Tuesday Tales:From the Word Catch

Badge for TT - very small (1)Hello and welcome back to Tuesday Tales. I’m continuing with Wedding Bell Blues. We are well on our way to the climax where MJ and Paul will have to face Mark and Melena, but today, we have the start of their public performance as Monsieur and Madame Davis.  Enjoy.

This picks up right after last week’s post.

“I know you don’t believe me,” Paul said, his gaze begging her not to overreact. “I had nothing to do with this. I swear on my mother’s grave.”

Staring into his eyes, MJ read the truth there. Whoever had orchestrated this fiasco had done it without Paul’s knowledge. So who was to blame?

The manager bustled over to them, looking like a cross between the cat who’d swallowed the canary and a child caught with his fingers in the cookie jar.

Mais, c’est incroyable,” he said, softly enough that no one around them could hear. “As the Greeks would say, the gods have cast the dice. I did not even know your name was in the jar. If you will follow the maître d, he will escort you to your table, and félicitations.

“But we aren’t married,” she hissed, “and everyone thinks we are.” Well, everyone except Lindsay and Noel who seemed quite content to let the matter drop.

C’est de rien. Once you sign the agreement in the morning and after tomorrow night’s noce civil, it will not matter. Here, on Paradise Island, you will legally be bound. Now, stop worrying and enjoy yourselves.”

Before she could ask what a noce civil was, a chant went up from the crowd.

“Kiss her, kiss her, kiss her.”

MJ looked up, fear and panic making the butterflies in her stomach battle for supremacy.

“Looks like this is out of our hands now. In for a penny…” Paul bent his head and met her lips gently.

The moment his mouth touched hers, she lost the ability to think. All she could do was feel. Heat pulsed through her, sending wave after wave of desire rushing along every nerve she possessed. Unconsciously, she opened her mouth, and his tongue dove into her. She was on fire, a phoenix rising from the ashes of whatever existence she’d had before. The room vanished, and she floated in this new magical space where only the two of them existed. This was the end to her long-ago dream.

“Ahem.” The sound of someone clearing his throat pulled her back to earth just as Paul raised his head. Desire flashed through his eyes for a second, and with it the realization that he was rock-hard against her, proving he wasn’t as immune to her as she thought he was. That was no brotherly kiss.

The crowd applauded even harder. MJ looked away, certain her cheeks were afire.

“On the kiss meter, I’d say that was a twelve,” Lindsay said and laughed. “And it looks like I captured it.” She held up her camera for MJ to see.

MJ couldn’t speak. She wasn’t even sure she could breathe. If Paul hadn’t been holding her, she would’ve collapsed for sure. What had just happened? A kiss like that had to mean something.

“Shall we go, darling? They’re waiting for us, and I’m sure these people want to sit down and eat,” he said loud enough to be heard by those around them. “We can finish this later.”

He winked, and those nearby laughed. The gesture and the sound shattered the magical illusion, just as easily as if he’d thrown a bucket of ice water on her head. He’d been playing it up for the crowd. He didn’t have to catch his breath because the kiss had meant nothing to him other than adding another layer to this charade, a travesty she could easily come to regret. As far as his arousal went, Mark had always been able to rise to the occasion and look what that had gotten her.

Drawing on an inner strength she didn’t realize she possessed, she batted her eyes coquettishly, in reality not to flirt but to keep the tears away.

“Of course, dear.” She turned and smiled at the waiter. “Lead on.”

As they approached the head table, MJ pasted a grin on her face. No one here would see how devastated she was, especially not Paul. She could play her part as well as he did.

I’ll smile for ten days, and then I’ll shed an ocean of tears.

“Tonight, your server will be Antoine. Enjoy your meal.” He snapped his fingers and left to be followed immediately by a young Creole man dressed in black tie and white gloves, much as the maître d had been. Around them, people were slowly being seated.

“Bonsoir. I’m Antoine. Would you care for an aperitif? The sommelier’s suggestion is a champagne cocktail, but you may have whatever you like.”

“That sounds fine for me,” MJ said, hoping she might get drunk  to help her get through this, knowing it wouldn’t help one damn bit, and she’d probably end up making an even bigger fool of herself than she had.

“I’ll have a Blonde,” Paul said gruffly.

Antoine nodded and slipped away.

“MJ, about that kiss,” Paul started to speak, but MJ cut him off. She didn’t want to hear that it had all been an act. She’d gotten that part. She wasn’t as naive as he thought she was.

“I think we did great, don’t you? The crowd certainly bought it,” she said with more enthusiasm than she’d expected. “Lindsay said it was a twelve, so thank you. If we can keep this up, Mark will buy into it for sure.”

Paul cocked his head, his eyes troubled as if her words might’ve hurt him.

“Glad I lived up to your expectations.”

Before she could say anything, knowing that somehow she’d hurt him, the woman who’d pulled their names arrived at the table and sat on Paul’s left.

That’s it for now. Please take the time to check out the other  Tuesday Tales


Midweek Tease: Hello Again

MWTease15Good morning. I approved the paperback  version of Hello Again this morning and it should be available from Amazon within a few days, but is available now from AAO__0416__Time_To_BloomCreatespace. https://www.createspace.com/6426171  As an added bonus, the paperback  contains three original pen and ink sketches drawn by my son. Here is one of the images.

Now for this week’s tease:

Hanging up the phone, he put on his regular day-to-day-uniform, grateful he wouldn’t be melting in Red Serge, tossed his Kevlar vest over his arm—no need for that at the moment … it hadn’t helped him last August anyway—and headed out the door. After visiting his favorite drive through for coffee and a chocolate chip muffin, something he’d become addicted to since the shooting, he pulled into the RCMP parking lot at exactly twenty-five minutes before shift change.

“Murdock, I thought you were on vacation?” Greer, the dispatcher who usually covered his shift, asked.

HelloAgain-ebook“I was. I am. I should’ve gone north yesterday, but the guy I was supposed to go with couldn’t get the time off after all. So, since it’s just me … It’s hotter than Hades out there this morning, and it’s not even seven. I was going to go fishing, but even my tough old hide would burn to a crisp in this. Without air conditioning, I’d rather be here.”

“Tough old hide, my ass. You’ve got the sun-bronzed skin of a native god and the abs to match,” she said and chuckled. “Although why you do considering the sweet tooth you’ve developed this past year, is a mystery. But as far as the AC goes, don’t get too excited. There’s a big storm coming in, and we’ve had brown outs twice since I came on at seven last night. We had to turn down the AC so the lights would be bright enough to see. I hate that reduced power even more than a black out—at least then the emergency generator kicks in. I changed shifts with Kellerman, so I’m out of here in an hour. I’m heading to the cottage for the next ten days, where I intend to immerse myself in Lost Mountain Lake as long as I can. You’re welcome to join me.” She batted her eyes at him.

“Yeah, I’m sure that partner of yours would like that.”

“Well, if you change your mind … Lucy and I have a cord of wood that needs to be split and stacked.” She batted her eyes suggestively.

Bill laughed. “Ah ha! The truth comes out. You just want me for my muscles.”

“And they’re damn fine ones. A woman can appreciate roses even if she prefers lilacs.”

He shook his head. “I don’t think I’ve ever been called a rose before. It’s a little hot for that kind of work right now, but once the weather breaks, I’ll take a ride up there and do it for you. Might pitch a tent and do some fishing if that’s okay.”

“And I’ll fry that fish up for you just the way you like it. I’ll get Lucy to bake you a chocolate cake and throw in a case of beer if you’re going to stay.”

“Sounds like a plan. The way to this man’s muscles is definitely through his stomach. I’ll be in touch.”

He waved and headed down the hall.

Kathy Greer was at least twenty years older than he was and as committed to her life partner as he’d ever seen anyone. Lucy had suffered a stroke last winter, but was on the mend. Love was love regardless of gender. It pissed him off when people belittled it. He’d give anything to find the forever kind of love they had, but so far, it wasn’t in the cards for him.

He’d dated, had done the horizontal mambo with some delectable ladies, but he’d yet to find a woman who shared his interests, wouldn’t resent the demands of his job, and could look beyond his hazy background. He’d tried dating another officer, but between shift work and distance, since they couldn’t be in the same detachment, it had been more work than pleasure.

When it came right down to it, women wanted to know everything about their chosen mates, and most women would find it hard to accept the reality of a man who had no idea who his parents were or where he’d come from, let alone one whose job took as much time and involved the level of risk his did, as the scars on his chest and back pointed out.

The most excitement his libido had had in years had been the drug induced hallucinations of the gorgeous brunette he’d seen while he’d been in that coma last August. She might not have been real, but it had certainly felt that way. His body reacted to the memory. The imaginary sex had been out of this world, but it had been more than that—they’d shared a connection of some sort. It was as if he were reliving past life experiences, and since he didn’t buy that mumbo-jumbo…

He sighed. Maybe he needed to talk to that shrink again. The department psychiatrist had grilled him for months about his feelings and any changes he’d noticed. Why the hell the man cared that he now liked brussel sprouts when he’d hated them last year was beyond him, but it seemed there was a whole lot of research going on in the area of dead men returning from the grave. Some people didn’t handle almost dying well. Who’d have guessed?

Without doubt, getting used to doing new things and eating new foods had been a challenge at first, but he’d gradually gotten used to it. The strangest thing he’d done had been buying the four bedroom house he now lived in. Sure, it had been a hell of a deal, but for the life of him he couldn’t figure out why he’d wanted a house so badly in the first place.

The bungalow was a real fixer-upper, and he’d discovered that while he’d always been good at carpentry, plumbing, even electrical work, his skills had improved. Last weekend, with the help of some of the guys, he’d put on a new roof. For whatever reason, he got a real sense of satisfaction out of fixing and modernizing the place. If he decided not to go fishing, he’d spend the rest of his three weeks off finishing the basement. He’d probably sleep down there tonight if the weather didn’t break. AC was definitely on the list of things to get installed before next summer.

One of the biggest problems since the night of the shooting was his lack of interest in the opposite sex. None of the women available appealed to him, since the only one he really wanted didn’t exist. Friends had fixed him up a few times, but nothing had come of it. The last thing he needed was to get saddled with some simpering miss who wouldn’t want to break a nail or get her hands dirty. No. His ideal woman would enjoy the outdoors and adventure.

He shook his head and took the stairs two at a time up to the second floor to sign in and see the superintendent for the information he needed before heading out to the reserve. He might be alone, but he had a house to keep him busy and a job he still liked—well most of the time—and there was Ray. If that panned out, he’d be a happy man.

Hello Again is available in  digital book from Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Hello-Again-Susanne-Matthews-ebook/dp/B01FGN88I6


Please drop by and visit the other teasers this week.

#MidWeekTease August 3, 2016

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