It's Karen Ann Hopkins week on my blog, and things are just getting warmed up. Today, I have a beautifully written excerpt from Tempation!
We reached the dark fairy woods as a gust of wind rustled the leaves of the trees, blowing the scents of the forest over the cornfield. I deeply inhaled the sharp pine smell that was mingled with the aroma of decaying leaves. Although an invisible force seemed to be pulling me to the path into the trees, I fought the impulse, and began to rein Lady around at the place we had turned the last time.
Unexpectedly, Noah shook his head, and holding my hand firmly, he tugged me along with him and Rumor as they sped up to a trot, entering the quiet shade of the trees. Excitement bubbled up in me as a blast of cooler air from under the trees tickled my skin. I was immediately glad for my hoodie.
After a few minutes of hard trotting had forced me to start posting, Noah finally pulled up on his reins when we entered the sunshine of a small clearing in the middle of the forest. Several huge old trees were randomly littering the ground like a child’s giant Lincoln log set creating an oasis of late afternoon light from the dark shade of the imposing trees that surrounded the clearing. With our sudden arrival, several squirrels bounded up the fallen trees, and rabbits scampered off in the undergrowth rattled by our appearance. The feeling that this was a magical forest entered my mind again, and a peaceful kind of happiness filled me that I was here in this special place. And especially that Noah was with me.
In a fluid action, Noah jumped off Rumor. While I watched him, he amazingly took off the horse’s bridle, hanging it loosely on a broken branch of one of the felled trees.
“Are you going to just turn him loose like that?” I asked with concerned awe.
“Don’t worry, Rose. He won’t go anywhere.” Half smiling to himself, with his lips slightly twitching, he took my reins and motioned me to dismount.
Which I did, but on the way down I informed him, “You aren’t turning Lady loose like that. I wouldn’t trust her not to spook at something and bolt off into the trees. Then I’d never see her again.”
Laughing he pulled a halter and lead rope out of his saddle bag, and holding them up in front of me, said, “I figured you’d say that. I came prepared.”
I let him take Lady, exchange the bridle for the halter and tie her to a tree, near where Rumor was standing. While he was doing that, I found a smooth section of one of the logs and sat down, watching Noah take care of my horse.
Normally, I would have done that myself, but for some strange reason I let him do it. Like I knew he wanted to take care of me—and a part of me wanted him to. That was mildly unnerving, I thought, admiring his tall, muscled body as he ambled over to me. Most guys his age weren’t built like that. He was even bigger than Sam, and I envisioned him making a great football player. It must be all the farm work and building houses he did, I guessed. He hopped onto the log beside me, sitting very close, but not quite touching. Glancing over at him, I wondered why he was just staring ahead into the trees with a pensive look on his sun-tanned face. Impatience and frustration rolled together inside me as I watched him ignore me. What was he waiting for?
As if he could read my thoughts, a grin appeared on his mouth, and breathing deeply he turned to face me. I waited expectantly for him to do or say something. I, myself, was way too chicken to move a muscle.
He licked his lips and said in a deep, smooth voice, “So you’ve never been kissed, and I’ve never kissed anyone.”
Relief washed over me at his words—we’d both be each other’s firsts. But even though I was bubbling with happiness inside that he wouldn’t have a bunch of other girls to compare me too, I still could hardly breathe. My heart was pounding my chest in mad fury. When he leaned in closer, I swallowed hard, not knowing if I should keep my eyes open or close them. I was suddenly scared to death. I knew he knew it, when he softly went, “Shhhhhh,” to me. Slowly he brought his face to mine, but instead of going for my mouth, he touched his moist lips to my neck, just below my jaw line. The feeling sent a tickling that jolted every part of my body to attention, especially deep down in the pit of my belly.
Doesn't Temptation sound delicious! I have a feeling you'll be needing buy links now!