MOMENT BY MOMENT
Michael Cassidy made his way along the ribbon of sand that edged the Southern California coastline with a single-minded focus typical of his personality. He ignored the waves that surged against the shore to flirt with the tips of his crutches. He no longer heard the lone gull that screeched overhead. And if he noticed the setting sun - an electric-pink sphere - his angular features failed to reveal even the faintest acknowledgement of its existence.
Other than an occasional blink to dislodge the beads of sweat that trickled into his eyes, Michael’s gaze remained fixed. He labored forward without a thought to the curious image he presented to residents of the cottages, condos, and multi-million-dollar compounds that lined this particular stretch of beach.
Working past the pain of protesting muscles, he gripped the handles of his crutches and used his uninjured leg like a rudder. He drove himself at a relentless pace until he finally ran out of hard-packed sand. Once he circled the huge boulder at the foot of the Torrey Pines cliffs, he undertook the return two-mile journey to Seagrove Park.
Sweat spiked his short-cropped, dark auburn hair, streaked his tanned skin, and saturated the running shorts and faded USC Film School T-shirt he wore. The muscle ticking high in his left cheek and his gritted teeth hinted at the cost of his exertion, but he refused to admit to himself that six weeks spent babying a badly torn Achilles tendon had done little more than remind him that his forty-year-old body – even if it was the well-maintained body of a former triathlete – needed time to mend.
He’d spent the previous week testing his endurance with shorter trips up and down the beach. This jaunt represented his toughest workout so far. He found himself functioning on raw nerves by the time he spotted the beachfront park. Once there, he halted, struggling momentarily to maintain his balance. He gulped oxygen, sucking it into his burning lungs as fast as he could manage the task.
Michael savored each and every stroke of the cool breeze that washed over his skin. The setting sun finally captured and held his attention. It also brought to mind a documentary film he’d directed at a West African orphanage in the early years of his career. The sunsets he’d witnessed during that particular shoot had been nothing short of miraculous. Not until now, he realized, had anything so dramatic rivaled Mother Nature at her most splendid.
He frowned suddenly, his appreciation of the breathtaking view displaced in the space of a single heartbeat by the sight of a raven-haired woman. Clad in an unadorned white tank-style bathing suit, she emerged slowly from the advancing tide. He froze, immobilized by what he saw.
Was she the product of some endorphin-induced fantasy caused by too much exercise?
He blinked, and then he refocused.
She didn’t disappear. Instead, she moved steadily toward him, slicking her shoulder-length hair back from her face, then smoothing the moisture from her eyes and cheeks with the tips of her fingers.
He watched her fight to maintain her footing when an incoming wave crashed into her. She smiled suddenly, her expression a mixture of pleasure and triumph when she succeeded in remaining upright.
Michael felt the air leave his lungs. The muscles that mapped his torso and long limbs quivered. Heat flooded his bloodstream, transforming it into rivers of flame. He realized then that she was the most magnificently seductive sight he’d seen in too many years to count.
Like most strong men, Michael exerted an extraordinary amount of control over himself - both personally and professionally. He exercised that control now, employing it with a level of ruthlessness not at all foreign to his nature. He didn’t want to frighten this woman, nor did he want to lose her now that he’d found her.
Rocked by his final thought, Michael Cassidy stopped thinking altogether and simply indulged his senses.
ROMANTIC TIMES Book Reviews says of MOMENT BY MOMENT ... "Laura Taylor explores the risks of love with sensitive precision. A chance meeting on a California beach between a soul-weary documentary filmmaker and a beautiful former cop leads first to friendship and then to something much deeper. But can these two people overcome bitter lessons of the past to build a lasting relationship? Ms. Taylor’s superb characterization and haunting ambiance will leave a lasting impression on your heart.”
About the Author:
LAURA TAYLOR is a multiple award-winning romance writer with over a million books in print. More than a half million digital editions of her books have already been downloaded by eBook readers. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her writing, including 6 Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement, Reviewer's Choice, and Career Achievement Awards, 2 MAGGIE AWARDS from GRW/RWA, 2 Golden Heart Finalist Awards (RWA), a RWA RITA Finalist Award, and a Golden Rose Award from the Gold Coast Chapter of RWA.
eBooks currently available: DESERT ROSE (Warrior Series Bk. 1), MIDNIGHT STORM (Warrior Series Bk. 2), HEARTBREAKER (Warrior Series Bk. 3), MORE THAN FRIENDS (Warrior Series Bk. 4), FALLEN ANGEL, WILDER'S WOMAN, WARRIOR SERIES Boxed Set (Military Romances - 4 Complete Novels), MOMENT BY MOMENT, THE CHRISTMAS GIFT, ANTICIPATION, SEDUCTION (Book #1 - Love at the Beach), SURRENDER (Book #2 - Love at the Beach), SUBLIME (Book #3 - Love at the Beach), and LOVE AT THE BEACH Boxed Set (Volume One - 3 Complete Novels).
Amazon Bestselling Romance Writer