With: Magan Vernon
Natalie Reeder has been hired to curate items in Lord Gavin’s inherited castle in Webley, England. Inthe following scene, Natalie was examining some deck chairs around the indoor pool when she fell in.
“I’ll have someone take care of this right away.”
She blinked slowly so water dripped off her long eyelashes. “Help me out?”
I extended my hand, taking a few steps forward in my crouched position.
The wind knocked out of me as my loafers teetered on a wobbly tile. I tried to grab onto the side, but the piece broke beneath my fingers and I slammed headfirst into the warm, salty water.
I paddled to the surface, pushing my hair out of my face as I treaded water in front of Natalie. The anger that was once coursing through me had dulled. The whole thing was almost comical, a laugh lodging in my throat.
“Did you do that on purpose?” she asked, wiping her face free of a fresh new spray of water droplets.
pushing back until I hit the wall behind me.
As soon as my body hit the tile, little flakes of rubble crumbled against my neck. I immediately pushed forward before the wall came crumbling into the pool. But not fast enough that the little splashes didn’t speckle Natalie and me in the face.
“Ack,” she spat, rubbing at her eyes.
“Are you okay? Guess saltwater and one-hundred-year-old dust isn’t the best combination.”
“Definitely not,” she sputtered, as if she were trying to hold back a laugh.
“Here, let me get out, then I can help you.” I grabbed onto the side of the wall, only to have it crumble in my fingertips, a big heap splashing the water. An epic splash of dust and water sprayed my face and chest. The wave rolled over to Natalie who let out a bark of a laugh.
I should have been rightfully pissed that pieces of the pool were falling into the water and that now I was soaked to the bone. But I was distracted by her laugh.
“Bloody hell, this damn thing.”
I spat water out of my mouth, wiping wet specks out of my eyes.
“Are you sure you didn’t do this on purpose just to splash me?” she joked, her voice almost a squeak.
Turning toward her, the wet hair now pushed away from her face, the smile was so broad on her face I couldn’t help but laugh in return.
“Did I?” My heart beat heavily as a rush of adrenaline coursed through me. I could either get pissy, or I could have a little fun with this situation.
I reared my hand back, pushing it under the water, then broke a wave right at Natalie’s startled face.
She squealed, holding one hand up to shield her face and the other went to the water, slapping it as if the splashes would somehow defend her.
“What? Who started the splashing?” I called over our hands lapping against the water.
She backed up and I kept treading forward until she hit the wall with nowhere else to go. She closed her eyes, both hands in the water, slapping at the waves so little liquid pellets rained down on us.
I laughed, for what was like the first time in forever. A lightness took over my chest as I pushed forward, grabbing her wrists and holding them to me.
She slowly opened her eyes as her body wriggled against mine.
Through her hooded lashes, something else was brimming in those gorgeous brown eyes. Something unspoken between the heavy breaths that floated in the air.
“I’m not sure I’ve ever heard you really laugh.”
I shook my head, my heart beating so wildly in my chest, she had to feel it. “I can’t remember the last time I laughed like that.”
I licked my lips, my heart and other parts of my body beating, coming alive.
As I leaned in slowly, her eyes fluttered closed.
One more breath and I could crash my lips to hers.
One more moment and that mouth would be mine.
“Lord Gavin!” The bellow of my property manager, Alfie’s, voice, echoed through the room.
Sometimes, you’ve got to take a job with the devil to pay the bills...