Trust Me

Teaser2a“IVAN, are you sure about this?”  I’d asked as he buckled my life vest and then did the same with the seat straps.

“Oh I’m very sure about taking you for a ride in my plane.”  He leaned close and kissed me expertly, leaving me breathless again.  He pulled on the straps to check them and said, “Safety first, Miss Hargreave, but you’re going to love this, trust me.”

I still wasn’t completely sure what had just happened with him.  One minute he was reminding me how well he could use his lips on me, and the next he was pulling me toward his plane and asking if he could take me up for a ride.

He said, ‘trust me.’

Could I trust Ivan Everley?  Should I trust him?

He’d looked so serious when he asked the question, holding my face in his two hands and waiting for my answer.  I think I would have devastated him if I’d told him no.  I thought about it.  I should have told him no.  I think the four, or was it five, berry mojitos might have had something to do with my acquiescence, but he looked so happy when I agreed to go.

One of my many flaws is that I am a risk-taker at heart.

I’ll try anything once.

So, when Ivan suggested we take a night flight in his Cessna floatplane, takeoff from the water, and look at the city lights of England under a summer full moon, I said ‘why not’ and let him put me in his plane.  Again, the mojitos helped me come to my decision to go with him.

“You were totally right, the city lights are so incredibly pretty.”  I peered out the window thoroughly enjoying the view from the air.

“Your lack of fear impresses the hell out of me, Miss Hargreave.”

“Why do you call me that all the time?  It’s so formal.”  The alcohol had loosened my inhibitions and all kinds of questions started pouring out of me, but he didn’t seem to mind answering.  So, I kept asking.

“I like formalities … sometimes … as you’ll learn,” he said deliberately.

“Because you’re a lord?”

He gave me a snort.  “No, that’s not why.”

“Who taught you to fly a plane?”

“My uncle arranged for me to go to flight school when I was at university.  He thought it was appropriate for his heir to know such things.  It was something I really took to heart.  I loved flying from my first lesson.”

“Why did you love it?”

He shrugged.  “The freedom I suppose.  Troubles seem less important from up here.  At least it’s always felt that way to me.”

“Are we flying over the ocean right now?”  I couldn’t see any more city lights and it made sense.

“That is the Irish Sea below us.”

“Do you ever land this in the ocean?”

“No.  That’s the thing with floats; they only work in very calm waters.  The ocean is far too rough and landing in it would not be safe, trust me.”

“You keep telling me to trust you.”

“I know I do.”  He reached his hand over to mine and brought it forward to rest on his lap.  “Is it working?” he asked hopefully, pulling it up the rest of the way to his lips.  Ahhh, so he could do romantic, too.  Deadly combination Mr. Everley had going on.

“Well, I’m trying really hard to trust you.  I let you take me for a ride in your plane when I could be putting my life at risk.  I mean, how should I know if you’re a licensed pilot and have the proper skills to land on a lake?”

He flashed me another of those teeth baring smiles.  They were very white and even, but he had the gap between the front two.  Sometimes imperfections were more beautiful than the absence of them.

“You’re about to find out.  Here we go.”

He had to release my hand to work the controls and do his checks.  His hands moved in precise motions, focused and confident.

I was mesmerized as I watched him work to prepare the plane for landing.

He banked toward the left before leveling it out to descend rapidly and drop us just a few feet over the dark water of the lake.  We skimmed along for a bit until the swoosh of water grabbed the bottom of the floats and immediately slowed our momentum.  In a matter of seconds we were no longer propelled through the air, but floating in water and gliding along smoothly like a sailboat.

“Wow, that was so—so awesome.”  And I really meant it.

“So, you enjoyed that did you?”

“Yes.  It was beautiful.”

He looked at me and said, “You’re beautiful.”

~*~

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Wonderful and Terrifying

 

I left the bed carefully so I wouldn’t wake her up.  I was on a mission of great importance.  Really fucking vital you might say.

I found my reading glasses and my mobile and texted Lowell.  Have condoms delivered to Donadea residence ASAP.  This is an URGENT matter.  -I Everley

My assistant was quirky but he did everything I asked without question.  I had no qualms making requests to him for anything.  I could count the non-family members I trusted implicitly on one hand, and Lowell Brinkley was on that list.

My mobile buzzed.  What kind do you want?  -Lowell Brinkley, Administrative Assistant to Mr. Ivan Everley, Lord Rothvale XIII

I rolled my eyes at the ridiculously absurd signature he attached to his messages and realized the part about him never questioning me wasn’t quite true.  The kind that will cover my cock.   -I Everley

I silenced my mobile and studied Gabrielle sleeping in my bed.  It was all I wanted to do right now, to look at her.  She had mesmerized me from our first meeting up until this very second.  What we had done here together last night was something I’d never forget.  Being with her was also an experience unlike anything I’d ever had with a woman.  There had been many women, and I’d enjoyed a lot of sex over the years, before and after my disastrous marriage.  I could say for certain that not one of those women was anything like Gabrielle.

just a finger

I drew my fingertip over her cheekbone and moved a bit of hair that had fallen over her face back behind her ear.  She stirred a little but didn’t wake up or open her eyes.

I settled back into the bed beside her and got comfortable.  I thought about the idea of what being with her last night had meant to me.

Somehow, it felt wonderful and terrifying both at the same time.

~*~

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Priceless Moments

I realized I’ve been remiss on sharing teasers from Priceless like I usually do when I’m about to release a book.  Enjoy this one where our Gaby and Ivan are finally talking civilly for the first time.  *I think they are adorable*

~ *~

 

lakegabyari“YOU liked this last night so I hope another blueberry mojito is okay.”  I held out the glass to her as I came up behind where she was waiting for me opposite the dance floor.  The fact she was waiting for me at all and not fleeing was a nice place to start, I thought wryly.

She accepted the drink and took a sip.  “Oh, that’s strong, but it’s good.  Thank you.”

“A pleasure of course.”  I tipped my head, wanting to show her I did possess some manners even if she’d never really witnessed it from me.  I could tell she was a complicated woman, but it was the fact she was a total mystery that captivated me more.  I needed to peel away her layers and discover her secrets one by one until there weren’t any more to know.  She drove me to wanting to know everything.

Her eyes flicked down and away from me.

My eyes on her stayed put.

I finally had her semi-alone, and since she wasn’t running for the moment I needed to get my fill of looking.  The warm summer breeze fluttered her gauzy lavender dress and pressed it against the definition of her legs and breasts.   Intoxicatingly female.  She was also a woman very finely made.

Her hair moved too.  I wished she would look at me so I could see what was in her eyes.   Eyes were sometimes all you needed to see to know how a person felt about you.

I was still trying very much to understand her motives.  Why she had been so connected at the gala, and why she kept running from me now.

I hadn’t been very successful so far but there was one thing I was dead sure about her.  Gabrielle Hargreave was really struggling with our attraction.  And there was one between us for sure.  Right now, I could feel the heat coming off her as strong as it had the first time we’d met in that back gallery hallway.

“This whole thing is priceless you know,” I said, “you being Brynne’s friend I was supposed to meet and ask to have a look at my paintings.”

She smiled and lifted her eyes but the smile didn’t reach them.  “Yeah, pretty much in agreement with you there.”

“Why does it make you sad, Gabrielle, because I’m not.  I wanted to see you again after the gala.  I tried to find you.”

“I’m not sad,” she said softly.

“You are.  I see can see it in your eyes.  But you don’t have to be.”  I brushed a strand of hair back and tucked it behind her ear.

She froze when I touched her, a current of energy snapping between us.

She held my eyes this time and told me.  “I’m so ashamed of my behavior with you at the gala.  That’s the honest truth, Ivan.  If that night had never happened then I imagine our first meeting would have gone down differently.”

So she felt shame for her reaction to me in that storage closet.  I didn’t like that because shame had nothing to do with it.  She’d done nothing shameful by being with me.  That left me with one conclusion as to why she was ashamed.  Somebody had hurt her badly in the past and taught her to feel that way.

I didn’t like that, either.

“Let’s walk.”  I held out my arm.  “The lake is pretty at night with the moon shining.”

She eyed me and weighed her decision, standing there mouthwateringly gorgeous with her dress moving softly in the night breeze, holding her drink with both hands.

“It’s okay, I’m completely calm and mellow right now.  At your suggestion I’ve been reading up on my notes from Being a Human 101.”

She laughed softly, transferred her glass to one hand and took my arm with the other.  “I hope it helps.”

“It probably won’t, but I’m sure you’ll tell me when I need to brush up on the main points.”

“It is pretty out here.  You were so right,” she said, looking up at the full moon making the night quite bright for the late hour.

“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous,” I quoted.

“Aristotle, right?” she asked flashing a small smile.

I nodded and brought a hand to the back of her neck to steady her as we walked the footpath toward the lake.

“I had to study the classics at university much to my dismay.”

“And you hated it?”

“It just didn’t interest me at the time, but there is value in it I suppose.  Like this lake at night with the moon shining overhead.”

She looked out at the view and studied it, still allowing my hand to rest on her neck.  “It is something of the marvelous, Ivan.”

“I know.”

She didn’t even realize I was referring to her … and not the view of the lake.

~*~

coverComing September 12th in ebook and paperback

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Stories for Amanda

stories amanda coverI finally got invited to participate in an anthology project after years of hoping someone would ask me.  I have to say that I LOVE the one I am a part of and grateful to Kahlen Aymes for reaching out to me with an inquiry.  Stories for Amanda is an anthology collection of sixteen short stories from amazing authors of romance and young adult.  The proceeds will go entirely to benefit the Amanda Todd Legacy as a way to educate people about the harmful effects of bullying.  In Amanda’s case, bullying was the cause of the destruction of her young life at only fifteen years old.  If you don’t know who she is, then you need to watch her video, made shortly before she took her life.  It is not easy to watch, and you will need tissues to get through it, but it is important to understand how much pain bullying caused for her to the point that she couldn’t face even another day.  Think about that for a moment. Sobering isn’t it?

Click here to view.  The video is 8:55 minutes long.

*hands you a box of tissues*  I know that was rough, but necessary…  I remember when I watched it just one year ago and I think I sat still and stunned at my computer for at least an hour afterward.  Amanda’s story pulled me in and wouldn’t let go.  I guess being a teacher for two decades has opened my eyes to how devastatingly hurtful words can be to a child.

So, that being said, I hope you will purchase the book when it goes live next month, and support this worthy effort.

I also hope you enjoy my contribution to the anthology.  The story I included is called Priceless, and is the basis for a novel I am writing for publication in 2014.  Priceless contains a deleted scene from All In on the night of the Mallerton Gala.  Have you figured out where I am going with this one yet???  Gabrielle and Ivan have a thing… Brynne’s best friend, and Ethan’s sexy aristocratic cousin, Lord Rothvale, ie. Ivan Everley, meet up and share some time together at the gala.  I’m excited for readers to finally know what really happened with those two in that dark room before the alarm went off and cleared out the building. Ethan definitely saw them and wondered precisely what they were up to, but was far too preoccupied during his frantic search for Brynne to pay much attention.  *snickers*  I bet you can guess…

Here is a small excerpt from Priceless.  Gabrielle is looking at a painting and thinking about her life.

 

Two hundred years, two years.  They might as well be the same thing.  A lot could change in just two years…
I tried not to think about what I’d lost, but my self-imposed loneliness got the better of me sometimes, and I desperately longed for what Mrs. Gravelle had in her painting.
“I found you,” a smooth voice said behind me.
I turned to see who was speaking to me and got an eyeful of beautiful.  The man before me was six feet plus of dark, lean and sexy with green eyes the color of my dress.  He flashed me a smile that could only be described as wicked.
“Are you sure you were looking for me?”  He appeared to have money because I’d bet my extravagant new gown, that the tux hanging off his fine form was most certainly bespoke.  No doubt about it.  Was he a patron in need of a gallery tour?  A large contributor VIP?
“Oh yes, it’s definitely you,” he purred, “the beauty in the green dress.”  He leaned forward.  Close but not touching, his face tilted toward my neck.  I backed up.  He followed…until I was pressed against the wall.  “And they were so right,” he said in his silky voice.
Gabrielle Hargreave

Gabrielle Hargreave

“Right about what?” I asked, mesmerized by his features and his delicious scent, totally overpowered by how close he was to me.  My God, he smelled good.  “Um…d-did you want the standard t-tour?” I stuttered, amazed that coherent words were even forming from my lips.
“Mmm hmm,” he said, nodding slowly, drawing his gaze up my neck, “I definitely want your tour.”

 

I cannot wait for you all to read it.

xxooR