Thursday, April 14, 2011

Excerpt: Mostly Sunny ...

Chapter 1

Interstate 70, heading from Bergen Park into Denver, was roiling with late-morning mist. Alexa Walker watched it with some curiosity as she drove. It whirled and spun and drifted away in the mild breeze, as if some gigantic fog machine had been set loose on the highway.

“That mist you’re seeing on the highway isn’t fog, folks.” The voice on her radio was deep and textured—one of the loveliest male voices she’d ever heard. It made her wonder what that voice looked like naked. That voice was probably tall and dark, with sculpted pectorals that made a T-shirt look pornographic, a tight ass and a six-pack that wouldn’t quit. It just wouldn’t be fair, otherwise.

Who was she kidding? There was a reason why the guy was on the radio, after all. Because the voice was fantastic. He probably had, as they say, a great face for radio.

She’d find out soon enough. Her assignment for today was to interview the owner of that voice, media darling Carter Allen, host of the most popular weather-related talk show in Denver history. Maybe in history, period.

“So what is it if it isn’t fog?” Lex said aloud. She reached forward and turned the radio up a little. This would have been a good time for headphones, but they really weren’t safe on the road. Especially not with that voice. It would just thread through your head, make all your voluntary muscles seize up, and next thing you know you’d be wrapped around a Ponderosa pine.

“No,” the voice said, velvet and pine smoke and—no that wasn’t even adequate. It was just indescribable. “No, that is not fog. That’s what’s called sublimation. The solid snow on the ground is turning directly into water vapor. Those of you who’ve recently moved in from out of state—go back home! No, I’m kidding. We love you all. Those of you from out of state may not have seen this phenomenon before. That’s because it generally only happens in extremely dry climates. Like—you guessed it—Colorado. Anyway, it’s my guess that our late April blizzard will be nothing more than a memory by the end of the day.”

God, what a voice. He was probably four feet nine and a hundred eighty pounds. He probably looked like Elmer Fudd.

She really, really hoped he didn’t.

* * *

Forty minutes later, Lex walked into the offices of radio station KPLX. Carter’s voice still echoed in her head. He’d closed off his show just as she’d gotten out of the car. She’d learned more about sublimation and that there was a thing called groupel that she’d never heard of before, which Carter was going to explain on his next show. She’d also developed a theory that it was possible to have an orgasm just from listening to Carter Allen talk. No wonder his show did so well in the female, eighteen to thirty-five demographic.

The receptionist referred her to an intern, who led her to the elevator. “Mr. Allen’s office is on the third floor. He usually goes there right after he’s done with his show.”

She pushed the button on the elevator and as the doors closed Lex said, “Is he as good-looking as he sounds?”

The intern closed her eyes a moment. “Oh, my God.” She looked at Lex again. “You are really going to enjoy this interview.”

So. Not Elmer Fudd, then. Lex shifted a little on her feet, uncomfortable. She’d interviewed good-looking men before, though. She’d interviewed Broncos and Avalanche players and hottie-pants newscasters from Channel Nine. She could handle it.

The intern led her down the hallway to Carter’s office, where she knocked.

“Come in.”

The voice. God, the voice. Lex swallowed. This was insane. She was really starting to hope this guy was ugly.

The intern pushed open the door. “Carter, this is Alexa Walker from the Denver Post.”

Lex stared. She couldn’t help it. Definitely not Elmer Fudd. Unless they’d changed Elmer Fudd and made him about six three with skin the color of good Belgian milk chocolate.

“Hi,” said Lex, somewhat amazed she was able to form words. “You can call me Lex.” Behind her, she heard the office door close as the intern departed.

Carter stood and rounded the desk. She’d judged accurately from his sitting height—easily six three. A little lanky, broad-shouldered, fashionably bald. He held out a fairly immense hand, and Lex took it. His handshake was firm and warm. “Nice to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you, too.” Lex hoped she wasn’t gaping. She was pretty sure she wasn’t. She might have been drooling a little, though. “I really enjoyed your show this morning. Spent half the ride down the mountain in that sublimation stuff.”

He grinned, a wide, open smile that made him that much prettier. “Cool stuff we get in Colorado. You know what groupel is?”

“No, I don’t.”

“I do.”

“And you’re not going to tell me?”

“Of course not. It’ll come up in casual conversation at some point. Either that, or you can wait until tomorrow’s show.” He went back to his seat behind his desk. “Have a seat, Ms… What was it again?”

“Alexa Walker. Call me Lex.”

She took a seat in a chair across from the desk and opened her briefcase to retrieve a notebook.
“Lex,” Carter repeated. “Like Lex Luthor?”

“Yes,” said Lex. “Exactly like Lex Luthor. I’m a supervillain. You couldn’t tell by looking?”

He laughed. “Yeah, you have a supervillainy air.”

“It’s the shoes.” She settled back into the chair. “Now, according to your biography, you were born and raised in Denver?”

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