Attraction on WIP Wednesday

At some point in our stories, if they include a romance, those involved must each become aware of an attraction to the other. In this week’s WIP Wednesday, I’m inviting excerpts about that moment, from one or the other.

It might be just the stirrings of desire. It might be seeing something in the other that prompts a deep sense of recognition. It might be falling in love, as I did during a long evening at the Outward Bound Old Boys Ball in Auckland in August 1969.

I saw the moment that he fell, on the same evening.We were waltzing, having spent the whole evening dancing, talking, enjoying good food and wine. And I looked up and saw his eyes change, the suddenly intense warmth hinting at a depth of feeling that belied our so far casual association. It lured me, drew me in, and by the time we set off for home, I was head over heels in love. We finished the evening kissing and conversing in his father’s car outside my mother’s house, and by the time we parted we had chosen the name of our first son. Next month marks our 48th year together since that moment.

For this excerpt from my Christmas novella for the Bluestocking Belles, I’ve picked an earlier point in the process:

Miss Thompson was entranced by the concert party, and even Mrs Bletherow was interested enough to forget her usual pointless errands and pointed remarks. Tad had taken a seat close by, ready to offer his escort if Miss Thompson was sent on another wild goose chase, and was surprised by his own disappointment when it didn’t happen.

She was nothing to him. He was sorry for her, that was all. As he’d be sorry for anyone stuck in her predicament. She’d be better off staying in New Zealand, where Mrs Bletherow’s malice couldn’t reach her. There was work in Auckland, in shops and factories. Not that a proper English lady would consider such a thing.

She could do it, though. She wasn’t as meek as she pretended. He’d seen the steel in her, the fire in those pretty hazel eyes.

The word ‘pretty’ put a check in his stride, but it was true. She had lovely eyes. Not a pretty face, precisely. Her cheeks were too thin, her jaw too square, her nose too straight for merely ‘pretty’. But in her own way, she was magnificent. She was not as comfortably curved or as young as the females he used to chase when he was a wild youth, the sort he always thought he preferred. Not as gaudy as them, with their bright dresses and their brighter face paint. But considerably less drab than he had thought at first sight. She was a little brown hen that showed to disadvantage beside the showier feathers of the parrot, but whose feathers were a subtle symphony of shades and patterns. Parrots, in his experience, were selfish, demanding creatures.

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4 thoughts on “Attraction on WIP Wednesday

  1. You put me to shame! I had to tinker with the POV on this one after reading yours. This is from my contribution to the next holiday anthology. Rosemarie, who is scorned by the good people of Amiens is feeling lost at the beginning.

    Rosemarie felt an urge to leave, to retreat to the safety of her little house.
    Don’t be a coward! Besides, you told the abbé you would meet him.
    Music wafted over the crowd from the massive front doors of the cathedral. The promised candlelight would be there by the ancient crèche as would the carolers and perhaps the abbé. She led Marcel toward the church.
    The distinctive figure of the priest emerged from the gloom, his head bent, deep in conversation with someone. They stepped into the circle of light, and her breath caught when the Canadian came into focus leaning over the abbé. Highlights flickered off the auburn hair across his forehead. He wore a crisp clean uniform this time, and his boots shone in the light. His eyes found her, she thought they brightened, but she quickly dismissed that as a trick of the light.
    “Ah, Rosemarie!” Abbé Desjardins said. “Look who surprised me this evening—our Corporal Wheatly.”
    He made a great show of introducing them for the benefit of the gossips of Amiens, going on at length about “when we met” and “do you remember?” Rosemarie knew it for nonsense and didn’t listen in any case. She had eyes and ears for the corporal alone, and it appeared he felt the same.
    “Good evening, Madam Legrand. It is a privilege to meet you again,” he said.
    Singing resumed, and the four of them listened for a while until the abbé took Marcel’s hand and led him to view the ancient crèche. After a moment, the corporal offered his arm and they followed.
    “Did you have a crèche in your home, corporal?” she asked, leaning closer to be heard over the singing.
    “Harry,” he corrected.
    She couldn’t resist her smile.
    “We did,” he replied. “My mother found it an endearing custom and insisted on it. Does that surprise you, Madam Legrand?”
    “Rosemarie,” she murmured.
    He leaned closer to hear. “What did you say?”
    “My name is Rosemarie.”
    “I’m honored,” he whispered back, tugging her a bit closer to his side.
    Cold night air stung her cheeks but warmth flowed through her at the rumble of his voice close to her ear and the sudden trace of musk and male when she breathed in. She shivered, unable to look at him, putting a few inches between them, by turning to grip her son’s hand and join the abbé in explaining the figures and their story.

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