The daffodils have started blooming at the house where my grandparents, then my aunt lived, and now my boys live there. Not all of them, but enough to make it feel like spring is really here. It’s early days, but it’s here. I spent a big chunk of yesterday doing some yard work, trimming back the flowering shrubs and plotting with my oldest where we’ll move the peonies to when we clear the bed from behind the garage to make more parking area for them, planning to make another garden smaller, what to put in a front bed, all the mulching we’ll have to do. Last year, we did some of the garden work that needed to be caught up on from the previous year, when my aunt started it before she became to ill to continue. Now we’ll catch up so the yard and gardens would make her and my grandma happy again.
I had planned to be farther along with my post-writing steps for the Common Elements novella I’m releasing this fall, but the day-job is kicking my butt this month. We are short-handed on our team (after covering for a couple of weeks for a neighboring team), and my brain is tired. We have four busy weeks to get through, and then hopefully we’ll have a new team member to pick up the slack, and I can breathe a little again.
So while I go try to catch up on some household chores that have also fallen by the wayside in the past week, I’ve got a little story snippet for you from the fourth story in my shifter series.
Instead of letting her get ready alone, Anton stayed in the bedroom. He had a sneaking suspicion she’d come downstairs in the black dress otherwise. He admired the curve of her hips as she sat on the foot of the bed to ease on sheer stockings that reached her thighs.
She blushed as she glanced up, and he winked, just to see the color in her cheeks deepen. It did, and she looked away, getting to her feet again to return to the bathroom.
He watched her go, thinking how much he couldn’t wait to peel the blush-colored bra and panties off of her later.
When she emerged again, her hair was no longer down. Instead, she’d twisted it into a loose knot at her nape, with a few wisps around her face.
Gods, she was pretty, his mate.
She hesitated at the closet, and he held his breath, waiting to see what she’d do, which gown she would choose.
After a very long moment, she slid the green from the hanger, and he relaxed. He moved closer when she’d stepped into the gown and slid the straps onto her shoulders. “Let me help,” he murmured, reaching to zip her up.
She shivered when he brushed her skin just above the top of her dress, so he bent to kiss the curve of her ear.
“Thank you,” he whispered.
He heard her swallow, and she tipped her head to look back at him. “Thank you,” she whispered back.
He groaned as he straightened. “If you look at me like that, we’re not going to make it out of the house, and it would be a shame if no one else sees you in that dress.”
She smiled, reluctantly, and turned away. When she’d stepped into the sandals, she turned back.
“You need one more thing.” He held up his hand when her mouth opened. “Close your eyes and don’t argue.”
She frowned, then, after several seconds, closed her eyes.
He retrieved the box from his dresser and unhooked the clasp, then draped the chain around her throat and fastened it again. “Okay.”
She glanced over her shoulder at him, still frowning, and her fingers slid down the chain to the pendant.
“Go look.” He nodded toward the mirror, and she went, still looking at him, uncertainly.
Until she reached the mirror, and her jaw dropped as her eyes rounded.
He walked over, too, satisfaction making him smile when he could see it. The antique platinum chain and old-fashioned cut of the diamonds around the emerald suited her.
“Oh my Gods,” she breathed, “Anton, I can’t–”
“My father gave it to my mother when I was born. Now I’m giving it to you.”
Her wide eyes met his in the mirror, and he couldn’t quite read her expression–too many things swirled there. “Thank you,” she said finally.
He bent to kiss her bare shoulder again. “My pleasure.” He turned her to face him, and realized she already had lipstick on. “Damn.”
She must have realized what he meant, because she smiled. “It won’t come off.” She swiped one finger across her bottom lip, then showed him. “Lip stain.”
He didn’t give a damn what it was called. He bent and caught her mouth. Deep and long. When he lifted his head, her cheeks were flushed, her lips puffy.
Now I have one last load of laundry to deal with, and maybe some supper to make before I call it a day. Who else is having trouble keeping up right now? Any ideas on how to get through it? I could use some suggestions for the next month.