Note: You can catch up by clicking on the Underdead page excerpt links to the right (or catch up and get ahead on my website, http://www.lizjasper.com/, where I've recently posted all of chapter one.)
Here's Chapter One, page four:
“Really, Jo,” Carol said. “You shouldn’t let other people keep you from living your life. People are going to talk about you one way or another.” She twisted around in her chair to get a look at the mystery man for herself. Her eyes widened. “It might as well be for a good cause,” she said. Then she sighed. I stared at her. Carol? Happily married, motherly Carol, sighing over another man? Who was this guy? I looked doubtfully at the icy liquid in my glass and wondered sourly if they’d put something in the margaritas.
Then I caved.
Pretending I was checking out the band, I shifted around in my chair. “Hot” did not do the man justice. He was the most fabulous-looking man I’d ever seen, and that includes Johnny Depp as a pirate and Brad Pitt in Fight Club. He was leaning against a nearby wall, a still figure in black, as distinct as silence in a crowd. Most of the men in the place were dressed in black, but for them it was a statement, a uniform, a pick-up line. This man belonged in it.
Flickering lights from the dance floor slid over his chiseled features, briefly illuminating strong cheekbones before getting lost in the dark hollows below. He had one of those long, lean bodies, with just the right amount of muscle, and dark, slightly wavy hair that hung to his shoulders in a way that made my stomach lurch.
As if sensing my regard, he suddenly turned his head from the shadows and looked directly at me. I did an embarrassing deer-in-the-headlights thing and our eyes locked. His eyes were the most gorgeous blue I’d ever seen. I mean piercingly blue. Meltingly blue. A sharp desire to be closer to him slammed me like a wave.
With an effort, I turned back around, but I could feel his eyes burning into mine as acutely as if he were still in front of me.
Carol didn’t say anything. She just stared at him with a goofy smile on her face, her glasses misting softly. Becky had stopped fanning herself and had settled in for the night of viewing too, planting her elbow on the table and resting her head in her palm. I pushed her elbow out from under her chin and she nearly smacked her chin on the tabletop. She blinked her kohl-lined eyes a few times and grinned sheepishly at me. “Not bad, eh?”I didn’t respond. I couldn’t—I hadn’t yet regained proper speaking powers.
“You should go talk to him,” Becky said, giving me a nudge.
“In front of everyone?” I said. “You’ve got to be joking.” My legs felt like jelly. I gave myself a shake. I was being ridiculous, overreacting. Becky was right. If this was my response to the first good-looking man I saw, I really did need to get out more.
“Please. There’s smart, and then there’s stupid,” Carol said, coming up for air. “You’re going to let Roger and a bunch of old gossipy biddies keep you from a man like that?”
Carol was right. It was time I showed a little backbone. “Not when you put it that way,” I said. I risked a glance back in his direction. He was watching the band, giving me a good look at his profile. It was gorgeous too.
Too gorgeous, actually. Sanity returned. I turned around more firmly in my chair.
“Go on.” Becky gave me another little push.
“Go on.” Becky gave me another little push.
I didn’t budge. “No way,” I said. “There’s something wrong with him.”
“What? What is wrong with him?” Carol demanded.
“He’s boring, he’s vain, he has six wives in various countries, he lives in a yurt with fifteen Chihuahuas, he sells deodorant for a living—I don’t know, but I stand by my theory. No one can be that good-looking and have a personality.”
“Oh, for goodness sake!” Carol said. “What a load of crap!”
Becky gave her a stunned look at this unexpected reversal of argument. Carol never backed off something that had been written up in Scientific American.
Carol continued, on a roll now. “Stop inventing reasons to avoid talking to him. If you want to forgo meeting fabulous men to sit here with the likes of us for the rest of your life, be my guest.” Her glasses had slid down her nose and she glared over the top of them at me.
“What she said,” Becky said. “Though I don’t know why you’d even care if he has thirty wives and eats deodorant for a living. You don’t need to have him around for scintillating conversation—look at him! He’s so hot he doesn’t need a personality. What do you want to talk to him for anyway?”
“Gotta love liberated women,” I muttered. “Equal opportunity chauvinism.”
UNDERDEAD is available now as an ebook at http://www.cerridwenpress.com/. If you're like me and like to read reviews, you can read the ones of UNDERDEAD at http://www.lizjasper.com/.