Just out this week, Breathe You In has been an amazing book to write. The characters completely called to me and lived with me while they told me their story, so how could I not share a snippet today from their first kiss, shared on a picnic in the Northamptonshire countryside...
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“Katie,” he whispered when I pulled back from our soft kiss.
“I’m sorry.” I could taste him, just a little. It hadn’t been a big, open-‐ mouthed snog, merely a touch. But still, it had spoken a thousand words, and it was the first time I’d kissed anyone other than Matt in nearly a decade.
“No, please don’t apologize.” He placed his hands on my shoulders, his thumbs grazing my collarbones through my t-‐shirt. “I liked it, but... are you sure?”
“I’m trying to put my life back together, too, Ruben. Matt will always be with me, no one can replace him.” I paused, juddered in a breath and put my hand on Ruben’s chest again. “Our time together was cut short, but the memories I have, they’re good memories.” I tried to find the right words; my emotions were tangled, my thoughts jumbled, but basically I just wanted to be with Ruben, it felt right. In a very basic, limbic part of my brain Ruben was someone I needed. “But I want to make new memories, happy ones, fun ones. I can’t be a sad widow who everyone feels sorry for anymore. It’s not what Matt would have wanted for me, I know that.”
“If he loved you he would have wanted you to find happiness again.” H stroked his thumbs to the dip at the base of my throat, shifting my silky scarf. It was a small, delicate caress that sent a shiver of something scarily like desire tickling over my skin.
“He did love me,” I said, “with all of his heart.”
And did that heart still love me? The one I could feel beating right now? Is that where love was stored, in the fibers of the cardiac muscle? And if so, did that mean Matt’s love had been transferred into Ruben when Matt’s heart was transplanted? Did Ruben love me already, because of the reassignment of an organ?
“Katie?” He frowned a little.
“For the first time it feels right to hear that said.”
“That he would have wanted me to be happy. Oh, it’s been said to me by lots of well-meaning friends over the last year, since the anniversary of his death, and I’ve just nodded and agreed, put on my usual fake smile.” I shook my head. “But now, here, yes, he would have wanted me to be looking for happiness again and I want to find it. Not because it’s what I’m supposed to be doing, but because it’s what I want. I need to feel alive again, because, like you said, I am alive.”
Ruben smiled, the edges of his mouth tilting a fraction and the creases at the corners of his eyes deepening. “Me too. God, me too.” He kissed me, a gentle connection, his tongue dipping into my mouth the tiniest amount.
I slid both my hands over his shoulders. He wrapped his arms around my body, and our chests touched. My breasts, through my top, squeezed up against his firm pectoral muscles.
His kiss was tender and sweet, his lips a new shape for me to learn. I touched the tip of my tongue to his, drew in the slightly salty, masculine flavor of him and knew it was something I wanted more of.
He pulled me closer still. I shifted, and next thing I knew he was resting me backwards. I unfolded my legs, stretched out and knocked away the pot of carrot sticks.
The feel of Ruben over me, kissing me, was exciting, frightening, wonderful and painful all at the same time.
He kissed across my cheek, to my ear. His breaths were loud, his weight carefully held on his elbows.
I ran my hands down his smooth back, tracing the dips and rises of his spine and the planes of his shoulder blades, all the time staring up at the cloudless sky and the bows of the birches, their tiny leaves shivering in the breeze.
“You smell like flowers,” he whispered into the shell of my ear.
“Yes, so pretty.” He lifted his head and looked down at me. “Kissing you here, now, it’s my top new memory.”
I smiled; the smile grew and grew until it balled my cheeks and another giggle escaped. “I think it’s mine too.”
He kissed me again. I shut my eyes, lost myself in the moment. That small shiver of desire was back. The need for more, skin-‐on-skin and getting closer was growing. Ruben had that certain something that worked for me. His smell, taste and the way he made me feel like everything would be all right, it was something I could get hooked on.
I ran my hands over the waistband of his jeans, stroked his arse cheeks through the denim. Damn, what a cute bum, taut and the perfect handful.
He dropped his weight a little more, our chests pressed harder together and his groin pushed into my right hip. The kiss deepened, and a fizz of lust sparked through me. It couldn’t be ignored. My nipples were tight, there was a tug in my lower abdomen, the start of a need—a need I hadn’t thought of for so long.
I lifted my left leg, curled it over the back of his and squeezed up against him. It was then I felt a long, hard bulge.
“Ruben,” I gasped into his mouth as a fist of something raw and primitive gripped me. Could we? Here?
“Damn, I’m sorry, I...” He lifted up, completely off me.
I hope you enjoyed that steamy snippet, the emotions are so tangled here, there is so much going on beneath the surface. If you want to check it out, here are the buy links
Thanks for reading, have a wonderful Sunday