In this excerpt from Return Engagement my heroine Elizabeth and her friend Cathy are discussing a new script-they're actresses-when a surprise, unwelcome guest arrives. Return Engagement is available at
"What do you think so far?" Cathy demanded. "Is the script as good as I think it is?"
Elizabeth enthusiastically nodded as she set her coffee cup back into its saucer on the coffee table and polished off the last of her coffee cake. "It’s just great!" she exclaimed, spray-ing crumbs everywhere. "It’s almost as good as Paradise Bay."
Cathy giggled and flicked a big crumb off her leg. "That’s what I thought. And best of all, there are wonderful parts for both of us. We’d get to star together again."
The doorbell rang and interrupted their reading.
"I’ll get it," Cathy said. "You keep reading."
She returned a minute later with eyes as big as saucers and a scared look on her face. "Richard is here! What are we going to do? He says he wants to see you. I asked him if he knew, uh, I mean if you knew he was coming, and he said no, but to tell you he won’t leave until you two talk. I told him to wait in the foyer, but he could walk in here any minute!"
Elizabeth dropped her script and literally wrung her hands. "Oh, why did he come when Hank isn’t here? I…I…don’t know what to do!"
"What shall I tell him?" Cathy cried. She clapped her hand across her mouth. "He’ll hear us!"
Elizabeth picked up the script which danced in her hand. "Ah… I guess… I’ll… Cathy, we’re being stupid. What’s he going to do? Kill us? Tell him to come in while I..."
She stood up, but her knees literally shook. "Why am I so scared?" she softly cried. "After all those gifts he sent I knew I’d be seeing him soon."
"I can tell him you won’t see him."
Elizabeth’s heart leaped at the thought of a reprieve, but he had waited long enough. "No, I can’t put this off any longer. I need to see him and get it over with."
"Do you want me to stick around?"
Yes, she did, but she knew exactly what Richard would think of that idea. He’d probably tell Cathy to go himself. "No, just wait in the kitchen maybe. I have to talk to him alone."
"Yell if you want me."
Cathy went to the kitchen as Elizabeth took a deep breath and tried to calm her racing heart, but when she saw Richard standing there her knees grew weak. The tension heightened until the air turned positively electric and swirled with emotional currents. He made no effort to close the distance between them; neither of them said a word.
Richard finally broke the horrid silence. "You look wonderful as usual, but how do you feel?" he asked, his voice sounding cautious and hesitant to Elizabeth. He wasn’t sure of his reception.
"Much better now." Elizabeth rolled and re-rolled her script which she had forgotten to put down. "I need to apologize for how I acted in the hospital. I’m ashamed of the way I treated you, but at the time it was like I couldn’t stop the words from coming out of my mouth. I’m sure I embarrassed you, and that was never my intention. I want you to know I regret it with all my heart." A load seemed to fall from Elizabeth’s shoulders. She had owed him this apology for a long time now.
"So, do you think we could go into the living room and sit down?"
Elizabeth blushed even though he hadn’t said anything to blush about. "Yes, let’s do."
He followed her into the living room where he sat down beside her on the sofa, giving her a whiff of expensive aftershave. She wished her heart would settle down and behave it-self, but every time he so much as blinked it took her breath away.
"Did you get your gifts yesterday?"
Elizabeth’s eyes shone. "Yes, and it was the most romantic thing anyone ever did for me. Thank you."
Elizabeth almost melted when Richard smiled at her. She was glad he had wanted to sit down because she didn’t think her knees would hold her up. You didn’t know what sexy meant until he directed that high voltage smile at you.
"You know which one I liked best?" he asked.
"It was the kiss I sent at one."
"Really? Why that? I loved them all. I don’t think I had a favorite."
"I liked it because I’ve been thinking about kissing you," he confessed.
"Is that why you came over?"
"Partly. Would you mind if I kissed you?"
Intoxicated by his nearness, Elizabeth forgot that he scared her and that she didn’t want to see him. "Try and find out."
Richard slid across the sofa and gave her a gentle, sweet kiss, nothing like the possessive, hot, demanding kisses he’d given her the last night they slept together. Elizabeth sighed and brushed her finger across his lips. "You’ve got lipstick on your mouth."
"Is it the lipstick that made you taste so good?"
"Mmm. I think the sensation of taste must be very powerful."
"Could I taste again?"
He pulled her firmly against his chest. Oh, lord she’d forgotten how those rock hard muscles fired her blood! This time he kissed her with much more enthusiasm.
"Are you satisfied now?" Elizabeth breathlessly gasped when he finally raised his lips from hers. "Did you taste enough?"
"No, I didn’t. I think I’m getting addicted."
Elizabeth’s heart raced. "What’s the cure for this addiction?"
"I don’t know, and I don’t care. I like it too much to get over it." Richard’s eyes turned a smoky, dark blue as he kissed her again. This time he didn’t hold back. He kissed her the way she’d both longed for and feared for eight endless weeks.
She inhaled the scent of him: masculine, heady. She looked into his face and saw a touch of aggression and recklessness lurking underneath the heat that smoldered in his eyes.
Her breath left her as she admitted the truth. He was dangerous. He always had been, and nothing had changed. No wonder she got an adrenalin rush every single time they were alone together.