From FLUTTER, a romantical sneak peek from about halfway through the book!
We stood looking at each other for a long time in the moonlight, in front of the entrance to the path to the Dala Cabin. The evergreens were sagging and weighted down, thick with heavy, wet snow from the earlier flurries. The moonlight glistened and glowed off the frozen surface of the evergreens. It twinkled, really.
Ash reached out slowly and touched my cheek only for an instant, with the pad of his thumb. Then he moved his hand away from me, abruptly.
“Emery,” he said.
I took a sharp intake of air. Business, I tried to tell myself.
“I can’t…” He shook his head. “I didn’t want to turn you down for dinner… the other day … I just can’t... ”
I nodded, wanting him to go on, wanting him to touch me again. His touch was electric on my skin.
“I’m not…” He took a step back from me. “I’m not someone you can know, not …”
“I understand,” I said, although I didn’t.
He took another step back from me. I moved forward without thinking, feeling pulled toward him, closing the space between us. His eyes met mine, and the breath caught in my throat, every molecule in my body feeling pulled toward him, leaning me into his space, into his energy. It was a heady feeling, disorienting.
Although I barely knew him, I didn’t know if I could pretend even one more second that this thing between us -- whatever it was – wasn’t wonderful.
“I have to go,” he said, only leaning in closer to me, our faces only inches apart. I could feel the warmth from his breath.
“No,” I whispered. “Where are you going?”
He shook his head then, looked down, saying something under his breath. I couldn’t be too sure what it was, but it sounded like, “Penance.” But suddenly watching him, with his eyes cast down, his lashes shadowing his cheekbones, the way he held himself both leaning toward me, but also restraining himself, filling the space between us with his heady, soapy scent, I just couldn’t take it anymore.
So when he looked up, I closed the small distance between us. I stood on my tiptoes, and I pressed my lips to his. In my hurry, I missed a little bit, landing my lips more on the corner of his mouth, and for a second he didn’t react, but then he turned his face toward me, pressing his lips against mine, a full kiss, a real kiss. And the fireworks exploded deep inside me, sending ribbons of heat from my center out to my limbs, a gorgeous, surprising feeling, like a warm breeze beneath my skin.
Both of his hands went to my face, gently. And just when I thought he was going to pull away, he leaned into the kiss again, longer, deeper. The heat inside me surging again. I smiled behind the kiss, without meaning to, and I brushed my fingertips on his stubble, loving its feel against my fingertips.
He pulled away and we just looked at each other. Should I apologize? Make a joke? Do it again?
“Emery,” he said, my name turning to music in his voice, the quiet deepness of it. He closed his eyes for a moment, shook his head, smiled. I wanted to kiss him again. Right on that crooked eyetooth. But when he opened his eyes, his smile disappeared, and he was himself again. Measured. Cool. “Emery,” he said again. A goodbye.
Then he turned on his heel and left.