In The Home Stretch

You know how a turtle looks when it emerges from its shell? Blinking slowly and looking around like, “Whoa, dude! Sunlight!”

Juli Page Morgan, author of romances that rock - stories about rock gods and the women who love them

I even tried to draw a turtle, but the result was too scary to be believed!

And you know how sometimes when you poke the turtle it tries to bite? Yeah, that’s kind of me right now. Except I wouldn’t really bite anyone, though I might snarl a little. But just until I get acclimated to looking at something besides a computer screen.

I’m in the home stretch now with Royal Orleans (and trying to think of a new title, too, while I’m at it), and when the muse is cooperative and the characters are talking, the writing process is pretty intense.

So now each of my fingers has its own, separate headache, and my Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is zapping its way up both wrists to my elbows. (And please don’t tell my doctor I have no idea what happened to my wrist braces. I wouldn’t wear them even if I could find them, though, because I can’t do anything with them on except stumble around with my hands out in front of me like Frankenstein’s monster. I even scare villagers.) But none of that matters, because I’m almost finished!

Yes, I know I’ll have to cut a lot of those words I’ve written, but right now I can see myself typing The End, and I’m pretty darn euphoric.

And since I’ve been remiss about updating this blog, I thought I’d make it up to you with an exclusive excerpt. Sound good? Cool. 🙂

It was like being caught in a blender; tossed about in a crazy whirl of lights and sound, and buffeted by sharp jabs from unseen elbows.  Spencer fought it as best she could, but she was held captive by the hands of the gorilla-like security goon, and there was no way to break his grip as he dragged her through the crush of people to the back door of the club.

Expecting to be banished from the building for daring to try to accost Geoff Lane, Spencer was confused when her captor dragged her toward a long, black car waiting in the alley. Tossed without ceremony into the back of the limo, her escape was thwarted as King Kong climbed in after her.  Scooting across the seat away from him, her gaze swept the rest of the car with apprehension.  Other than her abductor, there were two more men seated opposite her.  One of them, a thin, balding man who bore a striking resemblance to Woody Allen, was muttering into the car phone, apparently oblivious to his surroundings.  As Spencer’s eyes moved to the man across from her, she caught her breath in recognition, and her hand froze in the act of reaching for the door handle.

Geoff Lane sat sprawled in glorious abandon, his head thrown back and his arms crossed over his eyes.  His long legs stretched toward Spencer, and despite the current situation, she couldn’t help but admire their lean lines and the way the black denim jeans hugged his thighs.  Her incredulous gaze rose to his neck, and she resisted the urge to lick her lips.  She was freaky about a well-formed neck on a man anyway, and Geoff’s was the most tempting she’d ever seen. 

She gave herself a stern mental shake.  This was no time to lose her senses lusting over this man, wondering what he’d look like sitting there without that shirt, golden brown hair cascading over his bare shoulders, chest ripe for the touching, maybe the top button on his jeans undone…Stop that.  There were more important considerations that needed to be addressed; mainly, how in the world she ended up in a car with Geoff-oh-my-God-Lane in the first place.  She watched him like a cowering titmouse would a hawk taking its repose in a nearby tree, but he showed no awareness she was even there. 

As the driver put the car into gear and roared away from the club, Spencer came out of her state of shock and found her voice.  “Excuse me, but just what the hell is going on?”

Woody broke off his phone conversation and looked at her as if she had two heads.  “I’ll call you back,” he barked into the phone before slamming it down and glaring at Spencer.  “How the fuck did you get in here?”

Returning his glare, Spencer jerked her thumb at the goon next to her.  “Ask Muscles there.  He’s the one who grabbed me and threw me in here.”

The bodyguard looked confused.  “She’s not with us?”

“Well, look who just grew a brain,” Woody snarled at the bewildered behemoth.  He transferred his wrath to Spencer.  “Get out.”

“Like hell I will!”  Eyes wide with outrage, Spencer crossed her arms over her chest and sat her ass more firmly on the seat.  “You’re not putting me out alone in this neighborhood at night.”

“Don’t be daft, Teddy.”  The soft voice with its British accent overrode Woody’s – make that Teddy’s – objections, and all eyes turned to Geoff who was looking at Spencer from under his crossed arms.  “You don’t have to get out, sweetheart.  Ignore him.”

“Gee, thanks.”  Spencer tried to control the trembling in her legs.  In all her fantasies of being with Geoff Lane, this scenario had never come up.  “So where exactly is this car headed, may I ask?”

One corner of Geoff’s mouth turned up in a smile.  “Some radio station’s throwing a party and asked me to stop in for a bit.”

“Radio station?”  On full alert, Spencer sat up and leaned forward.  “What radio station?”

Geoff raised his arms from his eyes and rested them on top of his head.  “Is it important?”

“You bet it is,” she informed him.  She cleared her throat in an attempt to dispel some of the breathlessness that had occurred the moment his entire face became visible.  “I work for the number one station in the New Orleans market, and I know for damn sure we’re not throwing any parties tonight.”

A lazy grin made the corners of Geoff’s eyes crinkle, and Spencer discovered crow’s-feet were a definite turn-on.  “Number one, hm?”  He looked her up and down with appraisal, taking in the tight white shirt, the short kilt, and legs encased in sheer black stockings.  “What’s your name, sweetheart?”

Spencer answered the challenge in those amber-colored eyes.  “My name’s Spencer Moretti.  I do middays at Rock 107, and yes, I’m number one in my time slot.  So are all the people I work with.”  A sudden thought made her lips quirk in amusement.  “Oh, my God.  Don’t tell me this shindig’s being thrown by Z98.”

Geoff turned his head toward Teddy with an expectant look.  “Well?”

With ill grace, Teddy took a leather-covered notebook from where it lay beside him, and flipped through the pages.  After a moment, he nodded.  “Yeah, that’s it.  Z98.”  He tossed the notebook aside and gave Spencer a withering stare.  “What of it, Miss Number One?”

Clapping her hands over her mouth did nothing to stifle her laughter.  “Oh, this is classic!”  Giggling, she pointed a finger at Geoff.  “If you value your reputation at all, you won’t allow them to take any photographs of you at this thing that might end up in R&R.”  Amusement at Teddy’s gaffe in letting Geoff attend anything hosted by Z98 aside, she couldn’t bear the thought of her favorite musician being associated with such a second-rate station in Radio & Records, the industry’s most widely-read newspaper.

Appearing delighted by her laughter, Geoff grinned.  “And why not?”

Spencer pushed her hair back, lips curved in a pitying smile.  “Because A – their ratings are below the local country station’s, and B – they don’t even play your solo album.”  It was almost funny to watch how fast the smile faded from Geoff’s face.  “Not a track,” she added.  “Oh, they do play Axis – in their oldies rotation.”

“Oldies?”  Geoff’s arms lowered, and he pushed himself upright.  He turned to Teddy with a snarl.  “Some manager you are.  If they don’t play my bleedin’ music, why do they want me at their party?”  A frown drew his eyebrows together.  “You don’t think they’ve found out I’m doing an album with Xander, do you?”

Teddy’s eyes widened with alarm, and he jerked his head toward Spencer.  Geoff turned to look at her, his expression wary.

Spencer’s smile was that of a woman who just won the lottery; in terms of her job, she just had.  “I won’t tell a soul,” she assured him.  “That is, if you’ll do an interview with me on my show.”

Geoff started to smile again and eyed her with admiration.  “And if I don’t, Miss Number One?”

“It’s your call.”  Spencer shrugged, her smile broadening into a grin.  “But if you don’t, I’ll just track down Xander Wilson, tell him I heard the news from you, and get his side of the story.”  His soft laugh encouraged her.  “I’d much rather get it from you, though.”

“And I’d much rather give it to you.”

Spencer blessed the soft, indistinct lighting as she felt her cheeks flame.  She’d have to watch what she said around this man.  Much of her boldness fled at his double entendre, but she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to pin him down to an exclusive interview.  Her numbers would shoot through the roof at the news Geoff was working with the lead singer of Axis again.  “So?” she asked, injecting a note of amusement into her voice.  “Can I book the interview?”

The look in Geoff’s eyes changed, and Spencer repressed a shiver; the cowering titmouse had just been spotted by the hawk.  “Yes.”  He held up a hand as she opened her mouth to speak.  “But on one condition: You be my escort at this little party tonight.”

A brief laugh shook Spencer’s shoulders.  “They won’t let me in; they’re too intimidated by me.”

Geoff’s soft laugh tickled her ears.  “They will if you’re with me.  Do we have a deal, Miss Number One?”

“The name’s Spencer, and yes; we have a deal.”

Excerpt from Royal Orleans, ©2013 by Juli Page Morgan. All rights reserved.

 

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