Everyone here on Main Street wishes all of our readers a wonderful Valentine’s Day filled with love.
So what happens when you’ve been set up on a blind date for the Downtown Business Association dinner with the super handsome guy who managed to spilled coffee all over you? This relationship isn’t off to a very good start. But maybe a romantic spin around the dance floor will change everything.
This excerpt is from the first book in the collection.
Cody opened DeeDee’s door and offered her his arm as he held a large umbrella over her. She wanted to growl and bare her teeth. Instead, she ignored him.
The black pavement shimmered under the large floodlights, and in places looked white. Icy pellets hit the umbrella, cars, and pavement, creating a noisy staccato. Part of her was glad she wasn’t walking the eight blocks, but Cody Montgomery was probably the last person she wanted accompanying her.
She watched where she was stepping and realized he was wearing black snakeskin boots with gold tips this time. The desire to touch them and see how they were made overwhelmed her. She wanted to feel the leather and take notes on how they attached the metal tips. Why did they have to look so good? Why did he have to look so good in them?
When they reached the protective covering of the hotel’s baldachin, he closed the umbrella. The doorman opened the door and they stepped inside.
Victorian elegance screamed from every direction. It felt as though she had stepped back in time. In the very center of the room was a Christmas tree that had to have stood more than twenty feet high and was decorated in feathered ornaments and cut glass bubbles. Tiny candle-like lights flickered and added a magical touch to the tree. She wanted the name of whoever had decorated the tree. That took talent, and it was that kind of talent she wanted in her shop.
Cody’s words brought her back to why she was standing in the hotel’s large reception room. She followed him past the old curved mahogany desk that must have been fifty feet long. Brass bells sat every few feet along its polished surface and old-fashioned brass keys hung on the wall behind it.
This place is unreal! It’s gorgeous.
Cody yanked on her.
He chuckled as she tried to compose herself. If he hadn’t almost pulled her off her feet, she would have walked into a large column.
“Hello, Mr. Montgomery.” A woman sitting at a long table smiled as she handed him a name badge along with a handful of papers and several tickets. “Hold onto your tickets for our drawings. You wouldn’t want to miss out on all the fun.”
He nodded. “And this is Miz Deanne Drayden, our newest business owner on Main Street. I’d like you to meet Miz Margaret Olsen; she’s the secretary for our group.”
“Oh, yes. Elizabeth told me you’d be bringing her.” She looked at DeeDee and smiled, except it looked way too forced. “It’s here someplace. Oh, she picked up the nametag. “I’m afraid we have your name wrong. I thought Elizabeth said DeeDee.”
“That’s fine. DeeDee is a nickname. Pleased to meet you.” She offered her hand, but the woman placed the badge and the papers in it.
“Go right through those doors. Your seats have been assigned.” She pointed to a set of doors to their left. “Elizabeth made sure you were both together.”
Great! I’m stuck with him the entire night!
One long table sat near the wall and in front of it, there were several large round ones set for eight. The room was quickly filling with people. Cody kept his distance, but introduced her to everyone and made certain she knew who the important people were within the group.
After the usual dinner, a group of young scouts entertained them with carols. Then Carol Brady, who owned an income tax service franchise, took the mic and began to reiterate the year’s financial standing and accomplishments. “I’d also like to announce that we succeeded in our goal to collect over four hundred thirty-seven toys for needy families in the area.”
The room clapped and cheered, forcing the woman to stop until the revelry died.
“And as you know at the last meeting, we were under in our goal to raise money for fuel assistance to heat the homes of those less fortunate in our area. Since the mill closed, the needs of the community have risen significantly, and we expect this year to be even colder…”
DeeDee’s mind wandered to her own salon. She was standing on her head trying to get it off the ground and it had taken a fortune to do it. Now she’d be asked to contribute to the community. I cannot fail!
“But I’d especially like to thank Cody Montgomery for his anonymous donation of fifty thousand dollars to our community outreach fund.”
What! DeeDee gazed sideways at Cody who had dropped his head into his hand as the entire table muffled chuckles. DeeDee whispered, “Did she just say anonymous?”
“Well, it’s not anymore.”
Dr. Karen Hoovaar patted him on the arm and in a low tone said, “Thanks. It was much needed.”
By this time the entire room hummed in soft chuckles, giggles, and whispers.
Mr. Tyson spoke up, “Carol, anonymous means no one is supposed to know who donated the money. But I think everyone in this room appreciates what Mr. Montgomery did. That was very generous. I’ll remind everyone here that it was anonymous, so please keep the information to yourselves. What happens in this hotel stays in this hotel.”
A few minutes later, DeeDee was asked to stand, as she was welcomed to the association.
Then the DJ took over and tried to lighten the mood.
Cody put his hand on her back and whispered near her ear, “May I have this dance?”
She glared at him and he shrugged.
He held up both hands. “No coffee.”
She couldn’t hold back the smile that pulled at her cheeks. “Why not? I’ll warn you I’m not much of a dancer. I’ve had very little practice in my life.”
He held her chair. “I find that hard to believe. You have a natural grace.”
She raised her eyebrows and stared into his very blue eyes. “Chubby little girls don’t take ballet. They take tap.”
He chuckled. “Let’s see what you can do.”
He stopped by the DJ’s table and said something, then waited until Bill Medley crooned I’ve had the time of my life before escorting DeeDee onto the dance floor.
Butterflies rose in her stomach as he took her hand.
“Nice and easy, just follow me.”
It took her a second to catch onto the footwork.
Cody talked her through most of the steps. His grin was contagious and the room sort of fell away. It was just the two of them. He spun her around and even dropped her back over his arm. His arms encased her and she was pressed to his body. Her heart beat with the music but something deep inside her burned from his touch.
He spun her off, and inside she froze until she realized he was shedding his suit jacket. There was something about a man wearing a tailored vest and it caused that little fire to glow brighter. Then he grabbed her and they started again. It was the same basic steps done over and over. Some were closer and slower and some were faster and at a distance.
The music was inside of her. She was thirteen and dancing in her bedroom. Closing her eyes, she raised her arms above her head. She found herself smacked against his hard body. His breath was on her face, his hands on her waist. He lifted her into the air, and then slowly returned her feet to the floor as if she were a little feather. Her heart still pounded as the music died.
Still against his chest, Bless the Broken Road played as she found her breath during the slow dance. Her one arm rested over his shoulder while her other hand was entwined with his. His free hand pressed against the small of her back. A few minutes later, she rested her head on his shoulder and swayed to Elvis Presley singing I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You. The trance began to break and she realized she was on a dance floor with Cody Montgomery.
He escorted her back to their table, then out of the hotel, and into the freezing cold. “My place?”
Instant red flags rose in her. “No, take me home. I’m not some desperate female looking for a hot night. Besides, where’s your wife? Away for the weekend?”
He chuckled. “Oh, you are quite safe with me. And you don’t have to worry about the last female in my life, I dropped her in the compost pile years ago.”
Her insides turned to ice.
Wedding Vows is a collection of three books, in the Montgomery family saga, bound into one and specially priced to save you money. Or you can read for FREE as a Kindle Unlimited. It is also available in print.
Happy Valentine’s Day