Trust Your Instincts
Rowan Harper is nothing but a smart-mouthed bookstore clerk with a crappy love life on the night she walks into Rosie’s Bar. Most of the drama in her life is borrowed from her best friend’s adventures. But when she meets Gabriel—tall and movie star gorgeous—everything changes. Never mind that she turns down the drink he offers, or that he brims with secrets she can’t begin to guess at. He ignites a desire in her she never suspected—and shows a fascination with her she can’t explain.
He has no family, no job, no bank account; he knows where she lives and her favorite flower. An aura of mystery cloaks him, even as Rowan grasps for facts, even as she fears an answer that could destroy her happiness. Gabriel can guide her through a wonderland of new sensations. But only if Rowan trusts him enough to follow…
Winner of the OKRWA “Finally a Bride” contest.
“I don’t want you to leave,” I told him, my voice a barely audible, husky whisper.
The shadow in his eyes vanished, replaced by something else. Whether it was relief or hope, I couldn’t say.
“Are you sure?” he murmured, taking a step toward me. “I need you to be certain that this – that I – am what you want.”
I had the sense that he was asking me something that went deeper, was more meaningful, but my brain had been through enough for one night. My ability to search for hidden meanings was temporarily lost, and it was more than ready to hitch a ride to Clueless Land. I wasn’t sure about anything, but I trusted my instincts. And they told me this was right. I belonged with Gabriel.
“The only things you can be certain about are death and taxes,” I said, giving him a wry grin, “but if you’re asking me to take a chance, then yes, I will – only,” I paused, “why would you think I wouldn’t want you?” He might not be able to pick up on every emotion I was throwing his way, but surely he could still read how I felt about him?
“Because I wonder,” he said, taking my hand, “if you went back to the very beginning, would you have come searching for me again?”
The silence between us was deafening, and the feeling of déjà vu returned. Only it didn’t feel so strange this time. Whatever Gabriel was referring to was hidden somewhere inside that feeling.
“I wish I knew what you were talking about,” I told him, “because I think it’s important, but I have to tell you that right now you’re making absolutely no sense.” Clueless Land was rapidly expanding into the continent of the Completely Lost in the Dark.
“You need to know the truth about me, Rowan, what I am -”
“No, I don’t, not right now.” I held up my hand and stopped him. I was balanced on a razor-thin wire, and it took all I had not to fall off. “There’s only one issue that’s important right now, and I need you to be truthful with me.”
“Of course, ask me anything.”
“Wife, girlfriend, or significant other?”
The sudden, utter confusion on his face made me want to laugh aloud.
“I don’t understand.”
“Do you have one?”
Gabriel shook his head of glorious white hair. “No, of course not.”
He looked hurt that I was questioning his integrity. “Rowan, I’ve not wanted another woman since the first time I saw you. I never have.”
“That’s good to know,” I whispered.
He let go of my hand and clutched his forehead as though he’d just been afflicted with a brain freeze. Pursing his lips, he blew out a breath. For all intents and purposes, he looked like a man who desperately wanted to speak but was afraid his words would be the wrong ones.
Welcome to the club.
I didn’t want to waste any more time in pointless conversation. It would be an exercise in futility that accomplished nothing. What was about to happen between us right here, right now, was not going to be achieved with words. Unless they were all single syllables used for instructional purposes along with some heavy-duty physical contact. My hands literally itched to get beneath his wet clothing and touch his body.
Something in my life, my luckless romantic aspirations, my failure to successfully seduce a man, had all been pushing me toward this moment. Gabriel was to be my first, perhaps my only lover. I don’t know how I knew this or what turn of fate’s cosmic wheel made it so, but it was true. I had known it eighty-seven nights ago on my front porch, and the conviction was even stronger now. I made it to the staircase before Gabriel’s voice stopped me.
“Give yourself to me, Rowan, and you will take no other.”
I don’t know if other girls have experienced such a declaration, but it didn’t surprise me coming from him. I was almost expecting it, even if I wasn’t completely sure I understood all the implications. Gabriel was telling me exactly what was going to happen. What his intentions were, just in case I hadn’t been paying attention.
I heard myself reply, saying the words that would change my life forever. I just had no idea to what extent.
“Then make me want no other.”
About the Author:
Carla Susan Smith owes her love of literature to her mother, who, after catching her pre-teen daughter reading by flashlight beneath the bed covers, calmly replaced the romance book she had “borrowed” with one that was far less risqué, and much more appropriate! Though she was encouraged to include different genres in her reading tastes, romance – paranormal romance in particular – has always been her first love.
Born and raised in England, she now calls South Carolina home, where she lives with her wonderfully supportive husband, awesome son, and a canine critique group (if tails aren’t wagging then the story isn’t working!) When not writing, she can usually be found in the kitchen trying out any recipe that calls for rhubarb, working on her latest tapestry project or playing catch-up with her reading list.