Welcome to the Weird, the Wild, & the Wicked for a new year of Mid Week Tease hosted by Sandra Bunino.
Authors: this is a great opportunity to spotlight a few lines or even a paragraph or two from a new release or backlisted title. Readers: you get to sample some delicious snippets! We’ll do our best to tease, titillate and tantalize you into the weekend.
Today I'm offering snippets from Queen Bitch of the Callowwood Pack, a paranormal romantic suspense. Julianna Morris is invited to her high school crush's house for a party. But before the party, she sits down with the family for what she thinks is a social reconnection. Turns out to be something else.
“You didn’t like leadership or management?” Richard’s voice was sharp.
Julianna felt the warning underlying his words. She stifled a frown. What is that about?
“I liked aspects of it, but I’m really more of a team player than a lone leader. I prefer to be ‘second-in-command’, sharing the responsibility but not the one to make executive decisions. I liked working with a partner rather than doing it all myself.”
Jeff shared a look with his dad that made ice run down her back. Was her answer wrong? She’d told the truth. Why am I worried if I answered wrong or right? When did this become an entrance interview? She shrugged her disquiet away and sipped her tea.
“What did you finally settle on studying?” Jeff’s voice was reserved.
“I chose Native American anthropology, particularly the Nations historically found within Nevada’s boundaries. Most of what UNR taught undergrads was general anthro, but I managed to find an older professor close to retirement who had made his career in the oral traditions of the Nations around our country. He was willing to take me on as his research assistant, even though I wasn’t a graduate student. I was second author on the book about the myths and traditions of the Paiute, Shoshone, and Ute Nations.”
“That sounds interesting,” Richard mused, dismissive. “I assume you graduated?”
Was he just humoring her? She raised her chin with indignation as anger blossomed but clamped down on her temper in the face of his disinterest. “Yes, I did, summa cum laude, actually.”
“Wow,” Jeff murmured with appreciation, and pleasure eroded some of her anger. “That’s great. What did you do after you graduated from UNR?”
“I worked in the casinos while I figured out what I was going to do next. I took the opportunity to learn tai chi, how to hang-glide, play pool, and play the Irish Tam.”
“That’s quite a list. Did you learn anything useful?” Richard tilted his head and rested it on his fist as if bored.
Julianna flattened her lips before she said something stupid. What was the old man’s problem? Did he think women should just stay home and mind children? Or was he maligning her selection of activities? Who the hell was he to criticize her choices in life? It was her life, dammit!
Deep breath, stay calm. Don’t insult the “big man” in his own home. Just find the right words to tell him he’s being a shit and do it with a smile. She thought hard before she responded.
“Yes, I did,” she said with a tight smile. “I found almost everything taught me patience, persistence, and cadence. None of them were easy to learn, and all of them took discipline and focus. I’d say those two things were the most important.”
Richard rubbed his chin thoughtfully with one finger, a half-smile curling his lips. Julianna had the sudden realization she’d passed some kind of test or at least the first hurdle. She almost frowned, but she forced her muscles to remain still. She glanced at Jeff, and his smile matched his father’s. Did he know what was going on?
Who am I kidding? Of course he knows what’s going on…at least, I hope he does. Does everyone meeting this family need to have an entrance interview?
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