Meet Susan Tuttle. Encourager extraordinaire. Thought-provoking blogger. Homeschooling mom of three. Loving wife of nearly fourteen years. Daughter of the King. And one of those friends who makes your life richer and sweeter from knowing her.
A member of ACFW, Susan is busy writing the stories and devotions God places on her heart with the goal of one day adding ‘published’ in front of ‘author’. Her heart’s desire is to keep people stepping forward into God’s grace. Her blog, StepSusan, offers inspiring and uplifting devotionals, where you’ll find comfort knowing you’re not alone on your journey.
Today and tomorrow, enjoy Susan’s short romantic story, Need to Know.
“Hey, Anderson! Look alive!”
Quinn Anderson’s hand shot in the air to grab the icy can lobbed at her head. “Cute, King, real cute.” She popped the top on the Monster he’d just thrown at her and followed his laughter to the elevators. “You’d be sewing my head up if I’d miss that catch.”
“Nah.” Noah Kingston smiled as he punched the button for the parking garage. “Your reflexes are too quick. I knew you’d catch it.”
“You greatly underestimate my skills after a double shift.” She covered a yawn. “I need to wake up.”
His eyes shifted to her, moving from her pony-tailed head to her rubber-soled toes. “Still going out? That’s some lucky guy.”
She didn’t miss his smirk. Yeah, she was a mess.
“Look. I stayed as a favor to you. I’m going on this blind date as a favor to my sister.”
“And what about a favor to yourself?”
“Sleep. Tonight. After a very expensive meal.”
The elevator dinged and they stepped on. “Louie’s?”
They rode in silence until the elevator dropped them in the belly of the hospital. Noah motioned her off first.
“You’re more of a steak and potatoes kinda gal. Think you’ll handle all those forks all right or do I need to give you a crash course in table etiquette?”
If only he knew her parents. It was one reason she was so comfortable around Noah. The only thing he cared about was she was a good nurse—not the trust fund sitting in her father’s bank.
She took a long, noisy slurp from her caffeine fix and wiped her mouth on her sleeve. Her eyes cut to him and she grinned. “Nah. I think I’ll be just fine.”
His rich laughter filled the garage followed by the beep of his car locks releasing. “Can’t wait to hear how this goes.”
“You’ll hear every detail Sunday morning, long as you bring me a coffee.”
“I’ll be there—hospital chapel before our shift starts?”
“It’s a date.”
His face changed, the smirk gone as his eyes went from grey to black. “Date?”
Heat crawled up her face and her insides twisted. Who turned on the electric current that suddenly raced between them? “Yeah, well…you know what I mean. Coffee date, between two co-workers?”
He blinked, took a step closer. “Come on, Quinn. We’re more than co-workers.”
She inched backward. “We…we are?”
He took another step, backing her into the car behind her. He leaned down to bring his face next to hers, his eyes flicked to her lips. Was he going to kiss her? Her breath caught in her throat.
A car door slammed and Noah jerked back, his smirk suddenly back in place. “We’re friends, right?”
A buzzing filled her ears, and she released her breath. “Yep. Friends.”
Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’ played from her phone.
Noah’s left brow raised. “Cute.”
Quinn fumbled for it. “My niece was playing with my phone again.” She slid her finger across the screen. “Hey, Nicky. Yeah, I stayed for an extra shift but I’ll be there.” She looked at Noah. “It’s my sister. I gotta go.”
“Have a great time tonight.”
Something in his eyes didn’t match his words.
She didn’t have time for this. She definitely didn’t have room for whatever feelings he’d tugged from her a moment ago.
“Sure. I’ll see you Sunday.”
Noah slammed his car door. Idiot! He’d worked with the woman for six months and hadn’t asked her out yet. Hadn’t even told her he was interested. And he’d almost kissed her back there—no warning. He’d meant to tease her about her slip-up, but stepping that close, her dark green eyes fixed wide on him, and her lavender scent filling his senses; he was lost.
He revved his engine. His mother had taught him better than that.
Slipping out of his parking spot, his headlights illuminated the other end of the parking garage. Man it was dark in here. Where were the lights? And why hadn’t he walked Quinn to her car?
Because he was too busy kicking himself.
In the shadows of his headlights he could just make out her form ahead, still talking on her phone. Movement to her left caught his attention, and he froze. Two large men rushed towards her. Quinn never had a chance. One grabbed her arms, the other her legs and they moved towards a van.
Noah hit the gas, his car catapulting into the back of their van. The stunned men dropped Quinn and dove for their vehicle. Noah erupted from his car, and launched himself at the man closest to him. Two quick hits and the man was out. He spun around to grab the second assailant and was met with the smell or burnt rubber as the van peeled out of the garage.
For a fleeting second he thought about chasing the man, but a weak groan stopped him cold.
Two quick steps brought him to her small frame. He knelt next to her and her eyes flitted open. She tried to sit up but he gently pushed her back.
“Lie still,” he ordered. He stifled a curse at the small pool of blood beside her head. She’d caught the sharp edge of a curb.
“I’m fine.” Her eyes pinned on his, fire in their emerald depths. Good. Maybe she wasn’t hurt as badly as he first thought.
“No, you’re not. You’re bleeding pretty good from a head wound. Looks like I’m gonna have to sew you up tonight after all.”
She reached around to feel the back of her head. “Ouch.”
His hand still held her down. “Ouch is right. You didn’t even see them coming.”
He palmed his cell phone and dialed for the hospital security and a stretcher. She tensed beneath him, shoving his hand away.
“No way am I going in on a stretcher. Let me up.”
“Not on your life.”
She shoved at him, but he held her down. “Be a good patient now, Quinn.”
She glared, but stopped fighting.
Red and blue strobes filled the garage and a navy uniform stepped out into the headlights.
“Over here,” Noah called.
“Why’re the lights out?”
“Not sure. But two men tried to grab my friend here. One of them is to your left, on the pavement.”
The officer turned and looked at the man, out cold. “Care to tell me what happened?”
A side door slammed opened before he could answer and two co-workers from upstairs spilled out.
“Look, I need to get her upstairs and stitched up. Her head wound is bleeding heavily, and I’m worried she has a concussion.”
“I don’t.” Quinn’s steely voice answered.
“I’m doing a complete work-up so we can be sure.”
“Guess I’m gonna be late for that date.”
Noah shook his head and helped load her onto the stretcher. Guilt filled him. Making her late—hoping she missed the date all together—had been his original plan when he asked her to stay for an extra shift. If he’d kept his mouth shut she’d have been long gone, not attacked in a dark parking lot. This was all his fault.
Will Quinn make her date? What is Quinn not telling him? Stay tuned tomorrow to find out.