Contemporary romance author Zuri Day shares an RT-exclusive excerpt of her new novel Lovin’ Blue. Get a sneak peak at this tale of opposites attracting that RT Reviewer Jacqui McGugins calls, “ ... funny and bright with serious undertones and lessons big and small about the importance of accepting the past.”
“You!” Eden spat, her ire part anger, part chagrin, but mostly relief. “What are you doing here?”
“Well now little sis,” Jansen responded, his voice soft but firm. “I could ask you the same question.” He assumed his favorite wide-legged stance, crossed arms across a massive chest, and noted Eden’s eyes were larger, and more almond-shaped than he remembered. And were her lips always so full, and luscious?
Jansen’s arm-folding action caused Eden’s heart to flutter a bit, as she watched his pecs ripple with the movement. Her eyes slid to the wide, muscled shoulders, down the six-pack to a narrowed waist, inverted navel and over the strong powerful legs that held up a man she determined had gotten finer with age. And why was she imagining what lay just beyond the beige-colored towel shielding his manhood? Eden closed her eyes and licked suddenly dry lips.
A lazy, knowing smile crept across Jansen’s face. “Liking the view?” he asked cockily, as he leaned against the stair banister. “I can part the, um, curtain, if you’d like.”
“Still arrogant I see,” Eden said, turning away from him and reaching for her suitcases—just for something to do.
“Arrogance is when a person thinks he’s all that,” Jansen shot back. “Confidence is when he knows it.”
Eden ignored Jansen’s comment. Dang, I was looking at him like he was a piece of chicken, and I was the colonel getting ready to fry. “What are you doing here?” she asked again. “Where’s Michael? And can you put that…thing away?”
“Are you sure you want me to,” Jansen asked wriggling his eyebrows. Eden huffed. “Oh, you mean the gun.” The Glock was almost an extension of himself. Jansen had forgotten he was holding it. He placed it on the third step, where Eden couldn’t see it. “Is that better?”
Eden nodded. “A little. Where’s Michael?”
“Out of town; actually, out of the country.” Jansen tightened the towel around his waist. “He asked me to watch the place.”
Oh, so that’s why I couldn’t reach my brother. And why the police car is out there. “Well, if you’re just patrolling the area, why are you taking a shower in his house?”
“I believe the official term for what I’m doing is ‘house sitting.”
“You’re staying here?” Eden was surprised to hear a trace of panic in her voice.
“Yeah, why? Are you? I thought you got a condo over there in prime real estate Santa Monica.”
“I did, I mean, I do. But there’s a problem. It’s not ready…” Eden’s voice trailed off as her exhausted mind tried to process her predicament. When the contractor began the kitchen makeover, mold had been found under the sink, and behind the refrigerator that had come with the house. Further inspection confirmed it had spread underneath the hardwood flooring and under the baseboards. The job that was supposed to take three days would now take two weeks to finish. Eden had planned to save her money and stay with her brother. But now… “I can’t stay here,” she finally sighed, the thought of getting back into her car and looking for a hotel tiring her out more than she already was. Once again, she reached for her luggage.
“Don’t be ridiculous. You can sleep in Mike’s bedroom.”
“Don’t try and tell me what to do!” Eden snapped, feeling ten again.
“Eden, it looks like you drove here. That means you’re probably exhausted, which is why you passed out.”
“No, I passed out because I saw the shadow of incredible hulk pointing a gun at my chest.”
“Sorry about that, baby, but I thought you were a burglar.
“I’m going to take a shower.” Eden grabbed her purse and began pulling her luggage towards the staircase.
Jansen raced to her side, quickly picking up the gun that Eden eyed with disdain. “Don’t worry, it won’t bite you. Here, let me get that.”
Eden batted away his hand. “I can get it myself.”
“Oh, it’s like that? I can see that Mike’s little sis is definitely all grown up!”
Eden hoisted the suitcase onto the first step, and then the second. By the fourth step, her strength was drained. Why didn’t I think to just get out what I needed and leave the datgum case downstairs? She took a deep breath, grabbed the handle…and suddenly felt the weight of nothingness as Jansen took the case from her and effortlessly mounted the stairs.
Eden raised her head to deliver a sarcastic comment, but quickly lowered it. The towel around Jansen’s waist was a short one that perfectly outlined his round, hard buns. Two more steps and Eden knew there was a good chance that she’d be able to see the package Jansen was working with. And even though they would only be under the same roof for one night…Eden knew life would be easier if she didn’t know.
You will be able to pick up your own copy of Zuri Day’s Lovin’ Blue when it hits stores on April 1st, 2011.