MORE THAN WORDS

Holiday Hearts series

More Than Words | Susan Scott Shelley

Aidan MacKay may be cool, calm, and collected in his Human Resources position for his Army buddy's toy company, but his battle with PTSD is anything but easy. Things change when he hires voiceover artist Skye Galen to record several company projects. Her voice calm, soothing, and just what Aidan needs. Their exchanges through email and phone calls only make him want more.
 
Skye has her own demons. After being burned in a fire, she's become a near-recluse. Hiding from the world is easier than facing people’s reactions. She is intrigued by Aidan and yearns for more but doesn't believe he can see past her scars.
 
Aidan is determined to meet the woman behind the voice. Skye knows she'll have to brave the meeting if she wants her lucrative contract with his company to continue. 

Sparks fly, and they begin a tentative relationship. But Aidan fears his PTSD may scare Skye away. And Skye worries her insecurities will eventually push Aidan away.

As the fourth of July draws near, fireworks are a guarantee, but they'll both have to face their biggest fears if they don't want their love to implode.

More Than Words | Susan Scott Shelley
More Than Words | Susan Scott Shelley

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Skye tilted her head back to keep her gaze on Aidan’s. The wind pushed her hair away from her face, and she fought the urge to duck her head. The hunger in his gaze stole her breath. All throughout the hockey game, she’d thought about kissing him. All throughout their time at the pub, she’d enjoyed watching him with his friends, and they’d moved closer and closer, leaning into each other. Anticipation built and built until her encounter with the red wine doused it all.

But Aidan had come to the rescue in such a way that she was almost glad the spilled drink had happened. He cared, and it showed.

He rested his hands on her hips and drew her against him. Lowering his head, he hovered his lips inches away her face. Hesitating. Waiting. Skye wet her lips. Her heart pounded at the way his eyes darkened and the concentration on his face. Her left hand grasped his shoulder, and her right touched his neck. His warmth seeped into her fingers and the hair brushing his t-shirt collar tickled her skin.

Her heart yearned to feel him. He really wanted her. She hadn’t thought that anyone ever would again.

He moved closer and she raised her face, closing the distance between them. Soft, firm lips met hers, touched sweetly, gently. And then his mouth delved for more. Deeper. Hotter. Hungry. Her lips parted on a sigh, and his tongue traced along her lower lip, sending shivers up her spine.

All her senses were heightened. The sound of crickets chirping. The faint strains of music from the pub. The warm breeze. Aidan’s hands sliding along her back. How he kissed her like it was the best thing in the world. And the way his body shifted and brushed and pressed against hers incited more desire than she’d allow herself to feel in a long time.

Skye fisted her hand in his hair, needing and longing and wanting more. His touch was like a cool drink of water to her starving soul.

His low groan sounded, and he eased back. Thick fingers traced her face. Light touches. Gentle strokes. Like she was something precious. “I’ve wanted to do that for days.”

“Me, too.” She laid her hands against his chest. His heartbeat thudded under her palm. The way he smiled at her weakened her knees.

“Tomorrow, if you’re free, want to join me for a run?”

“I don’t really spend a lot of time outside in the summer.” Turning him down physically hurt and sounded like a lame brush-off, so she elaborated. “To be honest, it’s too hot to run in long sleeves and exposing that much skin in workout shorts and a t-shirt kind of freaks me out.” Kind of was an understatement. He probably figured that out.

 

To his credit, he didn’t look at her like he thought she was a freak. He only nodded and kept up the soft slide of his fingers. “Then how about coming to the park with Chance and me? We go to a place with a lot of trees, lots of shade. It’s pretty private. I’ll throw in a picnic.”

A picnic with him and his dog sounded like a scene in a romantic movie. A scene she very much wanted to be real. “I’d love to.”

His grin was the best reward. “I’ve told him all about you. I’ll make sure he’s a gentleman.”

The pub’s door opened, and Damon walked out. He stopped when he saw them. “Just checking to make sure you guys were okay. I see that you are. So I’ll, uh, just go back inside now.”

He turned to leave, and Aidan called out for him to wait. Then he looked down at Skye and smoothed her hair back in place. “Ready to go in?”

“Definitely.” She let her arms fall but his immediately wrapped around her waist.

Damon gave her a sympathetic smile. “That sucks about your shirt. I’m glad you found a spare.”

“Yep. Aidan took care of me.” She leaned into Aidan as they made their way back to the group.

The next few hours flew by, lots of laughter, and lots of touching—Aidan’s hand on her waist, her shoulder, her touching his hand, resting against his side. When he drove her home, he walked her to her door, and they spent a long while saying goodnight.

She fell asleep wearing his shirt and dreaming of a normal life where she didn’t have to hide.

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© 2019

SUSAN SCOTT SHELLEY | ROMANCE AUTHOR

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