Happy Valentines Day! In honor of the day, the Love at First Sight Blogfest is celebrating those (to quote Courtney Reese), “steamy, sometimes awkward, first-meetings, the ones where your two characters meet for the first time. Or, if your characters didn’t have a love-at-first-sight kind of relationship (because mine sure didn’t!), the scene where they realized, “wow, I think I love this person”.” And I just love romance, especially on Valentine’s Day, so I couldn’t resist joining the party.
In THE INBETWEEN, Sophie and Ian don’t exactly fall in love at first sight. But this scene, in which Ian fixes Sophie’s flat tire, marks the beginning of flying sparks…
Ian shrugs off his jacket. He’s wearing a black button-up shirt and jeans that look designer. And I think I can see his abs through the shirt.
“Do you have a hot date tonight?” I ask, still staring. He tosses his jacket onto my car with the smirkiest smile.
“I plead the fifth.”
“I like making you wonder about me.” As he passes by, cologne touches the air. My nose twitches. Smells delicious: mint and old spice and the outdoors.
“Are you trying to impress me?” I ask.
“Do you think mysterious men are attractive?”
“Attractive and impressive mean different things.”
“The question stands,” he says.
“So does mine.”
He sticks his tongue out one side of his mouth as he positions the jack behind the tire. “I’ll answer if you do.”
“Okay.Are you trying to impress me?”
When he looks up at me, his eyes sweep over my hair and my shirt. He wipes the back of his hand across his forehead. “If I was trying to impress you, you’d be melting.”
I hope I’m not blushing too much. “Try.”
“Oh, I will.” It’s so low I can hardly hear it, but his grin gives him away. I suck in a breath. Um… With a few flicks of his wrist, he raises the car with the jack. “Your turn.”
“Yes, I think you’re attractive.” The words slip out with a boldness that leaves me breathless. But he’s quiet as he keeps raising the car. “You could…say something.”
So he says, “Thank you for the compliment.” I know he’s teasing me because laughter spices his voice and he can’t seem to concentrate hard enough to loosen one of the lug nuts. “Tell me about yourself,” he says after a minute, half out of breath.
I duck my head, smiling. “But I like making you wonder about me.”
“You’re evading my question.”
“You’re being persistent.”
The lug nut plinks into the gravel. “Maybe I’m interested in you,” he says.
I shift my feet. “We don’t like each other.”
“You’re definitely not interested in me,” I say, coiling a strand of hair around my finger.
I pause for a minute. If he’s not uninterested in me, that means — “Do you think I’m attractive?” I ask.
Ian’s breath huffs out as he lifts the spare into position. “You play dirty.”
“You’re evading my question.”
He laughs. Then he leans over to adjust the tire. When he finally answers he says it quietly, with an almost-shyness that makes me blush. “Yeah.”
My head turns into a balloon and floats away. For once, I can’t think of a single thing to say until my cell phone rings. The balloon pops. The moment pops. Ian picks up the wrench and goes back to work. I desperately wish I could think of something to say to him, like thank you or does that mean you might ask me out, but all I can say is, “Hello?”