I decided to try something different this week on the blog. I am so tired of the news and the political scene, I thought I’d stay away from it, so today there will be no news bits and no rants about you-know-who. Instead, I’m sharing an excerpt from my WIP, One Perfect Love, a sequel to One Small Victory.
Because so many readers asked what would happen between Jenny and Steve, the two main characters in the first book, I decided to finally tell the rest of their story. They met when Jenny worked as a confidential informant on a drug task force, reporting to Steve, so even though there was obvious chemistry between them, professional boundaries could not be crossed. Added to that was the emotional roller-coaster Jenny was on following the death of her oldest son.
Jenny and Steve needed more time before they could act on that chemistry, and I needed more time for the rest of their story to come to me. Other writers will know. We don’t choose the stories. The stories choose us.
This excerpt comes from about a third of the way into the story when the first obstacle to their being together rears up. Jenny’s shop was burglarized, and the Chief has reminded Steve that policy dictates that officers cannot be socially involved with victims. Well, crap. Just when things were getting good.
Now Steve has just told Jenny the awful news, promising that he will be back as soon as he catches the person who is breaking into businesses in downtown Little Oak.
Steve shook his head, mangling his hat even more. Jenny reached out and took the hat away. “Don’t kill your poor Stetson.”
“You’re worried about my hat?”
“Yes. No. Maybe I’ll just stomp on it for you while you tell me the rest.”
So he did. About the mayor. The phone call. The edict from Gonzales. The failed attempt to try to find a way around the policy. Jenny tried to let the words settle. Let them make sense. But they didn’t. They rattled around in the space between them like kernels of dried corn, and every now and then a few of them popped, especially the final ones, “So we can’t go out or be seen together.”
Jenny thought for a moment, then asked. “Until when?”
“We catch the person breaking into the businesses downtown.”
“Okay. I’ll help.”
Steve shook his head.
“You can’t, Jenny. Helping us before was a one-time thing. There’s no way Gonzales will let you get involved in this.”
Tears burned in Jenny’s eyes, and she blinked to hold them back. She didn’t want to cry. Okay. Maybe she did. But she also wanted to scream. And she really did want to stomp on the hat. Anything to vent the frustration and anger that was building inside her like the core of a volcano.
Steve stood and pulled her to her feet. “Before I go. And while we are hidden back here where nobody can see us…” His lips stopped forming words and touched hers in a gentle, comforting kiss. Then for a moment he tuned the kiss from gentle to passionate.
Jenny’s body responded in kind, and she seriously thought about going to lock the front door and…
Steve pulled back, taking both her shoulders in his hands and holding her gaze with his. “That was a promise, Jenny. The kiss. I will catch that burglar, and I will be back.”
Despite the seriousness of the moment, an urge to laugh almost overtook her. The line from “The Terminator” flashed through her mind. She knew the wild mix of emotions was making her think of that. Her mind always did crazy things to compensate for pain.
“What?” Steve asked.
At first, she wasn’t sure what he meant, then she realized. Of course. He’d picked up on the subtle change in her mood. “I thought about calling you Arnold.”
She quoted the famous line, complete with accent, and Steve chuckled. “When I come back, maybe I’ll be naked, too.”
“That would be fine by me.”
Then she didn’t want to smile anymore. She leaned into him, resting her head on his chest where she heard the thump, thump, thump of his heart. He combed his fingers through her hair. “I’ll do my best to get this guy quickly.”
“Will you be able to let me know how the investigation is progressing?”
“Of course. As one of the victims, you are entitled to updates.”
“Victim.” Jenny shuddered. “How I hate that word. Makes me feel so weak.”
Steve pulled back and smiled at her. “You, darlin’ are anything but weak.”
The darlin’, unraveled her again and the tears started in earnest. Steve brushed them off her cheeks with his thumbs, then kissed her again before heading to the door.
Jenny let him go out alone. It was an abrupt departure, but the kind they both needed. She knew this was as hard for Steve as it was for her. To have finally gotten together only to be pulled apart again. Knowing how long it took for some cases to be resolved, Jenny did not hold out much hope that he would be back next week to pick up where they left off today.
“Damn! Damn! Double damn!”
I’d like to know what you think of the title, One Perfect Love. Does it work for you? And what do you think should be on the cover? This is a pure romance story, and will be a novella. Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Thanks!
I also have a post up at The Blood-Red Pencil blog, talking about the things that irritate me while listening to audio books. Hop on over if you’d like.