Blue Jeans and Hard Hats series

Snippet Saturday – You Were Always On My Mind

Kindle

snippetsaturdayIt’s been a very busy week for me and the weekend is no different. I’ve barely been on my computer. Needless to say my writing is taking a hit. However, thankfully, I can’t blame the races on that.

Today’s topic. You Were Always On My Mind. I always hear Willie in my head when I hear those words.

And I have the perfect story from which to pull a snippet.

ForeverInJeans_600x900

“Green as in eco?” Blue was completely interested and found the idea fascinating. She could see that being a very lucrative business. Cabins like that could potentially bring in money from wealthy vacationers which would boost the local tourist economy. Of course, it was kind of going in the opposite direction of a bed and breakfast, which also would need to thrive on tourism. There was room a plenty for both kinds of accommodations.

She’d lived there all her life, as had Rosie. They knew drawing more people from outside could help the older businesses and more solidly establish the new ones. It would bring more attention to the mountains. Even though there would always be those who’d want to destroy the beauty with their money, there’d be others who’d want to preserve it, just as she did. “I wonder why no one has thought of that before. You’re talking for rentals?”

“Yeah.”

“And for buying,” Decker added, grabbing Rosie and holding her against the front his body. “We want to build a couple of cabins first and put them up for sale. Use a couple as demos and test cabins, but overall, we want to build to suit owners and if they want to rent them, so be it.”

Blue zeroed in on Cort. “So that really is why you left this morning? The only reason?” She didn’t try to hide her questions or ask it softly so no one else would hear.

And there it was, a guilty flush. He looked away but those dark blue eyes quickly met hers again quickly. There was heat there and vulnerability too.

He didn’t squirm or fidget or try to look away. He held her stare as he answered. “Yes.”

“It could have been handled better.”

“It could have,” he admitted. “But, in my defense, I did kiss you before I left. You just didn’t wake up.”

“You should have tried harder.” It seemed as though she were grasping for straws, but she needed him to know how she’d felt. He’d let her know how it had hurt him to be left. They didn’t handle it the same way. He did with openly hurt feelings and anger. She did it with pointed questions, and sarcasm. Life in their house wouldn’t be boring.

“I knew I’d see you again, so I let you sleep.”

“That’s exactly what I told her,” Rosie interjected. Blue shot her a look but all she received in return was a grin.

“A note, maybe?”

He let out a sigh through thinned lips as he clenched his jaw. “Look, I handled it wrong. I get that. So wrong it seems that I drove you to eat a whole pie. Next time I will shake you until you rattle, or roll you onto the floor to wake you before I leave. I was trying to be nice in letting you sleep since we were up half the night fucking.”

Blue snickered. Cort’s voice had gone from soft to loud, to louder, to almost yelling with each word. “For someone who doesn’t like to make a scene, you sure are making one.”

He looked stunned for a moment but quickly recovered. “Yes, I am.” He scrubbed a hand through his hair and glared at her without any real anger. “Are you going to tell me what you were thinking had happened and why you felt the need to eat pie or shall I take a guess?”

Blue shrugged. “I just felt like it.” She couldn’t help the defiant tone in her voice anymore than she could help the happiness she felt deep down inside at his appearance and his obvious irritation at her wayward thoughts. She knew that he knew what had crossed her mind. She didn’t have to admit it out loud.

“Right,” he said, not bothering to hide his skepticism. “And you can’t make pie?”

She shook her head. “Not like Rosie can.”

“Then I’ll definitely have to try some.” He studied her for a moment. “Let me see. You weren’t perhaps thinking that I left with no intention of coming back, were you?”

“Of course not.” There was no way she would tell him the truth. No. Way. Her shame at having left him followed her, but she wouldn’t let him know that she feared he would do the same to her. Especially after their time together throughout the weekend.

“Pretty little liar. That’s exactly what you thought.”

Blue shook her head but kept the eye contact.

He smiled. “Yes, you did.” But then he sobered. “Friday night, I might have. I might have taken you to bed and left as you did, pay you back with that same empty, panicked feeling in your chest that the best fucking thing to ever happen to you was gone, but you were drunk, and I couldn’t take advantage of you like that.”

Well, at least he didn’t make how he’d felt a subtle thing and the fact that he’d aimed her exact thoughts at her… “But at Rosie’s, you said we should fuck like rabbits to get it out of our systems.”

“Yes, I did. And we have fucked enough to make the rabbits proud, I think, but I wasn’t trying to get you out of my system, Blue. Shit, you’ve been with me every day for the last five years. I knew there was no way taking you to bed was going to do anything more than work you deeper inside me. I said that that night just because I was… Hell, pissed? I don’t know. Seeing you was the last thing I’d expected and the one thing I needed.”

She knew that feeling well. “So, where does that leave us?” Okay, so that question totally disregarded her resolve last night to live in the moment, but that was then and this was now, a few hours and one pie later. She sighed. “No, never mind. Don’t answer that.”

“Why not?”

“It’s an unfair question. Spending one night together doesn’t make a relationship that has a future. It means one night of great sex and…God, Cort, I don’t know. I don’t know how to do this.”

“Do what? Have a relationship?”

“Yeah. Or this.” She waved her hand in the air between them. “I’ve never been good with the interpersonal stuff, with the emotional stuff. I don’t know how to handle it. I want it. I want it so desperately with you, but I don’t know how to do it. I’ve never really had a relationship. Lovers. Friends with benefits.” She slid her gaze over the diner, focusing on the pie case. “And if this feeling is what comes with being in a relationship with someone, then maybe I don’t want it as much as I think I do. I’ll be as big as a house, always running to Rosie for pie when there are problems.” She buried her face in her hands. Who knew she would be the one so emotionally torn up? Who knew she’d be the one scared to death of… Well, anyone who knew her would’ve known she’d be scared of being in love. “Love hurts too much.”

“It doesn’t have to.” Cort reached out and gently tugged her hand away from her face, not letting go, but curling his fingers around hers. “You just have to trust it, trust your partner, trust me. And believe me, if I can, you can.”

“Everyone I’ve ever loved has left me.”

“Dying is different than leaving you, baby. They didn’t want to leave, they simply had no choice.”

“You have a choice, though. What if you want to leave?” She hated asking that. She was now the one showing her vulnerability, her insecurity. She, who posed for pictures of her tattoos, who traveled the country, who was undertaking a large renovation project, was scared and insecure. She’d done so much stuff on her own that now she was afraid of losing the one thing she wanted to hold onto.

“I can’t imagine that, but the reality is, Blue, that neither one of us knows what will happen. You might find you don’t love me anymore.”

She started to deny it, but had to admit he was right. The rational part of her knew her parents, her aunt, hadn’t left because they’d wanted to, but her broken heart had never completely healed. She was strong, independent, full of life, went her own way, but she was still aching inside to feel that connection with someone, have someone to spend the days with, and now, the nights.

This book wasn’t well received by readers, but I sure loved writing it and love these characters…

I have errands to run now before the All-Star Race and you have other snippets to read…

Myla Jackson
Lauren Dane
Leah Braemel
Caris Roane
Eliza Gayle
Jody Wallace
McKenna Jeffries
Shiloh Walker
Taige Crenshaw
Delilah Devlin
HelenKay Dimon
TJ Michaels
Mari Carr

~lissa

Snippet Saturday – Reunited

Kindle

I can’t get the song out of my head now! C’mon, y’all sing along too with Peaches and Herb in your head. If you’re old enough to remember the words, that is…

“Reunited and it feels so good
Reunited ‘cuz we understood
There’s one perfect fit and sugar this one is it
We both are so excited ‘cuz we’re reunited, hey-hey”

Okay well, now, back to present day…lol. Reunited is today’s theme and I have the perfect book for that. But it’s not the kind of sexy snippet you’re probably expecting. See, Buck (Sweet Caroline), Decker (Cracklin’ Rosie) and Cort (Forever In Blue Jeans) have been friends for years, but it’s been a long time since the three of them have been together in the same place… And it’s one of the reasons I love this book.

Snippet:

Cort stood against the deck railing of Buck and Caroline’s house. “Cabins, huh? I thought you just lured me up here to set me up with a woman needing an electrician.”

Buck grinned. “The cabins, for sure. The set-up? I ain’t copping to that.”

“Uh-huh,” Cort said skeptically. He knew them better than they thought he did. “Tell me about your business idea.”

“I want to construct cabins all up and down the mountains. I could see it the second I got up here. Everything is natural and awe inspiring.”

“I can’t argue with that. It is something else. A whole other world surrounded by these trees and all the nature, but aren’t there already a ton of cabins around here?”

“Yeah.”

Cort waited for Buck to elaborate, but when he didn’t… “Then what would make ours special?”

“Green.”

“Green? As in color or eco?”

“Eco.”

“Damn, Buck.” Cort whistled low. “You realize how expensive that would be? Not only for us but for the buyers?” Buck sat forward, an earnest look on his face and in his eyes. Cort knew that look well and braced himself.

“Look, we’ve all done a little eco building over the last few years. We all have some contacts in different areas. We can all learn, get the certification, but I think it would be our unique niche. Especially if we can make it more affordable. The cabins might be a little smaller, but I know we can make this work. I’ve put a lot of thought into it. I’ve made a lot of phone calls. There aren’t many green cabins up here yet. I think it’s a good time to do this.”

Cort couldn’t argue with that. The three of them could get any certification they needed and Buck was right, between them, they had all the contact names and numbers. He also couldn’t deny how often he’d thought of working alongside his friends. Maybe he–

“Have y’all seen the blue haze of the mountains in the distance?” Caroline spoke up from her seat on the arm of Buck’s chair.

The way Buck looked up at her when she said anything, the way he was always touching her, whether it be her hair or her back or just her arm, Cort had never seen his friend look happier, more content. Same way Decker was with Rosie. His friends had each found “the one”, and while he would never have admitted to believing in her for himself, he knew she existed, had in fact existed for the last five years.

“No.” Cort shook his head.

“Well, they’re called the Blue Ridge Mountains for a reason. The haze comes from the trees, from a chemical they emit into the atmosphere. It mixes with other chemicals in the air and creates a haze, moisture to protect the leaves from the sun. It’s one of the most beautiful sites I’ve ever seen.”

“It sure is. There are some mornings Rosie drags me out of bed just to look out over the mountains.”

Cort laughed. “You’re so whipped.”

“Not as whipped as she is.” Decker winked as he said it and grinned from ear to ear.

“Okay, okay.” Cort held up his hands in surrender. “TMI, man, TMI. Back to this business idea. Equal shares?”

Buck laughed and nodded. “Equal shares.”

“And you’re both certain you want to get into this?”

“I am.”

“Me too.”

Cort looked from one to the other of his two best friends in the world. He knew they wouldn’t steer him in a direction that was wrong or unstable, even though at the present time the construction industry was a bit on the unstable side. But the eco-boom going on would provide some interesting challenges, experiences, and income. He wasn’t one to shy away from the challenges, and it wasn’t as though he had a permanent address right then. He tried not to think of Blue, of her address and how it could likely be his too, of how things had been left when Neil arrived and gave Cort an excuse to leave.

Before arriving in Blue Ridge, he’d have said he didn’t care to settle down anymore. He was happy roaming, not being any one place for too long. On the surface, anyway. Deep down he wanted what he’d always wanted: the wife, the white picket fence, the kids, and pets. He wanted the summer evenings on the front porch and the Christmases complete with decorations and lights and midnight assemblies of toys.

He pulled himself from those thoughts and refocused on the conversation at hand. It was iffy that Blue would even have him for a lover now, much less as more. “How hands-on would we be?”

Buck slid back in his seat and wrapped his arm around Caroline. “I figure at least one of us would have to travel to each site pretty regular, and I want to do the actual building on-site. I don’t want to manufacture something and have it shipped in. I want to build on-site. I want to use as much of the natural materials of the land as possible. I know we’ll need to hire a few people, but for the most part, I want us to do the work. It’ll help keep some of the costs down and we’ll be able to keep an eye on everything from the ground up.”

“How much funding do you think it’s going to take outside of what we each contribute?”

Buck smirked. “More than I want to think about. My father will pony up some as an investment, and a few of his guys will be available to us as workers.”

“We always talked about going into business together. Now that Decker and I are in the same area, we’d hoped you’d consider joining us.”

“Yeah, man. It’s time, I think. We’re settling down, or at least Buck and I are settling down. I think it’s something we all would like and like Buck, I don’t think there’s a better place to do something like this.”

He couldn’t argue with either friend. “I assume you have figures and a business plan.” Cort was the more cautious of the three of them. Always wanting to know everything up front. Always needing to know where the exits were. It had served him well, but it also kept him from experiencing a lot of the spontaneous fun in life. Decker and Buck were forever telling him to lighten up, to just have fun, to just live in the moment without having to know all the details before making a decision.

At the same time, this was a big damn decision and a lot of damn money. Not that he didn’t have more than enough to put into this new venture, and they wouldn’t steer him wrong, but he needed to see all the facts and projections.

Buck nodded. “Yes, I have everything you need to look at.”

“Good. I’ll do that and get you an answer in a few days. When are you looking to get this underway?”

“I want to have everything in place by the time the ground thaws in the spring.”

“All right. That will give me enough time to finish up a few projects I’d committed to for the next few months.”

“You got more than Blue’s place to do?” Buck asked, taking a swallow of tea.

The move prompted Cort to pick up his own glass of tea. It was the best sweet iced tea he’d ever had. While he was a boy from out West, he had developed quite a taste for the Southern elixir. “Yeah. There’s a townhouse in Charleston, and in the fall, I need to head out to Texas for a job that was put on hold a while back. The guy thinks he’ll have the money to finish it up before winter.”

“If it would help, I can work on Blue’s place.”

“I’m the electrician.”

“I can do some.”

Cort grinned. “Yeah, but I can do it all. Besides, you’re not the expert on historical homes.”

Decker shielded his eyes. “Okay, you two. Put the dicks away. I don’t really care to see you compare whose is bigger.”

Caroline grinned. “You might not, but I wouldn’t mind seeing.”

“Like hell.” Buck held up his hands in surrender. “I give. You’re right, but if she needs any general work…”

“Yeah yeah. I can do that too, remember?” Buck had a lover he was head over heels for, but that didn’t mean Cort was going to give the other man any reason to spend an inordinate amount of time with Blue.

Good God, he was jealous. There was nothing to be jealous about, but damn… What the hell other explanation was there?

“I haven’t been out to the plantation yet, but Rosie said it really is beautiful.”

“It is. It’s been well taken care of, and it’ll be great as a bed and breakfast.”

“It’s not open to the public right now, though, is it?”

“No, I don’t think so. I think she’s concentrating on the renovations. It’ll need work after the electrical is done. Looks like electric light was added back in the forties, but the last work that was done was around the sixties or seventies.”

“So you’re rewiring the whole house?”

“Yeah. I’m going to hire some local guys, maybe from down in Atlanta to come and help me out. No way I can do it all myself. I need to go through the place, make some calls, and write up an estimate. It won’t be cheap, but she’ll get exactly what she wants.”

Buck nodded. “I’ve made a few contacts just over the Tennessee border. There are some local guys who grew up around these areas that might be willing to lend a hand.”

“You think there’s some that are skilled enough?”

“Won’t know until we start asking around. Might be good to train some of the young guys around here. A lot of them could stay, and the more that stay, the more work that’s needed.”

“Rosie said there’s a lot of tourism around this time of year and into the fall,” Decker added.

“Yeah. Busy times up here. Could draw more people if there were more places for them to stay. Not to mention, it could bring in a whole different type of clientele.”

“You’re really getting into this small-town thing, aren’t you?”

“I am. I never thought I’d like a town this small, but Caroline was right. It kind of grows on you.”

“And you?” Cort turned his gaze on Decker who looked him square in the eye. “You’ve always traveled everywhere, just like me. You’re okay here? You like it?”

“Yeah, man. I do. It’s time to stop roaming.” Cort wasn’t ready to admit he agreed. He only nodded and finished off his glass of tea.

“We’ve got time to see how it all shakes out. For now, though, I’m hitting the hay.”

Decker snorted. “That’s not all you’re gonna be hittin’.”

Buck grinned. “Nope. Y’all can show yourselves off Caroline’s porch.”

Cort and Decker watched as Caroline slid off the arm of Buck’s chair, saw the look in the man’s eyes when she went inside. Buck followed her through the glass doors and locked them firmly behind himself. “Well, I guess that’s our cue.”

end Snippet

Make sure you visit the following blogs for more Reunited snippets:

Megan Hart:Read in bed!
Leah Braemel
Jody Wallace
Eliza Gayle
Mandy M Roth
Mari Carr
McKenna Jeffries
Myla Jackson
Taige Crenshaw
Shiloh Walker
Delilah Devlin
HelenKay Dimon
Lauren Dane
Shelli Stevens

Have a great Saturday!

~lissa


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