Teaser Tuesday – Put Your Phone Down

May
24
2016
cole1

This Summer :)

Unedited. Subject to change. This summer 😉

“Can you put your phone down, and talk to me please?”

“Yeah, gimme a second.”

I rolled my eyes as he kept his attention focused on the little device in his hands. One minute stretched into two.

“Jor—”

“Just a second, damn,” he said, holding up a finger to… shush me? Was he shushing me? He chuckled loudly at something on his screen, and I let out a sigh. If this was how he wanted to play it…

I reached up, pulling the pins out of the simple bun I’d pulled my hair into before I rushed out of the door. Stylish, black-rimmed glasses were tossed onto the desk, hair fluffed out and around my shoulders, and I took down enough buttons on my shirt to show off an ample peak of the deep gold, lace trimmed bra I wore underneath.

“Jordan,” I said – damn whispered, in a breathy, sexy voice.

He immediately looked up to see me balanced on my elbows as I leaned across the desk toward him. His eyes dropped to my cleavage, then slowly raked back up to my face, and I hated that a tiny, hopefully-only-perceptible-to-me shudder ran through me. No matter what else I could say about Jordan, there was no denying that he was a gorgeous man. Deep chocolate skin, thick lips, immaculate facial hair, perfectly sculpted face, and those damned dimples.

I bit my lip – to seduce, and to bring myself back to reality – and leaned a little further.

“There’s something you and I desperately need to discuss.”

He lifted an eyebrow, his phone hanging limp and momentarily forgotten in his hand. “What’s that?”

“Well…” I leaned in a little bit further, and his gaze stuck to my breasts. “Before we start, I just need you to… Give me this goddamn phone,” I said, back to my normal voice, as I snatched it from his unsuspecting hands. I promptly stuck it between my breasts, because I knew he wouldn’t dare try to get it from there, and was already re-buttoning my shirt by the time he’d hopped up from his chair.

“Jordan Johnson, you sit your ass down and listen to me. Or have you forgotten that I am responsible for your contract?”

“What the fuck is that supposed to mean, Nicki?”

I ignored his use of that hated nickname. “It means, that unless you at least try to act like have some damned sense when you aren’t on the field, I don’t think you’re going to be very happy with the way your negotiations go.  You only have a few months left, Jordan. You want to see more money? Then I want to see this team improve.”

“Then you need to talk to these other motherfuckers,” Jordan snapped, pacing in front of my desk. “Just like I said two nights ago, I’m already pulling all of the offensive weight on this team. Why the fuck does everything fall to me?”

Because you’re all we have.

I knew it.

He knew it

Everybody knew it, but he was the only one who was about to say it out loud.

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On Characters

May
17
2016

Recently, someone commented to me that it was “amazing how I stay so true to my characters”. That comment was borne from the Mother’s Day short I posted, featuring Carter and Viv, who I haven’t revisited in …. a year and half? Something like that.

I appreciated this, (and promptly hit the like button and proceeded to act like it never happened because i’m awkward and bad at accepting compliments) because as i’ve blogged before, staying true to my characters is something that’s SUPER important to me.

But I don’t know that I would call it hard.

The difficulty is, I guess, in putting these people down on the page in a way that properly reflects their realness in my head. Like, it’s easy to “see” them, but conveying them…. is another thing all together.

Staying true is the easy part, because they’re real to me.

Jason and Reese are the princess and the mechanic. They’re smart, and smart-mouthed, Jason is a little gritty, Reese is a little sharp tongued. And they’re funny, and fun. Jason has real physical scars that don’t hold him back, has experienced the world at a pretty young age, and has developed a broader perspective from it. He uses “nigga” and drops “g’s”, but will talk literature and engineering with you. Reese is still dealing with a personal loss, that she may never be “over”, that she might always need to cope with. But she still has a desire to live, and help others live, and teach people how to authentically share their words.

Because nobody is any one way.

Devyn and Joseph, nurse and doctor. Career-driven, compassionate, bright. Joseph is a simple guy – a good balance for Devyn, who has a little more happening, and Devyn is warmer, almost bubbly. Compliments Joseph, who can be a touch uptight. Joseph doesn’t have any deep personal trauma that he’s still navigating – he channeled the loss of his mother into honoring her through his work…. and he still lusts after a fat ass and a cute smile. Devyn has internalized, normalized a certain treatment by men, and has to work through that. The two of them have to deal with an unexpected responsibility being thrust on them, and in turn… kinda rush into a relationship.

Because shit happens, and we deal.

Still says book 2.... cause it was supposed to be. Not finished working on this cover lol.

Still says book 2…. cause it was supposed to be. Not finished working on this cover lol.

Toni and Justin – this fall – are besties. Or, were. My author and my publishing professional. I’m still figuring them out, but I know their chemistry as friends is nuts. They love 90s R&B, and did a talent show together as “dark skinned baby girl” and “not quite Ginuwine.” I know they have a playful set of rules they’d developed together. I know they desperately want their friendship back… and might discover more. I know they both have to navigate their changing roles with their aging parents, and learn how to coparent, and all of that.

Because they’re human.

Fictional or not.

So, the characters do their jobs. They reveal themselves, their TRUE selves to me, and I take it seriously every time. I’m super serious about my craft, super serious about my work, super serious about my people. I may not write any certain way, or tackle certain topics, or do a certain word count, whatever, but i’m SERIOUS about these characters.

And I so, SO appreciate that it can be seen.

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Mother’s Day with Carter & Vivienne

May
08
2016

mothersdaycarterviv

Relief.

That was the first emotion that flooded me as I stepped into my darkened bedroom to find Viv sprawled across the bed, with our daughter, Bellamy, tucked close. The nightlight was plugged in, casting a warm glow across both of their perfect, sleeping faces.

My girls.

They’d fallen asleep nursing – a normal occurrence, with no way to tell who’d passed out first. Viv’s breast was exposed – minus the nipple rings that had fascinated me so much – and Bella had her little arm draped protectively over it, as if someone might take it from her in the night. Viv had her arm draped over Bella, as if someone might take her.

I smiled.

Viv was obsessive about keeping the floors clean, so I’d already left my shoes at the front door. Bella was just starting to crawl, and had a nasty habit of putting her mouth on the floor if she made it off  her tummy time blanket. Carefully, I rolled my suitcase into the closet and took my jacket off before I approached the bed, still absorbing the scene in front of me.

It hadn’t even taken three years to make my life so much different.

So much better.

I sank onto my knees beside the bed and just stared. From this position, all I could see of Bella was the back of her head – already a mess of dark brown coils she’d inherited from her mother – and her little body clad in footed navy blue pajamas, printed with pink and silver stars. But I was looking right at Frenchy.

Her hair was pulled into a messy puff on top of her head, but several coils had broken free, falling across her pretty caramel skin. Her lips were slightly parted as she slept, and my gaze drifted down to where her chest was rising and falling. There was nothing erotic about her leaving herself exposed for the comfort of our child – I still remembered the early days, when she’d shed tears because nursing hurt so bad, remembered coating her nipples with lanolin to help them heal.

But still… arousal stirred.

Viv was beautiful – always had been, but even moreso now. Something about watching her grow, and nurture, and care for our child deepened that attraction for me. She was a mother, and she took it seriously. Maybe a little too seriously sometimes, but I could handle that if it meant we could show Bella something different than what my parents showed me.

Something better.

I don’t know if Viv would ever understand what a gift that was to me.

What a gift she was, to me.

Not my wife quite yet, but soon.

I reached out, covering her hand with mine, and she startled under my touch. Pulled Bella closer. Then slowly, opened her eyes. Big, beautiful brown eyes that held happiness way more than sadness these days – opposite of when we first met. Gradually, her face spread into a lazy smile, but the contentment in her eyes told the real story, one the gesture of a smile never could. She was glad to see me. Even when we had friction, she was glad to see me.

Again – I don’t know if she knew how good she was for my soul.

“Hey,” she murmured, moving her hand to thread her fingers through mine. “You made it back.”

“Yeah. Got Troy to come grab me from the airport, talked to him about the shop.”

“Did you ask him… about managing?”

The hopeful look on her face made me grin. “I did. Offered the position, and he said yes. So that will free up my time some… which means I can free up yours. Help with Bella more. As a matter of fact—” – I pulled myself up from the floor, and then gently slipped my hands under my little girl, lifting her from the bed – “Let’s get you in the bassinet, ma petite souris.

Behind me, Viv giggled quietly over my calling Bella the nickname she’d given her, in an awful fake French accent. It was something that Viv’s mother hated, borne from Bella’s rooting for milk at Viv’s chest. Her tiny nose would wrinkle, head bobbing, and Viv swore she looked like a curious little mouse, sniffing around.

Morgan insisted that her grandchild not be called a rodent.

So obviously, Viv only called her “ma petite souris”, never Bella, when her mother was around.

“Do you want me to do that?” she asked, from right behind me, as I cradled Bella in one hand while I pulled the stuffed toys from the bassinet. Her mouth asked a question, but her tone offered a request – let me do that. Because she was usually the one that did it, while I was at the shop, or locked away in my office.

“I’ve got it,” I told her, and gently laid our daughter down.  She stirred a little, then settled back into sleep as I stepped away from the bassinet.

Viv had moved up to stand beside me, so I slipped an arm around her waist, pulling her close as I turned to face her. “I missed you,” I murmured against her mouth, then pressed my lips to hers and buried my free hand in her hair. That wasn’t enough, so I slipped my tongue inside, savoring my almost-wife.

She responded eagerly, pushing up on her toes to get closer. I lowered my hands to her ass, cupping and squeezing as I lifted her off her feet and encouraged her legs around my waist. She obliged, allowing me to carry her into the bathroom of the apartment we’d barely been in a year. We’d wanted to bring Bella home to something new – something ours, chosen together.

“I’m sorry I’m so late getting back,” I said, when I stopped kissing her long enough to speak. Her skin was flushed, lips a little swollen, and I’d made a mess of her hair, leaving it half up, half down. She looked… incredible. I wanted my fiancé – I hated calling her that, was ready to call her wife – really damned bad.

“It is okay,” she said quietly, lifting a hand to run her fingers over the stubble on my chin. “You cannot control if a flight is delayed. It is not your fault.”

I grabbed her wrist, bringing her fingers to my mouth, and kissed them one by one. “I saw you got the flowers I sent. How was it, being alone with Bella? You managed okay?”

“It was three days, Carter. And Bella is five months old. I think I have gotten used to taking of our daughter by now.”

“I’m just making sure you’re okay. I know you make sure Bella is.”

She smiled. “Yes. I am okay. And the flowers are beautiful. I love them.”

“Good. Now that that’s out of the way… I missed you. I want you.”

From her seated position on the counter, she leaned back, opening her legs. “You ask for what you want, no?”

I grinned, then moved to stand between her thighs. “Can I have you?”

“You certainly can,” she whispered to me, draping her arms around my neck as I leaned in to kiss her. My hands went the thin straps of her gown, pushing them down her shoulders. Suddenly, Viv jerked away from me, holding her hands to her chest to keep herself covered. “Wait, the light. Can you…”

She let the request trail off, assuming that I knew what she was asking. And I did, but I made no moves to do it, because I didn’t want to turn off the lights – I wanted to see her. I hadn’t seen her since she had the baby.

We’d had sex, sure. But every single time, she was insistent about the light. No more shared showers, no naked Saturday mornings. No more of the bold, rather-be-bare Viv I’d grown used to.

“Are we really still doing that shit?” I said, and immediately wished I could snatch the words back out of the air. I wasn’t trying to be harsh with her about her body, but… shit. It had been five months.

Viv’s eyes were wide, surprised as she stared up at me, and I couldn’t blame her, because I hadn’t really said anything about this before. I let it ride, because I loved her, and I wanted her to be comfortable, and I never wanted to be someone who made her feel the opposite of either.

“Ah! Ahhhhbababa. Bababa!”

The sound of Bella – apparently wide awake – and testing out the sound of her voice, drew both of our attention away from the moment. Saved me, for now.

Viv climbed down from her perch on the counter, but I held up a hand to stop her.

“I’ve got her.”

“Are you sure?” Her voice was strong, but there was no missing the gloss of tears in her eyes. “She is probably hungry, and—”

“She can get a bottle, while you soak in the tub or something. Relax. I’ve got her.”

Viv nodded, averting her gaze to keep from looking me in the eyes. “Okay.”

I closed the door behind me as I exited the bathroom, and then took a deep breath.

How the fuck do you go across the country for three days, miss your wife the whole time, then come back and say some stupid shit?

Bellamy had turned to the side of the bassinet – which was really just a smaller crib, that we kept in our bedroom – and was looking at me with bright eyes, still babbling. She grinned up at me as I approached, and lifted her into my arms.

“Daddy messed up, B,” I told her in a singsong voice as she reached for one of my locs. She was always fascinated by them, so I wasn’t surprised when she closed one in her little fist, and tugged as she babbled. “Is that my punishment for hurting mommy’s feelings?”

Bella stopped babbling, stopped tugging, and simply stared in my face, her expression intense as her eyebrows furrowed. Suddenly, her little pajamas felt hot, and damp to the touch, and an unpleasant odor filled my nose.

“Oh. That’s my punishment for hurting your mama?”

She grinned.

Half a package of baby wipes and a quick bath later, Bella was in fresh pajamas, sucking contentedly on a bottle of warmed breastmilk in my arms. Her eyes kept drifting closed, but then they would pop back open as she stared at me, looking just like her mother.

Same golden skin, same hair, same lips, same eyes. Often, Viv joked that Bella had gotten looks from her, and personality from me.

“She is a little charmer,” she’d whispered to me one day, after Bella’s frustrated cries – and subsequent happy coos – had convinced me to let her treat my hand as a personal chew toy for her irritated gums.

“She’s teething,” I said, defending myself, which was met with an amused grin.

“We have more than enough soothers and teething rings around here.”

“My hands are clean, and this makes her happy.”

“Mmm.” Viv leaned in, pressing her lips to my cheek. “As I said, she is a charmer, just like her father. Physically, she is me. In here,” she ran a gentle finger across Bella’s forehead. “She is you. She even has the same proclivity for that quiet withdrawal… leaving everyone wondering what she is thinking. Unsure of what their role is in her world.”

And that was the thing that bothered me.

That even now, after almost three years, after a ring, after a child… I somehow still left Viv wondering where she stood with me. I did go quiet, I did sometimes keep my thoughts a little too close to my chest. And as much as I hated it, hated the memory… I’d hurt her before. I’d left her uncertain, and then broken her heart, made her believe I didn’t want her, when nothing could have been further from the truth.

I planted that seed of doubt, and had no idea how to dig it up.

Finally, Bellamy drifted off into sleep, with a trickle of milk running down her chin. As soon as I pulled the bottle from her relaxed hands, her eyes shot open, and she let out a loud burp before she closed them again.

Quietly, I chuckled as I went into her room to lay her down in her crib. I made sure the nightlight was on, along with the monitor, and then quietly slipped out, heading back to my own bedroom.

I hesitated at the bathroom door, with the picture of Viv, barely twenty minutes ago, still playing in my mind. Stung by my words, unsure of what to say… I didn’t like seeing her like that. That look she’d had when she opened her eyes and saw me there beside the bed… that’s what I liked to see.

I raised my fist, taking a deep breath before I gently rapped my knuckles against the door. “Can I come in?” I called out, hoping I wasn’t disturbing her peace. It took a few seconds, but she finally answered, inviting me to step in.

It had been a long time since she pulled out her L’occitane bath foam, but the bathroom was filled with the familiar lavender scent. As I approached the tub, Viv looked up from the bubbles, her expression guarded.

“Is Bella sleeping?”

I nodded as I sank to my knees beside the large tub, resting my elbows on the rim. “Yeah. Shitted everywhere, had a bottle, passed out.”

“I am not surprised,” Viv said, smiling. “When we fell asleep, she was nursing more for comfort than anything. She was not serious about it, just sleepy.”

“Well apparently she still was. But I guess she would normally be sleeping at this time anyway.”

She nodded. “Yes, she would.”

For a few minutes, there was only silence between us. Viv had her whole body covered by bubbles, but I could see her hands moving under the water as she massaged the oils from the bath into her skin. I watched her for a moment, then reached in to close my hand around her wrist.

“Viv…” I waited until she looked up at me before continuing. “I’m sorry for what I said to you earlier.”

She shook her head. “It is fine.”

“It’s not.” I reached up, using my dry hand to cup her cheek. Relief relaxed my shoulders when she nuzzled her face into my hand. “I can’t, and shouldn’t try, to force you to be comfortable with something you aren’t… but it’s been five months, gorgeous. We at least need to address it.”

She met my gaze, and the sadness in her eyes caught me off guard. Her lips perked into a little smile. “I am surprised it took you this long to make me talk about it.”

“So… there is an “it”?”

Another smile.

“Perhaps only in my head. But I am just… not myself.”

My eyebrows knitted together. She hadn’t been any different than the same Viv I’d always known – or at least, I hadn’t noticed.

“Do you mean like… baby blues, or something?”

“No,” she shook her head. “I love being a mother, love taking care of her. I have rarely felt overwhelmed in that area. When I say that I am not myself, I mean… physically.”

She averted her gaze when she said that, clearly embarrassed by the admission, but I… I didn’t understand.

“Do you need to go see Dr. Morris?”

“No, Carter. I am saying that I… the picture, in the bedroom. Me, naked, chocolate, remember?”

I grinned.

How could I forget?

I still remembered the first time I’d ever seen it, before she and I were together. She’d damn near killed herself trying to hang it up in her apartment. We were neighbors, and I came to check on her after hearing the commotion. She’d answered the door with barely anything on, and then invited me inside, where I helped her hang the picture.

Viv.

Naked.

Covered in chocolate.

Fine as hell.

“I am not that woman anymore,” Viv said, her voice shaky with emotion. “And I know that it is shallow, and maybe even silly to you, but I do not feel… good. I have to eat a certain amount to provide for Bellamy, so that makes it hard to lose, and just the act of breastfeeding is keeping extra pounds on. Do not misunderstand –  I love nursing her. Those moments are special to me, and I do not look forward to giving them up, but then again… I do. When I look in the mirror, I am not happy with what I see, and I cannot help feeling like there’s no way you could be either. Not when the woman you met is the one in the picture.”

I stared at her for a few moments before I shook my head. “Aiight, so that shit is coming down, tonight.”

She laughed, and I was happy to see her smiling even though tears were in her eyes.

“You laughing, but I’m dead serious. We leave that picture up in our room because yeah, it’s a memory for us. But Viv… I barely even look at it anymore. I’ve got the real thing now. I didn’t fall in love with that picture. I fell in love with you. I don’t give a shit about a little extra ass. I welcome extra ass. Who doesn’t like ass?”

“Stop it,” she giggled.

“I’m serious though,” I said, squeezing her hand. “I know you have to feel this for yourself, but for what it’s worth, I’m not tripping over supplementary ass, or a little pudge. I love you. I love touching you, love your skin, love the body that brought our daughter into this world. Okay?”

She smiled. “Okay.”

I leaned in, and she did the same, allowing me to plant a kiss on her lips. “I’m gonna get in the shower. Can’t get in the bed until I do.”

“Or you can join me.”

I lifted an eyebrow. “You’re inviting me into your bath?”

“Yes. Why not?”

I wasn’t about to argue with her about that. I undressed and climbed into the tub behind her, then pulled her against me. She relaxed in my arms, resting back against my chest. Her head tipped back on my shoulder, looking at me.

“I am glad you made it back to me,” she murmured, then closed her eyes as I leaned in the kiss her again.

“I was pissed about the delay. There’s nowhere I’d rather be than here.”

Quiet filled the room for a long moment, punctuated only by the sounds of the water moving as I ran my hands over her skin. Over her feet, her calves, her knees, up to her thighs. Over her stomach… up to her breasts. A whimper left her throat as I closed my hands over them, sliding my thumbs over her nipples. I pressed my lips to the back of her shoulder.

“I love you,” she said, then covered my hands with hers, gently tugging to pull them away. At first I was confused, but then she sat up, then stood up, completely exposing her body to me, except for the bubbles still randomly stuck to her skin.

To my eyes, she looked good as hell.

Our gazes met, hers uncertain, and I sat up, lifting my hands to run them over her body. No, it wasn’t exactly the same as what it had been before, but a few stretchmarks and a cute little pudge from carrying and feeding our daughter didn’t make her any less attractive to me, or any less beautiful.

“Come here,” I said.

She didn’t say anything. She simply turned around, and then sank down again, straddling my lap. She pulled a bath sponge from somewhere in the water and started sliding it over my skin, washing me.

“Isn’t this backwards?” I asked, chuckling.

She shook her head. “Nope. This is what I want to do.”

I ran my hands up her thighs, and back to her ass, squeezing. “Is that… all you want do?”

She laughed. “Apparently, it is all you want to do.”

“I told you I missed you,” I shrugged, then wrapped my arms around her waist, pulling her against my chest. “Happy Mother’s Day baby.”

Her eyes went wide, and she smiled. “Thank you.”

“What, did you think I forgot? You thought I forgot, and all you were getting was those pre-scheduled flowers didn’t you?”

She laughed, snuggling closer to me in the water. “I… did not know. You haven’t said anything all day. You sure you didn’t just now remember?”

“Nah, girl. I wanted to say it in person for your first Mother’s Day. I have a gift for you too.”

She pulled back, so she could look at my face. “Really? Where is it?”

I chuckled. “You don’t believe me do you?”

“I will believe it when I see it,” she teased.

I nodded. “Aiight. Well, in the inside pocket of my suitcase, there are plane tickets. For us.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Plane tickets? To where?”

“France.”

Water went everywhere as Viv’s hand shot to her mouth, covering the loud gasp she’d let out. I smiled at her as tears welled almost immediately in her eyes. “Carter,” she said, muffled by the hand still cupped over her mouth. “Are you serious?”

“Yes, baby. I’m serious. We’re going. In a few weeks.”

Viv choked back a sob, then flung her arms around me, hugging me tight as she buried her face in my neck. Since she’d had Bella, she’d been wanting to go back home to be in her parent’s house, to have Bella there where she’d grown up. I hadn’t been able to take the time away, between getting my software development off the ground, and making sure things were good with the shop. I urged her to go alone – even though I didn’t want to be away from her and Bella, I knew it was something she wanted badly. But she refused to do it alone.

“I’ve just gotta get Troy acclimated as manager at Fresh Cuts. But all the arrangements are made. Your mother is ready for us.”

“Mama knows?”

I nodded. “Yeah. It’s been killing her not to say anything. All you have to do is make the arrangements with your employees. I planted the seeds with them, but obviously you have to do all the final steps.”

“Yes. I will. I… thank you,” she said, reaching up to cup my cheeks. The look on her face was so joyous that it made the happiness already in my chest swell. “I love you.”

I reached up, wiping the stream of tears from her face. “I love you too babe.”

She settled against my chest again, and I looped my arms around her waist. I was relieved, honestly, that we’d gotten past that moment of tension to get back to this.

“I can’t wait to make you my wife,” I murmured into the side of her head, then planted a kiss there.

She moved her hands between us, wrapping her hands around me as she drew back to look me in the face. “And I cannot wait to be your wife. Let’s practice for the honeymoon.”

Thanksgiving with Sean and Fallon –

Happy Thanksgiving!

Christmas with Roman and Simone – http://beingmrsjones.com/2015/12/the-night-before-christmas-eve-a-serendipitous-short/

 

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Available Now – Pulling Doubles

Apr
23
2016

pdcovers3Available Now On Amazon!

All Devyn wants – besides a tall, fine husband and eventually a few babies to fulfill her “about to turn thirty, running out of time, cute black family” dreams – is to finish her yearlong internship at University Hospital. She’s excited about the experience, eager to learn, glad to help wherever she can… it should be easy, right?

Well, it would be… if it weren’t for arrogant, know-it-all, always-got-something-to-say Dr. Joseph Wright. Devyn can’t stand him, and if his attitude is any indication, the feeling is mutual… or is it?

Joseph doesn’t “do” doctors. Or nurses. Or patients. Or anybody else who has anything to do with the hospital, for that matter. University Hospital has infiltrated enough of his life, and the last thing he needs is a blurring of the lines between professional and private.

… until smart, sexy, sassy Nurse Devyn Echols comes along, and stomps all over those lines.

When you’re pulling doubles with the person you hate to want so bad… something is bound to ignite.

Available Now On Amazon!

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The End… But Not Really.

Apr
18
2016

pdtheendSo… Pulling Doubles, book 2 in the “Wright Brothers” series is going to be published pretty soon. It was nowhere near as easy to write as the first book in the series – Getting Schooled.

I’ve pinpointed a number of reasons for that. I wrote Getting Schooled over Christmas break – took me two weeks, if that. I had several different ideas that had been brewing already when I up and decided I wanted to write a series about brothers, and I melded those together. I sat down, and I wrote exactly what came in my head, researched a couple of things as I went, and I had fun.

Pulling Doubles didn’t quite go like that.

It was a different time of year, I was busier, my kids have been sick, i’ve gone on a trip. Lots happened while I was trying to write this book that interrupted my flow, and stalled my progress.

But that wasn’t all.

Getting Schooled got a lot of love/attention, for reasons unknown to me. Not that i’m discounting myself as a writer, but I was just… shocked at the reception it got. Grateful, but surprised. And a little uncomfortable too. Because with praise, comes pressure. This was just book one in a three book series, and I actually wrote that shit down, so I can’t back away from it… What if book two doesn’t measure up?

That… is a paralyzing thought.

But then I remembered why I do this.

When you read something that I wrote, it’s never something I just made up and put on a page. I mean, it is, but it… isn’t.

pdcovers3These characters are very much real to me, when they come to my head. I write to get them out. To tell the story they’ve given me, no more, no less, and move along to the next couple fighting for my attention. I don’t just “decide” to do this, or that. It has to be organic. Before I write down a single word of any scene, I have to have the visual in my head. It plays for me there, like a movie, and then I write down what I see.  I think through, obsess over, every little thing (my friends can sadly confirm this, lol) until I find what is real for THAT couple.

So… I had to realize that it doesn’t matter if Pulling Doubles “measures up” to Getting Schooled. Joseph and Devyn, just like Reese and Jason, are people, with their own stories.

My only concern?

Telling it.

Something readers should, I think, know about me is that I never, ever endeavor to tell a couples “whole” story. That’s just not me. I’m not that author, but I have peers who will give you an epic love story of a relationship’s trials and tribulations and the fight to stay together.

Because those are the characters that visit them.

I write the characters that visit me.

 

And I think accepting that makes it easier to just tell the story they were generous enough to share, so that I can, in turn, share it with you.

Over these twenty-something books, I’ve gotten accused enough times of not knowing how to end a book. Now, my writing has many flaws, many areas of improvement needed, but you know… I don’t think ending a book is one of them.

I think i’m very, very good at ending books.

On the whole, my books are usually a snapshot of a certain point in these characters lives. The part where they meet “the one” and maybe fall in love. OR maybe they aren’t there yet when they’re done giving me story to tell. I have some books that don’t fall exactly into this, but mostly? My books are the “getting there” part. The relationship part is up to them… or up to you. In my head? When I leave my couples, of course their story goes on from there. In my fictional world, they move on to live happy, boring lives together. Have kids or don’t, grow their business, finish school, start their careers, whatever.

When I write “the end”, it’s not for them. It’s for me.

And my job always, always feels complete.

Pulling Doubles is no exception.

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Sample Saturday – Old Lady Candy

Apr
16
2016

From “Pulling Doubles”. The last sample from Pulling Doubles 😉 As always, unedited and subject to change.

Enjoy!

oldladycandypd

 

“Sorry for the mess,” she said, as I locked the door behind us. “I wasn’t really expecting company.”

I chuckled. The “mess” she was referring to was a glass – on a coaster – on her coffee table, her lab coat tossed across the back of a chair, and a few other things out of place, but no where near enough to qualify as a mess. She picked up her coat, cursing under her breath when the contents of her pockets spilled out.

“You and this old lady candy,” I teased, bending to help her pick things up.

She sucked her teeth. “Werther’s Orginal’s are not “old lady candy”, excuse you.”

“The hell they aren’t. You’re the only young person I know who buys these. Why do you buy these?” I laughed.

“Because they’re good, first of all. And good to have in my pockets when I’m at the hospital. They hold me over until I sit down and eat. Which, speaking of, I need to eat something after that drink at Sammy’s. You want something?”

“No thanks,” I shook my head, following her into the kitchen. “I’m going to occupy myself with a few of your old lady candies.”

“Stop calling them that, asshole.”

I sat down at the counter, keeping my eyes on her as she pulled a covered bowl of sliced cucumbers from her refrigerator and popped some in her mouth before she opened the door again, and pulled out a bottle of water. I took my gaze away long enough to unwrap one of the candies in my hand, then snickered like a twelve-year-old when I saw it.

“What’s funny?” she asked, unscrewing her water and raising it to her lips.

“These look like your nipples.”

“No they don’t,” Devyn sputtered, coughing as she choked on the water. “Those oblong candies?! My nipples don’t look like that, do they?”

“Nah,” I laughed. “The color.”

Devyn lifted an eyebrow, then ate a few more slices of cucumber before she pulled on the front of her shirt, peeking inside her bra. “No they aren’t. You’ve seen so many nipples in the last three weeks you forgot what mine looked like?”

I moved the candy around in my mouth so I could speak. “No, I haven’t. It’s the same. Come here, I’ll show you.”

“Show me how?”

“Just bring your ass over here.”

Devyn tugged her lip between her teeth, then took a deep breath. She seemed in no particular hurry as she ate a few more slices of the cucumber, covered the bowl and put it away, and then moseyed around to my side of the counter.

Grabbing the front of her shirt, I pulled her between my open legs, then tugged the shirt over her head. “Front snaps or back?” I asked, in reference to the lacy, orange sherbet colored bra that had her breasts sitting up like ripe melons.

“Back.”

“Turn around.”

She grinned a little, then turned her back to me, which put her ass right in my view. I indulged myself with enough of a squeeze, to make her giggle, then reached up to undo the hooks of her bra.

I groaned when she turned back around, showing me those hard, dark golden brown nipples and areolas against her creamy, light golden skin. Those breasts were just one of the things I loved about her body. I put my hands at her waist, drawing her close.

“Look at this,” I said, then stuck out my tongue, with the candy on it, putting it right against her nipple. “You see? Almost exact match.”

“That’s a stretch, Joseph.”

“You think so? Let me show you again.”

This time, I looked right up into her face as I stuck my tongue out, making sure to graze her nipple. The shudder than ran through her body gave me exactly the excuse I needed to cover her with my mouth, mixing the buttery taste of the candy with the sweetness of her skin. Her hands went to the back of my head, keeping me pressed to her as I moved back and forth between her breasts. I suckled hard – a little too hard – and a second later I was detaching myself from her chest to try to cough out the candy lodged in my throat.

“Oh my God, are you okay?!” Devyn shrieked. Suddenly she was behind me, shoving her arms under mine to wrap around my chest.

“Dev, chill,” I coughed, hopping up to get away from her. I took a few seconds to clear my throat. “Were you about to do the Heimlich on me?!”

She stared at me for a few seconds, then burst into laughter. “Hell yes,” she said, between giggled. “You weren’t about to choke and die on a piece of candy in my house! With my titties out! How the hell would I explain that to your family?!”

“Choke and die, though?”

She shrugged, crossing her arms over her bare breasts. “Sorry. You were choking, I freaked out. I was trying to save your life.”

“And I appreciate it,” I chuckled, shaking my head.

“So now that you aren’t dying… What the hell was that?” she laughed. “How the hell are you going to try to be all sexy with the candy, and literally choke, man?”

“It was impromptu. My bad.”

“You’re right, your bad.”

“Daaaamn,” I said, moving closer to her, now that my airway was clear. “You know you don’t have to go in on me like this, right?”

She grinned as I pulled her against me, then lowered my lips to graze against hers. “You sure? It seems appropriate, no?”

“No,” I muttered before I kissed her. Immediately, she melted into me, and the lack of skin-to-skin contact made me realize we both still had too many clothes on.

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Recovery – a short story

Apr
01
2016

recovery3

– Aurielle-

 Just act casual. Just act casual.

“Hey!” I called out, my voice falsely bright as I walked up to Dawn and Donovan, looking rather… cozy outside the entrance to The Creamery. It was a place Dawn frequented, according to her Instagram, and Donovan – Donnie – was frequently her date at the ice cream/smoothie shop.

Brit – my handler, for lack of a better term – put a hand on my arm. In censure, warning, or something, but it wasn’t necessary. I really was just saying hello.

It was summer, and Dawn was taking full advantage. Cut off shorts, midriff top, strappy sandals… I swallowed hard as I took in her appearance – lots of creamy caramel skin and big natural hair – then looked at Donnie, who was, I was sure, enjoying it.

He was casual, in cargo shorts and a fresh white tee and sneakers, with a hat pulled backwards on his head. The white popped against his dark mahogany skin, and a little shiver ran over me as he looked up from Dawn, and in my direction.

“Pixie, hey!” Dawn said, with what seemed like genuine enthusiasm, distracting me from being able to see Donnie’s reaction to my presence. She stepped away from him, toward me, pulling me into a hug that was surprisingly tight. “Are you okay?” she asked quietly, looking me right in the eyes. Hers were glossy with concern, and I averted my gaze.

“Yeah. I’m fine. Thank you for asking.”

She smiled that perfect smile, the one she’d been aiming at Donnie since they worked together on that play, then turned to him, glancing between us. “No problem, not at all. I’m gonna… let you two talk.”

Dawn gave me a little nod, then walked away, leaving me standing there with Donnie and Britt, neither of whom had said anything yet. I gazed up at Donnie, looking for… something, but I was met with the pleasantly neutral expression he seemed to have mastered dealing with me.

I glanced over to Britt, widening my eyes. “Give us a second,” I said, with a subtle tip of my head, trying to get her to go away. She let out a deep breath, her face stern as she gave me a curt nod.

“Two minutes.”

I rolled my eyes. “Yeah. Okay.” keep reading —>

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Sample Sunday – Non-Grocery-Store Flowers

Mar
20
2016

pdhazing(unedited. subject to change)

I turned away from her, glad for the little bit of camouflage my lab coat provided as I strode away. As I approached the nurse’s station, I noticed a man in a suit standing there with flowers in his hand, and immediately assumed he was waiting for one of our patients, a pregnant wife or girlfriend, as a surprise.

“Malcolm? What are you doing here?”

I glanced behind me as Devyn approached, eyes wide. My eyebrows drew together in a frown as she walked up to the wannabe-GQ-motherfucker with the – damn, they weren’t from the grocery store – flowers, with a distinct air of familiarity.

“Malcolm’s” face spread into a smile, and a quiet chorus of sighs happened to the left of me. I looked over to see Nurse Hall, Aviva, and a few other nurses playing captive audience for this little show. “I was here to check in with a colleague, so I thought I’d drop in to see you.”

“Oh. Um, thank you,” she said, accepting the flowers from his hands.

“Also… I wanted to see what you would be doing later tonight? I’d love your company for dinner again.”

Again?

My eyes narrowed a little over his request, and then a little further at the expression on Dev—shit. The expression on Nurse Echols’ face.

“Tonight? I—”

“Can’t,” I injected, and a second later, all eyes were on me. “Nurse Echols will be here at the hospital, working.”

Devyn frowned. “I will?”

From beside me, Aviva spoke as well. “Yeah… she will?”

“She will,” I said firmly, not even understanding for myself why I was pulling this out of my ass. “I’m the resident on the floor tonight, and you’re supposed to be observing. I’m not sure how you can observe from somewhere else.”

Devyn’s top lip curled just slightly at me before she tempered her expression down, back into the cool neutral she’s been wearing for our patients. “Okay. I’ll be here.”

“Good. You and your boyfriend can go talk now since it’s lunch time, but otherwise, social visits are a distraction from work.”

If looks could kill, my brothers would be planning my funeral, based on the venom shooting from Nurse Echols’ eyes. I gave her a wry smile, and then turned to head for my office, looking up when Aviva called my name as I strode down the hall.

“What the hell was that?” she asked, catching up to me.

“No idea what you’re talking about, Vi. Ouch!” I pulled away from her, rubbing the spot on my arm where she’d just pinched me. “What was that for?!”

“For acting like you don’t know what I’m talking about.”

Aviva was tiny – at least a full foot shorter than me – with a baby bump protruding from her slender body like a basketball. Even with those two things working against her, she was capable of doing real damage.

“I don’t,” I said, dodging her when she tried to pinch me again. “You know visitors aren’t supposed to be hanging around the nurse’s station.”

Aviva shrugged. “But he was handsome, and had flowers. I didn’t even know Devyn was dating anybody, so when he came back here of course I wasn’t going to turn him away. It was sweet.”

“It was against protocol.”

“Who cares?”

I care.”

“Because you’re mad she has a man.”

I immediately started sputtering, damn near tripping over my own tongue to deny it, but I couldn’t. I was annoyed by the presence of a man in her life.

And why wouldn’t there be?

Devyn was an attractive woman. Smart, successful. Just because there was no ring on her finger, that didn’t mean she was as uninvolved as I’d assumed.

Or not assumed.

To be frank, I hadn’t given the possibility of Devyn having a man any thought at all. When she entered my mind, in nothing but those heels and a lab coat, I was thinking about one thing – her. And yet, this “Malcolm” dude honestly did have me bothered.

I had to shake this shit off.

Clearing my throat, I faced Aviva head on, meeting her eyes. “I have no reason to be pissed about her having a man. I don’t date coworkers, so even if she didn’t, nothing was happening there anyway.”

She smiled. “If you say so. I just know that in all the years I’ve known you, I’ve never seen… this.”

“This?”

“Yes, this,” she said, waving a hand in my direction. “When I pushed you to hire her, I thought we were going to take her under our wing, nurture her into a colleague we could depend on. Embrace her. Instead, your ass is hazing her… since you won’t touch her.”

“That’s not true.”

Aviva laughed. “What’s not true? Are you not thirty-four years old, picking on a girl because you like her? It’s been too long since you’ve had a girlfriend, Joey. You’re devolving back to middle school.”

“Damn, Vi!” I said, clutching my chest. “That hurts.”

“Truth does that sometimes,” she giggled, then stepped away to head in the opposite direction. “Get some ass, Joseph. So you can stop taking out your sexual frustration on our intern.”

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