It's Sunday here in Jamaica, but it's already Monday on Denise Covey's side of the world. Do stop in and visit with one of my characters, who many readers found to be a real pain-in-the-butt in a story that wasn't her own.
She makes a turnaround in her story, thanks to her accidental involvement in software piracy, murder and kidnapping.
Hop on over to my next stop - Australia! While I'm at it, here's a sample from the novel, Taming Celeste.
Sunday Sample from Taming Celeste ...
They regrouped in Paul's study fifteen minutes later. Mark used his new cell phone to ring Celeste, rather than the unlisted land line, so she would know who was calling.
Across the desk, Paul lounged in his seat, twisting his old Rubik's Cube. To the casual observer he might have seemed relaxed, but Mark knew better. Paul was probably mind-mapping the problem while he worked the cube.
Mark's heart drummed hard and fast while he waited for Celeste to answer.
"Yes, you need something?"
For a second, he thought she might hang up without a word. The inside of a freezer was warmer than the chill filtering through the line.
"Uh, you all right?"
"Shouldn't I be?"
Mark wanted to slap himself for forgetting his planned lines. "I'm checking on you because of the gunshot, to see if you're all right."
"Things Jamaican might not be up to your standard, but we do have doctors and hospitals here."
"You know I don't mean—"
"I don't have time for this. What d'you want, Mark?"
Irritation colored his next words. "I'm just seeing to your safety."
Now he sounded like a pompous ass. Paul frowned and shook his head, which reminded Mark to calm down.
"And how you going to do dat across a hundred miles of sea water? And why would you care?"
He sighed. "I'm not the one who left without—"
"Correction. You weren't the one who left this time. There was no good reason for me to stay on Xantrope. Now if you have nothing constructive to tell me, I'm gonna hang up."
"I don't want to fight with you. I just want to be sure you're safe."
There was that word again. Wrong choice.
Immediately, she pounced. "What do you mean by safe?"
"Just that. I want to know that you are well."
She snorted. "Another woman would actually think you cared. I've been here for several days now. The time to find out if I was safe was when I landed. Thanks very much for calling. Don't feel obliged to call again."
"Celeste, don't you dare hang up—"
He stared at the three-dimensional X on the phone's screen. "She hung up on me!"
He jabbed her number into the phone. It rang without an answer. After two additional attempts, he flung the phone on the desk. It skated across the polished wood and bumped against Paul's feet, which stopped it from going over the edge.
"She's got to be the most bull-headed female God put on this earth."
"And the one most likely to drive you out of your mind." Paul swung his legs down off the desk. "I think I've used that same word to describe you a time or two."
"What am I going to do with her?" Mark snapped.
"I know you're not asking me," Paul said, and lay the completed cube aside.
"How the heck do I tell her she's in danger if she won't answer the damn phone?" Mark crisscrossed the office with restless steps, and glared at Paul. "You're no use, you know that?"
Smirking, Paul replied, "Is it my fault you did something stupid and your woman's mad at you?"
"Then why are you so upset?"
"Damned if I know. It's just that she thinks she has it all together." He rubbed the back of his neck and stared at the floor. "It's like she thinks it'll make her less of a woman if she leans on someone else."
"Does she know she can lean on you?"
The question shamed Mark, and he spent a few seconds analyzing Celeste's behavior. He had never encouraged her by word or deed to think he'd be by her side if she had a situation she couldn't handle. No wonder she was waspish. That was probably her defense mechanism.
He still wasn't sure he qualified as a strong enough partner for her, nor did he think he was mature enough to commit to one woman. Not that he had been seeing anyone else while he was with Celeste. So, what was he so afraid of?