Josie led him away from the house, allowing for his hobbled gait. Finally, she stopped and spread her arms out. “There!” She exclaimed it proudly, with small puffs of breath hanging white in the air. They were outside of the circle of light from the house, and Theo didn’t know what she meant for him to look at.
“What am I supposed to be seeing?”
“There,” she grabbed him, and pointed up, “look!
In the sky, a glowing milky-blue and green belt danced in the heavens. Clouds, shining in their reflected light, moved as if making way.
“Aurora borealis. The northern lights.”
Theo was aghast. He could not imagine that there were places in the world where such things were regularly seen. The light seemed to flow like water, blue changed into white, and vivid green ribbons highlighted the ripples.
“Amazing,” he whispered several times.
Josie watched Theo’s face. She was glad that he liked this place. She knew it was impressive, astounding even her and she had been born here. To a man from a dry and hot frontier, it must seem like magic.
And Theo saw it that way.
Suddenly, as if a Hollywood director had ordered it, a lone wolf howled in the distance. The effect was magnificent.
“True North, strong a free... ” Josie sighed, quoting the Canadian anthem in a breathless whisper.
Theo stood in awe of the wild beauty to which he was bearing witness. There were people who went their whole lives without witnessing something like this, and he was grateful to Josie for showing it to him.
“I can see why you love this place,” he looked down at her. “I could too, and I’m only just come.”
The air was thick with the words. Yes, Josie thought, I want you to love it, too. But she left the words unspoken. Mostly because she wasn't sure why she meant them so strongly. Instead, she removed her glove, and reached up to put her fingertips to his jaw line. He had not shaved, and bristly reddish stubble tantalized her hand. Green eyes captured golden ones, and both shone with the sky’s light. Josie raised herself up, laying herself vulnerable for his rejection, but he did not spurn her. He lowered his head to hers, and grasped her waist through her wool mack.
Her hands ran through that curly thick hair she had longed to touch, and she pressed her lips to his. Slowly, hotly, their lips and breath mingled, and the tingle of it danced along their mouths as the light did in the sky. Josie worked a hand beneath his jacket, and under his shirt where she found the warm skin of his strong back. She wanted this kiss as she wanted every next breath. She made a small, urging noise in her throat, primitive in its demand for more.
Theo’s big hand slid with surprising softness from her hip. It covered her belly for a moment, leaving it for the ridge of her rib cage. Up it traveled, until it grazed just beneath the softness of her breast.
Sighing, Theo deepened the kiss, demanding as much as she could give.
Josie responded in kind, opening her lips in bold invitation. This time he accepted.
The kiss invaded her senses, her mouth being delved for its secrets, and she offered no resistance. Josie reveled in the masculine sound of his breath, as it came now in quiet but excited huffs. The soft sounds of their lips on one another were like the finest music to her. It caused her heart to thump against her chest, as if it were calling to his.
It lasted seconds or minutes, she did not know, but it ended too quickly. He lifted his head and watched the deprivation slide across her features.
She opened dazzled eyes, lidded with not-yet-abandoned arousal.
“Christ,” he whispered.
Josie smiled up to him. She could tell by his face that he was far from unaffected by that kiss. But he sat her away from him and straightened to his full height, taking a staggering step back from her.
“I...” he started, but stopped. Finally he just limped away, back into the house.
Josie blinked after him. Untried feelings still coursed through her veins, and now he was gone. She felt bereft. He was running from her, again.
Mentally, she rolled up her sleeves, and followed him in.
A Short Sneak Peek at Strings Attached, coming from Wild Horse Press in 2011.
Have a great long weekend, everybody!