Searching for Sara | Heart of the Blessed, #1
Today is another Teaser Tuesday from my first inspirational romance, Searching for Sara, as it travels around the ‘net on a Book Launch Blog Tour.
Each person who comments AND shares this post via tweet, Google+, FB, etc will receive a free, signed ebook of their preferred format (Kindle, Nook, PDF).
About the Book
Sara Little has ached to live in America. But being born of a single mother in London’s working class, she could only dream. Then, scrawled in hasty intensity, Sara receives an invitation to America. Drawn to the possibility of a new beginning, she follows God’s whisper and steps forward into the unknown. But more awaits than the realization of her dreams.
Sara’s benefactor is handsome widower Christopher Lake, a philanthropist dedicated to helping the less fortunate redefine their future. Though devastated by the loss of his wife, he dedicates himself to her last request: To provide Sara the means for a brighter future.
A reporter has published an article insinuating to a more sensual relationship between Christopher and Sara than is appropriate. Sara vented to Christopher, displaying a seldom seen passion, which caused him to recoil at a sudden desire to kiss her. She bolted, thinking she had insulted him, and Christopher has come to try and make her understand….
Christopher pitched his hat onto the nearest chair within the observatory and dropped onto the seat edge—he stood when Dix entered. “Well?”
“She’ll be down in a minute or two.”
Relief flooded over him. He scrubbed a hand through his hair.
Dix calmly sat. “Chris, what happened?”
“An unexpected reaction.” He swiped up his hat and flopped into the chair.
“Christopher….” She pressed her lips into a thin line, her brows furrowing. “I’m responsible for the girl, and I cannot help her when I cannot understand the problem. Now, forego the vague answers and tell me—”
“I wanted to kiss her.” Christopher’s face and ears flamed.
“I was trying to comfort her about the blasted article in the Chronicle while enjoying her spark of temper and I wanted to kiss her!” He stalked to the fireplace. “Do you need a blasted demonstration?”
“If you don’t stop snarling at me, I’ll toss you out on your ear.”
Christopher gripped the mantle, white-knuckled.
“What do you plan on telling her?”
“I don’t know.”
“Why don’t you tell her the truth?”
He scowled at her. “Oh, yes. Let me tell her I wanted to ravage her there on the spot, immediately chasing her to the nearest man safer than her sponsor. Yes, let’s do that.”
“Oh dear Lord, Chris. Cease the dramatics.” Dix stood beside him, her expression candid. “You are a man living without the comfort and caress of a woman longer than any widowed man should. I’ve admired your control these last several months. Now you’ve met a woman whom you treat as a friend. Considering Sara’s history, her reaction proves that in the past she was trained to believe fond treatment on her part was viewed as… repulsive.”
“Blast it— What must I do to prove her friendship is more a comfort than pain?”
“Tell her the truth. You aren’t the first man to have those thoughts, Chris. Or do you forget her reasons for escaping Mr. Brockle?” Dix gripped his arm, her gaze unyielding. “Mark my words, she will be honored you kept yourself from giving into the temptation. That shows just how much you respect her.”
“And risk her no longer trusting me?” Christopher slumped into the chair, head in his hands.
“It’s your decision.” She left the room.
Christopher heard her offer Sara a quiet phrase of encouragement on her way upstairs.
He stood. Sara entered slowly, her face pale and eyes refusing to meet his. The scent of lilacs tickled his senses as he stepped forward to meet her. “Sara, I… I don’t know what to say.”
“There’s no need, sir. I was forward.”
The tone of the ‘sir’ was aloof, reserved. He reached for her hand, but she shrunk from his touch. Blast it. “Sara, you were not forward.”
“I took a liberty I should no’ have taken.” This time she glanced toward him. Hurt glistened in their cobalt depths. “It will no’ happen again.”
“Sara, you’re a friend, a close friend, and as such you have the right to—”
“But you pulled away!” Her lower lip trembled. “I… I am sorry, sir.”
He steeled himself against the flinch. “Yes, I did pull away.” This time he pulled her hands from their tight grip of her skirt. “But because I didn’t want to act inappropriately toward you.”
“Y-You never do. You are a gentleman.” Tears blossomed to mild sobs.
A multitude of emotions crashed as Christopher gathered her into a comforting embrace. The action welcomed a diverse collection of memories. Those images of embraces and tears, and softness of curves— A friend. A friend, he repeated. A friend who treated his daughter as if she were her very own. A friend who shared a passion for art–
Christopher cut off the thoughts and pushed back from Sara with a gentle nudge. She kept her gaze down. He tucked a kerchief into her hand and watched with rapt attention as she dried the tears. “Sara, I… I need to confess something.”
She peered at him through glistening lashes. “C-confess?”
He averted his gaze. The intensity of the desire for intimacy utterly floored him. Especially in conjunction with the possibility that such a confession would rob him of what he so desperately craved, her friendship. If he confessed to the needs developing for the first time in a year, would she still trust him? If he confessed her friendship made him remember what he lost, would she offer her comfort so freely?
Yet if he recoiled again, would she accept his apology a second time?
He drew a ragged breath. “My recoil was an extreme reaction to an unexpected desire. Acting on it would have caused you to no longer trust me.”
She didn’t look away, to his surprise. “W-what?”
He offered her a slightly more certain smile. “You’re a beautiful woman, Sara,” and his face blazed at the admittance, “and when you offer such understanding, compassion, friendship…. It propelled me to a place beyond the numbness, fighting back a desire for… a kiss.”
This time Sara’s eyes lowered, and she nervously smoothed her skirts. Christopher couldn’t keep from watching her, almost desperate to see if she took offense, or if it caused her fear. She escaped from a history of masters and employees whom took advantage of her sensitive nature. He didn’t wish her to perceive the same from him.