Welcome back to 20 Days of Love, where featured author, Té Russ is sharing her novel, Runaway Love. She never fails to entertain us with her feisty heroines and smooth heroes, and today's excerpt is no exception...
About Runaway Love...
Michelle Drake manages everything and everyone to perfection. Everyone except herself. When it lands her in the hospital, she has no choice but to follow doctor's order: decompress. When her best friend helps her "runaway from home", her only plan is to chill out and enjoy her long overdue time off. But an unexpected visitor on her doorstep and her sexy as sin neighbor shake up those plans.
Those stony glares and razor sharp tongue of hers may intimidate other men, but Lucas LeRoux is unfazed by them. He knows beneath that tough exterior there's a softness, like the curves of her body he felt when she accidentally landed in his arms. He's determined to make her his and he's just the man for the task of tearing down the walls she's built up and get her to finally let her hair down and enjoy life, not just manage it all of the time.
"Anyway, I'm more interested in the way talking about him has you all flustered."
"I am not flustered," Michelle argued.
"You were literally just stumbling over your words a few minutes ago," Laurel pointed out. "What's the deal between the two of you?"
"There's no deal...Like I said I've run into him a few times."
"And what was your conversation about today that's got you so riled up."
"He bought me shoes."
"That bastard," Laurel gasped, feigning shock. "Why would he do such a thing?"
Michelle went on to explain to Laurel their run-in at the park.
"So, wait," Laurel said. "You mean to tell me, that he bought you some sensible shoes after you nearly broke your ankle? Oh yeah, he's a terrible, terrible man, Michelle."
"Whatever, Lo," Michelle said, as she looked down at the shoes.
"I wonder if the actual issue is it that you like him, and it's freaking you out?"
"I do not like him."
"You've never been a good liar, sweetie."
"I can't like him, I don't even know him to like him.”
"Well...change that. You're there. He's there. Get to know him. You're obviously attracted to him. Why not find out if the feeling is mutual?”
"The big dipper actually isn't a constellation, it's an asterism...a pattern or group of stars. It's part of the Ursa Major, also known as the celestial Great Bear. There are many different mythos on the constellation and..."
Michelle looked up at the sky and squinted as the guide continued on. She decided at the last minute to come out on the stargazing hike she'd read about online.
She sighed, looked down at the pamphlet they'd given her when she'd first arrived and then looked back up.
At the sound of Luke's voice, Michelle whirled around and found him staring at her.
"Hi," Luke said, shoving his hands in his pockets.
"Hello, Luke," Michelle said, as she began to walk again.
"I gotta admit," Luke said, walking in stride alongside Michelle. "I wouldn't have imagined you to be into astronomy."
"You shouldn't make assumptions about people you don't know, Mr. LeRoux," Michelle said. It didn't matter to her that his assumption was dead on, she was still annoyed by it. "And you're slowing us down, we're missing the guide's storytelling."
"I can tell you stories about the stars," Luke said with a grin.
When Michelle didn't respond, he continued on, pointing up at the sky. "That constellation there is called Andromeda."
Michelle stopped again and looked up to where he was pointing.
"It's said that her mother, Queen Cassiopeia, boasted that she was more beautiful than the Nereids, sea nymphs. Well that shit pissed off the Nereids, and they went to Poseidon, who decided to send a sea monster to destroy their land. The king went to an oracle to find out how they could save their land and was told that they'd have to sacrifice Andromeda. His punk ass went along with it and they tied her to a sea cliff to await her death."
Michelle glanced over at Luke and found him staring at her again.
"So...that's how she died?" she found herself asking.
Luke's lip quirked up and he shook his head. "Nah, as she was out there waiting to die, Perseus rolled up on her. He'd recently completed a life-threatening mission, killing Medusa. You've heard of her, right?"
"The one who turns people to stone," Michelle said.
Luke nodded, "I bet with that glare of yours–"
"Finish the damn story."
"Anyway," Luke continued. "Perseus saw Andromeda, heard her screaming for her life and went to rescue her. He pulled out Medusa's severed head and held it up to the sea monster, turning it to stone. Perseus freed Andromeda and they instantly fell in love and got married."
"No such thing."
"Instantly falling in love," Michelle grumbled. "There's no such thing."
"That's another debate for another time," Luke chuckled. He looked up to the sky again. "After Andromeda's death, Athena placed Andromeda's image in the sky, between Perseus and Cassiopeia."
Michelle let out a scoff. "I wouldn't want to be anywhere near that bitch, in life or the afterlife. Leaving me to die?"
Luke threw his head back and laughed.
"You are something else, Nubia."
She remembered him saying that to her at the park.
"Why do you keep calling me that?" she asked as they started walking again.
"You've never heard of Nubia?" Luke asked. "From the comic books...black Wonder Woman?"
"Comic books?" Michelle repeated. "Figures you'd be into that kinda thing."
"Figures...what is that supposed to mean?" Luke asked. He stopped and turned to face her. "Ooooh, you finally looked me up, didn't you?"
"No," Michelle huffed.
"You're a terrible liar, Michelle," Luke taunted. "You did your little Google search and figured that it must automatically mean that I'm into all things nerd, like comic books, right?"
"Didn't you just say a few minutes ago that you shouldn't make assumptions about people you don't know?"
As Michelle opened her mouth to say...she wasn't quite sure what she was going to say, the guide spoke up.
"That concludes the end of our tour. You're free to stay out and stargaze a while longer, or you can head back to the lodge. We have a few refreshments and hot cocoa."
She wanted to be annoyed with Luke for making her miss the last portion of the tour, but she honestly wasn't. Although she was annoyed by the way he'd managed to get her flustered...again.
"You have an...interesting way of storytelling," she said.
"And you have an interesting way of deflecting."
They stood staring at each other for several long, heated seconds.
Luke was the first one to break their eye contact. Michelle watched as he looked down and smiled.
"Nice shoes," he said.
"Oh...yeah...well, I figured they wouldn't be completely useless out here."
"You have a funny way of saying thank you."
"Thank you, Lucas, for the shoes. They're quite comfortable. And..."
"I apologize for the way I reacted over them the other day."
"Apology accepted. On one condition."
"What condition?" Michelle asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Have dinner with me. Tonight."
Download Runaway Love: Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079T2T121/
About Té ...
Té Russ found reading as a solace at a young age and a vehicle which broadened her horizons. As an adolescent she used writing to express her unspoken words. Since then, she has gone from writing stories in diaries to attending college for journalism and falling in love, which has allowed those youthful words of love to blossom into a series of stories in her romance novels. This Texas wife and mother of three can be found reading, skydiving, cheering for her MMA fighting husband at, buzzing down the interstate on the back of motorcycles, or kayaking.
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