Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Teaser Tuesday - Gemini (Sneak Peek)


Blurb ~ Springhill publishing is a place where drama is created and sold for profit. When events surrounding the staff of Springhill start rivaling the dramatic pros of their authors it’s anyone’s guess what is going to happen next and who will be the latest victim.

Tess opened the door to Dusty's Bar & Grill. Packed, she weaved her way to their designated table. She hadn't seen Aidan since he stormed out of the office and she was beyond worried.


"Where've you been? We were about to give up on you." Melanie said in a whiny voice.

Perched on bar stools around the table, Melanie, Cheryl, Victoria, and Hettie gave her big grins when she slumped into a seat. "Sorry, something came up."

"Everything okay?" Hettie asked.

"No, but there's nothing I can do about it now."

"Sorry, hun sounds like you could use a drink."

"Yes, please." Melanie pushed an apple martini toward her. She sloshed it down and squeaked out the word, "More."

Not a regular drinker, the second apple martini worked its magic in minutes. But she couldn't stop thinking about Aidan and his bad news. The man was wrong. He needed to go home, and face whatever he was avoiding.

Aidan never talked about his past or the state he called home--Oklahoma. In fact, Tess wouldn't know from where he hailed, but she'd been responsible for getting his yearly taxes to the accountant on time. A task that made her privy to sensitive information about her boss.

As far as she could tell, the brothers grew up on a working ranch passed down through four generations of Durrant's. Upon their father's passing ten years ago, the farm and all holdings went to Daniel, the younger of the two. A year later Aidan showed up in New York, and as long as she'd known him, he'd never gone back.

She would never betray Aidan's trust or confidence, but at the same time, common sense told her logic and stubbornness didn't mix. Maybe she shouldn't have booked the flights to Oklahoma. She no longer knew, and to be honest, the more martinis she consumed, the less she cared. Tap on the shoulder and Tess beheld an old friend, Emily Bell. "Emily!"

The woman pulled her into a hug, "Tess!"

"Oh my God, what are you doing here?"

"I'm in town on business, I called the office, and Steven told me you were here. Mind if I join you?"

"Not at all, sit," Emily slid her muscular, curved form onto the stool beside Tess. Bobbed blonde hair, deep brown eyes, a gentle smile, and Aidan's assistant before Tess. "So how is the Bureau? You kicking ass and taking names?"

Emily flagged down the waitress ordering another round of drinks, "I wouldn't go that far, I am an analyst, not a field agent."

"Tell me about the job, that is of course if you can. You know, leaving out all of that classified stuff. What are you working on?"

"White collar cases, bank accounts, documentation, authentication, and a lot of research, the devil is in the details."

"Sounds exciting."

"It is and the best decision I ever made. Tess, you would rock the analyst job."
"Recruiting Em?" Their drinks arrived. Clinking glasses, they took a sip.
"I'm always recruiting. To be honest, I'm shocked you're still here. I figured you'd be heading out after two years, tops."

"Why would I leave?"

"Come on! You can't tell me you’re satisfied being Aidan's beck and call girl."
Tess's jaw dropped at the insinuation, "I'm not Aidan's call girl, I'm his executive assistant. I happen to enjoy my job and find it very fulfilling."

"Getting Aidan's dry cleaning and keeping his calendar?" Emily snorted a laugh and Tess jabbed her in the arm.

"You know full well my rules about that!"

"Has to be your idea."

"For your information, working for Springhill has opened a lot of doors for me, and I take on new projects all the time."

"Whatever you say," Emily shook her head before winking at her. "I just know how amazing you are and I hope to God, I'm not the only one giving you the credit you deserve."

Tess nodded, staring down into the neon green of her cocktail, "Thanks, Em, I do appreciate it. I've debated leaving a few times."

"What the hell is stopping you?"

Tess contemplated the question, taking another sip of her drink.

An entourage of suited men elbowed their way to the bar, getting everyone's attention. Tess joined her little circle of friends, including Emily observing the display of tight asses as they passed their table. "I need a round of shots. Patron with lime!" one of the men shouted.

Tess's heart dropped, and her jaw hit her chest.

"Tess?" Emily asked.

"Other than I can't believe my eyes... nothing."

"What's wrong?"

"Him, that's what's wrong." Tess locked her eyes on the man in the middle of the entourage, her boss, Aidan Durrant.

****

The tequila slid down his throat smooth as silk. Patron always did, and he wouldn't regret drinking it in the morning. Tess's sad expression from the afternoon emerged behind his eyes. He wondered if that image would be seared into his brain forever. The alcohol had done little to dispel their conversation. Yes, he was irrational and selfish in this case. Some might call him a cold bastard. His family and his decision.

Another shot plopped into Aidan's hand. He drank it without thought. His companions slapped him on the back and commented on the ladies seated at a nearby table.

Just what I need a distraction from what happened today... from reality

One of his friends pointed to a brunette with long hair. "There's one for you Durrant!" Curvy in all the right places, her thick hair falling in a veil of shiny satin. Powder blue sweater and black skirt, she was about to get away. Aidan pushed through the crowd to meet her, imagining grasping a silken lock and reveling in sweet-scented abandonment. Stumbling onward, he reached for her slender arm. "Excuse me--" swinging her around and trapping her against his chest; he leaned down, kissing the unknown woman. His body surged, pulsing from the heat of the embrace. The kiss broke, and he opened his eyes.
 Fire is shining in her familiar eyes, his heart plunged. "Tess." He pushed the words from his lungs. "I had no idea...."

"Obviously. " Yanking herself from Aidan’s grasp, Tess stormed through the masses to the door.

~

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