Lila giggled as he pulled the sled down the street. Before either of them gave a conscious thought to their destination, he took her out to a small hill at the edge of town. At the top, he stopped and moved the sled into position. With a dramatic bow, he placed the leather strap in her hand then gave the sled a mighty shove.
Amid much excited squealing, she sailed down the hill. When the sled upended in a snowbank at the bottom, she threw herself back in the snow and stared up at the winter sky, full of contentment.
The sound of crunching snow and Tom calling her name drew her attention to him as he raced down the hill.
“Are you well, Lila? Did you break anything?” Worry laced his tone as he hurried toward her.
Rather than shout that she was fine, she closed her eyes and remained unmoving, wondering what he would do.
His warmth encircled her as he dropped to his knees next to her and bent down, gently tapping her cheek with his left hand. “Lila, honey? Can you hear me? Lila?”
The endearment he used made a sweet, oozy warmth settle in her stomach while heat flooded through her entire body. Strange feelings, ones she’d never experienced, filled her until every part of her seemed keenly attuned to Tom.
“Lila? Please be okay? Please?” He bent close and pressed his cheek to hers, slipping his arm beneath her and lifting her head and shoulders from the snow.
As his scent tickled her nose with a pleasing aroma, she delighted in the experience of being wrapped in his arms. Even with his heavy cast pressed against her back, she couldn’t think of anywhere she’d ever been that seemed more like home.
“Lila?” His voice sounded more concerned as though he bordered on panic.
Unable to continue her ruse, she popped open her eyes and grinned at him.
“I’m fine, Tom. I was just teasing you.”
“You shouldn’t… that’s not…” He pulled back long enough to look deep in her eyes. Whatever he searched for, he must have found because he wasted no time in pressing his lips to hers, plundering her mouth with barely restrained passion.