Excerpts

Somewhere Love - Excerpt

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She turned to look at him and found his eyes settled on her face. An odd, almost rueful, smile played on his lips.

"What?" she asked, her voice scarcely more than a whisper.

His smile widened. "I was just wondering how I was going to get you to start calling me by my first name."

"Oh, well, you're my employer. That doesn't really seem appropriate."

He laughed before responding. "You call my mother by her first name."

"She asked me to."

"So have I."

"No. You haven't." She pulled her gaze away and refocused on the lake. When he remained silent for a long moment, she looked at him again. He was still watching her with that damned lopsided grin, making her feel foolish for quibbling over semantics. And he was making her uncomfortable. She looked out over the lake again, wishing he'd do the same. "I've always loved looking at water," she began, hoping to draw his focus toward a new target. "There's something about it. I don't know what it is. But, it's so peaceful to watch the way it moves and glistens." She probably sounded like an idiot but she didn't care. In about two seconds she was going to jump out of her skin.

"Annie."

"What?" She absolutely refused to look at him.

"Would you please call me Luca?"

"Fine," she huffed, then flinched when his fingers touched her chin. He turned her head back toward his and she found herself mesmerized by the tender amusement she saw in his eyes.

"Say it now."

"Why?"

He leaned in and she felt his breath on her face. "Because I think when two people kiss the way we are about to kiss, they should at least be on a first name basis."

"Luca, I..." She hadn't meant to say it. She was thinking only of arguing the absurdity of the situation. She'd wanted to say something, anything, to rid him of the misconception that she would welcome another one of his kisses. Anything to restore his facial expression to one she could read, thereby getting rid of what looked suspiciously like desire flashing in his eyes.

But it was too late.

Before she could protest, his warm lips met hers in a kiss that was so gentle and light that it took her a moment to even realize his lips were actually touching hers. He didn't withdraw. He just stayed there, almost as though he were breathing her in. Then with a sigh of surrender, he increased the pressure of his lips on hers. The warmth of his mouth became insistent and, without conscious thought, she opened her lips to his tentative tongue.

Shock coursed through her like molten lava. This shouldn't be happening, her mind screamed. But somewhere deep within, a tiny part of her body she never even knew existed came to life. As his hand found its way to the back of her head to hold her closer, that tiny part grew bigger like the bud of a flower unfolding in the sunlight. And when his tongue slipped against her own, she felt her body become liquid as every cell in it savored the contact.

Never had she been kissed like this before. Not that her experiences were many and varied. She'd been kissed by the two boys she'd dated in college. Some had been sloppy, hungry kisses. Some were expertly maneuvered kisses. No matter the type of kiss, at some point the boy would start fumbling at her breasts in a way that made her feel more nervous than sexy, and she'd pull away.

But this kiss was different. Not only did it defy explanation, it felt important. Important to Luca. And reverent. That was it. He was kissing her like it meant something. Which was silly, since he was surely more experienced in this respect than she was and probably just knew how to make a kiss feel significant.

When he pulled away and groaned almost painfully, she kept her eyes squeezed tightly shut. The creak of wicker cut into the silence and she felt his warmth slip away as he sat back. She finally opened her eyes to find him looking out over the water.

"I like looking at the water, too," he said softly.

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