Posted by Jo Robertson Dec 30 2011, 11:58 pm in Jo Robertson, Jo's latest release, New Years Eve, The Traitor
by Jo Robertson
Happy (almost) New Year’s Eve, everyone!
I recently read a blog which called 2011 something like “a hairy bastard.”
I’m rather happy to put 2011 behind me, not because it’s been a horrible year for me and mine (After all, I did publish three books, a really big thrill!), but I look forward to a new year and all the discoveries that it implies.
The other day my son and his family were reading when three-year-old Emma turned the pages of the bible one thin, fragile page at a time. This is the bible that my son inherited from his paternal grandfather. Les wasn’t a particularly religious man, but he was very family oriented and went out of his way to be a good neighbor.
Suddenly from Granpa’s bible Emma pulled out a very worn and creased black and white photo. Robb scanned the photo and sent it around via email to all the family. No one had ever seen this particular image before although the boy in the picture was clearly Granpa’s oldest son, Robb’s father, my husband.
What an unexpected and blessed treasure!
I’m not particularly devout either, but I do believe in the power of human connections and unity. Strong families, strong nations, strong commitments among people are a source of endless strength to me as I struggle through mortality’s stumbling blocks and pitfalls.
As the year 2011 nears its end, I wondered what “unexpected treasures” I’d discovered that I had forgotten and hardly recognized at the time:
- A sweet voice saying, “Let’s go to the Grammy Jo’s house.”
- A daughter singing in Church.
- A son spotlessly cleaning the kitchen without being asked.
- A son who holds your head when you’re throwing up violently from food poisoning.
- An unknown photo in a worn bible.
What unexpected treasures came into your life, family, or neighborhood this year? As we head into 2012 with all its bright promise, I’d love to hear the joys and highlights of your 2011. Or what you’re looking forward to in 2012.
And just because my latest book releases tomorrow, here’s an excerpt from “The Traitor.”
Rafe slouched against the plush bench of his corner booth, idly running his finger around the wet circle rings on the table. He’d give Lupe fifteen minutes more. He checked his watch again as if sheer will power could urge the lethargic minute hand forward. He suppressed a yawn, loosened the knot of his tie, and finally reached for his wallet.
That’s when he noticed the three women.
They surrounded a small round table across the room, flimsy, high-heeled shoes on their feet, their bare legs swinging above the floor as they sat on backless stools. A healthy row of Margaritas and Piña Coladas lined up on sturdy paper coasters in front of them, and the empty glasses showed they’d been at it a while.
He shook his head. Been too long, old man, when a bevy of pretty girls don’t catch your attention right away. Even as he pulled a bill from his wallet, he observed from the corner of his eye that one of the women rose from her chair and wended her way toward him.
Deliberately and very provocatively, her legs stretched, thighs flashing beneath the deep blood red of her skirt. Her hips swayed gently and the hem of her dress swished like satin on silk as she moved straight toward his booth.
As she got closer, he saw that her skin was flawless, pale and creamy as pearls. Her eyes never wavered from his, deep coals set in a smooth face, cheekbones that spoke of the ancestry of some long-ago Spanish
Holy Mother of God. Had it been that long?
Her tangle of dark brown curls fell messily to her shoulders, bare except for two ridiculous tiny straps that rose from the mounds of her breasts. And very lovely breasts they were, displayed from the deep vee
of her neckline.
Rafe tilted his head to look around her. Behind her, the remaining two women stared at the girl’s back, their hands shielding mouths that held back laughter. Their eyes sparkled and twin dimples flashed in their
Sisters, he thought instantly. Older than the sultry vixen making her way toward him, but definitely sisters. Macbeth’s three witches, concocting some seductive brew for their unsuspecting thane.
He flashed his most congenial grin and watched the woman approach.
Bella hesitated and then ploughed on, undaunted by the grin on the stranger’s face. Damn her sisters. Come on, Bella, don’t be so serious, Bella. Let down your hair, Bella. And here she was. Over an hour and too many drinks later, she rose to the challenge of her meddling sisters.
After all, what did it matter? Except for her family, she knew no one in Los Angeles. As soon as she delivered the papers on Diego Vargasto the DEA field office tomorrow morning, she was heading straight back to Sacramento. She’d never see this man again.
And that was a good thing because she was dressed to the nines in a borrowed garment that surely made her look like a hooker, neckline plunging clear down to the Promised Land. Her hair pulled its from its usual tidy knot, curled and then ruffled so it looked like a tempest had swept around her. Her sisters had pinched her cheeks until she looked like someone who’d just tumbled out of bed after a very satisfying romp.
And now this very lean, dark stranger with crisp black hair and an attractive five-o’clock shadow looked like he wanted to do things to her that she’d only read about in magazines.
Faltering at the last moment, she stumbled in the four-inch heels Anita had pushed on her, toeless shoes with thin red straps. A startled look crossed the man’s face as he rose to catch her. Perfect, she thought, but the idea was foiled when another man, a short Hispanic dressed shabbily in Levis and tee-shirt brushed past her.
That gentle bump was all it took.
As graceless as a top spinning down, she wavered, wobbled, and crashed to the floor. Her dress front dipped dangerously close to her nipples and her hands reached backward to cushion her fall. She felt the jolt
from wrists to elbows and wondered briefly if the tiny crack she heard was the breaking of some small bone. Or her stupid pride.
Worse than anything, the hem of her dress bunched around her waist and she remembered the devilishly skimpy panties she’d purchased last Christmas and wore for the first time tonight. She opened her eyes to the amused look and extended hand of the stranger.
Up close, she recognized the swarthy complexion of a desert tribe descendant, the black slash of brow across his face, the kink of curl in the cropped dark hair. He skimmed oddly flecked green eyes down her body, reminding her again of her underwear.
While she lay there in a stupor, he grabbed her hand , a knowing smile carving a beautifully sculpted mouth as he pulled her to her feet. “Are you all right?”
Good God, he was lovely, Bella thought, imagining his eyes sparkled with more inane questions. Are you single? Are you available? Are you really wearing underwear because I wasn’t sure what I saw while you sprawled in front of me?