While proofreading, getting ready to send the files off to the printer and upload them onto Kindle, I came across another passage which made me think that it is high time I shared another extract. This is a tender moment I love:
He feels faint.
“I want you to hold me, just hold me for a moment.”
His mouth has gone dry and woolly. She has no idea how much self-control it takes not to clamp her to him and frighten her to death with his fervour.
He rises, never letting go of her hands, and pulls her towards him, giving her plenty of opportunity to pull back. To hug her he has to let go of her hands, so he gently places them on his sides and extends his arms round her.
Their chests make contact, then their legs. For a moment she is stiff and tense but he keeps the embrace light until he feels her relax. Then, imperceptibly at first, her hands move around his back bringing them closer together.
She cannot believe that she asked him and that he is actually giving her a hug. She does not think she has ever felt so secure and supported in her life. She is just a little frightened, but he is so gentle that she relaxes further into him.
Operating on instinct again, her head turns to the side and rests against his chest. He is tall and her ear is near his collarbone. She can hear his heart play a percussion recital and is aware that her own is beating just as hard.
As her arms clasp him tighter, his reciprocate.
Then she feels it – a hardness pressing against her groin and she freezes.
Of course, she knows what it is, but the step it signals is too huge.
“Do you want me to let go?” he offers.
Does she want him to let go? She is sure she does not, but this is going so fast.
“Just…” he whispers, “just don’t move, OK?”
They stand in stillness, holding each other motionlessly, until he feels her fear of his erection subside. Then he loosens the embrace very slightly.
“Are you a virgin?”
Again she tenses, but does not move away and relaxes much quicker this time.
He, on the other hand, is dealing with his surprise at having asked the question.
He is relieved, and yet oddly disappointed. She tells him about her one experience in one sentence.
After savouring the feel of her body for another agonising few minutes, he pulls back just a little more, plants a lingering but simple kiss on her forehead before gently sitting her down on the stool. Instantly her head drops, as if watching her own heaving chest.
His breathing is as ragged when he sits down opposite her.
“That’s enough for today.”
“Why, it was beautiful.”
“But… I could feel… ehm, feel that you wanted more.”
“I only want… I will only take… I can only ever take what you can comfortably give me.”
“No buts. Did you enjoy it?”
She just nods her head, flushing furiously.
“Good. Then that’s enough for me. OK?”
She lifts her head finally to look at him, a slow smile spreading across her face. She is so beautiful in her own shy way, he wants to love her – but she is not ready for that yet, if ever.
“I want you to think carefully if this can happen again. You should not be doing this with me.”
With that he gets up and places another chaste kiss on her forehead, turns round and surreptitiously re-arranges his underwear.