GUEST BLOG: Chemistry, Take Two by Anne CalhounThursday, March 28, 2013 12:00
It’s the must have component of every romance novel, the chemistry that makes what’s happening between the hero and heroine special, unique to their HEA. It’s the thing we can’t explain, the reason why your heart flutters when one man walks into a room but not another, the reason why you want that man right now over anyone else. It’s intangible, related to pheromones and hormones and something we can’t define. It never lasts and always lasts, and if you can act on it, it will change your life. Abby Simmons, the heroine in my current release Uncommon Pleasure, has some wicked good chemistry with her hero, Lieutenant Sean Winthrop. Read on for a sample of that attraction!
It was nearly two thirty in the morning when Abby walked out the bar’s back door and headed for the cluster of cars at the far end of the lot, where employees parked. Ben and Steve were long gone. Linc locked the door and followed her into the parking lot, watching to make sure every waitress locked herself in her car and left his property. She’d started her shift at five, when the bar opened, so her car was in the furthest corner, behind Lisette’s Blazer and Tim’s F-150. Parked beside her Celica was Sean’s showy Mustang.
After a sharp-eyed look between Abby and Sean, Lisette peeled out. He leaned against the driver’s side door, arms folded across his chest. Abby’s steps slowed.
“I don’t need the bat, you know,” Linc said conversationally from behind her.
“It’s fine, Linc,” Abby said.
Otherwise expressionless, Sean transferred his laser focus to Linc. “I just want to talk to her.”
“Standing right here,” Abby said to the lights overhead. “I am standing . . . right . . . here . . . and they’re talking over me like I don’t exist.”
“Five minutes,” Sean amended, then switched those brilliant blue eyes back to her. “Please.”
The Please got her. “Go on home, Linc,” she said softly.
Sean’s gaze skimmed the length of her legs in the short skirt, then he crossed the short distance between his car and hers. He seemed bigger than she remembered, taller somehow, as if combat expanded him two sizes. He reached for her foot, slipped off her shoe and set it on the trunk.
The position was a little awkward, forcing her to lean back and brace her hands behind her, at the angle where the rear windshield met the trunk. Her skirt pooled in her lap, revealing the lacy tops of her thigh-high stockings as he took off her other shoe. Sean was hot before, in a clean-cut, spit-and-polish, perfect-wedding-photos kind of way, the jut of his ruthlessly shaved jaw mirroring the angle of his high-and-tight. Now dark-blond stubble glinted in the parking lot’s glaring lights, softened his jawline and emphasized his full mouth. She wondered what it would be like to kiss him with that sandpaper scraping against her lips.
Then he gripped her foot, thumb rubbing her instep in counterpoint to the four fingers massaging her arch, the simple movement so confident and sensual that heat cracked everywhere she’d apply perfume—the hollow of her throat, the base of her spine, the insides of her elbows.
“Oh, that’s good,” she said quietly. He did it again, easing strained tendons and ligaments at the same time need tugged at her nipples and clit. Her elbows bent enough to land against the rear windshield, and her head dropped forward. Through half-closed eyes she saw herself, sprawled on the trunk of her car, her skirt barely decent, the pale, freckled skin of her thighs visible between the black stocking tops and her skirt, her blouse buttons straining over her breasts.
She shouldn’t need this. A night with Ben every few weeks satisfied her just fine. And yet when Sean set down her left foot and switched to her right, she didn’t primly close her legs. She didn’t sit up and reestablish boundaries appropriate for jilted girlfriend and jilting Marine. She didn’t say the words that would prove she was over Sean, that in her life he was so last year, and totally unnecessary this year. Instead she let him rub her aching foot and watch the telling heat climb from her collarbone to her face.
He set her foot down on the bumper, then his warm palm slid up her calf to the back of her knee and stroked. “What do you want, Sean?” she asked, and if the words lacked the acid she’d imagined flinging at him, well, she wasn’t the only one feeling the connection between them. His erection strained against the front of his cargo pants.
“I want to take you out to dinner,” he said, his voice so low as to be almost soundless in the silent night.
She lifted both eyebrows and let her gaze drift down his torso to his erection. “Liar.”
“I owe you an apology,” he started.
Her bent knee dropped to rest against his waist. “No, you don’t,” she said, almost sweetly. “You did what you had to do. I’m over it. And I don’t have time for dinner, or lunch, or drinks, or coffee. All I have time for is a hookup. That was Ben’s job. If you want it for the duration of your leave, you can have it. He won’t mind sharing.”
There. It wasn’t disdainful or disinterested, given that her black lace panties were almost visible at the juncture of her thighs, but this was better. This satisfied something dark and sexual deep in her belly, something that tasted very much like revenge.
His hand was at the back of her thigh now, almost at the curve of her buttock, stroking delicate skin made sensitive by the tight elastic right below it. Standing between her knees, he planted his other hand on the rear windshield and bent forward, his hard body almost but not quite touching hers from lips to hips. The move put his mouth less than a breath from hers. Surprised, she dropped back against the windshield, but flattened her palms against his chest. Through his shirt she felt his heart pound, hard thuds that belied his calm demeanor.
“What are the hours? Job duties?”
His rough mouth avoided her lips to trail along her jaw and down her neck, making it very hard to manufacture an answer out of the thick, heated air in their bubble. “Whatever I want, whenever I want.”
The moment stretched between them, smoldering with things unspoken and lust. This wasn’t the studious, intense man who left her behind. Someone completely unknown challenged her from the darker shadows in his eyes.
“Deal,” he said. “But I’m your only hookup for the next month.”
“You don’t make the rules, Sean. I do.”
Without blinking he straightened, pivoted, and gave her his back, leaving her skin to cool in the night air. The locks on the Mustang clicked open. She shifted back to her elbows and watched him walk, knowing this was the perfect way to end it. It was her way or no way, and she wasn’t promising him a thing, especially not some fake fidelity. Except . . . her body remembered Sean. Wanted Sean. Because it was different with him. It wasn’t about stress relief. It was about pure need.
“Deal,” she said.
Do you remember any specific instances of chemistry? Did the relationship become a keeper, or was it a purely physical reaction? One commentor will win a copy of Uncommon Pleasure!