My hardened, cold heart still has a small, warm corner that acknowledges the biologically unstable state with a few droplets of hope.
The Year of the Rabbit contains an element of romance that gradually builds and buds between characters Gio and Georgette. The excerpt below is the closest I could get to a Saint Valentine's Day offering. Enjoy - if you must.
Excerpt from Chapter 12 - before edits
It was after dinner when Georgette located Gio in the greenhouse, trimming rose bushes and humming “Lavender Blue”. She had already checked in on Sera and shared a glass of wine with his parents.
He heard her heels click-clacking on the stonework outside as she approached the door, then the tap-tap-tap of a shoe against the door.
“Knock, knock!” she called lyrically.
“Come in,” he sang back to her.
“Mais, my hands are full,” she replied sweetly.
He turned and reached for the door handle. Through the frosted glass he could see her womanly silhouette, standing with one hip positioned higher than the other, both arms bent slightly and each hand holding a wine goblet.
As Gio opened the door, he breathed in sharply when he saw her wearing a dark blue summer dress, tied at the waist with a white satin belt. Her hair was pinned up with just a few copper curls dropping to the side and back of her neck. As she smiled, her slightly sunburned face crinkled, revealing crows-feet around her twinkling, aging eyes.
“Georgette,” he said softly, “You look beautiful this evening!”
She smiled, cocked her head to one side and inquired coquettishly, “Just this evening?”
He chuckled and stood aside to let her in. She handed him a glass of red wine, “From the recent batch. Your parents wanted your opinion.” She sashayed inside and stood near his workspace.
“Thank you,” he said with a bow, “Err… merci, mademoiselle. Grazie.”
“De rien,” she cooed.
Gio sipped slowly, rolled his tongue around in his mouth then swallowed.
“So, what is your opinion?” she asked.
He set his glass down on the table in front of two large plant pots, leaned his lower back against the table and said, “It’s great. It’s perfect.”
“That’s it?” she chuckled as she stepped closer. She looked at the pots on the table.
“What are you working on, Gio? What are these? They don’t look like rose bushes,” She slid in for a closer look.
“Just a project I started a few years ago,” he replied softly then took her wine glass and set it down beside his.
“So… how is the wine?” she insisted.
He extended his right hand to her. She accepted. He pulled her closer and enveloped her with his arms, one around her shoulders and the other around the small of her back. She put her arms under his and around his back.
Gio buried his face in her hair, breathed in then let out a big sigh, “It was worth the wait.”
Despite her womanly experience, she trembled. He pulled her closer, her hip pressed against his thigh.
“Are you cold?” he asked.
“No,” she looked up at him, smiling, “Just nervous. I feel like a young woman.”
“I feel like a man… a free man,” he sighed and squeezed her gently against him.
“I can tell,” she quipped, “Whatever that is in your pants is starting to hurt me.”
“Oh, that,” he laughed, “No. No, that’s … something I wanted to show you. I guess this is a good time.”
“Really?” she smirked, leaning back slightly.
- End excerpt -
Learn more about The Year of the Rabbit, a novel about Fate, Family and Forgiveness:
- Drop by the novel's domain;
- Read some excerpts;
- Download a few free chapters from Smashwords;
- Read comments from others;
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- Stick around for a few years as we work on the second edition.