Excerpt: Fearless, Chapter 4 (draft)

This was the first real romantic scene I got to write for Ross and Amber.

I’ve always written right from my brain (especially for NaNoWriMo!), and I tend to get long-winded about romance passages in particular. But, you know what? Even though I’ll likely have to cut a lot of this when an editor gets their hands on it, I still really enjoy it. I like the ebb and flow of run-on sentences that evoke that tumbling feeling that we get when we’re falling in love, whether for the first time or the fifteenth.

The large grassy precipice of Crow’s Point was empty, an unbroken expanse of green grass that stretched toward the sea on one side, toward the village on another, and on the third back toward the path and road they’d just walked. There was no artificial illumination up here, and the lights from the village shopfronts and homes weren’t enough to create more than a quaint tableau that looked like a model train set far below. But the stars overhead were bright, blinking and twinkling and shining without competition, and they cast enough light for them to see where their steps flattened the thick grass, and more than enough light for Ross to watch how Amber’s face beamed as she took in the view.

She looked out toward the horizon first, then turned her head slowly in the direction of the village, for a long minute just blinking. Then she smiled, and clasped at his hand, which she hadn’t yet let go. Finally, she whispered, “It’s all so beautiful,” in a voice so hushed that he almost might not have known she’d spoken at all, except that he found it very difficult to tear his eyes away from her lips and the way that they glistened in the starlight as she smiled and spoke.

It certainly is,” he said, still watching her.

She turned to him now, and abruptly giggled. “You’re not even looking!” she mock-scolded.

I am so!” he told her with a chuckle. But then he quickly quieted, shifting on his feet so that he was facing her, and reached out with his free hand to caress the round part of her jaw. “I’m looking at you,” he told her softly. Then he bent his head down to hers, lifting her face at the same time (or maybe she did that; he couldn’t quite tell). And in the warm space between where they stood, their lips met each other halfway, clutching in one soundless kiss, then another, and still yet another.

Ross let go of her hand at last, trading her fingers for the gentle curve of the small of her back; he felt both of her arms wind their way around his shoulders, and she pressed up into his embrace, humming faintly into his mouth. There was no swaying or shuffling, just the soft, sweet-smelling squeeze of her body against his as their lips and tongues danced a delightful give and take of blooming desire.

He pulled her closer then, and she gave another sighing breath against his lips as he sank slowly to his knees. The lush grass was as soft a bed as any, and so he lowered her to its springy top, never once breaking from their kiss.

He stretched out on top of her, moving very gently with his chest and hips. Then he finally unclasped his lips from hers, though only just enough that he could look at her.

She blinked up at him, her eyes reflecting starlight in a mesmerising and beautiful way that he’d never seen before. And it made him touch his mouth to hers again, very softly, as he planted tiny kisses at one corner of her lips, then moved over their fullest rise, and finally came to rest at the other corner, where he lingered the longest.

She answered all of these in kind, with each successive kiss her chest rising and falling against him, until she was nearly gasping like a sprinter, her breaths warm and wet and sweet.

Ross slid one hand between them, pressing his palm to the side of one of her breasts even as he buried his face into the side of her neck, groaning, “I want you.”

Amber’s fingers dove into his hair, clutching the back of his head to hold him close. She whispered his name, her lips brushing the ridge of his ear just right to make him groan again, and screw his hips against her.

I need to tell you something,” she said then, just before he pressed his mouth to hers anew, in a word- and worry-smothering kiss.

They parted ever so briefly and ever so barely for breath, and around their darting tongues he told her, “It can wait ’til after.”

But she shook her head and pulled her chin back from him, muttering, “No. No, it can’t.” And she abruptly let him go from her embrace, pushing against the hollow of his shoulder with the heel of one hand.

She moved her fingers to his cheek, stroking gently. “What happened this afternoon-” she began, and then she drew a breath.

He chuckled, hazarding a guess: “Do you want me to do that again?”

She chuckled, too, but very softly, and quite haltingly. “No,” she said. “No, that’s not what I meant.”

He almost frowned. “I thought you liked it?”

She gave another quiet laugh, the same as before. “I did,” she said. “Of course, I did.” But then her gaze fell away, and she pressed her lips together between her teeth, still hesitant. And then, she uttered the one word that he didn’t want to hear from her at that moment:

But….”

He pulled back from her. “But what?”

But,” she started again, and now she finally returned her gaze to him, her lashes fluttering anxiously. “I can’t go on pretending.”

Rising slowly on one elbow, Ross heard himself swallow thickly as he scanned her face; that sudden and all-too-familiar look of apology in her eyes was like a knife twisting in his gut.

Stupid. How could he have been so stupid to think that she would be any different from anyone else? From Sam? From Susanna?

He was about to simply come out and say that there was nothing wrong with just taking the moments they’d been given. That there didn’t need to be any deeper meaning to it, that he could be whatever she wanted for tonight, maybe for a lot of nights. That she excited him in a way that he hadn’t felt in too long, and what was so bad about enjoying that excitement while it lasted? He’d already shown her that he could make her feel wonderful and wanted; this didn’t have to be anything more than just taking that to the next level. Just let them hold on to each other for a little while, before she went back to whatever nice, proper, rich bloke she had waiting for her away from this little village on the sea.

God, Ross. Take your own advice, buddy, and relax. This girl ain’t going anywhere.

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