The room was candle and fire-lit, two glasses of wine on the table, an ironic semblance of the setting for a romantic interlude.
She came in the front door, banging the snow off her boots and hat, hanging up her frozen coat and outer clothes on pegs by the door, and walking out of her heavy caked boots, damp stockinged feet feeling lighter than air after an long day in ski boots with broad, curved skis on.
All her clothes were wrinkled and damp with sweat where they had been pressed under her coat and ski pants. Her hair hung in wet strands where it had been under her hat, and where the snow had melted into it at the edges of her coat collar.
In a hurry to get out of the damp sticky-feeling sweats, she started peeling them off on the way to the bathroom, leaving a trail of discarded laundry down the hall. Hopping on one foot at a time to get her socks off. Her balance was never the best when she was exhausted, although you’d never know it, watching her on the slopes, knife-edged skis slicing through powder and dancing over icy patches, fearlessly attacking the drops like she could fly.
She felt more like sinking to the ground and never moving again at the moment, walking naked into the huge tiled shower with it’s glass half-wall, letting the hot water sink into cold bones and relax exhausted muscles. Why did her feet always start hurting After she got home? She’d always assumed she was just too busy to notice on the mountain, but you’d think during the long trip home, they’d have time to send her those pain messages. Weird. She shrugged, grabbing a white towel, feeling an almost startled enjoyment that she was touching something that was Warm and dry.
Toweling herself off, she padded into the living room, figuring she’d dry her hair the rest of the way by the fire, and enjoy the fact that she didn’t have to be totally encased in high-tech fabric to stay warm.
Poor sore feet padded gently down the hardwood floor, kicking the dirty laundry ahead of her into some semblance of a pile. Bending down to pick it up seemed too much like work, and she’d earned a glass of that wonderful mouthy red in the fridge. But first, hair.
She frowned at the two glasses, already filled. Figured the cleaning help had been getting it on while she was gone, and forgotten to hide the evidence. She smirked a bit, and kneeled on the soft white fur in front of the fire, put her head down and pulled her hair over her neck, to hang straight. Should’ve remembered the hair brush. She finger-combed her long hair and showed it to the fire, willing it to dry faster, so she could relax and stop being cold.
She was as fit as it’s possible to be, having a body only a job working for the NSP can give you, but it still exhausted her, being cold all the time. The times when she could curl up in soft, dry warmth were so precious. Something about having the incredible softness of a dry blanket or towel against her skin was just luscious.
Firelight danced over the muscles in her back, and made her hair look like a sheet of copper as she combed the last few wet strands forward off her neck. She always wanted nothing but to not move when she’d just got home, but after five minutes of lazing around, she’d get bored. Taking her newly straight hair over to the couch, she grabbed one of the glasses of wine. ‘No sense wasting it’ Plus, lazy was winning at the moment, and it was Right There.
The book was tucked just under the couch, and when she was cuddled in just right, wine in one hand, bare feet poking out from under the soft throw, she reached down and slid it out of it’s hiding place.
She was just at the part where he was showing her his boat. “Aye captain!” she giggled at the heroine using a line she so often spoke herself. So many similarities. Funny, because the hero was the classic romance-novel hero. Perfect in every way except his broken-winged bird status, terrible childhood, and amazing meteoric rise from horribly abused child to every woman’s daydream. Plus more bad luck than any one human really has, to cause drama in the narrative, she guessed.
She scoffed at the obvious literary ploy, but kept turning pages as fast as she could inhale the story. This was the third book in the series, and the worst by far, but she had no intention of stopping until the very last page of the very last book had been read.
She tucked her cold toes up under her ass, and absently tucked a strand of hair behind her ear as she read, wishing it was his warm skin brushing her back, rather than the soft nap of the couch.
to be continued.