Day 20: "Courting Sparks" by Joselyn Vaughn

Please help me welcome Joselyn Vaughn to Romancing the Book today.

Joselyn Vaughn lives in the Great Lakes State with her adoring husband, the world’s most inventive toddlers and the laziest beagles.

She believes there is nothing better than a warm hug, a good romance novel and chocolate.

When not changing diapers or removing a toddler from a precarious situation, Joselyn enjoys sewing, running, shopping at thrift stores and reading books longer than thirty pages.

She can be found at http://joselynvaughn.com, http://joselynvaughn.blogspot.com and http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100000088818448.

Excerpt from Courting Sparks:

Sandalwood and a touch of wood smoke.

The scents drifted from behind her and Daphne knew the man was sexy. She closed her eyes as she stood on the corner of the dance floor and breathed deeply. Maybe passing out candy bars for the Dollar Dance wasn’t such a bad thing. Her Magic Eight Ball could be right. For once.

She tried to adjust the neckline of her fuchsia bridesmaid dress to enhance her cleavage, but the double-sided tape holding the mermaid-style dress in place wouldn’t budge.

Sure, when you want the dress to come off, it sticks firmly in place. She sighed. She spun on her bare feet to greet the dream date behind her and stopped so abruptly her basket of candy bars tipped over, spilling chocolate at his feet.

“Noah?” she gasped.

A light blue madras shirt covered his broad shoulders. His dark hair still damp from his shower. She looked at him like she’d never seen him before.

And she saw him almost every day. He was the athletic director and she was an English teacher and the cross-country coach. She was in and out of his office with student eligibility reports and questions about the team schedule. Besides all that, they’d been friends since second grade. She’d never had this reaction to him before. What was different?

Noah bent to pick up the candy. His shirt pulled across his muscular shoulders as he reached for the scattered bars. Daphne continued to stare at him. Water droplets clung to the hair on the back of his neck and she itched to brush them away. She extended the basket for him to dump the bars.

“Fire call?” she said, trying to cover her stunned silence and hoping he didn’t notice her blushed skin.

“Yeah. Out at The Willows. Could have been really bad, but we were able to contain it. Do I still smell smoky?”

Daphne leaned closer and breathed deeply. His sandalwood cologne flooded her nose again. A touch of smoke lingered behind it. She forgot to breathe out.

This was Noah, she told herself. Not George Clooney. Get a grip.

“Your cologne covers it. How much burned?” she asked, stepping away to put some fresh air between them.

Noah shrugged. “The flames kept smoldering in this heat. Hot spots were flaring up all afternoon. Most of the trees are singed. I’m not sure they’ll come back.” He tugged at the front of his shirt as if he still felt the high temperatures.

“I can’t believe The Willows is gone. No more hidden trysts out there. Where will the teens go to make out now?”

“They’ll find some place. They always do. There’s that place by the river, but the landowner is pretty adamant about kicking them out once a month.”

She hugged the candy basket to her chest. Bittersweet memories of The Willows haunted her, now that Aaron was no longer in her life. They’d gone there to do all the things teens do in the shaded alcoves of the draping willow trees. The fire was a relief in a way, another reminder of him gone.

“Was Miranda angry I wasn’t here?” Noah asked.

She glanced at the bride twirling on the dance floor and pushed away the gloomy thoughts. Good ol’ Noah. He could always divert her depressing thoughts. “I think she’ll forgive you.” Daphne bumped him with her basket of chocolate. “Not to dash your ego, but she didn’t notice. She was so nervous before the ceremony, she peed every fifteen minutes. I’m glad I didn’t pull bathroom duty this time.”

Noah laughed, the tone soft and deep. “I don’t want to know. Anything else happen?”

“If you’re asking if Max fainted, you owe me ten bucks. He turned green during the solo, but his knees never buckled.”

* * * * *

Readers, Joselyn is giving away a copy of Courting Sparks to one lucky commenter. All you need to do is leave a question or comment for Joselyn and leave your email address as well. The winner will be chosen on Wednesday, December 22.