#353 — at first sight.

I’ve been pretty obsessed with this new story, and been averaging about 2,000 words every time I sit down to work on it. Now if I could only make myself sit down more often! Anyway, here’s an (unedited) excerpt.

She came to a door at the end of the hallway and squared her shoulders before knocking twice, bluntly.

It was a moment before anyone opened the door, and she thought for a split-second she should just turn around and leave. What would she say to him, anyway? She should have just let Tammy and Matthew continue handling this. Before she could retreat, though, the door opened and she was looking up into the face of a very tall, very built man. Todd Butler seemed to fill the doorway to his small office, he too had quite a few tattoos, which she could see thanks to the simple tank top he wore, and his hair was longer than it had been in high school, black natural waves touching his shoulders.

“Yes?” He asked, looking more annoyed than anything.

“Todd Butler?” Abby asked, despite recognizing him underneath all the changes the last ten years had brought to him.

“Yes.” He said, his face going from annoyed to impatient now. “How can I help you?” He asked, looking over her shoulder down the hallway, as if wondering why the hell she wasn’t stopped by Bull Dog.

Abby put out her hand in her best approximation of a take-charge handshake, “Abigail Stewart. Nice to meet you. I believe I own your bar.”

Todd’s eyes lowered, suspicious and angry, and he ignored her offered hand. “I own this bar, thank you, and I’m currently busy with the running of it, if you don’t mind.”

Perhaps he truly didn’t recognize her, or hadn’t put two and two together with her last name, but she wouldn’t be dismissed so easily no matter what. “I beg to differ,” she said, pulling her father’s will from her shoulder bag. “You own,” she scanned the page, “twenty-eight percent of this bar, the rest has recently changed hands to myself.”

Now his annoyance and anger were nearly palpable, she could tell he was working to school his features but he wasn’t nearly as practiced at it as she was. “Who the hell do you think you are?” He asked, his voice raising slightly.

Abby couldn’t help the small, rueful chuckle that escaped her. “Who the hell am I? I’m Richard Stewart’s only daughter and his only living heir. If you bothered to pick up your phone at all in the last three days you would know that your business partner – my dad – has died and he’s left everything to me, including ‘your’ bar. Care to invite me in so we can discuss this?” Her own voice raised a bit as well, as if to compete with his. Abby may be small, but she made up for that in sheer attitude when needed. She crossed her arms across her chest as if to indicate I’m waiting.

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