I’m lazy and I didn’t write a blog post today. But!! You’re getting something even better. I decided, terrifying as it is, to share a snippet from one of my novels!
If you’re interested, keep reading and you can meet the hero and heroine from my first novel… Chris and Anna!
Fair warning… (They got some history. The road to their happily ever after is a long one. If you like enemies to lovers, or second chance romance, or just regular people stumbling around in the world, getting it wrong sometimes, and getting it right others…. you might like em.)
Warmth hit Anna in the face as soon as she stepped through the front door. She shivered and huddled into her sweatshirt. The plain, ugly green sweatshirt she’d tossed on after changing out of her wet clothes. She’d also had no choice but to trade the jeans in for a pair of raggedy, old, black sweatpants. — Her good fortune was just piling up tonight.
It was chilly outside. It was already fall in Sweetgum, but a cold front had moved in the day before and there was an extra bite in the air. Going without sleeves wasn’t an option, and these clothes were all she could get her hands on without unpacking half her trunk in the parking lot, which she had been sorely tempted to do.
This was not a good look for what she was walking into.
She glanced around, taking in her surroundings. Sally’s was a packed house tonight.
Chatter bounced off the walls and laughter echoed around the building. Families, couples, and friends gathered along the bar and around the tables. The lighting was dim, but not so much that she couldn’t see clearly. A fire blazed in the stone fireplace on the far wall of the restaurant. Dark brown, wooden beams crisscrossed across the ceiling. Four gray stone pillars stood, two by two, in the middle, going from front to back, and the restaurant branched out in a t-shaped design after passing through the center.
She chatted with the hostess for a second, then whizzed by, passing tables of local patrons as she headed in Charley’s direction.
And that was when she stumbled straight into the path of Chris Henderson.
Literally, straight into his path. He was standing right in front of her.
Their eyes locked and her throat worked. She had no idea what to say, or if she should say anything at all, but he solved that problem for her.
“You lost?” He was leaning one shoulder against a stone column in the center of the restaurant, his feet crossed at the ankles. His tone was condescending and arrogant, in a way that wasn’t charming in the least. That worked for some guys. — Arrogance. But it didn’t work for him, and it didn’t work tonight. It only made her angry.
Two other people stood near him, both women, which didn’t surprise her. They’d been talking when she walked up, and Anna had no doubt in her mind that they were interested in him. It was obvious.
Well, they certainly didn’t have to worry about her. She wasn’t about to look at him like that. — Not ever again.
Sensing the tension in the air, they said bye to Chris and walked deeper into the restaurant.
She gritted her teeth. Why did he have to be here tonight?
He was standing there as confident as if he owned the place, which he most certainly did not. Sally Jane and her husband owned this place, and he wasn’t about to treat her like she didn’t belong. He wasn’t some sort of king and her a peasant. Although, she felt like one standing next to him in a pair of sweatpants when he was dressed in an impeccable pair of blue jeans and a dark, long sleeve button down.
She felt ridiculous, which only managed to irritate her further.
“Yeah, well, apparently I am,” she bit out. “I somehow managed to end up in hell with the devil.” She worked to rein in her frustration, silently willing Sally to forgive her for uttering such blasphemy about her restaurant.
His eyes narrowed. “Being it’s hell and all, you sure you weren’t invited?” His tone was low and gravelly. It set her on edge.
He tilted his head slightly, his sharp, hazel eyes, vivid even in the low-lighted setting. They pierced through her with a hatred that left her feeling scalded.
His jaw ticked with anger, and his gaze darkened. She silently cursed the small part of her that still wanted to reach out and touch him. It made no sense.
She could feel the self-righteousness pouring off him, and yet some small part of her was still taken in by him. How’s that even possible?
He was reacting to her with the same disdain as always, and that still wasn’t enough to nip it in the bud.
And furthermore, how dare he react like this after everything they’d been through? His hypocrisy knew no bounds. He was as guilty as she was for their sins and yet he refused to show her an ounce of compassion.
His eyes drifted down her body, taking in her attire. She straightened, refusing to back down in front of him. “Well if I’d known you’d missed me enough to send an invite….”
Fire flamed in his eyes at the suggestion he’d missed her. Serves him right, she thought.
“If you think, for even a second,” he said, his voice low and dangerous, “that I missed you, you really have lost your mind.”
His words felt like a literal blow, but she wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of knowing it.
She glared at him. “You can go to hell. I’m not doing this tonight.” And with those words trailing in her wake, she walked right past him, and rounded the corner, refusing to look back.