A Rogue in Sheep's Clothing
The First Love Scene
A stiff breeze swept up the massive stone edifice bringing the scent of heather, gorse, and a tinge of the dank salt sea. The beauty of it sobered Ellie. “My God, it’s magnificent,” she said, feeling the sun’s warmth and the chill of the breeze on her cheeks. For miles around she saw only the dip and rise of the yellowed moors disappearing into soft, distant gray.
Hugh joined her cliff-side. He settled on a patch of thin, wind-whipped grass. Ellie plopped down beside him and took a deep whiff of the heather he’d picked for her on the trail. “Ah,” she said. “It smells like England.”
Hugh broke off a branch of the plant and put it between his teeth. “Tastes like her, too,” he said. Ellie laughed.
Then they grew silent, listening to the rustle of grass, feeling the hot sun, and breathing the rich smell of sweet flowers and fecund herbs.
“This is my day,” said Hugh, lying back in the grass. “You may have a piece of it.”
Ellie swatted him with the stalk of heather. “I shall take your captain’s salute on horseback.”
“And I shall take this moment, right now,” he said, closing his eyes.
They were silent again. Ellie lay back and snuggled into the grass. The cool wind couldn’t reach her here – just the thick heat of the sun. She closed her eyes, too.
A fly tickled her forehead. She brushed it away. It came back and tickled her again. She opened her eyes in time to see Hugh leaning over her, the branch of heather in his teeth. He flicked it away from her face.
“You’re the annoying fly,” she said, lunging to pull the heather from his mouth. He caught her wrists and rolled onto his back. She struggled, enjoying the feel of his large, callused hands. “I suppose if I were really clever,” she said, giving up and leaning on his chest, “I could get that branch without using my hands.”
“Oh yes, and how would you do that?” replied Hugh, a glint in his eye.
Ellie leaned over and, bringing her mouth close to his, she pulled the heather from his teeth.
A bolt of electricity raced through her. She hadn’t meant to be so intimate – hadn’t anticipated the heat of his flesh against hers, or the soft velvet of a corner of his lips. Her heart beat fast and her face grew hot. She looked away, dropping the heather from her mouth. “I’m never getting married,” she blurted.
Hugh studied her. “Then I’m not either.”
Gently, he brushed a bit of heather from her lips.
The caress stirred a small fire. She closed her eyes and lay back down on the grass. Joy washed over her. “That’s wonderful,” she sighed. Hugh’s hand closed on hers.