Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Celebrating Romance

Posted by: Eleri Stone

This month’s theme at Here Be Magic is “Romantic Moments” in honor of Valentine’s Day, so I was looking back on my books trying to figure out which one of my heroes was the most traditionally romantic in a hearts and flowers kind of way. My three sweetest heroes are Fen from Witch Bound (virgin shifter who falls for his best friend’s girl), Benim from The Shape of Temptation (sexy soldier with a soft side), and Garrett from Ride to Ruin (a gunslinger who never thought he’d fall in love). The rest of my heroes are romantic too, of course, in their own way, but these three, in my opinion, are the mushiest of the bunch. 

Today I'm sharing one of my favorite romantic moments from Witch Bound, Fen and Raquel's story. Raquel is engaged to Fen's best friend in an arranged marriage, but she's just figuring out that maybe that's not what she wants...

She got up and helped herself to a soda from the fridge. Her expression was brittle and he hated it. Hated that she was hurting. Hated the tension in her shoulders. Hated most of all that there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it. She toyed with the tab on the can. “Elin is his lover, isn’t she?” 
Fuck. That’s what this was about. He should turn her away gently and send her to Christian. She should hear this from him. But she must have seen the truth in his eyes. Her face crumpled and he stood, torn be- tween wanting to comfort her and needing to keep his distance. Boundaries. They needed boundaries. 
Ah, she’d started to cry. He took a small step in her direction, because he couldn’t just stand there and do nothing. Holding his arms open and giving her plenty of time to escape, he wrapped her in a hug, swallow- ing a groan as her arms circled his waist. He tucked her head under his chin and grinned like an idiot when she wiped her face on his shirt. He was an idiot. A wretched, masochistic fool. 
“They’re not together now,” he said.
“He still cares for her.”
“Of course he does.”
She didn’t make any move to pull away. Her body fit against him perfectly. Slender, lithe, as warm and sweet as he’d imagined. He touched the back of her neck, gently rubbed the tight muscles there and then stroked his open palm down her spine, learning the curve of it, forcing himself to stop when he reached her waistband. Comforting a friend, not copping a feel. Boundaries. Fucking boundaries. 
“Will he screw around on me?” 
“He’ll honor you,” he said, almost regretting that it was the truth. “Honor is important to Christian. He will respect his wife.” Or Fen would kill him with his own hands. 
“Honor isn’t love.” 
“He’ll love you.” He almost choked on the words. Damn her for making him say them. Damn Christian too. He had this fucking precious gift in his hands that he’d done nothing to earn and the lucky bastard didn’t even seem to realize it. But Christian was a smart man. He’d figure it out and he would love her. How could he not? 
And Rocky would get over these nerves and fall for Christian just like everyone else did. Fen would be happy for her too. Christian would give her children, normal not-cursed children. He’d make her happy. 
Fen started to move her away, but she lifted her face, eyes bright, hair a god-awful mess, tendrils sticking to the tracks of her tears. “He kissed me today.” 
“Rocky...” 
More tears leaked from the corner of her eyes and he cupped her cheeks to brush them away with his thumbs. “You should go be with Christian now. Talk to him about Elin. About all of this.” 
She sniffed and leaned forward, setting her cheek against his chest and wrapping her arms around his waist. She sighed...the same kind of sigh he made when he slipped into bed bruised and battered from the hunt. The sound of someone reaching a safe shelter. And he wasn’t—couldn’t—be that for her. 
“That’s the thing,” she whispered. “When he kissed me today, it felt wrong. And when I saw him with Elin... I should be upset about that. But that’s not why I’m crying.” 
“I saw the way you looked at Alan’s. You were upset. I wanted to go to you.” 
“It stung my pride.”
“You’ve only known him a few days.”
She’d stopped crying, but made no move to unwrap 
herself. He should do that, untangle her arms.
“I’ve only known you a few days.”
He closed his eyes. Bending his head, he touched his lips to her temple and breathed her in. He stroked a hand through her hair as he considered how to respond. He didn’t want to, didn’t want to acknowledge this at all. “You’ve never met a friend you felt like you’ve known forever? It happens sometimes.” 
She fell silent. He should set her aside now, step back and start putting some distance between them. But...he couldn’t seem to do it. Not yet. When would he ever hold Rocky like this again? Never. 
When he let her go tonight, he’d let her go. 
“I thought about you.” Her voice fell to a bare whisper. “When Christian kissed me, it felt wrong because I wanted it to be you.” 
He felt it like a shot to his gut. The pain hit first before it turned into something else. Something that caused his arms to tighten around her shoulders. Rocky tipped her head back to look at him and he stared at her lips, parted slightly, trembling. For a second, he let him- self imagine it—bending his head to claim her mouth, sinking inside her heat. He wanted to know the taste of her. His skin tingled like it did before a shift, when he was holding back the magic from washing over him. 
“I don’t want to marry Christian.” 
As if a gaping hole opened under his feet, he fell into that sentence. His mouth opened, but he clamped it closed. What could he possibly say? This was his best friend’s fiancée, and he didn’t want a mate. He didn’t want children who would grow up and have to deal with this shit. Didn’t want to take the risk of handing his soul over to another person and then spend the rest of his life hoping they didn’t change their mind. 
He was still falling when the phone in his back pocket began to vibrate.

Happy Valentine's Day!:)

2 comments:

  1. Awww... I love Fen. And you forget to mention Witch Bound was a RITA finalist!

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    Replies
    1. Aww, thanks Nicole! xoxo I loved writing Fen. He was such a sweetheart:)

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