Enjoy this excerpt from my latest title, ANCHORED HEARTS
“What are you thinking about?”
“Nothing,” she said.
“Are you sure?”
Tiring of his badgering and interrogation, Allontis turned her back on Cole and faced the sink again. If only she could turn off the awareness she now felt with his close proximity, but there was no escaping the heat of his body next to hers. His sleeves had been neatly rolled back, and from her peripheral vision she could see his tanned skin surrounding her. Tiny hairs seemed to dance their way up his arms, and she tried to trace where the delicate hairs ended and the shirt began without turning her head, until her vision grew blurry. She closed her eyes to regain her balance, lest she sway and land in a heap right there at his feet again. Facing forward to look out the window, she reached to crank it open: the smell of him seemed to stifle her, not to mention the cooking pot roast he’d prepared, the vegetables sautéing on the range, and some kind of bread she guessed he’d made because there’d been a small dusting of flour on one of the countertops. She looked at his hands: large, light-tanned skin and long fingers, the nails at the end of each one perfectly straight, trim and clean. There was so much about him that she no longer knew, and it both saddened and amazed her. His culinary skills, for one, had made the place smell like it had when Momma G had been able to cook, a time that seemed so long ago. His arms around her, coupled with his cologne and the simple fact of his nearness, made her feel like a flower field was swirling around her head.
Allontis gave herself a little shake. She was getting irritated with herself for all the thoughts brought on by his proximity, her loss and his concern. If she could stay immune to him long enough, he would be gone soon enough.
If she wanted to survive his time in Virginia, she had to remember he was here for only a short while. Above all, she had to avoid intimate moments like this one.
“You know,” she finally managed, “it’s just a little too late for your concern. You have no right to ask me anything about my personal life. If you really cared, you would have been here, so because you weren’t…” Allontis inhaled and exhaled deeply, almost confused by her own words. “Because you were not here, I have no cause but to believe that you didn’t care even then, so please don’t pretend you care now. I just…I wouldn’t believe it. I can’t.”
With that, she forced her way out of his arms and with hands full of dripping cut stems, she moved to the trash can where she dumped them. She peeled the wet leaves from her palms, and slapping her hands against each other as if done with that, she ignored his look of hurt befuddlement and moved on to the other items she’d bought. She took out the two cakes and fussed with the vase on the table, turning it back and forth, until she found the right look and because she was want of anything else to do with herself.
“They’re pretty,” she heard Cole say over her shoulder, and instantly some of the tension she felt ebbed away.
“Thank you,” she returned, clearing her throat. “Momma G loved fresh flowers and all her house plants. I don’t know if I’ll remember to water them—they’ll probably all die in my care.” She didn’t want Cole to know that her eyes had filled with tears, so she wiped at them hastily but it was too late.
“I’m sorry I snapped at you,” she said.
“I’m sorry I pried.” He moved over to her gently. He didn’t wait for an invitation; he simply pulled her into his arms and squeezed her tight.
Burying her face in his shoulder, Allontis let go. She couldn’t believe they were having this like-hate situation, and she still couldn’t believe he was there consoling her at all. A part of her had yearned for this for some time, and that part said to take it for however long it lasted.
After several moments, she whispered, “I can’t believe she’s gone.” She was embarrassed that she broke down in front of him, and when she tried to get out of his embrace, this time with less effort, he wouldn’t let her go. Instead, she clung to him because he was strong and solid and because he was Cole and because he was finally, finally there.
Meet Author Tracee Lydia Garner
I am a Virginia native, living just outside of DC, aka the DMV. I love writing, reading and event planning. I could do these all day. I’m active at my church, enjoy live theatre, teach an 8 week writing, and work full time in health and human services. My writing career started almost 15 years ago when I won the BET First Time Writers Contest for my novella Family Affairs. I received publication, a book contract, small advance and trip to NYC. It was a life changing moment that I’m still truly grateful for.
As a child, my favorite author was Judy Blume. I still feel warm and fuzzy whenever I hear anything about Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. As I moved on to romance, my favorites were Brenda Jackson, Donna Hill and Debbie Macomber. I still enjoy them and now Sheryl Lister, Julie Lessman and Irene Hannon. I don’t read a ton of nonfiction, but when I do, a devotional, something like Ashley Sauls or all about time management, goals and productivity. I’m pretty productive, but LOVE reading blogs on the subject. I’m a Post-It note junkie and could probably open up my own office supply store. I think love of office supplies is an inherent trait of many writers.
For my own writing, I add suspense and create intricacies, sprinkling mystery in my tales. My own writing motto: What’s a character’s life without some adversity?
Please find me online:
Twitter - @Teegarner,
Website - Teegarner.com