I recently completely rewrote, retitled, and polished up this story (an excerpt from its original version is here) getting it ready for submission… and then, I didn’t submit it anywhere, because I don’t know where to submit it. I got some contest feedback that had me questioning my previous confidence. For now, I’m letting it sit and getting some distance from it before I decide what exactly I want to do with it. So, for the time being, here’s a little excerpt.
Doug nodded, but the pitying look in his eye didn’t change. “Okay… so where do you suggest we start?”
Abby clasped her hands together determined to move on from the embarrassing stories of her romantic past and focus on the task at hand. “Well, first, we have to convince Grant that we’re defeated. That shouldn’t difficult for me. I mean, he doesn’t expect me to lash back anyway. But, we’re going to have to find a way to convince him that you’re beat.”
At Doug’s grimace, Abby gave him a reassuring pat on the shoulder. “It’s the only way. And just imagine the look on his face when he’s taken down a peg. Now, the first thing we have to figure out is how to make him think that you’ve left town. I mean, if there’s no story, there’s no reason to stay.”
“Well, that problem may be a little real. Without my job, I can’t exactly pay for this.” He gestured to the apartment around him.
Abby bit her lip. That was a bit of a problem. “Well, I could… pay you.”
“What? I mean, you’re kind of like performing a service. Investigating and-”
“Is this some sort of macho pride thing? It’s hardly that big of a deal.”
“You are not, I repeat, not going to pay me anything. That’s just downright weird.”
Abby fisted hands on her hips. “Why?”
He studied her for a moment, and though she couldn’t read his expression any more than she could read his mind, she felt her skin tingle and her heartbeat pick up speed under the steady study.
“Because, I’m not employed by Midway anymore, and I’m not writing a story on you anymore. Which means I can do this whenever I want.”
His lips were on hers before she could blink, one hand cupping her neck as his other arm wrapped around her waist. It was a jolt and a surprise, but Abby melted into it almost instantly. It was just too hard to resist the fluttering that spread from head to toe with his body pressed to hers, his teeth scraped her upper lip.
But now wasn’t the time to let feelings and sensations cloud rational thought. She had to focus. They had important work to do.
“This… I mean, we still shouldn’t… do this. I mean…” What did she mean? She couldn’t seem to put it together. Couldn’t seem to find that focus on anything other than a racing pulse or the unfamiliar ache at her core.
“Why not?” Doug replied almost casually, trailing a fingertip down her jaw line.
Words blurred in her brain for a moment. She had to take a deep breath to refocus them. “You want to work for Midway again and…” She took another deep breath, pressed a palm to her racing heart. “I have my campaign to think about and… I just don’t think-”
Doug let out a lengthy sigh, placed a hand on either shoulder. “Do you ever get tired of thinking, Abby? Of looking at every possible angle? Don’t you ever just want to stop and do something… without worry about consequences or appearances?”
Nothing could be as close to the truth as those exact words. “Oh, God, yes,” she said on a shaky exhale.
“Then shut up.”
His lips were persuasive on hers, teasing her lips open with his tongue. His hands were even more convincing as they traveled the curve of her spine. In the back of her mind, weak protests formed, but the warm, aching needs waving through her muffled them.