First Page: Untitled Manuscript – Contemporary Romance
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“So, you drive really well, actually”, Chris said. He tilted his head back against the door, obviously cramped in her little 500. Lizzie flicked her eyes towards him and then back to the road, her arm and legs ever shifting, flexing, extending, twisting the little car through the traffic. She gunned it a little and took them sailing almost straight across the traffic circle and towards the river. A tap of the brakes and then they skittered into a right hand turn onto a narrow one way street no wider than a mousetrap.
Lizzie looked over at Chris and bit her lip. Smiling, she said lightly, “yeah, I told you, the class!”
“Sorry?”, he said.They were going much slower now, although really, not quite slow enough for such a tiny narrow, space, cars parked on either side of them. Out of the corner of her eye she could see his left foot clenching and relaxing, clenching and relaxing.
“Yeah, the driving class they make all dependants take when they get old enough — Offensive driving, or drive like an Assassin, or James Bourne, or whatever.”
“Seriously? It’s Jason Bourne, or James Bond, Lizzie,” he said incredulously, his eyebrows raised and waggling, a mixture of humor and disbelief. “And I bet it was defensive driving or something like that. Not offensive driving. Maybe special teams driving?”
And then he was laughing for real then, full out, and it caught her. His warm, golden eyes twinkled, his dimples popped, and she stared a little longer than she meant to, even when his eyes blurred away from hers. He was so American looking, with his light brown eyes, his dimples, his thick sandy blonde hair, and his, his, his tallness. No, that wasn’t right. Lizzie dated plenty of Italian men who were tall. Broadness. Yes that was it. But it was nice, muscled without being too bulky, confident and natural and a sort of strength that was used instead of made in the gym every day to make up for too many insecurities in the shower or the wallet.
“Uh, I think you just took off that guy’s sideview mirror– driving a little too close on my side, sweetness,” Chris said.
Shaking her head, Lizzie nudged the car a little to the left. Chris. Stupid fake spook. Sweetness? Musclehead. She pressed her lips together, suppressing her snort of annoyance at the endearment. Was that going to be his strategy?
The car steadied under her hands, and Lizzie blew out her breath in a long, low almost whistle.
“Collateral. It’s Italy,” she said. “ ‘Sides, I was trying to see what it would take to get you to grab the sissy bar.” She glanced up at the intersection, noting the street names. It was Italy, but she was an American. She’d come back later to check the window, fix it if she could, leave some money if she couldn’t. If she could find her punchdown. Was it in the black evening bag or the pink pucci print?
“I took a driving class too, you know,” Chris said, lightly. “It’s going to take a lot more than that to get to me.”
Lizzie slid a look at him as she turned right onto the Lungotevere, back into traffic. Crap. it was going to take at least 30 minutes to get to Piazza Santa Maria at this rate.
“Is that a challenge?”, she asked.
“What?” Damn it, the startled/caught unawares look was really cute.
“Yeah, you know, want to see if I can rattle you with my driving through Roman traffic? Actually, scratch that– even with that class I could rattle you with my driving pretty easily. Not a real challenge,” she chuckled a little, “or at least not one I’m up for– I’d be up all night repairing sideview windows.”
A slow smile started to slide across Chris’s face. His eyes warmed, and the muscles in his face softened. Less alert. “You’re trying to think of ways to rattle me? Don’t you remember our conversation from, I don’t know, 30 minutes ago? You’ve already got that one covered. For a lifetime.”