I've had my head buried in edits for the last two days, but they are done now, so I thought I'd surprise you with a little excerpt to introduce you to the characters in Tea for Three:
Most days Wren didn’t understand the rest of the world, let alone herself. So why had she shaved her legs, and stuffed her swimsuit and a towel in her bag -- just in case?
It wasn’t like she was planning on going swimming or anything ... but it was so damn hot today that the idea of taking a dip in a cool pool sounded entirely too wonderful.
Why on earth had she accepted Jack’s invite?
You know why -- you’re bored ... and lonely, and spending a few hours with some interesting near strangers is something better to do with your Saturday afternoon than sitting at home with yet another book.
Well, they were good books! Wren now knew all sorts of things from those erotic romances -- pity she’d never had the chance to try any of the ideas out.
Rummaging through her bag, she made sure she had all the essentials -- sunscreen, hat, cover-up, swimsuit. She made sure her sunglasses were on top of her head and closed up the bag. Heading to the kitchen, she plucked up the dessert she had spent the morning making. Her mum and dad had taught her that it was rude to not bring something for your hosts. She had decided that two grown men wouldn’t say no to some homemade dessert -- even if they possibly were new age guys with gourmet chef tendencies. Besides, her fruit caramel sponge pudding was fairly close to award-winning, even if she did say so herself.
She locked the kitchen door behind her, then made her way to the car and carefully stowed the dessert in the backseat, along with her tote bag.
Absently rubbing her scarred hip, feeling itchy from the stunningly hot day, Wren really started looking forward to at least dangling her feet in a cool pool.
* * * * *
Oh my god, it’s the guy from the bar!
Wren had barely knocked on the door before it was quickly opened and she was greeted by a handsome, smiling face. A handsome, dark haired man with a chocolate voice, who still appeared in her secret, late night fantasies.
“Wren!” Craig’s sun bronzed face lit up with a big welcoming smile.
“Craig? It is Craig, right?” Wren was almost at a loss -- had she gotten the directions mixed up and got the wrong house?
“Yup, you remembered!” Well, duh ... of course she remembered!
“But ...” An extra arm reached around Craig and grabbed hold of the dessert bowl, while Craig took hold of her bag in one hand and her arm with the other, walking her into the house. “Jack? Jack was the blond guy?”
Speak of the devil; a chagrined cough came from the owner of the third arm.
“I have to fess up, Wren. I didn’t tellyou that I recognized you from that night at the club.” A light blush ran across Jack’s cheekbones as he shrugged. “I ... well; I was a bit embarrassed actually. I was kind of rude, pushing my way in the middle of you two chatting – truly, I hadn’t realized you were talking with one another -- and I really
wanted to make a good impression on the best analyst and strategist in town.”
Jack and Craig just stood and watched as her face got redder and redder, obviously waiting for her to blow her top. She blew all right -- right out into peals of laughter, leaving both men looking at her, stumped.
“Oh ... my ...” Wren couldn’t get enough air into her lungs to say more. Forcing herself to calm down, she managed to carry on. “Jack, you idiot! I was already on my way home when Craig stopped me to chat for a while. When I saw you greeting Craig so heartily, I just decided it was time to make a quiet retreat and leave you to it. Believe
me; I wouldn’t have thought any worse of you when it came to your business expansion.”
Craig broke out in a grin, while Jack was still a little more abashed with a smaller smile.
“Come on out back, Wren, and take aload off by the pool. Today is the perfect day for doing nothing but swimming and lazing around with friends.”
“I’ll just take this to the fridge.” Jack took a doorway that obviously led to the kitchen, while Craig took her arm and showed her out to the rear of the house. They had an in-ground pool surrounded by stunning lush gardens.
“Oh, my.” Wren was amazed at the profusion of flowers and immaculately kept gardens and shrubs. “This is Jack’s work, I assume.” It was beautiful, flowers overflowed with scents and shrubsand trees burst with life.
“And you would be correct; this is one of his continual works in progress.” Craig took her bag over and put it down by the large table, waving her to one of the pillow-clad sun loungers. “He does a lot of experimentation here. We have a bit of everything out here in Clevedon. Cool and salty air off the harbor, but moisture, with the fogs in winter, and during summer, it can be as hot as Hades out here on the flats.”
Wren watched as Jack came up behind Craig, laying a hand on his shoulder in a manner that showed the men’s comfort with each other.
Man alive, what a good looking couple they make.
“I guess that means that you have been listening to my gardening rambles?” Craig laughed as he, too, sat down in a lounger.
“Every word! It doesn’t mean that my black thumb has gotten any greener, though.” Jack laughed as he put a cooler down under the table with one hand and a tray of glasses and mixers on top of the table with the other.
“Now that we have all our confessions over and done with, who’s for a drink? ‘Cause it’s bloody hot, and I know I need one!”