Friday, February 26, 2010

Excerpt from Time to Live Again

Doesn’t that man ever stay in the house? Rose slammed her car door and tried to ignore the man next door. She wished he’d let her get away without trying to talk to her, just once. But why should this time be any different? She lowered her head and hurried toward her house. She wasn’t in the mood for conversation. At least not with him.
“Hello, Rose, uh...Mrs. Asbury.” He dropped his snow shovel, grabbed something from his garage and hurried toward her.
His relaxed, tall, lean body in a denim jacket and jeans caused a stir of excitement in her. Even his graying temples aroused something in her that she found way too familiar. Stirred up feelings she didn’t want stirred up. She barely glanced at him, yet she felt a tug on her heart.
Darn! Rose pulled her coat closed against the cold wind. Why didn’t he just leave her alone? You’d think by now he’d realize she didn’t care to talk to him. Her stomach fluttered, a feeling she hadn’t experienced in a long time. Hunger pangs, or nerves, that’s all. She nodded a hello, like always, and hurried to her house.
Suddenly, Rose’s feet slid out from under her. Splat! She landed on her butt, fell back and hit her head. Groceries flew everywhere. Oh crap, just what she needed. She looked up into the gray eyes of the man leaning over her.
“Are you all right?”
Heat rose to her face. Other than humiliated, she was fine. A bit sore, but she didn’t think she had any broken bones. She tried to sit up.
“Wait!” He pushed her back down. “You may have broken something.” He ran his hands gently across her ankles and legs and up toward her thigh.
A smoldering heat started deep in Rose’s stomach. She held her breath, let it out slowly. Even through her slacks, the heat from his hand sent tingly sensations down to her toes.
That was it, she’d had enough. She pushed his hands away, sat up and managed to get to her knees. The man tried to help her stand. She ignored him and brushed herself off. Heat radiated from her face, and she knew it turned as red as her coat.
She bent down to pickup her groceries. She still hadn’t spoken to him. She wished he’d leave. She could manage just fine without his help. He picked up some of her canned goods and put them in the bag. She reached for it.
“Here, this is for you.”
“For what?” She looked at the rose in his hand.
“It’s a yellow rose. It means friendship.”
She could see it was a yellow rose, she wasn’t a nitwit. And she knew what it meant. Frank used to bring her roses every week. She took the rose from him. “I...uh...” Hell, she didn’t know what to say. Why would he give her a rose?
“I saw it and thought of you.” He ran his fingers around his shirt collar.
“Here, let me help.” He picked up the bag of groceries and started walking toward her door.
She grabbed the bag from him and ran into her house, too humiliated to speak, leaving him to stare after her.

Stephen watched Rose walk away. Damn woman made him feel like he did something wrong. Worse than a kid getting scolded by the principal. Why he bought that damn rose was beyond him. When he saw the display in the grocery store, it seemed like a good idea. Especially when he saw their meanings. Now he wished he hadn’t bothered.
Crabby old woman, she could have at least said thank you. Okay, so it was cold and she fell, but she did the same thing in the summer. How many times had he seen her working in her yard? When he came out, she jumped up and hurried into the house. You’d think he tried to attack her or had some horrible disease.
All he wanted was some friendly conversation. He shook his head. Don’t know about her. Obviously, she didn’t want anything to do with him. Too bad, she’s an attractive woman. Not that he was looking for anything more than friendship. Hell, he lived here over a year, and she never did more than nod at him. Bet she didn’t even know his name.
Crotchety old biddy.
So why did he bother with her? He really didn’t need more friends. He had the senior center and the neighbors a couple doors down, Len and Millie Fisher. Why he insisted on talking to Rose Asbury he’d never know.
Still, he hoped she wasn’t hurt. She had taken a nasty fall. Bet she’d feel it in the morning. Bet she’d have a good black and blue mark, too. He chuckled. Served her right, rude old coot.
Something about her, though. He shook his head. Not sure why, but he wanted to break through that tough reserve. He shrugged and walked back to the garage, put the shovel away and went into the house.
Oh, well, can’t say he didn’t try.

Rose set her groceries on the counter and rubbed her hip. Gonna be sore as hell tomorrow, she could tell. Bet it turned black and blue already. Stupid klutz! Talk about the epitome of embarrassment. Bad enough she fell, but why did he have to see her? She made a fresh pot of coffee, picked up the rose and smelled it. Something about the fragrance of the rose made her think of Frank.
“You could have been nicer to him,” a voice whispered.
Rose jumped back. What the hell? “Who’s there?” She spun around the small kitchen. Shivers ran up her spine. She didn’t see anyone, yet she sensed a presence. Cold air brushed past her and settled over the room. She gripped the counter. What the hell’s going on here? “Who’s there?” she yelled again.
“It’s only me.” A shadowy figure appeared in front of her.

Time to Live Again will be available from Red Rose Publishing on March 11th.
check it out at

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