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Authors: Anne Marie Novark )

Texas Two Steps Four-Pack Bundle

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TEXAS TWO STEPS FOUR
-PACK
BUNDLE

by Anne Marie Novark

VOLUME ONE: Short Stories 1 - 4

***

PUBIT! EDITION

***

Copyright © 2011 by Anne Marie Novark

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author or publisher except for the use of brief quotations in critical articles or reviews. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

***

This is a work of fiction. Names, places, businesses, characters and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, actual events or locales is purely coincidental.

***

TABLE OF CONTENTS

STORY ONE:
Darcy and Gabe

STORY TWO:
Kristy and Jim

STORY THREE:
Melanie and Blake

STORY FOUR:
Jenny and Colt

***

 

DARCY AND GABE

by

Anne Marie Novark

 

Ever since her divorce, Darcy Miller spends many a Saturday morning attending
home repair
workshops at the local Builders' Depot. When the sexy new instructor offers one-on-one lessons, Darcy discovers do-it-yourself is much more fun with the help of a handsome handyman.

***

Copyright © 2011 by Anne Marie Novark

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author or publisher except for the use of brief quotations in critical articles or reviews. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

***

This is a work of fiction. Names, places, businesses, characters and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, actual events or locales is purely coincidental.

***

Texas Two Steps: Darcy and Gabe

A Short Story

 

Darcy Miller rushed to find a place to sit down, trying not to interrupt the Saturday morning demonstration already in progress at the Abilene Builder's Depot. This week, she'd signed up to learn how to fix leaky pipes. Since her divorce, it seemed like everything in the house had gone on the blitz. Short on funds and manpower, Darcy had decided to tackle the repairs herself. She'd already learned how to replace the garbage disposal, install ceiling fans, regrout tub tile, and various other household maintenance chores.

"Excuse me," Darcy said, nudging her way down the row of chairs, bumping several knees in the process. "Sorry. If I could just get to that empty chair, I'll be out of your way. Sorry. Excuse me."

With her back to the demonstration area, Darcy heard the instructor's voice over the mike explaining what he planned to accomplish this morning. A deep sexy voice filled the airwaves. Obviously a new guy. Not the dear old man who'd taught the home improvement workshops this past year or so.

Would the new instructor's face and body match his bedroom voice? She instinctively turned to look, only to find herself stumbling over someone's foot at the exact same moment.

"Ouch!" a woman said, glaring at her. "Watch your step, young lady."

"Sorry." Darcy continued down the row of chairs, extra careful not to bump anyone again.

"And I'll be needing an assistant," the sexy-as-sin voice said over the microphone. "How about you, ma'am?"

A hushed expectancy hung over the audience. Darcy quickly glanced around. No one was raising their hand or standing. They were all staring at
her
.

Oh no. Oh no. Oh no.
Ducking her head, she tried to make herself as inconspicuous as possible.
Not me. Please, not me.
Standing in front of a large group of people was
so
not her thing. Heart thumping wildly in her chest, Darcy tried to hurry to the chair in the center of the row. Too late.

The instructor addressed her again and she cringed inwardly. "You there. The lady in the yellow t-shirt. Come on, be a good sport. We're all here to learn. Don't be shy."

The audience erupted into encouraging applause. Oh yeah, Darcy thought. They were just thankful they hadn't been picked. The people in the row around her started pushing and guiding her back toward the aisle.
Good grief. She was in for it now.

Standing near the rows of chairs once again, Darcy slowly turned toward the demonstration table and her throat went dry and her lungs refused to function. Never in her twenty-seven years of life had she seen such a gorgeous specimen of masculinity. Her love-starved body reacted with alarming enthusiasm.

The new instructor smiled and nodded encouragement. "Come on. Don't be scared."

Scared? Darcy was petrified. Not only was one of her worst nightmares coming true--God how she hated public speaking, not that she'd be speaking up there, but still--she had the most awful feeling that fate had taken a hand in her otherwise dull and normal routine of life.

Trouble was, Darcy liked dull and normal.

The man waiting expectantly up front was anything but. She began to hyperventilate and her feet refused to budge.

Suddenly, he began walking toward her.
Oh no, oh no, oh no!
She should just run to the nearest exit and drive home. That leaky pipe wasn't flooding the kitchen. Yet.

He stopped close beside her and stared down at her. His eyes were blue. Blue as a Texas bluebonnet. Her knees wobbled when he winked at her. "Now, this won't hurt a bit, ma'am. I promise." He grasped her elbow and led her to the demonstration table.

Darcy took a deep breath for courage. His woodsy after-shave wisped around her. Goodness, he smelled good. And he looked even better. He was tall with muscular shoulders, with dark hair, almost black, cut short. She kept her gaze on the strong hand encircling her wrist, trying to ignore the fact that soon she'd be standing in front of a large group of people.

When they reached the table, he let go of her arm and took her hand in his. Shaking it, he said, "I'm Gabe Conway. And you are?"

His hand was big, his touch warm and strong.
Focus, Darcy. You came here to learn to fix leaky pipes. Not to go gaga over a man.
She cleared her throat. "Darcy Miller."

His smile nearly made her knees buckle. She grabbed hold of the table edge to keep from sinking in a puddle of mush.

"Okay, Darcy Miller. Time to get to work." Gabe let go of her hand and started the demonstration.

Darcy tried to pay attention, but her mind wasn't on the lesson. Instead, her gaze lingered on the handsome man standing so close. Oblivious to the words Gabe spoke, she felt his deep baritone voice ooze over her, like warm chocolate over ice-cream. She closed her eyes and inhaled the enticing scent of after-shave again. How long had it been since she'd felt such a strong attraction to a man? An instant attraction.

Darcy's eyes popped open.
Good grief. What in the world had come over her?
Three years had passed since her husband had walked out on her. She hadn't dated much since then. Not that she was nursing a broken heart or anything. Not now, anyway. Time heals all wounds, right?

Now, she was learning to be independent and happy on her own. Her job at the doctor's office kept her busy, as well as the upkeep and responsibilities of the house. The house with the leaky pipes. The reason she was standing in front of all these people, supposedly learning to repair the plumbing.

"Darcy, I need the monkey-wrench and plumbers' tape," Gabe said. "Over there in my tool box. Could you hand them to me, please?"

"Sure." Wiping her sweaty palms on her jeans, Darcy banished the thoughts to the back of her mind and focused on the task at hand. Before she knew it, the workshop was over and Gabe was shaking her hand again, thanking her for her help. Smiling that heart-stopping smile again. People flooded around the demonstration table, asking Gabe questions, pushing Darcy out of the way.

With a sigh, she picked up her purse. So much for going gaga over the guy. Not much chance to follow through. As though she had a clue how to do that anyway. Maybe she should sign up for a different type of class: How to Play the Dating Game after Divorce.
Right, Darcy.

She walked to the front of the store and snagged a shopping cart. Might as well pick up the stuff Gabe had said she'd need for the pipes. This afternoon, she could begin repairing the worst leak under the kitchen sink.

After finding all the plumbing supplies, Darcy circled toward the demonstration area, but everyone had left, including Gabe. Oh, well. Hopefully, she would see him next weekend for the lesson on replacing electrical outlets. He'd announced that Herman was retiring and he would be taking the older man's place as the weekend instructor. He'd seemed friendly enough, and he hadn't been wearing a wedding ring. She would just have to let nature take its course.

Waiting in the checkout line, Darcy flipped through a
Plumbing for Idiots
book.

"I see you took my lesson to heart," said a familiar baritone voice close to her ear.

Darcy nearly dropped the book. Stuffing it back in the rack, she looked over her shoulder, and her heart revved up a notch.

Gabe smiled at her from under the brim of his black Stetson. "Thanks again for being such a good sport this morning. Looks like you have quite a leak to fix. You going to do that this afternoon?"

"I . . . yes, I was planning on it."

"Care for a little one on one instruction?"

"Only if you let me make you dinner." Had she really said that? For a moment, Darcy thought she'd been too bold. But then Gabe flashed his megawatt smile.

"Darcy Miller, you've got yourself a deal."

****

Gabe pushed back the dinner plate and wiped his mouth on the cloth napkin. After spending the afternoon under Darcy's kitchen sink, he'd worked up an appetite. Not only for food, but for Darcy herself. As he repaired her leaky pipe and faucet, Darcy had puttered around the kitchen making a dinner that had his mouth watering and stomach rumbling.

Watching her stand at the counter cutting up vegetables and then hovering over the stove cooking his dinner, Gabe had admired her cute little butt and nice feminine curves.

When he'd seen her at Builder's Depot this morning, lust had hit him full force. Something about her had put him on sexual alert. He rarely asked for help in his demonstration workshops, but he hadn't been able to resist soliciting Darcy's assistance.

Anything to get her closer; anything to touch her.

Every time she'd handed him a tool, their hands had brushed, connected. Her skin was smooth and soft, her smile almost shy. Long brown hair swung around her shoulders and her dark exotic eyes held secrets he longed to find out. Every touch had sent jolts of sexual awareness straight to his groin. He'd been hard most of the morning.

He'd decided to ask her out after the workshop, but she'd disappeared and disappointment had speared his gut. It had been quite a while since he'd felt such a strong chemistry for someone, that instant attraction that made life so interesting. He wasn't much on going out clubbing, and it was difficult meeting women these days. Even though he was surrounded by women at the high school where he taught math, he hadn't met anyone there and didn't really want to date a coworker. He'd tried Internet dating last year, but that had been a fiasco he didn't want to repeat.

Hell, after his engagement had broken off, he'd pretty much given up on women. His fiancée had really done a number on him. But that was in the past. Time to move on and join the human race again.

So when Gabe found Darcy standing in the checkout line, he'd offered to help repair her pipes. All afternoon and throughout dinner, she'd kept up a steady stream of chitchat. It was a pretty safe bet she didn't date much. One thing they definitely had in common. Another safe bet would be that Darcy was attracted to him and she was nervous about it.

He knew the signs. He hadn't completely cut himself off from feminine company during the past two years. She'd been sending signals ever since they'd stood in the checkout line together. She might be nervous, but she was definitely feeling the sexual tug. Little touches of her hand to her hair and biting and licking those lush lips. Her dark eyes widening when he caught her gaze. And her blushes. He hadn't met a woman in a long time who actually blushed.

She was pretty and nice and he wanted her. His body throbbed with repressed desire. Gabe recited the Pythagorean Theorem and Euclid's Proofs to help calm himself down. He couldn't act like a Neanderthal and scare Darcy. The way she was acting, he'd be pushing his luck to get her into bed tonight. Best to just kiss her and make plans to see each other again. Soon. Tomorrow. Yeah, tomorrow would be perfect.

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