Just like I’ve done for all of my books, here is a taste of All I Want. This comes from the chapter called Sensitive.
Yesterday morning Sean had sent her a text after his mother called him regarding her care package. She’d been teaching when the text came in, so she didn’t see it until her lunch break, but she didn’t hesitate to accept.
So here she sat, eating delicious home-baked bread with a nice salad. Not just some lettuce thrown in a bowl with tomatoes and cucumbers, but tons of vegetables mixed in.
Reaching for the salad dressing, she asked, “Do you really like a salad this much? Or was this to impress me?”
He laughed. Such a soft little chuckle. She was learning it was his way of saying “caught.” “I’m not sure I would say I like salad a lot, but I eat it. Remember, working in a pub I’ve seen my fair share of dishes. Women like salads loaded with stuff. At least that is what I learned, or my sisters have said enough times.”
This time she laughed. He was a good sport about it all with his sisters. As much as he joked about them calling and bugging him, it was always said with love. She could see that. “Well, I appreciate it. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but I guess the same could be said for a woman.”
He looked startled for a moment, and suddenly she realized what she said and quickly amended, “That came out wrong. I’m not saying you’re trying to get to my heart. I mean, no, I’m not saying you are trying to woo me.” She covered her face with her hands. “Forget it. It always comes out of my mouth differently than what’s in my head.”
“Don’t worry. I knew what you meant. Why do you always get so paranoid when you think you say something I might not like?”
Getting worse and worse. Now she really needed to change the subject, and fast. Shrugging as nonchalantly as she could, she said, “Sorry. I just stumble around adults, I think. Comes from spending too much time around kids. That’s what Brynn always picks on me about.”
His smile led her to believe he was buying what she was saying, which was good.
Halfway through their soup, which she had to admit was the best potato and ham soup she’d ever had too, Sean’s phone rang. He looked at the caller and winced, then pressed the silence button. “Everything okay?”
“Sure. It would be rude to answer the phone on a date. Don’t you know that?” he asked, joking with her.
“Not if it’s important.”
“It’s not, trust me. It’s my mother.”
“Oh. Maybe you should get it.”
“Nope. I’ll call her later. Besides, watching me talk to my mother is a surefire way to diminish my manhood in your eyes.”
There was no way he could do that, not to her, but she wanted to know. “Why’s that?”
“Trust me. My mother will find a way to get me to say something foolish or ‘sensitive.’ Again, being around women for so long.”
“There’s nothing wrong with a sensitive man.”
“Really? Do you like that quality?”
She’d never really seen that quality in the men she dated, but she’d always thought she’d like it. Part of the reason she dated men more her size was she hoped they might be a bit more sensitive and less manly. But all she learned was that they often felt the need to make up for their size by being more controlling. “I might like it.”
“You don’t know?”
“I’m waiting to see it. Why don’t you try it out on me and let me decide?” She had no idea where that statement came from, but the way he threw his head back and laughed had her cringing. Again, she put her foot in her mouth.
“No, don’t start to apologize for saying that. I can see the look on your face. I laughed because it was cute. And you know what—maybe next time I’ll show you how sensitive I can be. I can do that without you having to witness me on the phone with my mother.”
That he knew she was going to apologize was a little unsettling. He’d obviously figured her out pretty fast and she wasn’t sure how she felt about that. He didn’t give her a chance to comment on it though, because he asked her something she didn’t feel comfortable talking about, at least not fully. “So, are you close with your mom?”
She hedged. She was close with Trisha Springfield, just not in the same way Sean was with his mom. “Yes, we’re close. We’ve had only each other for a long time now.”
“You mentioned she lives with your grandmother, and that you did too when you were in school. Do you mind me asking about your father? You’ve never said anything. I wasn’t sure if maybe he passed away?”
Nope, her father was still alive. Unfortunately. And yep, she minded if he asked, but she wasn’t going to say that. Sean didn’t need to know specifics, at least not this early in a relationship. If they even had one. Nor did he need to know anything in depth about her mother. She tried to smile through the memories. “Let’s just say that I didn’t grow up with the same family dynamics that you did.”
“My family is pretty great, but they can be overbearing at times too. I guess we’ve all got horror stories we could share about family.”
She knew he was trying to make light of her comment. He’d seen right through her, she could tell. But she pretended that she didn’t notice, or that she wasn’t feeling any type of anxiety over the topic right now. Horror stories—he didn’t know the half of it.
Want to know more about Sean and Carly? You can buy the book here