Monday, February 15, 2016

Buxton Peak Book One: Who Is Ian Taylor by Julie Spencer - Excerpt from Chapter One

Passing Through
           When he sat down in the pew across from her in the chapel, his flirtatious grin and gleaming eyes caught Megan’s attention almost as quickly as his spiked, messy hairdo. The purposeful randomness of the blond highlights hinted he’d had them done professionally, yet she sensed he wanted it to look as if he’d just rolled out of bed. He stole her focus away from the prelude music as if he’d called her name.
Her intuition warned her that he was more than what he seemed. He would have fit better on the cover of a magazine, than sitting across the aisle from her in church. He exuded confidence and raised his eyebrows at her, a secret smile on his lips that made her blush. She quickly looked down at her open hymnbook trying to distract herself. It didn’t work. She glanced over at him out of the corner of her eye.
His larger friend elbowed him and he turned in his seat to face forward. Megan took the opportunity to study the odd pair. Although they both seemed to be about her age, they didn’t look like typical college guys. An air of dominance emanated from the friend, although it could have been because he looked like a body builder. Yet, there was something else. A hint of inferiority perhaps? Like the smaller of the two was somehow in charge. Weird.
            Megan couldn’t concentrate on anything during the service because she couldn’t stop wondering about him. Does he live here? Megan had never seen him before in all the times she’d visited her aunt’s house. She wished Aunt Pat had come to church with her so she could ask her if he was a regular. She’d always wished her aunt would come to church so she didn’t have to sit alone. This congregation had so few people in attendance that the room seemed empty. The ward she attended in Mt. Pleasant, where she was a student at Central Michigan University, had three times this many attendees. She had felt quite alone before these two mysterious guys sat down in the pew opposite hers.
Still, she knew she’d never be able to gather enough courage to go and meet them. She was a geek. Boring. Hot guys wouldn’t want to talk to her anyway.
Yet, he did. Almost as soon as the closing prayer had ended, she felt his presence by her side. When she turned to look at him, she couldn’t turn away. Wow, he smells good.
He sat and grinned at her, but didn’t say a word. His playful blue eyes were even more captivating up-close. For a moment, Megan stared back, but quickly grew uncomfortable with the intimacy of the situation. She sat with her hands in her lap shaking a little from the unsettling feeling that her life was about to change. She had never had a boyfriend, and didn’t really want a boyfriend. However, he was attractive and had a friendly smile. Finally, curiosity overpowered her nervousness.
            “Can I help you?” Megan blurted out. Whoops. A bit harsh. Darn shyness; it always came across as snobby. Ugh.
            “I just wanted to come meet you.” His British accent startled her. She didn’t expect that from a guy in northern Michigan. She waited for him to continue with an introduction but his comment hung in the air.
            “And…you are?” Megan raised her eyebrows.
            “Oh, I’m sorry. I thought you knew me.” He cocked his head as if surprised she didn’t recognize him. Megan couldn’t help thinking he was presumptuous and cocky. She shrugged, waiting for him to complete his response. “I’m Ian Taylor.”
            Am I supposed to be impressed? She shook her head slightly and shrugged her shoulders again. He seemed amused and actually laughed. She turned her head away and raised her chin, offended that he was making fun of her.
            “Sorry if I seemed rude.” Ian leaned forward, trying to get her attention again. “Could I ask, what is your name?” He sounded sincere. She couldn’t help glancing back toward him.
“Megan Moeggenberg.” She bit her lower lip and silently cursed all those young women’s etiquette classes that taught her to introduce herself to others. What was I thinking? Okay, so he’s handsome and mysterious and I’m trying really hard not to smile at him, but he’s a stranger. And I just told him my full name.
            “That is a very unique name.” Oh my gosh, his British accent is adorable.
            “Not where I’m from.” She tried to force away the smile that threatened the corners of her mouth. “There are about a hundred of us in the central Michigan area.”
            “You don’t live here?” He shook his head slightly.
            “No, just passing through.”
            “Myself as well.” Ian nodded. “What a coincidence we should be here at the same time.” He grinned at her as if implying that they were destined to meet.
Megan shook her head, finally smiling. Once she allowed it, she couldn’t stop smiling. He was enthralling and distracting, but not what she wanted in her life. She thought coming to Aunt Pat’s beach house at Houghton Lake would get her away from the single life as a college student. It was supposed to be a nice quiet place where she didn’t have to worry about people judging her choice to wait until she graduated to start dating and to wait until marriage before becoming intimate with a man.
The girls at the university dated, or wanted to date, or talked about guys, or speculated about who they might meet at the bar that weekend. Guys at the college usually wanted one thing, and all too often, the girls were the same way. Spend the night together now; decide in the morning if they wanted to exchange phone numbers. Megan didn’t want any part of it. She especially didn’t want to meet a guy who was looking for a one-night stand, not even someone who wanted to get serious and start a family. She just wasn’t in that place in her life yet.
Still, if she was going to meet a guy, church wasn’t a bad place. If he would be leaving as quickly as he had come, then it wouldn’t hurt to laugh a bit and maybe even flirt back a little?
“Where are you passing through from?
“Well, last night we drove through the Upper Peninsula of the great State of Michigan.”
“And prior to that?” She smiled.
“I think we were in Wisconsin.” He cocked his head playfully as if he had to think about his recent travels.
“And where are you going?”
“I believe by tomorrow or the next day, we will be in Detroit, and then I’ll be flying back across the pond.” Megan raised her eyebrows at the colloquial use of “pond” to represent the Atlantic Ocean.
“Sounds like you have your life all planned out.” Megan complimented him.
“Not really.” Ian laughed. “Jeremy does the planning. I just go where I’m told.” From his commanding persona, she somehow doubted that anyone told him what to do.
Megan looked up at the hunk standing in the aisle next to Ian, assuming he was Jeremy. Although not exactly frowning, he had his arms folded across his chest, his eyebrows furled. His stance was almost protective or defensive. He was intimidating despite his rugged handsomeness.
“Oh, my apologies.” He turned to his friend, then back to her. “I failed to introduce my mate. This is Ed.” Ed lifted his chin without so much as a smile or salutation. She would have reached out to shake his hand if he hadn’t sent such cold vibes her way.
If this was Ed, then who was Jeremy? That meant there was another person traveling with them. Where was he?
“Jeremy doesn’t like to come to church with you?” she asked.
“None of them do.” He averted his eyes, then changed the subject. “Do you want to go get some lunch?”
“Uh…it’s Sunday.” Megan raised her eyebrows at him. “I try not to go out to eat on Sundays, you know…to observe the Sabbath.”
“Well, where are you staying?”
“My aunt’s house.” She hesitated, not wanting to give away too much information to this guy she just met. She contemplated what he meant by “none of them” because that meant there were more than three of them traveling together. How many are in his group? Megan tried to keep track of everything, but he changed the subject again.
“Does your aunt live near the water?” Ian craned his neck, looking toward the window as if he could see the lake from here. “I want to see the water.”
“Didn’t you pass it on the way to the chapel?” She knew from either direction he entered the small town of Houghton Lake, the main road followed the shoreline.
“Yes, but Ed was driving too fast. I want to walk along the beach. When am I ever going to have this chance again?”
“I don’t know.” She cocked her head. “How soon will you be coming back to northern Michigan?”
“I have no idea.” Ian chuckled. “If it were up to me, I’d stay and get to know this beautiful girl I just met at church.”
Megan pretended to look around the building for some other girl their age as if she didn’t know Ian was talking about her. The congregation at Houghton Lake was so small there were barely enough people to keep the doors open. From years of visiting her aunt, she knew this time of year, before the summer season actually started, that there were even fewer people, and they were mostly older. Knowing she was the only college-age girl in the building, it felt a little like Ian was settling for an opportunistic individual. She had never thought of herself as pretty, much less beautiful. Still, she kind of liked his flirting and reminded herself to just enjoy it.
She suddenly felt very little apprehension about bringing Ian home to meet her aunt and uncle. He didn’t seem like the type of guy to stalk her or take advantage of her, and he did have a friend with him. It wasn’t as if she was inviting him home to an empty house with no chaperones.
“My aunt lives across the street from the lake,” she said. “And there’s a little park where we could take a walk after lunch.”
“That sounds great.” Ian took her suggestion as an invitation, stood up and took a few steps back, waiting like a gentleman for her to grab her bags and scoot to the edge of the pew and out into the aisle.
Ed pulled Ian aside and spoke quietly about a text he’d just received. “They’re leaving without us.”
“That’s fine. Tell them we’ll meet them in Detroit.” Ian’s voice changed. It was commanding, like he was giving them permission to leave without him. He started to turn back toward Megan, but leaned his head back and spoke quieter, almost through clenched teeth, “and tell them not to get into too much trouble while I’m gone.”
Ian turned back to Megan with a confident, goofy grin and held out his arm in a gesture of ‘after you.’
My intuition was right; there’s something he’s hiding…who is this guy?

Want to read more? Let me know. I'm planning to publish Buxton Peak Book One: Who Is Ian Taylor in May or June of 2016. Send me message and I'll put you on my mailing list or follow me on Twitter @juliespencer98

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Have you read any of my other novels? What's your opinion? -Julie L. Spencer

My first novel, The Cove is now available for purchase on Amazon. Check it out:


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Anonymous said...

I am interested in being a Beta Reader for you. I just Googled the term to see what was expected. I just looked up "Googled" and read that my initial attempt to write "googled" was incorrect! So you might want to know that while I am an avid reader, I have my master's in Speech-Language Pathology. Grammar errors in books jump out at me. I am a pastor's wife, and have been a Christina for 40+ years. Another thing is that one should always to very tactful about things that could have been written with improvement. I have a comment about honoring the Sabbath Day, in case you should ever want to read it (or not - it is okay!)Congratulations - this is the first time I ever recall a character in a novel being concerned about it!)
Janice Moore, MSC, CCC-SLP

Anonymous said...

Now I am trying to figure out how to correct some typos I made!

surender xit said...

Nice book
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