SWEET ROMANTIC COMEDY
Specially priced at 99 cents
for digital versions through February 14!
“Come on, you bucket of bolts, just another couple miles.” Ian MacGregor was determined he could motivate the sputtering 1972 Pinto station wagon through sheer iron will as he did raw army recruits. In spite of his command, the car belched a cloud of black smoke and the engine died. Ian managed to steer the well-used vehicle onto the shoulder of the road before it stopped moving completely. Then he cranked the engine until the battery groaned weakly in protest.
Cursing under his breath, Ian climbed out and stared at the disabled vehicle. If it hadn’t belonged to his recently deceased father, Ian would have kicked the tire. An unexpected lump formed in his throat. He should have been enjoying a roaring drunk to grieve his father, not selling every piece of personal property so his mother didn’t have to live on the street.
A raindrop spattered against his face, followed quickly by another and yet another. Ian scowled at the darkened sky. Not a star was visible through the thick blanket of clouds, and no headlights brightened the gloomy evening. In fact, he hadn’t seen anyone else on the road for the last half hour. He punched a button on his cell phone, but got only a “no service available” message.
With another muttered oath, Ian swung his duffle bag out of the back seat, took one last look at the tired auto and set off down the road. As he walked, his thoughts turned as bleak as the driving rain and cold wind that jabbed at the upturned collar of his battered leather jacket. The two thousand dollars offered by a collector for the Pinto wouldn’t go far toward paying off the debts racked up by his father’s business partner. However, his mother insisted on paying what they could.
Ironic that his mother was the strong one in the family when a crisis hit. Soft-spoken in the way of the librarian she had been for years, no one argued twice with Linda MacGregor when that steely glint flashed in her eyes and her jaw took on a stubborn tilt. Ian remembered the first and last time he had made that mistake. His teenaged social life shrank to the size of his bedroom and his father just laughed when Ian begged him to intercede.
So he marched down a deserted midnight road, gaze focused forward, until flashes of neon green and pink began to dance in the misty sky. His steps slowed cautiously as a square concrete building appeared and the neon colors took on the shapes of palm trees and flamingoes.
Ian scrubbed a hand across his eyes, thinking the illusion would disappear. But when he looked again, the neon still winked at him. What the hell. As long as it was warm and dry with a phone to call a tow truck.
Once under the portico, Ian brushed the rain out of his short-cropped hair and pushed open the door. Shades of pink engulfed him, rather like falling into a bottle of stomach antacid. Pink hearts suspended from the ceiling. Pink stencils around the mirrors. Pink napkins and pink drinks with pink straws. Even the waitresses wore pink and carried heart-shaped trays.
Oh-kay, Ian thought. The hallucinations inside were even stranger.
He touched the arm of a waitress passing by, wondering if he could order something that wasn’t pink with hearts.
But the moment her startled gray eyes met his, Ian’s voice disappeared. I knew I would marry your mother the first time I saw her. His father’s awed statement echoed in Ian’s mind. Many times he had heard the story of how his parents met on Valentine’s Day and were married on that day a year later. Ian always smiled and nodded when they retold their tale.
However, he hadn’t actually believed them until this moment.
The woman he knew would be his future wife lifted a pink heart-shaped plastic tray in front of her like a shield, calling attention to a bosom barely contained in a rose-colored tube top. Then she backed away a few steps, spun and sprinted toward the bar.
To help celebrate The Romance Studio Valentine’s Day Party 2017, I am offering a $14 Amazon.com gift certificate. I’m looking forward to chatting with friends I’ve known for a while and meeting new ones!
You can find both the print and digital versions of Chasing Rainbows at Amazon.com.