Saturday, September 23, 2006

Sample Saturday

The opening of Seduction in Seattle Continues - I expect it to change substantially in the coming weeks as my writing education continues.

Man is the head of the woman. Only man is the image and glory of God.

Bella Williams folded and unfolded the already worn note, until she caught herself and forced her fingers still. She’d hastily palmed the cheap white paper note when she spied in the bridesmaid bouquet. But inside her head the biblical words echoed.

It was the second such note she’d found in a week. The first one, left on her windshield Monday while she was working at the shop.She chided herself for getting jumpy over a quote from Corinthians.

The notes qualified as strange – but threatening? Threatening was a stretch. She tried to dismiss them as nothing more than a bazaar form of proselytizing. She was getting paranoid and silly. Silly enough to be spooked by printed words. Sticks, stones, and all that jazz. She chided herself for being such a coward.

She sucked in her stomach tightening the muscles the way Nana had taught her for better posture. She refocused on the wedding ceremony.

Reverend Tom’s red hair clashed horribly with the burgundy robe he wore over his cassock. But his voice was strong, as if given extra power by the beauty of the words he intoned.

“The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and, when it is God's will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord. Therefore marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God . . .”

Moments later, Rod turned to Merci lifting the sheer veil to reveal her shining eyes and trembling lips.

Every man and woman in the congregation sat at attention.

Rod took Merci’s hand. He began pledging his heartfelt vows. Looking directly into her eyes, he spoke only to her. “My honor, my heart, my body, my soul, is yours . . .”

Chills skittered along Bella’s arms. Merci’s face was so radiant all of Bella’s worries vanished. As the heartfelt vows continued, a bittersweet yearning grew. She didn’t want to ruin the professional makeup Merci insisted on. She blinked fast to keep tears from spilling. As the-maid-of-honor, it was her job to keep it together. She was not spoiling this moment for her best friend.

Her attention stayed riveted on the newlyweds as Rod lifted Merci’s veil. He leaned closer in slow motion, pressing Merci’s mouth with his. From where she stood the kiss felt respectful and loving and certain. Bella sighed.

Merci’s perfect white satin dress, the perfect pristine church and, of course, the perfect pleasing groom pledging his eternal love were all wonderful and exactly as Merci deserved. Bella blinked back more tears, poignant feelings, she didn’t want to examine, brimmed.

Trying to regain her composure, she scanned the church for a distraction. She homed in on Derrick Jamison. He was an easy target. Taller than everyone present, he naturally drew her eye. But he was more than tall. He embodied the lure of the forbidden with way more than his rightful share of masculine appeal.

His eyes locked with hers. His smoldered with sexual energy.

A traitorous corner of her heart wished she were the kind of woman, who would enchant him. She looked away from those dark eyes.

Bella was far too sensible to do anything as crazy as flirting with a known player. He’d have a mile long trail of discarded women.

She dared another glance. His eyes issued a challenge searing every nerve from her head clear down to her toes. She tensed. She knew his kind, predators. She didn’t blame him for the blatant invitation he couldn't help his natural instincts.

A lust devil must have possessed her, because she’d been flirting. She looked right for the part he was casting. She’d inherited her mother’s striking coloring and voluptuous figure. Normally she dressed carefully to counteract the false impression of sensuality. Tonight she wore the bride’s fashion choices. Tonight a wild recklessness possessed her. Tonight she courted danger.

The dress Merci chose for Bella 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 the goal, it would’ve been the perfect dress to wear. Underneath it all, the barely there bra and matching thong made her ample shape appear better than reality.

The clothes weren’t the problem. The imaginary lust devil, who’d possessed her body wasn’t the problem. The warm fizzles spreading through her body – those were the problem.

Bella pictured Derrick undoing her lingerie, his big hands sure and skillful, knowing just where to touch to give pleasure. Heat streaked up from her breasts singeing her cheeks. Perspiration dampened her neck. Bella stared at her flowers to avoid staring at Derrick. He wasn’t even handsome. Attractive, very attractive in a hard-edged way, he wore wicked masculine appeal like signature scent. He was compelling, if a woman went in for tall dark and dangerous.

She didn’t. Shouldn’t – not if she had half the sense God gave her.

Derrick had said nothing 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 a hot look. All right, 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, but not hers. She wasn’t a fantasy kind of girl, or so she’d always believed. The ease with which she imagined him naked rocked everything she’d believed about herself. She never pictured men naked.

A new worry, that she’d inherited more than from her mother than coloring, flared to life. She might share her mother’s fatal weakness for men. Fresh licks of fire turned up the heat on her breasts, neck, face.

Derrick watched Bella’s cheeks get redder and raised a brow in silent speculation. What was she thinking? Could she read his mind? Not likely. If she knew his thoughts, she’d be running as fast as those endless legs could carry her.

He was famous for his unreadable face. He was confident none of the erotic images playing in his mind reflected on his features. A moment of doubt prickled, maybe something had leaked. Derrick consciously relaxed his face irritated at the break in his natural defenses.

He’d never had this strong a reaction to a woman. He brought his analytical mind to bear on the Bella problem.

She was pretty, in a doll like way with gold curls escaping from a topknot. Her eyes were an unusual golden brown – whisky eyes. Nice skin, creamy, a great foil for her pretty blush. A killer body, too round to be in style. Lush breasts and curvy hips were exactly what he liked best. Scent was a powerful aphrodisiac and there was no denying she smelled good – a clean fragrance with a hint of something floral. All and all a very nice package.

None of her attributes explained the strength of his response. He’d dated some spectacularly beautiful women. Not one of them had the same impact as this woman with the sweet face and the dangerous curves.

Much as he hated to admit it, instinctively, he knew there was more in play than her appearance. She had an electric undercurrent. A whispered promise of molten pleasure only she embodied. He’d felt it when they’d shook hands and a disproportionate power surge hit nearly sending sent him to his knees.

He felt it now, a primal urge to paw the ground, pound his chest and roar his desire. At the same time everything thing he knew about staying in control was threatened by every breath she took. To become involved with her would be professional and personal suicide.

His reaction to Bella was nothing more than an inconvenient response to his self-imposed celibacy. Completely understandable – he hadn’t been with a woman in months.

Nora Richards and he had been heading for a break up before she left for Europe. Breaking up was a choice he was no longer sure he could afford. She was an imaginative and energetic lover. No amount of originality made up for her mean streak or her drama productions.

In theory, her trip gave them both time to reconsider before their engagement became official.
He wished.

Nora was spoiled. Arrogance ruined her sleek beauty. Derrick resented her. Resented her assumption he was hers to command. Resented her even more because she was right.

No matter how hard he tried to sell himself on marriage to Nora, it was still a business deal, plain and simple and ugly. He swallowed hard. Pride didn’t go down easy. With each fresh disaster he uncovered at Jameson Enterprises, the option of saying no to Nora shrank.

Financial security for his family was what Nora brought to her side of the bargaining table. It wasn’t an offer he could afford to ignore. His side of the bargain wasn’t as obvious. He knew part of his appeal lay in his wild card status. If he made things too easy, she’d grow bored and discard him. She wanted a challenge – the thrill of taming the wild male. Games weren’t his thing. With his family’s future hanging in the balance, playing was close to intolerable.

Getting out of the box he was in would take monstrous luck and iron balls. The balls he had.

If it were just him, he’d tear off the dog collar Nora demanded he wear in a flat second.

It wasn’t about him.

The reminder of what was at stake grounded him.

Rod waved him closer for the wedding party photos. Derrick smiled for the camera.

A woman’s laugh teased his ears and lightened his heart. His eyes sought the source of the happy sound and found Bella’s enticing lips curving into an alluring smile. His smile grew reckless to match hers. The rest of the wedding photographs clicked by painlessly.

Seconds later, the photographer was packing her equipment.

“Thanks for everything bud.” Rod clapped his shoulder.

“It’s been a real pain in the ass, but someone had to do it.” Derrick kept a sober face.

Not that it mattered how he looked or what he said. He figured it would’ve taken a nuclear blast to wipe the happy grin off Rod’s face. Envy nipped at Derrick. But Rod was too good a friend for him to hold resentment for more than a few seconds. He remembered long nights of hanging out when Rod’s happiness was nothing more than wishful thinking. His best friend deserved every moment of joy.

“Can you give Bella a ride to the club? She’s bringing Merci’s suitcase.”

“Sure.” Derrick agreed, determined to acquit every one of his duties as best man.

Rod walked away to claim his bride from a crowd of well-wishers. Derrick waited, while Bella stepped back from a bevy of excited women moved forward - jostling for advantage as Merci tossed her bouquet.

Bella must’ve felt him watching her. Their eyes met and locked. Derrick fought to remember his priorities.

Dark lashes veiled her thoughts. “Thanks for waiting for me.”

“My pleasure, where’s this luggage?”

“Upstairs, but please don’t worry about it. I can handle it fine.”

“Don’t be –” Silly, Derrick finished his thought silently. His mother had raised him right. There was no way he’d let her struggle with heavy suitcases. Her assumption that he would rankled. Following her satin covered bottom, drained his resentment, but led to worse problems.

Dresses like that should be illegal.

“It’d make me feel good to help.” Derrick mentioned with admirable tact.

“Okay, hold this.” Bella thrust her bouquet at him.

A lecture on letting others help was ready to unfurl off his tongue when a square of folded paper fell from her open hand as she released the flowers. Derrick snagged the creased note. He straightened, to hand the scrap back.

Bella shrank back. Her eyes wild in a paling face. Derrick moved toward her without thinking, instinctively wanting to protect. The sound of heavy footsteps on the stairs stopped him cold.


Blogger Elle said...

um, why havent i seen more of this?

6:39 PM  

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