Excerpt from Isn't It Romantic?

   
     "Hey, Toto," Pete muttered in the vicinity of Brooke's ear. "If I lift my head, do you think the world will be in Technicolor?"
     Brooke squirmed enough to get her face out of the drainage ditch. "It will if you don't get your elbow out of my back, Dorothy," she snarled.
     She was rapidly coming apart at the seams, her teeth chattering and her knees the consistency of Silly Putty. The tornado had sucked out her breath, pummeled the ground beneath her like an artillery attack and peppered her and Pete with debris before heading off on its merry way. Left behind, Brooke felt battered, a little deaf and incredibly giddy.
     Pete was already sitting up. "Uh-oh,"
     "The car?" Brooke asked, trying to follow.
     "Is right where we left it. Your luggage, however," he informed her, plucking a pair of panty hose from the top of his head and handing them over, "is not."
     Brooke managed to get to a sitting position. With shaking hands she pushed her hair back out of her eyes and looked up. And laughed. Bright bits of silk and cotton littered the nearby fences, shrubs and trees.
     "What do I do?" she asked.
     He followed her gaze. "Auction off the privilege of climbing the trees for your panties."
     She couldn't believe it. She'd just ridden out a tornado in swamp water, her personal belongings were tossed around the countryside like bunting at a political rally, she was soaking and cold, and she kept laughing.
     It was all Coop's fault. He did it to her every time.
     "Damn, Stump," he crowed, taking her by the arms and pulling her along to her feet. "We won. We beat the big guy. And you," he said with a grin, "came out looking sexy as hell."
     His eyes glittered like polished jade, and he looked thoroughly disreputable, wet and disheveled. He'd never looked so handsome.
     "Coop," Brooke managed, suddenly suffocated, "your eyes should be brown."
     "I think they are," he retorted, that brash grin lighting his eyes. "Along with my shirt, my socks and my undershorts. And," he added, swinging his gaze down, "your dress. Do you realize that right now you're breaking obscenity laws in about fifteen states?"
     Brooke took a quick look down and gasped. "Oh, my God."
     He was right. She was so soaked that her dress was all but transparent, clinging to her like a second skin. Even her once-white lacy bra was as good as invisible. If Pete had ever had any misconceptions about just how well-endowed Brooke was, he had them no more.
     She lifted her gaze back to him, ready to throw off a quick line about the proper tornado attire, when she bumped right up against the sudden, surprising heat in his eyes. Recognizable heat, fantasized heat. A sweet, sleek languor that made old daydreams pale in comparison.
     His eyes had darkened, deepened, widened. His mouth was parted in surprise. He lifted his eyes to hers, and Brooke slid right into their depths.
     She froze, burned, crumbled. She couldn't look away. Couldn't pull herself away from the sudden spark in his grip. He was thrumming with life, with sensuality. Water slid down his temples and beaded in the hollow of his throat. His shirt was torn and his slacks sodden. Brooke suddenly couldn't get her breath, and it wasn't from terror.
     "You look like a drowned rat," he accused, his voice suddenly raspy as he lifted a hand to push back a straggling strand of her hair. His jaw had tightened, and his fingers trembled against her skin. It unnerved Brooke even more than storms.
     "A very sexy—" he murmured, his hand straying down past her ear to curl around her neck,"—rat."
     Just the feel of his fingers there sent fresh shivers through her, showers of sparks like a misfired rocket from Fourth-of-July fireworks.
     Still she couldn't move. She couldn't pull away or ease closer. Old reservations battled with older dreams and stilled her right there within the grasp of only his fingers.
     He was going to kiss her, she realized.
     A kiss, she thought distractedly. A toast to life, a challenge to its precarious hold. Nothing more.
     A kiss.
     And then the farmer showed up.
 
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