It's Friday! This week my dear friend, Franky A. Brown, is joining me to talk about her contribution to our Fall Into Romance boxed set, Wired for Romance. Franky has always called the South home and loves to write about it. She holds an English degree from the University of South Carolina and can’t seem to stop reading. She is the author of chick lit, humor, and romantic comedy about life, love, and Southern women. She also writes a gluten-free recipe blog, Julia and Me, Gluten-free.
When asked to share a little about her story and why she picked this particular scene, she said, "My novella ,Wired for Romance is about a therapist, Audrey, who hires an electrician, Josh, who happens to be her client's ex-boyfriend. Sparks fly and it becomes an issue because Josh doesn't know Audrey is working with his ex-girlfriend who has told her numerous unpleasant things about him. I loved writing this scene because of the element of suspense mixed with humor. Audrey has sprained her ankle and is feeling a little out-of-it from pain medication. Josh has taken her new dog Toby home with him to give her time to rest. So Audrey is home, alone, in a house with no electricity. It's something I can relate to. It's easy to become acutely aware of every sound when one is alone in a dark house...and if there is something I know for sure, is how loopy a shot of pain medication can make me."
Curious to know more?
He can rewire her house, but he can’t do a thing about the electricity sparking between them… Therapist Audrey Foster thought helping a difficult client through a breakup would be a challenge, but things get out of hand when the electrician she hires is the client's horrible ex-boyfriend.
Electrician Josh Chadwick needs a big job to pay off some debt and get his mind off women. Rewiring Audrey's house seems perfect, until he finds himself heavily distracted by everything about her, and wondering why she asks so many strange questions. How can Audrey stay professional when she knows so many dark secrets about Josh? And how can Josh convince Audrey, he’s not a bad catch after all?
And now for the fun part:
A loud, deep scream outside made her jump and she tightened the grip on her phone. What on earth was that sound? She clung to her pillow and struggled to breathe. Was someone being murdered outside her house? Was an animal dying?
She punched through her contacts with trembling hands and clicked to call Rob.
She brought the phone to her ear as a groggy voice answered. “Hello?”
“Rob! Oh my gosh, someone or something is outside. There was this horrible scream and this growling…and Toby isn’t here. Not that he’d be able to rescue me from something like that, but it’d at least help if he was here…” Her voice turned into a high pitch and she squeezed her eyes shut. “What if it’s Sasquatch?”
“I’ll be right there, okay?” The phone signal was breaking up. “And I’ll bring Toby.”
“Toby? Rob, is this you?” There was no answer and the call dropped. Then she looked at the screen and realized she’d called Josh. She really had thought she’d hit Rob’s number. “Well, this is the last time I let them give me a shot of painkiller then watch Bigfoot hunters in the dark.”
Okay, so Josh would come to her rescue. It may be embarrassing, but at least she’d get Toby back. It was probably nothing to worry about. Maybe kids were playing early Halloween pranks or something.
The growling noise sounded outside again, and she felt her heart pound nearly audibly. She pulled herself up and took a deep breath. She needed to figure this out. Limping once again toward the kitchen with her flashlight, she gulped and opened the wide blinds on the window.
There was nothing but grass, leaves, and that old white oak tree in the back yard. Behind her fence was a line of trees. Nothing was out there. She shined the flashlight back and forth and sighed. “Everything’s fine. So what was that horrific noise?”
Then the growling sound was back, sounding like it was right by the window. She thought she saw something moving, and she turned her flashlight off to see if she could see better without the glare from the window.
The growling became louder and something inside the oak tree rattled a branch, shaking more leaves out. Something was in the tree.
Then a pair of legs dropped down from the tree. Furry feet dangled in the air and the growling noise seemed louder every second. She squealed and covered her mouth with both hands, dropping back against the wall. Something was in her back yard. In her tree. Growling fiercely. Did Sasquatch growl? Did he climb trees? He certainly had two furry feet.
She dialed Josh again and he answered on the first ring. “I need my dog.”
“On the way right now, are you okay?”
“No, I’m not okay. I need help,” she whispered sharply. “There’s something big and furry and growling in my tree.”
“Animal or human? I’m almost there.”
“If it’s human it’s incredibly hairy. But that growling sound isn’t human.” Audrey clenched the phone tighter and hugged herself with her free arm. “I can’t believe I’m saying this right now. The feet dropped down from the tree and looked furry. Aren’t you the expert on this subject?”
“What kind of animal has two legs, climbs trees, and growls? Do Bigfoots climb trees?”
“Say what? Look, hang tight. I’m about to pull into your driveway.”
“Bring me my dog!”
“Don’t hang up, okay?”
“Okay.” It felt like an eternity as she sat against the wall in the dark, hearing her heart pound in her ears. In reality, only a few minutes passed before she heard Toby’s deep bark outside and she hung up the call. She looked outside again and spied one of the large branches rattling, and a furry-looking human figure leaped from the tree to the top of the side fence, then swung over it to the tree cover on the other side. She blinked, heart stopping.
Next she saw Toby running across the yard to the fence where the creature disappeared and Josh followed.
Then something small and furry jumped out of the tree and ran across the top of the wooden fence. It stopped and growled down at Toby.
Curiosity finally won over her fear, and she hurried as best she could with a sore foot to the back door and pulled it open.
“Toby, it’s okay,” Josh said and gave Toby a head rub, but he didn’t stop barking. The furry thing on the fence disappeared.
“I think I just saw a Sasquatch…” She stood frozen in place on the patio.
Josh walked toward her while Toby continued to bark. “Come on, Toby!” He stopped in front of her and studied her a moment. “Yeah…it was actually a ’possum. A rather angry one.””
“Are you serious? But what was that big animal that ran off?”
“What big animal? ’Possums make a variety of different sounds, it was probably in your tree.”
Her lip started to quiver. “Something on two legs, the size of a man. He was…furry…the feet were furry…”
“There was a man back here? We should call the police.”
“I told you, I think I saw Sasquatch!” Audrey covered her face with both hands, humiliation washing over her. Oh my gosh, I’ve lost my mind.
Josh paused for a moment and pulled her hands from her face. “Are you okay?”
“That scared me to death.” Audrey took in a shaky breath. “You didn’t see anything at all?”
“Just a ’possum.” He spoke slowly. “Do you really think it was a Sasquatch?”
She shook her head, now questioning everything. “To be honest, they gave me a shot at the ER for pain, and then I was watching videos in the dark…and it’s pretty late.”
“Were you watching ghost stories?”
She felt her face warming all over and knew she was turning red. “I may have caught a little of a Bigfoot reality show.” The last part was almost a whisper.
Josh pulled her into his arms and hugged her. She was a little surprised by the hug, but more surprised by how much she didn’t want him to let go of her. She held him and took in several deep breaths.
“It’s okay, whatever it was is gone.” Josh’s words were so tender, his lips were so nearby. She looked into his eyes and wanted to give in to his spell.
Then Toby wedged himself between their legs and they stepped apart. “Toby, you came to save me.” Audrey rubbed his ears and hugged her four-legged friend.
“But I do think we should call the police. There may be someone creeping around the neighborhood.”
She nodded. “Yes, you’re right. It could have been a prowler.”
Audrey continued to pet Toby. She desperately needed the distraction from the tingling sensations running through her body. The way she was feeling toward Josh was not at all appropriate for someone she depended on to restore her electricity, or for a new friend. And if he was Carly’s ex-boyfriend who believed in Bigfoot, she’d allowed herself to briefly buy into the myth and he would probably like that about her. But if it wasn’t, and if he didn’t really believe in the story, maybe he thought she was a therapist in need of serious therapy.
If you enjoyed this snippet, be sure to preorder your copy of Fall Into Romance so you'll be able to enjoy this story and the others the moment it becomes available.
Jessica L. Elliott
Author, artist, mom and super-genius