Vintage VLT #2
As Time Goes By
A love of history and a stolen first kiss on graduation night was all Sarah Melton shared with Cliff Hamilton
in high school ten years ago. She’d dreamed about sharing much more, although his wealthy background and Harvard aspirations
kept him just out of reach. But a horseback riding injury lands Cliff in the emergency room where she works as a radiologist,
and her teenage crush morphs into a searing case of lust.
Sarah’s not the only one blown away by the encounter. The quiet girl Cliff remembers from high school has
become a passionate and independent woman. Although life has thrown him a few curves in the intervening years, being with
Sarah takes him back to a time when anything was possible. Maybe it still is, if he can convince Sarah that love is the
Originally published as Harlequin Temptation #140 in January 1987,
this Vintage VLT edition has been significantly re-edited and updated.
Cliff cupped her elbow and tugged her out of earshot of Maureen. “Watch your bare feet. The grass is full of goat head stickers.”
“I understand about goat head stickers. I dealt with them all the time growing up in Catalina.”
“I know you’re from Catalina.” He paused and faced her. “Maybe that mattered once. It shouldn’t have, but I get that it did. But those days are behind us.”
“It’s not just that. It’s all the life experiences that separate us. We move in very different worlds, and while I was willing to put that aside for a chance to have some fun today, we should probably go our separate ways after this is over.”
He moved a step closer and ran gentle fingers along the side of her neck. “I’m afraid I can’t do that.” His eyes were the warmest blue she’d ever seen, and his smile could undermine the strongest resolve. “I think we can solve whatever problems you’re envisioning. Give it time.”
She drew a quivering breath as the feather touch of his fingers played havoc with her logic. “But, when one person is rich, and the other is not, it creates an imbalance of power.”
He studied her for a moment. “Okay. I’ll accept that it might. Why did you decide to spend the day with me, then?”
“Like I said, it sounded like fun. And you needed someone to keep an eye on you. Besides, after you mentioned your father’s illness, I wanted to, I don’t know—” She shrugged. “Help you somehow, I guess.”
“And I appreciate the impulse. I haven’t told many people exactly what’s wrong with Dad. But I told you. Just like I used to come to you with my problems in high school.”
“Sarah, the official wailing wall.”
He grimaced. “Sounds like I used you, doesn’t it? And maybe that’s what happened before. But I’m not a kid anymore. I’ve learned to give as well as take.”
“As in dresses?”
“You know that’s not what I mean.”
“I know. But I really can’t accept the dress.”
“Okay. Too bad, though.” He picked up a lock of her hair and drew it across her shoulder to nestle against the neckline of the dress. “There. You look just like an officer’s wife in one of the old Fort Lowell photographs. Seems a shame you’ll never wear that dress again.”
The whisper of his fingers in her hair and against her skin tantalized her, making her wish for things she knew she couldn’t have.
“You know,” he continued in the same low tone, “you have the perfect face for those old pictures. High forehead, beautiful eyes…” He traced her lips with the tip of a finger. “And a full mouth that begs for a man’s kiss.”
She listened in a hypnotic daze. Any minute now she’d stop him. Just not this minute.