Today I'm offering a scene from CHILD OF MINE, book one in the Masonville Small Town romance series. In this scene, long-time friends Lauren and Cole turn to each other on the day of Lauren's husband's funeral. Lauren's husband Billy also happened to be Cole's brother:
Cole wrapped her in his arms. He held her securely, whispering reassurances.
“It’s all right, Lauren. Don’t cry. It’s going to be okay, sweetheart.”
She clung to him, her face buried against his neck. It felt so good to be held, to be touched. It had been so long—
What was she doing? This was Cole, her friend. She pulled away from him. “I’m sorry.”
“You don’t have anything to apologize for.”
She turned away and tried to wipe the tears from her face. When she got her tears under control, she made herself smile at him. “Do you remember the homecoming dance when I tripped in my new high heels and sprained my ankle?”
“Of course I do. You couldn’t walk, so I carried you from the school gym to Billy’s car, and he drove you home. I remember you were a lot heavier than you looked.”
She swatted his shoulder, hiccupping laughter mixing with her tears. “Very funny. I was trying to make a point.”
He wiped the tears from her cheek with the pad of his thumb, his dark eyes full of tenderness. “So what was your point?”
“You’re a good friend. You’ve always been there when I needed you, and here you are again. Thank you.”
He stared into her eyes, but said nothing. She couldn’t look away. He continued to stroke her cheek with his thumb, the tiny caress acting like a balm to her battered heart. She placed her hand on his cheek.
They reached for each other in mutual need. He pulled her against his chest, his mouth descending on hers in a hungry, urgent kiss. She sighed against his mouth, and he brought her closer. He wants me. It had been so long since someone had wanted her. Only her.
They shed their clothes in a flurry of restless touches. In minutes, Lauren’s black funeral dress lay on the ground next to Cole’s white dress shirt. He kissed her again, his hands sliding up her ribcage to cup her breasts. She slid impatient hands over his broad shoulders, his muscled back, the curve of his buttocks. His skin was as smooth and hard as glass, but hot to the touch. She wanted more of his heat, more of his touches.
More of everything.
His erection pushed against her stomach, and her body shivered with excitement. The evidence of his desire emboldened her.
“You want me,” she whispered.
“Yes.” His voice was rough with need. “Lauren. Beautiful Lauren.”
He held her close and kissed her, and for the first time in a very long time, she felt cherished. Important.
Cole lowered her to the ground, the dried grass and leaves forming a bed beneath them. Then he was inside her, filling all her empty spaces. Joy flooded her heart as her climax built. Each thrust brought her closer to fulfillment, to happiness.
Her orgasm came suddenly, shattering her into tiny pieces. Her body shuddered.
A moment later he reached his own climax. She held him tightly as tears poured down her face and sobs shook her body. She had no idea why she was crying. What they’d shared had been so beautiful, so amazing. There was no need for tears. But still, they kept coming.
Cole’s body tensed. He pulled out of her and stared into her face. In the fading light, Lauren caught the look of pain in his eyes before he pushed away and began rifling through his clothes.
Her heart sank. He’s sorry he made love to me.
For a moment she thought she’d be sick. Her stomach roiled and her heart banged against her ribs. Cole avoided her gaze, presenting his back to her as he yanked on his clothes. Lauren swallowed and reached for her own clothing, getting to her feet on unsteady legs.
Had she disgusted him by reaching for him today, of all days? She was afraid she’d lost her best and oldest friend.
When he was fully dressed, Cole finally looked at her. “We need to go. You should get back to your family.”
Lauren nodded, unable to speak. She followed him out of the trees, back to the fence where their vehicles were parked. Cole held the barbed wire apart so she could slip through the fence. Once through, she stumbled toward her mother’s car and reached for the door handle.
She dared a glance. His expression was full of anguish, and her heart clenched. The last thing she’d wanted was to cause him pain.
“What happened here,” he began, his voice gruff with emotion, “it was…we made a mistake. We were both grieving, maybe a little out of our minds.”
Lauren nodded, desperately holding back her tears. She’d made such a mess of things. Cole must hate her for throwing herself at him the way she had. She hated herself, too.
“I’m sorry,” he said softly.
The stupid tears burned behind her eyes, but she held them back. She fumbled blindly for the door handle, needing to get away before she broke down completely. As she got behind the wheel and started the car, Cole drove away in a cloud of dust.
Lauren rested her head against the steering wheel and cried. She cried for Billy and the loss of the love she’d thought would last a lifetime. But mostly she cried tears of humiliation. Cole must think she was a terrible, terrible person.
And he’d be absolutely right. What kind of woman makes love to her husband’s brother on the day of his funeral?
Lauren didn't intend to sleep with her brother-in-law Cole on the day of her husband's funeral. But now that she is pregnant, she's not sorry. Cole's given her a baby, a long-wished-for miracle. He's been her friend forever, though she never told him or anyone else how unhappy her marriage to his cheating brother was. And she's afraid to tell the small town that considered her husband a hero that the baby isn't his.
Cole's been in love with Lauren since he was sixteen. It kills him that everyone believes the baby is his dead brother's. All he wants is to claim the baby, and Lauren, as his own. Though she marries him, will Lauren's heart ever be his?
Lauren must tell the truth or risk losing Cole. Is her newly-discovered love for him greater than her fear of scandal in her hometown?
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