Working Project

I had said in a recent post that I would put up an excerpt from my newest novel that I am working on. Well, here we go! I do not have a title, yet, and I would say I am about halfway through. This novel does not have anything to do with Mother’s Words that I posted a couple of months ago.

For now, I’ll just call it Kayleigh.

1. Go

Kayleigh tucked her feet underneath her bottom and pulled her heated blanket a bit higher to her chin. Her body shook with another cold chill, sending her bones into a chorus of chatters. She sunk further into the oversized fluffy couch, begging for the warmth of the blanket to force the ice she was sure had settled within her core to melt so she could be warm. She knew her hands and feet had to be suffering from frostbite since the highest setting of the heated blanket barely seemed to coax them back to feeling.

Growing up in the deep south of Texas, Kayleigh certainly wasn’t prepared for the arctic mountains of Alaska. What sounded like such a great idea when her brother, Keith, had presented it to her, a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of Corpus Christi to go to a top of the line ski resort in Alaska for free, was slowly turning into the demise of her smaller appendages.

Kayleigh and Keith had arrived to the resort in Girwood, southeast of Anchorage, nearly five hours ago. Since arriving at the hotel, Keith had checked them into their separate rooms then helped Kayleigh get her luggage up to hers. Once her belongings were brought up, Keith said he was going to settle into his room, and he would catch up with her later, but as his younger sister, Kayleigh knew what that meant.

Kayleigh knew she probably wouldn’t see much of her brother on the trip, but she had hoped he would’ve at least had dinner with her the first night. The whole reason Keith had wanted to come to Alaska was to see his long distance girlfriend, Rachel, who worked at the hotel. She was sure as the clock now struck five in the evening that Keith was probably with Rachel.

Kayleigh made a mad dash over to the thermostat for what was about the twentieth time and cranked it higher, turning the knob well past eighty. She quickly made her way back to her heated blanket and covered all but her eyes trying to get warm. She closed her eyes, willing the heat into her body, begging the shivers to cease.

When she opened them again, she looked to the blind drawn window. Night had fallen on the mountains in the near distance, but a warm luminescent shone throughout the resort highlighting large, distinctly shaped snowflakes on their descent to the brave patron’s eight floors below. A young woman in a fluorescent yellow jacket caught Kayleigh’s eye as she spun in the snowfall. A man about the same age took the woman in his arms and lifted her off her feet. He spun in quick circles as the woman’s hands and feet swung loose, and plopped into a large snow bank. Kayleigh watched as the couple laughed, smiled and kissed, completely, blissfully happy in the frigid surroundings.

Kayleigh looked to the clock below the television and read seven forty-five. She sunk back into the couch, almost letting herself fall back asleep, loving the warmth that had taken over the room and settled into her. She closed her eyes; ready to drift back into the steady heat of unconsciousness as beautifully shaped snowflakes fell behind her eyelids, a couple spinning, almost dancing beneath each gentle snowdrop.

Get up, Kayleigh, she told herself. You are not going to sit in this room all night and not enjoy this free vacation.

She opened her eyes and sat up on the couch, stretching her arms and legs. The room had finally warmed up enough that the heated blanket was becoming a bit hot. She stood from the couch and went to the bathroom.

Before her little nap, Kayleigh had organized all of her overnight belongings in the bathroom and ironed, hung, and folded her clothes to put them away into their appropriate spots for the weekend. She absolutely hated living out of a suitcase, and felt even more passionately about being tidy. Keith always had called her anal-retentive, but Kayleigh liked to think of herself as orderly.

She ran a brush through her hair, brushed her teeth, and fixed her makeup. On the plane ride, Kayleigh had worn her favorite sweatpants, matching hoodie and long sleeve shirt underneath, and ankle high fur boots. The second she had stepped off the plane, she literally felt like an iceberg had lodged itself within her chest. She had made a beeline for her luggage, and to the car that was there to pick them up and take them to the hotel. She had been so thankful when the driver supplied a blanket full of down feathers. Keith had laughed at her and said he knew she was going to be cold.

Kayleigh’s attire from the plane hadn’t changed much when she arrived to the hotel except now she had her snow pants over the sweatpants and a down filled jacket over the hoodie and shirt. She was hesitant to take the layers off, worried she would be cold again, but her stomach growled loudly, and the idea of a stiff drink down at the resort restaurant sounded better by the minute.

“OK, OK, just take it slow,” Kayleigh said aloud to herself as she shimmied out of the puffy jacket. Once it was off and hung back in the closet, she tested her body temperature by walking around her bedroom, just to make sure she wouldn’t be cold without the coat.

“Next,” Kayleigh commanded herself, using the same routine with her snow pants and hoodie.

Now that she was just in her sweatpants and a long sleeve shirt, she knew it was going to get more difficult. She walked over to the thermostat for the twenty first time and turned it close to eighty five.

“Just for good measure,” she assured herself then stripped off her shirt in one quick motion, throwing it across the bed, so she was standing with just her nude wireless bra, definitely going for comfort on the plane ride.

Kayleigh tested her warmth by walking around the king size bed in the middle of the bedroom. She rubbed the satin sheets between her fingers on the last circuit back to the closet, closing her eyes at the feeling of luxury the hotel offered.

The room felt comfortable enough to continue to change, so Kayleigh stripped her sweatpants and laid them across the bed, also; exposing the nude seamless boy shorts she had chosen that morning.

She folded the strewn clothes and placed them back in the closet then contemplated what she wanted to wear to dinner. The hotel was definitely top notch, so she wanted to make sure she conveyed the appropriate attitude and attire to match.

Kayleigh looked at the slim pickings she had brought with her, trying to imagine herself having a good night in any of the outfits. She sighed and picked out two dresses.

The first was a silky slip of a dress that clung to her every curve and draped to the floor in hunter green sheers. It was definitely a ritzy dress with its designer tag, but since she was going to be dining alone, she thought it a bit impractical.

The second was a salt and pepper colored sweater dress, very clingy with a cowl neckline and long enough to just meet her feet with long sleeves. Depending on when Kayleigh wore it, she either received a lot of compliments or lingering stares.

Kayleigh shrugged her shoulders and went to the long mirror on the back on the bedroom door. She held the sweater dress up to her reflection and contemplated what her night would be like if she were to wear the dress.

She closed her eyes and imagined being the woman who had spun in the courtyard with the man, feeling the warmth she was sure they had to feel for each other in order to brave the freezing temperatures outside. She felt the man’s arms circle around her and laughed like the woman had when he lifted her.

Kayleigh opened her eyes to her reflection staring back at her. She knew she was far from unattractive, but her untamable auburn hair was constantly disheveled with her natural waves cascading down her back, framing her pale blue eyes in an abundance of hair. Her body wasn’t a size zero, but she was proud to have curves in all the right places on her five foot four frame, even if her cheeks were a bit round and exposed her matching dimples on each side of her smile. She wished her lips weren’t as full and her skin as pale for living in Texas, but she knew in her own way she was beautiful despite her track record.

Kayleigh had only ever had one serious boyfriend, and it was during high school about five years ago, so serious might be an overstatement for eighteen years old. Since then she had been on dates, and the guys all seemed interested in her, but it always turned out that either she never called back, or they didn’t. It didn’t necessarily cause any heartache, but it definitely had started to take a toll on her self esteem, so when Keith offered up the trip yesterday, all Kayleigh had in mind was getting out of Corpus Christi and attempting to regroup and rebuild her self esteem, again.

She laid the dress on the bed and removed the hanger from the top having made up her mind about wearing it to dinner tonight. She lifted the dress, ready to put it over her head as she looked down at the nude underwear she had chosen for comfort earlier that morning.

Kayleigh contemplated her choice for a minute with her arms in the air, ready to pull the dress down over her, and debated on whether she wanted to change them, also.

“You girls are going to need a lift in this clingy dress, huh?” Kayleigh said to her chest.

She put the dress back on the bed and opened a drawer on the dresser. She picked through her undergarments knowing she didn’t want to dawn the silky lingerie she had brought specifically for the night she would wear the green designer dress.

“The black bustier might be a bit much under the more casual dress,” she said and chose the black pushup bra and matching thong.

Kayleigh dressed quickly, taking just a second to look at her reflection in the long mirror once she was in the dress. She made her way back into the bathroom and attempted once more to control her mess of hair and apply a bit more makeup.

After five minutes of attempting to tame her mind of its own mane, Kayleigh finally become frustrated enough to comb it out one more time, apply a bit of hairspray for the fly-away’s, then grab her ankle high black heeled boots, and force herself out of her room. She took the elevator to the third floor and made her way to the hotel’s bar & grill restaurant. She had read the hotel guide in her room before passing out earlier, contemplating the six different variety of choices offered at the hotel, and decided the cocktail and dinner menu of the bar & grill would be just what she was looking for.

Kayleigh surveyed the restaurant as she walked to the bar. A large stone fireplace sat along the wall next to the booths in the dining room where so many couples were, one couple was feeding each other, and another was kissing in their booth. Kayleigh watched the couples for a brief moment before stopping at the bar and taking a seat on one of the stools.

A few business dressed men were congregated at the opposite end of the bar, laughing and holding their beers. A small group of women sat at the bar between Kayleigh and the men, constantly peeking over at them and giggling as they turned back to each other.

There was a pretty decent amount of people, Kayleigh noticed, but not a single person held her attention long enough for her to want to strike up a conversation with them.

“Hello, my name’s Jack. I’ll be your go to guy tonight. What can I get you to drink?” a bartender said, placing a small square napkin in front of her.

“Well, I read your cocktail menu in the room, but what would you recommend as your strongest cocktail?” Kayleigh asked, hoping she didn’t sound like an alcoholic to the guy.

“Well, what do you prefer to drink?” the bartender asked, smiling big as he leaned toward her.

Kayleigh was taken a bit back by the guy due to her lack of experience, but decided to hold her ground, telling herself this is why she had come in the first place, to build herself back up. After all, the guy wasn’t half bad looking with his jet black hair, medium build and dark eyes.

Kayleigh smiled back and tossed her hair over her shoulder, trying her hardest to convey the flirting back. “I prefer a lot of different things,” she whispered and leaned toward him.

“Sounds like you need something dirty,” the bartender whispered back, inches from her face now.

Kayleigh felt the familiar sense of flight push against her stomach, preparing herself to shut down and block the guy out. Instead, she pushed the feeling from her mind and made herself stay put. No way was she backing down now that she had come this far in the flirting game.

“So you think you know what I need then?” Kayleigh asked, quirking her eyebrow and smiling as big as she could, knowing her dimples were probably in full force now.

“I think I do,” the bartender said, closing the gap between them in what Kayleigh thought was going to be a kiss, but he pulled away and started flipping bottles while pouring liquor after liquor into one glass while his smile stayed in place.

Kayleigh leaned back into her chair; feeling defeated and deflated, but quickly straightened up again, reminding herself that the bartender was still in front of her.

“Here you go. Miss?” the bartender asked.

Kayleigh debated for a minute. If she gave this stranger her name, what would happen next? If she gave him a fake name like she always did to guys she met at bars and clubs, would it matter?

Yes, it would, she told herself. Doing the same things you would at home isn’t going to help your cause this weekend.

Kayleigh lifted her smile again and narrowed her eyes at the guy. “Kayleigh, nice to meet you,” she answered, lifting her hand to shake his.

“Jack, nice to meet you, too, Kayleigh,” he smiled, taking her hand and kissing her knuckles. He released her hand and placed a light, red streaked drink in front of her. “We call this Firewood Tea. It’s a play on a Long Island drink. Let me know what you think, beautiful.”

Kayleigh looked down at the drink as Jack walked down the bar to service his other patrons. The red streaks were created from the strawberries at the bottom of the glass, swirling with the mass amount of liquors she had watched Jack pour into the cup.

She used the stir stick to swirl the strawberries in the drink a bit to release their flavor then took a sip from her straw. The second the drink hit her taste buds Kayleigh knew she could drink the concoction all night, but as it slide into her empty stomach, sending its warmth and lubricating her frozen joints throughout her body, she told herself to go slow and get something to eat.

By the time Kayleigh had finished her second drink, Jack didn’t come back again to check on her. She searched the bar for him, wanting food and another Firewood Tea, but not finding him until her eyes landed within the group of women down a bit from her. Jack had one of the pretty younger women on his lap and kissed her more passionately than Kayleigh thought appropriate in such a public setting as the other ladies squealed and squeaked at their friend’s good fortune.

 Kayleigh leaned back in her stool again, overcorrecting slightly with the force of the alcohol swaying her backwards. She felt herself sliding in her stool, knowing three things.

One, she was pretty lit.

Two, her lame attempts at flirting had failed, again.

And three, she was about to fall off her stool and hit the ground pretty hard.

Kayleigh began thinking in a hundred different directions as she began to fall, but those three things rang pretty clear.

Until two strong hands clasped on both of her shoulders and steadied her upright while a hard, warm body straightened her back and heated her skin through the sweater dress.

 

If you liked the sneak peek, please check out my two published novels, The Shoreline and See You Soon which are available in all formats, until Kayleigh is ready to be introduced to the world!

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