Today I’m a part of the Raining Romance Books Giveaway Hop! What’s up for grabs?
- International – EBook Flawed Perfeciton
- International – Ebook Love Exactly
Today you’ll also get an exclusive look into my upcoming novel, Finding the Cure.
When I arrived at the apartment Trent was outside, sitting on the front steps with a artist pad and a set of colored pencils. He was already dressed in what he called a “casual” suit, which consisted of dark wash jeans, a white button-up and thin pink tie topped off with a navy suit jacket. He didn’t look up when I parked my car in the driveway, but instead kept drawing, switching colors even as my heels clicked against the cement walkway. I cocked my head as I stared down at the drawing. This was of a cherry tree, shedding it’s flower petals slowly to the ground, the shading around it made it look like the clouds were settling over it.
“That’s beautiful,” I whispered as I breathed in.
His eyes slowly rose to mine and he shook his head. “No where close to as beautiful as you.”
He stood, and I lifted my shoulders up, the tiny straps of my dress moving with them. Trent put his hands on my wrists, sliding them up my bare arms up to my neck. “I should’ve asked you to wear a dress sooner.”
I looked down at the dark purple dress, a plunging cowl neckline showed more of my skin than I ever did; plus, the dress barely hit my finger tips at it’s shortest lengths, and the longest parts of the handkerchief cut was at the top of my knees.
“You like it?” I whispered.
Trent’s thumbs stroked my neck, causing tingles to rush over my skin as my breath left my lungs. Our eyes met as he leaned in to kiss me. My fingers ran up the front of the suit, stopping at his shoulders as his lips lifted away from mine. I leaned closer, pulling his lower lip through my teeth. He pulled away laughing.
“I wish I hadn’t made those reservations now,” he whispered, his forehead still pressed against mine.
I brushed my lips against his again, before replying, “We do have the entire night alone.”
My hand slipped down, wrapping around his tie and his chest rose against it as he inhaled. “Hmm…”
“Pink?” I asked as I let my fingers release the tie.
He shrugged. “Allie picked it, and you’ve seen that face, how could I say no?”
I put my hand over my mouth as I fought back the laughter.
He looked at the sky, sighing. “Go ahead, mock me.”
“How can I mock you?” I asked, blinking at him. “It’s a pink tie, and you look like–” I shook my head, signaling up and down his body; “that!”
“Whatever that means,” Trent replied, leaning down and picking up his sketch. I cocked my head, staring at his ass openly. He looked over his shoulder, narrowing his eyes. “Save that for later–when you can actually undress me with more than just your eyes.”
My mouth dropped open, and he winked as he hopped up the steps and opened the door to place his drawing things on the door side table before grabbing his keys. He turned back to me, and my mouth was still hanging open.
“Really?” Trent commented, crossing his arms and leaning back on his heels. It really wasn’t fair that he could look so dapper and yet so not hipster. “You look like that.”
I closed my mouth, chewing the inside of my lip to keep from smirking. I shook my head and gave into to the warmth spreading through my body. I smiled at him. “You’re not going to blind fold me or something?”
Trent stopped mid stride, putting his hands together and rubbing as he looked at me. “I didn’t think you’d let me…unless–“
“No!” I cut him off. “I didn’t mean it like that.”
Trent dropped his hands, snaking one into mine. “I just figured I’d check.”
“Kinky!” I hissed.
He leaned over his lips running over my earlobe as he whispered, “You’re the one who bit my lip.”
I smacked him before hopping into the truck. I grabbed the door to shut it but stopped when I noticed he was standing there unblinking with a silly grin plastered on his face.
“What?” I hissed as I slammed the door, crossing my arms as I sunk into the seat.
He chuckled to himself as he jumped in and put the truck in gear. He put his arm over the back of the seat, the self-satisfied look still on his face.
“Trent,” I dragged out his name as I said it.
“Let’s say I’m excited to see what’s underneath the dress again.”
I looked at the gray fabric of the ceiling, staring at the imaginary patterns as my face burned.
“Jerk,” I whispered to myself.
“What?” Trent shot back. “You’re beautiful– I can’t enjoy it?”
I slipped my hand in his. “Just not so openly.”
He laughed in response.
“So, what’s the special occasion?”
Trent rubbed his thumb over mine. “We haven’t celebrated any milestones in our relationship…It’s been a year since I first noticed Stew torturing you,” I narrowed my eyes at him as he continued; “You were so nice at trying to persuade him you didn’t need help, but you always took a deep breath like you were ready to smack him.”
“I almost did a few times, and that’s not very nice of me.”
Trent shook his head. “You were always lady like, most other women would have been rude to him.”
I sighed. “Yeah, I have a hard time being mean to most people.”
He looked at me out of the corner of his eye as if he was waiting for me to say something else, or realize something else. I felt my heart beginning to race as silence filled the space between us. Finally, he coughed, rubbing his unshaven chin. “It’s also almost the end of your semester, meaning you survived Algebra! And…we’ve been dating 4 months.”
My stomach fluttered as my head jerked back. I wanted to say really? But somehow, thankfully, kept it in. Instead, I leaned over and kissed his cheek.
“You’re a hopeless romantic now?”
He shook his head, his brow furrowing as he fought the idea. “Nah– I just like to do something nice every once and a while.”
I nudged him. “Admit it.”
His mouth opened, his eyes searching mine before his lips pursed back together and he swallowed, looking back ahead.
The unspoken words hung in the air, and my stomach fluttered again, this time in a far more uncomfortable way.
“So sushi–and then what?” I asked, interrupting the uncomfortable silence.
“Actually, sushi is after,” Trent said and I looked over at him as he parked in a gallery lot.
He put the truck in park. “I saw an article on this gallery–the best photographers of Arizona.”
Trent bit his lip before jumping out of the car. I followed suit, shutting the door behind me and falling into step next to him. He put his arm around my waist, his muscles tight against my skin. I squeezed his side, cocking my head at him and the tension fell away. His eyes softened. “I hope you enjoy this.”
“Why wouldn’t I?” I asked as he held the door open for me.
He pulled his lips in again before, nodding inside. He followed me as my eyes lifted to the photograph as I walked in. My knees weakened as my eyes froze on the perfect framing of the sunset from my backyard. My chest tightened, painfully pushing all the air out of me. I grabbed for Trent’s arm as my mouth moved with no words coming out. I stepped forward, my hand out, but stopped when my fingers were inches from the print. They tingled, acting to trace the scene.
“Abela had this eye, didn’t she? Almost ethereal,” a person next to me said, and I yanked my hand in. “It’s too bad she’s gone. It’s been almost ten years since we saw a work this amazing.”
I nodded and the woman held her hand out. “Ann Stella, gallery owner.”
I put my hand in hers, glancing over at Trent, still breathless, speechless. He smiled and I shook my head, knocking myself back into reality. “Ellie…Abela.”
“Abela?” her hand froze in mine as she glanced at the picture. “As in Abby’s daughter?”
I breathed in through my nose as I gave one nod.
“I should’ve known!” she whispered, her hand finally slipping from mine as she pressed her palms together and then folded them outward towards me. “You look like her–you have her beautiful hair.”
It was in a braid, per my usual, something I favored due to Mom always having one.
“Thank you,” I whispered.
Trent held his hand out. “She has her mom’s talent for photography, but even more, she can capture it in acrylic paint beautifully. Trent Wentworth. El’s boyfriend.”
I was finally able to comprehend the thin, silver-haired woman in front of me. Her eyes wrinkled in the corners, showing the smile she wore now was something she always did. Her warmth radiated from her as she placed her hand on my back and we turned towards the painting again.
“Have you painted this one?”
“Tried,” I replied. I struggled to loosen the tightness in my chest, taking in a shaky breath. “It was…hard–emotionally. It was her favorite picture. I just could never capture it and do it justice.”
“I would love to see commission you for one the same size as this,” she said, glancing over at me.
“You haven’t even seen one of my paintings,” I whispered in response, the words sounded gurgled.
“Actually, I have–” she smiled, looking over my head at Trent.
I let my gaze follow hers to him. He looked at his feet, chewing his cheek as his toes moved beneath the canvas of his sneakers. I now understood his nerves. I leaned over kissing his cheek and his eyes fluttered on his cheeks, his arm muscle softening against my hands as I leaned up.
“I’d love to try,” I replied as I turned to her once again.
“Excellent, I’ve drafted up some paperwork if you’ll come this way. It’ll only take a moment, you can read through it and return it later this week,” she explained.
Trent and I followed and she handed me the paperwork, squeezing my elbow as she walked passed me to greet more of her visitors. I stared at the paper, my eyes widening at the number on the page. $5,000.00. My eyes dried before I finally blinked and looked up at Trent.
“Am I really seeing this number?” I whispered.
Trent looked down at him, nodding. “I think so.”
I threw my hands around his neck and kissed him once. “Thank you.”
He rubbed his thumb over my chin. “Anything for you. I’m glad you’re not upset with me.”
I shook my head. “This is amazing–if I can do it.”
His eyes locked on mine. “You can.”
He believed it.
And suddenly, so did I.
COPYRIGHT 2015, CASSANDRA GIOVANNI
Don’t forget to check out the other blog hops for other exclusive giveaways!