|He was at the bottom of the deck steps when she opened the door. She was a vision that took his breath. Squeezing the railing, he felt his heart stutter, then spark. An electrical force blew through him causing him to stop, suspended. He stared, taking her all in. Nobody had ever filled out a little black dress that well before. The dress hugged her curves to perfection, he was spell bound.
“Is everything okay?” she asked nervously, glancing down at herself.
“You look amazing,” he said with a touch of huskiness darkening his tone.
She smiled coyly. Her eyes seemed to dance like stars on a moonless night. Brilliant and dazzling.
Thrusting the flowers forward, he felt rather boyish and clumsy. This was not some high school crush, yet he felt sixteen and completely befuddled by her.
“Oh, Ryan these are lovely,” she said burying her nose in the bouquet.
While she went back inside to put the flowers in water, he rubbed his sweaty palms together.
“So where are we going?” she asked as they started for the truck.
“Well,” he began grinning over at her, “I have some connections at one of the resorts.”
“Oh, really,” she said as he took her hand and guided her down the steps noting she did not walk all that easily in her heals. When she wobbled he smiled down at her.
“New shoes,” she said and he chuckled.
When she looked up at him, he worked his finger between his neck and the tie to loosen it a bit, “Seems we’re both wearing things we are not accustomed to.”
Arlynn laughed. The sound thrummed through him like lake ripples over heated skin. Tantalizing. He loved that laugh and he hoped he’d hear more of it at the night progressed.
He led her around to the passenger side of his truck and as he held the door open he wished for a second that he didn’t have a huge truck. Then she looked over at him and grinned.
“You're gonna have to help me in,” she said with another light laugh.
“Oh right,” he released her hand and she moved into position.
The sizzle of contact jolted through him when he placed his hands on her waist and lifted her into the cab. He quickly released her not wanting to do something inappropriate. Stepping back, they shared a chuckle and his nervous energy ebbed.
The fact that she seemed just a nervous as he did, helped and it was not long before they were able to fall back into casual conversation, one that included discussing their group of mutual friends.
“I think it’s good none of them know where we;re going. I’d be afraid they’d barge in like they usually do,."
“That’s why I picked the resort. None of them will show up, but I didn’t want to take any chances.”
He helped her out of the truck when they arrived and together, they walked into the resort. The place was gorgeous. Stunning. It seemed to blend into the landscape.
He took her hand and they headed across the lobby to the Touchstone Grill.
“This place is gorgeous,” Arlynn said in whispered tones. “Have you every been here before?”
He shook his head as he gave her a boyish grin.
“So, you don’t bring all your girlfriends here?” she teased.
“No, just the ones I really like,” he couldn’t resist saying. His smile deepened when he was rewarded with a crimson blush to her cheeks.
They were led to a table by the windows. The view was breathtaking. He watched Arlynn feast her eyes on it as she took her seat.
“And I thought I had a beautiful view,” she said reverently. “This is an artist’s paradise. It will be amazing when the sun sets.” When she looked back at him she gave an apologetic grin. “Sorry, I can’t help myself.”
He chuckled glancing at the view then back at her. “I had a feeling you would like it here.”
“You asked for the view, didn’t you?”
“I did. I figured anyone with an artistic flair would want the view.”
The smile she gave him melted his heart. Unable to keep his hands to himself he reached across and took her hand. His thumb played circles over the back of her hand as they glanced at each other.
“What would you like to drink? Wine?”
“That would be nice...”
He held up the drink menu for them to look over. When he glanced over to see her slightly furrowed brow, he said, “try whatever you like. Tonight, is special.”
“So, are you telling me I could choose the most expensive bottle of wine and you’d be fine with that?”
He grinned, “well, what you chose would tell me something about you...”
“If you’re high maintenance? Do you know anything about wines? I certainly don’t”
She laughed, “I’m not high maintenance or a wine connoisseur, I just want to chose wisely and pick something good.”
He chuckled, glad she had not taken offence. Together, with a little help from the waiter, they decided on a wine that sounded nice.
Once they had their glasses of white wine, he held up his glass and toasted the evening, “to our first official date.”
She clinked her glass to his and grinned.
“So how is your work going?” he asked leaning in and giving her a smile.
“You really want to know?” she asked giving him a raised brow.
“Of course, why wouldn’t I?”
She gave a small shrug before saying, “I haven’t met all that many guys who want to discuss my career plans.”
“Then you have clearly been around the wrong guys,” he gave her a disarming grin that had her smiling. When he reached over and took her hand again, she seemed to relax.
“Clearly.” She went on to share how things were going. Every so often she would pause to see if he were still listening and he would smile his encouragement.
When their meals arrived, he released her hand.
“So now it’s your turn, tell me the exciting and not so exciting things about being a police officer in this part of the country.”
He chuckled as he said, “I don’t want to bore you.”
“You, Ryan Fraser would never bore me,” she blurted, then bit her lip as if she had let some secret escape.
He looked over at her and grinned. “Well, that’s good to know.”
He proceeded to tell her some tales, each with some humourous bit that had them both laughing and chuckling about the residents of Arden Falls.
When their main courses were cleared and dessert ordered, he stood and extending his hand, asked her to dance.
She’d placed her hand in his and smiled up at him. He’d led her to the dance floor surrounded by tiny lights. As he pulled her into his arms, the music swirled around them and she snuggled in and rested her head on his shoulder. The scent of his aftershave mixed with pure male was heady and if he had not been holding her, she felt sure she would melt into a mass at his feet.
When the song ended, she felt momentarily disappointed as he led her back to their table. She took a glance at the night sky. It was beautiful. Filled with a million stars unimpeded by City lights. Ryan pulled out her chair and she settled back into it just as the waiter floated back with their coffees and dessert. The place was magical.
She could still not believe she had let him talk her into getting dessert, but he had convinced her and told her they would share. It seemed so intimate to be sharing a dessert. She had never done it with anyone before.
They took a walk along the trail down to the water’s edge after dessert and several slow dances. Being October, the evening had a slight nip to it. Ryan shed his jacket and slipped it over her shoulders. She pulled it close and breathed in the scent of him; so unbelievably intoxicating.
When he dropped her off at home, he got out to help her down from his truck again. She liked the feel of his hands on her. She longed to lean into him and feel his lips on hers, but instead he pulled back and taking her hand walked her up onto her deck.
The moon shimmered over the lake as they looked out at it.
“It was really nice at the resort, but I am partial to this view,” he told her looking from the lake back to her.
She smiled, “Yeah, I loved tonight, but I’d have to agree this view is fabulous. I never get tired of it.”
He pulled at his tie, loosening it. She kicked off her shoes to stand barefoot on the deck. They both sighed. Gazing at each other, they laughed.
“This is more our style, isn’t it?” she told him and he grinned at her.
“I wanted it to be memorable,” he told her, his voice sending shivers down her spine. She trembled. Ryan wrapped his arm around her as he said, “you’d best get inside and warm up.”
“It was. Thank you,” she moved over to her door and unlocked it. “You want to come in?”
He shook his head, “I gotta get home. I have an early shift tomorrow.”
She bit her lip trying to hide her disappointment.
“Can I see you tomorrow night?”
“I’m having dinner with the girls...” she began.
She watched him grin, “But after? Can I have a dance after?”
Knowing the guys would all show up and crash the girl’s night out, she smiled, “Sure that sounds good.”
Before she could turn and let herself in, Ryan pulled her into his arms and bushed a kiss over her lips. Her senses flared. His tongue ran along the seam of her lips and she opened for him. He took the kiss deeper. Then just as quickly he released her and shifted back to rest his forehead on hers.
“I had an amazing night,” he said huskily.
“So did I,” she whispered. After she went inside, she watched him slip into the shadows and disappear.
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