Sneak Peek of Alabama Book 3

imagesYes, I’m finally back to the grindstone! It’s a fantastic thrill to sit down every day knowing that what I’m doing is exactly what I should be doing. For a long time, the guilty little voice in my head needled at me that my time writing would be better spent on housework or laundry, or anything but sitting comfortably at my computer doing what I love.

But folks, this is a career now, and I’ve got words to put on the page. It’s no longer an indulgent hobby. People tell me they want to read this stuff, and there’s no greater motivation than that. Oh, other than actually earning some money selling books.

moovealong175Many of you have written to me asking if I’m working on Ben and Sabine’s story, and when it will be available. Yes!! I’m well into it now, but sadly, I don’t have a publication date yet. The good news is, I’m ready to share the synopsis and the first few scenes with my blog readers!! Don’t get me wrong, things could, and likely will change before this baby gets published, but I know some of you are ready for some scoop!

So, here we go–The storyline is as follows:

“Therapy” has caught on in Ministry, Alabama. Everyone who’s anyone goes. And guess who the ladies love to talk about during their sessions with Sabine? Why, Ben Laroux, of course. Each tries to outdo the other—true or not. Since Ben has instituted his two-date moratorium, the women in town are heartbroken—and angry.
Ben can’t understand why Sabine doesn’t like him. In his experience, everybody else does—especially females.
Sabine wants nothing to do with a guy like Ben, based on what she’s heard. Surely all of it can’t be fiction. When Ben asks what she has against him, she can’t honestly say, due to doctor-patient confidentiality forbidding her to share any of her experiences with patients. Plus, it would make her seem petty and judgmental.
Can Ben prove he’s really not such a shallow ladies’ man?
Can Sabine suspend her disbelief and give him a chance?

(None of this information is available to share or reprint without author’s permission.)

Chapter One

Everybody, who knew him, loved Ben Laroux—especially the female population of Ministry, Alabama and surrounding counties. Ben had to admit that’d been a pretty accurate statement in his experience—right up ’til now.

It made no sense. Still uncertain how his few interactions with Sabine O’Connor had gone so badly, Ben tried to catch up to her before she stalked out the door. She’d shaken his hand with formal politeness but obvious disdain earlier, then she’d dismissed him completely.

She was magnificent. With black hair, pale skin, and the lightest blue eyes he’d ever seen; they were nearly silver. As Sabine approached the door, she stopped short, madly digging through her purse as she reached the front entrance.

Ben advanced the last few feet until he was standing maybe a little too close for comfort—her comfort. “Looking for something?” He asked.

Her head snapped up, and she nailed him with a level stare. “Let me guess; you found my phone?” The sounds of country music and laughter made it difficult to have a normal conversation.

“Now, why would you think I had your phone?”

“Because you’re grinning at me in that smirky, satisfied way, while I’m obviously panicking and searching for it.”

“I might have it,” he admitted.

Through gritted teeth, she asked, “So, what will it take to get it back, and for you to leave me on my way?”

“Have dinner with me.” She’d asked, hadn’t she?

She narrowed her eyes at him. “Give me your business card and I’ll call you.” She nearly yelled to be heard above the din of music and laughter.

He knew she would likely toss his card into the trash on her way out. “How about I enter your number in my phone and I’ll call to schedule?”

“Are you planning to stalk me?” It sounded like a bit of a challenge.

“Nah, I just want to figure out why you’re such a Ben-hater. It intrigues me. Once I get the scoop, and if I fail to change your opinion of me, I’ll leave you alone. Scout’s honor.” He held up the international Boy Scout hand gesture.

“Boy Scout, my as—” He held up a hand to cut her off.

“You seem so certain you know my character.” He realized that she might need a ride because she was leaving a bar. He wasn’t certain, but he thought he detected a whiff of bourbon along with her Coco Chanel. “By the way, are you planning to drive home, or do you need a ride?”

She ignored the remark about his character. “I’d planned to ride home with—a friend, but they didn’t show, so now I’m going to call a cab.”

“Wait, somebody stood you up? He tried to keep the shock from showing in his expression.

“What? Of course not.” She smiled then, apparently realizing how incredibly nasty her tone and demeanor had been toward him. “It was a—misunderstanding, but no business of yours,” she added.

“I’d be happy to drive you.”

“No, thank you. I called a cab as soon as I realized I didn’t have a ride home.”

“I’ll wait here with you for the cab.” She didn’t seem like the type to get behind the wheel after shooting whiskey, but he’d to hang around just to be sure.

“Fine.” He figured she realized by now the uselessness of arguing with him after their brief time spent together.

So they stood just outside under the awning in silence as she waited for her ride.

“Nice night,” Ben observed.

“Uh huh.”

“I want you to know that I appreciate what you’ve done for my family.” He said, and meant it. She was a family therapist and had played a big part in helping his brother-in-law, Grey, and Grey’s daughter, Samantha, deal with some really nasty stuff last year when they’d come back to town .

“I don’t discuss my clients outside of the office.” Her expression remained neutral.

More silence. Alrighty, then.

The cab arrived just as the silence was wearing awkwardly thin. Ben cleared his throat. “It’s been my pleasure.” He grinned. “Looking forward to dinner,” he said, then tucked her into the backseat.

He couldn’t tell through the window if that was a wave or if she’d flipped him off. Ben decided to remain optimistic for now.

Perhaps he should write her off as a raving bitch, but in his experience, people didn’t act too far beyond what circumstances dictated without a legitimate reason—or at least some reason. And he knew his family member thought the world of her.

Why had she singled him out for such raw treatment? Who hated Ben Laroux? Go figure.

***

Ben Laroux was a handsome dog, no offense to the mostly sweet and cuddly four-legged creatures. She’d met him briefly through her clients, the Laroux family, who she thought highly of, and considered friends.

But he was one of those kinds of men. All charm and manners and white, straight teeth—like a wolf. Sabine had had experience with his type, plus she’d heard stories—too many to count. Skin-deep flawlessness.

She hadn’t missed the adoring glances of women and greetings from nearly everyone around during the brief time she’d been in his company. He was evidently very popular. Small-town-high-school-football-quarterback-popular. He was also very intent on her reaction to him. Like he hadn’t ever met anyone who’d displayed an unfavorable response to him. He’d clearly been confused by it.

The cab pulled up to her small house, and she took a moment to make certain no one was around—no cars parked outside or just down the street. A lamp shone through the curtains inside the cottage.

Sabine so rarely went out these days, her social life was almost non-existent.

She paid the driver and went to work unlocking the three deadbolts. The porch light startled her. “Hey honey, did you have a good time?” Her mother’s lightly aging features were highlighted in the soft glow.

“Hey Momma, you should be in bed.”

“I couldn’t sleep. It’s just like when you were a teenager.” Sabine stepped inside and dead-bolted the locks.

“I’m not a kid anymore,” Sabine reminded her mother.

“Obviously.” Her mother held her at arms’ length. “Nobody could accuse you of being a child. You are a beautiful woman, and I’m so proud of you.”

Sabine smiled at her mother, her sweet, loving mother, who’d been through far more than any person should at the age of fifty-five. She hardly looked a day over forty-five, and no one believed they were mother and daughter when they went out together.

Sabine hugged her mom and checked the back door, leaving the lamp on in the living room, as was her habit. The house had three bedrooms. Just enough for Sabine, her mother, and her sister, Rachel, whenever she turned up to visit from time to time.

As Sabine washed her face and brushed her teeth, her mind wandered back to the scene at the bar with Ben Laroux. As if she would have dinner with him.

The lower the profile she kept here in this sweet Southern town, the better.

The very last thing she needed was to bring anyone else into their small, comfortable life. Things had finally settled down into a peaceful routine.

Climbing under the covers and settling in with her trusty laptop, Sabine Googled Ben Laroux. Though she had no interest in him as a potential date, it was always smart to know with whom one was dealing. If he did indeed plan to stalk her, she would be ready.

Her search results were astonishing. There were thousands of hits upon simply entering his first and last name. He was a local attorney, philanthropist, and it was rumored that the natives were grooming him for a run in the state house of representatives for the district. He was also linked socially to, what must be nearly every gorgeous woman in the state of Alabama, according to the images section of Google.

No wonder he seemed so surprised that she wasn’t interested. But she had known who he was the instant he’d introduced himself. In fact, besides meeting him at the Laroux home briefly a couple times, she’d been hearing incredible stories about Ben Laroux ad-nauseum for awhile now.

A smile played about Sabine’s lips. After reading more about him, her level of guilt  plummeted over the  well-deserved trouncing she’d given his ego. Maybe it was time Ben Laroux learned how the rest of the world’s male population lived.

Attention:  None of the above information is available for reprint without the author’s consent. 

So, do let me know what you think of this beginning!!

Have a fantastic week, everyone!

Susan

 

 

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