Never Too Late, My Love (MF)
[BookStrand Contemporary Romance]
When Elisa finds an old letter, she’s driven to uncover the answers to its secret. What she’s not expecting is to fall for the handsome, confirmed bachelor, Henry Tucker.
Henry must learn to overcome the hurt and deceit that drove him to the remote Utah desert where the Goshute people have given him the help he needs to find peace. Once Elisa comes into his life, he realizes his newfound peace is about to be shaken.
As Elisa is drawn to the Goshute people, she is pulled in by their myths, and the legend of the wolf seems to be entangled in everything she does. With the help of the wolf spirit, will she unravel the secrets of the past? Can she find a way to open Henry’s heart? Together, will they find their destiny?
A BookStrand Mainstream Romance
Henry stared out across the fields for a long moment before he turned to face her. “I know you do. I am truly sorry. I just don’t understand the feelings that I have.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m fifty-three years old. I’m too old to love again.”
“Oh, Henry, you’re not too old for love.” She reached to touch his face and smiled when he raised his hand to cover hers.
“I loved once. It was a passionate, sensual love affair. When it was over, I didn’t think I could stand it. It took me too long to find my bearings, to go on with my life, to find myself again.”
“I don’t understand, Henry. I never asked you for anything.”
“I know, but you don’t understand. A man like me can’t go through that pain again.” He stood and paced, never once turning to face her. “Elisa, you’re causing me to feel things I buried long ago. I don’t know what to do about those feelings. I’m not ready to fall in love again. I’m not ready to give my heart away and have it broken. Call me a coward, but I like my life. I like the solitude. I like being on my own. Elisa, don’t you see? I can’t do this. I can’t be what you need in your life.”
A pain pierced through Elisa’s heart at his words. What does he want me to say? Finally, she blurted out, “I didn’t ask you to love me. I don’t want to change you in any way. I didn’t come here to find love. I came here to find myself, my heritage, and to leave the hurt and pain of a lost love behind me. You’re the one who has pulled at me, kissed me, mocked me. You’re driving me crazy.”
She put her face in her hands and felt the tears start to fall. “I don’t want you to love me either, but, Henry, you’re making it so hard for me. I made up my mind there’s nothing between us, but then you touch me or kiss me, and I can’t control myself. Every time you pull me into your arms, I want to be able to relish the feeling. Every time you kiss me, I want to kiss you and stroke you, but I’m scared you’ll push me away with your hurtful, sarcastic words.”
Elisa felt soft hands stroking her hair as she hid her face in her hands. She closed her eyes, wanting to fight the strong emotions she felt for him yet scared he would destroy those feelings as he always seemed to do. “Henry, you’re driving me crazy. I didn’t ask you for love. I’ve never purposely tried to get you to care. Don’t you see, I can’t keep riding this roller coaster you’re putting me on.” With that, Elisa let out a sob, no longer able to control the tears that had been threatening.
“Elisa, don’t cry.” Henry stood close. “Come here.” He pulled her into his arms and held her then leaned down and kissed the top of her head and whispered, “I need you, Elisa, and it scares me.”
“Oh, Henry.” Elisa turned to face him and kissed his lips softly. “Don’t push me away. I won’t change you. I promise not to expect anything. Just let me be with you, please.”
Henry pushed her slightly away. Her eyes looked deep into his. “Are you sure?”
Elisa nodded, her heart pounding, fighting to control her breath as she gazed back into the blue, bottomless depths of his eyes.
He took her hand and led her into the house and up the stairs to his huge bedroom. When he pushed open the door, he leaned down and quietly asked one more time, “Are you sure?”
Elisa took a deep breath, nodded her head yes, and let him lead her to his bed. He kissed her forehead then her chin before moving to once again claim her lips. His hands held her, stroked her back, and found their way under her shirt. She relished the feel of his warmth without letting herself think of tomorrow. His mouth moved to her neck and kissed the soft skin as, one by one, he undid the buttons on her shirt and pushed it from her shoulders. His tongue lathed the deep crevice between her breasts, and the sensation made her cry out for more. When his hands found the latch of her bra and freed her breasts, she leaned back, allowing him access to the round mounds with the tight tips that needed, no, craved his touch. His mouth suckled on each brown tip while his hands encircled her breasts, caressing, squeezing, massaging them until Elisa thought she might explode with the heat that shot through her.
“God, you’re beautiful.” Henry said the words low and once again found her mouth and claimed it as his tongue pushed its way into her mouth.
“Henry.” Elisa pulled slightly away. “It’s been awhile for me. I’m not sure about this now.”
Henry leaned back to kiss her once again before answering. “It’s been a long time for me, too.”
“But you said such awful things. How do I know it won’t happen again?”
Henry whispered, “I can’t promise anything. All I can say is I’m sorry for hurting you.” His finger traced her cheek. “I never meant those words. Please forgive me because you’ve crawled into my heart. That scares me.”
She stared at the blue eyes that caused such magic in her soul and nodded.
He nuzzled her neck and sat her on the bed then knelt between her legs and held her, resting his head on her tummy. “I’m a bit nervous, Elisa. You’re so beautiful, and, well, I’m not sure what we’re doing or where we’re heading.”
Elisa reached down and rubbed his dark hair, tracing her finger along the temples starting to gray. “Let’s not worry about where we’re heading. I just need tonight.” She leaned down and rested her head on his, enjoying the feel of being needed again.
They held each other, neither in a hurry for more, each fighting old memories of hurt and rejection yet relishing the warmth and knowledge that someone needed and desired them now.
Elisa leaned down and kissed the top of his head and smiled when he answered her soft kiss with the pressing of his lips to hers. Slowly, ever so slowly, his hand trailed down and pulled her remaining clothes down her legs. Lying back, she enjoyed the kisses Henry rained on her, starting with her toes, then her arch, all the way up her leg. Just as she thought he would move to culminate their closeness, he moved to the other foot and kissed and massaged her foot before placing kisses up that leg, behind her knee, the inside of her thigh.
Elisa whimpered with need as Henry stroked and kissed her before he finally found that juncture between her legs and inserted a strong finger. She tightened. He smiled and kissed her as his finger moved slowly in and out, relaxing her, opening her, making her ready for that final joining of their bodies.
“I’m not prepared for this,” Henry whispered. “It’s been so long since I’ve thought about making love to anyone.”
“It’s okay. I’ve been on the pill for a while.” Elisa kissed him gently.
She kissed him again in answer.
When he did shed the rest of his clothing and moved to enter that warm vessel, she gasped at the sensation of his hardness filling her. He paused to allow her body to accept his, and she quivered in need.
“Please, don’t stop,” Elisa whispered as her body clung to his, her legs wrapped tightly as he slowly began to move.