Saturday, October 8, 2011


   Alex woke up unsure of the time. The pale afternoon sun was filtered through the lace curtains and she knew she’d been out for hours. Finishing the script and getting the job done before anything else bad happened needed to be a priority. There was a feeling in the back of her mind that this was only the beginning of bad things to come. She took two more pills and tried to dress, a pale blue comfy shirt she didn’t have to pull over her head and stretchy pants that slipped on easily. She needed a cola and some of Helen’s chocolate cake if she was going to make it through the rest of the day. Alex limped her way down the back stairs and into the kitchen.

   Kyle rushed over to her. “How are you? I didn’t want to bother you in case you were asleep.”

   “I’ll live. I guess I did fall asleep. How are Dani and Heather doing?”

   “They’re going to be okay, only a few scrapes and bruises. They’re keeping Dani overnight just in case so Heather’s staying with her. We were lucky and we’re so grateful for everything you did.” She fought back a moan not wanting Kyle to see how much pain his appreciative hug was causing her.
   Thane sat quietly in the corner reading a book which she noticed was hers. She flushed at the thought of what had happened between them earlier. How she had responded to him, melting in his arms like some star struck fan. No wonder he ran from her, any sane man would have. She hoped to sneak in and out quickly and try to get some writing done. Alex sliced a big piece of cake and took two bottles of cola from the fridge. She turned around and ran into Thane who had a sexy smirk on his face, looking like the cat that ate the canary. Alex knew she was doomed.

   “I finished your book. I can see why we’re making it into a movie.” He looked down at her tray and shook his head in disgust. “You really need to eat better. That stuff will kill you. About what happened earlier, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have…”

   “Whatever,” she mumbled. Alex felt like a trapped animal looking for a way to escape. She didn’t want to hear him apologize for the most exciting experience she had had in her life. It couldn’t be a good thing when a man apologized for kissing you. She had promised herself to never let another man touch her but Thane had touched her, emotionally and physically. What she wanted from him terrified her. Trust and love were emotions she kept buried deep in a place that saw no light. Could she ever just give herself over to carnal satisfaction? She wasn’t certain she could ever love again.

   “Alex,” he said.

   Pain she could deal with. It was like a comfortable pair of slippers you couldn’t throw away. The pain let her know she was still among the living. Her fear kept the rest of the world locked safely out. Always, it seemed she was on the outside looking in, observing, never participating. Alex caught the faint musky scent of his cologne as she made her way around his well-muscled frame. She had shut every other man out, including Rick. Why not this one too?

   She walked past Kyle on her way to her room. “Why don’t you come up later and we can work on some more ideas?”

   “The sooner we get out of here the better,” Kyle said.

   “Yeah,” Alex said, looking back to the kitchen where she left had Thane. All she wanted was to get far, far away from that man and the feelings he stirred in her. Alex took her treats up to her room. Smiling as she put the chocolaty goodness into her mouth. Maybe what they said about chocolate being a substitute for sex was true. She certainly had eaten more than her share in the last ten years. But chocolate couldn’t hold you or kiss you or soothe you with loving words in the middle of the night like Rick always had. But it also couldn’t hurt you either. She preferred her pleasures of the flesh to be in the form of food. 
   She had already made a fool of herself with Thane. She couldn’t let it happen again but the man was relentless in his pursuit, wearing down her defenses. If he kept making advances, she knew she’d give in and that would be a terrible mistake for both of them. He liked his women young and stupid, neither of which were qualities she possessed. How could she handle being just a one night stand to him, when “casual” wasn’t in her vocabulary? Thane challenged her, made her feel alive and sexual whether she wanted to or not. Maybe it was the testosterone that oozed from his pores like sweat. Thane had awakened the woman in her. How could she go back to the world of isolation she had known before?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Always - excerpts

Rick blew out a sigh. “I’ll leave him mine.” He took off his blazer, shirt and unfastened the vest. Rick’s vest was custom made and always worn under his clothes, not wanting to advertise he was wearing one.

Alex stared as his muscles rippled through his undershirt as he moved. She flushed at the thought of them sharing a bed the night before. She wondered what it would have been like to make love to Rick instead. He never would have shut her out, the way Thane had. He had matured over the years. He was tan, lean and well-muscled, like a fine thoroughbred. His eyes were the blue-green and crinkled at the corners when he smiled at her. They were both getting older. The strong jaw was offset by a mouth that looked both soft and demanding. Every time he said her name it was like a lover’s caress. She’d looked at him so many times, taken comfort in those strong arms, yet she never allowed herself to see the man beneath the cop. He was amazing. Maybe she had needed to look death in the face to really appreciate the second chance she’d been given.

Rick started to unzip his pants and tuck in his shirt when he noticed Alex staring. Their eyes met briefly and he saw something new in her expression that caught him off guard. He saw desire. He turned his back and finished redressing. Maybe the moment he’d been waiting for all these years finally arrived. Now was not the time or the place for romance. What he needed from her would take time.
“Have you been working out?” Alex asked casually, a sensuous smile played across her lips.
“I need something to do when I’m not busy saving you,” he teased. He’d built up some heavy duty muscles working on his house and was shocked but pleased she had noticed.

Always - excerpts

   Rick walked through the old house listening to the familiar squeaks of the hardwood floors as he made his way to her office, hoping to find the answers to his questions. A picture of the two of them sat on her desk, their smiling young faces staring back at him. The day he met Alex, he felt like a blind man seeing for the first time, as if she had been hiding in some dark corner of his heart all along. When their hands touched, the electricity flowed between them, intense and undeniable. It broke his heart to think Alex didn’t remember what they had shared. They were in love but never lovers. She’d been afraid to tell him she was pregnant with Chris’s child but he knew. It was true what they said about women glowing during pregnancy, Alex had never been more beautiful. Instead of seeing the joy of impending motherhood in her eyes, he saw fear and uncertainty. He would gladly have raised another man’s child simply because it was a part of Alex. Seeing her smile, radiate happiness, was worth any sacrifice he had to make. His heart ached at the thought of a child with her amazing eyes and unruly hair. Would there ever be a child in their future? That was the day he realized his heart belonged to her forever. She was like the wild violet you found growing in the yard. It made no sense why it was there alone in a sea of weeds but it made you smile anyway. It needed so little to survive but something about it made you want to give it all you could. But when you dug it up and put it in the garden it withered and died. 
   He’d bought her a ring that day but never had the chance to give it to her. The ring still sat in its red velvet box in his dresser, a constant reminder of his love for her. Her memories of their love died that day with her, but Rick’s never would. As long as there was life there was hope. That thought got him out of bed every day. Now Chris was out and threatening to take her from him all over again. Neither one of them was prepared for this confrontation.

Always - excerpts

    Thane carried the tray up the stairs and gently knocked on the door. Alex threw open the door expecting to find the annoying little man from earlier but instead was staring at the broad expanse of chest that belonged to Thane Hunter.
    “I believe you ordered room service,” he said. Alex stood there speechless. He was even more incredible in person. The tight fitting T-shirt and jeans looked like they were painted on, every bulge and every ripple left nothing to the imagination. The media dubbed him “the incredible hunk” and she thought it was a well deserved title. His six-foot two frame filled the door way causing Alex to take a step backwards at the sheer maleness of him, which Thane took as an invitation to come inside. He set the tray down on the table.
    Alex was momentarily lost in the most amazing dark blue eyes she had ever seen. They reminded her of the spring sky before a storm, dark and mysterious. The man exuded a raw sexuality she found overwhelming, or maybe it was just the fact she hadn’t made love in ten years. She felt an instant vulnerability to Thane Hunter and found it quite disconcerting. Alex prided herself on her self-control and she knew with this man she had none.
    “Are you capable of speech?” He said, staring down at her, flashing his killer smile.
    “I … I was expecting the other guy,” she stammered, momentarily unable to remember Dan’s name. At the moment there wasn’t any other man in the world but Thane Hunter in all his masculine glory. “It’s been a long day and people keep interrupting me while I’m trying to work. I’m Alex Martinson.” Thane reached out his hand but she looked at it suspiciously.
    “I won’t bite,” he murmured. “Well, not unless I have your permission.”
    Alex reached out, her dainty hand was swallowed by his massive one, yet she was amazed at the gentleness of his touch. Her mouth went dry and the palms of her hands began to sweat.
    “It’s nice to meet you,” she said, looking down at the floor. It’s said, “the eyes are the gateway to the soul”, and she didn’t want anyone to see the pain and vulnerability that lived there, especially someone like Thane Hunter, womanizer extraordinaire.
    “Likewise.” Thane pulled her chin up and looked into her dark hazel eyes for a moment, trying to decide if they were more brown than green. Then he spotted a fleck of blue and smiled. “Dan was right. You are beautiful.” His hand was soft and its heat radiated through her, leaving her trembling. She felt exposed, as if he looked deep he’d see the need within her.
    She didn’t invite him to sit so he took the hint, deciding not to push her.           
   “Well, I’ll let you get to your lunch and your work.” He headed to the door with her close behind. “I’ll see you later.”
    Alex locked the door behind him and whispered. “Not if I can help it.” She leaned against the door and let out a big sigh. She had no luck with men and had sworn off them long ago. The only man in her life was Rick Ryan. A patient and kind man who rivaled Thane Hunter in the looks department. Maybe there was something about her that turned them bad. First her father, then her husband betrayed her. She held the cold can of pop up to her cheeks, trying to put out the fire he stirred in her. She thought she’d get used to the loneliness and isolation but lately it had become harder and harder to accept. No amount of pills she took could dull the ache within her. The walls she put up weren’t meant to be breached no matter how beguiling the intruder. Alex sat down on the bed and ate her lunch while reading through the script.

Always - excerpts

“Movie people,” Bob grunted. He handed Alex a long handled steel fork. “Help yourself.” He motioned to the table filled with goodies. “Hot dogs are in the cooler.”

Even though she wasn’t hungry she couldn’t resist the idea of a hot dog cooked over an open flame. The more burned the better. She stuffed the burned piece of mystery meat in a bun and ran a thin line of ketchup along the top. Now only if it was stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon it’d be perfect.

The fire sizzled when Bob put another log on top. The wet wood made the fire’s sparks shoot upward like hundreds of frantic fireflies dancing in the evening sky. Alex loaded chocolate onto the graham crackers and waited for her marshmallow to catch fire. She blew it out and squished it in between the chocolate, waiting impatiently for it to melt and cool enough to eat. She took a big bite and the chocolate oozed in between her fingers; giggling like a happy child she licked the chocolate from her hand.

“They sure are messy,” Bob said, biting off the end of a hot dog. “I ate so many I made myself sick.”

Alex trembled when a deep booming voice said. “I could help you with that if you like.” A part of her knew he was there even before he spoke. He was an irresistible force that she was powerless to resist. Even beside the roaring heat of the fire the dangerous feel of his presence sent chills up her spine.

“Do you want to show me how to do this? I’ve never had one before.”

She looked perplexed and sad, unable to fathom a child that had never eaten a S’more. He saw the sadness in her eyes and shrugged. “What can I say? While other kids were camping, I was making money.” He was surprised someone who’d experienced so much pain could feel sympathy for him over such a little thing.

“Sure,” Alex murmured.Her heart went out to the man who stood before her, for all the things he’d missed in a normal childhood. He had given that up, along with his privacy, for the sake of fortune and fame. She wondered if he’d make the same choice again; from what she knew of the man that would be a “yes.”

Thane blew furiously on his flaming marshmallow. “Quick,” Alex said, holding out the graham cracker and chocolate. She smashed the concoction together and handed it to Thane. “Give it a couple seconds for the chocolate to get melty.”

“Is “melty” even a word?” He asked, eying the mess as the chocolate began oozing out the side. Thane took a big bite and the chocolate dribbled down his chin. He chewed, smiling like a happy child, wondering what other things he’d missed. Alex pointed to his chin and Thane rubbed his finger across it and licked the gooey chocolate provocatively.

Alex rolled her eyes and handed him a napkin. She suddenly felt flushed, unsure if it was the heat from the fire or from the amazing hulk of a man standing next to her. There was a primal sensual appeal to him. He was the epitome of testosterone overload. When she was near him, her emotions ran from terror, to desire, to despair.
“How about a burned hot dog?” she asked.

Thane leaned in close and said, “I’ll try anything once, how about you?”

“Thanks, but I’ve had enough,” she replied. That was a lie. As much as she wanted to run from him, she wanted to run to him, to be enveloped by powerful arms. To lay her head on the broad chest and get lost in the feelings she’d been denying herself for too long.

Threading his hot dog on the long steel fork; he raised an eyebrow and said, “I wasn’t talking about hot dogs.”

Alex let out a long audible sigh. “I know.