Hello my angels, the days are flying by and on Monday I have a very big day, book-wise. So I’ll leave you with the completion of this savory morsel over the weekend and reappear next week to let you know what happened…
An excerpt from: It’s in His Kiss, by Vickie Lester
I’LL BUILD A STAIRWAY TO PARADISE
Anne drew in a breath deeply and centered herself. “Mr. Starkey, I can’t accept
this car, and I would like—I need you to clarify what kind of things we have to sort out.”
“You were with Cliff all weekend; he told me so, Annie. Was he taking drugs?”
“Well, that’s something that needs sorting out, don’t you think? I mean… You were there, you say Cliff wasn’t on anything and yet…”
“Fuck me! If you aren’t the most formal little thing?”
“Now, don’t shrink up like that. My son loved you. He told me so. Fit to light up the world, he was. So excited.”
Anne’s breath seared her throat and she felt a strange sensation in her chest, as if something was clutching her heart.
“So excited, so elated, and then… And you can be abso-lute-ly sure that one of those others who was there with you, out in that fucking desert, knows the whys and wherefores. You can bet on it!” This time the more agitated in speech he got, the more focused and still became his demeanor; his limbs had stopped their constant motion, his gaze locked on Anne. “Christ! I need a Xanax. Do you want one?”
“No, thank you.” Anne was mortified to realize her cheeks were wet with tears and her jaw was trembling. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…” She shook her head and wiped her eyes.
Cole reared back like a falcon settling on its perch as he saw her distress. He paused. His head bobbed slightly from side to side, increasing the avian resemblance, then he swooped forward, enfolded her in his arms and cradled her head to his narrow breast with one huge yet kindly hand. “Shh. Shh. Baby girl. Don’t cry, sweetheart, don’t cry. There now, it’s all right. There.”
Anne squeezed her eyes shut until all she saw was black, all she smelled was French milled soap, burnt lapel, and a whiff of tobacco; all she heard was a consoling murmur so much like Cliff’s; and abruptly she stopped crying, as swiftly as silence seems to fall in a forest after a single gunshot.
“Good girl,” said Cole as he stepped away from Anne and opened the driver’s-side door of the Ferrari. He urged her forward. “C’mon. Get in!” Too discombobulated to argue, Anne did as commanded. Cole circled round to the other side and stepped into the car. Anne nodded placidly, scanned the dash: lots of gauges and buttons and levers. Starkey took the key from her fist and put it in the ignition. “Now, this is a six-speed semiautomatic. When you’re going around town it’s just gas and brakes, yes?” Anne nodded. “When you want high performance, press the ‘sport’ button, here.”
“The paddle shift is this, just above the steering wheel, see? Just a gentle tap and it’s engaged. The Scaglietti goes zero to sixty in about four seconds and zero to two hundred in about ten.”
Anne gripped the steering wheel; it gave her a much needed sense of control; she felt herself calming, stabilizing. “I’ll never use the sport button.”
Cole laughed. “Of course you will. Now, when you come back I’ll teach you how to maneuver this thing the way you’re meant to. I’m too tired now.” He climbed out of the car, came round to Anne’s side, and motioned for her to open her window by rotating his cigarette. “You don’t mind, do you sweetheart? You have my number?” Anne shook her head. Starkey pulled a slim wallet from his pocket, opened it, and plucked out an old- fashioned calling card with a flourish. He was about to hand it to Anne when he paused and asked, “Do you have a pen?” Anne drew one from her purse and he used it to scribble his number on the back of the card, as the front was, for some reason, adorned with his name alone, before returning it to her, along with the card. “Go. Go on now,” he said, walking away, out of the garage, and down the drive, over the lawn, toward the house. Fal Loa stood stolidly, massively, beside the garage door, waiting to close it behind her. There was nothing to do but to start the car and drive on.
© Vickie Lester and Beguiling Books, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material (text) without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Vickie Lester and Beguiling Books with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.