Chapter One of FANTASY MAN (Samhain Publishing 02/16) is not exactly PG-13, while my blog is. Below I’ve posted more of Chapter Two. Once you’ve read it, leave a comment briefly explaining what you think happens in Chapter One either here on the blog or on the post on my Facebook Author Page . I will choose at least one winner from the comments for a digital or print version of FANTASY MAN.
Read the beginning of Chapter Two here: https://wordpress.com/post/barbmeyers.wordpress.com/6464
CHAPTER TWO CONTINUED…
Reif watched the woman depart, his state of shock growing. What the hell had just happened here? Where had she come from? Who was she? What was she doing in his bed? What the hell was he doing having unprotected sex with her?
Idiot, he cursed himself. He stood up, dragging the sheet with him. He tugged it away and threw it back on the bed. A pair of pink panties fell to the floor.
He stared at them. His brain was about to explode with all the rampant thoughts running through it. Why had he drunk so much last night? A celebration, that’s why. After closing one of the biggest deals of his career, he’d let himself be talked into another round and then another and another until he was so far past his limit he’d had to take a cab home.
He’d come home alone, though. Of that he was fairly certain. He wasn’t in the habit of having one-night stands. Surely he’d remember that particular girl if he’d ever seen her before. Something vaguely familiar about her nagged at him. Who could forget that cloud of dark hair, those expressive brown eyes, that killer body?
“Pervert,” he muttered, disgusted with himself as he went into the bathroom. He braced himself above the sink, groaning at the reaction from his alcohol-laden brain. Pain exploded at his temples and behind his eyes. His mouth was like a ball of steel wool.
He splashed cold water on his face, making a mess around the sink and not caring. He was facing a potential disaster here. He estimated she weighed about a hundred and twenty pounds, and unless he missed his guess she was waiting downstairs for answers.
He ran damp hands through his hair, making it stand up in spikes. He checked himself in the mirror, not unhappy with what he saw. His eyes were a bit bleary and bloodshot, but other than that, he looked like he always did—just enough of a tan, in pretty good shape for a guy pushing twenty-nine. He wasn’t what you’d call dedicated, but he worked out a couple times a week, played tennis and sailed whenever he got the chance.
He dumped ibuprofen into his palm and took it without water. This was LA. No one drank water from the tap.
He yanked on a pair of beat-up jeans and a white T-shirt. Like a man sentenced to death but still not quite believing in his fate, he stuffed the panties in his pocket and started down the stairs.
He stared at the pot of coffee that was already brewed, its fragrance wafting beneath his nose even as he reached for a mug. The light on his answering machine was blinking double time. Usually he got messages on his cell phone or through his office. Nobody called him on his landline.
He listened to the playback as he dumped sugar and cream into his mug. “Hey, man. I just put Quinn on a plane. I know it’s short notice, but things got out of hand here. Trust me, it’s important. She gets in at six o’clock on Delta. Flight 687. I’ll call your office, make sure you get the message. You take good care of my baby sister, now, you hear?”
“Oh, God.” Reif leaned his elbows on the counter and dropped his head in his hands as the machine bleeped and the next message played.
“Hey, Reif, it’s Marty. Some guy called, but wouldn’t leave his name. Said his sister is flying into LAX today. Delta flight number six eighty-seven. Gets in at six. He wanted to make sure you knew. I told him you were unreachable at the moment, but I’d pass on the message. He said he called your cell, so maybe you got it off your voice mail. Okay, that’s it. It was pretty quiet here this afternoon, nothing going on that can’t wait until Monday.”
His assistant’s cheery voice faded and Reif groaned again. He went to the table in the hallway where he’d dropped his keys, wallet and cell phone last night. He powered the phone on and listened to an almost verbatim repeat of Tony’s previous message.
Great. Now he knew who she was. Quinn, Tony’s younger sister. Five or six years younger to be exact. Which made her twenty-two or twenty-three. No wonder she’d only seemed vaguely familiar. She’d been in her teens the few times he’d met her before, which made her strictly off limits. She’d certainly grown up since then.
Wonderful. Tony Fontana, his best friend since school, had entrusted the care and security of his baby sister—his only sister—to Reif. And Reif had fucked up big time.
Reif knew how protective Tony and his father Rocco, aka The Rock, were of Quinn. Rocco’s precious daughter, the apple of his eye, and Tony’s beloved sister. Any man who mistreated her was guaranteed a slow and painful death, Tony used to joke.
Except Reif knew he wasn’t joking. If Tony ever found out what had happened this morning, Reif would be so much dead meat.
Reif returned to the kitchen and chugged a bottle of water, delaying facing Quinn as long as possible. What was he going to say? There was no excuse for what he’d done, even if he hadn’t exactly been awake when he’d done it. He knew only too well how carefully Tony and Rocco had watched over that girl, and after her mother had died their vigilance only increased. They’d put the fear of God into every male within a twenty-five mile radius of Coral Bay, Florida. The fact that Tony was a cop, and Rocco was the county sheriff of that pretty seaside resort area, made the task of monitoring Quinn’s activities that much easier.
Reif poured coffee into a mug and carried it through the house, keeping an eye out for her. His place wasn’t that big; there weren’t many places she could hide.
Why assume she was hiding? Maybe she wanted to see him again.
Except he remembered all too well her earlier distress. Get your hands off me, she’d said, although it had been a little late for that.
He opened the French door and stepped out onto the pool deck. The blue water in the small kidney-shaped pool was just beginning to reflect the early morning sun. She was there, half-hidden behind a section of lattice covered with overgrown bougainvillea. He made a mental note to tell the landscaping guy to trim it next time he was over. She’d made herself comfortable in one of the four cushioned chairs which surrounded a glass-topped table. She clutched a coffee mug in both hands, her brows slightly knit in puzzlement as she stared at the pool.
He hesitated, unsure of his welcome. Then again, it was his house. What was she going to do? Kick him out?
He approached the table. She glanced up, but he couldn’t meet her gaze. He set the pink panties on the table next to her, then pulled out a chair and sat down, hanging on to his own coffee mug for dear life. Now what? An apology would hardly cover what he’d done.
She ignored the crumpled underwear. “It’s cool out here,” she said, still staring at the water.
“I can get you a jacket.” Reif half-rose from his chair but she waved him back.
“No, no, I’m fine. I guess I’m surprised. I think of California as being warm all the time, just like Florida. Only if I were home the humidity would be building, the mosquitoes would be after me and it’d already be in the mid-eighties.”
Reif tried a smile. “I remember those Florida summers. You’d walk outside and feel like you were underwater the air was so heavy. The rain used to pour down day after day.”
“According to The Mamas and The Papas, it never rains in southern California.”
“Oh, it rains. Occasionally. But not like summers in south Florida, that’s for sure.”
The weather? They were talking about the weather? How perfectly inane. Someone had to bring up the fact that there was an elephant wearing hot pink panties wading in the pool.
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