I’ll throw my hat into the ring 🙂 I completely overhauled my monstrous WIP at the start of the summer, but here’s what I have for now:
Ben Rochester’s hands trembled slightly as he raised the half-full glass of whiskey to his lips. Around him, the Belvedere’s kitchen was buzzing with activity. The gala for Mayor Grey’s fiftieth birthday was in full swing, the kitchen a swirling, chaotic mess as dishes were prepared, garnished and sent into the ballroom through the swinging black doors into the ballroom. He took another gulp of whiskey and straightened his tie.
“Yo, Paul!” he called. “Do I look okay?”
“Gorgeous, darling!” shouted the head chef. Paul was a burly man in bright green rubber shoes that clashed horribly with his head of flaming hair. “Now get the hell outta’ my kitchen before I set you on fire!”
Ben raised his glass in a salute and walked out the double doors into the ballroom behind a tray of hors d’oeuvres. He was hardly two steps out of the kitchen before Mayor Grey’s secretary, Liz Parker, honed in on him. Ben summoned his brightest smile as he turned to face her.
“Why, Lizzie, you sure clean up nicely. How’s it going out here?”
She grimaced at the nickname. “It’s going well, thanks,” she snapped, her voice raspy with exhaustion. “No thanks to you.” There was mascara caked in the corners of her eyes, and all the concealer in the world couldn’t cover the deep violet smudges beneath her brown eyes. She did look nice, though, in a vibrant blue cocktail dress that nicely set off the color of her deep brown skin.
“Did you get any sleep last night?” Ben asked. She frowned at him.
“A few hours. Not important.” She placed an accusatory finger in the center of his chest, right on the golden tie pin in the shape of a blazing sun. “You left me alone out here to deal with the hounds of hell, you bastard.”
“Which papers?” Ben asked. He took another sip of whiskey and grimaced as it burned down the back of his throat.