Sunday, May 10, 2009

Aspen Exposé -- Group Novel -- Chapter Two

Chapter 2

Kissing her left something to be desired—the rest of her.

~Tamara DeStefano

Rachel peered through the windshield, shading
her eyes from the brilliant Aspen sun. The resort, a
pristine white colonial, boasting fluted columns and
a wide wraparound porch, complemented the wintry
landscape. Snow-capped mountains and a cloudless,
cerulean blue sky formed the perfect backdrop. The
inspiring scene made her think of the old Bing
Crosby movie, Holiday Inn.

Jack jogged around the front of his black
Mercedes and opened her door before she could set a
finger on the handle. A crisp gust of wind blew her
long brown hair around her face. She pulled the
strands from her lips and accepted his help out of
the car.

His gloveless hands were surprisingly warm, his
palms rough and callused against her smooth skin.
She knew he worked out in the corporate gym on the
fifth floor everyday. Even if she never saw him come
off the elevator with his gym bag slung over his
shoulder, she’d know he lifted weights. A custom silk
dress shirt did little to disguise his ripped shoulders,
cut pectorals or V-shaped lats. She nearly purred out
loud just imagining the chiseled muscle beneath the

He smiled down at her as he wove his fingers
through hers and led her onto the curb. She raised a
brow. He was playing the part of the dutiful fiancé
like a champ. She wondered what it might be like to
really be this man’s girlfriend. His wife? His lover?
Her mind wandered with the tempting possibilities
until the valet distracted her.

“Good to see you again Mr. Davenport. We’ve got
your suite ready and waiting.” The grinning
attendant accepted Jack’s keys.

“Thanks.” Jack tipped the man and looked at
Rachel. His humorous smirk lent an appealing
playfulness to his normally tensed features. “You
ready for this?”

Her smile matched his, her chin tilting at a
mischievous angle. “Are you?”

Wait, did his sapphire eyes just spark
with...desire? Or had that been a trick of the
afternoon sun? Come on Rachel. You’re seeing things

“Yeah, I’m ready.” He took her hand once more
and led her up toward the glass double doors. “This
should be one interesting weekend.”

You can say that again.

The enormous receiving room bustled with
guests and staff. Many of the visitors stood in line at
the sprawling granite topped service desk, waiting to
check in or out. Others lounged in overstuffed sofas
flanked by potted palms and polished wood
occasional tables. The focal point of the elegantly
appointed space was an impressive stacked stone
fireplace. Its yawning interior cracked and snapped
with cozy flames dancing over glowing logs. Guests
nearest the hearth sat in damask wing chairs,
blowing the steam from china mugs or relaxing with
a book. Rachel’s attention rose heavenward,
following the hand-laid expanse of river rocks. The
decorative stones extended maybe thirty feet above
the mantel until they ended at a glass paned
cathedral ceiling. The skylight bathed the entire
room in golden sunshine.

Rachel opened her mouth to comment on the
beauty of the hotel, but Jack grabbed hold of her.

“I’m sorry,” he said, his hands on her shoulders, an
odd expression on his handsome face.

Instead of asking what he could possibly be
sorry for, Rachel squeaked when his mouth covered
hers. His lips were soft, warm, and devastatingly
sweet. At first she froze, but the kiss, his
intoxicating masculine scent, the feel of his hard
body, melted her shock as effectively as the spring
sun would soon melt the accumulated snow outside.

The rigid framework of her skeleton suddenly
lost its ability to keep her upright. Had her bones
turned to gelatin? Thankfully, his arms held her
tight, pressing her breasts against his cable knit
sweater, engulfing her in a sturdy cocoon. If it
weren’t for his embrace, Rachel was sure she would
have collapsed onto the floor, a gelatinous heap of
hyper-aroused nerve endings.

But before she could really get into the kiss,
Jack broke it off and stepped aside. He leaned into
her, his warm breath against her ear. “Follow my
lead,” he said in a husky whisper.

Huh? What did he just say? Where am I? What’s
my name?
Rachel fought to regain her composure
and halt her near fatal carnal coronary, but before
she could do any of that someone joined them.

“Davenport! How the hell are ya?” The man took
Jack’s hand and shook it like a maraca. Rachel
immediately recognized his distinguished face.
Marshall Van Buren, head honcho, big kahuna,
main brain behind Mira Technologies’ European
division and top dog heading the company’s board of
directors. The multi-lingual Texas transplant
blended with the Japanese, the Spanish and the
French like a native. His eternal good humor didn’t
hurt his popularity either.

“Doing well, Marshall,” Jack answered with a
smile of his own.

“And this little lady must be your better half,”
he said, looking down at Rachel. “Glad you’re finally
settling down, Jack. The company needs stability
inside and out. A loving wife gives a man purpose,
don’t you agree?”

“Yes, I do,” Jack answered while gently
squeezing her hand.

“Good, good. Hate to rush off, but I have to get
going. Promised my wife I’d help her unpack.” Van
Buren turned, but then hesitated. “You two
lovebirds will be joining everyone for dinner this
evening, right?”

“Wouldn’t miss it,” Jack assured him.
Marshall smiled, nodded at Rachel with a wink
and then walked away.

Jack turned slowly toward her. “I’m sorry I
grabbed you like that. I saw him coming and just
acted on impulse. Thank you.”

Rachel shrugged off his words, waving a hand in
the air. “Don’t mention it,” she said as if he’d simply
borrowed her pencil instead of kissing her senseless.

“I think you’re gonna earn every penny of that
five thousand dollars this weekend,” Jack said,
leading her toward the wide stairs.

Rachel smiled. You have no idea.

Question for Chapter 2

How many languages can Marshall Van Buren speak?

Let us know what you think. Comment and answer the above question to stay in the running for a prize at the end of the book. Stay tuned next week, May 17, for Chapter 3.


Mary said...

Including English, he speaks four language - that we know of...

I'm enjoying this : )

Nicki Salcedo said...

Oh, Jack Davenport! I don't think he kissed Rachel senseless. She certainly seemed to have her wits about her. :)

The answer is 4. We should email answers and have to post on blog to win. Btw, I want to win!

Loved chapter 2, but I hate the suspense of it all. Great job, Tamara.

Cyrano said...

Thanks Mary and Nicki!
Glad you're enjoying it and I hope you have a great Mother's day!!

Tami Brothers said...

Hey All.

This is great. I love how Tamara gave us a sense of the setting in this chapter. I can actually feel the cold Aspen air. I know how surprising it is to shake someone's warm hand when it is so very cold outside...

Love the chapter! And great answer, ladies. I even had to go back and reread it to figure this one out.

I hope you, too, have a great Mother's Day, Tamara!!! And everyone else out there as well.

Tami Brothers

Marilyn Baron said...

Jack seems to be speaking Rachel's language but Van Buren speaks four languages. I enjoyed the chapter. Happy Mother's Day to everyone from Florida.

Marilyn Baron (Chapter 3)

Sandra Leigh said...

Marshall Van Buren speaks four languages. Is it warm in here?

Debbie Kaufman said...

Van Buren speaks four total. I want to go stay at that inn. Did ou base it on a real place?

Linsey Lanier said...

This is really good! Great job, Tamara. I felt like I was there, too. Love the inn. I want to know if it's based on a real place, too.

I'd say Van Buren speaks at least four languages. Though some were named, "multi-lingual" could mean more. And you could count Texas English and regular English separately -- okay, it's a stretch. Just trying to mix it up. :)


Maxine Davis said...

Tamara, great chapter! I think it is a shame to make us wait a week for each chapter - this is really good.
He speaks at least 4.

Cyrano said...

Well Ladies, it's Mother's day and I just got back from my mother's house at lake Hartwell. It was a great day, but a long one and my dad's internet was kaput.
So sorry it's taken so long to get back to you guys.

Tami, thanks for the compliment. I hope I did a good job of giving you our readers a feel for Rachel's surroundings.

Marilyn, I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter!

Sandra leigh, I liked throwing that kiss in early in the story. It was fun to write.

Debbie, You wanting to stay at my inn is a huge compliment and even more so since I totally made the place up.

Lindsey, I'm so glad you liked it too!

Maxine, I'm thrilled you enjoyed the chapter, sorry though, you have to wait until next week to read more.

Thanks everyone for stopping by even though it was a holiday. I appreciate your comments.

Have a spectacular evening,

Barbara Monajem said...

Heh. That was a lot of fun!

He speaks four languages, maybe more.

Looking forward to the next installment...

Cyrano said...

Thanks for stopping by Barbara. Glad you enjoyed it!

Sally Kilpatrick said...

I've already read your chapter twice, but I enjoyed it just as much the third time around. You descriptions--especially those of Jack--really make him come alive.

Anonymous said...

The answer to this week's question is Marshall speaks four languages. Looking forward to the next chapter.

Shelley Salzman

Cyrano said...

Thanks Sally,
I'm glad you enjoyed it! And I hope you had a great Mother's day too.

Lorraine said...

It's all "Greek to Me" but that's
not one of the FOUR languages
divulged by the author. Personally, I would learn Esperanto for the chance to be in Rachel's place!

Cyrano said...

Me too, Lorraine. I'm liking Jack so far. Pretty sexy huh?
Thanks for reading and be sure to visit us for chapter three next Sunday.
Have a lovely evening,

Tammy Schubert said...

Great writing, Tamara.

Cyrano said...

Thanks Tammy,
It was fun writing the chapter and I can't wait to do it again!
Have a nice afternoon,

Carol Burnside said...

Great addition to the story! Love the ending hook.

Cyrano said...

Thanks so much Carol.
Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Christy LaShea said...

The Boss speaks English, Spanish, Japanese and French.

Great job Tamara! That was a fun chapter. I like you threw the kiss in early too :)

Cyrano said...

Thanks! I hope I did it justice.
Have a lovely week and happy writing,

Mary Marvella said...

You ladies are so clever.

PJ said...

He speaks four languages.

Great chapter! You have a wonderful talent for description and creating atmosphere. I can picture the hotel perfectly. And yes, I'd love to stay there too! :)

Cyrano said...

Thanks so much for the sweet compliment. I enjoyed writing the scene and wish I can stay there too.
Be sure to read on and find out what happens next!
Have a beautiful Sunday afternoon,

ECSpurlock said...

I can't believe I fell so far behind! But that allows me to read right through in one sitting, like a real book, at least until I'm caught up.

Excellent job setting the scene! Sounds so sensually posh! Definitely a place I'd like to visit, if it only existed.

Marshall speaks English, French, Spanish and Japanese, but it's hard for me to imagine such a larger-than-life guy "fitting in" with the more formal and restrained French and Japanese. Sounds like Rachel is a little worried about fitting in herself -- although she seems to fit Jack pretty well!

Pamela-reader said...

4 languages. :-)

EC - see... someone else is further behind than you are!!! I'm like you though... it's nice to be able to read so much in one sitting!

Pamela-reader said...

Wait!!! Didn't she say she wasn't taking the money!?!?!