Sunday, February 14, 2016

Snippet Sunday

Happy Valentine's Day!

 Today I've got more from the fourth Venom novel, Angle Play.  In this book we get to know the Venom goaltender, Stephanie Huschuk, better. While Stephanie struggles to carry the burden of being the starting goalie, her attraction to Greg Blue Blanket, her goalie coach's divorced twin brother, is only adding to the weight the young woman carries. 

In this week's snippet Stephanie and Greg do something that I find terribly romantic: cook together! 

This excerpt is hot off the presses and has not been professionally edited. I've done my best to make it as tidy as I could but there may be some misplaced commas or other mistakes. Please be kind about any flubs you may find. When you're done reading today's snippet, skate on over to Cathy Brockman, Misty Harvey and Ellie Mack's blog to see what they've been up to recently. 


 "No, you have to tuck the ends in."

Greg looked down at the stuffed cabbage roll in his hand then held it out to me.

"My fingers are too clumsy for such delicate work. How about I stuff and you tuck?"

"You didn't say that last night." I bumped his hip with mine as I took the halupki from him.

"What would your pastor say about you talking so shamefully?"

"I'm Catholic so it would be my priest," I corrected him as we worked on the food for the party. Maybe party wasn't the right word. Death over dinner? Showdown over supper?

"Ah, well, what would your priest say if he heard you talking so shamefully?"

I gave the man I had woken up next to another nudge with my hip. "Probably he would have made me say ten thousand Hail Mary's, but since I don't go to church anymore I guess I can avoid that punishment. What religion are you?"

"I'm an atheist." He gently lifted a cooked cabbage leaf from a platter then placed a handful of meat and rice into the center of the leaf.

"Don't let Alicia's boyfriend hear you say that. He'll try to bring you into the path of the divine spark, or whatever it is he preaches." I tucked cabbage ends then placed the roll into a large roasting pan.

"Is he an ordained minister of some sort?" Greg handed me another halupki. I pushed my finger into one end, neatly tucking the roll.

"No, not really," I said as I paused in roll tucking to concentrate. "I think he's new age religion, like Toltec or something?"

"The Toltec civilization flourished around the tenth to twelfth centuries if memory serves, so if this Toltec religion or shamanism Dale practices is based on those Toltec's it's not new age at all." He plunked another cabbage roll that needed tucked into my left hand.

"You're getting ahead of me," I told him then handed the one roll back so I could tuck the one I already had. "How did you get so smart?"

"You know all those books you helped me unpack?" This time he bumped my hip with his. I gave him a look. He grabbed a quick kiss. Making halupki with Greg was fun. "Besides, it's my job to be super smart so my students tremble in fear when I speak."

"I'd like to hear you lecture some time. I bet you're a great speaker."

"Meh, I'm okay. You probably heard better lectures when you were in college," he nonchalantly said.

"I never went to college," I flatly informed him then took the cabbage roll from his hand. "My mom barely managed to feed us. How could she send us to college?"

"I am sorry, but if you wanted to go it's not too late." All the playfulness had disappeared. I hated that. I hated how stupid I felt at times. It seemed that everyone had gone to college and gotten a degree in something, even something that they would never use. And then there was stupid Stephanie who barely passed high school.

"I have a job now."

"Then take an online course," he said then bounced his elbow off mine. I glanced up from the roaster full of halupki. His gaze moved over my face, his eyes filled with something tender. "Keep taking courses until you have enough credits for a degree. What would you like to study, if you could?"

"Classical music." It tumbled out of me without a thought. Greg smiled down at me. I wished I could hug him but raw ground beef covered my hands. "I mean, I can't play an instrument or anything but if I could study something it would be that."

"Hmm, some kind of music major then? You should visit the Performing and Cinematic Arts center on campus and speak to some of the professors there about possible career choices you may have."

"But I don't play an instrument," I pointed out again.

"How do you know you can't play? Have you ever tried or taken lessons?"

"No, no money or time. I started working when I was fourteen."

"I'm sure even if you don't play there's career choices, perhaps something in music education?"

"You mean like me teaching kids about music?"

"Possibly, I'm just tossing out scenarios. I'm not familiar with the music department's curriculum. Maybe it's something you could think of trying now that you're a famous sports star who's rolling in cash."

"Rolling in cash, yeah right," I muttered as the memory of all those checks I wrote to John every week flipped past in my mind. Now that I had a contract with the Venom, the paychecks were lots bigger so maybe if I did stash a little aside for Stephanie…

"Whether you play or not is neither here nor there. You have an amazing retention for the classical masters. Why don't you look into it? Check into the online courses Temple offers, and if they don't have what you want then branch out to other universities. I'm sure you'll find a major that you would love."

"I really like you," I told him then rose to my toes to press my lips to his. "You always make me feel so fluffy."

"I'm thrilled to be your fluff master. Now, shall we get back to work? I'd hate for Alice to walk in and find us stuffing meat."

I snorted so loudly it hurt my sinuses and fell for him just a little bit more. 

Don't forget to drop by Cathy, Misty and Ellie's blogs-


Jean Joachim said...

What a lovely, loving scene. Yes, that's the way an older man who is in love with a younger woman who needs encouragement would behave. Beautiful and touching. Well done.

Misty Harvey said...

Oh, I love it already! I can't wait to read more.

Cathy Brockman said...

This was so cute I adore Greg

V.L. Locey said...

Thanks all!

Greg isn't perfect but he is a darn good match for our young Stephanie, at least I think so.