It’s Wednesday? Well, we all know what that means! Yes, it’s time to tease you with a snippet from one of my WIPs. So, how would you like to see the (unedited) opening of Cross Current (Olympic Cove Book Four)? Of course you would!
Enjoy, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!
“If you’ll sign here, please.”
Matt Taber wrote his signature on the indicated line.
Another line, another signature.
“And one last time.”
The same slightly scrawled name, black ballpoint ink standing out on the paper. Matt noticed the lawyer’s office printed out their documents on the nice heavy paper made for laser printers, not the thin general purpose stuff.
Nothing but the best for the death of a marriage.
“That should do it,” his lawyer said. He exchanged a nod with the other lawyer, their steps done in this particular dance.
Across the table, Matt’s now-ex-wife Nancy sat with her hands neatly folded, a politely blank expression on her face. After ten years of living with her, he still couldn’t read it.
Then again, he didn’t have to try anymore. Giving her a brusque nod, he stood and followed his lawyer out of the conference room.
“That went pretty well, I’d say,” the lawyer said. “Although I still think we should have held out for community property. You know you’re dropping back down into a pretty sad tax bracket, right?”
“I know.” Matt shrugged. “That’s fine. I don’t want anything from her.”
That wasn’t quite true. But the only thing he’d ever wanted from Nancy was the one thing she didn’t want to give. And he couldn’t even really blame her for that.
He nodded through the rest of the lawyer’s litany, agreeing to stop by the office for the final payment. And then he was alone in the granite-clad hallway, surrounded by expensive air and time that was counted in billable hours.
He started, turning. Nancy stood at the door of the conference room, flawlessly dressed as usual. Today she wore a cream tailored jacket and skirt over a champagne silk blouse that would go straight from a divorce lawyer to her office at a major bank without anyone batting an eye.
The hurt washed over him again, followed almost immediately by relief. I loved you, I really did. In a way, I still do.
She pursed her mouth as if hearing his thoughts. “I’m not going to give you some ridiculous platitude about how this is the best thing for both of us,” she said, kind and blunt at the same time. “I wasn’t happy, and I wanted out, simple as that. But I also know you’re hurting right now, and I’m truly sorry about that. You’re a nice guy. You’ll be able to find someone who’ll be a better fit for you.”
Matt let a slow breath roll out. “I thought you weren’t going to give me some ridiculous platitude.”
One black eyebrow rose in an elegant curve. “You have a point. I’ll be back from Hong Kong in a month. Will that be enough time for you?”
“Yeah, plenty.” The house on Chinook Lane had been hers before their married. He admired the building, but had never felt at home there. It was like living in something out of an Architectural Digest article. “I can swing by and check the mail every couple of days if you like.”
“No, I already put a hold on it at the post office. But thank you.”
He stared at the woman who, with a handful of signatures, had gone from his wife to a stranger. “Have a good flight,” he finally said.
“Thanks.” She leaned over and brushed cool lips across his cheek, then turned and walked away.
“And that was that.”
“Damn.” Chris Wilson shook his head. “That’s cold, man.”
After walking out of the lawyer’s office into the bright Florida sunshine, Matt’s first instinct had been to go back to the extended stay hotel room he’d been renting since Nancy announced she wanted a divorce and lick his wounds. A text from Chris, his coworker and chemistry teacher at McAuliffe Senior High School, summoning him to their favorite sports bar for a post-divorce beer had changed his plans.
He rolled the bottom of his bottle on the tabletop, painting a ring of condensation on the sealed wood. “That’s Nancy,” he pointed out. “It’s not like she was going to fall into my arms crying and begging me to take her back.”
“Yeah, but come on,” Chris said, gesturing with his own bottle. “You didn’t ask for a damn thing from her, and you could have. The least she could have done was give you some breakup booty.”
Matt grimaced. “The last thing I want from her is pity sex.”
Chris blew out a breath. “Yeah, suppose I can’t blame you there. Banging an ice queen must be like freeze-drying your dick.”
“She wasn’t that bad.”
Chris gave him a look that clearly said are you shitting me?
Matt’s lips twitched. “Okay, maybe she was that bad. We had some fun, though.”
“If you say so. Me, I like my women a little more human.” The chemistry teacher tapped the table with one long finger. “So, what about the rest of your stuff? I can help you move it out this weekend.”
“Nah, that’s okay. I’m putting most of it in storage anyway. I’ll figure out what I want to do with it after school starts.”
“I’d think ‘look for an apartment’ would be kinda high on the list,” Chris pointed out. “You can’t stay in that hotel room forever.”
“I’m not. I’m moving out tomorrow.”
“Whoa. You already got a place?”
“Sort of.” For the first time that day, Matt felt like smiling. “We were supposed to go to France in a couple of weeks for our anniversary. Obviously that’s not happening now. She said she didn’t care what I did with the reservations, so I cashed everything in. It was more than enough to let me rent a cottage on the beach for the rest of the summer. Until school starts I’m just going to sit on my ass, drink beer, and get a tan.”
Chris saluted him with the beer bottle. “Now that sounds like a plan to me. And you know, if you get overrun with those hot little beach bunnies I’m more than happy to come on over and help out.”
“Yeah, I bet.” Matt drained the last of his beer. “Look, it’s been a long day and I still have some packing to do. Mind if I take off?”
“No problem, I got the tab. We still on for the game this weekend?”
“Wouldn’t miss it. Talk to you later.”
He was halfway to the door when he heard Chris yell, “Hey, where is this cottage anyway?”
Matt grinned. Less than a minute. He’s getting smarter. “About twenty miles south of here,” he shouted back over the bar din. “Some place called Olympic Cove.”
“Never heard of it.”
“Me, neither. Should be nice and quiet.”
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