A Safe Place To Hide
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by Jaxine Daniels
Description: When Daniel Fraser's wife died of leukemia, he crawled into himself, not willing or able to come out and play. The thing he longs for most is a safe place to hide. Not so for high-spirited Parisian, Sophie Riene. To Sophie, life is a daring adventure, or it is nothing. Sophie longs to see Daniel smile. With her joie de vivre, Sophie is able to save Daniel from his self-inflicted prison. But when Sophie' life crumbles around her, it's up to Daniel to rescue her.
eBook Publisher: Wings ePress, Inc., 2006 2006
eBookwise Release Date: December 2006
6 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [300 KB]
Reading time: 183-257 min.
Even more magnificent, though, Sophie realized, was that Daniel had joined in the laughter. In a totally unrehearsed, unpremeditated way, he took her hand and brought it to his smiling lips.
And then, he stopped laughing.
His eyes still shone with the smile. But, then the look changed, filled with melancholy and misgiving. Sophie watched him wrestle with ghosts.
The decision that had hung over both of them since the very moment they met.
Would they love each other? Were they willing?
Daniel had, up to this very moment, denied not his willingness to love again--he never got that far--but his very ability to do so.
And yet, he had consistently moved forward, in small ways like getting rid of the furniture and in bigger ones like selling the house, lovingly putting his past in the past, to this moment when he knew he was able to love again.
But was he willing?
Sophie let him take his time, allowed him to hold her hand to his lips, her eyes locked with his. She could have pushed him one way or the other, but this was not hers to do.
Slowly, he dropped her hand and put his arm around her, pulling her close, kissing the top of her head. Minutes ticked by silently.
At that moment, she wasn't sure what he'd decided so she closed her eyes and enjoyed his warm nearness, trying desperately to calm the sudden crush of panic that overwhelmed her.
Until just now, she'd have said that she could go either way, that if he decided he wasn't able to love her, wasn't willing to walk down that road, it would have been okay. It was no longer okay. Now, she really wanted to walk down that road with him, wanted him to choose her.
With a small sob stuck in her chest, she pulled away, pushed to her feet.
"I need to go, Daniel."
He let her get to the door before he moved.
She stopped, holding her breath, not turning around.
"I'll walk you down to your car."
He said nothing more until she pulled her key from her pocket and slid it into the lock on the driver's side.
"Sophie," he whispered, so soft, filled with desperation.
He raised his hand to her chin, lifting her face so their eyes met. There was still uncertainty there, but it wasn't an uncertainty born of indecision. He had decided.
Daniel couldn't speak, couldn't find words. It was all still too new, too fragile.
But he knew that she knew. The look she gave him, a look of understanding and hope, filled almost with wonder, gave him the courage he needed to kiss her.
Her lips met his, softly. If he'd guessed at the outcome, he'd have put money on it ending there, a nice, sweet promise, a soft anticipation of poetry. And it was all those things, at the beginning. But, then she moved closer and he felt his body stir and the kiss went on, hotter, deeper, aching, raging. And he was lost in her, wanting, needing.
Needing to stop before...
Daniel stepped back, disconnecting. He slid his hands down her shoulders, down her arms, taking her hands and holding them against his racing heart.
Still no words came.
Sophie could not help herself--she laughed. Sweet, sexy, and way too serious Daniel.
A quick, almost offended look crossed his face before he looked away.
"I will see you tomorrow, my Daniel, and the day after."
He still didn't look up, but brought her hands to his lips and kissed them before stepping back, letting go.
"Tomorrow, then. Thank you for coming, Sophie."
She stepped forward and kissed his cheek.