Trouble Me teaser day 3. The heat is starting to simmer! Tune in each day between now and release day (9.27.19) for a snippet of the first two chapters. If you like it, pre-order this beauty for just $0.99 at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07XJQY4RR
Burgers and Bills
In spite of herself, her sleepy lady parts sat up and noticed him even though a frown marred his full lips. His moves were slow and deliberate, like a panther stalking its prey, settling into a booth at the back of the place.
With a heavy sigh, Emma pressed a hand to her lower back and stretched. Standing on her feet for long periods was difficult after she’d broken her back two years ago. She moved a hand to rub the puckered skin on her upper thigh, one of the more visible scars that reminded her of darker days.
Most of the time, she was laser-focused on the future. But every so often, the past would reach out and bitch-slap her. Right now, her tired ass was just ready to get home and curl up in bed with a pint of chocolate ice cream.
Squaring her shoulders, she walked around the L-shaped counter toward her just-stepped-out-of-a-Ralph-Lauren-catalogue customer. She pulled out her tablet and pen as she approached him. Mystery Man perused the well-worn, plastic-covered menu, snapping it closed when she walked up to the table.
“Hey, I’m Emma. What can I get you?”
When he looked up and met Emma’s gaze, her lips parted, her eyes widening of their own volition.
Long, dark lashes framed intense cerulean-blue eyes that reminded her of the South Pacific Sea. They seemed to bore right into her soul when he looked at her.
Damn. The man had sex appeal in spades.
He blinked at her then glanced down at the menu, rubbing a hand across his strong jaw. “How are the burgers?” His voice held a husky quality that made her tingle in all the right places.
Prying her tongue off the roof of her mouth, she kicked her brain into gear. “They’re the best in town. You won’t be hungry when you finish.”
Trouble Me teaser day 2. Tune in each day between now and release day (9.27.19) for a snippet of the first two chapters. If you like it, pre-order this beauty for just $0.99 at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07XJQY4RR
Burgers and Bills
He waved as he walked out the door, the bell above the front door ringing in his wake. As she set about the mindless task of refilling ketchup bottles for the next day, dread tightened her chest like a vise. She needed to nail her job interview tomorrow. The operations director job at a local winery was the only job in town that paid anywhere in the vicinity of what she needed.
Emma slid her hand into her apron and rubbed the white chip she kept with her. The surrender chip was the hardest to earn and held more significance to her than her bronzed two-year chip. As she did several times a day, Emma recited the Serenity Prayer silently in her mind. The pills and booze had stolen so much from her. Her family’s estate would not be one of them.
A winery was not a good place for Emma, but she needed the job. She was out of choices and out of time.
When the diner was empty, she bused Jimmy’s table and dared to dream about a hot shower and fresh sheets. Just getting off her feet sounded like a heaping slice of heaven.
The bell announcing another customer rang, sounding like a siren in Emma’s ears. Yanked back to reality, she had to bite back a groan. Mentally, she’d already clocked out for the day and was at home, in bed. But she shook out the ache in her feet and plastered on her best fake smile.
Turning to greet the customer, “hello” died on her lips. Even in the dingy surroundings, the man filling the doorway stood out like a beacon in a storm-darkened night. He glanced around the empty diner, his chestnut-colored hair glinting under the harsh lighting.
When her mouth and brain caught up with each other, she managed to say, “Sit anywhere you like.”
He stared at her for a few heartbeats before he muttered, “Thanks.”
T-10 days until the release of Trouble Me! Want a glimpse of the story? Tune in each day between now and release day for a snippet of the first two chapters. If you like it, pre-order this beauty for just $0.99 at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07XJQY4RR
Burgers and Bills
Emma twisted her lips into a semblance of a smile as she served Jimmy, her last customer, his usual heaping plate of cholesterol disguised as a double burger and fries. Maggie’s Diner served the best burgers in Madison Ridge, or so she’d heard. She’d never been able to bring herself to try one after smelling grease all day long.
Once back behind the counter, Emma breathed deep and pulled the mortgage bill out of her apron pocket. Once upon a time, avoidance came easy. She’d learned to evade any situation that exposed her vulnerability. But avoidance was a safety net she no longer used.
She ripped the envelope open like a bandage off an open wound and forced herself to focus on the bright red all-capped letters that made her stomach churn. The amount in bold was much larger than she anticipated. So much so her vision momentarily blurred.
Emma tapped a finger on the Formica countertop, her mind calculating her bank balance. Even if she could liquidate the last two pieces in her fine art collection tomorrow, she’d never make enough to pay the past due payments and save the family estate. Not by a long shot.
Winning the lottery wouldn’t hurt.
Hell, no. Gambling had been her father’s main vice and look where it had landed him.
Emma blinked back tears and shoved the letter into her apron, along with the thoughts from her mind, when Jimmy shuffled up front to pay his bill.
She punched the check total into the register and waited while he pulled out his wallet. “It’s getting late. Vera’s going to wonder where you’ve been.”
Jimmy grunted as he handed over a twenty. “Nah. She’s at some artsy wine and painting thing tonight. Probably not thought of me once.”
Emma chuckled. “After forty-something years of marriage, I seriously doubt that’s true.”
With a work-worn hand, he waved away the change she tried to give him. “Nah, you keep it.”
Emma’s smile was genuine in spite of her fatigue. “Thanks, Jimmy. See you tomorrow.”
Tune in tomorrow for more of chapter 1 – Burgers and Bills!