An excerpt of the first chapter of my current novel in progress, For the Birds.
This was the exact moment I knew I wasn’t over Sonny. Now, watching some tall, leggy blonde stumble against him and grab his shoulders as he held her up, then smiled too close – intimate close. The kind of close that included inside jokes and all-night conversations, coffee in bed after morning lovemaking, and slow dancing in the kitchen while waiting for the pizza to bake. The kind of close where you could look at the other and just know when he was ready to leave, or he needed to be rescued, or you’d spend your life falling all over him, every goddamn day.
The kind of close I thought we had, and then mourned for almost a year after he left. I thought I moved past this shit. Seeing him smile as he helped steady her was just as surprising as seeing him at all.
Then he turned my way. The crowded banquet hall. The lights. The music. All of it disappeared and I saw only him. And I panicked.
“Blake,” I hissed, turning to find my date. He was talking with two women who were much too young for him. I would have been jealous, except we’d stopped our casual fling months ago and discovered we made much better friends than lovers. Plus, he made a great date…when he wasn’t hitting on the guests. I rolled my eyes as he ran his hand through his sun-bleached surfer hair, the way he’d done dozens of times when we first met. His mating dance, apparently. Next he’d…yup, there it was. A smile tugged at my lips as he removed his jacket, as if this room was too hot. Even in his white dress shirt, his muscle definition was unmistakable. So much so that one of the girls clutched his bicep as she laughed, part of her own ritual. I glanced back toward Sonny, then quickly looked away. My face burned as I realized he was watching my every move.
“Blake,” I repeated, this time gentler as I sidled up to him, sliding my hand along his arm as the girl removed hers. He looked down at my hand, then at my face, his blue eyes shooting daggers even with his charming half grin.
“Ladies, this is Cricket, a very good friend of mine, and the event planner for this swanky soiree.” He leaned close to my ear. “This better be worth the interruption,” he hissed.
“Have their parents signed waivers?” I shot back.
“They’re interns,” he whispered. “They have to be legal.” He pulled away, his hooded eyes crinkled with his lopsided grin. “Cricket, this is Summer and Haley.”
“Charmed,” I said, pulling him away, feeling Sonny’s eyes following us.
“Did anyone ever tell you what a cock block you are?” Blake asked when we were out of earshot. I turned toward him, wrapping my arms around his neck. His hands naturally fell at my waist, resting at the curve of my back. His pinky finger unexpectedly brushed my exposed skin, and I twitched, much to his amusement. At this, I laughed, harder than necessary, my head tilted back as if he’d said something hilarious. When I glanced in Sonny’s direction, I almost shrank under his fiery glare. His leggy friend was no longer there, and he stood facing me, facing us, his hands in his pockets, his chestnut curls falling across his forehead. Even from across the room, his eyes appeared darker than usual.
“Oh, I see,” Blake murmured, looking toward Sonny. With a single finger, he turned my head so I was facing him. “Who is he?”
Blake gave a slow nod. He glanced at Sonny again, a millisecond look, then back at me with a sly grin.
“That’s the guy? That’s why you could never commit to me?”
“Blake.” I winced, embarrassed as I pulled away. I wasn’t one to play games, so why was I doing it now? “Sorry,” I said, just as he pulled me back against him.
“Don’t be sorry,” he murmured, his face close to mine. “Let’s make him jealous.” And then he crushed his mouth on mine, his hold keeping me in place as I pushed against his chest, his tongue touching my lips, asking for entrance, which I never granted. When he finally released me, I caught my breath, resisting the urge to smack him. I peered back in Sonny’s direction, but he was gone.
Note: This is an ongoing blog series about For the Birds, a book I’m currently editing and will be shopping to publishers this year. Stay tuned to keep up with details about the story, sneak peeks at excerpts, and to learn about how the publishing process is going. If you’d like to be alerted to new posts, hit the “follow” button at the bottom of this page, or join my VIP Readers Club (you get a free book!).