Okay, so I just finished edits last week or the week before on Hearts and Wishes, due out from EC in February.
The week or two before that, I was finishing up edits on Beautiful Girl, which comes out from Samhain end of this month.
Then on Saturday that lovely fedex package showed up containing edits for Through the Veil, due out in mass market this summer. I’ve also got a novella to write, a book to proofread and polish so I can get it to my editor before 2/1.
Since I’m too busy today to play, how about an excerpt from Beautiful Girl? Warning… this is from my UNEDITED copy since the final is still being finished up.
Over the pounding of her heart and the rattle of the chain, Del hadn’t heard the door open. She spun around, hands lifted in defense. When she saw Blake standing there, she lowered them. She sucked in air and jerked the gloves off and tossed them on the floor.
The heavy bag was still swinging back and forth and automatically, she reached out and laid a hand on it. “Hello, Blake.”
He sauntered into the garage and circled around her. “You picked up some moves, didn’t you, Deedee? You pounding on anybody in particular or just working up a sweat?”
“Del,” she corrected automatically. He moved closer and it seemed as though the big garage seemed to shrink, closing in around her. Her face heated as she remembered how she had broken down in front of him. She hadn’t thought about it at the time, but later, down at the lake, Del realized the entire time she’d been crying, he had been holding her and she hadn’t once felt afraid.
Blake moved a little closer and despite herself, Del felt that familiar panic reared its ugly head and she battled it back down. Blake wouldn’t hurt her. She knew that, knew it enough so that she really didn’t feel that threatened even when he did move in on her a little, eliminating even more distance between them.
He brushed a damp strand of hair back from her face, his fingers lingering on the curve of her neck. “How are you?”
“Fine.” Inanely, she asked, “You?”
A faint grin came and went on his face and he drawled, “Oh, I’m right as rain, ma’am.” His lids drooped, shielding his gaze, but there was little mistaking the lazy, lambent look in his eyes. She felt frozen in place as he looked down at her. He seemed to take in every single thing about her, seeing beyond the too loose pants, the form fitting shirt and drab brown braids. Those eyes of his had always seen too deep. He saw so much of her and Del hated it. Hated how he made her feel. These yearning, needy feelings were just a disaster waiting to happen. She’d gone twelve years not letting anybody get too close, physically and emotionally. Even if she had finally admitted to herself that she was far from okay, she didn’t know if she was ready to risk letting somebody get close again.
Especially not Blake. He had an advantage over most, considering he’d been her first, and only, love. She’d always figured romanticized her memories of him but looking at him, she had to wonder.
He was still so ridiculously good looking, more so now than he had been in high school. Those fine, rather chiseled looking good looks of his belonged in Hollywood, not in Prescott, Tennessee, a small town in the middle of nowhere. Impossibly blue eyes and a mouth she could still remember feeling against hers. She had the odd urge to reach up and pull off the black cloth covering his head. Plain and simple, she wanted to reach out and touch him.
Del hadn’t wanted to touch anybody in so damn long. And it scared the hell out of her.
Maybe it’s time you did…
That voice seemed to come from all those wishful, wistful yearnings. Common sense told her something else. Carefully, Del edged around him, circling away without really appearing to run. “Do you need something, Blake?”
He shrugged, still moving forward with that slow, lazy grace. Gently, he asked, “Are you afraid of me, Del?”
Disgusted with herself, she planted her feet and met his gaze levelly. “Of you? Not exactly.” She shrugged her shoulders and admitted, “Of men in general? Yeah.”
He nodded and murmured, “I get that. What if I want to touch you? Should I ask? Should I not bother? If I told you that I wanted to kiss you, would you tell me to get back in my car and just leave you the hell alone?”
Fear had her shaking. Her voice was almost non-existent and she couldn’t decide who was more surprised when she said, “No.”
Blake’s eyes darkened and he closed the distance between them and dipped his head. He pressed his mouth to hers, keeping the touch light and gentle. He gave her plenty of room to pull away and she was the one who deepened the kiss. She rose on her toes and pressed her mouth against his with a little more pressure.
Del sighed against his lips and that soft, hungry little female sound was sheer torture. At the same time, it was sheer bliss. Blake wanted nothing more than to grab her and hold her tight against him, taking the kiss deeper, harder. He was greedy for the taste of her and would have chopped off a limb just to get it, but he didn’t do anything. He just stood there and let her kiss him. She licked his lower lip and he felt the blood drain out of his head and straight down.
It was heaven.
It was hell.