Sunday Snippet: Leap of Faith by Jordan Bollinger

Today’s snippet is from a new to me author, and a book that looks a little interesting. More so in that the heroine discovers she’s adopted at age 13 and decides to split her time between both of her families. As most of you know my boys are adopted so this is a sore subject for me, and I’, curious to see how it’s written. So here’s a peak at the book. (BTW this is the first time we’ve posted a snippet of a book we haven’t previously read so I hope you like it) 

Giving the mare an encouraging little pat on her neck, Beth pushed her to go even faster. She’d show him. The wind whipped through her hair as she pulled farther and farther ahead. The breeze filled the air with swirling petals, blurring her vision. She’d turned around to taunt him, when another gust of wind cleared the air.

“Beth! Beth! Look out!” Andrew cried out.

She swung back around to see she was fast approaching the edge of the orchard, marked by an old, but solid wall of stones. Drew had time to stop, but she didn’t. The only thing she could do was take the jump.

Hoping the mare was up to the challenge, Beth tried to remember those lessons from all those years before. Toe up; heels down; hug the saddle with your knees; lean forward a bit and be confident. She bent close to the mare’s neck, patting her and urging her up and over. She held her breath and prayed nothing unforeseen hid on the other side of the wall.

The mare tensed beneath her, and for one horrible second, she thought the horse would balk. If that happened, the mare would stop, but she wouldn’t. Beth gritted her teeth, in preparation of sailing skyward. Rallying at the last possible moment, the mare took the jump like a Grand National winner. Once over, she reined the horse in and waited for Andrew to walk his mount through an opening in the wall.

Beth, flushed, her heart pounding from the excitement of the moment, couldn’t have anticipated the exhilaration she’d experienced. She slid off the mare, to coo at her and stroke her velvety muzzle. She couldn’t help smiling as Drew approached with evident admiration. She even allowed him to take her in his arms and hug her.

“Well done, Elizabeth, but you need to be more careful. You had me worried for a minute.”

“I had myself worried,” she admitted, laughing, “but just for a minute.”

He hugged her again and stole a kiss. “You are amazing.”

“Well, I’m lucky.”

There were apple blossoms caught in her curls, and he plucked them out, one by one, saying, “She loves me. She loves me madly. She loves me. She loves my badly.”

She laughed. “That’s not how it goes, silly.”

“Ah, but my way, it’s a win/win proposition.” He went back to picking the flower petals from her hair, punctuating each removal with a kiss.

“Drew, stop it,” she said, blushing, but she didn’t push him away.

“Are you having fun?” He released her and tied the horses to a bush.

“Yes, I am.”

Leading her to a mound of high grass, he asked, “Do you know why?”

“You want me to say because I’m with you, but that isn’t why. It’s because–”

He cut her off, insisting, “No, not at all. It’s because you’re out in the world, doing something. You’re not hiding back in the house.”

“I don’t hide.” She argued. “Just because I choose to live a quiet life, doesn’t mean I hide.”

Drew beat down the patch of grass with a branch, forming a soft place for them to sit. Pulling her down next to him, he continued, “You do hide. Richard’s voiced his concern about it, and Cathy spoke about it too. It’s as if you divorced life when you divorced your husband.”

He plucked one last apple blossom from her hair and said, “It doesn’t need to stay like this. Come with me and I’ll show you the world. Trust me.”

“I’ve seen the world,” she answered, shaking her head, “so thank you, but I’ll stay where I am.” Then she frowned. “Has Richard really said those things?” She didn’t ask if Cathy had felt that too.

“Yes,” Andrew answered, managing another quick kiss. “Beth, don’t you see how your life is slipping away? I don’t know what happened in your marriage. What made you end it. Frankly, I don’t want to know, but somewhere, you turned away from life.”

She struggled to stand, protesting. “I just want to live in peace. You’re saying these things to make me want a relationship with you.”

He kept hold of her. “I do want a relationship with you, but it’s not why I’m saying these things–”

She squirmed to free herself. “Let me up, Andrew!”

“After I finish speaking my piece,” he told her. He turned her chin until she was looking into his eyes. “I’m saying these things to get you to start thinking, because I’m sure once you do a bit of soul-searching, you’ll see I’m right — that we’re all right.” He leaned in and stole another kiss. “Then you’ll finally admit you love me just as I love you.”

He gave the arm she was leaning on a little tug, causing her to collapse into the grass beside him. With catlike quickness, he pounced, pressing his lips against hers. So, he thought he could force her into admitting she loved him, did he? She’d show him.

She wondered how many women had succumbed to him, swelling his ego to such impossible proportions. Maybe it was time someone taught him a lesson — for her to teach him. This time she didn’t pull back.

She wrapped her arms around him, pulling him even closer, as she parted her lips and grazed the tip of his tongue with her teeth. His resulting gasp sent a delicious rush of power through her. His shoulders tensed, his mouth locked onto hers; and she allowed him to explore hers, meeting his tongue with her own, in a quick thrust and parrying. Sighing, he closed his eyes and ran his fingers through her hair.

She was getting into the mood too, until she remembered she was supposed to be teaching him a lesson. Without warning, she broke his hold, sat up, and gave his head a friendly pat.

A look of surprise and confusion shined in his eyes. “What?”

She looked away, concentrating on her nails, buffing them against her sleeve, she said, “My, I could use a manicure.” Showing him her hands, she added, “Would you look at these cuticles?”

She couldn’t help but notice the cloud of disappointment move across his face, and for the briefest moment guilt consumed her.

Still, when he reached out for her, she managed to ask, smiling. “What’s wrong, Andrew? You seem a bit… ah… out of breath.”

“Beth?”

“You were saying something?”

“The trouble with you, madam, is you’re a fraud. Remember what Shakespeare said, To thine own self be true.” Pulling her down and partially rolling onto her, he kissed her — first on her cheek, to her mouth and working his way down to her neck.

To her inner shame, Beth found the neck nibbling wonderful. He sensed her enjoyment, since she practically purred when he reached her shoulder. “I’m telling you the truth. You’re a wonderful man, but it doesn’t change anything. I don’t want to be involved with you or anyone else. I like my life as it is, without attachments and complications.”

“It won’t do, you know,” he said, nuzzling her neck again.

An unwilling sigh escaped from her. “What?

“All of your protesting. Are you trying to convince me, or yourself?”

“You,” she insisted. Turning away, she added, “I can’t go through all that again.”

“All what?”

“The pain and heartache when you decide you’re done with me.”

His face fell. “You think I’m playing with you?”

She knew she’d wounded him, and attempted to soothe him a bit. “Well, no… not exactly.”

“What then?”

“That you’ll see I’m not the woman you think I am. You’ll realize there’s nothing remarkable about me.” She needed to make him see — to understand. “You’ll wonder why you ever wasted your time on me.”

“I’ll never do that,” he insisted, “Never!”

“You’re right, you won’t, because we aren’t involved and we aren’t going to be.”

“We’ll see.”

He leaned forward, as if he were about to kiss her again, but she dodged him. Her tone turned frosty. “Just because I’ve indulged in a bit of a dalliance with you, doesn’t mean I’ve given in to you. It’s not going to happen. Now, we really need to start back.”

Smiling, he shook his head. “We’ll see.”

Frowning, she insisted. “I’m not going to change my mind.”

He pulled her over, just as she pushed against him. Now, she was leaning over him. He grinned up at her. “Indeed, I hope not, because you are already in love with me. I just need to wait for you to come to your senses.”

 

Just before her thirteenth birthday, Beth Bennett discovered she was not only adopted, but had a father and a brother. Always the people-pleaser, she decided to split her time between her two families. After thirty years of juggling her life, the breakup of a disastrous twenty-year marriage and caring for her sister-in-law during her final bout with cancer, she retreats to her home in the Connecticut hills to regroup. Then she attends a charity banquet in NYC and meets a man who can’t possibly be as perfect as he seems. he wants to pursue a relationship with her, but past experiences have made her swear off men and romance. Andrew Oliver doesn’t give up easily, and when Beth finally admits to her feelings, she finds herself on an emotional roller-coaster ride — remembering her past, living her present and facing her future with a self-reliance she’d forgotten she possessed.

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