Here’s a little Friday treat for you all … a sneak peak from one of my upcoming releases, The Mighty Storm. It’s a little different for me – a contemporary romance, but I’m really excited about it!
Brief intro: Jake Wethers is the lead singer in one of the biggest rock bands in the world. Trudy Bennett is a music journalist. They grew up next door to one another, were best friends, until they were 14 years old, then Jake’s family moved to America. They lost contact and haven’t seen each other for twelve years…
“Holy shit!” Jake exclaims, his lips shaping into a heart-breaking smile. “When Stuart said the name of the interviewer was Trudy Bennett, I just thought – there can’t be that many Trudy Bennett’s here in the UK can there? – I mean there probably is but –” He laughs. Surprising to me, he sounds nervous. “But then I just thought it would be too much of a coincidence for it to be you, and shit … here you are.”
“Here I am.” Still echoing, sounding like some lame fucking parrot.
He comes over to me. Each stride he takes closer, my heart whams against my ribcage.
He stops in front of me, only inches away.
Holy crap, he’s so beautiful. And he’s so much taller now, but then he was fourteen the last time I saw him in the flesh. He looks even better than he does on TV.
Wow, he really has grown up.
He’s smells like of a mixture of cigarettes, aftershave, and mint. It’s a surprisingly alluring smell, and it’s doing all kinds of funny things to me.
“It’s been what – eleven years?” he says, his voice quieter now.
“Twelve.” I swallow.
“Twelve. Christ, yeah, right.” He runs his hand through his black hair. “You look different ... but the same – you know.” He shrugs.
“I know,” I smile. “You look different too.” I gesture to the tattoos on his arms.
He grins down at them, then back at me.
“But still the same.” I point my finger to the freckles on his nose.
He rubs his hand over his nose. “Yeah, no getting rid of them.”
“I always liked them.”
“Yeah, but you liked the Care Bears, Tru.”
I flush. I can’t believe he remembers that.
It’s crazy, that he, Jake Wethers, rock god extraordinaire, remembers that I liked the Care Bears when I was little.
“You remember that huh?” I murmur, cheeks flaming.
“I remember a lot.” He grins, devilishly. “Come on let’s sit down.” He grabs hold of my hand. Surprisingly, a jolt of electricity fires up my arm, searing into me.
Jake leads me over to the plush sofa and sits down, letting go of my hand. My hand instantly feels cold. I clutch hold of my bag and sit down beside him.
He turns his body toward me, resting his foot up onto his thigh. It’s only then I realise his feet are bare.
Seriously, what is it about men in jeans and bare feet which is so totally hot?
I take my bag off my shoulder and put it to the floor.
“Do you want something to drink?” he asks.
I shift my legs toward him, turning my body slightly to face him. His eyes are already on my face.
I flush under his stare. “Water would be great, thanks.”
I could actually do with a neat vodka right now to calm my nerves; my hangover suddenly disappearing. But it’s 10am, and Jake is a recovering alcoholic.
“Water? You sure you don’t want orange juice or something?”
I shake my head. “Water’s fine.”
“Stuart!” Jakes yells, making me jump a little.
Stuart appears a few seconds later.
Was he stood by the door waiting or something? Actually it’s only now I realise I didn’t even see him leaving before. The guy’s pretty stealthy.
“Can you get Tru a glass or water and I’ll have an orange juice, please,” Jake says to him.
Stuart nods, smiling at me, then disappears off again.
I can see Jake’s leg jigging in my eye line. He seems a little on edge. I have the urge to reach over and put my hand on his leg settling him, but I don’t.
“So, this is a little crazy, huh?” he murmurs.
“Hmm. A little.” I press my lips together in a small smile.
Actually, I was thinking more – surreal, off the charts.
A silence falls between us.
Wow, twelve years apart and I’m just a barrel full of conversation aren’t I? It’s weird but I just can’t seem to find a thing to say to him.
“So how have you been?” he asks me.
“Good. Great. I’m music journalist now, obviously…” I trail off.
“You always were a good writer,” he says.
I didn’t even know he thought that.
“Yeah, those stories you used to make up when we were little, and then you used to make me sit and listen to you while you read them back to me.” He chuckles, eyes shining with the memory.
I feel my face go bright red. “Oh god,” I groan, embarrassed. “I was so lame.”
He laughs again, louder this time. “You were five, Tru. I think we can forgive the lame.” He drags his fingers through his hair. “And you always loved music so makes sense the two went together,” he adds.
My heart suddenly feels all warm and squishy. He remembers so much more than I thought he would.
“You still play the piano?” he asks.
“No. I stopped–”
I stopped playing after you left.
by Samantha Towle