Waiting for Wednesday

So here it is Wednesday and yep…I’m waiting. The irony of the situation is that I’m waiting for edits on my latest Ellora’s Cave book, Waiting for Wednesday. It’s book three in my Wild Irish series and I have to admit I’m sort of proud of how the story turned out. It’s a bit different from my usual books in that it is a bit sad, a bit poignant. Don’t get me wrong–there’s some humor, but the hero and heroine both spoke to my softer side and I think maybe that’s come through in the story.

Tristan Collins is the hero and I like to call him my gentle giant. He’s a big teddy bear of a man who falls for Lane Bryce. Lane is the product of the foster care program–her upbringing the extreme opposite of Tris who grew up in the close-knit loving Collins family. Lane’s just gotten out of an abusive marriage and Tris, her dear friend, decides it’s time someone taught her about love–true and lasting love.

The usual cast of suspects appear (characters you met in Come Monday and Ruby Tuesday). Keira, Teagan, Pop, Riley and Sean are all there. I’ve been living with the Collins clan for close to a year now and I swear these people are starting to feel real to me!

Thought I’d share you a very rough bit of the story. I’m hoping this story will hit the EC virtual shelves in February–fingers crossed and I’ll keep you posted.

“I need two gin and tonics, Tris, and another Guinness.”

Tristan Collins nodded to acknowledge he’d heard his sister’s order and started making the drinks.

“My, my, my,” Keira said, leaning over the bar. “Aren’t you the stimulating conversationalist tonight?”

Tris gave her a dirty look and tried to ignore his older sister’s assessing gaze. The last thing he needed was to be analyzed and dissected by Keira. Lately, she’d been giving him hell about his lack of social life, trying to set him up with one friend after another. She simply wouldn’t listen to him when he said he wasn’t interested in dating. He figured her sudden obsession with his lack of a love life had something to do with her being madly in love with Will Wallace. The man had proposed over Christmas, which meant Tris had been subjected to listening to hour after hour of wedding planning. He wished the damn day would come already, so they could get it over with and life could get back to normal. Unfortunately, June was still two very long months away.

He put the drinks on her tray and turned around to polish a glass that didn’t need polishing, hoping it would deter Keira from continuing, but no such luck.

She giggled. “Oh yeah, Tris. Turning your back will definitely make me stop talking. Not. You men are all the same. So who stuck the stick up your ass tonight?”

He sighed and shook his head, refusing to face her as he spoke. “No one, Keira. I’m just tired.”

“You’re always tired lately. What’s up, Tris?”

He knew what was up, but there was no way on earth he’d confess the truth to his sister. It had been a year since Lane Bryce disappeared from Baltimore, from his life. For months, he’d managed to hold that thought at bay, ignore the pain that accompanied the memory of her, but tonight he couldn’t seem to shake off the recollections that assaulted him. It was Wednesday night, their night. Yet for the first time in a year, he hadn’t looked at her usual stool and expected her to be there. It was as if the realization she was gone had finally sunk in to his thick skull.

When he’d last seen her, he hadn’t realized she’d leave town without a word. And he definitely hadn’t known she’d be taking off with his heart firmly gripped in her teeth. He closed his eyes. He’d been so stupid. She was married, unavailable and he’d foolishly convinced himself she was off-limits. Christ, she was off-limits.

Then he’d seen her in that hospital bed, learned she intended to get a divorce, and in a few hours, everything changed for him. He’d gone home that night feeling hopeful and happier than he’d ever been in his life. She was going to be free and he’d fully intended to grab her. To hold on to her with two hands before any other man realized what a gem she was and snatched her up. So much for that idea. She’d disappeared without a trace and weeks of searching hadn’t given him a clue to her whereabouts.

“Earth to Tris,” Keira said from behind him.

“Just deliver the damn drinks.” His reply was more harsh than he’d intended and he heard his sister’s slight intake of breath, knew he’d hurt her feelings. Shit. He was a regular asshole these days. He turned to apologize, but Keira had already stormed away from the bar.

“Damn, man.” Sean came behind the bar to drop off some clean glasses. “No wonder you don’t have a girlfriend. Must be all that charm you don’t have getting in the way.”

“Fuck,” Tris muttered. “I didn’t mean to snap at her.”

“You’ve been walking around here like a bear with a thorn in his paw all night. You wanna talk about it?”

He shook his head. “Not particularly.” He refused to tell any of his siblings about what a fool he’d been. He’d fallen in love with a woman who didn’t love him. It was as simple—and as hard—as that. He was never going to make that mistake again. As far as he was concerned, his future relationships would never advance beyond casual no-strings-attached sex. He was perfectly content running the bar, watching sports on television, hanging out with his guy friends on his days off, and finding a woman when he had an itch to scratch.

“Okay. Well, it’s a standing offer,” Sean said. “Coming over Sunday afternoon to watch the Orioles?”

Tris nodded, pleased that at least his younger brother could appreciate he meant it when he said he didn’t want to talk. Sean didn’t even take offense. Just another reason why women were a pain in the ass. They always wanted to poke and prod at every sore spot they could find.

“Yeah. Wouldn’t miss it. I’ll bring the pizza.” He and Sean had a regular Sunday afternoon routine that involved watching football, NASCAR, or whatever other sport was in season while devouring two large pizzas and sucking down soda.

“Cool. Hey, I think I might kick off early tonight. Do you mind? I’ve got a date and I want to go home and change first.”

“No problem. It’s Wednesday and slow as shit. Keira and I can handle it.”

Sean grinned. “Try not to piss her off anymore than you already have, okay? I’d hate to break up a fistfight between you and Will. He’s too damned protective of her and he’ll be ticked if you make her cry.”

Tris saluted. “I’ll try my best.”

He watched Sean leave, and then glanced at the clock. It was nearly eleven. Only one more hour to go before he could hit the sack. Sunday’s Side, the adjoining restaurant named after his mother, had just closed and a couple meandered through the connecting door between the bar and dining room clearly not ready to call it a night. There were less than a dozen people scattered around the pub and he wished they would all go home.

Keira came back over to the bar. “Where did Sean go?”

“He had a date. I told him he could take off early. Listen, Keira, I’m sorry about snapping your head off. I really am tired.”

His sister’s face lit up at his apology and she smiled. He had to admit the best thing about his sisters was they never held grudges. “It’s okay. I never know when to shut my mouth. I’m worried about you.”

“I know, but you’re just gonna have to believe me, sis, when I say I’m fine.”

She nodded, and then went to take drink orders from the two newcomers. He walked to the storeroom to grab a couple of cases of beer, returning to restock the cooler behind the bar. The bell above the front door rang and he fought back a growl at the thought of more people coming in. He’d never get out of here early tonight. He didn’t even bother to look up as he continued loading the cooler. Keira could get their damn orders.

“Hey, Everest.”

He stopped moving at the sound of Lane’s voice and for a moment, he thought he’d imagined it. He’d purposely tried to put the woman out of his mind for months, until tonight when the memories simply wouldn’t stay away. He slowly rose, bracing himself to find an empty barstool.

And she was there.

6 Responses to “Waiting for Wednesday”

  1. Natasha A. Says:

    I am very much looking forward to this Mari!! I have loved the first two!

  2. Aw–thanks so much Tasha. I’m a nervous wreck waiting to find out if my editor likes the story. I’m glad you liked the first two–I can’t begin to tell you how much I LOVE writing these stories.

  3. Love this excerpt, Mari! Congrats on the new book 🙂

  4. I’m really looking forward to EC publishing this. Can’t wait!

  5. Lisa Guertin Says:

    Loved the first two in this series and can’t wait for the rest to come out! Thanks for the teaser.

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