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Chapter thirty-eight

 

I just read an article about a woman who independently published her book for e-readers – she just signed a contract for seven figures to put her book into print.  Being inspired by that story, I am asking my readers for a huge favor.  If you like this story, would you share it with your friends.  Re-blog it, post it on Facebook – whatever works for you!  My link on Facebook is http://www.facebook.com/t.l.andersenauthor.  Thanks!!

It had been another long day.  Abbey walked to work before the sun was up.  She was grateful to see a hint of sunrise on her way to the diner.  It was a wonderful indicator Spring wasn’t far off.  After a long day of being on her feet, being sworn at and (Abbey grimaced) being groped she was excited for her night at the coffee shop.  She showered the second she got home and crawled into a pair of cotton pajama pants with comic frogs printed all over and a matching baby doll t-shirt.  She was ready for her own kind of night on the town.

 

As she set her cell phone and the book she borrowed from the coffee shop into her purse, she couldn’t deny how thrilled she had been with Sloan suddenly appearing at the coffee shop last week.  And she couldn’t explain what caused him to seek her out.

 

A sigh escaped Abbey’s lips as she picked up her purse and opened the door of her apartment.  Her hopes were soaring that he would stop by again but the pit in her stomach warned her to prepare for disappointment.  She locked the door and slammed it behind her.

 

It seemed, by the deserted hallways, that all of Abbey’s neighbors were outside enjoying the unseasonably warm March day.  It was almost too warm for Abbey to wear her ski jacket.  Abbey sat on the bench in the bus stop shelter and watched the neighborhood kids play in the melting snow on the sidewalk.

 

As she stood to board the bus, she heard a chirp from her purse.  She retrieved her cell phone and looked at the screen.  A text popped across the face of the phone, a thumbnail picture of Sloan accompanying the message.

 

“Are you going to the coffee shop tonight?”

 

Abbey typed furiously on the virtual keyboard on the smart phone face as she bumbled her way to her seat and sat down.  “On my way there now.”

 

She waited for a response.  Her heart sunk in disappointment when it arrived.  “K.”  She slipped her phone into her purse with a sad sigh.

 

It took some time for Abbey to get to the coffee shop.  She had gotten used to the trip – she actually enjoyed interacting with others traveling with her.  It made her appreciate the diverse community she had become a part of.  It was a far cry from life in Iowa for sure.

 

Abbey pulled the door of the coffee shop open and stepped inside.  She stopped at the counter to place her order.

 

“Hey, Abs,” Martin greeted as he wiped his hands on a dishcloth, his shaggy blond hair waving in greeting also.  “What can I get you?”

 

“An iced tea,” Abbey ordered.  “It’s sort of warm out there.”

 

“I know, isn’t it?”  Martin typed her order into the register and took the dollar bills Abbey offered him.  “I got bad news, Abs.  Somebody is in your spot.”

 

Abbey wrinkled her nose as she looked behind her at the wooden table flanked by two small chairs.  It was perfect for using a laptop.  It would suck to read at though.

 

“Thanks, Martin.”  Abbey took the plastic lidded cup of iced tea he handed to her and shuffled off towards the sofa.  She would figure something else.

 

It truly didn’t shock her when she found who was sitting on her sofa in the coffee shop.  What he was wearing though blew her mind.

 

Sloan sat in her spot on the sofa with his legs stretched out resting on the coffee table.  However, instead of his customary Armani suit or his less common tight designer jeans, he was dressed in a pair of gray sweat pants cuffed at the ankle.  Instead of a linen dress shirt he wore a black Guinness t-shirt.  His feet rested on the table in a pair of Nike running shoes.  A frothy latte sat in a ceramic mug beside him on the end table.  A copy of the Wall Street Journal and an IPad sat perched on the arm of the sofa.  Sloan was deeply engrossed in the New York Times sports page rolled in his hand, his eyes focused on an article about the New York Jets.

 

Abbey gently touched Sloan’s arm.  “Hey.”

 

Sloan looked up at her startled.  He smiled and set his paper on his lap.  “Hey.”

 

“It’s Saturday night.  What are you doing here?” Abbey quizzed.

 

Sloan lifted the paper on his lap.  “Reading.”

 

“I thought you liked going out to the clubs?” Abbey insisted.  Who wouldn’t when the night would probably end in sex?

 

Sloan laughed.  “Even I need some downtime, Abigail.  Besides.”  Sloan grabbed Abbey’s hand, leading her around the arm of the sofa and tugging her down to sit beside him.  “I enjoy the company here better.  And don’t we have a Scrabble rematch?”

 

Abbey giggled.  She pulled the book from her purse.  “Do you mind if I read first before we play?”

 

Sloan patted the newspaper and tablet beside him.  “Go ahead.  I have some reading of my own.  Plus I have a couple of e-mails to answer.”

 

“Good.”

 

Abbey settled into the sofa cushion and opened her book.  She found it difficult to lose herself in the story with Sloan sitting so close.  His proximity made her heart race and her head foggy.  She shifted uncomfortably on the sofa and forced herself into the words.  Abbey didn’t realize how often she fidgeted as she read.  She looked up as Sloan touched her shoulder.

 

“Are you alright?” Sloan asked concerned.  “You don’t seem comfortable.”

 

“I’m fine,” Abbey assured.

 

“Do you wish me to move to the armchair?”

 

“No, it’s fine.”

 

Sloan smiled at her as he stretched his arm out to her.  His broad chest was open and inviting.  “Come here,” he crooned.

 

Abbey stared at him dumbfounded.  Sloan frowned.  “Unless you don’t want to.”

 

“I do.”  Abbey scrambled the few inches across the sofa to him and rested her head against his chest.  His warmth was intoxicating.  Abbey was severely tempted to stretch her arm around him to hold him close.  She wasn’t sure how Sloan would feel about that.  She shivered in delight as Sloan chuckled and wrapped his arm around her.

 

They both went back to reading quietly.  After awhile Abbey reached to the coffee table and set her book down.  She looked up to Sloan, watching him as she read from his tablet.

 

“Sloan,” Abbey addressed.

 

“Hmm?” he answered.

 

“You kissed me last week.”

 

“Yes, I did.”

 

“And you haven’t kissed me since.”

 

Sloan paused a moment.  “That is true.”

 

“Why haven’t you?”

 

Sloan set the tablet on the end table.  “I’m not sure about a relationship with you.”

 

Abbey sat up, pulling away from him.  The hurt radiated from her eyes.  “I don’t understand.”

 

“Abigail, my life is…complicated.  Dangerous.  I don’t know if I want to drag you into it.  I don’t want to put you in harm’s way.”  Sloan touched Abbey’s cheek.  “Believe me, I want you in my life.”

 

Abbey took the gamble.  She laid her head on his shoulder, grazing the heel of her hand across his ribcage until her arm was wrapped around him.  “What if I don’t care about how complicated your life is?  What if I don’t care about the danger?  What if all I care about is you?”

 

Sloan’s ice blue eyes locked with Abbey’s.  Abbey felt herself sink into their cool depths.  “I can’t put you in that position, Abbey.  It would be selfish on my part.”

 

“Be selfish.”

 

“Abigail,” Sloan protested weakly.

 

Abbey raised herself up in Sloan’s arms until she was nearly nose-to-nose with him.  “Non-negotiable.”

 

Their eyes locked only for a moment more.  Abbey gasped as Sloan drove his lips against hers.  She held tight to him, losing herself in the kiss, trembling at the sensation of his lips soft against hers, his tongue gently caressing hers.  This kiss was followed with another then another intermixed with soft pecks and nibbles.  Abbey was in heaven in his arms.

 

Besides, she wondered wildly, how dangerous could the life of an artist be?

 

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About triciaandersen

I am the author and illustrator of the children's book "The Peculiar Princess". I am also the author of two adult fantasy romance novels, "The Sorceress of Savon" and "The Woodcutter King of Muladin". Along with being an author I am married to a wonderful guy and have three beautiful children. I coach youth track and field, sew and chase my children around to their various activities.

Posted on June 15, 2012, in author, books, fiction, novel, romance, story, Uncategorized, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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