As the release of Sister Golden Hair draws nearer, here’s a little snippet to whet your appetite – Two Thousand (plus a few more!) Teaser Tuesday words. 🙂
A flash of light stabbed through the windshield and into her eye as she glanced down at the console where the phone rested. She looked back at the road and discovered it came from the side mirror of a slate-gray SUV parked on the shoulder just ahead.
As she got closer she noticed someone standing behind the vehicle, looking up at his or her outstretched arms. Rhett grinned as she recognized the universal pose of a person searching for cell phone reception. Just as she passed by, her mind registered the fact that the person was a man, and her foot hit the brake when she realized who it was.
It was lucky the road was so deserted, because she hadn’t even checked behind her before coming to a complete stop in her lane. A belated look in the rear-view mirror revealed three things. One, the road was still deserted so she was in no danger of being plowed over by an eighteen-wheeler. Two, there were wisps of steam or smoke issuing from under the hood of the BMW X5 on the side of the road. And three, Rhys James had come out from behind the vehicle and was now looking her way.
Rhett squeezed her eyes shut for a moment, sure she was hallucinating. After all, the sun glinting off that mirror blinded her, albeit briefly. There was no way the lead singer from Illicit was standing on the side of a mostly deserted Texas road on a hotter than average spring afternoon.
But when she looked again, there he was, one broad shoulder propped against the side of the smoking X5. That sun that blinded her now seemed to be caught in individual strands of his hair that tumbled down over his shoulders and onto his chest. His eyes, hidden by sunglasses, appeared to be fixed on the back end of her car, and she gripped the steering wheel in sudden panic. She couldn’t just drive off and leave him. Not that she went around picking up strange men broken down on the side of the road, but he wasn’t exactly a stranger even though they’d never met. But was she really going to offer Rhys James a ride?
“Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod.” The sound of her own voice, sounding as reedy and ridiculous as when she was fifteen, seemed to break whatever freaked-out spell she was under. Of course she was going to offer him a ride. Put out with herself over her momentary loss of maturity, she put the car in reverse and backed to where he stood.
The minute she lowered the passenger side window, he put his hands on the car door and leaned down to look in.
“For a moment I wasn’t sure you were going to come back.”
The smoky, sexy sound of his singing voice was magnified by about a million when he spoke, and Rhett resisted the urge to lick her lips. It was disconcerting to hear it up close, and she tried not to think about the fact that it was that voice that helped her get off more times than she could count.
“I wanted to be sure you were who I thought you were.” Whew. The reedy thing was gone, and her own voice sounded normal to her ears. “I don’t usually stop to pick up people I don’t know, but in your case I thought I’d make an exception. Need a lift?”
A brow arched over the frame of his sunglasses. “You’re not a crazed axe-murderer, are you?”
“Not anymore.” She couldn’t help but laugh at his startled look. “No, I’m perfectly safe. Promise.”
His answering laugh was low and throaty, and Rhett could swear she heard her panties evaporate. “Thanks,” he said. “I’ve been stuck out here for close to an hour. Oh.” He paused in the act of getting into the car. With one leg inside, he turned back to his X5 and aimed his keyring toward it to lock it. This brought the most beautiful derrière Rhett had ever seen into view. Perfectly shaped and tightly molded by dark wash jeans, it was a butt that just begged to be touched.
Shocked at her thoughts, Rhett gripped the steering wheel and transferred her gaze out the windshield as the beep from the X5 indicated the vehicle was secure. Rhys slid into the passenger seat of her car, and Rhett directed a glance in his general vicinity, her gaze settling on his elbow. Maybe that was better – to just look at parts of him. Because to take all of him in at once was kind of like looking at a solar eclipse without eye protection; beautiful to behold, but sure to burn her retinas right out of her skull.
“What’s wrong with your car?”
“Judging from all the smoke and steam it’s probably the radiator,” Rhys replied. “I tried to call for assistance, but I can’t get any service on my mobile.” He put his face close to the air conditioner vent and sighed in relief. “Christ, that sun’s awfully warm for April.”
“Yeah, I saw you going all Lion King with your phone when I passed you.” Rhett turned up the A/C for him, and made another check of the rear view mirror. Road still deserted.
This time she focused on his cheekbones, high and sculpted and flushed from the heat. “You know, from the movie? When the monkey thing brings out baby Simba and holds him out like this.” She mimed holding something up in front of her with arms outstretched.
Rhys burst into laughter. “What a great description. I’ll have to remember that.”
“In the meantime, you can use my phone.” She plucked it from the console and pressed the button to turn on the screen, but saw right away that she had no service either. “Uh-oh. Maybe you can’t.” Without thinking, she waved her phone around, hoping to see some bars appear. When Rhys sang the incomprehensible opening lines to the Lion King’s theme song, she realized what she was doing and laughed.
“Does that translate to ‘we’re in a dead zone?'” she asked.
“It does today,” he replied.
“Okay, then.” She put her phone back in the center console and shifted the car into drive. “Maybe we can find some service up the road.”
“Thanks again. I do appreciate your stopping for me. You said you know who I am, but I didn’t catch your name.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I’m Rhett. Rhett Davis.” Habit had her holding out her hand for him to shake, and when his warm fingers closed around hers she swore a flash of lightning accompanied it.
“Hello, Rhett.” He gave her hand a slow squeeze before he released it. “Do you have a sister called Scarlett? Oh, Christ!” Rhys put a hand to his forehead and shook his head. “I can’t believe I actually said that. I’d wager you’ve heard that more than once.”
Rhett couldn’t help but smile at his consternation. “All my life. Don’t worry about it; I’m used to it. Oh, and her name’s Melanie, not Scarlett.”
“Is it really? How’d you end up with Rhett?”
A quick glance revealed he’d removed his sunglasses, and she got a brief look at his eyes. Almond-shaped and surrounded by thick black lashes, they were a dark, mesmerizing navy blue. Rhett almost forgot to breathe for minute.
“Um, I was supposed to be a boy.” She found her voice again with relief, and resolved to keep her eyes on the road. “But my mom liked the name so much that they kept it. It was pretty handy, really, because they considered naming me Ashley. But when I got to school there were two other girls in my class with that name, so I kind of lucked out with Rhett. The other girls ended up being Ashley One and Ashley Two until junior high school.” After that they’d become Bitch One and Bitch Two, but she didn’t think Rhys needed to know that. He probably didn’t care about the history of her name, either, but she was so nervous she didn’t seem to be able to shut up.
Adding to her general discombobulation was his scent, something that reminded her of the combination of dark chocolate and white rum. Nothing she’d seen so far indicated that he’d been drinking, so it must have just been him. When she found herself wondering if he tasted like dark chocolate and rum, heat washed into her face. And other places. She shifted a bit on the seat.
“I’ve never met a woman called Rhett before,” he said. “But it suits you.”
“Really? No one’s ever told me that.” Caught off guard, she forgot she wasn’t going to look at him again, and this time was captivated by his mouth. That beautiful wide mouth, the bottom lip full and the upper lip carved with a perfect dip just under his nose.
Those lips curved into a smile. “It does, though. It’s almost a whisper, isn’t it? Rhett. Soft and delicate and captivating. But at the same time you can’t help but think of the movie, so there’s that added hint of something wild and secret and a bit naughty.”
A surprised laugh shook her shoulders. “No one’s called me naughty in ….” Mortified, she shut her mouth so fast she came close to biting her tongue in two.
“I knew there was something wild and secret there.” Now he sounded intrigued. “When were you called naughty?”
“Have you checked your phone?” she asked, determined to change the subject.
“In a minute. I want to hear about this naughty business.”
“Phone, Mufasa.” Damn, she hoped she wouldn’t die of embarrassment and send them hurtling off the road. “I can see the North Tollway ahead, so we’re back in civilization.”
“All right then,” he said. “But one day you’re going to satisfy my curiosity.”
“We’ll see.” She couldn’t repress a grin at his huff of disappointment. “But since we’re so near town, is there any place I can take you? Seems a bit counter-productive to drive all the way back out to your car.”
“The BMW dealership, I suppose.” Rhys bent his head toward his phone and tapped on the screen. “That’s where I leased the car. Here, it says it’s on Lemmon Avenue, near … What is that? Oh, Inwood Road.”
“I know where that is.” Now that she knew where she was headed, she chose the correct ramp to get onto the Tollway. “It’s not too far from where I’m staying with my sister until I find a place to live.”
“Really? And where’s that?”
“She has a condo on McKinney Avenue in Uptown.”
“Near the trolley stop?”
Startled, she glanced over at him again. “Yeah, how did you -?”
His laugh was soft and almost pleased. “That’s where I’m staying. A friend owns the penthouse on the 23rd floor, and he’s letting me use it whilst he’s out of the country.”
Rhett’s heart acquired an excited little stutter at the thought of living in the same building as Rhys. “Well, that’s a nice coincidence. ”
Distracted by that low, smoky voice and that yummy British accent, Rhett almost missed the Lemmon Avenue exit. She managed to correct herself without looking too stupid, and in a few moments they pulled up in front of the dealership.
“Here you go,” she said, turning toward him.
“Thank you, Rhett.” Rhys smiled a slow, devastating smile and slipped his sunglasses on. “Now that I know we’re neighbors, I’ll be seeing you again soon, I hope.”
Rhett prayed she didn’t look as loony as she felt as she smiled back. “I’m sure we’ll run into each other.”
Rhys reached forward and flicked a strand of her hair off her shoulder. “Oh, you can count on it.”
Before she had time to react, he got out of the car, shut the door and sauntered into the building.
Damn, but he had a nice ass.
©2014 by Juli Page Morgan All rights reserved Carey On Publishing
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