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My life is straight out of a fairy tale- something most people only get to sample on vacation. So why is it suddenly not enough?
Cade – Call me Peter Pan, but I’m in no rush to take over the family business. It’s not that I’m afraid of hard work, I just like to play harder, and things like responsibility don’t mix well with my carefree lifestyle. You know what else doesn’t mix? Girlfriends. Tourists are more my speed—here one day gone the next—and in this town there are plenty of them. All in all, I’ve got the perfect life. Or so I thought, until she comes to town. The girl is my total opposite, but instead of repulsing me that intrigues me. She’s the first person to look at me like I’m more than just a tourist attraction, and I kind of like it. Too bad she’s only passing through like the rest of them.
Cora – I’m not the kind of girl who’s easily distracted, which is what makes my interest in the town playboy so uncharacteristic. He’s never serious, and I don’t know any other way to be. Still, there’s something about his carefree, live in the moment attitude I find appealing. Freeing. It makes me want to follow his example and…have fun. He thinks he’ll be a bad influence on me, but what’s the harm in taking a page out of his playbook, just for the summer.
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Excerpt from Distraction
“Want to try welding?” He holds the tools out.
“Me?” I squeak. “But it’s so pretty. I don’t want to mess up your work.”
“You won’t mess it up, I’ll help you.” He hands me a pair of gloves and an apron of sorts and adjusts a mask to fit my head. I try to breathe normally with him pressed against my back, but there’s no stopping my heartbeat from accelerating, which it seems to do every time he gets close.
He gives me a sliver of metal like what he was melting earlier. “We’re going to bond the stem to the gear. Hold the bond metal where we’re going to connect the two, and we’ll melt that to join the two pieces together. Got it?”
I nod, and the mask drops down to cover my face. It wasn’t intentional, but it makes him laugh. “Why do I get the feeling you’re going to be a natural at this?” I catch his grin right before his own mask falls into place.
Cade turns the machine on and positions his hands over mine to help keep them steady. Together we move the bond metal to the parts we want to merge, and I’m almost giddy when I see that the two pieces we forged together resemble a flower.
“Nice work.” He admires our effort while I take off the mask and gloves and flex my hands. “I’ve never made a flower before, but it turned out pretty well.”
“What do you usually make then?”
“Whatever comes to mind.” He takes his own mask and gloves off and goes to hang them on the far wall. “Half the stuff I throw out because it never turns into anything. But sometimes I get lucky and things fall into place.”
“Like your gear sculpture?” I tease, except Cade must not see the humor because his expression turns thoughtful. Somber.
“Exactly like that,” he says softly, almost distantly, except the look in his eyes is anything but distant. Its penetrating, seeming to look inside me instead of at me. I feel self-conscious under his gaze, but not because of its intensity. Because of its uncertainty, like he doesn’t totally understand what’s happening, and doesn’t know what to do about it.
I’m helpless to do anything but return his stare. I don’t know what’s happening either, why his past doesn’t scare me, or why he seems to open up to me in a way I don’t think he does with others. So, we stand there, suspended in time, just watching each other. Waiting.
I have no idea how to move. What to say. It’s too late to pretend this hasn’t turned into a moment, but I don’t know what to do about it. So, I wait, until he finally takes a step. And another. And another. Until he’s standing right in front of me, and I have to look up to see into his cloudy blue eyes.
He takes the mask off my head and sets it on the table. “You see a lot of things other people miss, don’t you?” he says more to himself than to me.
“What do you mean?” I exhale a shaky breath.
“Situations, people.” He tucks a stray lock of hair behind my ear. “You see into them. Just don’t be fooled by what you think you see in me. It’s not real.”
“What do you think I see?” I search his murky gaze.
“Something that isn’t there,” he says softly. “I’m not as good as you want me to be.”
“You want me to believe a guy who’s honest and fun, who takes care of the people around him, including a woman he just met, is bad?” I dare him to explain away his attributes.
“A guy who’s only ever used women for sex is bad.” The words are spoken without emotion, but the look on his face is sad. Almost regretful.
“That’s not who you are.” I shake my head.
“How can you be sure? You barely know me.” He searches my eyes, looking for the lie, I think.
“I know enough,” I whisper.
“Saying shit like that about me makes me want to believe it.” He rests his forehead against mine. “It makes me want to kiss you, even though I shouldn’t.”
“I won’t stop you.” I breathe, because right now there’s nothing I want more.
Meet Author Michele Lenard
I’m Michele – a book lover who decided to try writing after I fell into a reading rut. I LOVE spicy romance, but I like sweet, too, and I felt like I was finding books that had one or the other, but rarely both. In hindsight I wasn’t looking in the right place to find what I like, but now I’m a writer, so I’ve got that going for me.
My go-to genre is sports romance, since I love sports and am pretty active myself, although I don’t exclusively write that genre. My debut novel, Not So Friendly Intent, which is a friends to lovers sports romance, hit the Amazon best seller list in both sports romance (#9) and romantic comedy (#24), which I hope means I tell a pretty decent story. When I’m not reading I enjoy spending time with my husband and sons, usually on a mountain snowboarding or biking.
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