Jean Marie Ward

fiction, nonfiction and all points in between

Excerpt: “Hoodoo Cupid”

Hoodoo Cupid Cover Image

“Your ride’s here,” the nurse brayed as she wrenched aside the curtain separating Dan Constantine’s bed from the rest of the Emergency Room treatment area. Maggie flinched. She hoped he wasn’t in the middle of any kind of medical procedure. On top of everything else that had happened, she couldn’t handle the embarrassment—his or hers.

But it was okay. Constantine was sitting in the bed, his hands clasped around the sheet covering his bent right leg. They were nice hands. The tautly muscled arms revealed by his hospital gown were nice too. Maggie moistened her wind-burned lips and smiled nervously. She expected the surroundings to diminish him. Instead she discovered the width of his shoulders owed nothing to padding. An uneasy mix of guilt and curiosity writhed inside her. Did his legs match the rest of him? The only thing revealed by the sheet was the lower portion of the Velcro-wrapped boot cast on his left leg.

Monitors, gauges, tubes, wires and robotic arms spanned the wall behind him. But aside from a blood pressure cuff, she didn’t see any tubes or wires sticking out of him. That meant he was okay, right? She could stop beating herself over the head for something that wasn’t, couldn’t be anything other than coincidence. He was going to be fine, she shouted at her conscience.

It didn’t work. The banshee inside her head refused to shut up. Her guts continued to wring themselves tighter and tighter. If they kept it up much longer she wouldn’t be able to walk, much less run. And for some reason, running seemed like a really good idea.

It was his eyes. They were a clear light gray completely at odds with his Mediterranean complexion and the dark brown eyelashes that belonged in a mascara commercial. When those eyes focused on a person—the way they focused on her now—it was like being targeted by a pair of lasers. The fan of creases deepening at the corners of his eyes and his slowly widening smile only made it worse.

“My ride.” His voice had a husky quality—a subtle roughness like vintage mohair upholstery, which inspired almost as much thigh wriggling and skirt palming among the agency power groupies as his eyes. “Talk about answered prayers. Please tell me it’s going to be a long one.”

His lazy purr left no doubt what kind of ride he meant. Maggie’s nails scored the plastic folder of materials prepared by his secretary. “That depends on the driver,” she said.

“Fair enough. What kind of cab have you got? Is there a lot of room to maneuver, or is it snug and tight, where we’ll be rubbing up against each other all the way?

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Buy “Hoodoo Cupid” now at Red Rose Publishing.