Here’s Excerpt #2 from my next soon to be released novel; now available for pre-order on Amazon – Enjoy!
She could shatter me. It was the first and only thought that came to Ethan’s mind the first time he looked at Serena Clay. When she’d excused herself, he turned around, saw her, and for a long moment he almost couldn’t hear anything else she said. His head was instantly filled with so much noise; it sounded remarkably like a large body of water falling off a cliff or the unending static from a broken radio or TV. But his eyes still worked, and they narrowed on her instantly.
Ethan had seen plenty of beautiful women. Many of them on this campus or just walking through Brooklyn as if they grew on trees or sprouted up from the sidewalks, but he’d never experienced anything like this before. This woman was stunning, an exotic blend of sensual and guileless beauty. The innocent pull of this girl was so sharp, so unrestrained — it made him feel untethered. Deeply, deeply lost. Something else he was definitely not accustomed to.
Then she asked him to be a man.
Having her ask him to open a jar for her was flirtatious enough to get his undivided attention, but then she smiled at him and broke open the sky they were standing under. The sun came streaming into their tableau so fast that his eyes narrowed once more, but he could see everything. It was so vivid that he almost felt like himself again.
“Applesauce?” he asked, curiously.
“Yeah. It’s my thing. I always need something sweet to perk me up a bit after a meal.
Jason chose that moment to insert himself. His demeanor was eager. Too eager. Taking a step forward, he spoke cheerfully, “I can help you with that, miss.”
Ethan’s response was instantaneous.
With one hand Ethan slammed the half-ream of flyers into Jason’s solar plexus and was pleased when he heard the grunted exhalation escape his friend’s chest as Jason instinctively grabbed the papers before they fell. Maybe it will hurt when he breathes, Ethan thought nastily.
Stepping toward her, Ethan saw she had noticed his barely contained violence, and it surprised her. Serena’s already large and opaque brown eyes had widened even larger. She wasn’t scared, though, and for that he was grateful. He was running on pure instinct here, and all he knew was that not Jason or anyone else was edging into this moment. It was hers and his. That was all.
Holding his hand out, he attempted to relax and said, “I can help. Give me the jar…?”
Serena was amused as she handed it to him and answered his unspoken question.
“Serena. Serena Clay.”
Ethan hit the bottom of the jar with the heel of his hand twice.
“And you are?”
She asked him the question, but when he didn’t answer right away, she looked over at Jason.
Jason took a slightly exaggerated step away from Ethan, getting only a smidgeon closer to Serena.
“I’m Jason Rutherford.”
Ethan opened the jar easily and handed it to Serena.
“Hulk,” she said, smiling again, “open.”
Ethan had to grin. He was acting like a Neanderthal with a limited vocabulary and no socialization skills.
“My name is Ethan Vance.”
“Thank you, Ethan Vance and Jason Rutherford.”
“Hey, Ethan, Goslin’s going to roast us for the next three classes if we don’t get going.”
“Okay, okay,” Ethan said, not even trying to mask his impatience.
Serena pulled a silver spoon out of her jacket pocket. Then with a little giggle, she dug in. She seemed to enjoy her first spoonful so much she did a little dance in place.
“You want some?”
Ethan smiled for real, this time, and shook his head.
Looking down at the sketch pad on her blanket, Ethan thought of something.
“What’s your next class? I mean, when is it?
“I have about an hour before it starts. It’s li—”
“Life drawing,” Ethan finished for her.
“How did you know?”
“It was a hunch from looking at your pad. Is it with Moldau or Collins?”
“Okay,” Ethan could now sense Jason’s impatience, so he started backing away from Serena. “I have to go. But you’ll see me again.”
“Ok.” She looked sad when she said that, which, in turn, made Ethan so happy he almost grinned at her unabashedly. She didn’t want him to leave.
Instead, he just continued backing up.
“Nice to meet you, Serena,” Jason called out, already a good distance ahead. “Come on, Ethan.”
Ethan turned away then and sprinted after Jason. He caught up with him easily. Then they both were jogging toward Higgins Hall. They almost made it to the end of the quad but then right before, he had to turn around. What he saw stopped him.
Serena was still standing there looking at him, her silver spoon in one hand and her jar of applesauce in the other. The cherry trees were losing some of their blooms to a breeze. Serena stood there looking at him, surrounded by a swirl of pink diaphanous cherry petals sailing all around her.
“Ethan, man. What are you—”
“Jason, I’ll get there. I will. But today I’m going to be late.”
Ethan ran all the way back the way he’d just come. The closer he got the bigger her smile got. When he was only a few feet away, he slowed down. He didn’t know what he was going to say. He didn’t know what he was going to do. He didn’t want her to see how hard it was for him to just be himself around her. He wanted desperately to kiss her.
Her gaze was focused and intent on him as he walked up to her, made a decision, and lead with his lips.
He vaguely registered the sound of applause and cheering from other students on the quad. Soon he tuned it and them out. His mind went somewhere else completely different.
Kissing her felt dreamlike.
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