The Locktender's Daughter excerpt is © 2005-2011 by Dana Ann Ozak w/a Marguerite Arotin available through Wings E-Press and Kindle format through Amazon.

After dinner, Bethany excused herself from the table and ran outside. She really needed to get away from Tyler. How was she going to resist him if he came to visit her on a regular basis? She touched her forehead and recalled the gentle kiss he placed there earlier in the day. His lips felt like a gentle breeze when they touched her skin and she wondered what it would be like to kiss his lips. Her cheeks heated at the thought.

She picked up a rock and watched it skip twice into the canal. It was a beautiful summer night and the moonlight shimmered across the pitch-black water. She picked up another rock and watched as it skipped three times.

“Not bad,” a male voice behind her said, “But my record for skipping stones is six. Bet you can’t beat that?”

She turned and saw Tyler grinning smugly at her. His tall muscular frame casted a bold shadow over the murky canal waters. She handed him a stone.

“Okay, let’s see what you can do with that,” she said with a smile.

“Let’s make a little friendly wager here. If I can skip my stone farther than yours, you’ll have to give me a goodnight kiss.”

She turned away. “Mr. Brown, I don’t think I can agree to that wager.”

He put his hand on her shoulder. “Did your fiancé ever kiss you? It’s really not such a big deal.”

She turned and gazed into his dark blue eyes. They shimmered like amethysts in the moonlight. “Of course I’ve been kissed before. My fiancé kissed me once or twice.”

“Well then,” Tyler laughed, “Let’s see how he kissed you.”

She glared back at him and shook her head. “No, I don’t think it would be appropriate to kiss a man I barely know.”

He laughed at her. “Are you afraid of being kissed by me?”

“No, I’m not!”

“Yes you are. You’re chicken.”

Chicken? She was tempted to swipe that rock from him and knock him in the head with it.

She picked up a rock of her own and walked toward him. “You take that back, Mr. Brown! I’ll throw this rock right at you if you don’t take it back.”

He laughed again. “I won’t take it back. I think you’re chicken and I don’t think that fiancé of yours taught you one thing about kissing”

“I am not chicken!” She kicked the cattails at her feet. “And Hagan and I kissed plenty of times!”

“Well show me how you’re fiancé kissed you Miss Wilder. It’s not as if I’m asking for much. I just want one kiss.”

Bethany rolled her eyes, dropped the rock, walked up to him, and planted a small peck squarely upon his lips. As she backed away, Tyler let out a rowdy chuckle and shook his head, “No. Sweetheart that is not a kiss.” He grabbed her arms and pulled her close, “This is.”

She tried to resist him but couldn’t turn away as his lips met with hers. He dropped the stone and his long fingers began to play with the loose golden curls surrounding her face. A swift summer breeze slightly blew her calico dress and it wrapped around his ankles. Her bosom pressed against his muscular chest and the stubble on his rough chin rubbed against her skin. She couldn’t resist him as his tongue explored her mouth. Lord above, she tried but she couldn’t resist.

He suddenly broke away leaving her more stunned and confused then she’d ever been. He smiled at her, “Well it looks like despite your best efforts, I am slowly getting to you, my dear. Goodnight, Bethany.”

He took her hand and placed a small kiss upon its center. She was still too stunned to move. After he walked away, she put her hand to her mouth. For the first time since her beloved Hagan passed away, she was no longer numb. Tyler’s kiss, while it scared her to death, had awoken all kinds of emotions deep inside of her. She rushed back to her home hoping she could get Tyler Brown out of her mind and heart.


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