It’s that time of the week again–#1lineWed and today’s theme is **ROUGH/TOUGH**. Those words totally describe Zoe Parker, the heroine in my current Red Dirt Royalty WIP. She’s perfect for Tucker Tate. 😀 This is a scene from Chapter 3 (unedited) where they’re driving down a highway in Tucker’s vintage T-bird. I hope you enjoy this introduction to Zoe.
Tucker let Zoe drive as she seemed to have some clue as to their location. She didn’t pop the clutch when she shifted gears, instinctively braked before hitting the curves, then powered through them by accelerating. He slowly unclenched his hands where they gripped her duffel bag. The day was sunny, not too warm, and her not-quite-a-groom and definitely scary not a mother-in-law were way behind them. Besides, by not driving, he could study this runaway bride.
Zoe was pretty, though not in the beauty-queen sense. Her eyes, hidden now behind big sunglasses, were a deep chocolate brown. Her chin was too long, her mouth too wide but not full, and her nose tipped up on the end. Her long, dark brown hair fell in twisty—and hair-sprayed—curls down over her cleavage. There was just something wrong with him for thinking about her in any sort of sexual way, but he couldn’t help himself. She wasn’t the sort of woman he would normally be attracted to.
Her accent was thick enough—and country enough—he could cut it with a knife. He had a Harvard MBA and remembered all too acutely the disdain he’d received for his Okie accent. He’d worked hard to smooth out its rough edges. Zoe? Her language was colorful and brash, and whenever she opened her mouth, the lyrics to a country song spilled out. Maybe that was her fascination. Tucker continued to study her.
Long, supple fingers—and didn’t the idea of them gripping him like she had them wrapped around the steering wheel make him shift in his seat. They ended with short nails covered in chipped red polish. Her arms looked well-toned and he wondered what her figure was like before the pregnancy. He jerked his thoughts away from jumping down that rabbit hole.
She drove with a carefree abandon that still exhibited a determined focus. She was a gypsy, from what Tucker had gathered—a free spirit not ready to settle in one place. Except she’d decided to keep the child of a man she claimed was a one-night stand she didn’t wish to marry. Zoe was a paradox and his curiosity might just kill his cat. Good thing he didn’t own one.
“I need to pee.”
She cut her eyes his direction. “I’ll be stoppin’ at the next place we come to. You can drive after that.”
“What about my car?”
“What about it?”
“You hotwired it.”
“Oh, yeah. I did now, didn’t I?” She flashed him a cheeky grin that quirked the corners of her mouth and his body answered accordingly. “Just as soon as I take care of my business, I’ll fix those wires back and your key will work as good as new.”
“Are you sure about that?”
She made a pfft sound before she laughed. And man did the sound of her laughter arrow straight into his core. He could listen to the pealing sounds for an entire day. “Honey, I learned how when I was ten so I could borrow the neighbor’s car without askin’. My daddy couldn’t drive so I’d take us down t’the local dive where I could play for my supper and his drinks. We had t’fix it proper when we brought it back so the neighbor’s wife didn’t get pissy ’bout us borrowin’ it in the first place. She was a right piece o’work. There were times ol’ Mr. Jeffers came with us just t’get away from her.”
This woman fascinated Tucker. And he worried about that, just a little. She was raw and uncouth. She said what she thought with no filters, and no matter how horrified he might be, he still found himself enjoying the entertainment she provided. In the back of his mind, though, resided that little voice of doubt. Was she telling a tall tale, or was this the truth of her life?
You decide if Zoe’s telling the truth. In the meantime, feel free to share some rough or tough words of your own.