Monday, February 14, 2005
This excerpt of Muse is Copyright 2004 Leigh Ellwood. The Muse ARC is only available in PDF.
Two hundred and twelve steps back to the cottage. Boone did not feel the hands patting his back and shoulders, reaching up to muss his hair. Jovial "attaboys" and assorted congratulations were distant echoes. He never turned back to see his many well wishers waving from the kiosk as arm-in-arm he walked with Nattie back to his—their--home. Like chirping birds their voices fluttered into the sky with joyful buzzing as they were led by Giles into the pub for a congratulatory toast, noting already how Boone was walking much taller, his head held higher.
The cottage no longer looked small, or dark, or lonely. Boone did not feel his hands upon Nattie’s shoulders as her own encircled his waist and pressed his body to hers. Her head reached his Adam’s apple, tall enough for Boone to rest his chin in her hair without having to tilt his neck. She smelled of the honey beeswax soap he made for the family, and Boone risked slipping his hands underneath her arms to return the embrace, garnering no protest.
This is not happening. This cannot be happening…what cruel force has come to taunt me?
Her voice muzzled into his pounding heart. "Are you happy, Boone?"
"Very much so, Miss Natalie."
"Nattie," she giggled. "I think you can call me Nattie now."
"Nat-tie." The syllables were foreign, and he pronounced them with care. This was a word he intended to use for the rest of his life, forever associated with the happiness he felt at that moment. He would never soil it with the wrong inflection.
"Boone," she whispered, and he shivered.
She tilted her face upward and arched the balls of her feet upward to meet his parted lips. The kiss was soft, and robbed him immediately of his breath and his will to maintain composure. He tightened his grip across her back for support, wrinkling the fine material of the robe. He could not feel her hands retract and press softly against his chest, then reach back to tear at the button on her robe that Siddron had fastened.
As they swiveled around toward his bed--their bed--he remained in contact, gliding his tongue across her lower lip, tracing the corners of her mouth, responding in kind to her caresses. Quietly time stilled and the room melted around them. Boone acknowledged only her hands fumbling with his shirt, pushing the material away to reveal his bare, heaving chest.
She took his hands and pressed them to her hips, sliding them upward. "Help me, Boone," she pleaded and, with her hands guiding his, he had removed the shift. She was naked before him now, inviting him to take in her delicate bust, taut abdomen, and the hidden trove nestled between her thighs.
Boone opened his mouth, yet no words escaped, only a low groan of want to accompany the ache in his groin, which Nattie dared to gently massage. He hardened instantly with her touch, biting back a smile as her eyes widened with the discovery of his size.
"Oh," she gasped, and loosened the rope belt binding his trousers. "I’m ready for you now, Boone."