I’m a little late today and I apologize. I did however make some homemade bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit sandwiches for brunch so…
Snippet Saturday is sad today, as well. It is our last Snippet Saturday as a collected group. It was started by Lauren Dane and I know all the authors who’ve participated over the years appreciate all the hard work she’s put into it. And I know we authors appreciate all the readers who’ve given us time on Saturday’s.
For myself, I will continue to post snippets and excerpts here on my blog under the heading of Temptation Tuesday.
As the subject heading states, today is Author’s Choice…
Windows in her pickup rolled down, and her stereo blaring with the latest Miranda Lambert album, Chrissie couldn’t wait to spend a little time alone. She needed some space, some time to think. It would probably be a good idea to call Colt, to let him know that she was all right, but after months of depending on herself in a time of need…
Calling her mother was out of the question too. She’d have expected Chrissie to smile and ask how Russ was doing instead of running down the hall like her ass was on fire. She’d have expected Chrissie to wish him all the happiness in the world and for her knees not to shake and her palms not to sweat.
Chrissie’s mother was the soul of genteel Southern upbringing, and though she’d tried to raise her only daughter to be the same, the lessons just hadn’t taken.
Lost in thought as she was, sucking down the sweet, thick chocolate ice cream, and singing along to the songs, her house seemed to appear out of nowhere. It wasn’t good to drive by rote on the curvy country roads, but she had a hard time keeping herself focused. Luckily, she was between schools letting out and people getting off work, so traffic was light. The biggest hazard she might have come up against was a squirrel or two.
The vase of flowers on the front porch surprised her, but the man who pulled up and parked behind her before she was out of her car was the shock.
“Russ?” To say she was caught unawares would not be much of an understatement. She hadn’t noticed him or anyone following her, a testament to just how deep inside her own head she was. “Twice in one day. Dare I ask why?”
He smiled that charming smile she once knew so well, and as he came close, she could see the uncertainty lurking in his eyes. She felt nothing. Not the old twinge of anticipation. Not the thrill she used to get when he’d show up unannounced. Not a thing. Well, okay, some sadness perhaps, a bit of regret. But even those were in very small amounts.
How could seeing someone she once loved and was prepared to marry make her feel nothing?
Whereas his brother Colt made her feel something. Something deep and wonderful. He made her feel…everything. All at once. She could be herself with him and she never tried to impress him, like she’d done with Russ. Colt had seen her at her worst, and he’d seen her at her best. Everything else was the gravy in between.
“They…” She nodded. “They are. Thank you.”
“Probably.” She edged around him and headed toward the house, the vase of flowers in her hand. “What are you doing here?” she asked as she walked.
“I honestly don’t know. After this morning, I wanted to see you, talk to you. I wanted to see if…” He pursed his lips and looked away, out toward the trees at the edge of the property.
She didn’t need him to finish his thought. “After all these months?” Chrissie unlocked the door and stepped inside. Russ followed her, taking one tentative step after another.
She was attuned to uncertainty and wariness. She’d been hunting. She knew what it was to walk through the woods and not make a sound. She knew what it was to smell another hunter’s scent and not want to encroach on his territory. Russ had it written all over him in the way he moved, careful and cautious. Maybe he thought she would shoot him…
She set the vase in the kitchen window. The red, yellow, and orange-colored roses lit the room up in a way that was different than simply the sun shining in. They were brilliant and so full of life. She loved them immediately. She loved that Colt thought enough of her to send them, and even though there was no card, she knew in her gut they were from him. She loved him for it, for the night before, for the morning tease, for wanting her.
She loved him.
“When I saw you this morning with Colt, I… Christina, please look at me.”
He was the only person other than her mother who’d ever called her Christina. She was sure that should have told her something a long time ago, only it wasn’t until now that she’d realized it.
Then again, she’d just put it together that she was in love with her ex’s brother. She turned to Russ with that sentiment front and center in her brain. She didn’t know how to look at Russ and not wince at the mere idea that Colt meant more to her than just a one-night thing. But then, how could she love him? She’d spent one night with him, sharing stories and making love. They hadn’t even talked for any length of time before that, unless she counted the day after when he came to check on her. Then there was his admission that he’d been calling her father every once in a while to make sure she was all right. Those things touched her in ways nothing ever had with Russ. He really had done her a favor by skipping out on her.
Someone—Colt—cared about her. Just her. Not money. Not connections. Not for whatever reason Russ might have thought he cared about her.
Colt didn’t have to do any of the things he’d done, however small and insignificant they may seem to others. To her, they were everything.
Maybe she had meant that she should have married him instead. Maybe she had meant, been admitting without actually saying the words out loud, that Russ had never been the right man for her.
Romance between them hadn’t been instantaneous or earth-shattering. They’d seemed to fit and liked each other well enough, spent time together, and love grew into it, only… Was it really love?
Her mother would have said that whatever it was, love or not, was better than what most people had ever found with someone else. Would Chrissie have really believed that? Would Russ?
If so and if they had married, somewhere down the road…
“What?”She shook herself out of her thoughts. “Sorry. What did you want to say?”
“My brother seems to have worn you out.” He said it with a small smile, and there was no hint of malice in his eyes or his tone of voice. Chrissie knew she should have felt bad, but she didn’t. Russ made his choice. Colt had made his. And now it was her turn to make hers.
“Yes, he did.”
“Good.” He shifted his stance but he didn’t look away from her. “I want to apologize. No, that’s not right. I need to apologize for what happened.”
“You mean, leaving me at the altar?”
“Yes.” He drew himself up. “For leaving you at the altar.”
“It was a bit Cowardly Lion, Russ. For a man who can talk to courtrooms full of people, become best pals with attendees at a party, you were cowardly in how you handled me.” She wasn’t interested in embarrassing him or humiliating him or making him feel any worse that he had probably already felt. It was about moving forward and cleaning the slate, so to speak.
“You’re right, it was,” he admitted. “I can’t explain. I tried, with Colt this morning, but I—“
“I don’t need one, Russ. Maybe some women would, but not me.”
“Most women would.”
Chrissie smiled. A full, real smile. “I think we’ve all established that I am not most women.”
“Yes, we have.” Russ cleared his throat after a few minutes. “I, ah… Even though I’m glad you and Colt seem to have found each other out of this whole thing, I was jealous when I saw you with him this morning.”
“Jealous? Really, Russ. That doesn’t sound like you at all.”
“I know, yet it’s true. My brother in a hotel room with my ex. It was the first time I’d seen you since the night before we were supposed to get married. I was… It was unexpected. A lot of old feelings came rushing back, and I wondered briefly if—”
“If they were still real? If you still loved me?”
“Yes,” he said with relief evident in his voice. “Something like that.”
Chrissie stared hard at him. She didn’t want to hurt him with what she had to say, but she knew the words might. Whatever fantasies she might have had about hurting him, harming him in the days immediately following the jilting, she never meant any of it. She never really wanted him to feel the things she’d felt. “I don’t have feelings for you, Russ. Not anymore. Not like that. I think I could be your friend without issue, but that’s all.” She felt helpless and emotional. She’d imagined this conversation going so many different ways, and in all of them, he ended up dead or gutted like a fish or pierced through the heart and penis with arrows. Then again, that’s how she’d had to get through it, deal with it. This emotional-freeing feeling was better than any of her imagined outcomes. “When I was trying to get over you, I shot. I spent hours outside shooting. I went through so many boxes of ammunition. Each one had a word written across the top. Not very nice words, but they served the purpose I needed them to at the time. I bought enough ammunition, enough arrows for my quivers that I was offered a job at the local gun store. Somewhere in the middle of all that, I started getting over you. I could never have been what you wanted me to be. I wasn’t the feminine, gush-over, talk-up-her-man kind of woman we all, including me, tried to make me believe I was, but in the end…” She shook her head. “You did us both a favor, Russ. And we should both be able to admit that. You hurt my pride, you humiliated me, you even broke my heart to some extent. I’ve never hurt like that, and I don’t want to hurt like that ever again.”
Buy Links: All Romance eBooks | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Loose-Id
Enjoy the final snippets from the following blogs…
Thank you for your devotion every Saturday.
It amazes me that I can sing the entire Air Supply song just from seeing the title and despite the fact I haven’t heard the words in years. It’s kinda scary sometimes how that happens.
But…are the nights really better? I don’t know. For some, nights are not better. They are sadder, lonelier. For others, they thrive on nights, come alive after dark.
I sometimes write better at night, when the house is quiet, all the animals and family asleep… Other times, as soon as the sun goes down and night settles in, I’m ready for sleep.
Then again, night is when the Abyss opens for play…
“That little blonde has been eyeing you all night.”
“I know,” came the weary reply.
“You should go introduce yourself.”
Aidn looked over at Robert and rolled his eyes. “Yes, what a brilliant idea because the last time I did that, I ended up fucking the girl until she was murmuring my name in her sleep.”
“True, but we’re here to have fun, to enjoy the sights, and maybe even take a couple of them home.”
“I don’t think I’ll be taking any of them home with me, but feel free to take as many home as you’d like.”
“They wouldn’t all fit in the car. You know, I could always…”
“No. Thanks. I’m good.” Truth was, he was bored. The little blonde, the little brunette, the redheaded knockout…he wasn’t interested. He wanted to leave, to go home, open a beer, flip through channels and numb his mind. He wanted to stop thinking about how Bailey fit against him, about how her lips tasted when he kissed her. He wanted all the crazy ideas and desires to go away and leave him in peace. He wanted her bound and naked, writhing in his bed. He wanted to lose himself in her, be with her as she discovered more of herself and this lifestyle that drew them both. He wanted to keep her.
The sound of a flogger connecting with bare skin brought his head up and around. A crowd surrounded Thor’s play station as always. Aidn smiled. He’d taught the man everything he knew a few years back and was proud that the younger man had made a name for himself. He was giving and conducting workshops on his own now.
As he started to look away, the crowd shifted and Aidn was able to get a look at the flogger’s current lover. “Bailey.”
He closed his eyes, certain he was seeing things, but when he opened them again, she was still there, bound to the X. “Bailey. What the hell is she doing?”
“Well, it looks like she’s…well, that she’s…”
“She loves it. The few times I’ve been with her, she had that same look whenever I touched her. She was so lost in everything I was doing to her. She can’t mask it, can’t hide it, and she can’t fake it. The need to serve, the hunger to give of herself and her body is something she craves.”
“This is so fucking wrong. She’s…” He stalked off in her direction without finishing his comment. He was floored, so taken aback by the fact that she was there in the first place. It really shouldn’t surprise him, she’d been there many times before and he wasn’t sure why it hadn’t dawned on him that she would be there tonight. It was more the fact that she was not only there but half-naked and being flogged. Thor looked as lost in it as Bailey did.
That’s when the jealousy hit him. Fuck.
Stepping through the crowd of people, he stopped directly in front of her line of vision so that when she opened her eyes, his face would be the first thing that registered.
Possessiveness hummed through his blood. He was so…not a possessive man. This girl brought out so much in him that he wasn’t used to feeling, thinking, and he was really getting tired of it. He just didn’t know how or what to do about it. At least that’s what his head said. His gut and his dick were saying something completely different. They were saying mine.
He needed to calm down. If she were to look at him right now, she’d likely be scared that he’d drag her out of there like a caveman. Aidn smirked. Not a bad idea actually.
“What are you going to do?” Robert whispered from behind him.
“Whatever I need to do.”
Aidn watched Thor’s hands caress the light, insistent marks on her pale skin left by the flogger. It was beautiful on her, the contrast. He could almost imagine the heat coming off her. She was wet, too. He didn’t have to touch her to know that between her legs she was soaking, fucking wet.
Another round of flogger meeting flesh commenced. Her back arched into the tails and her fingers curled into fists. Her lips thinned, compressed together, but she didn’t cry out. Thor’s wrist twisted in a side-to-side motion that brought the flogger down in a swish across her shoulders and back, ass and thighs in a constant barrage. She wiggled against the cross, tugged at her bindings and when Thor rubbed her back, massaged the tension from her muscles, she calmed instantly.
She smiled when Thor whispered something against her hair and she slowly opened her eyes. Aidn stepped closer and it took less than a second for the haze to clear. Bingo
Buy Links: All Romance eBooks | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Samhain Publishing
What about you? Are you a night person or a day person. A copy of Pink Buttercream Frosting is up for grabs if you leave a comment…
Also, make sure to check out the following author blogs for more Snippet Saturday…
It’s the third Saturday of the current college football season and so far so good…
Before anyone kicks off today, I’ll be working hard on edits and revisions of Slide Down On Me, but before we get there, Snippet Saturday comes first.
Be My Baby. Remember that song? Brings to mind Dirty Dancing with Patrick Swazye and his death still breaks my heart. It was a great movie and one I should watch again soon.
Until then, I must find a snippet for you to read…
Johnny groaned. ”Ask.”
”This has trouble with a capital T written all over it.”
”What does?” He looked genuinely confused by her statement, but how could he not see it? She saw it plain as day.
”You. Me.” She waved a hand between them. ”This.”
”I don’t understand.”
”Then think about it for a second, okay? You live this larger than life, life. You’re a rock star and you should live whatever life you want. But I’m a small-time writer in Orlando. I live a quiet life. Full, but quiet.”
”You’re just…” Johnny shook his head and started pacing. Back and forth at the end of the bed. He finally stopped and turned to face her, hands on his hips, pants riding low, tattoos beautiful and full of color in the late afternoon sun coming off the water through the window. ”You want me to move to Orlando? I’ll put my house up first thing. You want to live apart for a while? I’ll rent a place close to you and we can have regular date nights. I won’t—“
”Johnny—“ She started to interrupt him, to stop him, but he kept talking.
”Even wear leather anymore,” he finished.
”Don’t even joke about that,” she said, serious as she’d ever been about anything. The leather was… He knew how much she loved him in leather. For him to use it against her, well, that was just wrong. ”I appreciate the gestures you’re willing to make.”
”Gestures? These aren’t gestures, Liz. These are changing my life thoughts and words and moves. I want you in my day-to-day life. Any way I can get you there. You’ve been with me through everything, thick and thin, for the last five years. I found you again. Don’t you get that? You were one of my closest friends in school, and for the last five years you’ve been my best friend. I can be me with you and there aren’t many people I can say that about. I don’t have to pretend when I’m with you. I don’t have to put on a face for the camera. I don’t have to do anything other than be me, and underneath the rock star image, I am a man. A very simple man who wants love and wants to give it.”
”You are anything but a simple man, Johnny Trouble,” she stated with deep affection and tears that were threatening to clog her throat. His words were what dreams were made of. ”And you always could write a love song,” she complimented.
”I am simple. At the heart of me, you know I am. I want you, Liz. I’m done touring. I’m not done writing, but I’m done touring. I spent the first twenty years of my adult life living out my childhood dreams. I want to spend the next twenty years living out my adult dreams, which, my love, very much include you.”
”Oh.” Beyond that, she was at a loss for words. She didn’t know what else to say. He seemed to have covered everything, and while a part of her still had concerns and would likely always have concerns to some extent, Johnny never said anything that he didn’t mean. Especially to her.
”Oh? Really, that’s all you have to say? Oh?” He laughed a little. ”I want to wake up with you, every day. In our bed, in a home that we share. I want it all, Liz.”
”You’ve had it all, Johnny.” One last feeble attempt at reason. That was all she had the resolve for. Here was a man who she’d known for most of her life, had shared deep desires with, had given her heart to years ago. He was famous, had done things which made him infamous and had always been there when she needed him, just as she had done when he needed her.
In this room, far from everything he knew, and even far away from what she knew now, everything seemed possible when he put it all out there in plain words.
”Then call me greedy, because I want more,” he added. ”I want a whole hell of a lot more. With you. Ask.”
”Will you come back? Please? As soon as you can? As soon as you’re finished? Will you come back? Will you stay?” The words rushed through her lips and filled the space between where she sat in the middle of the bed to the end where he’d come to a complete stop. The shirt in his hand was forgotten, dropped on the floor, and he was on his knees on the mattress, leaning toward her with earnest, ice-colored eyes.
Buy Links: Ellora’s Cave, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance eBooks
Now, there are several blogs for you to check out on other blogs. Afterward, if you watch college football, best of luck to your teams… If you don’t, why not? LOL…
There was a really great review this week on Cracklin’ Rosie and it was one I hadn’t been expecting to show up in my Twitter feed. I don’t typically read reviews anymore, but that one out of the blue surprised me enough that I had to take a peek. I was glad I did. The reviewer loved it, which is always nice. But it got me thinking about the book and how much I loved it myself and how much I’d loved writing it.
And the hero, Decker, yeah he ends up in the doghouse a few times…
He left. She couldn’t believe he just left after a kiss like that. He left her with a throbbing sex, a pounding heart, a confused head and lips wanting so many more kisses. And an ass…
She retraced her steps to the back of the cabin and quickly cleared away the rest of the dinner dishes. Decker had cleaned the grill while she got dessert out, and all that was left for her now was loading the dishwasher and putting the veggies in plastic storage bags.
The evening was still cooling but with him near, she hadn’t noticed. Now that he was gone, she was chillier than usual. She pulled a lightweight blanket from the storage container she kept on the deck near the chairs. She had Adirondack and rocking chairs and often liked to sit outside with her laptop as she researched recipes or wrote on her blog. She flopped down into one of the Adirondack’s and draped her legs over the wide arm.
She wiggled, trying to find the best spot, trying to stop the tingling in her ass at his remembered words. She was shocked that she’d let it show on her face how his mention of a spanking affected her. He’d caught her staring at him as well…how embarrassing. But damn. How could he just leave her like that? How could he turn tail and run after that?
“That son of a…”
Well, she just hoped he was in as much discomfort as she was. No, that wasn’t right. She hoped he was in more discomfort, bordering on pain. The man was a gorgeous tease.
She touched her fingertips to her lips and swore she could feel the heat from his lingering there, but that was just a fanciful notion. She could still hear his voice in her head, his words echoing through every cell in her body. “I think we’re going to find out soon.” He wanted her, told her so, and looking in his dark eyes, she knew he was telling the truth.
She pulled the blanket tighter around her shoulders and sank deeper into the deck chair. Damn man. She couldn’t get comfortable and she kept squeezing her thighs together to try and do what, she wasn’t sure. The pressure only increased the need for release, the need for him. He hadn’t touched her in any sexual way yet, but if she closed her eyes and thought about it, she could feel those rough calloused hands on her body, sliding over her hips, spreading her legs, spanking her, scratching her tender skin in a caress…
And that bit of scruff on his face, that longer-than-average hair, that mouth caressing her…
She wanted him to come back. She wanted him to stay the hell away from her.
“Fuck this.” Rosie stood and dropped the blanket into the chair, then walked inside the house, closing and locking the door behind her.
A few minutes later she had her sneakers on and was on her way to the diner. She needed to do something, anything to get her mind off him, off what they could be doing right that very moment if he’d not left.
“I didn’t need him before he showed up, and I don’t need him now. What the hell was I thinking letting him get close?”
Muttering to herself always fueled her anger and frustration but at the same time, it always helped her figure things out.
When she came to the turn in the road that would take her into the center of town, Rosie stopped. She loved the little town. She loved the quaintness of it, that it had small novelty shops, antique stores, the bar and grill, the coffee shop that wasn’t a chain but rather owned and operated by a couple of local moms, the tiny hole-in-the-wall art gallery featuring local artists, a local artisan jewelry-maker. It was home to her and if she ever felt love for anything or anyone outside of food, her diner and her family, it was this town and its residents.
Putting one foot in front of the other, she started walking again. Half a mile from the edge of downtown sat her diner. The lights glowed from inside and from what she could see, it was still pretty well packed with people. It was a 24-hour place and oddly enough, it kept a steady clientele at all hours, especially on the weekends.
Cool air hit her when she opened the door and went inside. A few patrons waved and said hello, including Blue, her best childhood friend. She was sitting at the end of the counter, eating a piece of cherry pie. It was Rosie’s mother’s recipe and one of the favorites. Another was the blackberry cobbler. Her banana pudding didn’t do too badly either.
Just thinking about banana pudding made her think of Decker, and she could feel the scowl take over her face. She didn’t want to think about him, not tonight, not anymore. She was done with him. She wanted him to fix her roof and leave. Heck, she wasn’t even sure she wanted him to fix the roof anymore. She’d find someone else to do it or damn, she’d leave it the way it was. She just wanted him gone.
As she passed through into the kitchen, she headed straight for the small walk-in cooler. She needed something to do and this was it. She’d inherited it from her mother. Cleaning out the fridge. The one in her house was spic-and-span, spotless and very tidy, this one though—this one could always use a good purging and organizing. And even if it didn’t, she’d do it anyway. It would keep her mind occupied and the cold would ease the heat still flowing through her blood that had nothing to do with the walk she just took and everything to do with him.
“What has you upset tonight?”
Blue’s sweet, soft voice floated in on the thin air as she stood just inside the doorway to the cooler. She walked in and closed the door behind her.
“Nothing has me upset.” Only irritated, horny, aching from the inside out.
Rosie started at the back of the walk-in. Everything was in a haphazard array. “Sometimes I think they do this because they know eventually I’ll come in and fix it all.”
She picked up a couple small containers of potato salad ingredients and put them on a tray on a shelf near the door. Next she moved the macaroni salad, the coleslaw and the egg salad to another tray on the same shelf. The individual lidded cups that held salad dressings were stacked neatly by flavor—ranch, blue cheese, Italian and French.
“Why aren’t you talking?” she asked Blue. The other woman had come to stand next to Rosie and began arranging the salad fixings on the trays beneath the shelf that held the dressings and other condiments when Rosie moved on to the next rack. Thank heavens for labels with dates.
“Because I know you will, and I don’t want to distract you from it.”
“I don’t want to talk about it.” It wouldn’t do her any good to tell Blue there was nothing to talk about. Blue knew her better than anyone else in town.
The one-word answers were Blue’s way of being patient, and she knew Rosie would cave and spill her guts. Shit. “The man here to fix my roof, the one Caroline’s guy brought out here from California… We had dinner tonight. He’s been coming on to me and hitting on me and so I finally said yes.” She left out the part about the kiss in the diner earlier that morning.
“Good. Is he…you know, like you? Like me?”
“No no no. Not good.” To emphasize her point, she took a plastic container from the back corner of a shelf and tossed it into the garbage bag she’d grabbed on her way into the cooler. It wasn’t often, but she sometimes found containers that had been pushed to the back of a shelf or two that she didn’t want to open. Usually it was someone’s lunch or dinner they’d meant to eat or take home that in the hustle and bustle of the diner never made it to its intended destination.
She turned and faced her friend. “It’s not good, Blue. You know how I am, how I have tried to keep that part of me away from here. I can’t imagine the freakish looks I’d get if people knew about the club in Atlanta or the things I’m into.”
“So, that means, he’s into those things too? That is good. You need that, Rosie. You always have, or at least you have since you found it. And no one around here has to ever know what goes on in your house. They don’t have to know what goes on in private at all.”
“I barely know him, and it’s just not right that he can read me like he can.”
“Why not? We both know how hard it is.”
“Yeah, I do. But not you. You’ve always embraced your kinks. You’ve never cared what people think or might think.”
“Why do you?”
“I run a business. It wouldn’t look right.”
“Again, why does anyone have to know? You should stop being scared of the what-if’s Rosie and give in to the what is. Maybe this guy would be good for you if you’d just let him try. Stop fighting so hard and maybe you wouldn’t have to make the trek to Atlanta anymore.”
Blue was right, and Rosie knew it. She just didn’t like it, and she hoped if she just ignored it, ignored him, avoided him it would go away. And…as soon as her roof was done, he’d leave town, and she wouldn’t wonder about him anymore, wouldn’t want his kisses anymore, wouldn’t want hot sex and to try out those belts of his, wouldn’t want him to cook for her again.
Buy Links: All Romance eBooks | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Powell’s | Samhain Publishing
Now, there are other blogs for you to read snippets on, and I need to get some writing in before the first kick-off at noon…
It’s College GameDay! First Saturday of the 2013 football season and I’ve finally sat down. I’ve been in the kitchen today making yummy snacks, nothing fancy just enough that I don’t have to move from the couch and go cook, only go refill the plate.
Today’s snippet is going to be from my upcoming Ellora’s Cave release, Slide Down On Me. I don’t have a release date yet, but oh boy I can’t wait! Oh and if you haven’t had the chance to view the cover, I’ll give you a few minutes to pull your tongue back in your mouth…
You good now? Okay… How ’bout a snippet?
“Twenty-five hundred dollars?” Bella barely got the words out before she had to close her mouth. Her throat seized up and nausea rolled through her belly. She was going to throw up. That’s all there was to it. If she said anything more, her breakfast of toast and coffee from several hours earlier were going to be all over the garage floor. They probably wouldn’t even notice, given the stains of oil, gasoline and what she could only hope were other car fluids dotting the concrete.
“Close. Twenty-five hundred, sixty-seven dollars and thirty-nine cents.”
Bella lifted her gaze to meet that of the man standing in front of her. He was as gorgeous as ever. His cobalt eyes held no hint of emotion, no matter the sarcasm that dripped from his lips, but she was riveted by them just the same.
His arms were covered in tattoos, which disappeared under his short-sleeve shirt and drifted up the sides of his neck. Black hair brushed his collar and was so dark that in the right light, one could swear it shown blue. He was tall, broad and she’d wondered for years how it would feel to have those rough mechanic’s hands on her skin.
She’d had a secret crush on him when she was growing up. She’d see him around around town and out on the lake, but they were from two different worlds and though their paths rarely crossed, when he was near, she was always acutely aware of him. “I…I don’t have access to that kind of money anymore, Travis,” she said quietly. No thanks to her brother. Humility seemed to be her new best friend, but in front of Travis? That was a new level she wasn’t exactly comfortable with.
Heat bloomed in her cheeks, but at the same time she refused to show the embarrassment she felt in every cell of her body. She wanted to get out, run as far as she could, but there was nowhere for her to go, no place for her to hide from it all. And now, thanks to the transmission in her car, no way for her to get anywhere. She squared her shoulders and swallowed past the queasiness.
“That’s as low as I can go, Bella.”
Bella sighed. “Going that low or lower or raising the number doesn’t matter. Not even the sixty-seven thirty-nine. At least not until pay day, but that might even be a stretch.” Her voice sounded stronger than she felt it should under the circumstances, but she’d take it. He might be sexier than a man in ugly blue coveralls ought to have the right to be, but she wouldn’t let him be the one to break her. “Can you hold the car for a little while? A couple of days until I can figure something out?”
“Don’t generally do that for anyone other than friends. The lot is pretty small, you see,” he observed, looking over her out the bay door. “I don’t want legit customers thinking I can’t take care of them because there’s a fancy piece sittin’ out front.”
She ignored his emphasis on the word piece. His hard-as-marble tone was better than the condescending or mocking ones she usually heard from some of the people in town, though. She once thought Travis might have had a thing for her too, but she guessed that was well and truly dead now. She might have been able to flirt her way out of a few hundred dollars years ago, but not now. “It’s a Cadillac. People drive them all the time. Please, Travis. Just a couple of days until I get paid on Friday.”
Please had become the most-used word in her vocabulary. She’d always used it, along with thank you, excuse me, yes ma’am, no sir among other courteous terms, but they had all taken on whole new meanings since she was no longer the heiress who lived in a mansion. She was a regular person now, working class, and while she’d never looked down her nose at anyone, she’d learned quickly that her perceptions were vastly different than the perceptions of the average person.
He stared at her with unblinking, cold eyes. He probably trusted her about as far as he could throw her, but her word was pretty much all she had anymore and she’d been trying hard to stick to it.
“It was all I could do to get it here this morning. You know I don’t have any way to get it back to the lake or anywhere else to keep it.”
He heaved a sigh. “Until Friday. Not a day later.”
Relief swelled inside her and she smiled. “Friday. Yes. Th-thank you, Travis. Thank you. I have to get back to work, but I’ll be in touch Friday when I get off.” She turned, her heart thumping in her chest, her mind whirling with the fact that she had no way to come up with the money to get her car fixed in so short a time frame, but at least she had a couple of days to deal with it.
His voice from behind abruptly stopped her forward progress.
“Do you need a ride?”
Bella masked the lust his words brought to the surface before she turned to face him again. Yes, she’d love a ride. A long, hard, naked ride. On him. He hadn’t moved but she could’ve sworn there was a flair of heat between them. Maybe he wasn’t as indifferent as he’d have her believe. “N-no. I walked here from work. I can walk back. I don’t want to owe you any more than I already do.”
Travis shrugged, the gesture full of indifference. “Suit yourself. Have a good day then.”
This has been a fun book to work on. The edits so far are a bitch, but the book itself… It’s fun and HOT!
I’m going to settle in for football and you have other snippets to take in on the following blogs: