WIP Wednesday

As most of you know, I work in a high school, so summer is MY time. I’ve spent the past month of glorious freedom writing. So…I thought I’d declare today WIP Wednesday and share some excerpts from the fruits of my labor. I’ve completed two stories, Bachelor’s Bait, book 3 in Cocktales, and Winter’s Thaw, book 1 in the Compass Girls.

And, as always, I will offer my warning. Neither of these books has been edited so any errors are all my fault and will prove why I adore my editors so very, very much.

From Bachelor’s Bait:

“You’re late,” Stephanie called out from behind the bar.

“Bite me.” Sophie walked straight to the storeroom to stash her purse. She was part owner of the bookstore-slash-bar with her three best friends Stephanie, Jordan and Jayne. They were closer than sisters, therefore the need to mince words and pretend to play nice had disappeared long ago.

“I tried to call you a couple times,” Stephanie said when Sophie grabbed an apron.

Sophie frowned and reached into her pocket to pull out her cell. “My phone never rang.”

“I know. That’s because you currently don’t have your phone.”

The second Sophie saw it she knew Stephanie was telling the truth. She’d picked up the asshole’s phone instead of her own. “Shit.”

“That’s what the guy who answered your phone said. Marc Garrett is coming by tonight to make the switch with you.”

“You told him where to find me?”

Stephanie frowned. “I figured you’d want your phone back. Who is this guy? And why does he think you’re Patricia Butt-Bitch?” Stephanie never called Patricia by her given name. While Sophie found the nickname funny, it caused problems when she was doing introductions that included Patricia. Too many times she’d almost used Stephanie’s joke name rather than Patricia’s real one.

Sophie sighed. “Nobody. Just some guy I ran into on the sidewalk.”

Literally.

“He sounded nice enough to me, though a bit frustrated with the phone mix-up. What’s his problem? Nerdy? Annoying?”

“Asshole,” Sophie supplied easily, though she wasn’t sure it was fair to keep labeling him as such given they’d only talked a couple of minutes at most.

“Ah. If you want to hide in the back when he gets here, I can make the swap for you. Unfortunately, I don’t know exactly what time he’s coming. Said something about stopping by after a meeting with a judge. You think he’s in trouble with the law? Wonder what he did.”

“He’s a free aid lawyer. His office is near The Nail Gallery.”

“Oh. Well, he can’t be all bad then, can he? I mean rather than using his law degree to make a bundle of cash, he’s putting his talents to use to help the less-fortunate. Jarod said that Free Legal Aid clinic does some really good things for domestic violence victims and the community as a whole.”

Stephanie, who served as the bartender at Books and Brew, had recently fallen head over heels for a local cop, Jarod. The woman who’d always sworn off relationships had been bitten by the love bug and Sophie couldn’t be happier for her.

Sophie found her first impression of Marc wavering in the face of Stephanie’s information. Before she could say anything, the phone in her hand started ringing. Justin Timberlake’s SNL song Dick in a Box sounded loud enough that everyone in the place turned to look at her and chuckle.

“Ug,” she groaned. “See?” She gestured to the phone as Stephanie grinned widely. “Asshole.”

Sophie answered the phone when she saw her own cell number on the screen. “Dick in a Box? Really? What’s wrong with you?”

Marc laughed on the other end. “It’s called humor, Sophie. You should give it a try.”

She forced herself to take a deep breath, and then she realized he’d called her by her real name. “Stephanie told you who I was.”

“I knew who you were the second I saw you on the sidewalk. Sort of hard not to recognize one of society’s darlings. Your picture’s in the paper all the time.”

She noticed a distinct tone of disdain in his voice. Unfortunately, she couldn’t refute his statement. He was right. Her father was one of the wealthiest businessmen in the state. A widower, he often looked to Sophie, his only daughter, to serve as hostess for his high society shindigs. Jasper Kennedy did nothing in half-measures, so as a result, the press often covered his black-tie affairs with rabid interests, the public dying to see how he would top himself with each event.

“When are you coming by? I need my phone.”

“I’ll be stuck in this meeting for a little while longer. We’re on a short break because the judge needed to look over some paperwork. I wanted to see how long you planned to hang out at that bar.”

“I’m not hanging out. I work here.”

Silence met her from the other end of the line. Sophie took a sick sense of pride in shocking the attorney. He clearly thought he had her figured out, placing her in the high society bitch category along with the Patricia Butler-Baines’ of the world.

“You work in a bar?” he finally asked.

It was her turn to grin. “Yep. Waiting tables tonight until close.”

“You’re a waitress?”

She didn’t bother to explain she was part-owner. She sort of liked keeping the cocky man in a state of ignorance. It felt good to shatter his preconceived illusions about her. Truth was lately she was struggling to find an identity that fit. She knew she didn’t want to stay in her father’s world, hanging out at the country club and attending benefits and balls with the sole purpose of becoming someone’s trophy wife, but at the same time, she certainly hadn’t intended to waste her bachelor’s degree in marketing by waiting tables for the rest of her life.

Basically, all she knew was that she wanted to be useful, wanted her life to serve some purpose. As to what that purpose would be, she didn’t have a clue.

“Yes, Marc. I’m a waitress. Do you have a problem with that?”

“No. No problem. Just trying to figure out why. Your father has more money than God. Why the hell do you need to work for minimum wage and tips? Daddy not footing the bill for your pedicures?”

“Are you always this rude?”

Marc chuckled. “Sweetheart, you’ve caught me on a good day. I haven’t even started to be rude yet.”

“That sounds like my cue to hang up. See you later.”

She clicked off before Marc could say anything else. She felt a sense of accomplishment in getting the last word. No doubt that was something Marc took pride in achieving more often than not.

The phone rang again. The damn Dick in a Box song blasting through the bar. Her own number taunted her once more. While she wanted to ignore the call, she wanted to make the song end just as quickly.

“What?” she said into the receiver.

Marc was laughing. “It’s rude to hang up on someone.” As if to prove his point, he did just that. The phone going dead before she could issue a retort.

From Winter’s Thaw

“Seth told me a bit about the family. Sounds like there are a lot of Comptons living on Compass Ranch.”

She smiled. Talking about her family was never a hardship. She adored each and every cousin, aunt and uncle. “There are. I’m sure you’ll meet most of them tomorrow morning. All of my uncles except Sawyer work on the ranch. My aunt Cindi is the bookkeeper. My mom and Vivi take care of the main house and keeping the ranch hands fed.”

“Must be nice to have such a big family around all the time.”

“It is. I love living here. What about your family?”

“Just me and my parents. I had an older brother, but he was killed in a motorcycle accident when he was eighteen.”

Sienna reached out before she could think better of it. She lightly touched his arm. “I’m so sorry. That’s terrible.”

Daniel glanced down at her hand. Rather than shrug it off, he covered it with his. His face reflected a relaxed expression, but his eyes had darkened with the memory. “It was. Took me a long time to come to terms with it. Such a huge waste. He was a great brother—smart and funny. Eventually I found a way to move on.”

“How?” she asked.

“I think about him everyday. I remember that life’s short. There aren’t any guaranteed tomorrows so it’s a good idea to take advantage of today.”

His response annoyed her and her fingers dropped from his arm. “That’s rather shortsighted, wouldn’t you say?”

“What?”

Sienna wasn’t sure what had triggered her temper, but she found herself unleashing far too much anger on this stranger. “Apparently, you’ve taken your brother’s death as permission to live recklessly, without giving a thought to the consequences and how they affect others. God, your poor mother must’ve died a million deaths when you told her you were joining the rodeo. She’d already lost one son to a dangerous sport and then you head off to do the exact same thing.”

“My mother understood my love of the rodeo and wanted me to be happy. She supported my career choice.”

Sienna shook her head. “I venture to guess what she said and what she felt were two different things. It’s pretty callous of you to think only of yourself without caring about what you’re doing to the people who love you.”

Daniel frowned. “I love my mother and I wouldn’t do anything to hurt her. If you knew me better—hell, if you knew me at all—you’d know that.”

She sucked in a deep breath. What the hell was wrong with her? She was chastising a stranger for his choices in life. She was losing her mind these days. “I apologize. I didn’t mean—”

“Who’s hurting you, Sienna?”

She couldn’t speak the real answer. She hadn’t even admitted it to herself, so she grasped a lie instead. It was easier. “No one. I’ll see you at the house for dinner.”

She stepped out of his trailer before he could question her further, but Daniel didn’t take the hint.

“Hey, See,” he called from the doorway.

She turned to face him, debating whether or not she should chastise him for using her family’s nickname for her. It was too personal. Too close.

“You got a boyfriend?” he asked.

She nodded.

“Does he drive motorcycles? Ride with the circuit?”

She narrowed her eyes, knowing full-well where he was going with his questions. “No, he doesn’t. He’s away at college, studying business.”

He graced her with that charming, deadly grin she’d seen earlier. “Serious boyfriend?”

She tilted her head. “Very serious. We’re going to get married and buy a house in ComptonPass. He’ll inherit his parent’s hardware store while I work as a nurse and—God willing—we’re going to have a couple of kids.”

He glanced at her left hand. She felt compelled to stuff it in her pocket so she wouldn’t have to acknowledge his knowing smirk that told her there was no ring on her finger yet. “So you got it all figured out, do you?”

She nodded, wishing he wouldn’t give her that wicked look that made her think wholly inappropriate thoughts.

“Kind of reminds me of another saying.”

“My, aren’t you the king of quotations. Maybe I should call you Bartlett.”

He didn’t bother to acknowledge her snide comment. “A wise man once said the best laid plans often go astray. Seems to me your well-organized life could benefit from some shaking up.”

“My life is just fine. And none of your damn business.”

“Maybe. Maybe not.” Daniel gave her a sexy, suggestive wink before turning and heading inside his trailer.

Sienna wanted to confront him, blast him for being so forward, but the door slammed before she could form a proper retort.

She spun and headed back to the house, feeling furious and foolish. Daniel Lennon had a talent for twisting her words…and her insides into knots.

She didn’t need this.

God, she really didn’t need this.

So…whacha think? 

9 Responses to “WIP Wednesday”

  1. Mari… can’t wait to revisit the Compton’s. I haven’t read the Cocktale’s series… must add it to my reading list. Great little teasin’ snippets… thanks for sharing them…

    Darlene

  2. They both sounded great and I can’t wait to read them. Any idea when they come out?

  3. Stephana Says:

    Can’t wait for these to come out!! What are the tentative release dates??

  4. November and February uuuugggg! I may die before then 🙂 thanks for the excerpts, you big tease!

  5. Mari, Batchlor’s Bait sounds like such a great addition to Cocktales- It is comical, with a little bite. I can’t wait! Winter’s Thaw, also reads so well, what an addition to Compass Ranch. Can’t wait- your talent is over the top:)

  6. Ohhhh I can’t wait for more!!!!!! Oh lawd!! When are these beauts coming out?

  7. It all sounds wonderful! It’s great to have somethings to look forward to! Thanks!!

  8. Love the excerpt from Bachelor’s Bait. I love this series!

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