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Justin Anderson’s mother warned him dynamite came in small packages. She must have been talking about Diane Wallace. Justin is impressed with her no nonsense, self sufficient attitude. Diane has sworn off love… once again.
Little do they realize money and attempted murder will bring them to rely on one another and open the door for love.
Diane sat stirring her strawberry margarita with her straw. She hated the thin, delicate glasses most bars used to serve margaritas so she and Mark, the bartender, made a pact when he first started working at The Bar. He served her margaritas in a sixteen-ounce beer glass and she paid him an extra dollar. It worked for both of them. Diane’s margaritas arrived in a decent sized glass and Mark put an extra dollar in his tip jar.
In Oakdale, The Bar, located in the same building for as long as anyone could remember, was where respectable people in this small community of 17,500 went after work for a tall, cool one. There was one other bar at the edge of town by the Wal-Mart shopping center, but no decent person admitted going there. The Club Nouveaux offered exotic dancers and seemed to do well in spite of the empty front parking lot. Everyone knew who visited Club Nouveaux and who didn’t since, with the exception of a few people like Diane, everyone had been born, raised and would probably die in Oakdale.
"So why do I get the pleasure of your company tonight?" Mark leaned over the bar to gaze into Diane’s eyes.
Diane returned his gaze, "I’m tired of sitting in my house watching TV with only my dog for company and I’m not inspired to surf the net tonight. So, I thought I’d come in here and watch the circus."
Mark pushed away from the bar. A customer at the other end was signaling for another drink. Diane occupied herself by surveying the room in the wall length mirror that ran behind the bottles on the bar counter. She could view the action without turning and looking interested. This hidden local bar was a smorgasbord of young bodies, male and female. Stopping into The Bar tonight reminded her how little the dating game had changed since she had been a willing participant. Two unsuccessful marriages and one very painful love affair convinced her not to fall in love again. She and Mark had dated at one point. They concluded during the middle of their first, and only, date the best thing they could do for each other was to become friends, so a great friendship had blossomed.
"This is for you," Mark placed another strawberry margarita in front of Diane.
"I didn’t order a second one yet. What’s this for?" Diane asked.
"I mixed up an order Tami gave me," Mark replied.
"Mark, you have the ears of a spy microphone and memory of a computer. You don’t make mistakes. What’s up?" Diane’s eyes narrowed as she peered warily at Mark.
"A nice guy at the end of the bar said you look like you could use this: no strings attached," Mark stepped backward.
"Mark, you’ve known me for what, three and a half years? When was the last time you saw me accepting a drink from someone I really don’t know?"
"Oh, come on, Diane. Lighten up! It wouldn’t kill you to accept one drink from a guy I’ll swear is a bona fide gentleman."
Diane glared, her mouth set in a thin line as she silently slid the drink toward him. "You can take the drink to the gentleman and give him his money back or not. I don’t care. I thought you knew me well enough to know I prefer to buy my own drinks; eliminates any obligations. I’m here to relax, not cruise for company so to avoid any further problems I’ll take off," Diane picked her purse off the bar and grabbed her jacket.
"Whoa! I’ve never seen you so stressed. What’s wrong?" Mark leaned against the back counter and crossed his arms.
Sitting down, Diane draped her jacket on the back of the barstool and dropped her purse onto the bar. She sighed heavily. "You’re right. It’s been more than one of those days. It seems like it’s been a week of those days wrapped up in one obnoxious package."
"It’s Timmy, isn’t it?" Mark scowled.
Diane smiled at the obvious disdain in Mark’s voice as he talked about her ex-husband.
Celia Cooper has been a gypsy all her life. From her military child beginnings to her might-not-get-this-chance-again attitude after she left home, she’s seen most of the continental United States as well as Hawaii and Alaska. She hopes to travel the world but is content to stay close to her family in the desert in Southern California--for the moment.
Old Enough to Know Better and Sun in Sagittarius, Moon in Mazatlan were gifts from the writing gods. Her current novel, If Only, explores the wistful saying everyone has said at one point or other in their lives and scratches an itch.
She is now working on a Dragon Fantasy trilogy and several short stories.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 284
Paper Weight (lb): 12.0
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