Sharon C. Cooper

Just thinking…

Here It Is – Rendezvous With Danger!

I’m happy to announce the release of my latest novel, Rendezvous with Danger, Book 2 of the Reunited Series. Quinn Hamilton (main character) was first introduced in Blue Roses, Book 1 of the Reunited Series. He was re-introduced in Secret Rendezvous, the short story prequel to Rendezvous with Danger (which is available FREE at all ebook online retailers). In Secret Rendezvous we not only had a chance to see Quinn in action, but we were introduced to his love interest – Alandra Pargas.

Without further ado, here’s a snippet from Rendezvous with Danger

Rendezvous w-Danger - Book Cover

 

Blurb

Alandra Pargas, ex-CIA counter-intelligence officer, plans to wreak vengeance on the people who tried to kill her. A little rendezvous with danger is not what scares her, though. It’s seeing the tall, dark, and dangerously sexy man she vowed to love forever that has her running for cover.

Former U.S. Special Operative, Quinn Hamilton, left the world of covert operations after the love of his life died in his arms during a black op. Three years later, he still loses sleep wondering if maybe he could have done something more to save her – until Alandra shows up on his doorstep. With her lies and betrayal, he wants nothing to do with her, yet, his heart won’t cooperate. It’s not until unknown enemies come after her that he must decide if he can leave the past behind and protect the woman he’ll always love. Will they survive this last mission and rekindle the love and passion they once shared?

Excerpt (prologue)

Quinn eased around the paint-chipped pillar, and along the musty-smelling hallway, his gun held close to his body and ready to shoot anyone who got in his way. All he needed was to leave the building without being detected.

“You have twelve minutes to get out of there Q,” Malik said through Quinn’s earpiece.

Quinn proceeded through the corridor, his body tight against the uneven wall. He made the first turn and moved down the dimly lit hallway where a single bulb dangled from a sub-standard light fixture. He heard voices coming from a room to his right, so he turned left and maneuvered down the staircase. Ten more yards and he would be home free.

He made it to the final step and halted when he heard footsteps running on the level above him and then down the stairs behind him. He ducked into a nearby utility closet, not closing the door completely.

“We have a problem,” he heard Malik say in his ear.

No kidding, Quinn thought.

“Two snipers on the rooftop of the building adjacent to the one you’re in. Sit tight.”

Missions like this Quinn normally did solo, but he was glad Malik was there. They’d run into a few snags, and his presence had proven beneficial.

“All clear.”

No longer hearing footsteps, Quinn eased back into the hallway, down the back stairs and out of the building into the night. He made sure the information he had just stolen was secure inside his jacket, and he inched toward the gate. A tree branch snapped. Quinn slammed his body against the brick wall, blending into the darkness of the night. He stood still for several seconds and heard it again. Slowly, he turned his head toward the noise. What he saw, several yards away under the dim moonlight, made his heart stop.

Alandra. What in the… He blinked several times, unable to fathom why she was thousands of miles from home, and standing in the middle of what could easily become a war zone.

He retraced his steps. She anxiously looked around the area and then back at the small device she held in her hands. Within five feet of her, he must have made a noise because her head shot up and their eyes connected. And in slow motion everything exploded around her.

“Get down!” he yelled and saw her fall to her knees.

Without thinking he ran to her and chaos erupted in every direction. He scooped her up and nestled her behind a long concrete block and then he noticed she’d been shot.

“Oh, shit.”

“Quinn,” she said, grasping at his shirt, her eyes wild. “Please … be careful.”

“Malik, I need you. Now!” Quinn growled into his mouthpiece giving Malik his location while he jerked out of his jacket and placed it under Alandra’s head.

“On my way,” Malik said.

“Hang on baby. We’re going to get you out of here.” He ripped open her down vest and then her shirt to determine the extent of her injury. Blood spilled from the chest wound. Damn.  He glanced around trying to decide the best route to safety as he removed his shirt, leaving him with only a black T-shirt on. Gunshots rang out around him as he pressed his shirt over her wound to slow the bleeding.

“Quinn… I love…you. I have to tel…”

“I love you too, baby, but I need you to hold… Oh, damn. Alandra? Alandra?” he growled when her eyes rolled to the back of her head. He cradled her closer to his body, willing her to stay with him. “Lan…” he started but felt a bullet slap the back of his shoulder – and then his back. Paralyzed by the sharp pain that traveled down his spine, gripping him like steel claws, he struggled to hold on to Alandra, fighting the blackness that threatened to overpower him.

“Alandra, baby, I…need you…to hold on.”

***

Want to find out what happens next? Get your copy today! It’s available in ebook on Amazon.com – NOW! Click here to purchase!

Available in paperback – March 30, 2013

Available at all other ebook online retailers – May 27, 2013

NOTE: Have you read the short story prequel to Rendezvous with Danger? If not, check it out! Secret Rendezvous is the short story prequel and can be found *FREE* at all ebook online retailers. Click here for the link to the *FREE* copy on Amazon.com.

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February 28, 2013 Posted by | New Release | , , , , , , | 17 Comments

The Next Big Thing – Rendezvous with Danger

Thanks to author M.J. Kane for tagging me, I’m participating in the Next Big Thing Blog Hop. I’ll be answering a few questions regarding my upcoming release.

What is the working title of your book? Well, it’s no longer the working title – it’s official. The title of my next release is Rendezvous with Danger, Book Two of the Reunited Series  (Release date is February 28, 2013).

Rendezvous w-Danger - Book Cover

Where did the idea for the book come from? It all started with heartthrob, Quinn Hamilton. He is the best friend of the main character (Tyler Hollister) in Blue Roses, Book One of the Reunited Series. I received numerous emails on whether or not Quinn would have his own book. Readers wanted to know his story. Even my critique partners were sweating me (Lol!) about Quinn’s story. The story idea sparked when Dallas Marcel (Tyler’s love interest) started receiving threatening calls – Tyler needed someone who was very-well connected to look into an issue for him. Since Quinn was a former SEAL and a U.S. Special Operative, Tyler knew he had deep connections. Quinn found out things that Tyler never would have discovered until it was too late. BTW, if you haven’t read Blue Roses – check it out! Here’s the link.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? When unknown enemies go after Alandra, Quinn must decide if he can leave the past behind him, and protect the woman he’ll always love.

What is the genre of the book? Rendezvous with Danger is a Romantic Suspense and could fall under Multi-cultural Romance

Is your main (male) character modeled after a man you know? There are certain aspects of Quinn’s character/personality that remind me of my oldest brother (Will Cunningham). He sports dreadlocks, was in the military, is a real estate developer (sorta), and he’s loyal and dependable.

Will C

Which actors would you choose to play the characters of the movie rendition? Idris Elba would play Quinn  and Zoe Saldana would play Alandra

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Indie published

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Hmm…good question. It took about four months, and that included some initial editing.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about the book? Here’s the blurb for Rendezvous with Danger and a short excerpt:

Blurb:

Alandra Pargas, ex-CIA counter-intelligence officer, plans to wreak vengeance on the people who tried to kill her. A little rendezvous with danger is not what scares her, though. It’s seeing the tall, dark, and dangerously sexy man she vowed to love forever that has her running for cover.

Former U.S. Special Operative, Quinn Hamilton, left the world of covert operations after the love of his life died in his arms during a black op. Three years later, he still loses sleep wondering if maybe he could have done something more to save her – until Alandra shows up on his doorstep.  With her lies and betrayal, he wants nothing to do with her, yet, his heart won’t cooperate. It’s not until unknown enemies come after her that he must decide if he can leave the past behind and protect the woman he’ll always love. Will they survive this last mission and rekindle the love and passion they once shared?

Excerpt:

“Quinn, I’m sorry, but I lost too. I’ve missed you so much, and staying away was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. So many times I wanted to call you, but I couldn’t. It wasn’t safe.”

He pushed slowly away from the wall and approached her with concern in his eyes. “What do you mean it wasn’t safe?” He reached out to touch her, but dropped his arm.

Disappointment crept in when he took a step back as if she were toxic, as if touching her would somehow weaken him. Alandra swallowed hard and decided it was probably for the best. Had he pulled her into his arms, there was no telling what would happen. Besides, that wasn’t why she had come. Three years ago someone tried to kill her, and now she was determined to find out who and why, but she needed Quinn’s help.

She sighed and rubbed her forehead. “Quinn, I’m in the midst of something big and you’re going to blow my cover if you keep coming to the hospi—”

“Are you kidding me?” he yelled. His angry eyes pierced her soul deeper than any knife ever could. “This three year disappearance is connected to some goddamn op?”

She stepped to him and placed her hands on his chest in hopes of calming him down. “No. No, you don’t understand. It’s just that—”

“I can’t believe this shit!” He jerked away from her and raised his fist as if he were going to punch through the wall.

“Let me explain,” Alandra grabbed his arm.

He turned abruptly. “Explain? Hell, you’ve had three damn years to explain.”

“But I couldn’t. I—”

“Yeah, you could have,” he said in a hoarse whisper. He held her face in his large hands, his lips inches from hers. Her pulse quickened. “Lan, baby, there is nothing I wouldn’t have done for you including give my life. I mean absolutely nothing. And you knew that, so don’t tell me you didn’t have a choice.”

He dropped his hands and Alandra immediately missed the warmth on her cheeks. The pain she saw in his eyes burned into her memory. This man had risked his life by showing up in Guerrero, Mexico to save her from Orlando Medina, a ruthless drug lord. A man like Medina wouldn’t have thought twice about killing her had Quinn not shown up when he had. And here she was saying that she couldn’t come to him.

“Q, please let me explain.”

“You’re a professional liar so anything you tell me will probably be bullshit,” he said, a faint tremor in his voice. “Just go.” He walked out of the room without a backwards glance and she followed behind him, prepared to plead her case, but pulled up short when they reached the front door, and he opened it.

“Quinn.”

“Get…out.”

***

I can’t wait for you to read the whole story! Don’t forget – Release Day – February 28, 2012 (Don’t worry – I’ll remind you).

Did you know there’s a prequel to Rendezvous with Danger? If not, there is – and it’s FREE! Here’s the link to Secret Rendezvous, the short story prequel to Rendezvous with Danger.

Okay, so I’m supposed to tag three other authors and they are supposed to (on their blog) answer the questions above and share a little about their work in progress (or upcoming releases). I couldn’t narrow it down to three, and I decided to choose the first four that came to mind: Candace Shaw, Delaney Diamond, Synithia Williams, and Chicki Brown.

February 22, 2013 Posted by | Rendezvous with Danger | , , | 8 Comments

Book Spotlight – Flappers, Flasks and Foul Play

Check out Flappers, Flasks and Foul Play by author Ellen Mansoor Collier

Flappers Book Cover

“Boardwalk Empire” meets “The Great Gatsby” in this soft-boiled “Jazz Age” mystery, inspired by actual events.  Prohibition is in full swing in 1920s Galveston, Texas: the “Sin City of the Southwest.” Jasmine Cross, a young society reporter, feels caught between two clashing cultures: the seedy speakeasy underworld and the snooty social circles she covers in the Galveston Gazette.

During a night out with her best friend, Jazz witnesses a bar fight at the Oasis–a speakeasy secretly owned by her black-sheep half-brother, Sammy Cook. But when a big-shot banker with a hidden past collapses there and later dies, she suspects foul play. Was it an accident or murder?

Soon new Prohibition Agent James Burton raids the Oasis, threatening to shut it down if Sammy doesn’t talk. Suspicious, he pursues Jazz, but she refuses to rat on Sammy. As turf wars escalate between two real-life rival gangs, Sammy is accused of murder. To find the killer, Jazz must risk her life and career, exposing the dark side of Galveston’s glittering society.

Excerpt:

A loud bang sounded, a crash, a door cracking. Heavy footsteps pounded down the stairs and three men in dark suits entered the Oasis, holding badges. Their guns raised high, the trio circled the room like Wild West lawmen. We had no place to hide. A stocky man shoved Dino against the wall and for once, he didn’t fight back. Sammy must have warned him to be on his best behavior. Frank crept towards the back like a spy, trying to disappear into the woodwork. I’d never been in a raid before, but I’d seen them on news reels. My heart throbbed in my chest as I braced myself for the worst: What if we all got arrested and thrown in jail?

“Federal Agent James Burton, Treasury Department. Don’t move and no one will get hurt!” yelled the tallest of the trio. Over six feet, he wore a fancy three-piece beige suit and felt hat. I didn’t know flatfoots got paid so well.

Cool as ice, Sammy sauntered out from the kitchen, smiling at the men as if they were regulars. “Welcome! How can I help you gentlemen?”

“You can tell us where you keep your booze,” Burton said, scanning the room.

“Booze? You’re in the wrong place, boys. All we serve here is good food and soda pop.” Sammy wiped his hands on a dirty red apron he’d thrown on for effect. “Hungry? How about today’s special—home-made spaghetti?”

“We need a drink to quench our thirst,” said Burton. “On the rocks, since we’re on duty.”

Sammy feigned surprise—not a bad job of acting for an amateur. “How about root beer or a Coke? The only cold drinks we serve here are soda pop. We’re bone dry.”

“That’s not what we heard—Mr. Cook, is it? We hear this place is full of hooch.”

I held my breath, trying to quell a bad case of the screaming meemies. How’d he know Sammy’s name? Who mentioned any hooch? Agent Burton and his men slid between the tables, his eyes dancing back and forth, studying each customer, as if memorizing their faces.

A burly cop in glasses pointed to an older bald man cowering in his chair. “You there! What’s that poison you’re drinking?”

“It’s lemonade,” the man stammered. “I swear.”

“Looks like a cocktail to me.” The agent stuck his finger in the glass, tasted it, then threw it down. Glass splintered into tiny slivers as liquid seeped into the wood floor….

Dropping his friendly facade, Sammy marched over to Burton, his boots crunching on broken glass. “I told you it’s a diner, not a bar. Leave him alone. Who do you think you are?”

“Like I said, name’s Burton,” he said, as if talking to a dim-witted child. “I’m the new head of Galveston’s Prohibition enforcement office.” He held up his badge like a shiny trophy. The two men were polar opposites: With his tanned skin and thick honey-blond hair, Burton resembled a golden retriever ready to attack a Doberman. No contest, if you ask me.

“You’re wasting your time here. No need to harass my help or my customers.”

“Seems your customers must like to play rough.” Burton tapped his own cheekbone, indicating Sammy’s black eye.

I nudged Nathan under the table, impressed by Sammy’s bravado. But maybe this wasn’t the best time to question authority. His big mouth could earn him a fat lip.

“What’s going on?” I whispered to Nathan. My throat was so dry, I could barely speak.

“Who knows? Never been invited to a raid before.”

Burton must have heard us because he strode over to our table, and draped an arm over my chair. “Evening, ma’am. What’s a classy dish like you doing in this crummy gin mill?”

How dare he! “Get your hands off me!” I shrugged off his arm, shoulders stiff. He backed away, surprised. Up close, I noticed how young he was, late twenties, face smooth and tanned.

Nathan stood up, a full head shorter than Burton. “Back off, buster. Leave my date alone.” Obviously Burton’s gun and badge failed to impress Nathan. What he lacked in stature, he made up for with attitude.

“Your date?” Agent Burton smiled. “Lucky guy.” He took a sip from my cup, then spit it out.

“If you’d asked nicely, I could’ve told you it was Coca-Cola.” Watch it, Jazz. In school, I’d often gotten in trouble for talking back to my teachers, but they hadn’t carried a badge or a loaded gun.

“Excuse my manners, miss. I can’t resist a pretty face and a smart mouth.”

About the author

Ellen M. Collier - Author Pic

Ellen Mansoor Collier is a Houston-based freelance writer/editor whose articles, essays and short stories have been published in several national magazines.She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Magazine Journalism, and was active in Women in Communications (W.I.C.I.), serving as president her senior year. FLAPPERS is her debut novel, and she’s currently working on the sequel, BATHING BEAUTIES, BOOZE AND BULLETS, due out this Spring.

Buy Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

February 18, 2013 Posted by | Blog Guest | 9 Comments

Winners – Heartbreaker Blog Hop

Listed below are the winners of the Heartbreaker Blog Hop.

Heartbreaker Button

Lisa W. – won an e-copy of Blue Roses AND a $5 Gift Card.

Danielle M. – won an e-copy of Blue Roses

 

GRAND PRIZE WINNERS

Kindle Fire Winner: Ashley M.

Amazon $100 Gift Card: Jess987

Swag Pack: Meghan S.

Note: All winners have been contacted via email.

Thanks to all who participated!

February 12, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Winners – Heartbreaker Blog Hop

Heartthrob vs. Heartbreaker

Heartbreaker Button

What better way to gear up for Valentine’s Day than with the Heartbreaker Blog Hop sponsored by Carrie Ann’s Blog Hops? Not only do you get to meet some sexy heartthrobs, but you also get a chance to win LOTS of books and prizes (including a Kindle Fire or a Nook Tablet)!

But first, let’s start with a couple of definitions.

HeartthrobA sweetheart; the object of one’s infatuation

HeartbreakerAn affectionate way to say somebody is adorable or good looking; one who gives you hope, but rips it away; one that causes sorrow, grief, or disappointment

Quinn Hamilton, the heartthrob in my upcoming novel, Rendezvous with Danger (Book 2 of the Reunited Series), had readers panting over him in Blue Roses (Book 1 of the Reunited Series). Well, now Quinn has his own story and he wears both titles – heartthrob and heartbreaker proudly. Alandra Pargas, Quinn’s love interest, knows better than anyone that he’s not perfect, and he doesn’t always say the right thing. And though he can be a jerk at times, he proves over and over again how much he loves her and would do anything to protect her.

Let me introduce you to their story – Rendezvous with Danger:

Rendezvous w-Danger - Book Cover

Former U.S. special operative, Quinn Hamilton, left the world of covert operations for a life of peace. But the simple life he enjoys is suddenly turned upside down when the only woman he’s ever loved, returns from the dead – sort of. Alandra Pargas faked her death three years ago. With her lies and betrayal, he wants nothing to do with her, yet, his heart won’t cooperate. It’s not until unknown enemies come after her that he must decide if he can leave the past behind and protect the woman he’ll always love.

Alandra Pargas, ex-CIA counterintelligence officer, plans to wreak vengeance on the people who tried to kill her. A little rendezvous with danger is not what scares her though. It’s seeing the tall, dark, and dangerously sexy man she vowed to love forever that has her running for cover. Will Quinn ever forgive her for deceiving him? And will they survive this last mission and rekindle the love and passion they once shared?

Excerpt (unedited)

“I don’t even know what to say to you,” he finally spoke just above a whisper, his voice laced with anguish. Alandra looked at him, unsure of what to say, but didn’t have to say anything when he continued. “A part of me wants to wrap you in my arms and make love to you so fierce that you’ll never want to leave me again, but then there’s the other part of me. The part that is mad as hell that my wife has been alive all this time, working in the city that I live in, and has never tried to contact me. That part of me wants nothing more than for you to get  out of my house and stay the hell out of my life…for good.”

Alandra reared back, stunned by the bitterness of his words. But what had she expected – to be welcomed with opened arms? Maybe not, but she had hoped they could at least talk. Yet, if she was honest with herself, she knew his unforgiving heart would rear its wicked head. He was the most committed, determined and trusted man to those he loved, but merciless toward his enemies. And right now she wasn’t sure how Quinn saw her.

Quinn released a long ragged sigh and leaned against a nearby wall, his muscular arms folded across his chest. “Do you have any idea what I’ve been through these last few years, thinking you were dead? Thinking I’d never be able to touch you, hold you, or make love to you? Hell, I watched you die, Alandra, in my arms! You have any idea what that feels like? To watch the one woman you loved more than life get gunned down.”

His voice broke, but he held his gaze steady, maintaining his usual tough-guy composure, and Alandra’s heart crumbled. She blinked rapidly to keep tears from falling. He had always been so hard, tough, and strong willed. It had been too easy for her to forget he was just a man.

Rendezvous with Danger will be available – February 28, 2013 in ebook, and March 15, 2013 in paperback. For up-to-date information, subscribe to my blog or join the Facebook Fan Page of Sharon C. Cooper

Now, let’s give away some prizes!

Here’s what I’m giving away:

First prize – Copy of Blue Roses, Book 1 of the Reunited Series and a $5.00 Amazon or B&N Gift Card

Second prize – Copy of Blue Roses, Book 1 of the Reunited Series

Blue Roses - Book Cover 2012

Where most women would welcome love from a wealthy, good-looking man, Chicago-based investment manager, Dallas Marcel, is not one of them. She will never let a man control her life again. That includes handsome entrepreneur, Tyler Hollister. Dallas is on track to making partner and she’s not letting anything or anyone get in her way. But when her life is put in danger, and a Ponzi scheme ignites a SEC investigation of her firm, she realizes the one man she’d banned from her heart, might be the only one who can save her career and her life.

Tall, dark, and handsome, Tyler Hollister can have any woman he wants, but he only wants one – Dallas. When he starts talking marriage, she breaks things off between them, claiming she doesn’t want a romantic entanglement to hinder her plight to making partner. A chance meeting, six months later, brings them face to face and Tyler soon realizes the intense sexual attraction they once shared is stronger than ever. But he swore he was done with her. Except he finds out her life is in danger, and his protective instincts take over. Can he save her life without losing his heart … again?

Read an excerpt http://www.sharoncooper.net/StoryExcerpt-blueroses1.html

How the blog hop works – Here’s the list of over 300 bloggers participating in the blog hop – http://carrieannbloghops.blogspot.com/p/heartbreaker-hop.html  Each blog spot is giving away prizes AND there are THREE grand prizes. You can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. That means you can enter over 300 times!

Besides the prizes from each individual blog, here are the Grand Prizes:

A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet

 A $100 Amazon or B&N Gift Card

Swag Pack! (Note: this prize is only for U.S. residents)  This Swag Pack contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!

 

Don’t forget to leave a comment, before the deadline, in the comment section below. Include your email address for your chance to win.

Deadline: You must enter no later than 11:59 p.m est on Monday, February 11,2013. That means you can enter to win any day from today, February 8, 2013 thru Monday, February 11, 2013!

I will post the names of ALL winners on this blog site by Wednesday, February 13, 2013. Note: Winners will have been contacted via email by this time.

Good Luck – I hope you win!

(don’t forget to leave a comment below and incl. your email address)

Here are the next three blogs participating in the Heartbreaker Blog Hop.

http://candaceshaw.net/blog/

http://sharonhamiltonauthor.blogspot.com/

http://vodkatalking.blogspot.com/

February 8, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 68 Comments

Book Spotlight: You Make Me Feel Brand New

Looking for a fun read? Check out author Chicki Brown’s latest release: You Make Me Feel Brand New 

YMMFBN - Nook Cover

Blurb:

One year ago, personal chef Jan Davis signed her divorce papers after a miserable twenty-five-year marriage. She is single again, and romantic attention is as foreign to her as ancient Carthaginian cuisine.  When she meets her new client, sports management agent Mac Sinclair, who is eleven years younger, Jan’s life takes a complete turnaround. She’s thrilled, but everyone in her life isn’t pleased.

Excerpt:

Anxious to share what had happened with Mac, the next night Jan waited for Verna outside the restaurant for their regular Friday dinner. Of her three friends, she and Verna were the closest. They shared everything, and Jan could always count on her to be honest. Since the restaurant wouldn’t seat incomplete parties, they had to wait for Kathy and Noreen. She and Verna squeezed into a corner of the crowded lobby.

“I need to tell you something before the others get here.”

Verna folded her arms across her ample chest. “Sure. What’s up?”

“Tell me what you think about this. Last night I cooked for a dinner party for Mac Sinclair, one of Ron’s associates. He stayed right there in the kitchen with me the whole time. At first I thought he just wanted to see how I fixed everything. You know how some people want to make sure you don’t poison them. We talked a bit, but most of the time he sat there watching me.”

“So? What’s wrong with that?” Verna asked with a curious frown.

“I caught him staring at my legs, and realized he wasn’t hanging around to pick up cooking tips. It made me a nervous wreck.”

“So did he say anything out of line?”

“No, not out of line, but he invited me to the party. He said it would be good for business because the guests are rich, big name athletes.”

Verna raised an eyebrow. “So?”

“I don’t think he wanted it to be all business. He said he’d be the only one with no date.”

Verna laughed. “Don’t say the word like it’s so offensive.”

“What?” Jan whispered, hoping nobody in the lobby had overheard. “Why are you laughing?”

“So is he a leper or something?”

“Lord, no! He’s the finest man I’ve seen in a long time. That’s what’s got me so –”

“I think flustered is the word you’re looking for?”

“Yes. No. Oh, I don’t know. Verna, He’s only in his early thirties. Why would he be interested in me?”

“You underestimate yourself, Jan. I’ll bet he thinks you’re his age. Did you refuse?”

“I haven’t been out with a man other than Robert in twenty-five years. I wouldn’t even know how to act.”

For twenty-five years Jan had been in a marriage that died a slow and painful death. Although Robert was a decent man and a good provider who’d remained faithful, he’d been emotionally distant. Nurturing the intimate side of their marriage was unimportant to him, and he proved it regularly by forgetting her birthday, their anniversary and even Mother’s Day. Whenever she voiced her disappointment, he’d stuff cash into a card thinking it would pacify her. He rarely took her out. Romance after the wedding had been pointless to him.

Kathy and Noreen came in the door looking as distinctive and night and day. Kathy always wore something Afrocentric with her head wrapped in colorful fabric, while Noreen looked every bit the Vogue model. Verna waved to get their attention.

Once the hostess had seated them, Verna announced, “Jan has something she needs to share. Go ahead, girl.”

Jan gave her the evil eye.

“What’s up?” Noreen asked. “Come on, spit it out.”

“Okay. Just promise me you won’t laugh.” She told the entire story without mentioning Mac’s age then waited for their reactions.

“What does he look like?” Noreen asked. “And how much money does he make?” The resident expert on single life, she’d never been married and delighted in being unattached.

Kathy shot her a disgusted glare. “When are women in our community going to understand those aren’t the two most important issues in life?”

Noreen rolled her eyes. “They should be. Only a fool wants a broke, ugly man.”

When they finally stopped laughing, Jan answered. “He’s very good looking, and has a body that could boil water, and works as a sports management agent.”

“So what’s the problem?” Noreen asked.

Verna answered her question. “He’s only about thirty-five, Noreen.”

Noreen’s face lit up. “Aw, sookie sookie now! You know how I feel about those young tender morsels. ”There’s nothing better than waking up next to a healthy, robust, young brother.”

Kathy pinched the bridge of her nose as if she’d suddenly developed a migraine. Noreen’s preoccupation with sex irritated her. “For God’s sake, Noreen. Can’t we ever have a conversation without you stepping into the gutter?”

“Honestly, I’m afraid,” Jan confessed. “I haven’t been with anyone except Robert since I was twenty-one. Singleland has changed a lot since then. I’m way out of my league here.”

The mood at the table instantly changed. Verna reached across and took her hand. These were the times her friends were at their best.

“Honey, you just have to step out there. Once you take the first step, it won’t be so scary. He sounds decent. It wouldn’t hurt to see him once. The dinner party would be a safe place to get to know him, since other people will be there.”

“So you don’t think there’s anything wrong with seeing a man so much younger than I am?”

“That’s the new Hollywood trend. Besides, you’ll need someone strong around to fan you when you start having hot flashes.” Noreen ran her fingers through her expensive weaved hair and laughed.

“What time is the dinner party supposed to start?” Verna asked, checking her watch.

“He said around eight.”

“So call him, girl,” Noreen urged. “It’s just after seven now.”

The idea sent Jan’s stomach into a double flip. “What would I say?”

“Just ask him if he got a date. If he says no, tell him you’d like to join him, if it’s okay.”

“So what if he says he asked someone else? Then I’ll feel like an idiot.”

Kathy, the quietest and most serious one, never spoke frivolously. Jan valued her opinion. “Say something pleasant like, ‘Good. I hope everything goes well.’”

“Take my word for it,” Noreen reassured her. “If he had someone, he would’ve asked her before last night. Call him.”

They prodded her on until Jan rose from the table and took her cell phone into the ladies room. After she took a few deep breaths, she dialed and waited for him to pick up.

To read the rest of this short story (available in ebook), check out the buy links below:

Buy links:

Kindle – http://amzn.to/11eeXRq

Kobo – http://bit.ly/1297P9b

Nook – http://bit.ly/WyPnTQ

 

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Guest Post | , | 5 Comments