Name That Scene — Mystery Excerpt #3

    These must not be very difficult. Everyone keeps getting them right. Shucks! I'd like to think the characters are so distinctly drawn and the stories so unique that one couldn't not possibly mistake them, but that would be vanity.

    So, yes, yesterday's NTS was from Ride the Fire. The tricky thing about writing that book was that I couldn't really make it sexual until after Bethie's baby was born. Though I personally have nothing against pregnant women having sex, I figured having a pregnant heroine having sex with a hero who isn't the father of the baby would be pushing it for most readers. I needed to ratchet up the sexual tension after Belle's birth, and this scene did that nicely.

    Oh, I can so see Nicholas standing there, water sluicing down his scarred skin, his hair long and wet. There's a little thought Nicholas has following this scene that made me laugh. It came from him, I swear. After Bethie sees him bathing in the river, he thinks to himself:

    Her gazed had traveled over every inch of him in seemingly innocent appraisal, her eyes growing wide at the sight of his penis. He might have preferred that her first sight of him come elsewhere, out of the icy stream, which tended to humble and wither a man. Still, he’d seen appreciation on her face.

    Oh, yes, I do amuse myself. :-)

    Ride the Fire is getting a new cover in October, and it will be coming out at a lower price. The idea is to encourage people who haven't read my historicals to try them so that they will (hopefully) read more. Of course, some people were turned off by the violence in my books. What can I say? It's not a ball room or a drawing room but the Colonial American landscape where they take place. And though I'm not a big fan of violence, I do like to see a hero tested and put through his paces... (Bo, are you with me?)

    So Amanda won yesterday's signed copy of Surrender.

    And now on to today's Name That Scene...

    She met his gaze, felt as if she herself were on the drink. He looked so handsome in his fine woolen coat with its brass buttons. His shoulders were so broad, his jaw strong, and the way he looked at her…

    He cupped her cheek in his hand, traced a circle on her skin with his thumb.

    His touch left a trail of fire on her cheek, drove away all thoughts but one. She wanted to know. She needed to know. “Kiss me. I want … ”

    She looked away, shocked and mortified at her own boldness. But the words were out. She could not take them back.

    He lifted her chin, forced her to look into his eyes. “What do you want?”

    The warmth of his gaze left her weak, spellbound. “I want to know what it feels like … to be kissed when… when I’m not afraid.”

    His eyes closed, his brow furrowed. A low sound like a moan came from his throat, as if the idea brought him pain.

    And she understood. Shame made her cheeks flame. He didn’t want to kiss her. She was naught but a poor Irish maid in his eyes, a destitute girl dressed in tatters. “I-I’m sorry. You don’t want to. I understand. I was wrong to—”

    His eyes opened. He chuckled, and then his voice softened. “I’m afraid you don’t understand, my sweet. I want very much to kiss you. I want it so much it hurts. But be sure it’s what you want.”

    Sure and this was not what she had expected him to say. His words made her heart beat faster, made it hard to speak. “That night, I felt… But I was so scared, and … I need to know. Just a kiss.”

    His gaze locked with hers. “Aye. Just a kiss.”

    She closed her eyes, fisted her hands in the folds of her cloak, unable to breathe. Just standing near him she could feel the enticing masculine strength of his body. She tilted her chin up to him.

    She felt his arms enfold her, the hard press of his body against hers. At the first tentative brush of his lips against hers, she thought she would melt. He kissed first her upper lip, then her lower. Then his mouth gently took hers, his lips warm and soft, and she did melt, sinking against him with a whimper, her palms flat against his chest.

    But the kiss wasn’t over.

    She felt his tongue trace the outline of her lips and found her lips parting of their own accord. Heat flared in her belly as he tasted her, penetrated her. This was much better than what she remembered, much more potent, more thrilling.

    When his lips took hers again, all gentleness was gone, replaced by an intensity that almost frightened her. She could not breathe. She could not think. Rather than pulling away, she found herself clinging to him, returning his passion with a fervor of her own. Their tongues twined, caressed, parried.

    It was like nothing she could have imagined. She was on fire as he held her, consumed her, ravished her mouth.

    He twined his fingers in her hair, pulled her head back and trailed kisses along the sensitive skin of her throat. She gasped at the delicious new sensation. When his tongue traced the whorl of her ear, her knees gave way.

    Gently he lowered her to the ground, the thick grass a blanket beneath them. He cradled her head in the crook of his arm, continued to kiss her throat. His body stretched, hard and strong, beside hers.

    Through a haze of pleasure, she felt a hint of alarm. “Just a kiss. You said—”

    He lifted his lips from her quivering skin, looked down at her, his eyes dark with passion. “My sweet, this is just a kiss.”

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