Welcome to Turning Pages! And Happy Monday!
Today we have a very special guest, Shannon Morton, with an awesome excerpt from her book Tempted by Evil!
Four years ago, when I first started writing, I had no idea that I had such a soft spot for bad boys. Soft spot might be a euphemism, actually. Perhaps a massive gaping void for them would be more accurate. At any rate, I quickly came to terms with my love of damaged goods and decided that therapy wasn't necessary. As long as I only wrote and read about them rather than seek one out in real life, I felt it was okay. Does this make me delusional? Possibly, but I'm going to roll with it anyway...
Why am I discussing this, you ask? I have my reasons and I'm getting to them now. When I went through the novel, looking for excerpts to use for this blog, I came upon one that introduces one of my favorite guys. He's dark, brooding, impossible, and magnetic...you know, the things you parents pray that you're never attracted to in a boy. Well, Merrick embodies them all, and though Aspen would like to pretend she's not the slightest bit intrigued by him, I see right through her. There are those in life that just demand attention by their mere presence, good or bad. Merrick is their poster child :)
So, without further ado, I give you Aspen and Merrick at their first meeting. Poor Aspen, she just doesn't know what is about to steamroll into her life...
I knew I would be hard-pressed to forget this stranger if I lived a thousand years.
Something about him was compelling, and I had to grapple with my mind to oppose the gravitational force of his masculine energy. Focus, Aspen. And stop staring! I sucked in a deep breath and took a hesitant step toward the table in the back while smoothing my camel-colored, coffee-stained apron. He was completely unfazed by my approach as his eyes were fixed on the pages of a small leather-bound black book he held over the Formica table. Interrupting an earnest reader was something that I abhorred, but it was part of my job, so I managed to stammer , "Is there anything I can get for you" while biting my lower lip.
"No," the stranger replied thoughtfully as he closed his book and folded his hands on top of it.
The confusion on my face was plain as I repeated his answer back in the form of a question.
He finally looked up to meet my eyes, and I audibly sucked in a breath of air at the sight. The sage green color alone would have been magnificent, but the irises were a bit milky, making the rings around them appear to glow.
"Actually, I was just looking for a dry place to read," he replied, with a hopeful expression that looked strangely out of place on his face.
"Oh, um, of course," I stuttered as I mentally slapped myself and looked up at the clock, "but we close in about twenty minutes."
"Thank you," he acknowledged as he returned to the small book in front of him and I wandered back to my spot behind the counter.
Trying desperately not to stare devolved quickly into trying desperately not to be caught staring at the stranger in the back of the café. While the former had proved completely impossible, the latter was proving quite promising. He was captivating. Aside from those eyes, his raven-colored, wavy chin-length hair would have made any girl swoon. His sense of style was unique; he’d opted for a fitted gray t-shirt with print that read The Doors, which I presumed to be a band name, and a very worn-out looking black and gray flannel shirt over it. The black military jacket he topped them off with looked very utilitarian, and I realized that, aside from the t-shirt, the rest of his clothes were black, right down to the motorcycle boots. The only other piece that stood out was a black leather studded cuff on his wrist. I pondered his intensity while he absorbed the words on the delicate pages of his book, turning them methodically, almost like clockwork. The longer I watched him, the more I became aware of a nagging sensation in the back of my mind. I looked up at the clock to see that it was already five minutes past nine. My anxiety spiked to a dangerous level when I considered having to tell this dark stranger that it was time for him leave.
As if reading my mind, he placed his book in the inside pocket of his military jacket, rose smoothly from his chair , and strolled toward the exit just as casually as he had come in. I wanted to thank him for coming in or say something to him about the book he was reading―at least ask his name―but I found myself, not for the first time, utterly speechless.
Pulling the door open slowly, the mysterious stranger paused before he turned back toward the counter and said, with a hint of amusement in his voice, "Goodnight, Aspen."
Thank you so much for stopping by and for this awesome excerpt from your book! Make sure to check out Tempted by Evil!