TWO more days until the release of Two Hearts: Beyond Control, and I can’t wait to share Danni’s story with you.
Yesterday we peeked under the cover for an early look at chapter 1. It’s a pretty long chapter, so I’ve split it up into thirds–one for each day leading up to release day. Today’s post is the middle section. (If you missed yesterday’s post, click the link below to start at the beginning of the chapter.)
Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. Hope you enjoy! ~CJ
Chapter 1, Countdown
The countdown continued, three . . . two . . . one.
“Happy new year,” everyone shouted in unison.
Cannons fired, and multicolored confetti fell all around us. We raised our glasses then downed their contents in one giant gulp. The band played “Auld Lang Syne,” and the drunken partygoers attempted to sing along.
Will turned me to face him. “Happy new year, Danielle.” Before I could respond, he pulled me in for a long kiss.
He released me and gave our empty glasses to a waiter passing by. Wearing a mischievous grin, Will made a show of checking the time. His eyes flashed between my face and the face of his watch, waiting as the seconds ticked by.
I bit back a smile and shoved my fists on my hips. “You’re enjoying this way too much, you know.”
At exactly two minutes past twelve, he turned his full attention to me and cradled my face in his hands. “And happy birthday too,” he said in a tender voice and kissed me again.
My head began to spin from the love I felt for this man. I let out a groan of disappointment when his jacket vibrated.
He stepped back to retrieve his cell phone and paused to look at the screen with a confused expression. “I have a feeling this is for you.” He passed it to me.
“Sorry, I forgot I turned mine off earlier.”
Jen’s picture smiled at me. She probably thought I was avoiding her, which I may have been. A little.
Might as well get this over with. I pressed the phone tight against one ear and covered the other with my free hand. “Hey, Jen! Happy new year!”
“Danni!” she shouted in a singsong voice. “Hap-happy birthday, old lady! The big four-oooh! Haha!” It took a while, but she finally managed to get out the words.
“Yeah, thanks for that reminder, baby sis. Your day will come soon enough, you know.” She probably couldn’t even hear me with all the noise around her.
“Nah, I’ve got five more years to be young. You, on the other hand . . .” She paused for another fit of laughter. “Look on the bright side—maybe they’ll give you a senior discount on your drinks the rest of the night.”
“Or maybe you’ll get lucky and some young hottie will take your arm to help you cross the ballroom.” Again she was laughing excessively, definitely drunk.
I didn’t respond. Figured it was best to let her get it out of her system.
She eventually pulled herself together and asked, in what was probably her best attempt at a sober voice, “Seriously though, you doin’ okay? I know what this birthday means to you, but it’s just a number. You know? Don’t stress over it.”
Easy for her to say.
I blew out a heavy breath. “How ’bout we don’t talk about it right now, okay? I just want to enjoy tonight.” Actually, I didn’t want to talk about it any other time either, but that was an argument for another day. “Sounds like quite a party going on there, so I’ll let you get back to it. See you tomorrow. Love you, Jen.”
My head knew she was right, but my heart . . . well, that was a different story.
Will tugged the phone with a dramatic flair and slipped it back into his pocket. He placed a soft kiss on my bare shoulder and took my hand, leading me toward the dance floor. “Well, my dear, you may be getting old”—he winked—“but the night is still young. And I want to dance.”
He laughed and dodged the playful swat he’d earned.
Our bodies molded together perfectly from so many years of practice, and we began swaying to the music. I nuzzled his neck and inhaled the familiar woodsy scent of his cologne. With a deep sigh of contentment, I relaxed into his chest, my fingers idly caressing his neck as they slid along the top of his collar.
The song ended, morphing into another slow song, and we continued to dance.
“Listen. They’re playing our song.” I nudged his shoulder. “The one that was playing when you proposed to me. Remember?”
“Um huh.” His head bobbed slightly, but his response was unenthusiastic.
I wasn’t sure he was even paying attention to me, and that needed to change.
Maybe it was the lingerie or my plans for after we returned to our room, but right now, I didn’t care about the hundred or so people around us. It was a new year, and my resolution was to spice things up in the bedroom. Or whatever room we happened to be in.
I trailed kisses up his neck to his jaw then continued to the corner of his mouth. A small sigh slipped out when I skimmed my tongue along his lips, tasting the Prosecco from our midnight toast. Needing more, I raked my fingers through his hair and grabbed the silky gold strands to pull his face closer.
Will seemed uncertain at first but soon opened to welcome my kiss, his lips gentle against mine.
I got lost in the moment, and one hand slipped from his hair. It glided down the side of his body. Over his hip. Down his thigh.
My breath quivered. I hesitated a moment, gathering the courage to continue. Being nervous about touching my own husband was crazy, but I wasn’t used to having an audience. And I had to admit, a small part of me worried how he would respond.
I pushed on, letting my fingers wrap around the front of his leg. They brushed the length of his erection as I lifted my hand to rest it on his chest.
This newfound freedom was exhilarating. It fueled a hunger that spread through me, a desperate need to be closer to him. I imagined him peeling away my dress and his reaction when he revealed the black lace. I ached for him to explore every inch of my body.
My hips moved of their own volition, pressing into his and grinding against him.
Will’s step faltered. His body tensed.
I opened my eyes to look at him. Instead of seeing desire in his sapphire eyes, I was greeted by his startled gaze. “What’s wrong?” I said.
“Um, sorry, babe. We just bumped into the couple next to us. That’s all.” He cupped the nape of my neck and guided my head toward his chest then smoothed his hand down my back. “No worries.”
Will’s shoulders shifted. He glanced back at the other couple, so I stretched my neck to catch a glimpse of them too.
Unbelievable. The same woman who’d nearly run me down earlier. She gave Will a sly smile before hitting me with an icy glare.
What the hell is her problem?
Will continued dancing as though nothing had happened. Nothing. Our kiss, the interruption . . . none of it.
I sighed, feeling foolish, and settled my head on his shoulder. My thoughts kept wandering to that other couple. Will managed to keep his back to them after our collision, probably embarrassed by our little display that caused it, but I couldn’t resist the urge to sneak another peek.
The woman was stunning. Her upswept chestnut hair shimmered under the ballroom lights, as did her tiny emerald dress. She looked young—late twenties, I’d guess. And she had an amazing body, which we all could get a glimpse of if she were to move a bit too far in any direction.
Then I saw her partner, and she became a distant memory.
(To be continued…Check back tomorrow to read the rest of Chapter 1.)
© CJ Andrews 2016. All rights reserved.