Hello all, and welcome to JoAnne's Blog. This week I have the lovely Te' Russ, and her new release, Love After War. Please make her welcome.
About the Book
Connie and Drew have been butting heads since they were teenagers. With Connie refusing to talk about anything from their past, Drew has never figured out what made them go from friends to enemies.
Drew decides to finally get to the root of their lifelong feud when Connie ends up in Texas for a remodeling project. When the truth comes out, it just might bring out some feelings both of them have been refusing to acknowledge for over a decade.
About the Author:
Growing up an introvert, Té Russ found solace in literary arts at an early age. She found reading to be a vehicle to broader horizons and writing a form of self-expression. She began writing love stories in her adolescent years as a way to expel her youthful thoughts of love into words. Since then she has gone from writing stories and thoughts of love in journals to attending college for journalism and falling in love, which has allowed those youthful words of love to blossom into a series of stories in her romance novels. Though she has an immense appreciation for the sheer smell that books collectively exert, she also has found balance to her introverted nature with adrenaline inducing activities. So if she does not have her nose pressed deeply into a book or her pen ticking through a pad, you may also find this mother of three baking some tasty treats, jumping out of airplanes, cheering her husband on at the top of her lungs at MMA fights, buzzing down the interstate on the back of motorcycles, or kayaking.
“What are we doing here Andrew?” Connie asked, annoyed.
“This is where we’re having lunch,” he replied simply. “You still eat pizza don’t you?”
They were standing in the waiting area of Uno Chicago Grill, simply known as Uno’s in the area.
It looked a lot like a pizzeria they used to go to as kids in the summer in Galveston. She wondered if he’d brought her here on purpose.
“Yes, I still eat pizza but–”
“Great, here comes the hostess to sit us.”
The lady barely looked at Connie; she was so busy eyeballing Drew. And flirting just a tad too much.
“Can I get you anything to drink honey?” she cooed, while brushing her hand up and down his shoulder.
“What?” she asked, tearing her glare away from the woman.
He tried to hide the smirk on his face. “What would you like to drink?”
“Iced tea. Sweet.”
“I’ll have the same thing,” he said, never taking his eyes off of Connie. “Ice tea. Sweet.”
“I’m sure it’s not as sweet as you.”
“I’m hardly sweet,” he replied, causing the hostess to laugh a little too hysterically and all but throw herself into Drew’s lap.
After she was done fawning over him, she sauntered off, with an exaggerated sway of her hips.
Connie couldn’t wipe the scowl off of her face and Drew was about to say something when Miss Laughs-a-lot returned.
“Joss will be your waitress today, but if you need anything, don’t hesitate to call.”
Connie watched as the woman slipped a piece of paper down in front of him. She rolled her eyes as the woman walked away.
“Unbelievable,” Connie murmured.
“That... woman. She was throwing herself all over you Andrew.”
He shrugged. “I suppose she was a little flirty.”
Connie laughed. “A little flirty? Andrew please! She was two seconds away from giving you a lap dance right in front of me. And she didn’t acknowledge me once. It was as if I wasn’t even here. For all she knew I could have been your date or girlfriend, but she didn’t care.”
“But you do?” Drew asked, with a raised eyebrow.
“Well, you’re not my girlfriend. And technically this isn’t a date, just lunch. So why do you care if some hostess flirts with me?”
“You are completely incorrigible! It’s simply rude of her to flirt with a man in front of lady company. And it’s just bad customer service to ignore patrons. Besides that, I don’t care who flirts with you or whom you flirt with.”
“Ah but that’s the thing! I didn’t flirt with her. In fact, if I recall, I never took my eyes off of you.”
Connie opened her mouth to argue, but she couldn’t because he was right. Drew seemed to have barely to noticed the hostess.
“If I didn’t know any better, Barb, I’d say you were jealous.”
He watched as the color rose up her neck and filled her cheeks. “Andrew McAllister, I am not jealous of some floozy hitting on you!”
He chuckled, and then said, “‘The lady doth protest too much, methinks!’”
She scoffed. “Quoting Hamlet does not make you cute.”
“So what does make me cute?” he asked, his voice filled with a hint of intrigue.
Connie threw a napkin at him and he laughed out loud.
Joss, the waitress, showed up then and took their food orders. She was clearly a young girl, probably a college student and was completely enamored with Drew as well. Thankfully, she wasn’t shameless like the hostess. The poor girl could barely speak. She kept looking at Connie and stealing glances toward Drew, as if he were the sun and just too bright to look at directly.
Drew ordered for them remembering exactly how Connie liked her pizza.
Another thing from their past, she’d thought. But she let it slide this time, because the poor girl nearly knocked over their glasses of iced tea.
“I’m so sorry,” she apologized to them both.
“It’s all right,” he said to her.
Connie nodded. “Don’t worry honey, no harm done.”
The girl scuffled off to put in their orders and Connie couldn’t help but laugh.
“The great Andrew McAllister, turning women all over the place into crazed fools.”
“Except you,” he said sarcastically.
If only you knew, she thought.
“I’m not the only one causing trouble in here,” he said, interrupting her thoughts.
“What in the world are you talking about?”
“The man sitting at the table behind you, at your five o’clock...”
Connie used the excuse of tucking her hair behind her ear to glance over her shoulder and caught a man averting his eyes from their direction.
“He’s been staring at your legs, since you walked past him.”
“What? That’s ridicu–”
“The man at the table behind me, at your two o’clock.. .”
He waited for her to glance over his shoulder and then look back at him.
“Well,” he said, slightly annoyed, “Let’s just say he’s been looking a little bit North of your legs, South of your neck.”
She gasped at what he was implying.
“How could you know that?” she asked in a whisper, leaning closer toward him.
“Part of my job is to make sure I know everything going on in my surroundings.”
“Well, I guess you do your job pretty well.”
He shrugged. “I’m still alive.”
There was something in the tone of his voice when he said those words. If she didn’t know any better, she would have thought it sounded like remorse.