I just had to pop in quickly to say that my agent read Naked Edge this weekend and just called to tell me that I am ridiculous and have no sense of the quality of my own writing. This is very good news because I told her I thought Naked Edge was the worst thing I'd written so far.
She said she sobbed at the end and that she found the climax of the story every bit as nail-biting as was the climax of Unlawful Contact.
I have to give a shout out to some FOPs (that's an acronym for Friends of Pamela — you ken who you are) who have actually read the manuscript. The whole time I was writing it, I was thinking, "This sucks! This sucks! This sucks!" But these sweet FOPs kept saying, "No, it doesn't! Keep writing!" If not for them, I'd be out looking for my lost sanity.
I still want to do some minor revisions before I turn it in. This ghost-writing project is delaying that till the end of the month or early September.
How about an excerpt to celebrate the non-suckiness of the story (according to my agent and FOPs)?
Here's one I posted in my notes on Facebook. If you saw it there, sorry! And remember, Kat is a virgin — my only contemporary virgin thus far. And there are cultural reasons for this. But you'll see on March 2.
From Chapter 25 of Naked Edge
Kat willed herself not to break eye contact with Gabe, her heart pounding. He stared down at her, his pupils wide, the astonishment on his face turning to something darker, his brows bent in a frown.
He ran the pad of his thumb over her lower lip. “Are you sure?”
She couldn’t say when she’d reached this decision. Maybe it had been this morning when she’d prayed for him, looking for some way to help him regain the part of himself Jill had stolen. Maybe it had been that terrible afternoon when he’d saved her from being shot, proving his courage. Or perhaps it had been the moment she’d realized that the wind knew him, that he belonged to this land as much as she did.
Regardless, her heart had decided.
She had finally found a man who was worth it, a man she loved so much that going without him felt unthinkable.
“Yes, I’m sure.” She caught his hand where it cupped her chin and kissed his palm. “I love y—”
“Shhh!” He pressed his fingers to her lips. “Don’t say it. ‘Yes’ is enough.”
He ducked down as if to kiss her, then abruptly stopped, glancing around them. “No. Not like this.”
He stepped back. “Why don’t you go soak in a hot bath and pamper yourself a bit? The sun only set about an hour ago, so the water ought to still be fairly warm. There’s a camping lantern on the counter.”
Take a bath? Did she smell bad?
Something of her feelings must have shown on her face, because he leaned down to rest his forehead against hers. “Hey, trust me, okay? If I can’t be man enough to keep my hands off you like I should, then at least let me be man enough to do this right. I’ll tell you when you can come out.”
Confused, Kat walked into the bathroom, turned on the camping lantern, and shut the door behind her. She found herself staring at her own bemused reflection in the lantern’s half-light. This certainly wasn’t the response she’d expected from him.
If I can’t be man enough to keep my hands off you like I should, then at least let me be man enough to do this right.
What did he mean by that?
And then her pulse began to race again as she realized what was about to happen.
Gabe was going to make love to her. Tonight.
Suddenly, she was grateful for the extra time. What she’d said a few moments ago had been entirely spontaneous. She hadn’t stopped to think that it had been a couple of days since she’d shaved her legs or that she needed to brush her teeth or that she might want to take a bath first.
Quickly, she set her razor and a washcloth near the tub, then turned on the water, relieved to feel it was still quite warm. While the tub filled, she flossed and brushed her teeth and tied her hair up in a knot. Then she undressed and stepped into the soothing heat, noises coming from the other side of the door—the clanging of dishes, the opening and closing of doors and drawers, the creaking of floorboards, the front door opening again and again.
She might have tried to figure out what he was doing if she weren’t so nervous. Instead, it was all she could do to focus on shaving her legs, questions chasing one after another through her mind. How much would it hurt? Would she be able to have an orgasm with him inside her? Would he compare her to Jill and be disappointed? Would he push her away afterward as he had so many women?
Stop doubting, girl. Trust yourself. Trust Gabe. Trust that you’ve come to this place and time for a reason.
Her belly full of butterflies, she reached for her soap, inhaled its sweet honey scent and remembered how much he seemed to like it. Then she lathered her skin, trying not to worry about things she couldn’t control. She’d just pulled the plug from the bathtub drain and begun to dry herself, when he knocked on the door.
“Kat? Whenever you’re ready…”
Her heart gave a hard knock. Was she ready? After all these years was she ready for what was about to happen? She wrapped herself in a soft towel, drew a deep, calming breath. Then, without glancing at the mirror, she opened the bathroom door—and stared in amazement. “Oh, Gabe!”
The cabin had been transformed. The dirty dishes had been cleared from the table, and the kerosene lamps had all been stored away. Dozens of small emergency candles sat here and there on saucers and in bowls, the room warm with their radiance. Pine boughs had been wrapped around the bed’s four posters and its headboard, their scent fresh and enticing. The air was warm, a strong fire burning in the woodstove.
His gaze fixed on her, Gabe stood in the middle of the room, wearing only his jeans, the candlelight giving his skin a tawny glow, seeming to accentuate the ridges and valleys of his muscles. And Kat felt that familiar flutter in her belly.
Oh, yes, she was ready—for him.
He crossed the space between them in two lazy strides, slid his fingers into her hair, and undid the knot, spilling it down her back and around her shoulders. Then he brushed his knuckles over her cheek. “I can’t make any promises about tomorrow, Kat, but for tonight at least, I’ll do my damned best to be worth it.”
Then he reached down, tugged off her towel, and let it fall to the floor.
The rest of that scene will be available on March 2. (Is my sadistic side showing?)