Excerpt! Strangers on a Train…
Sorry, long post, but on February 4, the paperback antho Strangers on a Train is releasing from Samhain! Myself (as Meg Maguire), Ruthie Knox, Serena Bell, Samantha Hunter, and Donna Cummings all wrote themed novellas for the collection, and we’re sharing an excerpt a day, starting today! This first one happens to be from my story, Thank You for Riding, set in the super-sexy Boston subway in the dead of winter. The story contains some pretty epic dry-humping, if I may say so myself, though this snippet’s rated G. Enjoy!
From Thank You for Riding by Meg Maguire
Copyright © 2012 Meg Maguire
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
Caitlin took stock, looking for a bright side. She was trapped in a subway corridor with the cutest, most charming man she’d had the pleasure of getting asked out by in months. Life could be worse. Unless she lost a toe to frostbite. That might not be the best way to kick off a would-be courtship.
“This thing starts running around five,” she said. “Even if we can’t reach anyone, neither of us will drop dead in three and a half hours, not of cold or hunger or thirst, right?”
“Nah, we won’t.” Mark shook his head a bit too energetically, faking calm.
“You’re not claustrophobic, are you?”
“No, no. Just…” He made a dramatic shuddering noise. “Feels weird. Being locked in. I’ve gotten so used to being the lone adult in a room or a bus full of kids, the one who fixes stuff. Just frustrated.”
“Understandable. This ever happen at the Y?”
“Nope. No practice in this particular crisis.” He studied her in the scant light and smiled. “Better it’s you and me here, and not me and fifteen under-rested, over-sugared adolescents, like the time I was on a bus that broke down in Western Mass.”
Just him and her? Better indeed. “Sounds very Lord of the Flies.”
He laughed. “Nearly.”
“What’d you do?”
“Games, fun. Distraction. Trick the kids into thinking it was a sleepover.”
“I wish I’d brought pajamas,” Caitlin said. And slippers, and a nice fluffy robe.
“If we’re stuck here until the morning, we should set up camp closest to the platform. Maybe they keep the station heated through the night.”
“We can only hope. Less breezy, anyhow.”
They wandered back to the revolving gate, and Caitlin sat on the floor as demurely as could be expected in her tiny dress—not that Mark would be able to see much if she accidentally flashed him, not in this paltry light. She slipped off her shoes and set them beside her with a sigh, flexing her toes.
“Funny how getting dumped at a holiday party suddenly isn’t the worst thing that’s happened to me today,” she teased herself.
“Careful. Crappy stuff’s supposed to come in threes.”
“Oh, right. I wonder what’s next?”
“Guess we’ll just have to wait and find out.”
On the positive side, at least she didn’t need to pee. And though she didn’t know Mark well at all, she did have a crush on him, and if someone had forced her to choose a person to be trapped in this corridor with all night, his was the name she’d have blurted.
Mark stretched his legs out in front of him. “So. You like it so far? Our first date?”
She smiled, glad he was finding the humor in things again. “I would have preferred that coffee, I must admit.”
“You okay? Cold?”
She nodded. “Yeah, pretty cold.”
He unzipped his coat.
“No, don’t do that.”
He ignored her, slipping it from his shoulders. He draped it over her lap, and she tucked the edges under her legs and feet, happy for the soft fleece lining…though she wasn’t exactly cozy. The brick floor was turning her butt to stone, and the breeze still reached them, sucked from the street down into the station, off through the tunnels bound for other stops.
“Still think you can make it three or four hours?”
She nodded. “Yeah, I can.”
“Lemme know if your feet go numb or anything. You want my socks?” He reached for his shoes.
“No, no.” She tucked his jacket more tightly under her heels. “I’ll be okay.”
“Gloves?” He was already pulling them off, so it wasn’t a question.
She slipped them on, liking how they’d been prewarmed by him, and how small her hands felt inside them. Mark slid his own hands into the front pocket of his Dingoes sweatshirt after flipping up its hood and cinching it around his face. His very handsome face.
“Thank you,” Caitlin said, her voice sounding strange and disembodied in the dark weirdness of the space.
“Least I can do, after talking your ear off and getting us stranded down here.”
She shrugged. “I’d been willing you to ask me out with telepathy, so really it’s my fault. You were just doing my bidding.”
He laughed softly, and she wished she could see his grin better. That’d warm her up.
“Why didn’t you just ask me out yourself?”
“Well, I might’ve, except I’d already admitted I got dumped in the last few hours. That might quite rightly give a guy pause.”
“Ah. What does it say about me that I asked you out anyhow?” Mark asked, a smile lingering in his voice.
“That you like ’em desperate and vulnerable.”
Another laugh, a proper one. “Wow. I’m a scoundrel.”
“Nah. You’re cute.”
He turned to meet her eyes, raising a brow. “Oh?”
She nodded. “I thought you were cute at the Red Cross, with your scaredy needle-face and your library book and your reading glasses. And the fact that you were donating your platelets in the middle of a weekday.” And your shapely, shapely arm.
“How did you know I wasn’t unemployed, just there for the free snacks?”
“I knew. The way you squeezed that stress ball…” She sighed for wistful effect.
“Oh, yes. Women can’t resist a man with strong squeezing hands. Tells us you must be great at, oh, I don’t know…making juice. Opening jars. Crushing beer cans.”
“Women really go for that, huh?”
She shrugged. “Maybe that’s my own perversion, after spending seventy hours a week surrounded by guys who speak in financial code.”
* * *
Tune in tomorrow for the next excerpt!