Welcome! Indie Author Excerpts is a feature allowing indie authors the chance to showcase one of their books and allows readers to find their next favorite story. Each week, an indie author gets to promote a 1-2 page excerpt of their book here at The Bawdy Book Blog. This is a win-win for everyone! This feature was inspired in part by Indie Author Spotlight, a meme hosted by Beckie @ Bittersweet Enchantment and CYP @ A Bookalicious Story. [indie-author-excerpt] Irene dropped her bag and took off at a run. “Hey,” she cried, frantically motioning for the man to move away from the water, “get away from there. Stop! Hey! Hey, you!”
The man turned. His face was a mixture of surprise and confusion, which shifted to full-out astonishment as Irene barreled into him. Her momentum carried them sideways, and they landed in a spray of sand, safely away from the water’s edge, him on his back and her on top of him.
“What in tarnation are you doin’?” the man sputtered.
Irene pulled back and found herself staring into the cherubic face of a tall, lanky cowboy—complete with hat and spurs. She blinked in surprise, her mouth gaping open. He flashed a dazzling smile and a dimple appeared.
“Where on God’s green earth did you come from?” he asked.
“I’m sorry,” Irene stuttered, feeling like an idiot. She rolled off of him and scrambled to her feet. “I thought you were going to jump.”
The man hooted with laughter as he climbed to his feet and used his hat to dust himself off. “Aw, heck, no. I was just admirin’ the view.”
“Oh. Sorry.” Irene cringed and her face heated with embarrassment.
The dimple appeared again. “Well, shoot, I don’t mind much. It makes for a nice change.” He considered her for a moment, and then his eyes warmed as a slow, lazy smile spread across his face. Warmth of a very different kind spread through Irene, and she bit her lip as she met his appraising look with one of her own. She smiled and held out her hand. “I’m Irene, by the way. Irene Dunphy.”
The cowboy wrapped her hand in one of his. “Ian McFarland. Pleased to make your acquaintance.” He smiled at her for a moment and then suddenly frowned. “What’s a pretty girl like you doin’ round here, anyhow? It’s dangerous, you know.”
Irene’s lips twitched, but she managed to suppress the laugh. “Yeah, hippos; so I heard.”
The knight chose that moment to make his presence known. Irene wasn’t sure how long he’d been standing there—she had forgotten about him—but now he thrust the bag at her. “Come, let us continue on our way.”
“Our way?” Irene said, gaping at him. “What ‘our’? I was going to see the Greeks. I don’t remember inviting you.”
“Twice now I have come to your aid. Clearly, you are meant to be my responsibility.”
“You goin’ somewhere?” Ian cut in, apparently oblivious to how close Irene was to choking the knight. “Well, why don’t I come along? I know this territory pretty well.”
“Your assistance is not required,” the knight said, barely acknowledging Ian with a flick of his eyes. Instead, his gaze was fixed on Irene in silent challenge.
Irene set her jaw and crossed her arms. “Yeah, well, I rescued Ian, so that makes him my responsibility. So I guess he has to come along, too.”
The knight’s eyes narrowed. “He was not in any danger.”
“Oh, since when did that become a criteria? According to you, I wasn’t in any danger from the Hungry Ghosts.”
“You…are exceedingly ungrateful.”
Irene sucked in air hard as she goggled at the knight in mute outrage. She threw up her hands, gave a suppressed shriek of rage, and stomped off without a word.
“Are you leavin’?” Ian called after her. “Hey, wait…uh…you’re not waitin’. Come back…please?” He jogged up next to her. “Okay, look…can you slow down…please? Please? I just want to talk to you…just for a minute, I promise. Just talk to me for a second, and then you can go wherever it is you’re going.”
Irene sighed and stopped. She turned and nearly slammed into the knight who was right at her elbow. She took a step back and hissed impatiently at him.
“Do you like music?” Ian asked.
The non-sequitur threw her. “What?”
“Do you like music? Cause there’s a lady guitarist not too far from here who’s real easy on the ears. Also, there’s these black fellas about five hundred years thatta-way,” he pointed back the way she had come, “with these long…tube….things,” he gestured with his hands, indicating a span from his mouth to the ground, “that ain’t half bad.”
Irene flashed an apologetic smile. “It sounds great, really, it does. Maybe another time, though. We’re—I’m—kind of on a mission at the moment.”
Ian lit up. “Mission? What kind of mission?”
Irene started to shake her head, but Ian cut her off. “I’ll go with you,” he said. “Wherever it is you’re going, I’ll go, too.
We can go together. You and me. But first…can I just show you one thing?” He held up a finger. “One thing. I promise.”
Irene was torn between amusement and exasperation. Ian was like an overeager puppy, exuberant and with the attention span of a gnat. The combination of his effervescent good humor and the knight’s scowling disdain was overwhelming, and she felt a little suffocated. She glanced at the knight, and the storm clouds descending over his face increased her desire to get away from him as quickly as possible.
“Look, Ian…” She hesitated—Ian seemed sweet, and he was incredibly good looking. In the face of his thousand-watt smile, she felt her resolve weaken. It would be nice to have some company. She glanced at the knight—pleasant company, she amended.
She smiled in spite of herself. “I have to do this one thing first, okay? But after that, I’m all yours. You can show me whatever you want.”
Ian let out a whoop. “Yes, ma’am! You won’t regret this. I promise.”
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