Out of the Past (Heritage Time Travel Romance series, book #1)
A second place finisher in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards
Free for Amazon Kindle and
Barnes & Noble Nook
Barnes & Noble Link
I returned from my book tour on May 16th and had only one day at home to do laundry and clean house before I drove to Des Moines to stay with Derek for the weekend and to schmooze with some of his clients for dinner and drinks both Friday and Saturday night.
So on Saturday night, I found myself sitting in downtown Des Moines at the lovely Cosmopolitan Lounge, stirring my very apropos Cosmo drink and nodding mechanically at the stylish, dripping-with-expensive jewelry, and very young wife of Derek’s client who I refer to privately as, Mr. Middle-Aged Moneybags. I listened to her describe how she had lived enough to fill ten novels with her exploits into the fast-paced world of the rich and famous.
“You should do it. You should write a novel,” I urged her with as much sincerity as I could muster.
“Oh, I just couldn’t!” she hooted, followed by a ringing high-pitched cackle of a laugh that sounded a bit like a deranged hyena. Derek glanced over briefly, likely as surprised as I was that a sound like that could come out of a human being, but he went back to his conversation without missing a beat. My companion placed a hand over her mouth briefly with a self-conscious flush coming up in her cheeks, floored by the notion.
“Oh no, not me but if you ever run out of ideas, I would be more than happy to share,” she offered magnanimously.
“I’ll definitely keep that in mind—can’t have too many good ideas,” I said distractedly as I reached for my black clutch that was vibrating on the oversized-leather chair beside me. I pulled out my smart phone and swiped open the face to read a text message. It was from Dave.
“Wow, that little black dress is killer!”
In shock, I looked up and around the room, finally finding him seated at the bar halfway between me and the stage at the far end. He was relaxed, seated on a bar stool, drink in hand. He raised his glass to me in salute and grinned.
Oh, I thought seeing his smiling face, I had missed Mr. Cameron. I hadn’t had a chance to see him in Fremont before I’d left to come to Des Moines for the weekend and having not seen him for over two weeks, it felt as if it had been ages.
“Would you please excuse me?” I said absently to the table in general, and then I scooted my chair out and on my little black stiletto heels, made my way across the room.
Dave watched me approach with a friendly enough smile on his lips but those eyes of his; they roamed over every inch of my body, from the tips of my high-heeled shoes to the very top of my head and back down again, ending with a ‘have mercy’ roll to them as if to swoon, just as I arrived.
“Would you mind going back and doing that one more time? I want to be sure to commit that strut to memory for my future private use,” he requested dreamily.
I shook my head and rolled my own eyes at his rather bawdy remark.
“How’s the hand?” I asked to change the subject.
He immediately lifted it for my inspection and I held it in my two hands, smoothing an index finger over the back of his hand and along what was now no more than a thin pink line marring the golden brown of his tanned skin.
“Looks good,” I said approvingly. “Glad to see that you’re still in possession of all five of your fingers,” I observed and released his hand from my grasp.
I crossed my arms over my waist and gave him a look up and down not unlike he had just given me, from the top of his head to the tips of his very expensive looking black dress shoes.
“No missing extremities,” I observed. “All body parts appear to be present and accounted for. I’m very happy the see that you survived my absence unscathed.”
“Very funny,” he said dryly.
“So now my next question must be what on earth are you doing in Des Moines? And how is it that you just happen to be in the same bar as me?” I asked flabbergasted. “Taken up stalking me, have you?”
“I’m not saying that wouldn’t likely be an extremely entertaining endeavor, all things considered but—no,” he said playfully. “I knew Max Eubank was playing here tonight, and my date lives downtown at the Plaza, within walking distance so—”
“Your date?” I interrupted, goggling at him open-mouthed. I don’t know why that should surprise me so much but it did.
“She’s in the restroom just now,” he said easily with a grin, obviously amused by my reaction. He reached out an index finger and lightly touched my chin.
I promptly closed my open mouth.
“Hmmm,” I murmured as I tried to digest this new development.
I was a little shocked by the incalculable coincidence of seeing him in this place and seeing this other side to Dave Cameron that I’d never really considered. He was meticulously groomed and dressed in a great looking dark-blue dress shirt and tie with some nice gray trousers, and those dress shoes—something other than the work boots that were his usual daily wear, at least in my experience. Not that I don’t appreciate the way that he looks on a day to day basis. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen him looking anything but perfect to my discerning eye but this—he looked amazing. I couldn’t even think of any eloquent adjectives fitting enough to describe his sexy hotness, and I’m a freakin’ writer!
“Hey, you clean up nice, buddy,” I finally managed to say nonplussed.
He sat up a little taller in his seat, lifting his chin which showcased a knife sharp jawline and with a wry twist of a half-smile, straightened his tie and gave me his famous one-liner.
“I have my moments.”
Just then, a very beautiful and very young woman, blonde and stylishly dressed in an expensive designer outfit that flattered her numerous curvaceous attributes, arrived and stood next to me and I belatedly got the hint and moved to provide her access to what was apparently her seat next to my employee.
Dave rose from his bar stool and kept standing briefly until she had seated herself with, I noted, effortless grace and fluidity. She swiveled on her stool toward me and I couldn’t help but notice her reach out to lay a familiar hand on Dave’s upper thigh to steady herself while she crossed her impossibly shapely legs and joined our conversation.
“Sharon Johnson, I’d like you to meet, Torie Mills. Torie this is Sharon,” Dave gestured between us, making the introductions and Sharon and I shook hands and made small talk about how nice it was to meet each other, how much we were both looking forward to hearing the singer tonight, blah, blah, blah—while Dave sat placidly sipping at his drink and looking on with his head tilted to one side and a slight smile upon his lips, seeming to be enjoying this little tête-à-tête immensely.
“Well,” I finally said extricating myself when our conversation had quickly stumbled to an awkward pause. “It was very nice to meet you, Sharon.”
“Nice to meet you, Torie,” she reciprocated with another shake of my hand.
I moved my attention back to Dave, finding his eyes were on me and a soft smile was upon his lips.
“Dave,” I said. “I need to get back to Derek, but I’ll be able to help with the house part of next week.”
“I’ll be there, bright and early,” he assured me, nodding and taking my hand into his for a cordial shake and said softly. “Really great to see you.”
It was just then that the lights dimmed, bringing any further conversation to an end as Max Eubank took his place on stage to a round of enthusiastic applause and began strumming the intro to “I Won’t Make You Feel Romantic.”
Sharon wiggled her manicured fingers toward me in a final friendly farewell and swiveled her chair around to face the stage while I quickly retreated to my table at the back of the room but I couldn’t help my eyes drifting again and again, across the room to watch Dave and his date as they sat cozily together, enjoying the music and quiet conversation with each other. Dave had his arm along the back of her chair, leaning in to whisper over her shoulder and she was leaning back against his chest, tilting her head so that he could speak directly into her ear and doubtless his lips were lightly touching there, his breath probably tickling and warm against her neck. I had to admit to myself that they appeared to be sharing a very romantic and intimate connection with each other as they listened to the singer and his acoustic guitar.
Me? Oh, I was treated to listening to Derek drone on and on about market conditions and equity index funds while at the same time shamelessly stroking his client’s already inflated ego like a two-bit car salesman and expecting me to do the same for the guy’s gold-digging trophy wife!