The Forgotten Daughter - Page 29

“Are you enjoying the fireworks, Josie?” he asked again, while brushing her hair off her forehead.

“Yes,” she answered, although her whisper was so soft he may not have heard. Her voice didn’t want to work. Nothing wanted to work.

Scooter leaned closer. The idea of what he was about to do struck her so swiftly Josie gasped and pulled her head back to look him in the eyes. He grinned and lifted one eyebrow. Excitement shot clear to her toes, leaving her tingling all over. She bit her bottom lip, even as she leaned forward.

The moment his lips touched hers, Josie wondered if the fireworks were going off inside her instead of over their heads.

The warmth of his mouth was divine and a greedy need burst forth inside her. You shouldn’t be doing this, she told herself as she moved her lips against his. It can only make things worse.

But I want to do this, she argued with herself. I want to do this more than I’ve ever wanted to do anything. If just to understand what all the fuss is about.

Scooter’s arms tugged her upward. She twisted about and tucked her knees beneath her. Then she wrapped her arms around his neck, and kissed him with all the passion that had been building inside her lately.

Scooter’s hands, rubbing her hips, her back, her shoulders, gave her encouragement.

The fireworks continued to rumble in her ears, flashing before her closed lids, but Scooter held her attention. She’d never been kissed and was utterly enthralled by each movement of his lips. How they pressed against hers, how they parted briefly and met hers again. He caught her bottom lip between his and tugged slightly, making her want to smile. She couldn’t help it.

His hands were on the sides of her face as they separated. He was smiling, too. She’d truly never experienced a blush like the one burning her cheeks.

Scooter leaned forward again, and this time, when his lips parted, she instinctively copied the action. His tongue swept inside her mouth so swiftly she grasped his shoulders at the wave of pleasure flooding her system.

The kiss continued until she was breathless and felt rather boneless. Her entire body would have sunk to the bottom of the boat if he hadn’t been holding her. Or if she hadn’t been holding on to him. She no longer told herself she shouldn’t be doing this. Now her thoughts were more along the lines of never wanting to stop. This was certainly something to fuss about. And something to indulge in.

Scooter was the one who stopped, backing out of their kissing with such slow tenderness Josie slumped against him.

“The fireworks have stopped,” he whispered next to her ear.

“No, they haven’t,” she replied just as softly. They were still going off in the recesses of her mind as brilliantly as ever.

His chest rumbled as he chuckled. “Listen.”

Eyes closed, Josie focused on hearing. Although it was hard. Scooter smelled so wonderful and his enveloping warmth offered comfort she’d never known. Eventually, she had to acknowledge there were no echoing booms, but there was the faint sound of a plethora of cheers and clapping. Letting out a sigh, she opened her eyes and lifted her chin to peer up at him. “Maybe they are over.”

“Maybe?”

She sighed again. “Yes, maybe.”

He laughed again and kissed her forehead while wrapping his coat around her shoulders once more. Josie didn’t want to move, not even when he gently lowered her. Her body seemed to have lost all coordination as she sank back down to the bottom of the boat between his knees.

She’d never been here before. It was as if she was teetering somewhere between dreamland and reality. The splashing of water from the oars and the movement of the boat slowly brought her senses around. Letting out another sigh, Josie asked, “Is it safe? What if they all haven’t gone off?”

“They’ve all gone off,” Scooter said.

“How can you be sure?”

He gestured toward the water with a nod of his chin. “The raft is on fire, so I think it’s safe to say they all went off.”

Dropped into reality like a rock pitched off a dock, Josie spun around at the same time she asked, “What?” Sure enough, a ball of flame sat on the water directly in front of them. “What do we do now?”

“Throw some buckets of water on it,” Scooter said rather lazily.

Disbelief rippled her spine. “Aren’t you upset?”

“No sense being upset,” he said.

Little by little, she drew her eyes away from the fire and turned to look up at Scooter. He was still grinning, and the way he winked sent the blood rushing into her cheeks again. This was the Scooter she’d always known. He took life in stride, with a smile. Until— Oh, what had she done? Please don’t let him say something about kissing. She wouldn’t know how to reply.

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