So this week’s teaser is a little different. I’m giving you a whole family affair. — Before I do, though, I’m dropping a cast of characters for you, just so you’ll know who is who.
· Hallie — Our Female MC
· Ace — Our Male MC
· Gregory — Hallie’s older brother
· Chris — Hallie’s older brother
· Mia — Hallie’s stepsister
· Anna — Chris’s girlfriend
· Evan — Hallie’s six-year-old nephew; Mia’s son
· James — Hallie’s stepdad
· And Hallie’s mom — But she’s only referred to as Hallie’s mom here.
*They’re having some random, off-the-wall conversation about whose job wields the most power in society. (Just so you don’t go in totally confused! 😉 )
“What say you, Hallie?” Gregory called. “What you got?”
She shrugged. “I build houses.”
“Uh-huh,” Chris said. “Right.”
“I don’t know what you want me to say,” Hallie said, casual disinterest written all over her face. “I work in construction. I’m just a regular person. No special powers.”
Ace laughed, and Hallie turned to look at him. “What?”
He grinned. Lethal and devastating, it was. The kind of smile that makes a grown woman pathetically weak in the knees. — She was glad she was sitting down.
“You might as well just say it,” he said.
She fought a grin. “I have nothing to say.”
“To be fair,” Ace said, “Even you aren’t going to beat me out, but for clarity’s sake, you should just say it.”
And Hallie loved in that moment that he was willing to play along with the ridiculousness that she and her family were engaging in. He was settled in, comfortable. And she appreciated that more than he would probably ever know.
Hallie grinned, her smile megawatt. “Yes, we all know the man who serves the public their alcohol is always going to come out on top, even before coffee.” She winked at Mia. “Sorry.”
Mia laughed. “Fair, Hallie. Fair.”
“And I’ll give you,” she continued. “That in a world full of people I wield little to no power at all. But in this room?”
He grinned. “Careful, Hallie baby.”
Her eyes twinkled and sparks shot off her.
“And here it comes…” said Gregory down the table.
“Yep…” This from Chris.
“I wield it like a magic wand,” she said.
Chris laughed. “It’s sad how true it is.”
Anna piped up then. “Maneuvers you boys around like chess pieces, she does.”
“Shut up, baby,” Chris said. “We know. You ain’t gotta rub it in like that.”
“It’s a little embarrassing, honestly,” Anna replied.
“Baby…” Chris shot her an exasperated look. “What’d I say?”
“Oh, you said something?”
“Think you’re cute, huh?”
Chris shook his head and muttered, “I’m done with you. Leave me alone.”
Anna laughed, but she didn’t reply. Instead, Ace piped back up.
“I don’t know…” he trailed, a playfulness in his eyes Hallie didn’t think she’d ever seen before. “Seems like that may be overstating it a bit, don’t you think?”
Gregory laughed. “Oh, boy.”
Chris whistled. “Man’s insane.”
Her eyes lit up. “You’re here, aren’t you?” His lips twitched. “Even served Chris his cake.”
She heard Chris laugh but kept her eyes on Ace. “It was ugly. Chick who cut it didn’t know what she was doing. That’s why I gave it to him.”
Hallie laughed at the reminder of the cake she’d practically mutilated earlier. “Just admit you’re here because I have masterful powers of persuasion.”
Ace arched a brow. “You really want to talk about that in front of your family?” he said, innuendo heavy in his tone.
Hallie flushed, her cheeks turning scarlet. She couldn’t believe he’d taken that simple little statement and turned it dirty. It was a power play; she knew one when she saw one. She was kind of in awe of his tactics.
“Oh, boy,” James said, covering his ears. “I do not need to hear this.”
“That makes two of us,” Chris said, groaning.
But Hallie’s mom, she smiled. “And that,” she put in, “is why every woman at this table wields more power than the men.”
Now Gregory was making faces and looking like he wanted to bolt. “Oh, sweet… good night, hell no.” It was all fun and games when it was his sister’s sex life, but not his mom’s.
Ace laughed. “I don’t know what they’re talking about. I was just talking about how you torture me with dumba—” He glanced at Evan and then said, “stupid tv shows.”
Hallie threw her head back and laughed. “You’re such a liar. Nobody here believes that’s what you meant.”
“Liar?” he scoffed. “You made me watch I Love Lucy last night, until I was willing to agree to anything.”
Gregory laughed. “Isn’t it terrible? Anytime I stay with her when I visit, she puts that crap on. We legit fight over the remote control like a couple of stubborn kids.”
“Like a couple of stubborn kids?” Hallie’s mom parroted. “You are a couple of stubborn kids.”
Ace and Gregory volleyed back and forth.
“Right?” said Ace. “And the horror that is The Waltons.”
“Andy Griffith, man. If I never have to see Gomer Pile again, I’d be a happy man.”
“Dude. Opie. What kid is even like that sitcom kid?”
Ace shuddered. “Let’s not get started on Fife.”
Hallie drew the line at insults to Barney Fife, so she jumped back in the ring. “How dare you? How dare you both? Neither one of you would know good television if it bit you in the butt.”
“Hey, at least Hallie’s only making y’all watch tv,” Chris threw in. “I have to listen to Anna drone on and on about historical romance novels practically twenty-four seven. If I have to hear one more time about how some sexy, square-jawed devil of a Duke ravished some pitifully poor, country bumpkin governess, I’m going to lose my mind.”
“Hey!” Anna shouted in defense of herself.
Ace’s face was a mask of horror, and he scooted his chair closer to Hallie, like she could somehow protect him from Anna’s books.
Laughter bubbled past her lips. “What are you doing?”
“I don’t know,” he said. “I got a little scared there for a minute.”
“Right?” Chris said. “I mean, I’m tempted to scoot my chair away too.”
“You should. That’s terrible,” came Ace’s reply.
If y’all want to spend more time with Ace, Hallie, and her family… keep an out eye here for Tempting Hallie’s release date. It’s coming soon!