From This Moment excerpt




She slipped out of the kitchen and made her way down the hall to the bathroom. Once she’d taken care of her morning business, she splashed cold water over her face and dried it with the nearby towel. Then she braced both hands on the sides of the sink and looked herself in the eye in the mirror.

“You will not jump an injured man,” she warned herself in a whisper. “As much as you want to, because he looks damn fine in flannel, you will not jump him.” Pushing herself to stand upright, she tugged down the hem of the tank top she wore with boxers-her version of pajamas-and headed back to the kitchen.

Ray was just setting a small serving bowl of scrambled eggs down next to a plate of sausage and toast, along with a pitcher of orange juice, on the table.

“You didn’t have to go to all this trouble,” she told him as she settled onto her chair.

“I know, but it’s no trouble.” He took his seat across from her. “I’m feeling pretty good this morning. Better than I’ve felt since before the accident. And I wanted a way to say thanks for everything you’ve done for me since you’ve been here.”

“I haven’t done all that much,” she said as she began to fill her plate.

“More than you realize,” he argued. “It’s not just the taking care of the apartment and such. You’ve kept me company, kept me sane, since I’ve been home.” He winked. “Keeping me away from my mother’s didn’t hurt either.”

“Ah, there it is.” She laughed, pointing a forkful of sausage in his direction. “The real reason you’re grateful.”

“Busted.” His laughter joined hers as he spread jelly over a piece of toast. “So, any plans for the day?”

“Not really. Just a quick load of laundry, maybe head over to the library for a bit.”

“The library?”

“I do read, you know.” She arched an eyebrow at him as she ate some scrambled eggs.

“I know you do. Just haven't heard you mention ever going to the library.” He paused, obviously in thought. “Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve been since I was in school. Mind if I tag along?”

“Of course not.”

They spent the next few minutes eating in companionable silence.

“Have you heard from your parents?” Ray asked quietly.

“Mom called yesterday. She made it clear she still didn’t approve of my choice to be here, but she made the effort to at least be civil.”

“And your dad?”

“I didn’t talk to him. Haven’t, really, since your accident.”

“Grace--”

“It’s been this way pretty much since I’ve been a teenager. He hasn’t handled the growing up of his only daughter very well.” Grace shrugged. “We just go along about our business as best we can.”

“Yeah, but I feel like this time it’s my fault.”

“No. It’s on me. I made the choice.” She rose to take her plate to the sink, nearly ran into him when she turned around again.

“Sorry,” Ray apologized, taking her by the arms to steady her.

“You move like a damn ghost.”

“Comes from sneaking around my parents as a kid.” He grinned, loosened his grip to run his hands over her paper arms as his grin faded. “But seriously, are you okay?”

“Yeah. Why?”

“Because I can tell that being at odds with your parents upsets you. And I hate I’m partly the cause of it.” When she tried to object, he just shook his head. “No. I could have sucked it up and told you no, could have stayed at my mom’s. But the truth is, I wanted you here. With me. Like this.”

“Like what?”

“Just together. Over breakfast. On the couch, watching some God awful romcom.” He laughed when she swatted his chest. “I just like knowing you’re here. Or will be, if you’ve gone out for a minute. There is one thing I’ve wanted to do, though.”

“What’s that?”

Without a word, he leaned forward, brought her face to his, and kissed her with such intensity that Grace was lost to it within seconds. Not realizing she was moving, her hands found her way to his hips, gripped the waistband of the flannel pants, unconsciously tugged to bring him closer.

His groan fell on deaf ears as the angle of the kiss changed, as Ray shuffled them both closer to the counter. Grace felt the edge of it pressing against her lower back and, with a distant thought, decided she couldn’t care less at the moment.

All thought was lost when Ray’s hands left her face, skimmed over her shoulders and down her back. The sensations of his fingers gliding over her sent shivers down her spine, caused a low moan to slip from her own throat. When his hands slid around her lower back to grip her hips, she arched towards him, felt the solid ridge of him pressing to her center.

It gave her a second’s pause, but it was just enough for Ray to notice.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered, closing his eyes and resting his forehead on hers. “Got a little out of control. Just give me a minute.”

She could feel him retreating, even though neither of them had moved. And, she realized, she didn’t want him pulling back at all.

“It’s okay,” she whispered back. Running her hands up his chest and into his hair, she pulled back just enough to look into his now-open eyes.

“Grace?”

“It’s okay,” she repeated “I want this.”



Want to start from the beginning? Here's chapter one.