It’s Mid Week Tease time again, hosted by the phenomenal Sandra Bunino!
I thought this week I’d open up my bag of tricks and introduce you to a novel written by my alter ego, Marie E. Blossom. Who says that falling in love only happens when you’re a teenager? My two protagonists in Loving Lily have been around the block a few times. In this scene, Lily and Matt have just met. Her car has broken down. Matt saves her. Be warned, Lily is feisty and when things don’t go her way, she tends to swear. A LOT!
“Fuck. Double fuckity fuck,” Lily muttered, kicking at her stupid, dumb, loser flat tire. She didn’t even bother trying to keep the cursing down this time. She was in the middle of freaking nowhere with her entire life packed into her stupid SUV. And what happens? I get a flat. Of course.
“If you’d bothered to plug your cell phone in, this wouldn’t be a big deal, now would it?” she berated herself out loud. “But no. You couldn’t remember to do that, could you? Of course not. You’re lost, your cell battery is dead, and your car is going nowhere. Fuck!” She yelled out the last part, kicking the tire again.
She looked up at the trees, judging it to be late afternoon by the angle of the sun. She’d been looking forward to checking into the bed and breakfast she’d booked, and then heading somewhere for dinner. Now she was stuck on the side of a mountain, in the woods, in rural Vermont, with no way to get help.
“Looks like I’m walking. Probably for hours,” she said aloud. “Because I’m too dumb to plan ahead. Soon as I get settled, I’m buying an extra phone battery. “
She locked her car and started off down the road. At least it was summertime. And not raining.
“I shouldn’t have stopped in the mall this morning. I didn’t really need a new bra. ” She kicked a rock along the side of the road. It made a satisfying sound so she kicked it again.
“I could have stopped for lunch. There was a sandwich shop right off the interstate. ” She’d been thinking about the new bra and the trauma of finally accepting that she’d been stuffing herself into lingerie two sizes too small. When she’d driven past the sandwich place, she decided she wasn’t that hungry. “But you’re hungry now, aren’t you, Lily?” She stopped for a moment to look up at the sky. The blue expanse just beyond the treetops mocked her. “Idiot,” she snorted.
The thing was, she really did need a new bra. She didn’t have many because she hated shopping for them so much, so she tended to wash and rewash until the few she owned were falling apart. She was at the point where all of the bras she owned were falling apart.
“Fuck. This stupid bra really is comfortable,” she said aloud, kicking the rock again.
“Hello there! I saw a car with a flat back there. Is it yours?” a male voice called out.
Lily jumped, heart knocking against her ribs. She spun around, surprised to see a man standing over a mountain bike just behind her. What the hell? Where did he come from? And also, oh shit, did he just hear me talking about my bra? Out loud?
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you,” he said, unbuckling his helmet.
Lily stared, still too freaked out to speak. He was huge. Like, really, really tall. And built. Her eyes wandered over his green t-shirt, down his cargo shorts to his feet. He was wearing some sort of hard boots with metal clip things on the bottom. Given all the crap that had happened in her life, she should probably be frightened about being caught alone in the middle of rural USA with a strange man, but she just couldn’t work up the energy for it right now. Plus, he had kind eyes.
And he’s extremely good-looking, she thought to herself, a little bit star-struck. He was movie-star hot, especially with the hint of silver at his temples. The crows-feet at the corner of his eyes made him seem real. Approachable. He looked like a man who’d been through a lot and come out the other side even better. He smiled appealingly. Lily stared some more. His teeth were perfectly white.
“Are you okay?” he asked, making no move to come closer. It was as if he knew how intimidating he could look if he tried. He stood there casually, one hand cradling his helmet, the other held palm out near his hip. It was a distinctly unthreatening gesture.
Lily took in his bright hazel eyes, his messy dark hair, the width of his shoulders, and swallowed, hard. If he knew I was speechless because he’s insanely gorgeous, not because I’m afraid, he’d probably turn tail and run to get away from the crazy woman, she thought. “Um, yeah. That’s my car,” she finally managed to say aloud. She grimaced. “And my flat tire. “
He cocked his head.
He looks adorable when he does that, she thought absently, eyes wandering back over him again.
“Do you have someone you can call?” he asked.
She shook her head. “No. Even if my cell phone wasn’t dead, I’d just be calling the nearest tow company. I’m not from around here. “
“I figured that,” he said, smiling. “The nearest tow place would be my brother, Alex. He owns the town’s only mechanic shop. “
Lily grinned, holding out her hand. “That’s good to know. I’m Lily Solton, by the way. Do you, by any chance, have a working cell phone?”
He walked closer, wheeling the bicycle with him. It was mud-spattered, but bright green paint shone through the dirt. When his hand closed over hers, she gasped at how gently he held it. His hand was warm and dry and strong—she could see the muscles in his forearm flexing, but he didn’t use it to hurt her like some men would. Instead, he shook her hand and let go politely.
“I do,” he said, then blinked. “Have a phone, that is. “
Lily laughed out loud. “If I said ‘I do’ too, does that mean I get to buy you dinner? I mean, if we’re going to get married, the least I can do is ask you out on a date, right?”
To her astonishment, he blushed.
Whoa, she thought, inordinately charmed. He’s hot and nice and he blushes, oh my.
“Um, yeah. “ He stumbled over his words. “I mean, no. Wait, that didn’t come out right. ” He stopped and took a breath and tried again while Lily grinned at him. “I would enjoy having dinner with you, but marriage on the day we meet is a bit too hasty for me. “ His hazel eyes twinkled down at her. “It’s not you, it’s me,” he added, chuckling.
Lily laughed, stepping back. “I get that, sure. “
He reached into his pocket and extracted a phone. “Want me to call my brother?”
“If he’s the guy with the tow truck, yes, please. “
He nodded and Lily watched him punch a button.
“Hey,” he said, phone to his ear, lips quirking up on one side. “I’ve got a lady with a flat out on Rock Creek Road. “ He nodded. “Yeah. Sure, we can wait. ” He slid the phone back in his pocket, shaking his head. “Not like you can go anywhere, not with that flat. “ He jerked his thumb back down the road.
“How long?” Lily asked him, trying not to stare at the way his shirt stretched over the luscious perfection of his pectoral muscles.
“He says fifteen minutes. I’ll walk you back to your car. ” He hooked his helmet on his handlebar and turned the bicycle around.
“You don’t have to do that,” she protested. “I don’t want to hold you up. Looks like you were in the middle of a ride. “
He shrugged. “I ride almost every day. It’s no big deal. ” He began walking. “You coming?”
Lily hitched her purse higher on her shoulder. “Yeah. I’m coming. “
Here are some other Mid Week Teasers for you!