Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Welcome Guest Blogger: Jennifer Johnson
I’m Abigail Benton, and this is what my life has come to: babysitting after school hoodlums during the day and serving up artery-clogging breakfast food at night.
Are my parents getting their money’s worth for my college education? Doubtful.
Still, I’m determined to make the best of doing community service in inner-city Clavania. I’ve struck up a friendship with an intriguing homeless man named Eli, who smells like melted caramel and spends most of his time sweeping the community center parking lot.
He's the first homeless person I had ever met who smelled so good.
Come to think of it, Eli was the first homeless person I had ever met period.
When tension between rival gangs heats up and I get caught in the middle, Eli is the one who comes to my rescue. I want to help him get off the streets; he just wants me to stay out of trouble and leave him alone.
Why am I so drawn to him? Why do I want to be involved in fixing his life when I so desperately need to straighten out my own.
People here know me as Eli. I spend most of my days keeping the parking lot clean and watching people. Then one day Abigail Benton shows up and treats everything like a big joke. The hood is no place for little Miss Sunshine. I don't want her giving me vocational advice or making sure I've eaten supper. If she doesn't watch out, she's going to get herself killed.
“You just don’t get it, do you?” Eli’s eyes had been roving all over the room. His question surprised me because I wasn’t even sure he had been listening to what I was saying.
“I don’t get what?”
“That this isn’t Kansas, Abigail. And you don’t have any ruby slippers to protect you. Those men will cut you. They’ll do things to you I don’t even want to think about. If you have to go to the center, fine. If you have to work at the shelter, do it. But don’t stop anywhere on the way and don’t linger in your duties, or you could end up in a bad way. A very bad way.” Eli had yet to make eye contact with me. He finished off the first sandwich, took the napkin from the table and wrapped it around the second one.
“I’m scared enough without your lecture. I do get it, okay?”
A smile quirked his lips. Raising his face, he studied my ceiling for a few seconds. Then his eyes finally settled on me. Hunger swirled in their dark depths, and not for food, for me.
My breath caught in my throat. The intense stare from his eyes struck me like lightning, and I felt tingling throughout my whole body. In a swift movement, he stood and the chair turned over. I stood as well. Stalking over to me, he stopped just shy of touching me. His breath warmed my cheek, the heat of his body radiated outward.
Was he going to kiss me? He moved so that his mouth was near my ear. The hair of his beard brushed my cheek. What was he waiting for? What was he going to do? What should I do? Little stars danced before my eyes, and I realized I was holding my breath. I willed myself to suck in some air, and when I did, my breasts touched his chest. There were barriers of clothing, but in that moment it didn’t matter. I knew the second he felt me, because his breath hissed.
“Good. I want you to be scared. I want you to get it. But I don’t think you do. The men at the shelter talk about you. They wonder what you taste like.” His low voice reverberated through me. He paused and let that bit of information sink in. My heart skipped a few beats. “You should stop making yourself so available,” he whispered before stepping away, picking up the paper wrapped food, shoving it in his pocket, and letting himself out of my apartment.
Coffee Time Review gave Holding Out for a Hero 4 coffee cups, its outstanding rating. Hollie writes, “Holding Out for a Hero is a heartwarming story showing that not only are there good people in this world but that the kids everyone has given up on can also be good if given a chance.”
Find the review here:
Holding Out for a Hero is published by Resplendence.
It is available digitally at Amazon.com, Fictionwise.com, eBookwise, All Romance EBooks, and other digital retailers.
Want to learn more about Jennifer? Visit her website at
or her blog at
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