The Fifth Angel Ridge Novel
Available from http://www.bellebooks.com
Excerpt No. 2
The mayor stood and walked around his desk. When he was close enough to touch, he extended his hand and said, “Patrick Houston. I’m the mayor of Angel Ridge.”
Patrick. The mayor’s name was Patrick. Frannie didn’t take his hand. Didn’t speak. Just looked into those haunted, gray eyes she remembered so well. She also remembered having the devil of a hangover the next day after. Learning the truth about him had only made it worse.
Finally, she found her voice. “You’re the mayor.”
He rested his hands on his hips and tried to look anywhere but at her, indicating he just might feel remorse. “Yes. Won’t you sit?” he said, waving a hand toward the chairs situated in front of his desk.
She did, heavily, and tried to keep her mouth closed as he leaned against the front edge of his desk, facing her. Only inches separated them, and her treacherous body reacted to an attraction she wished she didn’t feel.
He cleared his throat. “What can I do for you, Ms. Thompson?”
“Did you consider skipping our meeting because you wanted to avoid seeing me? Is that why you were late?” she ground out, anger displacing the shock.
“I’m afraid I didn’t look at my schedule at all, so I wasn’t aware that I had an appointment.”
Was he actually going to pretend he didn’t know her? “What can I do for you, Ms. Thompson?” he repeated. Frannie looked at the file resting on top of her briefcase in her lap. Unbelievable.
He was in for a shock if he thought she would play along to make this more comfortable for him. “I had no idea you were the mayor. Your first name isn’t on any of the information I’ve seen. Just your initials.”
He absently rubbed his chin, which made her notice he hadn’t bothered to shave. “Yes, well, the only thing anyone around here cares about is that my last name is ‘Houston.’” He actually smiled then and added, “A Houston has been the mayor of Angel Ridge for more than a hundred years.”
“How nice for you.” Anyone else might have found that smile charming, but not her. She stood. “However, it’s your first name that would have mattered to me, since that was all you cared to share. It would have also been nice if you’d included that you’re married.”
He pushed away from his desk, standing straighter. A frown pulled at his brow. Dear Lord, in the light of day he was too handsome for words. Dark wavy hair, brushed back from his face and spilled over the collar of his casual polo-style shirt. There must be any number of women who wouldn’t care that he was married. She, however, was not one of them.
“I don’t understand.”
“No? Neither did I.”
She took a long step forward that brought her to stand squarely in front of him. The palm of her hand itched with the desire to slap him. A lot of years had passed since that night, and the rush of emotion she felt surprised her. But no woman liked to be played the fool. Frannie was no exception.
She tossed the folder containing her plans onto his desk. “I’d like to submit that at the next meeting of the Town Council. If you have questions, you can call my architect.”
Turning, she strode from the office.
© 2012 Deborah Grace Staley