“Josh. Nice to meet you, Lynn.”
“You’re joshing me, right?”
“Yeah, as in, I’m joshing you.” His voice had a strange note as if he were thinking, that old chestnut again.
His gaze swept me up and down. I sum myself up as average weight, median income, medium length brown hair (graying and dyed to hide that fact), and better than average features. Still attractive enough… for middle-aged. But Josh’s frank glance was admiring.
Bemused, I registered the fact that I was flattered.
We began the conversational short hand of strangers. “Lynn, where you off to?”
“I’m heading home.”
“I’m on my way to Portland,” Josh offered. “This is the tail end of a long business trip. I always take the train so I can work. I get a rental car after I arrive. But my God, this train’s packed!”
“I visit the coast the weekend before Thanksgiving, and bring back seafood,” I offered. “I barely fit my bags in the bin.”
The conversation stopped while we studied the menus the waiter brought. “Sea food stew,” I decided aloud. If the taste even remotely resembled the chowder I’d had at Mo’s Restaurant with my parents the day before, I’d be happy.
“The chicken,” Josh requested. “Can I talk the lady into joining me for some wine?”
“Actually, you can. I’d love a glass of rosé or white.” There’s something about train travel indeed… and it wasn’t like I’d be having airplane travel mile high sex with Josh in the bathroom. Is there a name for having sex on a moving train? I wondered suddenly.
Josh added, “…and the Semillon.” This time his smile was filled with promise.
I smiled back. When was the last time I’d flirted with someone?
The train staff had found their rhythms in the busy dining car. Our waiter was back almost immediately. He expertly opened a cabernet sauvignon. Josh swirled the wine in his glass and tried it, nodded his head. The waiter poured more and set the bottle down. Then he opened a second bottle, this one my white wine. “You don’t have to finish it,” Josh said when he saw my expression.
I decided to go with the flow. “Okay,” I nodded, and gave my approval. The wine tasted perfectly cold and crisply dry. The waiter set an ice bucket at the window. “Enjoy,” he said, and vanished back into the galley.
“Cheers.” Josh clicked his glass against mine and drank deeply. “Ah!” he set the empty glass back down and sighed with satisfaction. “So, are you getting out in Portland?”
Prepare to meet a hero with dangerous fantasies. A young woman trapped in a cult. A person who dreams other people’s futures. A man drinking glühwein at a Christmas Market as he waits for disaster. And Lynn, the connecting thread, taking a train trip with a seductive stranger. I’ll be posting the first pages to each chapter.
Committing my characters to an appearance on this blog makes them real. As of tonight, they exist beyond my imagination.
Here are the opening pages to my novel Tsunami Cowboys. This fifth chapter is titled, The Hostess.
Tsunami Cowboys will publish with Amazon in December, 2014.