Sunday, July 7, 2013

Making the First Move - An Excerpt

What would you do if the person you secretly adored suddenly announced that he or she was moving across the country? Would you take it as a sign that you weren't meant to be together, or would you throw caution to the wind and reveal your true feelings? Raine Mason--the hero of Making the First Move opts for the latter. A passionate, whirlwind affair ensues, but it doesn't change that fact that Melanie Gordon--his love interest--is leaving.


Wednesday night, Raine and I sit on my couch, eating lamb madras, tandoori chicken and some of the best naan I’ve ever eaten. He’s practically moved in among the growing stacks of boxes I’ve managed to pack when I’m not working, surfing real estate websites or fielding calls from my family.

Tonight we plan to watch a movie. But first I need to tell him I’m leaving for the weekend. My real estate agent has lined up several Westside condos and a few starter homes for us to tour. It’ll be a two-day marathon to find the perfect space. It makes sense to go. So why can’t I bring myself to tell him I’m leaving?

“You’re quiet tonight.” Raine pours more chai tea into my cup. “Everything okay?”

I sip some tea then inhale deeply. “I’m going home this weekend to do some house hunting. I have to have a definite timeline for moving into my own place. If I don’t, I’ll be sucked in like a vortex. I’ll never get out.” The words tumble from my lips like a bowling ball falling down a flight of stairs.

Raine nods. He spoons more tandoori chicken onto his plate then scoops it up with a piece of the naan and shoves it into his mouth. He doesn’t respond. His eyes are locked onto the co-hosts of The Inside Sizzle as they chatter on about the latest exploits of pseudo-celeb bad girl siblings, Autumn and Summer Montgomery. Something he couldn’t possibly care about.

“So, what do you have planned for this weekend?” Not my most original moment.

He stares ahead, nibbling on naan. “I planned to take you out to dinner, maybe catch a show.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier that I’m leaving. And you know I’d love to spend the weekend with you. But I have to find a place of my own.”

“So why not do both?” He tears another piece of naan and dips it in his lamb madras.

“What do you mean?” I hope he isn’t asking what I think he’s asking.

“I could come with you.” He watches for my reaction.

“It’s generous of you to offer.” I plaster a superficial smile on my face. “But last-minute airline tickets would cost a fortune. I’d never expect you to take on such an expense.”

Settling back into the couch, I take a long sip of tea. I hope this explanation, a perfectly reasonable argument, is enough to satisfy him. I don’t want to hurt his feelings, but we started this thing with the unstated understanding that it had the longevity of a carton of milk.

Raine is the end-of-summer fling I should have had in my early twenties. The one you always remember but knew would never be anything more.

Introducing him to my family would turn our relationship from a sweet memory to a nagging chorus sung by my mother and sister. Taking him to Cleveland is out of the question.

Raine wipes his hands on a napkin and turns to me. “What you’re saying is you don’t want me to go with you.”

So this is the downside to being with a man who actually has feelings. I put my cup down on the coffee table and turn to face him, folding my legs Indian-style on the couch. “This is complicated enough without getting my family involved.”

He looks past me the way my mom does when she’s so angry or disappointed she can’t bear to look at me. Then he returns to eating his food in silence.

I rub his lower back. “My mother lies awake at night, wondering if I’ll ever get married and round out the flock of grandchildren. If she meets you—”

“It’s okay. I get it.” He chugs his tea then slumps against the couch.

“I’m already under so much pressure with this new job. I don’t need the added pressure from my family. You understand, don’t you?”

“I understand family can be a complicated thing.” He squeezes my hand. “I knew what the outcome would likely be the first night I kissed you,” he says. “But I couldn’t let you leave without at least trying.”

“Most guys would consider this the perfect relationship.” I poke him with my elbow. “Three weeks, and you’re out. No attachments. No baggage. No promises. Just three weeks of incredibly hot sex.”

“That’s what my brother keeps telling me,” he says. “But I don’t agree. I want more.”

I clear our dishes from the table and take them to the sink. “More?”

“More,” he says emphatically. Raine follows me to the kitchen and puts his arms around me, erasing the distance I hoped to create. He kisses me.

My heart threatens to thump out of my chest. I pull back to catch my breath. My head must stay in control of this situation, not my libido.

“What do you mean by ‘more’?” I look into his eyes.

He runs his hands over his hair. “Melanie, you’re all I can think about. That has to mean something.”

“This has been great. But it’s only been two weeks. We’ll get over it,” I say as gently as I can.

He holds my hand in his. “If this were only about the past two weeks, I would agree, but it isn’t. I’ve felt this way for a while now.”

My jaw tenses. I pull my hand away and lengthen my spine. “And you’re telling me now? I’ll be on the other side of the country in two weeks. Then what?”

“I don’t know. But I know there could be so much more to this if we give it a chance.”

“So what, I’m supposed to bypass the opportunity of a lifetime because this might be something special?” My cheeks burn. My head is spinning and my voice is more elevated than I intend.

“I’m not asking you to give up your promotion. You’ve worked hard for this opportunity. You deserve it.”

“Then what is it you want from me?”

He shakes his head. “I don’t know, but I know it isn’t good-bye.”

To find out how Melanie and Raine's story ends, pre-order your copy of Making the First Move at one of these fine booksellers:

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