Sunday, December 6, 2015

Lies we Live by Brenda St. John Brown EXCEPT TOUR


We talk and laugh through a bottle of wine and most of the food on the counter, and when Josh excuses himself to the bathroom, I’m surprised to see the moon hanging in the sky. Both of us kicked off our shoes somewhere between sharing funny stories. Josh is an only child. He grew up on Air Force bases until his dad retired here his freshman year of high school and bought out this farm. It used to be bigger, one of the biggest in the county, but they scaled back a while ago. Between droughts and the labor turnover, it was just too much. I still have no idea what Josh, himself, does, but he seems to be operating under a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and that works just fine for me. 

“I was going to cook you dinner.” Josh’s hands rest on my shoulders, his lips grazing the hair close to my ear.

I let myself lean back into him a little. He’s definitely become better-looking as we’ve talked. Something about his easy laugh and the way he reaches out to touch me as he talks. As if he can’t help it. I’ve got a feeling he could keep his hands to himself with no trouble if he had a mind to. But he doesn’t. And I don’t want him to. “I thought we just ate?”

His finger traces the line of my tank top along my back. “Those were meant to be starters.”

Goosebumps rise on my arms as Josh’s fingertips whisper over the nape of my neck. “Where did you learn to cook like that?”

His hands freeze on my skin for a fraction of a second before he answers. “New York, mostly.”

“Let me guess. Hell’s Kitchen. Red meat, yes. Wife, no. Girlfriends, plural.” I feel the sudden absence of his touch like a slap. All of our talking has been rooted in the distant past. Childhood memories. Innocuous stories of high school. Personal but not revealing.

In other words, nothing Google-able. On either side. Until now.

“No wonder you didn’t like my odds.” Josh’s voice isn’t at the curve of my ear anymore. Even without turning around, I’d bet he’s leaning against the low counter across the kitchen, his expression guarded.

I keep my back to him. “Seventy percent?”

“About that.”

I spin around in slow motion on the stool to face him. His arms are crossed loosely over his chest, but the fist clenched underneath his elbow gives him away. His eyes are hard and shiny. 

“Sorry.” The word escapes before I even know what it’s for, but as it whooshes through the air, I’m one thousand percent sure it’s appropriate.

“Not your fault.” His tone is clipped and when he raises his gaze, his face is closed like shutters in a rain storm. “So, are you still hungry then?”

I stare back at him. The boy who’s been flirting with me is gone, replaced by a man who wants me out of his kitchen, out of his sight. I’ve been on the receiving end of looks like that too often to miss them. 

I open my mouth to speak, the ‘I’ll go’ already forming as the door slams in the other room, the bang of wood on metal ringing like a shot in the heavy silence.

Brenda St. John Brown Bio:

Brenda is a displaced New Yorker living in the English countryside. She writes novels about teens and twenty-somethings kissing. Her characters do other things, too, but there's always kissing.

When she's not writing, Brenda enjoys hiking, running and reading. In theory, she also enjoys cooking, but it's more that she enjoys eating and, try as she might, she can't live on Doritos alone.

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LIES WE LIVE (The Truth Series #1) Buy links:

TRUTHS WE TELL (The Truth Series #2) Buy links:


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