Even Janine is surprised when the trunk’s contents move with a big thump, but then she supposes that too many of them were placed rather haphazardly. After all, she practically threw them in, racing to her first destination. (see What’s in the Trunk).
The smoke has dissipated. The policeman looks as baffled as a man working on a 1,000 piece puzzle. A puzzle in the shape of books – dozens of books – piled together as if they’ve been kidnapped, or as if they have some nefarious reason for hiding in the trunk of Janine’s car.
“Books,” Janine answers, trying not to look smug.
The hefty man reaches over to pick one up – they’re all paperbacks – but then he backs off as if afraid they’ll sting.
“Don’t worry, they don’t bite,” Janine says, trying to be gentle with the clueless man. “Are you a reader?”
“A what?” He peers at the woman as if she’s just asked him if he’s a pervert or, perhaps, a thief.
“A R E A D E R. Do you read? Books? Newspapers? Magazines?”
“Don’t have time,” he growls. Pulling his shoulders back and sucking in his stomach, the large cop bends down and picks up a book, then drops it like a hot potato. “What the hell is this?”
By the expression in his eyes, she can tell that the cop thinks she’s just said something really dirty.
“I promise, my contents in the trunk here are not contraband nor illegal nor dangerous.”
“Then why’d you refuse to open the trunk?” the man asks, examining his hand for burn marks.
“Because I figured the material would scare you.”
“What do you expect? You lied about what was in the trunk. Besides, smoke was leaking out.”
“Not smoke,” Janine explains. “Steam.”
The cop’s face is so perplexed that Janine can’t stifle the laugh that erupts from her belly. “These books are a bit steamy. Not x-rated, for sure, but for some readers, novels that include R O M A N C E and L O V E are scary, scorching, and sometimes sizzling. Obviously those elements scare you.”
The man’s eyes turn misty. His face crumbles in front of Janine, but then he visibly puts himself together and returns to cop mode.
“Where are you taking these …. books?”
Janine blushes, embarrassed. He notices and puffs out his chest a bit. Now he’s got her!
“To the local bookstores. My car’s in the shop, but my writing partner – we write together and even promote each other’s works – she let me borrow her car. I’m going to all the bookstores in a 30-mile radius to ask them to sell my books.”
“Huh.” The police officer takes off his hat and scratches the top of his head. “I didn’t think authors had to sell. They just write. Someone else does all the rest.”
“Sadly, that’s not true anymore,” Janine informs him.
She hands him a copy of the book on the top of her pile. The Right Wrong Man, wondering if, perhaps, he’s more alright than he first appeared. “Would you like to take a copy with you?” she asks, as shy as a girl on her first date.
The man breathes in deeply, accepts the gift, and answers, “Not only that, I’ll follow you to the bookstore. The right tire of your friend’s car might be losing air. We’ll stop and fix it, and maybe you can tell me more about your books over a cup of steamy . . . tea.”
The end (although, of course, a story lives on and on into forevermore).
AND THE WINNER IS….
This is a tough decision. The guesses went from dragons to salamanders, from aliens to harvested organs. I decided to select the “steamiest” answer, so the winner is Liesbet @ Roaming About who guessed “Something is cooking in a pressure cooker or slow cooker, hooked into a 12V outlet for power. This way, dinner will be ready by the time Janine gets home.” You can’t get much steamier than a pressure cooker!
I’m also selecting a winner for the most humorous answer; again, not an easy choice. The second winner of a free copy of Twin Desires (e-back or paperback) is Molly Stevens – Shallow Reflections. (Runner-up is Hugh’s Views and News.)
Many thanks to all for playing my guessing game – you are ALL blogging winners in my mind.