Friday, July 25, 2014

A Many Splintered Thing / Day 16: "I tend to build walls—okay villages—around myself to keep people away.”

 Did you know we're at over 21,000 words? Wow. How time flies when you're writing a book with friends along for the ride. Hope you're enjoying yourself. And your Friday.

p.s. How gorgeous is that picture!? I want to go there, sit in a lawn chair and drink wine as I watch the sky shift and change.


Jesus, what do you say to that? You can’t fuck with a person who admits that what they felt at some point was the closest thing he’d known to love. It would be an asshole move to say the least. 
Especially since she had absolutely no doubt he was being sincere. By the way he moved restlessly around the room, the way the muscles in his shoulders, neck and jaw bunched with tension.

She wasn’t oblivious to the fact that Jasmine could have her charms. And sometimes her sheer awfulness—a trait which reared its head fairly normally—could be part of her magic. She was definitely a dazzling creature to people who had no idea what it was like to be spoiled.

“You’re not an asshole,” he laughed. “Just nosy. As am I. We’re supposed to be making the bed springs scream right now. At least that’s what poor clueless Harrison thinks.”

“He’s not as clueless as you think,” she said. She spoke fast to make herself ignore the fact that when Caleb, big-big Caleb whose energy seemed to be filling the room like an invisible force, mentioned bed springs her body reacted.

He cocked an eyebrow, a trait she found annoyingly appealing on him. “No?”

“Nope. He knew he was going to get to her with the maids. The poor sap is hopelessly in love with her, you know. He only did it to get her riled up. I don’t think he figured she’d call you.”

“Do you think he knows why she called me?”

She shrugged and became aware of what it did to her breasts when his eyes settled there. “I don’t know. There’s a chance he does. There’s a chance he doesn’t.”

He looked at her face and blew out a sigh, but then his eyes drifted down again.

“Can I help you?” she asked, laughing.

Again that eyebrow went up and he groaned. “That, my dear fake soul mate, is a loaded question. I can think of a thousand and one ways I’d like for you to help me.”

“You’re very shy, aren’t you?” She sipped her drink, keeping her eyes pinned to his.

“Painfully, so.”

Dead silence and then they were both laughing. Alice lifted her head, looked from one to the other, and put her head back down. She’d acclimated to her new home rather fast, Dahlia thought.

He scratched his head and tilted his head back. “I’m sorry,” he said to the ceiling. “I came here for one woman who railroaded me into her bizarre psychosis. Then you walked in and I felt like Wile E. Coyote when his eyeballs do that bug out vibrating thing.”

She couldn’t help but smile. He was bold, but by God he was honest. And she loved that above all other things.

“Do tell.”

“I am telling!” he said, raising an arm in frustration. “And you’re all whiskey drinking, cowboy boot wearing, dog loving, food bringing and just…” He lowered his gaze to look right at her. “Hot as hell. I barely know you but I like you. And I feel okay around you. Which sounds like a half-assed compliment but it’s actually full-assed.”

She smirked, raising her glass to her mouth to try and shield it. Dahlia didn’t think it worked, though.
“How so?”

“I don’t…jibe with a lot of people.”

“And why is that?” she asked. “Let me get my invisible notepad and pen since I’m playing therapist.”

He grinned at her. Her stomach dropped like an elevator and she almost sucked in a breath but managed to squelch it. Thank god. She didn’t need him to know he had any kind of effect on her. At all. That was private.

“Probably because I started our rough right out of the gate and I tend to build walls—okay villages—around myself to keep people away.”

“So for the woman you almost loved for real you picked the most spoiled abrasive woman on earth?” She chuckled.

He scratched his forehead. “My god. I never thought of that. Maybe that was intentional, eh? Thanks, Dr. Freud.”

“I shudder to think what that says about me if you find me easy to be with.”

“I don’t know. Good things, I hope. That’s the thing. I find myself telling you stuff.”

“It’s the whiskey,” she said, giving him an out.

No it’s not.

“No it’s not,” he said, echoing her thoughts. “It’s you. Which is a little unnerving. But I can live with unnerving. By the way it would take a lot more whiskey for it to be the whiskey.”

“You can drink, hunh?”

“I can,” he said, buffing his nails on his shirt. “Not to brag.”

“But you will.”

She watched as his face fell. Shit. It was like watching storm clouds move in on a vibrant day.

“I think it’s genetic,” he said. His face had gotten so serious. “My old man could drink his way through a bar shelf and then drive home. Well,” He winked. “To hear him tell it.”

“Something tells me though you sound jokey it’s not a joking matter.”

He shook his head. “Nope. Not really. He was a cop. You know the cliché cop of the movies, I’m sure. Looks like the good guy but under it all maybe isn’t so good. Maybe drinks too much, maybe beats on his wife when it’s convenient—but knows how to do it without getting caught. Or!” He held up a finger, his tone again jovial but his expression anything but.

Her stomach turned over fast and she thought she might be sick. She put her whiskey down and tried to breathe deeply. She’d touched a nerve, Dahlia realized. Which was surprising to her because when she first saw him standing there with Jasmine she’d have sworn in court the man had no nerves to touch. Cool as a cucumber. He seemed like a guy who got his way, liked to swing his big dick, and run roughshod through the world.

This was a surprise. And something in her softened for him. Ached for him.

“Or, if your wife finally withdraws to the point that it’s just no fun to pound on her anymore, you can move on to the kid.”

She shook her head. “Jesus. I’m sorry.” It made her hands shake. They had something in common. Something she had no interest in admitting or discussing.

He seemed to come back to himself. He laughed but it had a bitter undertone. “Wow, you’re like a witch or something. Do you practice mind control? Maybe you’re a mesmerist?” He was trying to make light of it.

“Sorry, nope. Just boring old me.”

“I’ve never told anyone that before,” he said. “Willingly.

She sized him up and then picked up the bottle and poured them both a drink. “Not a witch or any of those other things. But I can tell you that the best way to get know someone—especially your make believe beloved—“ He snorted and she nodded. “Is to get drunk with them. So…you up for killing the bottle?”

He glanced at the dog. “What do you say, Alice?” They waited in silence as the dog sat and stared at him, ears perked. Then he turned to her and said, “She said yes.”

photo credit: heanster via photopin cc

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Many Splintered Thing / Day 15: "...that would make me a real asshole, don’t you think?”

Day 15 and the beat goes on. We roll along...


He knew he was wrong to do it. You weren’t supposed to get off like a teenager when someone was out walking your dog. And yet, he couldn’t seem to help it. Getting himself taken care of seemed a necessity at the moment. Like eating, showering, sleeping. He needed to do it or he’d never be able to be around this woman or have a conversation without intermittently sporting wood. No matter what he did, his mind kept returning, over and over again, to that kiss. To that moment she gave in. To him.

Gave in. To him.

He shook the water out of his hair and gripped his cock. It wasn’t going to take long. “Fit to pop, fit to pop,” he muttered, shutting his eyes to the spray as he stroked himself roughly right out of the gate.

Caleb pressed his left arm to the wall, pushed his forehead against his arm. Kept his eye shut tight to 
block out the world. His hand going up and down his shaft was both mesmerizing and not quite good enough. But it would have to do, so he forced himself deeper into the memory. The moment her lips softened. The moment her tongue touched his for just a millisecond. The moment her limbs went loose and her body relaxed and he could tell she was lost to the kiss.

That moment.

And then he let his mind run with it and he was parting her legs, knocking them wide, running his cock along her wetness. Staring at those three deep scars now bared to him, disappearing somewhere in the beautiful cleavage that hid beneath that black tank top. And his mind carried him forward. Forward into her, over her, lost with her.

All the bullshit soap opera script craziness fell away and it was him and Dahlia. Her blue eyes wide, her dark hair loose and fanned out, her lips parted and her body arching up under his.

“Jesus fucking Christ,” he whispered as he came.

Simultaneously, the dog barked outside the bathroom and a fist pounded the door. Caleb jumped. 
“Stop diddling yourself and come out. Mary up in the kitchen sent back enchiladas. Her enchiladas. Homemade. They are magical…mystical. They’re better than sex. And you have five minutes to get out here or I’m eating yours.”

And then he could tell by the shift in the energy that she was gone.

He shook his head, his hands shaking in sympathy or from the adrenaline rush he wasn’t sure which. “Coming,” he whispered. And then he laughed.


He grunted.

“Told you,” she said. Dahlia put another forkful in her mouth and rolled her eyes. “Better than sex.”

Caleb mumbled around his own mouthful of enchilada. “You’re having sex with the wrong people then.” He looked into her unamused face and shrugged. “But close. They’re definitely a close second.”

He finished his enchilada, took a swig of ice tea and then a sip of a whiskey she’d poured. “So, when Jasmine called me to come down here she said Harrison was fucking the maid. That would be you?”

He realized he was holding his breath, hoping she’d say no. How embarrassing.

Dahlia tipped her head back and her braids danced as she laughed long and loud. He watched her, feeling himself smile. Apparently he was way off on this one.

Finally, she straightened up and took a deep breath. “Um…no. That would be the extended staff who come in to help me. This place is a handful but I prefer to do it alone. It’s a long, hard day of work but I like long, hard days of work. They keep you honest. Physical labor is as Zen as I get.”

He raised his glass to that but kept silent.

“When they have guests come for extended stay or a large party, they bring in auxiliary staff to help me out. And that, I welcome. This was Harrison tip-toeing through the tulips. Actually, her name was Rose. The other one was named Willow which is a tree, not a flower, but you get my little joke there. See, even their maids are pretentious.” She winked at him.

It went straight to his cock. So he took more whiskey and let it sit on his tongue before swallowing it 

“So, tell me, loverboy. I know why I’d roll over and do her bidding, she can fire me if she gets it in her head to. But you? Why did you come all the way down here at her beck and call? Is she that good of a lay? I have a hard time imagining it.”

He shook his head. “Well, first, you’d be wrong. She’s pretty good in the sack. And by the way, you just answered one of my questions. If you two had ever…” He twiddled his fingers at her until she snorted.

“Fucked? No. I’ll explain me and Jas another day. For now you tell me about her magical vagina and why it was worth a trip from Boston.”


“I stand corrected.”

“And not really Baltimore proper. I was on the shore. But you get the idea.”

“I do. A hell of a pussy for that kind of trip.”

He grunted again. Considered another enchilada and realized it would be a huge mistake. He was stuffed. He stood, to give himself something to do, and found the plastic wrap in a drawer on the fourth try.

“Did I make you uncomfortable?”

“A little,” he said. He hated it, too. He was used to being the person who made other people uncomfortable.

“Was it my use of the word pussy?”

“Nope.” He put the pan in the fridge and refilled both their glasses of tea. Odd, but he was getting rather domesticated already. Maybe it was the dog.

“Then…?” She left the question open. He watched her stretch out her long, long legs and put her feet on one of the kitchen chairs.

“It’s a hard question to answer. I’m not sure why. I mean, yeah, there are other women to have sex with in the world. Some of them can put her to shame. But…” A sudden rush of anxiety filled his chest at the shift the conversation had taken. It startled him into taking a deep breath.

She waved a hand. “Sorry, you don’t have to tell me. Sorry I asked. None of my business.”

“No, it’s fine.” He sat. “I didn’t realize my reasoning until you asked.” He fidgeted with the salt and pepper shakers. “I guess she’s the closest thing I’ve known to actual love.”

He looked at her and she looked back. Dahlia’s eyes were amazing. Especially when she was thinking of what she should say.

“Well, damn. I can’t make a joke out of that, can I?”

“Well, you could.” He chuckled softly, drank more whiskey.

“Yeah, I could, but that would make me a real asshole, don’t you think?”

photo credit: Katie Ring via photopin cc

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Many Splintered Thing / Day 14: "That went well, don’t you think? I pissed off two different women at once but for entirely different reasons."

I really, really didn't think today would happen. I'm very tired. Not sure why. Just dragging and dragging. But then I sat down to do some words and magically the words came. Even more magically, some of tomorrow's words arrived too. LOL. So below is today's offering. Please read to the bottom for a special message.

Thanks and ❤️

Day 14

The moment the front door snicked shut she shot out of his arms like a wet fish. She put the aviators back on, her black braids swinging indignantly as she marched from the room.

“Was the kiss that bad?” he called, throwing his hands up.

“Asshole!” she said. The front door opened and then slammed.

Caleb ran a hand through his hair and laughed. He sank down on the sofa and untied his boots and took them off. If he had the rest of the day off, he was getting comfortable. In his duffel bag he had a pair of shorts. If he could just muster up the energy to get up and rifle through it.

Alice came over, tail wagging, ears perked. He stretched out on the sofa, overjoyed to the point of near weeping to be lying down on something soft. She put her head on his belly and stared at him.

“I can’t let you up here. Something tells me this is a no-puppies-allowed sofa. But I will scratch your head.” He began to run his fingers up and down her dark snout. Her eyes drifted shut and her tail thumped. “Wow, if only all the females in my life had this wonderful reaction to my attentions.”

She sighed.

“That went well, don’t you think? I pissed off two different women at once but for entirely different reasons. I think that was a hidden talent and now I know about it.” He shut his eyes. He was very tired. Too tired. He hadn’t been so heavy-limbed exhausted in a long, long time.

Alice, the best therapist ever, continued to rest her head on him and allow his loving attention to soothe her. So Caleb kept talking. It felt perfectly natural to unburden himself to a dog. Why hadn’t he gotten one before now?

“And God help me, Al, but I actually thought Harrison wasn’t too much of a huge douche bag. So…I think under different circumstances and maybe in an alternate universe I could like him. But don’t tell anyone.”

She sighed again.

Caleb heard the front door open and he froze. Alice gave a soft rumble that said, What are you doing? Pet me!

“Shh.” She shushed.

He heard boots clacking on the floor and suppressed the initial urge to sit up straight. She was back.
She sauntered in holding a bottle.

He smirked at her, he could tell it was his jerk face but was unable to control it. “You came back. I thought you’d left for good.”

She dropped to the armchair and pulled off her boots. Then she took off her short socks, balled them up and tossed them toward the hallway that branched off the living room. “Well, sorry to break it to you, loverboy, but I live here. So I’m not leaving for good any time soon.”

She called the dog and Alice promptly switched her attentions the newcomer, putting her head in Dahlia’s lap.

“Traitor,” Caleb growled.

Dahlia’s laugh was genuine as she patted Alice. Finally, she sighed and picked up the bottle from the table and waved it in Caleb’s general direction. “Interested?”

Caleb rolled to his side. “Well, I’m no wine expert but that doesn’t look like wine. That, my new roomie, looks like whiskey.”

“That’s because it is whiskey. Now, I’m only asking once more. Interested?”

He stretched, hearing his joints creak and something snap. She winced and he grinned. “Sure. But I need to find some food to go with it.” He got to his feet and followed her. He tried very hard to keep his eyes off her ass and failed miserably. To make up for it he said, “Sorry about the kiss.”

“No you’re not.” She entered the kitchen with him on her heels. Her bare feet barely made a sound on the floor.

“No. I’m not. Busted.”

“What do you want?” she asked, opening the fridge. “There’s leftover from the last two nights. The chefs make staff meals. You can have a pork chop or some chili. Or you can raid the freezer. That’s all stuff I bought. I eat like a fourteen year old.”

He opened the freezer. “Yeah, you do. But I’m not one to talk. Where I come from I have a lot of fresh produce in the house. Some pretzels and chips, beer, and then I tend to walk to local places and buy myself meals. Cheap meals, but good local meals.”

“Well, you can have Hot Pockets, soft pretzels, Fudgesicles, Tater Tots…well, you have eyes. You can eat whatever you want until you get to the store to grab stuff you want to stock.” She took down two short glasses and poured them each two fingers. She handed one to him and when he took it their fingers touched briefly.

He recalled the kiss, that instant of surrender, and he had to focus really hard on not letting his dick get hard. But he had a feeling that the lovely, somewhat abrasive, ass kicker Dahlia was going to star in his masturbatory fantasies. And he was fine with that.

He held up his glass. “To new friends and new adventures.” His gaze fell to those scars and he found himself itching to know about them. But that was for another day. Possibly another life.

She clinked but then she said, “We’re not friends. We just met. And you groped me ten minutes in.”

“I call foul on the term ‘groping’. I did kiss you, though. And I have to admit, I’d have been tempted to do it with or without and audience.” He looked her right in the eyes when he said it. He wanted her to know that as cheesy as it might seem, it was sincere.

She looked away.

For some reason, her looking away without a cutting comment felt like a victory. “I changed my mind. I’ll eat something once I shower and change. Seriously, I’m disgusting. You feel free to go spend your day off away from me. I’m going to take a year long shower, steal your pork chop and then pour another of these.” With that, he downed the whiskey and focused on the fierce burn as it traveled down into his belly.

She studied him so intently he almost wished she’d put the damn aviators back on so he couldn’t see it happening. Rarely did someone’s intense attention make him squirm—hers did.

“I can’t get caught away from my beloved.” She betrayed herself by smiling when she said it. He returned the smile. “I’ll take Alice out around the grounds. We’ll be back shortly.” Then she looked down at the dog and said, “Want to go pee on some bougainvillea, girl?”

Alice bounced playfully. Caleb felt pretty good. If the dog liked her, Dahlia was aces in his book. He looked at Alice as a security system at the moment. An early warning asshole detector.

“Yeah, sure. Thanks,” he said. “I appreciate it.”

She gave him one of her patented short nods and muttered, “No problem.” Then she downed her whiskey without a wince or a blink and he felt his dick want to get hard all over again.

photo credit: JonathanCohen via photopin cc


So THIS is happening and live. Which makes me a little weepy and a lot grateful. This community--my community--has been so wonderful to me and mine over the last year I have no words. It is too big for little words so I'll just say thank you. To Tamsin Flowers who had the idea, Alison Tyler for her editing magic, Selena Kitt / Excessica for her publishing skillz, Willsin Rowe for that amazing cover (but which of his covers aren't amazing? None. That is the answer.), the writers who submitted, the writers in the book, people buying it, the people talking about it. To all of you who had a hand in it, I appreciate it. I appreciate you. I can't even begin to explain what this book means to me and my heart.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ Sommer