2nd Half of Sweet Sinclair Sample Chapter
When I posted the first half of the chapter, I divided it right at the scene break. So, just to show you’re not missing anything, I am including the last paragraph of Wednesday’s post along with the remainder of this chapter, as promised. Enjoy!
It was an awful feeling of loss, having to watch him go. He glanced back at her one time before letting himself into his car. Shaking his head at himself, he drove away, leaving Sinclair to wonder for the hundredth time what kept going wrong between them.
* * * * *
“What the hell is wrong with me?” Parker exploded. At least he didn’t do it right in front of her store where Sinclair would see it. No, he managed to keep himself calm, cool and collected for two full blocks before suffering his mini meltdown at a red light in front of the local pizza parlor. “God!” He barely resisted banging his head against the steering wheel. “You’re beautiful!” he told the unresponsive stop light. “Gorgeous! I want you! I love you!” Wilting, Parker groaned and rubbed his face with both hands. “I’d wear your ass for a hat from now until the day I died, if you’d just let me.”
The back passenger door swung open and six large pizza boxes were unceremoniously dumped onto the seat behind him. A second later, that door slammed shut and the front passenger door tugged opened. Long dark hair tied back into a neat ponytail, Sam dropped down to sit beside him. “I seriously recommend you save the “I love you” and the ass-wearing until at least the second date. Women get funny about things like that.”
Wilting all over again, Parker bowed his head. “There’s not going to be a second date,” he muttered. “There’s not even going to be a first one.” With his friend and the pizzas they’d come for both safely in the car, he pulled back out into traffic. “I can’t ask her.”
“Sure you can. It’s easy. It starts with ‘hey, gorgeous’ and ends with ‘wanna go for coffee?’”
Parker shook his head. “I can’t, Sam.”
“You’re just out of practice.”
“That’s not what I mean.”
Sam glanced at him. “What then?”
“You don’t know that.”
“I know I’ve never seen her at the Castle,” Parker shot back, growing more irritated with himself by the second. “I guarantee, if she had any inclination towards the kind of stuff we do, she would not have lived in this town for this long without at least one trip to the Castle.”
Grunting, Sam acknowledged the truth of his logic with a nod.
“Vanilla relationships don’t work,” Parker said, more to himself than to Sam. “I’ve failed at every one I’ve tried. One of us would have to change. Either I’d have to try and play it straight with her, or she’d have to be submissive for me.” He shook his head again. “It won’t work. I’d make her miserable. It’s better just not to start.”
“If you really believed that, you wouldn’t have spent the last year torturing yourself with weekly trips to see her. Seriously, how much have you spent on caramels? You don’t even like candy.” Sam picked up the bag of caramels from where Parker had dumped it between the two front seats.
“The Littles and the nursery kids love them.” Snatching the bag back, Parker tossed the caramels in the back next to the pizzas.
“If I didn’t know you better, I’d say you were getting in touch with your masochistic side.”
“I don’t have a masochistic side.”
“After flirting for a year with a woman you refuse to ask out even just to coffee.” Sam smirked. “Yeah, tell me another one, Pinocchio. The girls are going to love your growing nose tonight.”
They drove out of town in silence. Less than five miles away from the turn off to the Castle, for some inexplicable reason, Parker said, “She’s going to lose her store. So I guess it doesn’t matter anymore. She won’t be a temptation for that much longer.”
Sam turned his head toward the window, softly musing, “That’s too bad.”
Parker looked at him. “What the hell does that mean?”
“What did I say?”
“It’s not what you said, it’s the way you said it. You had a tone. Leave her alone, Sam.”
“What?” Sam spread his hands, laughing. “Did I say I was going to do anything at all?”
“You didn’t have to say anything. I know you. Everybody at the Castle knows you. I don’t need any interference in this, so just leave it alone.”
“Hm.” Sam mulled that over a moment before shrugging with both eyebrows. “Okay.”
“I mean it, Sam.”
“I didn’t muck things up when you were chasing after Hannah,” Parker warned. “Butt out.”
“I said okay.” Sam chuckled, holding up both hands. He turned his head to look back out the window, watching as the tallest turrets of the Castle began to appear through the trees in the distance. “I promise,” he grinned, “I’m not going to ask her anything at all.”
* * * * *
The handmade candies were wrapped and put away, the kitchen was cleaned, and the floors were mopped. The till had been reconciled, and it was exactly two minutes to closing time when the phone on the wall behind the display counter rang. It had been a long day and Sinclair was both frustrated and tired. For a moment, she actually contemplated not answering it. If she hadn’t, the entire course of her life would have turned out much, much different.
* * * * *
Sweet Sinclair is now available alone or in the boxed set with four other awesome stories by Maddie Taylor, Patty Devlin, Dinah McLeod and my sister, Robin Smith. The boxed set will only be available for a limited time, so get your copy today. Or, better yet, leave a comment here and on Wednesday’s sample and be entered into a drawing to win a FREE boxed set. I will draw the winner on Sunday!