You guys, run, do not walk, to your bookstore or your library to get my friend Jeff Abbott's new book, The Three Beths. It is worth it just for this scene. (I mean, it's worth it for all of it, but THIS SCENE!)
A young man with a weasel's smile had stopped at the patio's fence along the shopping center walkway and was trying to chat up the solitary young woman, who was trying to focus on her book.
"That a good book?" he asked. "You could turn my pages."
The young woman didn't answer, but she fidgeted in the seat, eyes on the page.
"Question is why a fine young babe l like you needs to fill her time reading when I'm right here, ready to buy you a drink."
"I'm not interested, thanks," the young woman said. "I have a boyfriend."
"Yet here you are alone."
The jerk took immediate offense. "Listen, you think you too good for me? You're not."
"Excuse me," Mariah said. She stood and walked over to the table.
"Mariah..." Reveal started to say, but he kept his seat.
"Please, I'm just trying to read in peace," the young woman said to the jerk. An angry edge in her voice now. "Go away, I'm not interested."
"Listen, books make you into a snotty bitch, from what I can see," the jerk said.
"Hey," Mariah said, now standing at the woman's table, across from the jerk. She was tall, but not quite as tall as he was. "She said she's not interested. Move along."
The jerk smiled. Then he laughed. Mariah watched him study and gauge her and could imagine his thoughts. Here was this tall, solid, mouthy annoyance, dressed in black slacks, black mock turtleneck, even a black barrette holding back her hair. "Listen, was I talking to your ugly face? Is this patio bitch central? Because all of you need to..."
At the word need he jabbed a finger at Mariah, and a sudden sharp rage rose in her chest. Her hand lashed out and caught one of his fingers and wrenched it. The jerk's mouth opened in pain; he tried to pull the hand back, but with the table between them Mariah had the leverage.
"Another millimeter, genius, and it breaks," she said gently. "Step back and walk away. And consider how you talk to women. I mean, has this idiotic banter ever worked for you? Ever?"
"You whore..." and he tried to yank his hand back.
The snap of the breaking bone was loud.
Oh. Yes. This is so satisfying.