Not sure what to say, he fiddled with the cushions. The high-backed bench wasn’t the most comfortable thing, but piled with pillows, it served well enough. Soon as he could afford it, he’d order her something soft and upholstered.
Call couldn’t wait to get close to her, to let her warmth and scent cover him. Kiss her. He’d done that plenty of times and his technique seemed to please her. Maybe the rest of it would go all right. But right now, she seemed stiff, not quite welcoming, and his heart began to thump with dread.
“What’s wrong, Mattie?” He had to know.
Her forehead crinkled even more. “What’s wrong? We’re meant to be together, Caldwell Hackett. I wore this dress tonight to remind you of that day we met. I knew from that moment on my heart was yours. My soul, too.”
Despite the sticky summer evening, she wore the exquisite dark green velvet gown he’d remember until the end of his days. A pretty sheen of moisture glazed her upper lip and made it more kissable.
He shrugged against the hard back. “I knew it, too.”
“Then what’s changed? Something’s different these last few days.” Mattie’s voice trembled. “Caldwell, are you having second thoughts?” She grasped both his hands, tight, and her despair broke his heart.
“Oh, no. No, my dearest darlin.’” He draw her close like he’d never let her go. Even through her thick velvet, her breasts merged with his chest, and his manhood raged. His stomach churned the same time as his heart pumped wildly. His bridal night couldn’t come soon enough yet he wanted it to hold off. What if he ruined everything?
She pulled back from him a little. Seeing her eyes misting, Call took a deep breath. To ease her fears, he needed to let it out now. But he had to look away for her troubled gaze.
“I want tomorrow night to be perfect,” he said, low. “But I fear I’ll disappoint you.”
“Disappoint me? We discussed this, love. I don’t want a fancy hotel room. I want our wedding night to be right here. In our very own house.”
He fidgeted against her, but it had nothing to do with the hard wooden bench. “Mattie, I’ve never…I’ve never had a woman. It’ll be my first time.”
For a while she was quiet, dead quiet, then she smiled. “Is that all? Sweetheart, it’ll be my first time, too.”
She cuddled closer than ever “With you.”
“No buts,” Mattie insisted. “My…my other life was long ago.”
A peaceable feeling lay on him, warm as sunshine. She was loving and understanding, hadn’t gasped or looked at him as if he were a zoo animal. Still…
“Caldwell, my life with Woodrow was very brief. I’ve blocked most of it from my mind. And I haven’t been with a man for two years. He never truly loved me. You do. Now, stop your fretting.”
In spite of their close embrace, she shoved him off and stood up suddenly. “I debated whether to wear this dress tonight. But it’s such a sultry evening. I’m quite uncomfortable.”
A thought crept into his mind, a dream that would come true tomorrow night. Seeing her wearing nothing, nothing at all. The heat in the crotch of his trousers grew to boiling.
As if reading his thoughts, she smiled, coy, eyes half-lidded. Even in his virginal state, he understood the look completely. “All these buttons. The ties, the boning. Thank God I have a landlady close by. Women just simply cannot easily dress themselves. Or…” she turned her back to display the row of carved fasteners up her spine and tossed back over her shoulder, “Or undress themselves.”
He stood up promptly, front against her back, bending his head with his lips at her ear. “Just what are you saying, Mattie?”
“The bridal bed is a nerve-wracking place, Caldwell.”
He swallowed so hard he was sure she could hear.
She turned to face him, her arms right around his neck. “Most cultures hold the promise of betrothal to be as binding as the wedding vow.” Stepping back, she began a slow unbuttoning of his shirt. Then she looked him straight in the eye with a dare. “I happen to share that conviction.”
You just read an excerpt from:
The Wild Rose Press
MARRYING MATTIE BUY LINK :
Today, I'm featuring published author, Tanya Hanson.
If you like westerns...if you like historicals...if you like inspirationals...then Tanya writes the books for you!
Wife, mother, grandmother, California beach girl, Tanya has been published by The Wild Rose Press, White Rose Publishing, Cobblestone Press, and Leisure Books. And her story, Marrying Mattie is up for 2010 Best Western Romance at the Love Western Romances Blog (so, ahem, feel free to vote for her there!).
She also participated in writing the Christmas anthology, Lawmen and Outlaws, along with the authors Mallary Mitchell, Shannon Robinson, and Emma McKee. So if you're into reading seasonal greats, then I recommend giving it a try.
And now, on with her interview:
Tanya: I write Western historical romance for The Wild Rose Press, and this past year, tried something new: contemporary western inspirationals! That ended up an eight-novella contract at White Rose Publishing!
Kage: What happened to the first book you ever wrote?
Tanya: I've been scribbling my whole life, but the first romance I actually completed along RWA guidelines got published. Sadly, a long sophomore slump came upon me. I've found wonderful homes at The Wild Rose Press and White Rose Publishing.
Kage:What’s your backlist and coming soon bookshelf look like?
Tanya:I've got a series going at The Wild Rose Press, the Paradise Brides. Marrying Minda was released in 2009, and Marrying Mattie, out this past August, is up for Best Book of 2010 at Love Western Romances! I'd love a vote from any and all out there!
I've got two novellas, Hearts Crossing Ranch, and Redeeming Daisy, out now, from the Hearts Crossing Ranch series at White Rose Publishing. The other six siblings will have stories out through 2012. And I just sold a suspense novella, Faithful Danger, set in the same Colorado town.
Kage: So, what story are we going to talk about today?
Tanya: Marrying Mattie and also the Lawmen and Outlaws Christmas anthology. My story is called "Christmas For Ransom" and features a good-hearted outlaw who can't read. Both are available at The Wild Rose Press.
Kage: What would the story be rated if it were a movie?
Tanya: Both are spicy. R, I guess LOL. I wouldn't want a thirteen year old to watch.
Kage: If you HAD to fit this story into a cliché, which one would it be?
Tanya: Marrying Mattie: Riches to rags LOL. Not really; Mattie's a rich woman who divorced her adulterous husband and moved West for a new start. (Minda in the first book is her sister). She falls for a humble horse doctor...only to have the evil ex show up and break up their wedding day.
Kage:Okay, now that we have a general idea which class to fit MARRYING MATTIE under, what makes this book so unique from every other book out there?
Tanya: Call Hackett, the horse doctor, is a virgin. Mattie of course has been married before so he's worried about that.
Kage: That is so unique. You never see virgin heroes. I love it! What was the easiest part to write?
Tanya: I think the plot. There's a ton of stuff going on: tornado, epidemic sickening the town's horses, attempted killings, a busted-up wedding..
Kage:What do you like most about the main character(s) and what do you like least? Did you learn anything from them?
Tanya: I learned something about a secondary character...Call's mother. As I was writing a scene, she totally did something I didn't expect! I'd heard characters tell you things they want to do, and I so believe it now.
Kage: Tanya, Thank you so much for stopping by today and gracing us with your presence. Before we go, is there anything else you’d like to say to wrap things up?
Tanya: Thanks for hosting me here today. I know these are busy days.
Other places to find Tanya are on her website, http://www.tanyahanson.net/, and blog, Hearts Crossing Ranch Blog, and Facebook.
So please check out this amazing author!!
But before you go, maybe you'd like to take the Tanya Hanson Trivia challenge. Listed below are five facts about Tanya. Either four are true facts, or four are false facts. Do you think you can find the odd man out and tell us whether the fact is true or false???? Good luck!
1. Tanya's favorite drink is McDonald's iced coffee.
2. Tanya hates to travel.
3. Tanya is left-handed.
4. Tanya has a thing for firefighters.
5. Tanya loves Brooks and Dunn songs.