Story Tasting: TMRH

Instead of writing the random blog this month, I decided to share an excerpt from Tame My Racing Heart. I am rounding the bend in the second act and heading for the finish line (see what I did there?) so I thought I'd offer up a small taste...and I'm super lazy right now. LOL

Chapter Five

Gray had been awake for nearly an hour when he heard movement from the bedroom. The sound of the blankets shifting was followed by Sami’s footsteps to the bathroom. 

He’d spent the night on the sofa in her hotel room, just to make sure she didn’t pull another stunt like last night, and also to intercept Stevens if he made a surprise visit. 

You should have taken her out of the nightclub as soon as the event was over.

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He knew too well that all it took was that one brief moment. It could mean the difference between life or death. One moment you’re in a chopper with your buddies and the next, you’re treading water, two of your friends are dead and your shoulder is split in two by a bullet.

Okay, maybe the situation with Sami wasn’t exactly the same, but that one brief moment he’d looked down to tell Sasha to get lost, had cost him.

Gray heard the shower turn on and checked his watch. A car was coming to get them in an hour, so he headed into his room for a quick shower and to pack. 

Just as he was zipping up his carry-on, his phone rang.

Mom appeared on his screen.

Gray barely got the title off his lips before Peggy Finch was speaking over him.

“Grayson, you know it would be really nice if you’d just call once in a while. I don’t care how old you are, I’m always going to worry about you.”

“Yes, Mom. I’m sorry, I know it’s been a while.”

“A while?” Peggy laughed into the phone.

“How are you, Mom? How’s your knee?”

“Oh, not so great. Looks like I’ll need a replacement. I just don’t know when I’ll have the time. We have so much going on here.” He listened to his mom rattle off a list of events she was in charge of at the senior community where they lived in Scottsdale. “Plus, I just started delivering for Meals on Wheels and I can’t let them down. In the meantime, some of the ladies in my water aerobics class swear by some new herbal candy that’s supposed to help with pain management. Tomorrow, a bunch of us are going to see if we can buy some at the pharmacy.”

Herbal—

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“Mom, those are called edibles and they have cannabis in them. They sell them at a dispensary, not a pharmacy. It’s medical marijuana. You know that, right?”

“How do you know about it, Grayson?” Peggy’s tone sent him right back to adolescence.

“Mom, I mean, come on.” Gray rubbed his forehead.

“I’m just saying, you still have shoulder pain, maybe it would do you some good—“

“How’s dad?” Gray never asked about Jack Finch, but he’d do anything not to talk about weed or his chronic shoulder pain with his mother.

Peggy seemed to be caught off guard with the questioning and stammered a bit. “He’s doing well. Should I tell him you asked about him?”

Gray grunted. “I have to go, Mom, I’m heading to the airport soon.”

“Well, it’s nice to hear your voice.” She cleared her throat. “You know, your dad turns sixty-five in a few weeks. It would be nice if you could come to the party we’re having. I’ll email you the info.”

“Yeah, okay, Mom. I really gotta run. I’ll call you in a few days.” Gray ended the call before Peggy could speak again and grimaced. She’d find a way to make him feel guilty for that the next time they spoke.

He ran a hand over his face and pulled his suitcase over to the adjoining door.

Instead of barging in, he decided to politely knock before opening the door.

Sami stood in faded jeans, a cotton shirt with Myrtle Beach silk-screened on the front, and a black suede baseball hat over hair that was pulled into a low ponytail. 

She looked smaller, almost innocent. Her eyes remained downcast, but Gray could see the puffiness around them.

“Is this your incognito look?”

“This is my hung over look.” Sami slipped her sunglasses on. “I need coffee before we go.”

Gray followed her to the Starbucks in the hotel lobby and stood to the side as she ordered. He looked across the beige marble columns to the checkout desk where Chris Stevens stood with the woman who’d succeeded in distracting him last night.

Breathing through the urge to go over and beat the shit out of Stevens, Gray glanced over at Sami, curious how she’d react to seeing them. She had put her ear buds in to take a call, not noticing the couple at all.

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“Alec? Hey, sweetie.”

The boyfriend.

Sami’s tone was casual, like she hadn’t just cheated on him—but had she? Either way, she had flirted with another guy, stood for pictures with him at the event, even went back to his room.

Gray bit his lip.

And what would you have done if she’d told you she was going back to Stevens’ room? Tell her no. Stand outside the room while they—

Either way, she was acting like a spoiled brat. Sneaking away like that eighteen-year-old girl he once knew—except back then, she was sneaking away to be with him.

Gray heard Sami whisper “love you” into the phone.

He couldn’t get on that plane fast enough.