The release date for Holly Freakin’ Hughes is approaching at lightning speed, guys. I can hardly believe it’s coming so fast. Like, where the hell is all this time going? We all say it, but…damn. Seriously nuts.
Now, I know the book isn’t even officially released yet, but I want to tell you guys a little something… I’m already working on the next book, and it’s well underway. Holly Freakin’ Hughes is intended to be a series, a trilogy at least, but this next book will be something else entirely. Something more, uh, paranormal. Something more…historical? More lovey-dovey? More sickeningly sweet? I don’t know what to even call it, honestly. It’s something completely different than anything I’ve ever done in all of my, uh, thirty-something years of throwing story ideas around. To be honest, I fucking love it and I am pumped as all hell to let y’all read it. But for now, I’m going to leave you with a little excerpt of what will be titled Sleeping to Dream, the story of Drew McAdams and William Fuller.
I hope y’all enjoy.
The room was dark with only a single sliver of moonlight streaming over the bed to illuminate the heavy rise and fall of his chest. Before my thoughts could creep into a darker place, I wondered what determined the rise and fall of the sun in that world. It seemed to make little sense, and certainly didn’t always follow the same timeline that it did on Earth. It was just one of those things I couldn’t understand, I figured, and decided to add that to the pile of questions I’d maybe one day receive answers to.
With a heavy sigh and a swallow of a lump rising in my throat, I took a step into the room. The soft snoring grew louder as I neared his sleeping body, and I stared with the intensity of a mother watching her newborn.
He was beautiful, I found myself thinking as I admired the structure of his face; illuminated and shadowed by the moonbeams. I resisted the urge to reach out and touch him just yet, not wanting to disturb him from his peaceful slumber, and so I imagined the touch of his skin under my fingertips. Warm, and simultaneously rough and soft; the skin of a man who wasn’t afraid to work with his hands and body. His body… My eyes wandered the length of him, over the curves and bulges of hard muscle along his torso, and down to the breeches that had given him a fight just the night before.
I laughed softly at the memory and felt a rush of warmth between my legs at the thought of what almost happened between us. What was sure to happen eventually, I thought, unless …
And there it was. The reminder of his salvation, and our impending doom, if what we believed was correct; that if he were to know what happened to his nephew, he would be set free to move on to … whatever came next. But where did that leave me? My selfish brain rolled through every bad feeling I knew I was destined to suffer through. Heartache, loneliness, sadness, abandonment. All those familiar emotions that I hated so much, and avoided like the goddamn plague.
They always leave, I repeated, and what made him any different?
I held a hand against the footboard of his bed, steadying myself as I drew in a breath of quavering air. I reminded myself that I wanted to help him, I wanted to give him what he needed to move on, and I hadn’t stopped wanting those things. But dammit, dammit, dammit, I hadn’t expected to care so much for him. I hadn’t anticipated that I could …
No, I shook my head, pushing the thought from my head, and instead wondered why I had to always be the one to let go.
With my eyes pooling with shameful tears, I rounded the bed. My eyes fell upon the gentle expansion and collapse of his bare chest, and without a moment’s hesitation I ran my fingertips through the coarse tangles of his chest hair. He stirred just a little, rolling his head over the pillow to face my direction. My hand moved up over his neck, onto his face, and I laid beside him to press my lips against his; all to remind myself that we were there, we were alive, and we were together.
“Mm.” His voice caught in his throat with the weight of sleep still sitting heavily over him. He opened his eyes, and searched my face in the dim moonlight with startled amusement. “You’re a bold woman to invite yourself into a man’s bed, lass,” he teased with a knee-weakening lopsided smile, before noticing the glimmer of a tear rolling down my cheek.
A hand reached up to brush the tear away with his thumb, and I leaned into the touch, attempting to swallow the rest. But those thoughts—those damn thoughts—persisted, whispering to me that those moments were fleeting, sliding through my fingers like grains of sand.
“Do you want to tell me what’s wrong?” he asked softly, gathering more of my tears as they trickled into the palm of his hand.
I sniffled and made a feeble attempt at smiling despite it all. I moved over him, resting my head against his chest, and closed my eyes to the steady sound of his heartbeat. William’s fingers ran through my hair, and he asked again what was wrong; his voice rumbling up through his chest and into my ear.
“Nothing,” I said, and I knew he sensed I was lying.
Still, he didn’t pry, allowing me the freedom to tell him on my own accord. “Well, can I get you something to drink? Wine, or whis—”
I shook my head against him, and wrapped an arm around his waist. “No, I just … I just want to lie here and feel you breathe for a little while, if that’s okay.” I struggled to say the words through the boulder in my throat. My tears ran into the hair on his chest, dampening the skin under my face.
His chest puffed out with a deep sigh, and I knew he understood. Exhaling completely, he wrapped an arm around my shoulder, pulling me against him. His lips touched the top of my head, kissing softly as he inhaled the scent of my hair.
“All right, lass,” he whispered, and we laid there in that single beam of moonlight, reminding ourselves that, at least for the time being, we were there, we were alive, and we were together, until we fell asleep.
© 2017 Kelsey Kingsley