Sample Sunday: from Catch Me If You Can:

cmcover

[ unedited, subject to change. enjoy :) ]

Relax. Relax. Relax.
Naomi silently repeated those words like a mantra until her head, heart, and lungs caught up with each other and obliged that command. This wasn’t the time to freak out. Her freedom depended on not freaking out, so she ignored the throbbing pain in her ankle and went back to work.
As Naomi stepped onto a busier street, lined with the seated patrons of numerous cafes, she mentally thumbed through her list of suitable contingency plans. She needed to get back to her hotel, where she wouldn’t have to worry about standing out, but it wasn’t as simple as just hailing a car. She would have to either make it to a taxi stand, or call for a cab, both of which required waiting, neither of which sounded like desirable options. And that wasn’t even considering that of course the police would be checking cabs leaving the area. She would have to do something else.
Crap.
Flutters of anxiety rose in Naomi’s belly again as a group of uniformed cops appeared in her path, seemingly out of thin air. She shook her head, frustrated that the sudden turn of events was putting a heavy strain on the skills she prided herself on.
Diligence. Focus. Agility.
That became her new mantra. Despite the overwhelming urge to duck her head, she kept it held high as she passed them, even tossing a slight smile and a wave to a nice-looking officer in the crowd. She was surprised when he sent back a flirtatious smirk of his own, even turning backwards to hold her gaze. Not wanting to draw suspicion, Naomi winked at him before she turned her attention back to the problem at hand.
She’d barely taken two steps when she collided with another pedestrian in her path. Her body went one way, and her foot went the other as she dropped to the ground in a heap. White hot pain shot through her ankle, sending a wave of nausea to settle in her stomach.
Barely, she registered someone speaking American-accented French to her, in a deep tenor.
“Je suis désolé”
When Naomi looked up, she was immediately struck by dark grey eyes, brimming with apology, then compassion he noticed the distress on her face. For a moment, she froze, taking in smooth copper-brown skin and a handsome face surrounded by neatly trimmed facial hair.
“Non, Excusez-moi,” she stammered, fighting against a swell of dizziness as he helped her to her feet, supporting her in his arms.
“Besoin d’aide?”
Naomi shook her head, even though she was still using him as a crutch. She didn’t want his help, she wanted to get the hell off the street before whatever minimal cover she still had was blown.
“Je vais bien.” To prove that she was fine, as she’d so boldly declared, she pushed away from him. “Voir?” Forcing a smile on her face, Naomi put her full weight on her ankle. “Je suis— goddamn it!”
Almost immediately, she buckled to the ground in agony. “I wonder how long I’ll be in a French prison?” was Naomi’s last thought as her head hit the ground and she descended into blackness.

Sample Sunday: from Catch Me If You Can

cmcover(this excerpt has not been edited for grammar/spelling, but HAS been edited to remove spoilers. Enjoy!)

It was the sound of music, pumping from the classroom where Naomi hosted her classes that brought Marcus to the front of the gym. Curious, he stepped into the area meant for parents to watch their kids during performances, and what he saw in front of him froze him to his spot.

Naomi was obviously mid-routine, and soaked in enough sweat that Marcus suspected she’d been repeating it since she left the office. In black leggings, a black sports bra, and black ballet shoes, Naomi was performing an impressively choreographed mix of classical ballet and modern dance, evenly sprinkled with overtly sexy moves that made Marcus’s mouth go dry as he pulled a chair right up to the glass to watch. She was dancing to Ginuwine’s So Anxious, a song that came out when Marcus was only seventeen. It brought back fond memories of his seventeen-year-old self playing it for whichever girl he’d charmed into his room, in hopes that he could charm his way into her panties.

But, he didn’t dwell on the memories long.

Naomi had dropped to the floor, crawling toward— from her vantage point — her reflection, but the way Marcus saw it, she was coming for him. She was winding her hips, tossing her hair, biting her lip as she got closer and closer to the mirror. It was sexy, no doubt, but it was somehow… deeper than that. Nothing about spoke of vulgarity, just unrestrained sensuality, and Marcus couldn’t decide if it was the woman or her moves that had blood rushing to his groin.

Holy shit,” Marcus whispered, leaning closer when she reached the mirror, did a series of moves on the floor that were downright erotic, then grabbed onto the barre to pull herself up in one fluid motion. With her hands clasped on the wooden rail, she dipped down, knees together, back arched, rolling her hips with the music as the song led into the bridge. Her timing was impeccable, because the moment before the beat dropped, she was upright again. The moment after, she was… off, jumping and twirling and leaping with a level of speed, agility, and grace that made Marcus’s heart race. He was turned on, but more than that, he was impressed.

Both feelings annoyed the shit out of him.

Marcus had spent a good portion of [redacted]. The minute his luck finally caught up to his hard work, Naomi Prescott had shot his hopes and dreams of a [redacted] in the chest with a heat-seeking missile.

That’s why so much of Marcus’s time over the last two weeks of [redacted] had been spent doing everything he could to get under her skin. He wanted to get under her clothes, but after the way things had started, those chances were slim. So we would settle for watching her dance in the fearless, sexy way she probably only felt comfortable with because she assumed no one was watching.

Guilt pricked Marcus’s chest at the thought of that. This was her time. According to [redacted], Naomi always withdrew into this room when she was preparing for a job. It wasn’t okay for him to intrude on that.

Just as he was standing to leave, Naomi took one last leap across the room, landing on her previously injured leg. She pulled herself into what Marcus knew to be a perfect arabesque pose — he’d looked it up after [redacted]’s little history lesson that first night. She held it at first, but then a flash of pain crossed her face, and she collapsed, falling to the floor on her hands and knees.

Hesitation didn’t even cross Marcus’s mind. He bolted to the door, and flung it open, rushing over to Naomi’s side.

Hey… are you okay?” he asked, helping her into a seated position.

She looked dazed for a few moments before she scowled. “I’m fine. Were you… watching me?”

Marcus scratched his eyebrow. “I… umm…”

Naomi let out a frustrated growl as she pulled away from him and stood, practically knocking her portable speakers to the floor as she turned off her music. “Unbelievable,” she muttered under her breath as she gathered her things.

I’m sorry.” Marcus followed her to the coat rack, where she snatched a lightweight jacket from the hook and slipped it on, shielding her body from view. “I mean… you looked really good though.”

Marcus recoiled at the look Naomi gave him then, and decided to switch gears. “Hey, you didn’t look like you were okay when you landed on that ankle… are you sure you’re ready to—“

I said I was fine,” Naomi snapped. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to finish what I was doing.”

For a long moment, they simply scowled at each other in a battle of wills. Then, Marcus shook his head. “Fine,” he scoffed. “I’ll leave you to it.”

He stalked to the door and snatched it open, pausing in the doorway when Naomi called out.

Marcus!”

He turned, his face set into an impassive mask. “Yeah?”

Good boy,” Naomi said with a smirk, then turned her music back on full blast and turned toward the mirror.