Read along with Mary Ann Rivers as she teases a sexy excerpt from Snowfall! (From Loveswept’s HEATING UP THE HOLIDAYS livechat)
We’re on heavy lab stools, so I don’t scoot away but just lean back to let him work the scope. Plus, I may have to lean back in to help him focus. His upper arm rests against my shoulder, and it’s nice, like his hand on my back had been.
He seems so comfortable with being close, with incidental touching, I wonder if it’s because of his job, or him, or what.
“I see blobs.” He turns his head from the eyepiece, his hand on the coarse adjustment.
“Okay, let me see.” I lean in, and he moves his head just enough to the side to fit mine.
I can feel the warmth of his cheek though we’re not touching.
I reach down automatically to the coarse-focus knob and my hand covers his.
He moves his hand away, but slow, like he’s being respectful of the equipment and of me. He doesn’t jerk from the closeness and touch at all.
He doesn’t move away from me in any way, like he’s just fine right inside my space, half of his chest along my back and shoulder, his head bent with mine.
It feels amazing, and confusing, and maybe a little more amazing because it’s confusing.
My stomach drops heavy and sweet into my pelvis and it’s that, the familiar, early throb of wanting and horniness that stills my hand in the middle of my adjustment on the scope.
Feeling horny feelings is a little different than feeling safe and accommodating feelings.
I breathe out, slow, and get the focus into a place that just a few tiny nudges with the fine adjustment will bring the cells up. I leave it there because I want him to have that moment where he can see everything, and it looks like the slide will be a pretty good one.
“Okay, it’s almost there, just use the fine focus.” I move my head from the eyepiece, and he’s right there, reaching for the adjustment knob before I’m completely moved away. Our temples press together for a moment, and his hand moves under mine again.
When I take a breath to steady myself, it doesn’t work because I just suck in mint and the warm, clean smell of his skin.
Which somehow makes me think of how easy it would be to just turn my face into his neck.
“Oh,” he says, then, under his breath, and I can feel his big body go still.
“Yeah? You got it?” I keep my voice low, too, because I totally understand.
“I do.” He takes his hand off the knob and rests it on the bench. I sort of want to put my hand over it and weave all my fingers through his.
I just look at his hand, instead.
There’s a white scar through the middle knuckle that has the faint impressions of where suture knots rested as the laceration healed. I wonder how he hurt himself. I want to run a finger along it.
“What do you think?” I really, really want to know.
“There’s a bunch of different things, and some things that I think are on top of other things. The color is more translucent than I expected.”
“Right. Different densities of material will take the stain differently. What else?”
“There’s more than one kind of thing. I think a couple of strings from the swab. Then little dots, pieces of things. I can tell what the cells are, though. I can see the walls, and the nuclei?”
I kind of laugh, because it’s just so awesome, the way his voice is serious but his mouth is smiling.
He looks away then, and he’s just inches away.
His eyes find mine.
“Thank you for showing me this,” he says.
“Yeah, of course.” Now I’m looking at him, not just at his brain.
He straightens up, but I sit up with him, and we’re still looking at each other and I don’t know what’s going to happen or what he’s going to say and suddenly, I am looking at his mouth.
I can’t believe I’m doing that, so I look back into his eyes.
But his eyes don’t seem surprised at all.
Then he reaches up and he curls that big hand around the nape of my neck and I swear to God, all the breath in my body rushes to the surface of my skin in this insane flash of heat that makes it so I can’t breathe back in, not ever, it feels like.
His face is so serious, and my brain is totally scrambled against working out what will happen next, even though I must know because he pulls me to him, without any hesitance at all, without any of the reluctance I would think he would have given how dedicated he is to his professional life.
He pulls me right to him, and then, his mouth is against my forehead, pursed in a kiss, but not exactly, because I can feel him breathing, and his hand on my nape has tightened, to hold me right there.
I can’t even process this, and I close my eyes, and as soon as I do, everything in the entire world is his hand on my neck, his mouth on my forehead.
“Jenny,” he whispers along my hair.
He says it again, without even his voice, just his breath. Holds me to him, right there.
I keep my eyes closed.
I need the entire world to stay just like this.
About Mary Ann Rivers
Mary Ann Rivers was an English and music major and went on to earn her MFA in creative writing, publishing poetry in journals and leading creative-writing workshops for at-risk youth. While training for her day job as a nurse practitioner, she rediscovered romance on the bedside tables of her favorite patients. Now she writes smart and emotional contemporary romance, imagining stories featuring the heroes and heroines just ahead of her in the coffee line. Mary Ann Rivers lives in the Midwest with her handsome professor husband and their imaginative school-aged son.
Mary Ann’s debut novel, LIVE: The Burnside Series, goes on sale January 21!
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