Enter the Labor Day Blog Hop by pressing the link at the right. More information below. Here is an excerpt from Accidental SEAL:
Christy Nelson worked to keep her breakfast down when Wayne Sommerville came lurking around her cubicle. He’d pestered her every day since she’d been introduced as the newest agent at the Patterson Realty sales meeting three days ago. His soft, flabby torso was repulsive, and those distinctive hair plugs, installed at an angle on Wayne’s shiny salmon-colored forehead, were distracting. Her gaze followed rows of black dots receding into his dyed-black hair. A life-sized version of Mr. King’s Chuckie.
Wayne winked at her again, and her blood turned to ice.
His horse teeth and foul breath could raise the dead. He’d made it clear he wanted to mentor her, but she suspected he had more in mind than real estate contracts and short sales. He was persistent, though. She’d give him that.
He draped his bulky frame against the back of her chair. She wanted to duck for cover. The eerie need to protect her neck put her radar on high alert as she visualized violence and fangs.
“I’ve coached quite a few of the new agents over the years.” Wayne’s look lasted too long—hungry and inappropriate. Christy didn’t trust one single hair plug.
“Well,” she said, resisting the urge to escape, “I do need a good open house.
Now, why did I say that?
“I’ve got the perfect one! Great little short sale.” Wayne launched into his routine, oblivious to the fact she’d become dizzy from the smell of the garlic fries he’d apparently had for lunch. “The house is a little rough around the edges, but in a super neighborhood. The sellers are about to lose it.” He threw her a mock frown. She could see him singing a hymn, asking for money on TV.
Perhaps a second career.
“No sign on the lawn yet and it’s not even on the computer,” he continued. “You can snatch all those buyers for yourself.” He leaned in and whispered like it was a national secret. “And I could help you with the paperwork. You know, show you how it’s done.”
Male alert. If he touches me, he’ll get a knee to his groin. She swung her chair to angle for quick action.
He stepped back just in time. She exhaled, grateful for the distance.
“Doing short sales is a real art,” he added with a frown, stiffening. His shiny suit fit like one of those unfortunate animals in a teddy bear factory, stuffed into its fur. The silver glint of the fabric reminded her of fish scales.
Run, Christy, run. You could be the one who got away…
She had never in her life paid a favor with sex and wasn’t about to start. She would hold his new listing open, but only if she could do it without owing him.
Besides, she had to do something to drum up business. Her move to San Diego marked the beginning of her new professional career as a Realtor. Being the top salesperson at Madame M’s lingerie boutique on Maiden Lane in San Francisco had only barely paid the bills. She’d loved Madame and had thrived as a sales clerk, but had recognized the time for a real career and had trained in Real Estate, then moved to San Diego after her mother had passed on and left her condo to Christy.
Though she’d been comfortable selling to the rich and powerful of the City by the Bay, Wayne, even if he was half the success he claimed he was, made her nervous.
This is a very bad idea. Just say no.
“Fine.” It sounded like it came from the cubicle next to her.
But then she spotted Wayne’s dimples and canines.
Oh. My. God. I’ve just said yes.
Christy’s red Honda looked like a wet cherry lollipop, polished to perfection. Cute and shiny on the outside, but hot and sweltering on the inside. Sitting in the cramped front seat, she stopped and squinted to make out house numbers, comparing them to the address Wayne had minutely scribbled on the back of his business card. Then she found it.
The house appeared nicer than he’d described. The advertised price, he said, was the lowest in the neighborhood, going back ten years. Hopefully she’d pick up a young couple out looking for their first home, complete with good credit and a wad of cash from Mommy and Daddy. Wouldn’t it be great to make a sale on her very first day on the job?
She parked in the driveway, popped the trunk, and brought out three sandwich signs with the Patterson Realty logo, on loan from Wayne. He was out with his family today. She hoped the Somervilles didn’t stop by since she’d feel uncomfortable looking into the eyes of Wayne’s wife, a woman he probably cheated on and would again, if he got the chance. One of Christy’s other rules: no married men. She wasn’t about to change that, either.
A perfumed late spring breeze blew softly against her face and neck, sending a thrill up her spine. The air ripened with possibility. This was her favorite time of year.
The walkway looked freshly swept. After placing one sign in the front yard, she stacked the other two beside the front door and inserted Wayne’s key. While the lock accepted the new shiny silver metal, the tumblers stayed in place, frozen.
Way to go Wayne. Waste my time and give me the wrong key!
Irritation bubbled, ruining her cheerful, spring-induced mood. She yanked on the front handle and pushed against it out of frustration. It opened.
“Anybody home?” Her voice wavered like that of a small child. She waited. No answer.
Christy stepped inside, onto a striped cotton rug lying cockeyed behind the front door. The smell of fried food hit her. She walked across the wooden floor of the living room, her stilettos clacking. She cracked open a window. Air scented by fresh blossoms poured in, diluting the smells of ordinary life. She grabbed the newspaper tossed on top of an ottoman and folded the crinkling pages under her arm, aiming for the kitchen to find a trashcan. She passed the dining room table, which was strewn with a map of the area, a couple of felt-tipped pens, and a letter-sized yellow lined tablet. She collected these items as well and made her way to the kitchen.
Christy threw the tablet and newspaper onto the tiled countertop and placed her hands on her hips to assess the scene before her. She squinted at several days’ worth of dishes piled high in the sink. Next to it, a large stainless steel bowl sat encrusted with dark green and purple leaves at the bottom, evidence of a salad—several days old.
Maybe Wayne had neglected to tell the sellers about the open house. She decided it was entirely possible. “How can you expect to sell a house this way?” she muttered, then sighed and removed her jacket, slinging it over the back of a clean-looking kitchen chair. She decided to take a tour of the place, checking for other things to clean or straighten before she’d be ready to hold it open.
But this house was such a mess, an uneasy darkness chilled her. She tiptoed down the carpeted hallway, feeling like an intruder, past empty rooms, to a closed door at the end.
Probably the master bedroom.
Something about the whole scene was strange. These people left without cleaning up dinner from several days before, in a hurry. She’d been told short sale houses rarely showed pride of ownership, but this felt absolutely creepy, like she’d stepped on someone’s grave. The hair at the back of her neck bristled as she gripped the doorknob. She lightly tapped with her other hand, and then opened the door.
A naked body lay on the bed.
Hesitant to look at first, she pushed through her fear.She saw movement. Tanned skin, a muscular male chest that rose and fell. Earphones were wired to a phone balanced on his open palm. The man was very much alive, and healthy. Her eyes drifted further down to a dusting of dark brown hair that led to an impossible-to-miss erection. His penis stood at attention, like a deep rose-colored light standard under a matching fireman’s hat of deeper pink.
Blood pumped to her ears, making them ring, as her heart raced. A wave of anger coursed over her at the realization she had been the victim of a very sick joke perpetrated by Wayne and one of his disgusting friends.
Christy silently closed the door and tiptoed back down the carpeted hallway, her three-inch heels wobbling on the thick, padded surface. Her knees knocked against each other as she picked up speed, her anger building. She grabbed her jacket, keys, and purse, and crossed the living room, headed toward the front door. She was almost free.
Christy wouldn’t give the prankster the satisfaction of knowing she had even seen him. She wanted to stomp her foot and kick something through the window. This was Wayne’s doing.
That sonofabitch and his lopsided plugs will pay for this.
She pulled the door handle and was rewarded by the smells of a warm spring day bleeding through the inch-wide crack she’d created. An enormous hand and forearm came from behind her and slammed the door shut. She saw a familiar blue-green tattoo of some animal tracks on his muscled forearm just before his other hand gripped her mouth. Callused fingers pinched the sides of her cheeks. The grip hurt.
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