I finished the Headphones: In From the Cold rewrite Tuesday, so I was only a couple of days past my goal. It clocked in a little over 70K, making it 10K longer than my minimum goal, so I'm really happy about that. And it's also probably why I went past my goal date. The plan now is to finish the edits on Embers and Flame, write the query and synopsis, submit it around, and then return to Headphones. There are two more books to write, after all! And, in the meantime, I'm working on outlining Jeb (from Blind Ante) and Ian's story.
Excerpt from Embers and Flame, Chapter 15
Ben led me to a shadowed alcove at the side of the building and wrapped his arms around me, pulling me in for a kiss. He was drunk enough for it to be a little sloppy, lacking his usual intensity. He trailed his tongue across my jaw and nibbled into my neck, sucking at the skin over my pulse point. I moaned as he bit and laved his tongue over the spot, over and over. I gave him a push. “Stop. You’re going to leave a mark.”
“That’s the idea. I want everyone to know you’re mine.” But he stopped and let me put an inch of distance between us.
I didn’t mean to say it aloud, but the words pushed their way out of my throat, nonetheless. “What are you doing with me? Why am I here?”
“What?” Ben’s incredulous look was clear enough under the dim streetlight. “Why would you ask that?”
“You can have your pick. Any of the women in there. They fawn all over you. So, why me? What do I have to offer?” Okay, I’d never realized that liquor made my inner monologue less inner, and instead, more nakedly on display. But I couldn’t stop myself. All my doubts, all my fears, rushed out; a wave of insecurity that I didn’t even realize I’d been hoarding. “I’m nothing special. Hair that won’t lay down, freckles everywhere, colorless eyes. No special talents. I’m not interesting. I’m a codfish.” Ben was speechless as I spewed it all out. “Hell, one woman in there told me I must give really good head. As if that’s the only reason you’d be with me. Is that it, do I give good head?” I paused to draw a breath, but Ben stopped me with another kiss.
“Well, you do. Give good head, I mean,” he whispered against my mouth and his lips twitched up and curled as he pushed his hips against mine. But then he pulled away and captured my face between his hands. “I’m with you because you make me happy. In a way I haven’t been for a very long time. Maybe never. Your hair is thick and wild, your freckles are delicious, and your eyes reflect every emotion that runs through your head. Sometimes they’re silver like the underside of maple leaves; sometimes they’re dark like the sky before a storm. When we’re at the campground, they reflect the green of the grass and trees. And your eyelashes. God, I love how they’re red but tipped with white. You’re beautiful.”
He pulled me against him again and laid his head on my shoulder. The high-pitched whistle of a train came from far away, thin and shrill while crickets sang to the moon. I was afraid to break the peace between us and I drew in a lungful of the cooling midnight air. Ben’s voice was soft but clear, even though he was facing away from me. “I’m nothing but a grease monkey while you actually do something important. You keep people alive. What can you find interesting about me?”
My heart almost broke at his tone and I held him tighter. “Oh, babe, we’re drunk, aren’t we? You’re everything I’ve ever wanted. You’re everything I’ll ever want.”