POINTS ON A CURVE (Nya writing as Diane Nelson)
Genre: romantic comedy, suspense, sports theme
Rob’s a sports journalist looking to score a headline but finds more than he bargained for.
Tay’s an ex-basketball star hiding from her past, Rob’s the one who smells a story.
When Rob and Tay meet, they take dinner and romance to a whole ‘nother level.
Roz Lee (Mustangs Baseball Series) calls it “a slam-dunk romance.”
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While Arturo and a squad of ranch hands busied themselves artfully arranging small boat-like white platters of bits and bobs of undercooked seafood, I put on my Prince Charming face, smiled brightly and said, “So my sister tells me you’re in school.”
Wrinkling her nose at the punte di asparagi, she kept one eye on the grilled octopus and the other on my finger tapping an unconscious SOS on my wine glass.
Yes, I’ll fight you to the death for a piece of that knubby flesh swimming with capers and cherry tomatoes, or … yes, I’m in school. Or yes to something else.
Hard to tell, and not the best of starts.
One of the helpers graced my vicinity with bloody beef tenderloin covered with parmigiano shavings. Forgiving the gods of culinary science for fouling it with arugula and hearts of palm, I speared it with the outside fork and narrowly missed an opportunity for a quick foray to St. Luke’s emergency room for stab wounds.
Miz Tay was as quick as I suspected and she wanted that bloody bite of meat as much as, maybe more than, I did. The forks squared off in an Italian standoff worthy of the Godfather.
A gentleman would have relinquished all rights to the raw meat. I wasn’t a gentleman.
Being a lefty gave me a slight advantage. I kept the impaled temptation in place and secured my fair share with a swift, deft slice across the grain.
While Her Ladyship demurely slid the dripping bit onto her plate, I did a lift and drizzle across the dazzling white linen tablecloth, leaving a trail of shame.
Cordie blanched and looked up at some point over my shoulder. Arturo was there, he had to be. Fortunately, the kitchen noises ramped up at that point, drowning out whatever the waitstaff was thinking sotto voce.
Satisfied with the easy layup, I shoved the entire wad of tenderloin in my mouth and chewed contently. At least it gave me something to do with my mouth, because conversation wasn’t happening.
One of the minions anticipated my interest in the calamari and smoothly deposited a selection onto the plate. I nodded my thanks and slipped a quick look to my right.
She was still there. Lips pursed, not chewing.
Fink’s words washed over me as I set my fork down and waited for my sister’s next bright idea.
I was looking down the gullet of insalate, more fish, a cappuccino and desert with two forks. Then off to the theater to jam myself into a seat designed for someone five feet tall, and try not to doze off during the overture.
The adage no good deed goes unpunished sprang to mind.
Cordie giggled, reminding me of how easy it was to devil my favorite sister, and how much I loved hearing her laugh.
With nothing in mind other than to force more than a yes or no, I turned to Taylor-the prim during a lull in the general din and asked, “So, how many times have you been divorced?”
I’ve never actually had my balls shrivel from a look, but there was a first time for everything.