Monday, April 22, 2013

Guarding the Line ~ Chapter 4, cont.

Ah, baseball. The great ego equalizer. After the Braves reeled off a 12-1 start, last week was reality-check time. Atlanta lost four out of five games, but they're  tied with the Rockies for the best record in the majors.

And I've sent Forceful Negotiations off to the proofreader, meaning it will hit the shelves at Amazon and other outlets later this week. I swear, I've birthed kids in less time. It was a challenge to sow the seeds for a variety of future stories while still writing one complete love story.

Since my daughter's pregnancy, we've enjoyed more than one egg roll feast and mother/daughter chat. I asked if she was in favor of gays being allowed to marry. Looking at me like I'd grown gills, she drawled,. "Well, duh. Of course I am. I can hardly wait to watch Gay Divorce Court!"

Guarding the Line, Chapter 4, continued.


Last week, we left Mike and Verity in the VIP bar at Obsidian, when Mike realized he'd been dreaming about this woman for quite some time.
“Your choice, then." She set a shot glass on the bar in front of him. Her gaze appeared to roam his chest before she slowly lifted her eyes to his face. Her smile made his pulse kick up like dust in a whirlwind..
“You choose for me,” he said, smiling back. “Pick what you like and how about I buy you one?”
She didn't hesitate, slapping another shot glass on the bar. The thick blanket of her hair swirled around her when she turned away to select a bottle. She returned, tipping the bottle over the glasses and filling them with slightly amber liquid. He got a look at the label. The lady liked tequila, it seemed. He had to admit, her choice of Petron was an excellent one.
She sat the bottle back in its slot and reached for the shot glass.
“What, no salt, no lime?” 
“Lightweight,” she taunted, but she plopped a salt shaker in front of him with an ease that spoke of much practice, along with a dish of lime wedges. With a smirk, she added a pile of napkins. He couldn't respond, so fixed was he on the sight of her tongue sliding slowly along the skin of her left hand between her thumb and forefinger. He wanted to feel that tongue on his skin, wanted to see those gorgeous eyes darken when he—
With a slight shake of his head, he realized she was waiting for him to follow suit. Making sure to hold her gaze, he licked his own hand and sprinkled salt over the spot, lining up a lime wedge before reaching for his shot glass, more to give himself time to calm down than any other reason. God, those eyes. Mike raised his glass. “What are we drinking to?” he managed to rasp. His tongue felt as uncooperative as a new glove.
“Your turn to choose."
Damn, she wasn't giving him anything to work with. He cast around for something, deciding to remind her of their first meeting. “To Thane, then.”
“To Thane,” she agreed, tossing back the shot.
             She drank as if her glass had been filled with water. He realized belatedly she hadn't bothered with either the salt or the lime. But she held his eyes as he licked the salt from his own skin before raising the glass to his lips. He reached for the lime wedge. Recklessly, he offered the fruit to her. When she bit it, still staring into his eyes, he felt her lips brush his fingers, but he couldn't look away from her face. How many nights had he seen her eyes in his dreams? He hadn't believed real people had eyes the color of amethysts, but here she was, close enough to touch.
            The tequila traced fingers of fire down his throat, but the tiny swipe of her tongue across his thumb started a stronger burn south of his stomach. Regret flooded him as she pulled her head back, leaving the lime in his fingers. Still holding her gaze, he inserted the wedge in his mouth. She turned away, breaking the crazy feeling only the two of them existed in the crowded bar.Tossing the peel onto a napkin, he watched as she began fixing another round of drinks for the waitress who suddenly stood to his right. “When’s last call around here?” he asked.
            The scantily-clad girl gave him a knowing look, and then glanced back at the bartender, who was busily mixing drinks, her back to him. “Ten minutes to four,” she said with a groan.
            Mike glanced at his watch. It was only one-thirty. He suppressed a groan of his own. But she was pretty much a captive behind this bar, and he had nothing better to do than wait, and watch. He settled more comfortably into the tall chair.
            She brought the waitress a tray filled with frothy drinks. The girl ambled off with a sigh. The bartender picked up the bottle and poured him another shot. Before he could speak, she walked away again, this time to take orders from a large group that had just settled themselves at the opposite end of the long bar. A guy appeared behind the long slab of black marble, jockeying a keg on a pair of hand trucks. 
            “Did you go to Milwaukee for that?” she demanded.
“Sorry, Vee, its nuts out there. I been trying to get here for an hour.” The guy knelt to manhandle the keg into place.
Vee. What kind of nickname is that? Violet? 
When he finished the chore, the guy stood and pulled the tap until the amber liquid ran in a clear, steady stream. “There ya go, Vee. I’ll get somebody over here so you can have a break.  I guess I forgot that, too, huh?”
“I guess you did,” she agreed. “But its okay. I've been so busy, I forgot I needed one.”
The guy seemed reluctant to leave, Mike noticed. “Sorry, sweetheart, I’ll buy you breakfast to make up for neglecting you.”
Damn it, Mike thought as he listened to their exchange. He felt something lurch in his chest.
“No thanks, Remo. I have something to do after I get off.”
Mike watched through narrowed eyes. The guy with the keg smoothed a strand of her hair off her shoulder, taking the opportunity to let his hand drift a lot closer to her breast than Mike liked. She took a step back. “Aw, Vee, don’t be like that, girl. We both know you got nothing going on at five in the morning. Come on, let me buy you breakfast.” The offending hand moved closer to the dip in the top of her tight corset.
She slapped his hand. “I said, no thanks.” He dropped his hand, but it grazed her hip. half-rising, Mike knew that touch was no accident. She flinched, but her eyes flashed.
Mike watched the asshole grin at her, anger tightening his gut. He recognized the look in the guy’s eyes. It was probably the same look he wore, pure lust. He understood somehow, too, this wasn't the first time the guy had tried to touch her. She’d made it plain enough she didn't want the asshole's hands on her. He could see her dislike in the stiffness of her spine.
“Don’t you have something to do?” she snapped at the guy. “Like find somebody to relieve me, remember?”
The guy took tow steps, but turned back for one more try. “See you on your break, then.”
“Sorry, Reno. I have a better offer,” she spat, tilting her head.
Mike realized she meant him. He couldn’t resist a triumphant grin. The guy glared at him across the bar before striding away.
“Idiot,” she muttered, approaching Mike once more. “You still want that beer?”
“Are you okay?” he asked, wanting to comfort her. Somehow.
“Why wouldn't I be? He’s harmless, but irritating. I hate when guys just think it’s okay to—”  

To be continued on 4/29

Come with me to check in with the other Baseball Babes,
 Jennifer Simpkins and Kathleen Grieve. Oh, and I'm giving away copies of Breaking Glass, the lead-in story to Forceful Negotiations, for leaving a comment on this post and joining my Facebook author page until the 30th. Who knows? I might have to give away a few copies of Forceful Negotiations later this week on Facebook, too. Have a great week!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Kathleen. I just hope to get the time to really work on this story soon. I feel like a one-armed paper-hanger right now :)