Archive | March 2014

Excerpt III from Serenity Inn

DwightBrown144161831073jason wooley chad serenity innChad stood in the threshold of the hospital room and watched her for a moment.  He could tell from the downturned corners of her mouth that this wasn’t a good day for her.  He took a deep breath and entered the room.  “Hey sunshine!”   He hoped his smile and the bouquet he was extending toward her would make her feel a little better.

Lindsay pasted on a smile that didn’t quite reach her chocolate eyes.  She ran her fingers across her wispy bangs, and gave her hair a little shake, hoping the layers of curls would settle into place.  Still, she touched it self-consciously as she took in the tall, wavy haired man dressed in a leather bomber that he shrugged out of, now leaving visible a navy sweater that showcased his wide shoulders, thick biceps and jeans that hinted at the muscular thighs beneath.  She sighed as she inhaled the scent that was already becoming a familiar one to her, a mixture of spices and sandalwood that made her insides dance. She finally looked up at his face and loved the hint of beard that shadowed his face.  It made him look rugged, sexy.  She tried to calm her heart beat that imitated the feet of a flamenco dancer.

“You look beautiful,” he murmured as he slid a pastel padded chair behind him so that he could sit close to her.

She reached for the vase of roses and sniffed before she placed them on her side table.  “Thanks so much Chad!  You didn’t have to use your money for this!”  She fussed, all while smiling.

He could tell that she was pleased and that made it okay to him, though if he could, he would have had her room completely filled with flower arrangements of all sorts—smelling like a spring day. But how could he explain something like that?  He reached for her hand, “Not having a good day?”

She raised her eyes to his fleetingly before sighing.  “No, I keep thinking of all that needs to get done at the Inn and I’m stuck here.  Not that location is really the issue,” she said moving her cast before she pursed her lips completely unaware of the effect her moue was having on him.  She had no idea how badly he wished that he could pull her into his lap and kiss her cares away.

“What if I have to cancel the first reservations Chad?”

He smiled reassuringly, his deep dimple indenting as his eyes shined brightly. He ran his thumb slowly across the top of her hand.  She felt her body clinch in response and awareness lit her eyes.  She slowly pulled her hand from his and folded them atop the white chenille blanket.

He leaned back to give her some space and to try to break the moment that had grown thick with awareness between them.  He lifted the corners of his mouth into his easy grin.  “I thought I asked you not to worry.  That’s what you hired me for, right?”

She smiled back, “It’s not…it’s just…well what could you possibly do without me?”  Her luminous cognac gaze beseeched him and he found himself having to restrain his earlier impulse.  Instead, he swallowed, taking in all of her before leaning forward and gently brushing her wispy bangs from her eyes.  Their gazes continued locked.  “I know things seem like they’ve taken a turn for the worst, but I do have some good news for you.”

Lindsay raised a perfectly arched eyebrow in surprise. He sighed as he peered into her face that now reminded his of a perfectly baked article-2542440-1AD1084100000578-129_634x632 serenity inn hospitalcinnamon cake, smooth and flawless. He wanted to touch it, taste it—her—all of her.

“Chad?”

“Mmm?—oh, the surprise.  Well guess who agreed to take the cook position?”

Lindsay narrowed her eyes aware that she hadn’t even advertised for it yet.  “Who?”

“Ms. Chambliss.”

“From the diner?” Her voice lifted into an excited squeal.

He smiled in response.

“She did?” Lindsay exclaimed as she turned her body so that her head rested on her pillow while she gave him her complete attention. “I…wow! I can’t believe it!”

He watched as her eyes glistened with gratitude. He felt a quick squeeze around his heart.  It was brief, nearly imperceptible.  It was the second time since he’d met her that it had happened and he remembered because for the past couple of years he’d been completely numb. A silent moment lapsed between them before he cleared his throat and pulled back.  “She seems very excited.  Well in her own way.  She’s a little starchy.” He said before chuckling.  “But she said that the town is rooting for you.”

“She did?” Lindsay’s voice was now raspy with emotion and excitement.

Chad hooded his eyes as he became aware of the immediate response his body made to that voice.  That voice. Wow!  He leaned back and crossed his leg over the thigh of the other.  He took a deep breath and then made a point of controlling his breathing.  He took in the tousles of curls that played around her face and pillow.  He wondered how it would look with him lying beside her. Over her…

Peering closer he could see how fatigue hinted around her eyes.  Tinted shadows played beneath them.  His years of insight at his patients’ bedside told him that the stress and work she’d been under had finally caught up to her.  He hated the reason that she’d ended up here, but there was no doubt she needed to be forced to rest.  The doctor had already confirmed he’d be keeping her until the end of the week. He was hoping to accomplish a miracle while praying all along that in doing so, he wouldn’t make her feel incompetent somehow.

“Chad?”

He turned his attention back toward her.  He decided to run the changes past her to be on the safe side.  The afternoon seemed to fly by as they sat and murmured excited decorating ideas past each other.  He managed to make her promise not to worry how he’d get it done and they shared a laugh with each other.

He found it funny that despite the fact she’d grown up just above poverty level and he was immersed in wealth, how much they shared in common. She’d been raised with a single mother and he’d been raised in a loving two parent family, all of which he shared while leaving out some details.  They each had one sibling, his was a brother for which he confided to have just a little bit of rivalry for. She’d looked surprised.  He felt immediate shame.  But then she confessed softly, “Me and my sister were like that too.  Somehow we were driven apart. After a number of years we managed to clear the air…unfortunately, only a few days later she overdosed on methadone.”  Her words hit him hard like a kick to his gonads.

“So I guess the moral to this story Chad is if you can reach out and squash whatever hard feelings are between you and your brother, there’s no time like the present.”  She moved her gaze away from his briefly. “What I wouldn’t give to have my sister with me. After all, not everybody gets another chance.”  Slowly her gaze shifted now to meet his. Her silent plea resonated deep within him.

“Point taken Linds…I agree. Well I better get going.  I’ve kept you from resting today.”  He said noticing her eyelids beginning to droop.

She stifled a yawn, “You made today bearable.  I don’t really have anyone that I care to bother about something like this.”  She said as she played with the edge of her blanket.

He reached his hand out, palm up and waited.  She placed her smaller hand within his.  “Taking this job has helped me more than you know.  Thank you for hiring me Lindsay.”  He squeezed her hand briefly before leaning over to kiss her cheek.  He heard and felt her inhale sharply.  But he ignored it as he brushed his lips across her cheek.  “Get some rest Linds,” he said again lapsing into his nickname for her.  “Call me if you need anything.”  He smiled one last time before leaving.

Lindsay felt bereft of his company as soon as he walked out the door leaving behind his essence in the spicy, manly scent that was him.

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Sample Sunday: Excerpt from Serenity Inn II

{This is unedited, please don’t judge me too harshly 🙂 }

chad lewis  and Lindsay serenity inn

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you. Chad murmured, as he pulled out a chair beside her.  “These are great colors that you have here.” He said pointing to the magazine page she was looking at.

She smiled.  “I’m so glad to hear you say that.  It can seem so daunting to have to make so many decisions!”

Chad nodded but remained silent.

She looked up at him, “Decisions—well decisions like these are still new to me.  I… used to be married…but he died.”  She frowned and then continued.  “Warren…well he used to make these type of decisions, he made all the decisions for that matter.”

She lifted the corners of her mouth to form a small smile.  She sighed, then she slid some pictures across the table toward Chad.  “This is the look I’m shooting for here.  What do you think?”

Chad glanced down at the picture that had been torn from the magazine.  It was beautiful, but again he wondered how it would fit in with the overall décor.  “Um, is there a particular look–theme that you had in mind?”

At Lindsey’s blank stare, he continued, “I—well, I noticed the décor in the rooms. They are very nice…”

“But they look cheap right?”  She finished.

“Um, well, I just wonder if it will draw the repeat customer and for that reason, it does matter.” As her frown deepened, he felt the need to assure her that he could take care of it.  He wanted to take her in his arms, anything to bring back the smile.  He kept talking hoping to soothe her, “You have so much of the original woodwork, the moldings, the beam board…”  He cleared his throat, “So these colors here,” he said pointing toward the rich harvest colors, “could be used to really bring out the bones of this house.  It’s a great farmhouse.  You should play it up. Use the deep russets, maybe a nice Ceylon for the kitchen and dining area.  Showcase the grand stairwell with this vintage gold…” Chad’s melodic voice continued and Lindsay had begun to jot down notes. When he finished, he looked over into Lindsay’s  face, now flush with excitement.

“I don’t know that I can afford to dip into my operating funds to purchase these things this late into the project.  The deadline is too close.” She said shaking her head with regret.

Chad looked at her frown and the crease between her luminous brown eyes.  He felt the desire to kiss away whatever it was that had caused the tension to start there and slide down to her now rigid shoulders.

“Um… well would you permit me to make some phone calls—I know a few people.  Maybe I can find some discounts.”  He said hoping she would buy it.

Lindsay looked over  into Chad’s confident eyes.  It would be so easy to let him take over.  He had such a commanding air.  He made her feel that with him, all things would be taken care of.  With all she still needed to accomplish, it would be great to check this off the long list she still mentally carried around.

“Lindsay, you hired me as your guy-Friday, right?”

“Yeah, but it feels like an awful lot to cast upon your shoulders already.”

“What better time than the present?  Besides, I’m merely making a few phone calls.  Why don’t you…do whatever it is you do and I’ll seek you after a few calls have been made.”

“Okay,” she agreed finally.  “I need to go over my ledger anyway.”

“Great, let me know what funds, if any, that you can allocate toward those new items.”

“I will,” she gushed.  Before she could think, she leaned forward and kissed him flush on the lips.  Shock had her jumping back from him.  “I don’t know,” she shook her head. “I don’t know where that came from.”  She looked apprehensively into his dark eyes.  What must he think of her?

“Hey! Relief is a beautiful thing isn’t it?  That’s why I’m here Lindsay to take some of this burden off your shoulders.  Think no more of it.”  He said now reaching for her hand and giving it a squeeze. “So, I’m going to run upstairs and make those calls.  Are you okay?”

“Immensely embarrassed, but okay,” she said as she smiled at him.

He stood and gave her shoulder a light tap.  “No worries Lindsay.”

She sat bewildered at the table well after the shuffle of Chad’s feet on the stair could no longer be heard.  She was enveloped in his scent, the subtle lingering of citrus, spice and something else that stirred her in places she hadn’t recalled.  She couldn’t help but to wonder if Warren had ever made her feel like that.  Maybe he had, in the beginning.  She remembered his take-charge alpha way.  It was so decisive.  She had felt taken care of, loved, and swept off her feet.  It was the things all her fairytales had been made of right?  It was so easy to capitulate, his personality was a force such as she’d never experienced.  She had simply called it passionate and that he was too.

She blushed as the memories suddenly surfaced.  The short commands he would say softly, that conveyed authority as she quickly obeyed, while being pushed more and more out of her comfort zone. ‘Strip Beautiful!’ was all he needed to say and she would quickly ready for him.  Within months, she scarcely recognized herself. But she felt beautiful.  He made her feel she could do and be anything—that is until he systematically began to tear her down.

Then those commands expanded.  ‘Shut up Stupid!  Clean it up Dummy! Get in the closet Retard! Crawl!’ All after he’d sufficiently chastised her.  It hadn’t felt like a fairy tale by then.  Tears slid from her eyes and she quickly wiped at her eyes.

****

Chad’s lips still tingled from the memory of Lindsay’s lips.  It had taken everything in him not to pull her into his lap and deepen the kiss.  He was glad for his self-control after he saw the intense humiliation on her face.  While the impulsiveness on her part had surprised him, a little bit of him understood.  He’d never met a person that he’d felt such immediate kinship with.  She made him feel like he’d known her forever.  She was so easy going.  Easy to talk to and open.  That was the best of it all!  There was none of the jade that he’d become used to in the circles that he ran in—well in his past life.

There was a vulnerability about her that made him want to pull her in his arms and protect her from the world.  He wanted to give all he had just to see the blossom of her smile.  He knew there hadn’t been another woman in his life that had made him feel like this before. He also knew his mother would love her.  Whoa! Where had that thought come from?  Could he really be ready to take a woman home to meet his mother that he’d only met the day before?  It had to be the guilt.  He sat by the window and looked out across the mountains.  Maybe he needed to be careful that this sudden attraction wasn’t somehow immersed in the guilt that he’d been feeding into for the past couple of years.