My 6th 'baby' is now available! The premise of this sprang from an idea a friend had for an anthology for our writer's group to publish. But my brain kicked into gear and two weeks later, I showed up and informed him I'd started it off by setting it at a country club, and had written the manager/office assistant's story.
"Ummmm.....we were thinking of setting it at Chicken Shack or some other fast food place."
I kept writing, since Austin and Cara were busy telling me their story. And when it was written, I kept the title, since none of the others were writing their parts yet! And when T read my story, he was impressed.
"You keep surprising me! I was expecting a cheesy romance, but this is great!"
So here's a snippet of that 'not-so-cheesy' romance. Enjoy!
Austin Harmon is intrigued by his quiet, efficient new administrative assistant. Why does she have an obsession with her watch, and what does she do after hours?
Cara has put her social life on hold while caring for her elderly mother. But after her boss helps her through a crisis, she can't deny their attraction. Romance and Alzheimer's don't mix... or do they?
“Austin! Where did you find her?” His best friend Ryan clapped him on the back. “She’s fantastic, man! Nothing like Leslie.”
“She answered my ad in the paper. She’s my office assistant.” Austin Harmon took a sip of his drink and followed her with his eyes as she paused to speak with an elderly couple.
“You lucky dog! You banging her or is she taken?” Ryan adjusted his striped tie.
A flash of anger welled up. “Stay away from her,” Austin warned. “Leslie left my office records a mess and Cara finished sorting everything out today. She’s a dream come true.”
“I’ll say. And are you kidding? Andrea would string me up alive if she even caught me looking at another woman. I was just thinking of you, man.” Ryan smiled and held out his hand.
Austin shook it. “After the Leslie fiasco, no more office romances. Harmony House doesn’t need any more visits from the Health Department.”
Wild At Heart was supposed to be released May 31st, but I discovered it released ten days early, and now it's already on Kindle, along with the wonderful 5-star review I was afraid of losing! Here's an introduction to each character.
“Golden Boy Gets Parole”
Angela Clayborn clapped her hand over her mouth as she stared at the morning paper on her doorstep. With a muffled cry, she bent to pick it up. So it’s true, they really let him out, after all. She straightened up and reentered her condo, locking the door securely behind her. She walked to the kitchen table and sat down as the impact of the headline continued to roll through her.
Steve Blumenthal. Her high school sweetheart. Star basketball player, with a promising NBA career after college. Three years before, the Chicago Bulls had moved him from the bench to a starting position, with the media recording his every move. With the pressure mounting, he’d tried drugs one night. Angie had discovered him in her apartment late one night, in the act of disconnecting her stereo.
I must act normal; no one else must know how much this bothers me.
“Damn it, Josh…I’ve served my time; paid restitution; been clean for nearly fifteen fucking months. I’m trying to get on with my life, and what happens the minute I’m back in town? That scrawny-assed manager at the café downtown refuses to let me in his goddamned restaurant.” He paused to light another cigarette. “If there’s one thing I learned in the slammer, it was how to be treated fairly. I ought to sue his ass for discrimination.”
“Will you calm down? Maybe Angie was in there,” Josh sounded weary. “Her shop’s down a few blocks…maybe he thought he was protecting her.”
Steve stopped in front of the window overlooking the swimming pool, the cigarette halfway to his mouth. He sank into the nearest chair and ran his free hand through his blonde crew cut.
“I didn’t think of that,” he muttered. “You told me she’d opened her own business and was downtown. You’ve seen her; how’s she doing?”
Joshua winced. “Look, man. Don’t torture yourself. We need to figure out what you’re going to do next.”
“What I’m going to do,” Steve said, crushing out the cigarette. “Is go see her, talk to her…God, she’s been on my mind for months.”
Brad Morrison whistled as he parked his black Mercedes in the underground parking lot of the hotel in which he was staying. His client had treated him to one of the finest restaurants in Denver, and just happened to meet a tourist couple at the next table, who had just returned from Estes Park. When Brad had mentioned he’d always wanted to go there, the husband had whipped out a business card.
“If you do get up there, be sure to eat at Nicky’s Restaurant. They have the best beef steaks in the country.”
Brad had thanked him for the information, and then turned back to his host.
“If you’d like to stay another day or two,” the owner suggested. “I have a cabin not too far from Rocky Mountain National Park. I’ll be glad to take you up there and show you around. One of our subsidiaries has a shop along the strip.”
Brad’s face had lit up. “That would be great! Thank you.”
“Wonderful. I’ll call for you around seven.”
Just thinking about the unexpected side trip put a spring in Brad’s steps. He hurried to his room and called Angie, wanting his conversation to be private. Some people didn’t mind calling home from the middle of the lobby; Brad preferred the comforts of the room. He sank onto the comfortable couch and waited for Angie to pick up on her end.
Emma Nichols shifted her cell phone to her other ear. The mare she had just unsaddled nickered at her and brushed her arm, nearly causing the phone to slide down her shoulder.
“Hold on, Dad. Let me get Misty’s saddle put away.” She placed the heavy brown leather saddle on the shelf and slid the saddle blanket from the horse’s back. “Okay…now I’ve got a free hand again…You did what?” As she listened to her father, Emma took her currycomb and brush and began grooming the horse. “I’ll have to check the book, but I’m pretty sure I’ve got a few slots open. I can always call Ethan and have him take a group or two…you know how he is about the store, but he’ll help out at least one day a week—Hold still, Mist!—Sorry, Dad.” Emma ducked under the palomino’s head and began brushing the other side. “He said what?” The brush clattered to the stable floor and she bent down to pick it up. She felt Misty nuzzle the blonde wisps of hair that escaped her braid in the late afternoon wind. “I’ll have your food in a minute…you can’t have my hair,” she scolded the horse as she straightened. “No, not you, Dad.” Emma resumed her task. “No, everything’s current! Yeah, business was a little slow after that late snowfall, but the books are all up to date…No; I’ll go talk to him. There’s just been a misunderstanding or something. I paid for the materials myself. Tell Bruce not to panic; I’ll get it taken care of. Damn!” she swore, clicking off the phone and shoving it back into the clip on her left hip. “Misty, that idiot brother of mine has done it again,” she muttered. “If he keeps this up, I’m going to lose my free advertising.”
Are you intrigued? Let me know which story line you're most curious about. Or has Off The Clock caught your eye? I'll be posting more excerpts the rest of this week, so leave me a comment. I'll award a free book each day, with one lucky person on Friday getting an extra special surprise. So see you back here tomorrow!