It brings me great pleasure in posting this blog post. It’s one that I didn’t think that I’d put up, but after a lot of positive feedback and encouragement from family and friends, here goes! I’ve decided to share a small part of the first chapter for my current WIP, Somewhere Down In Texas. Please keep in mind that this is an unedited piece. If you’d please leave a comment after reading telling me what you think, I’d really appreciate it. Thanks in advance! xoxo
My graduation dinner with my granny ended early so I decided to surprise my boyfriend, Clay, at his house. His parents were out of town, and for the first time, we were planning on spending the night with each. We had made love only a few times, but we’d never known what it was like to spend the night with each other.
I smiled when I saw his black Chevrolet truck was in the driveway. We had shared so many fun and memorable times in that old beat up thing. After glancing at myself in the mirror I added some lip-gloss, then quietly got out of my car and closed the door on my new BMW convertible. I walked up to the porch, and slowly twisted the knob on the front door. Nobody in Amarillo, Texas, left their doors locked, and the Dennis family was no exception.
When I didn’t see him watching the blaring TV in the family room I thought was probably in the kitchen, so I tiptoed my way around the corner. Again, there was no sight of him. He must be in the bedroom, waiting for me, I thought. Just thinking of being with him turned my cheeks pink. I quietly made my way down the dark hallway that was covered with pictures of Clay and his younger sister, Caroline. The door to his room was cracked. When I pushed it open, what I saw horrified me. My high school sweetheart and Lila-my worst enemy-and Clay were in bed together. The door banged against the wall, startling them, and they turned to face me. Lila rapidly pulled away from him and covered herself up with his sheets-the same light green sheets that I had been tangled up in after a passionate lovemaking session with “Amarillo’s Sexiest Cowboy,” quoting the magazine cover of the local magazine, The Amarillo Man.
“Addie!” Clay said, as he instantly jumped out of the bed, stumbling to put on jeans. “This isn’t what it looks like,” he said.
My eyes were filled with tears and I could barely speak. Finally, I managed to say, “What…what is this?” I looked at him and then at Lila, who sat on his bed looking pleased for causing trouble. I glared at her and it took everything in me to not run across the room and start a catfight, but I didn’t-my daddy taught me better than that.
Clay tried to reach for me and try to explain, but I pulled away. “Don’t touch me,” I said firmly. “It’s over.” I walked out of his room, down the hall, and out of his house.
“She means nothing to me, love. It’s you I want.” He pulled my turning me towards him. “It was a mistake. Baby, please forgive me.” His eyes squinted together and the fear of losing me covered his face. “I need you, Adalina, I love you. Please, don’t leave me.” His voice sounded desperate now.
I ignored his dark puppy dog looking eyes-the expression I never could resist. “I hope Lila was worth it,” I said, my words icy. I pressed the key remote to unlock my door, got in my car and closing the door behind me. I sped away not bothering to look at him in my rearview mirror, or to the life that we had planned.
I blinked my eyes, bringing me back to present day. I was holding a legal document that I held said that I was now the owner of my daddy’s ranch, in Amarillo, Texas.
“He left it to me?” I asked the man in a dark suit who stood before me, my desk separating us. I squinted my eyes, confused and began reading the words again.
“If you see,” he said pointing at the document, “Miss Andrews, your father, William Eugene Andrews, left you his ranch after he passed away…” The Texas lawyer’s voice was slow and mechanical as if what he said was on repeat.
Now that I was a fast-paced New Yorker, I had to interrupt him before I lost my patience at the twangy sound and slow speed of his voice. I hadn’t heard anyone speak like that in a very long time and I didn’t miss it. “Please, call me Addie,” I said, quickly. Crossing my legs and tapping my high-heeled foot nervously against my desk, I flipped through the legal sized papers, all which seemed legit. I felt the impatient lawyer’s eyes on me, but I continued to look over it once more.
“You are certainly welcome to have your own lawyer look them over if…”
“That won’t be necessary. Mr…” What was this man’s name?
“Mr. Smith,” he reminded me with a smile.
“Yes, Mr. Smith. What are my options?”
“The property is yours,” he repeated. “So, Miss Andr…Addie, you can do what you want with it.” He tilted his head and took off his king-sized cowboy hat. “I knew your father for years, and I’d like to think that not only was I his attorney, but that I was his friend too.” He paused as if he were remembering something, and then continued. “I know he would want you to take it over, make it your own, and maybe raise your own family there. He was proud of the property and hoped you would be too.”
I sat back in my seat and looked at Mr. Smith. He could pass for being in his early sixties, but his tired face and heavy belly aged him into his mid-seventies. I took a breath and then looked at the clock on my phone. I had a meeting in ten minutes, and I had to get this over with. I reached for a black pen and said, “Okay Mr. Smith, I will sign the papers and take over my dad’s ranch.” My speech was fast as I did my best to quickly end this conversation. I scribbled my name on four black lines and voila, I was the owner of The Lonely Doe ranch in Amarillo.
“Thank you, Addie.” He put the legal-sized papers back in an envelope and closed it shut, and stood up. “I’ll be in touch and if you need anything, please let me know.” He faintly smiled, “Good day,” and with the tip of his hat he exited my office.
I turned and looked out the window of my high-rise office building that was on the Upper East Side of New York City. It was complete opposite from the piece of property I had just inherited-the place I tried not to think of, along with the memory of Clayton Dennis in bed with my enemy, Lila Baker.
I was startled when my phone buzzed, then I heard my assistant, Jules, say, “Addie, they are waiting for you in the conference room.”
“I’ll be right there.” I gathered three folders as I did the best I could not to think of the images of them in his bed-the sheets, and his massive…
“Stop it,” I instructed myself, something that I had trained my brain to do over the past few years. Clay and Lila finally disappeared from my mind. I was now ready to have my meeting, and ready to discuss the headlines that would be on the cover of Couple’s Magazine next month and who, along with who would be the “Couple of the Month.”
I’ve been at Couple’s Magazine for a little over six years. My beginning position was a Copy Editor, and then I moved to Fact Checker, and now I’m Assistant Executive Editor and am in love with my job.
I was the last one to enter the room and I took a seat next to my boss, Diane.
“Nice of you to join us,” she said with a smirk, not bothering to look up from her folder. Her reading glasses sat low in her nose, looking almost as if they were going to fall off at any minute, but with a nudge of her slender index finger she pushed them closer her face. Diane was in her early fifties and her delicate and motherly face showed no signs of aging whatsoever. Her auburn hair was pulled back into a loose ponytail. She put her pen down and that’s when she looked at me. “How’s your morning going?” she smiled.
I looked around the room observing my coworkers who sitting around the long conference table as they talked amongst themselves, and then looked at Diane. “Just fine,” I replied, pushing back thoughts of Clay that were beginning to come up.
She tilted her head and then said, “Good.”
Did she know anything about why Mr. Smith was in my office? I looked at her and before I knew it, she was speaking to the group.
“Okay, everyone, let’s start,” as she tapped her pen on the wooden table. Almost immediately everyone halted speaking and the room was silent. Diane looked to Hannah who was a contributing writer, and also my best friend, and asked, “How many couples have entered the Couple of the Month contest?”
Hannah smiled and then opened her folder. “Well, forty-eight of them, but I looked them over, and I think that only three of them are worthy for the article.” She smiled at me, then took a sip of her coffee, one of the two which sat in front of her, a coffee addict.
Diane nodded and then turned to Robert who was also a contributing writer to the magazine, “What have you come up with?” she asked.
“Well, I think I have an idea. Beau and I were driving through Texas and there were a lot of attractive cowboys,” he began, as he looked around the room eying us all for a response. When none of us said anything he continued, “Women like cowboys, right?” He paused again and then nearly all the women in the room, even Diane, nodded. “I was thinking about maybe doing a piece on cowboys. Maybe something like the Dr. Pepper commercials, from back in the day. It would appeal to all aged women,” he nodded towards Diane in a joking way, and everyone laughed. “What do you think?” Robert had been with the magazine for about a year and every week he seemed to have fascinating ideas for the magazine. Over the past few months, he and I’ve grown close. On occasion, I would join him and his boyfriend, Beau, of two years, for dinner. Sometimes even Hannah would join us.
Cowboys, really? Thought of Clay drifted back to the first time I met him. It had been the beginning of the summer before I was going to be a sophomore in high school and my dad was teaching me how to bail hay, which was the last thing I want to do. When Poncho Juarez, the foreman drove up to talk to my dad, he introduced me to Clayton Dennis, the new worker who was going to help out on the ranch during the weekends.
“Hi,” I smiled brightly as I twisted my hair with my finger trying to flirt with him.
Clayton raised his chin and reached out his hand. “Call me Clay.” He clasped our hands together, but there were no fireworks.
“Hi, Clay.” I observed his clothes, broken in work boots, tighter than tight jeans, and a light blue pearl snap shirt. He looked to be nearly a man, and there I stood in my brown cowboy boots, jean cutoffs, and a white T-shirt.
Daddy, Poncho, and Clay talked for a bit, then they got back in the truck.
“It was good to meet you, Addie,” he hollered over Pancho, and they began to drive away. When Poncho drove away, Clay held his gaze with mine in his passenger side mirror until we couldn’t see each other anymore. It was something in that moment that changed my mind about the rugged cowboy.
A few weeks later Daddy hired Clay to work full-time because he was such an “important asset to the ranch,” as he put it. During that unforgettable summer, Clay and I were inseparable. I helped Clay with his chores on the ranch and to my dad’s surprise, he saw me flourish at becoming the “country girl,” as he knew I was meant to be.
The night before I school, Clay and I made love overlooking the favorite pond on the ranch in the bed of his truck. It wasn’t his first time he’d ever been with anyone and for that I was a little intimated and nervous, but he made my first sexual experience everything I imagined and hoped it would be-he was gentle, loving, and sensual. He hadn’t forced me to do anything that I didn’t feel comfortable with however, once we got started I became the aggressor that night. I had wanted him and needed to be with him, and I ached to be without him. When Clay dropped me off at home that night he kissed me and then said, “I’ll love you forever, my Addie.”
Though I knew it was cheesy, I replied the best way I knew how, mainly from sneaking my mom’s Nora Roberts’ novels into my room at night. “Always and forever.”
“Addie? Addie?” Diane said as she brought me back to the present day. “Didn’t you grow up in Texas?” Diane asked confirming what she already knew.
I nodded, “Yes, but…”
She cut me off and said, “Okay, then it’s settled, you’ll be going to your hometown to get a piece of a real life Cowboy.” Diane tilted her head down and pushed up her sleeves, then scribbled something down on her notepad.
“But I-I’m not a writer.” I tried to defend myself in front of everyone in the conference room, but didn’t quite know what to say. “Diane, really I can’t…”
She took her glasses off and looked at me, a full smile on her face. “Yes you are. You’re the perfect one for the job. The rest of us are from the north,” she said, her eyes scanning the room.
I looked at her, and once we both knew that I’d be going, I sighed. “Okay, I’ll do it,” I nodded.
“I promise, it’ll be worth it. Have fun in Texas.” She turned her attention to Robert, “Great job on finding that piece. I think it will be just what our readers will want.”
TO BE CONTINUED…(MAYBE!)