Today's excerpt is from Escorts for Hire - Heartaches for Free by Deryn Pittar, part of the One Sultry Day anthology.
We hope you enjoy today's tease!
“Excuse me, would you be Alexandria?”
He’d returned, sneaked up on her from the side. His blue eyes set below arched eyebrows held her gaze and even as she thought to look away, she couldn’t. Ignoring the flip-flop in her chest as her heart bounced with excitement she got a grip and stood as tall as she could and gave him her best smile. This could be fun after all.
“I am, but you can call me Lexi.” She put out her hand and he shook it, his grasp firm and warm. He seemed to hang onto her hand for a long time and she ignored the tingle that ran up her arm and zinged her heart. Must be imagining things.
“Pleased to meet you,” he said. “I hope you haven’t been waiting too long, because I did arrive a little early then decided I might need some cash so I had to find the nearest ‘hole in the wall’ and withdraw some money. Never know when you might need some money.”
So that’s why he left. He hadn’t abandoned her at all. Now totally flustered, and her body temperature rising rapidly all she wanted to do was get somewhere in the shade. Was the day that hot already or was her body reacting to his proximity?
“But, I’m paying for everything today.” She had to make that clear, Tess said so.
“Yes, but there are times when a fella likes to pay.”
“Of course,” she gave him a quick smile, “Just not today.”
He shuffled a bit. “Do you want to just stand here or do you have plans for today? I have a list of suggestions if you’d like me to decide.” He pulled a crumpled piece of paper from his pocket, bent down to retrieve his comb from the pavement where it had fallen and stood ready to recite his list.
“No, no. Quite alright. I have a plan. Would you like a cup of tea first?” She indicated the tearoom doorway, “Or shall we walk to the train station.”
For Jeremy what had promised to be a dreary day of hard work entertaining a lady of indeterminate age had, within the last five minutes, become a delightful surprise. He’d had to suppress a shout of joy when she’d replied to his query with ‘I am, but you can call me Lexi’.
He couldn’t believe his luck.
Lexi—not Alexandria; beautiful, elfin and trim, not middle-aged, sad and lonely. He wished he’d been given a photo of her. She obviously had one of him because she recognized him at once.
Why, he’d be happy to pay to take her out, not the other way round as was happening today. Not that she’d ever go out with him if they’d met socially. Her voice had a cultured lilt to it yet there was an air of diffidence in her body language. How could anyone so pretty be unsure of themselves? Why on earth would she need to pay someone to accompany her anywhere?
Well, he’d try and bolster her ego a little today. Make her feel important, see if he could get a real smile on her delicate features, instead of a quick forced lift of her lips. He’d hated letting go of her hand and even now looked down on her mop of dark brown hair with the hint of a curl in it. He imagined running his fingers through it and covering her lips with his and lost in his daydream had to halt and step back when she called out. They’d reached the station entrance and he hadn’t even noticed.