Sweet Saturday Samples

Nearly finished with this one so how about a bit from close to the beginning? From WIP Abiding Echoes:

After Justin stirred the coals, he set the grill in place. Then he laid the first T-bone steak across the wire, followed quickly by the second. The sauce he’d slathered on combined with the fats in the meat and began to sizzle. Soon a smoky savory aroma filled the air, teasing his palate.

“That smells awesome.” Beth’s voice from behind him startled Justin. He hadn’t heard her come outside.

He turned slowly, keeping his cool as he slowly ran his gaze upward. His mother’s peg leg jeans were too long. The red plaid  shirt he’d loaned Beth fit nicely, though, the cotton bulged just a bit across the chest and, oh, sweet mercy, she wore nothing underneath. He hadn’t known what to do about undergarments, and had assumed she’d use his mother’s clothing just to get to her van for her own things. With a herculean effort, Justin forced his eyes to move on. She’d pulled some of her hair back, taming it away from her face and securing it somehow behind her head, but the majority still caressed her shoulders.

Sudden longing to experience that spun gold caressing his shoulders ripped through Justin like a harvester chewing up hay, and he battled for his next breath.

“I didn’t know what to do with my clothes.” Beth laughed nervously. “Burn them maybe.”

The intensity of his yearned with her words, and Justin chuckled. “We may live out in the country but we still have a washing machine. You’re welcome to use it.” His eyes drifted toward those gaping buttons on her blouse and he turned back to the pit on the pretense of flipping the steaks even though he knew they didn’t yet need to be turned.

“That bath worked wonders,” murmured Beth, stepping next to him. She leaned over and inhaled deeply. “Mmm. What’s in that sauce?”

She’d used his mother’s shampoo and her hair smelled of lemons. The riot of curls floated against her shoulders, and Justin clenched his hands against the urge to touch it, to see if it was as soft as he thought it must be.

Beth angled a look up at him, her eyes questioning. Right. She’d asked him about the sauce.

“It’s my mom’s special recipe,” he answered, forcing himself to concentrate. She was still warm from her bath and the heat reached out to him with enticing little invisible fingers. He retreated by a half step, needing the space but not wanting it.

He picked up a pair of tongs and stirred the embers, locating the potatoes wrapped in aluminum foil and turning them over.

Beth placed a hand on his shoulder and leaned close again. “What are those?”

That was a good question. Justin stared at the lumps of tin foil in the coals, but all he could think about was how warm her hand felt through the thin material of his shirt. “Potatoes—baked potatoes,” he finally choked out. He stood up a bit too quickly, sending Beth into a backward step.

Her feet caught on the bottom hems of the pant legs and she stumbled toward the barbecue pit.

“Watch it!” Justin snapped out a hand and clamped it over Beth’s forearm, jerking her back away from the fire.

And against him. Justin’s body knew instantly what it wanted to do and he sucked in a gulp of air as he fought for emotional and physical control.

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