I’m up to 45,000 words on Force’s story. It looks like it’s going to rough out at 50,000 words so it might not be much shorter than any of the other books. Here’s a snippet:
I got back to the restaurant just in time to rescue Force from Mama’s waitresses. Normally, the girls would have been long gone by that time. But at the end of their shift they had all gravitated toward the kitchen, leaning against the counters, talking to Force and watching his muscles flex beneath his damp T, as if mopping the floor was some kind of Olympic event.
“How’d it go?” I asked when I managed to catch his eye.
He looked relieved to see me, which might have had more to do with me being the keeper-of-his-sword than anything else. But I felt a little gratified when he plowed through the herd of pouting girls to reach me. He held out his hands. “Is this what you call dish-pan hands?”
I looked at his hands then checked his face. “Why? What’s wrong with them?”
“They’re all…soft,” he muttered, sounding disgusted as he pulled his apron over his head and hung it on the wall. “If I had to lift a heavy rock right now, they’d probably split open.”
I snickered at the look on his face. “Why would you need to lift a rock?”
He gave me a startled look like he wasn’t expecting a question like that, like lifting rocks was just a normal daily activity that everyone was expected to do. “I dunno,” he muttered defensively. “But you never know…”
“You never know when you might need to lift a rock?” I teased him as his voice trailed away.
“Never mind,” he said abruptly, and suddenly took my elbow, steering me through the kitchen and out the back door, not even taking the time to say goodnight to his fangirls.
“What’s the hurry?” I exclaimed as he pushed me along.
He flicked his head back in the direction of the restaurant. “Those girls,” he growled.
“What about them?” I asked innocently, hoping he’d say something mean about Mama’s waitresses, which wasn’t very nice of me. But I wouldn’t have minded if he said something that suggested he didn’t like them as much as he liked me.
“They’re just such…girls,” he muttered.
“What’s wrong with that?” I asked, starting to bristle a little at the idea. “What’s wrong with girls?”
“Nothing,” he growled. “They’re just…”
“Just not what I want to do,” he snapped.