For today’s sample, I thought I would unveil more of my WIP, Cold Feet Fever, sequel to Fur Ball Fever. I’m two-thirds of the way of the first draft, and thought some of you might be interested in the opening dynamic between hero and heroine. Katie is trying to break the news that she is Sam’s new event planner, but apparently he is taking pleasure in getting under her skin.
Here’s the ‘Elevator Pitch’ for Cold Feet Fever:
‘One for the Money’ meets ‘The Sopranos’
A notorious playboy nightclub owner and repressed undertaker-turned-event-planner join forces to fight crime in a Goth night club. Vandalism, disappearing corpses, a goofy dog, bungling thugs add to the fun, culminating in an epic grand opening the vampire wannabes of Atlantic City will never forget.
Katie shuffled from one foot to the other, wishing Sam would move faster. Was he always this slow? Her purse grew heavier with every passing second, crammed as it was with a laptop, e-reader, wallet, smartphone, notepad, several pens, one lipstick, and a half dozen bran muffins.
Sam looked at her with a lazy grin. “I’ll be right with you.”
He must be terribly hung over because he moved slower than a sloth on Valium. First, he ambled over to the filing cabinet to retrieve the pizza box and coffee. Next, he shuffled over to his desk. With great ceremony, he lowered the pizza and coffee carefully before opening the box slowly. Oh. So. Slowly.
Rex circled the desk like a vulture, his nose twitching, his plumy tail whipping up a small gale. He licked his chops in anticipation of a mid-morning snack, and pointed his nose at the ceiling, his head and neck extended to the max.
Recognizing an impending food alert, Katie snapped out, “Rex. Quiet.”
Casting a baleful glance in her direction, the dog subsided. Sam examined the pizza, turning the box to examine the contents from every angle.
Just as Katie was ready to explode, he looked up at her. “Pizza?” he offered. “It’s a Meat-Lover’s Special, extra sausage, extra bacon, extra cheese. Best thing in the world for hangovers.”
“No, thank you. You shouldn’t eat all that animal fat, you know. It’s terrible for your cholesterol level.”
“Thank you for the wise nutritional advice,” he said, picking up a pad of paper and pen. He jotted something on the paper and regarded her with a broad grin. “Note to Self,” he explained. “Next time, I’ll be sure to order the veggie pizza, extra broccoli.”
She swallowed a sigh. “Are we nearly ready?”
He looked wounded. “Almost.” He examined every square inch of the pizza again, apparently experiencing difficulty in selecting the perfect slice. He hesitated over one piece, then another, finally returned to the first.
How hard could it be? She had a hard time resisting the urge to tear off a slice, slap it onto a napkin, and stuff it into his hand. “Take your time,” she said around gritted teeth. “No rush.”
After more deliberation, he excavated a massive slice dripping with cheese and goo. He then placed it on a napkin, which he set precisely in the middle of the desk.
“Make sure Rex doesn’t go near my pizza, darlin’,” he warned, closing the box and returning it to the filing cabinet at the same leisurely pace. While he was there, he straightened some file folders and a stack of paper before sauntering back. With an innocent glance in her direction, he finally parked himself in his chair and picked up the pizza.
Katie took the visitor’s chair opposite Sam, hanging her purse over the chair back. She folded her hands in her lap, and took several deep breaths, wondering how he’d react when she informed him his casting couch was out of service, at least temporarily. She struggled with a tactful way to deliver the message.
Apparently oblivious to her inner turmoil, Sam took a huge bite, chewed, and swallowed. “Aaaah, that hits the spot. If ever I needed grease, carbs, and caffeine, today is surely the day.” He leaned back with a satisfied sigh and propped his feet on the desk’s glossy surface.
She did her best to hide her disapproval.
He narrowed those golden eyes in her direction. “Why do I think I’m not going to like whatever it is you’re twitching tell me?”
She fixed him with a steady gaze, hoping she looked self-assured, efficient, and trustworthy. “My name is Katarina Maria Francesca Deluca.” She held her breath waiting to see if he recognized the name.
“Well, well, well. What’s a pretty little thing like you doin’ with an intimidating name like that? I’m going to call you Katie.”
She relaxed when she realized her secrets were safe. “Sure. Most people do.” She took a deep breath. “I have a favor to ask. Actually, it’s more of a request.”
“Ask away.” Sam continued munching pizza.
“Since we’re going to be sharing the same office, I was wondering if you could, um, refrain from entertaining your female guests in the alcove.” In case her meaning eluded him, she gestured at the casting couch.
Sam froze, the pizza halfway to his mouth. He gave a lazy blink. “Say what?”
“Only temporarily,” she hastened to assure him. “I’ll be long gone after the grand opening.”
“Sweet baby Jesus,” he moaned, closing his eyes. “I’ve gotta lay off the bourbon.”
“That would be an excellent idea,” Katie said. “Nevertheless, when Hiram hired me, he said the only available space was the second desk in your office, and that you wouldn’t mind sharing.” She tried to soften the blow as much as possible. “I promise I’ll be as silent as humanly possible. Most of the time you won’t even notice I’m here.”
Sam’s eyes snapped open. He lowered his feet to the ground and leaned forward. “What in the name of all that’s holy are you talking about? My granddaddy has no hiring authority.”
“Didn’t Hiram tell you? He hired me to plan and coordinate Kinki’s grand opening.”
“The hell he did.”
Trying to inject a note of enthusiasm into her voice, she chirped, “If we put our heads together, I’m certain we’ll make a great team.”
If you like the sound of Cold Feet Fever, try its precursor, Fur Ball Fever:
Cold Feet Fever is still in the ‘vomit version’ stage. All comments, critique, and suggestions from readers are welcome.