Heather Gray

Flawed...but loved anyway.

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Sweet Saturday Sample - Ten Million Reasons

May 31, 2013

Welcome to my blog and thank you for stopping by!  Today's Sweet Saturday Sample is a "first meeting" from my WIP Ten Million Reasons. It's a little bit longer than usual, but try as I might, I couldn't find a good way to break the scene into something shorter.  The manuscript is working its way through editing right now, so please forgive any mistakes.  It's a contemporary romance that (hopefully) has a good dose of humor in it.  As always, your feedback is welcome and appreciated!


Finally taking a minute to check her email, she saw offers for five more articles due within the next month. Yes! Genevieve read through the article offers. “Really?” she asked the empty room. “I don’t want to write about monkey mating habits, the chemistry of turtle urine, or the nature of flea families!” Oh great. Now I’m yelling at my computer.

When Genevieve’s phone rang, she was so relieved to be distracted from her abysmal writing offers that she picked it up with gusto and answered, “Please tell me something good!” Her enthusiasm was met with silence. “Uh, hello?” she asked, a touch embarrassed by her previous zeal.

“Miss Genevieve Mason?” The voice was male, deep, a touch gravelly and slightly delicious.

“Who’s asking?”

“Is this Miss Mason?” The voice had moved from delicious to downright arrogant. Somebody's got too much starch in their shirt!

Genevieve’s ire rose, and her words were clipped. “Well, generally when you call someone, you introduce yourself. I don’t recognize your voice or your number, so it wouldn't be wise of me to give out my name prior to knowing who you are. Safety and all that. Who’s asking?”

“My name is Richard, and I’m calling about the survey you recently took.”

“Which one?” she asked.

“Which one?” he echoed.

“Yes. Which survey?” Is this guy dense or something?

“You've taken more than one survey?”

“I walk through the mall a lot. I end up taking surveys." Chagrin snaked its way through her middle and up her throat. Trying to swallow it back down, she defensively added, "I can't be the only person who gets stuck taking surveys all the time. I've never gotten a call about one before. Which survey is this for?”

“You took a survey asking how you would spend ten million dollars if you had a day to do so.” Was that judgment she heard in his voice? Fantastic. Some people tell stories about the crazy cat lady. He’s going to be telling stories about the crazy survey lady!

“Oh, that one," she said airily. "I remember it. What can I do for you?”

“As I was saying,” the arrogance had seeped out of his voice, “my name is Richard, and I’m calling about the survey you took.” She tried to picture the face that would go with the rich velvety tones now coming across the phone line and making her ear tingle. Unfortunately, the only picture that came to mind was the short, skinny, balding, yellow-toothed man who usually conducted the surveys. Great. Even my fantasies mock me.

When he said nothing more, Genevieve pulled herself back into the present and said, “Hi Richard. Nice to meet you. Well, sort of. I don't think we've actually met." Way to make a winning impression! Throw in a stutter and some slurred speech, and you should have it made! "Did you need something specific or is this a general follow-up?”

Richard cleared his throat. “I’m sorry,” he said, “I’m… new at this.” That's definitely in my favor! Maybe he hasn't talked to enough people yet to realize I sound like a lunatic.

Genevieve could understand being new on the job. Who couldn't? With all her experience taking surveys at the mall, she’d often wondered if she should write an article or two about the survey-taking world. Richard might be a great source, someone who knew said world from the inside but was new enough to it that she’d still be able to consider him a fresh pair of eyes. “Say, Richard,” she began, “how long have you worked in surveys?”

“Surveys?” Then again, maybe he’s not the best choice. It’s hard to interview someone who parrots back everything you say.

“Yes, surveys. You said you are new on the job. Exactly how new are you?”

“Oh,” Richard said. He hemmed and hawed before finally answering, “I have been working on this survey exercise for about three weeks now.”

“I've been thinking about writing an article about the world of surveyors. Would you be interested in an interview?”

“An interview?” I had to go and say it out loud, didn't I? What was I thinking? I can’t interview someone who doesn't know how to use sentences!

“Well, yes, an interview. Um…but if you’re too busy, I understand. It was only a passing thought. Never mind.” That was some fast thinking! Glad I got out of it. Now, to end the call.

“I would be happy to meet you for an interview. Name the time and place.”

“Wh-what?” Genevieve croaked. Why do these things always happen to me?

“I have a fairly flexible schedule. Tell me when and where, and I’ll be there.” Richard was back to sounding scrumptious. He was using complete sentences, too. Maybe this won’t be so bad after all.

“Um, let me look at my calendar.” Genevieve shoved a stack of magazines aside in search of the large calendar she kept on her desktop. Looking it over quickly, she said, “I have an opening this coming Tuesday afternoon. Otherwise it’ll have to be the following week.”

“Tuesday afternoon will work fine. Where would you like to meet?”

“Meet?” Great. Now I’m the parrot.

“I assume you don’t want to meet at your house. You don’t know me. Safety in the modern world and all that. So, tell me where you’d like to meet, and I’ll be there. Will two o’clock work for you?”

“Two will be fine,” Genevieve managed to get out.

“And where should I meet you?”

Annoyed at Richard for suddenly sounding so suave and, in turn, making her sound unsophisticated, Genevieve answered briskly, “At the mall. Food court. By the Chinese concession. You can buy me a late lunch. Two o’clock Tuesday afternoon.”

“Okay. Tuesday, two in the afternoon, mall food court by the Chinese place. But since you're interviewing me, don’t you think you should be buying me lunch? I happen to know you got a mall gift card.”

“How? What? Who do…?” Genevieve sputtered her displeasure before Richard’s chuckle came through the line.

“It was a joke. Honest. I’d be happy to buy you lunch.”

“Well then.” Argh! Is that the best I can do? Fed up with her own apparent conversational ineptitude, Genevieve said, “You already have my phone number, but perhaps I should get yours in case anything comes up.”

After she had Richard’s number, she hung up the phone and fumed silently for a while before deciding that a jog would be a good idea to work out her frustration. When she took off toward the park, she was running full-tilt. About halfway there, she stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and exclaimed, “He never even told me why he was calling!” Letting out a loud laugh, she turned back toward home and began jogging again, this time at a more relaxed pace. He’s either smooth or socially awkward. Guess I’ll have to meet him to figure out which. Even if I don’t get an article about surveys out of this, I should at least get some useful material. Titles for articles began running through her head. “Worst Pick-Up Lines Ever,” “First Dates that Kill Relationships,” and “Do I Have Spinach in My Teeth?” were just a few.


Thank you for visiting today!  Be sure to enjoy the other author excerpts as well by going to Sweet Saturday Samples.  If you liked this selection, please feel free to check out my debut novel by clicking here

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I love it! That was so funny I laughed all the way through! My TBR list keeps growing.

Really cute!

Drat! Nothing like this happens whe I do surveys.

Enjoyed this clip ... but I wanted to shake the girl and get her to ask him WHY he called about the $10 million survey she completed.

I have to agree with Jeff. I kept wondering why he called, and what he was "so new at" - I think I would have hung up at that point, thinking it was a prank call. But I'm sure he'll explain that later!