Free Read: Love at First Sight, Chapter 1

Author’s Note:  This story was written only a few years ago, yet between then and now, the LGBT community and their allies have made great strides in gaining equality. I gave serious consideration to changing parts of the tale to reflect the current state of the hard-won rights some of us now enjoy, but I thought it more important to leave it as it is. We should never forget where we were, or how much has been sacrificed to get us where we are now.


Love at First Sight

or Will Crawford makes a fool of himself and doesn’t even realize it. 


Chapter 1 

Love at first sight.

You hear that phrase all the time… in movies, from friends who’ve experienced it, in books, on television. Does it exist? I didn’t think so until that rainy Saturday when I ducked into a local bookstore to wait out sudden showers.

It was one of those places that offered couches and chairs to its patrons so they could sit and read in peace, a cup of coffee or tea beside them on a small but sturdy table. Not part of a bookseller’s chain but an independent that had been in business for decades and made itself part of the neighborhood.

I’d been inside before, but not often and only briefly. I was usually so busy I ordered books online and had them delivered. But I liked the place, and every time I was there, made a mental note to visit more often. The ambiance was quiet, relaxing, comfortable, and my celebrity not an issue.

I approached the clerk behind the counter, shaking rain off my hat and running my fingers back through almost-black hair. He glanced at me incuriously, a young man of dark and uncommon beauty, a book open before him that he read between customers.

“Need help?” His voice was smooth as honey and deeper than mine.

Love at first sight? That’s what it felt like. I immediately wanted to crush him against me and devour his mouth. It was a nice mouth, the lips full and soft. “Um… I’m looking for a book about the guy who thought he was a hat…?”

The clerk smiled and tried to hide it. “The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat by Oliver Sacks. Good book.”

He stood and gestured for me to follow. He led me to the back right and pulled a book off a shelf. Handing it to me, he asked, “Anything else?”

“What do you have on psychopaths?”

He studied me for a moment, took two steps to the right, and went down on one blue-jeaned knee to pull a volume off the bottom shelf. He handed it up to me. I looked at the title: Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us.

“Doing research for a role?” he asked. “I mean, I thought you sort of had that one down by now.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Oh? Which one is that?” I played a sexy killer on a television show. It was the role that made me famous.

He laughed and a shiver went through me. When he got to his feet in one smooth motion, as graceful as a dancer, I felt something twist in the pit of my stomach and it wasn’t hunger. Well, not for food anyway.

He left me, returning to his perch behind the counter, and I looked after him, noticing his ass and the long attractive line of his back under the denim work shirt. I wanted him as I hadn’t wanted anyone in a long time.

I took the books to the counter, laying them down before him. He looked at me from under dark eyebrows. They weren’t thick and wild like mine, but sleek and beautifully shaped. I wondered how much time he spent getting them to look that way. However long it was, it was worth it.

“Did you even look at them?”

I shrugged. “Didn’t need to. I know I want them.”

“And I bet you always get what you want, right?” He ran a scanner over the bar codes and rattled off the total.

He dropped them in a bag and handed it to me. I let my fingers graze his as I took it from him. Our eyes met.

“I’m meeting friends at a club this evening,” I said. “Interested in joining me?”

He sat on his stool and picked up the book he’d been reading, dismissing me. “Thanks, but I already have plans.”

People didn’t usually turn me down. I was intrigued, and I wanted him more than ever. “I guess I don’t always get what I want.” I turned and walked away, pausing almost immediately to look back at him. “Name?”

“Yup, got one.”

I couldn’t help laughing. Returning to the counter, I held out a hand. “Will Crawford.”

He looked at my hand and then at me before shaking. “Ren Starky.”

“Nice to meet you.” I walked away again, talking to him over my shoulder. “Maybe I’ll see you again.”

He shrugged and returned to his book. I drew in a sharp breath.

Oh, how I loved a challenge.


Chapter Two will be posted Friday.

About Fenraven

Fenraven lives in central Florida, which reminds him of Wisconsin and Minnesota. Find him on Twitter and Facebook by searching on 'fenraven'.
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32 Responses to Free Read: Love at First Sight, Chapter 1

  1. A.M.B. says:

    Thanks for the read! I’m so glad I’m beyond first encounters like that one. Infatuation/initial interest can be fun, but it’s also nerve-racking. By the way, I loved “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.” It was the first Oliver Sacks book I’d ever read.

  2. Christine J. says:

    Thank you, Fen! Running off to herd cats (teach third graders), but I look forward to escaping with this lovely little snippet and a glass of my favorite adult beverage (maybe scotch?) when I finished my day. Hope yours is wonderful!

  3. Allison says:

    Friday is so far away! Thank you, I am grinning, great way to improve my Monday morning.

  4. suze294 says:

    Great opening chapter and nice surprise!

  5. Lindsaysf says:

    This is like meeting an old friend. A very hot old friend. 🙂 Anticipation alone is heating me up.

  6. Woot!! Great freebie Fen, I look forward to reading more of Mr ‘Dick’ Crawford….God, what a smarmy git!!

  7. copperteal39 says:

    SNOW!!! Gahhh – we had snow three times last year and, although the pictures are lovely, that was at least two times too many for snow. There are only so many pictures of ‘snow on cactus’, ‘cactus covered with snow’ and ‘frosty white stuff over purple prickly pear’ that I can handle until the cold gets to my fingers. I usually don’t need gloves here.
    Lovin’ the freebie – is it Friday yet? I enjoyed how you let us know he was a celebrity by the use of his thoughts about the place.

    • I love your picture captions. LOL Winter is my least favorite season for many reasons, one of which is it’s boring! The lack of color doesn’t interest me. I do have some winter photos, but I had to force myself outside to take them.

      Thanks for the comment about the story. It’s terrific when readers notice things like that. 🙂

  8. Scarlet Cox says:

    I agree that leaving it as-is is still relevant. No matter the strides made already, there are still people suffering daily trying to protect themselves from those who would do them serious harm just for their sexuality.

  9. dani says:

    ooh how cool!
    looking forward to more
    thanks for sharing theo 🙂

    hugs Dani (elle)

  10. Karen says:

    That was perfect. I love scenes like this in books when done right and by the way this one was they are so incredibly sexy it’s just an intangible quality that calls to my imagination and I find it so easy to picture the characters I can see them, their interaction in that store…yeah it’s hot. I’m looking forward to chapter 2.

  11. Sorry to bother you Fen, but where will I be able to buy Transgressions?? I’ve got the date marked on my kindle calendar as the 31st, but assume it will be Voodoolilypress…I’d rather go direct than via Amazon…more cents for you!!

    • Get it at Amazon! It’ll be available there first. Then it shows up at ARe and B&N. Kobo won’t get it; they removed A Silence Kept when they did their porn sweep (no porn in it, but that didn’t bother them) and still haven’t put it back up. I’m angry with them.

      So Amazon and the others get my books. I like them. They’re nice to me. 🙂

  12. valjo44 says:

    The free read was a really nice surprise, looking forward to Friday!

    Just to be mean….it’s 86 here:)

  13. W. Lotus says:

    Heh heh…Ren responded the same way I would have responded to a celebrity trying to pick me up.

  14. Shell says:

    Woohoo! I’m late but I’m here. I love that are turned him down! And I love that I don’t have to wait for the next chapter ! Lol

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