A tear fell from her eye and Drake watched it hit her coat.
“He struck me once.”
“Struck you?” He stepped toward her, wanting to envelop her in his arms and take away the memories. But he remembered when Elizabeth told him about a particular horrifying event of her childhood, afterward she’d somehow been free of the pain.
“Yes. I had let the horses out of the stable. I deserved it.”
“Don’t justify his actions. Not even to yourself.” He inched closer until he stood right in front of her and tipped her chin with his fingers. He rubbed the scar on her right cheek with his thumb. It was tiny, almost imperceptible, but he’d noticed it. “Did he do this to you?”
She blinked her beautiful eyes and tears tracked down her cheeks. “He never touched me afterward, too afraid to leave another mark, I guess. All he cared about was my appearance and accomplishments.”
Drake wanted to kill the bastard. But he tamped down his anger. His fury wouldn’t help Emma. He held her face in his hands and leaned closer. She closed her eyes and he kissed the scar. As he tenderly moved his lips to her cheek, he softly said, “I will never let him near you again.”
“Thank you,” she whispered.
Still with her eyes closed, Drake kissed her other cheek, her forehead, her eyelids.
What was he doing?
She needed him and he wanted to be there for her. Her lips parted. Pink, wet, and luscious, he couldn’t take his eyes from them. He had to know, would they be cool against his? Warm?
He breathed her name against her lips, then simply pressed his lips to hers. An innocent, comforting kiss.
At least he hoped so.
For a few seconds it was awkward. He wasn’t sure whether Emma wanted him to kiss her or not, because there was no response. He pulled away, just a hair, and grasped her nape. “Emma?”
Her heavy lids lifted and her sparkling emerald eyes smiled. “Would you mind doing that again?”
He grinned. “With pleasure.”
And suddenly everything between them changed. Drake wasn’t just kissing her, she was kissing him back—although innocently—she hit all the marks to spark his desire.
He pulled her body closer and tugged off his gloves, throwing them fall to the ground. Again he held her face in his hands and this time he devoured her mouth. Taking her secrets, stealing her breath, asking for all she could give.
And give she did, with inexperienced enthusiasm.
Voices from outside the barn startled them both.
They broke apart, both breathing hard. Emma’s lips were slightly puffy and he’d freed some of her locks at the nape of her neck. She darted back to the stable hall and he followed, swiping his gloves from the dirt floor. She handed him a couple of sugar cubes and they began feeding the horses.
GAIL: Thanks for posting this excellent excerpt for us to critique. I am afraid I'm not going to be much help here because this looks perfect to me. You did a great job balancing the action with the deep POV. We get a good sense of who these characters are from just this short snippet. I love the interruption, which leaves the reader hooked and wanting to read more.
SAMANTHA: Fantastic! I loved when he kissed her scar. A tender man melts my heart. I thought you did an excellent job of addressing the different senses. This kiss was chaste but very sensual. The only thing I saw was a typo, which is truly no big deal. "...tugged off his gloves, throwing them fall to the ground." I would love to read more.
HEATHER: Beautiful, just beautiful. "And give she did, with inexperienced enthusiasm.
Voices from outside the barn startled them both." The transition from the first sentence to second feels a little abrupt. I would add a little more of her reaction before the second sentence begins.
MELISSA: Well done. I don't have more to add other than and this is just preference but I hated to see her say that she deserved it. And having been in her place before, I'd like to see more women say I never deserved it so we teach our little girls that. But that's just me. Again great scene, gentle kiss, loved the deep pov you've got that down pat, and very visual. And agian, it's just my own
JERRICA: Very nice excerpt! The scene is very romantic and tender, and your voice is clear. I did get hung up on a few technicalities, though. Consider eliminating the word "particular" from "told him about a particular horrifying event." In this one "Drake wasn’t just kissing her, she was kissing him back" - I was thrown off, because it indicates Drake is her name. And I agree with Heather that you need a transition before "Voices from outside the barn startled them both." I know I'm being a bit nit picky, but I think this is a great excerpt. With a few tweaks it would be perfect :)
LYDIA: I have to second Heather's comment. The transition was a little abrupt for me too. After they break apart and before they pick up the sugar cubes, can you give us a bit of deeo POV. What is the emotion or thoughts racing through his mind. Otherwise, I thought it was a very nice scene. Thanks for sharing it with us.