A PRICE TOO HIGH
As it turned out, he was speechless when he opened the door and saw her, but then so was she. The sight of him in a ridged undershirt that outlined every muscle on his chest and showcased his powerful biceps tumbled her thoughts into a steamy memory of tangled sheets, urgent kisses, frenzied caresses, and the mind-blowing passion that they had shared on their sole night together.
He was staring at her stomach like it was a UFO and this was his very first time seeing one. If their roles were reversed, maybe she would be shocked too. Karen passed her tongue over her lips and forced herself to speak. “Hi, Douglas. May I come in?”
Shock sped away fast. His eyes jumped from her belly to her face and the fury blazing in his gaze made Karen cringe. “You lying, scheming, wicked user!” Every vitriolic word barreled through his clenched teeth and slammed Karen like assault weapons’ firepower, each hit leaving her fighting for breath and struggling to stay on her feet with the unmasked hatred in them. His voice rising, he accused, “You left me on our wedding night, skulking away like a thief without having the decency or courage to tell me to my face how you truly felt about my family and why you had really married me. You sent me an inadequate text message after you fled, leaving me reeling and wondering how you could say you love me, how you could make love with me and then use me as a vessel for revenge. You never returned my numerous calls and then you disconnected your phone. Now seven months later you show up at my door and expect me to let you in?”
Tears, hot and stinging pooled in her eyes, and her throat ached with the effort not to cry out at the scorn and disdain in her husband’s face. She hadn’t expected a positive reception, but neither had she been prepared for the magnitude of his venom. By force of will alone, she managed to keep her tears at bay, but her voice still wobbled when she spoke. “I-I n-need to talk to you, Doug. P-please let me in.”
He looked at her for a long time, the repugnance in his expression unchanged, before he turned and walked back into the apartment, leaving the door open. Karen bit her lip, thinking that the open door meant she could enter. She crossed the threshold with cautious steps.
A FALL FOR GRACE
Solomon came up for air first. His breathing ragged, his heartbeat thunderous, he knew he was walking a fine line. He was teetering terribly and was in imminent danger of falling. It wouldn't be his first time—falling that is. Solomon liked women, and he liked Grace in particular. His fast rise in the Second Advent Believers' (SAB) ministry and his being in demand as a preacher attracted the gentler sex like a Victoria's Secret sale attracted female customers. He was never short of admirers, and he never failed to get numbers pressed into his palm at the end of every preaching engagement while he stood at the door shaking hands. He was used to being pursued and not the other way around. The other way around was how it had been with Grace. He drew her out of her shell, he courted her favor and made an effort to get her to talk to him and eventually go out with him. Solomon was surprised that he liked that, and that he liked Grace. In fact he was feeling something greater than liking for her but was afraid to identify it. He had never felt this way about another woman before, and that disturbed him. Grace was not the type of girl he could love and leave without a thought. If he crossed the line with her, he would be giving her a part of himself that he'd sworn never to give to another human being. And when he walked away, which he would—there was no permanence in this life, no truly happily ever after, so he always walked away—he would be leaving a huge chunk of himself behind. Solomon didn't want to do that. He wouldn't do that.
Only one more kiss and then he'd take her home. But when their lips met, a sizzle started. Then that turned to a flame which burned to fire, and the fire to an inferno. When he tried to pull back, she said no, too far gone with feelings greedy for an outlet and thoughtless of consequences. Grace held him fast and kissed him hard, and Solomon didn't have the fortitude to fight.
SOMEONE LIKE YOU
Stacy didn't look at the guy as she sat, but she was very aware of him and knew that he was equally aware of her. He hadn't said anything, but she sensed an unnatural stillness about him—a tension. It was almost as if he was coiled tightly in a too small space and was just waiting to explode. He stiffened when her shoulder brushed his. Stacy was on the point of apologizing, when he shifted obviously away like she had a disease or like he thought she might be coming on to him. As if! Just to push his buttons, she decided to say something to him. Amend that. The politically correct phraseology would be: She decided to ease his visible discomfort and make him feel more at home in her church by conversing with him. After all she was an usher.
Pouring on her power smile, she addressed him in an undertone, "Loved your music ministry. The songs were spiritual, and God has given you an amazing voice."
When he didn't answer and just stared ahead like he hadn't heard her, Stacy decided to push just a little more, all in the name of easing visitor discomfort...yeah, right. She reached out and patted the back of the hand he had on his thigh. "It's all right. I know you're the shy, silent type," she whispered.
She sure had his attention now. His eyes had turned tempestuous, acquiring an overcast hue and becoming a deep, ominous blue, full of fury and fire. Stacy held her position by sheer bravado. The tempo of her heartbeat was so wild and rapid that it was almost audible. Mercy! This man was full of anger. Just when she started feeling faint from the agitation of her heart, he released her from the imprisonment of his gaze and focused on the Pastor. Stacy took several, shaky, silent breaths and tried in vain to listen to the sermon.
Nate did not hear one word the preacher said. This...this female was the most brazen, forward, and audacious woman he'd met in a long time. She was pushy and completely clueless to hints, even the most overt ones, to leave a person alone. Willfully clueless would be closer to the truth. Most irritating of all was that she didn't shrivel beneath his stare. For years he'd crippled every come on and put pushy, impolite people in their place with that steady, suppressive stare. It wasn't working on this woman.
He hadn't had a good feeling about her from the time he met her at the church doors. Her smile was too calculated. It seemed designed to mesmerize and ensnare; to immobilize a man, interrupt his reasoning, fry his brain, and turn him into a total fool. Peter had been taken in, but he could see right through her. He knew her type—had met several of them before. In fact he'd very nearly married one in his more gullible days. With effort, he attempted to attach his attention to the message for the morning. The operative word here was 'attempted.' A pleasant fragrance, subtle in scent yet distinct in its presence, played with his mind—teasing him to identify it and making him reluctantly aware of the woman beside him. The soft smell of baby powder intertwined with the gentle smell of roses surrounded her and hovered on the outskirts of his attention in a most tantalizing and distracting manner. Try as he might, he could not ignore her. Frustrated, Nate sighed and prayed that the Pastor was not long winded. He couldn't wait to escape this agony.
FOREVER WITH YOU
Mahogany awakened slowly to a light shaking of her shoulder. She frowned in confusion as a pair of tan Chinos with precise seams came into view. Her eyes moved upwards to the apple green Polo shirt stretched across a strong-looking chest and encasing shoulders broad enough to make a woman sit up and take notice. From there they went to warm brown eyes set in a handsome face, golden brown in color. Daniel? What was he doing here? She rubbed her eyes. "You didn't go to the meeting?" Her voice was raspy with sleep.
He shook his head and crouched beside her. "You are more important."
With that statement, resistance and resentment crumbled. "Oh, Daniel," she whispered, reaching for him. He leaned forward, shortening the space between them.
"Sweetheart, I'm sorry," he murmured against her lips, kissing her with lingering tenderness, the pressure of his lips gentle against her mouth, a sweet caress that warmed her blood and stirred her desire for him. Mahogany returned the kiss, deepening the intensity and teasing her husband with stimulating flicks of her tongue.
A light brush on the lips coupled with an apology had been Daniel's intent, followed by a detailed conversation with his wife. The softness of her lips and the easy way she opened up to his advance evicted his intentions. Her warm welcome, the way her arms opened up to him willingly crumbled his control. And the fervor of her response pulled an answering urgency from him.
Without breaking the kiss, he eased unto the bed beside her. She scooted over and made room for him. He gathered her into his arms, savoring the softness of her body against his. He tunneled his fingers through her hair, loosening the barrette holding it in a ponytail. Waltzing his hand down her back in a slow caress, he followed the curve of her spine to the tip and kept going.
ONCE IN THIS LIFETIME
"Excuse me, miss. Did you happen to notice a young woman sitting at the table ahead of you a few moments ago?"
The voice was gentle, quiet, like the words issued forth effortlessly yet with a depth of sound that was thunder and caress at the same time. Julia shivered, the sound of that voice sliding down her spine like silk over skin. Tilting her head back, way back, she looked a long way up and her gaze got kidnapped by the bluest, most brilliant eyes she'd ever beheld. He wasn't a brother after all—at least not a black brother. That realization was quickly followed by awareness that he was an attractive man. Well, without the blue eyes he was attractive; with them he was arresting. He was blond, with hair low cut like a military man. His thick eyebrows were straight, nearly meeting above the bridge of his long, narrow nose, the rounded tip relieving it of beak-like prominence. His eyelashes, thick and long from what Julia could tell with him looking downwards and them fluttering as he blinked slightly, would be a sight to behold with him in repose and them reclining just above his cheekbones. His lips, firm and thin would have been overlooked what with his blue eyes taking center stage. But they were quirked in the cutest way, kicking up at the left corner slightly as if amusement was tipping them helplessly upward. That last thought moved her from her mesmerized state and made her realize that she'd been captivated by a man, something that she never did—at least not since that marriage—and by a white man too. That certainly had never happened before. She'd always preferred a hint of brown.
John gazed steadfastly back at the woman who hadn't answered his question, just barely managing to withhold a full smile. She was just staring. John wondered whether she found him fascinating or whether her interest was arrested by something unmentionable, hanging from his nose. Whatever the reason, she was staring so he decided to return the favor. She wasn't hard on the eyes, not quite pretty but pleasant to look at. Her complexion, dark chocolate, easing into café negro, was flawless. Her eyebrows formed neat arches above her eyes. From what he could tell, being that her eyes were small with a slightly cat-like tilt, they were black. A short nose, neither narrow nor broad, turned up ever so slightly at the tip in a cute sort of way. Her full lips with their muted pink color called to a man and held his gaze. Thinking that either she hadn't heard him or was debating a response, he prompted with a questioning inflection, "Miss?"
Julia blinked in rapid succession at the deep yet gentle inquiry. She hadn't answered the man, she realized. The voice that emerged when she opened her mouth was not her own--husky, just rolling over and waking up husky. "No, I haven't," she finally responded, clearing her throat and glancing away, trying to break the fissions of interest just looking at this man had awakened in her. Julia was confused. He wasn't her type, not that she really had a type; but if she did, it wouldn't be him—he was too far across the aisle, the color aisle, not that she was prejudiced or anything.
FROM PASSION TO PLEASURE
She was pushing at him now, trying to get away. James realized he was holding her in a rather tight embrace. What was a guy to do when such fullness of womanhood fell into your arms? Hold on as tightly as you can and as long as you can. But it was time to let go. "I'm sorry," he said as he released her.
She gave an embarrassed laugh. "No, I'm sorry," she apologized. "It was my fault for spinning around too fast."
"No, the fault was mine for speaking so suddenly and startling you," James insisted on taking the blame. He picked up the book and asked again, "So is this yours?"
She looked from the book in his hand to his face with such an expression of horror that James wanted to laugh. Even before she shook her head, James knew she was going to deny owning the work.
"No," she said so faintly that he wouldn't have known she'd answered if she hadn't shaken her head.
Maybe it was the title, James decided. "Interesting title," he commented. "What do you think it's about?"
She gave him an are-you-that-dunce look.
He grinned. "Silly question. The name says it all. Very appropriate work to find and read at a wedding, don't you think?"
She stared at him, her eyes clearly communicating that she couldn't believe they were having this conversation. He couldn't believe it either, but he was enjoying himself.
"I mean the bride and groom certainly found the passion, and I'm sure they'll enjoy the pleasure tonight." He leaned forward conspiratorially, totally enjoying her shocked expression, "How many others here, do you think, have experienced the passion and the pleasure?"
Her expression scandalized now, she said, "We shouldn't be having this conversation."
"I don't know you."
"Not your name!" She exclaimed. "I don't know you that well as in I'm not well acquainted with you."
"How well do you have to know me for us to have this conversation?"
"Define very. Do you mean that I'd have to be a boyfriend or a husband to talk to you about this? If you mean either of those, I would volunteer because I'd really like to talk to you about passion and pleasure."
That outrageous comment jerked a disbelieving laugh out of her. "You are crazy," she declared.
"Maybe, but you're just as crazy."
"Excuse me?" She was sounding a bit saucy now. James was even more intrigued.
"You are talking about passion and pleasure with a man you don't know and enjoying it."
"I am not," she said hotly.
"So why are you still here if you're not enjoying it?"
She stared at him in disbelief, confusion, consternation, and whatever other word there was to describe mystified and flummoxed. "You are beyond crazy, completely confusing, and I'm leaving."
But she didn't turn to go back inside. James smiled silently. She was as intrigued as he was.
"Before I met you I was quite sane and coherent," he began. Her eyebrows rose but she kept quiet. "I find I like madness and confusion better because it means that I'm with you. So if you leave me, without a forwarding address, email, or number, I'll return to my sane, boring existence and just wither away and die."
She laughed out loud suddenly. It wasn't a girlish giggle or feminine twitter, but a deep, belly laugh that came from way down with a roll and a rumble and broke forth with freedom. It was an honest, genuine sound. Some might say it was raucous especially for a girl, but James loved the sound because he was the cause of her making it. He made her laugh. That was gratifying.
"James," she began when her laughter subsided. He loved the sound of his name on her lips. "Before you came out here with your unstable self, I was totally depressed. Now thanks to your inanity, I feel much better." She stopped and looked at him, at a slightly downward angle, just slightly.
"This sounds like 'good bye.'"
She smiled ruefully, looking down at him again. He knew she was acknowledging the height difference without saying so. It was a stumbling block. Pity. He liked the woman. He wasn't going to let that stand in the way.
"Are you wearing heels?"
His question was so out of the blue that it wasn't surprising that she was looking at him as if he'd lost a couple more screws since she declared him to be crazy. But she answered him, "Not really."
He raised a brow. "What does that mean? Let me see."
Her expression turned to outrage.
"Calm down," he laughed. "I'm not thinking about passion and pleasure right now—maybe later, but not now."
She glared at him, but lifted her skirt slightly and showed him her shoes.
Two inches at the most, he deduced. She wasn't significantly taller than him. "How tall are you?"
"Five, eleven. How tall are you?"
"Five, six. Not much difference." At her doubtful expression he added, "Not enough to prevent you from giving me your number."
"Oh, James." The way she sighed softly as she said it made him realize that she'd capitulated.
In less than a beat he put a pen in her hand and told her to write her number on the book which he was now claiming since it had no owner. Not only did she write her number, but she gave her email address also.
Bingo. The girl liked him with a capital "L."
He gave her his most charming smile, the one he'd been told was devastating, and before he realized what he was going to do, he captured her hand and brushed a light kiss over her knuckles.
The tenderness in her eyes and the way she held her hand close to her chest clearly broadcasted that she thought he'd done something wonderfully romantic. James kind of thought so too, but it was important to know that she also thought so.
"Let's go inside," he murmured huskily.
A MAN APART
“You know Mahogany?” Daniel asked, looking between the two of them and immediately detecting Mahogany’s disapprobation.
“Know is an overstatement. The ice princess doesn’t give any guy a chance to know her.”
Mahogany surrendered her silence swiftly. “I have an aversion to associating with individuals too ignorant to adhere to the social graces of civility in greeting persons by their given name!”
“Now, do you see what I mean when I say it’s hard to know her?” Derrick appealed to Daniel with a sly grin.
Sagely Daniel refrained from returning it when he beheld the fire in Mahogany’s eyes. Clearing his throat, he ventured cautiously, “It seems there’s very little love lost between you two.”
“No, my brother,” Derrick came back with a wicked light in his eyes as he glanced at Mahogany. “On her part there is little love, but as for me my heart is throbbing with love for her.”
Daniel couldn’t control the laughter that bubbled to the surface at the forlorn look that Derrick ended up sending Mahogany at the conclusion of the statement. Not even her seething glare of displeasure could suppress his merriment.
Her nose elevated to a haughty height, Mahogany fixed a glacial gaze dripping with icicles for daggers on Derrick. In a tone that was below freezing, she addressed him, her disdain written across her features. “Little love,” she repeated his description of her emotion towards him with scorn. “My feelings towards you are on the opposite spectrum of love. Your presence ignites in me an emotion far inferior to disgust. My skin literally crawls with repugnance when you are near!” Switching her attention to a still smiling Daniel, she snatched her coat from him and snapped, “As for you standing there smiling as if you’ve surrendered your senses, I can see why you two share a commonality in amusement. Birds of a feather flock together they say. Both of you are two sorry excuses of manhood!” She paused to shrug angrily into her coat and felt satisfied that her response to his amusement had wiped the humor from his face.
Daniel watched her stride away, fury obvious in every purposeful step she took. Mahogany White had a tower of a temper.
Are you nuts about Christian romance novels? Then you're at the right site. Here you can read all the romance you want and vacate no values. If you're about faith in the Father, and if you like the words 'God,' 'prayer,' and 'church' in romance novels, then my books will be a comfortable read for you. I always say, how can those elements not be in romance when God is the author of love?
My heroes and heroines are not perfect. They are Christians like you and me who are striving daily to make it to the Kingdom. That means they sometimes slip and fall as in A Fall for Grace or A Price Too High. When somebody drives them to the edge, they sometimes lose it and let the person have it before thinking about soft answers turning away wrath. I believe in making passion plain without putting everything on the page, so you'll find hugs, kisses, and very warm looks that tend to sizzle (smile) in my books. I write to deliver a delicious and romantic read that will make you yearn for more after the novel is done. I hope you'll try my titles.
Lots of love,
PS: To subscribe to my newsletter, Between the Sheets, send me a message through the contact page with words, 'newsletter subscriber.' xox (another way to say lots of love-smile)
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