Monday, April 24, 2017

TUESDAY TALES - WORD PROMPT "LIFE" #romance #shortstories


Welcome! This week is another snippet of "Break My Heart." If you have missed the earlier posts, Rick "Breaker" Winslow, cover model extraordinaire, has been disfigured by a fire. He's retreated to a farm house on 30 acres to get away from prying eyes and people's comments about his looks. 

   A pug, discarded by his human family on Rick's property, won't leave. Rick, reluctant to get involved, found himself the new owner of the scruffy critter. 
   In this episode, Rick is forced to come out of hiding to take the little creature to the vet. 
   Thank you for stopping by. Scroll down for the link back to Tuesday Tales and the amazing writers there. 


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“So you can’t take Scruffy to the vet, Mindy?” Rick asked.
“No. You’ll have to face people sooner or later.”
“Face? Was that a pun? A joke? Talk to you later.” He hung up, took a deep breath, and dialed the vet's office. They had had a cancellation and the doctor could see him in an hour.
“This is all your fault!” He said, wagging his finger at the pug. The big brown eyes staring at him almost melted his anger. “I’m supposed to be a hermit. I bought this place to stay away from people, not rush out and meet ‘em.”
The dog barked.
“I know, I know. That’s life, right? I’m stuck. Damn it.” Rick put the harness on Scruffy and took him for a walk. Then he fastened the pug in the backseat and drove to the vet’s. He grimaced, rubbed his stubbly chin, took a deep breath, and strode up the walk with the canine in tow. When he entered, the nurse sat at the desk, her head down, writing.
“Rick Winslow. I have an appointment?” He turned his good side to her.
“Mr. Winslow? Any relation to Mindy?” The nurse asked, looking up at him.
“My cousin.” He tapped his foot and kept from turning toward her.
“Sweet. Dr. Dani will be with you in a minute,” she said, pushing away from her desk and heading for the back of the office.
Dr. Danny? What is he, like Dr. Doolittle?
The nurse directed him to an exam room. He kept his bad side to the wall as he shepherded Scruffy into the room. A tempting, female rump wearing jeans and bending over grabbed his attention.
“I’ll be with you in a minute,” a feminine voice said.
Oh shit! Dr. Danny's a girl! A woman. I can’t face a woman.
“Look, you’re busy, we’ll come back later.”
“Don’t be silly,” she said straightening up.
She stared at him for a moment before he remembered to turn. She blinked once, glanced at the pug, then spoke.
“Don’t I know you?”
“I don’t think so. You might be wondering about my face. I can explain.”
She turned away from him. “Actually, I’m wondering about him,” she said, pointing to the dog. She scooped him up and set him on the examining table.
“What the happened to him?”
“Scruffy?”
“You call this poor creature ‘Scruffy’? Is that a joke.”
“Sort of.”
 “It’s a very bad one. Look, I’ll have to report you to the humane society for the abuse of this pug.”
His eyes widened as he faced her squarely. No way could he lose Scruffy.. He raised his hands. “No, no. Wait a minute. He’s not mine.”
“Then I can’t treat him. Did you steal him?”
“No, no. Please just give me a minute to explain.”
She made a face, narrowed her eyes and stared at him, holding and petting the animal.
“Someone drove up to my place and dumped him. Right by the side of the road.”
Her frown deepened. “You expect me to believe that?”
“Call my cousin, Mindy. Call Jess Lennox. It’s the truth.”
“And you’re keeping him? For how long?”
Her glance washed over him from top to bottom. Her eyes widened. He still dressed the part of an expensive, successful male model: well-tailored shirt, expensive jeans, Rolex watch, and perfectly combed hair. He rubbed his face, aware he stuck out in this laid-back, country town. He’d grown up here, but had left it behind for the glamour of the big city.
“I don’t know. Forever, I guess. Hadn’t thought about it.”
“I’ll take him. I’m sure I can find a good home for him. Don’t want him messing up your lifestyle,” she said, cocking an eyebrow before turning her back.


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Monday, April 17, 2017

TUESDAY TALES - PICTURE PROMPT #shortstory #romance






Welcome! This week is a picture prompt week. I'm only allowed 300 words. We go back to "Break My Heart" this week. Scroll down to get back to Tuesday Tales and my website. Thanks for stopping by. 


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He made his way across the lawn with the pug trotting along behind him. A movement in the thick grass caught his eye. A bunny stood like a statue, his nose quivering. 
"I don't think pugs eat rabbits. Go tear up someone's lettuce patch," he said, waving at the furry critter. It scampered away, disappearing into the thicket. 
Rick and the dog entered the house. In the kitchen, he put on the radio and scrambled up enough eggs for himself and the pooch.
“You’re going to need a name. Although "stupid" might fit, the humane society might have something to say about that. Hmm, let 's see.”
The pug’s fur was dirty and matted. He was thin, too thin, making his head look big.
“Boy, no one would ever offer you a job modeling, either,” he said, as he stroked the uneven stubble on his bad cheek. He’d decided to let some scruff grow. Might be spotty, but it would hide some of the scarring and redness.
“You’re pretty scruffy. But then, so am I.” Rick took a swig of coffee and continued to stare at the creature.
“None of the nice names, like Sparky, fit you. So Scruffy it is.”
The dog barked. Rick refilled his water bowl. The canine had no harness or collar. Rick had no idea if he had had shots either.

“We need to get you to the vet. I’ll call Mindy.” He checked the clock. Only seven. Too early to call his cousin. She was probably banging her new husband about now. He lounged back in his chair, thinking about morning sex. God, he loved it. Waking up to a naked, sexy, willing chick beat a mimosa as the best way to start the day.  Didn't look like that would be happening again real soon. 

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Monday, April 10, 2017

TUESDAY TALES - 'LAKE'




Welcome to another episode of "Break My Heart". Sorry, this one got a little long. Scroll down to return to Tuesday Tales, Thanks for coming. 


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BREAK MY HEART


“Better get your ass up outta there before another car comes along.” But Rick knew there might not be another car down that lonesome road for some time.
“Come on. I’ve got some chicken,” he said, motioning toward the dog. The little creature pushed up on his little legs, walked a few feet, circled a few times, then peed a little lake on Rick’s grass. He returned to his spot and rested his chin on his paws, facing the direction his owner had gone, and didn’t budge.
“You can’t wait here. Didn’t you hear me?”
The dog ignored him.  
“They’re not coming back for you! They’ve dumped you! Deserted you! They don’t want you!” He yelled. The pug glanced at him, then trained his gaze back on the road.
Tears clouded Rick’s eyes. “Stupid mutt. Okay. You’re determined to wait. What the fuck? Your funeral.” His voice low, his shoulders slumped, he turned and headed for the house. Once he reached the sagging front porch, he stopped and looked back. The dog hadn’t moved.
“I get it. Nobody’s coming back for me either, buddy,” he muttered to himself. After one last look at the pug, he opened the door and went inside.

**** 
Dinner was a rotisserie chicken, potato salad and cole slaw from the deli. He cut some white meat up and filled a small dish with it.  Walking toward the road, he noticed the little canine hadn’t changed position. There was no growling as he approached. The pooch turned and sniffed. Rick put the bowl down in front of the little beast.
“I tried to tell you. They don’t want you. Honestly. I’m telling the truth. They’re not coming back. You’re homeless now. Just like me. Sort of. Except I have a house. You don’t have anything. I know. Not very nice of me to point that out. I just want you to get out of the road.”
The dog ate the chicken and wagged his tail for a moment. Then he resumed his vigil. He sneezed in Rick’s direction.
“You’re welcome.” Rick opened a bottle of water and filled the now-empty dish. The pug eyed him. As soon as Rick was a safe distance, the animal lapped up all the liquid. Rick shook his head.  
The air had cooled when the sun went down. It was twilight and good weather for sleeping. He yawned, stretched his arms..  
     “Goodnight. Good luck not getting run over,” Rick said and headed back to the house.
He undressed and climbed into bed. There were two pillows, sheets, and a thin blanket on the double bed in the biggest bedroom at the top of the stairs. With no curtains, he could make friends with the moon while he stretched out in bed. A downward glance showed him the little dog was still faithful and hadn’t left. Rick closed his eyes and sleep came quickly.
When he rolled over at seven, the morning sun poked him in the eye. He washed up and headed for the kitchen. Soon the smell of brewing coffee filled the room. He stood by the window. He rubbed his eyes, not believing what he saw. That damn dog was still there.
Wearing nothing but jeans, Rick grabbed a bottle of water and the little bowl and strode out to the edge of his property. A blast from a huge horn startled him. He jumped a mile, then turned his head to see a gigantic truck barreling its way down the road.
“Must have gotten lost,” he muttered to himself. “Come on now, doggie. Time to get up.” But the animal didn’t move. He leaned over, yep the eyes were open, it was alive.
“Shoo! Come on. You’ve got to get outta here. A truck is coming! The fucking thing will flatten you like a pancake! Get up! Get up, you stupid animal!!”
As much as he hollered at the dog, nothing happened. He only had a split second to decide. Rick leaned over, scooped up the dog in his arms and fell backwards onto the grass on his butt. The little creature squirmed like a greased pig, challenging Rick to hold on to him. Dust and fumes covered them as the vehicle roared past missing them by no more than two feet, horn blasting.
“Shut the fuck up!” Rick hollered after the gleaming white behemoth.
The dog wiggled out of his grasp, moved a few steps away and sat, staring at Rick. Panting, tongue lolling, the pug faced the man.
“I just saved your life. You could be a little grateful!”
Then he poured water in the dish and shoved it closer. The dog lapped it up. Rick still sat on the lawn, knees up, elbows resting there, watching his little companion drink. Without warning, the dog ran over, jumped up and licked Rick’s face. The man fell back on the grass as the canine covered both sides of his face with saliva. He laughed, though it was weird to have the tongue coating the right side. No one had touched him there since the surgery. The left was all right, smooth and perfect as always.
The pug backed up, sat on his haunches, and barked. Rick pushed to his feet.

“Okay, okay, yeah, I came back for you. You can come in. Come on. I’m hungry. Let’s eat.” 



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Monday, April 3, 2017

TUESDAY TALES - "NUMBER" - BREAK MY HEART #2 #romance #


Welcome! This week we're writing to the prompt "number". I'm returning to Break My Heart this week. I hope you enjoy the story. Scroll down to return to the excellent Tuesday Tales authors and their stories. Thanks for stopping by. 


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Deserted by his adoring public, his friends, the three women he’d been sleeping with and even his mother, he had become a recluse. For a year, he hid out, until his face ceased to be news. The surgery had healed well, but he would never look the same. Sure, he still had the thick mop of black hair, piercing eyes the color of the Caribbean Sea, and a body sculpted by hours at the gym. None of that mattered.
He might as well have died in the fire. His life had crumbled like burnt toast. There was nothing left, not even his beloved pooch. After considering suicide, he allowed his dear cousin to talk him into returning to his roots, where he’d be near her and could find peace and quiet.
So here he was and had no clue what the next step would be. A sound coming from the long road that abutted his property alerted him. People were coming. He ducked behind a small grove of trees and waited.
The car came up to the edge of his property and stopped. A man got out from behind the wheel. Rick heard a scream from the backseat.
“Don’t! Poppa! Don’t!”
It was a child’s voice. The man leaned into the car and came out cradling a small dog.
“Sorry, son. We gotta. He needs doctoring and we ain’t got the cash.”
Rick watched the man put the dog down on the lawn and get back in the car. Another scream and a voice came from the backseat. Rick couldn’t distinguish the words. 
“He’ll be fine here. Someone’ll take him in. Hell, son, he’s a dog. He can catch mice and eat ‘em. He’ll be okay.” The man got back in the car and slammed the door. He rolled down the window. “Bye, Sparky. You take care now.”
A young boy leaned out the back window, screaming the dog’s name. The vehicle lurched forward and took off down the road –zero to sixty in ten seconds. The boy continued to scream until the car was out of sight. The small dog ran after it. Rick set out after him.
Finally, the dog collapsed, panting. As Rick got closer, he could see the little animal was a pug. It lay on its side, chest heaving, tongue lolling. As Rick approached, the dog whirled around. He pushed up on his little legs and crouched, growling.
Rick stepped back. The dog held his ground, then turned, looking in the direction of a vague mist of dust, left by the departing car. The pooch twisted his head, trying to figure out where the car was, or at least that’s the way it looked.
“Sorry, boy. Your number's up. They’re gone,” Rick said.

The canine glanced back at him, then sank down, his legs splayed out behind him, his chin on the road. 



Monday, March 27, 2017

TUESDAY TALES - "DICE" BREAK MY HEART - EPISODE 1


Howdy! The word prompt this week is "dice". I'm switching to a new story I've just started, one that has been percolating for a long time. It's tentatively named "Break My Heart". Scroll down for the link to return to Tuesday Tales and to my website. The picture here isn't a final cover, just a rendering I did to get inspiration, although I think the picture will be on the final cover. Thanks for stopping by.






Rick Winslow approached the beat-up farmhouse with caution. Seedy came to mind. Along with dilapidated and creepy. He shivered. This is what he could get that came with thirty acres and no neighbors – the price he paid for privacy.
Returning to Pine Grove hadn’t been a choice, in the truest sense of the word. It had been the only place he could afford such privacy. Back to his roots, maybe. At least here he’d be away from the stares of strangers. He’d live in peace, get a few animals, maybe even branch out from dogs and cats to chickens so he could have fresh eggs.  
His cousin Mindy had found it and called him. He had driven out from New York City that same day and made an offer the next. Much of the land was open field. He’d let that go to seed, return to native forest, something he could hide behind.
Breaker Winslow had died in a fire and Rick Winslow had been reborn. When he closed his eyes, he could still feel the heat and smell the smoke. Fear spike through him. First thing he’d do in this old wreck was brick up the fireplace.
He pulled a cap out of his back pocket and thrust it low on his head. Had to keep the sun off his face. That’s what the doctor who did the reconstructive surgery said.
“Stay out of the sun. That graft is gonna be sensitive for a while. Maybe forever. Wear sunblock every day and a hat. Stay away from the beach and you’ll be fine. The scars will fade and you’ll look okay soon.”
Look okay? By whose standards? He’d never look okay again, never be Breaker Winslow, actor, model, heartthrob on a million book covers. When Breaker Winslow rushed up the stairs to the second floor of his townhouse looking for Ralph  his golden retriever mix, he had no clue how advanced the fire had become or where it had started.
He’d managed to save Ralph, only to be struck by a burning beam. He’d dropped the dog, who had been buried under a pile of flaming debris. Unconscious, he’d been saved by the fire department. Breaker’s face had been permanently damaged, scarred beyond much more than a skin graft patch job could fix. And Ralph had died anyway. Breaker had rolled the dice, and lost, big time.
Now he was simply Richard B. Winslow. Yeah, “B” for Breaker. Rick to his childhood friends and family. Not fit to model, Rick had no other profession. Once it hit the news who owned the townhouse that had burned to the ground, the paparazzi had hounded him. Every effort to hide had failed and it wasn’t long before the picture of his hideous face had hit the papers.   




Monday, March 20, 2017

TUESDAY TALES - PICTURE PROMPT - REUNITED continues... #romance




Welcome! This week we have to write to a picture and use only 300 words. I picked this one. And I'm continuing the story, Reunited. Scroll down to go back to Tuesday Tales and the other stories, and to my website. Thanks for stopping by. 


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Cassie awoke, and stretched. She smiled. Today, she’d be supervising the set up of the farm for shooting the program. She had a week to get everything done before Mike and the crew showed up. Slipping out of bed, she grabbed her robe, and padded into the kitchen.
The smell of brewing coffee tantalized her taste buds. Rummaging through the fridge, she located a loaf of “health” bread and made a face. Still, she grabbed the loaf and her sugar-free jam. She hated the taste of that cardboard, masquerading as toast. Slathering on strawberry jam with some artificial sweetener which made it sickeningly sweet, she grimaced as she faced her breakfast. She’d have to eat real food when shooting began, or subsist on this crap off camera.
She sipped her coffee as the phone dialed Ned.
“Good morning,” he said.
“Hi. When is the set-up crew scheduled to arrive? Today’s first day. I’m heading out as soon as I get dressed. What time should I expect them?”
“Crew?”
“Didn’t you arrange for a crew?”
“There’s no budget for a crew, Cassie. You’ll have to do it yourself.”
“Well that sucks.”
“I’m sorry, baby, but we’ve cut the budget to the bone just to get this thing in the can.”
She stuck out her lower lip and plopped down on a chair.
“Damn.”
“I know, I know. It’s not what you wanted. After we close the deal, they’ll be money for a set-up crew and you’ll be treated like a queen.”
Mollified, a small grin crept across her face. “Okay, then.”
She grabbed a shower, then jumped in her car and hit the Palisades Parkway. She tooled along the pretty highway speeding toward Pine Grove. First, she stopped at the grocery store. She bumped into a cart maneuvered by an older woman.
“Cassie Newsome? Is that  you?”
Laura Dailey trained keen eyes on the young woman.
“Yes, it’s me.”
“Well, look at you? You’re even prettier. Moved back to town?”

“Not exactly,” Cassie hedged. 
























































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Monday, March 13, 2017

TUESDAY TALES - WORD PROMPT "LEMON" - REUNITED CONTINUES!




Cassie finished up and hit the road. With no difficulty, she found the rental office that held the lease for Quincy farm. There was a sign outside a small farmhouse that pointed to a door on the side. She knocked.
“Come on in. I’m in the kitchen,” called a female voice.
Cassie entered a charming home painted bright colors. The smell of bread baking beckoned her to the kitchen. She stuck her head in.
“Mrs. Rogers?”
“That’s me. You are?”
“Cassie Newsome. I called about leasing the Quincy Farm?”
“Oh, sure, sure. Come on in. I’ve just put up a pot of tea.” The woman gestured to a round oak table in the center of a generous kitchen. “You like bread?”
Cassie nodded, her mouth already watering at the tempting aroma.
“I got some here, fresh baked. One loaf is cooled enough.” The woman sliced off two slabs and put them on plates. A half stick of butter rested in an old fashioned dish. Cassie spread and watched it melt.
“Lemon or milk?” The woman asked.
“Milk, please, Mrs. Rogers.”
“Everyone calls me Ellie. Nice to meet ya,” she said, sitting down across from Cassie. “So tell me, what do you need a farm for?”
“It’s only for four months.”
“We only do six month rentals.” Ellie’s brows knitted.
“Oh, that’s okay. We’ll pay for six months. No problem.”  
“Good.”
“How come you’re renting out the farm, instead of living there? If you don’t mind me asking.”
“Have you tried to make a living off a farm?”
Cassie shook her head.
“Yeah, well, we didn’t do too good. It’s Joe’s mom’s place. She passed five years ago. We gave it a go for as long as we could. Then moved back here. Joe’s got a job at the garden supply store. I sell bread to the coffee shop in town. We make out okay.”
“Many people want to rent a farm?” Cassie’s curiosity overcame her shyness.
“You’d be surprised. If you only need it for four months, we’d like to have it back for Christmas. We have a family that always comes up here for the holidays. City folk. They bring their kids. They say they’re looking for an old fashioned experience.”
Cassie smiled, then cast her gaze to the floor. She remembered one great Christmas. It was before her dad deserted them, when he still loved her mother. She must have been four or five. The little house had been filled with tantalizing smells of gingerbread and cinnamon, of apples cooking and meat roasting.
By the summertime, her father had had a huge fight with her mother, knocked her around a bit and taken off. No matter how hard her mother tried, Christmas was never the same. When she left, Cassie stopped even acknowledging the holiday.
I see you’re not married, right? So what do you want with a big ole farmhouse?”
“Actually, it’s for a television program.”
“You gonna film a show there?”
Cassie nodded.
“Wow! We’re gonna be famous? That’s unbelievable.”
“If the network picks up the show, we might be back again.”
“Want to see the place?”
Cassie nodded. 
“Can we go now?”
“Of course. Finish up. I’ll get the key.”
Ellie left the room. Cassie finished her bread. She’d never eaten anything so delicious in her life. She drained her cup and wiped her lips. Ellie chattered about the farm all the way down the street.
When Cassie stepped out of the car, she sighed. The word “perfect” came to mind.


Thank you so much for coming. Click here to return to Tuesday Tales and this to go to my website. 

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Monday, March 6, 2017

TUESDAY TALES - REUNITED - TREE #romance #tuesdaytales






Welcome! This week's word prompt is "tree". I am continuing with my story, "Reunited." Scroll down to return to Tuesday Tales or hit my website. Thank you for coming. 

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Cassie returned to her apartment, poured a glass of wine, stripped off her clothes and slipped on a shift before she called Ned. Stretched out on the sofa, she dialed.
“How’d it go?”
“Well hello to you, too.”
“Come on, give.”
“It went fine. He’s in.”
“Good girl!”
“So, what’s next?”
“I’ll send him the contract. You start scouting sites.”
“Late dinner tonight?” She asked, sucking in her lower lip.
“Tonight? Too much to do. Maybe tomorrow. Send me his address. Love you. Gotta go.”
The phone went dead.
Cassie scrounged up a frozen dinner from the freezer. She poured another glass of wine and while she ate, searched the Internet for the right location for the shoot. What would be a likely place for her to hang with Mike? She closed her eyes and images flashed through her mind. She saw a barn and a pond. No, it was a lake. And trees, lots of trees. The rope swing Mike’s dad hung in a tree on their property jogged her memory.
“Okay, rural,” she said, typing into the Google search bar.

After discarding several places as too basic –she refused to use an outhouse –she found the perfect spot -- a log cabin on fifty acres for rent. With two bedrooms, a giant fireplace in the great room, a good kitchen and two bathrooms, this was ideal. The price wasn’t cheap, but hey, it wasn’t coming out of her pocket.

The show had to be right and the setting, romantic or why waste their time? She clicked on the slideshow and perused the pictures of Quincy Farm. There were fields, a large garden not far from the house. Rocking chairs on the porch and a tree swing added rustic charm.
She shot off an email to Ned:

                 Going to see Quincy Farm for the show. I’ll be on
                 the road for the next few days. Talk to you as soon
                 as I know anything.

She snuggled into bed, hugging her extra pillow. Excitement at taking her dream to the next level filled her veins and she found it hard to sleep. Various scenarios with Mike on Quincy Farm floated through her imagination.

After so many years in the City, getting back to the country, to her roots, brought happy anticipation. Although the place wasn’t far from Pine Grove, where she and Mike grew up, she was light years ahead of the insecure, little girl who’d left town when she was eighteen and had never returned. Did she yearn to go back? No way! She was right where she needed to be, taking control of her life and reaching for the moon.  

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Monday, February 27, 2017

TUESDAY TALES. - Word prompt "Air" - "Reunited" continues #romance




Welcome. This week's word prompt is "air". I continue with the story, "Reunited". I hope you're enjoying it. Scroll down for the link to return to Tuesday Tales and my website.

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“As I was saying, it’s a program about bringing people together. Unscripted, reality TV. So, you’d never know what was going to happen. I mean the viewer wouldn’t. Of course, the producers would have the reins.”
“What do you mean, ‘have the reins’?”
“They’d be in control. I mean if people started fighting, like a knock-down-drag-out, or something. They’d step in.”
“What if they started ripping their clothes off and making passionate love?”  Shocked at his own boldness, he sensed color heading to his face.
“Why, Mike! You made yourself blush,” she said, laughing.
“Answer the question.”
“Of course they’d step in. We don’t want the show to be yanked because it’s porn, or something.”
“I see. So, it would be okay to do that in private?”  A small smile curled his lips.
“Private is private,” she grinned. “I think that kind of tension, sexual tension, will keep viewers glued to their sets. They’ll want to know if they slept together or not and the next day, the way they interact, will probably reveal the truth. But we can’t have that on camera.”
He nodded. “I get it.”
She took a deep breath and let it out. “So, would you be interested?”
“You want me to pretend to fall in love with you for a trip to the Caribbean?”
“It’s not that tacky. Honestly. It would help me out so much. If we could capture an audience, the program would get a contract.”
“Are you a producer?”
She nodded. “I am. Along with Ned Collins. We’re the founders, the creators of the show. But we’d be the main producers. Or Ned would. Guess I’d have to step back a bit if I was on camera.”
“This Ned guy. Who is he?”
“A friend.”
“That’s all?”
“Yep.”
She couldn’t meet his gaze. He didn’t believe her. So what if this Ned guy was her boyfriend? I mean they’d only be pretending to fall in love, right? He certainly wasn’t ready for a relationship. So this might be perfect. Getting him out of the house would make his mother happy. And she was right. He’d been hiding out for a long time, licking his wounds.  A wicked idea crossed his  mind. How far would Cassie be willing to go to make this show a success? Would she sleep with him? The idea gave him a twinge between the legs.
“It’s all going to be make-believe? Just for the camera?”

“Of course. I mean, I don’t know you at all anymore. It’s been ages.”
“So that means you couldn’t possibly fall in love with me, right? Guaranteed?”
“Nothing in life is guaranteed, Mike. Who knows?” Her eyes twinkled with mischief. God, he’d missed that, all these years.
“It’s stupid. Crazy. Idiotic,” he paused, “I’ll do it.” His rational self jumped up and down inside his head, screaming to back off, run, as fast as he could. But he’d already committed. The idea of doing something totally spontaneous and dumb appealed to him. He’d led such a staid life. He hadn’t taken a chance on anything since he last hung out with Cassie.
He’d forgotten how insane life was with her, how much fun. Living in the funk he’d been in, hadn’t done anything to help him. He needed a jolt, something off-the-wall. And this was it. If he got to sleep with Cassie, so much the better. But even if he didn’t, he’d get to spend time with her. Her natural energy and enthusiasm might lift him up the way it always had.
With an alcoholic father, tension had always been in the air. His mother, tight-lipped and grim most of the time, tried to make up for it. She worked hard at a local restaurant, waiting tables and tending bar. The atmosphere at home when he was growing up was dark. Cassie shone like the sun in his life. After school, they’d hang together and she’d get him in some awful messes. But they always ended up laughing about it.

Cassie had brought life and excitement to his days. Damn, he needed something and maybe she was it.