Thursday, July 11, 2013

Love Scene from Mind Over Mind

This is my favorite love scene that I've written. It’s from Mind Over Mind, from DragonMoon books. It’s the first in a trilogy. Mind Over Psyche comes out in September, and I’m writing Mind Over All right now. Ironically, in this last book, Joshua is thinking back to this evening–it’s key to a lot of issues.

Standing in front of the bathroom mirror the next evening, Joshua's grin was still on her mind. It was interfering with her ability to concentrate on her make-up, and her guests would soon be.

Could he have taken her comments as implying a personal interest? Did she want him to? He had a good body—OK, say it girl, a great body—nicely muscled without being overdone, his skin rich and dark and almost glowing in the sun. She shook herself as if to break a spell and, sighing, picked out a lipstick.

Worst part was, that wasn’t even the most attractive thing about him. If it had been, she‘d have been able to ignore it; she knew plenty of well-built guys. No, what set him apart was the way he looked at her, steady and intently, wholly focused on her.

It wasn’t just her, she told herself. He treated everyone with that kind of intensity.

Still, there was something…more…about the way he looked at her. And that smile…

Stop being silly, she chided herself. He was just flattered. After all, you’re attractive, and young enough for your opinion to matter. She stepped back and appraised herself in the mirror. Her silky black hair was swept up into a neat roll, with a few ends artistically escaping from the top. Into it, she had stuck a couple of black lacquered chopsticks decorated with green dragons. Her make-up, though moderate, was done with effect, with green eyeliner accenting the exotic shape and tilt of her eyes. The jade dragon earrings she’d found at a Renaissance festival adorned her ears. Her black dress had a high collar, and its folds of silk covered her collarbone and draped over her shoulders before plunging daringly to the small of her back, perfectly framing her tattoo. An Oriental dragon of green and gold twisted its way across her back, so that its head rested just over and between her shoulder blades and the tip of its tail curled at the base of her spine. It had taken her forever to find a dress that showed it off to its fullest, and she’d had to run next door to get Cindy to help her with body tape that held it in place, but as she twisted to watch the fabric fall softly around her dragon, she knew it was worth it.

The dress ended just above the knee. Her silk stockings—the kind with the seam down the back—and the leather heels with the “alligator skin” accents on the toes, finished the ensemble. But tonight was for the dragon.

It’d been a long time since she’d felt like this: daring, happy. Alive.

The doorbell rang, and she shoved all the cosmetics into a drawer and hastened out of the bathroom to answer it.

Despite her suggested “Newport casual,” Joshua was dressed to kill. Above subdued black pants that looked like some kind of soft suede and were cut a little baggier than his usual, he wore a dark, short-sleeved shirt with a reddish-bronze shimmer. Its priest-like collar wouldn’t take a tie; he wore a simple gold chain. He also had a small gold hoop earring in one ear. She could just smell his cologne, something spicy and musky that called her to lean closer.

She wanted to lean closer. Instead, she said, “Joshua, you’re early.”

Joshua leaned against the doorframe. He carried a black rectangular case in one hand, and held the other hand behind his back. “I left myself lots of time. Even so, I thought I might be late.”

“Oh? My directions weren’t clear?”

“Sure. Mostly. Your highways, on the other hand…”

Sachiko laughed. “Oh, no! How far did you go?”

“Not far. But I had to drive over the grass median to turn around, so I spent the next couple of miles watching my rear-view mirror, expecting a cop to flag me down. Speaking of cops, just how many Dunkin’ Donuts are there in Wakefield?”

Her hands flew to her lips, but she stopped herself before she could touch them and smudge her lipstick. “I didn’t even think! There’s that new one at Tower Hill and Patton, but you were supposed to turn at the next one, on Old Tower Hill. I think Rhode Island has more Dunkin’ Donuts per square mile than any other state in the union. I should have drawn a map. Sorry.”

“Don’t be. I stopped to check a map, and there’s a cool flower shop that just opened, so…” From behind his back, he pulled out a bouquet of oriental lilies, birds of paradise and red antriums.

“Joshua, they’re beautiful!” She took them from him, ignoring the thrill that shot through her when their fingers briefly touched. The suspicious part of her said, He gets lost and thinks about buying you flowers? He’s either that sweet or that interested. Despite herself, she knew which option she wanted.

“They reminded me of you.” He smiled shyly. “Graceful and exotic.”

She looked at him over the flowers. Their gazes held. That interested. For a moment, she was very sorry she’d invited anyone else. “Come on in. I’ll just put these in some water.” She backed up to let him in, then turned toward the kitchen, giving him a full view of her back. She hadn’t taken a step when she heard a loud THUNK! She glanced coyly over her shoulder. “Yes?”

Joshua’s keyboard lay leaning against one of his legs. He was staring, open-mouthed. He closed his mouth, opened it again, closed it, then finally burst out, “Tell me it’s real!”

She tried not to let her swell of satisfaction show. The dress had just paid for itself. “Every painfully inked inch. And?”

She still had her back to him. His eyes moved over her with a mixture of awe and desire that seemed more suited for the bedroom. Maybe he realized what his face was revealing, for he smiled—an embarrassed, tight-lipped smile—and finally said, “You are full of the most incredible surprises.”
She couldn’t help it. She laughed. “Go put your keyboard in the living room and have something cool to drink! Want a Coke?”

“Sure. Diet, if you have it. Do you want me to set it up?”

“If it’ll tuck out of the way somewhere.”


A couple of minutes later, Joshua was perched on a stool at the kitchen counter, a glass of soda in his hands. The flowers were in a crystal vase at the end of the counter, except for one bird of paradise, which Sachiko had cut and placed in her hair. He offered to help, but she refused—the kitchen was her domain. Besides, she decided she liked having the physical barrier of the counter between them until he’d calmed down some. She turned from the stove to catch his gaze flickering over her tattoo, and there was such fire in his eyes.

She liked that fire, she decided, and the thought unnerved her, and she turned back to the meal until she felt herself calm down as well.

After a few minutes of comfortable—if electric—silence, he asked, “So, why’d you do it?”

“The tattoo?” She gave the fish one last turn, then set the pan on a back burner to warm. She’d rehearsed and used a dozen different answers to that question over the years, but she found herself wanting to be a little more honest with him. She wiped her hands with a towel, and pulled the antipasto out of the refrigerator. “I was at a low point in my life. Really low. I’d just gotten out of a horrible relationship with Ra—my ex-boyfriend. I’d done some horrible things, things I never thought I’d do, and I wasn’t even sure why. It was like I didn’t know who I was anymore. I wasn’t sure I ever knew; I was just drifting, doing what others expected of me, being the good nurse, the good student, the good girlfriend. Anyways, I decided it was time to do what I wanted, find out who I was. Explore a little, you know what I mean? See what I thought of my wild side.”

She set the tray on the counter.

“I like it.” He snagged an olive and popped it into his mouth.

“Oh, yeah?” Suddenly, she leaned over the counter. “And just what’s your wild side?” she asked in a low, throaty voice.

She’d expected to embarrass him. She had a brief image of him choking on his olive. Instead, he chewed slowly, swallowed, then leaned over the counter so that his face was only inches from hers.

“I meant,” he replied in a similar purr that sent delicious shivers down her spine, “I like yours.”


He leaned closer. She closed her eyes.

No comments: