Since this is the Steam blog-hop, I chose this scene with the heroine, who has only recently acknowledged her feelings for a young man she taught many years ago. He's been attempting to pursue her for many years, but she's always rebuffed him. Now that they have become a couple, he takes her to his parents' house for a gathering. When he's drafted to chop wood outside, she watches him through the window, admiring his sexy body.
A short time later, Dakota led the way into his family’s large cabin. His parents had raised six children, so theirs was one of the larger living quarters. It had begun as one of the cannibalized officer rooms from the starships originally, then had extra rooms added on as they were needed. The family room was in the center of the building, and it was large enough to have seating for most of the family, with children encouraged to sit on the various cushions around the room on the floor. There was a fireplace in the middle of the room, giving off heat for the entire building and doubling as a secondary cooking area.
Elena tried to remain as invisible as possible to quiet her nerves. She was warmly greeted by a general Hello as they entered the crowded family room. Once Dakota had brought her a glass of beer, he was drafted by his father to help bring in wood for the fireplace to keep the room warm. Elena moved to the outskirts of the room, watching through the open window as Dakota chopped wood and stacked it.
His tall, lean body seemed to be made for any physical activity he might choose. His long, straight black hair was tied back with a piece of leather that came from the same skin as the pants he was wearing. The leather of the pants hugged his thighs and butt, making her press her thighs together, smiling to herself, remembering how she’d teased him that he was purposely wearing tight pants to entice her. His dark green skin shone with perspiration as his wiry arms wielded the maul, first lifting it high into the air, then swinging it down to drive the wedge into the large hunks of tree trunk in front of him.
Elena forgot where she was for a moment, lost in admiring the musculature of the man whose body she was becoming so familiar with that even in a crowded room, she could think of nothing else but private moments they’d
shared. She jumped when a voice spoke close to her ear.
“He’s quite good at that, isn’t he?” Rianna asked conversationally.
“Um, yes, yes, he is.”
“I mean at showing off for you.”
Elena turned quickly to see humor in the eyes of his grandmother. She managed a small smile and a nod back.
“He’s good at anything that involves the outdoors. That’s why he was the obvious choice to replace me as outfitter when Angelo wanted me to retire to spend more time with him and the grandchildren.”
“He likes what he does, so it doesn’t even seem like work
Rianna nodded. “You’re like that also. Teaching is your passion, which is why you’re so good at it. I don’t think anyone else on this planet could get teenagers to read Shakespeare’s plays, or other works of literature, whose words are so far removed from the reality of their life here. What is that old Earth saying? Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life?”
* * *
Rianna continues to talk about why her family left Earth.
"My family had always been healers and practitioners of the oldest pagan religion in the British Islands. We were Druids, yet unable to touch an actual tree without gloves on for fear of the sun and the acid rain. Going to see trees in the indoor arboretums was a thrill, but it was still not the same.”
“I’ve read about Druids,” Elena said shyly. “But I didn’t know that was what you are.”
“You teach many of the works of literature produced by Celtic writers, my dear. Shakespeare, Dickens, Tolkien. All are on your reading list, right?”
Rianna turned to her and smiled, the creases around her mischievous blue eyes crinkling as she changed the topic of conversation sneakily. “Do you mean that my grandson, that bad boy, hasn’t told you anything about his family yet? Whatever do you two talk about afterward? The weather?”
Elena was broadsided by the question and felt herself growing hot, her blush beginning with a dark reddish tinge to the olive-green skin on her face and spreading downwards until even her fingertips burned. “I, uh, um--”
“Rianna! You aren’t responsible for making the poor girl blush like that, are you?” Lalani, Dakota’s mother, approached them, holding a plate of appetizers.
“Who? Me?” Rianna was all wounded-innocence.
Lalani turned to Elena to speak in a conspiratorial tone. “She did the same thing to me when I first began my relationship with Erik. She said it was her way of finding out if I was determined enough to stay with him. If she could
scare me off, I wouldn’t last long. I think she just likes to embarrass people, so she never misses an opportunity!”
Lalani turned to Rianna. “Do you?”
Rianna threw her head back and laughed. “Of course not! But it worked, didn’t it? You weren’t afraid of me, and here you still are. Now let’s see if Elena has what it takes to join the family.”
Lalani shook her head. “I refuse to help you torture someone my son is so madly in love with. Whether or not things work out between them, it’s up to them, not you or me, to find that out.”
Elena smiled gratefully at Lalani.
Rianna stuck out her tongue at her. “Fine! Elena, you go back to staring at Dakota out the window. But you’d better grab one of those napkins Lalani has to wipe the drool off your chin.”
With a dramatic flourish, Rianna turned and headed back to the center of the room, where she quickly inserted herself into a lively debate about the best fishing methods.
Lalani smiled at Elena, patting the back of her hand.
* * *
After introducing Elena to her mother, Beatrice, Lalani changes the subject.
Lalani popped one of the meat rolls into her mouth before turning to Elena. “Do you want to carry this plate of appetizers out to see if Dakota is ready to take a break? You can grab a beer for him on the way out the door. I’ll bet that all of that chopping is making him hungry. But then, between you and me, just breathing makes that man hungry. I’ve never seen anyone so thin eat so much with so little evidence!”
Elena nodded in agreement, grateful for the chance to escape the crowd. She turned to Beatrice. “Nice to meet you. If you’ll excuse me?”
Beatrice grinned at her. “Yes, go feed your man.”
Elena took the half-empty plate and headed for the keg to refill her own cup and get a full one for Dakota. She passed some of his nieces and nephews who were carrying wood in for the fireplace in the center of the family room. None of them seemed surprised to see her there.
They must have been told by their parents that I would be here with Dakota. I hope they don’t think that being related to me is going to help out their grades! That Omar never does his reading homework on time. He claims he’s too busy working with his dad on the technology to produce new solar lights.
The offending Omar nodded at her as he passed. “I’m halfway done with Hamlet, Ms. Elena. I’ll be done with it on time...maybe.”
She gave him a stern look. “You’d better be, or I’ll make you do research, then write me a five-paragraph paper telling me what you’ve learned about time management skills.”
He gave her a sheepish grin and continued into the cabin with his armload of wood.
Elena stopped when she was just out of reach of the wood chips that were flying through the air from the force of the ax now being wielded by her man. Dakota looked up to give her a smile, which expanded when he saw what she was carrying.
Yummy! He’s all sweaty and flushed. I know we had sex this morning before we got here, but I can’t wait to get him alone again! The not-so-insignificant bulge in those tight pants of his means he’s probably thinking the same thing.
“Elena, you’re an angel from heaven! I’ve worked up a real thirst out here, and you even nabbed some of the appetizers for me.”
He pulled her close for a quick, sweaty hug, then lifted the cup and drained almost all of the beer before he reached for a couple of the tiny pieces of seasoned meat wrapped in leaves.
“It was really your mother’s idea,” Elena began, “because she saw that I was blushing at what Rianna was saying, so she came to rescue me. She was carrying this plate of food and suggested I might bring it out to you.”
He nodded while he chewed. “Good old Mom! Always thinking of my stomach. She’s just happy that I’ve outgrown being the picky eater that I was as a kid. Now I eat anything that I think I can digest. And I’m even willing to try new things to see if I can.”
One of Dakota's nieces chats with them, then heads into the house. Dakota pulls Elena close for a kiss.
"But tell me, were you watching me out of that window all the time I
was out here?”
Elena looked guilty. “Uh...most of the time. Except when Rianna was embarrassing me by teasing me about drooling on myself while I watched.”
He trailed his lips across her face to her ear, nipped her earlobe, and spoke softly, his breath blowing hot across the tiny hairs on her neck. “Why were you watching me? Did it excite you? Did it make you think of naughty things you want to do with me later when we get back home?”
She twitched when he bit her neck. “Yes,” she stammered. She pulled his head down for a long, lingering kiss, which she abruptly broke off, pushing him back. “Wait a minute! You knew I was watching? You were performing for me? All that time, I was feeling like a voyeur, and you were posing for me? You cad! What if your nieces had seen what you were doing? How sexy you looked?”
He popped a couple more of the appetizers into his mouth and chewed slowly, smirking at her. “They just thought I smelled bad and looked sweaty and gross. That’s what they told me when they came out for armloads of wood. Only you found it arousing, believe me. And that’s why you and I are
meant to be together. Everything about you excites me. And if even watching me work hard excites you, I’d say we were made for each other."
As soon as I get the cover, I'll be putting it up and adding this book to my Standalones page. Until then, check out what other authors chose for their steamy excerpt!