If you’re still considering pre-ordering Operation Fireworks, how about a little excerpt to whet your appetite?
Jake locked the shed and slipped the key into his pocket. They had BB guns and BBs, paper targets, and sandbags. Though he wasn’t sure he’d let them use the sandbags. At some point you had to learn to steady the barrel on your own, you couldn’t always count on having a convenient prop nearby. Why not learn right from the get-go?
Cabin seven. He shook his head. He’d stopped long enough to drop his duffel bag inside the door before angling off to the range. With that settled, it was time to go back and see what his sleeping arrangements were going to be for the next three weeks.
“Everything okay with the BB guns?” Deborah strode up alongside him as he turned onto the main path that led to the cabins. Her long, tanned legs easily matching his pace.
“Looks fine. The kids’ll have fun.” He shrugged. Did she ever smile?
“And the cabin?”
“I didn’t really look around. I’m headed there now. I expect it’s about what I remember from camp as a kid though.”
She nodded. “Maybe so. Though you do have a separate bedroom. So you don’t have to go to bed at lights out. Of course, after a week, you may want to.”
“I’m serious, Mr. McGill. Get the rest you need. You’re no good to the campers if you’re exhausted.”
“Jake. You can call me Jake.”
“I can, but I have no intention of doing so.”
He frowned. “I’m not making the kids call me Mr. McGill, but if you want to be the only person at the camp who doesn’t use my name, that’s your prerogative.”
She stopped, crossing her arms. “We prefer to have a modicum of formality at this camp, Mr. McGill. You’re not to be one of the kids, you’re their counselor, a mentor, and role model.”
Modicum of formality? He couldn’t stop the smile. Anger did amazing things to the light in her eyes. Did she have any idea how pretty she was? “Look, Debbie.”
She inclined her head.
“Fine. Miz Magarry.” He drawled the name, drawing out the z sound at the end of Ms. Did that mean she wasn’t married? His gaze flicked to her left hand but he couldn’t get a good view of her ring finger. “I can be all those things and still have the kids call me Jake. In fact, I’d be willing to bet I’ll do an even better job if they’re not treating me like I’m their school principal.”
“I won’t have chaos at this camp. Mrs. Beech has entrusted this session to my care and I intend to see that things are run efficiently and with decorum.”
“It’s a kid’s camp. I’m pretty sure decorum is the last thing they want for their time away from home over the summer. They’re supposed to be running around, whooping, and playing pranks on the girls’ cabins. That’s a rite of passage.”
“What the children want is not my concern. Parents are entrusting us with their kids. I intend to see that we don’t break their trust.”
“And calling me Jake does that how?”
She sighed and her toe began to tap. “By instilling a sense of entitlement and lack of respect for their elders.”
Jake opened his mouth, thought better of the words on the tip of his tongue, and closed it, taking a deep breath instead. “What if we met half-way? They can call me Mr. Jake. We’re far enough south, that ought to work, right?”
Deborah pressed her lips together and held his gaze for several heartbeats. “Fine. I can accept that compromise.”
He grinned. That wasn’t so hard. Maybe she could relax a little, after all. Sure, running a camp was probably a lot of work, but he was willing to bet if she loosened up a little she could do a better job and maybe even enjoy herself in the meantime. “So, is this your first year as well?”
She shook her head. “I’ve been bringing my son since he was five. He’s a counselor-in-training this year and one of the lifeguards at the pool.”
That didn’t seem possible. CITs had to be fifteen, he’d seen that on the website. She must be older than he first thought. “You must be proud.”
“I am. He’s a good boy.” She cleared her throat. “If you’ll excuse me, I have details to see to before tonight.”
Jake’s eyebrows lifted as she walked away, turning down the path that, if memory served, led to the girls’ cabins and, after that, the dining hall. He liked a woman with fire. And she was certainly easy on the eyes. Still, that many prickles would be an awful lot of work.
Good thing he was always up for a challenge.
If you want to pre-order Operation Fireworks, you can do that here. The price will go up to $2.99 on Tuesday when it releases.