"He’ll be the one who steps in front of a train for you. The one who climbs buildings to move them out of your way. The one who faces down dragons and brings you breakfast in bed the morning after..." ~from One Night in Memphis
I forgot to mention that my excerpt for One Night in Memphis is up on my Samhain author page, so you can check it out if you want to.
But I thought today, since Release Day is only 2 days away, I'd whet your appetites with a couple of extra excerpts, just for my blog readers :)
Here's the first, the initial telephone conversation between Dakota (our heroine) and her best friend, Sarah:
“Dakota? Got your message. What’s up?”
She took another look at her watch. Five minutes to boarding. Terrific. Where the heck was Gate A14? She stopped at a map of the terminal and tried to make sense of the multi-colored arrows. “Um…are you busy this weekend?”
“Don’t think so. Why?”
Dakota dug her boarding pass out of her pocket. “I’m sort of on my way to Memphis.”
“What?” Sarah whooped, and for a minute Dakota couldn’t hear anything but muffled conversation on the other end of the line.
Her friend came back on. “‘Sort of’? Or you really are?”
“I really am. I’m getting on a plane in about thirty seconds. That okay?”
“Are you kidding? Of course.” Sarah paused. “Wait a minute. Nigel just let you off work? In the middle of June?”
“I had vacation time.”
Another pause. “You broke up with Sean, didn’t you?”
Dakota handed her boarding pass to the flight attendant at the counter.
“Is that what happened, D?”
“Um…it’s a long story.”
“Are you okay?”
“I guess. I just—” Dakota’s voice broke. “I just needed to get away for a couple days.”
Sarah’s voice poured over her, warm and comforting. “Then you’re coming to the right place. Really. You’ll love it down here. And forget about that jerk. He’s not worth even ten minutes of tears.” She said something else that Dakota couldn’t make out. “I never liked him, anyway.”
“You never met him.”
“Whatever. I could tell. ‘No, he’s busy tonight.’ ‘No, he doesn’t stay over because he has to get up early and work out.’ ‘No, he’s still sorting out the details of his divorce.’”
“You don’t have to be cruel about it.”
Sarah’s voice softened. “Oh honey, I didn’t mean it. I just—listen, when you get here, we’ll party our brains out. You won’t even remember that guy in a few hours.”
That sounded perfect. “Good. I’ll call you when I land.”
“Where are you?”
“Already? You’ll be here…when? Couple hours?”
“My flight lands at two-thirty. But I can take a cab. Just give me your address, and I’ll—”
“You will not. I’ll pick you up at the airport.”
“I didn’t think you had a car.”
“My hot downstairs neighbor. The one I told you about, like, two months ago. Do you ever listen to anything I tell you?”
And here's the moment Dakota and Ethan (our hero) first meet:
Someone whistled behind her, long and loud. Dakota turned. Ten feet away, ball propped on one hip, stood a stocky, redheaded guy. Thick freckles covered both arms like a tattoo. He winked and gave her a once-over. “Hey, good-lookin’.”
Dakota fought the urge to roll her eyes. “Hey yourself.”
Sarah tugged at her wrist. “Ignore him. He’s an ass. He’s here every weekend, hits on anything that walks by with boobs and a pulse.”
“Thanks a lot.”
“You know what I mean.”
“Got room for two more in the game,” the guy called after them. “Or we’ll be over at Doc’s later. You should come by.”
Dakota cocked her head as she tried to think of a clever comeback. The guy jerked his chin in her direction and looked as though he was about to say something else when one of his friends jabbed a hand at the ball from behind. It spurted from his grasp and rolled away.
“Hey!” The guy spun around, hands fisting.
She was about to follow Sarah when a basketball bounced near her feet. His? She wasn’t sure. It slowed as it hit the grass, but she kept on walking just in case.
“Can you get that?”
Dakota stopped at the voice. Still masculine, though different. Not the obnoxious rasp of the redhead. Soft-spoken, almost. Polite. Kind.
She squinted into the sun to see who it belonged to, and in that moment, the world tilted under her feet. A guy she hadn’t noticed before stood at the edge of the pavement: medium height, dark reddish-brown hair, flushed cheeks. His chest heaved as he panted with the effort of the game. He smiled, sort of a crooked grin that didn‘t make it to his eyes. Still, it worked its way under her skin, until she felt her cheeks burn. For God’s sake, stop staring at him. He’s just a guy. Ordinary. Not even that tall, or good-looking, or built. She reached down and picked up the ball, rough and rubbery under her fingers.
Dakota took a few steps in his direction. Now she could see the color of his eyes, a greenish shade that reminded her of the lake back home in early evening when the sun was right. They would make a girl stop and stare, she thought, a second before she saw the sadness coloring the pupils. Sadness and distance and—what else was that? She tried to read the other emotion there and failed. Maybe he wasn’t completely ordinary after all.
“No problem.” She bounced the ball over to him and he caught it on the second hop. Strong fingers, she thought, even as she told herself not to look.
He smiled again, wider this time, and something inside her lit up. “You visiting?”
“You can tell?”
“It’s your voice.”
“Oh.” She felt herself redden. “No accent?”
“A northern accent.”
“Yeah, well, I flew in today. Just staying with a friend for the weekend.” She put one hand on a hip, liking the sound of his voice. Wanting it to continue. Wanting him to come closer.
“That’s too bad.”
“That I’m staying with a friend?”
“That you’re only in town for the weekend. Memphis deserves a week or two, at least.” He studied her for a moment longer. Then one of his buddies yelled something and he glanced back at the court. “Well, have a good time while you’re here.”
“I’ll try.” Dakota dug her toes into the grass and watched the way his back flexed as he jogged away. She wondered if he would turn around. She waited. She willed him to.
Now, go on over and read the Samhain excerpt (if you didn't already) and you'll see what's in store for these two a little bit later on.
Want to know more? The ebook is out on Tuesday!!