Readers first met Meredith Burke in Sharing Hailey and quickly asked for her story. Today, they get it, which lends credence to the whole ask-and-you-shall-receive thing. Here’s a short excerpt from Tempting Meredith.
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In Meredith’s experience, once a man started to share his breadth of knowledge on a subject, only an act of God could stop him, and even that was iffy. So she listened to what’s-his-name’s informal physics lecture. Not string cosmology or misaligned stellar dynamics or dark matter, but Physics 101. Basic p=mv stuff. She reminded herself that he couldn’t know she played with atoms in her sleep. Literally. She got some of her most creative solutions in dreamland. Instead, she sipped her iced tea and tried to keep her gaze from straying to the windows overlooking the gun range.
That proved difficult, because the instructor for her basic firearms class was there. On the range. She mentally thanked Darrell Williams, her grad student, for recommending Charlie Connor. Not only was he an exceptional instructor, but he was cute. Auburn hair, blue eyes, a short-cropped beard and mustache. She’d never been into facial hair, not even those trendy three-day beards all the male celebrities wore, but Charlie had changed her mind. Very light freckles across the bridge of his nose. Those freckles were the cute part. Because the way he moved and held himself…mmm-mmm good. No, there was nothing cute about the way he moved. For the last two days she’d watched him move. Watched his hands as he unloaded, loaded and fired various rifles, shotguns and handguns. Imagined those hands loading and unloading her. Watched him pacing in front of the gun safety class and striding up and down the firing range, faded worn jeans hugging his narrow ass, his legs eating up the ground when he was in a hurry, which only happened when he spotted a safety problem on the range.
What’s-his-name touched her arm, and she jerked and stepped away, glaring at him. It was on the tip of her tongue to tell him he was wasting his breath, but just then Darrell strolled up.
“Hey. How’s the lesson going?” her grad student asked. Darrell was the reason she’d chosen this particular gun club. He worked here on weekends.
Her physics lecturer spoke up. “I was just explaining the physicality of firearms.”
Darrell’s head swiveled back and forth between them. “Huh?” She’d never seen him so confused. Not even when she gifted him with an as-yet-unsolvable astrophysics problem.
What’s-his-name shook his head. “Kids these days. They’re too busy playing with their iStuff to pay attention in class.” He narrowed his eyes at Darrell. “Physics, boy. Science.”
“But she teaches physics. And physicality doesn’t have anything to do with—”
“A high school teacher?” the man asked Meredith. “Maybe I should write this down for you. Boys should learn this stuff.”
She glanced at the table where the gun case with her .22 rested, her protective eyewear and earmuffs on top, and struggled to contain her irritation. She’d enjoyed her first attempt at target shooting. She wanted to get back to it. Her bullets had been closing in on dead center when her arms had tired and she’d decided to take a break. And then what’s-his-name had ambushed her while she’d been sipping her iced tea.
A hand clamped on the man’s shoulder. “Are you schooling Dr. Burke?” Charlie asked.
“Darrell said she’s a teacher, not an M.D.”
“She’s an astrophysics professor,” Charlie said. “A Ph.D.”
“Ahh, not a real doctor.” He looked her up and down and narrowed his eyes. “You teach college? Where?”
“TIMT,” she answered, not bothering with the mouthful, Texas Institute of Math and Technology. Most people in the state were familiar with the university’s acronym.
“Must be part of some hiring quota,” he mumbled.
Her hands clenched, and the paper cup crumpled. Had he really just said that? She didn’t know how to respond, wasn’t sure she could speak even if she had the words.
“She’s tops in her field,” Charlie said. “You could probably learn a thing or two from her.”
What’s-his-name looked like he’d gotten a taste of something unpleasant. Maybe his foot in his mouth.
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Want more? Check out Tempting Meredith on my website. And if you’re new to the Lovers and Friends series, you can go back to the beginning with: