Just one more week until One Night in Napa releases in ebook...aren't you excited?? I know I am! Here's today's excerpt: the first meeting between hero and heroine...and then a later interaction...
The woman on the other side of the door nearly fell into his arms. “What the hell—let go of me!”
Grant blinked, confused. He’d instinctively grabbed at the first thing he saw, determined to catch the intruder. By mistake, he’d gotten his hands on a pliant arm and one very small breast. He stepped back at once and raised his palms. “Whoa. Sorry.”
The petite stranger dressed in bright turquoise and denim glared at him. Dark eyes flashed. “Who are—what are you doing?” Her gaze took him in, head to toe, and dismissed him in less than a second. “Miles, who is this?”
“Hey. No offense, but who the hell are you?” Grant didn’t recognize her face from any of the local news channels, and she sure wasn’t dressed to do an interview, in that ridiculous getup. She wore a miniskirt, but her feet looked damp, and he wondered whether she’d somehow waded through the moat to get here. No way. Impossible. On the floor behind her sat a black suitcase and a small red purse. The external door remained slightly ajar, and a breeze moved through the room. As they stood there facing off, she crossed her arms and lifted her chin.
Grant turned to Miles, a dozen questions on his lips. But the oddest expression lit the old man’s face. Grant looked back at the young woman dressed in mismatched clothes with a butch hairstyle that did nothing for her face. She wore too much eye makeup. She had a ring in her eyebrow and a glittering stud in her nose. And she was glaring at him...
FOUR HOURS LATER
By the time he caught up with her, she’d poured herself another glass of wine. “Care to join me?” She laughed, but it sounded bitter. Resigned. “Only if you leave the camera at the door, though.”
He shrugged the bag off his shoulder and took the glass she offered him. “No pictures,” he agreed. “Then how about some conversation?”
She sighed, and he wondered if he was pushing his luck. He didn’t care. She mesmerized him, the way her gaze moved around a room, the way she filled up a space. “Hell, okay,” she said after a long silence. “As long as we’re stuck here. But off the record.”
They sat at the table in the breakfast nook. Her back was mirrored in the window behind her, and Grant had to stop himself from staring at her long neck, her chopped-off hair, the way she held her chin a little higher than she had to.
“Me first.” He took a long drink. “So why’d you leave?”
She choked on her wine. “Start with the easy questions, why don’t you?”
“Sorry.” He thought a minute. “Okay, why’d you cut your hair?”
She pursed her lips. “That’s not really a good question, either.”
“Fine. Then you start.”
She looked hopeful. “I can ask a question?”
“Sure. Then I get one. We’ll take turns.”
One corner of her mouth lifted. “Fine.” She took another sip.
Grant shifted in his chair and tried not to watch the way her mouth met the rim of the glass.
“Why did you go into journalism?”
He pushed his glass away and laced his hands behind his head. He hadn’t expected that question. “You want the real answer?”
“What do you think? Are we just going to sit here and lie to each other?”
But he wasn’t sure she did want the truth, which was that he’d almost flunked his way out of college, and writing for the paper was the only way his father would save his last two semesters. He’d given in to blackmail of sorts, and it had haunted him ever since.
“Hmm.” He caught the stem of the wineglass between his fingers and spun it. “Guess it was destiny. My grandfather founded the Chronicle sixty-five years ago. My father ran it from the time he was twenty. Neither of my brothers wanted to work there, so I was the last one left. Graduated from UC Santa Barbara and didn’t have much else going on, so…” That sounded good. And more than half-true, anyway.
“What do your brothers do?”
But Grant shook his head. “One question. That was it. Now it’s my turn.”
She rolled her eyes, but a smile skittered across her face. “Go ahead, then.”
“What’s the first memory of your father?”
Kira studied her wine for a long moment before looking back up at him. Brown eyes grew serious with memory. “I guess I was maybe three or so. He used to play with me outside, on the back lawn. He’d roll these giant plastic balls across the grass, and I’d try to stop them before they got to the moat.” She smiled, and Grant loved the way it lit up her face. “I didn’t realize Martin—he worked security here before Simon—I never knew he was about ten feet behind me, ready to catch them if I missed, until I was older.” She paused. “I never missed.” She tipped the wine bottle to refill her glass.
“Okay,” he said. “Your turn.” But he almost didn’t want her to ask. Not because it meant answering, but because it meant she’d stop talking for a minute or two. He liked the lilt of her voice.
She sat forward on her chair, elbows on the table like a little girl. “Do you have a girlfriend?”
He laughed and arched a brow. “Interested for personal reasons?”
She colored. “No. Of course not. I was just wondering if there was any female out there dumb enough to fall for your lines. You know, on a regular basis.”
She grinned. “Too close to home?”
“You’re not my type, anyway, Walker.”
He wondered if that was true. “That’s too bad.” He rested his hand on hers for a moment, until she pulled it away. “No. I do not have a girlfriend.”
“Hey. One question at a time. I warned you.”
She pretended to pout. “Yeah, but your answers aren’t detailed enough.”
“Now who’s the reporter?”