Labor Day is done. September is here. Cooler days are coming and school is in session so what more fitting theme for #1lineWed than “School.” When I went looking for a line (and snippet) about school, I wasn’t expecting this one to crop up but it’s fitting. I mean, after all, isn’t school about learning? And Grace is certainly learning about the Russian. FYI, this is one of those books that gets scenes written when inspiration hits but isn’t currently on the schedule. So…I hope you enjoy.
This would be a long, uncomfortable ride—one I didn’t want to embark on—but I had no choice. My lungs seized, much like they had in middle school when I contracted pneumonia and had to spend a week in hospital. Just thinking about breathing hurt. Again, I had no choice. I inhaled and his scent filled the ache in my chest. I had no words to describe it—untamed, ferocious, willful. Pale words in the face of the reality that was the Russian. My brain couldn’t separate his scent into components I could identify. Normal men smelled like pine woods or salty sea or whatever pretend scents were in their cologne.
This man smelled like…life. Full. Rich. Spicy. He smelled of leather and sex and the wind in autumn and it took every ounce of my self-control not to sink to my knees in front of him, bow my head, and pray he would accept my sacrifice.
I was a smart woman. Allegedly. And a strong one. I had my JD and practiced law. I stood up to chauvinists within the system, to brutal soon-to-be-ex husbands, to the criminals I defended when they crossed the line. Such was life as a Legal Aid lawyer. I didn’t get choose my clients.
I didn’t get to choose him, either. This man overwhelmed. Tall, broad, muscular—the ripples of his abs visible through his tee shirt—and he simply took over everything. He walked into a room and men dropped their eyes, afraid to challenge him. Women swarmed to him, that primeval urge to mate with the strongest male rampant in their hormones.
Locking my knees, I raised my chin. Resistance would be futile in the end, but I had to attempt to stand up for myself, to not be bowled over by the sheer force of this man.
His hand cupping my cheek silenced what I was about to say. The tenderness of his touch, in his expression, undid me, and I lost the words again. I gazed into his eyes, caught for a heartbeat. Two. A hundred, before they shuttered, but I saw.
I looked at the others. Tough men. Violent. I saw the scars that they hide from the world. Each and every one. For one brief moment, their souls were laid bare, those scars ten times worse than any normal human being could survive. What monsters lived in the shadows of their world that would put such stains on their psyches? Could I face those horrors and survive?
“Volk vsegda zashchishchayet svoyu kotenka.” Sergei murmured the words in his native Russian. I looked at him helplessly, unable to translate.
“The Wolf always protects his kitten.”
I knew then. I did have a choice. I could accept this man, with all his scars, or I could walk away. But no matter what I did, where I went, he would be there in my shadows. Guarding. Protecting. I took his hand, nodded.
What about y’all? Have you sent your kids back to school? Have you gone back to school? Are your characters getting schooled? 😉