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Kissing the Sunrise

Author(s): Kendal Ashby

Grace Aldridge is ready to escape to a remote family cottage for some peaceful solitude. She wants to celebrate her one-year anniversary of being cancer free in private, giving her the time to reflect on her battle and her victory.

Crashing her car, spraining her ankle and getting lost in the dark forest were not part of her weekend plans. When Grace stumbles on to Jack Robert's campfire, the handsome stranger tries to make the best of a bad situation. Left with no other option, Grace has to rely on Jack for help.

Despite the awkward circumstances, can Grace let her guard down long enough to actually enjoy the turn of events?



Legs and arms were everywhere while they worked, and in no time their body heat mingled to warm up the small area. Half sitting, half kneeling, Jack finally looked up at her. "Try lying down."

She laid down on his spare jeans and fleece sweaters, finding them surprisingly comfortable. Unzipping the sleeping bag he spread it out over top of her. The inside was lined in a red and black checker patterned flannel. The material rubbed over her, its soft fabric felt nice against her chilled skin. Jack climbed under the blanket with her. She could tell he was trying to give her some distance, but it wasn't possible in the small space they were confined to.

His body brushed hers. The space was limited and neither of them could lie on their backs without their shoulders pressing against the tent's side, so she turned on her side and faced him. Jack shifted and positioned himself on his side facing her, one arm curled up under his head like a makeshift pillow.

"So I guess when they say 'two person tent', they really mean one and a half."

"Is this the first time you've had a sleepover in here?"

"Heck no. Women get lost in the woods and find me all the time. I'm just happy there's only you tonight, otherwise I might have to be a gentleman and sleep by the fire."

"Hardy har har, Mr. Funnyman." Even though his words were teasing, a stab of jealousy pierced through her. With his good looks, women probably threw themselves at him every chance they got.

Her eyes started to droop shut, the hectic day wearing on her. Sleep edged in around the corners of her mind, muddling her thoughts. It became harder and harder to open her eyes after each blink, until finally she stopped fighting it and let them remain closed. "Jack?"

"Yes?" His voice was heavy with sleep and barely above a whisper.

"Thank you for all you've done for me. I really appreciate it."

"You mean introducing you to S'mores?"

Her eyes opened and looked at him. His full lips curled up in a smile, and he winked at her. "Yeah, the S'mores, that's what I meant."

She playfully punched him in shoulder. His hand came up and linked with hers before she had time to pull it away. The heat from his palm warmed her cold fingers. A tingle of excitement raced up her bare arm, across her chest and down her body. The moment stretched on and neither spoke.

Kiss me.

The thought appeared from thin air and she had to urge her body not to move closer to him on its on accord. Her body knew what to do, even if her mind was shouting warnings to slow down. It'd been so long since getting this physically close to a man. She'd built an invisible barrier around her that men naturally seemed to acknowledge and respect. Did she remember how to turn off the self-guard she'd built? A thousand butterflies swarmed in her stomach and she clamped her mouth shut to keep them from escaping.

Jack released their joined hands, but didn't move towards her or make a move to kiss her. After a long stretched out moment of silence he finally said, "Good night, Grace."

"Good night, Jack."

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ISBN (Print):
ISBN (Electronic): 978-1-60435-380-8
Genre: Romance
Date Published: 08/20/2009
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing

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