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Excerpt from Love’s Culture
For the signing, Sadia made a point of dressing up a bit. She had chosen an emerald green dress that wasn’t exactly form fitting but it was snug. She had unbraided her hair, allowing the coils to caress her shoulders and she lined her eyes and glossed her lips. Her jewelry was gold and consisted of earrings and several bangles. It thrilled her that by two the shop was already filled to capacity and book buyers were standing in Cyrus’ line with books in hand. His wife, Philea sat next to him. Lynn had made a variety of cupcakes and other pastries for the readers and there was tea and sparkling water.
Walking in, Mahad was taken aback by the crowd and many turned to glance at him. He was a tall handsome man with dark Arabic skin, short curly hair and a soft low-cut beard. Dressed in jeans and a white shirt it was also clear he was in great shape. His eyes zoomed in on Sadia who was working with the crowd, getting them in and out of line as smoothly as possible. His eyes roamed over her thinking, “Her photo and video did her no justice. She is stunning.” Feeling someone looking at her, she turned to look directly into Mahad’s face and felt something jolt through her.
Damn, that is one gorgeous man, she thought before turning back to her customers. Mahad walked around, browsing her shelves and filling his arms with books he wanted to read. He loved reading books on architecture; he also loved history and biographies. He became lost in the wonderful collection.
“Would you like a bag?” A throaty voice asked behind him. Turning, he saw Sadia standing close to him, offering him a huge cloth bag with the store’s logo of a huge book and a cup.
“I suppose, I need one. Your place is wonderful. Cyrus is my friend.” His eyes pierced hers and she was unable to look away.
“Great, great. I don’t see his book among these.” He grinned at her words.
“Right, I will get that once the line goes down, I am not done shopping.”
“Then don’t let me be a distraction to you…”
“It is too late, you have already distracted me. My name is Mahad Basari. I am originally from Saudi Arabia but this is now my home.”
Taking her hand, he held it and she felt sweat gather at the small of her back and trickle down. Slowly removing her hand, she smiled at him.
“I am Sadia Lemont.” She hurried away feeling his eyes on her.
At the end of the evening he made his way to the counter where Sadia stood next to Alton. Alton rang up his purchases while Mahad stared at Sadia. She refused to look away. Their eyes held until Alton cleared his throat.
“That will be three hundred dollars and sixty three cents and that includes a ten percent discount.” Alton said. Mahad pulled out a card and passed it to Alton but his eyes never left Sadia.
“You have crumbs on your lips.” He said quietly.
She licked her lips, removing the small trace of muffin she had eaten. An immediate thrust of desire hit him and he knew he would have to stand at the counter for several minutes. Alton chuckled, passing him the receipt, walking away. Signing it, he held it until Sadia reached for it.
“Can I take you out for coffee or something…” he asked.
“Umm, that is too short a notice but I am free tomorrow.”
“Great, I will pick you up…”
“Here is good.”
Handing her the receipt, he grabbed his bag and headed out. He completely forgot to say goodbye to Cyrus. She stared out after him and wasn’t surprised when he turned to wave. Alton nudged his daughter. Turning to him, she saw his eyes twinkling.
“He is a prolific reader or he wanted to impress you.”
“I am sure he is a prolific reader.” She made her way to the back to prepare to close the shop. It had been a good but exhausting day.
Mahad sat in his office for hours staring at the picture of Sadia he pulled up on his computer. He wasn’t sure what it was about her but she had gotten beneath his skin.