It's only been a few months since I released "Savin' Me" and so many of you were introduced to Kevin Mazze. But for me, this story has been years in the making! I'm so glad to finally have Kevin and Sam together!! I'm going to post an excerpt below, as well as links to most e-outlets. It isn't live on iTunes yet (technical difficulties), but it's up and running everywhere else!
Also, I'm guest-blogging at Ariesgrlreviews today. Writers are asked all the time where our ideas come from, what inspires us. Well, I can't speak for other authors, but on Ariesgrlreviews, I'll tell you where I get the vast majority of my ideas. Please drop by and visit with me, and comment for a chance to win the Heat Wave Novel of your choice!!!
And, without further ado, here's Kevin!!!
Can this day get any worse?
Flipping fate the bird with a taunting question was foolish, but Kevin Mazze couldn’t help himself as he glared down at the pixie standing between him and the grand opening of his exclusive subdivision.
Dieci, nove, otto, sette…
Why bother counting backward from ten to try and diffuse his anger? Rather than calming him, he always felt he counted down to an explosion.
Take now, for example. The pulse pounding in his temples suggested if he kept going, his head would explode, splattering fragments all over the pavement.
The upside was it would also make a mess of the petite, blond building inspector threatening to not only ruin his day, but his whole fucking year.
Stopping the countdown before he reached detonation, he scrubbed a hand across his forehead, then slowly and plainly said, “I need the Certificate of Occupancy. Without it, I’m dead in the water.” Okay, talking to her as if she were deaf and dumb probably wouldn’t gain him any favors—
Annnddd, there it went. The squashing of hope, along with a quick tightening in his stomach as he prepared for another swift kick in the nuts. She slammed her hands to her hips and squared her shoulders, pulling herself up to a truly impressive height of five foot one. If the situation weren’t so dire, and she didn’t hold his entire career in the palm of her hand, he would laugh. He might even get a little turned on, because her feisty back-at-ya attitude was sexy as hell.
“Is your hearing defective, Mr. Mazze? Or are you just a little slow on the uptake? I know you need a CO. But you don’t have enough water pressure to operate the sprinklers.” Mirroring his speech pattern, she slowed her cadence so even a first grader would understand. “You’re not occupying the building until the problem is solved.”
Several things kept his hands fisted at his sides rather than wrapped around her pretty little neck. One, she was a woman. Two, she was right.
She wasn’t responsible for the county’s negligence in following through with the promised water tower that would provide the pressure necessary for powering the sprinklers. Ultimately, the responsibility for this massive failure lay squarely on his shoulders.
His father insisted on taking the gamble and jumping the gun with this project. Kevin recognized the risk from the beginning, but he’d acquiesced to his father’s wishes. Now, while Papà visited family in Italy, reliving his childhood, Kevin was left with a mop and dry bucket, figuring out how to clean up the mess.
“I’ve been on the phone with Public Works every day for ten days,” he said, hoping to appeal to her sense of reasoning since his attempts at charming aggression had gotten him nowhere. “They said the tower would be up and running in another few weeks.”
Of course, the bastards promised that six months ago, too, and he still hadn’t seen any evidence of progress. But Samantha Wallace was new in town, so maybe she didn’t know how badly the county dragged their feet. Relaxing his posture, he gave her a stretched, confident smile and prayed she bought the massive pile of bullshit.
She cocked her head to the side and smiled, indicating a shortage of spending cash. Despite the ominous black clouds rolling in, she still wore her sunglasses, which prevented him from seeing her eyes. Pity, because based on her smile’s amperage, he’d bet her eyelashes were fluttering like crazy behind those mirrored lenses. “I may be blond, Mr. Mazze, but I’m not an idiot.”
After snapping the words like a whip, emphasizing her unwillingness to back down, she crossed her arms over her chest and glanced away. Her sharp exhale and creased forehead projected her sympathy, the show of regret doing more to diffuse his anger than counting backward from a thousand.
Despite her reputation for being a hardnosed bitch, she wasn’t busting his balls to be difficult. Code dictated what she could and couldn’t do, and in this case, her hands were tied.
An image of her naked, hands bound, kneeling on his bed, flashed through his mind. He had no explanation for the inappropriate thought, but this obviously wasn’t the time or place for his junkyard dog to wake up and fight against his chain.
He shook his head to clear the thought and leaned against the landscaper’s bumper. He worked his neck in a circle, finally looking to the heavens for guidance. An answering flash of lightning wasn’t reassuring.
“You have any suggestions?” he asked Wade Neumann, the job foreman, who’d been standing off to the side, silently watching the drama unfold.
“No, sir. I’ve never dealt with anything like this.” Wade sighed and his shoulders drooped. “I’m sorry.”
“Not your fault, bro. Papà and I took the gamble.” A huge, pricey gamble that might set Kevin back years.
In a perfectly coordinated display of I’ll-show-you, lightning flashed and thunder shook the ground at the exact moment his cell phone erupted with the theme from Psycho.
“Yes,” Fate cackled. “I can fuck your day up a little more.”
Wade’s mouth twitched, but as a smart young man concerned with job security, he bit down on his lip and squelched his grin.
Far superior and unconcerned with job security, Samantha Wallace flashed a grin brighter than the lightning. “Nice,” she said with a husky little laugh. “I should use that for my ex.”
Kevin didn’t correct her assumption Lizbeth was an ex. He also didn’t answer the call.
“Unless you wait for the water tower,”—she cast him a pointed look—“which won’t be up in the next two weeks, the only thing you can do is put in a booster pump.” At his muttered curse, she lifted a shoulder and gave a regretful shake of her head. “I know you don’t want to take the additional cost on the chin, but I don’t see any other option.” She threw her hands up animatedly. “Hell, even if I gave you the CO, the fire marshal would swoop in here and shut your ass down before you cut on the first light.”
Frustration chomped at the back of his throat, begging to break free with a growl and a massive curse. What the hell was he supposed to do at—he glanced at his watch—four o’clock on a Friday?
“Shit! It’s four o’clock.”
Wade and the building inspector exchanged glances at his outburst. One of her blond eyebrows lifted, and Wade answered with a shrug.
To Wade, he said, “I’m supposed to be in Riverside in two hours.” To Samantha, who didn’t appear to understand his predicament, he said, “I have a three-and-a-half-hour drive, besides a stop in Anticue to check on the progress of a restaurant. Needless to say, I’m real fucking late.” He winced. “Sorry, excuse the coarse language.”
He hadn’t intended to be funny, but she found something about his apology hilarious. Her braid swung side to side when she tossed her head back and laughed from deep in her chest, making him wonder if her hair was as soft as it looked.
He also found himself oddly curious about the color of her eyes and wanted to demand she take those damned shades off so he could see. Based on her fair skin and nearly white hair, he figured blue.
A sweet baby blue.
While he stared like a dumbstruck moron, she said, “I’m the last person you need to apologize to for cursing. You know how when someone quits smoking, they’ll gravitate to other smokers so they can inhale the secondhand toxic waste? Well, that’s me with cussing.” She waved off her copious explanation. “Never mind. Have a safe trip.”
Caught in the moment of seeing her as a beautiful woman, not the building inspector shitting on his parade, it took a while for him to realize his phone was ringing. Again.
He unclipped it from his belt and wrestled with the urge to toss the thing in the retention pond. Instead, he hit the silence button, then stuck his hand out as a peace offering. “I’m sorry for being an ass. Can we…?” When she placed her palm in his, heat from the contact washed over him, causing him to slip and nearly ask her to dinner. Fortunately, his brain reengaged and overrode the impulse. “Can we meet first thing Monday morning? I have to work this out.”
Her soft, sympathetic smile conveyed her thoughts. You poor, dumb son of a bitch. You just don’t get it, do you? But her mouth said, “Sure. Here or my office?”
“Here. I’ll bring breakfast.”
As he turned to leave, Wade asked, “Will you be back tomorrow?”
“Yep,” he yelled over his shoulder. “I told Marianne I’d keep Spencer so she can have the day to herself.”
“Enjoy your night, boss.”
Yeah, right. Kevin waved to acknowledge Wade’s comment, but didn’t turn around. Instead, he pounded the pavement to his truck and recited his new mantra.
Two more weeks. Just two more weeks…
I'm also giving away a Heat Wave Novel (your choice) to a lucky commenter here!!!
All Romance Ebooks
Barnes and Noble