This isn’t the first time a reviewer has pointed out the innocence of my romances. My first review for Do You Hear What I Hear called it a “lovely G-rated romance.” I had to laugh when I saw that headline. My family and friends always tell me I like to think of life as one, big Disney movie and I guess that must come across in my writing.
I actually think there’s quite a lot that’s sexy about Love, Lilies & the Unbroken Straw. In particular, a lovely trail ride scene between the hero and heroine. I actually find that scene rather steamy, even though the characters do no more than kiss. Take a tiny peek at this scene:
Declan caught her hand midair and laced his fingers through hers, pulling her toward him until their noses almost touched. “You’re shaking. You’re not afraid to ride with me, are you babe?”
“Of course not.” She shifted from one foot to the other and made every effort to look as nonchalant as possible. Not an easy task, especially when her insides were churning as they were now. “Don’t be silly.”
He grinned and rubbed his nose against hers in an Eskimo kiss, which made her laugh. When she stepped on the mounting block and eased herself up onto Goliath’s back, she felt almost relaxed.
Then Declan swung a long leg across the gelding’s back and settled in behind her. His thighs lined up right against hers and she sat nestled in the warm space between his legs. When he reached past her to collect the reins in his hands, his arms gathered around her as if in a tender embrace. Her spine stiffened and her eyes widened at the sudden, unexpected intimacy of their posture. Declan clucked his tongue and nudged the gelding forward. At his first step, Christabel’s spine softened and she rocked softly against Declan’s body. With each shuffle of the horse’s hooves, she melted further into the waiting curve of his chest until at last she gave up any attempt to balance on her own.
With her back pressed against Declan’s physique, its muscles firm and hard even from behind, and his biceps cradling her shoulders, she understood at once why his invitation to ride tonight had sounded so provocative.
Even though it was her first, she knew this was no ordinary trail ride. It was much, much more.
“I’ve wanted to feel you in my arms like this since the moment I first saw you crying in the front seat of your car.” Declan’s voice carried a tenderness that made her sigh and surrender whatever was left of her careful reserve. She let herself sink into the warmth of his body, cradled against her, supporting her as they rocked in unison with each clop of Goliath’s feet.
The trees swayed in the cool night breeze and the further they rode out on the trail, the denser the oaks became. But Goliath knew his way through the wooded section of the pasture, and he moved along the trail with very little guidance from Declan. Christabel glanced up at the stars overhead, their soft light filtered through the canopy of the trees that surrounded them. She closed her eyes and tilted her face toward the heavens, and felt the moon pour its radiance down on her and the man burying his face in her hair. The night was alive, full of the crickets’ song and the magic of two people giving their hearts to one another.
Christabel’s hands sat spread on the horse’s withers and for the first time in months, she forgot all about miraculous healings, tingling palms and secrets. She was no longer a florist, a groom or a drifter in search of a place to belong. She was, quite simply, a woman in love. She was already home. Here on the back of a horse with Declan’s strong arms around her, his fresh soap scent swirling in her head. Her hands no longer a concern, she removed them from the gelding’s soft hide and placed them on the outside of Declan’s thighs. She moved them in a gentle, kneading caress and a low moan escaped Declan’s lips. His warm breath danced against the sensitive skin of her neck, causing a shiver to travel the full length of her spine.
“Turn me around,” she whispered over her shoulder.
Declan gathered her hair in his hands, moved it aside and pressed his lips against her ear. “Hmm?”
“Turn me around.” Her voice trembled with urgency. “Please.”
Now see, to me that’s very romantic. And sexy.
What is happening between the two characters, exactly? Nothing. And everything.
It’s like all of those television shows we love to watch where we want the two characters to “get together” so badly. They’re in love. We all know it. The thrill is in the wait. The push and pull. The intimate dance between the characters while they realize their feelings for one another. I absolutely adored the relationship between Chuck (the heroine) and the Pie Maker (the hero) on the TV show Pushing Daisies. Maybe I was the only one, since the show got cancelled and all. Ha ha. But really, it was the most romantic thing I’d ever seen and the characters never even touched. If they touched each other, the heroine would have dropped dead (seriously). So they kissed between a fine layer of Saran Wrap and slow danced in bee keeper suits. It was beautiful, poetic, romantic and, yes, chaste.
Chaste in an old-school word. You certainly don’t hear it much these days. But I’ve seen it a lot in recent weeks, mostly in regard to Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. I love those books. And something tells me I’m not the only one! Bella and Edward do no more than kiss until they are married (upon Edward’s insistence), but the books are very emotionally charged and the reader feels the attraction between Bella and Edward like a lightning bolt.
So, if someone wants to describe my romances with the same word, that’s fine by me!
Here’s one more peek at Love, Lilies & the Unbroken Straw:
Declan lowered himself onto one of the stools at the counter and snuggled Snowdrop against his chest. His eyes took in the slip of paper resting on the counter and sparkled as they moved over the letters, which shouted MARRY ME. His gaze shifted to Christabel and her breath caught in her throat. Water flowed from the faucet and spilled out over the edges of the vase, pouring over her fingers. Neither of them said a word about the proposal, but Declan’s lifted brow told her the offer very definitely still stood.
Eager to move his attention away from the note – and the fact that she’d placed it in such a prominent spot in her home so she could ponder it night and day – she said the first thing that flew into her head as she arranged the blossoms in the vase with artistic flair. “When I was a little girl, a wild patch of daisies grew next to the playground at my elementary school.”
Declan’s gaze flitted once again to the proposal and Christabel kept talking, the pitch of her voice rising an octave. “While the boys swung on the monkey bars, all us girls picked big bunches of daisies. Sometimes we would make long daisy chains or braid them through our hair. Of course, we also plucked out the petals and played the old he-loves-me, he-loves-me-not game.”
Declan rose from his stool and positioned Snowdop on the bed with a gentle pat on her rump. She yawned and spun a few circles before plopping down on the pillows. Christabel’s heart thumped harder as Declan took several careful steps, closing the distance between them. When he took her hand between his, she thought the force of the pounding in her chest might actually knock her off her feet. Her brain might not be ready to wrap around the concept of marrying this strong, captivating cowboy, but her body clearly had a mind all its own. It was all she could do not to lean into the heat radiating off his body, to run her hands over those firm muscles and beg him to kiss her again.
She swallowed the impulse down deep. They’d already been down that road and she wasn’t ready to go there again. Not yet, anyway.
Declan cradled her hand as if it were a precious treasure. He turned it over and ran his fingers over her palm with a feather-light stroke. His gaze traced every line, every tiny crevice of her skin. Just when she wondered if he was ever going to say anything, he turned her palm over and brushed the back of her hand with his lips. Without tearing his gaze from the place where his kiss lingered, he finally spoke.
“You don’t need to play that game anymore.”
At first she was unsure what he meant, but the bright yellow faces at the center of the daisies seemed to wink at her and she knew. She stared at her own hand in his, unable to look up.
“I’ll tell you how it ends.” His voice choked with emotion. “He loves you.”
To learn more about me and my other books, come see me at www.teriwilson.net.
To purchase Love, Lilies & the Unbroken Straw, visit http://www.thewildrosepress.
Easter blessings to all,
Teri Wilson ~ Romancing the pet lover’s soul