Have you met Ryan Summer? With summer just around the corner I thought I’d heat things up and share a steamy excerpt from A TASTE OF SUMMER.
Carrie Ann laid awake in bed for hours waiting for the dawn to break. A lull in the falling rain beckoned her to the window as morning filtered through her room. The planked flooring still held its early morning chill as she traipsed to the window bundled in the comfy down blanket.
The dark, ominous thunder clouds gathering on the horizon mirrored her sullen attitude. She’d slept straight through dinner, declining grumpily I’m not hungry when Summer tried to wake her. Stress knots gathered in her neck and shoulders. She stretched her neck from side-to-side and rolled her shoulders in broad circles, massaging the soreness with her fingers.
Peering out the window, she watched the wet leaves on the tree shimmer in the wind. The white bark of the quaking aspen was stark in comparison to its vibrant green foliage. A dense fog hung above the soaking pools practically calling her name. Carrie Ann tossed the blanket on the bed and plodded toward the armoire. Flipping through the hangers, she managed to find her bikini…bottoms.
“Whatever,” she grumbled, stripping out of his boxers and into her cheeky Brazilian cut bottoms.
She brushed her teeth and piled her long dark hair on top of her head, looping a hair tie around the loose bun. Her reflection in the mirror wore puffy red eyes and bruising shadows hollowed the thin skin beneath.
She hated crying.
Quietly, she ventured into the kitchen wearing his oversized flannel shirt from the day before. Wandering into the living room, a cool draft wafted across the back of her bare legs causing her to shudder. There was no sign of Summer or Aspen and the fireplace held only a pile of grey ashes.
Tiptoeing through the living room, she heard a noise coming from the hall. Twisting her neck, she noticed Summer’s door ajar. As she stepped into the hall, the corner post of his bed became visible through the six inch crack.
Carrie Ann stopped dead in her tracks catching a glimpse of him lying on the bed. His back hard-pressed to the mattress and torso strained with exertion. A sensual awareness ripped through her, taking aback by the sight of his head thrown back, buried in his pillow as he pleasured himself. The veins in his neck were thick and pulsing, and his lips parted for breath. The lids of his eyes closed drowsily. Velvet lashes lay like crescents against his skin.
Her tongue played over her open lips, craving the sweet taste of him, the clean masculine scent of him, the silky feel of his skin in her mouth.
Silently, she shifted to one side so not to be seen, gripping to the wall for support, fearing her knees might buckle. The white linens made a glorious backdrop for his dark tan physique. His broad chest labored in breathing. Sinews and muscles flexed in a delicious rhythm, his movement sure and purposeful.
Her nipples tightened and a low throbbing ache began to build between her thighs. She eased forward, hugging the wall, stretching her neck to see more. Her own heavy breathing bounced off the wall. Waves of moist heat fanned across her face.
Grrr whoof whoof Aspen’s boisterous growl and bark boomed from the far side of his room.
Carrie Ann nearly jumped out of her skin. She lurched to the side, hiding from their view. Both hands instantly covering her mouth to silence her panting. Not that it would matter. She was fairly certain Summer and the dog would be able to hear her heart slamming against her chest from all the way across the cabin.
Her stare locked on the doorway, waiting for a shadow of movement. Before she had time to steal another peek the puppy barked again and again. Not letting up.
“Damn it.” She heard a long groan of frustration. “Go on girl. Go lay down.”
The sound of his body lifting from the mattress and several snarling curses, indicated no happy ending. Contractions bound her core in a tight relentless knot. She’d damn near climaxed. Confusion wracked her body, unsure if she were happy or unhappy about the outcome delivered to both of them. Fearing her legs might buckle, she stumbled down the hall, slipped on her boots and quietly snuck out the door.
Crisp mountain air whipped against her face, bringing clarity to her head. The coolness stung her heated skin, covering her in goose bumps. Loneliness started to take hold of her heart. God, she missed men. The intimacy of kissing, holding hands, waking up next to a warm body. And talking. She missed long intimate conversations.
Another round of waterworks burned the back of her eyes, threatening to break. Not gonna happen. With each step, her feet ground into the saturated earth, pounding out some of her frustrations.
There’d been only one man who checked all the boxes in her life and he was just jacking off in the other room. Left to pleasure himself because she was too afraid to let her guard down. Too stubborn to even consider believing his bullshit.
She’d drawn a definitive line in the sand that day and her pride wouldn’t dare cross it. No matter how painful her heart hurt. No matter how excruciating the longing. No matter how agonizing the fear of never knowing.
Blades of tall grass tickled her legs and the pungent smell of sulfur permeated the air. She took off her rain boots and laid them sideways on a bench cut from a log. She unbuttoned the flannel shirt and slipped it from her shoulder, placing it atop the boots to stay dry.
Though the mineral springs were natural, the pond had been designed to mimic the natural landscape and rock formations of the dramatic Montana mountain range. Carrie Ann gradually made her way down five huge granite steps placed precisely at one end of the pool to simulate the curves of an outdoor amphitheater. Mist swirled and eddied around her. The chilly vapor pulled her tender pink nipples taut.
Smooth rounded pebbles felt good on her feet. The water, silky and clear, teased along her collarbone as she gingerly waded deeper. The luxurious healing water lapped at her chest promptly relaxing her stiff, sore shoulders.
Carrie Ann crossed the pond, back-and-forth, with a lazy breast stroke. The change in her body temperature and release of fatigue caused her to feel light-headed and weak. Needing some cool air, she perched on top of a rectangular boulder, rising from the pool nearly flush to the water’s surface. Blood rushed to her skin, covering her body in a pink glow from the neck down. A clear indicator she’d been in the hot water too long.
Her body felt relaxed, muscles loose and warm, but her mind spun wildly listening to the low groans of thunder in the far off distance. Lifting her feet to the edge of the boulder, she laid back, using her locked hands as a pillow. Her knees knocked, waggling her legs to and fro. God, he looks so good. Carrie Ann stared skyward, mesmerized by the ominous clouds moving quickly overhead, comparing them to her life.
“What the hell…” A short scoring pause. “Are you doing?”
A high pitched sound of surprise whooshed from her lungs. Carrie Ann jolted upright, half falling, half leaping, into the pond with a splash. All thoughts scattered from her brain and her pulse went crazy. Her petite hands flew to her breasts, barely covering her dark pink nipples. The beating of her heart, hard and steady, forceful inside her chest.
“You scared the shit out of me.”
Aspen shrunk to her belly hearing her loud shriek.
“Are you just trying to kill me, Carrie Ann,” Summer grumbled, his voice holding a savage note. He scowled, glowering in disbelief. “I saw the top of your head bobbing in the water, but I assumed you had a bathing suit on.”
His eyes lingered with ravenous interest, drifting over her full, lush, buoyant breasts.
Feeling vulnerable with nowhere to hide, she put on her invisible cloak of distain and slogged up the steps. Marching by him, she found it nearly impossible not to drink in the sight of his exquisitely masculine form in tight ocean-blue trunks.
He looked sexy-as-hell, every inch carved and defined, like a scene straight from a James Bond movie. Minus his grey fluffy robe, opened and untied. The blue speedo-like suit left nothing to the imagination. Not that she needed to use her imagination. She didn’t even need to close her eyes. Carrie Ann knew exactly how stunning he was. Every single inch of him.
Dodging left, he moved in front of her. His hands immediately found her shoulders, stealing her breath.
“Please don’t go, Carrie Ann.” His tone was soft and urgent, sending a tingle to the pit of her stomach. “It’ll be difficult, but I’m sure I’ll manage.”
Standing before him partially nude, a heady rush of sensation sprung to life, warmth seeped to her bones. “Maybe you should’ve packed my top along with my bottom, that way I could’ve stayed out here with you.”
He touched her chin and lifted her face upward. “You packed your things.”
“Whatever. It’s not like you haven’t seen them before.”
Summer skewered her with a harsh stare. “Stop acting like you don’t feel the connection we share.”
“That was a long time ago, Summer. You don’t know anything about me anymore.”
“Ah, that’s where you’re wrong Red. I know exactly who you are. What you want. What makes you happy. You need a man who will want you for exactly who you are. Independent, hardworking, passionate, fun, bossy and as stubborn as the day is long…in Alaska.” In spite of his seriousness, she almost smiled. “You also need a man who’s confident enough to put you in your place occasionally.”
“Don’t forget faithful,” she stabbed, whirling her back to him. Her breasts on display to the great outdoors reaching for her shirt. Thrusting each arm into the oversized sleeves, she busied herself with the buttons. High strung emotions caused her fingers to tremble, hindering her progress. “That man doesn’t exist.”
She heard him make a scoffing sound as he latched his fingers around her wrist, turning her to face him. Her heart spurred into a frantic beat. His grip so gentle and caring that she had no chance at resisting him. The soft cotton fabric of her shirt listed open all the way to her navel and below. The slope of her full breasts fully exposed, yet he seemed enthralled with her face.
“Our connection is far more than physical. We share a closeness, an intimacy that stretches beyond that of past lovers, Carrie Ann. Our bodies, our energy, we vibrate on the same frequency.” A familiar strain in his tone, low and ragged, flooded her with memories of long nights filled with passion and companionship. “Your laugh reaches the darkest, dustiest corners of my soul and brings it to life. When you’re near me my heart feels fuller. My breath comes easier. My smile…fuck…I can’t wipe it off my face when I’m near you. I connect with you on every level of my being, Carrie Ann.”
“What are you? Some kind of inspirational relationship guru now?”
He ignored the dig. “You make me fall for you…every…single…time just by the way you look at me.”
Battling the oncoming waterworks burning the back of her eyes and nose, she willed her defenses, regarding him scornfully. “You just want a blow job or…or a fuck for the night.”
His eyes broadened. Her crudeness surprised him more than it shocked herself.
“Well, I do love the vision of your mouth wrapped around my cock.” He moved closer, coasting his fingers along the ridge of her jaw. “And I most certainly want to fuck you senseless.”
“I’m sure you’ve knocked sense into plenty of women.”
“Carrie Ann, I’ve never wanted another woman the way I want you.”
Her lip curled, repulsed by his words. Summer was visibly shaking. She started to pull away from him, but he gripped her arms.
“You’re also the only woman I can really talk to. And the woman I want to look into the future with. Plain and simple, Red. I just want you. Inside, outside, upside down and fucking sideways.” The demanding but gentle squeeze of his fingers around her biceps, drew a rush of breath from her lungs. A flash of belligerent male triumph ignited fire in his eyes. Apparently he was happy to have finally made his point. “Carrie Ann, you’re the only woman I want in my bed when I wake up every morning.”
Rain began to fall from the sky in thin vertical threads, misting down on their faces. Strikes of cold water bounced off the quarried stone beneath her feet, splashing against her ankles.
“Summer,” the edge of her voice beginning to crack.
“I’m right here in front of you. Right now! Why can’t you just be honest with your feelings?”
Fear, trust, desire, love, and her old adversary guilt, flashed out of control, a cautionary beacon of sure danger ahead. She didn’t have time to be reasonable. Or the courage.
“I am being honest with my feelings.”
The lie came out smoothly, but he wasn’t buying it. His hand slipped into hers, the simplest gesture of affection sent her heart into a sputter.
“I’m tired of pretending. I’m tired of trying to force the puzzle pieces of my life together. They just don’t fit. You are the missing piece of my puzzle, Carrie Ann. It’s driving me crazy. Especially after…”
A bellowing cry from the tree line interceded, gripping both of them with fear.
“Aspen,” they said simultaneously.