Today’s romantic excerpt comes from author Christine Tetreault. It’s a great picnic scene from The Billionaire Playboy, the second book in her “The Sherbrookes of Newport” series.
The Billionaire Playboy
Sinking to her knees Charlie waited. Behind her she felt Jake loosen the knot in the bandana. When the cloth dropped she blinked a few times as her eyes grew accustomed to the bright sunshine. Then she really looked around. Spread out in front of her was a red and white checkered table cloth with a huge wicker basket in the middle. Two champagne flutes stood in front of the basket with a bottle of champagne on ice right next to them.
“Surprise!” he said dropping down to his knees next to her.
A picnic, she thought, unable to say anything around the lump in her throat. He’d brought her on an old-fashioned picnic. “You remembered,” she whispered, her voice almost impossible to hear over the waves. “I can’t believe you remembered.”
Jake popped open the champagne bottle and poured her a glass. “Playboys have terrific memories. Didn’t you know that?” he asked as he handed her a glass.
Charlie took a sip from her glass. The bubbles tickled her throat and she savored the taste. She generally preferred beer when she drank, but this champagne was the smoothest she’d ever tasted. “I didn’t know that, but I’ll keep it in mind for the future.”
“If you ever have any other questions about us, don’t hesitate to ask.” Jake smiled at her as he began to pull food from the picnic basket.
Oh, she had questions all right. She just chose not to ask them. Some questions were better off not asked. “I’ll remember that too,” she promised accepting the dinner plate he held out.
All the food spread out in front of her looked good but she still held back. “It all looks great. I’m not sure what to try first.”
Jake reached for a cherry tomato stuffed with what looked like fresh mozzarella cheese and basil. “I suggest you start with one of these. I stole one earlier and they’re delicious.” After placing it on her plate he reached for another. “I tried some of the focaccia too.”
“Why am I not surprised?” Charlie popped the tomato in her mouth and chewed. Jake was right, it was delicious.
A better picnic never existed, at least Charlie believed so. Everything about their beach picnic, from the food to the location, was perfect. And the company wasn’t half bad either, she thought looking over at Jake. Though she felt ready to burst from all the food she’d eaten, he sat munching on yet another brownie. Not that she blamed him. If she had any more room left she’d indulge in one more herself. Perhaps if any remained later she’d have one, although watching Jake eat, that possibility seemed unlikely.
Straightening her legs out, she leaned back and rested on her elbows. The hot beach sand warmed her bare legs and Charlie wiggled her toes underneath it. She almost never made it to the beach, but whenever she did she was reminded how much she liked it. Today even more so thanks to the company. Just being on the beach seemed to help wash away the stress of everyday life.
“You look deep in thought over there. How many pennies will it cost for them?” Jake’s question signaled that he’d finished his most recent brownie.
“I’ll consider this one on the house since you went to all this work,” Charlie answered pointing to the remnants of their picnic. “I was thinking about how much I like the beach. I always seem to forget that till I get back to one.”
“Then I’m glad I picked it for our picnic.” Jake leaned over and dropped a kiss on her cheek. “I hope you enjoyed it.”
Words didn’t normally fail her. Actually she couldn’t think of a time when she hadn’t been able to express her opinion with ease. Right now, however, the right words escaped her. In silence Charlie watched the waves hit the beach and recede again. “I’ll never forget it.” The huge knot in her throat almost chocked off the last part of her sentence much to her frustration. She considered herself a calm cool woman, not someone ruled by emotions. This afternoon though she felt like just the opposite.
“Just want I wanted to hear.”
She knew by his tone that he was smiling and turned to confirm her belief. Even though she expected it, the hundred-watt smile spreading across his face set her pulse racing. Damn, she should be used to that smile by now. What was wrong with her?
“You do know that no beach picnic is complete without a walk along the water?” Jake replaced the empty containers into the basket.
“Oh, really? So there are written rules for these types of things?”
Jake’s eyebrow went up. “Of course. There’s a whole rule book.” His tone contained just the right amount of arrogance and playfulness. “And after a walk the couple must retreat to the nearest bedroom. It’s all spelled out in the book.”
She couldn’t help but shake her head. Jake Sherbrooke made her laugh more than anyone else she knew. “Let’s go then. I don’t want to get caught breaking the rules.”
Charlie let Jake help her to her feet and together they started down the beach along the shoreline. For a little while they walked in silence, but she didn’t mind. In some ways she actually liked it. The lack of conversation let her focus on the sound of the crashing waves and the way the cool ocean breeze felt against her skin.
“Are you going to apply for that position at the hospital in Williamsburg?” Jake asked breaking the comfortable silence between them.
The week before, a former colleague who knew Charlie was considering retiring from the Navy had given her a heads-up about an opening at Memorial Hospital in Williamsburg, Virginia.
“I sent in all the paperwork yesterday. I don’t know how long it will take to hear something.”
Jake stopped walking and put his arm around her waist. “Does that mean you’ve decided to leave the Navy?”
Christina Tetreault started writing at the age of ten and never stopped. When she’s not chasing her three young children or two dogs around, she is working or her writing or reading a romance novel. Currently she is working on Book 4 in the Sherbrookes of Newport series, The Billionaire’s Best Friend.
You can visit her website — Christina Tetreault — or follow her on Facebook to learn more about her characters and to track her progress on the series.
She loves to hear from readers.
Check out other romantic excerpts on The Picnic Page
More links to enjoy:
- Picnic basket (memoirsofasunshinegal.wordpress.com)
- Planning the Perfect Picnic (discoverthepoweroflove.com)