End of the week - finally! Thought I'd share my "first meeting" of hero and heroine in my novella, Tequila Sunrise. I'm about 3/4 of the way through the first draft, and while I'm sure I'll change a zillion things, I still like the opening scenes, which take place on a singles' cruise. Here you go:
“Okay, where are they?” Lou spilled half her drink down her arm as an overweight man in a red flowered shirt elbowed his way to the buffet. “These super-hot guys I’m supposed to hook up with?”
“I’m still looking. Hang on.” Cassidy sipped her wine and narrowed her eyes. “Try the tiki bar. By the pool.”
“Already did. It’s a bunch of teenagers doing shots behind their parents’ backs.” She leaned against the railing and sighed. C’mon. One guy. One incredibly hot guy – okay, even mediumly hot would do – to take her mind off her life. That’s all she asked. It was a singles’ cruise, after all. Shouldn’t the place be crawling with eligible men?
Apparently not. Apparently a singles’ cruise that departed from Miami, Florida meant families who didn’t know how to entertain their teens, middle-aged men with comb-overs, and more than a few tourists in their thirties and forties trying their best to hide the tan lines around their left ring fingers and blend into the crowd.
“I’m starving.” Cassidy announced. “Want some appetizers? I saw a cutie circling with a tray a few minutes ago.”
“Go ahead.” Lou was half-afraid the crowd would swallow her up if she did move, and she’d end up somehow shimmied up and over the rail to the ocean below. Not a bad way to go, all things considered. At least that way Terrell wouldn’t be entitled to alimony. She sighed and turned around. The sun was making its way to the edge of the ocean, where blue met orange and seared together in a sexy black line that made her want to fly away, just go to the ends of the earth and never look back.
“Gorgeous, isn’t it?” Someone squeezed into the space to her right. A tanned elbow touched hers.
Lou turned. And bit her bottom lip. And tried to remember how to breathe. Well there you are.
Chocolate brown eyes caught and held hers. A smile, framed on one side by a deep dimple, sent something sinfully wonderful squiggling straight down to the pit of her stomach. Lower, actually, to a spot below her stomach that hadn’t felt anything at all in months.
“I’m Toby.” He reached for her hand, and for a long ten seconds, Lou promptly forgot her name. He held on as her mouth moved, trying to think of something to say to the muscled creature standing beside her. “Ah, hello? You okay?”
“Oh, yeah. Sorry.” She dropped his hand and shook her head to clear away the X-rated thoughts that had come out of nowhere. “Lou. Short for Louise.” She made the standard face that went along with her introduction. “Family name. Not crazy about it.”
“Louise. Lou.” He cocked his head and smiled again. “I like it. It’s unusual.”
She swallowed what was left of her drink. “One way to put it, I guess.”
He folded his arms on the railing and looked back out at the sun, a fraction closer to the water. “Beautiful night. Love sunsets.”
She nodded before it occurred to her that he wasn’t facing her and couldn’t see her stupid, silent response. “Yes.”
“I prefer sunrises, but this’ll do too.”
“You must be a pretty early riser.”
He turned again as the crowd pushed them closer together. Now she could smell his cologne, just a touch, under the coconut sunscreen everyone around her wore. Spicy. Masculine. One hundred percent driving her crazy.
“I work in construction. Jobs usually start at dawn.”
Construction. So that explained the monster arms, the thick neck and shoulders, the creases at the corners of his eyes that deepened when he smiled at her. They met almost shoulder to shoulder, which put him at five-ten, at the most. For a crazy moment Lou wondered how they’d measure up not vertically but horizontally. Terrell, at six-four to her five-nine, had always towered above her. She’d grown used to the crook in her neck that came with looking up at him. But this – this vantage point put her mouth at a lovely angle with Toby’s. If he were to kiss her, that is. Which he probably wasn’t going to, because what guy in his right mind walked up to a woman he’d just met and reached for her lips?
Oh this one. Please let this one do just that.