So I'm bashing my head against hard pointy things to try and focus on finishing the final novella in
my "Rock Harbor Short Romance" series. It's been hard, and I knew this story would be the hardest of the three, which is why I wound up writing them out of order. "Love is Eternal" is actually the second one in the series, timeline-wise, but it's not done yet. Why? Because I have to do something I don't do very often in my stories, and I don't want to do it. (What is it? Nope, not spoiling it, you'll just have to read.)
Anyway, since that's going to be done soon-ish, I thought I'd share a bit more of the newest in the series, "Love is Enticing." Remember, all my novellas, my novels, and my humor books are available in print and e-book where all e-books are sold!
Bryan Jacobs walked in to the deserted hotel bar looking for something cool to wash away the clinging scent of tedium; the red-head at the end of the bar, he realized, did the job nicely.
As he walked past her, he took in her glossy curls, the color of the deepest flames in a campfire. The wavy hair framed wide emerald eyes and full raspberry lips. That one quick image of her face erased the memory of the throngs of buttoned down, tight pony-tailed women who’d surrounded him endlessly for the past two days. This woman, Bryan knew, was no grade school teacher.
And that was just fine by him.
He had no thought of actually speaking to her. Bryan Jacobs understood too well the annoyances of being attractive. Tall, dark, and the perfect age to be crushed on by students and mothers alike, Bryan had often received adoring attention he neither sought nor cared for. He was friendly, he had to be. He was a teacher in a small school in an even smaller town in the far northeastern reaches of Wisconsin. Friendly was the bare minimum he had to be. Most days he just wanted to be left alone. Having just crossed into his thirties, Bryan found he craved the solitude he found riding his quarter horse stallion, Pepper, across the farm fields surrounding his house.
So, though he sat down at the opposite end of the bar and kept the beauty in his line of sight, Bryan Jacobs had no intention of disturbing her. He just wanted to look at her, to remind himself that there were women in the world who wore clothes and hairstyles because they were colorful or attractive, not because they were comfortable or resisted finger paint stains well.
She seemed to be wearing some sort of costume, flowing black cape that fell away from her body just enough. Bryan let his eyes trail the length of the plunging neckline, taking in the soft curve of her cleavage. He didn’t wonder, nor did he care, why she was dressed the way she was.
Out of the corner of his eye, Bryan noted a sign that said “Happy Halloween.” He smiled and shook his head. Right, some adults still dress up for Halloween.
He’d forgotten it was Halloween, or at least near enough to Halloween for people like the red-head to be wearing a costume in public. He hadn’t thought about Halloween as an adult event much in the last few years. Wisconsin State Teacher’s convention pretty much sucked the life out of him every year during the last weekend of October. He remembered well, in the years he worked in his father’s hotels, people would gather together in costumes of varying degrees of good taste. They would drink, dance, and catcall each other, especially the women, who all seemed to dress as some “sexy” version of normal costumes. Sexy nun, sexy nurse, sexy school girl, all silly, and embarrassing, given how most of the women in the costumes were far too old or large for the costumes. It embarrassed him every year to have to bow and serve and clean up behind them all. Bryan shook his head again. He’d always thought it was ridiculous, completely normal adults dressing up and going out in public.
Even so, in this moment, it didn’t strike him as wrong or out of place when he noted two black cat ears poked out from the wavy sea of flaming hair.
She just looked…right.
Which meant, given his history with women, she was completely wrong.