Emotional sparks fly the moment Annalise Lewis and Reed Phillips meet. However, neither is in a position to take advantage of their immediate attraction. Reed is on the verge of proposing to Taylor, the woman he’s chosen as step-mom to his two precocious children. Annalise has spent the previous twenty…Read More
Eye of the Beholder Excerpt
©2007 Marilyn Lee
All rights reserved
As he had known, she was in the living room. She wore a pretty, soft pink dress with a full skirt that swirled around her calves as she swayed in time to the classical music filling the air. The heels she wore highlighted her legs, which were very nice.
Her eyes were closed so she wasn’t aware of him. He stood in the doorway, unable to look away from her. Her movements were as graceful and sweeping as a dancer’s. His gaze shifted to her hands. He imaged them caressing his cheeks as she leaned in to touch her mouth to his.
She opened her eyes suddenly, saw him, gasped, and came to an abrupt stop. “Mr. Jordan! I … I didn’t hear you. How … how long have you been standing there?”
He found her breathless voice rather attractive. How would it sound whispering something soft and sweet to him?
“Only for a few moments.”
“Why didn’t you say something?”
“I didn’t want to startle you.” Noting how lovely she looked, he suddenly wished he had shaved and worn a pair of dress pants.
“And yet you did.”
“Sorry.” He strolled into the room. “My mother sent me to entertain you while she and Carolyn finish dinner.”
“Can I get you anything?”
She shook her head. “Ah, no. I had some of your mother’s excellent lemonade ten minutes ago.”
For a moment, they stood in silence, staring at each other.
“I didn’t expect to see you here. I understood from your mother that it would be just the two of us for dinner.”
“And I thought it would be just Mom, Carolyn and me.”
She looked dismayed. “Oh. Then you wouldn’t have come had you known I’d be here.”
He shook his head. “I didn’t say that.”
“You didn’t need to. I know how you feel.” She glanced over her shoulder toward the kitchen. “I wish your mother had told me you’d be here.” She sounded and looked irritated.
“I get the feeling you wouldn’t have come if you’d known Carolyn and I would be here.”
Her response was quick and ego deflating. “You’re right. I wouldn’t have come.”
He frowned. “Why not?”
She stared at him, her dark eyes narrowed. “I think you know the answer to that question.”
“No, I don’t.”
“I’m sure you can figure it out with a little effort. In the meantime, I’m going home.”
“No!” The word was forced out of his mouth before he could stop it.
She stared at him. “What?”
“You’re here now, and Mom is sure to have cooked enough food for at least ten people.”
“Maybe so, but this isn’t what I expected when I agreed to come to dinner.” She scooped her handbag up from the sofa. “Would you explain to your mother that I had to go?”
“No, I won’t.”
She shrugged. “Fine. I’ll explain myself the next time I see her.” She left the living room.
He could hear her heels clinking on the tiles in the hallway. Moments later, he heard her struggling to open the deadbolt lock on the front door.
He left the living room and rushed down the hall to the front door.
She turned to face him. “Would you help me with the door? I can’t seem to figure out how to unlock it.”
“I think you’ve misunderstood. I—”
“Are you going to unlock the door for me?”
He shook his head. “Not until you hear me out.”
She turned back to the door, stared at both locks in silence for several moments, and finally managed to get the door open. She quickly went through, closing it behind herself.
He pulled the door open.
In her haste to get away from him, she was practically running down the sidewalk.
“Diana! Wait!” He followed her out of the house. Uncaring of the neighbors sitting on front porches watching, he reached out, caught her hand in his, and bought her to a reluctant stop. He turned her to face him. The sight of tears in her eyes stunned him. “Hey! Don’t cry.”
She tugged at her hand. “Let go.”
He softened his voice. “I will. I just want you to understand.”
“There’s nothing to understand, Mr. Jordan.” Her voice shook, but she stared defiantly up at him.
“I think there is. You seem to think that I don’t like you,” he began slowly, nonplused by her tears. Why couldn’t women play fair? Why did they always have to resort to tears?
She tugged at her hand again. Instead of releasing it, he cradled it in his, rubbing the ball of his thumb across the back of her hand. “I wish you’d let me explain.”
“There’s nothing to explain. I knew the moment we met that I wasn’t the type of woman you’d be attracted to. And I am painfully aware that a lot of men don’t like women my size. You’re obviously one of them.”
“You don’t know enough about me to say that!” he said, stung by her less than flattering assessment of his character. She made him sound like an immature boy who didn’t know that beauty was only skin deep.
“I know enough to know that I don’t want to know anymore,” she said in a biting voice.
He dropped her hand. “I’m sorry to hear that, because I’ve known for some time now that I don’t know nearly as much about you as I’d like to,” he was stunned to hear himself admit.
She stared up at him. “I…what?”
“And it might interest you to know that I find you very attractive. Even when you’re wearing those ridiculous coveralls.” He allowed his gaze to flick briefly over her. “And especially when you’re wearing pink.”