This place got quiet. *blows dust off* I know, I know, but I’ll tell you why. I couldn’t talk about my plans over the holidays because one of them, the biggest one, was a secret.
See, Kate’s family wanted to surprise her for her 30th birthday. So they talked to me without Kate knowing, and behind the scenes, we arranged a trip for me to visit. So after I spent a week plus with my parents over Christmas and New Year’s, I came home for two days, did a flurry of errands, and jumped on another plane to the motherland.
About a day later, after long layovers, and time changes and such, I followed her sister into her house and gave her stunned face a kiss. Even two days later, she still looked at me and crowed, “You’re here!”
Her parents rented us a flat near one of her good friends, and we spent the week eating out, having wicked cool drinks, playing in London, going to the clubs of our people, starting new books, and making business deals.
Yeah, we never stop working, even when we’ve had a few drinks and the bouncer of a club starts talking to us about his true work, which lo and behold, I might have a very specific use for. When that’s a little more fleshed out, I’ll spill those beans.
In the meantime, yes, Kate and I started a book on which we’ve been plotting for a little over six months now, and let me tell you, the conversation about it had us both excited and possibly freaking out a cab driver.
As a reward for your patience, I give you a scene flash from my next release, hopefully out sometime in March, titled Anatomy of Perception. This is first person from the MC’s point of view, a scene flash when Dane sees Craig for the first time. Hope you like.
I didn’t stop to watch the hot street artist because I thought he would change my life. I was simply fascinated by his quick hands, his obvious skill, and the swell of his ass. He had a really nice one, in paint-splattered jeans that hugged him well, and a t-shirt with a pug on it. The fall air was warm enough to not need a jacket, and when I wasn’t staring at his delectable backside, I strangely found myself drawn to his forearms. They flexed with each fluid movement of his brush hand while he quickly painted a profile portrait of a woman who stood closer to him than the rest of the crowd. She watched him work, and every few seconds, exclaimed at how wonderful he was.
I agree, I thought, taking another long look at his ass, for once not caring who saw me looking. That was the beautiful thing about New York City: no one noticed me, so they didn’t have a reason to give a damn if I liked guys. I could easily hide in plain sight, checking guys out to my heart’s content—with some care. If the guy being checked out noticed and was a dick, I could get my ass kicked. But in the four years since leaving home, I’d perfected the discreet eye-fuck. Less risky that way.
I had to keep moving, though. I was going to be late for class. I’d worked way too hard to get where I was to chance being late, and failure was not an option. I couldn’t go back home. I wasn’t teacher material, and I didn’t bother to look into what else my biology degree might allow me to do. It was MD or nothing.
Apparently, my feet didn’t get the memo. I stood there as the artist finished, signing the painting with a flourish as a smattering of applause rippled through the crowd. The woman eagerly paid and took her portrait with her, staring at it as she walked and forcing other sidewalk patrons out of her path. A few bills landed in an open, battered portfolio case at the foot of the guy’s easel, and I found myself wishing I had even a dollar to spare. But I didn’t. I watched my pennies religiously. There was no way I’d let myself be too broke to pay my third of the rent.
The artist scanned the dispersing crowd for his next mark, and I quickly looked away when his eyes landed on me. I really had to go anyway. I moved, trying to escape.
“Hey, hold up.”
A hand on my elbow slowed me and I turned to face the warmest brown eyes I’d ever seen.
“Let me paint you.”
I shook my head. “I can’t. I have class and I’m already late.” At least it was true. Lack of money wasn’t my only excuse.
“If you’re already late, you should skip and let me paint you. I didn’t know eyes that color existed outside a computer. Are those contacts?”
I rolled the eyes in question, but something about his ease while talking to strangers kept me from walking off. I got compliments on my eyes all the time. They were such a light blue they were almost silver. Many a girl had used my eye color as a platform for flirting, not realizing I was and always would be immune to their feminine charms. But the guy before me, he was right up my alley. So, while I rolled my eyes at his obvious line, I also smiled regretfully.
“I’m sorry. I really can’t. Maybe I’ll see you around though.”
“Me or my ass?” he asked, dropping his volume and giving me a wink. So he’d seen me checking out the goods.
Heat surged into my cheeks, but instead of stammering and running away, I gave him a very obvious and thorough once-over.
“Both.” It was the best parting line I’d ever had, so I took advantage, chuckling as I walked away.
“Wait!” he called. “What’s your name? How do I find you again?”
I waved over my shoulder, mortification creeping in. Had I really flirted so openly with a guy I wasn’t positive was also gay? In public? Jesus. I had never done that before. I only ever involved with guys at gay clubs who wouldn’t be there for any other reason.
“Please?” he yelled after me. I ignored him as I descended into the bowels of the subway system. Nice ass or not, at that point, I hoped I’d never see him again. How could I have been so dumb?
Safely on the train speeding me the last several blocks to my class, I allowed myself a grin, which was swallowed by a grimace. Random art wasn’t the only thing I couldn’t afford. Calling attention to myself was another. Distractions could also cost me way more than money. I needed to keep my focus on my goal, not get sidetracked by tanned forearms and dimples beneath molten brown eyes. I tried to put him out of my head and think about the lymph system, recalling the salient points of my reading homework from the night before. I had thought that would be my one and only encounter with the hot, charming street artist.
I was wrong.