The Secret Ingredient – Excerpt
For your weekend reading pleasure, author Lynn Rae shares an excerpt today from The Secret Ingredient.
EXCERPT – The Secret Ingredient
June took a sip of her juice and tried to look mysterious, but she knew it was a failure as soon as Nate’s eyes lit up like he’d discovered some heinous secret.
“Come on, shock me.”
“I doubt that’s possible.”
“You never know.” He drew dangerously close, leaned his elbows against the bar, and allowed his hands to rest alongside her arms. “I’m just a simple guy from a small town.”
June shook her head and told herself not to flirt with him. “People can get up to all sorts of nonsense in small towns. Not that I do.”
“Why not? Nonsense is pretty fun.”
“Because, I have to behave myself.” June swallowed hard. Her brother used her for emotional stability; her grandmother needed her physical help, and all the kids she worked with depended on her to be reliable and in control.
“Not with me you don’t.”
“I’m sure lots of people have gotten up to all sorts of hijinks with you. All of your flashy wannabes just waiting for the invitation.” Lots of shenanigans and impulsiveness, squealing, and getting out of breath. Nate was practically an advertisement for good times and fun. June shook her head, dismayed by her fanciful thoughts. Had he slipped some alcohol in this drink when she wasn’t looking?
“I’m not like that.” Nate moved some cocktail napkins around and gave her an assessing look as he dropped one in front of her and placed her glass on it. Right, as if anyone as handsome and charming as he lived like a monk. He still leaned perilously close to her, and June wondered why. It wasn’t as if the bar was so crowded and noisy he had to speak in her ear to be heard. She could smell woodsy soap on his warm skin, and her toes curled inside her sneakers.
“Okay. Suppose I was open to fun. What would be your expert suggestion? Toilet papering? Taking apart a car and reassembling it inside the school gym? Stink bombs?”
Granted, her ideas were rather juvenile, but that’s what working with kids got you. Nate blinked once and then leaned back and boomed out a laugh. The man at the end of the bar jerked and almost fell off his barstool at the outburst.
“Jonesy, I’d love to go toilet papering with you, but that’s more of a fall activity. It’s the middle of summer vacation, so let’s take that into account.” His blue eyes sparkled with mischief. June wondered why they were even talking about this sort of thing. She should be going home, not firmly parked on a squashy barstool and staring at Nate Garner as he nearly flirted with her. “Warm weather calls for something like skinny-dipping, don’t you think?”
Her gut clenched with shock. Okay, no nearly about it, Nate was flirting. With her. Goodness. Flirt back.
“I’m not a very good swimmer.” Epic flirt fail. Nate didn’t seem deterred as he scooted her way and stroked a fingertip down her arm; she shivered and something deep inside clenched tight.
“Then we pick a shallow pond.”
June couldn’t stop herself from shaking her head once. He wasn’t serious. He probably couldn’t help himself. If there were any other females in the vicinity, he’d be doing the same thing with them. She was just a convenient target. Her phone buzzed suddenly, and June sent off a prayer of thanks up into the ether.
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