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 BookShelfery. 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] The next thirty minutes went by so quickly, Derek startled when someone knocked hard on the back door of the kitchen, the one that led into the alley. The Brazen Head had been busy, but not unmanageable – a steady stream of orders came through the kitchen. The dishes were starting to pile up in the sink. He glanced up at the clock on the wall. Seven o’clock on the dot. Just what he needed. Some cranky butt-crack-bearing plumber getting in his way and dirtying up his kitchen. “Andy the handyman,” he muttered to himself before pulling the heavy door open. A biting wind blasted him in the face, but it was the face greeting him that knocked him back a step. It was a face he knew very well, but had never planned on seeing again. Andrea Rivera stood in the glow of the security lights, looking all grown up. She wore jeans, work boots, and a black leather jacket. Her long black hair swept back into a tight ponytail. But damn if she still didn’t look as pretty as she’d ever looked in her sundresses and strappy sandals. Her lips parted in surprise and he found his eyes drawn to their full shape. No, he thought, pretty wasn’t the right word anymore. She was pretty when she was a teenager. Now, she was gorgeous and sexy as hell. “Derek?” she asked, shaking him from his thoughts. Her voice cracked on his name. Must be the cold February air. She met his eyes for the briefest moment before glancing away. Her eyes were the same honey brown he remembered from that day four years ago. “What are you doing here?” he asked, his voice harsher than he’d intended. You can’t be here, he thought. Andrea’s pink lips turned down and her brow creased. She stared at him like that for a few long seconds, somehow avoiding his eyes the entire time. “I should ask you the same,” she murmured, then sighed. “I’m here to fix a dishwasher.” It was only then he noticed the large red toolbox hanging from her mitten-covered hand. Across the top in permanent marker, she had written “Andy” in scrolling cursive permanent marker. “Andy’s coming to fix the dishwasher. You’re Andrea,” he said, as if establishing her true identity would make her disappear. He stared dumbly at the toolbox. This had to be some weird mistake. He found himself wishing for the burly handyman he’d been dreading only seconds before. She raised an eyebrow at him and waved at the dark alley with her free hand. White flurries whipped in and out of the dim streams of light. “Are you really going to let me freeze out here because I now go by a nickname?” Derek glanced up at the bare pipes in the ceiling. He didn’t have to let her in. They could do without a fully-functional dishwasher for a night, right? He’d call someone else tomorrow. Maybe someone who didn’t stir up every emotion he’d spent years burying deep inside. Preferably, someone who he’d never kissed like it was all he ever wanted to do. Andrea puffed out her cheeks and blew out a breath before squeezing past him in the doorway, using her elbow to put distance between them as she passed. “Where is it?” “Hm?” Derek slammed the door shut a little harder than necessary. “Where’s what?” “The dishwasher,” she said, annoyance poisoning her voice. “You know, the one I’m here to fix.” His mind flashed back to a sixteen year old Andrea, rolling her eyes at him and calling him “dorkface.” When he first started noticing her as more than Ricky’s annoying little sister. Get your act together, man. The faster he showed her to the dishwasher, the faster she’d be out of here. “Right, Andy.” He led her to the wall separating the kitchen from the bar. “Here we are.” He rapped the top of the machine with his knuckles. Andrea dropped the toolbox to the floor and stripped off her gloves. “What’s wrong with it?” She pulled her jacket off. Derek tried to focus on the dishwasher, and not on the form-fitting long-sleeve shirt underneath her coat. Not many women could make long sleeves and a high neckline sexy, but she sure managed to pull it off. The soft purple fabric skimmed across the contours of her body. He stared hard at the shiny silver surface of the dishwasher. “Eliza didn’t tell you?” Suddenly he realized: Andrea and Eliza had talked on the phone. Eliza’s weird face when he’d made that crack about Handyman Andy’s wife made sense. She’d known. Well, she couldn’t have known all of it, but she’d known Andy was a girl.
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