Beware of smart men. For one thing, they’re tough to get rid of.

Men are trouble. Charlie has had enough trouble to last her a lifetime. She doesn’t need any more. But this one won’t stop coming around, despite the not complete obliteration of her common sense, she doesn’t want him to.

In this unedited snippet, which picks up from my last WIP blog, Charlie isn’t at all sure she wants to go out with Hugh, but since it doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere until she does, she’s gonna roll with it. God help her. Hopefully curiosity wouldn’t kill this cat.



In the bathroom she rolled her eyes at her reflection. She looked a right mess. She climbed into the shower and began the occasionally skin removing process of paint spatter removal. It had been easier when she was using water colors.

She hesitated when her hands automatically reached for her regular jeans and a flannel. After chewing on her lip she put on the black faux leather leggings Una had given her for her birthday and a long silky black top she’d found at the thrift store. She’d crowed over it because it was in great condition and it had pretty black pearl colored buttons.

She brushed her hair into its usual ponytail at her nape and padded back out to put on her socks and shoes at the couch.

He smirked at her red and white heart socks. She didn’t give a shit. They were one of three clean pair left. Her boots would cover them.

“Don’t you work?” she asked, pulling on the second sock.

“Yeah.” He reached over and pulled her foot onto his thigh. “Look at this little foot,” he said, almost absently. “What size shoe do you wear?”

“Six and a half.”

He shook his head.

“Something wrong?” She looked at him like he was soft in the head, one brow raised as she tried and failed to retrieve her foot.

“No, it’s just a tiny little foot,” he laughed, and surprised her when he reached down and finished putting on her boots. He even laced them up for her.

What really surprised her was that she let him. This was too weird. She hopped up as soon as he finished. She needed to go on this walk and then send him on his way.

She automatically looked at the corner. Used to gauging the potential danger, it was now like a reflex, but the thugs weren’t at their post. Charlie wondered if her nemesis was nursing his own sore limbs. She certainly hoped so. The heat from her shower had soothed her shoulder pain temporarily, but it was throbbing again.

As if he could read her mind, Hugh said, “We’ll use the heating pad on you when we get back.”

So he thought he was coming in again? “So what’s up?”

“With what?”

“Why are you here?” she asked baldly. “What do you want?”

He laughed softly. “I wanted to see how you were feeling.”


“And to ask you to lunch.”

“I just had breakfast.” She looked at the utilitarian black watch on her wrist. “Well, maybe not just.”

“Then we’ll eat after we walk. I know a little salad place up the way. They have this pear and blue cheese option that I bet you’ll like.”

“How do you know I’m a salad eater? Maybe I like meat and potatoes.”

“Your grocery bags were full of fruit and veg, organic chicken and eggs, everything fresh. I took an educated guess.”

She laughed. “Okay, hero. I forgot for a moment what line of work you’re in. You must be pretty observant.”

He nodded. “I’m so observant I can tell you were asking me what I wanted earlier because you were trying to get rid of me. You were intending to deliver a swift set down if I made any overtures of a romantic nature, right?”

Smart cookie. “Yeah.”

“Yeah. But there’s a problem.”

“What’s that?”

He grabbed her hand, squeezed it and brought it to his lips to kiss. “I’m interested.”


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