seek, and yet I’ve never seen children use such inventive means to disguise themselves. It was completely ingenious—which means clever, by the way—to choose the fountain to hide in.” “It was nothing of the sort,” Mrs. Cutling argued, marching up to join them, apparently unimpressed with Millie’s attempt at broadening the children’s vocabulary. She leveled a stern look at her children before turning her disapproval on Millie. “I’m holding you responsible for their current condition.” “It wasn’t Miss Longfellow’s fault, Mother,” James hurried to say. “It was my idea to hide here, so you shouldn’t be cross with her.” “And it’s been great fun,” Edith added. Mrs. Cutling drew herself up. “I see nothing fun about this, Edith. In fact, you and your brother have embarrassed me no small amount this afternoon. Because of that, the two of you will be spending the rest of your day in your rooms—after you bathe, of course—contemplating the ridiculousness of your actions.” She pointed a finger to the dry courtyard. “Both of you . . . out . . . now.” Millie watched as the two children scrambled out of the fountain, lily pads and slime dripping off them, which earned them a thinning of the lips from their mother. They sent Millie pitiful looks that clearly begged for help, but then two sets of little shoulders sagged when it evidently became clear Millie had no help to offer them. A
Jen Turano (In Good Company (A Class of Their Own Book #2))
Emma ripped the sticky note off the bathroom mirror and threw it in the trash. Sean didn’t have to worry about her rubbing the back of his neck again anytime soon. And he certainly didn’t have to worry about her wanting to get naked. Not with him. If they were a real couple, she’d throw his pillow onto the couch and let his feet dangle over the edge for a change. It was pathetic how fast he’d come up with a lame excuse to run away just because he’d kissed her. It was just a kiss. A great kiss, yes, but still just a kiss. She hadn’t asked him to marry her—to really marry her, of course—or told him she wanted to have his baby. A hot, steamy, toe-curling, bone-melting kiss between two single adults was nothing to run from. But now he’d made a big deal out of it and everything was going to be even more awkward than it had been for the past few days. She’d been curled up on the couch, fuming, for almost an hour when she heard Sean’s truck pull in to the driveway. It was another ten minutes before he crept into the bedroom and closed the door behind him. Since she was facing the back of the couch, she didn’t have to make much of an effort to ignore him. He was in the shower so long she must have fallen asleep to the drone of running water, because the next thing Emma knew, her alarm was going off and it was time to face another day in the hell she’d created. But first she had to face Sean. She got first crack at the bathroom, and when she came out, he was sitting on the side of the bed, fully clothed. Thank goodness. He scrubbed his hands over his face. “We should talk about last night.” “How’s Kevin?” “He’s good. And I meant before that.” “You should have stayed for the end of the movie. It was good.” “Dammit, Emma, you know that’s not what I’m talking about.” “Oh, you mean the practice kiss?” She clipped her cell phone onto her front pocket. “We’re getting better at it. That was almost convincing.” “Practice kiss?” He stood, probably so he could look down at her, but she was tall enough it didn’t make much of an impact. “Almost convincing?” “Yeah,” she said, though she turned her back on him, heading toward the door to avoid eye contact, because that was no practice kiss and it could have convinced even the CIA’s finest. He was muttering when she left the room, but she shut the door on him and went downstairs. She didn’t want to talk about it. And she didn’t want to think about the fact he wasn’t happy she called it a practice kiss. That meant he considered it a real kiss. And not only a real kiss, but one that had shaken him up. The only reason kissing a woman should bother a man like him was if he was trying to fight being attracted to her. Hopefully, he’d win, she thought as she headed toward the kitchen, because she was waging that battle herself and didn’t appear to be headed for a victory. Maybe he had enough willpower and self-control for both of them.
Shannon Stacey (Yours to Keep (Kowalski Family, #3))
Shhhhhh!" Bang! "Damn it, Chilcot, I said toss the pebble, not break the damned window!  Here, I'll do it." They had found her after checking every coaching inn on the London road in a desperate race to catch her before she reached the capital and was lost to them forever. The proprietor of this inn just outside Hounslow had confirmed their frantic queries. Yes, a pretty young woman with dark hair had taken a room for the night. Yes, she spoke with a strange accent. And yes, she had a baby with her. "Put her upstairs, Oi did," the garrulous landlord had said. "She wants an early start, so I gave 'er the east bedroom. Catches the mornin' sun, it does." But Gareth had no intention of waiting until morning to see Juliet. Now, standing in the muddy road beside the inn, he unearthed a piece of flint with his toe, picked it up, and flung it at the black square of the east-facing upstairs window. Nothing. "Throw it harder," urged Perry, standing a few feet away with his arms folded and the reins of both Crusader and his own mare in his hands. "Any harder and I'll break the damned thing." "Maybe you don't have the right window." "Maybe you ought to just do it the easy way and ask the bloody innkeeper to rouse her." "Yes, that would save time and trouble, Gareth. Why don't you do that?" Gareth leveled a hard stare at them all. His temper was short tonight. "Right. And just what do you think that's going to do to her reputation if I go knocking on the door at three-o'-bloody-clock in the morning asking after her, eh?" Chilcot shrugged. "As for her reputation, she's already ruined it herself, getting a bastard babe off your brother and all —" Without warning, Gareth's fist slammed into Chilcot's cheekbone and sent him sprawling in the mud. "'Sdeath, Gareth, you didn't have to take it so personally!" Chilcot cried, scowling and rubbing the side of his face. "She's family. Any slur upon her name and I will take it personally. Understand?" "Sorry," Chilcot muttered, sulking as he gingerly touched his cheek. "But you didn't have to thump me so damned hard." "Another remark like the last one and I'll thump you even harder. Now, stop whining before you wake everyone in town and word gets back to my damned brother." With
Danelle Harmon (The Wild One (The de Montforte Brothers, #1))
Eyeing stairs that now seemed downright daunting, he drew in a breath, hitched Miss Plum up a little higher in the hopes it would distribute her weight more evenly, then began to climb, counting the steps as he did so. “. . . forty-seven, forty-eight, forty-nine . . . You’re really quite sturdy, aren’t you, Miss Plum? Fifty . . .” By the time he eventually reached the tower room, he was completely out of breath, perspiration was dribbling down his face, and his arms were no longer simply quivering, they were now downright shaking. Stepping through the door of the tower room, he faltered for a moment, wondering what he should do next. “You can just set me down right here, Mr. Haverstein.” Miss Plum’s voice took him by such surprise that he almost dropped her right on the hard stone floor of the tower room. Looking down, he frowned when he saw something in her lovely eyes that he’d never, not once, expected to see, something that resembled, if he wasn’t much mistaken . . . amusement. He’d always been under the impression that Miss Plum, being a fragile sort, possessed a somber and serious demeanor, spending her time away from the theater in a subdued fashion, embroidering samplers, or perhaps pillows, as she lounged on a settee, or learning her lines from the comfort of her bedchamber, but . . . what if he’d been wrong? What if Miss Plum was not as delicate as he’d believed, and what if the woman he’d been enamored with for what seemed like a very long time, turned out to be completely different than what he’d imagined her to be? “How long have you been out of your swoon?” he asked. “Would you be very upset to learn that I never swoon?” His mouth immediately took to gaping open. “Do you mean to tell me that you allowed me to scoop you up off the ground—which wasn’t an easy task by the way—carry you into the castle, and then all the way up a tremendous number of steps when there was absolutely nothing wrong with you?” “I did.” “I could have suffered an injury.” “You seem to be remarkably fit, Mr. Haverstein, and I certainly couldn’t own up to the fact I was feigning my condition, especially since I was doing so to aid dear Abigail.” Bram set her on her feet and rubbed his arms. “My arms feel like jelly.” “I’m sure they do. You carried me a remarkably long distance, and I will admit that I was concerned you were going to drop me a time or two.” She pursed her lips. “Quite honestly, I was going to tell you to put me down right about step number forty-nine, but then you made that remark about how sturdy I am, and . . . I changed my mind.” “I said that out loud?” “Indeed.” “I do beg your pardon.” Miss
Jen Turano (Playing the Part (A Class of Their Own, #3))
The crescent kick is one of the most difficult kicks to master in Tae Kwon Do, but when executed properly, it is one of the most dangerous.  Detective Sergeant Jamie Johansson had been practising it for nearly six years, and despite being only five-foot-six, she could comfortably slam her heel into the ear of someone that was over six feet. And now she had it down to a science. She knew she couldn’t do enough damage with a punch to put someone down if she had to, but a well-executed crescent kick would do the job. Especially from her lightweight trail boots. Her partner made fun of her for wearing them — said that detectives shouldn’t be wearing hiking boots, especially not in the city, but they were tough and she was as fast in them as she was in her trainers. Which she thought made them a lot more suited to tracking down scumbags than Roper’s black leather Chelsea boots.  He disagreed. She didn’t really care.  Smoking thirty a day meant that he wasn’t going to be doing much running anyway. ‘Come on,’ Cake said, jerking the pad. ‘Again. Like you mean it.’ She flicked her head, throwing sweat onto the matt, wound up, lifted her leg, snapped her knee back, and then lashed out. Her shin smashed into the training pad with a dull thwap and she sank into her knees, panting.  Cake clapped them together and grinned with wide, crooked teeth. ‘Good job,’ he said. ‘You’re really getting some power into those, now. But make sure to ice that foot, yeah?’ She caught her breath quickly and stood up, nodding, strands of ash-blonde hair sticking to her forehead, the thick plait running between her lithe shoulders coming loose. ‘Sure,’ she said, measuring her trainer. Cake was six-two and twice her weight. He was Windrush, in his fifties, and ran a mixed martial arts gym just near Duckett’s Green. He was a retired boxer turned trainer that scored his nickname after winning a fight in the late nineties on his birthday. When the commentator asked what he was going to do to celebrate, he said that he was going to eat a birthday cake. Everyone thought that was funny, and it stuck. He had a pretty bad concussion at the time, which probably contributed to the answer. But there was no getting away from it now.  He pulled the pads off his forearms and rubbed his eyes. ‘Coffee?’ he asked, looking over at the clock on the wall. It was just before seven.  He yawned and stretched, cracking his spine. The gym wouldn’t open until midday to the public, but he lived upstairs in a tiny studio, and he and Jamie had an arrangement. It kept him fit and active, and she could train one-on-one. Just how she liked it. She paid her dues of course, slid him extra on top of the monthly for his time. But he said that
Morgan Greene (Bare Skin (DS Jamie Johansson #1))
What’s wrong with your leg?” he said. But now he could see the state of her feet—blistered and rubbed raw from walking. She shifted away from Tet Sang, bending to pat her feet dry. A wince briefly displaced her frown. “You should call Ah Boon to look at that,” said Tet Sang, embarrassed. “He can give you medicine. He used to look after people’s cows.
Zen Cho (The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water)
Alright, Captain Stan,” I said as I grabbed a slip of parchment. “Stealth destruction is your primary operative, which means none of my weapons are ideal. Lucky for you, though, I was onto something before that last channeling gem mysteriously killed itself.” Stan made a point of avoiding my gaze as he focused intently on the blank page in front of us, and I snorted as I began sketching out the elemental degree mapping. Then I drew the beginnings of a rune Dragir had helped me balance when I stopped by House Quyn about the rockets, and when I finished the last line, I shifted the paper to present it to Stan. “This is an altered form of the fireball rune I’ve been using for the 1911s,” I explained. “According to Dragir, this seventeenth degree will counter the flash of the flames, so while they’ll still be burning, they won’t give off a blaze. I have no idea how that’s supposed to work, but we’ll have to see when we do our first trial run. This line that intersects both the sixty-fourth and eleventh degrees is the silencing method we’re going with. Ideally, not even a crackle will give you away. Initially, I was gonna make you a fun little flamethrower, but--” Stan nodded vigorously as he rubbed his hands together, and I sent him an apologetic smirk. “I don’t think it’s gonna work, though,” I continued, and the little metal man deflated. “I know, but your intelligence last night got me thinking, and despite how powerful this rune will be, it doesn’t change the fact that tiny elemental degree lines tend to be less powerful. Using a weapon your size, you could be standing there all day trying to burn up one engraving with an exterior flame attack. Now that we know you’re up against foot-tall defensive runes, though, I’ve decided we need to pack a bigger punch straight into your target without running out the clock. Ideally, these burns should be able to carry on with the same strength while Solana books it to the next target, and one jet of enchanted flames doesn’t accomplish that.” Stan could see the logic, and I could tell he was trying not to look too bummed out about the flamethrower. “I think you’ll like our alternative option, though,” I assured him, “because I already have a highly effective way of achieving our goal, and if this balance of silencing elements works as it should, then it logically follows that its properties would transfer to whatever it’s being channeled through. For example, a bullet.” Now, Stan slowly looked up at me, and I sent him an evil grin. “That’s right, buddy,” I confirmed. “It’s miniature gun time.” The little metal man shot to his feet, and the way he exalted like a maniac with his arms out wide and his head thrown back made me wonder if this was his version of a villainous laugh. Then he started gunning down every scrap of metal in the shop with his invisible guns, and I briefly questioned if I was making a poor decision.
Eric Vall (Metal Mage 14 (Metal Mage, #14))
Corinne La Mer’s heart beat like wild drums as she ran through the forest. Her bare feet stumbled over the dead leaves and protruding roots of the forest floor. She strained her eyes in the dappled sunlight to keep track of the small, furry agouti that scampered away from her. Occasionally, light glinted off the smooth rock tied to the animal’s hind leg. It called to Corinne like a beacon. When she got close enough, she pounced on the ’gouti and missed, grabbing only a handful of dirt. Corinne grunted and threw the dirt aside. The animal ran beneath a bush and Corinne squeezed down to the damp earth to crawl after it. Her skirt got caught on branches, but she ripped it away, determined to reach the animal. On the other side, the creature cowered against a rock and the roots of a large tree. In her eleven years of life, Corinne had learned that with nowhere to run, a wild animal might try to attack. She hung back. “I’m not going to hurt you,” she said in her calmest voice. She eased closer. “I just need that thing on your leg. You’ll be able to run much faster without it, and I won’t be chasing you . . . so . . .” She moved with care toward the ’gouti and gently untied the silk cord. The animal’s coarse fur shivered and its pulse beat as fast as her own. Corinne closed her fist firmly around the stone pendant and crawled back out of the bush. She rubbed the stone with her thumb. Over years of constant handling, she had worn a smooth groove that fit her finger perfectly. The pendant had been her mama’s, and when she put her thumb into the little hollow, she imagined her mama’s hand around her own. Corinne breathed a sigh of relief now that it was back in her possession, but her relief did not last long. She didn’t know this part of the forest. And it was darker here. The branches of the mahogany trees were so thick that barely any light came through. It even smelled different, of wood and wet earth, while Corinne was used to the smell of the sea. She had no idea which way was out. Somewhere between the leaves, Corinne thought she saw a pair of lights shining. They were close together, like eyes. Her skin prickled, but then the lights disappeared and Corinne tried to shake off her fear. The little bit of light must have been reflecting on something. Don’t be silly, she scolded herself.
Tracey Baptiste (The Jumbies (The Jumbies #1))
Hello, Major,” Lily said, and she went right on scrubbing. Caleb approached. “Put down those long Johns and look at me, Lily. I’ve got something to give you.” She glared resentfully at his perfectly pressed coat, thinking of his plans to escort Sandra back to Tylerville. “Who washed your clothes?” she demanded. “Your competition,” he answered easily. “After all, if I brought my laundry to you, it would be like paying you, wouldn’t it? And I know how you feel about that.” Lily stiffened at having her own logic thrown back in her face, then went on scrubbing. The washboard was rubbing her knuckles raw. “Sandra tells me you’re going to Tylerville with her,” she said, careful not to look at him. “Lily, if you don’t stop that washing and look at me, I swear I’ll throw you over my shoulder and carry you inside like a sack of grain.” Because she knew Caleb wouldn’t be afraid to carry out his threat she stopped working and glared up at him impatiently. He laughed. “You’re a bad-tempered little creature. Maybe it will take me two months to get you in line rather than one.” Lily’s eyes were drawn to the satin box despite valiant efforts to avoid looking at it. “Is that for me?” “Yes.” She reached for the box, knowing it contained her favorite indulgence: chocolate. Caleb withheld the temptation. “Not only bad-tempered,” he teased, “but greedy, too.” Defiantly, Lily went back to her washing, and Caleb immediately hoisted her off her feet. The breath went out of her when her stomach struck his shoulder, but she managed to kick. Caleb gave her a hard swat on the bottom and strode through the maze of clotheslines to the back door, where he stood her summarily on the stoop. The expression snapping in his eyes was not one of mischief when he jammed the box of chocolates into her hands. “I’ve had enough of this nonsense,” he announced. “You’re moving in with me. From now on, you’re going to be my housekeeper.” Lily’s backside was stinging as badly as her cheeks. “I’m staying right here!” she said fiercely. Caleb remained on the ground, his eyes level with Lily’s. “My house is two doors down from the Tibbets’. I’ll expect you to be there waiting when I get home. Preferably with dinner on the table.” Lily would have clouted him over the head with the candy box if not for the distinct possibility that her chocolates would be squashed. She whirled, stormed into her little house, slammed the door closed, and drove the bolt home. “Saturday,” Caleb called to her, and she watched through the window as he put his hat back on and strode out of the yard. Thirty
Linda Lael Miller (Lily and the Major (Orphan Train, #1))
Brrr,” Nic complained, her voice drifting across the darkness. “It’s so cold. Do you have a spare bearskin over there?” An image of naked limbs on a bear skin rug flashed through his mind. He cleared his throat. “I thought you were asleep.” “I dozed for a bit. My boots were killing me, so I took them off. Now my feet are cold, and that makes me uncomfortable and cranky.” Gabe hesitated a moment before saying, “Well, we can’t have cranky. Scoot them over here. I’ll rub your feet for you.” “God bless you, Gabe Callahan.” She whipped her legs out from beneath her covers and set them in his lap. She wore thin trouser socks, and when he took her right foot between his hands, he sucked in a breath. “You have ice cubes for feet.” “I told you so.” He tugged off her sock and began rubbing her bare, freezing foot. While he tried to keep his touch clinical and his thoughts impersonal, he couldn’t help noticing her foot’s slender width, the graceful arch of her instep, the softness of her skin. It was the most personal touch he’d shared with a woman in months, and damn his soul, he enjoyed it. While he massaged her right foot, her left foot crept up and rested on his thigh, inches from his torso. Inches from his erection. He should put her ice cubes right on his crotch, but he settled for the next best thing. He tugged his shirttail from his jeans and yanked her sock off her left foot. “Look, don’t take this personally. Consider it payback for doctoring my scratches that day.” He took both her feet and tucked them against his belly, sucking in an audible breath. It truly was like putting ice on his stomach. “Whoa. Have you no circulation in your feet whatsoever?” “Oh, you feel good, Callahan,” she purred. “How can you be so warm? Are you hiding a heater or something?” A heater? Was that a come-on? Or was she just clueless? He wished he could see her expression to help him judge. Wryly he replied, “Or something.” Gabe
Emily March (Angel's Rest (Eternity Springs, #1))
Iain?” His sudden smile was blinding, and he held her hands in his. “You’ve already taken the first steps, a chara. Without even realizing it.” She had. For the first time in months, she’d managed to take two steps. Unbidden came the tears over her cheeks, while a shaky smile broke through. “I don’t even know how this happened.” Lord Ashton shook his head. “I can’t say how it did. But I watched you take two steps away from me.” Certainly, it was because he’d embarrassed her, but she couldn’t bring herself to care. Joy flooded through her. “Can you take a step toward me?” he asked. She sent him a sidelong glance. “I’m not sure I should. Especially with the way you’re looking at me now.” A knowing grin slid over his face. “And how am I looking at you?” “Like I’m a slice of cake.” She sent him a wry look, but he only appeared amused by her observation. “Perhaps I was wanting another taste of you.” He reached out to her shoulders, and she laughed at him. “Oh, no.” At that, she took a step away, suddenly realizing why he was teasing her. “Is this a ruse, meant to make me run away from you?” She faltered but took another step. Her body swayed out of balance, but with her bare feet upon the grass, it was easier to steady herself. “Is it working, then?” Iain reached out to her, pretending that he wanted to snatch her back into an embrace. “Yes.” Rose stopped walking and gave up trying to hold back her tears of happiness. She didn’t care if she was sobbing like a small child. These first few steps were nothing short of miraculous. Her cheeks were wet, but she was smiling so hard, they ached. Iain closed the distance and brought her back into his arms, holding her tightly. She no longer cared, but dampened the front of his shirt with her tears. He rubbed her spine, his arm around her waist. “Don’t cry, a ghrá. Else, I’ll have to kiss your tears away.” She wiped at her eyes, and a laugh broke free. “Then I suppose I’ll have to run.
Michelle Willingham (Good Earls Don't Lie (The Earls Next Door Book 1))
Oh, it’s on now,” he growls and spins around, bending at the waist so he can toss Emily over his shoulder. Emily protests, smacking his back, but she’s suddenly serious, if the look on her face is any indication. “Put me down, Matt,” she cries. Logan jumps to his feet, and he yells for Matt to put her down, too. Matt’s still laughing, though, and he has no idea how serious they are. “Matt!” Paul yells. The room goes quiet, and Matt spins around with Emily still over his shoulder to face Paul. “Put her down before you hurt her,” he says calmly but forcefully. Logan takes Emily from Matt and lowers her to her feet. “Sorry,” Emily says sheepishly. “What’s wrong?” Matt asks. He’s suddenly serious, despite the icing that’s all over his face. Reagan is wearing some, too, and they all look ridiculous. “Did I hurt you?” he asks Emily. Emily hangs her head a little and then looks up at Logan like she’s asking for permission. She signs and talks to him at the same time. “Should we tell them?” she asks. But she’s grinning. Logan smiles, too, and nods. Emily takes a deep breath. “You’re not sick, are you?” Matt asks, and I can see the love he has for both his brothers’ girls in his eyes. And, honestly, it makes me love him even more. Emily shakes her head. She jerks a thumb toward Logan. “Your brother knocked me up,” she says. The room goes silent. Completely silent. You could have heard a pin drop. “What?” Matt asks, looking from Logan to Emily and back. He has icing all over himself, yet he’s suddenly so serious. He points to Emily’s belly. “You’re pregnant?” he whispers. Emily laughs and nods. “We’re pregnant!” she cries. “So no more tossing her over any shoulders,” Logan warns, glaring at all his brothers. They’re getting to their feet, one by one. Suddenly, Matt jerks Emily toward him and wraps his arms around her. “I’m so happy for you,” I hear him say softly as he swings her around. She giggles and holds him close to her, patting his back. Matt sets her back from him and looks down at her belly. “You’re going to be the best mom ever, Em,” he says. “I hope so,” she says quietly, laying a hand on her belly. The rest of the brothers come forward to congratulate them, and they rub Logan’s head and jab him in the side, while Emily gets lots of soft hugs. “Maybe she’ll be born perfect like her dad,” she says. She worries her lower lip. “Or fucking gifted like you,” Matt says vehemently. Emily sniffs and smiles at him, a watery grin. “There’s just one thing I want to know,” Matt says. He wraps an arm around Emily’s shoulders and looks down at her. I flinch when I see what he’s about to do, but she does kind of deserve it. His hand inches toward the countertop and he snags a cupcake. “Is the baby going to like chocolate or vanilla?” He brings it up and crams it into Emily’s startled face. She sucks in a jerky breath. “Booyah!” Matt cries, and he runs away from Emily.
Tammy Falkner (Maybe Matt's Miracle (The Reed Brothers, #4))