Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse #12) One Good Earl Deserves a Lover (The Rules of Scoundrels #2)

My face is here, I said reaching out and lifting his chin until he was looking me in the eye. He smiled and winked at me.

Ohmygodohmygodohmygod. I like her. I smile weakly and pick up my tea, which has gone cold. She’s painted flowers all over her skin, and dyed her hair gray, and she’s still talking about being a chicken, and how brave I am.Hello, I’m beige bitch, I want to say.

The Splendour Falls

Tell me about yourself, she says finally, leaning forward. She has gray eyes. They match her hair and add to the overall ethereal look. It’s very intimidating to sit across from a real life fairy and know you have nothing interesting to tell her about your life. Well … maybe something a little bit interesting, like, my best friend dates your ex fiancé.I … I just want to … find myself. It’s a horribly cheesy thing to say, but Greer is nodding, like finding yourself is something to be taken seriously, rather than the words spoken by a lost girl.You’ve come to the right place, she tells me. Not just Port Townsend, but Washington. It’s God’s country. Something about this place heals people. I take hope in her words. There’s nothing about me that is broken or disparaged. I am not the unfortunate heroine in a romance novel. My parents are not divorced, and my heart has never truly been broken. I am an overly simple girl who got an itch. I do not tell Greer that my itch came from a dream about her ruggedly handsome ex-fiancé, nor do I tell her that in my mind the line between Harry Potter and real life is blurry, if not non-existent. I rub the hem of my beige top between my fingers and listen to Greer’s lyrical voice talk about all of Port Townsend’s hidden gems: the cinema, built in 1907, which had an old fashioned popcorn maker, and only showed three movies at a time. She told me about old, Mr. Rugamiester, who went to a movie every single Saturday and sat in the same seat, in the same theater, wearing the same navy blue corduroy sports coat. He doesn’t care what is playing in theater number three, or how many times he’s seen it. He’s there for the three o’clock show with his bag of popcorn.

A Man for Amanda

But there has to be a reason. I lean forward despite myself, pulled in by old, Mr. Rugamiester and his bag of popcorn. Greer’s eyes never leave my face; she’s laughing at my reaction, her knees pulled up underneath her, a cup of tea in her hand. It feels like old friends having lunch. There isn’t always, she says. She reaches out and her slim white hand covers mine, just for a moment. There isn’t always, she assures me. And then her hand is gone. I ponder her words, wondering if she’s right. I believe in math, and I believe in answers, and I believe if you keep looking, you’ll find one. Maybe it was just a dream. It was just a dream. But this is real, and I am here now. There is a single white female feel to this moment. I most certainly am a creep, because I know who this woman is, yet she does not know who I am.Greer, I say, once the talk of Mr. Rugamiester has finished. I think I know someone you may know. I’m not sure if you’re the same person, but he says there’s only one Greer in Port Townsend.

Greer sets her teacup on the table and unfolds her legs so that she’s leaning toward me with her elbows resting on her knees.

I can’t look at her when I say it. I’m afraid she’ll think I orchestrated this whole thing. Kit Isley, I say. Do you know him?I thought she was going to start crying again, but she pulled it together and nodded.

She’s in a parking lot somewhere crying, she said. I wanted to roll my eyes, but I nodded sympathetically and rubbed her neck.I shrugged. I know your heart. Do whatever you think is right, my love.

Tempt the Stars (Cassandra Palmer #6)

When I first knew I wanted Jolene, I was still in a relationship with her best friend. I’d look. Men look even when they say they aren’t. We are sexual creatures: long legs, the outline of nipples against flimsy fabric, the cupping of jeans against an ass—we look and our dicks get hard. We’re wired that way. Some of the more self-righteous men, the fucking pious ones, say they don’t look. They say they avoid the appearance of evil, aka the type of women who make their dicks hard. It’s not women who make my dick hard; it’s my ability to control their emotions.Jolene was something else to me. She transcended the games I played. When we were just friends, she’d look me in the eye and tell me I was lying when I was. She’d ask how I was and mean it. Sometimes she’d text me randomly to check on the state of my heart. That was her thing back then: How’s your heart? and you could try to lie to her, try to pretend, but she always knew. The confessions were like vomit. Jolene was the finger down your throat, probing until there was nothing else to do but gag. The truth came fast and hard, and it hurt. I think I grew addicted to the sort of reaction she inspired. You got to be yourself, tell her your ugliest parts, and she didn’t bat an eyelash. She was the real therapist; I was merely a pretender. I’d broken off my ten-year relationship and pursued her with an intensity I wasn’t used to. It didn’t matter that she was pregnant with another man’s child. It didn’t matter that my ex-fiancée loved her. You couldn’t fit love into the eye of a needle. You had to just take it in the form it came. And it came in the form of a very pregnant, very taboo—Jolene Avery. The girl who saw everything and nothing all at the same time.

I couldn’t write. I stared at the wall, and I stared at the keyboard, and I stared at my hands, which I thought were lovely and graceful some days, and haggard and witchlike on others. When I stopped staring and focused, I’d tap out a sentence and then delete it. I’d grab the skin on my wrist and tug on it—something I’d done since I was a child. I told everyone I was writing when they asked, but I wasn’t. I was almost relieved each day when my alarm went off at three o’clock to remind me that Mercy needed to be picked up from nursery school. It was something to do other than stare.What was the truth? That love had slaughtered me? Killed my creativity? A little bit, yes. Until Darius, I had an open vein. I didn’t have to work hard for words, they poured from the nick like a proverbial fountain of creativity. Sadness is lucrative, folks. But, I wasn’t sad anymore, was I? I was, for the first time, cocooned in security and love. A man whom I loved and admired had taken me and my unborn child and given us a home. Strong hands, and soft touches, we fell under his spell. And a shrink! A shrink always knew the right thing to do. I could rest easy, take the love and trust. Such a sweet beguiling thing.

Not with life, life was a beautiful, ugly thing. And not with my career, it was at its peak. And most certainly not with motherhood, it was too tumultuous to be boring. I was bored with love.What is love anyway? Most of us had no fucking clue because our parents gave us shit examples of it: prude, nonverbal, stiff; or on the opposite end of the spectrum: chaotic, uncommitted, inconsistent. Or maybe just divorced. So, we flounced around in adulthood, taking notes from romantic comedies … or porn. Love is flowers! Love is grand gestures! Love is trips to Paris hand in hand! Love is her opening her mouth whenever you want to stick your dick inside.

Love was whatever you decided it was, and if you’d had a narrow window to peek through, you were really fucked.But then you became a mother, and all of that changed. Love was sacrificing your selfish nature for someone you were more committed to than yourself. Becoming a mother made me a better wife. My personality had a makeover and Darius reaped the benefits.

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