Celestial Desire

By: Abbie Zanders


Cover design by the amazing Kim Killion of The Killion Group, Inc.

Professional editing by the incomparable M. E. Weglarz of megedits.com.

And special thanks to some very special ladies – Deb B., Anjee Z., Shelly S., Carol T., Tonya B., Susan J., Perryne D., Carla S., Stacy T., and Shayne R (and a few of you who prefer to remain unnamed – you know who you are) - for reading the first draft and making invaluable suggestions. This is a better story because of them!

Chapter 1

“Maybe we can have sex later.”

Her eyebrows raised, and Zane felt the color flooding into his cheeks. “A drink,” he corrected immediately. “I meant a drink. Maybe we can have a drink later.” Jesus, what was he, 15?

The corner of that pretty mouth quirked and Zane felt the force of her gaze raking up and down his body from behind those dark, mirrored shades. Her head didn’t move but based on the rolling, heated tingles licking over his skin, she’d checked him out head to toe at least twice in the few seconds it took her to respond.

“I’m not much of a drinker,” she replied, and Zane almost shivered in pleasure at the sound of her voice. It was soft, muted. The kind of voice a man wanted to hear crying out in rhythmic, breathless gasps.

“Coffee, then. Do you like coffee?”

Another quirk from those soft, full lips, but she was no longer ogling him. Her eyes were looking directly into his now. It was impossible to tell what color they were behind the nearly-black lenses, but he had the impression that they were powerful, given the way his skin tingled when she looked at him. They probably sparkled, too.

“I like coffee.”

Zane did a mental fist pump. He wasn’t sure why he suddenly felt such a feeling of triumph; women rarely turned him down but there was something about this woman that was different. She wasn’t the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen, or the best built; not even his usual type, really. Normally he went for the stereotypical California bleached blondes – tall, bronzed, lean and toned.

From what he’d seen so far, she was on the shorter side, a bit curvier than he was used to (what his grandfather would have called voluptuous), and she had light golden/brown hair the color of rich honey with streaks of sunlight. He couldn’t put his finger on why he was so inexplicably drawn to her, which was just one more reason she warranted further study; so few women piqued his genuine interest beyond the usual ‘she’ll do’.

Out loud, he said, “That’s good, because I like coffee, too. And afterwards, maybe we can -”

“Have sex?” she finished for him. The quirk had become a slow curving of her lips. The tingling intensified into a slow burn. When this woman smiled, it touched all of her features … and apparently some of his, too.

He rubbed the back of his neck, feeling more like an awkward teen than a twenty-seven year old Marine. He was almost afraid to look down for fear that he’d be sporting full-on wood, something no male ever wanted to happen while wearing jogging shorts, no matter what his age was. It was just that kind of day.

“If I’m lucky,” he grinned sheepishly. He opted for boyish candor, instinctively sensing that smooth and slick – his usual M.O. - would not work on this woman.

“At least you’re honest,” she said thoughtfully, proving his theory.

“Some would say to a fault.”

He received a full blown grin in response. Yes! She had a beautiful smile. It lit up her whole face and made it impossible not to smile in return.

“I’m Zane, by the way.”

“Zane, huh? It fits you. I’m Celeste.”

Celeste. Yes, he could see that. There was something very soft and fresh about her, and – dare he think it – her heavenly body. He groaned inwardly at the bad pun, glad that he’d at least had enough brain-to-mouth filters still engaged not to spew that little gem out there. He felt like he was hanging on by his fingertips here and one more faux pas would result in an epic fail.

After agreeing to meet at a trendy new coffee shop later that evening, Zane walked back to his place, the towel draped around his neck, feeling a lot better than a man who had just thoroughly embarrassed himself should. Fortunately, the pretty honeyed blonde didn’t seem to take offense at his blatant Freudian slip, taking it all in stride with an unusually good humor rarely found in women these days. And she was going to join him for coffee later.