A snippet from Real Men Don't Quit

by - April 30, 2013

My REAL MEN DON'T QUIT blog tour continues at Read Your Writes where there's a chance to win some giftcards:)

In the meantime, here's a snippet from the book.

Background: Luke and Tyler have just had a rocky first meeting. After things have cooled, Luke is giving Tyler and her three-year-old daughter Chloe a lift to Tyler's work.

“You don’t look much like a writer to me,” she said as she threaded several silver bracelets onto her slim wrists.

“What do writers look like to you?”

“As I said, you’re the first writer I’ve met, but I’ve always imagined writers to be older, with beards and leather elbow patches, and either boring everyone in their uppity voices or swearing and getting roaring drunk on whiskey.”

“Sorry to disappoint you,” he said with a chuckle.

“Oh, I didn’t say you’re a disappointment.”

Startled, he glanced at her and caught the tail end of her insouciant smile. Was she flirting with him? The possibility sent a curious vibration through his nerves, as if he liked the idea of Tyler flirting with him. Shoot, he knew he shouldn’t have offered her a lift. “Where to now?” he asked as they reached the center of town.

“It’s just a couple of blocks up ahead.”

He eased off the accelerator as they cruised down the main street. He’d grown up in Goulburn and wasn’t too familiar with Burronga, even though the towns were an hour’s drive apart. Burronga was a more upmarket place than his hometown, with fancier shops and more expensive cars parked on the streets. They passed the Red Possum, a big, oldfashioned pub, before approaching a late Victorian building where Tyler indicated for him to pull over. The historic facade of the building had been preserved, but the ground floor looked like it had been recently renovated, with new glass doors and a wide, striped awning bearing the name Java & Joolz.

“So this is where you work?” he said as Tyler unstrapped Chloe from her booster seat.

“Yes. It’s an art gallery and coffee shop. As a matter of fact, I’m part owner,” she added, a note of pride edging into her voice.

“Oh.” He couldn’t help lifting his eyebrows, and she didn’t miss the gesture.

“What? Don’t I look competent enough to be part owner of a business?” Resting a hand on her hip, she gave him a razzing grin.

It wasn’t a question of being competent. He’d seen the chaos inside her house and that didn’t easily gel with running a business. “It must be hard work,” he answered diplomatically.

She hauled Chloe out of the car and balanced the child on her hip while she hooked her enormous bag over her free arm. “It’s bloody hard work. Why don’t you come inside and have a look?”

He shouldn’t. He should politely decline and be on his way, his good deed—two of them—done for the day. Deep down, he knew that Tyler, with her brilliant blue eyes and pert smile and purple underwear, plus her impish daughter, was exactly what he didn’t need. Exactly what he’d never need. The debacle with Jennifer had only hardened his resolve. He’d come to Burronga to bury himself in his writing, nothing else. It was his final chance to salvage something out of this disastrous year, and the last thing he needed was a sassy single mother distracting him. Especially considering how he’d reacted to her flirty grin earlier in the car. He should say no.

Instead, he said, “Sure. I’m in desperate need of a decent coffee right now.”

She smiled at him, and the candid radiance of her smile made him blink. “Coffee’s on the house. I owe you.”

He climbed out of his car, his blood still tingling from the aftereffects of her brilliant smile. Tyler Jones yelling at him in her underwear was quite a sight, but Tyler Jones beaming at him was something else.

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