The Seduction of Esther is on sale this month for $0.99.
“Hello, Zoe!” Samara pulled away from the Rabbi and the other woman, grinned and put her arm out and hugged Zoe, who raced up and hugged her back.
“I want you to meet my Daddy. I told him all about you and how great you sing and here he is!”
Samara looked up, her face open, eyes wide with happiness. Nathaniel met her eyes and for a moment, everything was fine. Fine, until recognition turned her brown eyes to cognac and her face to rose. Fine, until her hand shook and spilled her red wine down the front of his light blue shirt and burgundy tie.
He jumped back. This was the woman he remembered.
“I’m so sorry,” she gasped as she grabbed a bunch of napkins and blotted the front of his shirt. The heat of his body permeated the fabric and warmed her fingers. As she stood this close to him, the scent of his aftershave—a rich, masculine smell she couldn’t yet identify—enveloped her. The typical chatter of the congregation after services faded and she kept her gaze lowered, sure if she looked up, all eyes in the room would be focused on her. Her friend Rachel, who’d been talking to her moments before Zoe and her dad approached, had melted into the throngs of people. Even the Rabbi had disappeared. Was he off talking to someone else, or just staring at her in disapproval, waiting for her to make more of a spectacle of herself? Her face heated and her feet itched to escape. Silence surrounded her like a cloak and she tried not to gasp for air. As the wine soaked through the napkins in her hands, she reached for more. In her haste, she knocked into a plate of cookies and sent them tumbling to the floor.
“It’s okay.” His quiet voice was meant to give reassurance. It should have. But the rich timbre sent chills down her spine and her stomach flopped. The man from the grocery store. The one who’d watched her make a fool of herself. Maybe he wouldn’t remember her. Please God.
“No, it’s not.” She thrust the napkins into his hands and bent to clean up the cookies. Her hip hit the edge of the table and it rocked. She dropped her head in shame. Could this possibly get any worse? One glance up and she had her answer. As she suspected, the whole room stared at her, the silence thick, like cotton wool. She took a deep breath, and another. Rachel approached with extra napkins and Samara pleaded with her wordlessly for help. She had to get away before he realized who she was.