Tuesday Tales- Evil Alice-
Prequel to Texas Haven
Make up sex thrilled Alice. The whole night had been full of intense, hard and fast sex. Pleased with herself, she slid out of bed and took a nice hot shower. The warmed spray washed Burke’s scent off. She liked her own, naturally intoxicating scent best. She earned her new clothes the last few nights. Burke was getting a great bargain.
She dried herself and vowed to buy better towels. Her mistake was buying too much at once. For now on spreading her purchases out would serve her better. What new confection should she wear today? Burke promised to leave the truck for her to use. Maybe she’d find a new car to buy. Heck, she’d have to wait at least a week before buying it but it didn’t hurt to look.
She dressed and smiled at her reflection. She’d make Burke proud by making the right friends. She pictured him beaming at her in pride and her heart warmed. Laws of attraction, the elite dressed like the elite. She would attract the elite.
A little later she pulled up in front of a diner. Her face warmed as she climbed down from the old rusty truck. Alice peered around and smiled. No one had seen her. A new car was a must. She pulled her shoulders back and stood tall. Her mother always told her to act as though others were lucky to meet her. Perhaps her mother was right.
She strode toward the door and a tall man opened it for her, tipping his hat at her. It was already working. She expected the small diner to be busier. She glanced around, smiling at everyone. She was on fire, all of her smiles were returned.
A plump woman with gray hair came barreling from behind the counter to meet her. “You must be the new bride. Why I’ve been dying to meet you. I’m Noreen, welcome to my place.” Noreen thrust out her hand.
The poor woman’s hand was so work worn and calloused. “Nice to meet you, Noreen. Yes I’m Mrs. Dawson,” she said in a loud and clear voice.
Noreen stopped smiling.
“Call me Alice.”
Noreen’s smile returned. “Come, sit at the counter so I can get a chance to know you.”
Alice walked to the counter. She stopped her nose from wrinkling at the old stool and carved up counter. “It’s nice and cozy in here.”
Noreen bustled over and put a mug of coffee on the counter. “So, tell me how did you get that rascal, Burke to marry you? You must have set just the right trap to snare him.”
Her heart beat faster. What did she mean by trapped? “Love at first sight.”
Noreen stared at her obviously expecting more.
“For both of us. It was love at first sight. We met in Fort Worth. I was out with my friend Jen and there he was.” Why wouldn’t the old bat stop staring? “We’re very happy.”
“Good I’m glad to hear it. I’ve known Burke since he was a boy. Now, Alice what can I get you?” Noreen asked with a twinkle in her eye.
“I’ll have a Cobb salad with dressing on the side.” She relaxed against the back of the stool. Her mother always ordered Cobb salad. Sophistication is the key to meeting the right type of person.
Noreen shook her head. “You’ll have to tell me who or what a Cobb is. I have salad. I think you’ll like it. We even put croutons on it.”
Alice blinked. “Of course that will be lovely.” Croutons? The appeal of the salad was lost. Grin and bear it was her only choice. Glancing around the diner, she cringed. The tables were banged up wood. The chairs wobbled when people shifted in their seats. The red and white checked theme jumped out at her and she had to resist the urge to roll her eyes. Gaudy summed it up.
“Here you go, honey, one fresh salad with croutons and dressing on the side.” Noreen flashed her a homey smile that tugged at her heart.
“Thank you, Noreen.” She surprised herself by smiling back. Kindness was a rarity and deeply appreciated.
Noreen refilled everyone’s coffee at top speed. She refilled and laughed with each customer. The way customers reacted was admirable. Noreen had a carefree spirit that Alice envied. It had to be a gift, to be able to talk to people and have them like you. A gift that never came her way.
Noreen hurried back behind the counter. “Okay that’s done now we can get to know each other. Burke picked you, it means you’re special. He wouldn’t have married you otherwise. So far I know that you met in Fort Worth, you have a friend named Jen, and it was love at first sight. Very romantic if you ask me.” Two men from the other end of the counter were trying to get Noreen’s attention. The older one kept waving his hand at her. “Wave it again, Tom and its getting chopped off.”
Alice waited for a laugh but Tom frowned and stopped waving. “Shouldn’t you see what he wants?”
Noreen shrugged. “He wants to same thing he always wants, a double bacon cheese burger, rare, with all the fixings’, fries cooked extra crisp and an extra dill pickle. I already put the order in. He has his coffee.”
Noreen tilted her head back and laughed. “That’s what they say.” She put both elbows on the counter and leaned in toward Alice. “Now, where were we? Oh yes, I was going to pump you for information.”
“Order up, Noreen,” a booming voice yelled from the kitchen.
“Be right back. Enjoy your salad.” Noreen whisked off.
Was that woman full of energy or what? If anyone knew the who’s who of the area it would be Noreen. Alice took another bite of her salad. Tom’s bacon double cheese burger sounded better. She glanced around, no one in the diner appeared to be the type of society people she’d hoped to meet.
“How’s that salad? I put extra croutons on it just for you.”
“It’s really good, thank you. I was wondering if there were any charities or clubs in town I might join?”
Noreen’s smile faded. “There is a group of lard asses, I mean ladies that are involved in the charities and the PTA. They think they are better than the rest of us. I don’t think you’d like them much.”
“Thanks for the heads up, Noreen.”
Noreen nodded and grabbed the coffee pot. Alice’s shoulders slumped. She wouldn’t find the women she desired to meet here. They probably didn’t like being called lard asses by Noreen. She’d have to seek them out another way.
“Big coffee drinkers in this town. You never did say much except for love at first sight. Did you work?”
Alice shifted on the stool. “I’ll take the check now.”
Noreen smiled and winked. “First one on the house. You tell that handsome cowboy of yours that he’s a lucky man.”
She swallowed the lump that began to form in her throat. No one ever considered themselves lucky to have her. “It was nice to meet you, Noreen.”
“Oh, you too, sugar!”
She climbed off the stool hoping that she didn’t have any stains on her backside. She instantly pulled her shoulders back and held her head high, confidence was the key. She climbed into the atrocious truck. She hadn’t garnered the information she wanted but the day hadn’t been a total waste. Noreen thought Burke was a lucky man. Her heart lightened, perhaps Noreen was right. Burke really was lucky to have her. She was an asset, besides there must be some reason why he hadn’t been snagged already.
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Check out my New Release-- Summer's Desire
He stepped closer until his body barely touched hers. “I see that. Smells good.”
Turning her head slightly, she saw the side of his face as he looked over her shoulder.
“What are you doing?” Matt sounded angry.
Summer instantly straightened, but Holden was extremely slow at stepping back. “Making dinner is all.” Her voice wavered.
As Holden stepped away, she instantly missed his nearness and she knew she was a fool. Who’d want to be with her, the suspected accomplice? Besides he seemed to have his eye on Mindy Sue.
Holden took her hand in his big, strong one. “We’ll talk about the sheriff later.”
She gazed into his eyes trying to read him. He confused her to no end. She couldn’t tell what he was thinking. Hell, she barely knew him and she needed to get a grip on her wayward emotions. “Fine.”
He let go of her hand and ambled over to Matt. He sat in a chair next to the couch and the two talked in low tones. Neither one looked at her, so she ignored them and concentrated on cooking.
The thought of talking later interfered with her focus. Would she still have a job? It amazed her that she no longer felt the fear of being jobless. Caleb took care of that. It was the power of her feelings for Holden that worried her the most.
Dinner was jovial with the boys all teasing Matt about how much work they have to do with him laid up. Summer did not look at Holden at all. She could feel the heat of his gaze, but she needed to be in self-preservation mode. It was bound to hurt when he told her to leave. In the short time she’d been there she’d grown attached to all of the O’Learys. Who’d want a suspect in their house anyway? Holden needed to do what was best for his family and the best thing would be for her to go.
Yet, he had touched her in the kitchen. Her thoughts whirled as she pushed the food around on her plate. The boys didn’t seem to notice how upset she felt. She gave them half smiles and half answers. The end of the meal couldn’t come fast enough.
Holden opened his big strong arms to her and she gladly stepped into the comfort he offered. It had been so long since anyone had believed her. He did believe her, didn’t he? The need to know outweighed the comfort of his arms. Pulling back, she saw worry and compassion in his dark eyes.
“You believe me?” Someone had told her once not to ask questions you don’t want the answer to. Her body suddenly chilled and her chin wobbled.
“Of course I believe you. You are a victim, Summer, and I don’t understand how everyone knew all the details. There are privacy laws now.”
“Not if your name is Beverly. I think the sheriff has a thing for her. She is always bringing him cakes and pies.”
A smile crossed Holden’s face and he chuckled. “I know it’s not funny but I can’t imagine those two together. The thought gives me nightmares.” He pulled her back into his arms and cradled her head against his chest with his palm. He kissed the top of her head.
Summer gazed up at him. His eyes glittered in the moonlight. The desire she saw was unmistakable. Yearning surged through her. The beating of her heart grew faster as his head inch down until his delectable lips were against hers. She reached up and wrapped her arms around his neck as he pulled her flush against him. The kiss grew bolder and she opened for him. His kiss was powerful and she felt weak in the knees.
Suddenly, Holden stepped back and the words unfair and wow came to mind.
“The door just slammed. One of my brothers is around.”
She nodded and smiled at Holden’s shortness of breath. She seemed to have the same effect on him.
Luke walked over toward them and Holden took a big step away from her. “Hey, Luke. What’s up?” Holden gave his brother a smile.
Luke shrugged his shoulder and gave Summer a hard look. “Matt’s asking for you both. Well, either one would probably do.”
“Is something wrong with him?” Guilt washed over her. She should have been in the house taking care of him.
“Don’t rightly know.”
“Thanks for the walk, Holden. You’re right I do need to take more walks.” Summer strode away and hurried to the house. What had she been thinking? Good Lord, how dense could she get? Holden did not need to get mixed up with the likes of her.
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