Okay here’s my first contribution to WIP Clip Wednesday! This is the first time the heroine in this particular story (Leighton) sees the hero (Luca).
Copyright Moi, usual courtesies, don’t steal, don’t post, link if you wish.
In the far corner she saw a countenance she wasn’t acquainted with. He had “city slicker” written all over him, from the impeccable Hermes tie to the tips of his Italian leather shoes. Very GQ. His bearing was that of a Renaissance prince as he finished off his bacon and eggs while reading the paper—Wall Street Journal if Leighton wasn’t mistaken. A cell phone of the latest mode sat at the edge of the table. Tumbled blonde curls were the only rumpled thing about his appearance.
“Here’s your biscuit, hon, and a little something for Willoughby on the house. And the Danish for Vaughn.”
Sarah Anne dimpled with amusement as Phil blushed to the tips of his ears.
Leighton nodded toward Mr. GQ and asked quietly, “Who’s the sore thumb?”
Sarah Anne lowered her voice conspiratorially.
“Don’t know much. He’s staying over at Mara’s place. From New Orleans, she said. Here on business of some sort, though with who, he hasn’t let on. He’s a looker, isn’t he?”
Leighton murmured noncommittally as she noticed him rising. His eyes—they were a truly startling shade of green—met hers and sparked. Not flummoxed in the least by being caught studying him, Leighton held his gaze. A very square jaw and sharp cheekbones made his face arresting rather than handsome. All planes and shadows. Under the right lighting conditions he would make a great subject. Maybe in black and white. The darker end of dusk. On one of the more questionable rues in New Orleans. He could be made to look so artistically dangerous…
Her shutter finger twitched. She blinked. And suddenly he was just a man again, watching her with curiosity and a faint irritation. She noted he hadn’t advanced during her evaluation. One corner of her mouth quirked. Behind her, Sarah Anne was busily wiping the counter and Phil was staring at her out of the corner of his eye. Leighton transferred her gaze to the latter.
“Go on and get that Danish to Vaughn or she’ll skin you for being late anyway.”
“Thanks. I’m sure we’ll both appreciate it,” he said, waving on his way out the door.
Leighton saw him pause to ruffle Willoughby’s ears affectionately before hopping into the cab of his monstrous early ’80s model pickup.
Mr. GQ arrived at the cash register and handed Sarah Anne his bill.
“Now how much do I owe you?” he asked.
No matter how he looked, no amount of prep school polish could eradicate a born and bred Southern accent.
Sarah Anne gave him his total.
“Was everything all right?”
She wasn’t quite simpering.
“Yes ma’am, it was. I’ve been on the road for a few weeks now and that’s the best cup of coffee I’ve had outside the Quarter. Thanks.”
“I hope you’ll come back again while you’re in town. How long are you planning on staying in Cadence Creek, Mr….”
“Fitzgerald. Luca Fitzgerald. And that depends on how long it takes for me to conclude my business here. A couple of days, I would imagine. I’ll be back tomorrow to try the French toast.”
Sarah Anne grinned broadly.
“I might could be persuaded to make some beignets just for you.”
The stone of Luca’s face went fluid and he looked so unapologetically hopeful at the idea that Leighton nearly laughed.
“Is there anything else we can do for you today, Mr. Fitzgerald?”
“Actually yes. I’m looking for the offices of Leighton Pierce. Can you tell me where to find them?”
Sarah Anne cut a glance in Leighton’s direction. Wanting to handle it herself, Leighton shook her head minutely and opened her mouth, “They’re easy enough to find. Go out the front door here and take a right. Go about a block to the alley and you’ll see some stairs. Door’s at the top of ‘em. You can’t miss it.”
Luca gave her a measured look.
“Thanks.” He shot a smile at Sarah Anne. “See you in the morning.”
Leighton watched him walk out the door. He paused and knelt in the Armani suit to let Willoughby sniff him, then gave him a thorough rub behind the ears. Willoughby’s back leg thumped in ecstasy. When Luca moved off out of sight, Leighton turned back to Sarah Anne who was obviously bursting at the seams to ask questions.
“Before you ask, no I have no idea what he wants, who he’s with, or who he is. But I intend to find out.”
“You’ll come back and report at lunch, won’t you?” called Sarah Anne as Leighton headed to the door.
“If not, I’m sure you’ll hear all about it at the pub tonight.”
Hope you enjoyed! Please sign Mr. Linky if you have a WIP Clip to post or join us next week if you don’t!
It was a good visual. I got twitchy too, though my shutter finger was not involved.
I like it, especially how she just gave him directions. My only comment was the names seem like they should be swapped, even though I know Luca is a masculine name. 😀
Well this is in the south and down here we’re big on using family names. Leighton was her mom’s maiden name (which comes out later in the story).
I really love the way she describes him, so “artisically dangerous.” Great set up!