Available today, After the War, a novella of the Golden City, at Amazon.
Also, The Seer’s Choice is now on sale at most booksellers!
A raindrop struck her cheek, and Genoveva peered up at the sky. The clouds had thickened to a deep gray. As they crossed Vilar Street, the heavens opened up and rain pelted down. The captain grasped her hand and dragged her down the street toward a shop awning, and she stumbled along with him. Unfortunately, one of awing’s ties caught the edge of her straw hat and ripped it loose from her hair. She dashed back into the rain to get it, and then ran to join the captain in the doorway under the awning’s protection.
Her shirtwaist was thoroughly wet now. Her hair must be mussed from the hat ripping loose.
The captain shook his head, and water droplets from his hair struck her face. Genoveva let out a startled laugh.
“I’m sorry,” he said quickly. He reached over and, with one finger, wiped some of the water from her cheek. And then he cursed under his breath and glared at his finger accusingly.
His eyes met hers, and she could tell he was torn between amusement and embarrassment. “I had some dirt on my finger.”
That meant it was now smeared across her cheek. Genoveva didn’t have a handkerchief with her, and since the captain was in his football attire, surely he didn’t either. He checked his fingers, wiping them on one already dirt-splattered sleeve.
“Here, lift your face.” When Genoveva complied, he used the other sleeve to wipe her cheek. He grinned down at her. “There, clean now.”
Then he touched her cheek, and his smiled faded into something altogether different. His damp fingers slid back until they wrapped about the side of her neck. His thumb stroked over her lips, pausing there.
She gazed up at him, transfixed. Her mouth suddenly felt dry. The beating of her heart was almost louder than the drum of the rain on the awning. Was he going to kiss her?
“Do you want me to kiss you?” His voice sounded rough.
A bead of water had fallen from her hair into her eyelashes. She blinked it away. “Yes.”
He did so. His lips were firm against hers. It wasn’t like a kiss of greeting. He seemed to devour her lips, nibbling at them in a way that didn’t seem like it would be half as enticing as it was. He drew her to him, his arms going about her back, settling on her waist and holding her body against his.
This was improper, particularly dressed as he was in only shirtsleeves and shorts.
It was delicious.
Her hands were pressed against his chest, only the thin fabric of his shirt between them. This overwhelming desire to touch and be touched was something new to her.
And then the door opened inward, throwing them both off balance and breaking the illusion of privacy they’d shared. An old woman wrapped in a black shawl—probably the shop’s owner—shook her bony finger at them, berating them for misbehavior in front of her door.
Genoveva stepped back, fixing her eyes on the sidewalk to convey contrition as the woman continued to wag her finger at the captain. In truth, she was hard pressed not to break out in laughter. She felt a soaring joy she didn’t think she’d felt in years. Had she ever felt this way?
The captain shot a smoldering glance at her from under a lowered brow. No, he didn’t look like he regretted it, either.