For the last two weeks, I've run samples from my sweet contemporary romance, RIDE THE RAINBOW HOME. I start this week with an exciting announcement: RIDE THE RAINBOW HOME is now available as an e-book and, within the next few days, you'll be able to get it as a FREE download for Kindle, Nook, and other e-readers. I hope you will take advantage.
Last week's sample ended with Jim and Meg meeting again ten years after high school. Meg has returned only to help her friends, Frank and Sally Garcia, with their new twins. Jim asks if she's busy. Several of you have written to know more about what happens. Here is the end of Chapter 1, beginning just before last week's cut-off.
Be sure to watch your favorite e-book store this week for RIDE THE RAINBOW HOME, available as a FREE download.
Moments and years yawned between them, reminders of differences too wide to span. Meg sighed. "So you're working on the farm again?"
Jim's features tensed, an expression so brief Meg wasn't sure she'd seen it. "No. I help out occasionally, but my brother Chris is the farmer, and Kurt helps too. I'm more into commerce, myself. And you? What are you up to these days?"
"Management training, a consultant with Montgomery Adams Seminars."
"Now that sounds like the Peggy Taylor I remember."
"I'm called Meg now."
"Meg?" He tasted the name. "That doesn't sound like you."
She smiled indulgently. "It's all that sounds like me anymore--to me, anyway."
Again the silence stretched. "Say, are you busy this evening?"
"Tonight?" Meg tried to concentrate. "I don't have any plans after the picnic. That is, unless you count Tommy's bath and Isabel's bedtime story."
"That's quite a domestic streak you're developing." His amused look did odd things to the pit of her stomach.
She smiled, forcing herself to relax. "I'm afraid this is a case of 'looks can be deceiving.' I can cope with the older two, but the babies still scare me half to death. I'm glad their mother is constantly within reach. I never tended anyone under five before."
"Sounds like you could use a break. Think you can sneak away for a couple of hours? Most of the town's driving into Holbrook to see the fireworks." As naturally as if he did it every day, he reached up and picked a bit of mulberry leaf from her hair. The action brought him close, close enough that Meg could feel his body heat. "I'd like to take you. To the fireworks, I mean. Maybe we could talk over old times."
Meg's stalled heart resumed beating and shifted into high gear. "I'd love to go, if Sally can spare me. She and Frank have taken the kids for watermelon. I'm supposed to be melting--uh, meeting them there about now."
"Why don't I meet you there? As soon as I put something on."
Meg resisted the impulse to tell him to come as he was. "That sounds fine," she managed.
"See you then," he said as he strode away.
Most of a minute passed before Meg remembered to blink, but then she forced her feet into action. Who would have thought Little Jimmy McAllister would turn into such a model for a new Michelangelo? Or that he'd still be in Rainbow Rock? Or that he'd exude such... such power? She drifted toward the watermelon booths, surprised to notice how low the sun had sunk.
Sally looked up as she approached. "Well, there you are! We'd about given you up."
"I bumped into 'Little Jimmy' McAllister." Meg couldn't resist the sarcasm.
Sally grinned mischievously. "Looks good, doesn't he?"
"Brad Pitt should look so good!" Meg collapsed on the bench.
"Brad Pitt isn’t here," Sally observed dryly. "Maybe the three of us could get together sometime, talk over old times."
"Jimmy, er, Jim said the same thing, except he suggested a twosome at the fireworks in Holbrook. Sally, would you mind?"
"Are you kidding? Go! Enjoy! Frank'll help me with the kids, won't you, sweetheart?"
"Sure, babe." Frank leaned over the table and kissed Sally soundly. "Go, Meg. I wouldn't mind having the evening alone with my wife." He wrapped her in a possessive bear-hug and Sally giggled.
"Looks like I'm interrupting something." Jim arrived looking splendid in white jeans and a turquoise polo shirt. "Don't mind me," he said as Sally turned to acknowledge him. "Just go on with, uh, whatever you two were doing." He grinned broadly as he sat beside Meg, easily slipping an arm behind her on the table.
Sally extricated herself from the clutches of her husband. "Meg tells me you're going to take her into Holbrook for the show tonight."
"If it's okay with you two."
"More than okay," Sally said.
"Sounds good to me," Frank added.
Jim looked to Meg, who smiled dreamily. "Me too." Was that her voice? It sounded like an infatuated teen’s, all giggly and breathless.
"That's settled then." Sally dismissed them with an easy gesture. "Go have fun at the fireworks. Then maybe we can all get together later this week."
"It's a date," Jim said. "You ready Peggy, er, Meg?"
"Sure Jimmy, er, Jim." Meg fell into step beside the golden man who had been her girlhood pal. She had never been so ready in her life.