Thursday, April 10, 2008

Heat Wave by Eden Bradley

"El Nino strikes again with the worst heat wave to hit Southern California in twenty years..."

Leigh reached over her kitchen table and shut the radio off, then stood up to lift her long hair from her neck. If only she had air conditioning! One of the reasons she'd moved to this small Craftsman cottage in Santa Monica was because of the temperate weather. The mercury rarely rose above the low eighties this close to the beach, even at the height of summer. No such luck this year.

She grabbed a dishtowel to stroke away the perspiration pooling at the base of her throat and trickling between her breasts. Even the light cotton sundress she wore felt like too much weight on her skin.

She watched through her kitchen window as the sun began to set in a splashy blaze of watercolor orange and pink, the colors filtering through the leaves of the date palm in her yard. Hoping the evening air might be cooler outside than in, she took her glass of iced tea and wandered out to her small front porch.

Settling onto the narrow wooden bench, she leaned back, stretching her long legs out in front of her. Languid with the heat, she sipped her tea and gazed around her neighborhood.

Somewhere a dog barked in the deepening twilight, and she heard the faint swoosh, swoosh of somebody's sprinklers. The banging of a screen door caught her attention, and she watched her new neighbor across the street step onto his lawn. He was a large man, his height and bulk casting a long shadow in the amber glow of his porch light.

She'd noticed him before, had watched the muscles in his big forearms flex when he'd moved his furniture in a week earlier. He was built like a football player, with broad shoulders and a narrow waist that tapered into a pair of low-slung cargo pants. His sun-streaked light brown hair was a bit too long and fell into his eyes. She hadn't been close enough yet to see what color they were. But the man was sexy as hell, and she'd been waiting to catch another glimpse of him.