Thursday, May 21, 2015

Into the Light - Excerpt



I shivered violently as I stepped back into the kitchen. The mercury had dropped at least ten degrees after the sun went down. I shrugged off my coat and slung it over a chair. I’d need it again in a few minutes to bring the lamb chops in from the grill, but first I needed to finish setting the table. The dishes and silverware were already in place, but I’d stashed the roses and candles in my brother Luke’s old room so Aves wouldn’t see them.

I arranged them carefully, placing the best looking long-stemmed rose in pride of place across Avery’s plate. I felt almost silly doing that. I should greet him at the door with it, but I wanted him to be surprised. I’d given him a rose when he answered the door last year. This time he’d be coming home to me—to our home—after work. It felt different, so I was embracing it.


Valentine’s Day hadn’t ever been a thing for me before Avery. I’d gone through the motions of the event if I was dating someone at that time of year, but I’d never felt anything special about the day one way or another. I’d mostly agreed with the naysayers who believed it was an artificial holiday created by chocolatiers and card makers. Except now it meant something because Valentine’s Day two years ago was the first time I’d kissed Avery. I could still see the shocked and overwhelmed expression in his eyes. I hadn’t known it at the time, but it was his first kiss. That alone made it special in a way it might not have been otherwise. 

Last year we’d spent the first anniversary of Avery’s first kiss—a much better name than Valentine’s Day—at the same steakhouse with Sam and Kira. It had been fun to recreate the moment, especially considering how far Aves had come in that time.

I wanted to do something different this time. Something quiet and private. Something to celebrate the fact that we had gone from a first kiss to a commitment to living together. The problem was, I wasn’t a cook. I hadn’t pretended when I’d told Avery that in the beginning. I could bake the heck out of my grandmother’s cookies and grill the hell out of a steak, a burger, or some brats, but anything that had to do with a stovetop was not my friend. When I’d told Avery I had Valentine’s Day dinner covered, it had been sixty-five degrees outside. Now there were eight inches of snow on the ground. Proof positive I was an idiot for trusting the February weather. 

I wouldn’t let the snow or the booked-solid restaurants deter me though. I wasn’t going to lose my superhero cape to some transient fluffy rain and a misplaced trust in fickle weather patterns. My man deserved a special second anniversary of his first kiss and that was exactly what he was going to get, even if it meant shoveling eight inches of snow from the back patio to get to the grill.

The silly thing was that Avery wouldn’t care if I brought home kid’s meals from the local fast food joint. The food didn’t mean a thing to either of us. The important thing was that we were together and in love. We were still in that sappy-in-love stage of our relationship where we revered every first we could remember. Our first kiss. The first time I told him I loved him. The first time he said it back. The first time he spent the night. The first time we made love. The first time I spent the night in his apartment. Our first Christmas alone together. The first time we made love in our own home—that was just days ago, but damn it had been fun. And now we were marking another milestone. It didn’t have to be perfect, but I was definitely using the opportunity to show him again how much I loved him.

I poured the salad from the bag into a bowl, tossed it with a little bit of dressing, and carried it to the table. I was reaching for my coat to retrieve the lamb chops and baked potatoes from the grill when I heard Avery open the front door. I left the coat and raced to greet him. My heartbeat stuttered at the light that came into his eyes when he saw me. I’d do everything in my power to make sure he felt that way the rest of his life.

I helped him unwind the scarf from around the lower half of his face. Before he could utter a word, I pressed a lingering kiss to his cold lips. “I missed you today,” I confessed, dragging down the zipper of his coat.

His laugh warmed me. “You just saw me five hours ago.”

I tried for a wounded expression. “It was a long five hours.” Avery rolled his eyes as I slid the heavy coat down his arms. I hung it in the closet and turned back in time for him to pull me down for a longer, much better kiss than the one I’d just given him.

His arms wrapped around my neck as his tongue dueled with mine, exploring, tasting, claiming. The man was a quick study. Once he’d decided we could be friends who kissed, he’d taken to kissing like he meant it. I would never get tired of kissing him.

I cupped his cute butt and lifted, hoisting him until our groins rubbed against each other. Avery wrapped his legs around my waist, securing his position, as he continued the kiss. He thrust his hips against me and I moved forward until he was pressed against the wall. Two could play at that game. I broke the kiss to nibble on his jawline and neck. He leaned his head away to give me better access. Aves had a sweet spot behind his earlobe that revved his engine every time I licked it. Tonight was no exception. As my tongue made contact with his skin, he bucked his hips into mine again. He exhaled my name in a lustful whisper. He twined fingers in my hair and yanked my head back. Our lips crashed together as his tongue licked into my mouth. This time it was my hips that thrust into his. 

I moved us around the wall into the living room to continue this on a soft horizontal surface. Soft wasn’t even a requirement, just horizontal. I dumped us both onto the couch, groins aligned perfectly. Avery laughed into my mouth and swatted my shoulder, breaking the kiss.

“Why do you have the timer on?”

I bit lightly on his neck, licking away the sting as his words made it through the fog of need in my brain. That was sort of strange sex talk, but if he wanted to see how fast and hard we could go, I was game.

Then I heard it. The timer I’d set on the microwave, reminding me to retrieve our dinner from the grill. I groaned in defeat, slumping to allow my full weight to press against my sexy boyfriend. I pressed my forehead against his and pecked his lips. “Dinner will be served in two minutes. Gotta get the chops and potatoes off the grill.” I sighed heavily, feeling my erection retreat in acknowledgment that he’d have to wait until later for fun and games.

Aves chuckled and kissed me chastely. “Poor baby. We’ll get to the good stuff later.”

I smiled at him, meaning every word. “It’s all good stuff with you, little one.”

He smacked my ass. Hard. “You’re such a romantic, big one.”

I laughed and moved off of him, pulling him up with me. “Sorry. I keep forgetting.” 

“I think you just like me calling you big one.”

I grinned. “It is kind of an ego boost.”

He rolled his eyes. “Like you need that.”

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