I generally don’t care much for Valentine’s Day. It’s very distressing to have such a gooey, sugary, PINK holiday in the same month as your birthday. I never quite understood why everyone would make such a huge deal out of a holiday were you don’t get a vacation and only certain people (a.k.a. couples) get presents. It’s a holiday about love, but if you love someone, aren’t you supposed to show that love all year round, not just one random winter day?
Valentine’s Day can evoke emotions in a range wide range, from being very happy (for those who have special someones), to annoying (if you don’t care for pink), to downright depressing (if you are single and lonely). For me, I started off very grouchy cause let’s face it, this day kind of shoves in your face the fact that you are alone (if you happen to be so.) Even if you’re fine the rest of the year, Valentine’s Day twists something in your gut.
But, thanks to a totally unexpected card (yes, a real, snail-mail card!) from my onii-san David Greenshell, followed by an equally unexpected visit from him at work, the day took a turn for the better. It’s easy to forget that Valentine’s Day is about love, not just romantic love between couples. Friends and family can express love on Valentine’s day too. We just get caught up in the romantic trappings that we forget love has many myriad forms.
In honor of those who have found love and those who are still searching, I present an excerpt from Ravens and Roses, the first book in The Mariner Sequence. Enjoy!
(Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that I have no experience with real-life romance and this is from my rough draft with no editing. It may not even be included in the final draft. But I do like this scene and hope that I’ll be able to keep it.)
~ * ~
Ryn’s strides were long but jerky, a sign of her inner tension. Her lips were held in a tight line, a thoughtful frown creasing her brow.
A figure in blue stood in one of the doorways lining the hall, torchlight glinting on long white hair. Ryn paused and gave a salute to the Admiral, but tried to hurry past. She was in no mood to see Scion today.
He took a step out of the doorway so that she brushed his coat with her sleeve. “Pardon,” she muttered.
His hand encircled her wrist, forcing her to stop.
Ryn turned and looked at Scion. “Excuse me, my lord, but I must see to my Ravens.”
Scion did not answer. Perhaps it was the inconstant torchlight, but she found she could not read the expression on his face. Pain flickered in the depths of his eyes…but was gone too fast for her to be sure.
Still no answer. Ryn tensed slightly to pull free, but his grip tightened in response. His lips parted as if he was going to speak, then closed.
Ryn frowned, uncertain what was going on or what to do about it. “My lord?”
Before she could move, Scion stepped forward and pulled her towards him. Their faces were mere inches apart. Startled, Ryn started to pull away, but Scion’s arm was around her back, holding her in place. Eyes wide, Ryn started to demand an explanation, but her protest was smothered as Scion’s mouth closed over hers.
Ryn’s mind went blank with shock. Nothing in her training had prepared her for this.
His hand slid up her back to cradle the back of her head. His fingers were cold as they bushed her neck, but his lips were warm. So very warm.
A spurt of shame and hot embarrassment shot through Ryn. Merciful Mother, what am I doing? Ryn wrenched herself away from Scion. His fingers caught her left wrist again, preventing her from fleeing.
Ryn’s face burned. She looked down at Scion’s hand on her wrist, then shifted her glare to his face. “Let me go,” she said through gritted teeth.
Scion’s face was expressionless. He waited as Ryn struggled to regain her composure. Then he slowly drew her hand to his chest. He pressed it over his heart, but Ryn could not feel it beat through the heavy velvet overcoat. The fingers of her right hand twitched towards her sword hilt. But Scion did not try to embrace her again. Instead, he brought her hand to his lips and brushed her knuckles with a light kiss, the essence of formality. Then he released her.
Flustered, Ryn backed away, struggling to control the tremors racing through her body. She sketched a quick salute and hurried down the hall. He face still burned and her mind whirled in confusion. What in the hell was that? Why did he…? She flushed again, shook her head, and walked faster.
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