I've been working on Brothers in Arms today, instead of my NaNo, but I've got my word counts in for that for several days, so I refuse to feel guilty!
But here's a teaser from Brothers in Arms for you. I don't THINK I've posted this before... Enjoy!
“Sean,” Ri said, rolling her eyes at him in exasperation. He grinned and winked at her. She narrowed her eyes on him. “Are you ever going to stop flirting with me?”
“Never,” he promised, smiling wickedly at her. “Unless you turn me down. Then I will slink off and nurse my broken heart in private.”
“Broken heart,” she scoffed, not looking at him.
The tension in the room expanded suddenly as Sean reached across the island, grasped her hand, and sent her a shaft of his emotions, the love he already felt for her. She felt the turmoil he’d been in for the past few days, Read his thoughts, his longings, even the erotic naughtiness that he’d been indulging in within his mind.
She raised stricken eyes to his, stunned.
“I have made no secret of my feelings,” he reminded her gently, rubbing his thumb along her hand, holding her gaze with his. “I know you think I am being impulsive. I am not. What I feel for you cannot be explained rationally, but I know it. I feel it.”
Energy hummed between them where they touched. Ri’s face was flushed with color. Sean cocked his head to the side, studying her. His eyes went wide in sudden wonder and joy. “And… you feel the same. Why, then, do you fight your feelings for me, sweet Arianna?”
“I don’t know!” she cried, tearing her hand away from his and throwing her arms in the air in frustration. She paced behind the island, agitated, while their water boiled. “I just don’t know. And the worst part is, Hunter and Jace took great delight in informing me that the only person who might be able to help me figure it out is…”
“Me?” Sean sighed, offering her a rueful smile. She glared right back at him.
“It’s frustrating as hell.”
“Why?” he asked, his voice logical.
“Because you’re the one that’s confusing me!” she told him wearily, rolling her eyes.
“Then should I not be the one you talk to about it?”
How could he be so damn pragmatic about the whole thing? Ri wanted to storm over and shake him.
Or kiss him.
She wasn’t sure which impulse was stronger at the moment.
“I would much prefer the kiss, if I am allowed a vote.” Sean’s grin told her that she hadn’t shielded nearly enough with that last thought.
“Get out of my head!” Ri muttered with a scowl.
Sean’s heart melted at the fierce little growl of her voice. Slowly, his eyes never leaving hers, he stood and rounded the island, coming to a stop right in front of her. No stranger to being loomed over by tall, muscular warriors, Ri held her ground and kept glaring up at him. She had to swallow against the desire to run away, though, when he brought a hand up to touch her cheek. His brows came together as he contemplated her.
“We will have some tea,” he said softly, stroking the backs of his knuckles over her creamy cheek. “We will sit on the balcony and enjoy the warmth of the sun. We are going to work on you, little kimi, until we both understand why you are fighting a battle you do not wish to win.”
Ri felt moisture gathering in her eyes, her throat tightening with emotion. Sean felt her thoughts, sensed her unreasonable fear, and smiled gently down at her. Slowly, so that she had plenty of time to stop him, he widened his stance and brought his other hand up until he was cupping her jaw between his palms. She sucked in a shuddering breath as he held her face and tenderly brushed his lips over hers.
Energy, pure and raw, arced between them, an almost electric shock that stole both of their breaths. Ri whimpered and clutched his arms, though whether she was holding him or pushing him away, neither of them knew. Sean’s lips opened over hers, rubbing gently along the slick velvet of her lips. The shimmering energy moved with him. Ri’s head fell back, her mouth opening for his exploration as his tongue flicked out to taste her for the first time.
As though they had been tazered, a bolt of incredible power shot through them at the touch of their tongues to one another. Arianna’s throaty cry was one of longing, fear, and ecstasy, all rolled into one. Sensing her deep inner struggle, Sean forced himself to pull back from her. Power still crackled along his skin where he touched her, so he broke the contact. It was an actual physical pain to no longer be connected to her.
For a long, tense moment, they stared at each other, breathing heavily.
Finally, Ri pulled herself together, closing her eyes so that she could focus, center herself, and calm her racing heart. When she looked up at him again, she was in control once more. Her eyes dark with confusion, she cleared her throat.
“Tea,” she said softly, holding his gaze. “Balcony.”
“Then?” Sean asked, his voice just as low, husky with the power still thrumming through him from their kiss.
“Then…” she took a deep breath, steeling herself against the urge to hide from him for the rest of the day. The week. The rest of her life. “Then, we talk. And we figure this out. It’s obvious that there’s something incredibly powerful between us, but… I want to know why I’m so scared.”
“So do I, little one,” Sean murmured. “So do I.”********************************************