The Pit and the Passion

She held her gaze steady, mainly so she could delve deep, deep into those chocolate eyes. Together with his sharp, angular nose and intense, almost predatory, expression, he reminded her of a peregrine falcon on the hunt.

The Pit & the Passion

Monday, October 28, 2013

Backlist Bonanza Round Two: Lost and Found

My second novel, Lost and Found, finds a desperate wife searching the wilds of Maine and Florida for the husband who disappeared. The excerpt here recounts another first mating--since readers seem to like that first rush of passion the best. Do let me know if you like it!

What do you do when David, your husband of a year, ups and disappears? If you’re Rose Culloden, a beautiful, wealthy woman in her forties who had despaired of finding happiness, you do anything to find him. The trail takes you first to the North Woods of Maine, then to Florida, and back again to western Maine. Along the way you meet James Stewart—a Maine guide—who vividly highlights the contrast between a real man and your delicate Harvard professor of a husband. Loyal to your marriage despite your powerful attraction to James, it takes the dramatic discovery that David is not just vicious and venal, but insane, to free your heart for true love.

Excerpt (R): First Mating

A strange racket disturbed her dreams. A crash, followed by a shuffling noise, brought her instantly awake. There—another thud. She sat bolt upright. It came from outside her window. It must be an animal eating the raspberries. For some reason this infuriated Rose. Those were her berries. She wasn’t going to let a nasty little raccoon gobble them up. She rose from the bed and moved quietly to the window, ready to shout abruptly and scare it away. Wait! What if it isn’t a raccoon? What if it’s a skunk? Now that would sure make my day. All right, just knock on the wall. Whatever it is will be frightened off by that.
She banged softly. Nothing happened. She banged harder. The scrunching stopped. Satisfied, she turned back to bed but halted at the sound of a very loud grunt, this time closer to her open window. One more bang should do it. But as she raised her hand to smack the paneling, a curious thing occurred. A pair of fuzzy black ears rose over the window sill. A second later, she found herself staring directly into the face of an enormous bear. An unhappy bear. A bear unaccustomed to being disturbed at its meal.
Rose screamed. Pandemonium erupted. James rushed in, followed by the professor and Harley. “What is it? Are you okay?” Everyone babbled, canceling each other out.
Rose was so frightened she fell into James’s arms. “A…b…b…”
“A bear?” He turned to the others. In a voice struggling to sound calm, he declared, “Everything’s fine. Go back to your rooms. And—” he looked pointedly at the open window, “be sure your windows are closed and latched.”
The others filed out, still chattering. James continued to hold Rose, waiting for the trembling to stop. He whispered nonsense syllables into her hair and rocked her. She clung to him, trying not to fall into hysterics. He sat down on the bed, still holding her. “It’s all right. You scared him off, you know. He’s just a big old black bear with a fondness for raspberries.”
“I…I…” She hiccupped. “I thought it was a raccoon. I…thought it would move off when I banged on the wall.”
James chuckled. “Well, he did move off, with a little help from us, but he’ll be back. As long as there’s a berry left on the bush.”
“Oh dear.” Rose moved closer to James. “Perhaps I should change rooms?”
“Not a bad idea. Not a good one either. The inn only has nine rooms. And we’re occupying them all. I don’t think you want to sleep in the living room.”
Rose felt another wave of hysteria threaten. James started to rise but she held him closer. “Not yet. Don’t go yet. I’m so frightened.”
James made an impatient movement. “You’ll be fine. He won’t come back tonight.”
Rose tried to loosen her grip. James got one arm free but used it to stroke her hair. “Really, you’re perfectly safe now.” He bent to brush his lips across her head. Then he lifted her chin. He looked at her, concerned. Suddenly, he bent and kissed her lightly. “Are you okay?”
Rose raised her face to his. Her heart constricted. He really is handsome, isn’t he? Especially when his usually stern expression softens. Before she could say anything, though, he kissed her again, this time a little harder. In her shaky state, it felt comforting. She kissed him back. In an instant, their arms were wrapped around each other and James’s tongue had slipped between her teeth to explore the inside of her mouth. She opened for him, falling back onto the bed. He followed her, bracing himself above her, his kisses now passionate. When they broke apart, they were both panting. A split second of decision, then his fingers went to the hem of her nightgown and lifted. Rose gazed into his eyes, willing him to continue. He put his other hand out and extinguished the light.
He tried to pull the nightgown over her head. She raised her arms, but it wouldn’t come. Foiled, he took hold of the collar, tore it in two and threw the pieces on the floor. She lay on the blanket, drained of all rational thought, watching and waiting. The moon bathed the room with a misty light. In the gloom, she hoped all James could make out would be a white form, obviously female. Her breasts gleamed palely, a dark spot in the center of each one. She lay very still.
He unbuttoned his jeans and let them drop. He was naked underneath. She thought fleetingly that he must have thrown them on when she screamed. That meant he slept in the nude. She smiled at the thought, but he gave her no time for reflection. He fell on her, the length of his body pressed to hers, his arousal obvious. He kissed her hungrily, and then brushed his lips down her neck. He followed her throat down to the right breast first. She arched her back to bring her nipple closer. Her chest heaved beneath his mouth. He moved to the left breast and began to suckle. She gasped, the sensation too pleasurable for words. He lifted his head, as though praying that the sound didn’t mean she wanted him to stop. Instead, her arms went round his neck and her legs around his back, pulling him closer. He had no choice: he had to enter her. He didn’t hesitate. Surprisingly, she was wet and ready for him. It didn’t take much, she reflected. Then she stopped thinking.
She moved under him. It felt to her as though they were on an escalator, one which changed direction every few seconds. Up, up, up. Then down. It began to roll faster. Now they were both steaming in the same direction, but, instead of flying off at the top of the stair, they met and came together. Rose let out a mewling sound like a baby eagle and went rigid in midair. James held her up, ignoring the laws of gravity for just long enough to reach the moment of pure ecstasy. Then they plummeted. Quiet. Peace. Comfort. It could not last long.
Rose’s eyes flew open. “What did we just do?” she whispered.
If James was wondering the same thing, he wouldn’t let on. “Do?”
“I mean…I mean…” She trailed off.
James gave her one more deep kiss before pushing himself off her. He shook his head. “I don’t know. It just happened. Sometimes it does. You were scared, you needed comfort. That’s all. Forget about it.” He looked out the window. She looked over his shoulder at the sky. The moon had gone down. It must be near dawn. He turned to her. “The bear is gone. I’ll take my leave as well.”

Lost and Found
Red Rose Publishing (2010)
eBook, 69,000 words (254 p.),
Contemporary Romance, Action/Adventure; M/F; 3 flames

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