Excerpt for Coast to Coast by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Coast to Coast

By Nanisi Barrett D’Arnuk

Published by JMS Books LLC at Smashwords

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Copyright 2018 Nanisi Barrett D’Arnuk

ISBN 9781634866453

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Cover Design: Written Ink Designs |

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are solely the product of the author’s imagination and/or are used fictitiously, though reference may be made to actual historical events or existing locations. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Published in the United States of America.

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Coast to Coast

By Nanisi Barrett D’Arnuk

Marty slid onto the bench of the long booth, said a bright “Hi,” and planted a quick kiss on my cheek. I hadn’t seen her in about three weeks, which was rare. I usually saw her at least once a week, if not more.

“Well, hello to you, too.” I smiled at her. What a surprise! I hadn’t seen her this happy in ages! “What’s gotten into you? Or should I ask who you’ve gotten into?”

Marty bobbed her head in a mock show of embarrassment and smiled up at me. “I met someone,” she told me. The glint in her eyes showed her feelings.

I sat back without a word. A raised eyebrow was my only response.

“I met someone,” Marty reiterated.

“Two someones? Or just being redundant?”

“One someone.” Marty laughed. “One hell of a someone.” The look on her face was astonishing. Her eyes even glowed.

I smiled at my friend. I knew I’d have to ask if I wanted to know more. Marty was the type to offer just a little of what she wanted you to know: the very basics, no details.

“I thought you spent last week in Boston. Is this a Hahvid Yahd adventure?”

Marty smiled a wide grin I had not seen in several years.

“It was an incredible week. The conference was really exciting, the work was surprisingly interesting, and there was this woman on the East Coast team who…” She let the sentence hang. She took a deep appreciative breath, sucking it in through her teeth.

I nodded in approval. “Well, congratulations, pal. It looks great on you.” I pushed my teacup toward the waitress, who suddenly appeared with the pot of hot water in hand.

“Can I get you anything?” she asked Marty as she refilled my cup.

“Coffee, please,” Marty replied.

The waitress nodded and stepped away. Marty waited until she returned with the cup of coffee. Then, as the waitress left again, Marty poured sugar into the cup and stirred it slowly. I studied her every move, including the silly grin plastered across her face.

“Mm…mm…mm.” I shook my head in disbelief. “Will wonders never cease?”

“It was incredible!” Marty continued. “We went to the conference, we went back to bed, we went to a meeting, we went back to bed…”

“Whew.” I let out a sigh of relief. “You had me going there for a moment. I thought this was something more than lust. You’ve just restored my faith in you, my old friend.”

“It is more. At least I think it is. The woman is smart—really, really intelligent. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College. She’s pretty. And she has a great body.”

At least this one was out of high school.

“And how old is this wonder woman?” I asked, almost afraid to know.

“Almost thirty.”

“How almost?”

Marty’s judgment of age range fell way short of the mark more times than not.


I nodded in amazed approval. “Then I am impressed.” I’d met many of Marty’s conquests over the years, each one just slightly younger or dumber than the last. “Does she have a name?”

“Taylor.” Marty said it as though it were sacred.

“First or last?” I asked.

“First. Taylor Williamson.” She said it with such determination and excitement, it seemed she’d hit the lottery.

“Could it be that Mighty Marty Pendleton has finally met her match?”

Marty shrugged as she sipped her coffee. “We stayed at her apartment. We only used my hotel room between conference sessions.”

“So. Do I get to put my stamp of approval on this one? When do I get to meet her?”

A cloud crossed Marty’s face. “I don’t know.”

I studied my friend once again. “Let me take a wild guess here.” I looked into Marty’s eyes. “You haven’t told her you even like her, and you haven’t made the slightest allusion toward anything in the future.” I knew my friend much too well.

“Well, it’s not like I’ll never see her again. She’s on this task force, so we have to be in contact. There’s time.”

“Don’t blow it, pal. You’re not getting any younger yourself.”

I hoped Marty had indeed found a special someone. I’d seen Marty prowl the lesbian and gay bars every weekend, looking for someone, anyone, who was willing to take the chance of going home with her; someone who didn’t know or didn’t care about her reputation.

We had a unique friendship, however, that went beyond our bed partners. I didn’t exactly approve of Marty’s sexual appetite or bedfellows, but it wasn’t my place to argue Marty’s choices. I just picked up the pieces afterwards.

“Let me recap this, just so I know I have it right.” I smiled at Marty. “She lives in Boston…”

“Cambridge,” she corrected me.

“Excuse me, Cambridge. You live here in Seattle. You haven’t said or even hinted at anything with the word ‘future’ in it, and you have no concrete plans to see her again any time soon. In spite of that, you might like her quite a bit. I didn’t know phone sex was in your repertoire.”

“I guess we’ll find that out, too.” Marty grinned. “I’m always willing to try something different.”

I sighed in resignation. “Yes, I know.”

Being Marty’s friend was more like being her keeper. Since we graduated from high school and college, I’ve seen her through too many wicked hangovers, numerous broken hearts (both Marty’s and the other woman’s), and, occasionally, a bar fight or two. I’ve made sure she had safe sex supplies and enough money to get home by taxi if she was too drunk to drive or at least enough to call a bail bondsman. Now I guess I’d have to see that she saved enough for airfare.

“I’m going to send her flowers,” Marty blurted.

“I take it then that she’s a femme.”

“Very,” Marty answered. “I think I’m in love.”

I looked at her and was silent for a few minutes. If Marty were any other lesbian, I’d have said, “Okay. U-Haul time?” But this was Marty. Marty never fell in love, never, as in NOT EVER—in Caps and italics. She’d break out in a cold sweat or even hives if anyone even mentioned the word.

“Bad?” I asked.

Marty simply nodded.

Now the protective side of me kicked in.

“Am I going to have to go to Boston and check her out?” I asked.

“No,” Marty said as she shook her head. “No, not this time.”

“When’s the next task force meeting?”

“Middle of next month.”

Considering this was only the fourth of this month, that would be at least five or six weeks away.

“Can you hold on to it that long?”

Marty put her head in her hands. “I guess I’ll have to,” she finally said.

“Am I going to have to find you something to do to keep you busy, or will you continue your regular lifestyle in the meantime?”

Marty looked up in surprise. “No! I’m through with those others. I’ve found the one I want. I have no need to look around.”

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