A2Z-Logo-C1Yesterday, we met Nathan Harper, the hero of Taking Chances, the sequel to Playing with Fire, which is one of my 5 current WIPs. While visiting for his friend to the Cade’s wedding, he meets Gail Graham, Cade’s godson Nicky’s mother, a war widow who captures his attention far more than he expects.

In the scene I’m sharing today, Nathan has just come into town. He unexpectedly finds himself unable to check into his room because the small hotel in town doesn’t allow checking in until three in the afternoon. Not having a great deal of choice as to what to do in a small town he is not familiar with, he decides to check out the small department store near his hotel. After all, he can’t exactly show up at a wedding without a gift. However, he quickly discovers that this seemingly simple errand is far more overwhelming than he had expected.


The chill of the air-conditioning that hit him as he went through the door was a sharp contrast to the scorching summer heat outside. A quick glance around told him that the store seemed to be arranged around a central hub where makeup, jewelry, and perfume counters stood. Wide aisles led off from the central hub in every direction like spokes on a wheel. Women’s clothes occupied the section to his right. Men’s clothes filled the section to his right. He kept walking, navigating his way around the various counters that filled the central hub, breathing through his mouth and trying not to choke on the heavy, cloying perfume scents that seemed to permeate everything. God, he hated that stuff. Why did women think they needed all that anyway? It was ridiculous.

When he finally made it through the fog, he looked around again for a household or wedding area. It was still nowhere in sight. Instead, he was surrounded by dozens of frilly lurid colored children’s clothes. He likes kids, at least as much as the next guy, but really, some of this stuff was ridiculous. Who in their right mind needed that much ruffly fluffy stuff? He’d be surprised if the kid could walk in it, much less actually do anything. He tried another aisle that led off to the right, and finally, tucked away in the back corner of the store, he found the wedding gifts.

For a moment, Nathan was relieved. Then, he realized there were rows and rows of choices, and he had to actually find something to buy. He had no idea what was appropriate. He hadn’t seen Cade in years, and he didn’t know Stacy at all. If he’d had any sense, he would’ve gotten help with this before he left Virginia. Why in the world hadn’t called Cade’s mother or one of his sisters. He didn’t know them particularly well, but they had kept in touch over the years, and he was sure any one of them would have been glad to help him. They would have been much better this at than he was. He wandered around for a minute, picking up one fragile doodad after another and putting them back down. Why would anyone need any of this stuff anyway?

Just when he was about to give up in sheer bewilderment, he heard a female voice from behind him ask, “Can I help you?”

Nathan turned around to find a saleswoman standing in the aisle looking at him. “Thank God, yes, please help me.”


Any guesses who the mystery saleswoman is?  😉  While you are puzzling over that mystery, don’t forget to check out what the other bloggers are up to today.