Okay, so it’s a tad later than initially promised, but I’m now extremely happy to present a second excerpt from WHERE SHE BELONGS, which is currently shipping from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon Canada. Librarians can order from Five Star/Cengage. You can download a PDF of the Five Star Winter 2011 Catalogue here and present it to your librarian to make ordering (and reading!) easier and faster.
While I’m thrilled to finally see WHERE SHE BELONGS published, it’s kind of a sad time, too. Because the Five Star Expressions line, which published romances and women’s fiction, is ending with the publication of my novel and another by author Stacey Coverstone.
I didn’t kill the line, I promise! I know it looks that way, but I swear it’s not true. Five Star will continue to publish mysteries, and some romantic supsense novels and mystery romances will be included in their Mystery line. But no more Expressions novels.
I have no idea how large the print run is for my book. Or when it will sell out. So if you’re itching to read it, I’m not feeding you a line when I say it’s best to buy it now–or ask your library to order it in for you.
Enough with the doom and gloom! It’s time for another excerpt.
The first scene posted on my blog December 16th was from Jess’s point of view, so now here’s one from Adam’s.
Jess and Adam have just taken Jess’s mother’s car to a mechanic. Adam has an SUV and a bush pickup, so he’s lending Jess his SUV while her recently deceased stepfather’s classic car is in the shop. Trouble is, she hasn’t driven a standard stick shift since she was a teenager. Adam gives her a lesson in the garage parking lot, then, well, he’s supposed to give her directions to his log house, where she’ll drop him off (that’s where his pickup is). But he wants to spend time with her, so…
“I’ll let you know when to turn. Relax.”
“Easy for you to say.” But she slackened her death-grip on the steering wheel and took two more loops around the garage, engaging and releasing the clutch in better synchronization with the gearshift. She released a breath. Pride wreathed her face as she pulled onto the highway and accelerated to a few kilometers below the posted speed limit.
Adam clapped and whistled. She shot him a humor-filled glance.
“Another milestone!” he declared when she turned onto Destiny Falls Crossroad without riding the clutch.
“Oh, shut up,” she tossed back lightly. “Can’t you see I’m driving?”
“Yes, Mother.” He slouched against the armrest like an insolent teenager. Pretending to watch the scenery, he monitored her progress from the corner of one eye. She returned her attention to the road, which curved and wound at a steady incline. The spruce and fir trees lining the shoulders increased in size and density as the houses facing the Crossroad gave way to treed acreage and forested mountains. The road narrowed, and soon thick brush obscured the signs.
“Shouldn’t we have reached Red Rock Road by now?” she asked.
“We passed it five minutes ago.”
“What? Why didn’t you say something?”
“You told me to shut up.”
“Oh, for—” She glared at him as if he were frustration incarnate. He wiggled his eyebrows like Bugs Bunny outfoxing Elmer Fudd. “Adam Wright! You tricked me on purpose!”
He showed his teeth. “Guilty.”
“I don’t believe this! I can’t turn around now without taking us into the ditch. What should I do?”
“You tell me, Jess. You’re in the driver’s seat.”
“Cute, Wright.” Twin spots of color flared on her cheeks, giving her a just-been-kissed-and-not-too-thrilled-about-it look. “As if I’m not nervous enough learning to drive this behemoth, you have to play word games.”
He shrugged. “You’re tense. I’m helping you loosen up.”
“I’ll loosen a can of kick-butt on you if you’re not careful.”
“Come on, Jess, you’re doing fine. The turn-off for the waterfall is up ahead. We’ll drive around the campsites, check out the local wonder of nature. Have you visited the falls since you came home?”
“Mom’s car hasn’t exactly been reliable, remember?”
“So, I found a way around that. I thought you’d appreciate it.”
“You’re hopeless, you know that? The only reason you didn’t breathe a word is because you knew you’d never get me in the middle of nowhere with you like this without resorting to another of your dirty tricks.”
“Dirty tricks? Moi?” He crossed his heart over his shirt pocket. “My intentions are as honorable as my gender allows.”
“Well, at least you score points for honesty.” Reducing speed, she downshifted smoothly into third gear. “Where’s this turn-off, anyway? My memory’s rusty.”
“That long, huh?” He pointed out a sign. “Take a left. Quick!”
Shifting jerkily into second, she swung the truck onto a narrow road. It bounced over a pothole, engine wailing like a wounded animal. “Sorry.”
“Did I complain?”
“No. Thank you.” She chose the fork to the right, following the loop of empty campsites nestled amid tall evergreens. Tourists rarely descended on the area until May. He and Jess would have the falls to themselves.
Good. He didn’t feeling like sharing the scenery. Or the woman.
At his suggestion, she parked parallel to the viewing deck. As if stretched to the limits of her endurance, she crumpled against her seat and sighed. “We made it.”
He laughed at her woebegone expression. “Who’d have thought it? Jessica Morgan—busy merchandising executive and world traveler—humbled by a standard SUV.”
“Humiliated is more like it. And please don’t call me Jessica.”
“Why not? It’s a beautiful name.”
“Maybe, but it’s not mine.”
“What’s Jess short for, then?”
“Plain Jessie, with an ‘i-e.’ Mom named me for her father, Jesse Banks. She always said she didn’t see the point in calling me Jessica when she never planned to use the name.”
“So your birth certificate reads?”
“Jessie Noreen. Corny, huh?”
“I think it’s great. Although unusual around here, a girl being named for her grandfather.”
“Thank God his name wasn’t Marvin.” Her voice brimmed with warmth.
Adam liked her wit. Too bad she didn’t display it more often. “I was named for my mom’s father, too—Tom McLean. My middle name is Thomas.”
“Really? I thought it was Perseverance.”
“Very funny.” He lowered his gaze to her lips. What he’d give to silence her smart mouth with a slow, deep kiss. Unfortunately, the last he knew, mature, adult “friends” didn’t hook up in parked vehicles like a couple of sex-starved teenagers. “Now do you want to see the falls or what?”
If she’d replied “or what,” he would have gone ahead and kissed her—damn the friendship. It was a farce, anyway. He knew it, and so did she. She just didn’t want to admit it.
Want buy links? I got ’em.
Barnes and Noble
Information for Your Librarian to Order from Five Star/Cengage