Cursive Phoebe Lane

To my husband.

I have fourteen million thanks to give

you for accepting and encouraging my "crazy."

To my wonders-of-the-world girls.

Here’s to another twenty five years.

cur·sive

Adjective: Written with the characters joined.

Aislynn wasn’t sure what exactly woke her up, but she was certain the high noon rays of sunlight shining in through her bedroom window had something to do with it. Half of her body was hot and sweaty, while the other was cold and dry. She sat up in bed and gently rubbed the exposed skin on left her shoulder and upper thigh which were now a blushing tone of red.

"Great," she muttered. I look like a Valentine’s Day version of a Ying-Yang symbol, she thought.

Thankful for the coolness her silk robe imparted on her overheated skin, Aislynn walked out to the kitchen to look for some much needed coffee. That’s when she found him, looking at her from across the kitchen island, frozen in place.

"Ah!" she screamed.

Crap! Where’s my butcher’s knife?

You don’t own one, Aislynn, she argued with herself.

Bat?

You don’t play.

Gun?

Nope.

Lead pipe?

What is this, a game of Clue? Give it up; you’re screwed.

"Who the hell are you?" she finally asked the man while taking a cautious step back away from him.

But he couldn’t answer. He was too busy ogling her, his mouth slightly open, eyes looking everywhere but at her face. There was a hint of a smile in his lips that transferred over to his green eyes, and Aislynn was surprised by the fact she had enough sense and time to notice how well they contrasted with the rich brown color of his hair.

As she frantically searched the room for an escape, Aislynn spotted her best friend and current roommate, Ellie McDaniel, standing in the far corner of the living room, cell phone at her ear and her face ashen.

All Aislynn could do at that point was look questioningly between her friend and the handsome stranger while trying to piece together the confusing scene that played before her.

Why isn't he saying anything and why does he keep staring at my...

"Oh sh—" she exclaimed, realizing she was standing in front of him almost naked wearing only a very revealing short black silk nightgown and an open robe that did absolutely nothing to hide it.

"Hi there!" Ellie said between clenched teeth while rushing across the room to stand directly between them. "You obviously didn't get my messages," she added with a fake casual laugh.

"I'm sorry. I was up all night and must not have heard my phone. What's going on?" Aislynn asked, triple tying the knot on her robe and avoiding eye contact with the unexpected visitor.

"This is Mr. Quinn, a new client," Ellie said and stealthily gestured to her friend to cover part of her cleavage, which was somehow still on display.

Ellie worked as the interior designer for a luxury corporate housing management company based out of Chicago and occasionally had to show their San Diego model apartment to prospective clients.

"Mr. Quinn is my father. I'm Jace. Nice to meet you," the man said while extending his hand in greeting. His eyes had softened, and this time, they stared directly into hers.

Switching roles as the one now ogling, Aislynn couldn’t help but notice how well his dark grey business suit fit his tall, muscular body. Above the loose, dark green tie that hung around his collar, she found the most symmetric and beautiful face she had ever seen in a man.

And then there was his mouth…

God, that mouth, she thought. Both his top and bottom lips were perfectly shaped, pouty and inviting. Aislynn was convinced the devil himself must have a hand in