Leading up to the October 26 release of The Groom we will be posting exclusive
excerpts from Chapter One.
Lyle Cummings glanced up from the surface of the gleaming bar top and into the eyes of the petite woman moving around behind it. She was holding a frosted beer mug in one hand and controlling the Miller Lite tap with the other. Sympathy flashed in her stare, causing Lyle to jerk his own gaze away as if stung. He didn’t want her sympathy. All he wanted was peace, and . . .
“Single malt scotch on the rocks with a twist.”
He knew that his request had come out more like a raspy, barked command but Lyle didn’t care. Today of all days, he had the right to act like a jackass.
An understanding nod followed, and the bartender quickly moved to fill his order. She sat the scotch in front of him and accepted his debit card.
“Would you like me to start a tab?” she asked as she swiped his card.
Hell yes. Today was also a day for getting drunk.
He wrapped his fingers around the perspiring glass and inspected the bruised knuckles of his free hand. Mottled splotches of blue, purple, and green marred his sun-bronzed skin, and swelling edged the bruise with a ring of deep red. Lyle’s fingers curled into his palm as he downed the scotch in a few long gulps, the fire racing through his gut elevating the adrenaline rush he felt at the thought of smashing Jack Thompson’s face in. A few drops of blood stained the cuff of his white dress shirt and the sight of it sent primal satisfaction through Lyle’s gut. It was the only pleasure to be salvaged from the disaster that should have been the happiest day of his life. Well that and . . .
“Another,” he rasped, sliding the empty glass back toward the bartender.
She arched an eyebrow at him while reaching for a clean glass. “Who’s the unlucky guy?” she asked, nodding toward his bruised knuckles.
Lyle grasped his newly filled glass. “Nobody.”
She laughed. “Looks like Nobody took quite a beating.”
That’s not all he took, Lyle thought. The reminder of the earlier events caused his rage to flash back to boiling point; Jack Thompson may have been on the business end of his fist, but ultimately the other man had won. Even now, Jack was riding off into the sunset with his Holly and probably felt not an ounce of guilt over what he’d done. And why should he? Holly was everything a man could want in a woman. Jack had lost her once to divorce. It was unlikely that he was going to be stupid enough to repeat the mistake after winning her back again.
A frown pulled at the corners of Lyle’s mouth as he stared down into the contents of his glass. The bartender reached across the wooden top and clasped his injured hand. Lyle flinched and snatched it away, glaring at her with narrowed eyes.
“I was just going to offer you some ice,” she said gently. Lyle felt like an ass when he saw the bundle of paper towels clenched in her small fist. He tried to offer her a smile as she pressed the ice-filled towels against his knuckles, but it turned into a grimace as the ice came in contact with his flaming skin.
Stay tuned for teaser excerpt 2 next week