Even the Inquisitor's eyebrows shot up when Magnus strode through the gate. The High Warlock was wearing black leather pants, a belt with a buckle in the shape of a jeweled M, and a cobalt-blue Prussian military jacket open over a white lace shirt. He shimmered with layers of glitter. His gaze rested for a moment on Alec's face with amusement and a hint of something else before moving on to Jace, prone on the ground.
"Is he dead?" he inquired. "He looks dead."
"No," snapped Maryse. "He's not dead."
"Have you checked? I could kick him if you want." Magnus moved toward Jace.
"Stop that!" the Inquisitor snapped, sounding like Clary's third-grade teacher demanding that she stop doodling on her desk with a marker.
Cassandra Clare (City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2))
The tycoons of social media have to stop pretending that they’re friendly nerd gods building a better world and admit they’re just tobacco farmers in T-shirts selling an addictive product to children. Because, let’s face it, checking your “likes” is the new smoking.
Cal Newport (Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World)
If this were the fifties, she’d be checking Sam’s collars for lipstick stains. (Did people do that anymore? Why did women kiss collars, anyway? Besides, Sam almost always wore T-shirts.)
Charlaine Harris (Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse, #12))
I had sometimes met guys who looked like they worked out a lot; however, overly conservative social boundaries had restrained me from tearing their shirts open in public to check the goods.
Camilla Monk (Spotless (Spotless, #1))
Do I have an original thought in my head? My bald head. Maybe if I were happier, my hair wouldn't be falling out.
Life is short. I need to make the most of it. Today is the first day of the rest of my life. I'm a walking cliché.
I really need to go to the doctor and have my leg checked. There's something wrong. A bump. The dentist called again. I'm way overdue. If I stop putting things off, I would be happier. All I do is sit on my fat ass. If my ass wasn't fat I would be happier. I wouldn't have to wear these shirts with the tails out all the time. Like that's fooling anyone. Fat ass.
I should start jogging again. Five miles a day. Really do it this time. Maybe rock climbing. I need to turn my life around. What do I need to do? I need to fall in love. I need to have a girlfriend. I need to read more, improve myself. What if I learned Russian or something? Or took up an instrument? I could speak Chinese. I'd be the screenwriter who speaks Chinese and plays the oboe. That would be cool.
I should get my hair cut short. Stop trying to fool myself and everyone else into thinking I have a full head of hair. How pathetic is that?
Just be real. Confident. Isn't that what women are attracted to? Men don't have to be attractive. But that's not true. Especially these days. Almost as much pressure on men as there is on women these days.
Why should I be made to feel I have to apologize for my existence? Maybe it's my brain chemistry. Maybe that's what's wrong with me. Bad chemistry. All my problems and anxiety can be reduced to a chemical imbalance or some kind of misfiring synapses. I need to get help for that.
But I'll still be ugly though.
Nothing's gonna change that.
He was California from the tips of his port wine loafers to the buttoned and tieless brown and yellow checked shirt inside his rough cream sports jacket.
Raymond Chandler (Playback)
To: Anna Oliphant
From: Etienne St. Clair
Subject: HAPPY CHRISTMAS
Have you gotten used to the time difference? Bloody hell,I can't sleep. I'd call,but I don't know if you're awake or doing the family thing or what. The bay fog is so thick that I can't see out my window.But if I could, I am quite certain I'd discover that I'm the only person alive in San Francisco.
To: Anna Oliphant
From: Etienne St. Clair
Subject: I forgot to tell you.
Yesterday I saw a guy wearing an Atlanta Film Festival shirt at the hospital.I asked if he knew you,but he didn't.I also met an enormous,hair man in a cheeky Mrs. Claus getup. he was handing out gifts to the cancer patients.Mum took the attached picture. Do I always look so startled?
To: Anna Oliphant
From: Etienne St. Clair
Subject: Are you awake yet?
Wake up.Wake up wake up wake up.
To: Etienne St. Clair
From: Anna Oliphant
Subject: re: Are you awake yet?
I'm awake! Seany started jumping on my bed,like,three hours ago. We've been opening presents and eating sugar cookies for breakfast. Dad gave me a gold ring shaped like a heart. "For Daddy's sweetheart," he said. As if I'm the type of girl who'd wear a heart-shaped ring. FROM HER FATHER. He gave Seany tons of Star Wars stuff and a rock polishing kit,and I'd much rather have those.I can't beleive Mom invited him here for Christmas. She says it's because their divorce is amicable (um,no) and Seany and I need a father figure in our lives,but all they ever do is fight.This morning it was about my hair.Dad wants me to dye it back, because he thinks I look like a "common prostitute," and Mom wants to re-bleach it.Like either of them has a say. Oops,gotta run.My grandparents just arrived,and Granddad is bellowing for his bonnie lass.That would be me.
P.S. Love the picture.Mrs. Claus is totally checking out your butt. And it's Merry Christmas, weirdo.
To: Anna Oliphant
From: Etienne St. Clair
Subject: [email protected]
Was it a PROMISE RING? Did your father give you a PROMISE RING?
To: Etienne St. Clair
From: Anna Oliphant
Subject: Re: HAHAHA!
I am so not responding to that.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
I'll take off my clothes," I said before I could think about how that would play out. "And you guys check for bite marks"...
"Don't," Everson said hoarsely and I froze. "It won't be enough. Even without a bite mark, you could still be infected. Chorda's blood or saliva could have gotten in one of your cuts. We're going to have to wait it out."
"He's right." Rafe cast a sidelong look at Everson. "But you could have mentioned it after she took her off her shirt"
"It crossed my mind," Everson admitted.
Kat Falls (Inhuman (Fetch, #1))
The line of traffic advancing towards the rising sun looked like a procession of the returning dead. Every one of them, solitaries in clean shirts, smoking, checking mirrors to see if their reflections were still there, wore dark glasses.
Iain Sinclair (London Orbital)
He put on a short-sleeved white T-shirt and tried not to flex when he checked his reflection in the mirror. Is this what women felt like when they put on miniskirts?
Rainbow Rowell (Attachments)
I soon forgot about my bedraggled appearance. Until, that is, an old man shuffled in and propped himself, hunched and wheezing, over the check-in desk. Karen asked him if he needed assistance.
“No,” he grunted sucking on his teeth, “your wet-T-shirt librarian with the punk rock hair is helping me out just fine.
Suzanne Kelman (The Rejected Writers' Book Club (Southlea Bay, #1))
Checking the address, he knocked on the door.
The door opened a crack. “We’re closed.”
He recognized those violet eyes. His throat went dry. “Oh. You again.”
Her eyes narrowed as she chuckled. “You must have women throwing themselves at you with lines like that. What are you doing here?”
“I came to see if Flynn Enterprises has made an offer to buy your property.” His gaze wandered against his better judgement. On his ship, she’d been wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Now her curves were covered by a quality replica of a pirate’s frock coat, complete with deck boots, a bandana covering her hair, and a single hoop earring. “Didn’t take you for a pirate earlier today.”
“You seriously came over here to talk to a stranger about private financial information, and then you have the balls to comment on her work attire?” She raised a brow.
“We’re hardly strangers.” He struggled to hold back a smile and offered his hand. “I don’t think I introduced myself earlier. I’m Colton. Colton Hayes.”
She looked at his hand and finally opened the door. “Skye Olson. And apparently I’m a glutton for punishment.
Lisa Kessler (Magnolia Mystic (Sentinels of Savannah, #1))
He sighed and opened the black box and took out his rings and slipped them on. Another box held a set of knives and Klatchian steel, their blades darkened with lamp black. Various cunning and intricate devices were taken from velvet bags and dropped into pockets. A couple of long-bladed throwing tlingas were slipped into their sheaths inside his boots. A thin silk line and folding grapnel were wound around his waist, over the chain-mail shirt. A blowpipe was attached to its leather thong and dropped down the back of his cloak; Teppic picked a slim tin container with an assortment of darts, their tips corked and their stems braille-coded for ease of selection in the dark.
He winced, checked the blade of his rapier and slung the baldric over his right shoulder, to balance the bag of lead slingshot ammunition. As an afterthought he opened his sock drawer and took a pistol crossbow, a flask of oil, a roll of lockpicks and, after some consideration, a punch dagger, a bag of assorted caltrops and a set of brass knuckles.
Teppic picked up his hat and checked it's lining for the coil of cheesewire. He placed it on his head at a jaunty angle, took a last satisfied look at himself in the mirror, turned on his heel and, very slowly, fell over.
Terry Pratchett (Pyramids (Discworld, #7))
Daemon pulled the bright, deep-red sweater over his head and adjusted the collar of the gold-and-white-checked shirt. Satisfied, he studied his reflection. His eyes were butter melted by humor and good spirits, his face subtly altered by the relaxed, boyish grin. The change in his appearance startled him, but after a moment he just shook his head and brushed his hair. The difference was Jaenelle and the incalculable ways she worried, intrigued, fascinated, incensed, and delighted him. More than that, now, when he was so long past it, she was giving him—the bored, jaded Sadist—a childhood. She colored the days with magic and wonder, and all the things he’d ceased to pay attention to he saw again new. He grinned at his reflection. He felt like a twelve-year-old. No, not twelve. He was at least a sophisticated fourteen. Still young enough to play with a girl as a friend, yet old enough to contemplate the day he might sneak his first kiss. Daemon shrugged into his coat, went into the kitchen, pinched a couple of apples from the basket, sent Cook a broad wink, and gave himself up to a morning with Jaenelle.
Anne Bishop (Daughter of the Blood (The Black Jewels, #1))
Fitz’s human clothes are a huge snoozefest. Check out what Dex and I found in Alvar’s closet!” They both unzipped their hoodies, revealing T-shirts with logos underneath. “I have no idea what this means, but it’s crazy awesome, right?” Keefe asked, pointing to the black and yellow oval on his shirt. “It’s from Batman,” Sophie said—then regretted the words. Of course Keefe demanded she explain the awesomeness of the Dark Knight. “I’m wearing this shirt forever, guys,” he decided. “Also, I want a Batmobile! Dex, can you make that happen?” Sophie wouldn’t have been surprised if Dex actually could build one. As a Technopath, he worked miracles with technology. He’d made all kinds of cool gadgets for Sophie, including the lopsided ring she wore—a special panic switch that had saved her life during her fight with one of her kidnappers. “What’s my shirt from?” Dex asked, pointing to the logo with interlocking yellow W’s. Sophie didn’t have the heart to tell him it was the symbol for Wonder Woman.
Shannon Messenger (Neverseen (Keeper of the Lost Cities, #4))
He pressed the blade of his sword into the ground. As he pulled his arm over his head for a stretch, a bead of sweat trickled down his neck and over a row of muscles on his stomach. I swallowed hard. The window's edge dug into my skin but I refused to move an inch. The tiny droplet disappeared into the waistband of his shorts. I had seen plenty of guys in gym class with their shirts off, but none of them looked like...that. He was physical perfection - a living work of art.
I sat on my knees with my chin relaxed on my crossed arms, unable to look away.
"Enjoying the view?" he said, eyes suddenly on me. His chiseled face wore an overly confident grin. Clearly he was used to being admired.
My cheeks burned.
I stood, pretending to check out the scenery. "Not much to see."
He raised an eyebrow, letting me know he knew I was full of crap.
Stacey O'Neale (Storm Born (Mortal Enchantment, #1))
Lend sat up,craning his neck to see down my shirt,which I hurriedly pushed back into place. "Last time I checked, you couldn't see souls."
He shrugged,an exaggerated look of innocence on his face. "Still,it wouldn't hurt for me to try,would it?"
"You have got to be the most sefless boyfriend alive."
"Like I said,anything worthwhile is worth making sacrifices for."
"Speaking of which,weren't you going to give me a tongue demonstration?
Kiersten White (Supernaturally (Paranormalcy, #2))
When Seymour and I were five and three, Les and Bessie played on the same bill for a couple of weeks with Joe Jackson -- the redoubtable Joe Jackson of the nickel-plated trick bicycle that shone like something better than platinum to the very last row of the theater. A good many years later, not long after the outbreak of the Second World War, when Seymour and I had just recently moved into a small New York apartment of our own, our father -- Les, as he'll be called hereafter -- dropped in on us one evening on his way home from a pinochle game. He quite apparently had held very bad cards all afternoon. He came in, at any rate, rigidly predisposed to keep his overcoat on. He sat. He scowled at the furnishings. He turned my hand over to check for cigarette-tar stains on my fingers, then asked Seymour how many cigarettes he smoked a day. He thought he found a fly in his highball. At length, when the conversation -- in my view, at least -- was going straight to hell, he got up abruptly and went over to look at a photograph of himself and Bessie that had been newly tacked up on the wall. He glowered at it for a full minute, or more, then turned around, with a brusqueness no one in the family would have found unusual, and asked Seymour if he remembered the time Joe Jackson had given him, Seymour, a ride on the handle bars of his bicycle, all over the stage, around and around. Seymour, sitting in an old corduroy armchair across the room, a cigarette going, wearing a blue shirt, gray slacks, moccasins with the counters broken down, a shaving cut on the side of his face that I could see, replied gravely and at once, and in the special way he always answered questions from Les -- as if they were the questions, above all others, he preferred to be asked in his life. He said he wasn't sure he had ever got off Joe Jackson's beautiful bicycle.
J.D. Salinger (Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters & Seymour: An Introduction)
I slammed the water off hard enough to make it clack, got out of the shower, dried, and started getting dressed in a fresh set of secondhand clothes.
“Why do you wear those?” asked Lacuna.
I jumped, stumbled, and shouted half of a word to a spell, but since I was only halfway done putting on my underwear, I mostly just fell on my naked ass.
“Gah!” I said. “Don’t do that!”
My miniature captive came to the edge of the dresser and peered down at me.
“Don’t ask questions?”
“Don’t come in here all quiet and spooky and scare me like that!”
“You’re six times my height, and fifty times my weight,” Lacuna said gravely. “And I’ve agreed to be your captive. You don’t have any reason to be afraid.”
“Not afraid,” I snapped back. “Startled. It isn’t wise to startle a wizard!”
“Because of what could happen!”
“Because they might fall down on the floor?”
“No!” I snarled.
Lacuna frowned and said, “You aren’t very good at answering questions.” I started shoving myself into my clothes. “I’m starting to agree with you.”
“So why do you wear those?” I blinked.
“Yes. You don’t need them unless it’s cold or raining.”
“You’re wearing clothes.”
“I am wearing armor. For when it is raining arrows. Your T-shirt will not stop arrows.”
“No, it won’t.” I sighed.
Lacuna peered at my shirt. “Aer-O-Smith. Arrowsmith. Does the shirt belong to your weapon dealer?”
“Then why do you wear the shirt of someone else’s weapon dealer?” That was frustrating in so many ways that I could avoid a stroke only by refusing to engage. “Lacuna,” I said, “humans wear clothes. It’s one of the things we do. And as long as you are in my service, I expect you to do it as well.”
“Because if you don’t, I . . . I . . . might pull your arms out of your sockets.” At that, she frowned. “Why?”
“Because I have to maintain discipline, don’t I?”
“True,” she said gravely. “But I have no clothes.”
I counted to ten mentally. “I’ll . . . find something for you. Until then, no desocketing. Just wear the armor. Fair enough?” Lacuna bowed slightly at the waist. “I understand, my lord.”
“Good.” I sighed. I flicked a comb through my wet hair, for all the good it would do, and said, “How do I look?” “Mostly human,” she said.
“That’s what I was going for.”
“You have a visitor, my lord.”
I frowned. “What?”
“That is why I came in here. You have a visitor waiting for you.”
I stood up, exasperated. “Why didn’t you say so?”
Lacuna looked confused. “I did. Just now. You were there.” She frowned thoughtfully. “Perhaps you have brain damage.”
“It would not shock me in the least,” I said.
“Would you like me to cut open your skull and check, my lord?” she asked.
Someone that short should not be that disturbing. “I . . . No. No, but thank you for the offer.”
“It is my duty to serve,” Lacuna intoned.
My life, Hell’s bells.
Jim Butcher (Cold Days (The Dresden Files, #14))
Wesley, you asshole,” Eriksson says. “Aren’t you going to tell us?” “Tell you what?” I growl. My sex life is none of their goddamn business. “How is he? Jesus Christ. The TV news makes it sound like your boyfriend might be getting last rites.” My fingers falter on the buttons of my bright green checked shirt. “W-what?” Our backup goalie Tomilson speaks up wryly. “I think what Mr. Sensitive is trying to ask is, is your partner okay?
Sarina Bowen (Us (Him, #2))
Hey,” Fitz said, leaning closer. “You trust me, don’t you?” Sophie’s traitorous heart still fluttered, despite her current annoyance. She did trust Fitz. Probably more than anyone. But having him keep secrets from her was seriously annoying. She was tempted to use her telepathy to steal the information straight from his head. But she’d broken that rule enough times to know the consequences definitely weren’t worth it. “What is with these clothes?” Biana interrupted, appearing out of thin air next to Keefe. Biana was a Vanisher, like her mother, though she was still getting used to the ability. Only one of her legs reappeared, and she had to hop up and down to get the other to show up. She wore a sweatshirt three sizes too big and faded, baggy jeans. “At least I get to wear my shoes,” she said, hitching up her pants to reveal purple flats with diamond-studded toes. “But why do we only have boy stuff?” “Because I’m a boy,” Fitz reminded her. “Besides, this isn’t a fashion contest.” “And if it was, I’d totally win. Right, Foster?” Keefe asked. Sophie actually would’ve given the prize to Fitz—his blue scarf worked perfectly with his dark hair and teal eyes. And his fitted gray coat made him look taller, with broader shoulders and— “Oh please.” Keefe shoved his way between them. “Fitz’s human clothes are a huge snoozefest. Check out what Dex and I found in Alvar’s closet!” They both unzipped their hoodies, revealing T-shirts with logos underneath. “I have no idea what this means, but it’s crazy awesome, right?” Keefe asked, pointing to the black and yellow oval on his shirt. “It’s from Batman,” Sophie said—then regretted the words. Of course Keefe demanded she explain the awesomeness of the Dark Knight. “I’m wearing this shirt forever, guys,” he decided. “Also, I want a Batmobile! Dex, can you make that happen?” Sophie wouldn’t have been surprised if Dex actually could build one. As a Technopath, he worked miracles with technology. He’d made all kinds of cool gadgets for Sophie, including the lopsided ring she wore—a special panic switch that had saved her life during her fight with one of her kidnappers. “What’s my shirt from?” Dex asked, pointing to the logo with interlocking yellow W’s. Sophie didn’t have the heart to tell him it was the symbol for Wonder Woman.
Shannon Messenger (Neverseen (Keeper of the Lost Cities, #4))
On the fifth day I knew Kaidan would have made it home. I held my breath and called him. I listened to every charming word of his voice mail, then hung up. That evening I sat on my bed and called again. This time I left a message.
“Hi, Kai, um, Kaidan. It's me. Anna. I'm just trying to see if you made it home safely. I'm sure you probably did. Just checking. You can call me anytime. If you want. Anyway. Okay, bye.”
I hung up and buried my shamed face into a pillow. Now I was leaving messages after he'd made it clear he wanted zero to do with me? Next thing I knew I'd be frequenting his shows to give him psycho stares from the back, and then doing late-night drive-bys to see what girl he was bringing home. The thought of him with another girl made me writhe in discomfort and curl up in the fetal position.
Day six was our first day of back-to-school shopping. We still had a month before school began, but the state issued a tax-free day, so stores were having big sales. I eyed all the teensy skirts and fashionable shirts dangling on mannequins. I tried to imagine Kaidan's reaction if I came dressed like that to one of his shows, some guy other than Jay on my arm. Ugly stalker thoughts. I was full of them.
Two weeks passed, and I was still tripping over chairs to grab the phone every time it rang, like now.
This time it was Jay.
Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil (Sweet, #1))
There was no Disney World then, just rows of orange trees. Millions of them. Stretching for miles And somewhere near the middle was the Citrus Tower, which the tourists climbed to see even more orange trees. Every month an eighty-year-old couple became lost in the groves, driving up and down identical rows for days until they were spotted by helicopter or another tourist on top of the Citrus Tower. They had lived on nothing but oranges and come out of the trees drilled on vitamin C and checked into the honeymoon suite at the nearest bed-and-breakfast.
"The Miami Seaquarium put in a monorail and rockets started going off at Cape Canaveral, making us feel like we were on the frontier of the future. Disney bought up everything north of Lake Okeechobee, preparing to shove the future down our throats sideways.
"Things evolved rapidly! Missile silos in Cuba. Bales on the beach. Alligators are almost extinct and then they aren't. Juntas hanging shingles in Boca Raton. Richard Nixon and Bebe Rebozo skinny-dipping off Key Biscayne. We atone for atrocities against the INdians by playing Bingo. Shark fetuses in formaldehyde jars, roadside gecko farms, tourists waddling around waffle houses like flocks of flightless birds. And before we know it, we have The New Florida, underplanned, overbuilt and ripe for a killer hurricane that'll knock that giant geodesic dome at Epcot down the trunpike like a golf ball, a solid one-wood by Buckminster Fuller.
"I am the native and this is my home. Faded pastels, and Spanish tiles constantly slipping off roofs, shattering on the sidewalk. Dogs with mange and skateboard punks with mange roaming through yards, knocking over garbage cans. Lunatics wandering the streets at night, talking about spaceships. Bail bondsmen wake me up at three A.M. looking for the last tenant. Next door, a mail-order bride is clubbed by a smelly ma in a mechanic's shirt. Cats violently mate under my windows and rats break-dance in the drop ceiling. And I'm lying in bed with a broken air conditioner, sweating and sipping lemonade through a straw. And I'm thinking, geez, this used to be a great state.
"You wanna come to Florida? You get a discount on theme-park tickets and find out you just bough a time share. Or maybe you end up at Cape Canaveral, sitting in a field for a week as a space shuttle launch is canceled six times. And suddenly vacation is over, you have to catch a plane, and you see the shuttle take off on TV at the airport. But you keep coming back, year after year, and one day you find you're eighty years old driving through an orange grove.
Tim Dorsey (Florida Roadkill (Serge Storms, #1))
I can see the scene down in Mission Control right now: a man in a white shirt and black tie checking my vitals on a readout, his chief inquiring if I’ve hit REM sleep yet. “Affirmative, sir. Sleeping like a baby.” “Excellent. Queue up the machine that goes bing!
Hugh Howey (Beacon 23)
To a casual passerby, his appearance would not have inspired much confidence. His overcoat was patched in spots and frayed at the cuffs, he wore an old tweed suit that was missing a button, his white shirt was stained with ink and tobacco, and his tie--this was perhaps the strangest of all--was knotted not once, but twice, as if he'd forgotten whether he'd tied it and, rather than glancing down to check, had simply tied it again for good measure. His white hair poked out from beneath his hat, and his eyebrows rose from his forehead like great snowy horns, curling over a pair of bent and patched tortoiseshell glasses. All in all, he looked like someone who'd gotten dressed in the midst of a whirlwind and, thinking he still looked too presentable, had thrown himself down a flight of stairs.
It was when you looked in his eyes that everything changed.
Reflecting no light save their own, they shone brightly in the snow-muffled night, and there was in them a look of such uncommon energy and kindness and understanding that you forgot entirely about the tobacco and ink stains on his shirt and the patches on his glasses and that his tie was knotted twice over. You looked in them and knew that you were in the presence of true wisdom.
John Stephens (The Emerald Atlas (The Books of Beginning, #1))
Ah, adventure! Ah, romance! Ah, courtly graces and the noble gestures! Don't you wish you knew people like that? Don't you wish we could still walk around in cloaks and boots and breeches, with leather doublets and flowing white dueling shirts and swords strapped around our waists? Of course, if we did, given the way things are today, there'd be people out there lobbying for sword control, and we'd need a National Sword Association and bumper stickers that would read "Swords don't kill people, knights kill people," and there would be a five-day waiting period and background check before you could buy a rapier. We'd have drive-by lungings and people would be afraid of children carrying broadswords to school. "Milady" would be regard as a sexist term and feminists would go absolutely berserk if any woman called a man "Milord." Ralph Nader would probably get quarter horses banned because they are too small and unsafe in a collision and someone would figure out a way to put seat belts and air bags on our saddles. That's why people join the SCA and read fantasy novels, because the real world sucks.
Simon Hawke (The Ambivalent Magician (Reluctant Sorcerer, #3))
It's a thousand tiny impulses, building on one another. First you decide it's a good idea to check the oatmeal bin for bugs. Next you're going through all the canisters, and before you know it, you're wearing a hazmat suit and examining the frosted flakes for ground-up glass. Each action further enforces the obsessive-compulsive circuit. When the disease is full-blown, sufferers are firmly entrenched in the neural loops that make them repeat thoughts and actions over and over. In other words, your brain keeps getting back in line for the same carnival ride it didn't enjoy in the first place. You lose your sunglasses, you throw up on your shirt, and two minutes later you're back on the Whizzer. Wheeee.
And whatever you do, don't drink the water. A guide once told Dad that some of the springs still have arsenic in them from the gold rush. I have no idea whether she was joking or not, but let's not risk it, OK?"
"Seriously?" Logan asked. He raised his eyebrows. "Alaska - where even the water will kill you. I'm surprised they don't have that on a T-shirt."
"Logan -" Maddie warned. Logan raised his hands in surrender.
"Poisonous water. Check.
Ally Carter (Not If I Save You First)
I have to go," I said, resting my head against Archer's chest. It occurred to me that my cheek was probably right over his tattoo. Without thinking, I lifted my face and tugged at the neckline of his T-shirt. This time, the stark black-and-gold mark wasn't hidden. No need for that spell anymore, I guess. Still, I covered it with my palm. Archer's hands clutched reflexively on my waist. Our eyes met. "It doesn't burn this time," I whispered.
His breathing was ragged. "Beg to differ, Mercer."
Magic was rushing through me, and when Archer covered my hand with his own, there was a little blue spark. Slowly, he moved my hand off his chest, then gripped both my shoulders. I thought he was going to kiss me again-and with the way we were feeling, there was a chance we might set the whole mill on fire-but instead, he gingerly pushed me away. "Okay," he said, closing his eyes. "If you don't go now, we're...You should go now."
Once we were several feet apart, he lust-fog cleared a little. "We still have no idea what we're going to go."
Archer opened his eyes and took a couple of steps backward. "Right now, you're going to go back to Thorne and check in with your dad. I'm going to go back to my people and do the same. Then tomorrow night, we'll meet here. You'll stand over there"-he pointed at a corner-"and I'll stand over there"-the complete opposite corner-"and there will be no physical contact until we've figured something out. Deal?"
I smiled,even as I shoved my hands in my pockets to keep from grabbing him again. "Deal.Midnight?"
"Perfect.So." That grin again. "See ya, Mercer."
Happiness flooded through me as warm and bright as sunlight. "See ya, Cross.
Rachel Hawkins (Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2))
Please put your shirt on,” she said.
He pulled it over his head, checking the buttons. “Better?”
She looked exhausted, and happy, and too bighearted to believe. So why did he still feel anguished? He grabbed her around the waist and pulled her onto his lap.
“Hey!” She laughed, hugging an arm around him.
He snuggled his nose in her hair and kissed her neck. Mine, he thought.
“They’ll see,” she muttered.
They’d better. “Let them. It’s legal.”
She laughed again and quickly kissed him. Finally.
Caragh M. O'Brien (Ruled (Birthmarked, #2.5))
When he can't take anymore, Galen plucks his phone from his pocket and dials, then hangs up. When the call is returned, he says, "Hey, sweet lips." The females at the table hush each other to get a better listen. A few of them whip their heads toward Emma to see if she's on the other end of the conversation. Satisfied she's not, they lean closer.
Rachel snorts. "If only you liked sweets."
"I can't wait to see you tonight. Wear that pink shirt I like."
Rachel laughs. "Sounds like you're in what we humans like to call a pickle. My poor, drop-dead-gorgeous sweet pea. Emma still not talking to you, leaving you alone with all those hormonal girls?"
"Eight-thirty? That's so far away. Can't I meet you sooner?"
One of the females actually gets up and takes her tray and her attitude to another table. Galen tries not to get too excited.
"Do you need to be checked out of school, son? Are you feeling ill?"
Galen tosses a glance at Emma, who's picking a pepperoni off her pizza and eyeing it as if it were dolphin dung. "I can't skip school to meet you again, boo. But I'll be thinking about you. No one but you."
A few more females get up and stalk their trays to the trash. The cheerleader in front of him rolls her eyes and starts a conversation with the chubby brunette beside her-the same chubby brunette she pushed into a locker to get to him two hours ago.
"Be still my heart," Rachel drawls. "But seriously, I can't read your signals. I don't know what you're asking me to do."
"Right now, nothing. But I might change my mind about skipping. I really miss you."
Rachel clears her throat. "All right, sweet pea. You just let your mama know, and she'll come get her wittle boy from school, okay?"
Galen hangs up. Why is Emma laughing again? Mark can't be that funny.
The girl beside him clues him in: "Mark Baker. All the girls love him. But not as much as they love you. Except maybe Emma, I guess."
"Speaking of all these girls, how did they get my phone number?"
She giggles. "It's written on the wall in the girls' bathroom. One hundred hall." She holds her cell phone up to his face. An image of his number scrawled onto a stall door lights up the screen. In Emma's handwriting.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
That’s an ‘I have a nice rack, check out my tits’ shirt, ‘my ass looks great, go ahead and grab it’ jeans, and ‘come here and fuck me hard’ shoes,
Carina Adams (Forever Red (Bama Boys, #1))
Just because I’m a reporter doesn’t mean I don’t get to have an opinion about people.”
“And your opinion of me is?”
His eyes narrowed infinitesimally. “Is it my hair?”
I flinched back, automatically checking out his hair. “No. There’s nothing wrong with your hair.”
“You don’t like Star Wars?” He gestured to his shirt. “You’re a Trekkie? You should know, I’m an equal opportunity space drama aficionado, whether it be BattleSTAR Galactica, STAR Trek, or STAR—”
“I get it, you like science fiction.”
“Ah ha!” He lifted his index finger between us.
“Ah ha, what?”
“You’re a fantasy reader, aren’t you? That’s what’s going on. What’s your favorite TV show? Buffy the Vampire Slayer, right?”
I lifted an eyebrow and crossed my arms, disliking that he’d guessed correctly. “What I read and watch isn’t the central issue.”
“Have you received your Hogwarts letter?” he asked, and his tone was so serious, I almost mistook it for a real question
Penny Reid (Dating-ish (Knitting in the City, #6))
Alice also stops in to check on Bella. Guess what? Her powers have returned and she can now see Bella's future. Guess what? Bella is going to survive! Guess what? Bella's going to be super-pretty! Guess what? I hate Alice.
Did Bella decide to survive? Did she decide to be pretty? I decided to be pretty too, but that didn't make it happen. (Wearing a monkey shirt certainly helped, though.)
I wait for a long time without anything changing. The room is still dark, the floor still cold and hard, my heart still beating faster than normal. I look down to check my watch and discover that it’s on the wrong hand—I usually wear mine on my left, not my right, and my watchband isn’t gray, it’s black. Then I notice bristly hairs on my fingers that weren’t there before. The calluses on my knuckles are gone. I look down, and I am wearing gray slacks and a gray shirt; I am thicker around the middle and thinner through the shoulders. I lift my eyes to a mirror that now stands in front of me. The face staring back at mine is Marcus’s.
Veronica Roth (Allegiant (Divergent, #3))
Do I need to check up on you guys later? You know the rules.No sleeping in opposite-sex rooms."
My face flames,and St. Clair's cheeks grow blotchy. It's true.It's a rule. One that my brain-my rule-loving, rule-abiding brain-conveniently blocked last night. It's also one notoriously ignored by the staff.
"No,Nate," we say.
He shakes his shaved head and goes back in his apartment. But the door opens quickly again,and a handful of something is thrown at us before it's slammed back shut.
Condoms.Oh my God, how humiliating.
St. Clair's entire face is now bright red as he picks the tiny silver squares off the floor and stuffs them into his coat pockets. We don't speak,don't even look at each other,as we climb the stairs to my floor. My pulse quickens with each step.Will he follow me to my room,or has Nate ruined any chance of that?
We reach the landing,and St. Clair scratches his head. "Er..."
"I'm going to get dressed for bed. Is that all right?" His voice is serious,and he watches my reaction carefully.
"Yeah.Me too.I'm going to...get ready for bed,too."
"See you in a minute?"
I swell with relief. "Up there or down here?"
"Trust me,you don't want to sleep in my bed." He laughs,and I have to turn my face away,because I do,holy crap do I ever. But I know what he means.It's true my bed is cleaner. I hurry to my room and throw on the strawberry pajamas and an Atlanta Film Festival shirt. It's not like I plan on seducing him.
Like I'd even know how.
St. Clair knocks a few minutes later, and he's wearing his white bottoms with the blue stripes again and a black T-shirt with a logo I recognize as the French band he was listening to earlier. I'm having trouble breathing.
"Room service," he says.
My mind goes...blank. "Ha ha," I say weakly.
He smiles and turns off the light. We climb into bed,and it's absolutely positively completely awkward. As usual. I roll over to my edge of the bed. Both of us are stiff and straight, careful not to touch the other person. I must be a masochist to keep putting myself in these situations. I need help. I need to see a shrink or be locked in a padded cell or straitjacketed or something.
After what feels like an eternity,St. Clair exhales loudly and shifts. His leg bumps into mine, and I flinch. "Sorry," he says.
"Thanks for letting me sleep here again. Last night..."
The pressure inside my chest is torturous. What? What what what?
"I haven't slept that well in ages."
The room is silent.After a moment, I roll back over. I slowly, slowly stretch out my leg until my foot brushes his ankle. His intake of breath is sharp. And then I smile,because I know he can't see my expression through the darkness.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
We reach the trailer and Shane digs through the pockets of the cargo pants slung over his arm until he finds the key. He pushes open the door and waits for me to pass through. Maybe later I’ll tell myself I should have thought long and hard about what I was going to do, that I should have counted to ten and waited until I regained my sanity before stepping over the threshold, evaluated the pros and cons like a thoughtful, rational adult. But I do no such thing. Shane’s eyes are on mine as I step out of my wet sneakers, drop my damp clothes in a ball on the porch, and walk inside. He follows right behind me, and even through my wet shirt I can feel the heat radiating off his bare chest. The man is a furnace.
Every warning about playing with fire zings through my mind, but I dismiss them. I want this. I’m not playing games, and neither is Shane as he grips my shoulders and turns us so my back is to the door and he’s pressed up against me. He lowers his head so our eyes are inches apart and looks at me more closely and thoughtfully than anyone ever has. He’s checking to make sure I’m okay, that my expectations are in line with what today is about. And they are. Just once, we agreed. And that will be enough.
Julianna Keyes (Just Once)
Emilia typed in her password and checked her inbox. A review by the Secretariat de Gobernación of drug cartel activities across Mexico. A report of a robbery in Acapulco’s poorest barrio neighborhood that would probably never be investigated. Notice of a reward for a child kidnapped in Ixtapa who was almost certainly dead by now.
Her phone rang. It was the desk sergeant saying that a Señor Rooker wished to see her. Emilia avoided Rico’s eye as she said, yes, the sergeant could let el señor pass into the detectives’ area.
A minute later Rucker was standing by her desk, sweat beaded on his forehead. The starched collar of his shirt was damp.
“There’s a head,” he said breathlessly. “Someone’s head in a bucket on the hood of my car.
Carmen Amato (Made in Acapulco (Emilia Cruz Mysteries))
He's a little less cool than Jude--a little lower on the social ladder. He wears the same uniform as Jude, the checked shirt and baggy jeans, but his sneakers are all wrong--cross-trainers. Does he not notice the difference between sneakers and running shoes?
Marjorie Celona (Y)
But Talin was scared of him. She had told him that to his face, and the sharp knife of it was still buried in his heart. The man wasn’t sure he wanted to chance another rejection. Keeping the animal’s instincts in check, he finally stepped out of the shadows. “Do you want to be held, Talin?” Her damp eyes widened at the blunt question, then she nodded in a little jerking motion. Something in him quieted, waiting. “Then come here.” A pause during which the entire forest seemed to freeze, the night creatures aware of the leopard’s tense watchfulness.
“Oh, God, Clay.” Suddenly her arms were wrapped around his back, her cheek pressed against the white cotton of his T-shirt.
Hardly daring to breathe, he closed his own arms around her feminine warmth, blindingly aware of every inch of her pressed into him, every spot of wetness soaking through his T-shirt. She was so small, so damn soft, her humanity apparent in the delicacy of her skin, the lightness of her bones. The Psy might be fragile in comparison to changelings, but they had powers of the mind to compensate. Humans had the same fragility but none of the psychic abilities. A wave of protectiveness washed over him. “Shh, Tally.” He used the nickname because, at this moment, he knew her. She had always had a heart too big for her body, a heart that felt such pain for others while ignoring its own. “I’ll find your lost one.”
She shook her head against him. “It’s too late. Three bodies already. Jonquil is probably dead, too.”
“Then I’ll find who did this to them and stop him.”
She stilled against him. “I didn’t come here to turn you into a killer again.
Nalini Singh (Mine to Possess (Psy-Changeling #4))
Thankfully, Gabriel was five minutes late, and by the time he knocked on the door I’d just finished putting on lipstick and slipping my feet into sandals. I opened the door.
“I hope I didn’t keep you wait . . .” His voice drifted off as he quite blatantly checked me out.
“What?” I asked, hand on my hip.
He flashed me a devilish grin. “The little pink dress. You look cute.”
What I found frumpy, he found cute. Wonder what his response would have been to the tight number. My eyes gave him a discreet once-over. He wore jeans and a Yankees T-shirt. It wasn’t exactly going to win over the locals, but I had to admit, he filled the shirt out ridiculously well. His short black hair was damp, like he’d just taken a shower. I felt my face behind to flush, so I turned away. “Come on in.”
He stopped and surveyed the foyer. “I was only here for a minute when we came to get Joni. I didn’t get a chance to check the place out.” He paused. “It’s not what I was expecting.”
“What were you expecting? Voodoo dolls hung from the ceiling?”
He smirked. “Maybe just a little one of me.”
“That’s hidden under my bed.
Kim Harrington (Clarity (Clarity, #1))
We will need to stay over two nights in a hotel on our trip home.”
Momentarily alarmed, I glanced at Ren. “Okay. Umm, I was thinking that maybe this time if you don’t mind, we could check out one of those bigger hotels. You know, something that has more people around. With elevators and rooms that lock. Or even better, a nice high-rise hotel in a big city. Far, far, far away from the jungle?”
Mr. Kadam chuckled. “I’ll see what I can do.”
I graced Mr. Kadam with a beatific smile. “Good! Could we please go now? I can’t wait to take a shower.” I opened the door to the passenger side then turned and hissed in a whisper aimed at Ren, “In my nice, upper-floor, inaccessible-to-tigers hotel room.”
He just looked at me with his innocent, blue-eyed tiger face again. I smiled wickedly at him and hopped in the Jeep, slamming the door behind me. My tiger just calmly trotted over to the back where Mr. Kadam was loading the last of his supplies and leapt up into the back seat. He leaned in the front, and before I could push him away, he gave me a big, wet, slobbery tiger kiss right on my face.
I sputtered, “Ren! That is so disgusting!”
I used my T-shirt to swipe the tiger saliva from my nose and cheek and turned to yell at him some more. He was already lying down in the back seat with his mouth hanging open, as if he were laughing. Before I could really lay into him, Mr. Kadam, who was the happiest I’d ever seen him, got into the Jeep, and we started the bumpy journey back to a civilized road.
Mr. Kadam wanted to ask me questions. I knew he was itching for information, but I was still fuming at Ren, so I lied. I asked him if he could hold off for a while so I could sleep. I yawned big for dramatic effect, and he immediately agreed to let me have some peace, which made me feel guilty. I really liked Mr. Kadam, and I hated lying to people. I excused my actions by mentally blaming Ren for this uncharacteristic behavior. Convincing myself that it was his fault was easy. I turned to the side and closed my eyes.
I slept for a while, and when I woke up, Mr. Kadam handed me a soda, a sandwich, and a banana. I raised my eyebrow at the banana and thought of several good monkey jokes I could annoy Ren with, but I kept quiet for Mr. Kadam’s sake.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
I keeled over sideways.
The world turned fluffy, bleached of all color. Nothing hurt anymore.
I was dimly aware of Diana’s face hovering over me, Meg and Hazel peering over the goddess’s shoulders.
“He’s almost gone,” Diana said.
Then I was gone. My mind slipped into a pool of cold, slimy darkness.
“Oh, no, you don’t.” My sister’s voice woke me rudely.
I’d been so comfortable, so nonexistent.
Life surged back into me—cold, sharp, and unfairly painful. Diana’s face came into focus. She looked annoyed, which seemed on-brand for her.
As for me, I felt surprisingly good. The pain in my gut was gone. My muscles didn’t burn. I could breathe without difficulty. I must have slept for decades.
“H-how long was I out?” I croaked.
“Roughly three seconds,” she said. “Now, get up, drama queen.”
She helped me to my feet. I felt a bit unsteady, but I was delighted to find that my legs had any strength at all. My skin was no longer gray. The lines of infection were gone. The Arrow of Dodona was still in my hand, though he had gone silent, perhaps in awe of the goddess’s presence. Or perhaps he was still trying to get the taste of “Sweet Caroline” out of his imaginary mouth.
I beamed at my sister. It was so good to see her disapproving I-can’t-believe-you’re-my-brother frown again. “I love you,” I said, my voice hoarse with emotion.
She blinked, clearly unsure what to do with this information. “You really have changed.”
“I missed you!”
“Y-yes, well. I’m here now. Even Dad couldn’t argue with a Sibylline invocation from Temple Hill.”
“It worked, then!” I grinned at Hazel and Meg. “It worked!”
“Yeah,” Meg said wearily. “Hi, Artemis.”
“Diana,” my sister corrected. “But hello, Meg.” For her, my sister had a smile. “You’ve done well, young warrior.”
Meg blushed. She kicked at the scattered zombie dust on the floor and shrugged. “Eh.”
I checked my stomach, which was easy, since my shirt was in tatters. The bandages had vanished, along with the festering wound. Only a thin white scar remained. “So…I’m healed?” My flab told me she hadn’t restored me to my godly self. Nah, that would have been too much to expect.
Diana raised an eyebrow. “Well, I’m not the goddess of healing, but I’m still a goddess. I think I can take care of my little brother’s boo-boos.”
Rick Riordan (The Tyrant’s Tomb (The Trials of Apollo, #4))
She is drinking peach tea in the plaza and she is too hot because her blue and black checked shirt is for winter not for summer in Andalucía. I think she thinks she’s a cowboy in her work shirt, always alone with no one to look at the mountain horizon at night and say my god those stars.
Deborah Levy (Hot Milk)
My mom guards me. Dad wraps his big hands around her throat, shaking her. “Huh, you still think he’s making the right choice?” I run over, grab his TV remote, and hit him so hard in the back of his head with it that the batteries pop out. He shoves my mom into the intercom phone and she falls to the floor, desperately trying to catch her breath. Before I can check on her, my dad—the man who fucking played catch with me—punches me in the back of my head, and I crash into a tower of Eric’s used games. He drags me by my shirt collar and leaves me outside the apartment door. “I’ll be damned if I’m alive the day you bring a boy home, you fucking faggot.” I hear the door lock and I cry harder than I ever have in my entire life because I can’t change the way I am, not as fast and as easily as my father just stopped being Dad. Last night I was left out in the hallway
Adam Silvera (More Happy Than Not)
I checked my reflection. Not bad - Ralph Lauren in banker blue, professional, with a crisp white shirt. It probably wouldn't get me a date, but it said that I care, that I am serious about my work, and that I'm not interested in competing with my clients. The shoes, however, probably said more to me than about me. Right now they were saying, Hey, you up there. You're going to have to skip some things this month. Okay, so I spend a little too extravagantly on shoes now and then, but I know people who spend thousands each month on cocaine, so comparatively speaking, it really isn't that big a deal.
Amanda Kyle Williams (The Stranger You Seek (Keye Street, #1))
The great chandeliers hang silent. The tables in the vast dining room overlooking the lake are spread with white cloth and silver as if for dinners before the war. At a little after 4, into the green room with the slow walk of aged people, the Nabokovs come. He wears a navy blue cardigan, a blue-checked shirt, gray slacks and a tie. His shoes have crepe soles. He is balding, with a fringe of gray hair. His hazel-green eyes are watering, oysterous, as he says. He is 75, born on the same day as Shakespeare, April 23. He is at the end of a great career, a career half-carved out of a language not his own.
Some of the leaders of the backlash said their name was an acronym for “Taxed Enough Already.” Maybe this was true at first. But the Tea Party was soon infused with paranoia that had nothing to do with taxes. While the ugliness caught Washington observers by surprise, anyone who had spent time in a battleground state recognized it instantly. Back in Ohio, volunteers had been told to check boxes corresponding to a voter’s most important issue: economy, environment, health care. But what box were you supposed to check when a voter’s concern was that Obama was a secret Muslim? Or a terrorist? Or a communist? Or the actual, literal Antichrist? How could you convince a voter whose pastor told them your candidate would bring about the biblical end of days? Other people were just plain racist. Outside an unemployment center in Canton, a skinny white man with stringy hair and a ratty T-shirt told me he would never, ever support my candidate. When I asked why, he took two fingers and tapped them against the veiny underside of his forearm. At first I didn’t understand. “You won’t vote for Obama because you’re a heroin addict?” It took me at least ten seconds to realize he was gesturing to the color of his skin.
David Litt (Thanks, Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years)
I walked him to the door. “Is there anything else you want me to do? Check your mail? Water your plants?”
“My mail is being forwarded to my lawyer. And I’m watering my own plants.”
“So, you feel safe in the Batcave?” The corners of his mouth curved into the hint of a smile. He leaned forward and kissed me at the base of my neck, just above my T-shirt collar.
“Sweet dreams.” Before he left, he said good-night to Grandma, who was still in the kitchen.
“What a nice, polite young man,” Grandma said. “And he’s got an excellent package.”
I went straight to her closet, found the bottle of booze, and dumped some into my cocoa.
Janet Evanovich (Hot Six (Stephanie Plum, #6))
A T-shirt is a T-shirt. Spending hundreds of dollars on it doesn't elevate it. He was under-dressed, even if his casual outfit did cost more than my suit and tie.
I once had another fashion victim tell me, 'This T-shirt cost twelve thousand dollars!'
What difference does that make? If that's the message you want to send about yourself and your fashion sense, you should wear the price tag, or that should be the message on your T-shirt: 'Hi. This T-shirt costs more than a semester of college.' Or: 'Hi. I have money to burn. Please help me get rid of all this wealth.' And my shirt, in turn, would say, 'Great. Please write a $12,000 check to charity.
Tim Gunn (Tim Gunn's Fashion Bible: The Fascinating History of Everything in Your Closet)
Standing, Rider lifted his arms and stretched. His shirt rode up, baring a sliver of his stomach. My gaze dropped and focused in. His lower stomach was unbelievably taut. Defined.
Cheeks flushing, I looked away and caught Hector’s knowing gaze. Crap. I needed to be better about checking out guys. Like incognito style.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (The Problem with Forever)
He wet a paper towel, and took my chin, lifting and wiping my face.
"Derek? I'm not hurt."
"You're covered in blood."
"But it's not mine. Honest. It's from—"
"The werewolf. I know." He picked up my hand and started cleaning it. "That's why I have to get it off."
"Derek?" I leaned down, trying to see his face. "Are you okay?"
He kept scrubbing. "There are two ways to become a werewolf. Either you're born or you get bitten by one. If you get saliva in your bloodstream, it's like a virus."
"Dad says no, it's just saliva. But he could be wrong, and you've got cuts and scrapes and blood all over."
I had a few cuts and scrapes, and I was only flecked with blood, but I kept my mouth shut and let him clean.
As he did, I tried to check out how badly he was hurt. His scraped cheeks were pitted with gravel. His nose was bloodied. Broken? One eye was already darkening. Was that blood in the corner? His lip was cut and swollen. Were any teeth loose? MIssing?
"Stop fidgeting, Chloe."
I couldn't help it. His injuries obviously needed more attention than mine, but here was no sense saying anything until he was done.
Finally, when he seemed to have scrubbed off every fleck of blood—and a few layers of skin—I said, "Okay, now on to you."
"Take off your jacket and sweatshirt."
"Derek, I'm clean. Trust me, I've never been this clean."
"You've got blood on your cuffs."
"Okay, now can we take care of the guy that was actually in the fight? There's a lot of blood. It seems to be mostly from your nose."
"You got hit in the chest a few times. How are your ribs?"
"Maybe bruised. Nothing critical."
He sighed, like now I was the one fussing too much
Kelley Armstrong (The Awakening (Darkest Powers, #2))
It was Colonel Parkman who upped stakes, crossed the border, and named our town, thus perversely commemorating a battle in which he'd lost. (Though perhaps that's not so unusual: many people take a curatorial interest in their own scars.) He's shown astride his horse, waving a sword and about to gallop into the nearby petunia bed: a craggy man with seasoned eyes and pointed beard, every sculptor's idea of every cavalry leader. No one knows what Colonel Parkman really looked like, since he left no pictorial evidence of himself and the statue wasn't erected until 1885, but he looks like this now. Such is the tyranny of Art.
On the left-hand side of the lawn, also with a petunia bed, is an equally mythic figure: the Weary Soldier, his three top shirt buttons undone, his neck bowed as if for the headman's axe, his uniform rumpled, his helmet askew, leaning on his malfunctioning Ross rifle. Forever young, forever exhausted, he tops the War Memorial, his skin burning green in the sun, pigeon droppings running down his face like tears.
Margaret Atwood (The Blind Assassin)
What first comes across our minds
About the stocky Mexican
Pushing a mower across the lawn
At 7 a.m. on a Saturday
As the roar of the cutter wakes us?
Let me take a guess.
Why do they have to come so damn early?
What do we make of his flannel
Shirt missing buttons at the cuffs,
Threadbare at the shoulders,
The grass stains around his knees,
The dirt like roadmaps to nowhere,
Between the wrinkles of his neck?
Let me take a shot. Dirty Mexican.
Would his appearance lead us to believe
He is a border jumper or wetback
Who hits the bar top with an empty shot glass
For the twelfth time then goes home
To kick his wife around like fallen grapefruit
Lying on the ground?
First, the stocky Mexican isn’t mowing the lawn
At 7 a.m. on a Saturday.
He doesn’t work weekends anymore ever since
He lost one-third of his route
To laborers willing to work for next to nothing.
Second, he knows better than to kneel
On the wet grass because, well, the knees
Of his pants will become grass-stained
And pants don’t grow on trees, even here,
Close to Palm Springs.
Instead, after 25 years of the same blue collar work,
Two sons out and one going to college,
Rather than jail, and a small but modest savings
In case he loses the remaining two-thirds
Of his work—no matter how small and reluctantly
The checks come in the mail—
My father the stocky gardener believes
He firmly holds his life
In both his hands like pruning shears,
Chopping branches and blossoms,
Never looking downward as they fall to his feet
In pieces like the American dream.
John Olivares Espinoza (The Date Fruit Elegies)
I looked at him and drew him into a poignant silence, traced my fingers over his lips, I watched Dominic’s green-grey eyes with fiery certainty as I swiped my thumb on his plump bottom lip and then pulled down, opening it for a kiss. He surrendered and slid his tongue against mine almost on instinct, which is when I made my move.
Grabbing his tongue at first gently between my teeth, I felt him tense and shudder, the movement replaced with a moan and an acquiescence when I sucked it hard to a tingling numbness between my lips. I repeated the movement a couple of times before letting him go, and by the time I did he was close to tearing my t-shirt with the ferocity of his grip. Dominic drew in a sharp, desperate breath when I pulled back, and stared at me, wide-eyed and trying to process this.
Every stage of understanding played over a fistful of split-seconds on his face, and at last he whispered: “Do you mean what I think you mean by that?”
Excerpt From: Hoffman, Vee. “Acclamation.” Indie Inklings Ltd. iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.
Check out this book on the iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/M...
Excerpt From: Hoffman, Vee. “Acclamation.” Indie Inklings Ltd. iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.
Vee Hoffman (Acclamation (Acclamation, #1))
I checked the position the car was facing. Grover had pulled off the road directly into the brunt of the storm, facing west. I felt the dampness on my right shoulder where the rain had forced its way through the cracked weather stripping around the car windows. “Yes.” “Hnnh,” Dan said. “Waziya. There is a message.” “What do you mean?” I said, slightly disconcerted. “Waziya is not good. He is cold and cruel.” “Waziya?” “The wind from the north.” Dan was pulling a small pouch from inside his shirt. It
Kent Nerburn (Neither Wolf nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder)
My bad mood returns like an unwanted rash. “I got in a fight with Logan. And that’s all I’m saying on the subject, because if I talk about it right now, it’ll just piss me off again and then I’ll be too distracted to produce Dumb and Dumber’s show.”
We both glance at the main booth, where Evelyn is using the reflection on her water glass to check her makeup, dabbing delicately at her eye shadow. Pace is engrossed with his phone, his chair tipped back so far that I predict a very loud disaster in the near future.
“God, I love them,” Daisy says with a snicker. “I don’t think I’ve ever met two more self-absorbed people.”
Morris saunters out of the booth and wanders over to us. He notices Daisy’s shirt and says, “Sweetheart, we’re at work. Show some decorum.”
“Says the guy who ripped this shirt off me in the supply closet.” Rolling her eyes, she takes a step away. “I’m going to make myself presentable in the bathroom. I’d do it out here, but I’m scared Dumber might take a picture and post it on a porn site.”
“Wait, the names Dumb and Dumber actually correspond to each of them?” Morris says in surprise. “I thought it was more of a general thing. Which one is Dumber?”
The second the question leaves his mouth, a muffled crash reverberates from the booth, and we all turn to see Pace tangled up on the floor. Yup, the guy who spent an hour regaling me about his cow-tipping days back in Iowa? Tipped himself right over.
From behind the glass, Pace bounces to his feet, notices us staring, and mouths the words, “I’m okay!”
Morris sighs. “I withdraw the question
Elle Kennedy (The Mistake (Off-Campus, #2))
Do you believe in love at first sight?”
He made himself look at her face, at her wide-open eyes and earnest forehead. At her unbearably sweet mouth.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Do you believe in love before that?”
Her breath caught in her throat like a sore hiccup.
And then it was too much to keep trying not to kiss her.
She came readily into his arms. Lincoln leaned against the coffee machine and pulled her onto him completely. There it was again, that impossible to describe kiss. This is how 2011 should have ended, he thought. This is infinity.
The first time Beth pulled away, he pulled her back.
The second time, he bit her lip.
Then her neck.
Then the collar of her shirt.
“I don’t know…,” she said, sitting up in his lap, laying her check on the top of his head. “I don’t know what you meant by love before love at first sight.”
Lincoln pushed his face into her shoulder and tried to think of a good way to answer.
“Just that… I knew how I felt about you before I ever saw you,” he said, “when I still thought I might never see you…”
She held his head in her hands and titled it back, so she could see his face.
“That’s ridiculous,” she said. Which made him laugh.
“Absolutely,” he said.
“No, I mean it,” Beth said. “Men fall in love with their eyes.” He closed his. “That’s practically science,” she said.
“Maybe,” Lincoln said. Her fingers felt so good in his hair. “But I couldn’t see you, so…”
“So, what did you see?”
“Just…the sort of girl who would write the sort of things that you wrote.”
Lincoln opened his eyes. Beth was studying his face. She looked skeptical-maybe about more than just the last thing he said. This was important, he realized.
“Everything,” he said, sitting straighter, keeping hold of her waist. “Everything you wrote about your work, about your boyfriend…The way you comforted Jennifer and made her laugh, through the baby and after. I pictured a girl who could be kind, and that kind of funny. I pictured a girl who was that alive…”
She looked guarded. Lincoln couldn’t tell from her eyes whether he was pushing her away or winning her over.
“A girl who never got tired of her favourite movies,” he said softly. “Who saved dresses like ticket stubs. Who could get high on the weather..
“I pictured a girl who made every moment, everything she touched, and everyone around her feel lighter and sweeter. I pictured you,” he said. “I just didn’t know what you looked like. And then, when I did know what you looked like, you looked like the girl who was all those things. You looked like the girl I loved.”
Beth’s fingers trembled in his hair, and her forehead dropped against his. A heavy, wet tear fell onto Lincoln’s lips, and he licked it. He pulled her close, as close as he could. Like he didn’t care for the moment whether she could breath. Like there were two of them and only one parachute.
“Beth,” he barely said, pressing his face against hers until their lashes brushed, pressing his hand into the small of her back. “I don’t think I can explain it. I don’t think I can make any more sense. But I’ll keep trying. If you want me to.”
She almost shook her head. “No,” she said, “no more explaining. Or apologizing. I don’t think it matters how we ended up here. I just…I want to stay…I want..
He kissed her then.
In the middle of the sentence.
Rainbow Rowell (Attachments)
It was Day Three, Freshman Year, and I was a little bit lost in the school library,looking for a bathroom that wasn't full of blindingly shiny sophomores checking their lip gloss.
Day Three.Already pretty clear on the fact that I would be using secondary bathrooms for at least the next three years,until being a senior could pass for confidence.For the moment, I knew no one,and was too shy to talk to anyone. So that first sight of Edward: pale hair that looked like he'd just run his hands through it, paint-smeared white shirt,a half smile that was half wicked,and I was hooked.
Since, "Hi,I'm Ella.You look like someone I'd like to spend the rest of my life with," would have been totally insane, I opted for sitting quietly and staring.Until the bell rang and I had to rush to French class,completely forgetting to pee.
Edward Willing.Once I knew his name, the rest was easy.After all,we're living in the age of information. Wikipedia, iPhones, 4G ntworks, social networking that you can do from a thousand miles away.The upshot being that at any given time over the next two years, I could sit twenty feet from him in the library, not saying a word, and learn a lot about him.ENough, anyway, for me to become completely convinced that the Love at First Sight hadn't been a fluke.
It's pretty simple.Edward matched four and a half of my If My Prince Does, In Fact, Come Someday,It Would Be Great If He Could Meet These Five Criteria.
1. Interested in art. For me, it's charcoal. For Edward, oil paint and bronze. That's almost enough right there. Nice lips + artist= Ella's prince.
2. Not afraid of love. He wrote, "Love is one of two things worth dying for.I have yet to decide on the second."
3.Or of telling the truth. "How can I believe that other people say if I lie to them?"
4.Hot. Why not?I can dream.
5.Daring. Mountain climbing, cliff dying, defying the parents. Him, not me. I'm terrified of an embarrassing number of things, including heights, convertibles, moths, and those comedians everyone loves who stand onstage and yell insults at the audience.
5, subsection a. Daring enough to take a chance on me.Of course, in the end, that No. 5a is the biggie. And the problem. No matter how muuch I worshipped him,no matter how good a pair we might have been,it was never, ever going to happen. To be fair to Edward,it's not like he was given an opportunity to get to know me. I'm not stupid.I know there are a few basic truths when it comes to boys and me.
Truth: You have to talk to a boy-really talk,if you want him to see past the fact that you're not beautiful.
Truth: I'm not beautiful. Or much of a conversationalist.
Truth: I'm not entirely sure that the stuff behind the not-beautiful is going to be all that alluring, either.
And one written-in-stone, heartbreaking truth about this guy.
Truth:Edward Willing died in 1916.
Melissa Jensen (The Fine Art of Truth or Dare)
One more time. I’m—not—yours. And hitting Cade like that was so . . . so wrong! You could have killed him!”
“Do you want me tae?”
She started away. “I’m going to check on him—”
“Then you do want me tae!” He raised her elbow and spun her around, a wild look in his eyes. His shirt was ripped almost free, displaying his sheening chest, still heaving from the battle. “This is a vulnerable time. I have no’ claimed you, and the full moon nears. Yet you receive the attentions of another male? Witch, you play with fire!” He swiped the back of his hand over his bleeding temple. “Forget the demon. He knows you’re no’ his. If he’d truly believed you were, he would have put up more of a fight. He dinna even hit a rage state.”
“You didn’t change to your werewolf form for me!”
“I dinna want you to see it!” he roared, grasping her upper arms. “Doona ever doubt my desire for you—if I truly was in a contest for the right to have you, I’d have bitten his goddamned throat free, then laid it at your feet in offer!”
Her lips parted. She thought she’d just caught a glimpse of the inner workings of how a Lykae male thought.
And she . . . liked it.
Kresley Cole (Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night (Immortals After Dark, #3))
Seth returned with the ax to the private door. So much for stealth. If the garage door and elevator had not alerted the zombies, this should do the job. The ax was fairly heavy, but, choking up a little, he gave it a solid swing, and the bit crunched into the wood about a foot away from the doorknob. He wrenched it free and attacked the door again. A few more strokes and he had chopped a hole in the door large enough to reach his hand through. Seth wiped the handle of the ax with his shirt before setting it aside, just in case vampires knew how to check for fingerprints.
Brandon Mull (Rise of the Evening Star (Fablehaven, #2))
It isn't just the idea of a woman in a truck. At this point, they're everywhere. The statisticians tell us today's woman is as likely to buy a truck as a minivan. One cheers the suffrage, but the effect is dilutive. My head doesn't snap around the way it used to. Ignoring for the moment that my head (or the gray hairs upon it) may be the problem, I think it's not about women in trucks, it's about certain women in certain trucks. Not so long ago I was fueling my lame tan sedan at the Gas-N-Go when a woman roared across the lot in a dusty pickup and pulled up to park by the yellow cage in which they lock up the LP bottles. She dismounted wearing scuffed boots and dirty jeans and a T-shirt that was overwashed and faded, and at the very sight of her I made an involuntary noise that went, approximately, ohf...! I suppose ohf...! reflects as poorly on my character as wolf whistle, but I swear it escaped without premeditation. Strictly a spinal reflex. [...] The woman plucking her eyebrows in the vanity mirror of her waxed F-150 Lariat does not elicit the reflex. Even less so if her payload includes soccer gear or nothing at all. That woman at the Gas-N-Go? I checked the back of her truck. Hay bales and a coon dog crate. Ohf...!
Fitz sat in a green leather armchair. To Ethel’s surprise, Albert Solman was there, too, in a black suit and a stiff-collared shirt. A lawyer by training, Solman was what Edwardian gentlemen called a man of business. He managed Fitz’s money, checking his income from coal royalties and rents, paying the bills, and issuing cash for staff wages. He also dealt with leases and other contracts, and occasionally brought lawsuits against people who tried to cheat Fitz. Ethel had met him before and did not like him. She thought he was a know-all. Perhaps all lawyers were; she did not know: he was the only one she had ever met.
Ken Follett (Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy #1))
Oh. I get it." Abby laughed. "This is where you bid on someone to wash your car."
"Naked," Charli said.
"Or check the shower tiles."
Abby laughed. "I'm guessing that as long as there's wet and naked, we're all good."
Fiona let out a long sigh.
"What was that?" Charli asked with a lift to her perfect brows. "Have you got a victim---I mean a participant in mind?"
Fiona glanced across the hall. "Have you seen Jackson's fireman buddy?"
"No." Charli looked across the room. "Should we?"
"Too late," Fiona said. "I've got first dibs."
At that moment, Abby noticed the Wilder boys walk across the front of the room near the stage. Individually, they were stunning. As a group, they looked as appetizing as a decadent box of chocolates. Abby couldn't tear her eyes away from Jackson. Put him in a fireman suit, a tux jacket and jeans, or a simple T-shirt and cargo shorts, and he took her breath away.
Truthfully, she liked him best in noting at all.
"Holy guacamole." Charli gestured to a tall, dark, and devastating man walking with the group. "Is that who you are talking about?"
Fiona nodded. "I want to lick him up one side and down the other like a cherry Popsicle."
"Honey, you bid as high as you can go," Charli said. "And if you run out of money, you just let me know. I'd be happy to chip in.
Candis Terry (Sweetest Mistake (Sweet, Texas, #2))
He was in a cage. He quickly rolled onto his back and stood, not checking to see how high the cage was. His skull made contact with the bars on top, knocking his gaze downward as he cursed out loud. And then he saw himself. He was wearing a flowing, puffy white shirt. Even more troubling was the fact that he also appeared to be wearing a pair of very tight leather pants. Very tight. Very leather. Simon looked down at himself and took it all in. The billows of the shirt. The deep, chest-exposing V. The tightness of the leather. “Why is it,” he said after a moment, “that whenever I think I’ve found the most terrible thing that could happen to me, I’m always wrong.” As
Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
They all watched as Genya checked his pulse, his breathing. She shook her head.
“Zoya,” said Sturmhond. His voice had the ring of command.
Zoya sighed and pushed up her sleeves. “Unbutton his shirt.”
“What are you doing?” Kaz asked as Genya undid Kuwei’s remaining buttons. His chest was narrow, his ribs visible, all of it spattered with the pig’s blood they’d encased in the wax bladder.
“I’m either going to wake up his heart or cook him from the inside out,” said Zoya. “Stand back.”
They did their best to obey in the cramped space. “What exactly does she mean by that?” Kaz asked Nina.
“I’m not sure,” Nina admitted. Zoya had her hands out and her eyes closed. The air felt suddenly cool and moist.
Inej inhaled deeply. “It smells like a storm.”
Zoya opened her eyes and brought her hands together as if in prayer, rubbing her palms against each other briskly.
Nina felt the pressure drop, tasted metal on her tongue. “I think … I think she’s summoning lightning.”
“Is that safe?” asked Inej.
“Not remotely,” said Sturmhond.
“Has she at least done it before?” said Kaz.
“For this purpose?” asked Sturmhond. “I’ve seen her do it twice. It worked splendidly. Once.” His voice was oddly familiar, and Nina had the sense they’d met before.
“Ready?” Zoya asked.
Genya shoved a thickly folded piece of fabric between Kuwei’s teeth and stepped back. With a shudder, Nina realized it was to keep him from biting his tongue.
“I really hope she gets this right,” murmured Nina.
“Not as much as Kuwei does,” said Kaz.
“It’s tricky,” said Sturmhond. “Lightning doesn’t like a master. Zoya’s putting her own life at risk too.”
“She didn’t strike me as the type,” Kaz said.
“You’d be surprised,” Nina and Sturmhond replied in unison. Again, Nina had the eerie sensation that she knew him.
She saw that Rotty had squeezed his eyes shut, unable to watch. Inej’s lips were moving in what Nina knew must be a prayer.
A faint blue glow crackled between Zoya’s palms. She took a deep breath and slapped them down on Kuwei’s chest.
Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
Christ, I’m tired. I need sleep. I need peace. I need for my balls to not be so blue they’re practically purple. As purple as Sarah Von Titebottum’s—
My mind comes to a screeching halt with the unexpected thought. And the image that accompanies it—the odd, blushing lass with her glasses and her books and very tight bottom.
Sarah’s not a contestant on the show, so I’m willing to bet both my indigo balls that there’s not a camera in her room. And, I can’t believe I’m fucking thinking this, but, even better—none of the other girls will know where to find me—including Elizabeth.
I let the cameras noisily track me to the lavatory, but then, like an elite operative of the Secret Intelligence Service, I plaster myself to the wall beneath their range and slide my way out the door.
Less than five minutes later, I’m in my sleeping pants and a white T-shirt, barefoot with my guitar in hand, knocking on Sarah’s bedroom door. I checked the map Vanessa gave me earlier. Her room is on the third floor, in the corner of the east wing, removed from the main part of the castle. The door opens just a crack and dark brown eyes peer out.
“Sanctuary,” I plead.
Her brow crinkles and the door opens just a bit wider. “I beg your pardon?”
“I haven’t slept in almost forty-eight hours. My best friend’s girlfriend is trying to praying-mantis me and the sound of the cameras following me around my room is literally driving me mad. I’m asking you to take me in.”
And she blushes. Great.
“You want to sleep in here? With me?”
I scoff. “No, not with you—just in your room, love.”
I don’t think about how callous the words sound—insulting—until they’re out of my mouth. Could I be any more of a dick?
Thankfully, Sarah doesn’t look offended.
“Why here?” she asks.
“Back in the day, the religious orders used to give sanctuary to anyone who asked. And since you dress like a nun, it seemed like the logical choice.”
I don’t know why I said that. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Somebody just fucking shoot me and be done with it.
Sarah’s lips tighten, her head tilts, and her eyes take on a dangerous glint.
I think Scooby-Doo put it best when he said, Ruh-roh.
“Let me make sure I’ve got this right—you need my help?”
“You need shelter, protection, sanctuary that only I can give?”
“And you think teasing me about my clothes is a wise strategy?”
I hold up my palms. “I never said I was wise. Exhausted, defenseless, and desperate.”
I pout . . . but in a manly kind of way.
A smile tugs at her lips. And that’s when I know she’s done for. With a sigh, she opens the door wide. “Well, it is your castle. Come in.”
Huh. She’s right—it is my castle. I really need to start remembering that
Emma Chase (Royally Matched (Royally, #2))
Gideon was quickly checking through her muscular structure and then weaving very gently into the complexities of her reproductive system. Suddenly Legna cried out again, her hands hitting his chest and grabbing fistfuls of his shirt, her entire body trembling from head to toe. This time Gideon gave the reaction his full attention. He looked into her wide eyes, the pupils dilating as he watched. Her mouth formed a soft, silent circle of surprise.
“What are you doing?” she asked, her breath falling short and quick.
“Nothing,” he insisted, his expression reflecting his baffled thoughts. “Merely continuing the exam. What are you feeling?”
Legna couldn’t put the sensation into words. Her entire body felt as if it were pooling liquid fire, like magma dripping through her, centering under the hand he had just splayed over her lower belly. So, being the empath she was, she described it in the only way she could with any efficiency and effectiveness. She sent the sensations to him, deeply, firmly, without preparation or permission, exactly the way she had received them.
In an instant, Gideon went from being in control of a neutral examination to an internal thermonuclear flashpoint of arousal that literally took his breath away. His hand flexed on her belly, crushing the silk of her dress within his fist.
“Legna!” he cried hoarsely. “What are you doing?”
She didn’t even seem aware of him, her eyes sliding closed and her head falling back as she tried to gulp in oxygen. His eyes slid down over her and he saw the flush and rigidity of erogenous heat building with incredible speed beneath her skin. And as it built in her, it built in him. She had created a loop between them, a locked cycle that started nowhere, ended nowhere. All it did was spill through and through them.
“Stop,” he commanded, his voice rough and desperate as he tried to clear his mind and control the impulses surging through him. “Legna, stop this!”
Legna dropped her head forward, her eyes flicking open and upward until she was gazing at him from under her lashes with the volatile, predatory gaze of a cat.
A cat in heat.
Jacquelyn Frank (Gideon (Nightwalkers, #2))
As it typically was, my hotel room was alarmed in all kinds of ways, and all around me in the hotel were agents. And as they typically did, the agents gave me a device with a button to push in the event of dire emergency. I was afraid of this thing and always put it far away from me in a hotel room, so I didn’t accidentally touch it during the night. This night, I put it on a countertop in the outer room and went to sleep in the bedroom, far away from it. I didn’t tell Patrice I had put the button on the counter in the outer room, the exact place where she was changing quietly at 2:00 A.M. so as not to wake me. She must have put something on top of the button, because there was pounding on the door about five seconds later. She opened the door a crack to see the lead agent standing at an odd angle, wearing a T-shirt and boxer shorts. He was holding his arm so she couldn’t see his hand behind his back. He looked very tense. “Is everything all right, ma’am?” “Yes. I’m just getting ready for bed.” “Are you sure everything is all right, ma’am?” “Yes.” “Can I see the director, ma’am?” “He’s sleeping in the other room.” “Will you check on him, please?” Patrice walked to the bedroom door, saw me, and reported back. “I see him there sleeping. He’s fine.” “Thank you, ma’am. Sorry to bother you.” What Patrice couldn’t see, but I learned the next morning, was that there were agents stacked down the wall on either side of the door, guns held low and behind their backs. She had touched the button. My bad.
James B. Comey (A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership)
Oscar hung his jacket on the back of a chair and undid the first few buttons of his checked shirt. Camille’s fingers trembled as she reached for the lamp on the dresser and twisted the knob, lowering the wick until the light it gave off was that of a small candle’s flame. She sat on the bed, and the other side of the hand-rolled mattress dipped with Oscar’s weight. She didn’t know how to look at him, if she should lie down or just come to her senses and ask him to leave. God, she wasn’t doing any of this right.
“You sleep sitting up?” he asked.
Camille smiled, thankful he’d lightened the moment enough for her to lean back onto one of the pillows. Turning on her side, she saw he’d already taken the same position. They lay without touching, without talking, only looking. His eyes grazed her body, slowly absorbing the pink skin of her neck, the slight curves of her breasts, and the arc of her hip. He didn’t need to lay a finger on her for the breath to stall in her lungs.
He breeched the few inches between them by sliding his hand atop hers, his skin warm and dry while beads of nervous sweat formed hot on her back. Camille reached out and let her fingertip travel along the fullness of his lower lip and down the curve of his chin. With one sweeping movement, Oscar pulled her tight against his chest and kissed her. A sensation kindled between her hips, spreading to every nerve ending in her body. This was it, the fire and heat she’d always yearned for. All these years, and Oscar had been right in front of her the whole time.
Angie Frazier (Everlasting (Everlasting, #1))
I didn’t answer, occupied in dissolving the penicillin tablets in the vial of sterile water. I selected a glass barrel, fitted a needle, and pressed the tip through the rubber covering the mouth of the bottle. Holding it up to the light, I pulled back slowly on the plunger, watching the thick white liquid fill the barrel, checking for bubbles. Then pulling the needle free, I depressed the plunger slightly until a drop of liquid pearled from the point and rolled slowly down the length of the spike. “Roll onto your good side,” I said, turning to Jamie, “and pull up your shirt.” He eyed the needle in my hand with keen suspicion, but reluctantly obeyed. I surveyed the terrain with approval. “Your bottom hasn’t changed a bit in twenty years,” I remarked, admiring the muscular curves. “Neither has yours,” he replied courteously, “but I’m no insisting you expose it. Are ye suffering a sudden attack of lustfulness?” “Not just at present,” I said evenly, swabbing a patch of skin with a cloth soaked in brandy. “That’s a verra nice make of brandy,” he said, peering back over his shoulder, “but I’m more accustomed to apply it at the other end.” “It’s also the best source of alcohol available. Hold still now, and relax.” I jabbed deftly and pressed the plunger slowly in. “Ouch!” Jamie rubbed his posterior resentfully. “It’ll stop stinging in a minute.” I poured an inch of brandy into the cup. “Now you can have a bit to drink—a very little bit.” He drained the cup without comment, watching me roll up the collection of syringes. Finally he said, “I thought ye stuck pins in ill-wish dolls when ye meant to witch someone; not in the people themselves.” “It’s not a pin, it’s a hypodermic syringe.” “I dinna care what ye call it; it felt like a bloody horseshoe nail. Would ye care to tell me why jabbing pins in my arse is going to help my arm?” I took a deep breath. “Well, do you remember my once telling you about germs?” He looked quite blank. “Little beasts too small to see,” I elaborated. “They can get into your body through bad food or water, or through open wounds, and if they do, they can make you ill.” He stared at his arm with interest. “I’ve germs in my arm, have I?” “You very definitely have.” I tapped a finger on the small flat box. “The medicine I just shot into your backside kills germs, though. You get another shot every four hours ’til this time tomorrow, and then we’ll see how you’re doing.” I paused. Jamie was staring at me, shaking his head. “Do you understand?” I asked. He nodded slowly. “Aye, I do. I should ha’ let them burn ye, twenty years ago.
Diana Gabaldon (Voyager (Outlander, #3))
He looked her face over, loving the strong features and the short hair and the piercing forest green eyes. “I never would have asked you, you know…to blow everything you have here away for me.”
“That’s only one of the reasons I love you.”
“Will you tell me the others later?”
“Maybe.” She slipped her hand between his legs, shocking the shit out of him and making him gasp. “Might show you, too.”
He covered her mouth with his and pushed his tongue into her as he backed her up against the wall. He didn’t care if Rhage waited on the front lawn for an extra— His phone went off. And kept ringing. V lifted his head and looked through the window by the front door. Rhage was on the front lawn, phone to his ear, staring back. The brother made a show of checking his watch, then flashing his middle finger at V. Vishous pounded a fist into the Sheetrock and stepped off from Jane. “I’m coming back at the end of the night. Be naked.”
“Wouldn’t you rather undress me?”
“No, because I’d shred that shirt, and I want you sleeping in it every night until you’re in my bed with me. Be. Naked.”
His whole body throbbed at the disobedience. And she knew it, her stare level and erotic. “God, I love you,” he said.
“I know. Now run along and kill something. I’ll be waiting for you.”
He smiled at her. “Couldn’t love you more if I tried.”
He kissed her and dematerialized out front to Rhage’s side, making sure some mhis was in place. Oh, great. It was raining. Man, he’d so much rather be cozied up with Jane than out with his brother, and he couldn’t help but shoot a short-stack glare at Rhage. “Like another five minutes would kill you?”
“Please. You start down that road with your female and I’ll be here until summer.”
-Vishous, Jane, & Rhage
J.R. Ward (Lover Unbound (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #5))
Someone else’s laundry is already whipping around in the perennial wind that blows above the city: long white T-shirts dancing in the sun like captive angels. Sam finds a rack that is unoccupied and, with slow and firm movements, squeezes out her washload and hangs it up. she will check on their progress in a couple more hours.
She takes a shower and goes back to bed. The phone is ringing, a fragile hopeful sound. The eighth ring is cut off. Sam allows her mind a few fanciful arabesque before deciding it probably wasn’t anyone she would want to talk to. She thinks with relief of how efficiently she has washed the boy and his treacherous molecules of his perspiration, his scent, his heat, his maleness, our of her clothing, out of the very fibers of her being.
There he goes, hello, good-bye, dissipating in the azure sky, bleached of all meaning by the sun and wind.
I live to do the laundry, she thinks, and smiles; she has not felt this clever in a long time.
Lakambini A. Sitoy (Jungle Planet and Other Stories)
I tell him I’d better get going, because Margot’s coming home from Scotland tonight, and I want to stock the fridge with all her favorite foods.
Peter’s face falls. “You don’t want to hang out a little longer? I can take you to the store.”
“I still have to clean up the upstairs, too,” I say, standing up.
He tugs on my shirt and tries to pull me back onto the bed. “Come on, five more minutes.”
I lie back down next to him and he cuddles in close, but I’m still thinking about the yearbook. I’ve been working on his scrapbook for months; the least he can do is write me a nice yearbook message.
“This is good practice for college,” he murmurs, pulling me toward him, wrapping his arms around me. “The beds are small at UVA. How big are the beds at UNC?”
My back to him, I say, “I don’t know. I didn’t get to see the dorms.”
He tucks his head in the space between my neck and shoulder. “That was a trick question,” he says, and I can feel him smile against my neck. “To check and see if you visited a random UNC guy’s dorm room with Chris. Congrats, you passed the test.”
I can’t help but laugh.
Jenny Han (Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3))
When a woman is leaving her man, when a woman finally decides her departure,
Does she still need to water the plants everyday?
Does she still need to wash his shirts, socks and jeans? Check all his pockets before washing them?
Does she still need to cook food every evening before he comes back? Or just leave everything uncooked in the fridge? Like those days when he was a bachelor?
Does she still need to wash the dishes, and sweep the floor?
Does she still kiss him? When he comes back through the evening door?
Does she still want to make love with hi,?
Does she, or will she cry, when she feels her body needs somebody to cover it and warm it, but not this one, the one lies beside hers?
Does she, or will she say, I am leaving you, on a particular day? Or at a particular time? Or in a particular moment?
Does she, or will she hire a car or a taxi, to take all her things before he understands what is happening?
Does she, or will she cry, cry loudly, when she starts leading her lead to a new life, a life without anybody waiting for her and without anybody lighting a fire for her?
Xiaolu Guo (A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers)
The street sprinkler went past and, as its rasping rotary broom spread water over the tarmac, half the pavement looked as if it had been painted with a dark stain. A big yellow dog had mounted a tiny white bitch who stood quite still.
In the fashion of colonials the old gentleman wore a light jacket, almost white, and a straw hat.
Everything held its position in space as if prepared for an apotheosis. In the sky the towers of Notre-Dame gathered about themselves a nimbus of heat, and the sparrows – minor actors almost invisible from the street – made themselves at home high up among the gargoyles. A string of barges drawn by a tug with a white and red pennant had crossed the breadth of Paris and the tug lowered its funnel, either in salute or to pass under the Pont Saint-Louis.
Sunlight poured down rich and luxuriant, fluid and gilded as oil, picking out highlights on the Seine, on the pavement dampened by the sprinkler, on a dormer window, and on a tile roof on the Île Saint-Louis. A mute, overbrimming life flowed from each inanimate thing, shadows were violet as in impressionist canvases, taxis redder on the white bridge, buses greener.
A faint breeze set the leaves of a chestnut tree trembling, and all down the length of the quai there rose a palpitation which drew voluptuously nearer and nearer to become a refreshing breath fluttering the engravings pinned to the booksellers’ stalls.
People had come from far away, from the four corners of the earth, to live that one moment. Sightseeing cars were lined up on the parvis of Notre-Dame, and an agitated little man was talking through a megaphone.
Nearer to the old gentleman, to the bookseller dressed in black, an American student contemplated the universe through the view-finder of his Leica.
Paris was immense and calm, almost silent, with her sheaves of light, her expanses of shadow in just the right places, her sounds which penetrated the silence at just the right moment.
The old gentleman with the light-coloured jacket had opened a portfolio filled with coloured prints and, the better to look at them, propped up the portfolio on the stone parapet.
The American student wore a red checked shirt and was coatless.
The bookseller on her folding chair moved her lips without looking at her customer, to whom she was speaking in a tireless stream. That was all doubtless part of the symphony. She was knitting. Red wool slipped through her fingers.
The white bitch’s spine sagged beneath the weight of the big male, whose tongue was hanging out.
And then when everything was in its place, when the perfection of that particular morning reached an almost frightening point, the old gentleman died without saying a word, without a cry, without a contortion while he was looking at his coloured prints, listening to the voice of the bookseller as it ran on and on, to the cheeping of the sparrows, the occasional horns of taxis.
He must have died standing up, one elbow on the stone ledge, a total lack of astonishment in his blue eyes. He swayed and fell to the pavement, dragging along with him the portfolio with all its prints scattered about him.
The male dog wasn’t at all frightened, never stopped. The woman let her ball of wool fall from her lap and stood up suddenly, crying out:
Ryder’s in jeans and his shirt from last night, and he’s staring at the fridge. When I pad closer, I see he’s not just staring at the door. I’ve hung my various ultrasound pictures to the silvery surface, and he’s studying them. His index finger is poised over my recent twenty-week one, and he’s tracing the outline of the baby’s legs.
“Hi,” I say, clearing my throat.
He straightens and then smiles. It’s a sheepish look, as if he’s been caught. “Just checking out Papaya.”
I love that the name Papaya has stuck. That must be a sign he feels the same. I gesture to the thirteen-week picture, when I first heard the heartbeat. “I think Papaya was a fig in that one. Funny thing—when I was so sick, Papaya was only a kidney bean.”
“Kidney beans are known to be troublemakers.” He steps closer, drops a strangely chaste kiss to my forehead, and sets his hands on my belly. “And I think Papaya is almost a mango now, right?”
I nod. “How did you know?”
“I might have googled pregnancy-to-fruit comparisons. Papaya will be an eggplant in a little while.”
I blink. Holy shit. He really knows his pregnancy fruits. Better than I do.
Lauren Blakely (The Knocked up Plan (One Love, #3))
Honest to God, I hadn’t meant to start a bar fight.
“So. You’re the famous Jordan Amador.” The demon sitting in front of me looked like someone filled a pig bladder with rotten cottage cheese. He overflowed the bar stool with his gelatinous stomach, just barely contained by a white dress shirt and an oversized leather jacket. Acid-washed jeans clung to his stumpy legs and his boots were at least twice the size of mine. His beady black eyes started at my ankles and dragged upward, past my dark jeans, across my black turtleneck sweater, and over the grey duster around me that was two sizes too big.
He finally met my gaze and snorted before continuing. “I was expecting something different. Certainly not a black girl. What’s with the name, girlie?”
I shrugged. “My mother was a religious woman.”
“Clearly,” the demon said, tucking a fat cigar in one corner of his mouth. He stood up and walked over to the pool table beside him where he and five of his lackeys had gathered. Each of them was over six feet tall and were all muscle where he was all fat.
“I could start to examine the literary significance of your name, or I could ask what the hell you’re doing in my bar,” he said after knocking one of the balls into the left corner pocket.
“Just here to ask a question, that’s all. I don’t want trouble.”
Again, he snorted, but this time smoke shot from his nostrils, which made him look like an albino dragon. “My ass you don’t. This place is for fallen angels only, sweetheart. And we know your reputation.”
I held up my hands in supplication. “Honest Abe. Just one question and I’m out of your hair forever.”
My gaze lifted to the bald spot at the top of his head surrounded by peroxide blonde locks. “What’s left of it, anyway.”
He glared at me. I smiled, batting my eyelashes. He tapped his fingers against the pool cue and then shrugged one shoulder.
“Fine. What’s your question?”
“Know anybody by the name of Matthias Gruber?”
He didn’t even blink. “No.”
“Ah. I see. Sorry to have wasted your time.”
I turned around, walking back through the bar. I kept a quick, confident stride as I went, ignoring the whispers of the fallen angels in my wake. A couple called out to me, asking if I’d let them have a taste, but I didn’t spare them a glance. Instead, I headed to the ladies’ room. Thankfully, it was empty, so I whipped out my phone and dialed the first number in my Recent Call list.
“Hey. He’s here. Yeah, I’m sure it’s him. They’re lousy liars when they’re drunk. Uh-huh. Okay, see you in five.”
I hung up and let out a slow breath. Only a couple things left to do.
I gathered my shoulder-length black hair into a high ponytail. I looped the loose curls around into a messy bun and made sure they wouldn’t tumble free if I shook my head too hard. I took the leather gloves in the pocket of my duster out and pulled them on. Then, I walked out of the bathroom and back to the front entrance.
The coat-check girl gave me a second unfriendly look as I returned with my ticket stub to retrieve my things—three vials of holy water, a black rosary with the beads made of onyx and the cross made of wood, a Smith & Wesson .9mm Glock complete with a full magazine of blessed bullets and a silencer, and a worn out page of the Bible.
I held out my hands for the items and she dropped them on the counter with an unapologetic, “Oops.”
“Thanks,” I said with a roll of my eyes. I put the Glock back in the hip holster at my side and tucked the rest of the items in the pockets of my duster.
The brunette demon crossed her arms under her hilariously oversized fake breasts and sent me a vicious sneer. “The door is that way, Seer. Don’t let it hit you on the way out.”
I smiled back. “God bless you.”
She let out an ugly hiss between her pearly white teeth. I blew her a kiss and walked out the door. The parking lot was packed outside now that it was half-past midnight. Demons thrived in darkness, so I wasn’t surprised. In fact, I’d been counting on it.
Kyoko M. (The Holy Dark (The Black Parade, #3))
Max’s unflinching gaze never left that house.
“What do you think’s going to happen?” Jules asked him quietly, “if you let yourself peel that giant S off your shirt and take a nap? If you let yourself spend an hour, an evening, screw it, a whole weekend doing nothing more than breaking and taking enjoyment from living in the moment? What’s going to happen, Max, if—after this is over—you give yourself permission to actually enjoy Gina’s company? To sit with her arms around you and let yourself be happy. You don’t have to be happy forever—just for that short amount of time.”
Max didn’t say anything.
So Jules went on. “And then maybe you could let yourself be happy again the next weekend. Not too happy,” he added quickly. “We wouldn’t want that. But just happy in a small way, because this amazing woman is part of your life, because she makes you smile and probably fucks like a dream and yeah—see? You are listening. Don’t kill me, I was just making sure you hadn’t checked out.”
Max was giving him that look. “Are you done?”
“Oh, sweetie, we have nowhere to go and hours til dawn. I’m just getting started.”
Shit, Max said with his body language. But he didn’t stand up and walk away. He just sat there.
Across the street, nothing moved. And then it still didn’t move. But once again, Max was back to watching it not move.
Jules let the silence go for an entire minute and a half. “Just in case I didn’t make myself clear,” he said, “I believe with all my heart that you deserve—completely—whatever happiness you can grab. I don’t know what damage your father did to you but—”
“I don’t know if I can do that,” Max interrupted. “You know, what you said. Just go home from work and . . .”
Holy shit, Max was actually talking. About this. Or at least he had been talking. Jules waited for more, but Max just shook his head.
“You know what happens when you work your ass off?” Jules finally asked, and then answered the question for him. “There’s no ass there the next time. So then you have to work off some other vital body part. You have to give yourself time to regrow, recharge. When was the last time you took a vacation? Was it nineteen ninety-one or ninety-two?”
“You know damn well that I took a really long vacation just—”
“No, sir, you did not. Hospitalization and recovery from a near-fatal gunshot wound is not a vacation,” Jules blasted him. “Didn’t you spend any of that time in ICU considering exactly why you made that stupid mistake that resulted in a bullet in your chest? Might it have been severe fatigue caused by asslessness, caused by working said ass off too many 24-7’s in a row?”
Max sighed. Then nodded. “I know I fucked up. No doubt about that.” He was silent for a moment. “I’ve been doing that a lot lately.” He glanced over to where Jones was pretending to sleep, arm up and over his eyes. “I’ve been playing God too often, too. I don’t know, maybe I’m starting to believe my own spin, and it’s coming back to bite me.”
“Not in the ass,” Jules said.
Suzanne Brockmann (Breaking Point (Troubleshooters, #9))
Have you done anything that’s like that?” he asked. So I had to tell him. “You’re not going to like it. But I was very lonely and very desperate. I was doing a magic for protection against my mother, because she kept sending me terrible dreams all the time. And while I was at it, I did a magic to find me a karass.” He looked blank. “What’s a karass?” “You haven’t read Vonnegut? Oh well, you’d like him I think. Start with Cat’s Cradle. But anyway, a karass is a group of people who are genuinely connected together. And the opposite is a granfalloon, a group that has a fake kind of connection, like all being in school together. I did a magic to find me friends.” He actually recoiled, almost knocking his chair over. “And you think it worked?” “The day after, Greg invited me to the book group.” I let that hang there while he filled in the implications for himself. “But we’d been meeting for months already. You just … found us.” “I hope so,” I said. “But I didn’t know anything about it before. I’d never seen any indication of it, or of fandom either.” I looked at him. He was rarer than a unicorn, a beautiful boy in a red-checked shirt who read and thought and talked about books. How much of his life had my magic touched, to make him what he was? Had he even existed before? Or what had he been? There’s no knowing, no way to know. He was here now, and I was, and that was all. “But I was there,” he said. “I was going to it. I know it was there. I was at Seacon in Brighton last summer.” “Er’ perrhenne,” I said, with my best guess at pronunciation. I am used to people being afraid of me, but I don’t really like it. I don’t suppose even Tiberius really liked it. But after a horrible instant his face softened. “It must have just found us for you. You couldn’t have changed all that,” he said, and picking up his Vimto, drained the bottle.
Jo Walton (Among Others)
Don’t ask where I got this idea, because I couldn’t tell you, but I knew precisely where we were going, and I was sure that this might officially make me a slut. But when we reached the door of the unused janitor’s closet, I had no feeling of shame… not yet, at least.
I grasped the doorknob and noticed Wesley’s eyes narrow with suspicion. I yanked open the door, checked that no one was watching, and gestured for him to go inside. Wesley walked into the tiny closet, and I followed, shutting the door stealthily behind us.
“Something tells me this isn’t about The Scarlet Letter,” he said, and even in the dark I knew he was grinning.
This time he met me halfway. His hands tangled in my hair and mine clawed at his forearms. We kissed violently, and my back slammed against the wall. I heard a mop-or maybe a broom-topple over, but my brain barely registered the sound as one of Wesley’s hands moved to my hip, holding me closer to him. He was so much taller than me that I had to tilt my head back almost all the way to meet his kiss. His lips pressed hard against mine, and I let my hands explore his biceps.
The smell of his cologne, rather than the lonely, stale air of the closet, filled my senses.
We wrestled in the darkness for a while before I felt his hand insistently lifting the hem of my T-shirt. With a gasp, I pulled away from the kiss and grabbed his wrist. “No… not now.”
“Then when?” Wesley asked in my ear, still pinning me to the wall. He didn’t even sound winded.
I, on the other hand, struggled to catch my breath. “Later.”
“Be more specific.”
I squirmed out of his arms and moved toward the door, nearly tripping over what felt like a bucket. I raised a hand to flatten my wavy hair and reached for the doorknob. “Tonight. I’ll be at your house around seven. Okay?” But before he could answer, I slipped out of the closet and hurried down the hall, hoping it didn’t look like a walk of shame.
Kody Keplinger (The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend (Hamilton High, #1))
I opened the door with a smile on my face that soon melted when I saw his messy appearance.
The doorframe held him up as he leaned all of his weight against it. Expressionless, bloodshot eyes stared back at me as he lifted his hand and ran it roughly down his unshaved face. His hair was disheveled and there was blood on the front of his shirt. Panic rose up as I took him in. I rushed to him and ran my fingers down his body, as I checked for injuries.
“You’re bleeding! Oh my God, Devin! What happened? Are you OK?”
“It’s not my blood,” he slurred.
I took a better look at his gorgeous face. His unfocused eyes attempted to meet mine and it was then that the smell of liquor reached me.
“Abso-fucking-lutely.” He attempted to move toward me and almost fell over.
I wrapped my arms around him and helped him into my apartment. Once we made it to the couch I let him collapse onto the cushion before I went straight to work on his clothes. I removed his blood-stained shirt first and threw it to the side. Quickly checked him over again just to be sure that he wasn’t injured somewhere. His skin felt cold and clammy against my fingertips.
His knuckles were busted open, so I went to the bathroom and got a wet towel and the first aid kit. I cleaned his fingers then wrapped them up.
I felt fingers in my hair and looked up to see a very drunk Devin staring back at me.
“You’re so fucking beautiful,” he whispered as his heavy head fell against the back of my couch again.
Shaking my head, I dropped onto my knees on the floor and removed his boots.
Once I was done getting Devin out of his shoes, I went to the hallway closet and pulled out a blanket for him. When I got back to the couch, he was standing there looking back at me in all his tattooed, muscled glory. He was still leaning a bit to the side when his eyes locked on mine.
“Come here,” he rasped.
He looked as if he was about to crumble and I couldn’t tell if it was the alcohol or if something was really breaking him down.
“Are you OK, baby?” I asked.
He closed his eyes and sighed. “I love it when you call me baby.”
I went to him and he groaned as I softly ran my hands up his chest and put my arms around his neck. On my tiptoes, I softly kissed the line of his neck and his chin.
“Tell me what happened, Devin.”
When he finally opened his eyes, he looked at me differently. The calm and collected Devin was gone and an anxiety-ridden shell of a man stood before me. His shoulders felt tense beneath my fingers and his eyes held a crazed demeanor.
“I need you, Lilly.” He captured my face softly in his hands as he slurred the words.
“Please tell me what happened?”
“Make it go away, baby,” he whispered as he leaned in and started to kiss me.
I let him as I melted against his body. He collapsed against the couch once more, but this time he took me with him. Not once did he break our kiss, and soon, I felt his velvet tongue against mine. I kissed him back and let my fingers play in the hair at the back of his neck.
He broke the kiss and started down the side of my neck.
“I need you, Lilly,” he repeated against my skin.
“I’m here.” I bit at my bottom lip to stop myself from moaning.
“Please, just make it all go away,” he drunkenly begged.
“I don’t know what’s going on, but tell me what to do to make it better. I want to make it better, Devin.” I stopped him and stared into his eyes as I waited for his response.
“Don’t leave me,” he said desperately.
“I’m not going anywhere. I’m here. I’ll do whatever it takes to make it better.” I wanted to cry.
He looked so hurt and afraid. It was strange to see such a strong, confident man so lost and unsure.
He flipped me onto my back on the couch and crawled on top of me. His movements were less calculated—slower than usual.
“I want you. I need to be inside you,” he said aggressively.
Tabatha Vargo (On the Plus Side (Chubby Girl Chronicles, #1))
Katie!” he yelled, gripping my shoulder and leaning in to look into my eyes. “Stay with me.”
The distant sound of sirens filled the air, and I knew within minutes the place would be swarming with police officers and firefighters. It was minutes I wouldn’t have had. If Holt hadn’t gotten here when he did, I would likely be dead right now.
That had me looking up.
“What are you doing here?” I asked.
“I came by to check on you. I was worried.”
“How did you know where I was?” I said, suspicion leaking into my tone.
He crouched down in front of me, my feet between his legs. “I saw your car in the lot,” he explained. “I knew you worked at the library nearby, so I thought you might pick somewhere close to stay.”
My shoulders sagged.
He put a hand under my chin and lifted my face. “Look at me,” he demanded. I looked up. “Do you think this was me?”
“No,” I said, ashamed of the catch in my voice. I really didn’t think he did this, but I was scared and I was so very tired.
“Can I touch you?” he asked, his voice calm.
I looked up, surprised that he didn’t sound angry. I nodded.
He yanked me forward, folding his arms around me and standing up, bringing me with him. My feet touched the ground, but they didn’t support me. His arms, his body kept me up. He wrapped himself around me like I was a hand and he was a glove. I clung to the front of his shirt, praying he wouldn’t let me go. When his grip tightened, I sighed in relief. His clean scent encompassed me, pushing away some of the smoke, and tears prickled my eyes.
When the emergency trucks swerved into the lot, my muscles tensed at the thought he would release me, that he would push me away and deal with the fire.
But he didn’t.
He didn’t let go. Not once.
Even when some of the men he must work with came running up—addressing him by his last name and exclaiming over what happened.
He spoke calmly over my head, telling them everything he knew and telling them I wasn’t ready to talk. He didn’t seem embarrassed to be holding me so close in the center of a parking lot. He didn’t act like being seen in a vulnerable position like this wounded his pride at all.
Cambria Hebert (Torch (Take It Off, #1))
When you get older, you notice your sheets are dirty. Sometimes, you do something about it. And sometimes, you read the front page of the newspaper and sometimes you floss and sometimes you stop biting your nails and sometimes you meet a friend for lunch. You still crave lemonade, but the taste doesn’t satisfy you as much as it used to. You still crave summer, but sometimes you mean summer, five years ago.
You remember your umbrella, you check up on people to see if they got home, you leave places early to go home and make toast. You stand by the toaster in your underwear and a big t-shirt, wondering if you should just turn in or watch one more hour of television. You laugh at different things. You stop laughing at other things. You think about old loves almost like they are in a museum. The socks, you notice, aren’t organized into pairs and you mentally make a note of it. You cover your mouth when you sneeze, reaching for the box of tissues you bought, contains aloe.
When you get older, you try different shampoos. You find one you like. You try sleeping early and spin class and jogging again. You try a book you almost read but couldn’t finish. You wrap yourself in the blankets of: familiar t-shirts, caffe au lait, dim tv light, texts with old friends or new people you really want to like and love you. You lose contact with friends from college, and only sometimes you think about it. When you do, it feels bad and almost bitter. You lose people, and when other people bring them up, you almost pretend like you know what they are doing. You try to stop touching your face and become invested in things like expensive salads and trying parsnips and saving up for a vacation you really want. You keep a spare pen in a drawer. You look at old pictures of yourself and they feel foreign and misleading. You forget things like: purchasing stamps, buying more butter, putting lotion on your elbows, calling your mother back. You learn things like balance: checkbooks, social life, work life, time to work out and time to enjoy yourself.
When you get older, you find yourself more in control. You find your convictions appealing, you find you like your body more, you learn to take things in stride. You begin to crave respect and comfort and adventure, all at the same time. You lay in your bed, fearing death, just like you did. You pull lint off your shirt. You smile less and feel content more. You think about changing and then often, you do.
Alida Nugent (You Don't Have to Like Me: Essays on Growing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding Feminism)
#1 of 2 Leah munched another chip as she watched a couple on-screen race madly away from men with guns who were intent on killing them. She and Seth sat shoulder to shoulder on the sofa, both slumped down until they were practically lying on their backs. Seth had pulled the matching ottoman up against the sofa, so it really did feel as if they were lying in bed together, watching a movie.
She slid him a covert glance.
He had donned black cargo pants and a black T-shirt after his shower but had left his big feet bare. He had also left his hair loose. It now spilled over the back of the sofa in a glossy curtain, the thick wavy tresses still drying.
He chuckled at something the male protagonist said.
Leah smiled. She loved seeing him laugh. She didn’t think he did so as often as he should.
Every once in a while, she noticed his gaze would slide to her legs. Her feet were propped on the ottoman close to his. The robe she had borrowed had parted just above her knees and fallen back, leaving most of her legs bare. And that pale flesh repeatedly drew Seth’s attention.
She held the bag of chips out to him.
Smiling, unaware that the faint golden light of desire illuminated his eyes, he poked his hand in and drew out a couple of chips.
She smiled back, then returned her attention to the screen.
The protagonists had at last made it to safety. They checked each other over for wounds, something both had miraculously escaped incurring in true Hollywood fashion. Then they fell into each other’s arms, finally giving in to the lust that had sparked between them ever since their first contentious meeting.
Leah sighed as she watched them peel each other’s clothes off with eager hands. It made her want to do the same with Seth. Her body even began to respond as her imagination kicked in. “I miss sex.” The words were out of her mouth before she could question the wisdom of speaking them.
“I do, too,” Seth confessed.
She glanced over at him and found his eyes glued to the screen.
More so since I met you.
Her eyes widened when his voice sounded in her head. “Really?”
“Yes.” The actors on-screen fell naked onto the bed and began to simulate sex, their moans and groans and cries of passion filling the room. “It’s natural to miss it,” he said matter-of-factly. “Nothing to feel guilty about.”
“No. I mean, you really miss it more since you met me?”
He froze. A look of dismay crossed his features as he cut her a glance. “I said that out loud?”
“No. I heard it in my head.”
She grinned. “I heard that, too.”
Dianne Duvall (Death of Darkness (Immortal Guardians, #9))
walked him to the door. “Is there anything else you want me to do? Check your mail? Water your plants?” “My mail is being forwarded to my lawyer. And I’m watering my own plants.” “So, you feel safe in the Batcave?” The corners of his mouth curved into the hint of a smile. He leaned forward and kissed me at the base of my neck, just above my T-shirt collar. “Sweet dreams.” Before he left, he said good-night to Grandma, who was still in the kitchen. “What a nice, polite young man,” Grandma said. “And he’s got an excellent package.” I went straight to her closet, found the bottle of booze, and dumped some into my cocoa.
Janet Evanovich (Hot Six (Stephanie Plum, #6))
Can fascism still exist? Clearly Stage One movements can still be found in all major democracies. More crucially, can they reach Stage Two again by becoming rooted and influential? We need not look for exact replicas, in which fascist veterans dust off their swastikas. Collectors of Nazi paraphernalia and hard-core neo-Nazi sects are capable of provoking destructive violence and polarization. As long as they remain excluded from the alliances with the establishment necessary to join the political mainstream or share power, however, they remain more a law and order problem than a political threat. Much more likely to exert an influence are extreme Right movements that have learned to moderate their language, abandon classical fascist symbolism, and appear “normal.”
It is by understanding how past fascisms worked, and not by checking the color of shirts, or seeking echoes of the rhetoric of the national-syndicalist dissidents of the opening of the twentieth century, that we may be able to recognize it. The well-known warning signals—extreme nationalist propaganda and hate crimes—are important but insufficient. Knowing what we do about the fascist cycle, we can find more ominous warning signals in situations of political deadlock in the face of crisis, threatened conservatives looking for tougher allies, ready to give up due process and the rule of law, seeking mass support by nationalist and racialist demagoguery. Fascists are close to power when conservatives begin to borrow their techniques, appeal to their “mobilizing passions,” and try to co-opt the fascist following.
Armed by historical knowledge, we may be able to distinguish today’s ugly but isolated imitations, with their shaved heads and swastika tattoos, from authentic functional equivalents in the form of a mature fascist conservative alliance. Forewarned, we may be able to detect the real thing when it comes along.
Robert O. Paxton (The Anatomy of Fascism)
At first I didn’t think I was going to be able to make it on the outside at all. I’ve described prison society as a scaled-down model of your outside world, but I had no idea of how fast things moved on the outside; the raw speed people move at. They even talk faster. And louder. It was the toughest adjustment I’ve ever had to make, and I haven’t finished making it yet . . . not by a long way. Women, for instance. After hardly knowing that they were half of the human race for forty years, I was suddenly working in a store filled with them. Old women, pregnant women wearing tee-shirts with arrows pointing downward and a printed motto reading BABY HERE, skinny women with their nipples poking out at their shirts—a woman wearing something like that when I went in would have gotten arrested and then had a sanity hearing—women of every shape and size. I found myself going around with a semi-hard almost all the time and cursing myself for being a dirty old man. Going to the bathroom, that was another thing. When I had to go (and the urge always came on me at twenty-five past the hour), I had to fight the almost overwhelming need to check it with my boss. Knowing that was something I could just go and do in this too-bright outside world was one thing; adjusting my inner self to that knowledge after all those years of checking it with the nearest screwhead or facing two days in solitary for the oversight . . . that was something else. My boss didn’t like me. He was a young guy, twenty-six or -seven, and I could see that I sort of disgusted him,
Stephen King (Different Seasons)
at Berkshire Hathaway headquarters are dressed. His predictable white shirt sits low on the neck, its undersize collar bulging away from his tie, looking left over from his days as a young businessman, as if he had forgotten to check
Alice Schroeder (The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life)
And the sound of my own washer and dryer interfered with my sleep. So I just threw away my dirty underpants. All the old pairs reminded me of Trevor, anyway. For a while, tacky lingerie from Victoria’s Secret kept showing up in the mail—frilly fuchsia and lime green thongs and teddies and baby-doll nightgowns, each sealed in a clear plastic Baggie. I stuffed the little Baggies into the closet and went commando. An occasional package from Barneys or Saks provided me with men’s pajamas and other things I couldn’t remember ordering—cashmere socks, graphic T-shirts, designer jeans. I took a shower once a week at most. I stopped tweezing, stopped bleaching, stopped waxing, stopped brushing my hair. No moisturizing or exfoliating. No shaving. I left the apartment infrequently. I had all my bills on automatic payment plans. I’d already paid a year of property taxes on my apartment and on my dead parents’ old house upstate. Rent money from the tenants in that house showed up in my checking account by direct deposit every month. Unemployment was rolling in as long as I made the weekly call into the automated service and pressed “1” for “yes” when the robot asked if I’d made a sincere effort to find a job.
Ottessa Moshfegh (My Year of Rest and Relaxation)
As I scramble for my shirt to cover my chest--thank God I’d decided against changing bras--I grumble, “Don’t you knock?”
He crosses his arms and rests against the door frame. “It is my room.”
My heart pounds in my ears. I should yell, kick him out, slam the door, but I can’t take my eyes off him. Russet skin, solid jaw line, caramel eyes, perfectly messy black hair. Shoulders and arm muscles stretching his baby-blue shirt tight. Is this Bruno or Luca?
I adjust the shirt hiding me, equal parts embarrassed and flattered that someone so hot is checking me out. He brushes a hand over the tips of his hair before resting it up high on the doorjamb. I’m not sure I can feel my legs. I can’t believe I’m sharing an apartment with him for the whole summer.
Chiara pushes past him into the room and stops, first looking me over, then frowning at him. “You did not knock?”
He smirks. “It is my room.”
Chiara spouts off in Italian, waving her hands around, and soon they’re pretty much yelling at each other. Then they erupt into laughter and he shoves her shoulder before pulling her in for a hug.
“Bruno, this is my friend Pippa. Pippa, my cousin Bruno.”
Bruno. The in-with-the-wrong-crowd Bruno. Divinely and supernaturally gorgeous Bruno.
And he just winked at me. Not good.
Kristin Rae (Wish You Were Italian (If Only . . ., #2))
Daniel and the Pelican
So there we stood, on the curb, like a couple of folks waiting at a bus stop. While he nonchalantly preened his feathers, I prayed for a miracle.
Suddenly a shiny red pickup truck pulled up, and a man hopped out.
“Would you like a hand?”
I’m seldom at a loss for words, but one look at the very tall newcomer rendered me tongue-tied and unable to do anything but nod.
He was the most striking man I’d ever seen--smoky black hair, muscular with tanned skin, and a tender smile flanked by dimples deep enough to drill for oil. His eyes were hypnotic, crystal clear and Caribbean blue. He was almost too beautiful to be real.
The embroidered name on his denim work shirt said “Daniel.”
“I’m on my way out to the Seabird Sanctuary, and I’d be glad to take him with me. I have a big cage in the back of my truck,” the man offered.
Oh my goodness.
“Do you volunteer at the Sanctuary?” I croaked, struggling to regain my powers of speech.
“Yes, every now and then.”
In my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect solution to my dilemma. The bird was going to be saved by a knowledgeable expert with movie star looks, who happened to have a pelican-sized cage with him and was on his way to the Seabird Sanctuary.
As I watched Daniel prepare for his passenger, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I knew him from somewhere.
“Have we ever met before?” I asked.
“No I don’t think so,” was his reply, smiling again with warmth that would melt glaciers.
I held my breath as the man crept toward the pelican. Their eyes met, and the bird meekly allowed Daniel to drape a towel over his face and place him in the cage. There was no struggle, no flapping wings and not one peep of protest--just calm.
“Yes!” I shrieked with excitement when the door was latched. What had seemed a no-win situation was no longer hopeless. The pelican was finally safe.
Before they drove away, I thanked my fellow rescuer for his help.
“It was my pleasure, Michelle.”
And he was gone.
Wait a minute. How did he know my name? We didn’t introduce ourselves. I only knew his name because of his shirt.
Later when I called the Sanctuary to check on the pelican, I asked if I might speak with Daniel.
No one had ever heard of him.
Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels Among Us: 101 Inspirational Stories of Miracles, Faith, and Answered Prayers)
And then she turns away. Before I can say anything else, she’s standing up and pulling her shirt back on.
“I’m sorry.” She doesn’t meet my eyes, won’t even look in my direction. She grabs for her coat and checks her watch. “I have to go.”
“I—I really have to go.” She grabs her keys. Her hands shake as she opens the door. And that’s the point when the blood rushing to my cock stops interfering with the functioning of my mind and I remember how this all started.
I want to do something stupid. Something risky. Something mind-numbingly idiotic.
That’s what she said. And then she kissed me.
Courtney Milan (Trade Me (Cyclone, #1))
Rising from the platform’s lone bench, the tall man in the red sport shirt, worn loose and flowing like a body bandana over baggy khakis, checks the train’s arrival against his wristwatch and nods approvingly. Then his creased face—which has been described as “grooved and rutted like a relief map of the Balkans” and which he himself once said looked as if “it had been left out in the rain” too long—furrows further while his watery eyes squint and canvass the train to ascertain if the visitor who invited himself down is indeed aboard. Only when the sole disembarking passenger in city clothes marches directly toward him does the face re-fold itself into a smile and W. H. Auden rises to extend a brisk handshake of welcome. “We have to hurry because lunch is in fifteen minutes,
Alan Levy (W. H. Auden: In the Autumn of the Age of Anxiety)
But though she tried to probe her memory, Aomame could come up with nothing else. She looked around, stared at her palms, inspected the shape of her fingernails, and grabbed her breasts through her shirt to check the shape. No change. Same size and shape. I’m still the same me. The world is still the same world. But something has started to change. She could feel it. It was like looking for differences between two identical pictures.
Haruki Murakami (1Q84)
The first thing he usually did when he got home was shower, but today he could scarcely make it into the house because the boys were blocking the steps.
“How y’doin’?” he said, maneuvering around them and going inside. The boys got up and followed him.
“Anything exciting happen today?” Jake inquired.
“I told Mrs. Blake I wouldn’t deliver her mail unless she kept her dog in the house,” Father said. “Almost got my pants torn off by that beast of hers. Other than that, no.”
“Anybody die?” asked Peter. Wally reached over and pinched his arm, but it was too late.
“Not that I know of. Why? Did I miss something?”
“I guess we’re getting bored,” Jake said quickly. “Nothing exciting ever happens around here.”
“Well, you could always go check out that new family,” Father suggested. “Mr. Malloy is the new football coach at the college, I hear, and they’ve got three daughters about your ages.”
“Did you meet them?” asked Josh.
“No, but I will before too long. Want me to say something for you?”
“No!” cried the four boys together.
Father smiled a little as he took off his shirt. “Okay, then. We’ll just let things develop and see what happens.”
What happens, Wally thought, is that someone’s going to find the body, and someone is going to ask questions, and someone—namely Wally himself—was going to jail. All because of two words. Two words! Dead fish. He swallowed, but it didn’t get rid of the rock in the pit of his stomach.
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (The Boys Start the War (Boy/Girl Battle, #1))
Maher looked into the camera and said: The tycoons of social media have to stop pretending that they’re friendly nerd gods building a better world and admit they’re just tobacco farmers in T-shirts selling an addictive product to children. Because, let’s face it, checking your “likes” is the new smoking.
Cal Newport (Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World)
Somewhere along the lake—farther off today, by the sound—the chainsaw started up, and that made her even angrier. The guy from yesterday, back for more. Just some swinging dick in a red-and-black-checked flannel shirt from L. L. Bean’s, out there playing Paul Kiss-My-Ass Bunyan, roaring away with his Stihl and dreaming about crawling into bed with his little honey at the end of the day . . . or maybe it was football he was dreaming of, or just a few frosty cold ones down at the marina bar. Jessie saw the dork in the checked flannel shirt as clearly as she had seen the young girl in the stocks, and if thoughts alone could have killed him,
Stephen King (Gerald's Game)
A doctor walks into a bank. Preparing to endorse a check, he pulls a rectal thermometer out of his shirt pocket and tries to write with it. Realizing his mistake, he looks at the thermometer with annoyance and says, “Well, that’s great, just great... some asshole’s got my pen.
Barry Dougherty (Friars Club Private Joke File: More Than 2,000 Very Naughty Jokes from the Grand Masters of Comedy)
Her gaze shot up to his face and heat crowded her cheeks. He had that sly grin on his lips. He knew she’d been checking him out. “We have something awesome to show you,” said Eros, yanking off his shirt. Well, shit. If this is what he considered awesome she was so game. She blinked and tried not to drool on the spot. All those lovely muscles contracted with every move he made. “Oh? You mean there’s more?” She followed behind him, aware of Brecc standing too close to her back and making her all kinds of jittery.
Milly Taiden (There's Snow Escape (Paranormal Dating Agency, #7))
The back, the yoke, the yardage. Lapped seams,
The nearly invisible stitches along the collar
Turned in a sweatshop by Koreans or Malaysians
Gossiping over tea and noodles on their break
Or talking money or politics while one fitted
This armpiece with its overseam to the band
Of cuff I button at my wrist. The presser, the cutter,
The wringer, the mangle. The needle, the union,
The treadle, the bobbin. The code. The infamous blaze
At the Triangle Factory in nineteen-eleven.
One hundred and forty-six died in the flames
On the ninth floor, no hydrants, no fire escapes—
The witness in a building across the street
Who watched how a young man helped a girl to step
Up to the windowsill, then held her out
Away from the masonry wall and let her drop.
And then another. As if he were helping them up
To enter a streetcar, and not eternity.
A third before he dropped her put her arms
Around his neck and kissed him. Then he held
Her into space, and dropped her. Almost at once
He stepped to the sill himself, his jacket flared
And fluttered up from his shirt as he came down,
Air filling up the legs of his gray trousers—
Like Hart Crane’s Bedlamite, “shrill shirt ballooning.”
Wonderful how the pattern matches perfectly
Across the placket and over the twin bar-tacked
Corners of both pockets, like a strict rhyme
Or a major chord. Prints, plaids, checks,
Houndstooth, Tattersall, Madras. The clan tartans
Invented by mill-owners inspired by the hoax of Ossian,
To control their savage Scottish workers, tamed
By a fabricated heraldry: MacGregor,
Bailey, MacMartin. The kilt, devised for workers
To wear among the dusty clattering looms.
Weavers, carders, spinners. The loader,
The docker, the navvy. The planter, the picker, the sorter
Sweating at her machine in a litter of cotton
As slaves in calico headrags sweated in fields:
George Herbert, your descendant is a Black
Lady in South Carolina, her name is Irma
And she inspected my shirt. Its color and fit
And feel and its clean smell have satisfied
Both her and me. We have culled its cost and quality
Down to the buttons of simulated bone,
The buttonholes, the sizing, the facing, the characters
Printed in black on neckband and tail. The shape,
The label, the labor, the color, the shade. The shirt.
Joe Lon and Willard slipped out of their shirts. Willard flipped over and walked around in the dirt on his hands. Joe Lon took the bottle of whiskey out of his back pocket, set it carefully on the step of the Winnebago, checking out Susan Gender's red pants again as he did. Then he went into a steady handstand and did six dips, his nose just short of the dirt each time he went down. They both came off their hands and looked at Duffy.
"I'm impressed," said Duffy, shortly. "What the hell are you, gymnasts?"
"Drunks," said Joe Lon picking up the bottle.
Harry Crews (A Feast of Snakes)
Looks like we found it." John said.
"Where are we?" As far as Link could tell, there was nothing to find.
John pointed up at the white signs at the intersection that read 61 and 49, and Liv checked her selonometer as if they weren't standing in the middle of nowhere.
"Are those numbers supposed to mean something to us?" Floyd asked.
"We're at the intersection of Highways 61 and 49 in Clarksdale, Mississippi," John said.
Sampson shook his head. " I feel like an idiot. Any guitar player worth his strings knows about this place. It's where Robert Johnson made a deal with the Devil."
Floyd's eyes widened. "Seriously? We're at the crossroads?"
John nodded. "The one and only."
Liv glanced at John. "I'm assuming this is an American thing?"
He put his arm around her. "Yeah, sorry. It's an old rock and roll myth- at least as far as mortals are concerned. In the 1930s, a blues musician named Robert Johnson disappeared for a couple of weeks. According to the story, he brought his guitar right here to this crossroads-"
Link jumped in. "Then he traded his soul to become the most famous blues guitarist in history."
Sampson tugged on his leather pants, which weren't the best choice in the Mississippi heat. "Totally a fair trade, as far as I'm concerned."
"Thought the same thing myself," a man's voice called out from behind them. Link wheeled around. A young man wearing a wrinkled white shirt, a black jacket, and a Panama hat stood on the side of the road with a three-legged black Labrador. There was a weariness in the man's eyes of someone much older. A battered guitar hung from a strap slung around his back.
Kami Garcia; Margaret Stohl
Once Alex enters the room, I forget I’m even hungry and nearly drop my plate. A helpful servant scoops it up from my hands.
I see him in profile, his long lean body in stark shades of black and white: knee-high socks, dark, well-fitted pants, a jacket the color of midnight, and a snowy-white cravat as pressed and starched as ever. I’d think he looked entirely too formal, except my own dress is at least as fancy. Today, it’s appropriate.
As much as it would be great to see him in a T-shirt, jeans, and ball cap, the formal attire simply suits him.
He surveys the room as the others take notice of his presence, but before they can bombard him, his eyes sweep across to me and then stop. His lips give way to the slightest of smiles, and then he’s heading straight toward me, leaving a gaggle of disappointed faces in his wake.
“Do I look okay?” I whisper to Emily, unable to take my eyes off of him long enough to check.
She squeezes my hand. “You look…”
“Stunning,” Alex finishes as he arrives in front of me.
“Your Grace,” I say, for the first time, and curtsy.
He looks amused that I’ve addressed him so formally. “My lady.” He bows, a deeper bow than I’ve ever seen him do.
I rise and look him in the eye again. “I thought you said I wasn’t a lady.”
He smirks. “I thought you said you were.”
We smile at one another, and the room fades around me.
“Save the next dance?”
“Wonderful. I shall find you then.”
And then he leaves me with Emily, and I finally know what a swoon is as I grab her elbow.
“I thought he might ravish you right here on the floor,” she says with a giggle.
And then I can’t help it; I burst into a fit of giggles with her, until my sides ache and I can hardly breathe. A few guests stare as they pass us--I’m betting such behavior is frowned upon--but I find that I don’t even care. It’s been so long since I’ve had a friend who made me feel like I could be myself. Ironic, since I’m Rebecca here, but it’s still invigorating and exhilarating, and all we’re doing is standing here laughing like total lunatics. It’s definitely against Victoria’s Rules for Proper Young Ladies.
But I don’t care. I am me. Whether that is someone they like or someone they despise, I am who I am, and that’s the truth.
When have I ever been this sure of myself?
“Is everything all right?” Emily stops giggling.
“Yes. I--” I pause, taking a breath. “I’m…better than all right.” I glance around at the beautiful, sparkling ballroom and then back at Emily’s smiling face. “I’m perfect.
Mandy Hubbard (Prada & Prejudice)
In my peripheral vision I saw someone sit next to me at the table. I turned and saw a man with a stubble-covered shaved head. There were scars on the top of his skull. His skin was olive dark, and when he smiled I saw a gold tooth that matched the gold chain dangling from his neck, urban bling-bling style. Handsome probably, in a dangerous, bad-boy way. He wore a wifebeater white T under an unbuttoned gray short-sleeve shirt. His sweatpants were black. “Look under the table,” he said to me. “Are you going to show me your wee-wee?” “Look—or die.” His accent was not French—something smoother and more refined. Nearly British or maybe Spanish, almost aristocratic. I tilted my chair back and looked. He was holding a gun on me. I left my hands on the lip of the table and tried to keep my breath steady. My eyes lifted and met his. I checked the surroundings. There was a man with sunglasses standing on the corner for absolutely no reason, trying very hard to pretend that he wasn’t watching us. “Listen to me or I will shoot you dead.” “As opposed to alive?” “What?” “Shoot someone dead versus shoot someone alive,” I said. Then: “Never mind.” “Do you see the green vehicle on the corner?” I did—not far from the sunglassed man who was trying not to look at us. It looked like a minivan or something. Two men sat in the front. I memorized the license plate and began to plan my next move. “I see it.” “If you don’t want to be shot, follow my instructions exactly. We are going to get up slowly, and you are going to get in the back of the vehicle. You will not make a fuss—” And that was when I smashed the table into his face. The
Harlan Coben (Long Lost (Myron Bolitar, #9))
She was checking the ingredients—an interesting potpourri of words she’d need to look up—when she felt, actually felt, someone’s eyes on her. Still holding the box at eye level, she slowly shifted her gaze. Down the corridor, near the bologna and salami display, a man stood and openly stared at her. There was no one else in the aisle. He was average height, maybe five-ten or so. A razor hadn’t glided across his face in at least two days. He wore blue jeans, a maroon T-shirt, and a shiny black Members Only windbreaker. His baseball cap had a Nike swoosh on it. Grace had never seen the man before. He stared at her for another moment before he spoke. His voice was barely a whisper. “Mrs. Lamb,” the man said to her. “Room 17.” For
Harlan Coben (Just One Look)
I’d been at the plant for three weeks when Curly invited me to his trailer for a drink. He lived just outside Hood River in a double-wide he shared with his mother, a woman he often spoke about. “I told Mother what you said about Dorothy’s mouth looking like a gunshot wound and, Lord, she just about bust a gut, she was laughing so hard. She is one funny lady, my mother. Nothing tickles her funny bone better than a knock-knock joke. You know any good sidesplitters?” Desperate as I was for company, I understood that I was clearly dealing with a loser. Management seemed the perfect career for a person like Curly. I could easily picture him in a short-sleeved shirt, the pocket lined with pens. Someone would ask him to check the time cards and he’d probably say something goofy like “Okey-dokey, artichokey.” I’d tried to straighten him out, but there’s only so much you can do for a person who thinks Auschwitz is a brand of beer. He
David Sedaris (Naked)
Good master, while we do admire This virtue and this moral discipline, Let’s be no stoics nor no stocks, I pray, Or so devote to Aristotle’s checks As Ovid be an outcast quite abjured. 5 Balk logic with acquaintance that you have, And practice rhetoric in your common talk. Music and poesy use to quicken you; The mathematics and the metaphysics, Fall to them as you find your stomach serves you. 10 No profit grows where is no pleasure ta’en. In brief, sir, study what you most affect. —TRANIO, The Taming of the Shrew, 1.1.29–40 In other words: Listen, boss. We all think highly of ethics and morality. But—please—let’s not eliminate fun altogether, or turn ourselves into stuffed shirts. Let’s not dedicate ourselves to a life of restraint and throw away pleasure altogether. (Let’s not get all hung up with that stickler Aristotle about stuff like right and wrong, and throw Ovid’s stories about people who get naked right out the window.) Work on your analytical skills by figuring out how to split the check. Use linguistic theory in your everyday chitchat. By all means listen to music and read poetry, but purely for your enjoyment. As for math and philosophy, get involved in that stuff only when you’re really in the mood. You can’t learn anything if you’re miserable. Here’s my point: as far as study goes, stick to the subjects you like.
Barry Edelstein (Bardisms: Shakespeare for All Occasions)
When Mrs. Keane whispered, between contractions, that the baby was coming at least six weeks too soon, he shook his head and clucked his tongue, lifting the wet dish towel from her forehead and refolding it and then touching it gently to her cheeks. The dampness, and the perspiration, had darkened her hair and the pain had brought some color to her face. There was all about her a not unpleasant odor of oatmeal or wheat. He knelt beside the couch. When he leaned away, his T-shirt was wet with the amniotic fluid that had soaked her dress and the cushion beneath her. Her knees were already raised, her pale legs bare, and he asked, gently, if she would like him to check what was going on. She nodded and when the contraction had passed, added, “Modesty is always the first thing to go.
Alice McDermott (After This)
...Stella’s tiny butt stuck in the air as she stretched to reach a weed. She was wearing a pair of jeans and a button-down pink and white checked shirt that was tucked into the elastic waistband of her pants. She reminded Rusty of an elf. “Excuse me, Stella?” “You stop right there if you have trouble on your mind. As you can see, I have plenty of birds, and I’ll knock you out with one of them,” Stella said without looking up. Rusty wanted to say that she’d yank up her own plastic flamingo and work Stella over with it in a heartbeat. Instead, she took a calming breath and said, “I made something you might like to have.” “If it’s a grenade launcher, I’m listening, Achmed.
Alyssa shrugged. “I think we know the routine.” “You do, but there’s still a…stiffness because y’all aren’t completely comfortable with it, and it shows in your dancing.” Ashton held up a finger. “Everyone close your eyes, relax your shoulders, and just feel the breeze that’s blowing across the field right now.” Ashton closed her eyes and waved her arms around slowly. “You’re a tree, and the gentle wind is swaying your branches. Let it sway you.” What Ashton didn’t know was that no one did as she instructed. The girls and Patty stood there watching Ashton sway her arms. “Coach, you look like the inflatable tube man they have at the new carwash, and you’re scaring me,” Sophie said, looking disturbed. Ashton’s eyes flew open. “I better see some people doing the inflatable tube man pretty darn quick.” The girls all threw up their arms and flopped them around violently, and Ashton said, “Y’all are killing me. Show me how y’all would dance if you were at a party.” She covered her face with both hands when they all started twerking. “Okay, just stop. Gemma, run them through the moves again.” “What were you trying to accomplish with all that?” Patty asked with a grin. “I was trying to get them to loosen up,” Ashton said and glanced at her watch. “This day is creeping by.” “You should’ve dusted off your snake and showed them that. If you can do a smooth snake, you can make any dance move smooth. Check my snake.” Ashton shook her head. “That’s not a full-on snake. You have to roll your body from your head to your hips, use your neck like this.” “You were always better at this one than I was,” Patty said as she mimicked Ashton’s moves. “You couldn’t touch my Cabbage Patch though.” Ashton snorted. “That sounded so dirty. Come on, Patty, neck and shoulders, work them.” Ashton turned when the music stopped and realized the girls had stopped practicing to watch her and Patty. “What’re y’all doing?” Gemma asked with a laugh. “This is dancing,” Patty retorted. “Back in the day, we moved our entire bodies instead of rhythmically humping the air like y’all do. Tell you what, if y’all can learn to do the snake, I’ll buy y’all shakes at Molly’s.” Every girl on the team executed the dance move perfectly, and Gemma grinned. “Momma, we know old school moves.” Melody nodded. “Yeah, we know all those old-timey dances. Can we go to Molly’s now?” “What were you trying to accomplish with this plan?” Ashton asked Patty with a grin. “Apparently, bankruptcy.” ******* “How many times are you gonna change your clothes?” Jet asked that evening as she watched Shawna go back into her closet. Shawna groaned. “Everything I put on is pissing me off.” “Wear jeans and your light blue V-neck T-shirt. You’re just going to her house, you don’t have to dress up.” Jet sprawled out on Shawna’s bed and toyed with the TV remote.
Robin Alexander (Patty's Potent Potion)
As I walk across the lobby, I hear a scream coming from below, coming from the Pit. It’s not a good-natured Dauntless shout, or the shriek of someone who is scared but delighted, or anything but the particular tone, the particular pitch of terror.
Small rocks scatter behind us as I run down to the bottom of the Pit, my breathing fast and heavy, but even.
Three tall, dark-clothed people stand near the railing below. They are crowded around a fourth, smaller target, and even though I can’t see much about them, I know a fight when I see one. Or, I would call it a fight, if it wasn’t three against one.
One of the attackers wheels around, sees me, and sprints in the other direction. When I get closer I see one of the remaining attackers holding the target up, over the chasm, and I shout, “Hey!”
I see her hair, blond, and I can hardly see anything else. I collide with one of the attackers--Drew, I can tell by the color of his hair, orange-red--and slam him into the chasm barrier. I hit him once, twice, three times in the face, and he collapses to the ground, and then I’m kicking him and I can’t think, can’t think at all.
“Four.” Her voice is quiet, ragged, and it’s the only thing that could possibly reach me in this place. She’s hanging from the railing, dangling over the chasm like a piece of bait from a fishing hook. The other one, the last attacker, is gone.
I run toward her, grabbing her under her shoulders, and pull her over the edge of the railing. I hold her against me. She pressed her face to my shoulder, twisting her fingers into my shirt.
Drew is on the ground, collapsed. I hear him groan as I carry her away--not to the infirmary, where the others who went after her would think to look for her, but to my apartment, in its lonely, removed corridor. I shove my way through the apartment door and lay her down on my bed. I run my fingers over her nose and cheekbones to check for breaks, then I feel for her pulse, and lean in close to listen to her breathing. Everything seems normal, steady. Even the bump on the back of her head, though swollen and scraped, doesn’t seem serious. She isn’t badly injured, but she could have been.
My hands shake when I pull away from her. She isn’t badly injured, but Drew might be. I don’t even know how many times I hit him before she finally said my name and woke me up. The rest of my body starts to shake, too, and I make sure there’s a pillow supporting her head, then leave the apartment to go back to the railing next to the Pit.
Veronica Roth (Four: A Divergent Story Collection (Divergent, #0.1-0.4))
joke around—nothing serious—as I work to get my leg back to where it was. Two weeks later, I’m in an ankle-to-hip leg brace and hobbling around on crutches. The brace can’t come off for another six weeks, so my parents lend me their townhouse in New York City and Lucien hires me an assistant to help me out around the house. Some guy named Trevor. He’s okay, but I don’t give him much to do. I want to regain my independence as fast as I can and get back out there for Planet X. Yuri, my editor, is griping that he needs me back and I’m more than happy to oblige. But I still need to recuperate, and I’m bored as hell cooped up in the townhouse. Some buddies of mine from PX stop by and we head out to a brunch place on Amsterdam Street my assistant sometimes orders from. Deacon, Logan, Polly, Jonesy and I take a table in Annabelle’s Bistro, and settle in for a good two hours, running our waitress ragged. She’s a cute little brunette doing her best to stay cheerful for us while we give her a hard time with endless coffee refills, loud laughter, swearing, and general obnoxiousness. Her nametag says Charlotte, and Deacon calls her “Sweet Charlotte” and ogles and teases her, sometimes inappropriately. She has pretty eyes, I muse, but otherwise pay her no mind. I have my leg up on a chair in the corner, leaning back, as if I haven’t a care in the world. And I don’t. I’m going to make a full recovery and pick up my life right where I left off. Finally, a manager with a severe hairdo and too much makeup, politely, yet pointedly, inquires if there’s anything else we need, and we take the hint. We gather our shit and Deacon picks up the tab. We file out, through the maze of tables, and I’m last, hobbling slowly on crutches. I’m halfway out when I realize I left my Yankees baseball cap on the table. I return to get it and find the waitress staring at the check with tears in her eyes. She snaps the black leather book shut when she sees me and hurriedly turns away. “Forget something?” she asks with false cheer and a shaky smile. “My hat,” I say. She’s short and I’m tall. I tower over her. “Did Deacon leave a shitty tip? He does that.” “Oh no, no, I mean…it’s fine,” she says, turning away to wipe her eyes. “I’m so sorry. I just…um, kind of a rough month. You know how it is.” She glances me up and down in my expensive jeans and designer shirt. “Or maybe you don’t.” The waitress realizes what she said, and another round of apologies bursts out of her as she begins stacking our dirty dishes. “Oh my god, I’m so sorry. Really. I have this bad habit…blurting. I don’t know why I said that. Anyway, um…” I laugh, and fish into my back pocket for my wallet. “Don’t worry about it. And take this. For your trouble.” I offer her forty dollars and her eyes widen. Up close, her eyes are even prettier—large and luminous, but sad too. A blush turns her skin scarlet “Oh, no, I couldn’t. No, please. It’s fine, really.” She bustles even faster now, not looking at me. I shrug and drop the twenties on the table. “I hope your month improves.” She stops and stares at the money, at war with herself. “Okay. Thank you,” she says finally, her voice cracking. She takes the money and stuffs it into her apron. I feel sorta bad, poor girl. “Have a nice day, Charlotte,” I say, and start to hobble away. She calls after me, “I hope your leg gets better soon.” That was big of her, considering what ginormous bastards we’d been to her all morning. Or maybe she’s just doing her job. I wave a hand to her without looking back, and leave Annabelle’s. Time heals me. I go back to work. To Planet X. To the world and all its thrills and beauty. I don’t go back to my parents’ townhouse; hell I’m hardly in NYC anymore. I don’t go back to Annabelle’s and I never see—or think about—that cute waitress with the sad eyes ever again. “Fucking hell,” I whisper as the machine reads the last line of
Emma Scott (Endless Possibility (Rush, #1.5))
By then we lived in a small town an hour outside of Minneapolis in a series of apartment complexes with deceptively upscale names: Mill Pond and Barbary Knoll, Tree Loft and Lake Grace Manor. She had one job, then another. She waited tables at a place called the Norseman and then a place called Infinity, where her uniform was a black T-shirt that said GO FOR IT in rainbow glitter across her chest. She worked the day shift at a factory that manufactured plastic containers capable of holding highly corrosive chemicals and brought the rejects home. Trays and boxes that had been cracked or clipped or misaligned in the machine. We made them into toys—beds for our dolls, ramps for our cars. She worked and worked and worked, and still we were poor. We received government cheese and powdered milk, food stamps and medical assistance cards, and free presents from do-gooders at Christmastime. We played tag and red light green light and charades by the apartment mailboxes that you could open only with a key, waiting for checks to arrive. “We aren’t poor,” my mother said, again and again. “Because we’re rich in love.
Cheryl Strayed (Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail)
good ideas. Junior was there, saying hi to people and getting petted like crazy. We also had homemade dog biscuits from Grandma Dotty to give away. And I drew the T-shirt designs myself. “Step right up! Check it out!” Flip kept saying. Georgia was signing up customers. And I helped Magic Murray
James Patterson (Middle School: Dog's Best Friend (Middle School Book 8))
I had traveled across Asia for six months with a backpack when I was twenty-two. My mood on those exotic days in Katmandu and Da Nang alternated between euphoria and lonely terror. I had traveler’s checks that I kept with my passport in a little sack that I wore under my T-shirt at all times, afraid that someone would snatch it and then I would be completely fucked.
Ariel Levy (The Rules Do Not Apply)
Memories of actual events have more temporal and spatial attributes than
do memories of imagined events (you may recall the exact time of your visit to the library and remember which
floor you visited), more sensory attributes (you may recall the color of the shirt you wore that day), more detailed
and specific information (you may recall which books you checked out, which other people were present, what the
librarian said), and more emotional information (you may recall your boredom and frustration as you stood in the
long checkout line). You may also have supporting memories (you may still have the book you checked out that
day), and your memories may be corroborated by those of others (your friend reports remembering going to the
library with you that day). We rely on all these cues to distinguish real from imagined events. We may also rely on
our reasoning powers: If the memory includes logically impossible events (books jumping off the shelf to greet
you), you may conclude that this event must have been imagined. On the other hand, if the recalled events seem
coherent and logically interrelated, you may view the memory as more accurate.
Because we rely on such cues to construct the reality of recalled events, we may sometimes confuse reality and
imagination when the cues mislead us. As imagined events become more rich and detailed, we become more likely to mistake them
Ziva Kunda (Social Cognition)
Who?” “Bill Judd Jr.” “Oh, noooo.” Round, Swedish oooo’s. “Miz Sweet, when we were going through Judd Sr.’s office, we found some invoices on your computer, for chemicals that were apparently used in an ethanol plant out in South Dakota…” “I heard about it on TV. That was the same one? The one where they were making drugs?” “Yes, it was,” Virgil said. “Oh, nooo.” The sound was driving him crazy; she sounded like a bad comedian. “Who in town knew about the ethanol plant?” She turned her face to one side and put a hand to her lips. “Well, the Judds, of course.” “Both of them?” Virgil asked. “Well…Junior set it up, but Senior knew about it.” He pressed. “Are you sure about that?” “Well, yes. He signed the checks.” “Did you see him signing the checks?” Virgil asked. “No, but I saw the checks. It was his signature…” “Do you remember the bank?” She shook her head. “No, no, I don’t.” She frowned. “I’m not even sure that the bank name was on the checks.” “Did you ever talk to Junior about that?” “No. It wasn’t my business,” she said. “They wanted to keep it quiet, because, you know, when ethanol started, it sounded a little like the Jerusalem artichoke thing. The Judds were involved in that, of course.” “So how quiet did they keep it?” Virgil asked. “Who else knew? Did you tell anybody?” He saw it coming, the noooo. “Oh, noooo…Junior told me, don’t talk about this, because of my father. So, I didn’t.” “Not to anybody?” Her eyes drifted. She was thinking, which meant that she had. “It’s possible…my sister, I might have told. I think there might have been some word around town.” “It’s really important that you remember…” She put her hand to her temple, as though she were going to move a paper clip with telekinesis, and said, “I might have mentioned it at bridge. At our bridge club. That a plant was being built, and some local people were involved.” “All right,” Virgil said. “So who was at the bridge club?” “Well, let me see, there would have been nine or ten of us…” She listed them; he only recognized one of the names. WHEN HE WAS DONE with Sweet, he strolled up the hill to the newspaper office. He pushed in, and found Williamson behind the business counter, talking to a woman customer. Williamson looked past the woman and snapped, “What do you want?” “I have a question, when you’re free.” “Wait.” Williamson was wearing a T-shirt and had sweat stains under his arms, as though he’d been lifting rocks. “Take just a minute.” The customer was trying to dump her Beanie Baby collection locally—ten years too late, in Virgil’s opinion—and wanted the cheapest possible advertisement. She got twenty words for six dollars, looking back and forth between Virgil and Williamson, and after writing a check for the amount, said to Virgil, “I’d love to hear your question.” Virgil looked at her over his sunglasses and grinned: “I’d love to have you, but I’m afraid it’s gotta be private, for the moment.” “Shoot.” She looked at Williamson, who shrugged, and she said, “Oh, well.” WHEN SHE’D GONE out the door, Williamson said, “I’m working. You can ask me out back.” “You still pissed about the search?
John Sandford (Dark Of The Moon (Virgil Flowers, #1))
You are a strange person. I’m kinda hoping my roommate will come home soon, but you can just leave if you want. How were you wasted an hour ago—you could barely talk or walk—and now you’re sitting here making up elaborate stories? I thought you’d pass out the second you hit the couch.”
“Oh, well that’s easy to explain. My metabolism is a lot faster than yours. I can eat and drink a whole bunch.”
“Are you bragging, or are you saying you have some special angel quality that allows you to drink more alcohol?” She smirked.
“I’m not human. I don’t sleep—I can’t. I wish I could because you bore me to tears and I have to watch over you.”
“Uh huh. So you don’t sleep, but you get wasted?”
“There’s no rule about drinking and flying last time I checked, but I wouldn’t be much of a guardian angel if I slept on the job, now would I?”
“You’re a bit arrogant and completely insane, but you are definitely creative, I’ll give you that. Do your wings sprout out of your shirt when you take flight?”
“No, they’re always there. You just can’t see ’em.”
“I bet they’re big, huh?” She rolled her eyes.
“They’re huge. Did you see the size of my feet? Thirteens.” I pointed at my boots, bit my bottom lip, and wiggled my eyebrows. “All the other angels say size doesn’t matter, but wait till you see me in action.” I was still a little drunk. I was flirting with her. I was despicable.
“Great, so my guardian angel is a perverted narcissist.”
She’d left out that I was a drunk as well, which was a relief
Renee Carlino (Lucian Divine)
After I checked my suitcase, I walked through the terminal crying. When you go to boarding school, you're always leaving your family, not once but over and over and over, and it's not like it is when you're in college because you're older then and you're sort of supposed to be gone from them. I cried because of how guilty I felt, and because of how indulgent my guilt was. Standing in a store that sold bottled water and birthday cards and T-shirts that said Indiana in ornate writing, less than twenty minutes away from my father's house, I missed them so much I was tempted to call my mother and ask her to come wait with me for the plane; she'd have done it. But then she'd know what she'd probably only suspected--how messed up I really was, how much I'd been misleading them for the last four years.
It would be much better once I got on the plane, better still back on campus. But while I was in their city, it just seemed like such a mistake that I had ever left home, such an error in judgement on all our parts.
Curtis Sittenfeld (Prep)
I could only imagine how red my face was because it felt like my cheeks had caught fire. “Oh my God. I’m so sorry. I’ll buy you a new shirt. I swear. Just tell me how much it cost and I’ll cut you a check.” I paused my hysteria long enough to realize that no one had checks anymore, much less ones they “cut” like an old-school bookie. “That was a lie. I don’t have a check. Do you by chance have Paypal?
Aly Martinez (Written with Regret (The Regret Duet, #1))
The next morning a squawking Fuzzbucket awoke Michele from her tossing and turning. Her head hurt from dreaming a series of chasing, getting-caught, getting-away dreams. She felt exhausted and not ready to hear about anymore crises from the three kids standing at the foot of her bed.
"Michael! Move that drippy bottle," she grumbled.
"It's a clue," Michael told her.
"Big deal," Michele said, feeling ill at her brother and more ill at herself for taking it out on him.
"Sorry, Mike," she added, reaching for the limp note he held out to her. She yawned. Rubbing the sleep from the corners of her eyes, she read the clue in a mumbled monotone:
If not finding the head is what you fear,
You'd better check out the Van . . ."
"What the heck does this mean?" Michele asked irritably. "The rest of the word is washed away. It's just a smear of blue ink." She tossed the note back at them.
"We know what it means!" Jo Dee squealed. "At least Brian does."
Michele rubbed her tangled hair. The top of her head felt like a pile of pinestraw and she wasn't sure she liked Brian seeing her all messy. He just stood there in his neat jeans and tee shirt looking smart.
"Oh, all right," she grumbled. "I give up. What does it mean?"
"Well," said Brian. "I thought at first Van might be the beginning of the word "Vandyke" which is a pointy kind of beard like the artist Van Gogh wore."
Michele yawned again and stretched back on her pillow as though she were bored and could doze off. "I know that," she barked.
Brian sighed and turned on his heels. "C'mon, kids, let's leave Sleeping Ugly alone and start on this clue ourselves."
"Wait!" Michele said, sitting upright. "I'm sorry. My head just hurts," she said, rubbing it dramatically as evidence.
"Throbs—or rings?" Brian asked with a smile.
"Clangs like a bell," Michele said, grinning back at him.
Carole Marsh (The Mystery of Blackbeard the Pirate (Carole Marsh Mysteries))
action. He looks like Lurch among the ballerinas. The man has, Rafferty finally recognizes, a clubfoot, so put a check in the physical-anomaly column after all. The clubfoot is housed in a black architectural structure half the size of a tuk-tuk, the three-wheeled taxis so ubiquitous in Bangkok. So here’s Black Shirt, aka Tuk-Tuk Foot; him, Rafferty can spot. Okay, he can spot him. So what? Thought One is to lose Black Shirt first. Reduce the opposition numbers and then worry about the others. Thought Two is to stay with Black Shirt and try to lose the others, on the assumption that
Timothy Hallinan (The Fourth Watcher)
…Who through faith…whose weakness was turned to strength…. —Hebrews 11:33–34 (NIV) I probably shouldn’t have checked my computer one last time after a very tiring day. One click and I was staring in disbelief at an e-mail from our church prayer planning committee leader with more than one hundred prayer requests attached! The petitions had been gathered at our Ash Wednesday service, and no one thought about who was going to pray for them once they were placed on the altar. Although we weren’t an intercessory prayer group (we plan prayer events), our committee was elected! I was even more overwhelmed when I glanced at the list: chemotherapy, job losses, marriages falling apart, the death of young adults, anger issues, serious child behavior problems… I felt absolutely unable—and unwilling—to tackle the job. So instead of praying, I escaped to the laundry room to take the clothes out of the dryer. As I vigorously shook out a shirt, this thought came to mind: Here you are thinking it’s impossible to pray for one hundred requests. God not only hears billions of requests an hour, He also follows through and acts on them. I printed out the requests and put them by the chair where I do my morning prayers, and each morning I prayed for ten of them until I finally finished all of them. Dear Creator of the universe, help me to say yes to the spiritual tasks You assign me even when I feel unequal to the task. Amen. —Karen Barber Digging Deeper: Mk 10:45; 1 Pt 4:10–11
Guideposts (Daily Guideposts 2014)
Xander was behind me, smiling. My heart rate jumped and my stomach either flipped or flopped, I couldn’t tell which. My eyes anchored down, then up. Running sneakers, legs bound in muscle, low-lying shorts with a white T-shirt tucked in the waist, ripped abs, tanned chest, strong jaw, and full lips stretched into a wide grin. Wait…that smile was bigger than it was a moment ago. He knew I was staring. He knew I was checking him out. Crap.
Ashlan Thomas (To Fall (The To Fall Trilogy #1))
Did you ask me to unbutton my shirt so you could check for a wire?” “Smart and pretty. You’d do well here.
Prugo gazes at his image onscreen, cocking his head this was and that, making "sexy" faces, checking himself out. Inspired, he gets up and lifts up his shirt, showing off his bare midriff. Then he turns around and does a booty dance for the camera.
Nancy Jo Sales
I'll take off my clothes," I said before I could think about how that would play out. "And you guys check for bite marks"...
"Don't," Everson said hoarsely and I froze. "It won't be enough. Even without a bite mark, you could still be infected. Chorda's blood or saliva could have gotten in one of your cuts. We're going to have to wait it out."
"He's right." Rafe cast a sidelong look at Everson. "But you could have mentioned it after she took her off her shirt"
"It crossed my mind," Everson admitted.
Hey, Emma, do you think Thor is a hunk?”
Emma looked up from the orders to gaze at Georgie quizzically. “Are you talking about the mythological Norse god or the guy who played him in the movie?”
“Either, both-- whatever.” Georgie returned to gazing out the shop window at the quiet main street of Scottsbluff. “The movie Thor is playing at the Midwest Theater this weekend. Looks like they’re having an Avenger movies marathon; must be getting ready for another sequel to come out soon. Anyway, it got me to thinking about how hunky Thor is. Actually it got me to thinking about hunky men, period.”
“Oh yeah, it would. It doesn’t take much to send your mind in that direction. As for Thor, I think we can reasonably presume he’s a hunk. After all, he’d have to be to swing that giant hammer of his. That would take a lot of muscle and all of it in the right places. The actor in the movie definitely qualifies as a hunk and I choose to believe his portrayal is based on fact.” She grinned. “We should go see the movie so we can check out his hammer.”
“That’s a deal.” Georgie also grinned, turning back to the window and giving a soft wolf whistle.
“Hold on. Who’s this gorgeous specimen of manhood I see?”
Emma joined Georgie at the window.
“Whoa, I don’t know who he is, but he looks like he probably has a pretty big hammer of his own, even if he isn’t a Norse god.”
“Down, girl. I saw him first so I’m calling dibs.” Georgie gave Emma a playful punch on the shoulder, eliciting a good natured chuckle. “Besides, how do you know he isn’t a Norse god?”
“Would a Norse god wear a faded tee shirt tucked into tight jeans? And, what do you mean you’re calling dibs? I thought you’d given up on bad boys. He definitely looks like a bad boy.”
“Yeah,” Georgie said sadly, “no more bad boys for me. Seriously though, Emma, aren’t all mythological gods known for their vanity? If they’d had tight jeans back in the days of the gods, that’s what they’d have worn for the sake of their godly vanity. I’m sure of it.
Jayne Hyatt (Looking for the Good Life)
And you’re spending the whole summer in Rome?” I ask. “Digging things up?”
He absentmindedly plays with a loose string at the hem of his shirt. “We’ll be here a few more weeks. Then we’ll move on to a dig in Tuscany. And we get weekends off, sometimes even three-day weekends, so I plan on traveling when I can. Blowing all my graduation money,” he adds with a laugh.
“Pompeii, for obvious reasons, but I also want to see Venice before it sinks. And everyone says the place to see at least once in your life is the Cinque Terre.”
I do my best to repeat the words he just said. “Cinque Terre?”
“It means ‘the five lands.’ It’s a section of the northern coast, the Italian Riviera. Five little fishing villages all connected by a path along the cliffs of the sea. The trail’s pretty famous. It’s called la Via dell’Amore.” The words flow like he’s a local.
I look away quickly when I realize I’m staring at his lips, silently begging for him to keep speaking in Italian. “Sounds beautiful.”
“I’ve heard it’s one of the best places to photograph in the country,” he says, pointing to my camera. “You should go and check it out. I mean, since your summer’s free now.” He flashes a sneaky smile. My partner in crime.
I return the smile. “Maybe I will.
Kristin Rae (Wish You Were Italian (If Only . . ., #2))
The door was still open, so I shut it and was returning to my desk when I braked. There was a backpack resting on the other side of my desk chair. It wasn’t mine. It wasn’t Missy’s. I was pretty sure it wasn’t Holly’s or the cousin’s.
“Shit,” I muttered under my breath.
“Huh?” she barked, her head swinging around to me.
A quick glance confirmed what I already knew. She was drunk.
She pulled out one of her shirts, but it wasn’t her normal pajama top. She was really drunk. I picked up Shay’s bag and checked the contents to make sure it was his. It was. I saw his planner with his name scrawled at the top, so I zipped that bag and put it in the back of my closet. No one needed to go through it. I didn’t think Missy would, but I just never knew.
Dropping into my chair, I picked up my phone to text Shay as Missy fell to the floor. I looked up to watch. I couldn’t not see this.
I was tempted to video it, but I was being nice. For once.
As Missy wrestled with her jeans and lifted them over her head to throw into her closet, I texted Shay.
Me: You left your bag here.
Missy let out a half-gurgled moan and a cry of frustration at the same time. She didn’t stand, instead crawling to the closet. She grabbed another pair of pants.
Those weren’t her pajamas, either.
As she pulled them on—or tried since her feet kept eluding the pants’ hole—my phone buzzed back.
Coleman: Can I pick it up in the morning?
I texted back.
Missy got one leg in. Success. I wanted to thrust my fist in the air for her.
My phone buzzed again.
Coleman: Early. My playbook is in there.
Me: When is early? I’m in college, Coleman. Sleeping in is mandatory.
Coleman: Nine too early for you? I can come back to get it now.
Nine was doable.
Me: Let’s do an exchange. You bring me coffee, and I’ll meet you at the parking lot curb with your bag.
Coleman: Done. Decaf okay?
I glared at my phone.
Me: Back to hating you.
Coleman: Never stop that. The world’s equilibrium will be fucked up. I have to know what’s right and wrong. Don’t screw with my moral compass, Cute Ass.
Oh, no! No way.
Me: Third rule of what we don’t talk about. No nicknames unless they reconfirm our mutual dislike for each other. No Cute Ass.
His response was immediate.
Coleman: Cunt Ass?
A second squeak from me.
I could almost hear him laughing.
Coleman: Relax. I know. Clarke’s Ass. That’s how you are in my phone.
The tension left my shoulders.
Me: See you in the morning. 9 sharp.
I put my phone down, but then it buzzed once again.
I was struggling to wipe this stupid grin off my face. All was right again. I plugged my phone in, pulled my laptop back toward me, and sent a response to Gage’s email. I’ll sit with you, but only if we’re in the opposing team’s section.
He’d be pissed, but that was the only way. I turned the computer off, and by then Missy was climbing up the ladder in a bright pink silk shirt. The buttons were left buttoned, and her pajama bottoms were a pair of corduroy khakis. I was pretty sure she didn’t brush her teeth, but before my head even hit the pillow, she was snoring
Tijan (Hate to Love You)
A life predicated on good works always has its dangers. The pursuit of righteousness is separated from hypocrisy and pharisaism by only a hair's width. Ritual displays, checked boxes, and achieved goals, however worthy, can easily obscure "the weightier matters of the law, judgement, mercy, and faith" (Matthew 23:23). Because we live in a community and often know our neighbor's foibles and perhaps even their sins, their white shirts can easily appear as "whited sepulchers" (Matthew 23:27. Patience and forgiveness thus become two of the house of faith's load-bearing walls.
Patrick Q. Mason (Planted: Belief and Belonging in an Age of Doubt)
During the first week of filming, it began raining in Tunisia’s Nefta Valley for the first time in seven years and didn’t stop for four days. Equipment and vehicles bogged down in the mud, requiring assistance from the Tunisian army to pull everything out of the muck. It was often cold in the morning and blazing hot by afternoon, and Lucas would begin most days in his brown coat, hands shoved deep in the pockets as he peered through the eyepiece of the camera; as the sun rose higher in the sky, he would shrug off his coat, put on his sunglasses, and direct his actors in a checked work shirt, with a baseball cap pulled low over his eyes. When it wasn’t raining, high winds tore up the sets, ripping apart the sandcrawler and blowing one set, as a crew member put it, “halfway to Algeria.”7
Brian Jay Jones (George Lucas: A Life)
I haven’t seen you in a couple of days. Are you avoiding me again?” “I should, but I haven’t been. I’ve had stuff going on. Does the general know you’re doing this?” he asked. “Of course. They’re his horses.” “Aw, Shelby,” he said, sounding a little miserable. He took off the tool belt and buttoned up his shirt. “What did he say?” “He said, ‘You be careful of that Black Hawk pilot. They have a reputation for abusing women.’” He shoved his shirt into his pants. “God,” he moaned. “Why don’t you go away and leave me alone before you get me shot.” She laughed. “He didn’t say that. He said, ‘Be sure to tell Luke that Plenty nips and bolts.’ So—Plenty, short for Plenty of Trouble, nips and bolts. You’ll have to pay attention.” “Bolts?” he asked a little nervously. “Not usually with a rider. But if you get off, keep the reins. She can be a handful when she acts up, but she’s a pretty good ride.” “Aw, man. I have a feeling this is going to be humiliating. Where are we going?” “How about upriver a ways to check out the turning leaves?” she asked. “Think you can handle that?” “I’ll give it a go,” he said.
Robyn Carr (Temptation Ridge)
He found her in the bathroom, wearing one of his huge T-shirts, and he caught her softly crying. It had been a very long time since he’d seen her tears, and it knocked the wind out of him. He couldn’t bear it. “Here, here,” he said, pulling her into his strong embrace. “You’re crying.” She wiped the tears off her cheeks and looked up at him. “It’s nothing,” she said. “I got my period again. I didn’t want it to come. I wanted to be pregnant.” “You weren’t even late,” he said, for he knew everything about her, about her body. You could set a watch by her. “Not even an hour late,” she said, and a big tear spilled over. “Is it a hard one?” he asked tenderly. “No, it’s nothing at all. Except, I thought maybe finally…” “Okay, it’s time,” he said, wiping away the tear. “You should talk to Mel. Maybe to John Stone. See if we should check something out.” “I get the impression that could be expensive.” “Don’t you worry about that,” he said. “Never mind money—this is about us being happy. We want a baby. We should do what we have to do. Right?” “John, I’m sorry—” “Why are you sorry? You’re not in this alone. Everything is both of us. Right?” “Month after month…” “Well, now we’re going to face it and ask for advice. We’ll get some help. No more crying.” But she dropped her head against his chest and wept anyway, and it tore his heart out. He couldn’t stand Paige to be in any kind of pain. He lived for her happiness; she was his world. His life. “Are you crying because you’re PMS-y?” he asked. “No. I don’t think so.” “Cramps? Want me to rub your back?” “No,” she said. “I feel fine. Really.” He lifted her chin and kissed her deeply. Lovingly. Lustfully. “Want me to make you feel a little better? I know how.” “That’s okay, John. There’s no need.” “You don’t have to be shy with me. There’s no part of your life, your body, that puts me off. I love every bit of you.” She sighed deeply. “I should just take a shower and crawl into bed. I’m feeling sorry for myself.” He
Robyn Carr (Whispering Rock (Virgin River, #3))
Nick saunters into the gym and my heart basically stops. He’s ridiculously cute in his PE shorts and dark green T-shirt; and people that good-looking seem vulnerable, almost like they can’t be real.
He’s real, though. He’s all dark skin and dark hair and dark eyes. Okay. His eyebrows, like Devyn’s nose, are a little big and if you stare at him long enough you realize that his lips are a bit lopsided. I have kissed his lips. I have felt his breath in my ear and I know without a doubt that he’s real, even if he is a werewolf. The massive muscles in his legs redefine themselves as he walks toward me. He waves a late pass at the coach and yells, “Sorry I’m late. I’ve got a pass.”
“Not a problem, buddy,” Coach yells back. He and Nick are all jock bonding.
Nick pockets the note, which is probably a fake. I can smell his deodorant even though he’s still far away. There are these things called pheromones, odors that guys give off to attract women. I swear his pheromones have my freaking name written on them. They hone in and attack.
“You are getting all swoony faced,” Issie tells me with her singsong voice. She pokes me in the ribs with her elbow, gently. She turns to Devyn, who is smiling like a crazy man, just hanging back in his wheelchair watching the scene. “Dev. Look at Zara. She’s got her lovey-dovey look on.”
As Is gazes at Devyn with her own lovey-dovey look, he says, “Yeah. Teen love. So obvious. So hormonal.”
“I am not hormonal.” I fake glare at him.
Carrie Jones (Captivate (Need, #2))
Jonah peels off his wet shirt and spreads it out on the ground in the sun. For a second, all Hallelujah can see is his bare skin. She blushes and looks away, not turning back until she hears the zip of his jacket closing. Now he’s looking at her. She doesn’t know if he caught her staring.
I put out my hand. “Harlan Green.” He waved the cowboy toward me without shaking. “He’s going to check you. You know what to do?” “I know.” I stood with my feet apart and arms out. The wand looked like the wands used by TSA screeners, but this one did not screen for metal. He passed it over my chest, back, arms, and legs, searching for the RF and IR signals emitted by transmitters, recorders, and listening devices. I must have passed, because the cowboy nodded at Ramos. “Okay, now this one.” When the cowboy went to Park, Park slapped the wand away with a quick roll of his left hand, and punched him once in the solar plexus and twice in the face with his right fist. The cowboy staggered back and dropped to his knees. By the time he was down, Park was calmly staring at Ramos. “If you want search me, search me yourself.” The UFC fighter was two seconds behind the curve, then clawed under his shirt and flashed a garish little Llama .380. Neither Park nor I moved to stop him, but by the time the gun was out, Ramos saw Park’s men coming from behind the trucks. A dozen Double Dragon hitters in dark glasses and great suits. I said, “These guys know how to dress, don’t they?” Ramos glanced at me, then told the UFC fighter to put away his gun and get the cowboy on his feet. He didn’t look scared. “I
Robert Crais (Taken (Elvis Cole, #15; Joe Pike, #4))
I got you a bunch of stuff today at the store. Why don’t you check it out?” she asks. His brow arches. “You got stuff for me?” He grins and whoops and goes to rummage through the bags. He is a teenage boy, and I do have experience with those beasts. The girls, not so much. When Sky’s not looking, I chuck him on the shoulder and warn, “Even if you don’t like it, pretend you do. Don’t hurt her feelings.” “Are you kidding?” he asks. He holds up a T-shirt. “These are great.” He tries his shoes on, and they fit. She bought Vans, so she couldn’t go wrong there. He loves them. “You shouldn’t have, Aunt Sky,” he says. He gets up and goes to her. She’s grinning from ear to ear. He picks her up and spins her around. “Thank you,” he says. She squeals. “I have to get used to that hugging thing you do,” she says. “Why?” he asks. He looks confused. I have a feeling Sky didn’t get much affection as a child. But these kids were steeped in it. “It’s just…not something I’m used to,” she says. Seth’s face falls. “Do you want me to stop?” he asks. “I hugged my mom all the time.” “If you stop, I’ll have to ground you or make you wear a funny hat to school or something. Hell, I don’t know how to torture you, but I’d come up with something.” She laughs, but I can tell she’s uncomfortable. He wraps his arm around her shoulder again and squeezes her. She squeaks a little, and he laughs. “You’re like a little mouse,” he says. “Do you whisper when you’re angry, too?” She punches his shoulder. “You’ll find out if you keep it up.
Tammy Falkner (Maybe Matt's Miracle (The Reed Brothers, #4))
Need to Be Honest about My Issues Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (PSALM 139:23 – 24) Thought for the Day: Avoiding reality never changes reality. Mostly I’m a good person with good motives, but not always. Not when I just want life to be a little more about me or about making sure I look good. That’s when my motives get corrupted. The Bible is pretty blunt in naming the real issue here: evil desires. Yikes. I don’t like that term at all. And it seems a bit severe to call my unglued issues evil desires, doesn’t it? But in the depths of my heart I know the truth. Avoiding reality never changes reality. Sigh. I think I should say that again: Avoiding reality never changes reality. And change is what I really want. So upon the table I now place my honesty: I have evil desires. I do. Maybe not the kind that will land me on a 48 Hours Mystery episode, but the kind that pull me away from the woman I want to be. One with a calm spirit and divine nature. I want it to be evident that I know Jesus, love Jesus, and spend time with Jesus each day. So why do other things bubble to the surface when my life gets stressful and my relationships get strained? Things like … Selfishness: I want things my way. Pride: I see things only from my vantage point. Impatience: I rush things without proper consideration. Anger: I let simmering frustrations erupt. Bitterness: I swallow eruptions and let them fester. It’s easier to avoid these realities than to deal with them. I’d much rather tidy my closet than tidy my heart. I’d much rather run to the mall and get a new shirt than run to God and get a new attitude. I’d much rather dig into a brownie than dig into my heart. I’d much rather point the finger at other people’s issues than take a peek at my own. Plus, it’s just a whole lot easier to tidy my closet, run to the store, eat a brownie, and look at other people’s issues. A whole lot easier. I rationalize that I don’t have time to get all psychological and examine my selfishness, pride, impatience, anger, and bitterness. And honestly, I’m tired of knowing I have issues but having no clue how to practically rein them in on a given day. I need something simple. A quick reality check I can remember in the midst of the everyday messies. And I think the following prayer is just the thing: God, even when I choose to ignore what my heart is saying to me, You know my heart. I bring to You this [and here I name whatever feeling or thoughts I have been reluctant to acknowledge]. Forgive me. Soften my heart. Make it pure. Might that quick prayer help you as well? If so, stop what you are doing —just for five minutes — and pray these or similar words. When I’ve prayed for the Lord to interrupt my feelings and soften my heart, it’s amazing how this changes me. Dear Lord, help me to remember to actually bring my emotions and reactions to You. I want my heart reaction to be godly. Thank You for grace and for always forgiving me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Lysa TerKeurst (Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress)
Sumi didn’t know why, but that sent a rush of warmth through her. When he turned, she saw the blood on the back of his shirt. Worried about him, she went over and lifted the hem to investigate the blood’s source. He tugged it down, out of her hands. “What are you doing?” he asked in an agitated tone. She gave him a droll stare. “Oh, I don’t know … I was considering molesting you on top of these grotesque dead bodies. Ripping your clothes off and running my hands all over that long, hard body until you beg for mercy. What do you say, babe? Want to add something exotic to your diet?” He gaped so widely, it exposed his fangs. Laughing, Sumi tsked at him. “Oh my God. So that’s what stark terror looks like on that gorgeous face. Who knew?” She winked at him. “Relax, sweetie. I was joking. Just wanted to check your wounds. See if you pulled the stitches out.” “Oh.” He finally relaxed as he flipped her rifle up to hold it over his shoulder. “Only a few.” A
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Born of Fury (The League, #6))
I put on a suit, then changed into a jeans and a checked shirt, then thought 'to hell with it!' and got into my shorts and a black T-shirt with an inscription that said: 'My friend was clinically dead, but all he brought me from the next world was this T-shirt!' I might look like a German tourist, but at least I would retain the semblance of a holiday mood in front of Gesar.
Sergej Lukjanenko (Twilight Watch (Watch #3))
If you had an Internet connection and lived in North America at the time, you may have seen it. Vasquez is the man behind the “Double Rainbow” video, which at last check had 38 million views. In the clip, Vasquez pans his camera back and forth to show twin rainbows he’d discovered outside his house, first whispering in awe, then escalating in volume and emotion as he’s swept away in the moment. He hoots with delight, monologues about the rainbows’ beauty, sobs, and eventually waxes existential. “What does it mean?” Vasquez crows into the camera toward the end of the clip, voice filled with tears of sheer joy, marveling at rainbows like no man ever has or probably ever will again. It’s hard to watch without cracking up. That same month, the viral blog BuzzFeed boosted a different YouTuber’s visibility. Michelle Phan, a 23-year-old Vietnamese American makeup artist, posted a home video tutorial about how to apply makeup to re-create music star Lady Gaga’s look from the recently popular music video “Bad Romance.” BuzzFeed gushed, its followers shared, and Lady Gaga’s massive fanbase caught wind of the young Asian girl who taught you how to transform into Gaga. Once again, the Internet took the video and ran with it. Phan’s clip eventually clocked in at roughly the same number of views as “Double Rainbow.” These two YouTube sensations shared a spotlight in the same summer. Tens of millions of people watched them, because of a couple of superconnectors. So where are Vasquez and Phan now? Bear Vasquez has posted more than 1,300 videos now, inspired by the runaway success of “Double Rainbow.” But most of them have been completely ignored. After Kimmel and the subsequent media flurry, Vasquez spent the next few years trying to recapture the magic—and inadvertent comedy—of that moment. But his monologues about wild turkeys or clips of himself swimming in lakes just don’t seem to find their way to the chuckling masses like “Double Rainbow” did. He sells “Double Rainbow” T-shirts. And wears them. Today, Michelle Phan is widely considered the cosmetic queen of the Internet, and is the second-most-watched female YouTuber in the world. Her videos have a collective 800 million views. She amassed 5 million YouTube subscribers, and became the official video makeup artist for Lancôme, one of the largest cosmetics brands in the world. Phan has since founded the beauty-sample delivery company Ipsy.com, which has more than 150,000 paying subscribers, and created her own line of Sephora cosmetics. She continues to run her video business—now a full-blown production company—which has brought in millions of dollars from advertising. She’s shot to the top of a hypercompetitive industry at an improbably young age. And she’s still climbing. Bear Vasquez is still cheerful. But he’s not been able to capitalize on his one-time success. Michelle Phan could be the next Estée Lauder. This chapter is about what she did differently.
Shane Snow (Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success)
were more than mere insects. Over time I realized the bees could tell my emotional or energetic state. When I embodied kindness around them, they treated me with the same. A cloud of exuberance surrounded us, as though the bees were templating euphoria into the air. I want you to know I didn’t just tear off my bee suit one day and “become one with the bees.” That took years. But eventually I did retire my bee suit. The first time I walked right up to the hives wearing only a T-shirt and shorts, I felt a bit anxious and self-absorbed, but then I remembered to turn my thoughts away from myself, to open myself to the bees and let them feel me out — which they did. They landed on my bare arms and licked my skin for the salty minerals. When I held a finger next to the entrance, a sweet little bee delicately walked onto my fingertip and faced me. She looked right into my eyes, and for the first time, we saw each other. And so I became part of bee life. Becoming Kin I soon found myself having more intuition about the hives. One morning in early spring, before the flowers had come into bloom, I suddenly had the idea that I should check one of my hives. I found the bees unexpectedly out of food; so I fed them honey saved from the year before. That call I intuitively heard from the hive likely saved its life. Another time I had the feeling that a distant hive in the east pasture was on the verge of swarming. When I walked up to see, sure enough, they were. Events like this taught me to trust my intuition more, and listening to my intuition continues to bring me into a closer relationship with all the hives. In my sixth year with bees, something new happened. I had begun a morning practice of contemplation, quieting my mind and opening my heart. I entered this prayerful state, asking for guidance, direction, courage, and truth. Even though I didn’t mention honeybees, they immediately began appearing in my thoughts and passing me information I had never read or learned from other sources. I believe the sincerity of my questions opened a door. When the information began coming to me, I listened with attentiveness, respect, and gratitude. The more I listened, the more information they shared. Since my first intuitive conversation with the bees, I have had many others. At first I didn’t know how to explain where the information came from, and that bothered me. I told my husband’s
Jacqueline Freeman (Song of Increase: Listening to the Wisdom of Honeybees for Kinder Beekeeping and a Better World)
I noticed he had begun to do as I did. But then what other models did he have? He was the kind who wore checked shirts tucked into trousers that had two demure pleats in the front.
Sachin Kundalkar (Cobalt Blue)
Gibbons came trotting out of the dressing room with Nash’s best evening clothes draped over his arm, whistling a merry tune—always a bad sign.
“What are you doing with those?” Nash asked suspiciously.
“Checking for moths,” replied the valet testily. “We go to Brierwood next week, you will recall.”
“Not in that rig.”
“But there is to be a ball,” sniffed Gibbons. “I had it from Mr. Hayden-Worth. Honestly, if I waited for you to tell me anything—”
“Next week,” Nash interjected. “That, Gibbons, is the operative word.”
“And if there are moths?” challenged the valet. “Have you any idea how long it would take to get a new suit of evening clothes made up?”
Nash shrugged. “I must have a dozen more in there somewhere,” he said, picking up his coffee. “Just drag out a set of old ones.”
“They mightn’t fit,” said Gibbons with another sniff. “None of us, I fear, are quite the men we once were.”
Nash put his coffee down, and turned sharply in his chair. “What the devil is that supposed to mean?”
Gibbons smiled faintly. “You are almost five-and-thirty, sir,” he said. “Things begin to shift—or spread—perhaps even sag.”
“I’ll be damned,” said Nash, leaping from his chair. He loosened the dressing gown and jerked it off.
“Really, my lord!” Gibbons rolled his eyes.
“The tape measure!” Nash growled, stripping off his shirt and hurling it to the floor. “Get me the goddamned tape measure!”
Gibbons sighed, went into the dressing room, and returned with the tape, curled like a little snake in the palm of his hand.
Nash loosened the fall of his trousers, and held up his arms. “All right,” he said. “Measure it.”
“Sir, this really is not nec—”
“No, by God, I said measure it.”
Gibbons wrinkled his nose and wrapped the heavy ribbon around Nash’s waist.
“Ah-ha!” said Nash. “Thirty-two inches, is it not?”
“Tsk, tsk,” said Gibbons.
“What?” Nash demanded.
“They do say a man’s eyesight is the second thing to go,” said Gibbons mournfully. “This tape plainly says thirty-three.”
Nash gasped in horror. “You must be lying.” He squinted down. Yes, Gibbons was lying. The tape very plainly said thirty-four.
“Oh, God!” said Nash.
“Not to worry, sir,” said Gibbons placatingly. “Before your sucking gasp of horror, it was an even three-and-thirty.
Liz Carlyle (Never Lie to a Lady (Neville Family #1))
Damn damn damn James
[Verse 1: Sleepy Brown]
Dickie shorts and Lincoln's clean
Leanin', checking out the scene
Gangsta boys, blizzes lit
Ridin' out, talkin' shit
Nigga where you wanna go?
You know the club don't close 'til four
Let's party 'til we can't no more
Watch out here come the folks (Damn - oh lord)
[Verse 2: André 3000]
As the plot thickens it gives me the dickens
Reminiscent of Charles a lil' discotheque
Nestled in the ghettos of Niggaville, USA
Via Atlanta, Georgia a lil' spot where
Young men and young women go to experience
They first li'l taste of the night life
Me? Well I've never been there; well perhaps once
But I was so engulfed in the Olde E
I never made it to the door you speak of, hardcore
While the DJ sweatin' out all the problems
And the troubles of the day
While this fine bow-legged girl fine as all outdoors
Lulls lukewarm lullabies in your left ear
Competing with "Set it Off," in the right
But it all blends perfectly let the liquor tell it
"Hey hey look baby they playin' our song"
And the crowd goes wild as if
Holyfield has just won the fight
But in actuality it's only about 3 A.M
And three niggas just don' got hauled
Off in the ambulance (sliced up)
Two niggas don' start bustin' (wham wham)
And one nigga don' took his shirt off talkin' 'bout
"Now who else wanna fuck with Hollywood Courts?"
It's just my interpretation of the situation
[Verse 3: Big Boi]
Yes, when I first met my SpottieOttieDopalicious Angel
I can remember that damn thing like yesterday
The way she moved reminded me of a Brown Stallion
Horse with skates on, ya know
Smooth like a hot comb on nappy ass hair
I walked up on her and was almost paralyzed
Her neck was smelling sweeter
Than a plate of yams with extra syrup
Eyes beaming like four karats apiece just blindin' a nigga
Felt like I chiefed a whole O of that Presidential
My heart was beating so damn fast
Never knowing this moment would bring another
Life into this world
Funny how shit come together sometimes (ya dig)
One moment you frequent the booty clubs and
The next four years you & somebody's daughter
Raisin' y'all own young'n now that's a beautiful thang
That's if you're on top of your game
And man enough to handle real life situations (that is)
Can't gamble feeding baby on that dope money
Might not always be sufficient but the
United Parcel Service & the people at the Post Office
Didn't call you back because you had cloudy piss
So now you back in the trap just that, trapped
Go on and marinate on that for a minute
Stridor checked the clip, turned the safety off, and cocked the gun. “I SAID NO!” Asa yelled. He was no longer concerned that Multipliers out in the forest might hear him. “You’re right,” Stridor said. He put the gun down on his backpack. “I should take his clothes off before I kill him. We don’t want blood on that t-shirt.
Chad Leito (The Academy: Book 3)
26 In which we say goodbye to Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard After the hospital, where Mr. Whittard had his arm bandaged, they went in a taxi to the hotel. They drove through the streets of the city, where it no longer snowed. Alice folded all the clothes the museum curator had given her and left them neatly on her bed. She re-dressed herself, the way she had always dressed, in jeans and a T-shirt. She applied blood-red lipstick, which was way too grown-up for her. The sun was just up. It shone everywhere on the snow and on the glistening white trees and on all the windows. Behind each window there were people waking up to Christmas Day. They would no doubt open their presents, eat, and ice-skate. They would not set a time limit; they would skate into the night, and their cheeks would burn bright, and they would smile. Somewhere a man would take a violin out and begin to play. At the airport the family’s three suitcases were checked and the large, unusually shaped package was checked as well. The unusually shaped package went through the X-ray machine, and security looked very surprised until Ophelia’s father produced his card, which read: MALCOLM WHITTARD LEADING INTERNATIONAL EXPERT ON SWORDS They took their seats and rested, waiting for takeoff. Ophelia felt for Alice’s hand, and Alice squeezed in return until they were high in the air. Ophelia looked at her watch. They would be home within a few hours. She went to calculate … and stopped. Be brave, her mother whispered in her ear, and then was gone. From the airplane window Ophelia could see the city below. All the small and winding gray cobblestone streets, all the shining silver buildings and bridges, the museum, getting smaller and smaller until it was lost. She caught just a glimpse of the vast and fabled sea before the clouds covered this world. In that tiny moment she fancied she saw blue water, perfect blue water, the whitecaps breaking. Then that view was gone, swallowed up by the whitest clouds she’d ever seen. Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard, brave, curious girl, closed her eyes and smiled. THE END.
Karen Foxlee (Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy)
When a woman is leaving her man, when a woman finally decides her departure,
Does she still need to water the plants everyday?
Does she still need to wash his shirts, socks and jeans? Check all his pockets before washing them?
Does she still need to cook food every evening before he comes back? Or just leave everything uncooked in the fridge? Like those days when he was a bachelor?
Does she still need to wash the dishes, and sweep the floor?
Does she still kiss him? When he comes back through the evening door?
Does she still want to make love with him?
Does she, or will she cry, when she feels her body needs somebody to cover it and warm it, but not this one, the one lies beside hers?
Does she, or will she say, I am leaving you, on a particular day? Or at a particular time? Or in a particular moment?
Does she, or will she hire a car or a taxi, to take all her things before he understands what is happening?
Does she, or will she cry, cry loudly, when she starts leading her lead to a new life, a life without anybody waiting for her and without anybody lighting a fire for her?
Xiaolu Guo (A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers)
She reeled back, not only because she’d smacked into Leo’s chest.
She mentally reeled.
He came back.
That more than anything shook her off balance, and she went over— someone yell timber.
She didn’t fall alone.
Her flailing hand caught Leo’s shirt, her foot somehow tangled around his ankle— totally accidental, really— and together they hit the floor.
Although, somehow, she ended on top of him. The man had rolled his body at the last moment so he took the brunt of the fall.
What have I done? How badly had she squashed him? Please don’t let him cry.
She hated it when they cried.
“You okay, Vex?”
She raised her head and beamed his way. “You’re not screaming.”
He arched a brow. “Why would I be?”
“We hit the floor kind of hard.”
“Hard is right,” he grumbled. “But not in the way you think.”
Surely he didn’t imply… She squirmed into a better position to check— we have confirmation of an impressive erection.
He sucked in a breath. Dammit, had he lied about her injuring him? “Are you hurt, Pookie?”
“I am hurting bad, Vex. Want to kiss it better?” His wink had her lips twitching.
“I am beginning to think I misjudged you.”
“Misjudged me how?” Rolling her to the side, Leo got to his feet and then hauled her up.
“You are much more wicked than I gave you credit for.” She grinned. “That is so freaking awesome.
Eve Langlais (When an Omega Snaps (A Lion's Pride, #3))
Sharko had checked online for the local temperature: celestial fires torched the country, a veritable sauna, which wouldn’t help matters. He packed his suitcase with plain short-sleeved shirts, two bathing suits—you never know—two pairs of twill trousers, and Bermuda shorts. He didn’t forget his tape recorder, cocktail sauce, candied chestnuts, or O-gauge Ova Hornby locomotive, with its black car for wood and charcoal.
Franck Thilliez (Syndrome E)
I’d pulled my unruly blond hair out of its usual ponytail for the occasion, loaded on some makeup to play up my teal eyes, and poured myself into a little black skirt, short enough to show off my legs while not offending Lafitte’s nineteenth-century sensibilities.
It must have worked, because the pirate was giving me that head-to-toe appraisal guys do on instinct, like they’re assessing a juicy slab of beef and deciding whether they want it rare, medium, or well-done. “You really are lovely, Drusilla.” The timbre of Lafitte’s voice shivered down my spine, and I fought the urge to check out the biceps underneath that linen shirt.
Holy crap. This was just wrong. I should not be absorbing his lust.
Suzanne Johnson (Royal Street (Sentinels of New Orleans, #1))
Pike glanced over at her again. “What’s your name?” She took off her glasses and frowned at him as if he were retarded. “What are you talking about?” “What’s your name?” “I don’t get it. Is this some kind of game we’re playing, truth or dare, what?” “Your name.” “I don’t get why you’re asking my name.” “What is it?” Her face flattened in frustration and she pulled at her shirt. “I’m hungry. When are you getting me something to eat?” “Name.” “LARKIN CONNER BARKLEY! Jesus Christ, what’s YOUR FUCKING NAME?” “Your father?” “CONNER BARKLEY! MY MOTHER IS DEAD! HER NAME WAS JANICE! I’M AN ONLY FUCKING CHILD! FUCK YOU!” Pike checked the rearview, then pointed at her purse on the floor under her feet. “License and credit cards.” She snatched up her purse, dug out her wallet, and threw it at him. “Use the cards to buy me some lunch.
Robert Crais (The Watchman (Elvis Cole, #11; Joe Pike, #1))
her gentle but continuous harangue as she coaxed him into dressing and tried to teach him to match his shirt and pants. But sometimes an incipient tantrum she had no time for meant that checks and stripes were the order of the day. “Have fun at the circus,” she’d say to Sean’s back as he ran out the door to catch the bus. Rebecca
Dexter Palmer (Version Control)
No matter what country you are in, runners are the same everywhere, obsessed with clothing lines and colours. This is why all the changing rooms in the running department of the sports shop were occupied by men and women trying on tight running leggings and luminescent shirts, checking their ensembles, the quality of the stitching and the breathability of the fabric. Chase had to go to another department to find an available fitting room.
Stefania Mattana (Cutting Right to the Chase)
When Diana was unable to visit, she telephoned the apartment to check on her friend’s condition. On her 30th birthday she wore a gold bracelet which Adrian had given to her as a sign of their affection and solidarity. Nevertheless, Diana’s quiet and longstanding commitment to be with Adrian when he died almost foundered. In August his condition worsened and doctors advised that he should be transferred to a private room at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington where he could be treated more effectively. However Diana had to go on a holiday cruise in the Mediterranean with her family on board a yacht owned by the Greek millionaire John Latsis. Provisional plans were made to fly her from the boat by helicopter to a private plane so that she could be with her friend at the end. Before she left, Diana visited Adrian in his home. “I’ll hang on for you,” he told her. With those words emblazoned on her heart, she flew to Italy, ticking off the hours until she could return.
As soon as she disembarked from the royal flight jet she drove straight to St Mary’s Hospital. Angela recalls: “Suddenly there was a knock on the door. It was Diana. I flung my arms around her and took her into the room to see Adrian. She was still dressed in a T-shirt and sporting a sun tan. It was wonderful for Adrian to see her like that.”
She eventually went home to Kensington Palace but returned the following day with all kinds of goodies. Her chef Mervyn Wycherley had packed a large picnic hamper for Angela while Prince William walked into the room almost dwarfed by his present of a large jasmine plant from the Highgrove greenhouses. Diana’s decision to bring William was carefully calculated. By then Adrian was off all medication and very much at peace with himself. “Diana would not have brought her son if Adrian’s appearance had been upsetting,” says Angela. On his way home, William asked his mother: “If Adrian starts to die when I’m at school will you tell me so that I can be there.
Andrew Morton (Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words)
You took a good whack to the thigh,” he pointed out while she filled a couple of frosted mugs with water.
She twisted around so she could see the bruises. “Yeah. It’s a little tender to the touch but nothing major.”
“You should let me check the rest of you over.” She gave him a cold glass of water and an arched eyebrow.
“For bruises, I mean, though you do look sexy as hell with a dirty face, wearing nothing but a T-shirt.”
Putting a hand on her hip, which drew the hem of her T-shirt up a tantalizing half-inch, she scowled at him. “When I made you my fake fiancé, I had no idea you had this weird dirty-face fetish.”
“I didn’t have it before I became your fake fiancé.” He took a long drink of water. “And it’s not a fetish. I told you, it turns me on that you work hard and you play hard. The dirt’s just a visual representation of that, I guess.”
“That’s very deep of you.”
“Plus, it means you’ll be showering soon and I like you all soaped up and slippery, too.”
A slow flush burned up her neck. “Dirty. Clean. Doesn’t matter to you, does it?”
He was going to tell her no, it didn’t matter—that he’d take her any way he could get her—but he kept his mouth shut. It was true, of course, but nothing good would come of her knowing that. She didn’t need to know that sometimes when they were curled up on the couch watching television or arguing about white versus wheat bread at the store, he would sometimes forget they were pretending to be a couple.
And she really didn’t need to know it sometimes bummed him out when he remembered.
Shannon Stacey (Yours to Keep (Kowalski Family, #3))
You’re not very good at this,” Emma said, laughing at the frustration on Sean’s face.
He pulled his hand out from under the back of her T-shirt. “You’re distracting me.”
“How am I distracting you?” She shook the bag at Sean, reminding him to pull two letter tiles to replace the C and the T he’d used to make CAT.
“You look totally hot. And you did it on purpose so I wouldn’t be able to concentrate and you’d win.”
Emma laughed. Sure, she’d thrown on baggy flannel boxers and an old Red Sox T-shirt after her shower just to seduce him out of triple-word scores. “You not having a shirt on is distracting. And you keep pretending you want to rub my back so you can peek at my tile rack.”
“Nothing wrong with checking out your rack.” He craned his neck to see better and she shoved him away. It wasn’t easy playing Scrabble sitting side by side on the couch, but after a long workday, neither was willing to take the floor.
Shannon Stacey (Yours to Keep (Kowalski Family, #3))
The tycoons of social media have to stop pretending that they’re friendly nerd gods building a better world and admit they’re just tobacco farmers in T-shirts selling an addictive product to children.5 Because, let’s face it, checking your “likes” is the new smoking.
Cal Newport (Digital Minimalism: On Living Better with Less Technology)
The Black Clouds
He had trudged through tangles and trailed in steeps for two days scratching his face and extremities into blood. The sun was near to setting and he was not able to overcome the plumb rocks. He had hunger collywobles in his stomach. “Tomorrow I will easily reach the troops…” – he entered a familiar cave with these thoughts and emptying the pockets full of mushrooms picked on the road burnt a flame. He took from the internal pocket a flat bottle of moonshine and swallowed – it removed the fatigue and helped him to rid himself of remorse. He felt stick in his mouth – “As is, I have drunk of bile and smell like lathery horse…» His tousled beard hid all light lines on his face making him more terrible. His large shoulders and brawny arms proved him as a strong person. He almost had no neck – as though, his head was stuck into shoulders. His old and narrow dress fitted close to his body – under it he had military officer’s shirt. Although he avoided twists and turns of war, he was accustomed to the smell of blood and death – he was bright, fearless and volitional like a real fighter. “I could become a good fighter,” – he was sure in it and sometimes expressed this thought loudly watching the fighting troops.
Besides everything, the war is ugly also because of the fact that pillagers not wasting the time pillage the dead fighters. When the fights get calm, the Sun illuminates the naked corpses – it is qiute common phenomenon. The most of people think that this action is done by the winner figthers. But they are wrong because the day-time heroes cannot turn into night hyenas. This action is done by pillagers wearing military dress and hang around the attacking troops and, some of them do it with entire family in horse carts. He also was fed by the war – he also wandered following the troops like dark shadow and emtied the dead fighters’ pockets. He often sold the robbed things to fighters. His accomplices robbed in dream even own fellow travellers. But he was more compassionate and never robbed the wounded fighters thinking that it would moderate his sins. He never took the dead figthers’ dress but emptied only their pockets. But the pillagers following him stripped the dead fighters naked. “Thy say that there is a lame necrophiliac pillager among them raping the dead people.” Once, checking the laying fighter’s pockets he saw that the fighter is alive but his leg is torn off and suspended on the skin. Sitting close he started to frankly speak to the fighter consoling him. The fighter asked him to cut his leg off and bury it. He implicitly fulfilled the fighter’s request; coming to consciousness in the evening the fighter cheerfully said that his leg called him to the beyond. At that moment he tried to think about the world above but immediately shook his hand thinking «That’s load of rubbish!» The fighter died in the night and, taking the fighters ring off his finger, he put into sack.
The fighters didn’t think about them in the heat of the battle. However, if the fighter caught any of them they unreservedly killed them. Once he always was near to death – however, he could save his life saying that he was carrying the army’s battle to the troops and furthermore, tearfully implored a little reward from officer. Coming back, he emptied his killed accomplices’ pockets ad collected a lot of money and valuables.
He hated retreating troops. “Troops should either self-destruct or destroy the enemies!" Rivers of blood, ditches full of human corpses, mothers’ tears – all of these notions were nonsensical rot in his comprehension. Both the victory and defeat also were considered by him as nonsense – he was interested only in trophies. The days when he succeeded to collect rich trophies he could neither sleep in nights nor eat for sake of protecting the robbed values from pillagers but it didn’t weaken him. He willingly studied information about bloody wars and was mostly amazed by the fight of Waterloo: «It
In that hopeless world lying calmly in my eyes,
There was no morning, there was no sun rise
Nothing but a sorrowful lost stare and the little hands,
Holding a feeding bag and that tube stuck into her hands
Another story was there in those poor African parts
Where a medical tube seperated two combined hearts,
Where millions of orgnizations could never organize,
a single ‘normal’ life to those innocent little butterflies
Oh, what a pity...
Oneday, on my way to the blue world embodying the real one for me
And allowing me to talk freely with my friends and my family
That facebook that used to make me both happy and unhappy
That facebook that used to gather the parts of the galaxy
I saw a little African child in what seemed to be a white shirt,
Standing like a junior doctor working the night shift,
A question mark on his face told lots of stories
And a pathetic eye accumulating dozens of worries
An African poor child raising the feeding bag of his mother
Maybe checking her pulse too, or thinking to call his father
But there was no stethoscope and there was no father
Because there were no human voices around
Only bodies lying lonely on the ground
Lonely he was, the African child with no ability
Standing disappointed, unlike the statue of liberty,
That ‘s enlightening only Manhattan and some imaginary worlds
As the real world is wasting time and words
Alas... That statue could never see the sad faces overseas,
That statue could never feel their empty poor bellies!
Hayet Ben Bada
Consider the average worker in almost any urban industrialized city. The alarm rings at six forty-five and our workingman or -woman is up and at it. Check the phone. Shower. Dress in the professional uniform—suits for some, coveralls for others, scrubs for the medical professionals, jeans and T-shirts for construction workers. Breakfast, if there’s time. Grab commuter mug and briefcase (or lunch box). Hop in the car for the daily punishment called rush hour or get on a bus or train packed crushingly tight. On the job from nine to five (or longer). Deal with the boss. Deal with the coworker sent by the devil to rub you the wrong way. Deal with suppliers. Deal with clients/customers/patients. E-mails pile up. Act busy. Scroll through social media feeds. Hide mistakes. Smile when handed impossible deadlines. Give a sigh of relief when the ax known as “restructuring” or “downsizing”—or just plain getting laid off—falls on other heads. Shoulder the added workload. Watch the clock. Argue with your conscience but agree with the boss. Smile again. Five o’clock. Back in the car or on the bus or train for the evening commute. Home. Act human with your partner, kids, or roommates. Cook. Post a picture of your dinner online. Eat. Watch an episode of your favorite show. Answer one last e-mail. Bed. Eight hours of blessed oblivion—if we’re lucky.
Vicki Robin (Your Money or Your Life)
She sighed and sniffed the air. The smell of dirty water hung thickly in it. They were supposed to be running a clean-up initiative. Whether they had and failed, or they’d succeeded and it had grown filthy again she wasn’t sure. Either way, she wasn’t fancying a swim. ‘Johansson,’ Roper called from the tent, beckoning her over, the report from the uniformed officer already in his hand. ‘Come on.’ She approached and he held the edge of the door-flap open for her so she could pass inside. It was eight feet by eight feet, and the translucent material made everything bright with daylight.
The kid in front of them could have been no more than eighteen or nineteen. He was skinny and had thick curly brown hair. His skin was blued from the cold and had the distinctly greyish look of someone who did more drugs than ate food. He was lying on his back on the bank, eyes closed, hands bound together on his stomach. His clothes were enough to tell them that he was homeless. It was charity shop mix and match. A pair of jeans that were two sizes too big, tied tight around pronounced hip bones with a shoelace. He was wearing a t-shirt with the cookie monster on it that looked as old as he was. But that was it. He had no jacket despite the time of year and no socks or shoes. Jamie crouched down, pulling a pair of latex gloves from her jacket pocket. She had a box of them in the car. ‘We got an ID?’ she asked, not looking up. She knew Roper wouldn’t get down next to her. He didn’t have the stamina for it for one, and with his hangover the smell would make him puke. He’d leave the close inspection to her. ‘Uh, yeah. He matches the description of a missing person’s — Oliver Hammond. Eighteen years old. No positive ID yet though. No picture on file.’ ‘Eighteen,’ Jamie mumbled, looking over him more closely. ‘Jesus.’ ‘Yup.’ Roper sighed. ‘Probably scored, got high, took a little stroll, fell in the river… And here we are.’ ‘Did he zip-tie his hands together before or after shooting up?’ She side-eyed him as he scrolled through something on his phone. She hoped it was the missing person’s report, but thought it was more likely to be one of the daily news items his phone prepared for him. ‘I’m just testing you,’ he said absently. ‘What else d’you see?’ Jamie pursed her lips. No one seemed to care when homeless people turned up dead. There’d been eight this month alone in the city — two of which had been floaters like this. She’d checked it out waiting at some traffic lights. There were more than a hundred and forty homeless missing persons reported in the last six months in London. Most cases were never closed. She grimaced at the thought and went back to her inspection. Oliver’s wrists were rubbed raw from the zip-tie, but that looked self-inflicted. She craned her neck to see his arms. His elbows were grazed and rubbed raw, and the insides were tracked out, like Roper had said. He wasn’t new to the needle. She didn’t need to check his ankles and toes to know that they’d be the same. She lingered on his fingers, honing in on the ones with missing nails. ‘Ripped out,’ Roper said, watching as she lifted and straightened his fingers, careful not to disturb anything before the SOCOs showed up to take their photographs. In a perfect world the body would have stayed in situ in the water, but these things couldn’t be helped. She inspected the middle and the index fingers on the right hand — the nails were completely gone. ‘Torture,’ Roper added to the silence. ‘Probably over the heroin. You know, where’s my money?
Morgan Greene (Bare Skin (DS Jamie Johansson Book 1))
the chain-of-custody document to the back of the search warrant application and was ready to go. “I’m out of here,” she announced. “You ever want to get together after work, I’m here, Amy. At least until the late show starts.” “Thanks,” Dodd said, seeming to pick up on Ballard’s worry. “I might take you up on that.” Ballard took the elevator down and then crossed the front plaza toward her car. She checked the windshield and saw no ticket. She decided to double down on her luck and leave the car there. The courthouse was only a block away on Temple; if she was fast and Judge Thornton had not convened court, she could be back to the car in less than a half hour. She quickened her pace. Judge Billy Thornton was a well-regarded mainstay in the local criminal justice system. He had served both as a public defender and as a deputy district attorney in his early years, before being elected to the bench and holding the position in Department 107 of the Los Angeles Superior Court for more than a quarter century. He had a folksy manner in the courtroom that concealed a sharp legal mind—one reason the presiding judge assigned wiretap search warrants to him. His full name was Clarence William Thornton but he preferred Billy, and his bailiff called it out every time he entered the courtroom: “The Honorable Billy Thornton presiding.” Thanks to the inordinately long wait for an elevator in the fifty-year-old courthouse, Ballard did not get to Department 107 until ten minutes before ten a.m., and she saw that court was about to convene. A man in blue county jail scrubs was at the defense table with his suited attorney sitting next to him. A prosecutor Ballard recognized but could not remember by name was at the other table. They appeared ready to go and the only party missing was the judge on the bench. Ballard pulled back her jacket so the badge on her belt could be seen by the courtroom deputy and went through the gate. She moved around the attorney tables and went to the clerk’s station to the right of the judge’s bench. A man with a fraying shirt collar looked up at her. The nameplate on his desk said ADAM TRAINOR. “Hi,” Ballard whispered, feigning breathlessness so Trainor would think she had run up the nine flights of steps and take pity. “Is there any chance I can get in to see the judge about a wiretap warrant before he starts court?” “Oh, boy, we’re just waiting on the last juror to get here before starting,” Trainor said. “You might have to come back at the lunch break.” “Can you please just ask him? The warrant’s only seven pages and most of it’s boilerplate stuff he’s read a million times. It won’t take him long.” “Let me see. What’s your name and department?” “Renée Ballard, LAPD. I’m working a cold case homicide. And there is a time element on this.” Trainor picked up his phone, punched a button, and swiveled on his chair so his back was to Ballard and she would have difficulty hearing the phone call. It didn’t matter because it was over in twenty seconds and Ballard expected the answer was no as Trainor swiveled toward her. But she was wrong. “You can go back,” Trainor said. “He’s in his chambers. He’s got about ten minutes. The missing juror just called from the garage.” “Not with those elevators,” Ballard said. Trainor opened a half door in the cubicle that allowed Ballard access to the rear door of the courtroom. She walked through a file room and then into a hallway. She had been in judicial chambers on other cases before and knew that this hallway led to a line of offices assigned to the criminal-court judges. She didn’t know whether to go right or left until she heard a voice say, “Back here.” It was to the left. She found an open door and saw Judge Billy Thornton standing next to a desk, pulling on his black robe for court. “Come in,” he said. Ballard entered. His chambers were just like the others she had been
Michael Connelly (The Night Fire (Renée Ballard, #3; Harry Bosch Universe, #32))
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