It’s the beginning of a new week, so I figured why not give you a taste of what I’ve been working on? So here’s a snippet (unedited, forgive me for typos) from Book 2 of the Nerds of Paradise Series, Chaos Theory. I’m aiming for February 24th for a release date, but I’m honestly not sure if it will be done and edited enough by then. It might be a little bit after that, but we’ll see! That’s the trouble with my vow to write longer books this year. I can’t publish them as frequently. Anyhow, here you go!
The General Store was another part of the reason he loved his new hometown. It was the perfect size for dropping in to pick up a few essentials in a hurry. On top of that, whoever had built it had a keen eye for ergonomics. He could make one efficient pass from the toiletries section where he picked up shaving gel—which he would need in exactly two days—to the stationary section for pens—because he was not one of those people who took pens from the office to use at home like they were perks of the job—to the snack food section for a large bag of unsalted nuts—because you had to live a little sometimes.
Yep. Everything was just where it needed to be. Everything was in precise order. Everything was—
He rounded the corner and nearly crashed right into a splash of color and brightness and wild blond curls. His heart thumped against his ribs, like someone was punching him from the inside, and his groin tightened.
“Sorry.” Melody Clutterbuck laughed as she made her apology. Her blue eyes sparkled with happiness and light. She wore a long wrap-around skirt with an Indian pattern to it and a white peasant blouse decorated with embroidery that matched the colors in her skirt. Her arms were filled with items from around the store, otherwise Will would have had a big glimpse of the creamy skin of her shoulders and chest.
It took his brain far too long to catch up enough to say, “No, I’m sorry. I should have looked where I was going.”
“You always look where you’re going.” She continued to smile as they headed to the counter at the front of the store. “I’m the one who was floating around like a leaf on the wind.”
Prickles of pleasure filled Will at the image. Melody was a leaf on the wind. He’d seen that the first time he met her, at the winter mixer Howie had held for his employees and citizens of Haskell after Christmas. She’d been there with a group of her friends, looking just as amazing as she did now. His friends talked about that event as the day his supervisor, Scott Martin, had met the girl he was now engaged to, Casey Flint, but secretly, Will marked it as the night Melody had blown into his world.
He blinked himself out of thoughts that were, frankly, disturbing. He had a schedule to stick to, a routine. “Why don’t you have a basket?” He lifted his own blue plastic shopping basket.
Melody giggled, her face going pink. “I didn’t realize I was going to need one.”
They reached the register, and she spilled her purchases across the counter. Will did a double-take, brow sinking into a frown of confusion. Baby oil, sandpaper, latex gloves, and an enema.
“Oh! And I’ll take one of these too,” Melody added, face growing even pinker and giggle more pronounced as she plucked a small jar of cherry lip balm from a display and popped it on the counter.
Will’s blood rushed to all the wrong places. Cherry lip balm? Baby oil? An enema? Why, why, why did that selection of items turn him on? And sandpaper? He swallowed hard, trying to rein in his imagination, and ran a hand over the bottom half of his face.
The older man behind the counter grinned indulgently at Melody. “You and Calliope still playing that game?”
“Always,” Melody replied with a wink.
Will frowned, an expression which, in this case, represented relief that he had something else to think about than all the ways Melody might want to use the items in front of her.
Melody must have noticed his expression. She leaned closer, her smile downright wicked. “My sister and I have this game. Who can spend ten bucks and buy a collection of perfectly innocent items that have the most wildly suggestive use if put together.”
Will could feel heat flood his face. “Looks like you’ve done a good job,” he said, or rather croaked. If she had half a brain, she’d be able to see that his mind had jumped straight to where she wanted it to be for her game.
“I’m still trying to beat Calliope’s winning collection,” she explained.
“Which was?” he asked, even though he wasn’t sure he wanted to know.
“Rubber bands, caramel sauce, cucumbers, and a disposable camera.”
Will’s jaw fell open. His mind raced to conjure up all sorts of images involving those items and Melody. None of them were PG. But then, he supposed that was the point of the game.
“Yeah, I know.” Melody raised an eyebrow as if she could tell exactly what he was thinking. “The camera was the real stroke of genius in that one. I’m hoping I can win points for the sandpaper in this collection. It’s so out there that it makes you wonder.”
“I…uh…wha….” There was absolutely nothing Will could say about that. And at the same time, every fiber of his being wanted to say something, to do something. Eight years of college and graduate school, four years of military service, two years of working for some of the top aerospace industries in the country, and she’d rendered him completely useless.
“Sorry, Melody. That comes to eleven dollars and twenty-eight cents,” the cashier informed her with a shake of his head. “You’ll have to put something back.”
Melody sighed and turned her attention to the counter. She picked up the enema, but put it down in favor of the latex gloves. “I suppose the gloves are more or less implied,” she said with a sigh.
The cashier chuckled, rerang her total, and put the remaining items in the bag.