So Party Lines will be out in three weeks. You probably want some teasers, hmm?
It’s very cold here. This seems appropriate.
She played with the scarf hanging around her shoulders. “Because having dinner with a Democrat is partying where you’re from?”
“No.” He reached over and tied the scarf—a ridiculous, lumpy, red thing—firmly around her neck. Keeping a hold on the ends of it to keep her close, he added, “Because I barged in on your meal, asked you to eat with me. And where I’m from, if a man invites a woman to dinner, he pays.”
“You’re bad at that feminism thing.”
Over the course of the evening, he’d eaten, so he was no longer hungry. For a time at least, he’d been warm—though seriously, Iowa, forty-five seconds outside and that was fading. Soon, he’d be back in his room and he’d get some sleep.
But staring down into Lydia Reales’s face, the neon lights from the Applebee’s sign illuminating her eyes and coloring her cheeks, he suddenly felt massively less satisfied.
The moment stuck to them until they completely passed what might be just a friendly touch. Until he couldn’t help but look at her mouth. Until he tugged on her scarf, trying to pull her closer, not to kiss, but just to nestle under his chin for a moment.
She saved them both by not moving. Which was safer. Smarter. The right call.
With an exhale, he released her scarf and stepped back. “Yes, I am.”
He found his rental car and drove back to his hotel room alone.