Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Guest Excerpt: White Lightning by Cyan Bell

Welcome to one of our newest authors at Changeling!

White Lightning by Cyan Bell
All rights reserved.Copyright ©2008 Cyan Bell
This e-book file contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language which some may find offensive and which is not appropriate for a young audience. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults, only, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.

Taylor sighed with bliss. Her nipples hardened and goose bumps pebbled her skin. The constant Australian summer heat was taking its toll. All the windows in her cabin were fully open to try to catch an elusive breeze and there was always the sensation of a storm on the precipice to breaking, but it never seemed to fulfill its promise. Throwing off her clothes and going skinny dipping was the only way she would get some relief.
She sucked in a deep breath and ducked her head under the water. Kicking lazily, she began to swim as far into the center of the lake as she could, breaking to the surface with an explosive inhalation.
“The one downfall of going swimming at night completely naked is someone catching you. Worse if that someone decides to run off with your clothes.”
She let out a startled yelp, forgetting to tread water and disappearing under the water again. Spinning around, she stroked to the surface and tried to see the owner of the rich, teasing voice. She let out a cough and swiped water out of her eyes, but was only able to make out a dark shape at the edge of the water where she’d entered. Her heart sped up and panic flared in her chest. She looked over her shoulder to see how far away the other shore was. Too far.
“Gee, Taylor, don’t go drowning on me or I might have to come out there and save you, give you mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.” The deep male voice kept its jovial quality but at the edges an element of concern lingered.
Recognition sparked in her memory. At the exact same moment, her fear fled and was replaced by a fluttering in her stomach. Now her breathlessness wasn’t caused by her urge to swim away but rather the knowledge of who stood at the water’s edge and the fact she was naked.
She tried to still her racing pulse and counted to ten while breathing normally. “Ryan Matthews?” She swam closer to the sound of his voice and stood, feeling rough stones under her feet. She stayed crouched so the water covered her up to her throat. Unconsciously, she passed her hand over her face, feeling for bruises or telltale signs. I have to stop doing that! She dropped her hand back down into the water. “What are you doing here?”
“I told you, I came to steal your clothes.”
An idea sparked in her head. This was why she was here, to get away from herself, from the scared, broken person she’d become. She was going to go back, reclaim the person she was five years ago. Only, she was going to do it with the kind of confidence she’d only dreamed of having the last time Ryan and she had spent time together.
“Are you going to spend all night in there, Taylor? I’m not going to bite.” He muttered something incomprehensible afterward.
She stood up, the water reaching just above her breasts. The gentle motion around her nipples and between her thighs made her brash. She felt… sexy, damn it; the cold water surrounding her body, the sticky heat of the night and the proximity of the man she’d had a crush on for years playing havoc with her. “Got something else to say, Matthews?”
There was a heartbeat of hesitation and she heard an intake of breath. Taylor smiled, knowing for the first time in many years she’d thrown out a verbal challenge and he didn’t quite know what to do about it.
The clouds above them parted and the full moon bathed the side of the lake in a surreal soft light. She seized her opportunity, knowing full well there were no welts to hide, and that the diffused light wouldn’t show up any of her scars. Taylor walked out of the water as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Arching a brow, she concentrated on his face, barely able to make out the deep blue of his irises.
She shivered, the chill of the water still numbing her nerves but rapidly being brought to life by the stifling heat in the air. She watched the rapid play of emotions across his face; surprise first, followed by the startled realization she really was completely naked. His jaw dropped as she came out of the water until only her ankles were covered. She hid her smile by swinging her hair over her shoulder and gathering it into her hand so she could wring the moisture out. Water cascaded down her body, passing in between her breasts and then she tossed it back over so the strands landed in the middle of her back.
Ryan held her clothes in one hand, not moving, but she could see the muscles in his arms flexing and his throat working as he gulped. She noticed the hard bulge straining the zipper of his jeans; his bare feet tickled by the very edge of the water. A casual cotton shirt clung to a well-developed chest and arms.
“I’ve known you since I was five years old, Ryan. I used to splash around here naked when you were ten. If you’d stolen my clothes I would have just walked up to my uncle’s cabin without them. It’s not like you haven’t seen it all before.” She grabbed the clothes from his hand and slung them over her arm, barely suppressing a laugh. “The one thing I haven’t seen is you speechless.” With that, she skirted the water until she came to the path up to her cabin. She couldn’t help but look back and noticed him looking at her with a slight smile on his face. Yes!
With a giddiness she hadn’t experienced in a long time, she took the first step up the side of the hill. Cut into the sloping earth, each stair was a length of tree branch dug in to the ground, creating curved platforms all the way to the deck of her cabin. Binding the soil together, a mixture of trailing vines and ferns lined the side of the path and caressed her toes and legs with their leafy touch. Her feet curled around the wood, the bark soft under the arches. Pain lanced through her right hip, but she gritted her teeth and ignored it until it stopped.
“There’s just one major difference, Taylor.” His voice sounded hoarse and slightly strained.
She smothered a grin before turning to look at him. “What’s that, Ryan?”
“You sure as hell didn’t look like that when you were five.”


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