Excerpt from To Find A Love Like Ours
Setting: Walking back to the hotel after dinner between Desire and her boss Phillip at the end of a business seminar.
They alternated between eating and conversing at a very relaxed pace. Desire forgot to be intimidated and began to enjoy his company for the first time just seeing him just as a person. After an hour or so they headed back to the hotel. Impulsively, Philip leaned down and picked up some snow. “This snow is perfect for snowballs.” He said patting it gently and consistently into a nice round ball.
Desire looked shrewdly at him. She was trying to decide if she should just stand there or run because it was suddenly becoming apparent to her that people only made snowballs for one reason.
“P-Philip?” Waiting for his response she couldn’t miss the mischievous glint in his eyes. So ultimately that decided her action. She took off.
He laughed in such a way that made her look over her shoulder and that was when she noticed him place the first ball in his coat pocket while reaching to make another.
She started backing away from him hoping to reason with him, all while taking no chances she began to form a few of her own. “Look, I’ve never been good at this even as a child. So why don’t we just agree to stop this before it begins.”
“But where would the fun be in that Desire?” He teased.
She ineffectually threw her first snowball missing him by a mile and then she simply concentrated on getting back to the hotel before he could catch her. What she didn’t know was that he ran track in college. That bit of information might have at the least made her take off sooner. In the end none of it mattered because as she was trying to get away her boots hit a small patch of ice landing her into a mound of fluffy snow.
She turned over just in time to see Philip standing over her, holding out his hand. She didn’t know what came over her, but suddenly she knew this was probably her only opportunity to best him, so when she grasped his hand she used her upper body strength to topple him over. When he ended up on his side, she quickly grabbed some snow and smashed it in his face. Then she tried to get up to run before he could recover. She had just made it vertical before she felt his fingers around her ankle and she felt as if she were falling in slow motion while watching the look of sheer satisfaction on his face. He snatched her against him before she hit the ground to soften her fall. After seeing she was okay he pressed his own handful of snow into her face. While she spluttered shaking the snow from her hair and wiping it from her face he bellowed with laughter.
“I do not think this is funny!” She said trying to stand almost slipping in the course of it, which caused him to laugh all the more harder.
He stood up and tried to steady her. “Sweetheart,” He couldn’t get the rest of the words out without bursting into more laughter. “I’m sorry. Are you okay?” He finally managed.
She pushed against his chest. “What do you care?” Then looking up at him, she couldn’t help from laughing herself. Once she straightened up she conceded and extended her hand to him. “Well I guess you won fair and square.”
He stood and shook her hand before starting to remove some of the snow from her hair when their gazes locked.
The streetlight glowed behind her and the state of suspense that reflected in her face made him want to crush her against him so that he could slowly acquaint his lips with hers. Instead, while peering down into her face he took hold of her coat collar and pulled it together. “I guess we better get in. The wind is picking up and I would feel so guilty if I was the cause of you developing pneumonia.”
Speechless, she just nodded before falling in step beside him.
“Well that was fun!” Philip said while standing against the door so that she could precede him into the suite.
“Rub it in!” she retorted. As he helped her pull her coat off. She was instantly aware of twice being close enough to feel his breath against her skin. She began to shiver and then quickly stepped away from him.
“I think I would like room service to bring a pot of hot chocolate up! I don’t know what it is about snowy nights that makes me want to . . .” She broke off when her gaze connected with his. She tried to decipher the expression on his face as he leaned nonchalantly against the wall watching her as she nervously tried not to react to him.
“Makes you want to?” He queried softly.
“Um. . . makes me want to. . . um,” She was desperately trying to recall what she started to say as she continued to draw a blank she began to feel foolish. Then her thought came to mind, “Drink cups and cups of it.” She finally finished before walking toward the phone. “Did you want something? Um, coffee or dessert?”
“Sure.” He said his eyes smiling.
At his nod she completed the order. Seeking to escape she expressed the need to change into dry clothes before walking toward the corridor leading toward her bedroom.
An excerpt from Love Through The Fire
Setting: Naya’s first meeting with Marcus since deciding to help him to recuperate from his climbing incident.
Marcus had just caught his breath from the tedious effort of having to lean on the walker to get anywhere. He hated the tool with a passion, but without it he wouldn’t be able to stand very long without falling. Sitting behind his desk, he knew this would be the last time he would be able to appear to come from any position of power. Seeing Naya again was already complicated. But to have to deal with her from the position of what seemed such weakness made it almost unthinkable. Still, he knew somewhere deep within that only Naya would be able to give him the motivation he needed to recuperate fully.
He thought simply having will power would have been enough to give him the stamina to workout. But what he learned quickly was that pain was a huge motivator-or conqueror. He found himself within the last few days giving up after only ten to fifteen minutes. He had to accept that he hadn’t known how to treat this type of injury and lying in his bed had taken up the last few days with even little motivation to work.
He was a mess. And now he only wondered how it would be working and being with Naya on a regular basis again. Trey texted him they were on their way upstairs. He sipped at his coffee and was somewhat surprised when he found himself wishing for something stronger. It’s only Naya. He thought to himself. But he knew it wasn’t Naya that he feared as much as the tumult of emotion seeing her might begin. This was wound soon to be ripped open, the pain of which he wasn’t sure he was ready. As heard voices draw near to him, he took a deep breath and actually said a silent prayer. He knew he needed all the help he could get. Trey normally would have let Naya precede him into the room, but he sensed she would have wanted him to take the lead-to test out the waters as it were. “Good morning Marcus.”
“Good morning Trey, Naya,” he said directing his attention toward her. She looked different and yet the same in many ways. No, he finally concluded she was actually more beautiful than the last time he’d seen her.; though he noted that her almond shaped brown eyes had always been expressive, fringed in thick lashes that added to their allure, now reflected a wariness. Her smile accented by a small dimple once quick, though still warm was now a little hesitant. Her hair a little longer now, fringed her light complexioned face that had been warmed by the August sun and now reflected the charm of a self-assured woman as opposed to the skittish young lady he’d once been acquainted with.
Her scent wafted over toward him evoking an onslaught of emotion that he had not anticipated. He was assaulted by instant flashbacks of them embracing, in-depth kisses, and even simply holding hands. He began to shake his head as if to empty his mind of those memories-it had been too many years and it was only going down a dead-end street that he’d refused his heart to go for her or anyone ever again. It had to be the pain meds he concluded.
Naya walked toward Marcus and extended her hand. “Good morning Marcus.” She said while noting his hesitancy before enveloping her hand within his much larger one. She pulled her hand back and before taking one of the leather chairs before his formidable desk, and wondered how a touch as simple as that could affect her so much. Why had she insisted on touching him? She began to wonder if it had affected him. If it had there had been no evidence. He had remained cordial and every bit as intimidating as she remembered him.
“Well I guess we should get to what the arrangements should be-the schedule and so forth. . . “Trey continued as if moderating what he anticipated to be a storm.
“Thanks for escorting Naya Trey. We should be done in about thirty minutes, if you want to walk her to the guest villa.” Marcus said in his low rumbling voice.
Trey looked at him and then Naya before he stood hesitantly. Naya nodded nearly imperceptibly. “Just ring me when you’re ready.” Trey responded before walking out of the office.
Naya looked expectantly at Marcus trying not to show the surprise of Trey’s exclusion from the meeting. She tried to calm her nerves. He’d always had a very imposing way about him, a trait that he’d exploited in his career and later their marriage.
Naya was surprised to see that Marcus had kept the glass domed Tellurium clock that she’d bought him to celebrate his appointment as CEO to a company that he later bought. It was the tick tock sound from it that consumed the silent void since Trey had exited the room. She waited expectantly.
Marcus thought he was prepared for this moment but instead found his mind a muddle of thoughts. Finally the words surfaced framing what he wanted to know the most. “Why did you come?”
Up to that moment Marcus had trained his eyes on the daily planner that lay open on his desk before him. But now he raised a laser focused gaze evoking a sense of vulnerability on a level she thought she’d anticipated but somehow still was not prepared. Why had she come? The question was so big and encompassing –so much. How did she begin to respond?
“I heard that you were injured and I knew I could help you. So ultimately that’s why I am here Marcus-to help you adjust and heal while resuming as much of your physical mobility as possible.” She waited before the blatant glare. A rash of heat overcame her and Naya could feel moisture begin to accumulate on her forehead and her upper lip. Marcus had always affected her this way, somehow she’d forgotten how much.
She’d forgotten how he’d only have to raise his voice half a decibel to begin her heart racing out of intimidation and fear-fear of displeasing him. Memories like these suddenly came flooding back along with the accompanying emotions. She’d always feel like a wilted flower beneath his looks of displeasure and be overcome with feelings of failure. She remembered how she would prefer to defer to Marcus’ wealth of life experience. It had been what had attracted her, the fact that he seemed to know and be able to handle anything. She had always felt as if she was tripping through life, in many ways with no definite direction. She had never aimed for much, mostly because anything she’d achieved had already been much more than she’d ever had growing up. The simple things in life had always been enough for her. But she’d never denied Marcus the pleasure of his achievements-she had learned at an early age she didn’t need many things to be happy. It was that and demonstrative love that she’d been devoid of most of her life.
As feelings of ineptitude flooded her she realized another factor that would be added to the challenges ahead would include remaining connected to the acquired mental strength that molded her into the woman she’d become. A strength that she now tapped into as she schooled her features to remain impassive and unaffected. Treat him like a strange dog, she thought as she consciously made an effort to minimize her fear-a fear she knew he would exploit upon awareness.
“Well I appreciate your skills. I’ve researched you and it seems you’ve built quite the reputation. I feel confident that you can help me. But I still am compelled to tell you that if you have taken this post for anything other than a professional reason you should leave now.” He weighed his words while looking at her expectantly.
Naya said a silent prayer within. She continued to look at him. She didn’t know how to feel about the last remarks he’d just hurled at her, but she knew that it came more from a position of fear than anything else. She found it ironic that they both sat in chairs of fear-but for different reasons. Her’s from a great deal of pain and regret-his from a sense of powerlessness.
“I assure you Marcus that I am here purely in a professional manner. But I can also assure you that my motivation does stem from the fact that we used to be friends . . .” She bit her tongue rather than say the “and more” that threatened to be voiced. Neither of them needed to be reminded of that.
She instead added, “I also feel confident that if you work with me, we can make great strides in your recovery as well. All I ask is for your cooperation and with teamwork we should accomplish a lot. Now, I brought along the plan that I have in mind,” she said as she pulled a thin packet out of a portfolio that sat on her lap. She stood and placed it on the desk before Marcus. “Take your time and go through that, it has the scheduled times I would like to meet. If you want to make any changes in our meeting time, feel free to give me a call. That being said, unless you have any further questions please feel free to give Trey a call to escort me to where I’ll be staying. I know you’re a busy man, so I’ll wait outside. Thank you for your time Marcus.”
Then taking a deep breath, she managed to walk out the office door pulling it close behind her. Then she walked down the hallway to the leather settee and sat down aware that she was now trembling and drenched in sweat. She knew that the navy of her pants suit is what concealed it. She longed to get to her quarters and rinse off the sweat and drown out the voices that were screaming to her to run. She looked up to see Trey walking toward her. Concern burnished his face. She made an effort to smile to reassure him but knew she’d only managed a lopsided grin that folded before it reached his eyes. He pulled her up and into his arms. She didn’t know how much she’d needed that shoulder until she was leaning it.
“Unequivocally. But c’mon. Let’s go. I need to get settled and prepared for tomorrow.”