It's here! It's here!
I'm so very proud to be involved in another project with six of my favorite people. Milestones was released on the day of LOVE, February 14, and it's doing very well so far.
Ooooh...good news! We seven authors will sponsor a drawing for one lucky reader each day to win a copy of our first anthology, Coming to Terms. Each author will excerpt from her story in the book. All you have to do is visit, read and comment.
TODAY is my day!
If you missed one of the earlier posts, you can still go back and catch up:
Renee Rose – February 14
Celeste Jones - February 16
Alta Hensley - February 17
Jade Cary - February 18
Cara Bristol – February 19
Sue Lyndon - February 20
Anastasia Vitsky - February 21
As their tenth wedding anniversary approaches, Kate and Jack Barrington are signing divorce papers instead of exchanging tin. Desperate to save their marriage, Jack holds Kate hostage at their mountain retreat, where happiness once reigned supreme. Can they move through the bad times and find love once again?
She awoke to the sound of blue jays nattering in the trees outside her bedroom window. She smelled coffee and wondered how that could be—
The dream still lay heavy against her chest. It was a recurring dream, since she had decided to file for divorce. The dream summed up the story of their life together.
She did smell coffee. She got up, slid her feet into her sheep-skin slippers and trotted out to the living room. She stopped dead in her tracks.
“Good morning.” He leaned against the kitchen counter, his arms folded over his chest, an arrogant look in his eye. Blankets and pillows were folded and stacked on the couch in the living room. He wore faded jeans and a black waffle-weave Henley. The way he stood caused the front of his jeans to bulge provocatively, and she found her gaze wandering from the bulge to his strong thighs, and back again. She finally forced her eyes to meet his.
“You’re like a bad penny, Jack: always turning up.” Kate came up along side him and reached into the cupboard for a cup, then poured coffee for herself. The smell of the coffee competed with the smell of him, and as always, the musky scent of him won out. “How did you get in, by the way?”
“Key. Nothing complicated.” He sighed, knowing his close proximity invaded her space, and not caring a damn that she felt uncomfortable. “You’re one stubborn woman, Kathryn. We’re going to work on that, too, while I’m here.”
“Uh-huh. Finish your coffee and get out.”
Jack tossed his head back and laughed. Kate dipped a finger in her hot coffee and, despite the pain it caused, flicked the warm liquid in his face. “Keep laughing, and you’ll be wearing this coffee.” She walked past him over to the kitchen table.
“That would be your third mistake,” he said, following her. He sat.
“My third,” she smirked. “What were my first two, out of curiosity?”
“Not letting me in the house last night, and this divorce.”
“Let it go, please.”
“Nope. I said we’re going to talk, and we are going to talk.”
She sighed and looked down at the old wood table she found at a local flea market when they first bought the house. In a previous life, it had been the front door to the tiny church of an old mission that had been destroyed in a fire. The door, mahogany and hand- carved, had remained unscarred. She saw it as an omen. The eight chairs, six of which were currently around the table, were a mish-mash of different styles and colors, found in various places, all having meaning to her. Jack hated the unmatched style. Kate loved the old, lived-in feel it gave the kitchen.
“Then get to it. The sooner you say your piece, the sooner you’re out.”
“You assume too much, lady,” he said, his voice low.
Kate caught his eyes and held them. “Why are you doing this?”
“I’ve told you already. Listening is something else we’ll work on.”
She gestured with her hands for him to commence with his speech, or whatever he had planned.
“I do not want this divorce, and I want to fix it.”
“And what about what I want?”
“You’re angry right now. I’d like to have a rational discussion with you about why I think we can make this work, but you’re not making it easy.”
“Easy? You want easy? Oh, well, why didn’t you say so? I’m nothing, if not easy. So, let me make this... easy. I owe you that much, don’t I?” She sipped her coffee and regarded him over the rising steam. “I was wrong, it was all me, I couldn’t have been a worse choice for you. This divorce? It’s all my fault. Had I been a better wife, paid more attention to you, listened more, we wouldn’t be in this mess. I hope in time you will find it in your heart to forgive me.” She stood and put her cup in the sink. “Now, get the fuck out of my house. And leave your key. This is my house now.” She strode past him, heading for the bedroom, but he caught her arm. Kate lifted her eyes to meet his. Normally a stunning clear, golden brown-amber, they were now black with rage.
“First, if I ever hear you say fuck again, I’ll put you across my knee and spank you so hard you’ll forget your own name.” He held her eyes hostage, the silence that punctuated his words almost worse than the words themselves. “Do you understand me?”
Kate’s upper body shuddered and then went ice cold, while warmth circulated down below her waist. Jack had never spoken like this before. She knew he did not like her to swear, and he was especially intolerant of her occasional use of the F-word. But, over the years those things seemed to become less important to him, until she said and did the very things he admonished her for now. She stood before him, flushed, mortified, and furious all at once. Her body betrayed her mind and won by a mile.
“Yes,” she whispered, her response automatic and out of her mouth before she could think of something a bit more clever to say. By the look on his face, clever would have been unwise.
“Second, we are going to have a mature conversation about our future, so there will be no more sarcasm. Got it?”
Kate simply nodded.
“Third, there’ll be no more walking away from me, especially while I am talking to you. I’ll grant you the same respect. Clear?”
Her mouth tightened into a thin line, and as she was about to speak, his pupils dilated and he said, “I want a yes or a no to this one, Kate. Nothing more. Am-I-clear?”
“Yes,” she whispered.
He loosened his grip on her arm. “Thank you,” he whispered back, and then one corner of his mouth turned up. It was not arrogance. It was not hubris. It was not the gloating smile of man who’d just won a round with a stubborn woman. It was a genuine smile of relief. “Now, please sit down.” With a gentle hand on her lower back, he guided her to the large worn leather club chair in front of the fireplace. He left her and returned with a fresh cup of coffee. Jack sat on the hearth of the fireplace and took her hand in his.
“Katie,” he began. “I’ve made a mistake.”
She glanced at him sideways and the chuckle escaped before she could stop it. “Ya think?”
Kate was famous for her sarcastic wit. Jack never appreciated that particular trait, and he was especially unappreciative now. He offered her the same look that the threat of a spanking accompanied a few minutes ago. She pled forgiveness with her eyes, and hoped he noticed, because it was all she would give him.
“Kathryn,” he said, looking down at her hand in his. “I love you, and I never stopped. And it’s clear that while I open my veins on one side, you’re going to take pleasure opening them on the other.” He stared at his hands. “I’ve never known you to be cruel.”
“I’m hurting.” Those words, that confession, caused tears to spring to her eyes.
“I know. And I’m sorry. I want to fix it. Will you let me?”
“I don’t think I can. I don’t think I care to.”
“I don’t believe that.”
Kate looked off into the expanse of the house... anywhere but in the whirlpool of his eyes, where she could, and would, get sucked in again.
“Will you let me try? Will you let me try to fix it?”
She shook her head as she dashed tears from her cheeks. “Why? Why now?”
“Because we were good once, weren’t we?”
I invite you to visit the other author blogs, read their excerpts and comment. And pick up a copy of Milestones. You won't be sorry.
Jade Cary writes Romantica and Romantic Suspense, on the rocks with a twist. Bottoms up!
SITES I DIG
A FADED ROMANTIC
ALTA HENSLEY, ROMANCE AUTHOR
ART OF AUTHORITY
BASIA ROSE, AUTHOR
BLACK VELVET SEDUCTIONS
BOTTOMS UP BOOK REVIEWS
CARA BRISTOL, AUTHOR
CDD FOR LIFE/PATTY DEVLIN
CELESTE JONES, AUTHOR
THE DISCIPLINED FEMINIST
EMMA K. GARDNER, AUTHOR
FREDDY AND EDDY - A WEBSITE OF ALL COUPLES
THE HAND OF LOVE
HEART AND SOUL
THE IMPROVED CHAUVINIST
KARLA DOYLE, AUTHOR
KOREY MAE JOHNSON, AUTHOR
LAZY DAY PUBLISHING
MY BOTTOM SMARTS
RENEE ROSE, AUTHOR
SADEY QUINN, AUTHOR
SARADORA'S SPANKING FICTION
SUE LYNDON, AUTHOR
TROLLOP WITH A LAPTOP