Taken Excerpt

I’m kind of amazed at how many people have already raced through Tempted. Book three, Taken, will be out early February, but here’s a little teaser from chapter five, a dicussion between Lauren and Peta.

circle 3.

Peta pulled me away from the coffee machine as soon as the customers at the café dwindled enough that we could sit in a secluded corner.
“I’m dying,” she said, tossing her blonde hair over her shoulder and leaning over the table eagerly. “Spill everything. Now.”
“It was horrible.”
“Horrible? I find that difficult to imagine. And I have imagined it a few times now.”
I looked at her lopsidedly.
“Not you,” she assured me. “Not that I wouldn’t go there. I’m sure that we could make some sweet, sweet love together, but this particular imagining was strictly a Tyler thing. I mean, that man is to die for. Have you looked at him? I mean really looked at him? I showed Shrek his photo and I swear he got a hard-on.”
“Gabe showed up.”
I nodded glumly and chased the straw of my iced-coffee around the glass with my mouth. “Right in the middle.”
“In the middle of what?”
I looked at her over the edge of my drink, eyebrows raised.
“Oh,” she said. “In the middle.”
“He was drunk. Drunk and angry. He threw a punch at Tyler.”
Peta’s hand flew to her chest and her eyes widened. “What I wouldn’t give to be you just for one day.”
“Peta,” I groaned.
“What?” she said. “Yes, I know it’s old-fashioned and whatever to want two men fighting over you and all, but please, show me a girl who wouldn’t?”
“Sure, sure,” I said, rolling my eyes exaggeratedly. “The thought of it is romantic, but the reality of it isn’t. Well, maybe it could be if I didn’t care for them both, but I do. I never wanted to hurt Gabe. He looked so sad.”
“And how do you feel about Tyler?”
I couldn’t help the smile that covered my face. “I like him.” I toyed with my straw. “I like him a lot.”
“Is that all you’re going to give me?” Peta complained.
“For now.”
“When are you seeing him again?”
“That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”
Peta sighed. “You want time off for when you go up to do the photos, don’t you?”
I nodded and screwed my nose up hopefully.
“It’s a good thing you are best friends with the boss, you know. Otherwise, you would have lost your job ages ago.”
I leaned across the table and hugged her. “Thank you. I’ll owe you. I’ll work double shifts up until then. No, I won’t leave. I’ll eat, breathe and sleep this place. I’ll—”
“Okay, okay,” Peta said, detangling herself from my embrace. “But you have to promise me one thing.”
“You will bring him for dinner when he’s down next.”
“We’ve only just—”
Peta held up her hand. “No debate.”
I grinned. “Deal.”
“Shake on it,” Peta ordered, sticking out her hand.
I shook it, laughing. “What about you, anyway?”
“What about me?”
“I’ve been so caught up in my man dramas over the last few months, I feel like we’ve neglected yours.”
“I have no drama,” Peta replied.
She held up empty hands and looked at them as if the drama might be hiding there. “No drama. Things are almost dangerously boring. Work is work. The kids are the kids. Shrek is Shrek. The in-laws are still the in-laws.” She shrugged again. “It’s all rather boring compared to your life.”
“Peta, you own your own café, you have three children and one sexy husband. I can’t see how you would find the time to be bored.”
“Maybe bored is the wrong word. I’m not bored as in nothing-to-do bored, I’m bored in the sense that I have too much to do and it’s the same thing over and over. Rinse and repeat.” She took a gulp of her coffee and then her eyes widened and sparkled. “So, your mother will be pleased that you and Gabe are no longer together.”
I slumped back in my seat. “I haven’t told her.”
“She still thinks you’re with him?”
I nodded, picking up the straw and dragging it between my teeth. “They all do. It took enough guts to pluck up the courage to tell them I was with him in the first place, I don’t want to see Mother’s smirking face when I tell her it didn’t last. She’ll be thrilled.”
“So they don’t know about Tyler?”
I shook my head. “Not even Morgan.”
“Your sister is not going to be happy when she finds out. She expects you to tell her everything.”
“Little does she know how little she knows.”
Peta frowned, replaying my words over in her head until she smiled and nodded. Reaching under the table, she patted my knee. “Right. Back to work, it is.”
“But we’ve only just sat down,” I said, pouting and looking at my not even half finished ice coffee.
Peta shrugged. “Next time, bring me more details.”

– Excerpt from Taken, Chapter Five

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