Mid Week Tease: To My Muse #MidWeekTease #MWTease
Hello, lovelies! This week I’m teasing you with another snippet from my very first contemporary romcom, To My Muse. In this scene, Lily and Tom are staying overnight at Sir Nathan Chapman’s luxurious Palm Springs home for a party the next day. The problem is, Sir Nathan thinks they’re a couple and has put them in the same guest room. Now they’re trying to come to an agreement on how to share a room platonically. Needless to say, there are going to be complications. Muwahahaha…
Many thanks to Angelica Dawson for hosting us, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!
Tom let me have first crack at the bathroom (more aquamarine and blue Moorish tile, a bathtub I could do laps in, and a separate glass-enclosed shower that looked sinfully luxurious. Also, a bidet, because Europeans). After I finished getting washed up, brushing my teeth, and sticking my impossible hair into a ponytail for the night, there was nothing left but to head back out there.
He was sitting at the little table reading a paperback copy of La Popessa when I came out. Looking up at my entrance, he gave me a quick, unconscious once-over, smiling when he saw the motto “This IS my lingerie” on my nightgown. “Did you leave any hot water for me?”
“Gallons,” I promised, padding to the bed. Grabbing a handful of pillows, I nodded at the rug. “Okay if I put these down here?”
“Please.” He headed into the bathroom to get ready for bed while I set up a mini-pallet for him using the pillows, coverlet, and an extra blanket I found in the armoire. Fluffy rug or not, the whole thing was still on tile, and I worried about how comfortable that was going to be for him.
When the bathroom door opened I turned around. “I think—”
And nearly swallowed my tongue. Tom was wearing dark blue boxer shorts and nothing else. And yes, I’d seen him practically naked before but this was live. Lean and muscular without being ridiculously ripped, he had the nicest scattering of curly dark chest hair that led downward in a treasure trail across clearly defined abs. Not only that, but he had that lovely arrow-shaped band of muscle that some guys get on their hips.
And I had to share a bedroom with him and couldn’t touch. Vishnu, what did I do to piss you off this time?
“I hope this is okay,” he said hesitantly, glancing down at himself. “I tend to run warm when I sleep, especially out here, so I usually don’t wear anything. Clearly that’s not on tonight, but I’m happy to put on a shirt if you want.”
Have you ever tried to sound cool and collected through a mouthful of drool? It’s not easy. “No, that’s okay,” I mumbled. “Um, is the set-up on the rug good enough?”
“It’ll be fine.” Tom padded over to the folded coverlet, stretching out on top of it. With nothing else to do, I climbed into bed. “Thank you, Lily. For everything.”
A pang of guilt prodded me. He had no reason to thank me for anything. I was here on, if not false pretenses, then extremely dubious ones. “You’re welcome. Can I turn off the light?”
I did and the room went dark. Unfortunately the filmy saffron curtains didn’t do crap about the outside light, dim as it was. After a few minutes I opened my eyes and could pretty much make out everything in the room.
A sigh wafted up from the floor. “I think I might have been wrong about this rug.”
Another thing to feel bad about—I’d put him out of the bed that should have been his. I rolled over to the edge of the mattress, peering down. Tom was a collection of grey shapes, his arms and chest pale against the dark coverlet.
Okay, Nayar, my subconscious said, time to cowgirl up and do the right thing.
Which is what, exactly?
The bed is built for two. You do the math.
Are you out of your damned mind? I cannot ask Tom Morrison to sleep with me!
Yes, you can. You’ve slept on the floor before–you know how you felt the next morning. You want Tom hobbling around tomorrow?
All right. Tell him to grab the other side of the bed. If he doesn’t want to, he’ll say no.
He’ll think I’m hitting on him! And I’m not! Although yes, I wanted to, but this was just too tropey even for me.
So make it clear that you’re not. And if he tries something you don’t like, use that move Theresa taught you. I could feel the smirk radiating from my subconscious. But he won’t. He’s not into someone like you. Beautiful people breed with their own kind.
That was true. “Look, this is ridiculous,” I said. “We’re both adults, I know you’re a decent guy, and I assure you that your virtue is safe with me. Take the other side of the bed.”
I couldn’t make out his face clearly but I saw his head turn towards me. “Are you sure?”
I swallowed. “If you don’t, I’m going to spend the rest of the night feeling bad about you being in pain on the floor. It’s okay, really.”
“God, thank you.” He got up, grabbing the pillows and blanket and heading to the other side of the bed. “I was picturing myself limping around tomorrow night and trying to pass it off as a skiing injury or something.”
I tried to ignore the mattress dipping as he got in beside me. “Or you could just tell people I write romance,” I said quickly. “That way, you can say you pulled a groin muscle while we were working out a sex scene for my new book.”
Aaaand an awkward silence fell. Just as I was working out how best to crawl out of bed and sleep in the bathtub, he laughed. “Do you actually do that?”
The one time I had asked Kirk to help me plot out a sex scene, he’d acted as if I had just asked to peg him with a Colby Keller replica. “No. My characters are usually pretty tame about sex positions,” I admitted. “The one time I wrote a menage story, I used Barbie dolls to get the positioning right. I usually focus more on emotion and sensuality than athletics.”
“Yes, I noticed.”
Awkward silence, part deux. “You know, we’re actually doing a romance trope right now,” I blurted.
“Yeah. Hero and heroine have to share a bed for some reason. Unresolved sexual tension sets in, and either they finally give in and jump each other or spend the night acutely aware of each other but unwilling to cross boundaries because it’s too soon in the book for them to have sex. Or the writer doesn’t do that kind of story.”
“Ah. I see. What kind of story are we in?”
Not the kind I wanted, clearly. “Well, if I was writing this, we’d go to sleep because we’d just met that morning and there isn’t enough buildup to account for a believable love scene yet,” I said.
“So no leaping on each other in a crazed frenzy. I can see that. But we’d be acutely aware of each other.”
Why was it suddenly hard to breathe? “Well, yeah. If this was a romance novel. Which it isn’t, obviously.”
“Mm. Maybe it’s a romantic comedy? Beautiful but quirky writer accidentally winds up in dashing hero’s hotel room, saves him from sex-mad actress after his body, and hijinks ensue. The script practically writes itself.”
Now my stomach was doing Olympic-caliber flip-flops. He thought I was beautiful? He’s being nice, you idiot. Besides, he’s talking about a romcom, not reality.
Misunderstandings, mistaken identities, and in retrospect my panicked anxiety-induced plan was actually kinda funny. Yeah, that was a pretty good description of what was going on with us. Of course, the problem with romcoms is that there’s always some sort of disaster that splits up the couple around the end of act two.
I cleared my throat. “Quirky?”
He chuckled softly. “I thought you’d say that. Do I get any points for using ‘beautiful’ first?”
“Meh. This is a romcom. The female lead is always beautiful, and the male lead is always handsome.”
“Are you saying I’m handsome?”
Actors and their egos. “You know perfectly well you’re handsome.”
“Still, it’s nice to hear, especially from my beautiful leading lady.”
“Beautiful quirky leading lady.”
He shifted, turning on his side to face me. “That’s not an insult, you know. This morning you wound up in my hotel room through a key mixup. You picked up on my silent pleading without missing a beat and gave Claudine the verbal smackdown she’s richly deserved for quite some time. Then you turn out to be this smart, funny screenwriter who actually knows the subject material of my dream project, and you once again indulge my panicked begging and agreed to come to Palm Springs, stay at a complete stranger’s house, and pose as my girlfriend. Most women would have run screaming long before we got on the plane.”
The way he put it, I did sound kind of quirky. Also more than a bit badass. “Well, helping you out with the Wicked Ho of the West was the least I could do,” I said modestly. “As for everything else, it’s just what I do.”
“And I’m grateful for it. Speaking as the hero in this romance, of course.”
“Of course.” I was liking this man more and more with every passing moment. And I couldn’t make a move because he wasn’t into me, goddamnit.
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Posted on January 24, 2018, in Belaurient Publishing, contemporary, Mid Week Tease, Romcom, To My Muse and tagged contemporary romance, Mid Week Tease, nicola cameron, romantic comedy, Romcom, To My Muse. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.