Friday, October 26, 2012

Feature Fridays: Close encounters of the Scarlett kind

I am officially done with the first round of edits to Phoning It In!  Methinks it's time to starting thinking about a cover reveal...

And, to celebrate, how about another taste of the novel?


“This is hell,” Melinda groaned, as she pulled into her office parking lot.  The building loomed before her, the overcast sky lending it all the charm of a super max prison.  She half-expected lightning to fork through the air, completing the post-apocalyptic look.
A stroke of luck enabled her to find a parking space at what appeared to be a mere five miles away from the entrance to the office.  She slung her bag and purse over her shoulder, grabbed her frozen meal and can of Diet Coke, and made her way into the building.  Murmuring a curse, she realized she’d forgotten to extract her badge from her purse before picking up her load, and would now have to attempt to juggle her things while she dug for the badge.
“Well, I do declare!  My word, if it isn’t Melinda Majors,” a bright voice drawled behind her.  “Here.  Let me give you a hand.”
Melinda rolled her eyes before turning around, a sweet smile plastered over her face.  “Thank you so much, Scarlett.  You’re a real life saver.”
“Oh, darlin’, don’t even think of mentionin’ it.”
Melinda gritted her teeth.  It was much, much too early to deal with Scarlett.  Back when they had been in training together, Scarlett’s accent had been more Midwestern than Southern, but once Scarlett realized that men went wild over her Southern belle act, she had begun to play the role with relish. 
“After you,” Scarlett said, waving her through, just as the wind kicked up.  Melinda was surprised it didn’t blow Scarlett’s tiny frame away.
“Oh my, it is quite the gusty day outside, isn’t it?” Scarlett laughed.  Though the wind flung stinging strands of auburn hair in Melinda’s eyes, Scarlett’s voluminous blond hair didn’t budge, and Melinda couldn’t help but be impressed by the holding power of whatever industrial-strength product Scarlett used.
As they walked up the stairs, Melinda tugged self-consciously at her coat and oversize tunic and tried not to think of how her plus-sized figure looked in contrast to Scarlett’s.  It was hard not to feel like an elephant in contrast to the beautiful, delicate porcelain doll preceding her.
“How was your weekend?” Melinda asked reluctantly.  Scarlett was best taken in small doses, and initiating any sort of conversation with her ensured Melinda would soon find it very tempting to beat her head against the wall. 
“It was wonderful!” Scarlett exclaimed.  A couple of people heading down the stairs started and stared at them.  Melinda cringed.
“I’m glad to hear it.”
“I met the most wonderful man.”  Scarlett sighed and brought her clasped hands up to the side of her face, batting her eyelashes.  Melinda wondered if she ought to applaud the performance.
“Oh really?” she asked disinterestedly.  Scarlett was always meeting the most wonderful man.  Inevitably, he ended up committing an offense that obliged Scarlett to slap him across the face and throw a drink at him before storming away with an elegant toss of her head.
“Yes indeed.”
To Melinda’s relief, they reached the third floor.  Scarlett’s cubicle was on the opposite side of the building, and Melinda hurried toward her own side, calling a hasty farewell over her shoulder.  As she stepped into the corridor leading to her cubicle, she let out a groan of relief.
“Close encounters of the Scarlett kind?” asked an ominous voice just behind her left ear.
Melinda jumped, her hand flying to her chest in an attempt to prevent her hammering heart from leaping straight out of it.  “Jesus Christ,” she breathed.  “You scared the hell out of me, Blaine.”
A very tall, gangly figure materialized in front of her.  “Do not blame me.  Blame the evil forces of Scarlett Amberson,” he intoned.
“Out of my way, moron.”  She was unable to hide her smile.