Sunday, October 06, 2013

Scene from A RUSH OF LIGHT


A RUSH OF LIGHT is the story of Callie Turner. When she was sixteen her father was murdered but the crime was never solved. Callie became a cop with a mistrust of lawyers. Due to an accident, she is on a disability leave from her job, and trying to start a new career at her father's old inn. Nick Messina saved Callie's life the day her father was murdered. A devout Christian, but a burned out lawyer, Nick has plenty of reasons not to trust cops. Filling in at his uncle's service station, he is surprised to discover Callie opening up the old inn across the street.

In the scene below, Callie and Nick meet in the old inn...



Her customer regarded her with a measure of surprise that
made her feel as though he could look right through her.
Putting one hand up to touch the buttons of her white shirt,
she reassured herself that none had come undone. Her gaze
wandered to his lips and lingered there. Few men had a
mouth so generous.

What am I thinking? The room grew warm. To her, it felt
as if she stood in the middle of a street during a July heat
wave directing traffic. She grabbed an icy bottle of water and
went in search of the broom. Everything about him puzzled
her. Why did she have a nagging sense that she had met him
before this?

She had been back in town for two months. Very little had
changed in the area in the eight years she had been gone.
Her customer may have grown up here just as she had,
though she judged him to be slightly older. It could be
possible that he had known her sister.

She cooled down, located the broom and the dustpan, and
heard the front door open again. Another customer joined Mr.
Dirty Fingernails. The two obviously knew each other and
moved to a booth in the corner. Leaning the broom up
against the bar, Callie stepped on plenty of peanuts as she
made her way to the table.

Her newest customer wore a vested suit. Judging from his
leather attaché, she guessed that he was probably either a
lawyer or a securities broker, but since he was talking to Mr.
Dirty Fingernails, the lawyer idea seemed more plausible.

"Can I get you something?" she asked.

"Dewars on the rocks." He hurled the order at her with
words clipped, cold and exact.

When she announced the price, he slid a credit card onto
the table. He didn't even give her a glance—as if she were
less than human. A spark of anger ignited deep down inside
her.

Definitely a lawyer. She hated them all.

"Cash only," she said, unable to eliminate the contempt
from her voice.

The man turned, narrowed his eyes and gave her a sharp
look. "I don't carry cash."

Mr. Dirty Fingernails hurriedly reached for his wallet again.
"I'll get it." He handed her the money.

Deliberately stomping the peanuts under her feet, Callie
went back behind the bar, finding it nearly impossible to stifle
her hostility. She should have taken the lawyer's credit card
and shredded it into slivers.

She chose a glass, scooped up the ice, poured the Scotch,
snatched up a cocktail napkin, and started back at the table.

She discovered that crushed peanuts are far more slippery
than whole peanuts. As she rounded the end of the bar, her
feet slid out from under her. The drink went flying and
crashed against the gleaming brass bar rail. She snatched at
the broom, hoping to break her fall. The long handle landed
on a chair and prevented her from breaking the same arm
she had mangled last year. Her bottom landed with a
resounding thud on the floor, miraculously missing the busted
glass by inches.

Mortified, she winced as the heat blazed in her cheeks.
This whole entrepreneurial experiment could turn out to be a
disaster if she made pratfalls the regularly scheduled
entertainment.

The two men rushed over to her.

"I know a great workers' comp lawyer..."

"Cut it out, John." Mr. Dirty Fingernails reached out to her
with one of his contaminated paws. "Can you get up?"

She glanced up into his face and found concern gentling
his rugged jaw. The crazy flutter tingled around her heart
again. She held out her hand, completely ignoring his
unwashed state, and that's when he gave her a genuine
smile—one that deepened a dimple in his cheek. Once again,
an odd sense of déjà vu came over her.

She had seen him before. Yet, for some reason, she could
not recall where or when, which for her seemed very strange.

The calluses on his warm hand rubbed against her skin.
That summertime heat wave-on-the-asphalt feeling came
over her once more and she could barely breathe as the man
who remained an enigma in her memory helped her to her
feet.

"Nick, I've told you a million times. Don't be so ready to
lend a hand. One of these days, you're going to get sued,"
the vested lawyer grumbled.

"Have you forgotten the good Samaritan?" Nick—or Mr.
Dirty Fingernails—asked the lawyer.

Callie could have sworn something magnetic kept her hand
in his. She had to force herself to draw away from him, to
edge away from his potent attraction, one millimeter at a
time. Once she broke away, she leaned against the bar with
her mind racing, searching for some scrap of recollection. The
lawyer had called him Nick, and though that did not help her
memory, she could easily envision meeting him in some dark
alley in the city where she used to work. She wondered which
crime he had committed. She wondered if he recognized her.

"A good Samaritan would be taking a deposition," the
lawyer insisted.

"Please tell me that someday you are going to turn into a
human." Nick sighed.

The lawyer aimed a look at Nick that could slice flesh.

Unfazed, Nick threw a glare right back at John. "The courts
cannot solve everything, as you well know."

Callie tried to surreptitiously dust off her derriere. Men like
Nick and his friend could smile at you as they pointed a gun
at your heart. She did not trust either of them.

The animosity between the two men charged the room
with tension and Callie's anxiety increased. She had thought
she could leave all the dark alleys behind her, but here in her
father's old inn she sensed danger.

"Are you feeling okay now?" Nick laid his hand on her good
arm and the impression of menace diminished while soothing
warmth shimmered up from his touch. If someone had
zapped her with a Taser, she would not have been more
surprised.

"I landed where there's plenty of padding. No problem."
She wanted to sound flippant and tough—like the hard-bitten
cop she had been. However, her voice came out a little
wavery—which was his fault, not hers.

"What padding? You could use some of my Aunt Bella's
pasta." He gave her hand a tender squeeze before letting it
go. Callie found ice quickly creeping back into her soul.

The lawyer glanced at his ostentatious watch and ground
out a nasty word. "Speaking of pasta, I've got to run. There's
a political dinner tonight." He shook his finger at Nick.
"Remember what I said. Forget your uncle's advice. What
does he know? He's an old man! You've got far more
education than he does."

Nick's features hardened into granite. "Tell Alice and the
kids I said hello."

"Mind if I drink your wine?"

Nick's eyes narrowed. "Go ahead. I didn't touch it."

The lawyer guzzled down the wine in one long swallow
before he rushed out the door, letting in a blast of wind and
rain from the storm. Callie shivered and moved further away
from her lone customer.

"You'll have to excuse him. I think the job has gone to his
head." His mouth turned down in disgust.

Without thinking, Callie muttered, "I hate lawyers."

His expression darkened. "They're part of the food chain."

She made the mistake of getting lost in his startling eyes
again, but she caught herself after a moment. She decided he
could pass a lie detector test hands down.

"Now cops—those are the guys you have to watch out for,"
he mused as disdain hardened the classic line of his lips.
"They're the carnivores."

That remark cinched it for her and she gave him a
penetrating stare. Of course he didn't trust cops. He probably
had more than his share of run-ins with them. She could have
been his arresting officer—though she felt certain she would
have remembered that and so would he. She wondered how
much time he had already served.

You can read more about Callie and Nick at Amazon!

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