Thursday, February 12, 2009
Tormented Soul - Excerpt 1
“British Airways’ Flight 112 to New York will be boarding through gate sixty-five momentarily.”
Lynn quietly reached down and picked up her flight bag. She looked at the boarding pass in her hand. Funny that she didn’t feel like she was going home, but more like she was leaving home. This last trip had been so different from all the others and had taken an emotional toll on her. Perhaps an uneventful stay at her father’s would be just what she needed before returning to finish her photo shoot.
Erick McAlister reached out and adjusted the strap on her shoulder. He glanced toward the gate Lynn would be going through and noticed a young couple saying their good-byes. They spoke softly in between tender kisses, holding each other in a tight embrace. His black heart thudded in his chest. He wondered if that would ever be him; if he was capable of loving, or being loved.
His best friend, Andrew, had been a tormented soul like himself, and against odds found love and happiness with his sister, Elizabeth. Erick thought back to a time when he tasted the sweetness of comfort and contentment. Andrew had been determined to pay Elizabeth and Lynn a surprise visit at Hampton House and persuaded him and his brother Michael to join him.
Through Erick’s life, Lynn Westmore was the only woman to affect him like she did, and he didn’t like it. The night he was changed, he drank himself to oblivion to avoid his uneasy feelings. Unknown to him, his sister had put her best friend in his room during her stay. After retiring in a drunken state to his old bed, he woke in the morning with Lynn in his arms.
She had become a first of sorts. The first woman to sleep with him in his bed at Hampton House, the first to wake with him in the morning, and the first woman to share a bed and not be ravished. As tempting his lustful desires were that morning, he enjoyed the quiet conversation and her presence more than any sexual conquest. With Lynn he found a small piece of serenity he’d only dreamed of.
“Well, it’s almost time,” Lynn’s voice brought him back to the present. “I’ve been gone from the States so long; I hope I haven’t forgotten where I live.”
“Well if you can’t find it, Erick said, “you know you are always welcome at Hampton House. When did you say you will be back?”
“Some time in the spring; depends on the weather. I have a couple of locations I need to go back to. These books on English gardens are scheduled to go to press during the summer, so I have a time factor to work with.” She tilted her auburn head, her brown eyes sparkled, her smile teased. “Are you going to miss me?”
“Yes. I will.”
Lynn put her arms around his waist to give him a hug before she boarded. She felt his arms tighten around her and wondered what it would be like to be loved by him. She felt she could never compete with the beautiful women he surrounded himself with; he was just out of her league. She knew he was a man with worldly knowledge of women, a man capable of incredible passion; a man with such sexual prowess and confidence he would never find satisfaction in someone with her lack of experience.
Erick wanted the moment to last forever. He felt faint stirrings in his black heart. He had broken hearts and strained some marriages. Over the years his reputation grew as a lover, a prince of seduction and passion. To him, women couldn’t be trusted and were nothing but a sport. But he refused to get involved with Lynn because he couldn’t bear to hurt her. Lynn was too good of a person to be played with. He trusted her and her friendship.
He ran his hand up her back, along her neck and cupped her face. He looked deep into her eyes.
“Sweet Lynn,” his voice was a husky whisper. “These last few months have probably been the best as well as my worst. You have heard my secrets and you know of the monster that lives inside me, yet you’ve been a good friend to me. I want you to know I trust you as I would trust my own sister. Thank you.”
He caressed her cheek with his thumb. Her lips were so inviting. He remembered the shock he had felt when he kissed her on New Years Eve. Only a few days had passed and he still felt their heat. He dipped his head and brushed his lips across hers.
“Good bye, Lynn.” He pulled away from her. “Have a good flight.”
It took everything Lynn had to remain on her feet. On the inside, she shook head to toe, from his touch and his kiss. Looking into his green eyes, she saw sadness. She smiled as she bade him farewell, then turned toward her boarding gate.
What a lousy way to start the year, he thought. All alone. His best friend had married his sister over the holidays and they were honeymooning in the American Southwest. Lynn was gone. His father and brother would be leaving in a few days. Perhaps he should visit the Underground Clubs as soon as he returned to London and find someone to warm the cold winter nights. For some reason, the thought didn’t sound very appealing at the moment, but would surely change by the time he dressed in his favorite leathers and disappeared into the London night.
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