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Authors: Pavarti K. Tyler

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Sugar & Salt

BOOK: Sugar & Salt
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SUGAR & SALT

A Sugar House Novella

by

Pavarti K. Tyler

Copyright

www.EvolvedPub.com

SUGAR & SALT – A Sugar House Novella

Copyright © 2013 Pavarti K. Tyler

Cover Art Copyright © 2013 Mallory Rock

eBook License Notes:

You may not use, reproduce or transmit in any manner, any part of this book without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations used in critical articles and reviews, or in accordance with federal Fair Use laws. All rights are reserved.

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only; it may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, please return to your eBook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Disclaimer:

This is a work of fiction, intended for adults only. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author's imagination, or the author has used them fictitiously.

Other Books by Pavarti K. Tyler

White Chalk

Two Moons of Sera

Consumed by Love

Shadow on the Wall

www.EvolvedPub.com

www.PavartiKTyler.com

Dedication

For Mom.

You taught me to be proud of my body and my mind.

I only hope I can give my daughters the same gift.

Thank you.

Table of Contents

Copyright

Dedication

Greenpeace

Business as Usual

The Lap of Luxury

Speed-Dating Part Deux

Managing Desire

The Greenpeace Manifesto

Tempting Mr. Teal

On Top of the Town

UN Negotiations

Should Have Been a Rock Star

Another Manic Monday

In the Shadow of the Gods

Saving an Unsavable World

A Clean Break

Two for the Money

Portia and Pancakes

The Art of Lily Gilding

Something a Little Salty

Acknowledgements

About the Author

What's Next from Pavarti K. Tyler?

More from Pavarti K. Tyler

More from Evolved Publishing

Greenpeace

“I don’t recycle.”

“You don’t recycle?” Janice leans back in her chair and sets her hands in her lap, looking across the small table separating her from the most recent visitor in tonight’s dating adventure. A smile cracks through her polished demeanor—at least this one offers something different.

“Correct, I don’t recycle.” The man smiles back, settling back into the armless black chair reserved for men participating in the speed-dating portion of the evening. His dark hair hangs haphazardly over his ears—too long to be contained, but not long enough to make a statement—much like the scruff of beard along his strong jaw.

“You have two minutes to talk to me and that’s your opener?”

“Yes, I think it is best in these situations to just put it right out there.”

“That you don’t recycle.”

“Yes.” He smiles a little wider and his green eyes sparkle.

He certainly entertains, which is more than any of the other would-be suitors had managed so far. Janice glances down to his shirt: tailored, top button undone, the taut line of a caramel collarbone.

“Is this the line you gave to everyone else you’ve spoken to tonight?” She raises her eyebrows, not taking the bait, but enjoying the banter enough to find out where it might lead.

“What?”

“Did you tell everyone else you sat down with that you don’t recycle?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“None of them seem as interesting as you.”

She reaches forward and takes a sip of wine. “I’m interesting?”

“Yes, you are.”

“And because I’m interesting, you decided to tell me you don’t recycle, instead of following the law and recycling to, you know, save the Earth?” She fingers the glass of wine and gazes at him, taking in the possibilities he presents. What is he telling her with this strange confession?

“Yes.”

“What did you tell them?” She nods her head to the row of tables on her left, all hosting various versions of the same conversation.

“Who?”

“The other women you’ve spoken to tonight.” She takes another sip, savors the cool, dry taste of the Riesling, and sets her glass back on the table.

“Oh, them.” He shrugs with dismissive ease. “My name, where I grew up—you know, the things you’re supposed to talk about in situations like this.”

“But with me you’d rather talk about your contribution to landfills and wasting the resources needed to create new products when you could, like the rest of us, recycle.”

“Yes.”

“Okay, I’ll bite. Why don’t you recycle?”

“I do have reasons for that, and I’ll tell you, but like you said, I only have two minutes, and I’d rather talk about why I decided to tell you and not, let’s say, Maureen D. in the red glasses over by the window.”

Janice follows his eyes to a typical speed dater sitting two tables down. Her suit doesn’t quite fit and her hair, probably well-coiffed at the beginning of the day, is pulled back into a tight pony tail. She has the look of a paralegal or receptionist.

“Yes, all right, tell me why you’re telling me this and no one else. Because I’m interesting, you said?”

“Yes, very interesting.”

“And from what do you infer that, since you made your proclamation against the Earth before I even said hello.”

“Because of your shoes.” The man settles back in his seat and becomes more alive, taking up more space.

She leans forward, pulled into his spell. “My shoes?”

“Yes, your shoes.” He offers a subtle nod, which jostles his hair. It’s not quite black, almost reddish, but dark and thick.

She shakes her head and pulls her thoughts away from running her fingers through his locks, yanking his head back, and exposing his throat and mouth. “And what interests you about my shoes?”

“It’s not the shoes per se, but what they tell me about you.”

“And that is?”

“Well, they tell me you’re interesting.” He raises one eyebrow—a genetic skill Janice didn’t inherit and always envied.

“You’re going to have to do better than that. You only have forty-five seconds left.” She takes another slow sip of wine.

“You come in here at the end of a work day, a Thursday, so for most of us, it’s getting to the end of the week and we’re tired. Most of the women wear heels—single women who dressed for work but took a little extra time to get ready before arriving tonight. Perhaps they undid an extra button in the cab on the way here. Most are dressed in business attire, but you’re in jeans, which tells me you’re either very powerful and can wear whatever you want, do something where the dress code is different, or had the time to go home and change.” He pauses, seemingly taking in her reaction.

She offers none. “Go on.”

“You didn’t go home to change, because you carry a briefcase, which means you have a job with some status. So again, you either do something a little unconventional, or—perhaps and—you are very powerful.”

“This analysis is about my clothes, not my shoes.”

“I’m not finished.” His voice drops low.

Janice leans closer to hear him. Her breathing becomes more rapid as she watches his eyes dip to the hint of cleavage revealed where her shirt opens.

“You’re running out of time.” She contains her growing interest, keeping any hint of eagerness out of her voice. Instead she dons a mask, hiding emotions behind a familiar veil of fact.

“I’ll speak faster.” Another smile breaks across his face, and he sips his drink for the first time, wasting the precious time ticking away between them. “So with jeans, a briefcase and the cut of your blouse, I’m thoroughly confused by you. Intrigued, but not quite to finding you interesting, until—”

“You see my shoes.”

“Until I see your shoes.”

“Because?”

“I don’t know much about shoes, especially women’s shoes, but I do know heels like yours aren’t easy to walk in, and looking around, the other women shift their weight as they stand, or adjust their legs because they’re tired and sore after a long day. I imagine many of them wear sneakers on the subway to keep their feet from aching. But not you.”

“Not me?”

“No, not you. Your clothing is understated but elegant, your posture remains relaxed as man after man comes to speak with you, and when I sat down you re-crossed your legs.”

“I did?” The significance of this mystifies Janice, but she’s too far into his maze, too engaged in the trap of language he’s set to back away.

“Yes, you did. But you didn’t with the last few men you’ve spoken to.”

“You’ve been watching.” This pleases her.

“Yes.”

“You were supposed to be talking to the woman in front of you.”

“I was.”

“About your name and where you grew up.”

“I spoke to them, but I was watching you.” He leans forward and places a hand on the table.

Her eyes trace the veins trailing from his forearm down to his long fingers. “And when you sat down and I re-crossed my legs you noticed my shoes.”

“Yes.”

“And you find them interesting.”

“I do.”

“Why?”

“The bottom of your shoes is red.”

“They are.”

“Beneath your beauty hides a dangerous side. Mixed in with those designer jeans and that understated perfume is a woman looking for an adventure.” After delivering his diagnosis, he sips his drink again and glances at the clock on the far wall—the only indication he remembers why they are both there.

“You think so.”

“I’m certain.”

“Maybe I just like these shoes and they came like this.” She shrugs, dismissing his analysis of her character.

“Maybe, but put it all together and it adds up to something—”

“Interesting.”

“Yes.”

They lock eyes in combative silence and the bell rings, announcing the end of their time. The men now move to the next table, beginning the ritual anew.

Janice uncrosses and re-crosses her legs as he stands. Her unnamed suitor laughs with a nod and moves on.

Five more men visit Janice’s table, but she’s unable to focus on them. Now the what-do-you-do, where-are-you-from banter rings hollow as she’s left wondering about a strange man’s trash heap.

He doesn’t look her way again, although she trails him with her eyes, hoping to catch a glance. An unfamiliar excitement bubbles up in her core, inspiring a cascading tingle every time she hears his laugh from across the room. Usually, these events are more like research for her; she never expects to find love or romance. At most, she’ll let off a little steam, take someone out for a test drive, and then bring him back and leave him in the lot.

Each man who speaks to her wears a name tag: Trevor, James, Ellis. The man she’s most curious about hadn’t. A rule breaker. She smiles at the thought, and the man across from her takes it as an invitation.

He reaches out and takes her hand, startling her out of her thoughts and back into the moment.

“You are exquisite, an absolute beauty.” The man across from her, Simon, slurs his words from too much whiskey. A tumbler full of melting ice sits between them, and his hooded eyes molest her.

Janice untangles her hand from his grasp and sits back. She’s tempted to play with him; Simon, whose dark, curly hair pushes back from his hairline, thick and wild. He’s handsome and, on another night, might be just the kind of distraction she needs.

“But am I interesting?” she needles, knowing already poor Simon hasn’t a hope.

“Yes, extremely interesting. I want to hear everything about you.”

“That would be quite an undertaking.”

BOOK: Sugar & Salt
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