*** From Better on Top by Delilah Dawson. Text copyright © 2009 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Griffin, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press, LLC. All rights reserved. ***
Deciding to tackle one final task before heading to bed for the night, Toni dug out the blue lights she’d bought for Twyla and went into the kitchen to change them.
Since she lacked a ladder, she dragged her portable butcher’s block over, covered it with a kitchen towel, and climbed upon the kitchen counter, carefully straddling it with one foot on the counter and another on the butcher’s block.
She’d changed two of the light bulbs to the calming blue ones when she realized that the butcher’s block was starting to slide. Hurrying, she changed the last one, knowing it would make Twyla giggle. Lord knows why her daughter loved blue light, but any connection Toni could make with her autistic daughter was worth the effort.
The glow of the cool, blue light gave the room a mellow, surreal feel. And if she squinted, it was almost like she was underwater, looking up at full moons. The soft light minimized most of the small flaws of her kitchen.
But there was barely any time to admire her work when, in the blink of an eye, the butcher’s block that had been sliding shifted, and Toni lunged toward the counter, holding on to the cabinet door. The momentum of the leap inadvertently sent the butcher’s block careening toward the separating kitchen wall like a bowling ball down a lane. It landed with a resounding thud, and to her utter shock, the patched wall began to tip backward, like slow-moving timber, tearing from the moorings and falling with a crash into Nick’s side of the house.
“Shiiiiit!” She watched in disbelief as the haze of dust motes settled in the blue light.
It wasn’t until she noticed a movement that she noticed Nick Benson in his side of the kitchen, shirtless and sporting pajama bottoms, lowering a bottle of water from his lips with controlled calmness.
Toni momentarily closed her eyes. No, no, no! This wasn’t happening to her, god-DAMN-it!
When she opened her eyes he was still there. Hell!
Toni desperately wished she were wearing more than her panties and a comfy tank top while clinging to the cupboard door.
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