Flirty and Dirty is today’s stop on the A MOMENT by Marie Hall Blog Tour. Check out the goods!!! Marie has given us the first 3 chapters. Will it be added to your TBR? Don’t forget to comment at the end to enter to win an copy of the book…
Title: A Moment
Author: Marie Hall
Release Date: March 2013
Ryan Cosgrove and Liliana Delgado are on a collision course with destiny. They don’t know it yet, but before the night is over their lives will be forever changed.
Spending Valentine’s Day at a burlesque bar, hadn’t been Liliana’s ideal way of spending a Friday night. She’d much rather be back at campus, doing homework… until she meets Ryan. Tall, athletic, and gorgeous, Lili can’t keep her eyes off him, and despite his gruff manners and drunken disposition she’s intrigued.
Ryan’s got demons, and they’re deep, dark, and eating him alive. Regardless of his attraction to the petite brunette he’s tired of fighting, of pretending the last fifteen years haven’t been a daily struggle just to get out of bed every morning. That night he decides to end his pain, to leave it all behind and float away into the blessed darkness of oblivion. But fate has other plans for him, Lily finds and rescues Ryan, determined she’ll not only save his body, but his soul too.
This is their moment…
Moment: The dictionary defines a moment as a minute portion or point of time. But for me, it’s more. I see a moment the way a scientist does… the product of quantity (as a force) and the distance to a particular axis or point. A moment is that indefinable period in your life that only makes sense when you look back and you realize I made the right choice. I didn’t know it then, but I made the right choice and I’d do it all over again.
This is my moment…
The smells are the first things that hit me. Huddling into myself, knees tucked under my chin as the hospital doors whisk open and shut, a sick sort of feeling sinks its claws into my stomach. I’m ill. Have been for days.
Throwing up, always nauseous, and my boobs hurt.
Biting my lower lip I glance at my father sitting beside me. Angry doesn’t even begin to describe how he’s feeling. The school called, said his daughter was puking her guts out. He’d seen me puking my guts out for the last ten days. Every time he’d give me a look that said, “Girl, that better not be what I think it is.”
I close my eyes as the ache in the back of my skull intensifies.
The smells in here are awful– blood, sweat, and vomit. Beside me a little kid is hacking her lungs out. I’m not a germaphobe, but each time I get blasted with the spray I tuck further into myself and count to five before taking another breath.
Surrounded by people, but I’ve never felt so alone.
I wish mom was here with me. She would hug me, tell me it will be okay. But she hasn’t been feeling good the last year.
Doctors say she’s in the beginning stages of multiple sclerosis, which means Dad had to come.
The doors slide open with a loud whoosh. Huffing the bangs out of my eyes I look up and my heart stills.
In fact, everything seems to freeze. It’s a strange sensation, sounds grow dim, and the world recedes to a pinprick of light, a halo that surrounds him. I have no idea who he is, a perfect stranger in a room full of them, but something about him stands out and makes me notice.
He has dark wavy hair and intense blue eyes. He stands squinting in the doorway and it’s obvious why he’s here. The entire left side of his face is a swollen mass of discolored skin. He grabs the corner of his jaw and I notice his knuckles are also split open. Hard eyes scan the waiting room, and for a second, I glimpse in his face the same emotion I’m feeling right now.
Anywhere but here…
Then our eyes meet. He’s older than me, I can tell. There are whiskers on his cheeks, and he doesn’t look like a boy.
Especially not like the boy who did this to me.
The look lasts only a second, but feels more like an eternity– a stolen moment in time that exists outside of where we’re at right now. But like so much in my life, it’s fleeting.
He sits far in the back of the room.
I want to turn and look. To see if I’d been right and he’d understood– if somehow a stranger understood exactly what I was going through.
But I can’t, because then a nurse comes out and calls my name.
“Liliana Delgado?” Her voice is calm, cool, and it sends chills straight through me. Wrapping the ends of my thick sleeves around my closed fists I sit like a deer in the headlights, spooked out of my mind with a mouth tasting like cotton.
“Get up,” my father growls low, for my ears only.
Coming here, it’s just a formality. We all know, but it’s one of those things that you can ignore until you no longer can.
Swallowing hard, I look back at the guy one last time.
He has his face turned and is staring at the wall. No one is going to save me from this.
Grabbing my stomach, I force my feet to move. The nurse’s smile is small, but reassuring. My father’s look is full of hate.
An hour later he won’t even look at me.
The test is positive.
At fourteen, my life is over.
Fuck! This is just what I need.
The bastard cracked my jaw in two places, granted they’re hairlines, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t throb like a sonofabitch.
It was worth it though.
I smirk, even though doing it makes the pain feel like someone’s shoved a hot poker through my face. I don’t care. It’s done. Over. Never again.
The doctors gave me pills, sent me home.
I don’t have one of those anymore.
But I don’t care. I’m more free now than I’ve ever been. My parents, they’ve never believed me. Just think I’m a big fucking screw up. I barely graduated high school. There goes Ryan, such a disgrace to his parents. Such good god-fearing people, what a shame to be saddled with something like that.
I’ve heard it all before.
It stopped bothering me a long time ago.
But today I had to do it– had to confront my uncle, because I’m eighteen and I’m a man and I had to show him that.
Never again. Not to anybody else. I pounded that truth into his fat face with my bloody fists.
Flexing my fingers I stare at the swollen and distorted mass of tissue. The sun is beating down on my head. All I have left in this world are the clothes on my back. I’m not going back home, couldn’t even if I wanted to.
My dad kicked me out after the fight, says he can’t handle me anymore. Honestly, I think he would have found a reason anyway, but this fight was the perfect excuse– a way for him to maintain his spotless reputation within the community.
All I ever wanted is for him to fucking believe me. But his chance is over. I’m done and no matter what anybody else says, I’m not stupid, but with my grades there won’t be any college in my future.
Glancing down the busy street it takes me all of two seconds to decide where I’m going.
Far, far away from Austin, Texas. In fact, I want out of the country.
I can’t breathe here anymore.
I’m joining the Marines and I’m going to war.
Chapter 2: Seven Years Later
He’s screaming again.
Groaning, I open my eyes, stare at my ceiling and wonder what will happen if I just ignore him.
But I can’t, he’s my baby.
The clock reads 2:32. Thirty minutes longer tonight.
The screaming– it’s new. Something he’d started ten weeks ago. But it’s always something with Javier. He’s my special boy.
Getting out of bed, I wrap the green terry cloth robe around me and walk to his room. “Mama,” I call, her bedroom is across from mine.
“Mija? What’s wrong with Javi?”
She can’t walk anymore. Mom’s completely wheelchair bound, which is why when Javi screams, it makes her antsy. She is Grandma and feels the need to comfort, but can barely manage to even lift her arms.
“It’s okay, Mama, it’s the dreams. Go back to sleep.”
“You sure?” Her voice is reed thin through the door.
I nod, but remember she can’t see me, so I say, “Si.”
Saying a quick prayer for strength, I open the door.
Javi’s lying in the middle of his bed with his sheets kicked off, his transformers pajama pants are scrunched up around his knees. A loud, keening wail rings so loud through the room it makes my ears buzz. I jog to him and gently pick him up, bringing him to my lap.
It’s the only time he ever lets me hold him.
When he’s sleepy.
I cherish each moment, since they’re so precious and few.
“Javi, mijo.” I rub his forehead, twisting his dark curls gently around my fingers. He stills instantly. “Papi, what’s wrong?”
He doesn’t talk. Just grunts. Mumbles and moans mostly.
“Ssshh, Mommy’s here. I’m right here.”
It’s impossible to describe the feeling of holding him. Of both the elation and terrible pain I feel each time I do.
Javier was diagnosed as high functioning autistic four years ago.
Hard enough having a baby at fourteen, but that hadn’t been the worst. The worst was falling so in love with him only to discover he’ll never feel the same for me in return. The doctors said maybe someday he’ll start talking, a nurse even mentioned that sometimes (when they grow up) they’ll hug you back.
I’ve hung every ounce of hope on those words, believing someday he will. That high functioning means he is better than others. That it might take him time, but it will happen. Soon he’ll be like any other seven year old.
But the hope has turned into a cancer as the weeks, months, and then years rolled by.
I learned to stop hoping, because it kills as surely as any disease.
Eventually his trembling ceases and his breathing returns to a smooth even rhythm.
Kissing his warm brow, I ease his head back onto the pillows and run my finger along his cheek. “Goodnight, baby.”
Back in the hall, my mother stops me. “Come here, Lili.”
Sighing heavily, feet feeling heavy as steel, I open her door. “Si?”
Bathed in shadow, mom’s face turns toward mine. A tiny woman engulfed by pillows, blankets, and a giant mattress.
Dad left us four years ago.
It’s just me, mom, Javi, and mom’s nurse- Adelida.
“Come here, sit beside me a second.”
Glancing at the clock on her bed stand I swallow my initial desire to decline. It’s well past three now. I have a math exam first thing in the morning, but I owe my mom a lot, and know in the end I’ll do whatever she asks.
So I sit, but can’t hide the loud yawn that overtakes me, trying as best I can to hide it behind the back of my hand.
Her smile is sad. “You’re working too hard, mija.”
I shrug. “Don’t have a choice, mama. Someone has got to pay the bills.”
She looks up at the ceiling. I know what she’s thinking. The same thing she always thinks but never speaks about. How much dad sucks. How much she still loves him, needs him, wants him back even while cursing the day she ever met him. Because I feel the exact same way.
The night he left us, we talked about it. Crying and hugging. My world literally shattered. Papa bailed and I couldn’t.
Selfish thought, yes. And I regretted it the moment I’d thought it. Of course I never told her that, too ashamed to admit that for a moment I wanted to leave with him. Beg him to take me far away from all of it. From Mama, Javi, my life…
But I know the truth, the real reason he left, he did it because of me. Because of what I’d done, how I’d screwed up his plans for my life. He’d always said I’d make something of myself, bring pride and honor to the Delgado clan, until the day the doctor said Javi was coming, then dad stopped saying those things to me.
“You do have a choice. Lili, you’re gorgeous, and you’re only twenty-one, my God,” she brushes her cold fingers over my hand, “Life is more than school, work, and–”
“Mama, we’ve been over this.” I straighten my spine. “I’m a mom. I no longer have the luxury of pretending I’m not.”
Her face falls. “And I’m his Nana. I can take care of him.”
I shake my head. “I would never, in your condition… I…”
No clue how to continue I clamp my lips shut. There’s honesty and then theirs cruelty for cruelty’s sake. Mom knows she can’t watch him, can never be the type of grandma she’d always dreamed of one day becoming.
But instead of crying as I’d half expected, she smiles brightly. “I’ve asked Ade if she wants more hours and she’s agreed.”
“Mama, we can’t pay for that. I barely bring in enough to pay our bills each month.” Tears clog my throat.
Yes, it’s pitiful and wimpy of me, but I’m feeling pitiful and wimpy right now. I feel like a candle burning at both ends, too much more and I’m going to melt.
“I applied to my insurance, and it’s been approved. I need more help than eighteen hours a week. I need a live in. We have three rooms, Ade agreed she’d be willing to share my room.”
“When does she move in?”
Smile curving wider, my mother says, “Tomorrow.”
“Are you not happy? I thought you’d be happy.”
“Mama,” I shake my head, “you were never a burden for me.”
“Enough.” She puts on a determined face, the one she gave me growing up, the one that says, “Back down now, or face the consequences of my wrath.” So I shut up. “I’ll not have my daughter become a martyr in my own home. Your life has barely begun, Lili. My mind is made up. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, you go out.”
There are a million ideas why this is such a bad idea, not the least of which is Javi.
Lifting her brows, she says, “Liliana, you’re my daughter. You think I don’t know how your mind works? You’re going to tell me that Javi can’t handle it. That’s not true. Javi knows Ade very well. He doesn’t scream or rage when she comes around, which means he likes her. You need breaks every once in a while. You don’t work tomorrow, so what’s your next excuse?”
“It’s Friday.” She huffs. “I can come back with an answer every time. You’re going out, but whether you have fun or not, that’s entirely up to you.”
Rolling over, I stare at the woman with her arms draped over my chest. I don’t know her. I never do anymore. And I like it like that, so much easier to kick them out in the morning.
I can’t sleep.
Why the hell did I come back to Austin?
Moving her arm away, I sit up. The silver dog tags around my neck wink from the sliver of moonlight spilling through my window. It’s too early. Running fingers through my hair I push aside the curtain and stare up at the sky.
It’s bursting with stars.
When I’d flown back to the states I knew I couldn’t live anywhere near my folks. In the four years I’ve been away they’ve never tried to contact me once. So when I’d returned, I didn’t felt the need to tell them so. Far as they know their wayward child is still a Marine and still fighting in Afghanistan.
Texas is quiet tonight– only the low rumble of thunder in the distance and gentle hum of cicadas out my window disturb the peaceful night.
She snores and I glower.
I can’t think in here.
The room is hot and stifling; the AC froze up last night.
Walking toward the kitchen, I grab my skull and rub. She has to leave, first second she wakes up. I can’t stand her in my house anymore, filling the rooms with her awful stench of smokes and sweat and beer.
Grabbing a mug out of the cabinet I put some water to boil and then look for the tea bags. A bedroom door opens. It’s my cousin, Alex.
We look nothing alike. I’m dark, he’s blond. Got it from his mom. Slimmer than me, but still athletic, he’s also taller by a good six inches, and the only member of my family I can still stand. He’s also my roommate.
Which, so far, no one knows about. Small miracle that.
Because, though I’d been so sure I wouldn’t live anywhere near my parents, somehow I wound up only thirty minutes away from the home I’d grown up in. Thank God Austin’s so huge.
“Dude,” he rubs his eyes, “it’s four fucking thirty in the morning.”
“Yeah, yeah,” I wave him off.
When his eyes adjust he blinks and then grimaces. “Clothes, Ryan. Damn. First you wake me up, then you walk around buck assed naked in my house. Gives a man nightmares.”
Snorting, I walk to the dryer in the laundry room and pull out a pair of track pants I’d washed but hadn’t yet folded. Putting them on, I hold my arms out. “Better?”
“Not really.” Walking up to the stove he glances at the kettle. “Making your wussy tea again?”
I don’t bother answering. Yeah, it’s not the most manly thing, but I like chamomile. It calms me, and right now I feel anything but. There’s a raging fire burning in my gut, beating in my skull. Tomorrow’s the day.
I fucking hate Valentine’s Day.
The kettle whistles and my hands tremble as I pour the water into my mug.
I feel his eyes on me.
He sees too much, knows almost everything.
Sometimes I think I am stupid to keep him around. But no matter how much I try to shake him, Alex never leaves.
I swear he planted a beacon in my ass right before I left to the Marines, because fourteen hours after landing back in Texas, he found me. Told me I was stuck with him and we never talk about the rest.
Though sometimes he likes to push things a little too far.
“So tomorrow,” he says slowly.
Jaw clenching, I pretend not to hear him and drop the tea bag into my mug.
“Are we doing it again?”
“What the hell, dude?” I growl, shoving passed him as I walk to the kitchen table. “Can’t a man just drink his tea in peace?”
“We have to talk about this.”
“No the hell we don’t.” I take a sip even though I know the tea’s not ready.
The water’s so hot it burns my tongue immediately, but it barely fazes me. The throbbing helps me to stay centered and focused on the now. Not the past that haunts my every waking moment like some damn specter in a horror movie.
I turn to him the second he sits. His hair is poking up everywhere, his eyes still semi-swollen from sleep and glinting with worry.
“Man, how long we gonna keep pretending this never happened?”
Every muscle in my arm tenses. I want to hit him. To smash my fist through his nose, break it in half, crack his jaw the way his dad had done mine. I’d learned things in the Marines. How to fight, how to kill.
I’m not the same kid who’d left, the one who’d screamed and cried like a little bitch because I’d had an owie.
“I’m not talking about this. We still on or what?”
Alex sighs. A heavy sound that speaks volumes– that says he’s tired, but he still holds out hope that someday he’ll reach me.
I want to laugh. There’s no more hope. This is who I am now.
“Yeah.” Alex finally nods, running his fingers through his hair. “Yeah, we’re still on. But I get to pick the place this time.” He narrows his eyes. “And the second I say you’re done. You’re done. You got it.” His voice shivers with the faint stirrings of a snarl.
“It’s cute the way you think you can intimidate me.” I snort. “You don’t have to come with me, but I’m going either way.”
I drink my tea, staring at him hard over the edge of my mug.
“I said I was going, don’t be such an ass, Ryan. I just care, man. Okay, that’s it.” He shoves away from the table, disgust written all over his face.
The door slams down the hall.
I could have told him to save his care for someone who matters. That I’m not worth caring about. That there’s nothing left in me anymore. I’m a used up, hollowed out, shell of a man.
But I swallow the words like I swallow everything else.
Because I’m good at that.
My head is pounding. It took me an hour to get back to sleep after that conversation with my mom. I shouldn’t have bothered going back to bed knowing I had to get up in less than two, but I did, and now I feel like crap.
It would have been nice if maybe the day had followed my mood, been a little gloomy and cold. But no, it’s bright, and light, and cheery. The sky is blue, birds are singing in the trees, and the campus lawn is littered with students. Some of them laughing, others studying, and even a few full on making out.
I love college. Love everything about it.
After giving birth, I’d sworn my life was over. But a counselor told me that my grades were good enough that if I kept working at it I could eventually win a scholarship. I’d worked my ass off and as luck would have it, I did get one.
A great one actually.
Room and Board– the full ride. It’d always been my dream to attend the University of Texas, to live in the dorms, party it up on the weekends, join a sorority… but once Javi came… well, that dream went into a six foot ditch and got covered over with dirt. There was no choice but to stay at home, watch mom and Javi and not think about (ever) what I’d given up the moment I’d chosen to have him.
Coffee’s an all-consuming obsession at this point. I have an hour between classes. Running across the street, I head to Chai Time. The second I open the door, I’m blasted with my favorite scents in the whole wide world– smoky coffee and frothy cream. Inhaling deeply, I smile at the guy working the counter.
“Alex! Hey.” I wave. “Haven’t seen you in a few days.”
His blond good looks and gray eyes had made my heart dip the first time I met him a few months ago. He’d definitely seemed interested, but I’d ignored him. Dating wasn’t an option for someone like me.
After a while he’d obviously realized I wasn’t interested and things have become friendlier. Actually, he’s one of my favorite people on the campus, even though we only ever meet in passing.
Handing a cup to the customer in front of me, he smiles back. “Hey, Lili bean. Looking sexy as ever.”
I smirk, stomach tightening with a feathery tickle. “Happy Valentine’s day.”
Rolling his eyes, he groans.
“That bad, huh?”
“You could say that.” Grabbing a cup he starts working on my order.
The great thing about being a regular is that I never have to say what I want any more– venti mocha latte with soy and no cream, yummy.
“Cousin’s got this thing for hittin’ up a bar until he’s totally wasted.”
Nose wrinkling, I shake my head. “Sounds like a blast.”
Actually it sounds more like a nightmare.
“Yeah, it’s his yearly ritual.” He turns on the frothing spout, it purrs to life loudly. “Actually it sucks balls and I hate it.”
His smile’s really nice and I glance down at my feet, feeling myself wanting to respond in kind. Flirting doesn’t happen, not for me, not ever. In another life, maybe.
Besides, Alex knows about Javi. I saw the light dim in his eyes the moment I mentioned him. Some men might be able to deal with a woman who has a kid, but no one wants a woman with a special needs one. And no matter what, Javi always comes first in my world.
The lid snaps onto my cup and my mouth’s already watering as he hands it to me, but when I go to grab it, he holds on. Our fingers touch.
“Listen, I know we only ever talk here. But, would you like to come with us?”
I suddenly have this strange feeling like he desperately wants me to say yes. It’s in the way his eyes narrow and his mouth thins. His gaze is intense too, like he’s silently pleading with me to agree.
And the word on the tip of my tongue is an emphatic no, with all the same excuses chambered behind it. Javi. Homework. My mother.
But the weight of seven years comes crashing down on me then. Seven years with no time off. Seven years of making dinner, folding laundry, giving baths, wiping butts (not always Javi’s), screaming, crying, begging God to help me…
I need this.
“Okay,” I hear myself say. And my voice sounds so soft, unsure. Like I’ve never heard it before. Shocked, I blink and so does he. I can’t quite believe I said that.
“Okay?” he asks, clearly as startled as I am.
How many times has he asked me out in the past and I’ve always said no? Countless.
“Yeah. Okay.” I say it stronger this time, like I need to hear myself say it again just to believe it. “Where?”
His smile’s huge. “Sixth Street? Maybe a dance bar kind of a thing?”
Getting excited now, I nod. His grip on my cup goes lax and I take it, finally able to get that first swallow I’ve been craving all morning, sighing with relief as it slides down my throat, wishing I could inject the stuff straight into my veins it’s so good.
“I have an idea, how about The Pink Lady?”
“The Burlesque Bar?” He smirks, eyes lighting with fevered excitement.
Running my finger around the rim of the cup I wiggle my brows. “I work there, actually.”
“Yeah?” Suddenly the gleam of interest I haven’t seen for months is back. He’s inspecting me up and down and I can feel a hot blush working its way up my throat. “I knew you were sexy.”
Blowing air through my lips, I wave his words off. “I don’t dance. Just tend bar. But I like the atmosphere and the food’s killer.”
Another customer enters. Glancing over my shoulder I start to back up as a balding guy in tweed walks up with a harried expression.
“So?” I bite my bottom lip and roll onto my toes, waiting for his answer.
“I’ll never say no to that.”
“Awesome.” Waving, I turn and run out the door before I can change my mind. Mom hates where I work, but the tips are good, and money’s tight. She’d hate knowing I’m headed back there on my night off, but, if I have to go out anyway then I’d rather be someplace I feel safe. I like Alex, but I don’t know him all that well. In case anything gets crazy I know Henry (offensive linebacker for the Longhorns, and the Pink Lady’s bouncer) will have my back.
“Burlesque?” I look at my cousin wondering if he always thinks with his nuts, but no sooner I ask that question, I know the answer. Don’t all guys? I laugh. “Not exactly the kind of place I’m used to, but whatever. So long as they’ve got liquor I’m good.”
Stepping out of the shower I wrap the bath towel around my waist. Alex has the door slightly cracked, not peeking inside but talking to me.
“And I, uh, hope you don’t mind but I invited this chick I know.”
Sighing, I run my hand across the mirror. “Whatever floats your rocks, man.”
“It’s not a date. Not like that.” Alex is quick to correct me.
Which is funny because I wasn’t really viewing this as anything. Alex likes woman and they generally like them. He’s a good guy with a good head on his shoulders. We don’t care if the other one brings home a woman, not like we need to ask permission. “So you telling me she’s available?” I smirk as I brush the knots from my wet hair.
“Look man,” Alex breaths hard, “I like this girl. Don’t screw with her head. You got that?”
Stopping, I pull the brush away and lean back to look at him. “What aren’t you telling me?”
Alex is already dressed in jeans and a burnt orange longhorn’s shirt and hat, looking every inch the proud U.T. fan. His jaw is clenched as he shakes his head. “Just that I like her.”
I shrug. Still not understanding what the hell he’s getting at. “So ask her out.”
“It’s not like that,” he slashes his hand through the air, “she’s a friend, okay. But a good one. So just play nice and don’t act like such a dick around her. That’s all.” Muttering under his breath he turns away.
Rolling my eyes, I finish getting ready, trying hard not to let the demons knocking on my door crash through. Not yet. Tonight I just want to forget. Sink deep into an eighty proof fog and pretend that for once I’m normal. Just a normal man who doesn’t need to do this to feel alive.
My hands shake when I pat my shirt down.
Traffic headed toward Sixth Street is crazy. Like always. But somehow we finally make it there. The street is one big party. Anyone and everyone who lives in Austin knows the only place to party is Sixth. The city closes down the entire section of street after nine. Already college kids are gathered outside the neon glare of the bar lights. Music thumps hot and hard through the door, sounding like liquid sex.
Girls smile at me as I shove my hands into my jeans. I’m not looking to get laid tonight, so I ignore them.
It’s obvious when we draw close to the Pink Lady. The techno music is replaced by the smoky strains of jazz and bassy blues. A neon woman in pink silhouette decorates the window. The blinds are all drawn.
I’ve been here a couple times, but have never stayed long. This isn’t really my scene. If I want to watch a woman dance I prefer to see her take everything off. Still, when I flash my card, a shot of adrenaline speeds my pulse.
Alex is scanning the crowd, a second later a huge grin splits his face. I frown, he seems really excited. I don’t actually recall ever seeing him act like that about a woman.
He isn’t exactly a player, but he isn’t the domestic type either.
So I look around, following his gaze and it’s like someone just pulled the floor out from under me. A petite Hispanic woman is walking toward him with an equally large smile on her face.
Her hair is dark and silky, glinting under the dim red lights of the bar. It spills down her back in a graceful wave. Her body is toned and trim, legs a mile long and encased in a tight pair of red pants. A white top accentuates the bronze of her arms.
But her face is the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen. Heart shaped, with a tiny cleft in the jaw, full lipped and a short button nose. She stops in front of us carrying the scent of flowers with her.
Which is amazing I can even smell that because the bar reeks of scotch and smoke and food.
Turning green eyes toward me, she smiles. “Hi, I’m Liliana.”
Marie Hall has always had a dangerous fascination for creatures that go bump in the night. And mermaids. And of course fairies. Trolls. Unicorns. Shapeshifters. Vampires. Scottish brogues. Kilts. Beefy arms. Ummm… Bad boys! Especially the sexy ones. Which is probably why she married one!
On top of that she’s a confirmed foodie, she nearly went to culinary school and then figured out she could save a ton of money if she just watched food shows religiously! She’s a self-proclaimed master chef, certified deep sea dolphin trainer, finder of leprechaun’s gold at the end of the rainbow, and rumor has it she keeps the Troll King locked away in her basement. All of which is untrue, however, she does have an incredibly active imagination and loves to share her crazy thoughts with the world!
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