First Page: Long Time Gone (Contemporary Romance)
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“Oh, come on!”
William Freston glanced up from his book to see a young woman scanning the nearby shelves, held tilted at an angle as she read the spines of the books in front of her. She reached a hand up, touching each tome with her fingertip as she muttered the name to herself, shifting forward to examine the next book and the next, becoming more and more agitated as she moved down the line. With a frustrated huff, she blew the blonde tendrils that had escaped her ponytail out of her eyes and stalked back to the other end of the shelf, scanning the titles even more slowly.
When she reached the end once more, she leaned forward and knocked her forehead against the wooden end of the bookshelf, emitting a hushed groan. William had to stifle a chuckle. The girl was cute, without even trying. He wondered what she was looking for, but then she stomped away towards the circulation desk, fists on her slim hips, and he went back to his reading. It was almost closing time, and he wanted to finish before then.
Not being a denizen of this city, he couldn’t exactly check the book out of the library, and his search for a copy at the local bookstores to replace the one he’d lost had already proven futile.
He was lost in the ebb and flow of the words on the page when she returned, but her low curses dragged him back to the here and now, and he watched with interest as she checked the shelves again, searching for the obviously misplaced volume she wanted. William dropped his gaze just as she spun to face him, but not before he caught the angry spark in her bright green eyes. Feisty, he thought. And gorgeous.
Dragging a hand through his curls, he readjusted his glasses and tried to focus on the words before him instead of the woman who was now stalking from side table to side table, grabbing up and then dropping each book with a thump, as if they offended her for being the wrong item. The thumps and the curses grew louder as she neared him, and he bit his lip, trying to keep his mouth from twitching upwards into a grin.
The long lines of her tan skirt filled his vision. He looked up.
“Hey,” she said, and William noticed her hands twisting together. “I, uh… don’t want to be rude, but…” She indicated the books at his feet. “I’m looking for a book that’s supposed to be on the shelves, and I was kinda hoping you have it. The librarian promised it to me, see, for a paper I’m writing that’s due next week, so I really need this book…” She trailed off, blushing. “And I’m too-talky Trixie now.”
He fought the urge to raise an eyebrow. Trixie? Scooping the books off the ground, he stood, stepping into her space and holding the spines outward so she could read the titles for herself. “What are you looking for, pet?”
Trixie did a double take at his endearment, then flushed brighter. “The Complete Works of Alfred, Lord Tennyson,” she said. “Which you don’t have. This is so not my day.”
William smiled. “I daresay it is after all.” She flashed him a look that plainly said he was off his rocker, but he ignored it, twisting to pick up the book he’d laid over the arm of his chair. “I have it right here.”
“Oh.” Her face lit up and her eyes sparkled. “Oh! That’s wonderful! You’ve saved my life! I thought I was going to have to make do with Selected Poems, which, you know, isn’t complete.” Her face fell. “Unless you wanted to check it out?”