Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Excerpt - Hard Feelings

Here's a little scene from Hard Feelings. In it, Rylan's newly minted frenemy-with-benefits, Miller, meets Rylan's friends Holly and Gina. Let's just say Gina's skeptical of the arrangement.

At Brain Freeze, Miller deliberated over the nine flavors on offer before deciding on pumpkin pie. Rylan, Gina, and Holly ordered too, and then they left Brain Freeze to settle at a picnic table in the park next door.
“You know, you can tell a lot about a person based on their ice-cream choices,” Miller observed as he stared into the distance.
Rylan looked at his plain vanilla cone and scowled when Gina burst into laughter. “Shut up,” Rylan grumped, not sure if he felt more betrayed by her or Miller. “You got licorice,” he pointed out in disgust, looking over at Gina’s paper cup.

Miller licked at a drip trickling over his knuckles—distracting—before turning to Gina. “The man has a point. Whatever you think Rylan’s ice cream says about him, yours says the opposite.”
“This is armchair psychology,” Gina protested. When Miller cocked his head at her, she explained, “I have to call you on it because I get paid to do the real thing. But by all means, continue. It’s interesting.”
Rylan knew what that meant—she was using Miller’s guesswork to analyze him. But Miller didn’t seem to mind. He turned to Holly’s avocado ice cream in its chocolate waffle cone and studied it for a minute. Then he said, “I give up. What kind of person eats avocado ice cream with chocolate? That’s bizarre.”
“Exactly,” Rylan said.
Holly just smiled at him, but Gina nudged him in the shoulder. “Rude. What about you, Pumpkin Pie? Do we get to do you next?”
Miller shrugged and bit into his ice cream like a weirdo. “Seems only fair,” he said when he’d licked the smears from around his mouth. Like Rylan said—distracting. “So? Who wants first dibs?” He looked at Gina. “Not you, you’ll cheat.”
Gina laughed. “Rylan, then.”
This was almost as bad as those times teachers had called on Rylan when he didn’t have his hand up. “You like pumpkin pie,” he said, going for humor—the coward’s way out.
“Holy crap, I think he might be a savant.” Miller crunched down on his cone.
Holly giggled. “Thanksgiving is your favorite holiday,” she predicted.
Shaking his ice cream at her, Miller agreed, “Second-favorite, but close enough.”
Then Gina leaned forward and put them all to shame. “You’re from a small family, but you’re very close-knit, and you have a couple of friends you consider to be blood. You’re a romantic, you overcommit, and”—she eyed the disappearing ice cream, which had been a double scoop to everyone else’s single—“you have a metabolism to kill for.”
Miller choked on a bite of waffle cone. Rylan moved over and slapped him on the back a couple of times just in case. “God, where’s the camera? You’ve got to be cheating,” Miller finally wheezed.
Rylan rolled his eyes. He knew firsthand that at least a couple of Gina’s guesses were off—romantic overcommitters didn’t generally suggest no-strings sex arrangements with strangers and coworkers—but if she wanted to flatter Miller into being her friend, that was her business.
“I’m just good at my job,” Gina said with a significant look at Rylan.
What the hell was that supposed to mean?

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