I wasn't sure if anyone would notice that Scandalous Affair didn't make it out today but I had a couple people ask. I am truly, completely flattered that people are eagerly awaiting it's release. Unfortunately there were some production errors so we weren't able to have it out today. I'm not sure when it's going to be out, but here's a fairly tame sneak peek to whet your appetites while you wait. As soon as it's up I'll let you know!
Rowena was waiting for him at the studio, and like a moth drawn to a flame he went to her. The Sophia Chavez Studio of Dance was the premiere dance studio in Hollywood. It boasted some of the biggest A-list actors amongst its regular clientele. Ornate crystal sconces around the perimeter walls lit the ballroom. The polished brass barres glimmered in the dim light, their reflection shining in the dark, glossy walnut floors. Wren had been meeting Rowena at the studio to dance on and off for quite some time.
Walking in that night felt a little like coming home and brought back a flood of memories he and Rowena shared. He stopped the thoughts quickly; he didn't want to think about how it started, how he had become a dance partner to his once-frumpy legal assistant. He didn't want to think of how she had transformed over the years from an old high-school memory of an awkward, ugly girl into a co-worker, confidant, and exotic beauty with curves in all the right places, who knew him better than anyone else on the planet. He wouldn't think about when he realized he was falling hopelessly in love with her and began to want her, need her in his life. He certainly wouldn't think about her tears and her innocent, sweetly innocent, big, brown doe eyes looking at him asking why; why couldn't he love her with all his heart? All he would think about was the dance, the closest she let him get to making love to her.
He saw her from the entrance of the dimly lit ballroom. He wanted her and let his mind wander. He imagined her breath catching as he ran a hand down her bare skin. He wanted to hear her moan as he found all her secret places that only a lover would know. He longed to feel himself deep inside her, taking her, showing her how much he loved her, but she wouldn't have it, not unless he could give her everything. She knew how badly he wanted her, but her body and her fortune were the only things she hadn't already given him, the only things she would not give him unless he was completely committed to her and her alone.
Wren, the strong, debonair man that he was, had a commitment phobia. He didn't want to be owned by any woman--not by Rowena, not by Chelsea. He wanted to be his own man, but he couldn't feel like a man without a partner, which led him back to the choice before him.
None of that tonight, he told himself. They would love on the dance floor. He would memorize and record everything he knew about her, everything she revealed, had ever revealed. He'd feel her hips swaying in unison with his, their steps matching one another, their bodies working like they were made for each other. He would capture her essence and take it with him to his place of decision for once and for all.
His steps echoed as he walked across the hardwood floor to her. She turned to acknowledge him, her jet-black hair catching the light as she did so.
“My love,” she said in her sweet honey accent. Wren wondered if her plump, glossy lips tasted as delicious as they looked. He wanted to wrap his hands up in her hair and savor her. She came towards him in a rush of smooth, fluid steps. “I promised you a dance. What'll it be?”
She was stunning, the definition of true, natural beauty, lovelier than he ever remembered Chelsea looking, even in all her made-up glory. He had never seen anyone change like Rowena had. She had been a gangly waif in high school, too thin and plain for him to pay attention to. The night of their dance, she was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. He couldn't figure it out. Hollywood was famous for cosmetic enhancements, but Rowena assured him she never changed; only his perception of beauty had.
Her dress, a cool autumn umber with sequins and rhinestones, sparkled radiantly under the lights . It was dangerously low-cut in the front and back. She watched him try to glimpse more than the dress would allow and grinned seductively. His dark, penetrating eyes trailed down the silken fabric covering her torso to the angled skirt sewn high on her right hip. The dim, ambient, intimate glow in the room accentuated and punctuated every sultry curve of her frame.
He was still fully dressed in his suit from work. Rowena reached up and loosened his tie, fixing her gaze on his piercing coffee-colored eyes. She slid it out of his collar in one smooth motion and then undid the top three buttons of his shirt, exposing tanned, muscled skin beneath. She circled behind him, trailing her hand across his chest as she did, reveling in his strength. She hooked the collar of his Armani jacket and eased it off his broad shoulders and down his toned arms, pressing herself ever so lightly into his muscled back, intoxicating him with her perfume.
She knew, after all the years of indecision, he was on the precipice. He would choose her; of that she had no doubt. It was his doubt he needed to be free of. It was time for him to decide. It was time for them to dance. She deposited his belongings on a chair, and he walked to the sound booth in the opposite corner of the room to prep the music.
His last night ever with either Rowena or Chelsea was about to begin. Wren had already chosen their dance. Not a tango or Cha Cha or Samba. They were all hot, sexy dances, yes, but they were also full of drama. He did not want drama; he wanted to answer his question. Which one, which woman, would he choose? Which would he leave? He wanted passion and partnership for this dance, sweet, pure, intimate passion and a partner he could trust and know.
He announced the dance to her in his deep, controlled voice. She looked at him, their eyes locking even at that distance, their hearts connecting and both quickening. She nodded, well pleased at his choice, as sure as ever that he had already chosen her. He just didn't know it. The music bounced off the walls of the room. The song, With You I'm Born Again, a 70's ballad, had a perfect beat for a waltz.
Rowena yearned with everything inside her to share her life with him. All of her life, there was so much more she wanted to tell him, but she couldn't. His heart was not yet fully hers, and if her father had taught her anything, it was to demand absolute love, fidelity and trust from a man before, not after, giving herself completely. She came from power and could demand anything she wanted, except love. She wanted true, absolute, pure love. The only way she could be sure Wren was truly in love with her was to demand everything from him. He was a man in the business of using his words to persuade people to believe him over others. His words wouldn't make her believe. Not his words but his deeds. She would know his love was real and not a ploy to satisfy his desire to have her when he left everything. It wasn't death; it wasn't torture. He would have so much more than he could imagine, but her price was high. If he loved her, really loved her, he would do it.
Their bodies merged and moved as one. She watched him, pleading silently and promising she was absolutely everything he could ever want or need. She would hold out for love, true love, until he finally committed or until her father called her away. Only when she knew with her body, mind and soul that he wanted her alone would she give him everything she was. With each step they made together in time to the music, she beckoned him to her, assuring him she would be worth the decision.
She knew she could make the decision for him in a second. She could tell him about everything. He knew about her family's wealth, their holdings, their influence. It was too obvious to hide, but there was even more he had no idea they were involved in. But if she told him first, he would choose her only because of the power that would be available to him. He was ambitious, and he would use her family name for his purpose. He didn't want to be owned, but she didn't want to be used. She wanted to be his one true love. She told herself over and over again that it wasn't a silly fantasy; she was more than worthy of love for love's sake. And she wanted to know love, for love's sake.
Unspoken thoughts and feelings hung thick in the air between them, swirling around and within. Rowena deeply, desperately wanted Wren; the tendrils of her feelings wrapped around him. He felt her desire. It invigorated him to know she wanted him so badly, and it confused him, even frustrated him. He asked her why, once. Why did she continue to dance with him? Why did she wait and pine for him day after day, week after week, month after month when he went back to Chelsea? Her answer was simple.
“I love you. I always have. I want you to love me back... Besides, it's no fun to dance alone, and you need to dance.” All she wanted was love, why couldn't he give it to her?
Then thoughts and feelings escaped them both, and the dance took over. It was a magical, sensual, raw mess of nothing but arms and legs, hips and hands moving in time, motion and unison with each other. His cologne, her perfume, the music, the shuffle of their box step on the floor. She knew his moves, his stride, and anticipated perfectly even the slightest change he made to the classic steps. She was right. He needed to dance, and there was no one like her to dance with. They were one... They could be one.
When the waltz was finished he took her into his arms and held her tight, afraid to let go because letting go tonight could mean saying good-bye forever. He searched her deep, dark eyes for any sign of malice. He couldn't believe, after all these years, there was a catch to her motivation, but it was just as hard to believe love was her only motivation. He saw no malice, no resentment looking back at him, only longing and a strength and fortitude he admired and raged against at the same time. He wouldn't let her go. She held his gaze. He wanted to convey the sincerity of his desire. He wanted to lean in to taste her full, shimmering lips, to feel his mouth on hers, and for once not have her pull away. She never allowed it, not even a kiss.
Rowena wanted the kiss as much as he did and more, but she was a woman of steel, absolutely her father's daughter, and would not be, could not be, persuaded to compromise. She knew it maddened him, but in a world of spins and compromises someone had to be a rock. She was that rock; she would not be broken. She lifted her hands to his strong, stubbled cheeks and stared. Her thumbs, warm and soft, outlined his lips gently as she searched his eyes for his decision. He pursed his lips to her thumbs, electrifying them both. He reached for her hands, drew them to his chest, and let his lips rest on her forehead. He closed his eyes and breathed her in. Roses, strong and subtle at the same time, a paradox like everything about her. He was suddenly aroused. He wanted to lay her down right there on the hard wood floor and ravage her, possess every inch of her, make her his own. He wouldn't, of course. If he did, he was sure he'd be dead by morning, but he wanted to. Rowena felt him tense and knew he had momentarily lost control of his passions. Then slowly, deliberately, he moved his lips to her ear and whispered the promise again; he would make his choice that weekend.
He pulled away to look at her once more. The tears in her eyes were for him. She could feel anticipation warming inside her. She wanted him just as badly but knew now was not the time. Almost. A little longer, and he would know. She saw the guilt he felt for making her wait but could also tell that wasn't the driving force behind this night's promise to finally decide.
Rowena knew they belonged together. She could see their forever in his eyes. She felt it in his moves on the floor and heard it in his beating heart. He was, and always would be, her man, but he had to figure it out for himself. She would wait for him again, like she always did. It was the hardest decision he would ever make. She knew she was asking a lot, so she would wait until he was absolutely sure he wanted her above all other women--body, mind and soul. She dreamed of their life together and longed to see him shine, not in the shadow of Chelsea's light but with a light all their own. She imagined the places they would go, the things they would do, their children, beautiful children, and raising them together. She wanted to be the one to go through old age with him instead of Chelsea, to be there in his prime and as his strength and power faded until it was time to pass from this life into the next. She wanted to be the one for him, with him, forever. If only he would let her.
He dipped his head toward hers. Their noses touched, their lips only centimeters apart. Would she let him? He warmed with fresh desire and hope. Maybe this time. Her heartbeat quickened to a flutter. Reluctantly, but with an inner strength that would not be shaken by the heat of the moment, she took his face in her hands again, leaned up on tiptoes to kiss his forehead, and let her fingers trace his chiseled jawline before releasing herself from his embrace.
"I love you Wren. Come back to me, please." And that was it. She walked away. Her back was to him, but he heard her sniffle as she turned the stereo off and pulled his phone from the jack. She walked back and handed it to him then exited out the door without even one backward glance. He would lock up. They both had keys for their discreet after-hours sessions.
She dismissed her driver for the night and hailed a cab instead. She cried silently, utterly heart-broken, all the way back to her cold and lonely mansion on the bluff. The cabbie looked in the mirror and thought that Rowena was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Like any good man, he instinctively wanted to help her feel better but didn't know what to do. She thanked him for the ride with a sad smile and sizable tip that would pay his bills for months to come and left the cab.
Wren came out in time to see her hail the cab. He watched her go and stood several minutes in silence. He was still a little breathless from the dance and from the kiss that almost happened. His mind was racing. He pondered her. She had the world at her fingertips and chose a cab over her own comfortable ride. She was a mystery; yet, she knew everything about him. He had bared his soul to her. He could have chosen then. He already knew she was the one he wanted. He could run after her, pull her into his arms and tell her the decision was made; he didn't need the weekend, but… but what? But his life, his son, Chelsea, the fame. He would have to leave. It was too much to let go of without a weekend to think.
He wouldn't chase her. He wasn't ready. He was going home to the reason the decision was so difficult. He was going home to his long-time lover, the woman every man in America wanted and half had pinned up in their garage or bedroom.