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Monday Puzzler > The Morning After: September 17 Monday Puzzler

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message 1: by Janga (new)

Janga | 1070 comments Mod
Volumes in literary criticism have been written on the male gaze, and I have read more scenes than I can count in romance novels in which the hero looks at a sleeping heroine and awakens her to make love to her again. It’s rare to find a scene with the role of gazer and beloved reversed, but this author does it beautifully. And the scene is about more than sex. As too few such scenes do, it reveals truths about the characters and their relationship.


As the pale dawn spread light through the room, _____ started to awake. For an instant, she was disoriented and surprised to find him tangled around her, but remembering the night, she smiled. Shifting gently away, she propped herself up to watch him while he slept.

Even after looking at him hundreds of times, his pure male beauty stung her anew. He was sprawled in the deepest of sleeps, as he had been the first morning of the flood. He’d tossed the sheets away in the heat, and so lay perfectly bare and open for her gaze.

She swallowed. His hair sprayed black across the white cotton pillowcase, curling around his strong neck and touching his broad shoulders. His mouth, soft and full in repose, looked tender amid the shadow of his unshaved beard. Lashes as long as a child’s arched over the high plane of his cheekbones.

It was still hard to believe he was flesh and blood.

A gentle arousal weighed in her belly as she let her gaze travel over the sinewy arms and sleek chest, over the flat, hard belly and the big hands. A ripple seared through her as she looked at the oddly vulnerable weight of his sex, resting on his thigh—last night she had been just a bit alarmed to see the size of him. Her gaze moved lower, to the furred calves and the strong, bare feet with their high arches. Like his hands, his feet were beautiful, sculpted with graceful curves and lean lines.

She remembered the last morning they had awakened together in this room. The pale light was much the same then as now, and _____ remembered her wish that morning to straddle this rough and tender stranger.

Since then, she had learned so much more—learned of his lonely, lonely heart, his lost dreams and sad childhood and wandering life. She had learned her stranger could tease and fish; that he loved the blues and his sister and a wild, willful river named _______ .

Her heart caught in her throat. She loved him. Against her better judgment, against everything she’d dreamed she’d have, she loved him.

And this morning, her beautiful, restless drifter was lying still and quiet next to her. It might be her only chance.

Gently, she bent over him, teasingly running her hands over the plane of his belly and the rise of his ribs, watching in delight and terror as his eyelids flickered and another portion of his anatomy stirred to life. She moved closer, letting her breasts brush his body as she trailed kisses over his neck. He moved an arm sleepily to circle her shoulders.

Smiling at her own bravado, she touched the male heat of him, and the same iridescent bubble of pleasure that had made her laugh last night rose again within her at his response.

He awakened with a growl. “______ ! What are you doing?”

“Shh.” She grinned at him mischievously, feeling her heart catch at the glowing sapphire of his eyes. Like the wanton woman in her vision, she threw her leg over him, tossing her hair over her shoulder to look down at him with a smile. He made a low, dark noise and reached for her.

But as they began to move again in the silent morning, her teasing slipped away, leaving behind the shining truth. _____ called her name in a helpless voice, his hands bruising her shoulders, his lips in her hair. He clutched her to him with unwilling and almost desperate need.

He didn’t know love any more than he knew happiness. As his breath, moist and warm, brushed her cheek and his scarred fingers held her, ______ knew she would lose him.

In spite of that, in spite of the foolishness of it, she whispered in his ear. “I love you, _____ .” It was a small thing, that single, heartfelt whisper, but at least he could take it with him when he left her.


message 2: by Okie (new)

Okie (okieb) | 2052 comments Mod
OMG!I don't know this one but I've fallen in love with it, Can't wait till tomorrow :) Janga, you never disappoint!


message 3: by Manda (new)

Manda Collins (manda_collins) | 1885 comments Mod
What a lovely excerpt, Janga. It's not familiar to me.


message 4: by Dls (new)

Dls | 2063 comments Mod
I have no idea! It's really lovely.


message 5: by Susan (new)

Susan (susaninaz) | 991 comments Just... Wow! I really want to know what this is.


message 6: by Irisheyes (new)

Irisheyes | 892 comments No clue. But, as usual, you have me intrigued, Janga! :)


message 7: by Janga (new)

Janga | 1070 comments Mod
The puzzler is from Jezebel's Blues by Ruth Wind (aka Barbara Samuel, aka Barbara O'Neal). It's an oldie and a category, but it is available as a ebook.


Shh I'm reading! (thequietone) | 92 comments I have it but haven't read it yet. Definitely will add to the queue.


message 9: by Irisheyes (new)

Irisheyes | 892 comments I have it too! I'm so excited. :)


message 10: by Monica (new)

Monica | 548 comments Mod
Sounds GREAT! I'm going to add it to my wishlist at Amazon right now!


message 11: by Dls (new)

Dls | 2063 comments Mod
Great great book. Loved it.


message 12: by Susan (new)

Susan (susaninaz) | 991 comments FOLKS! I found this book is FREE today for kindle! Ooooh, I'll have to fire up my free Kindle reader for this one. Yummy.


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