Excerpt: Psyched Out
Copyright ©2011-2015 Patricia Green
All rights reserved.
Lu lugged fifteen pounds of conference binders in one arm. Her glasses slid down her nose, teetering at the end. She shifted the cloth bag of conference swag she’d collected, and her purse fell off her shoulder. Fumbling became juggling, juggling became dropping, and the whole mess hit the floor in a heap of papers, conference-labeled pens, her glasses, and her purse which tumbled its contents in an embarrassing mess right there on the hotel’s low-pile carpet. Sighing, she knelt to collect her stuff. The hallway was empty for the moment, all the other conference attendees in session.
Except for one. “Let me help you, Miss.”
Lu looked up and put her glasses back on, focusing on a man with a deep, resonant voice. He was gorgeous. Drop dead hunk material. And here she was on her knees putting t-shirts reading “I Went To PsychCon 2011, Or I Think I Did” into her swag bag.
The deep green of his gaze was as inviting as an Irish meadow. She wanted to hurtle through, swinging her arms like a dervish, laughing in the sunlight. Lu yanked herself back to reality. “Thank you, but I’ve got it,” she said, lowering her eyes.
He wasn’t taking “no thanks” for an answer, however, and began picking up the contents of her purse.
It was then that Lu saw two condoms on the floor next to a lipstick tube. Condoms! Oh my God! She was going to kill her roommate Mimi.
Horrified, Lu watched his hand as it moved toward a foil-wrapped contraceptive, and she quickly grabbed the pair and tucked them in her purse. “Those aren’t mine!”
He looked up at her and, although she kept her head tilted down, she saw his skeptical look through her eyelashes. “There are better brands,” he offered.
She tried not to groan, flushed to the tips of her toes. “My roommate Mimi put them in my purse, she had some crazy idea… With the summertime conference and all… I mean-”
He patted her hand as she grasped a lipstick. “Sure. Roommate Mimi. I understand.”
His eyes held a twinkle of humor and a warm glow. He wasn’t laughing at her, exactly. It was friendlier than that. Her lips turned up a little at the corners. It was kind of funny, in a humiliating way.
He straightened the conference binders as she finished putting the rest of the stuff away. “Philip Pines.” His hand was tanned, fingers strong-looking. There was something familiar about his name. Pines, Pines, Pines?
The bag handles chose that moment to wrap around her fingers. After she fought them off, she shook his hand. “Lu Shenandoah.”
“Shenandoah like the author of ‘Juvenile Psychosis and Bullying Behavior?’” He asked, leaning back on his heel, his hands relaxed on his bent knee.
Her eyes dropped back to the floor. She’d written the paper because it had to be written, not for fame or professional acclaim. And yet, those two things came along with publication. “Yes, that was me.”
His fingers felt warm on her chin as he tilted her head up so she’d look at his face. “Don’t be so modest. That was a brilliant monograph.”
A sneeze formed behind her nose and she twitched her face trying to hold it off. She was so allergic to the summer foliage outside. She wriggled her nose desperately but nothing helped. Unable to stifle it, she turned her head and sneezed into the crook of her elbow. It left a wet smear on her blue suit coat.
Once again her face flamed. She glanced at Philip and he held out a handkerchief.
“Thank you,” was all she could master, deeply embarrassed.
Lu wiped her nose and her sleeve—yuck!—and almost handed his handkerchief back, then realized how disgusting that would be. “Um, I’ll wash it and send it to you. Do you have a card with an address on it?”
“You can bring it to my room, Lu.”
A tingle of pure, feminine pleasure sped its way along Lu’s spine. This gorgeous man was propositioning her. Just like Mimi said, guys at these conferences were horny and available. Of course, Lu didn’t know if she was up to a one-night stand. Mixing her professional life with her private life might be imprudent. His brown hair and green eyes were so attractive, his shoulders broad under a well-tailored dark suit, shirt and tie combo well matched in shades of cream and gold. How could she resist?
All rights reserved Copyright ©2011-2014 Patricia Green This story may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission. For information contact: Patricia Green