And here is a short excerpt from the newest release “To You.” To You is a short story (7,000 words) that appears in the romance anthology Amor Vincit Omnia just released 11 November 2015!
At the trail’s end where the pine trees shade the forest, a clearing welcomed us in. A forest stream trickled at the edge of the clearing and flowed down, cutting its way through the earth.
“Have you been here before, love?” you asked as if you harbored secrets only you knew of. The deeper into the wood the stream before us flowed, the lower the stream fell over rock and shale until walls of stone appeared on either side. The further down you climbed, the higher the walls towered over us.
“As I child I would climb these walls,” I said.
You flashed me a grin and stepped into the stream.
“Come with me,” you bade and I slipped my hand into yours. Carefully, we watched our footing. My bare feet touched down on the slippery stone. The ground sloped and you led me down. Every step of the way you were there to take my hand. Every plunge the stream took, you were there to meet me at the bottom and help me down.
The first drop was nearly six feet. We rode the soil down like a slide and landed easily enough in the ankle-deep pool of water. Above our heads, the wind rustled the forest and trees, and still we climbed.
The second set of falls dropped nearly ten feet, but you turned to the wall of stone. With your bow secured over your shoulder, you positioned your feet and pulled yourself up.
“When was the last time you did this?” you asked.
“I was fifteen,” I answered.
“So you know what awaits us at the top.”
I grinned and looked up at you. I’ll admit. I wallowed in the view.
“I know exactly what waits for us at the top,” I said, and as soon as your footing was clear, I put my hands to the stone and pulled myself onto the rock wall.
We climbed and shifted ourselves along the wall until we hung, suspended over the ten foot drop. Looking up and to the left, I could see the ledge that jutted out. As a child, I often stood on that ledge. It had been so long since I had seen the view.
You shimmied and I knew where you were leading me. I asked anyway.
“Where are you going?” I called.
You positioned yourself flat against the stone passage that would have taken you to the ledge. Instead of climbing up to the ledge, you passed the only clear path.
“I’ve been on that cliff,” you said. “Its view is not the best around.”
My chest filled with elation and I resisted the urge to squeal. I knew where you were leading me. I bit my bottom lip and climbed.
Stone cut the bottom of my feet. Dirt filled the lines on my hands. Together we shifted and pulled ourselves along the stone careful to keep our bodies flat against the earthen wall. Below, the water fell, ten feet then twenty. By the time the first of the rains began to fall, the drop below was thirty feet and the water roared.
“There,” you called and I looked up in time to see you throw your hand onto the final ledge. Grunting, you pulled yourself up. Still on your knees, you turned down and reached for me. I gave you my hand and you pulled me up and into you with such ease.
“Such a tiny little thing you are,” you said.
“Be careful,” I whispered and you looked at me. “Too easily I could love you.”
And all at once, without thought or reason, you kissed me. Your hands slid into my hair and your mouth moved over mine. The cold from the elevation and the wind and the rain vanished as the heat of your body, your mouth, and your arms enveloped me.
You carried me away in that kiss. You won the heart I gave willingly at that moment. Slowly, you released me. I tasted you on my lips.
“I…” I said. Your hands still cradled my head as if you couldn’t bear to let go. Please don’t let me go, I wanted to say, but didn’t. You touched your forehead lightly to mine. I looked into your eyes and somehow, I knew. If I revealed all the secrets stored in my heart, you would know me and still love me.
You loved me. This I knew.
Before I spoke, I had so much to say, so much you needed to know. But the moment I saw you there on the ledge, every word, every letter, every sigh that had ever been exchanged between two lovers—every word that had ever been written about love—every word that had ever been spoken about love—in that look, we two exchanged those words. And just like that, nothing needed to be said.
If only you could remember.