This story contains sexual content, violence, coarse language and consumption of alcohol.
It is rated R and is for readers 18+ only.
Waiting All Night (Snow Angel)
The sound of live pop waltz style music came back into audio focus as if I were coming up from under water. Locke smiled as I blinked slowly and opened my eyes.
We made our way back to the ballroom and to our table as Michael made an announcement they would begin.
It was interesting, everyone settled with drinks and each table had bottles of wine, a platter snack breads with oils and dips and a tray of pastries.
It was exciting to hear about the newest books that were scheduled to be released at midnight. It was a bonus release that had been planned and tonight only the books would be half price for six hours and all sale proceeds will go to charity.
“Here are the five books from our generous New York Times Best selling authors,” Michael gestured to a large screen. “Heart Burned. From the Heartland series by Serenia Sorrel.”
Everyone clapped and she gave a small wave. I froze. I’m a big fan but I don’t want to get all fan-girl on her. Locke touched my back gently and smiled.
“I’ll introduce you if you want.”
All I could do was barely nod making him chuckle.
Michael continued after a brief synopsis and tribute to Serenia’s loyalty and splendid writing talent.
“The second book is Hasty Pastries by the five star chef Greoire Leschamps who unfortunately could not attend tonight.”
After clapping and a quick recipe preview, Tilly took over.
“Third in our generous line up is our very own Locke Wyvern with Sticks, Stones & Broken Bones. A violent mystery thriller that will creep you out as you can’t stop turning the pages, guaranteed.” She shivered dramatically for effect causing everyone to chuckle and laugh.
As Serenia had, Locke gave a small waive to the applause and Tilly gave an preview of the novel. That’s why I didn’t know his work, I don’t read anything creepy or violent.
“The fourth generous author of the evening is Margo Mars with the latest installment of Harshwater Cove, with the rich story, Still Be The Night.”
I clapped along. I’ve read her work, it’s technical and futuristic. Some hints of romance but the charm of her stories is the details and complicated characters. I looked over at the statue of a woman with her near black hair drawn up into a severe bun. Margo must be one of the exes. She fit his description but I would never have guessed he’d date her. I can’t imagine how amazing it would be for Locke to be a part of this world. To know famous authors and to be one of them. He was so calm and casual, I suppose he would be used to it all and the shiny excitement would be less overwhelming.
I looked back at Michael and Tilly on stage. There was an electric tension in the air as they prepared to show the cover of the next book. I was giddy and would have to get online to order at least three of the books so far. My mom would love the pastry one, she’s talked about Leschamps more than once. I was actually on the edge of my seat.
“You are adorable.” Locke whispered.
I caught my smile before it faltered. Adorable? I don’t want to be adorable.
“Last and definitely not least we have a treat for you. This author is also unable to attend tonight as he is touring in Australia. He just released his latest book three months ago. When we asked him earlier this year if he would contribute he offered us this.” Tilly raised her hand as the screen changed images.
I covered my mouth with both hands. Beyond excited for the book and utterly disappointed that Kyle V. Crowne wasn’t here. I might have died. The book on the screen made my heart hammer. Two books in one year?
“The Midnight Kiss is-”
Michael was cut off from the loud cheers and applause. He eventually got through the short synopsis teaser and concluded with a speech thanking everyone.
“Come on let’s go meet her.” Locke said with a chuckle after my tenth glance at Serenia.
“Oh I don’t think…”
“Don’t worry she’s not an ex.” Locke had my hand firmly in his and made his way over to Serenia Sorrel.
The voluptuous woman wore a dark red and black dress that hugged her flattering curves. Her bright smile broadened as we approached, her glittering brown eyes practically devoured Locke’s face.
“Serenia,” Locke kissed her cheek and received one in return from her.
“Locke who is this delightful woman?” Her brown eyes met mine and I struggled not to look down at my feet.
“This is Adley Lewis who is terrified to make a fool of herself to a beloved author of hers.”
The color drained from my face. I was not prepared for Serenia to put her hands on my cheeks and peck my lips with her plump ones.
“There now I’ve made a fool of myself first.” Serenia put her hands on my shoulders. “She’s oddly adorable and sexy all at once no?”
Locke simply smiled in that way men do when they’re pleased.
“Adley, I do not mind if you are adoring my books or me. I am most vain, and I love, love, love the attention. I am however, just a woman as you are.”
I was a muddle of emotion and terrified I’d make a fool of myself. Serenia patted her hand on Locke’s chest.
“You are wasting the night young man, go, dance and show her what you feel.”
Still unable to form words, I let Locke lead me across the large ballroom. Many who praised Locke, stopped us and they gave adoring compliments and all the time he made me feel a part of it. He introduced me and was always in contact. A hand on my back or hip, a touch to my arm, or he held my hand in his. When I received an odd look from the gorgeous blonde woman with the band singing a duet with a roguishly handsome man, I realized Locke was showing me off. That has never happened before and I looked up at him suddenly. As if he’d been waiting all night for me to simply look at him, he smiled and suddenly my chest felt tight.
“Wanna go shake that firm little ass of yours and tease me as we carve up the dance floor?” Locke asked.
“Yes and no.”
“I want to sway my hips and have you steal casual touches, but I want to run and hide from you… like forever.”
“I thought so. I’ll have you know,” He said as he put his arm around me, “that I’m freaked out too.”
“I’m serious Adley. Date two, and my heart is in your hands, your move.”
I have never seen so much raw truth and vulnerability in my life. It was in that moment that I realized he is telling me the truth, he is as afraid of this as I am.
To be continued…
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