The White Peacock


A Short Story

 

The White Peacock cover

 

Juliette was the first to arrive for girl’s night out at The White Peacock; a dull bar promising a lack of men on the prowl.  She attracted many, yet felt they just weren’t worth meeting, and after her last two disastrous dating efforts, a quiet bar suited her just fine.  But in life, change is the only certainty.  It is inevitable, in fact, and in the blink of an eye, her life would change forever.

 

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A print version is not presently available.

 

 

  • Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance (Contemporary)
  • Warnings: Adult situations, language
  • Published: March 28, 2013
  • Words: 18,930 (approximate)
  • Pages: 57 (approximate)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 9780991715701

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From the Author

 

When I took a short break from writing the sequel of Noble Lies in order to write this short story, that is what I thought I was doing – “taking a short break”.  The game plan was to write a short paranormal story with a twist.  At the time, I couldn’t imagine the journey this story would take me on.

By the time I’d finished writing The White Peacock and sent it out my door in early 2013, I was dying to know what happened to Juliette after that last paragraph.  While this short story stands on its own, the larger story wasn’t done with me yet.

From the ashes of The White Peacock, the full-length novel Just Live, Juliette! was born…

 

Enjoy this excerpt from The White Peacock

 

 

She checked the time on her phone before tossing it back into her purse and setting her purse back on the bar.  It was almost 7:20.  If she worked at it, she could finish this drink, grab a cab, and be home before eight.  She might even manage to get into her fuzzy, flannel jammies in time to catch the start of an eight o’clock TV show.  She stabbed her lime with her straw a few times before taking a long sip.  At these prices, she wasn’t going to walk away from her drink.  She’d finish every last penny of it first, especially since she could probably use that vodka swirling through her to help ward off the cold when she stepped back outside.

 

She took a second healthy sip of her drink and started to feel the pleasant warming effects of the alcohol; relieved to finally be letting go of the chill that had stuck with her.  And even though she was warming up, she didn’t see the point of now taking off her jacket and scarf if she was just going to be leaving in a few minutes.  But it was a bit warm for her scarf to be wrapped so tightly, and as she loosened it, a slight rumble underfoot had her reaching for the edge of the wooden bar in front of her.  She glanced towards the bartender and the suits as a similar rumbling sound reached her ears, but no one else around her seemed to pay any attention to it.  She laughed to herself.  A large truck had likely just bounced past on the road outside, shaking the older building, and the regulars were probably so used to the resulting rumble that they didn’t even notice.

 

With the adrenaline jolt on top of the vodka, she was starting to feel a little too warm. She pulled her scarf from around her neck and set it down on the empty stool next to her, but it didn’t seem to help enough.  She was still too hot and even starting to feel a little sweaty.  She slid her jacket off, draping it over the stool as well.  Good vodka, she thought, feeling a bit better to be rid of her extra layers.

As she turned back towards her drink, a small flutter of movement a short distance away beside her caught her attention.  A younger man was sitting alone a few stools down from her.  She had been so wrapped up in her own mind; she hadn’t even noticed him arrive.  He was sipping on a bottle of beer and tapping away on his cell phone.  She tried not to listen as he held the phone to his ear.

 

“Hey, Timbo!  Where are you?  …  I’m at The White Peacock waiting for you.  …  No, we said seven. … Yeah, that’s fine, but if you don’t get your ass down here sooner than that, you might have to peel me off of this bar stool.  Talk about having a day from hell!  …  Aw, I’ll tell you when you get here. … Okay.”  He placed his phone down on the bar, focusing his attention on trying to remove the label from his bottle of beer while he waited.

 

Juliette tried to ignore the fact that he was there, even when the scent of Polo reached her nose.  She absolutely loved Polo cologne.  She would be walking through a mall, and a man would walk by wearing it, and she would immediately melt when it reached her nose.  She had bought some for Colin for Christmas the first year they were together, but he never wore it.  He thought it was too ‘old’; that it had been around for too long, and that a newer, more popular brand, spoke better to ‘his metro sexual nature’.  He preferred a sportier scent that never did have the same effect on her.  She should have taken that bottle with her when they broke up; she had paid a small fortune for it.  She could have sprayed it on one of her pillows and snuggled with it as she watched television or read.  Of course, she’d have to explain her odd behavior eventually when some man did enter her life wondering why she had a bottle of men’s Polo cologne on her dresser.  But if he were the right man, he would appreciate her quirkiness.

 

“Juliette is a very nice name; very Shakespearian,” cologne guy said quietly while continuing to look at the bottle of beer in front of him.

 

She glanced briefly in his direction, wondering how he knew her name.  He wasn’t a suit, she noted.  He was wearing jeans and a tight-fitting navy crew neck sweater.

 

“Sorry, I overheard you talking on the phone a few minutes ago…” he noted, turning his head towards her.

 

She blushed.  She hated talking on her phone in public, and she hated that others eavesdropped on her conversations.  Yes, she knew she had heard cologne guy calling his friend, Timbo, but she would never just start talking to him about it.  And when had she mentioned her name on the phone?  She searched her memory.  Cologne guy had been sitting there since she had spoken with Craig?

 

“She should take your advice and tell the guy to shove off,” he said.

 

Juliette smiled politely at him and returned to stabbing her lime with her straw.

 

“She shouldn’t settle for someone who doesn’t respect her,” he added.

 

Juliette turned and looked at him, curious as to why he felt he was part of the conversation in the first place.  He was very handsome with a chiseled, confident face, brilliant smile, sparkling deep green eyes, perfectly styled brown hair, and strong hands that lightly gripped his bottle of beer.  He appeared to be in his later twenties, and beneath that tight navy sweater, Juliette imagined rippling muscles and tanned skin.  She pegged him in a flash.  She knew guys like him; charming, charismatic bad boys.  They were beautiful, edgy, overtly confident, and their opinion about everything was always correct; they were never wrong in their own eyes.  And they never truly cared about anyone other than themselves.

 

“I’m sorry?” she asked, hoping that was enough to remind him that his comments had not been invited, but cologne guy continued.

 

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