Saturday, August 26, 2006

Opening scene as currently edited

Man is the head of the woman; only man is in the image and glory of God. The words on the note Bella Williams had hastily palmed when she’d spied it in her bride’s maid bouquet echoed in her head. The scrap of paper was one of half a dozen she’d found during the past few weeks. The first one was on her windshield. The second showed up few days later, slipped under the door at the shop. There’d been a few days of nothing then she’d found one on the driver’s seat inside her locked car. More days of nothing followed while she chided herself for being jumpy over biblical quotations. The notes qualified as strange – but threatening?
She dismissed them as nothing more than a bazaar form of proselytizing. She was turning into a nervous old maid – silly enough to be spooked by printed words. She tightened her stomach muscles and concentrated on the tender exchange of vows. The look on Merci’s face so radiant it banished all other thoughts.
Bella blinked fast to keep tears of joy from spilling and ruining the professional makeup Merci had insisted on. As the maid of honor it was her job to keep it together. She blinked harder. She was not going to spoil this moment for her best friend.
Her eyes were riveted on the newlyweds as Rod lifted Merci’s veil, leaning in to claim his first kiss as a married man. Bella let a small sigh escape. The wedding was all the more perfect ending because Merci and Rod had survived an emotional roller coaster ride to true love. The elaborate white satin dress, the pretty church and, of course, the handsome groom pledging his eternal love were all so wonderful, Bella blinked back more tears, disconcerted by feelings she didn’t understand. She was much too practical to indulge in fairy tale dreams.
Trying to regain her composure she looked around for a distraction. Her gaze was drawn Eric Jamison. She’d had a hard time not staring at him ever since she’d been introduced to him at the rehearsal dinner. Taller than everyone present, he’d naturally drew her eye. It was more than that. He embodied the lure of the forbidden with more than his fair share of masculine appeal.
His gaze locked with hers boldly. He smoldered with sexual energy. A traitorous corner of her heart wished she were the kind of woman, who could enchant him. She wasn’t. She looked away from those dark eyes. She was a realist. She was far too sensible to do anything as crazy as flirting with a known player. He had a mile long trail of discarded women.
Bella stared at her flowers to avoid looking at Eric. He wasn’t strictly handsome. Attractive, in kind of hard-edged way, he oozed wicked masculine appeal. He was compelling, if a woman went in for tall dark and dangerous. She shouldn’t – not if she had a lick of sense
She dared another glance and his gaze met hers. His eyes issued a challenge. Bella felt that look down to her toes. She tensed, recognizing him as a predator and her role as his natural game. She didn’t blame him for his blatant invitation. She looked the part he was casting her in. She’d inherited her mother’s striking coloring and voluptuous figure. Normally she dressed carefully to counteract the false impression of sensuality. Tonight, the bride had made the fashion choices. The dress Bella wore was pure simplicity. A little nothing slip of peach silk that clung to every curve with a soft draping neckline that gave a man hope.
If seduction were her goal it would’ve been the dress to wear. Underneath the barely there bra with the front clasp and its matching thong made her ample shape appear better than reality. All too easily, she pictured Eric undoing her lingerie, his big hands sure and skillful, knowing just where to touch to give pleasure. Bella blushed.
Eric had said nothing more to her than “How do you do” and “Pleased to meet you” and even then he had sounded completely bored. Here she was creating a whole seduction fantasy around one hot look. Alright, a couple of hot looks, but they meant nothing. For all she knew he was near sighted.
He deserved to star in some woman’s fantasy, maybe even hers. The ease with which she imagined him naked rocked everything she’d believed about herself. She worried she’d inherited more than from her mother than coloring. She might share her fatal weakness for men. Her cheeks burned hotter.
Eric watched Bella’s blush deepen and raised an elegant brow in silent speculation. What was she thinking? Could she read his mind? Not likely. If she could read his mind she’d be running as fast as those long legs could carry her, judging from her complexion.
He was famous for his unreadable face. None of the erotic images playing in his mind were reflected on his features. Doubt skittered along the edge of thoughts. Maybe something had leaked. He’d never has this strong a reaction to a woman. He tried to bring his cool analytical intellect to examine the problem of Bella.
She was pretty in a doll like way with blonde curls escaping from a topknot. Her eyes were an unusual golden brown, almost cat eyes. Nice skin, creamy, a great foil for her delicate peachy blush. A killer body, too round to be in style, but lush breasts and curvy hips were exactly what he preferred. Scent was a powerful aphrodisiac. She smelled good – a clean fragrance with a hint of something floral. All and all she made a very nice package.
None of her attributes explained the strength of his response to her. He’d dated some spectacularly beautiful women. None of them had the same impact as this round little peach. Instinctively he knew it was more than her looks. She had an electric undercurrent – the whispered promise of molten pleasure only she embodied. He’d felt it when they’d shook hands and a disproportionate power nearly sent him to his knees.
He felt it now, a primal urge to paw the ground, beat his chest and roar his desire. At the same time everything thing he knew about staying in control was threatened by her existence. To become involved with her would be professional and personal suicide.


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