Excerpt from Touch the Stars

   
    "I have dreamed of making love to you, Juliana, many times. But knowing how you feel about what I do for a living, I have been afraid to care for you too deeply. Yet I think you have stronger feelings for me than you let on."
    Stephen plunged ahead, groping for the right words.
    "You need not tell me your emotions, Juliana, but I must tell you mine. Please believe me when I tell you that I love you."
    Her rapid intake of breath interrupted him.
    "Loving is not something I do often," he continued. "But if anything happens to me, I would want you to know that Stephen Andrassy truly loved you."
    In her mind's eye, Julie pictured Stephen setting out on the wire over the great Tallulah Gorge, sliding one foot forward, then the other, his balancing pole shifting carefully from side to side. He was concentrating mightily, an expression of intensity on his face, and he would have to walk so far until he reached the other side, so very far.
    "I can't bear it," she blurted out. "I can't stand to think about it!"
    "About my love?" Stephen said, holding her hands fast. "So now I have made my great declaration and you cannot stand to think about it. Dearest Juliana, do you have any idea how that makes me feel?" He was teasing her.
    "No, no, the Gorge! You treat it so lightly, but how do you think I'll feel when you're out there, suspended in space? Stephen, how can you put me through this?"
    "It is the way I live. I'm made to walk the wire."
    He drew a deep breath and went on. "Juliana, I would like to think that someday there might be a chance for us to have a life together. Do you—do you think it would ever be possible for you to love me?" He tipped a finger beneath her chin and forced her eyes to meet his.
    "You care, don't you? Admit it, Juliana! You love me as I love you, do you not?"
    "I don't think I could have a future with a man who walks the wire," murmured Julie.
    Yet how could she live without this man, this wonderful man, who had so easily become the heart and soul of her shattered family.
    Stephen pulled her close until her body touched his. All her senses seemed enhanced, and a quiet exhilaration made her heart leap with happiness. He bent his head until their lips touched, and then she was clasping him to her as though she would never, ever let him go.
    But even as their kiss deepened, she knew she would have to say goodbye. He was going to risk his life to walk across Tallulah Gorge tomorrow.
    But not before they had one night of total bliss...
 
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