Thursdays always sneaks up on me! I have joined in on posting Thursday 13 on my blog and it quickly comes upon me each week. To explain for those not familiar with TT - it's where you list 13 of your favorites - anything you care to list. It's fun and forces me to use my brain early in the morning! You can go to my blog and check it out! I listed 13 of my favorite research websites:
Gracie and the Bad Hat is my first contemporary to be published by AweStruck Ebooks -coming out in December. I adore the book cover, created by Kendra Egert at Scrapfairy Designs. She depicted the story visually and I love her for it!
Gracie has an unusual profession. She's a hat-maker, living and working in San Francisco. The hero is a fine art photographer who would be considered a 'bad hat' ~ As far as Gracie can tell, he's promiscuous, unreliable, poor and living in the worst area of the city - The Tenderloin. Not at all the perfect man she's looking for ~ or is he?
Gracie and the Bad Hat
Unedited excerpt of Gracie and the Bad Hat, copyright, Vicki Gaia, 2007
A bad hat: a person who deliberately stirs up mischief and commotion.
Grace O’Shaughnessy was naked.
The photographer she met last night slept curved into her side, his thighs pressed against her legs, his arm flung over her chest. A smile warmed his face, but her stomach felt like ice.
Grace lifted the sheet to take a peek, and a groan escaped her.
Yes, buck naked and tangled up in a man’s plaid robe, her black straw hat crushed between the pillows.
The sour aftertaste of too much merlot tainted her mouth, and she touched her forehead, a headache snaking up her neck. Grace gingerly moved his arm off her chest. Sweat and heat stung her skin, and the ghost of his touch kept her off balance. It took all of her effort to stay focused on what she had to do. Mainly, to get the hell out of here before he woke up.
Grace swung her legs over the edge of the bed, clutching the robe to her chest. The shock of cold air nipped at her toes. She slipped out between the sheets, barely missing a pile of blankets and pillows arranged on the floor. Careful to step around the tangled bedding, she noted her surroundings.
Morning sunlight squeezed through the frosted windows and cast a gray light that did nothing to dispel the gloom. She wrinkled her nose. Not too successful earning his living as a photographer, the studio the antithesis of a romantic loft so popular with the city’s urban professionals.
Wallpaper, faded with age, curled off the walls. The furnishings sparse - a Murphy bed, plain square nightstand, scarred wood table, and two chairs she remembered him saying he’d fished out of the bay. Was he kidding? From the looks of it, she didn’t think so.
When Grace lifted her hat, he rolled over, let out a sharp snort and burrowed his head in his pillow. Her heart sped up and lodged in her throat and she froze. To her relief, he didn’t move a muscle. Now was her chance to escape. After scooping up her clothes and purse from the floor, she made a beeline to the bathroom.
Grace closed the bathroom door before dropping the robe to the floor. Standing naked in front of the sink, she turned on the faucet and splashed cold water on her face. The water refreshed her but the drawn face staring back from the cracked mirror horrified her - bloodshot eyes, hair matted to one side of her head, a flushed complexion.
She opened the medicine cabinet hoping to find a bottle of aspirin. Instead, she found a shelf crammed with blue Trojan boxes. Obviously, a long line of women visited the man’s bed. Or maybe, he’d hoped to get lucky. With any luck, she had sense to use one of these condoms he’d stored so expectantly in his cabinet.
The remaining shelves held a box of bandages, two toothbrushes (one wrapped in its cellophane box) and a tube of toothpaste. She closed the cabinet door and sighed.
What stupidity to sleep with a stranger. She’d never believed in one-night stands, wanting to have a connection with her lover. But last night she’d been vulnerable to the photographer’s charms, and it’d been so long since she’d been this intensely attracted to a man.
A razor leaned against the glass shelf alongside a can of shaving cream and a bottle of aftershave. Grace brought the bottle to her nose, and took a whiff, the brisk scent evoking the smell of his skin. A tingling sensation coiled in her groin. A mouthwatering fragrance, reminding her of ocean spray and days spent in the sun.
Cranking up the 'cold' on the faucet, she splashed her burning cheeks. She had to
get out of here, and quick, before she crawled back into bed and demanded satisfaction, not remembering one second of their lovemaking. Just her luck to finally meet an attractive man and not remember a thing that when on between the sheets.
Grace zipped up her wrinkled dress and wadded up her nylons, stuffing them into her purse. She tugged her hat over her unruly hair. This hat had gotten her into this mess. The photographer had approached her to compliment her on its delicate rose trim and the way it framed her face. He’d seduced with his smooth words and his arresting face. And like a desperate woman, she fell for his affectionate manner.
Ready to leave, Grace opened the bathroom door and peeked out. The photographer remained in his position on the bed. Safe to make her exit, she tiptoed toward the front door, slipped on her shoes, and almost escaped.
“Gracie, you’re leaving without saying goodbye?”
With her hand frozen on the doorknob, her purse slipped to the floor, the contents spilling across the carpet. Oh God, he trapped her with his intense eyes, those baby blues piercing. Black silk panties draped from his hand, his mouth curved into a wry grin. “Forgetting something?”
Grace’s shoulders sagged. “You can keep them. Think of them as a souvenir.”
“You think I invited you here to add a notch to my bedpost? Although I don’t have a bedpost. Might be a problem.
”The man had some nerve taunting her. She straightened her shoulders and took in a deep breath. Letting it out slowly, a surge of anger replaced her embarrassment. “I don’t think anything about last night,” she snapped.
Happy Reading! Vic