Today’s Sunday Snippet comes from Shannon Richard and her new book Unstoppable, the third book in her Country Roads series. Shannon is a new to us author so we are excited to share this snippet with you.
“Are you laughing at me?” she asked, raising her eyebrows.
He shook his head. “I’m not. I promise. I’m sorry I didn’t warn you.”
“It’s probably for the best, anyway. And good thing you weren’t laughing at me. Otherwise you wouldn’t be getting dinner.”
“That’s harsh.” He turned back to the wine and popped the cork. He reached above him for the cabinet door. It made a loud squeak as he opened it. He grabbed two wineglasses and pulled them down.
“Sometimes it’s necessary. Like when you’re dealing with a bunch of teenagers on a daily basis.” She put two bowls down in front of him, one with almost double the amount of food. She’d pilled the grits with shrimp, bacon, chives, and cheddar cheese.
“That’s true. But I’ve smelled and now seen what promises to be an amazing dinner. It would be more than a little cruel to deprive a starving man.” He filled both glasses of wine and handed her one.
“Well, then we should get you fed.” She smiled and grabbed her bowl from the counter, then headed over to the set dinner table.
Bennett grabbed his bowl and wineglass, and followed her.
They chatted over their meal as usual, and it had taken everything in Bennett not to moan around his spoon as he’d eaten. Never in his life had he tasted anything more delicious.
“You’ve without a doubt ruined shrimp and grits for me,” he said, as he pushed his second bowl away from him. “I’ll never be able to eat it again and not compare it to this.”
“That’s a compliment if I’ve ever heard one.”
“It’s the truth. I’m stuffed.” He rubbed his stomach.
“No one forced you to eat that second bowl.”
“I couldn’t resist,” he said, shaking his head. “Too much of a temptation.”
“Really? I would’ve thought you were a man that was quite capable of resisting temptation.”
“Hmmm.” Her smile was making Bennett think of other tempting things. “Well, since you’re quite done with dinner, I’ll clean up and then we can move on to my heart getting trampled.” She stood up and went into the kitchen. He watched her walk away before he stood up, too.
Bennett helped her clear the table and put the food away. If he didn’t know any better, he’d think they’d fallen into a bit of a routine over the last month. He’d gotten comfortable with her, more so than if they were just friends. He liked being around her, maybe a little bit more than he should, and definitely more than he was ready for. But even that didn’t excuse the idiocy of what he did next.
Mel stretched up on her tiptoes to reach into a cabinet above her head. She wasn’t short, but the container she was trying to get was just out of reach. The more she stretched, the more her shirt pulled up, exposing the smooth, creamy skin of her back. Bennett couldn’t stop himself from coming up behind her and reaching over her shoulder, but it had nothing to do with trying to be a gentlemen and helping out a lady.
No, he wanted to run his hand across her skin and around to her stomach. He wanted to pull her back into him and press his face into her neck. He wanted to turn her around and push her back against the counter. He wanted to kiss her.
Mel jumped back into him as his arm skimmed over hers. He steadied her by placing his free hand on her hip. He grabbed the container, and when he set it down on the counter she turned and looked up at him.
“Thank you,” she said softly.
He was so close to her. All he had to do was lean down a little bit and he’d be able to press his mouth to hers.
“No problem,” he said, unable to look at anything but those soft lips of hers.
She was breathing unevenly. He was pretty sure he’d stopped taking in oxygen a while ago, because he felt a little light-headed.
He took a step into her, pushing her back against the counter, and her breasts came up against his chest. His eyes flickered up to hers, and what he found there made all rational thought leave his mind.
“Bennett,” she whispered.
And just like that everything came crashing back to him. There was something about the breathy little hitch in Mel’s voice when she said his name that terrified him. He cleared his throat and took a step back from her, his hands falling away from her body. There was much more than just a flicker of disappointment in her eyes this time.
“O-okay,” she said slowly. “Let me just finish putting this away.”
“I’ll go put the DVD in.” Bennett promptly retreated out of the kitchen, like the coward he was.
Mel just stood there for a second, so thoroughly confused she didn’t know what to do next. He’d almost kissed her. For real this time, not just a peck on the cheek. She hadn’t imagined it.
There’d been something in his eyes. Desire for her. She’d seen it before she said his name, and then it had disappeared with the blink of an eye. And then he’d run out of the kitchen like a bat out of hell.
It wasn’t like she’d been the one to come up to him. No, he’d done that. He’d been the one to put his hands on her. He’d been the one who pushed his body against hers. He’d been the one to look at her mouth like it was dessert. She hadn’t done anything.
Were all men this freaking baffling to the mind? Or was it just Bennett? Whoever said women were hard to understand was mistaken. Men were leaps and bounds more perplexing.
Mel grabbed her wineglass and refilled it. She was going to need something to get her through the rest of the night, because the man in her living room was frustrating as all hell.
Melanie O’Bryan knows life is too short to be afraid of taking chances. And former Air Force sergeant Bennett Hart is certainly worth taking a chance on. He’s agreed to help her students with a school project, but she’s hoping the handsome handyman will offer her a whole lot more. Yet despite his heated glances and teasing touches, Mel senses there’s something holding him back . . .
Bennett Hart is grateful to be alive and back home in Mirabelle, Florida. Peaceful and uncomplicated-that’s all he’s looking for. Until a spunky, sexy-as-hell teacher turns his life upside down. After one smoldering kiss, Bennett feels like he’s falling without a parachute. But with memories of his past threatening to resurface, he’ll have to decide whether to keep playing it safe, or take the biggest risk of all.