This excerpt is from my novel Cost of Living, about everyone's favorite playboy billionaire CEO, Thairon Casid. It's been shelved, and honestly it is not up to par with my current stuff-- but I am absolutely in love with Mr. Casid. This scene isn't, strictly speaking, love at first sight, I guess.But it takes place following Thairon and Setta's first kiss, which was very publicly done on the red carpet, to keep her from having a panic attack. Maybe it's more like the realization of the complications of love at first sight?
It's important to note that Setta is the reincarnation of Thairon's college girlfriend, Gwen, who died in a car crash the night he had intended to propose. Now he's stumbled across Setta twenty years later-- there's a big age gap between them, and Setta has been resisting their involvement. Needless to say, their first kiss was not her idea.
“Do you think they broadcast our kiss?” Setta asked.
Thairon chuckled, tucking her head beneath his chin. “I would be surprised if they didn’t. I’m sorry, Setta. I didn’t mean to make it so public. I suppose, at least it will be unforgettable.” It would probably haunt them both until their dying day. He would have to ask Marcus if he could secure a copy of the footage, whoever had it. Someone must.
“It would’ve been unforgettable, anyway.” She pulled back and looked up at him. “You were serious about staying away from the internet and the news tomorrow, weren’t you?”
“Dead serious.” He could kiss her again, he thought, staring at her lips. Right now. Help her out of her dress. He would love to help her out of that dress. Her skin was so soft. He marveled at it.
She raised a hand to his face and he turned his head to kiss her palm. Somehow, he didn’t think that seducing her was the appropriate response at the moment. That wasn’t the kind of comfort she needed.
“You did it to me before, too.”
He stared down at her, with no idea of what she was talking about.
“Kissed me in front of an audience. In the dorm, when I was Gwen. You walked me to my room after our first date, and then in front of a dozen other girls, you kissed me.”
He smiled at the memory. She had been so soft and warm and beautiful, then too. Standing in front of her door, with one hand on the knob, and about to slip right through his fingers and disappear. And he hadn’t been able to stop himself from pulling her back when she tried to turn away. Thinking about it wasn’t helping him control himself now, either.
He forced himself to look into her eyes, instead of staring at her mouth. “I couldn’t let you go.”
“I guess nothing’s really changed, then.” But she didn’t smile, and she dropped her hand.
He let go of her and stepped back. To prove a point. To show her that he could. But her hand caught his as it trailed down her arm and she brought it to her face, pressing it to her cheek. Her other hand gripped the front of his dress shirt, pulling him back. He was all too willing to let her, and when she stood on her toes to press her lips against his, he met with the sudden realization that this last week had been just as agonizing for her as it had been for him.
He kissed her until she went limp and he was holding her up more than she was standing on her own, stopping only to let them both breathe.
She clung to him, her face hidden in the curve of his shoulder, and he stroked her hair, and her back, watching their reflection in the mirror. He had to get her out of that dress before they kissed again, or else he was going to rip it from her body in pieces. “Marry me, Setta.”
She made a noise that was almost a laugh and looked up at him again. “I can’t, Thairon. Do any of this. Not yet.”
How had he forgotten? What the hell was he thinking? “No, of course.” Not yet wasn’t no. And maybe it was just the physical intimacy that frightened her, not the idea of marrying him. He hadn’t even considered what the implications were. All that emotion. All that emotion funneled right into her, on top of her own. He let her go and stepped back. “Take as long as you need.”
She dropped her eyes to the floor. “I’m sorry.”
“You should get out of that dress. I’ll have Marcus send it to be dry-cleaned.” He didn’t know what else to say. But if he didn’t say something, he was going to start kissing her again, and he wasn’t sure that either one of them would have the presence of mind to stop. He knew he wouldn’t. He didn’t want her to stop him, either. To salve his pride. And then what? She’d suffered enough already tonight, and things were only going to get more complicated tomorrow. “Get some sleep, Setta.”
He left the room before he lost his self control. A swim would help. He'd work off some of the energy he would much rather expend on her person, until he was too tired to imagine what he wanted to do with her.