This is the moment when the hero, Trent Palmer and the heroine, Izzy Cooper, come together and set up the entire conflict of the novel. They like one another, but have a tragic and valid reason why it is so hard for them to be together. I hope, in this early scene, I have managed to convey Izzy’s anguish and the reason for her sometimes harsh treatment of a man whom she wholly respects and wants, but the idea of them being together is just plain terrifying to her…
The security alarm chimed. Someone had stepped inside the studio. Exhaling a heavy breath, Izzy pulled back her shoulders, lifted her head and forced a smile.
“Hi, how can I…” Her heart stopped. Trent Palmer stood just inside the door. “Why are you here?”
His dark green gaze bored relentlessly into hers, his strong jaw set as he reached behind him and shut the door. “I came by to see how you’re doing.”
Traitorous attraction skittered over the surface of her skin before Izzy turned and strode toward the corner she used for staging portrait shots. The fluffy bunnies, huge furry dice and toys she’d used to relax a toddler earlier now felt macabre.
She spun around, clutching a teddy bear. “The same as I was doing yesterday and the day before. I told you I don’t want to see you. I don’t ever want to see you. Why do you keep coming back?”
He came closer, his gaze locked on hers. “You have to talk to me. I was Robbie’s friend. There was nothing—”
“You could do. Fine. I get it, but why do you feel the need to keep coming in here and checking up on me? What do you want me to do? Dance in the street? Kick up my heels at the fairground? God, just leave me alone.”
“There’s a beach party tonight. I want you to come with me.”
She stared. Why him? Why would a man she really liked—a damn firefighter—have to pursue her like she was someone worth pursuing? “No.”
He looked at the equipment covering the desk alongside him. He lifted and replaced a camera, the hunch of his wide shoulders indicating his discomfort. Izzy hated that she drew no satisfaction from that…only sadness.
This is the moment when my hero, Trent Palmer, accepts what the heroine, Izzy Cooper, has been trying to make him understand all along – how can she love him, while she blames him for her brother’s death?
I love this moment, because we’ve all experienced the frustration and helplessness that goes with trying to convince someone that we are innocent in what they see as a betrayal. How we can only go on for so long explaining and/or apologizing before accepting that we just might have to walk away in order to say ourselves…
She held up a finger toward him as though asking him to wait for her. Surprise turned to pathetic relief as she jogged across the sand, her long blonde hair swinging back and forth in its ponytail. As she got closer, the more Trent tensed.
It had been over a week since he’d seen her. The beach party a bigger disaster than he could’ve ever anticipated.
She came up the steps toward him, tucking some fallen hair behind her ear. He noted the way she tried to smile for him, but it didn’t quite meet her eyes. “Hi.”
He pushed his hands into the pockets of his work trousers. “Hi.”
Slightly out of breath, she exhaled through pursed lips and stared into his eyes. “I think I owe you an apology.”
She might as well as said she loved him. The pleasure that jolted through him probably wouldn’t have been any less powerful. He dragged his gaze from hers to look blindly toward a spot over her shoulder. “For what?”
“For the way I spoke to you at the beach last week.” She sighed. “Won’t you at least look at me? You know apologizing doesn’t exactly come as second nature to me.”
He turned. The trepidation and pleading in her gaze teemed with the blush at her cheeks, tugged at his chest. “I get it, Iz. It’s fine.”
“What do you get?”
“You need to blame me for Robbie’s death. You’ll only ever look at me and see a firefighter now. The man who couldn’t save your brother. You’ll never just see me. A guy who really likes you.”
This is the moment when the sexual tension between Trent and Izzy reaches the point of no return. They have battled and fought; reached out and needed, but it has been a long time since they have given in to complete desire. This was one of my most favourite scenes to write, purely because Izzy tries so very hard to be in control of the situation and it turns out Trent was in control all along…so much fun!
She raised her head. Oh, for the love of God…
His black firefighter-issue trousers were tucked into steel-capped boots, red suspenders dangling, leaving his torso and chest bare. His thick, glossy hair matched the dark line running from his navel to the waistband of those stupidly, sexy trousers. Izzy licked her lips as her body hummed with arousal.
The idea to douse Trent in an April shower had come to her in the middle of the night. A sexily splendid idea. She’d battled with the decision to change the design over and over––but had kept to her creative plan. How the hell was she to know how much his glistening skin would turn her on?
“You want me on the sheets, right?”
“We’ll start there, yes.”
He grinned, his eyes dancing in such a happy and sexy way, Izzy fought to maintain every ounce of willpower not to jump him there and then. Instead, she stepped forward and put her eye to the camera lens, taking in more of what her mind and body had already been exposed. Her mouth drained dry. God, he was beautiful. The golden-bronze sheen of his skin, the hardened ridge of his wide shoulders leading down to arms, sinewy with muscle and tendons. A body like his wasn’t something a woman saw on a daily basis.
She took a few shots, before pulling back and meeting his cool, green gaze. “Step toward the back a little. That’s it. I need a bit of breathing space.”
He smiled. “Got it.”
Biting back her smile, Izzy returned to the camera, her heart beating out of control. His voice––and smile––were torture as she continued with her plan of slow seduction. The plan wasn’t working in quite the way she anticipated. Trent had the benefit of being covered in water, whereas she was burning up…everywhere.
How can she forgive him for what he didn't do?
Photographer Izzy Cooper feels as frozen as her pictures. Trent Palmer might be the hottest firefighter in Templeton Cove, but she can never face him again. Not after he failed to save her brother. But when they're forced together by a calendar shoot, the sparks between them are undeniable.
Izzy knows it's not fair to blame Trent for the tragedy, but opening herself up to loss again isn't something she's prepared to do, no matter how determined Trent is to show her that pain is part of life and that love—their love—can make any suffering bearable.
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01JFHYGQW
Amazon US: https://amzn.com/B01FQX473Q
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