If you visit this site with any regularity, I hope you’ve heard of The One Trilogy. Heck, I hope you’ve read them all! But just in case, today’s Tuesday Teaser gives you a sampler of each book. Bon appetite.
“Thanks.” The light was changing as the sun rose fully, and I laid down my pencil. The sketch had turned out well, though not quite the same as I imagined it would look in paint.
I dropped my head back and let it roll, working out the kinks from thirty minutes of looking up. Without breaking the movement, I reached for Sam’s mug. “That smells heavenly. Can I have a taste?”
“Mmmmm.” I closed my eyes in appreciation and ran the tip of my tongue over my top lip.
Next to me, Sam made a noise deep in his throat. When I opened my eyes and turned my head to look at him, he was closer than I’d expected. He stared down at me before his gaze dropped lower to my body. I’d run outside in the same clothes I’d worn to bed, my favorite soft white tank, with no bra underneath, and an old pair of green cotton shorts that barely covered my ass. It wasn’t appropriate outside attire, clearly, but that wasn’t bothering Sam.
Or maybe it was. His throat worked as his eyes made their way back up to my face. I held my breath, and for the space of a few rapid heartbeats, he didn’t move. And then slowly, so slowly, he snaked the hand not holding the coffee cup around my shoulders and caught my chin between his thumb and forefinger. With just the slightest pressure, he coaxed it up, leaned forward an inch and touched his lips to mine.
I wanted to move my arms around his neck, open my mouth and deepen the kiss. But I held back, afraid of spooking him. Instead, I closed my eyes, waiting for the touch of his tongue to my bottom lip, and let him tug my chin to open my mouth.
His lips were firm but languorous, moving as though we had all morning to do nothing but sit here, connected only at our mouths. His tongue teased, first stroking the inside of my lips, then circling around my tongue, seeking and taking. His fingers splayed over my jaw, moving my face up a little to give him even more access.
He didn’t touch me anywhere else, but I felt the kiss in a line of fire down my body. I wanted to grip his shoulders and pull him down on top of me in the grass. I wanted the weight of him on me, to feel him against my breasts and between my legs.
But I didn’t move. At the same time that I wanted more, this kiss was enough, because it was Sam, and because he had initiated it. With his arm still around me, I felt cherished and protected in a way I’d never known I wanted. His chest pressed against my back and along my side, cocooning me.
I knew the minute he began to pull back. He moved away from me, and I felt the brush of his breath over my still-parted lips. When I opened my eyes, he was staring into them under brows that were drawn together. I didn’t look away, and for a few seconds, he didn’t either.
“I need to get to the fields.” Without warning, he dropped his hand from my face and stood up. I’d been leaning on him more than I’d realized, and I had to catch myself from tumbling off the boulder in his absence.
“Okay.” I looked up at him, waiting. I wanted to push him. God, how I wanted to rise up on my knees, even knowing how the rock would bite into my bare skin, wrap my arms around his waist and make him kiss me again. I craved the touch of his hands down my back and on my ass.
“I need to go.” He repeated the words, but still he didn’t move. I stayed silent this time. His hand reached out toward me, and for a dizzy second I thought he might draw me close again, but he only touched his fingertip to one of my red curls. I held my breath.
I laced my fingers into hers and squeezed, pressing our palms together. “Ali, don’t ever think I don’t want to touch you. God, right now, all I want is . . .” I took a deep breath. “I can’t even say it, because if I do, I’ll end up making it happen.”
“Why don’t you?” She smiled and raised our joined hands to her lips.
“I think . . .” This wasn’t going to be easy. Not when part of me—the part that was a distance south of my cerebral cortex— was screaming that I was an idiot. “I want you, Ali. I want to kiss you all the time. I want to touch you all over. I want to peel off all your clothes, and let you take off mine, and lay out there on the blanket, skin to skin, nothing between us but the night air.” God, I was a fool. “But I like you a lot. You’re more than just my girlfriend, you’re my best friend.” I reached across and tucked a strand of her silky hair behind her ear. “I want to make love to you.” Saying the words made it so real, the throbbing under my zipper became almost unbearable. “But I want us to be ready. Both of us. I want us to make the decision together, so we have no regrets. When we’re together, really together, I want it to be the best moment of our lives. Something we never forget. Something we think about for the rest of our lives.”
When I dared to look into Ali’s eyes, I was half-afraid I’d see incredulity and maybe even scorn. What I was saying wasn’t exactly popular philosophy among high school students. But instead, I saw the sheen of tears and the unmistakable glow of love.
I recognized that expression. I’d seen it in my mother’s eyes when she looked at my father, and in Iona’s when she talked about Mark. I’d known for a while it was how I looked at Ali. Love was more than just the girlfriend/boyfriend stuff that went on all around us at school. It was a big deal, life-changing and forever. It was Ali and me, together against the world for the rest of our lives.
That was exactly what I wanted. And why I was willing to wait for sex. Getting it right was more important than getting it right away.
Ten minutes later, Rilla was back in the kitchen. I sat at the table with Piper on my lap, and the island counter between us meant I only saw Rilla’s upper half. She’d pulled her hair back in a low ponytail, which made her eyes look even bigger. But what caught my attention was her shirt. It was deep blue and sleeveless, showing her toned arms. The top few buttons were undone; there was nothing revealing about the blouse at all, but it actually fit her, molding to her curves just enough that I wanted to investigate closer.
She flushed, but I could tell by the way her eyes shone that she was pleased I’d noticed. “Yes. I thought tonight would be a good time to give them a try.”
Rilla and Meghan had gone shopping together just the weekend past, and while I hadn’t seen any of her new clothes until now, I knew she was excited about what she’d bought.
“Come in here and let me see!” Mom called from her room. “Dang, I always miss out on the good stuff.”
Rilla grinned and turned toward my mother’s room, giving me a tantalizing view of the way the denim hugged her ass. God almighty. Who knew shy little Rilla Grant was rocking a body like this under all that material?
I knew I had to rein myself in. I hadn’t been blowing smoke when I’d told Rocky that Rilla and I were only friends, that she worked for me, that she was far too young for me. I meant it all. But just for now, just for tonight, it was fun to let my mind down paths of possibilities. It felt right to pretend that we were a little family, that I was going to enjoy a night out with my girl and my daughter.
Mom ooohed and ahhhed, and once Rilla was satisfied that she was settled for the evening and would be all right while we were out, the three of us got into my truck. I buckled Piper into the backseat and then stood back to help Rilla climb in, clasping her small hand tight in mine for a little longer than necessary and holding back from giving her a boost. My fingers itched to cup her backside, just to cop a feel over the jeans. I lectured myself sternly as I walked around to the driver’s side. Cool it, buddy.