Saturday, July 14, 2018

Rejection By S.C. Wynne


Morning all!

Rejection is a weird thing. Even when you're ready for it or assume rejection is on it's way, it's still hard to swallow. Authors deal with a lot of rejection. Even if you self publish, you get rejected by readers. Who knows why one person loves your book and another hates it? Any time I get a mean review, I go and check a few authors I respect and love, and there are ALWAYS one star reviews on their books too. That puts it in perspective for me.

But I still hate rejection. lol

Sometimes rejection is a good thing. I've had books turned down by publishers before and the truth was that was the best thing for me. That rejection often allowed me to self publish the story, and make ten times the money quickly. But still, that rejection stings. It's strange. You'd think I'd be happy because I made a lot of money.

I guess rejection hurts because no matter where you are in your writing journey, or just life, rejection is personal. Even when people say it isn't, it feels personal. I remember one of the things that shocked me the most when I published my first book many years ago was that a fictional story could actually have people hate it. They didn't just not like it. THEY HATED IT. Their reviews were so mean it felt like they hated me too. Certain reviewers would pile on the gifs and mean criticisms, I guess thinking they were clever and witty? Personally, I found them childish and ill mannered. Whether on my books or fellow authors books, there's no need to be rude and arrogant about your opinion. You're entitled to your opinion, of course, but the best reviews are ones that are constructive, not childish. IMHO.

I will say when it comes to my writing career, I'm so much thicker skinned than I used to be. Maybe because I'm more confident in my abilities these days. I also learned never, ever to go to Goodreads. I haven't been there in years for anything other than accepting friend requests.

What about you? Do you crumble under rejection or does it roll off your back?

S.C.
www.scwynne.com


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

It`s HOT with BA, Julia, Kiernan and Sean


We are all too hot to think this week so instead we present to you the following pics.




Feeling cooler yet? Yeah, neither are we....



Sunday, July 8, 2018

Discipline: New in Audio!


Deviations: Discipline
New in Audio!

It's finally out! After a little tug of war with ACX, the audio version of Discipline is available for purchase. YAY!

Buy link: 

Tobias and Noah explore their relationship more deeply than they ever have, not just with their own dominance and submission, but with their friends.

As Noah helps Tobias through the loss of someone dear, he finds Tobias helping him, too, leading him through some intense sexual games, breaking down the last of Noah's fears, and helping him face his biggest one. The cage.

Meanwhile, Tobias' ex-lover, Phantom, becomes close friends with Noah as they discover and try to resist the simmering sexual tension between them. Their teasing turns to real support when Phantom reaches the breaking point thanks to the lack of a master in his life, something he desperately needs.

While Bradford works to become that master, Tobias and Noah go to Paris, where they see the sights, go to sex clubs, and re-negotiate their contract. Returning from Paris to their own lives brings then all sorts of new difficulties, from deciding whether they should live together to trying to figure out just where Phantom belongs in their ever-changing relationship.

Deviations: Discipline is the third book in the popular Deviations series, which begins with Deviations: Submission, and Deviations: Dominance. Chris Owen and Jodi Payne have another winner on their hands, a gripping, emotional tale that you won't want to miss!

Excerpt:

Tobias cursed as he came across yet another torn up intersection. Traffic was a mess all through the downtown core, and his frustration level was rising with every one-way street he had to navigate. He was going in a circle, he just knew it, and Lincoln Avenue was always just out of reach.

The trouble, he decided, wasn't so much the damn construction as the sheer idiocy of the drivers who simply wouldn't get out of his way and let him get home. "It's not even close to rush hour," he muttered, talking out loud in uncharacteristic frustration and trying to ease around yet another truck offloading dirt or equipment or something. He hit the gas and then the brakes as a woman in a PT Cruiser cut him off and gave him the finger.

"And you would think," he added, "that with all this crap going on... I could at least lose this fucking erection." An incredibly persistent one at that, one that had been with him to varying degrees since he'd woken up from a morning dream about Noah and new leather wrist cuffs that had complex and intriguing chains dangling from them. He'd been hard off and on since then, and his body was definitely settling on full hardness at the moment.

He took another breath and looked around at the traffic as he shifted uncomfortably in his seat, his irritation growing. "But no. Not today. Today, I'm cursed with an iron dick, a schedule that's opened up, a submissive at work, and endless traffic. God damn it!" He slammed his hand down on the steering wheel and a miracle happened: the road in front of his car emptied.

So he hit the gas and took off, heading for home. The sudden siren and flashing lights in his rearview mirror made him glance down at the speedometer in dismay. "Ah, shit." With a sigh he pulled over and undid his seatbelt.

A chest in uniform appeared at the driver's side window. A knuckle tapped on the glass, and Tobias rolled down the window, stifling another sigh. The cop had one hand on his gun. As if Tobias could make a bid for freedom in this traffic.

"License and registration, please," a voice requested in an official tone, and Tobias dutifully reached for the glove compartment. "Wait a minute." The cop rested an arm on the door and ducked to see better into the car. "Do you have any idea how fast you were going, sir?"

"Jesus Christ," Tobias groaned, his head falling back on the seat. "Yes. Too fast. Would you like to know why, Noah?"

"That's 'Officer Dolan,' sir, and, yes. Yes, I would." Noah grinned widely.

Tobias rolled his eyes. "Well, you see, Officer Dolan, I have a smart-mouthed lover whom I can't get out of my head." He pointed to his lap. "I was in rather a rush to call him. Or at least think about him in private."

Buy Discipline Here: http://bit.ly/DisciplineAudio

Happy Sunday!

Jodi
jodipayne.net




Saturday, July 7, 2018

Do You Judge A Book By It's Cover? By S.C. Wynne



 Image result for off with her head

Good morning, all!


Just FYI, this post actually has nothing to do with book covers! :D

I was watching the Bachelorette with my daughter the other night, and there was one guy who we immediately dismissed as A TYPE. He has long hair and he looked like he was probably self-absorbed and kind of a Fabio type of guy. But now we feel really guilty because he is the nicest guy and very thoughtful and kind hearted. (I doubt she'll pick him and he will no doubt get his poor little heart crushed... but I digress)

It got me thinking about how often I do judge things based on the surface appearance. I don't think I'm the only person who does that because I see people judge others for being fat or black or poor quite often. People judge people all the time based only on the surface. It's such an odd thing. Why don't we simply wait to make our decision once we have some info? lol

I think women worry about this type of judgment more than men. Not to say guys don't suffer from it too, obviously they do since I just judged that poor guy on the Bachelorette. But I do think women in general are judged on our appearance more. Maybe you disagree, and I'd love to hear your opinion down below. But it does seem like the first insult a man always goes for with a woman is her looks.

This sort of shallow dismissal of people based on surface things is a drag. Especially as you get older. I mean, there is only so much anyone can do to try and look their best. I don't like the idea of plastic surgery. The most I might do would be botox, although I haven't yet!

I suppose I wrote this post because I hated realizing I judged people like that. I would like to be the kind of person who reserves judgment about another human based on actual facts. If they look like a jerk, well, maybe they are a jerk. But maybe they're not. I'm going to try and be better about jumping to conclusions about people. How about you?

S.C.
www.scwynne.com






Friday, July 6, 2018

Find Your Tribe by Felice Stevens


When I first started writing I belonged to a critique group. Every week, we'd share a set number of pages, usually several chapters of our WIP and critique them for plot, structure, active vs. passive voice, etc. It was hard sometimes to get the criticism back and to see  my colleagues, whose opinions I respected, tell me that something I thought was brilliant....wasn't. LOL. 

But seriously, getting honest, critical feedback was so important and I know it made me a better writer. We had rules-never be hurtful, be kind but honest. Telling someone the book is wonderful and it's the best book ever, is not helpful. But ripping work to shreds isn't good either. It takes finesse and a delicate hand to become a good critique partner. Writing isn't stagnant—every book should be better than the last and we are constantly moving forward to get better, do better, be better.

Even more importantly than the critique itself was that in that process, I found a group of authors who became a support system. We formed on-line chat groups and cheered each other on when we submitted our books to agents and editors, commiserated at rejections and broke open the virtual champagne when each of us signed a contract. They were the ones I turned to when I needed a pick me up on a bad writing day, or when I'd see something on the internet that made me want to scream. When I had a breakthrough on a point in my WIP that gave me trouble, they celebrated with me.

But people come and go and some friendships died a natural death, not because of any falling out, but because we'd shifted direction and perspective. Luckily for me, I retained a few special friends and four years later we are still going strong, although we no longer exchange our chapters for critique. And I found new friends within the MM romance community. It took a while to find authors who meshed with  my particular brand of silly, but these friendships are like a life line now. We can bitch and moan and be real. We can talk about craft and share the latest publishing news we've read. We can brainstorm and show our covers and ask for opinions and talk about everything under the sun. 

Having people as a support system is such a critical part of the creative process, at least for me. Writing is a solitary business, but I love bouncing ideas off of my friends and hearing why they think something will or won't work. Funny enough, sometimes they remember my characters better than I do and will say, "You can't do that because it won't work with X's storyline."

So I guess what this rambling post is about is, find your tribe, no matter what you do. You never know when that tentative outreach could blossom into a life long friendship that extends way beyond simply writing.

I hope you have a great week, and happy reading!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Limericks from BA, Julia, Sean and Kiernan


We decided to write y'all original limericks today!

Kiernan Kelly

There once was a writer who needed

a deadline to hit unimpeded

she banged on the keys

and prayed on her knees

but the day came and went unheeded.

Sean Michael

There once was a man young and strong

Who had a dick nice and long

He knew how to play

Each and every day

And he’d share it with you for a song.

Julia Talbot

There once was a man from the 'Burque

Who met his new lover at work

They both loved to go

to the weekend rodeo

which turned out to be a great perk

Yep, I have cowboys chatting at me.

BA Tortuga

There once was a poor crazy writer

Whose boys would constantly fight her

They wanted to fuck

But settled on suck

Else the Dreamspun rules come back to bite her.

Can you tell we're all a little punch drunk?

Happy 4th y'all!

XXOO

Julia

Visit our websites:

Sean's is http://www.seanmichaelwrites.com

Julia’s is http://www.juliatalbot.com

BA’s is http://www.batortuga.com

Kiernan's is www.KiernanKelly.com

Facebook:

Sean -- https://www.facebook.com/SeanMichaelWrites

Julia -- https://www.facebook.com/juliatalbotauthor

BA -- https://www.facebook.com/batortuga

Kiernan -- https://www.facebook.com/kiernan.kelly

Saturday, June 30, 2018

My Work In Progress By S.C. Wynne


Hello all!

I'm working on a rewrite right now. It's a story about an older protagonist who is trying to move on after losing his lover of thirty years.

It's interesting writing about a man who is fifty-three, when I usually write about much younger guys. There's a fine line between still showing him as a sexy, romantic hero type, while not ignoring or brushing over the fact that he isn't supposed to be twenty. I know some readers want main characters to be perfect, and since it's fiction, often they are better than life. But if the point of a story is to deal with an older protagonist, then it's really important not to pretend he's the same as someone who is much younger.

I'll be honest, I have to fight myself. I have to reassure myself that it's okay if maybe his skin isn't perfect. Or maybe there is a hint of gray hair? I hate that I struggle with the idea of an older man being as attractive as a younger man. What does that say about me? What does that say about society?

I'm adding a lot more to the story than was originally in it when it was first released with Ellora's Cave. I'm doing that because I feel like I didn't address his age like I'd like to the first time around. This time I want to slow down and let the reader feel his confusion. I want the reader to feel just how weird it is for this older man, who has really only ever been with one lover, accept the idea of moving on. Accept the idea that he isn't a young man. Accept that maybe that's okay.

Here's a taste of what I have so far.

Excerpt:

Chapter One

Rory was in front of me. He was charging in like a bull, with no regard to our safety. He shouldn’t have gone first, but he’d brushed off my concerns as usual. I could never get him to listen to me lately. He’d laughed at me when I said being cocky could get us hurt. But Rory knew best, he always did. So I followed him with my stomach churning, as I tried to make out any movement in the shadows that surrounded us. Something was off. The old dark warehouse smelled like gasoline, and mold and it worried me there were too many rust stained barrels and wooden crates to hide behind. I needed to tell him something wasn’t right, but when I opened my mouth to speak, no sound came from my dry throat. The silence was so thick I could almost hear the trickle of sweat that slid down my forehead right before the bullet hit him. Blood smacked my cheek, and I froze as the scarlet warmth slipped to the corner of my mouth. It was like sand slipping through my fingers as he crumpled to the ground and I flew on top of him. Too late. Always too late.

I jerked awake, smearing the hot tears off my face. My heart was about to explode from my chest, and I was nauseous, drenched in perspiration. Just the sound of my labored breathing and a clock ticking somewhere in the room. So quiet. So fucking silent. That was the worst part of waking up like this. No one to hold me and tell me it was just a dream. But that someone would be Rory. And this wasn’t a dream.

I stumbled into the kitchen, stretching my stiff muscles. Making coffee always calmed me. The heady smell of the beans grinding, pouring the water, flipping the switch. Rory had hated how strong I’d always made it. “Is this sludge or coffee?” he’d have said grinning as he leaned against the counter. I’d have ignored him and poured myself a generous cup. I should have listened to him about the coffee. I should have paid attention to a lot of things better. I wished to God he’d listened to me about my gut feeling that morning.  

I washed while the java brewed and got dressed in the little bedroom we’d shared. Everything looked the same as before he died. I couldn’t bring myself to change anything. On the dresser was the picture of us in Santa Barbara last summer. We looked so happy, sun kissed and relaxed. I talked to that picture sometimes. But then the sound of my hollow, bitter voice would make the house seem even more empty and cold. Maybe I should get a cat or a dog. If only so there would be some noise in the house other than that damn ticking clock. I filled my travel mug and let myself out of the house.

The sun warmed my shoulders through my thin shirt and a blue jay screeched somewhere unseen above my head in the purple Jacarandas. It would be a beautiful day in Los Angeles, too bad I would be sitting in a court room all afternoon. I got in the car and sat for a moment. More silence. Rory would have had a story to tell, or maybe one of his dirty jokes he loved so much. “Did you hear the one about the three legged prostitute?” I flipped on the radio and winced at the perky chatterbox giving the traffic report. How did she do it? How did she muster such enthusiasm for the traffic? I shut it off, disgusted. I don’t know, maybe just people in general irritated me.

I drove the short distance to Fredrick’s office, surprised to see he was already waiting on the patio out front. He threw down his cigarette and crushed it under his designer leather shoe. He strode gracefully to the car and I climbed out to open the back door for him.

“Jesus Christ, Andrew. You’re late.” He lowered his head and slid into the car. “You’re never late, I was worried.”

“You’re never on time. I didn’t think it would matter.”

As I returned to my spot behind the wheel I observed his scowl in the rear-view mirror. He was watching the back of my head intently. “What’s wrong?” he asked.

“Nothing, I didn’t sleep well, that’s all.”

“Did you have that damned dream again?” he asked, running a slender hand over his sleek graying hair.

I ignored him and pulled out into traffic. The roads were unusually quiet as we made our way toward the Los Angeles Superior Court. Maybe the other drivers knew something we didn’t. Maybe the world had ended. Was it a bad sign that I didn’t care either way?

“You need to talk to someone, Andrew.”

“Is talking going to bring him back?” I asked gruffly.

Fredrick’s face looked drawn. “It might be helpful to have professional insight.”

“Professional insight,” I snorted. “Here’s some insight, mind your own business.”

“Well if you’re going to make me late it is my business.” He sniffed. “You’re generally a very punctual little son of a bitch.”

“It won’t happen again.” I bit my tongue. I wasn’t here to argue. He was my employer these days, and my job description was to keep him safe. I would love to tell him to go fuck himself, but that would be impolite wouldn’t it?

Rory and I had met Fredrick right out of college. The ink hadn’t dried on our Criminal Justice degrees when Rory struck up a pseudo friendship with Fredrick at the local sandwich place near the courthouse. Rory had always been good at things like making friends. He’d connected with others effortlessly, while I was more reserved. Rory had loved everybody, and I’d had what I considered a healthy distrust toward most humans. But we’d been a great team. He’d plugged my gaps, and I’d like to think I’d done the same for him.

Eventually over Turkey on rye and dill pickles our desire to become private detectives had been discussed with Fredrick. Fredrick had already been establishing himself as an up and coming criminal defense attorney back in those days. Because of his relationship with Rory he’d set it up so we could get the hours needed on the job to become licensed, and from there a beautiful partnership had been formed.

That was until Rory died last year, and I’d gone off the deep end. I hadn’t had it in me to continue the way it had been, and Fredrick had made a spot for me as his personal guard. I knew I owed him my sanity, but I couldn’t quite let him know that for some reason. Maybe I wasn’t positive my saneness was going to stick.

“I only say something because I care.” Fredrick’s testy voice broke into my thoughts bringing me back to the present. The sides of his mouth were turned down. “I don’t want you starting up that…behavior again. You know I took a chance and I hired you when others said you were too old, burned out and just a drunk. I have my fingers crossed you don’t prove them all right and make a fool of me.”

If he was going to keep talking it was going to be really hard to be polite.

“You know I’m grateful for the job, Fredrick.” Let’s not forget you pay me peanuts, you cheap bastard.

He seemed to buy it. I’d become a pretty good actor the last twelve months. You had to be when you were hiding stuff. There were so many prying eyes and caring questions, it was annoying and touching all at the same time. But I would probably be fine if they would all just leave me alone. My body had healed fairly quickly for a fifty-three year old.

“I really wish you’d talk to someone.” His voice was soft and distracted as he read over his legal briefs.

We entered the courtroom together but I veered off to the side and seated myself behind him near his legal team. I tuned out the voices and scoped the people and the room casually. There were two beefy guards near the door looking bored. A nervous young blonde girl bending the corners of her paperwork sat near me. There were families of victims and the accused huddled in the hard seats waiting for the lawyers and judges to decide the fates of all involved.

The judge eventually breezed in and Fredrick and his team went to work. Fredrick was very good at what he did. He was one of the top defense attorneys in the city and his caseload was staggering. Tough and relentless as a bull terrier, Fredrick rarely lost so that made him popular with the criminal element in town. But when he didn’t prevail that same element was none too happy and that’s why he had me. He’d failed to win an assault case a couple of months back with a kid who had gang ties, and his client had threatened him. Odds were the crook would never follow through on his threats. His clients tried to intimidate him all the time. I suspected Fredrick’s main motivation in hiring me wasn’t his safety so much as wanting to help me financially. And prideful or not I’d needed the assistance, so I’d agreed and he’d retained my services as his protector. So I drove him around and kept an eye on him at the courthouse. It was a mutually beneficial arrangement. He didn’t die and I got to eat.

Five hours later Fredrick finished arguing his last case and I drove him back to his office and sat in the corner quietly as he worked. My cell buzzed shaking me from my drowsy state and I answered, not recognizing the number.

“May I speak with Andrew James?” A husky male voice asked.

“Speaking.”

“This is Michael Lawrence. I was wondering if you wanted to set up a time to get together this week?”

I was mystified as to what he meant. Set up an appointment for what? “I’m sorry. Who’s this?”

“Michael Lawrence, I’m sorry, Dr. Michael Lawrence.”

He was a doctor? That did nothing to clear up the mystery for me. “I think you might have the wrong number.” He had a nice voice though, it was throaty and warm.

There was a pause, and the voice grew sharper. “It isn’t the wrong number if you’re Andrew James.”

“I am, but I don’t have any doctor appointments scheduled,” I said, touching the base of my neck, my tone uncertain. Had I forgotten an appointment? I was positive I didn’t know a Michael Lawrence. It would be hard to forget a voice as sensual as his. “I’m all healed up.”

Silence met me at the other end of the phone. I heard the shuffling of papers and the man returned sounding baffled. “I’m not sure why I have this note to call you.”

“The shoulder’s fine now, I have full mobility.”

There was a muffled laugh from his end. “I’m not that kind of doctor.”

I frowned at my phone. “What kind of doctor are you, exactly?”

“I’m a psychologist.”

Oh fuck no. “I don’t need a psychologist.”

“That’s what all my patients say at first.” His voice was riddled with humor. “So then I am assuming you don’t want to make an appointment?”

“Nope. I would love to know who gave you my cell number though.”

“Like I said, I just had a note from my secretary.” He sounded almost like he was hiding something. His tone was guarded. I found it odd that he knew my name, but didn’t want me to know who’d given him my number. “I’ll throw the note away and no harm done?”

“I guess. I’d prefer it if you’d shred my number,” I said as an afterthought.

“Shred your number?” He gave a gruff laugh. “Seems a little extreme.”

“You won’t need it again.”

Silence and then he said, “You’re sure you don’t want to just come in and chat?”

“Positive. I’m as sane as anyone else,” I said off handedly.

“In that case you should definitely make an appointment.” That humorous tone was back, and once again I found myself admiring his deep, masculine voice.

“No thanks. Nice talking with you, doc.” I hung up and shook myself mentally. Instead of focusing on the guys sexy phone voice the real question was who the hell had told him to call me? I looked up to find Fredrick’s curious gaze on me.

“Who was that?” his voice sounded fake, his curiosity scripted.

“Did you give a psychologist my number?”

He looked down shuffling papers on his desk as if they were the most fascinating documents in the world. “What?”

I frowned at him. “Did you ask some head doctor to call me?”

“I don’t think so.” He was fidgeting with things on his desk and avoiding my gaze at all cost. Oh yeah, that innocent, clueless expression was phony as hell.

“You aren’t sure?” I stared at him. “Did you or didn’t you ask a Doctor Lawrence to call me?”

A pretty pink swept up his cheeks and he continued to avoid my gaze. “I don’t appreciate your accusatory tone.”

“You did, didn’t you?” I shook my head in disbelief. “You are so stubborn and meddlesome. I don’t need a psychologist, Fredrick.”

He pursed his lips and his tough lawyer expression descended. His gaze hardened and his mouth thinned. “You’re not fooling anyone you know.”

I paused taken aback at first by his more aggressive attitude. “You’re losing it Fredrick, I’m fine.”

“You are anything but fine. You’re not the only one who can act. I pretend to accept your bullshit excuses for never going anywhere or doing anything socially. But I am fully aware you are in a very dangerous place.”

“You’re nuts.”

“That’s not the point. You too are nuts, my friend.”

“I’m doing fine. I’m working. I’m not drinking. Not like I was.” I kept my gaze down. He had good instincts, the fucking bastard.

“It’s been a year. What I don’t understand is why you don’t want to get better?”

“I am better.” My voice broke and I bit my tongue to keep from tearing up. He was getting under my skin and it was pissing me off. Didn’t he remember picking me up at a different bar every night, unable to walk or speak I was so wasted? How was it possible he couldn’t see I was better than when I wasn’t answering my phone, and blowing off meetings he set up for me? How fucking dare he not appreciate how far I’d come. It had been a hard and torturous crawl, and he should sure as hell recognize it.

“Prove it.”

“I don’t have to prove anything to you,” I said.

“You do. You need to show the people around you who care that you are at the very least trying to move toward the future.” He was leaning forward, hands pressed flat on the desk.

“You know I’m better than I was. I don’t know where this is coming from. I was late one time and you’re going fucking insane.”

“I’ve been feeling this way for months. It’s not just me who’s worried. Your parents—”

“My parents can go to hell.” I swallowed roughly. “Why are you bringing them into this?”

“They called me. They’re your family, and you haven’t spoken to them in over a year.”

“You can’t pick your family,” I said harshly.

“Perhaps they have regrets, and they want to make amends. You’ll never know if you don’t communicate with them.” He shrugged. “I know they were less than supportive when you came out to them, but people change.”

“Trust me, they haven’t changed. I have no idea why they’re deciding they need to reach out all of a sudden, but I don’t give a shit either. I’ll never forgive them for not coming to Rory’s funeral. If they couldn’t be there for me then, I don’t need them in my life,” my voice sounded cold and dead, even to my ears. “I don’t want to talk about them. If you mention them again I’m walking out that door and you can find yourself another keeper.”

“Fine, we don’t have to talk about them. Let’s talk about you.”

“Yeah, because apparently I’m fascinating.”

“I want you to come to dinner Friday. I’m having some people over and I want you to come as a guest. Not as my bodyguard.”

“No.” My reaction was instant and instinctive. I couldn’t conceive of sitting at a dinner party making small talk when all the while I would be wishing Rory was beside me. There was nothing for me in a situation like that. I had no desire to meet anyone new.

“You need to do this.”

“Fuck no.”

“I’m afraid I must insist.” His face was red as he spoke.

“I have plans Friday.” God he was pushy. Didn’t he understand how awful that would be for me? I couldn’t be healed because he wanted me to be. I was nowhere near dinner party material. Baby steps were all I could handle right now. He needed to back off and let me alone.

“No you don’t, Liar.” He stared at me disapprovingly. “If you don’t come I’ll fire you. I will.”

“No you won’t.”

“Don’t tempt me. Come to dinner on Friday.”

“You honestly think having dinner at your house will make it all better?” I shook my head in disbelief. “I’m fine.” Maybe fine was a stretch. But I could manage so long as I could go home at night and lick my wounds, surrounded by my dead lover’s things. Because that’s when I pretended Rory was still here. I regrouped while huddled on the couch we’d argued about buying. Late at night Rory was real for me again, and I had no desire to meet new people and forget. Moving forward meant leaving him behind and I wasn’t going to do that.

“You, dearest, are the complete opposite of fine.”

Jesus he was a pain in the ass. He pissed me off and then begged me to come to dinner. I had no interest in mingling with his rich, snobby friends. Why would he even want me to?

“What’s your motivation here?” I asked, squinting at him. “I don’t fit in with any of those people.”

“You used to. You used to be able to fake it like the best of them.”

“No, Rory faked it and I was just there.”

“That’s not true. You used to be charming when you wanted to be.”

I frowned. “Yeah, the wanted to be part is missing. How do you not get that?”

“You can do this.”

“I’m not ready for that crowd.” I could see from his scowl he wasn’t buying it, but he was beginning to exhaust me. Would he leave me alone if I gave in? That tenacity is what made him an excellent lawyer. I hated it when he used it on me.

“Seriously, boy what are we talking about here? All you need to do is eat and drink and smile politely.”

“I don’t want to go. Leave me alone,” I grumbled.

“I can’t and I won’t. I want you there.”

“God you’re relentless.” He would probably hound me unless I agreed. As much as it annoyed me to give into him, maybe it would get him off my back for a while. What the hell, one lousy dinner, I needed to eat anyway. “Fine,” I snapped.

“You’ll do it?” he was positively beaming.

“Not willingly. Don’t kid yourself.”

“I don’t really care if you’re willing. But you will be there?”

“Yes. But you have to promise me you’ll butt out and not pull any shitty set ups like that last phone call with that doctor.”

“Scouts honor.” He held up his slender hand as if being sworn in, and he wore a smirk.

I narrowed my eyes suspiciously. “You weren’t a boy scout were you?”

A sly little smile played around his thin lips. “No I was not, my boy. No I was not.”


I hope you enjoyed that! I'm certainly enjoying reworking things! :) S.C.