Whenever I’m in the mood to read a romance that will not only have my toes curling and stomach dipping but also keep me in a constant state of swooning, the author I instinctively reach for is Marcia McClure. Just this last weekend, I scrolled back and forth through my Kindle, nothing really jumping out saying “Read me!” and I worried I was heading for a romance slump. *gasp* My thumbs then took on a life of their own, leading me to The Prairie Prince by Marcia McClure, and I started to get that tingle. You know the one I’m talking about, that tingle of anticipation. After making sure I was in a swoon-proof position (you need to be mindful of that because you don’t want to hurt yourself), I dived straight in. Let me tell you, I’ve never swooned so hard in my life! Allow me to share with you a little bit of the background to the story and then I’ll tell you about the scene that started it all . . .
The Prairie Prince tells the story of Katie Matthews, a young woman living in the small town of Custer’s Creek. Life isn’t especially easy for her—in fact, it’s filled with hard work and a brutal father, and Katie longs for the day when her prince will ride in off the prairie and rescue her from the mundane life she leads. Good men are scarce, and while Katie holds tight to her hope, things begin to look bleak. Enter into the story Stover Steele, a new arrival to the town. Ruggedly handsome and the caregiver to four younger sisters, Stover has no time for love, but after a chance meeting with Katie (and finding her covered head to toe with wildflowers courtesy of his young sisters), he finds her hard to resist. What follows is nothing short of delicious flirting as slowly but surely love is found. Trust me, its GOOD stuff!
OK, here’s what had me clutching my chest and sighing heavily: Picture, if you will, young Katie, spying on her older brother while he’s kissing Stover’s sister. To make sure she’s not caught, Katie has climbed up into the tree house and is giddy with excitement that her brother has finally found love. Realizing she shouldn’t be watching something so intimate, she turns to leave, and who does she find behind her? Stover!
'Yer a nosy little . . .' he began, but Katie reached out, placing her hand over his mouth for fear Pillar and Jared would hear him and their tender moments together be lost. Stover simply took hold of her wrist, moving her arm aside, and said 'I can’t believe yer up here spyin’ like a . . .' Using her other hand, Katie covered his mouth once more.
Of course, Stover sees this as a golden opportunity to flirt with the young woman who's caught his eye and he moves in closer to whisper in her ear. This drives Katie to complete distraction.
The feel of his breath on her skin, the smooth sound of his voice whispering in her ear was unlike anything Katie had ever experienced! Her arms and legs erupted into dense goose bumps and her heart began to hammer wildly inside her bosom. She could feel his hair on her forehead, his strong, but careful, grip on her wrists, and the warmth of his body through his shirt and her bodice. His cheek brushed hers, his whiskers tickling her.
Now you need to remember, Stover is the most handsome man Katie has ever seen before, and he is right there. Oh so close. He whispers to her more about not spying on others, how maybe she needs a good spanking, and Katie, not wanting to get caught, keeps shushing him, finally laying her finger over his lips. This is where it starts to get good.
'If ya don’t want me talkin,' he whispered. 'Then ya better think of somethin’ else to keep my mouth busy.
Katie is stunned. Surely he’s just teasing her, so she does what any young woman in a tree house would do—reaches out and plucks an apple from a branch and hands it to him. Of course, this isn’t what Stover had in mind at all. With a chuckle he tells her this and muses over just how beautiful she looks at that moment with her wide and expectant eyes.
He guessed this would be her very first kiss, and he’d have to make it a good one, being careful all the same. He smiled at the thoughts of being the first man to kiss her, drink the sweet flavor of her lips and mouth. A girl never forgot her first kiss and that meant, with one kiss, he’d brand his name in her heart forever. Stover liked the thought of that.
*sighs* With his sights now firmly on Katie and in a voice now deep and alluring, Stover tells her he plans on teaching her a lesson, but not about the consequences of eavesdropping. He begins to move forward, Katie feeling trapped now as she struggles to control her breathing. When she looks into his smoldering eyes, she knows deep down to her toes that he is going to kiss her, something she desperately wants him to do. She tries to back up and find excuses to delay the inevitable, but Stover is relentless.
Pulling her toward him, he whispered, 'Best kissin’ is done layin’ down or standin’ up, not kneeling.' Katie felt her knees begin to weaken as he added, 'I figure in this situation, standin’ up will work right fine.'
Katie felt dizzy, frightened and elated all at the same time. As Stover Steele gathered her in his arms, she bit the inside of her lip to make sure she was awake. Raising a hand to her face and letting his thumb trace her lips, he whispered, 'I’m gonna kiss ya now, ya know.'
'I-I know,' Katie stammered in a whisper, every inch of her body burning with expectation. Stover chuckled and asked, 'Do ya want a sweet “Sunday-go-to-meetin’” kiss? Or a good “The Devil’s-out-after-midnight” kiss?'
Am I the only one holding her breath right now as if about to be kissed by an incredibly sexy man? Seriously, I think I better grip onto something so I don’t fall, because the tension has me a little light-headed and woozy . . .
When Katie tells him to go with whichever kiss he thinks would be best, Stover chuckles in that low, seductive voice of his and finally makes his move, kissing her gently at first but then so passionately that they both become lost.
Impulsively, he took her lips with his own, kissing her firmly yet still with great care. Gradually, he increased the intensity of the kiss, until he recognized a willing, confident response in her, And then—he was lost! Katie Matthews had bewitched him! And although he knew he must eventually regain his self-control, the sweet taste of her mouth bewitched him, and he could not put her away.
Katie could not breathe! Every color, every temperature of warmth and heat seemed to be igniting in her mind as Stover Steele kissed her. She’d never imagined a kiss could wring a person’s body and mind into such a state of exhilaration! Her heart hammered so brutally within her bosom she thought it might break right through it. Stover’s kiss was hot and moist, instructional and driven—his rough whiskers tickled the flesh around her mouth, his breath heated her cheek. . . .
Ok, I better end right here because I can’t hold out against the swooning much longer. This scene is just the first of many good ones in The Prairie Prince, and I was a complete mess by the end of it. Can you imagine what it would have been like being Katie, held in those strong arms of Stover, kissed by a man who melted your insides? *fans self* This is definitely one of my favorite scenes, and if you’ll excuse me now, I’m off in search of another!
A homesick Aussie living amongst the cactus and mountains of Arizona, Belinda Boring is a self proclaimed addict of romance and all things swoonworthy. When she's not devouring her latest read, you can find her celebrating her passion for reading on her blog The Bookish Snob. She also reviews for The Romance Reviews.