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Online Romance Novel — Chapter 10
Moonlight On Snow: A Love Story
Silence awoke Haley sometime before dawn. The storm
had died. The wind had abated. No icy pellets bombarded the windows. She
listened to Jeff’s breathing and smiled. He slept on undisturbed. She’d never
forget her night with Jeff. They’d talked until well after midnight. He’d told
her how his dedication to work had ruined one relationship after another. She’d
told him of how she’d dedicated her life to her research but that she had
always longed for more than that.
He’d told her about his parents and about his life
growing up with three brothers and a sister. She’d told him, haltingly, of her
lonely childhood spent with a father left bitter by his wife’s betrayal.
On and on they’d talked, sharing intimacies. They’d
shared everything except sex. She’d been willing. More than willing, but Jeff
was the one who called a halt. Finally, she’d fallen asleep in his arms.
Why hadn’t they made love? She lay on her side with
Jeff spooned to her back and savored his warmth, his closeness and wished it
could always be this way. Was it possible to fall in love in a few days time?
Lying curled next to Jeff, she felt a contentment
she’d never found anywhere. Not in her work. Not in her other relationships.
Jeff’s arms were her refuge. She felt at home. A lump filled her throat
painfully. If only she knew how Jeff felt about her. With no storm to imprison
them, would he demand her findings about her research and then leave? She felt
insecurity sink its claws into her.
A shaft of silvery moonlight peeked through the front
windows. Moonlight on snow was a sight worth losing a little sleep. She started
to wake Jeff so he could see the simple, elegant beauty that drew her back here
time after time. She lay her hand on his cheek, intending to wake him. Just
that simple touch made her shiver.
When he turned his face into her palm and kissed her
hand, she forgot all about the natural beauty she’d wanted to show him. As he
pulled her back into his arms, she prayed that there was something real between
them. Something special. She only hoped they had enough time together for him
to feel it too.
When she awoke again, bright sunlight streamed through
“Well, good morning, sleepyhead.”
Haley moaned and pulled the covers over her head.
“Uh uh. We’ll have none of that lollygagging in
Then the covers were ripped away.
“Jeff!” Briefly, they engaged in a tug of
war for the blanket, but he won.
“All right, all right. I’m up.” Haley yawned
“And about time too, Dr. Gant. We need to go over
your project analysis. Time’s awasting and life’s awaiting.”
Haley’s heart turned over at his business-like tone.
All her fears intensified. It took forever for her to dress because her hands
shook. When she appeared from behind
the curtained alcove, Jeff sat at the table with two cups of steaming coffee
Feeling awkward and uncertain, Haley took her seat at
the table and waited.
“Now, before we get started, I want to tell you
why I arrived here early,” Jeff began.
Haley frowned and cocked her head to the side.
“Listen. Do you hear that?”
Jeff frowned. “I don’t hear anything.”
“Someone’s coming.” Regret washed over
Kaley. She’d lost her opportunity to be alone with Jeff.
“Hey! I do hear something.” Jeff jumped up
and rushed to the door.
Haley followed in time to see a Snow Cat chug into the
clearing and ease up to park near the end of the porch. “It’s the park
ranger, but I don’t know the other guy.”
“That’s Etienne Roget.”
Haley could tell by his tone of voice that Roget was
not one of Jeff’s friends. “Who’s Etienne Roget?”
“I guess you could call him an industrial spy.
I’d heard he was after you and your project. Looks like I was right.”
Realization dawned on Haley. “I see. So that’s
why you’re here early. Afraid I’d tell him about the project I’m working
Jeff flushed. “Not exactly. You hadn’t filed any
reports, and I didn’t know if I could trust you. I mean I didn’t know you.
Then. But I did know how Roget works. You wouldn’t have been the first woman
who revealed her secrets to that French Don Juan.” He shrugged. “I
felt it was in the best interests of the company that I check on you.”
“You mean check up on me!” Anger burned
through Haley’s uncertainties. What a fool she’d been! She felt mortified by
every kiss they’d exchanged. He’d been playing her until he got that final
report on her project. He wanted to ensure her research went to his company
instead of being sold under the table to a higher bidder. Not only did he think
she had no scruples about her work, he obviously thought she had none where her
personal life was concerned either. Why hadn’t he made love to her? Bitterly,
she decided he hadn’t wanted to go to that trouble when a few kisses and pillow
talk would take care of her.
“I’d say you know a little about romancing women
Jeff turned and leveled an indignant look at her.
“What exactly is that supposed to mean?”
“I think you know very well what it means. You’ve
been cozying up to me since you arrived. Kissing me! Complimenting me! Acting
as if I had enchanted you.”
“I want you. I’ve made no secret of that.”
“Ha! You don’t want anything except to protect
the interests of EnviroMed. How dare you think I’d sell out when I’ve
been hired by your company. At least I have scruples.”
Jeff’s brows snapped together in a scowl. “And I
don’t? Is that what you’re saying?”
“Hey, if the shoe fits!” Haley’s voice rose.
“And how dare you try to romance me to protect your lousy company’s
“That’s a rotten thing to say!” Jeff grabbed
her by the shoulders and pulled her close.
“Let go of me.” Haley jerked from his arms.
After thirty years of leading a sane, orderly life, she’d fallen head over
heels in love with a rotten, manipulative Romeo. Oh, had she been ripe for the
“You can take your silly gloves and your New York
overcoat and your dress-for-success wingtip shoes and go back to the city where
“You honestly believe that nonsense you’re
babbling? You don’t believe me?”
“Why should I? Give me one good reason?”
Jeff stared at her, tempted to give her the reason she
asked for. But if she believed he’d shared his soul with her just to keep her
loyal to his company, then she’d never believe he’d fallen in love with her.
Loud barking split the tension between them. Haley and
Jeff turned as one to gape at their unwelcome foreign visitor who wrestled with
an ungainly black bundle.
“What the–?” Jeff broke off.
Haley saw the Frenchman struggling to lift a huge
black Labrador retriever from the cab of the Snow Cat. He sat the dog down, and
the animal made a beeline for Haley. She didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as
she stared at the clumsy puppy bounding through the snow,
Somehow, she knew that her big surprise birthday
present from Courtney had finally arrived.
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