Tuesday Sampler: Spin the Wheel by Mimi Barbour

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In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Caleb and Linda Pirtle has launched a new series featuring writing samples from some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Tuesday’s Sampler is an excerpt from Spin the Wheel, a novelette of mystery and suspense by Mimi Barbour.

As one reviewer said: Love is in the air, but first the team must make it through a bank robbery before they can hear wedding bells. Spin the Wheel is another fun romantic suspense in the Vegas Series from Mimi Barbour. I really enjoyed this one. It was filled with girly fun, yet has a suspenseful plot line. If you’re looking for an excellent romantic suspense series, read the Vegas Series.

The Story

Lisa will be at Aurora and Kai’s wedding and forced to spend the evening with Jeff Waters, a man whose very presence makes her feel about the same age as Noel, her three-year-old adopted nephew.

Not only can’t she talk with the man around, she can’t think straight when his gorgeous grey eyes search hers as if he’s trying to figure her out.

Jeff is intrigued with the long-legged, curly-haired beauty who tries so hard to ignore him. When they end up spending the night together, he knows he’s met the one and only. Now all he has to do is get her to acknowledge the fact that she really does like him even when she’s sober.

The Sampler

Mimi Barbour
Mimi Barbour

Lisa Jordan had a hard time accepting that her partner, Aurora Morelli, was getting married to the same dude who’d abandoned her when she was pregnant. He’d left her for almost a year while on an undercover assignment in Los Angeles.  Not that Aurora had been aware of what had kept him from claiming her and the unborn child. She’d suffered and everyone close to her had seen her fight through her grief.  It wasn’t until their baby had been kidnapped that Kai had returned. Thankfully, just in time. Now they were moving forward.

Hands clapping caught Lisa’s attention. She stared with delight and envy as Aurora paraded on the raised dais in the exclusive Las Vegas bridal shop. Mirrors surrounded the curved platform and provided a view to every aspect of the white satin and lace magnificence that Aurora wore so well. Being a tiny person and feminine to her core with her dark hair French-braided, Aurora resembled the princess every little girl envisions while reading her fairy-tales.

First, scowling at their fussy friend Rikki who tried to fix the train on her slim-fitting, gorgeous gown, Aurora sent Lisa a look that spoke volumes. Call her off, or I’ll hurt her.

“Rikki, you adjust that veil one more time and Aurora will get her gun.”

Rikki who had more class than any other person Lisa knew, unfortunately, didn’t have the brains to match. Street wise yes, due to her many tribulations because of her gender switch, but Rikki still maintained a big mushy heart under her new double-D bra and a belief that the world reacted according to her needs.

“She’s so annoying, Lisa.” The falsetto in Rikki’s voice might’ve sounded false to some, but Lisa knew it had become second nature for her friend. “I only wanted to apply a hint of blush,” Rikki continued. “And some eye color. The brat slapped my hand and then threatened me with some drastic pain.”

Lisa laughed. “I warned you not to fuss. Aurora’s only going through this torture because Kai expressly asked for a traditional wedding. Seems his mom has had her heart set on some form of celebration and he can’t disappoint her.” Lisa saw that Aurora was listening. On purpose she added, “And Aurora’s too soft-hearted to say no. It must be true love.”

A grunt from the princess let her know she’d scored a hit. Happily, Lisa settled more comfortably in her pink velvet chaise to enjoy her partner’s discomfort. The store manager, who’d learned her lesson to stay back earlier, tiptoed forward to gush.

“That dress is perfect for your figure, dear. It doesn’t overwhelm you at all. You were right when you insisted on a strapless model. The other with the puffy sleeves wouldn’t have done at all.”

“Puffy sleeves?” Lisa laughed and winked at Rikki. “Why didn’t you model that little number, Aurora?”

“You know damn well why. Do you know how many racks I had to search through to find a dress without ruffles or bows?”

The chagrined manager piped up. “It’s the style today.”

“It’s ridiculous,” Aurora griped while she surveyed herself from every angle. “Maybe we could cut off the train.”

Rikki and the sales lady groaned while Lisa acknowledged Aurora’s ploy with a raised eyebrow.

“I’ll get some scissors. Hell, if we left the hem ragged, it would make its own ruffle.”

Knowing Aurora so well, Lisa totally got it that the wail from the two horrified onlookers gave her partner some measure of payback for having to undergo the torture of being on display. Mind you, Lisa did catch a glint in Aurora’s eyes every so often of interest and even pleasure. She sensed that Aurora just didn’t know how to let loose and rejoice openly in having the traditional ceremony, or as traditional as an Elvis chapel can get.

Close as they’d become, not once had Aurora ever shared any of her childhood experiences with Lisa. She only knew they must have been horrific from some of the comments Aurora let out from time to time.

After all, you don’t work that closely for a year with someone and not get to know intimate things about each other. One case that stuck out in Lisa’s memory involved a seven-year-old boy they’d found locked in a closet. Visible belt marks marred the skinny body and a haunting terror glinted from eyes that were dry.

When Lisa had mentioned that fact, Aurora, who’d held onto the child until his harsh stiffness had vanished and who now clung like an undernourished child-victim should, had answered knowingly. “It’s all about survival, and tears never help.”

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