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.

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