Snippet Saturday – Crawling Back To You

snippetsaturday

Crawling back. Well, my heroines don’t usually crawl back. My heros don’t crawl back either, per se. They do, however, go after the women they want.

Occasionally though, I’ll shift from this and the need of a heroine is so great, so overwhelming that she can’t help herself, can’t deny herself, can’t live without trying one more time to make him see…

The Swing

Snippet:

Life as she’d known it was gone and even though it had been two years, until she’d seen Jethro last week, fucked him on the front porch swing, she’d been walking around in a fog.

She hadn’t gone out there for sex but he’d looked so good, so hot. He was her wet dream, her every naughty thought. He’d let his hair grow out, gotten a few tats and hadn’t shaved when she saw him. When he said climb on, she’d been helpless against him, against the hunger that gnawed at her, clawed at her. Wanting him consumed her and her cool, calm persona had come crumbling down while he was buried so deep inside her.

Without thinking about it, she picked up her phone and dialed his number. On the fifth ring she started to hang up, but…

“Hello, Caitlyn.”

“You answered.”

“You keep calling. I can only resist for so long.”

“I… I want to see you.”

“We talked about this.”

“I don’t care anymore, Jethro. I need you and you need me. You love me, dammit.” And he did. She knew it, always knew it. Even with the double-digit miles between them from county line to big city lights, she knew it, could feel it.

“Doesn’t change anything.”

She flopped back on the couch. “It changes everything.”

“How?”

“We can try.”

“You feel guilty about loving me, Caitlyn. We can’t try when you feel bad about it.”

“I know, but I can’t stay away from you anymore either. Please, Jethro.”

She hated that she was on the verge of tears again. She couldn’t handle rejection from him. Not now. Not when she’d really listened and thought about Margaret’s arguments. Marg hadn’t said anything Caitlyn didn’t already know, but having it spoken out loud was always like a bucket of ice water being thrown.

“I don’t want only part of you. I won’t be second best again. I did it for Marc because he was my brother and he loved you. I won’t do it for anyone or any other reason ever again. Even him.”

“I know.”

“Have you been dreaming again?”

She was shocked. “Yes. How do you know?”

“The nights I stayed with you after I got out of the hospital for the infection. You were dreaming, moaning, calling out my name. It took me a few times to realize you were dreaming, not actually calling me.”

“Oh.” She was so embarrassed. Even though he couldn’t see her at that moment, she turned her head toward the back cushions and buried her face.

“Come to me, Caitlyn. But make damn sure this is what you want. I won’t let you walk away again. I won’t let you rip my heart out and stomp it all to hell. I love you, but I won’t let you break me for a third time.”

And she knew she had. She deserved the warnings and she would do well to heed them. If she went to him, she had to be prepared to stay. It wouldn’t be fair to either of them otherwise. “I understand.”

“Then I’ll be waiting.”

Take a moment to visit the following blogs, but if you live where it’s sunny out and gorgeous, get outside afterward… We’ve all stayed inside way too long…

Caris Roane
Eliza Gayle
McKenna Jeffries
Shiloh Walker
Taige Crenshaw
Delilah Devlin
HelenKay Dimon
TJ Michaels
Lissa Matthews
Myla Jackson
Lauren Dane

~lissa

Snippet Saturday – Emotion

snippetsaturdayEmotion. It plagues us all. Some of us more than others. I am one of the worst. I can cry at the drop of a hat, get mad over something I can’t control, feel jealousy, envy, fear, etc… I think emotion makes us stronger sometimes, but it can also weaken us if we don’t learn to control it and how we react to it.

There’s also the emotion of love…lust…

The Swing

It wasn’t soft and sweet. It wasn’t tender, even though he had the most tender feelings toward her. He couldn’t stop wanting her. No matter how many times he saw her, talked to her, fought with her, he couldn’t stop wanting her.

She was right in damning him. He was damned the moment they met. He was damned when she walked down the aisle to marry his brother. He was damned the day his brother was put in the ground. He’d been damned for years and would remain so. He coveted his brother’s wife, the one woman in the world he shouldn’t want but couldn’t live without having.

He held her for a long time until her breathing calmed and she lifted her head.

“We can’t be together.”

She was wrong. “I know.”

“And I mean it, this can’t happen again. This won’t happen again.”

“I know.”

“Stop being so fucking agreeable.” She pushed against his chest and scrambled off his lap. She righted her dress and backed away.

He knew the come would slide down her thighs. He’d used no protection and she’d asked for none. They both knew he couldn’t get her pregnant. “What do you want me to be? Angry? Sad? What, Caitlyn? What do you want me to be?”

“I want you to feel the same turmoil that I do, Jethro. I want you to hurt as much as I do.”

“How do you know I don’t?”

“Because you…you’re so distant, so callous, so in control.”

He stopped the swing and stood. His leg pained him today and had for the last week. It always did around this time of year moreso than at other times. It was the second anniversary of the day he’d pulled Marcus out of the upside-down Humvee. It was the day his brother died from war wounds. It was the day he let himself hope Caitlyn could finally belong to him. He hated himself sometimes for wanting her so much, but more than he hated himself, he loved her.

He took one step then another and another until he had her backed up against a post on the porch. “He was my twin. He was every other thought in my head. He was the one person I loved more than anything in this life besides you. He was the last of my family. He was your husband.”

Jethro kissed the corner of her quivering mouth and licked softly at the tear streaming down her cheek. “I do feel pain, every day. I have the physical scars to prove it. I have the nightmares that wake me up in the middle of the night. I have… Caitlyn, I have the broken heart beating inside my chest. I do feel pain. I do hurt. And fucking you today on that swing I made for us to share was the best and worst mistake.”

He pulled her bottom lip in between his teeth and tugged, sucked. He took her mouth in a scorching, searing kiss as he held her captive between his body and the wood at her back. He could drown in her taste…

“I have to leave.”

“Yes, you do. You have to keep running away from this. You have to keep being the strong one, the one able to resist.”

“You bastard. Be a man. Don’t let me go.”

She was crying harder now, beating on his chest with her fists, and he let her. He let her take it all out on him because he didn’t know what else to do. This time he was the one held captive. She had him pinned against the front wall of the house, her mouth devouring his, her tongue so, so deep in his mouth. The moment he started to wrap his arms around her though, she broke free and ran out to her car.

If you have some time today, go visit the following blogs for more emotional snippets…

Lauren Dane
Shiloh Walker
Mari Carr
Delilah Devlin
TJ Michaels
Leah Braemel
McKenna Jeffries
Taige Crenshaw
Felicity Heaton
Eliza Gayle
Caris Roane
Myla Jackson

~lissa

Snippet Saturday – Love Scene

Love scenes. It’s a critical part of the romance genre. There are the sexual love scenes but there are also emotional loves scenes. At times, I prefer the emotional over the sexual. Getting through the pain to the other side, when you can feel the love the characters have for one another practically leaping off the page and curling up inside you. I read a book the other night that had a moment like that… There was no sex, no nakedness save for the naked emotion. These are sometimes so powerful…

I aspire to write scenes, emotional love scenes that make the heart clench and the belly flutter.

Warning: Explicit sex scene…

The Swing She got out of the car and walked up the dusty drive to the bottom step of his front porch. He’d known she would come eventually. She’d taken her own sweet time about it, however, and he couldn’t say he was happy about having been kept waiting. He was tired of living with this need inside when there was an answer, a cure. Albeit a stubborn one.

“Hello, Jethro.”

“Caitlyn.”

She had the prettiest, softest voice and she was a better woman than a man like him deserved. Didn’t mean he was willing to give up the chance to have her though. He was country, she was city and he was the last man on earth she should be with. He was her brother-in-law, she was his dead brother’s wife. They couldn’t do this, shouldn’t do this. They couldn’t be, shouldn’t be together and there were a million reasons why, but he’d be damned if he’d turn her away. Neither of them could deny the feelings. Not when his whole family had known for years, not when his brother lay in the dirt in his arms, telling him it was okay that he love her. He needed more than the absolution of his twin, more than any church could ever give him, but he’d take her, take her body and live with her contempt after.

“You said if I ever came back through this way, I should stop by.”

She must have been visiting his parents or sister. There was no other reason for her to be in this neck of the woods. “Yes, I did.” He’d said it out of courtesy, fully expecting she wouldn’t, always hoping, knowing deep down she would.

She took one step up then another until she was standing just to the side of him, looking down as he swung back and forth slowly in the double porch swing. Her petite, full-figured body was covered in a pretty yellow and white knee-length sundress. Her feet were clad in a pair of yellow strappy sandals and her toes were painted a bright shade of purple.

Jethro liked looking at her. Always had. She had the deepest green eyes he’d ever seen and the truest strawberry blonde hair that hung down her back in one long sheet unless she had it pulled up in a ponytail like she did today. She had an all-knowing look about her, even though she was soft-spoken and hesitant in her approach toward him.

“Did I come at a bad time?”

“Nope.” He raised his gaze to her chest, to the little nipples poking through the thin cotton of her dress. “You wearing a bra under that thing?”

“Sort of. The dress has the wires and cups sewn in because it’s backless.”

She was every fantasy he’d had for the last ten years. “Uh-huh. Panties?”

She blushed so pretty. “Yes.”

“Take ‘em off.”

“What?”

“You heard me. Take ‘em off.”

“Jethro, I…”

“What are you doing out here, Caitlyn? I told you what would happen if you came back. I told you I’d fuck you and that if you showed up, I would take it to mean that’s what you want too. I told you to come by if you wanted it, otherwise to stay the hell away. You’re here, so take off the panties. I won’t say it again.”

Awareness dawned. “But… Out here?”

He nodded. “Out here. Not as if anyone’s around but us.”

She didn’t move right away and Jethro was content to wait until she was ready. He wasn’t in any hurry at the moment. He would be once he got inside her for the first time, but not yet.

She finally pulled the skirt of her dress up her thighs until she could reach under and tug her panties down. He saw them as they slid down her over her knees and landed at her feet, a bright yellow piece of lace pooled on top of her sandals. She stepped out of them and looked expectantly at him again.

“Good girl, Caitlyn.” He stopped swinging and focused on her face as he lifted his hips off the wooden bench and unfastened his jeans. He liked how her eyes widened when he pulled his cock out, all hard and angry purplish-red. He shucked his t-shirt and tossed it at her feet in the direction of her panties. “Climb on.”

“Just like that?”

She was stalling. He wasn’t going to give her the option of walking away, of giving her an out, of making it easy for her. “Yes.”

“Will it hold us both?” She looked skeptical, as though she wasn’t sure it would. He fought the urge to smile. Of course it would hold them. He’d built it, hung it, sat on it almost every night jacking off while thinking of her.

“Yes. Climb on.” He held out his hand to her, and when she took it, he tugged her down over his thighs. The skirt of her dress rode up her legs and he liked the sight of the creamy-white skin against the dark blue denim of his jeans.

With his hand on her lower back and his fingers just brushing the top of her ass, he pulled her close, closer still until she could slide down on his cock. Her pussy was wet, easing the penetration into her body.

“Didn’t know you’d be so tight.”

“It’s been a long, long time.” Her hands gripped his shoulders as she tested the length and breadth of him, lifting up then dropping back down. “Didn’t know you’d be so big.”

Jethro laughed and nipped her shoulder. “Don’t know why not. I’m a big man.”

He took her mouth in a hard kiss, tasting, not for the first time, the sweet temptation of the big city girl she’d tried to become. She kept him up at night, thoughts of her keeping his mind charged and his dick hard. He bit her tongue and tried to swallow her whole. And then…he started them swinging.

Just a small motion, front then back…front then back, the straightening and bending of his legs sending his cock deeper inside her. Her small nails dug into his skin and she wobbled slightly. “That’s my girl. Hold on for the ride.”

“Feels so good.”

He kissed her neck and held her tighter, using his teeth to mark her. “Yes it does,” he said, licking at the redness left from the sucking of his mouth.

She moaned into his hair, moaned into his shoulder, moaned against his lips when he picked up speed in the swing. His boots came up off the floor when they swung forward and pushed her into him. When they swung backward, her head dropped back and her dressed pulled tight over her tits.

The swing hadn’t been built for this purpose, but after this afternoon, he wouldn’t be able to look at it any other way. It was always going to be theirs now. Whether she came back or not, the swing was theirs, sacred.

He pulled her hair from the ponytail and sifted his fingers through the strands. It fell down her back in a fall of red, and when she arched, dropping her head back farther, the ends brushed his thighs. If he were naked, it would be an amazing erotic touch.

The dress was, as she’d said, backless and his fingertips drew circles on her skin. Her nipples stood out against the thin material and he slipped his hands under the straps, gently tugging them down her over her shoulders, exposing just the upper swells. It wasn’t enough, but at the same time it was very sexy seeing her like that.

She was the one woman he shouldn’t want and the one woman he was bound and determined to have.

He buried his face in her chest, licked at the salt and sweat in the valley between her breasts. Her arms wrapped around his shoulders and she rocked her pelvis in tight, short motions. She fucked herself on him as he held her against his body, as he used the movement of the swing to propel them back and forth.

“We shouldn’t be doing this.”

“But we are.”

“I won’t come back.”

“Okay.”

“Damn you, Jethro.”

“Yes, Caitlyn. I know.”

He felt her tears on his neck and her body shuddered in orgasm. Her muscles pulled and pulsed over his cock and he still rocked them, still screwed her until his own come shot into her, matching her throb for throb. And that’s what this was. A screwing, a fucking. It wasn’t soft and sweet. It wasn’t tender, even though he had the most tender feelings toward her. He couldn’t stop wanting her. No matter how many times he saw her, talked to her, fought with her, he couldn’t stop wanting her.

She was right in damning him. He was damned the moment they met. He was damned when she walked down the aisle to marry his brother. He was damned the day his brother was put in the ground. He’d been damned for years and would remain so. He coveted his brother’s wife, the one woman in the world he shouldn’t want but couldn’t live without having.

He held her for a long time until her breathing calmed and she lifted her head.

“We can’t be together.”

She was wrong. “I know.”

“And I mean it, this can’t happen again. This won’t happen again.”

“I know.”

“Stop being so fucking agreeable.” She pushed against his chest and scrambled off his lap. She righted her dress and backed away.

He knew the come would slide down her thighs. He’d used no protection and she’d asked for none. They both knew he couldn’t get her pregnant. “What do you want me to be? Angry? Sad? What, Caitlyn? What do you want me to be?”

“I want you to feel the same turmoil that I do, Jethro. I want you to hurt as much as I do.”

“How do you know I don’t?”

“Because you…you’re so distant, so callous, so in control.”

He stopped the swing and stood. His leg pained him today and had for the last week. It always did around this time of year moreso than at other times. It was the second anniversary of the day he’d pulled Marcus out of the upside-down Humvee. It was the day his brother died from war wounds. It was the day he let himself hope Caitlyn could finally belong to him. He hated himself sometimes for wanting her so much, but more than he hated himself, he loved her.

He took one step then another and another until he had her backed up against a post on the porch. “He was my twin. He was every other thought in my head. He was the one person I loved more than anything in this life besides you. He was the last of my family. He was your husband.”

Jethro kissed the corner of her quivering mouth and licked softly at the tear streaming down her cheek. “I do feel pain, every day. I have the physical scars to prove it. I have the nightmares that wake me up in the middle of the night. I have… Caitlyn, I have the broken heart beating inside my chest. I do feel pain. I do hurt. And fucking you today on that swing I made for us to share was the best and worst mistake.”

He pulled her bottom lip in between his teeth and tugged, sucked. He took her mouth in a scorching, searing kiss as he held her captive between his body and the wood at her back. He could drown in her taste, and one day he’d have his face buried between her thighs, drowning in her creamy, hot cunt.

“I have to leave.”

“Yes, you do. You have to keep running away from this. You have to keep being the strong one, the one able to resist.”

“You bastard. Be a man. Don’t let me go.”

She was crying harder now, beating on his chest with her fists, and he let her. He let her take it all out on him because he didn’t know what else to do. This time he was the one held captive. She had him pinned against the front wall of the house, her mouth devouring his, her tongue so, so deep in his mouth. The moment he started to wrap his arms around her though, she broke free and ran out to her car.

She drove off, spinning her tires. He watched after her until the dust settled then fastened his jeans back. He started to sit on the swing again, but instead went inside the cool, dark house.

Unless he had her, nothing would make much sense. She didn’t seem to understand that he didn’t let her go as she accused him of doing. She chose to leave. She chose to run just as he’d told her she had to keep doing.

Nothing would bring Marc back. Nothing would stop Jethro from loving his brother’s widow. Nothing would ever feel right without her now that he’d had her.

He glared at the dozen or so beer bottles inside the fridge then slammed the door. It wasn’t alcohol he wanted to drink. He wanted to drink from Caitlyn, from her mouth, from her cunt. Instead of beer, instead of Caitlyn, he went back outside, this time out the back door toward to woodshed. He’d work himself into exhaustion, just as he’d done nearly every day for the last year and a half. Between the sex and the woodworking, maybe he could sleep one full night without seeing things he couldn’t have anymore.

It was then he remembered the small scrap of yellow lace still lying in the same place she’d nudged them to when she took them off. Shit.

I love this book, this story, these two characters…

Please take some time to visit the following blogs for more love scenes:

Megan Hart:Read in bed!
Rhian Cahill
Eliza Gayle
Mandy M Roth
Mari Carr
McKenna Jeffries
Myla Jackson
Taige Crenshaw
HelenKay Dimon
Shiloh Walker
TJ Michaels
Lauren Dane
Zoe Archer

Have a great weekend!

~lissa

Snippet Saturday – The Moment

I didn’t forget Snippet Saturday, honest. I really wasn’t sure what to do for it or how I wanted to interpret ‘The Moment’.

When I think about it, The Moment I most adore is when they realize they’ve got something, someone special. It’s not like the other somethings or someones, it’s different, it’s almost an A-HA moment. The realization can happen when H and H are together or apart, but for me it’s that thought… ‘Damn, I can’t let him/her get away. I need to try…’

With that in mind, I’m gonna go grab a snippet from The Swing…

The Swing

Snippet:

“You’ve been moping around here for days, Cait. What’s wrong?”

Margaret, Caitlyn’s best friend from the womb, or so it seemed, set a mug of hot coffee in front of her. The strong aroma hit her senses, jarring her out of part of her melancholy. “Marc has been gone two years and I fucked his brother on the anniversary, that’s what’s wrong.”

“You’re still hung up on that? You went to see him though. I thought you were over thinking that way.”

Yeah, not so much. “No.”

“Hmm. Was he good?” Margaret’s voice had dropped to a conspiratorial whisper and Caitlyn mustered up a smile.

She could lie and say he was awful, but she wouldn’t. There was no way to make it believable. “He was.” She could still feel him inside her, flooding her sex with his. “I’ve called him at least half a dozen times a day since then to apologize for saying harsh things, for running away, but he’s not answering and he’s not returning my messages. I think I hurt him.”

Margaret took her hand and squeezed. “Then you should go back out there. He can’t very well ignore you if you’re dogging his every step. Besides, Marc wouldn’t want you to be miserable.”

“Even if what made me happy was his own twin?”

“Yes. He wouldn’t want you to torture yourself like this, I know that. More importantly, you know that.”

“I loved them both, but I think I loved Jethro more.” She buried her face in the throw pillow she’d been hugging to her chest, groaning at the admission. Maybe she’d just loved them in different ways because they were such different men.

“I think we’ve all known that. They were brothers, but when you and Jethro looked at each other, the air sizzled and crackled. It was like lightning could strike at any moment. It was instantaneous and sharp. With Marc it was soft and sweet and sexy. It’s just flat-out naughty and hot when you look at Jethro.”

She smiled still, but the tears she’d been trying to keep from falling dropped onto her knees. She hadn’t cried over Marc in months, but she cried regularly over Jethro. She had loved Marc, but Margaret was right in confirming what Caitlyn knew to be true. She’d loved Jethro on sight and it was always electric.

“People will whisper.”

“Who cares? Let them whisper. Let them talk. All that matters is you and Jethro making peace with these feelings between you. Guilt over Marcus isn’t going to bring him back and isn’t going to change how the two of you feel about each other. Why are you fighting it so hard?”

“I don’t know. I am not scared of anything, but…Jethro told me I needed to keep running away from him. What if he means it?”

“Sounds like he’s just trying to protect you. Caitlyn, you’re wasting your life grieving for something you’ve never given yourself a chance to have.”

She hated when Margaret was right and she was nearly always right. She wasn’t up to admitting it verbally, so instead she nodded.

“Good. Now I have to get to work. Not all of us are well-to-do as you.”

Caitlyn laughed and saw Margaret to the door. She was hardly well-to-do, but she had received benefits from the Army and the life insurance policy Marc had on himself had been more than substantial. She knew another, separate smaller policy had been taken out by Marc and the beneficiary was Jethro. She didn’t know what he’d done with the money. Though smaller in amount, it was still fairly large. The policies had been taken out not long after she and Marc married.

Nearly ten years later, Marc had been killed in action and Jethro honorably discharged for injuries sustained during war. And her love hadn’t diminished, not for Marc, and not for Jethro. He had written to her here and there while they’d been deployed. She hadn’t really been surprised about the letters, but at the same time she had been. She cherished both sets of letters…Marc’s and Jethro’s. What had been funny about it though, was Marc talked about Jethro and Jethro talked about Marc. Being in the middle of the two of them, knowing she was loved by both had been something she’d never expected. They were the same but they were different and the feelings shared were different.

She could still remember the day Jethro knocked on her door to tell her about the blast that had killed her husband and taken a chunk out of his own leg. Marc told Jethro to take care of her, to watch out for her, keep loving her, and that had broken her heart, that even he’d realized it was Jethro who held her soul.

Not long after that, the dreams had started. Dark, wicked, sexual dreams of her and Jethro. While he had nightmares of war, she was having erotic fantasies that woke her in the midst of orgasms with his name on her lips. Some nights she never went back to sleep, so she’d get up and write about the dreams.

She had even sold a few of the short stories, using the money she made to purchase items to send in care packages to Marc and Jethro’s unit. She’d also taken up baking as a hobby and would take the cakes and brownies she made to other widows and wives. Then there were the sewing classes she took. Learning to make clothes that fit her, flattered her. She fell in love with sundresses and bright fabrics and she’d taken to making them a lot, filling her closet with all different colors, hoping the light would come back one day. It all kept her busy and she’d needed that. Life as she’d known it was gone and even though it had been two years, until she’d seen Jethro last week, fucked him on the front porch swing, she’d been walking around in a fog.

She hadn’t gone out there for sex but he’d looked so good, so hot. He was her wet dream, her every naughty thought. He’d let his hair grow out, gotten a few tats and hadn’t shaved when she saw him. When he said climb on, she’d been helpless against him, against the hunger that gnawed at her, clawed at her. Wanting him consumed her and her cool, calm persona had come crumbling down while he was buried so deep inside her.

Without thinking about it, she picked up her phone and dialed his number. On the fifth ring she started to hang up, but…

End Snippet

Check out the snippets from these other awesome authors, though since I’m so slow with mine today, you probably already have. 🙂

Jody Wallace
Emma Petersen
Mari Carr
McKenna Jeffries
Taige Crenshaw
Delilah Devlin
Eliza Gayle
TJ Michaels
Lauren Dane
Helen Kay Dimon
Leah Braemel

~lissa

Snippet Saturday – Music

I know, I know… I’m late. So, what’s new? I’m always late nowadays it seems. I had a meeting the other day however that I was NOT late for and thank goodness for that. That means there is progress, slow progress, but progress just the same…

Okay, music is the theme today for Snippet Saturday. I could talk your ears off for days about music. I love it. I crave it. I have to have it. I have a varied taste in music as you could see from the music videos I selected the other day. If you follow my blog, you know I talk about music from Sarah Brightman to Billy Joel to Duran Duran to Breaking Benjamin. And EVERYTHING in between.

I go to concerts every year. Most authors go to Cons, and I go to them as well, though the rest of the word for me is ‘cert’ not ‘ference’. I’ve been going to concerts since I was a kid.

Then there’s my playing of music. I played the flute through Middle School, High School, and what bit of college I went to. I love it still, though I don’t play much anymore. I do take it out, run my fingers over the holes and fingerings, and think about dreams unfulfilled.

But, music is as much a part of me as the blood that runs through my veins.

I guess then it’s odd that I haven’t written about it all that much. There are books in my head that surround music, but none so far that really touch on my love of it. Therefore, I am going to pull a couple of snippets out of my hat…

The drive in The Swing

The Swing

The party in Ink Spots

So, let’s get to it.

Snippet: The Swing

How twins could be so completely different yet born only moments apart baffled Jethro, but different they’d been.

“I told her if she came back, I wouldn’t let her leave again. I love her and I know I can live without her, but if she comes back out to the house she’s mine and I’m keeping her. And you always knew how I felt about her. I didn’t even have to tell you, it was that strange twin bond thing.”

He didn’t know what he’d been waiting for. Maybe he just needed to say it out loud, to tell Marc in no uncertain terms what he planned to do. He wasn’t looking for absolution or approval. He knew Marc would know, that Marc had expected Jethro and Caitlyn to be together after he died. But here, in this place, his brother’s final resting place, Jethro needed to tell him. He needed it to come from him instead of the memory of Marc’s words of “It’s okay. I know you love her and will make her happy.” He needed to say it. Marc died after those words, a small smile on his face, his body limp, with peace etching itself across his face.

They’d had to pry Marc out of the Jethro’s arms there on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere Afghanistan, just as they’d had to pry Caitlyn away from them both when they landed at Andrews Air Force Base.

He knelt on the ground, plucking at grass blades. “I’ll take care of her, Marc. If she comes to me, I’ll take care of her. I swear I will.”

He stayed there for long minutes. He told Marc about the swings, about the family, about the war that was still going on. He told Marc of the small house he owned on the outside of town, away from everyone and everything, that he’d become a hermit, but that Clarissa had come to visit him, talk with him, that she was getting married. He told Marc he loved him when he didn’t know what else to say. It was time to get back to work, time to get back to the business of living. Marc would understand and wouldn’t want but the best for them all.

Standing from such a position was always hard on him now with the injuries to his hip and thigh. The limp was always more pronounced when he’d been in one position too long. The low-slung seat in the Mustang didn’t help either, but he’d been driving the muscle car ever since he could drive, upgrading every few years, and he didn’t figure that would change anytime soon.

Breaking Benjamin blasted from the speakers when he turned the key in the ignition and he had to laugh. Benjamin screaming into the mic could wake the dead.

And suddenly, having talked to Marc, having been there to connect with him when he’d been avoiding it for so long, lifted a weight. He felt lighter, able to breathe, and as if there were possibilities awaiting him that he’d been closed off to since returning to the States.

The drive back to his house was made with the windows down, the stereo at max volume and a smile on his face.

Snippet: Ink Spots

A collective gasp went up through the ladies in the small crowd and an equally collective groan went down through the men when Vinter stepped up to a microphone.

A small smile played about Elise’s mouth. Carrie’s eyes nearly bugged out of her head. Jackie was glaring daggers at Mac. And Mandi just couldn’t stop staring between the man center stage and the one directly behind him sitting at a drum set.

Vinter was still shirtless, and the ink covering his body just took her breath away. Jaz had shucked his shirt as well, and the muscles of his chest and those traveling his arms, his own inked skin… Her mouth was dry despite the glass of water in front of her. She didn’t drink alcohol and she didn’t have a taste for soda at the moment, so water was her friend.

At least until she’d looked up at the men onstage.

“Now, for those of you who don’t know me and, well, if you don’t, you should. My name is Vinter.” He spoke with a huge grin on his face that was open and welcoming and entirely mischievous. People laughed and the men still groaned.

Elise leaned toward the center of the table. “The man’s ego and sex appeal knows no bounds.”

“Maybe you should put a leash on him,” Carrie whispered, loud enough to be heard over Vinter talking into the mic.

“What fun would that be?”

“Hey, girls.” He was speaking and pointing in their direction. “Got something you want to share with the rest of us?”

Three of the four women shook their heads. Jackie did nothing as she was still glaring at Mac.

Mandi hadn’t been so embarrassed or had so much fun in years. It had been so very long since she’d had close female friends who were local rather than long distance. And the long distance one was Jackie. Most of her friends were actually business contacts and not people she’d had dinner with or a drink outside of a tradeshow hotel. However… Elise and Carrie, yeah she could see going out for pizza and a movie with them or just having them over for wine and girls’ nights. She and Jackie had done that a couple of times, but Jackie was most often at Katz, so those girls’ nights were far and few between.

At the same time, she didn’t know how awkward it would be hanging out with Jaz’s friends’ girlfriends if the two of them weren’t seeing one another.

“I think our birthday girl is off in space.”

Mandi blinked and focused at the mention of birthday girl to find that everyone was looking at her. Okay, this was probably the most embarrassed she’d ever been.

“Ah, she’s back with us. Missed ya, girl. Were you someplace fun?” Vinter was teasing her and it actually made the humiliation easier to take, what with his wicked smile and his even more wicked body half visible.

“Back to what I was saying… Mandi has been in our little community for a few months now and I think this plan was hatched the minute she got to town. Jackie had come to us, asking if we’d play for this shindig and, well, we optimistically said yes. We’ve not played in public for anyone before, but we don’t sound like a bunch of screeching cats either. And who knew our man Jaz up here would take a fancy to the guest of honor.”

Oh god, he didn’t. Mandi buried her face in her hands, both cringing and laughing.

“Then again, who knew she’d take a shine to Jaz, but man oh man, if y’all had seen what I saw earlier between these two, you’d know they were meant to be.”

“Remind me to kick your ass after the party.”

Vinter laughed at the grouchiness in Jaz’s voice and turned his head to look at his drummer. “Remind me to let you try.” He looked back at the small crowd of people gathered. “He actually could kick my ass. Okay, so we have it on Jackie’s authority that one of Mandi’s favorite groups is Nickelback. And yeah, they kick ass too. We do a pretty decent job at covering them and Mac here doesn’t sound half-bad so, without further rambling from me… Mandi, we wish you a very happy birthday.”

end snippets

I know you’ve already done so, but on the off chance there are a few of you that haven’t, please check out the snippets from the following authors:

Mari Carr
McKenna Jeffries
Taige Crenshaw
Delilah Devlin
Eliza Gayle
Shelli Stevens
TJ Michaels
Lauren Dane
Jody Wallace
Sasha White

~lissa