Extract "French Kiss"
(c) Heather McVey 2005
If I’d been under them I would have been dead, that was the one and only thought which played itself over and over in Heather’s head.
“Are you all right?” Pierre asked, leaning over her.
Heather looked up and thought she had never seen a more pleasant sight than his face silhouetted against the stormy grey sky above. She nodded, and gave him a weak smile.
“Come on,” he said, as he stood looking down at her. “It won’t do you any good to lie there on the cold ground. Give me your hand.”
Heather did as he said and he caught it in his. She latched on with a grip of iron and he pulled her into his arms.
“You could have killed me!” she complained hysterically. “A second more and I would have been crushed, great plan.”
“But you weren’t, baby,” he said, crushing her against his chest, stroking her back as he sought to calm her. “And you’re safe now.”
Heather looked up. She was okay, they were okay, that was good.
“W-what exactly happened?”
Pierre released her from his arms. Keeping hold of her hand, he said, “I saw you across from the lake.”
“That was you then directing those men?” Heather asked quickly.
He nodded. “And well I recognized your hair and when I saw you come in here, I mean come on, it’s a bit secluded, woman, so I came to check that you were okay.”
“Don’t call me ‘woman’,” she snapped.
A brow climbed into his hairline, and those full, firm, well-shaped lips quirked at the corners. “Yessir,” he said with a grin.
Heather frowned. “What you’re really saying is that you followed me?”
He didn’t deny it. “And good job too that I did. If I hadn’t pushed you out of the way you would have been crushed.” His eyes darkened almost to black, as they turned accusatory. “Merde! What the hell were you thinking not to see that lightning bolt hit the oak?”
Never would she tell him what she’d been thinking. Never!
How could she even start to explain the black cloud of despair caused by the guilt of her sister’s death, which often obscured her thoughts, blanking out everything else until it was almost as if she walked in a dream world? The pain, the hurt was hers and hers alone to bear, she certainly wouldn’t share it with this stranger.
A faint, musical laugh emanating from the air, floated across Heather’s face, and she clearly heard her sister Lynn’s voice. Why not, girl, tears are the closest way to a man’s heart after good food. He’s a ‘Strawberry Tart’, remember. How many of them do you plan on meeting in your lifetime?
A sad smile touched Heather’s lips, that was exactly what her sister would have said, had she still been alive. Sometimes it was as if Lynn was still there helping her out when she needed it, making her laugh when she was down.
God, Lynn, she thought. I miss you, babes, God do I miss you.
Laughter no more, only silence.
Heather closed her eyes, too weary to stop the tears of sorrow from streaming down her face.
“Don’t cry,” Pierre said soothingly, wiping away a trickling tear with a finger. He gathered her close against his chest. “You are a very brave lady.”
A bittersweet smile touched Heather’s lips. Of course he didn’t know why she was crying. He probably thought it was because of her near miss with the tree. For some reason the thought only made her cry all the harder.
“You are a very brave lady,” he repeated and kissed her crown.
She dabbed at her eyes with the sleeve of her tracksuit top. “No, I’m not,” she protested. “I was scared to death when I realized that I was trapped beneath those branches.”
“But you did not show it,” Pierre said, staring at her lips in rapt fascination. They looked fuller, redder than he remembered—lips that begged to be kissed.
Heather pocked him in the ribs. “I panicked and we both know it, buddy.”
Pierre managed a wan smile. “Maybe you did a little, but hey, I’m not telling, chérie.”
A flash of lightning lit the park, and with it came an accompanying boom of thunder that seemed to echo inside her head. Recalling just what a narrow escape she’d had, made Heather act impulsively, and she tried to climb up Pierre’s body.
Reacting only to the fact that the little redhead was shaking so violently—probably from shock, damn it, Pierre pulled her close against his chest. He rubbed the small of her back reassuringly. With a jolt, he realized that she wasn’t much larger than a child, but the soft rounded breasts and curves pressing against his chest definitely were not those of a child. He offered a silent curse, as he felt himself harden. He pressed an ardent kiss against her wet hair, while backing up a little so that she wouldn’t feel the press of his erection.
He had to shout over the howling wind to be heard. “There, there, chérie, there is no need to be frightened. It is okay, it’s only thunder, God’s probably redesigning his house and shifting his furniture.”
Heather grinned at the childish description. Knowing that he was doing it deliberately to comfort her, she gave him a jerky nod.
Pierre, as if transfixed, watched her long hair, darkened a deeper shade of red from the lashing rain, cling to her head and shoulders as she shuddered with the next cracking, boom of thunder. Later when he asked himself what had caused him to do what he did next, he could only put it down to how vulnerable and ultimately helpless, yet sexy Heather had looked in the moment—with the blowing wind lashing strands of her hair across her pale face that caught in her long eyelashes, shivering, no bigger than a child in her soaked jogging suit, proudly, although she must have been shocked witless refusing the comforting warmth of his arms. A comfort he realized with another jolt that he was very willing to give, hell, which his cock was aching to give.
“Heather,” he whispered as he inched closer until his mouth hovered above hers. “Heather, I think I want to kiss you.” He saw her wide-eyed, startled gaze, saw the curiosity in it as why he should want to. Saw her expectancy of whether or not it would be good. Soon, they would both find out.
“Heather, I don’t think I want to kiss you. I know that I do,” he repeated, then lowered his mouth onto hers.
Those lips which he hadn’t been able to get out of his mind since first meeting her in her hallway were as soft and as warm as he imagined; but better still they were pliant, and to his delighted surprise, not at all resistant. Pierre wrapped one hand in her fiery-red locks, cradling the back of her head as his lips explored hers with soft, gentle kisses.
In the next instance, shock cursed through him as he realized that his mouth was on hers. A shock that was both sweet and utterly terrifying in its intensity. He hadn’t planned to kiss her, or had he? Since first spying her red hair across the lake, why else had he followed her?
His thoughts normally so clear, became fuzzy. Suddenly, he wanted to kiss the blue tinge from her lips, kiss them until they were once again rosy and red and warm. He cupped her neck, the frantic beat of her pulse somehow adding to his desire. The cold, wet mantel of her hair that flowed across his wrist was confusingly a further turn-on .....