GOOD GIRLS DO by Cathie LinzRead more when GOOD GIRLS DO hits bookstores January 3rd!
Four years of college and two more of graduate school had gotten Julia Wright where she was today - wearing a too-tight Bo Peep costume and staring down the mayor's belligerent adolescent son.
"Unhand the goldfish, Billy, and no one gets hurt."
He stood at the edge of the artificially made pond and stared at her defiantly. "It's a koi, not a goldfish." His words bounced off the frantically wiggling fish poised right above his mouth.
Julia wanted to drop-kick him over the nearest rooftop. "Unhand the koi." Her voice was pure Cameron Diaz in kick-butt mode. "Put it back in the water. Now!"
Billy muttered something under his breath with the rampant disgust only a twelve-year-old boy could display. But he did toss the fish back into the pond that formed the centerpiece of the public library's grounds.
Halloween didn't always bring out the best in people, even in a small town like Serenity Falls, Pennsylvania. Julia led a very quiet existence here. After experiencing a chaotic, roller-coaster ride for most of her life, she was entitled to a little peace and quiet.
That peace and quiet was interrupted by the sound of a male voice drawling, "I thought Bo Peep's job was the watch the sheep, not the fish.
Julia didn't recognize the man or the big bad Harley parked nearby. The newcomer, dressed in black jeans and a T-shirt, was leaning against one of the oldest trees in Serenity Falls. She figured he must be passing through, because he was much too dangerous to be a native.
Not that she feared for her safety. The man didn't exude that kind of danger. No, this was something much more elemental, male to female.
She couldn't see much of his face in the shadows cast by the tree's massive trunk, but she could tell he was tall and well built. She squinted into the fast approaching twilight to get a better look, He had broad shoulders, a lean waist, and long legs.
Feeling guilty for staring, she looked away. Only then did she realize that while she'd been wool-gathering, Billy had taken off, leaving her alone with the newcomer.
"Is that what you do around here to have fun?" he asked. "Dress up and eat live fish? You must be pretty hard up for entertainment."
She immediately defended her adopted hometown. "Serenity Falls has some wonderful entertainment venues."
"Venues, huh?" he drawled.
So hottie biker-man was mocking her, was he? Probably thought she was easy game, given the fact that she was dressed like a demented Bo Peep.
Too bad she'd left her shepardess staff at home, or she could have yanked him right into the pond.
Julia shoved the stupid bonnet off her head. "If you don't like it here, you're welcome to keep going."
"Trying to run me out of town already?"
"No. It just appeared to me you weren't very happy with your surroundings."
"Happy with my surroundings?" He was doing it again, mocking her choice of words, although this time there was a touch of bitterness in his voice. "Yeah, you could say I'm not real happy with my surroundings at the moment."
"Are you lost?"
He laughed. It wasn't a happy sound. "Yeah, you could say that, too."
"Maybe I can help you."
"Why would you want to?"
"Because I'm a librarian. I help people find what they're looking for."
"That why you picked the Bo Peep costume? Because you help people find what they're looking for? It fits you well."
Something about the way he said that made her immediately look down to make sure she hadn't had a "wardrobe malfunction." No, both breasts were still covered. Barely.
"Something wrong?" He had the kind of voice that would even sound sexy if he was reading the phone book.
"Wrong? No, not at all." Her voice was a bit squeaky but then it was hard to sound totally professional when she looked like an escapee from a fractured fairy tale. "I've got to go."
"Want a lift?" He tilted his head toward his Harley.
The mental snapshot of her Bo Peep hoop skirt flying over head had her quickly saying, "No, thank you." Julia felt a touch of regret as she watched him walk away. She didn't even know the guy's name, but she couldn't look away. He had a way of moving - part sexy swagger, pure male - that was downright seductive. When was the last time she'd stared at a guy's buns?
Her younger sister Skye would have whistled. She'd always been the bad girl in the family.
Julia had tried to be the dependable one. It was a tough job, but somebody had to do it.