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14 February 2011

More Romantic Moments-- Excerpts

Happy Valentine's Day!

This week's hostess is Michelle Massaro

They say all is fair in love and war--today we have both.  It's time for another Romantic Clash!  Enjoy the two glorious excerpts below and vote for your favorite.  Voting will be open all week, so send your friends on over too.  Share the love...

Excerpt A
Mary began to relax. Daniel’s voice was soothing to her spirit. By the time the brush had reached the crown of her head, she was closing her eyes, the tension falling from her face.
Daniel smoothed her soft locks with his hand. “There. Your hair is lovely.”
When he put the brush down, Mary turned to look at him. She noticed the dried blood on his right cheek, a reminder of his encounter with the intruder’s knife. She touched his face, which made him wince. She furrowed her brow and stood up, walking to the medicine cabinet. When she returned, she cleaned off the blood and applied slippery elm to the long but shallow knife wound.
Daniel took her hand and kissed her palm slowly.
“Thank you, Mary. I’d quite forgotten it was there.”
Mary looked at him with a deep pain filling her eyes. “I should not have opened the door,” she said finally, her lips trembling and the tears flowing.
She took a deep breath in between her sobs.
“The door,” she said. “It was locked and I thought it was my mother returning. I should not have opened it.” Her tears spilled forth like a river flowing over a burdened dam. Daniel looked at her with tenderness.
“You did not know, Mary. How could you know? This was not your fault.”
He held her closely and let her sobs slowly subside. When she was finished crying, he looked at her and wiped her tears with his linen shirtsleeve.
“Come sit with me, Mary,” he said. He led her to the chair by the fire. It was the same chair that he had held her in when she had been so ill with the influenza. It was the same place of comfort when she could not get warm. He sat on the wooden seat and held out his arms to her. She gingerly crawled onto his lap and curled up in his arms.
“Rest your head on my shoulder,” he whispered. She found the familiar notch in his neck that seemed as if it were made just for her. She placed her hand on his chest. He once again covered her long fingers with his large hand.
Without lifting her head, she spoke for the first time without crying.
“I love you, Daniel.”
The young man struggled to contain his own emotions as he answered her in kind.
“I love you too, Mary.”
The exhausted couple closed their eyes and rested for the first time since last night.
Daniel was finally able to relax. He knew deep in his heart that Mary would one day be able to put aside the horror of the intruder’s heartless touch. She would instead remember the tender embrace of the man who loved her.


Excerpt B
Breaking through the surface of the water, Marguerite thrashed about wildly. A thick arm encircled her jaw and held her tight against a solid chest. Panicked, she made contact with the man’s unyielding arm and sank her nails deep into his flesh. The rescuer held firm.
“Settle down,” he commanded, his deep voice solid and unrelenting, his hold tightening. “I’m just going to pull you to the edge of the pier. Relax.”
She coughed at the fishy taste of the lake water and willed her body to do as he said. “I—I—can’t.”
With three more strong strokes, he reached the pier. The dock assistant hoisted her up, led her to a deck chair, and draped a blanket around her shoulders. He crouched in front of her. His mouth was moving, so she knew he was speaking to her, but she couldn’t tear her eyes from her rescuer, whom she could see rising from the water over the assistant’s shoulder.
Standing at least six feet tall, the rescuer walked directly toward her. His white shirt clung to his broad chest and his dark trousers dripped on the planks. With a flip of his wrist, he shooed the gawkers away, admonishing them to hurry or they’d miss their boat.
The assistant stood up when the man approached. “She must have cracked her skull, Mr. Andrews. She isn’t answering any of my questions.”
The dock assistant reached for her head, but she pushed him away. “My head is perfectly fine.”
The rescuer smiled, revealing a dimpled grin that took her breath away. “What about the rest of you?”
Well, what do you think? I love meeting handsome men when I look like a drowned rat.
Her cheeks warmed, and she squeezed her eyes shut to block out the view. “I’m fine. I’ll just go back to my—” She stood and wobbled on her feet.
He caught her arm and pressed her back into the chair. “Whoa, there. Why don’t you rest a few more minutes, Miss?”
 “Go ahead, Pauly. I’ll see to her.” He squatted. “Miss, I need to know the truth. Do you need a doctor?”
The man rose. “Then at least let me escort you home. Hotel or camp?”
“That’s not necessary.” Marguerite stood again, grateful to find her rubbery legs didn’t betray her this time. “I need to hurry. I was already late for a dinner date with my family.”
“So I noticed.” He gave her another dimpled, mind-spinning grin.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“In the future, I wouldn’t recommend running on the deck.”
“I wasn’t running. I was . . . stepping lively.”
“Then I wouldn’t step . . . so lively.”
She suppressed a smile that ached to get out. “Thank you for your concern and aide. I’ll see to it that your efforts are duly compensated if you’ll give me your name.”
He frowned. “My name is Trip Andrews. I’m glad you’re okay, but no other thanks are needed.”

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Item Reviewed: More Romantic Moments-- Excerpts Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Michelle Massaro