Hi, everyone, and welcome to our last WIP Wednesday of the year!

If you are new to the blog, here’s the deal: on the first Wednesday of every month, I share an excerpt of whatever I’m working on, and if you want to, you do the same in the comments section. (We did one every week in November because it was National Novel Writing Month, but now we’re returning to our regularly scheduled programming.)

There are just a couple of rules!

No critiquing — we’re often sharing from first drafts that aren’t ready for beta readers. A friendly word is always welcome, though, and good luck for you as a writer.

Keep your excerpt under 500 words, with no sexually explicit material. Some cursing and some violence is okay. If it’s really violent or disturbing, I may add a content warning…which is not a criticism at all.

Well, I don’t need a content warning for mine this month, because I’m sharing one more excerpt from my super-sweet contemporary romance! Even though it’s the holiday season, you’ll have to imagine autumn again for a minute.

In this scene, Dylan has run into Paige a second time, while he’s with his nephews at a pick-your-own apple orchard. It turns out that Paige was the first-grade teacher to one of his nephews the year before. A lot of the trees are picked over, and the boys have been climbing the trees to reach the fruit.

 

 

They decided their next stop would be the Golden Delicious grove—Paige’s favorite, she said—and they headed down the dirt road past families with small children. To anyone else, they probably looked like a married couple with children. The thought should probably disturb him more than it did. But Paige was easy to talk to, and the morning felt magical, a temporary escape into another world where he didn’t have to worry so much.

“You like being a teacher?” he asked.

“I do. Although the first couple of years were rough.”

He hadn’t expected that. “How come?”

“Oh, I had a lot to learn. About how to set up the classroom, and plan the lessons. And I wasn’t good at dealing with kids who misbehaved. I hadn’t learned my no-nonsense voice yet.”

That didn’t surprise him at all. She seemed naturally sweet. “Do it,” he said.

“What?”

“Let me hear your no-nonsense voice.”

“Nooo.” She waved him off.

“Oh, come on.”

She stopped smiling. “Dylan, I told you no.”

He stopped short. He’d been joking around, but somehow, he’d offended her.

“That was my no-nonsense voice,” she said quickly.

He laughed. “Okay, that was pretty good.”

“So what about you?”

“I definitely have a no-nonsense voice,” he said.

“No, I meant do you like being a…what kind of banker was it, again?”

“Investment banking analyst.”

She nodded. “You know, I’m sorry about what I said before.”

“What do you mean?”

“About your job sounding awful,” she said, with a wince of regret.

“I wasn’t offended.”

“Hey, stop!” Connor said. “We’re passing the Golden Delicious.”

Dylan welcomed the interruption. He’d rather talk about almost anything than his work. Connor walked from on tree to another. “The only ones left are way up there.” He scrambled up into the branches.

“These really are my favorites,” Paige said. “I’m going to climb. Are you?”

“Uh. No.” He hadn’t thought she was serious about this.

“Why not?”

“Because I’d look ridiculous.” She appeared unconvinced, so he added, “Those branches aren’t that thick. I’d probably break one.”

“No, you wouldn’t,” she said, but he caught her giving him a quick look up and down. Then she said, “Watch my purse,” and dropped it at his feet. She sauntered over to the next tree and swung herself up to the lowest branch.

As she climbed a little higher, a couple walking by gave her a surprised look. Dylan smiled to himself. Paige truly didn’t care if she stood out. Dylan had spent most of his life trying to blend in. It hadn’t always been easy, when he’d been a kid. But the strategy had worked out well for him so far…hadn’t it?

Paige’s foot slipped on a branch and she squeaked. Dylan rushed closer. She regained her footing and laughed, looking down at him.

“You’re making me nervous up there,” he said lightly.

“You’re making me nervous.”

What did she mean by that? She tossed one apple to him, and then another.

 

 

If you want to share an excerpt, go ahead and do it in the comments! And if you’re not up to it today, well, you’ll get at least 12 chances in 2018. Thanks so much for reading!