Friday, December 03, 2004

Exclusive Excerpt: "It Happened One Night," By Lisa Dale

Check out this Exclusive Excerpt from Lisa Dale's extraordinary novel, "It Happened One Night," just right for the holidays...

When at last Eli’s voice came over the line she knew he’d been sleeping.

“I woke you,” she said. “I’m sorry.”

“Is everything ok?”

“I just haven’t talked to you in a couple days. I wanted to say hi.”

“Hold on?”

Lana waited. There was some shuffling, the sound of Eli muttering to himself. She guessed he was fumbling for his glasses. Maybe he’d fallen asleep leaning over his books or watching a documentary. She could picture him, the way he looked when he woke up, his adorable grogginess, his rich brown hair spiked on one side, flat on the other. He had the most charming freckle just under the lower lip of his left eye, which he rubbed when he was tired.

At last he came back on the line. “So what’s going on?”

“What’s going on with you?”

His voice was low and raspy with sleep. “I dreamed that I was giving a lecture about the constellations, except I’d forgotten their names.”

“Stargazing even in your dreams.”

“Always.” He paused. She felt the luxurious comfort of silence between them, thick as the hiss of static over the phone. “You can’t sleep?”

“I went to bed too early.”

“A nightmare?”

“No.”

“Is it…did something happen with Ron?”

Lana took a deep breath of the cool, crisp air and lifted her face to the sky. “Nothing out of the ordinary.”

Eli was quiet for a long, long time. She spun slowly in place in the cold grass, and the sky pivoted in a circle, twirling on the point of a single star.

When he spoke again his words were flat. “Are you in love with him?”

She thought about the question, but not for too long. Passion was like a flower that bloomed for one night a year—exquisite, poignant, and tragically brief. She gave herself completely to passion when she was lucky enough to find it. But she didn’t delude herself into thinking it would last.

No,” she said. “I don’t love him.” She wasn’t sure, but she thought she sensed relief on the other end of the phone. “Does that surprise you?”

“No. But I won’t say I’m not glad.”

Lana stopped spinning, trying not to read too much into his words. The last thing she needed was to invent subtext where there was none. This was Eli she was talking to. What-you-see-is-what-you-get Eli. What she loved about his friendship was that it was predictable—even routine. She always knew where she stood with him.

She heard a noise in the background on his end of the phone.

“Just a minute,” he said.

But he wasn’t talking to her.

Suddenly Lana realized the truth. Eli wasn’t alone. He was with a woman. He was sleeping with her. A knot of irrational fear gripped her stomach. She couldn’t have predicted this. Things had moved along more quickly than she would have thought, much more quickly than with any of the others. What if this time, he’d found the One? And Lana couldn’t even remember her name.

“Sorry about that,” he said, talking to her once again.

“I should let you go,” she said. She wanted him to contradict her, but he did not.

All at once, she was tired. Tired down her bones. She could sleep right here, standing on her feet in the front yard, the sound of Eli’s voice weaving and looping through her consciousness like ribbons drawn through water. With a shock, she remembered the feel of his mouth on her neck, the insistence of his tongue, the tough heat of his hands—

Kelly. The woman’s name was Kelly.

“Goodnight,” she said, and she hung up the phone. She carried it upstairs, put it on her nightstand, and willed herself to find safer, gentler dreams.

Copyright Lisa Dale, 2009.

Click here to check out Becke Davis' RBTB feature review of
Lisa Dale's "It Happened One Night!"

1 comment:

Becke Davis said...

*sigh* I love this excerpt.