BORN TO BE WILD
by Chicki Brown
A quiet bookworm, Tangela Holloway has always been content working at her an independent bookstore in the sleepy little town of Eufaula, Alabama. But lately, Tangie discovers that she’s bored and frustrated, especially since the man she’s been dating for two years seems to care more about his business than he does her. When Reese Turner rides into town on his Harley, Tangie’s heart feels like it’s beating for the first time. She not only sees the most exciting man she’s ever met, but also a chance to experience something other than backyard BBQs and fishing at the lake.
After ending a drama-filled relationship with a high-maintenance fashion model, Reese wants nothing more than to make a road trip to Florida with his motorcycle club. Never did he expect a quick stop at a small town bookstore would introduce him to a shy bookworm who makes him re-think his vow to remain single and unattached.
He didn’t move to leave, and I suddenly felt uncomfortable with the way he stared at me. “Is there something else I can help you with?”
He cleared his throat. “Yes. Can you tell me where I can get lunch?”
“There’s Arby’s, KFC, Church’s Chicken, and McDonald’s up yonder on Eufaula Street.”
“I mean real food. I ate Mickey D’s for breakfast, and after being on the road all morning, I’m starving.”
“Well, I’m prejudiced, but Karly’s Kafé around the corner is where I eat whenever I don’t bring lunch from home.”
That smile again. “It’s lunchtime now. Are you going there today?”
I checked the clock and returned his smile. “I’d planned to.”
“Can you show me where it is?”
Was he flirting with me, or could this confident, laid-back manner be his everyday personality? It had been so long since a man flirted with me, I wasn’t sure, but what harm could there be in walking there with him in broad daylight? Karly’s was a little over three hundred steps away. I knew this piece of trivia thanks to my FitBit. “Okay. I have to lock up, because Cindy, my assistant doesn’t come in until later.”
He propped a lean hip against the counter, placed the leather backpack that hung over one brawny shoulder on the countertop and looked inside. “I need to make a call.”
After I unplugged the coffeemaker and hit the power button on the stereo, I listened as he spoke.
“Spence, I’m going to get lunch somewhere else. If you want to head out, I’ll catch up with you.”
Reese Turner smiled. “Yeah, there is. Okay. Later.” He returned the phone to the well-worn bag. It wasn’t until he turned around that I realized his hair was pulled back in a ponytail. Long hair on a man never appealed to me, but it actually looked good on him. The texture testified of something in his bloodline. Native American, perhaps. It was evident that it wasn’t chemically straightened.
I grabbed my purse from beneath the counter.
“Nice place you have here. Been here long?”
“Thank you. This is my third year.” I took out my keys. “Okay, I’m ready.”
“Is it okay to leave my bike here?”
“Of course. Nobody is going to bother it.”
“All right, I’ll take your word on that.” He stretched out a very muscular arm toward the front door. “Lead the way.”
We stepped out onto the sidewalk. A huge black and silver motorcycle sat at the curb, gleaming in the midday sun. I stepped closer to examine it. “That’s a big bike.”
He shrugged. “I’m a big man.”
That’s for sure. I put my sign on the front door, locked it, and we headed to Eufaula Street. As I walked beside him, I had to take two steps for each of his.
Miss Cordelia, the flower shop owner and probably the oldest store owner in town, was busy adding water to the display she kept outside her shop. She paused and gaped as we approached.
“Good afternoon, Tangie,” she said, eyeing Reese with a suspicious squint. “On your way to lunch?”
“Yes, ma’am. It’s about that time.” I had the distinct feeling she expected me to introduce him, but the situation didn’t call for it, so I smiled and kept walking.
“Was it my imagination, or did she just give me the evil eye?”
“Yeah, she did, but it’s only because she’s looking out for me. I’m one of the youngest shop owners in town.” He didn’t need to know the reason why. Miss Cordelia had never seen me with a man other than Johnnie, whom I’d been dating for the past two years. Everyone in town also knew him, because we grew up together.
We turned the corner onto Eufaula Street where Karly’s Kafé sat on the ground floor of a large three-story brick building in need of tender loving care. The first floor housed several businesses, but the top two floors remained vacant. A For Sale banner had adorned the second level railing for more than a year, but the owners hadn’t received any offers. The building needed too much work.
My handsome customer held the door as I preceded him into the café. “Are you eating here, or getting something to take out?”
“Most days I eat here. It’s good to get a break from being in the store all day.”
“Do you mind if I join you, or are you meeting bae for lunch?”
“No. I usually sit over there.” I indicated a table by the front window and let the bae comment slide.~
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