from APPLE OF MY EYE (set in early November), coming next month:
I was singing loudly along to Santa, Baby, when the bells over the door chimed, signaling a customer.
“I’ll be right with you,” I called out, concentrating on trying to thread a bit of glittery gold tinsel through a rather plain-looking wreath.
“No rush,” a very familiar voice drawled. “I’m just glad to discover that the noise was your
singing and not the terrible shrieks of tortured tourists.”
That was just mean. Accurate, maybe, but mean.
I focused—really, really hard—on not falling off my stepladder.
Jack was back.
I refused to turn around to look at him until I knew I could keep the emotions off my face. “Gone for more than two months, and the first thing you do when you get back is criticize my singing?”
I heard two fast footsteps, and then his hands were on my waist, and he plucked me off the ladder and pulled me to him in a long, tight hug.
“I thought I’d start with the ‘I’m so glad to be home’ kiss, but then I figured you’d punch me in the face,” he said, when he finally let me go.
“Good call,” I said, narrowing my eyes.
And then I punched him in the stomach.