PRESENTING BACHELOR #1:
PRINCE LEO OF ATWOOD
The dream came swiftly as Gwen’s blond lover appeared at her bedside dressed as a pirate. Tight breeches showed off his considerable package, and a loose white shirt hung open to his waist, revealing his powerful chest.
Miraculously, his blond hair was longer tonight, more in keeping with the costume he wore. His tri-cornered hat sported a feather and was decorated with the traditional skull and crossbones insignia.
Gwen’s blood heated, as it always did when her dream lover appeared. But she didn’t want him. She wanted to leave her heart and mind open to the possibility of Marc.
The briny scent of the sea wafted through the room as the man tossed his hat on the bedpost and leaned over her. “Gwendolyn, may I make love to you?”
She tried to resist the lure of him, but he was so sexy, so confident. Besides, he was only a figment of her imagination. In the end, she lost the battle with herself. “Yes,” she murmured.
PRESENTING BACHELOR #2:
MARC CHEVALIER OF PARIS
Slowly Gwen turned around. As scary as this moment was, at least she’d finally be able to put a face with Marc’s oh-so-French name. Well, sort of. Without her glasses he looked a little blurry.
But what she could make out looked pretty damn good. She squinted a little to bring him into focus, and he still looked wonderful – deep blue eyes, a strong nose, a sensuous mouth, and an adorable cleft in his chin.
No doubt about it, this was her French fantasy come to life. Despite the harrowing travel conditions, he’d managed to arrive safely in Big Knob.
His expression was concerned, as well it might be considering her recent coughing fit, one that had caused people to hover over her from the minute he’d walked through the tavern door. No doubt the poor man was at a loss for words. She couldn’t blame him.
It looked as if she’d have to break the ice. Maybe she could impress him with her courage under fire. Yeah, that was the way to play it. Classy and in control, able to handle public embarrassment without losing her cool.
Clearing her throat, she thrust out her hand. “I’m Gwen. Welcome to Nig Bob.”
When Gwen peeked inside her bedroom, Marc was stretched out on her bed, fast asleep. He’s slipped off his shoes, but otherwise he was fully clothed. His head rested on one of her feather pillows, and his Blackberry lay on the comforter where it had obviously slipped out of his hand.
She walked over and cupped his shoulder. Nice muscle definition. She shook him gently. “Marc.”
With a groan he rolled away from her.
“Marc, wake up.”
No answer. Walking to the other side of the bed, she crawled onto the mattress and peered into his face. “Dinner time, Marc.”
His eyelashes fluttered, but he made no sound other than his steady breathing. He was completely out.
Bracing her chin on her hands, she gazed at him. He had dark lashes any woman would kill for and the kind of cheekbones that meant he’d grow more handsome as he aged. She wondered if he’d shaved before driving down from Chicago, because his beard was only now starting to show.
This close she could see where he’d nicked himself near the dimple on his chin. That would be tricky to shave, and he’d been in a hurry. In a hurry to see her. She couldn’t ignore the fact that he’d been eager to get here.
Maybe that had colored his perception and made him think he wanted her more than he actually did. He might see the situation differently after a good night’s sleep. He had a head start on that, and unless she wanted to resort to throwing cold water in his face, he probably wouldn’t wake up until morning.
All righty, then. She needed to make him as comfortable as possible. In romance novels the heroine was somehow able to undress the hero even when he was sound asleep and pretty much a dead weight. Although undressing Marc appealed to her, she couldn’t imagine how that worked in real life.
At least she could take off his damp socks so his feet could warm up. He didn’t stir as she peeled them off. He had long, aristocratic toes sprinkled with dark hair. With a flutter of sexual awareness, she found herself imagining how the rest of him would look naked.
Moisture collected in her mouth as she fantasized stripping him down, inch by inch. She wasn’t planning to actually do it, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t think about it. She might want to cool her jets, though, or she’d never sleep tonight.
Job number one was getting him covered up, including his sexy toes. In the end she decided to retrieve the down comforter from the guest bed and put that over him. When she went to bed she could use some of the old blankets stored in the cedar chest. They might be a little musty but they’d be okay for one night.
Covering him awakened all sorts of tender feelings to pair with the lustful ones. She thought about his sense of obligation to his sister and wondered if he’d reached her. If not, then tomorrow she’d take him over to Click-or-Treat so he could use the high-speed connection to email her.
When he was all tucked in, she couldn’t resist leaning down and kissing him softly on the mouth. Yes, they fit together perfectly. What would happen if she crawled in beside him and spent the night there? Heat shot through her at the idea.
But she wasn’t that bold. She’d sleep in the guest room tonight, and tomorrow . . . well, tomorrow they’d have to see how they liked each other in broad daylight.
In any case, now she could truthfully say that she’d had a Frenchman in her bed.
* * *
The bedroom was dark, as usual, and the house was quiet. Prince Leo could hear Gwen breathing, and wondered if she had a cold because her breathing was heavier than normal. Fortunately, a fairy prince couldn’t catch colds. Some good sex would fix her right up.
Focusing his thoughts on her, he prepared to enter her dream. Gwen’s dream state was soft and cushiony, like the bed she slept on. Maybe she really was sick, because tonight her dream state was rougher, with more hard edges.
Something about this didn’t feel quite right, but he blamed the beers he’d had before coming over here. Next time he’d definitely cut back. Firmly planted in her dream, he stepped toward the bed. “I’m here.”
“Who the devil are you?”
Sheesh, she must have a terrible sore throat. She sounded almost like a guy. “You know me. I’m the one who gives you incredible orgasms.”
“Your lover.” Leo wasn’t used to her being so dense. After all, this wasn’t exactly a brand new routine.
“May I make love to you, sweet Gwendolyn?”
“You’re not yourself, but I can make you feel so much better.” Leo drew back the comforter and ran his hand down her – wait, this wasn’t . . .”
“Get the hell away from me!” roared the person in the bed, the person who was not Gwen.
Leo pulled his hand back as if he’d been burned. Then he threw the comforter back in place. Shit! Someone was running down the hall. It sounded like a woman’s footsteps, so that meant the person in the bed was . . .
Marc. Marc Chevalier was in this bed, and Leo had just put his hand on – no, not really. He’d sort of patted, not stroked, and certainly not caressed. He had to concentrate, had to get himself back to the forest. His brain was mush. Concentrate, idiot! He managed the transfer a split second before Gwen burst into the room.