This is James and Michaela in Stare Him Down
This is Michaela
This is James
This is the beginning of their story
The Donavan mountaintop ski lodge in Stowe, Vermont
He closed his eyes and allowed his weight to sink into the couch. The worn leather might have started off cool, but in no time it would be warm and cozy. Too bad he wasn’t alone up here. He could go for a blazing fire and an hour or two to enjoy an expensive brandy in complete solitude. Maybe—
Wonderful. Now he had company. He didn’t move as he tried to imagine what the newly arrived person was doing. Drawers slid opened and then closed. Cabinet doors, running the full length of the lower part of the bookcase, opened and then slammed shut. All ten of them in quick and decisive OCD fashion. What the hell?
Now he was paying attention and when he eased up to peer over the back of the couch, he scowled. It was the boss’s daughter, Michaela, who’d turned her sights onto methodically searching the large tiger-striped oak desk. Yeah, scratch daughter. She wasn’t just Bran Donavan’s only child, she was his princess. The man thought the sun rose and set on the girl.
Not that it was any of James’ business. How his boss spoiled his kid was none of his concern. In fact, he shouldn’t even care about what she was doing here. She had more right to be in Bran’s library than he did. Even still, he couldn’t help being curious. What was she trying to dump? She had some type of object in her hand, and judging from her single-minded attempt to get rid of it, the shiny item was probably a murder weapon.
Suddenly, she stopped and simply dropped the thing. It didn’t hit the stone floor, but made a soft thud instead. Interesting.
Even more interesting? After a quick scan of the situation, he realized whatever she’d been trying to ditch was now cushioned in the papers in the garbage basket by her feet. He knew this because she bent and then rearranged the trash in three quick moves. He was just about to clear his throat to let her know that he was there, and also to find out what was going on, when a deep voice sounded outside the library in the hall.
“Like hell. It didn’t just disappear. She took it. I know she did.”
It seemed that Mack Decker was on the warpath. James watched Michaela closely to see how she’d react. She had her back to him while he wondered what she planned to do. Didn’t Daddy’s little princess know that Decker wasn’t a man to mess with? Apparently not. She straightened, and instead of panicking over the impending confrontation, she seemed to be preparing for it by pulling up her sleeves.
“There you are.” Decker came in and closed the door with the authority of a guy who knew he had this showdown in the bag. A fact that was yet to be seen. Speaking of seen…
James was grateful for the darkness in this half of the library as it afforded great cover while he waited for the mystery surrounding Michaela’s actions to unfold.
“Hi, Mr. Decker.”
Her innocent greeting surprised him. Enough that he took a moment to study her body language more closely. And what that language currently shouted belied her serene, calm, and cool as a cucumber right out of the fridge, tone. She trembled a little and her hands, which were tightly clasped behind her back, showed the whites of her knuckles right through her taut skin.
Hm. Her seemingly blasé attitude must have surprised Decker too. The guy scowled. “What are you doing in here?”
“Oh no, is my dad looking for me? I’m so sorry. I forgot about the photographer. I hope he’s not too upset.”
Decker growled, forcing Michaela to halt at the door where she’d been trying to make a quick exit. She spun around. “Yes?”
“Give me your medallion.”
The face she made was so over-the-top outraged that James wanted to laugh.
“Why? My team came in second. I won this fair and square.” She held up the gold coin only to have Decker swipe it from her.
“We’ll see about that. At least this will replace what you took from me.”
Her previous outrage reached phenomenal B-movie potential. “Took what? I didn’t take anything.”
They glared at each other and then?
Without a word or even a change of expression, Michaela just swung around, opened the door, and left. Causing James to wonder once more about what she’d dropped in the trash can. The way she steadily denied the VP’s accusation made James wonder. Did she take something from the guy or not? A few minutes later he finally got the chance to find out. The second Decker left he went on a small scale dumpster dive.
And there it was.
Decker’s first place ski trophy. The whole team got one. Each of them was expected to hoist it high in the annual championship picture. No wonder the guy was pissed. He’d be lunch-bag left out in the shot.
James dropped the award and turned. Michaela was standing in the open doorway in a stance that fairly challenged him to question her about all this. But how could he? It wasn’t as if he doubted the possibility. Decker was a competitive son-of-a-bitch who’d been known to skew things in his favor every chance he got. They didn’t call him double-dealing Decker for nothing.
So James simply waited for her to spill the dramatic tale of woe. He knew from experience that teenagers ate up this kind of shit.
Probably why he was left scratching his head several seconds later when Michaela smiled, much like the Mona Lisa, and then left.
Her enigmatic grin haunted him for most of the afternoon, but it wasn’t until Decker took a few verbal shots at her when some of the guys got together later in the evening, that James intervened. After he tackled the VP in private over this, he went to find the little crusader.
“Here.” He handed her the gold medallion. “I believe this is yours?”
That’s all he said, before he mimicked her earlier inscrutable expression, and gave her a salute of approval.
It did occur to him as he walked away, that she didn’t seem at all impressed with his gesture. Which was…
Downright distracting, if he was being honest.
These are a series of scenes that take place over the course of years prior to their story starting. I will continue to post the next few scenes, until the full story releases at the end of this month.
They are titled as follows, so keep checking back.
Later that night at the lodge, alone in her king-size bed and snuggled under the warmth of a soft, feathery down duvet. (Michaela)
Donavan Industry’s main office a year and a half later (James)
and if we have time…
The Donavan ski lodge a year later. The annual company competition
With each of these scenes, I’ll be adding to our build-a-giveaway too.
For those of you who aren’t familiar here’s how it goes. If you are a subscriber you are already entered for a chance to win, but then, if you leave a comment you increase your chances as I add the names from comments to the hat before I do the final drawing. So let’s say we have five build-a-giveaway posts and you’re a subscriber and you leave a comment on all five posts, your name will be in the hat six times. That’s better odds, right?
So far we have all this stuff (if you don’t want to click we have a 25.00 Amazon gift card, chocolates, a Stare Him Down mug and some chocolates) and I’m adding this mystery box today:
You’ll find out when we do the drawing what’s in it. 😀
Okay, and for those of you who follow my blog because of my Honey stories? I have dubbed this one:
The Night The Lights Went Out on Fable Land
So Honey and I were lying in bed the other night and he was trying to go to sleep. I say he, because I was lying awake trying to work out this idea I had about reinventing a fairytale. I won’t bore you with all that. It’s still marinating in the old noggin.
What I want to share is the conversation Honey and I had in the wee hours, lying in our bed in compete darkness. Check it out.
“I think it will work, don’t you?” That’s me talking and you have to imagine that I’ve just unloaded a whole multi-leveled plot of epic proportions on him. Non-stop talking for a good five minutes at least.
His answer? Grunt
Seriously? Hell no, you know that’s not going to work, so I start poking him. “Did you even listen?”
I’m determined to get him to talk, actually wake him up. I poke him some more. “You fell asleep, didn’t you? What was the last thing you remember me saying and I’ll pick up there and then you can tell me what you think.”
“Come on. I’m not going to let you sleep until we do this.”
He groans again and rolls over onto his side, facing me. “Do what?”
“Finish working through this idea.”
“The fairytale one?”
I stop poking him. “Exactly.”
“I thought all your heroines are noble and virtuous?”
There’s me thinking, sure we’ll go with that. “They are.”
“Then how is this going to work?”
I shifted back and frowned. “I’m not following.”
“Snow white lived with seven male dwarfs, the comatose chick in the glass case let some stranger slobber all over her to wake her up – not very discerning if you asked me, Rapunzel invited a schmuck into her treetop lair without blinking an eye, and Red Riding Hood was a medieval porno star.”
Me, Blink, blink
“Now that I think about it,” he continued. “We never should have let our kids read that shit.”
*Looks right at you* How the hell did we get here?
There were so many, MANY, things I could have said regarding his astute findings, but I went with asking him about the latter, because *shrug* why not? *Looks back at him*
“How could you possible say Red Riding Hood was a porno queen?”
*side-eyes you* What-a-what?
I leaned up on an elbow and scowled at him. “I don’t think I’m following.”
“The wolf ate her in the end…think about it.”
Yeah, I was thinking about it alright. “I wonder why you didn’t bring up the three little pigs. Could it be because you are one?”
Honey didn’t think that was funny, but I did. We never finished discussing my fairytale idea either. Because we moved onto *cough, cough* other things. And now that I’ve shared this little Honeyism with you guys I don’t think I’ll broach the subject about fairytales with him again. Clearly the man has issues surrounding childhood classics.
Red Riding Hood was a medieval porno star?
Damn, I’ll never read that story without seeing Jenna Jamison in the cape.
*Shakes fist at Honey* Because I’ll never read any of my favorites the same way ever again.
That will teach me to poke the beast.
*thinks for a second and then wipes brow*
Thank God he didn’t massacre that classic. I would have killed him. That one’s my fav!
As always, thanks for stopping by!
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