Good morning, Gentle Readers,
This morning the talented J. Rose Alexander shares with us the beautiful cover of her new book, SHADOW OF GLASS, and an excerpt for your reading pleasure. Tell us what you think!
“Mind if I tailed along?”
“Of course not.” Carrie was actually secretly thrilled that she wanted to tag along. Maryann was still too much of an enigma.
“Cool.” She popped back into the kitchen.
Sierra cleared her throat. “I guess if we’re going to go, we should at least get dressed in something other than pajamas and sweats.”
“You’re right.” Carrie tossed the book she was reading on the table. They rolled themselves off the couches to change into something a little more public viewing friendly. Emma was already half dressed and hogging the bathroom in her and Sierra’s room. Throwing on some jeans and a nice shirt, with a cute pair of flats, she hoped she never had a reason to break into her closet full of designer clothes. The outfit she’d picked for tonight was way too expensive as it was, but she had to remember that was the old Carrie thinking like that. However, she’d considered downgrading some of her wardrobe, but hadn’t really found the time to do that yet.
Sierra popped her head in. “Can I use your bathroom? My roommate has decided to use ours for the next hour.”
Carrie motioned her in, then grabbed her hair brush and pulled her hair up into a pony tail. Putting on just little lipstick and blush and brushing her hair out, Sierra was in and done and gone in less than five minutes. Maryann followed a minute later, rustling through her wardrobe, then abruptly slammed it closed.
“Never mind, I’m not going.” She started to walk out.
“You can borrow something of mine,” Carrie offered in a rush. She wasn’t going to let this chance get away from them. “I think we wear about the same size.”
Maryann looked at her, taken back. “You’re serious?”
“Nah, I figured I’d let you look and then make you give it all back before we walked out the door,” Carrie answered with a straight face. “Wear a cute bra.”
Maryann snickered, then nodded. “Okay, fine. I’ll borrow something of yours. God knows you three will be eaten alive by the man whores at this thing.”
Carrie opened the wardrobe and realized she was inviting her roommates in to see the clothing labels she’d hoped to keep a secret. Murphy’s Law, of course. Sierra and Maryann stuck their heads in to start considering what would look good.
Sierra pulled out the first suggestion. “With your dark coloring, you should go with something bright.” She offered a bright red shirt.
“Oh, hell no.” Maryann shook her head and backed away. “Red attracts too much attention.” She pulled out something in black.
“No, no.” Sierra grabbed it and put it back. “Too dark.”
“Here.” Carrie selected a soft blue cashmere sweater. “Colorful, but not stand-out-ish.”
Maryann took the sweater and considered it. “A little low cut for me.”
“If you wear something that goes up to your neck,” Sierra pointed out, “they notice that just as quickly as something red.”
“Good point.” Maryann nodded. “Fine. I’ll try this. It’s a really nice…holy shit.” She stared at the tag, then looked at Carried wide-eyed. “Carrie, this is a BCBG Maxazaria.”
“Yeah, I know. Just go with it.”
“This is worth more than my car,” she stuttered.
“A tank of gas is worth more than your car,” Sierra stated. “For the love of God, just put it on. She offered it up. Just put it on.” Maryann shrugged and pulled the sweater on. It was a perfect fit. Carrie pulled the bathroom door open to let her use the mirror in there. Maryann took up the offer and Carrie and Sierra peered around the edge of the doorway.
Carrie saw Maryann really liked it by her half smirk in the mirror. “I think it looks great on you. Just the right style for you. You can keep it.”
“Keep it?” Maryann seemed horrified by the idea.
“Yes, please.” Carrie pointed to her wardrobe. “I’ve got more stuff in there than I’ll wear in my whole college career. So, please. Take it. Wear it. Enjoy it.” Before Maryann could start to protest, Carrie headed down the stairs. Sierra was right behind her. They assumed the same positions on the couch until they heard the other two coming down the stairs. Maryann was first down, with her hair neat and pulled back with a cloth headband. She seemed to be wearing a light layer of foundation and some blush and Carrie tried to hide her smile. Her roommate wasn’t half so much a hard-ass as she tried to be.
Just a moment behind her, Emma came stomping down the stairs. She was all done up with a ton of makeup, a distractingly sparkly shirt and black pants. She was wearing heels and carrying some kind of clutch purse. Maryann rolled her eyes.
“Who’s shadowing us tonight?” Emma looked at the car waiting at the curb after Sierra locked the door.
“Gonzales is our night tail,” Sierra said.
“Oh, good,” Emma said, the relief clear in her voice. “He’ll look like he belongs there.”
“That’s why it’s Gonzales.” Carrie winked.
“Why do you have a tail,” Maryann asked as they reached the bus stop at the corner.
“It’s common for the members of the royal family to have a security detail,” Sierra explained. “They are here to make sure someone doesn’t pull a gun and try to kill us or kidnap us for some ridiculous random demand, like releasing the leader of an SRR cell in exchange for our lives.”
Carrie was again glad her cousin was there to take the spotlight off her. She wouldn’t have been able to explain it so easily and Maryann seemed satisfied with her explanation.
The student center was hive of activity, with dozens different sororities and fraternities set up in the cafeteria. In the hallway were all the other student activities, attempting to catch the run off from the cafeteria crowd. Emma headed straight for the sororities. Carrie and Sierra started perusing the other clubs. Maryann headed for the tables giving out free stuff.
They went through nearly all the activities and non-dues clubs, and got out the other end with fists full of paraphernalia about what they did, what their objectives were and when they met. Maryann had tucked herself in a corner with a pile of giveaways in a bag, reading a book and sipping a soda.
“How long do you think she’s gonna be in there?” she asked, without looking up.
“How’d you get that book in here without us seeing it?” Sierra asked.
“Borrowed it from the guy at the Art Club table,” she said. “He’s in my class.”
Carrie looked over. “Hey, that’s Jason.”
“You know him?” Maryann asked.
“He’s in our poli sci class.” Carrie nodded, looking at Sierra, who was staring at him intently and smiling while she stared. Sierra probably had a crush on him, and Carrie couldn’t blame her. “He was the one who told us about the lounge near the greenhouses today before chemistry. Sweet lounge, too.”
“He’s a late sophomore too,” Maryann said. “Environmental science, I think.”
Sierra sat on the arm of the chair, ripping her eyes away from Jason. “Hey, Carrie, you got someone interested.”
“Interested?” Carrie asked, looking around.
“Yeah he’s been staring at you for like half an hour now,” Maryann informed her. “He’s over at the Omicron Mu Nu table. He’s part of the frat, as far as I can tell. Cute too. Blond hair, looks like green eyes. Nice butt.”
“How are you doing that?” Sierra asked.
“Doing what?” Maryann asked, turning the page in the book.
“Reading a book, giving us the run down on the guy staring at Carrie, and carrying on a conversation?” Sierra was really impressed.
Maryann glanced up. “Pure talent.”
Sierra started laughing. Carrie turned all the way around to see who they were talking about, and found herself face to face with the very guy they had mentioned. She was startled, and stepped back with a yelp. Once she realized she yelped, she turned and saw Gonzales walking over. She held up her hand to indicate that she was fine, just startled. Gonzales backed off and blended back into the wall a moment later.
“Hi.” He was blond haired, green eyed, and was nicely tan.
“Hi,” Carrie answered.
“I’m Anthony.” He had a nice voice, and Carrie found his nose adorable, and his ears just a little too big, which was endearing.
“I saw you in the Greenhouse lounge earlier today, but I didn’t have the time to introduce myself. I’m glad you’re here. If you don’t mind me being a little forward, I was wondering if you’d like to go out some night.”
Carrie smiled at him. “I think I’d like that.”
“Cool. Friday, eight?”