Glitter Girl – Part 3

Merry Christmas, and happy holidays to all of our readers! I want to add my personal thanks for stopping by our blog. Whether you are a loyal follower of the Violet Femmes, or a first-time visitor, I hope you enjoy entering our little world.

Next up is my contribution to our Round Robin. If you haven’t read parts one and two by Jenna and Michele, please go ahead and read them first, before going on to my installment. Then subscribe to our blog, so you don’t miss Joanna and Maria’s chapters!

One more thing…don’t forget to leave a comment! We love to hear from our readers!

 

Hugs,

Jaye

 

Tessa swept up the last of the broken ornaments and dumped them, clinking, into the trash can. Over on his perch, Finster let out a steady stream of clicks and scolds. “Tsk, tsk. Bad, Tessa. Bad.”

“Oh, hush, you! Look at this mess! You should be saying ‘Bad Finster’, silly bird.”

“Bad Finster,” the bird obliged. Tessa giggled.

Wresting the tree into place, she took a step back to survey the damage, then shook her finger at Finster. “I’m going to have to buy more ornaments.” The bird flew over and landed on her finger. Tessa rolled her eyes. “You always did know how to get on my good side,” she said affectionately. She gave the bird a peck on the head, before walking to the window to set him back on his perch. She glanced out.

In the house across the street, Garth sat at his desk, frowning as he glared at his computer screen. An old rocking chair stood sentinel on his porch, the only outward sign that anyone lived there. His front porch, in fact, his entire front yard, was dark. The only light on in the house shone out through the window where he sat, like a beacon guiding her home. Wasn’t that a ridiculous thought? As welcoming as Vermont was, she was in no position to think of this place, or this man, as home, even if being wrapped in his arms had felt that way.

            That dark yard was depressing, though. Did Garth even have a Christmas tree? Or a family? Friends? He’d shown up here shortly after she did, was renting that house so he could finish his book in peace and quiet. So what was he doing for the holiday?

 

# # #

Garth glared at the computer screen. It just didn’t add up.

As a security consultant and a former mercenary, he wasn’t in the habit of getting involved, but this wasn’t his usual type of job. And the man who hired him wasn’t his usual type of client. When his old Gulf War buddy had called out of the blue, he hadn’t hesitated. Raoul had been like a brother to him, over there. They had both been Navy SEAL snipers, gaining recognition from the insurgents as the “Devils of Despair” for their ability to take out the enemy at long range. They had lost touch when Raoul was sent home.

Garth swiped a hand across his brow as he remembered how a land mine had blown away both of Raoul’s legs, his arm left mangled and dangling. Shrapnel had cut into Raoul’s face so that he was barely recognizable. Garth had stayed with him until help had arrived. It was a wonder Raoul had survived.

Now, Raoul needed something Tessa apparently had. According to his friend, Tessa wanted to discredit their SEAL team, to prove they had killed innocent civilians in Fallujah and Sadr City. What that “thing” was, was a mystery.

Garth typed Tessa’s name in the Google search bar. There were over two million results for the name “Tessa Burke”. He added “spy” to the search, which didn’t help. It was like looking for a replacement bulb when all the lights on the Christmas tree went out. Erasing “spy”, he entered the word “photo” in its place. A slew of images popped up. Bingo!

He scanned them until he found her image, and clicked on it. It opened up a local newspaper article from El Paso, Texas. Tessa’s picture enlarged on the screen, and Garth felt a tug in his chest. Ignoring it, he looked closer. It was a close-up photo of a courtroom, and Tessa was the witness.

The phone in his pocket went off. He cursed.

He checked the phone’s screen before answering. Raoul.

“What’s up?”

“That’s what I’m calling to find out, my friend. Do you have what I need?”

“I’m working on it,” Garth replied. “It would help if I knew what I was looking for.”

“You’ll know. It’s going to be something small…a SIM card or a flash drive. Something she can hide easily. She might even carry it with her.”

“And how am I supposed to get it, if she has it on her?” Garth asked. An image came to mind, even as he asked the question, of him, undressing Tessa, peeling off layer after layer of clothing until he found what he was looking for…tucked into her bra. As appealing as the idea was, as the sudden tightness in his jeans clearly indicated, he was more interested in discovering her other hidden secrets.

“Do what you have to! As I remember, you’re pretty good with a rifle.” Raoul laughed, the sound somehow sinister to Garth’s ears.

Crash!

What the…? “Gotta go,” Garth said into the phone. “I’ll call you later.”

He grabbed the gun from the desk drawer, where he had placed it upon his return to the house, and crept to the door. Flattening himself against the wall, he stood silently, listening. He heard a soft grunt. Was it some animal?

Garth peered through the frosted sidelight. Two vague figures huddled down on the porch, close to the door. One wasn’t moving. The second was bent over the first. Were they trying to break in? The doorknob rattled a little bit, as if someone was trying to pick the lock.

Deciding surprise was his best option, he ripped open the door, pointing his Glock at the human heap that tumbled onto his floor. “Freeze!” he yelled.

The heap spoke. “It’s me, you idiot!”

Tessa struggled to sit up. She was alone. Once again, she was tangled up in Christmas lights. Only this time, she was bound to his rocking chair with them. The other “person” Garth had seen through the sidelight was actually the chair…now broken.

“What the hell are you doing on my porch?”

“What the hell are you doing with a gun?!”

Damn! He’d forgotten he was holding it. He placed the Glock on the hall table and decided to ignore the question.

“Here, let me help you up,” he said, reaching down.

“I don’t think I can move,” Tessa replied. “I twisted my ankle.”

Her eyes began to tear up. “Why can’t I ever get anything right where you’re concerned?” she cried.

Garth knelt next to her and wiped a tear away with his thumb. “What on earth were you doing out there?” he asked.

“I wanted to give you Christmas. I wanted to surprise you!” Tessa said, and hiccupped.

His mouth twisted in humor. “You certainly did that.” For the second time, he untangled her from a string of lights. “Do you always get so wrapped up in what you’re doing?” he asked.

Oh, my! Tessa was sinking once again as that mouth quirked up, those eyes grew bright with humor. Why, oh why did they have to hide her in the back woods of Vermont, with a handsome hunk right across the street? There was no future here, yet she wanted desperately for there to be one. They would move her again, though. And probably several more times over the coming years, until they finally caught Raoul. Until then, she wouldn’t ever feel safe.

Garth’s arm went under her knees, the other around her waist. “What are you doing?” she squeaked, wriggling.

“I’m carrying you to the couch so I can take a closer look at that ankle. Now stop fighting me,” Garth ordered.

“I’m not fighting you,” Tessa replied as he lifted her to his chest. He felt so solid, smelled so delicious. She dared to peek up at him as he carried her into what she could now see was his home office.

He lay her gently down onto a deep-cushioned sofa, and she felt herself sink into it. One arm stayed around her waist, while he slid the other out from under her knees. Garth reached up and brushed the hair from her eyes. “You shouldn’t look at me like that,” he whispered softly.

“Like what?”

“Like a woman looks at a man.” His lips were like velvet against her ear, sending a delicate shiver down her body.

She turned her head, met his blue eyes with her hazel ones. His mouth was a millimeter from hers. She mentally calculated the emotional cost of closing that small gap, of succumbing to his magnetic pull, decided it was worth the price. Once in a lifetime. That was how often a man like him came around. She’d be a fool not to take the risk, for however long she had with him.

With a sigh, she leaned in, initiating the kiss this time. She lifted a hand to his face, reveling in the roughness of a day’s growth of beard. “You taste so good,” she murmured against his lips.

Garth groaned. He shouldn’t be letting this happen. She was the enemy. The problem was, she didn’t feel like the enemy. If she really was trying to undermine Charlie Company, then did she know he was part of the operation? Was all of this just a ploy on her part to get information from him?

He had a hard time believing it, a hard time reconciling the goofy, outgoing, clumsy Teresa with the deceptive Tessa who kept her house neat as a pin. Something was off. Until he figured out what it was, he couldn’t, wouldn’t, allow himself to become involved.

Her arms had snaked around his waist, and he gently removed them.

Tessa protested. “Not yet,” she said, and trailed kisses across his cheek to the spot he loved, just behind his ear. “Can’t you tell I’m trying to seduce you?” she whispered teasingly into his ear.

With superhuman effort, Garth pulled back. “Tessa, we have to stop.”

She snapped her head back, her glazed eyes suddenly clearing as she registered his words.

“You called me Tessa!” she accused.

Garth backpedaled. “No, I didn’t. I said Teresa.”

She jumped up off the couch, the pain in her ankle forgotten. Her eyes narrowed to slits. “No, you didn’t. And you never answered my question earlier…why do you have a gun?”

As she sought out the offending object, her gaze lit on the computer screen, her eyes widening in horror. “You’re investigating me!” she accused.

Shit! He was busted.

 

 

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13 Comments

  1. Nicole Doran

     /  December 17, 2012

    Love it..and cannot wait for more. I love military guys, and Garth seems very complicated. Great job Jaye.
    Have a great holiday!
    Nicole

    Reply
    • Jaye Marie Rome

       /  December 18, 2012

      Thanks, Nicole! Michele threw me a curve ball with the last line of her entry, lol! I had to figure out how that would make sense!

      I’ll be interested to see where Maria takes it next!

      Hugs,
      Jaye

      Reply
  2. R.A. DeFranco

     /  December 17, 2012

    I’m enjoying this round robin. The characters and story line are very engaging. I love how easily one of you picks up where the other left off with the entries. Nice job with further developing their histories and conflicts, Jaye.

    RoseAnn

    Reply
    • Jaye Marie Rome

       /  December 18, 2012

      Thanks, RoseAnn! Well, maybe it looks easy, but I assure you, I had a bit of a task here! It was a lot easier being the first one in the series. Then I could just write what I wanted and leave everyone else to make sense of it, lol!

      These are fun writing exercises, though. Maybe you guys should do one on the retreat.

      Hugs,
      Jaye

      Reply
  3. I loved this sooooo much! Former SEAL?! You’re talking my language. This was a great installment. Nicely done!!

    Reply
    • Jaye Marie Rome

       /  December 18, 2012

      Thanks, Joanna! My first military guy…they are sexy, aren’t they?

      Hugs,
      Jaye

      Reply
  4. Excellent job, Jaye. Loved it, and the way you handled Garth’s history. And, the way you handled the bird. So much fun reading this story!

    Reply
    • Jaye Marie Rome

       /  December 18, 2012

      Michele, you really threw me at first! I love the bird, so of course I had to give him a name. Why is he named after a crook, though? Will he figure prominently in the story? Hmmmm.

      Hugs,
      Jaye

      Reply
  5. Nice job, Jaye. I like the comedic parts, like her getting tangled up in the lights. Fun. I’m up next. Time to start thinking.

    Reply
  6. Jenna Blue

     /  December 18, 2012

    Wow! I did not see any of these twists coming (Raoul is certainly raising questions!!!). First Michele, then you! I’m supposedly the romantic suspense writer, but you, ladies, are much more devious!
    ; )
    Enjoying this loads!
    Jenna

    Reply
    • Jaye Marie Rome

       /  December 18, 2012

      I was thinking that after Michele did her installment…I was like, Where is Jenna when I need her? I don’t write RS! As usual, I had a moment of inspiration in the shower, of how to reconcile Michele’s last line. I had to get him on her side, somehow, if he was supposed to kill her.

      I have an idea of why Raoul really wants her dead…there are two hints in my piece that make it logical. I wonder if Maria will pick up on them? 😉

      I also had a question as I wrote…are Robbie and Raoul the same person? Hmmm.

      Hugs,
      Jaye

      Reply
  7. Jaye Marie Rome

     /  December 18, 2012

    It’s funny, Maria. I think each one of us, as we write our bit, has an idea of where we would take it if we were continuing the story. I know where I would go with it…and I can’t wait to see where you take it.

    Enjoy!

    Hugs,
    Jaye

    Reply
  8. hieubietusa

     /  July 27, 2013

    This is a great idea…I am borrowing(ok…stealing) this original genius idea for Robben and myself. really, this is very good…great idea

    Reply

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