Yup…all is well, but book release is tomorrow, so there will be doings here tomorrow–book news, a nifty giveaway, fun, and games. Today, I give you a quick snippet from Christmas in River’s Edge. Tomorrow, we celebrate!
Snippet Setup: Jenny and Gabe are reaching toward one another, but neither is sure what the relationship can or should be. After a long phone call, he invites her out to visit an archeological dig that a university friend of his is doing. Now, she’s getting ready for bed and imagining what the two of them might be:
A little shiver of pleasure skimmed through her at his words. “Me too, Gabe. Goodnight.”
She hugged the phone to her chest before tossing back the red throw, hopping up, and doing a little happy dance right there in the living room. She’d forgotten that feeling, that rush of fluttery breathlessness when the deep burr of a special man’s voice sounded in your ear. It had been so long . . . so long since she’d even been interested in a man, and she rightly blamed Ryan Tuffington for putting her off men and relationships. So much easier and safer to close her heart. But here was Gabe, knocking on her heart’s door, and she was tempted, very tempted, because Dr. Dawson was not only gorgeous, he was kind and intelligent and fascinating.
He was also only here for a few weeks, which made him safe and fun. No fear of getting too involved because the good professor would be back in Virginia before either of them had a chance to actually develop any truly strong feelings for each other.
She tiptoed to the kitchen and bent down to peer into the crate at the sleeping puppy. Harry snuffled in his sleep and burrowed deeper into the fleece. Ah, good, still sleeping. She backed out, silent as a cat, and went back into the living room, turning out lights as she passed them.
Upstairs, she changed into her jammies, washed her face and brushed her teeth, but grabbed her robe and her pillow and took them downstairs, deciding that it was probably best to sleep on the sofa in order to hear the puppy if he started whining. Sliding back under the fuzzy throw, she picked up her phone and flipped through her photos until she found two she’d taken the night of their fifteenth reunion a few months ago—one of Gabe at the meet-and-greet at the tavern. She’d taken that one from a distance under the pretext of simply getting shots of the event. And a selfie of her and Gabe standing on Alex Briggs’s huge lovely yacht the night of the reunion.
Gabe looked delicious in both shots—tall, muscular, his black hair a little long, but combed back to show his lean jaw and sculpted cheekbones. Carefully groomed scruff and his dark, soulful eyes gave him a piratical appearance that had turned the head of every woman at the reunion. Jen had heard the whispered comments that followed him through the tavern at the meet-and-greet.
Who is that?
Surely that’s not Gabe Dawson!
God, he’s McDreamy.
I’ll take me some of that.
And he had been completely oblivious, or at least it had appeared so to Jenny as the two of them sat, tucked away in a back booth, catching up over a couple of beers. The server kept bringing drinks over to Gabe, who took a sip of each and smiled uncomfortably at whoever had sent it, but never drank more of any of them. By the time he left, after being there only about an hour, there were at least six glasses on the table between them, and he’d joked that they looked like a couple of lushes. The next night at the reunion, when he’d practically begged her to take him with her to help out a stranded boater, she realized how shy he still was, despite being a college professor, looking like a GQ model, and no doubt beating back women in Virginia with a stick.
She chewed her lower lip and pulled the cover up to her chin. Had he ever been married? Engaged? In the several conversations they’d had, she’d never asked and he’d never offered. Despite his offhand mention of a wine-loving female colleague/friend, he seemed very available, which was somewhat disconcerting. Jenny had closed off that part of her life after the divorce, devoting herself to Lucas and the family business. She was—she searched for the term—wary. That was the word. She was wary and unable to imagine life with a man again. Tuff had scorched her heart and she wasn’t sure she’d ever completely heal. But a little holiday fun with a charming, handsome guy who was basically just passing through?
Maybe. She yawned and closed her eyes. Maybe.
Gratitude for this week: The boat is safely in storage for the winter (thank you, Ken!); Got some good words written; took care of a knotty editing-gig issue with little drama; finished another editing gig; the trees around the lake are changing and gorgeous; got to take Grandboy golf-carting–he’s really doing well learning to drive it.
Stay safe, stay well (Covid is back, wear your masks when necessary!), be kind, keep reading, and most of all, mes amis, stay grateful!