Every week on First Sight Saturday I welcome a guest author to share a first meeting excerpt. Today Jan Hudson is visiting with her lightly suspenseful contemporary romance Big and Bright which is Book 1 in the Berringer Brothers Trilogy. (Who doesn’t love finding a new series? Not to mention one with a hot cowboy….)
Fun fact about Jan: Jan once kissed Elvis Presley (yep, the real live one) when she and eight friends (mostly college freshmen) piled in a car and drove to one of his early appearances & sat on the front row making lots of noise. They went backstage, met him, and two or three of were nervy enough to kiss him. LOL He was a really, really nice guy.
Ad agency exec Cory Bright, who is temporarily in Austin, Texas, to sell a Sixth Street business she’s inherited, has had a powerful craving for a Moon Pie all evening. By the time she’d rolled her fine hair on fat rods and applied the body wave solution, her craving had escalated into a raging obsession. A convenience store was practically next door; she could make it there and back with plenty of time to spare. What could happen?
Cory reached for the last Moon Pie in the carton. Another hand reached in at the same time. It was a big hand, tanned, with long fingers that had blunt tips and neatly trimmed nails.
Both of them grabbed the Moon Pie and neither of them let go. Cory’s thumb sank into the edge of the soft chocolate and marshmallow cookie as she held onto her prize. This was hers, dammit. She straightened and glared up at her opponent. And up. And up.
He must have been six feet six. And the white cowboy hat pulled low on his forehead added another few inches. Except for his white shirt, he was dressed in gray from his eelskin boots to the wide shoulders of his Western-cut suit.
Like everything else about him, his features were large and bold. He had a strong, square chin with a nice cleft, and his high cheekbones, imposing nose, and dark coloring hinted of a Cherokee or Comanche ancestor or two. The eyes meeting hers from under thick, dark brows were sin-black. He was handsome, she supposed, to a woman attracted by the desperado sort who looked like he’d been carved out of a big hunk of walnut with a chain saw. She wasn’t that woman.
And this drugstore cowboy with the silver belt buckle that would rival the grill of her car wasn’t getting her Moon Pie, no matter how big he was. His piercing gaze flicking over her might turn another woman to mush, but she was immune to his sort. Her thumb dug deeper, and she gave the cellophane package a tug.
The lines at the corners of his eyes crinkled, and his mouth parted in a broad smile that showed a lot of movie-star teeth and deepened the brackets creasing his cheeks.
“Well, ma’am,” he said, “it looks like we got us a standoff.” His voice was a rumbling bass that resonated from his chest and tingled her toes.
Cory went warm all over. Something about him affected her in a most peculiar way. Maybe it was his size. But even if he did have a good ten inches on her, she wasn’t going to knuckle under to this bozo. Growing up with four rowdy brothers had taught her to stick up for her rights.
got nothing, pardner. This Moon Pie is mine
.” Without batting a lash, she glowered up at those flinty eyes, thrust out her chin, and held on. “Are you going to let go?”
“Maybe we could split it over a cup of coffee.” His drawl was deep and low and blatantly provocative.
For a half second, she almost considered it. He was, after all, a very attractive man. But then, so was Ted Bundy. Anyway, this big cowboy was definitely not her type. She preferred a gentler, less obvious kind of man. “Look, Tex, I don’t know you from Adam, and I’m in a hurry. I’m sharing nothing
“My name is Holt, not Tex. Holt Berringer.”
“I don’t care if your name is George Bush. This is my Moon Pie, and my hair is curling even as we speak. I have to go.”
He laughed and let his gaze trail over her suggestively. “You’ve put a few kinks in my hair too.”
“That tears it!” Cory grabbed the package with both hands and yanked as hard as she could.
Letting go, he held up his hands in a gesture of surrender. The momentum of her tug overbalanced her, and, arms flailing, she thumped down on her bottom. Knocked askew, her mobcap slid down over her eyebrows. She clenched her teeth and started counting.
He lifted the frilly ruffle of her cap. “Are you hurt?”
Cory glared at the man squatting beside her. “I’m fine. Go away.”
“Let me help you up.” He unfolded his six and a half feet of brawn and offered his hand. She was halfway up when, suddenly, he sprawled on the floor and yanked her down beside him.
“Just what do you think—”
“You’re bonkers, mister,” she hissed back. “You can have the damned Moon Pie. I’d rather have a candy bar.” She tried to scoot away and rise to her knees.
He put his palm on her rear end and shoved her back to the floor. “Stay down. Stay quiet. And stay here,” he whispered.
He flipped open his coat and drew out a gun. Cory sucked in her breath and swallowed a scream as time and place seemed to shift into slow motion. The iridescent blue-white of the store lights glinted off the big, ugly pearl-handled weapon in his hand. She tried to speak, but her throat was paralyzed and her lips wouldn’t move.
This was IT. A crazed cowboy was about to blast her to kingdom come in a convenience store. All she could think of was that her hair was going to be a frizzy mess for her funeral.
She squeezed her eyes shut and waited.
When nothing happened, she opened one eye very slowly. He was gone! Her paralysis vanished. She jumped up, let out a bloodcurdling scream, and dashed for the door.
She came to an abrupt halt and her heart almost stopped when she saw the two men standing at the front counter. They wore Halloween masks. One had a pink pig’s face; the other resembled King Kong. The taller, pig-masked one pointed a gun at the ashen-faced cashier, who held his trembling hands over his head.
A holdup! Why me, Lord? Cory spun to bolt.
King Kong grabbed her and dragged her back. “Where do you think you’re going?” he growled in her face. His sour breath smelled of onions and beer.
“Texas Rangers!” a deep voice shouted from behind the cereal boxes. “Lay down your weapons and put your hands in the air.”
Porky Pig dropped to the floor, yanked off his mask, and fired twice into the cornflakes. Boxes and bottles exploded and cereal pelted the aisles. Gorilla Face grabbed Cory by the neck and clutched her in front of him.
“You drop it, Ranger,” her captor said, “or I’m going to blow this broad’s head off.”
END OF EXCERPT
Big and Bright e-book on sale $.99 for a limited time.
Thank you so much for visiting us today, Jan! We welcome any comments or questions, and I hope you’ll stop by every Saturday for a fresh new first meeting excerpt.