Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What I'm Reading Wednesday

Yikes I only read one book this week!

I finished Riding on Instinct by Jaci Burton. I really enjoyed this story. Nice little twist at the ending, though I did pick up on the clue before Shadoe did, LOL!

Last night I started Iron by PG Forte. PG and I have been discovering all kinds of connections in our stories so I’m looking forward to this story set in Ireland.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Keith Urban and Inspiration

Last night I went to the Keith Urban concert. Lady Antebellum was the opening act. They were both so great! Keith Urban especially surprised me, because I don't know his music that well. I'm not a big fan of country music, but this was way more rock n roll than country. He is an amazingly talented guitar player! Just incredible.

Here. Listen while you read.




As I watched I felt so inspired. Not to make music. Though I love music, I'm not a musician. But I watched him up there on stage pouring his heart and soul and emotion into creating something beautiful and moving, and it made me want to do that too. It made me want to pour my heart and soul out into words. It made me want to create something beautiful and moving. It made me want to go home and stay up all night writing and creating.

Does seeing other artists inspire you like that, even though their art is not writing?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Extreme Close Up Chapter 12

When Ally descended the stairs carefully on spiky heels,ready to go to the fashion show that night, Jack forgot to breathe. He’d never seen her look like that. Her moss-green dress wrapped around her, hugging her slender curves, a V-neckline revealing tempting cleavage. He gulped.
The luxury hotel in Beverly Hills had donated the use of their ballroom as their contribution to the event. The not-lavish but tasteful decorations gave the ballroom a gala air, chairs arranged around a catwalk, many of them already full. Other people mingled near the door, trying to talk over the music blaring from huge speakers.
“I need to go back and see how things are going,” Ally told Jack. “Come on.”
His mind jumped to the possibility of naked models and he followed Ally. Backstage there was no nudity, just controlled chaos as a whole lot of women had their hair and makeup done.
They all greeted Ally like a long lost friend. One woman even jumped out of the chair where a stylist painstakingly flat-ironed her hair and ran over to hug her.
“I’m so glad you came!” she bubbled.
Ally hugged her back, then studied her. “Of course I came,” she said with a smile. “Toya, you look gorgeous.” Skilfully applied make-up highlighted the woman’s smooth, dark skin, beautiful chocolate eyes and full lips. Her ebony hair curved smoothly to her shoulders.
“I’m so nervous!” Toya’s dark eyes flashed.
“You know you can do anything,” Ally reminded her, looking serious. She shook both of Toya’s hands gently. “You have to know that now, after what you’ve been through. Walking out there on that stage is nothing compared to what you’ve accomplished.”
“I know, I know,” Toya replied, visibly calming.
“We’re all shaking in our boots!” called out another woman, her hair being removed from rollers. The others all shouted out agreement and nervous laughter.
“Who’s the hunk, Ally?” another model called out. Ally turned pink.
“This is my friend Jack,” she introduced him. He grinned and lifted a hand. “Jack, this is everyone.”
“Oooh, Ally, he’s hot,” cried another voice. Jack’s grin widened and Ally’s cheeks got pinker.
“Okay, let’s go,” Ally muttered, turning. “Good luck!” she called, with a wave. “Break a leg!”
They groaned as Jack followed her out and back to their seats, bemused by Ally’s interactions with the women.
“My friend Kim’s here,” Ally said, leading him over to a tiny woman with short spiky blonde hair and bright blue eyes. Ally introduced him again after greeting Kim with a hug. They took their seats, Ally between Kim and Jack.
“Did Ally tell you any of their stories?” Kim asked Jack, leaning forward to see him around Ally.
“No,” he said, shaking his head. “In fact, she didn’t tell me that she even knew all those women.” He glanced reprovingly at Ally. She looked down at her hands in her lap.
“Ally volunteers at Freedom House,” Kim said. “You didn’t know that either?”
“Uh...no.”
Kim nodded enthusiastically. “We both do. Ally got involved about a year ago after she did a story on us for LA Life. I’ve been volunteering there for a little longer.”
“The story I did was one of my less fluffy pieces.” Ally smiled wryly. “Something I was actually proud of.”
Hey, what did that mean? She should be proud of all her writing.
“I was so impressed with the strength of some of the women who stayed there, and with the dedication of the volunteers, I got involved myself,” she continued. “Doing what?”
“I work with any women who have literacy issues. And I do some writing for their website - articles about success stories and the like. Stories to motivate women who need the services, and also about volunteers who donate time and money.”
“You teach them to read?”
She nodded.
“Toya had a grade five reading level when she came here,” she told him. “She was addicted to crack and had three kids who had been taken away because she couldn’t care for them. I wasn’t the only one who worked with her, but she and I worked on learning to read.” She shook her head. “It’s a long haul for them. Some don’t make it. But she was tough. She hung in there, persevered. Now she’s clean, she has a good job and she’s gotten her kids back. And you saw her...she’s gorgeous.”
He nodded, something squeezing inside him. “I bet you saw how gorgeous she was right at the beginning.”
She looked at him. “Huh?”
“I know what he means,” Kim said to Ally. “You always know what to focus on with the ladies. You knew right away Toya was smart and loved animals. So you worked on reading with her, stories about animals and veterinarians, and steered her in the direction of working as a vet’s assistant.”
Ally nodded. “Well, yes.”
“You have an ability to see the best in people and bring that out of them.” Jack looked at her, pride and admiration swelling inside him. She met his eyes then looked quickly away, down at her hands. Damn, he’d made her uncomfortable. He felt her moving beside him, her slim shoulder brushing against his. Then she lifted a hand to push her hair back and her warm, flowery scent tempted his nostrils. When the lights dimmed, he barely noticed, so focused was he on the woman beside him, a woman who amazed him, captivated him.

Extreme Close Up Chapter 13

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What I'm Reading Wednesday

I finished Breaking Loose by Tara Janzen. Nice satisfying ending in some ways, in other ways of course she leaves you hanging, desperate for the next book - hurry, Tara!!! I need to know!

This week I started Riding on Instinct by Jaci Burton. This book is part of a series about the Wild Riders, an undercover biker group and the heroine of this story is working undercover as a stripper. Cool.

And if you'd like to read a powerful and moving poem, check out my critique partner Nara Malone's winning poem Blue Harbor, in the the September edition of Emuse.It won the Summer Madness competition.

Monday, September 21, 2009

News!

I have news! Actually to me it's old news, I've just been waiting til all is official to announce it here, although I did already post some of my news at Romance Divas and on Twitter.

I got my contract today from Ellora's Cave for my second book with them: Irish Sex Fairy. So it's official! Finished edits on it over the weekend (barring any other changes my wonderful editor Suz wants me to make!). Check out my website for a blurby thing about it and I'll update release dates and cover when I know!

Also in today's email were my final books for Love Me More, out October 13 from Samhain. All ready to give away in some contests perhaps! I posted the beautiful cover here a couple of weeks ago. Also on my website.

AND THE BIGGEST MOST EXCITING NEWS:
I've signed with agent Laura Bradford!! I got the signed agency agreement a while ago but just thought I'd save up some news and put it all together here! She's already been pitching my book and I'm so thrilled to be working with her.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Extreme Close Up Chapter 11


Jack brushed a kiss over her mouth, a chaste, friendly kiss that did nothing to satisfy the sharp, aching need inside her. In fact, it only served to ignite the low burning heat low in her belly into a red-hot blaze. He pulled back and she almost fell against him as he moved away.
“Good night, Ally.”
She stared at him, her body aching for him, unable to think clearly. Her nipples tingled and hardened beneath the tank top she wore. She pushed down the frustration and arousal and tried to get her wits together.
“Yeah. Um, good night.” Heat slid through her at how close she’d gotten to doing something really embarrassing. She pressed past him and, trying not to flee with shame, flashed her teeth at him in a forced smile, then turned her back and climbed the stairs, one step at a time, fighting the urge to run.
Once in her room, she let emotion take over and sank onto her bed, trembling. She covered her face with her hands. What on earth had she been thinking?
She hadn’t been thinking. She’d been feeling, with every nerve ending in her body, feeling more than she’d ever felt in her life.
Since Carter’s betrayal, she’d been a lifeless mannequin. She’d had no interest in dating, a huge cold emptiness inside her. She didn’t know what she’d done wrong that had led Carter to cheat on her with another woman, and had wondered if she would ever meet someone that would make her feel alive, someone she would satisfy.
But not Jack. He was a friend. He was not someone to satisfy her sexual yearnings with. God.

* * *

They could try to pretend the moment had never happened, but it was there, making things awkward and edgy. Ally’d appeared in kitchen while he was eating his cereal in the morning, dressed in a swirl-around-the-knees flowered skirt and a camisole top that showed off smooth shoulders and arms.
She’d flashed a too-bright smile and headed for the coffee pot, and he’d responded with a similar smile. Now they sat at the counter on stools, eating, drinking coffee, Jack looking at Ally’s morning newspaper, the silence dense and heavy.
Jack finished reading the paper and folded it up.
Ally glanced at her watch. “I’ll call Carter at his office,” she offered, reaching for the phone on the counter.
He listened to her talk to Carter’s secretary.
“Oh, he is,” she said, eyes meeting his. “When’s he due back? Wednesday. You expect him in the office Wednesday morning?” She paused, listening. “Oh. Okay then. Thanks, Bridget.”
She pressed the button to turn the phone off and set it down on the counter. “He’s in San Diego.”
“Oh.”
“I should have asked her for his cell phone number.” Jack shook his head. “Nah. Never mind. I’ll still be here Wednesday, I’ll call him then.”
“Okay.” She eyed him cautiously. She picked up a piece of toast, then set it down on her plate again. “I have to work today.”
“God, that’s fine Ally. I don’t want to get in your way of that. I’ll find something to do.”
“And tonight I’m going out.”
“Oh.” His body tensed. Was she going on a date?
“I’m going to a fashion show.”
A fashion show?
Ally got up and walked over to a closet. “Here’s an extra key, so you can come and go as you need.”
“Thanks.” Jack pocketed the key slowly.
She hesitated at the door of the kitchen, coffee mug in hand. “You can come with me tonight, if you want,” she offered tentatively. “It’s a different kind of fashion show.”
“Different how?”
“It’s a charity event to raise money for Freedom House.”
He raised a brow.
“Freedom House is a shelter, part of a big international charitable organization. They help women with drug addictions get clean and get their lives back.”
He nodded, noticed the flare in her eyes as she talked.
“The fashion show raises money, of course, but the models are all women who’ve been through the program. It helps boost their self esteem and also gives them some recognition for what they’ve accomplished.”
Jack had once visited a photographer buddy in Milan who shot fashion. He envisioned stick-thin models strutting the runways in outrageous couture clothing and shook his head. “Sure I’ll come,” he said, somewhat doubtfully.
Rather than hang around Ally’s house again all day - especially if she was there – he made his way to the beach. A few people wandered there and Jack strolled along, two cameras hanging around his neck.
That brush of a kiss last night had been a huge mistake. It had been so hard to resist taking more, her multi-colored eyes all big and sparkling, her lush mouth just begging to be kissed. It had almost seemed as if she wanted it as much as he did. How could that be? Could it be?
The Pacific Ocean sparkled in the eye-stabbing sunshine, the morning warmth hinting of heat to come later, the fresh breeze carrying the salty tang of the sea. This was so far away from what he’d left in Iraq it was almost surreal.
There was a certain relief in being away from the pain and tragedy that haunted daily life there. Maybe he hadn’t realized how much it had been affecting him until he was removed from it. It weighed on a person, made every day, every simple daily act, an effort, fear and a low-level anxiety always present, coloring and shadowing everything.
He took a deep breath of fresh sea air, letting the ocean breeze stroke through his shaggy hair.
And yet, despite its beauty, its picture-perfection, its blatant wealth and shininess, LA wasn’t perfect either. As he passed a building housing washrooms and showers for beachgoers, he spotted a scruffy-looking man dressed in threadbare clothes. He’d apparently just used the facilities to shower, and carried what looked like all his worldly possessions in a plastic shopping bag. He stopped at the overflowing trash can to peer in and dig though it.
Jack lifted his camera and framed the man, his thin face concentrated on his important task, rotated the focusing ring until the image was sharp, and clicked. His long lens let him take the shot without the man realizing and he rapidly fired off a few more shots. As Jack continued his walk, he encountered other homeless people who’d found shelter near the beach for the night. Their lives were probably filled with fear and anxiety, a struggle for them that was different than life in Iraq but no less difficult.
Not for the first time, a feeling of gratitude swept over Jack, a realization of how incredibly lucky he was.

Extreme Close Up Chapter 12

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What I'm Reading Wednesday

I finished Crazy Kisses by Tara Janzen and am now into Breaking Loose also by Tara. There are several little mysteries in this story that are pulling at me, have to find out what’s going on, but one of them (again so hard not to talk about these books without spoilers!) I can only say, yes!! He’s alive!! And I don’t think he’s actually Jesus Christ LOL.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Extreme Close Up Chapter 10

“What?” Jack stared at her.
Ally bit her lip and peered up at him through her eyelashes. His hands clenched into fists at his side and his jaw tightened.
“Why would you think that?” he demanded. He squinted at her.
“You have a daughter together,” Ally whispered, twisting her fingers around each other. “You cared about her once.”
He gave a harsh laugh. “That was years ago. I was eighteen, for Chrissake.”
“But it’s possible...”
He shook his head, ran a hand through his hair. “No. It’s not possible, Ally. Believe me.”
“Okay. I just thought maybe you’d rather have me out of the way if you two...”
“Is that what you were thinking about earlier? When we left Brittany’s?”
“Yes.”
“God. I thought you were pissed off at me for dragging you into this mess.”
Her mouth fell open. “I’m not pissed off! I’m...upset about it. I feel bad for Brittany and how she’s raised a daughter all on her own. It can’t have been easy. And I’m sad about how she kept your daughter from you all these years...but I’m not mad at you. About that, anyway.”
Their eyes met and held. “So it’s okay if I stay longer?” He had no goddamn idea why he was doing this. He should get the hell out of here before he embarrassed himself.
“Yes.”
“Okay.”
They stood there in front of her home.
“Um...I’ll make dinner. I have some chicken...”
“That’d be good.”
“It’s actually nice to have someone to cook for again,” she said over her shoulder, heading into the condo. “When it’s just me, I don’t bother much. Lean Cuisines and soup.”
“Can I help?”
She turned and looked at him. “Have you learned how to cook in the last five years? Because you sure didn’t know how before.”
He grinned. “No.”
She tried to hold back her smile but couldn’t. “Then you’re not much help.”
“I can do something. I can fetch stuff for you. Set the table.”
Shaking her head, she opened the fridge door and bent over to stick her head inside. The shorts rode up and his hands ached to test the curvy flesh of her ass, to see if it was as firm and soft as he thought.
She backed out and stood up, holding a package of chicken breasts and some bags of produce. He dragged his gaze up. She didn’t seem to have noticed him checking out her ass.
She pulled out a cutting board, started slicing, chopping, mincing. “Can you get me a box of fettuccine from the cupboard over there?”
He helped her fix dinner and then they sat at the counter to eat the awesome pasta, chicken and vegetables in a garlicky-tomato sauce and warm, crusty rolls.
“You’re a good cook, Ally,” Jack said as he polished off the last of the chicken.
“Thanks. I like cooking.”
“I like eating, so we’re a perfect match.”
Once again their eyes met and awareness shimmered between them, and he knew she felt it too. Christ, he was in trouble.
An intense, aching want tightened his body, made him hard. With hands that trembled, he carefully set down his cutlery. Those watchful, see-inside-you, green, gold and brown eyes terrified him. He picked up his glass of water and drank deeply, dragging his eyes away from her. Why the hell hadn’t he gone to a hotel like he’d planned? The food he’d eaten churned in his gut.
He had to get a grip if he was going to stay there. Ally was off limits. It made his chest ache, though, to have come all this way, found her - alone! Not with Carter any more. To find he still wanted her, more than anything in the world. But he still couldn’t have her.

* * *

Ally sat back in her chair, poking at the last of the food on her plate with her fork, stomach tight, appetite gone. Something about the way Jack looked at her, the way his eyes grew hot and dark, the way his face tightened, made him look insanely sexy. It squeezed the breath out of her and made her shiver.
When he finally looked away she sucked in a deep breath. God, last night this had happened, too. What was going on? She pressed a hand to her tummy.
“I’ll do the dishes,” he said, pushing back his chair and standing up. “Since you cooked.”
“Oh, that’s okay.” But he was adamant.
“Just show me where stuff is, and I’ll do it. You go watch TV or whatever you’d usually do on a Sunday night.”
She wandered into the living room and sat on the couch, took a big breath in. And out. This was insane. She could not be having these kinds of thoughts about Jack. For one thing, he was a friend. That’s all. For another thing, he’d think she was nuts. Although she got the impression he felt something, too. But he had enough confusion in his life right now. And, he’d soon be leaving again to go back to some war-torn country to take powerful, gut-wrenching, award-winning photographs. She sighed.
When he came into the room a short time later, she still hadn’t turned the television on, sat staring into space in the evening dimness. He sat on the far end of the couch from her.
She turned to him. “Did you feel like a father? This afternoon, when you met Sarah?” Her fingers played with the cushion she held on her lap.
Jack put his hands behind his head and leaned back, looking up at the ceiling. The short sleeves of his T-shirt rode up and the paler underside of his biceps bulged. Ally’s mouth went dry.
“No,” he finally said. He was quiet again for a moment. “I don’t know what I felt. I thought maybe there’d be some instant connection, some paternal instinct would kick in. But I just felt like I was meeting Brittany’s daughter. Except I was more nervous.”
“You were nervous?”
“Hell, yeah. Like a first date, when you want to make a good impression. Only worse.”
“Oh, Jack.” Her heart squeezed. “She will love you. You two just need to get to know each other.”
He turned his head to look at her. “I guess.” He closed his eyes and pain etched grooves in his face on either side of his mouth. “What a fucking mess.”
“I don’t know if I’ll be here long enough to get to know her. And even if I am...I still have to leave.” Jack’s voice was raw with emotion. “How do I do that, Ally? How do I be a father to her?”
Ally bit her lip. “I don’t know,” she whispered. The ache in her chest intensified. She ached for Brittany, who’d chosen such a difficult path, for Sarah who’d never known her dad, for how she might feel when she did get to know him and he left, and for Jack...especially for Jack, sitting there agonizing over his life.
“So what happens tomorrow?” she asked. “Brittany is going to call you?”
He nodded. “Yup. I guess we’ll talk about how we’re going to handle this. When to tell Sarah.” He sat up and lowered his arms. “Sarah wants a tree house. If Brittany will let me, I might build one for her.”
Ally pictured Jack swinging a hammer. Shirtless, muscles flexing. Whoa. She swallowed, tried to talk. “You know how to build a tree house?” Her throat felt as if she’d swallowed cotton.
He laughed. “I have no clue. But I think I could figure it out.” He stretched his long legs out in front of him, the soft, worn denim outlining the big hard muscles in his thighs. She couldn’t help but notice the bulge behind his fly, and immediately looked away, appalled at herself.
She nodded. “Okay. Well, I’m going up to bed. Good night.” She stood and as she moved by him, he stood, too.
She couldn’t get past him with the couch on one side and the coffee table on the other. She looked up at him uncertainly. He reached a hand out and took hold of her hair, hanging over her shoulder, and dragged his fingers down the length of it. When his fingers got to the ends, he held on, gave a gentle tug that brought her closer. God, she loved having her hair touched. Did he know that?
“Thanks for letting me stay here,” he said softly. “And for your support.” His eyelids went heavy and his wrist rested just against the swell of her breast, still holding her hair. She tried not to breathe, but the urge to inhale deeply and push her breast against him was almost impossible to resist. This close, she could smell the warm, male scent of him. She stood still, paralyzed, hypnotized by his blue, blue eyes. Liquid warmth pooled inside her, low in her belly, and she longed for him to touch her hair again, longed to move forward that scant distance between them and press her body against his.
The light from the television brightened, then dimmed, the sound of the newscast a distant, wordless hum.
Fuzzy-minded, soft-bodied, her eyes went to Jack’s mouth, the allure of it so tempting. She felt her own eyes start to fall shut and she swayed a bit closer, her lips parting.

Extreme Close Up Chapter 11

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What I'm Reading Wednesday

Almost forgot it was Wednesday, because of the long weekend! Love those short weeks.

This week I read Smash Cut by Sandra Brown. Wow! She totally got me. Lately I can predict plot twists in stories I’m reading with ho hum regularity so I am lost in admiration that I did not figure this one out. Of course after the fact, I don’t know why I didn’t. Not to reveal any spoilers, but it was the one thing nagging at me about the story, so really I should have clued in. But when I got there and read it, it hit me right between the eyes and I laughed out lout because I was so surprised. Loved it! She is a great story teller.

And I started Crazy Kisses by Tara Janzen. Yes, I’m back to Tara. I want to read this one before I read her latest. It’s already downloaded on my reader!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I have a cover!

Here's the cover for my next Samhain release coming October 13, 2009:







And the blurb:

This time, it’s all about his ultimate fantasy. If she has the nerve…
The sequel to Love Me.


In a bid for her boyfriend’s undivided attention, Melina indulged in a flirtation that led to an unexpected—and incredibly sexy—threesome.

Now, months later and on their way to the altar, she and Gavin don’t talk much about that night. Except his confession that in his threesome fantasies, the two women are focused entirely on his pleasure.


Melina is a little uncomfortable about that—and more uncomfortable about the wild and wicked bachelor party his buddies have planned for him. She’s no prude, but the idea of him being uh…attended to by unknown women is driving her crazy. Gavin agrees to a compromise, but it leaves her with a lingering feeling of guilt.

How to make it up to him? She has an idea…but does she have the nerve?

Warning: This story contains fighting, pouting, guilt, make-up sex, a threesome, and more make-up sex.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Extreme Close Up Chapter 9




“Mom.” Sarah spoke softly, tugged at her mother’s sleeve. “I want to go outside.”
Brittany gazed down at her daughter, bit her lip. “Well...”
“What’s outside?” Jack asked.
“My swing set. I can do gymnastics...”
“No,” Brittany said sharply. She glanced at Jack, then smiled at Sarah. “No gymnastics today, honey.”
“Well, show me your swing set.” Jack stood and set his empty glass on the coffee table. “Even if you can’t do gymnastics today.” He grinned at Sarah and to his immense gratification, she actually smiled back at him.
“Okay.” She skipped out of the room and he trailed behind her, through the kitchen to the back door. A tidy patch of lawn and a few pots of colorful flowers made up Brittany’s yard. A large swing set with a yellow plastic slide dominated the small space.
Sarah plopped herself down on a seat and started to swing back and forth.
“I guess if I sat on that swing I’d probably break the whole thing.” Jack eyed the other seat doubtfully.
“Yeah. You’re pretty big. I mean...”
“You calling me fat?” He made his voice teasing and was glad to see her smile again.
“No! I didn’t mean you’re fat!”
“I know, I know, I’m kidding.”
“You’re just tall,” she added hastily, kicking her little feet. “And...um...big.”
He laughed. “Do your friends come over sometimes to play here?”
“Yeah, sometimes.” She moved back and forth. “Why’d you want to see my swing set? It’s not that great.”
“I guess it’s ‘cause I’ve been away for so long. I just wanted to see something nice and normal and American.”
She seemed to accept that. “I want a tree house.”
“Yeah. Tree houses are fun. I had one when I was a kid.”
“Really? Did your dad build it?”
` “Yeah, he did. I helped, but I probably caused him more work than I actually helped.” He laughed.
“I don’t have a dad,” Sarah said matter-of-factly. “Not here, anyway. Mom says I have a dad, but he lives too far away for me to see him.” She gave a gusty sigh. “I wish he was here so he could build a tree house. Right there.” She waved a hand at the live oak in the corner of the yard. Jack’s heart squeezed. Oh God. If he opened his mouth something was going to come out. He closed his eyes, tipped his head back while he got things under control.
He coughed. “Yeah, dads are good for some things.”
“All my friends have dads, except some of them don’t live with their dad anymore. They got a divorce. That really sucks.”
“Yeah, I guess it does. That happens sometimes.”
Sarah rolled her eyes. “A lot,” she said, and her young cynicism dug into his heart.
“Everything okay out here?” Brittany’s voice came from behind him and he could hear the note of anxiety. He turned and smiled reassuringly.
“Yeah. We were just talking about tree houses.”
“Oh. Sarah, are you on that again?” Brittany smiled. “You’re just not going to give up that idea, are you?”
“No.” Sarah pouted. “I want one.”
Jack glanced at Brittany and moved over to her to speak in a low voice. “Could she have one? ‘Cause if I’m here long enough, maybe I could...”
Brittany shushed him, apparently afraid Sarah would overhear. “We’ll talk later,” she whispered, frowning.
He nodded, and they all went back inside.
He felt Ally’s gaze on him as he walked back into the living room, her beautiful hazel eyes full of compassion and curiosity. He shot her a smile, sat back down again. “Brittany and I were getting caught up,” Ally said cheerily.
“Wanna see my room?” Sarah invited.
“Oh, Sarah...” Brittany began, but Jack stood again.
“Sure.”
“You can come too, Ally,” Sarah invited her. Ally followed them down the hall to Sarah’s small pink and white room.
After seeing her doll collection, and after she’d modeled the pouffy white tutu she’d worn in her ballet recital, Jack, Ally and Sarah returned to the living room once again.
“I guess we should go,” Jack said finally.
“Why don’t you call me tomorrow?” Brittany suggested quietly, as she showed them out. “We can talk more.”
“Sure.” He turned to call back into the house. “’Bye Sarah. Nice to meet you.”
He heard her small voice calling a goodbye over the television she’d already switched back on and he grinned.
In the car he wiped a hand across his forehead. “Whew.”
Ally studied him, a faint smile curving her lips. “You sound relieved.”
“Yeah. I had no idea what to expect. She seems like a good kid.”
“Yes, she does.”
Jack started the car and headed for the freeway again.
After several miles of silence, he asked, “What’s wrong?”
She looked at him, startled. “Nothing. Well...other than this whole situation.”
“You know you don’t have to do this. I can deal with all this on my own.”
“Is that what you want to do?”
Hell, no. He’d had bombs raining down around him, explosions ripping up the ground, seen people hurt and killed, watched his friend grieve the loss of his young family, and he’d done it on his own. But right now...he didn’t want to be alone.
“I can.” He kept his eyes on the road.
She fell silent again, and when he shot her a sideways glance, she was gazing out the side window. The silence in the car thickened, making his gut roll until they got to Ally’s home.
They climbed out of the car and stood there for a moment, looking at each other.
“Ally...”
“Jack...”
They both smiled slowly. He touched her hair.
“Ally. Do you want me to leave?”
“You don’t have to,” she said. “I’ll butt out of your business, if you want, but you can stay here.”
“Butt out?” He stared at her. “Ally, I asked you to come today.”
“I know, but I thought maybe you’d rather...” She appeared to struggle for words. “Do you think you and Brittany will get back together?”

Extreme Close Up Chapter 10

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What I'm Reading Wednesday

Is it really Wednesday? (Yawn). I'm so tired. In a fit of late night insomnia I stayed up and finished Laid Bare by Lauren Dane. Very hot book.

I also finished this week Megan Hart's Deeper. Yes, this is a book you have to think about after to know how you feel about it. I liked it. It made me think of a lot of things, which I can't even really talk about much her without giving a whole lot of spoilers. It made me think about how one even can change the shape of our whole life, how life takes unexpected twists and turns, and what would it be like to have a second chance? To find out how different things could have been? Except you can't really go back and time doesn't stand still and there isn't always a happy ending.