Shannon here: Catherine West shares a romantic excerpt from her book: Yesterday’s Tomorrow. Comment on any post dated March 21 – 26 for a chance to win a copy. Deadline: March 26, midnight central time. Here’s Catherine:
Kristin stirred and tried to remember where she was. Gentle pressure on her hand forced her eyes open.
Luke sat on the edge of the army cot, holding her hand in his, watching her through worried eyes. She took a quick breath, shut them tight then opened them again, just to make sure. A slow smile started as he came into focus. “Where’d you come from?” She struggled to sit up but Luke put his hands on her shoulders.
“Stay where you are. You’ve got a concussion. I just can’t leave you alone for a minute, huh, Taylor?”
His stern expression widened her smile. “If you came all the way out here to yell at me, I’m not in the mood. My head hurts.”
He lifted her hand up to his lips and kissed it. Then he ran a finger down the side of her cheek, and across the bandage on her forehead. “What happened?”
It all came back in a rush. “Stupid idiots attacked the hospital! Can you imagine? Honestly, we were just lucky they’re moronic enough to miss, and we got them before they really hit us. Burnt out a couple of our hootches, but I got my pack out in time, thank goodness, and…” Kristin stopped her flow of words as he dissolved into laughter. “What?”
“Nothing.” Luke rubbed his face with his hands and gave a snort. “I think we should put you on the front lines.”
She sighed, drinking in the sight of him. His eyes, although worried, appeared brighter somehow. His face bore a healthy glow, the top of his nose pink-tipped where skin had peeled off. For the first time since they’d met, Luke seemed rested. And at peace.
“So. Where’ve you been? You look good. Everything okay?” She swung her feet over the bed and walked across the ward to where the jug of fresh water sat.
He was at her side at once. “What are you doing? You need to lie down!”
“I’m fine. It’s just a little bump, Luke, that’s all. Move. “ She pushed him aside and poured herself some water.
“I thought you might have gone home.”
She returned to the bed and stretched out again, shaking her head. “Hayden said I could stay on. He’s getting the paperwork through and I should get another visa by the end of the week.” Kristin watched the mixture of relief and annoyance cross his face, and her thoughts grew muddled again. “What’s that look about?”
“I think you should go.” He crossed his arms over his chest, his mouth drawn.
Kristin widened her eyes, a slow pounding beginning in her chest. She ran her tongue over her bottom lip, cracked and peeling from days under the scorching sun. “You think I should go? You said you wanted me to stay.”
“I changed my mind.”
His words slapped her, but she didn’t allow herself to process them. Maybe she had been off base when she’d ascertained his feelings for her. But then again, maybe he was giving her the way out. She didn’t have that much of a concussion.
But she’d already made her decision.
“Well, Luke, I’m not going anywhere. If you don’t want to work with me anymore, that’s fine, but I’m staying. Whether you like it or not.” Kristin set her jaw and met his look of surprise head on.
“You could have been killed today, Kristin! Do you get that? The whole ride here, all I could think of was what if you were dead? What if I’d lost you?” He paced the room like a lion waiting for its next meal. She feared she was it.
“Well, clearly I’m not dead. Don’t you think you’re over-reacting?”
“No.” Luke stopped pacing and pinned her with his eyes, his face still held in a maddening glare. “I’m sorry if you think I’m being ridiculous, but I want you to go home. I’m not going to go through losing the woman I love again. I won’t do it.” He turned from her and thrust his hands over his head, lacing them together behind his neck.
Kristin’s face grew warm and her anger melted away as his words filtered into her soul.
So that was it.
Her hopes and fears collided into an inexplicable jumble of feeling she could make no sense of. Didn’t care to. “Can you…uh…repeat that?”
“What?” he huffed. “I told you. I want you to go home.”
“Oh, I heard that.” Kristin smiled, her eyes wet, everything else forgotten. “Luke. Come here.”
He swiveled to face her, a hesitant smile crinkling his tanned cheeks. In a couple of steps he sat beside her again. Kristin placed her hands on either side of his face. He put his hands over hers and drew her to him, claiming her lips with a kiss that sealed the words he had spoken.
“Tell me what you said again, the other thing,” she whispered. He drew her hands down and she laced her fingers through his. She noticed something missing. Kristin turned his hand over in hers and looked down at the white circle on the third finger of his left hand where his ring used to be.
“I love you.” Luke’s voice caught on the words. He grinned like a schoolboy and shook his head, as though he couldn’t quite believe it himself. “I’m afraid I’ve fallen completely, head over heels, insanely in love with you, Kristin Taylor. Is that what you wanted to hear?”
“That’ll do.” Speech was almost impossible. It was almost too much to accept, yet she wanted it too much to deny.
Educated in Bermuda, England and Canada, Catherine holds a degree in English from the University of Toronto. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. Catherine and her husband live on the beautiful island of Bermuda, with their two college-aged children. Catherine is a member of Romance Writers of America, and American Christian Fiction Writers, and is a founding member of International Christian Fiction Writers. Catherine’s debut novel Yesterday’s Tomorrow, releases March 15th, through OakTara Publishers. Website: http://www.catherinejwest.com. OakTara Website: http://www.oaktara.com. Blog: http://www.catherinewestblog.blogspot.com. Trailer: http://youtu.be/vVQUMRlYhkM
Come back March 26 for reader’s favorite pick #2 from last quarter and March 28 for Mary Ellis’ real life romance, plus a chance to win her book: Abigail’s New Hope.