Captain Charles Sanders rose above insanely gorgeous. He could turn the head of a mannequin. He was the classic image of a steroid muscle man on the front cover of a paperback romance, an easy six-feet-four—maybe five—inches tall. And the captain was much closer to my age than Carlos.
No wonder I, or rather, Carmena, was attracted to him. I wanted to gobble the officer up like milk chocolate, and in testimony, my mouth remained opened a bit too long. The captain’s smile grew wider and Carlos cleared his throat rather loudly.
I swallowed. “Captain. It’s absolutely wonderful to see you.” And it was.
Carlos, out of the captain’s line of sight, rolled his eyes heavenward. I stumbled past the chairs behind my desk.
“Thank you, Carmena.” The captain’s masculine voice wrapped invisible arms around me. “And may I say that it’s always wonderful to see you?”
He glided across the room with the heat of a professional tango dancer. He took my hands and placed a long, slow kiss on the back of each one. Goosebumps rose on my arms, shivers did the whole up and down thing along my spine, and I wanted nothing more than to be alone with the man.
“I’m so glad you have recovered from that unfortunate circumstance.” No matter what he said, his words oozed masculine sensuality.
“Carlos,” I kept my toothy grin on the officer, “I’ve changed my mind about our last discussion. Perhaps you can attend to that other matter we were just dealing with.”
“And what matter would that be, Carmena?” Carlos asked. He enunciated every syllable in the name and stood like a permanent fixture with his arms crossed.
I waved my hand. “Whatever. Just take care of it.”
The captain’s blue eyes glittered like the crown jewels under a spotlight and his smile caressed me like a cashmere blanket.
“I don’t understand, Carmena,” Carlos said. “We were just discussing your poor condition after the lieutenant’s attack.”
“Is it true?” the captain asked, deep concern evident in his tone, and he held my hands tighter. “Are you unwell, Carmena?”
“Oh, no. I’m feeling much better now.”
“Why don’t we sit down?” Charles said. He took my arm, and I felt a girlish flutter in my solar plexus. We sat down on the leather settee, and Carlos seated himself on the matching chair directly across from us.
“How are you, Captain?”
“I’m very fine, especially now that I’m here, knowing you’re well.” His voice, smooth as French butter, made me want to melt into it.
We continued to hold hands and my eyes held fast to his. “Carlos, is there something else you need?”
“Yes, actually. We need to finish the conversation we were having moments before the captain arrived in which you told me how fatigued you still felt since the attack.”
Alarm washed across the captain’s handsome face. “Please, Carmena. You mustn’t try to be brave for me.” The captain unwittingly joined the enemy’s side in the verbal tussle I was having with Carlos and he abruptly stood. “Perhaps I can return another day.”
I practically jumped on top of him and dragged him back down. “But I’m much better today!” I turned to Carlos and gave him a ferocious stink eye. “Aren’t I looking much better, Carlos?”
“Well…” He rubbed his chin. “Now that you mention it, you do look a little pale.”
The captain squeezed my hands and I wished he would kiss them again. “I’m ashamed that I didn’t consider your physical health more thoroughly before riding out.” I made to protest, but he quickly added, “I’m also flattered that you don’t want to send me off, Carmena, but we really do need to put your frail condition before all else. I shall call on you next week.” He glanced at Carlos. “I’m sure you’ll be feeling better by then.”
Warm lips brushed the back of my hands yet again and the captain smiled. “Good evening, Carmena.” He started for the library doors.
I trailed the captain like a love-struck teen, hoping he’d change his mind about staying. “It’s much too late for anyone to be riding at this time of night.”
“Surely you don’t doubt the ability of a captain in the Texas Cavalry to take care of himself?” Carlos said.
“I don’t mean to insult you, Captain, but I fear for your safety,” I lied. “There are so many highway men and all manner of vicious beasts out at night. We’ve plenty of guest rooms to see to your comfort.”
“Ay, Diós!” Carlos muttered.
Charles took my hands in his. His smile couldn’t get any wider, and my heart tried to jump out and rest in his dimples. “Don’t worry about me, Carmena. Several of my men are waiting at the gate. Now, I insist that you get your rest so that we may enjoy a proper visit upon my return.”
“But I’m really feeling fine!”
“Thank you, Captain, for seeing to Carmena’s needs before your own,” Carlos said.
The Adonis made a gracious bow to Carlos. To me the captain said, “I will call on you next week when you’re feeling much better, if I may?”
I pouted despite the offer of another visit. “Of course.”
He kissed my hands for the umpteenth time, and I wanted him to stay all the more. Like a needy little puppy I followed the captain to the door, but he said, “I will see myself out, Carmena. I’d prefer it if you sat down and rested.”
“Of course. Anything you want, Captain.” And I meant it.
He kept his smile in check, and Carlos huffed behind me.
The captain’s long pointer finger stroked my cheek to my chin, and he whispered, “Perhaps we’ll have time later to share a few private moments together.”
I sighed and brazenly admitted, “I’d really like that.”
Carlos grunted. The captain grinned as he closed the library doors behind him.
I whirled around to face Carlos who openly smirked. I jabbed my fists on my hips and glared, but my dirty look had no impact.
Carlos took his seat at the desk and pointed to my own. “Now, let me think.” He tapped the side of his cheek. “Where were we before you said how you wanted me to stay in the library with you during the captain’s visit, no matter how awkward?”
“Diós,” I griped and stomped across the room. I plopped down hard into my chair and crossed my arms.
“Get on with it,” I said. “What were you going to say?”
“I was about to tell you everything I know of the real Carmena Luebber.”
When I was 3 years old I knew after reading Go, dog. Go! that I would become a writer. Writing is the easiest form of expression for me. I dream my stories or sit at the computer and just listen, then the words flow in. I’ve written several award winning stories and poems, and I’ve had a play produced. Eve’s Amulet, Book 1 is my first published novel. When I’m not writing, I’m reading, walking, painting, or spending time with my 3 adult daughters or two grandsons. My future goals include seeing Eve’s Amulet go into film and winning a major writing award. I’d like to meet J.K. Rowling, Diana Gabaldon, Ellen, and Oprah.