An excerpt from my current WIP, a paranormal romance between a sweet ex-boxer with bad luck and a secretive feline shifter and exotic dancer named "Topaz". Enjoy!
“I’ve always wanted to know...”
“You really can’t shut up for more than ten minutes at a time, can you?” she snapped. He lay silent, in the dark, but she could hear his question hanging there between them. Finally she sighed, and said, “Fine, I would like to sleep at some point, so what was it that you always wanted to know?”
“It’s no big deal,” he said. “I just... Since you and I are bonding now, I always wanted to know if Topaz was your real first name.”
“Why wouldn’t it be?”
“No reason, I guess. But, night after night in the club, I see all the Kats and Jades and Tawnies, and I always wondered if you girls were just born with lucky stage names or if you made them up, that’s all.”
She ground her teeth together, debating to herself.
“If you don’t want to say...”
“Fine! Jesus, if you’re not going to give it up...” she snarled and closed her eyes. “It’s Annabelle, alright? Annabelle Clancy.”
“Annabelle Clancy?” A gurgle of laughter escaped, but he marshalled it quickly enough. “You’re a cat lady named Annabelle?”
“So, for obvious reasons, I figured a stage name would be more appropriate.”
“Whatever for?” he asked, his voice filled with an obnoxious tone of innocence. “No, wait, hear me out on this! I think a stripper named Annabelle would be awesome. Maybe get a little sweater and some old fashioned garters. Glasses, maybe. Tap right into all those librarian fantasies.”
“Are you finished?”
“Maybe one of those little church lady lace collars...”
“If you aren’t finished, I’m going to morph and come over there and rip your fucking eyebrows off your face.”
He wisely fell silent immediately, and Topaz waited impatiently for his breathing to change with the onset of sleep. He was the most ridiculous, asinine male she’d ever encountered, and the sooner she could dump him and move on with her life, the better.
“Topaz?” he asked again in the dark.
“I really like the name Annabelle,” he said, quietly.
She didn’t respond, except to turn her face towards him for a moment. She could see that his eyes were open, glinting in the dim light that poured through the cracks in the box car walls. It was his sweet moments like this that made it even more essential for her to get him off her hands, before she forgot she couldn’t stand him and she let him grow on her.
That would be the last thing on earth she needed.