WHAT IS IT ABOUT THAT MAN?
Tell me, what turns you onto a guy? His eyes? A smile that hints at badness? Broad shoulders and tight abs? The way he walks with that loose-jointed strut? A nice looking package stuffed into his buttery soft jeans? (And if any of my grandchildren are reading this, I did not write that. You know Grandma would never say such a thing.) Or is it his attitude? His character? What turns you on?
Frankly, I like it all. I do enjoy a good looking man, and many things can turn an average looking male into a heart-melting one. Take his smile, for instance. Did you ever notice George Clooney’s half-smile? You know, when he’s talking, and the corners of his mouth wink a smile. It’s a smile that never blooms completely, but it doesn’t need to. That baby has enough power just the way it is.
A man’s attitude can be a turn on, too. I was a teenager when I first fell in love with Sean Connery in those early “double-OO” movies. I loved his take-charge attitude and those one-line quips. I’ve thought as he’s aged, he’s gotten better looking. What about you?
Books and book covers talk about a man’s physic—and why not, men have been talking about ours since we stepped out of the caves! I have to admit that I’m not so affected by that quality. Perhaps because my own sons are quite “hunky” themselves. My youngest is a bodybuilder and competes in natural body building shows, the kind where contestants must submit to drug tests for steroids. Here’s a pic of Mike holding a pose for the judges. He’s been shaved, painted for the tanned effect, sprayed down with cooking oil for that slick look and glued into his “banana hammock” to prevent any embarrassing costume exposures. Not bad looking for someone thirty-six.
In my book, Storm’s Interlude, Rachel interacts with her patient’s twin brother. Since they’d argued earlier, she’s trying not to notice him. Unfortunately—or fortunately for my readers—it’s not working…
Storm and the man she’d seen earlier turned from a large window overlooking Noella’s rose gardens when she entered the dining room. She was nearly bowled over by the combined power of their testosterone level. Coming back from her run this morning, she’d seen the pair talking next to the police cruiser. She’d chosen to ignore them. Now, observing them up close, the pair seemed formidable, as if they felt they could handle anything or anyone.
Storm’s eyes swept over her red silky blouse and tight black skirt. When his eyes landed on her new red strappy heels with ties that wrapped around her ankles and crisscrossed up to her calves, his eyebrows shot upward. “Well, don’t you look lovely tonight?” She hadn’t been expecting that, nor was she prepared for his smile and winking dimples to fluster her like that.
He looked handsome and virile in a black golfing shirt and tan khakis. It was an outfit that would have gone unnoticed on any other man; but it was his build, his muscles, his power of movement that made it eye-catching. His shoulder-length hair, combed straight back from his wide forehead, glistened blacker than his shirt. Dark eyes bore into hers as he lifted a glass of amber liquid to his lips.
“Thank you.” She cleared her throat, hoping her voice didn’t sound too breathless, too interested, which, of course, she wasn’t.
Storm winked, almost as if he’d read her mind—the scoundrel. “I’d like you to meet Jackson Cole. We’ve been best friends since we were riding tricycles. Jackson, this is Sunny’s nurse, Rachel Dennison.”
Jackson stepped toward her and extended his hand. His smile didn’t reach his eyes, and for that reason she sensed sadness about him. Although he was slightly shorter and thinner than Storm, he gave one the impression of an old watch wound too tight, as though he kept his power tightly leashed. His blond hair was cut in a short military style. So this was the chief of police. Bet the crime level stayed low in this county.
“I’m honored to meet you, Miss Dennison, especially since you’re here to help Sunny.”
“Call me Rachel, please.”
“I’d be honored, ma’am.” Jackson’s handshake was warm and firm. “You took Sunny to the oncologist today. What did he say? How’s she doing?”
“I’m still alive and kicking.” They all turned to watch Sunny enter, wearing the aqua pantsuit she’d bought earlier at the mall. She’d taken extra pains with her appearance, wearing large dangling aqua earrings, makeup and the fake eyelashes Rachel had talked her into buying. A white lace scarf was artfully tied around her bald head. “I heard you were coming to dinner. My, if you aren’t a sight for sore eyes, you handsome rascal you.” She winked, and he smiled a smile that reached his eyes.
Almost as if they were the only two people in the room, he went to Sunny and placed his hands on her face. His eyes searched hers, speaking volumes before he kissed her forehead. Then he enveloped her in his arms. His eyes closed and he breathed her name.
The scene was so painfully poignant tears filled Rachel’s eyes. Storm placed a hand on the small of her back and she gazed up at him. “How long has he loved her?” she whispered.
“Since we were riding tricycles.” He wiped her falling tear with the pad of his thumb. “You’re very gentle hearted, aren’t you?” His voice was deep, sensual. Her stomach fluttered.
He was standing so close to her, his male scent eliciting a very female response. For the briefest of moments, she wanted to lean into him, which was not a good thing. Hadn’t she promised herself not to get entangled with a man again? She glanced at the embracing couple, choosing to ignore Storm’s question. “Then, why...”
“Life gets complicated. People make bad choices and pain happens.” He studied his sister and then focused dark eyes on Rachel. “I take it the fake eyelashes were your idea.”
By the tone of his voice he wasn’t being critical. She’d been prepared to handle critical and rude and overbearing, but not his gentleness. Rachel searched his face. Warmth shone from his eyes, and for the first time, she noticed wrinkles at their corners, no doubt from spending so much time in the hot Texas sun. She fought the urge to reach up to smooth them with a touch.
“Yes. The better a woman feels about her appearance, the stronger she feels. For cancer patients, feeling strong about anything gives them an added boost. In time, her hair and eyelashes will grow back. This is just a stop-gap measure until then.”
He glanced at his sister again. “I see.”
“I talked her into buying some clothes that fit, too. Wearing clothes that hang on you is only a constant reminder you’re sick. Better to feel pretty and alive, don’t you think?”
Storm studied Rachel for several beats. “You focus heavily on the emotional side of the patient, don’t you?”
“Aren’t we ruled by our emotions?” She was, especially at that moment with the heat from his warm hand pressing into the small of her back. The smell of his cologne wafted over her and his dark eyes regarded her intently.
He smiled and leaned so his mouth was near her ear. “Great shoes, by the way.”
She chuckled and looked in the opposite direction, hoping he wouldn’t see her blush. “Sunny called them ‘ho-red.’ We laughed so hard when the shoe salesman fumbled, trying to tie the laces around my ankles and calves.”
Storm glanced at her shoes again. She could have sworn she heard him mutter, “Lucky bastard.”
http://bit.ly/rcCIMa (The Wild Rose Press)
Please come visit me at my blog sometime. There’s a great blog hop party going on right now that I’m part of. Stop by, follow the directions and leave your comment and email to be entered in a drawing. http://www.vintagevonnie.blogpsot.com
Fantastic excerpt, Vonnie! I must confess I still hadn't bought my copy of Storm's Interlude but I can promise that little slip has just been rectified this morning. Can't wait to read it! I will post a review on Amazon as soon as I'm done.
Vonnie is waiting for your questions and comments!
PS: I am also appearing on Vonnie's blog today - so i'd love to see you there!