Sunday, May 31, 2009

Aspen Exposé -- Group Novel -- Chapter 5

Chapter 5

There’s a fine line between “ignorance is bliss” and “knowledge is power.” I have to wonder where exactly I fall along that line.

~Tami Brothers

Rachel blew out an irritated sigh as she ducked
into the ladies’ rest room. Who knew acting could be
this draining? She’d originally doubted Jack’s claim
that he wanted his personal life to look stable in
front of the board. After the last hour of being ogled
like a cow at the state fair while he paraded her
around the room, she didn’t doubt that claim any
longer. In fact, she had to marvel at Jack’s

At first she’d felt honored and a bit dazzled that
he’d asked her. She knew the usual women he dated
were gorgeous model types. Being placed in this
category would do wonders for any woman’s selfesteem.
In fact, she’d almost convinced herself his
intentions couldn’t be all that bad.

Now, after winning the best in show award from
the board, she could see why Jack had chosen her.
She was safe. Not only was she unlike the sexy,
slinky, all-I-can-get-from-a-man kind of woman Jack
normally went for, but she could actually carry on an
intelligent conversation. She knew this business,
and, unlike most of the trophy wives she’d met
tonight, she was able to discuss the ins and outs of
Mira Technologies like a pro. Those qualities had
apparently given the impression that Jack wasn’t in
this relationship just for the physical aspects of it,
exactly what Jack had planned to accomplish.

Hearing a noise at the door, Rachel stepped into
one of the bathroom stalls to keep from having to
jump back into character. As soon as she heard the
voices, she was thankful she had.

“Did you see that dress? Who in their right mind
would pair that fabric with those shoes? Karen
would die if she could see what he’s trying to pass off
as her replacement.”

“I’m not going to be the one to tell her, but I
hope I’m there when she finds out.” The giggles that
followed this comment were like nails on a chalk
board as they clawed up Rachel’s spine. “Hand me
that lipstick.”

“Sure. Can you imagine him bringing his
secretary? You’d think he would have picked better,
though. A plain Jane if I ever saw one. I can’t believe
I’m stuck entertaining her tomorrow.”

“Boring. I’m glad it’s you and not me.”
These last words were barely audible as the two
women left. Rachel let out a breath she hadn’t
realized she’d been holding as she slowly stepped out
of the stall. What the hell had she been thinking?
She did not have to take this kind of crap for
someone who was turning out to be the kind of man
her mother warned her about.

She had to get out of here. Casually glancing up
and down the hallway as she stepped out of the
ladies’ room, she couldn’t stop herself from taking a
quick peek into the dining area. Thankfully, Jack
was engrossed in a conversation with one of the
board members.

Hoping to make a clean escape, she strolled to
the lobby and gritted her teeth when she found the
front desk empty. She needed to contact a taxi to
take her into town.

A familiar giggle far too close for comfort had
her looking for a quick escape. “Where did you get
those?” Allison and her cohort were admiring
another woman’s earrings.

Pushing open the glass front doors, the frigid
cold blasted her as she stepped behind one of the
large wooden pillars that gave this resort its rustic
feel. Hugging her arms around her body in an
attempt to hold in some heat, she peeked inside the

“Ms. Livingston?”

Spinning around, Rachel couldn’t help but curse
her new Manolos as one of the four-inch spikes
skidded on a patch of ice. Squeezing her eyes shut,
she waited for the impact. Instead of cold concrete,
she let out a strangled yelp when a pair of solid arms
stopped her fall. Eyes flying open, she found herself
staring into the warmest pair of chocolate brown
eyes she’d ever seen.

What the heck? Why was her heart racing and
her previously freezing limbs suddenly tingling with
a strange sensation spreading its poison through her
body? If she didn’t know any better, she’d think she
was attracted to this man. But that would just be
plain fruitcake crazy. He could be a serial killer.

“Ms. Livingston, are you okay?”

Okay, so the serial killer knew her name. What
did that mean? “Um. I think...I mean, yes...I am.”

A sexy grin drew her attention away from his
eyes. Oh boy. If she thought his eyes did strange
things to her, then those lips were downright
causing her heart to go into cardiac arrest.

“I‘d better put you down then. Your friends
might come looking for you and I’m sure you don’t
want them seeing you fraternizing with the help.”

Allison! That girl was really starting to tick her
off. The cold suddenly returned with a vengeance as
Rachel’s current dilemma came crashing back to the
forefront. Glancing in through the glass windows,
she saw the empty lobby and breathed a sigh of
relief. “Those women are definitely not my friends.”

“Really?” He asked this as he settled her back on
her feet, his hands remaining on her arms as she
steadied herself.

“Definitely not. Unfortunately, I would be one of
those people they consider the help.”

“I wouldn’t have guessed that, especially since
you came in with Mr. Davenport.”

Rachel glanced at him and it was then she
realized this mystery man was the attendant who
had taken Jack’s keys when they first arrived. That
ruled out serial killer. Maybe.

Shaking her head, Rachel took a step back,
immediately missing the warmth from the man’s
hands when they fell away. “Yes, well, looks can be
deceiving.” She shot another look at the lobby and
groaned. Still empty. Turning to the Matthew
McConaughey look-a-like, she attempted a smile.

“You wouldn’t know how I might catch a taxi, would

“You’re leaving us?” The man frowned as Rachel
nodded. “If you wait a moment, I could get Mr.
Davenport and have him take you—”

“No!” When the man raised his eyebrows, Rachel
realized she’d just shouted the word. “Please don’t
interrupt Mr. Davenport. I’d rather he didn’t know.”

“This is quite sudden.”

Rachel shot another glance into the lobby as she
mumbled under her breath, “You don’t know the half
of it.”

“Listen, Rachel. I need to talk you out of leaving
right now.”

The sound of her first name caught Rachel’s
attention and she turned back to the attendant.

“Excuse me. Do I know you?”

“Tom Gardner. Now you know me, so I think you
and I need to talk.”

The sudden chill that raced up Rachel’s spine
had nothing to do with the cold Aspen night or the
instant attraction she was feeling for this perfect
stranger. What caught her attention was the serious
note in the man’s voice and the gold badge he was
holding up. A sense of dread washed over her as she
wondered what the hell she’d gotten herself into now.


Question for Chapter 5

For what fashion faux pas, did Karen criticize Rachel?

a) big hair

b) costume jewelry

c) wrong color for evening

d) wrong fabric paired with her shoes


Thanks for stopping by today. Be sure to answer the question in your comment.


Sandy Elzie said...


It's a great chapter, even reading it for the third or fourth time. (g)

I know everyone who tunes in today will reach the end of the chapter wondering where our next author will take Rachel as the plot thickens.

Sandy Elzie
(chapter 9)

Marilyn Baron said...

Karen criticized Rachel for pairing the wrong fabric with her shoes.

Like Sandy, even though I've read this chapter, before I love it. It really puts you in the moment and makes you feel what Rachel feels.

Marilyn Baron

Christy LaShea said...

the answer is "D" wrong fabric paired with her shoes

Good twists in this story!!! Great job ladies!

Maxine Davis said...


Really fantastic chapter! Man, you really threw a surprise into that story! You are a fantastic writer and I can't wait to read the rest.

This just gets better every Sunday, but it's such a long wait.

d) wrong fabric paired w/her shoes.

Mary said...

Ooh, this is an interesting turn!
The answer is (d) wrong fabric with her shoes.

I'm enjoying the story :)

Nicki Salcedo said...

D! Is that true about shoes and fabric? I've probably committed that faux pas before.

I'm glad someone new was introduced to the story. I'm ready to keep reading. Thanks, Tami!

Carol Burnside said...

Ooh, love the new guy and her reaction!

Great job, Tami!

Tami Brothers said...

Hey Everyone! Thanks a ton for stopping by today. I LOVE this story and can't wait for you all to read the rest. We are at the half way point (or just over it), so I bet you are probably wondering where we went from here...

You'll have to stop back by next Sunday to see what new twist Ana Aragon throws at us. It's toooooo fun for words.

Ohhhhh. I can't wait.... I was never any good at waiting until Christmas to open presents, either...


Lorraine said...

To paraphrase a crusty old saying, Rachel "don't know chic
from Shinola" if she can't pair
the fabric with the shoes.
(Readers: Ask your grandpa
to tell you what the saying is -
I can't explain it in an open forum.) gals are certainly
thickening the plot!

Tami Brothers said...

Hey Lorraine. Tooooo funny. My in-laws just showed up after a 1600 mile drive and I was able to ask them. They actually knew what it meant!!! Tooooo funny!!!!

Thanks for the laugh.


Sally Kilpatrick said...


Still love the chapter, although I was miffed while trying to write my own chapter thanks to your big ol' monkey wrench in there. Of course, all of that creativity and conflict are what makes the story interesting. ; )


Anonymous said...

The answer is (d) Karen criticized Rachel for pairing the wrong fabric with her shoes.

I enjoyed the chapter.

Shelley Salzman

Anna Steffl said...

Great chapter, Tami. Like a few other people, I had the pleasure of reading it several times and each time I'd think...oh no, I'm going to wreck this! How's that for inspiring (dread)?

Debbie Kaufman said...

D is the correct answer. And boy, I didn't see the badge coming. What has this girl stepped into?

Barbara Monajem said...

Late again. Sigh.

D is the answer, but the way I understood it, it wasn't Karen doing the criticizing. It was Allison and her cohort... right?

I'm a detail freak. Just shoot me.

Cyrano said...

I'm late too.
I'm so sorry. I abhore tardiness, but I'm so glad I tuned in (I guess in the computer world we shouldn't call it tuning in. That phrase shows I'm a child of the 70's huh.)
Okay, so the answer is D. I agree, certain fabrics with certain shoes...big no no. All though if you can work a look with confidence, who the hell cares?
I loved the chapter and I really loved the twist you gave to the non-descript parking attendant I dreamt up in chapter two. How cool is that!!
I'm so glad I didn't peek at the chapters even though I had the chance. Reading for the first time with everyone else is sooooo much more fun.
Great job!!!!
Have a lovely, sun shiny afternoon,

Devon Gray said...

Wrong fabric paired with her shoes. This was great, Tami! Well done :-)


Tami Brothers said...

Yeah!!! Barbara caught my booboo!!! It was Allison and her friend and NOT Karen!!!

I realized my error right after I sent my question to Cici but thought this might be a fun turn of events.

Thank you all for commenting. I had a blast coming up with this twist but I have to thank Tamara for in Chapter Two for the idea. I was hoping like crazy that nobody else used him (Tom the attendant) until it got to me!!! Then it was too fun to see what Ana did with it. Ohhhh, I did it again... I guess you will just have to wait a few more days to see how she used this little turn of events.

Carrie said...

Great job Tami! I had to read the other 4 chapters first:) I love the twist you added! I look forward to chapter 6!~~Carrie~~

Anonymous said...

Hey! Great job!
I loved this! This is the first chapter I've read, and now I think I'm going to have to keep reading lol! I'm loving the "slipping on the ice" part! I can't wait for the next chapter!

Tami Brothers said...

Thank you, Carrie and Sami, for stopping by. I really appreciate both of you coming over here and reading this. I'm glad you both liked it....grin....

It's nice to share this with some of my friends.


ECSpurlock said...

OOOh, do we have a triangle now?? This gets more fun every week! Rachel may have the wrong fabric for her shoes, does she have the wrong guy in her arms? Or in her room?? ;-D

Pamela-reader said...

Wrong fabric for shoes.

Nice chapter... good twist to throw another guy in there & I definitly got chills when he called her by name!

Tami Brothers said...

Hi EC and Pamela!

Thanks a ton for stopping by. This story just keeps getting better and better, so keep coming back. Who knows what othere twists my fabulous blog sisters will throw in!!!