Spring is a time of renewal. A time when the bitter waiting through a demoralizing winter has finally come to an end. Flowers blossom. Birds return. It’s a time for something new.
Like, for instance, my new website. Yes, I’ve finally finished it. All the components are not quite in place (I want to get some free reads on there and some behind-the-book posts as well) but the design is finished, the pages are up, and it’s ready to be admired. Take a look at www.lbelow.net.
And to leave you with a warm and fuzzy feeling, below I’ve posted a short, sweet little romance story. Enjoy!
Sweet As a Lemon
Sarah struggled to kick off her heels as she collapsed onto the front steps of her childhood home. She leaned her head on the railing. Why today?
She had never begrudged her sister anything. Not her looks or the way she could snag any man with the flutter of her eyelashes. Not her popularity or her easy way of making friends. But why did Rachael have to announce her engagement today?
The door behind her opened, spilling the babble from inside. Sarah looked around to see who had joined her, and made a face. She turned her head back again.
Jeff sat beside her. He was the kid brother she’d never had growing up, always ready to tease her when she was down. He was here to rub it in, she just knew it. She pretended he wasn’t there, but she could still feel his solid body beside her, radiating warmth. The night was cool enough that she had to stop herself from leaning closer.
He stretched out his legs. If he was waiting for her to say something, he might die of old age first. She glanced over at him from the corner of her eye.
He smiled sympathetically. The expression looked out of place on his playboy face, mostly hidden in shadow. “How are you holding up?” he murmured.
“I’m fine,” Sarah snapped. She looked straight ahead again.
He sighed. “Sure you are.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” she snarled.
He didn’t even bat an eyelash. “I’m not blind. I could see your face in there, Sarah. You’re still not over him.”
Her mouth twisted. She turned her face away so he wouldn’t see. “I am, Jeff.”
He let out a loud breath. “Sure–”
“Honestly, I am!”
“Then why do you look like you’re about to cry? Or are you going to tell me that there was just something in your eye?” He gazed at her steadily. She could almost make believe that she could see the blue of his eyes, even though it was too dark. He didn’t seem to be fazed by her waspishness at all.
He knew her too well.
“Why were you even looking at me?” she grumbled.
He raised a dirty-blond eyebrow. “Sarah, everyone was looking at you. It’s not exactly a secret that you two used to be together.”
“We were more than together. If he hadn’t have gone waltzing off with my sister, we would have been married. Today, in fact!”
Jeff’s fingers brushed her knee. The pads of his fingers felt rough against her skin. She jerked away. “So you are upset.”
To her shame, tears flooded her eyes and spilled down her cheeks. “I don’t want him back,” she whispered. “Why did they have to throw this party? Why did they have to announce it today, of all days?” She looked down at her bare feet, at her shoes scattered on the ground. She let the night breeze cool her cheeks.
Jeff still didn’t leave. She figured he would, now that she’d finally broken down. He’d had his fun, after all. She glanced up, and tried for her usual glare, though it felt watered down. “Why are you even out here with me, anyway? What do you care if I am upset?”
He shrugged his broad shoulders. She couldn’t help but notice the way they stretched his suit jacket. He had filled out from the gangly youth he used to be. He smelled different, too. More like a man.
She shook her head as if she could shake out those thoughts.
“You’re sweet,” he murmured.
She laughed hollowly. “I am not.”
“Sure you are. Like a kicked puppy. You lash out at everyone, but we still know that you’re hurt.”
For the first time in her life, she couldn’t think of a retort. He shifted closer. His fingers traced her cheeks, traced her tears. “I never thought I’d see you like this,” he whispered.
“Vulnerable,” he said, little more than a whisper.
She felt his words caress her lips. Her tongue darted out to catch them.
His voice lowered, growing raspy. “Attainable. You’re always such an ice queen, Sarah, but tonight I feel like I can almost have you.”
“You can what?”
Jeff swooped in, kissing away her confusion. Lips warm. Firm. He tasted sweet, like champagne. Her head spun by the time he broke the kiss. What was happening?
“Rachael may have ruined your night, sweetheart, but what do you say we ruin hers?” He moved onto his knees in the dirt in front of her. His hands held her head steady. He wouldn’t let her look away. “Let’s steal her thunder.” He studied her, gaze darting over her face. Giving her no place to hide.
“What…” She licked her lips, trying to quell the croak in her throat. “What are you asking?”
“I’m asking you to give us a shot. I love you. Always have.”
Her heart pounded. He knew her better than any other man. How could she not have suspected? Her lips throbbed from his kiss. Strangely, she wanted more. But reaching out to him would change everything between them.
Who was she kidding? Their world had changed already, with a heartfelt kiss and a proclamation she couldn’t ignore. Leaning forward, she whispered one word. “Yes.”
A boyish smile cracked his face and his mouth came crashing down over hers.