Tuesday Tales – Ruthless – Stars, Stripes, & Motorbikes

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autumnWelcome back to Tuesday Tales!  This weeks prompt is Ruthless.

After writing over 500k last year, I took a little break for the holidays. I’m really happy to be back in Tuesday Tales.  This week I’m bringing you a little piece of my Memorial Day book in my Holidays in Lake Point series.

Autumn is a local bike shop owner & her dad is a veteran of the Gulf War, who lost both his legs in the conflict.  Lincoln “Linc” is a veteran himself, having fought in Afghanistan. He’s from South Carolina, in town visiting a familiar face (Clay Ryley). He also lost his leg, but Autumn has no idea.  Anyway, through her dad’s conniving the pair are eating lunch together at The Midway:

Rather than risk bringing it up again, he cleared his throat to get her attention. “Am I allowed to ask about you at all?”

She pinched the edge of her lip between her teeth, her gunmetal blue eyes avoiding his gaze. After a moment, she nodded. “It depends on the question.”

“You and your dad really get along.”

Instantly, her features transformed into a brilliant and beautiful smile. All the confidence and life that had seemed to seep away at his question about Grady returned. “Dad’s the best. I actually chose to stay with him soon as he was mobile enough to take me back. He fought to get me back from that woman.”

“That woman?”

“My mom.” Autumn dismissed her mother with a wave of her hand. “I was always daddy’s girl. So after the war and the loss of his legs when she took off, and took me with her, I was a miserable brat. I think I made her happy to send me back here to New York.”

Linc was taken aback by the bitterness in her tone, but since he didn’t know the history, he didn’t try to question it.

“So I moved back with him when I was seven. It wasn’t easy, and it took us a while to figure out how to make things work. He opened the shop to keep himself busy, I took it over last year when he supposedly retired.”

“He taught you everything he knew, then.”

“You bet.”

He grinned at the enthusiastic bounce she added to the statement. “So he was in the Gulf War when it happened?”

“Yeah. He made it through most of the war just fine. His unit took the hit in January of ninety-one. On my fifth birthday, actually. Talk about sucky. Luckily he lived.”

Flashbacks of the attack that had taken his own leg flickered through his mind. His fist clenched as he breathed through them at let them pass. It had taken him years to figure out how to not let them take over, although he couldn’t always control the occasional nightmare. He smiled and shook his head. “Two years until he took you in has to be some kind of record for losing both legs. Having you to fight for must have made all the difference.”

“That’s what he says.” Their lunch arrived just then, and she dove in without another word about it. For several minutes they ate in silence. Just when he thought she might hold onto her silence in the same ruthless way she’d done at the shop, she spoke. “How long have you known Clay?”

“We grew up together. A couple doors down. Well, as ‘couple doors down’ as you can get on a couple of small ranches. We both raised horses, I did junior rodeo with his sister. Our parents were close. Made us like family.”

“Must’ve been nice.” She popped a fry in her mouth, eying him quietly. “I don’t picture you as a cowboy type, though. Clay is all cowboy.”

“I didn’t stick to it, no ma’am.” Linc chuckled. “Clay’s family held onto it fierce, my daddy did too. So did my brother. I became interested in other things. Did my chores, but stopped doing rodeo and sold my horse to Calli before I joined the army. I think it’s safe to say I gave up the cowboy on that day.”

“So you’re the black sheep.”

“If you ask my momma right now she’d say yes. She’s mad I left town again. Her only respite is that I’m not overseas with a target on my back anymore.”

“No, instead you’re driving around on a death trap, at least that’s what my grandmother always called them when she was alive.” She chuckled. “What does your mom think of them?”

“Considering I did rodeo she’s not so concerned about the bike as she is about me driving places where there’s no cell service. I think she was concerned I’d be taken out by some made serial killer living in the middle of nowhere.”

“Chilling theory. What if you were taken out by a serial killer in a seemingly pleasant, happy town. Or, better, the town isn’t as pleasant as it seems. There’s a massive conspiracy to feed those that wander through to some evil creature in the lake to keep it from destroying the entire world.”

“Morbid.”

“I know.” She wagged her eyebrows. “I’m totally evil myself, can’t you tell?”

“You must be. With your hair, and those eyes, I’d liken you to a siren set upon the strangers to lure them in.” He leaned closer when her cheeks darkened under the compliment. “Only problem is, I don’t know if you sing.”

“Nooooo.” She drug the word out in a giggle. “I shower sing and get yelled at for it. Can’t carry a tune in a bucket, but I can fix an engine in no time flat.”

“Hey, that’s hotter than singing any day.”

“You’re full of shit too.”

“No, ma’am.”

“So what would you do if you had wandered into my and my dad’s evil plan to chop you up into little pieces and feed you to our dog?”

He grinned and pushed aside his plate. “I’d beg your daddy to let you do your worst. If I’m going to die, it could be worse than staring at someone like you.”

“Oh my word I need to wear hip waders around you.”

“The best compliments come from truth.” He laughed outright when she threw a fry at him. “What? You want me to stop?”

“I’m starting to see the southern boy with all that charm you’re laying on thick. Do you realize the more you heap it on, the more your accent deepens?”

“I hadn’t, no.” He was surprised now that she’d said something, he could hear the twang that had seeped back into his voice. Over his years in the army, the south had seeped out of his accent until he’d been told it was pretty neutral. It probably helped that he’d always been able to absorb accents well. “Huh. I hadn’t noticed.”

“It’s because you southern boys are convinced all you have to do is turn on your charm and let your accent melt the panties of any nearby woman.”

He smirked as he scooted his chair closer. “Did it work?”

“It takes more than an accent and charm to melt these panties, soldier.”

“Like I said—I do like a challenge.”

“Then I really need to stop giving you one.”

 

*~*

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17 Responses to “Tuesday Tales – Ruthless – Stars, Stripes, & Motorbikes”

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  1. I love how she talks about her dad- great scene

  2. Welcome back! Missed your posts. I love this one and the banter between them.

  3. Great scene. Love the lilting conversation and the emotions showing.
    Flossie Benton Rogers recently posted..Tuesday Tales: Shale 1-20-2015 by Flossie Benton Rogers

  4. mary terrani says:

    You know I love these characters and can’t wait to see their story unfold.

  5. Iris says:

    the queen of dialogue is back … can’t wait for more 🙂

  6. V.L. Locey says:

    What a great scene! Such wonderful dialog.
    V.L. Locey recently posted..Jane Leopold Quinn`s The Real Deal

  7. Jean Joachim says:

    So glad to have you back! I loved how this story wound in so much seamlessly — backstory, emotion an ended with sexual tension. Beautifully done. I hope he is going to melt her panties, seems to me like they could both use a good roll in the hay.

    • Sarah Cass says:

      Thanks so much, Jean! i’m thrilled to be back. Something was definitely missing when I wasn’t playing this weekly.

      And thank you again. I try to weave lots into my dialogue and I’m always happy when it translates onto the page. And yes, they both really COULD use a roll in the hay. My stubborn heroine is making it difficult.

  8. karen cino says:

    I am loving all this wonderful dialogue today. Fantastic job.

  9. morgan wyatt says:

    “That woman” equals an entire back story chapter. Well done. It’s great to have you back.

  10. Trisha Faye says:

    Great scene!
    Welcome back. I’m amazed at the 500k you wrote last year. Amazing!!
    Trisha Faye recently posted..Thyme for Love #4