Friday, 17 September 2010
Author Spotlight week - Excerpt from Beyond Summer
"Who's the girl?" Bailey Adams nodded in Carly's direction.
The urge to just say 'mine' flashed through his brain. That was wrong. "She's keeping Daniel for me this summer." Nanny sounded so formal.
"Nice." Bailey grinned at him. "So, are you two..."
"Good. That leaves the field open for the rest of us."
He wanted to shout 'she's married'. But that wasn't his story to tell, so he crossed his arms over his chest. It didn't sit well, letting Bailey think the field was open.
But what would Zane do if the field was, in fact, open? He wasn't really thinking about dating Carly, was he? She wouldn't be married forever. When the field was open would he competing for her? Hadn't he promised himself he wouldn't get involved with another senseless beauty.
Problem was, Carly wasn't senseless. She'd been nothing but considerate and caring for the last two weeks. But still, there would always be competition for her heart, and if things got rough, it would be easy for a girl like Carly to find something better.
Daniel canon-balled into the group of playing kids. It broke Zane out of his downward spiraling thoughts. Before he could get to the edge of the pool, through the milling crowd, Carly had Daniel in her arms in three foot of water.
His son's legs were wound around her waist, and their foreheads pressed together. He took a step closer so he could hear what they were saying.
"You have to be careful when there's this many people, okay? You could accidentally kick someone or hit them." Carly's voice was soft, and she smiled as she spoke to him.
"I didn't hit nobody, Miss Carly."
"I know. Remember when we talked about jumping into the deep end instead of the shallow part so you would be safe, too?"
"That would be better. And try to find a spot where nobody else is at, okay?"
Daniel's smile was a mile wide. "Yes, ma'am." Daniel laid his head on Carly's shoulder and squeezed. "I love you."
Carly held him just as fiercely. "I love you too, Daniel. You are a good boy."
Standing at the edge of the pool, Zane gripped the railing until his hand ached. Two short sentences had changed everything.
Daniel swam off to the other end of pool, happy to comply with her soft request. Zane was stuck, couldn't move as she walked to the edge and started up the stairs. She caught his stare. Her eyes blinked up at him in surprise. She shouldn't be just as pretty without all the paint on her face as she was with it.
But she was.
His hand reached out to help her from the pool. "Thanks for handling Daniel. I was just on my way to talk to him and I saw you."
She smiled and her cheeks got a little pink. "No problem. I guess I should've let you talk to him since you're here."
"No, you did good." He released her hand. "Why don't we get you a drink? You have to be thirsty from all of the lifeguard work you're doing."
Her glance went back to the kids. "It is hard, sitting there soaking up the sun." She said it with a straight face.
He liked her sense of humor. "They'll be fine for a minute. There's plenty of adults to make sure Brie's head's still up."
His hand went to the small of her back and for the first time he just enjoyed the little zap he got from touching her.