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Wicked Wednesday - South Beach Chicas

SOUTH BEACH CHICAS CATCH THEIR MANI've been yearning to go down to the South Beach again and since I'll be setting ARDOR CALLS, Stacia's book in THE CALLING vampire series in South Beach, it seems like a good time to visit once again.

Luckily, I have a legal conference in November that will be in Miami, so I'll get to fulfill my desire for a visit to South Beach.

I wish I could pack you all up into a trunk and take you with me, but I think I might go over too much on the pounds and with what the airlines are charging now for checked bags . . . OUCH!

So, I decided that this Wicked Wednesday I'd take you to South Beach with an excerpt from SOUTH BEACH CHICAS CATCH THEIR MAN. I so loved writing about Sylvia and Carlos as well as Virginia and Pablo. I hope you'll enjoy reading about them!

Without further ado, here's a short scene from SOUTH BEACH CHICAS CATCH THEIR MAN. This scene is shortly after Sylvia decides to let Carlos recuperate in her apartment and she tells her friends about what's happening (or rather not happening) in their fledgling relationship.

Because she couldn't imagine Carlos prying himself into her small and rather low Bimmer convertible, she had borrowed Tori's husband's Jeep that morning. A wise decision she realized as Carlos carefully eased onto the seat of the SUV barely a couple of hours after she picked up his things from the boat. Carlos settled himself into the passenger seat with few problems and stretched out his injured leg with a grateful sigh.

As she started the short drive from Jackson Memorial to her condo, she shot a glance at him. Beneath the wonderful light caramel color of his skin, he seemed pale. His full lips were pressed into a thin grim line and although he had tried to hide it, she had noticed his limp and the way he favored one side -- the side where he also had been shot -- as he walked the short distance from the hospital door to the Jeep.

"You okay?" She laid a hand on his thigh as she drove, wishing she could ease the pain he was so stoicly trying to hide.

"I'm okay, it's just . . . Those small little strolls in the corridor didn't prepare me for much," he grudgingly admitted. With a nod, she stopped at a light and met his gaze.

"Once you start to really move around -- "

"It'll get better. I know. I guess I'm just impatient to be 100% again."

She totally understood. A man like Carlos didn't like relying on anyone and in that way, they were a lot alike. "I wouldn't like being dependent on anyone either."

He cradled her cheek, shifted his thumb and rubbed it across her lips. "Amorcito, I think both of us are going to have to learn to lean on each other little."

A honk from behind them pulled her attention away and they were silent for the remainder of the ride to her condo. The block was full and although she would normally then pull into the public lot a few blocks away rather than trying to find parking on the street, she didn't think Carlos could manage it. Instead, she kept on going around the block and lucked out as someone finally pulled out just a few spaces down from the front door of her building. She struggled with the larger-sized Jeep, but after a few awkward moves -- and a slight case of parking by touch -- she managed to fit into the tight spot. With a glance in his direction, she said, "Ready?"

He nodded and opened his door while she grabbed the small bag that contained all the stuff he'd had with him in the hospital. As she stepped to the curb, she watched him struggle out of the car and then lean heavily on the fender as he made his way to the front of the Jeep to wait for her. At the curb, he did an awkward little hop-skip to get up onto the sidewalk. He teetered for a moment and she rushed to his side and slipped under his shoulder.

"Gracias."

"No problema," she said and between the two of them, they slowly walked to her building and took the elevator up to her floor.

Once inside, she sneaked a peek at him. He had grown even paler. Beads of sweat had popped out on his upper lip. "Let's get you settled in bed." That he didn't argue -- or offer any comment drenched with sexual innuendo -- was a testament to his pain.

They shuffled to her bed and she helped him sit.

"I'm sorry," she said as she gazed down at him, unable to ignore his discomfort.

Carlos raised his hand to stop her. "Don't go there. It's not your fault."

She kneeled before him and cupped his cheek. "I try to tell myself that it wasn't. That you're Mr. Save the World and it was part of your regular job."

"I guess I am and it was just part of my job." He laid his hand over hers, then twined his fingers with hers. He applied gentle pressure until she rose up on her knees. Thanks to her height, her lips were almost level with his and he took advantage of that, leaning forward to place a kiss on her lips. Not one of desire, but of thanks. Of caring.

It humbled her, something that wasn't easily done. Possibly had never been done. Sinking back onto her buttocks, she laid her hands on his thighs, rubbed them back and forth there nervously, but lightly, conscious of the wound to his one leg. "I got some clothes and stuff from the boat. This way you can be more comfortable. Feel more at home."

He half-turned and glanced at the large expanse of the king-sized bed. "I will definitely be comfortable here. There's more than enough room for us -- "

"I'll be sleeping on the couch," she said, her earlier doubts surging and making her rethink how nice it would be to sleep with him tonight.

"Why don't you lie down and get some rest. I'll be back in a couple of hours."

He schooled the surprise and dismay on his face for all of a second before he said, "You can only run for so long, amor."

Because she wasn't normally the kind to back down, she leaned close and whispered, "I think a fast shuffle will suffice for right now."

He chuckled. "Well, you've just given me even more incentive to get better soon."

It dragged a reluctant laugh from her. "There's nothing that scares you, is there?"

With a shrug of his too broad shoulders, he said, "Just one thing, actually."

She considered him carefully but couldn't figure it out.

"What?" she asked, but wasn't prepared for his answer.

"You."