The theme this month is “Character Chemistry”, so I thought I’d share a little from my Work in Progress, tentatively titled “Made for You”. This is from the opening of “Made for You”. Scarlet and Cameron have chemistry all right, the volatile kind. They first meet just before the wedding of her sister to his brother. Cameron has some pre-conceived notions about Scarlet:
A tall dark haired man walked into the tent carrying a load of stacking chairs. He set them down near the opening to the tent and looked around. When his gaze landed on Scarlet, he walked straight for her, purpose in his stride. Her breath caught at the expression on his face. She had the distinct impression this man was irritated with her, yet she’d never met him before. She mentally braced herself.
“You must be Harper’s sister.”
His intense scrutiny made her feel defensive. “What makes you say that?”
“Ethan told me to look for a tall redhead.” He glanced around the tent once more, his dark, hooded eyes seeming to take in everything before turning his attention back to her with a frown. “You’re the only person here who fits that description.”
She inwardly sighed. The hair was always a dead giveaway, like a beacon in the night. Worse, people tended to make judgements about her based on her hair color, buying into the stereotype of the redhead with the fiery temper. Unfortunately, in her case the cliché fit uncomfortably well.
“And you are…?”
“Cameron Hainstock, Ethan’s brother. He asked me to bring over the chairs we rented from the community hall in town. So are you Harper’s sister or not?”
“Yes, I am.” She stood a little straighter as she held out her hand. “I’m Scarlet Lindquist. Thank you for bringing the chairs.”
He took her hand in a strong grip, his gaze never leaving her face. She had the uncomfortable sensation that he was taking her measure, perhaps sizing her up to determine what kind of person she was. She suppressed a shiver and kept her gaze level with his.
“You’re welcome. Where do you want me to put the chairs?”
“Most of them can be placed in here around the tables, and we’ll put a few outside on the hill overlooking the lake where the ceremony is going to be held. Harper says the ceremony is going to be short and sweet, so most of the guests will stand for the duration, but we wanted to have a few chairs available for anyone who might need one.”
“Fine. I’ll take care of it.”
He headed to the tent’s exit, and then stopped abruptly. To Scarlet’s surprise, he turned around and stalked back to her, the irritation she’d seen earlier replaced by downright anger. She sucked in a breath and took an unconscious step backwards.
He pointed a finger at her. “Did you encourage your sister to marry Ethan because you thought you’d get some of his money?”
Scarlet blinked at him, not sure she’d heard correctly. “Excuse me?”
“Don’t play dumb with me. You know damn well how rich Ethan is. He’s investing a hell of a lot of money in this place. Maybe you thought he’d toss a little cash your way, too.”
“If that wasn’t so insulting, I might actually respond to it.” She turned on her heel, her hands shaking.
He grabbed her arm, stopping her. “You’ve got to admit, they’re getting married in a hell of hurry. I’ve got to wonder at the reason for it.”
She looked at his big hand on her arm, then up at him, letting her anger show in her face. “Call me sentimental, but I think it’s because they love each other and want to be together.”
He dropped his hand. “Is she pregnant?”
“What? No!” At least Scarlet didn’t think so. “Even if she was, it’s none of your damn business!”
He leaned toward her, his voice soft and low. “My brother is a very rich man. A lot of people have tried to take advantage of him. I won’t let that happen again.”
“I’m well aware of your brother’s wealth, and so is my sister. It nearly ended their relationship.” Five years ago Ethan Hainstock had won fifty million dollars in the state lottery. Currently, he was using some of that money to renovate the old fishing lodge she and her sisters had inherited, and turn it into an eco-friendly resort. “He lied to her about who he was, pretending to be an employee of Hainstock Investments instead of the owner. When Harper discovered the truth, she walked away. Does that sound like a golddigger to you?”
“But she came back, didn’t she? She came running back as soon as Ethan wrote up a new agreement relinquishing his share of the lodge and handing over the ownership of the lodge to Harper, free and clear. Excuse me for being a little cynical about her timing.”
She’d had just about enough of this arrogant bastard. “Your information is a little behind the times. When Harper found out what Ethan had done, she went back to his lawyer and had him draw up an agreement dividing the ownership of the lodge fifty/fifty. They’re going to share any profits or losses completely equally.”
Scarlet had the satisfaction of seeing she’d surprised him.
“If you don’t believe me, ask your brother.”
“Don’t worry. I will.”
Scarlet took a step closer and snarled into his face. “How dare you make accusations about my sister on her wedding day. And how dare you make assumptions about me. If you do anything to upset or embarrass Harper, I swear you’ll have me to answer to, and trust me, I can be one scary bitch when I want to be.”
I hope you enjoy my snippet. I’m diligently working on “Made for You” as well as the other two books in a series I’m calling Love in the North Woods. Wish me luck!