Still Waters Run Deeper (MF)
It’s a long way from Manhattan to Missouri but Shea Sloane makes the journey and relocates. As she settles into small town life running a coffee shop, she meets a man with a mysterious past and many secrets. Alexei Barratt devils and delights her as they get to know each other and before long, they’re building a relationship. Or, at least Shea thinks so until his biggest secret is revealed and she isn’t sure she even knows him. But with her heart involved, she does her best to understand and move forward. A near death experience that should bond them brings more doubts and in the end, it’s up to Shea to decide whether she can trust Alexei and if they can build a future together.
He faced her. “Good. Shea, I’ll see you tomorrow, sometime. And…”
“This.” Alexei seized her and pulled her against his chest. He lowered his mouth onto hers with urgent hunger, his lips intent on hers. Shea caught her breath and kissed him back. Her arms slid around his body and grasped tight as if to maintain her balance. His lips were heated from the tea. Alexei tasted both sweet and tart. Combined with his very masculine aroma, some wood and spice cologne mingled with what must be his natural scent, Shea thought she might swoon with a rush of desire. No one had invoked such a powerful reaction, ever. She’d kissed countless men and been intimate with a few but not one made her body sing with such intense power or made her dizzy.
Alexei kissed like he meant it. From the way his lips devoured hers and his mouth fastened onto hers, he seemed to need the contact. Raw heat kindled between them and her breath caught short, but Shea wasn’t willing to stop. Who needed air in their lungs when they could experience such a sensual rush? The kiss delivered more pleasure and potential than she’d known in some sexual encounters. If this had such an impact, sex would probably kill her, but it would be a death worth risking.
They might have kissed for two minutes or ten. Shea lost track of time and everything but his mouth on hers faded away. When Alexei removed his mouth, Shea sagged against him, knees threatening to buckle. She lifted her eyes to his face but his expression was inscrutable. He neither smiled nor frowned but gazed into her face with such focus that she trembled.
“Angel Moy,” he whispered, the unfamiliar pronunciation delighting her. Although what he said sounded like “On-gell”, rhyming with “sell”, Shea was all but certain it meant “angel.” “I needed that but it’s time for me to go, before I do anything either one of us might regret. I’ll see you tomorrow, Shea.”
Alexei touched one finger to her lips, then brushed her face with his hand in a casual caress. Before she could think of what to say or do, he stepped around her and opened the door to the hall. Shea didn’t move as she listened to his footsteps descending the stairs and when she heard his truck start, she walked over to the window. The glow of the dash lights illuminated his face for a moment and shimmered off his blonde hair. He’s so beautiful, she thought, and so deep.
She wondered if she could ever understand him or know what troubled him or why he must not sleep at night. Whether or not it was possible, Shea ached for the chance to try. As if he sensed her gaze, he glanced up at her window and raised one hand. She waved back and stood, watching until his truck pulled away from the curb and turned the corner.
Tomorrow would be different, she realized. Everything had changed.