Say You’ll Go

After twenty years and five children, love just wasn’t enough anymore—until, five years after the divorce, it’s the only thing they have left.
After twenty years and five children,
love just wasn’t enough anymore—
until, five years after the divorce,
it’s the only thing they have left.
 Janelle Monáe: Say You’ll Go

“Tess … ” She stopped cold at the breath of a whisper, her heart slamming into her ribs so hard she thought it would fall out right there on the table and flop around. She turned slowly—so slowly.

She opened her mouth to scream at him for ambushing her, but she realized just in time that he was as stunned as she was.

And he was beautiful. More beautiful than he had been when he was nineteen. More beautiful than he was the night he’d left her. Yet nothing about him had changed.

His hair was still a mass of long mahogany-red waves past his shoulders. Bunches of hair at his temples had been braided into tiny plaits fastened behind his head. His earrings were medium-sized gold hoops. His stark art deco sun tattoo still spread its rays down along his neck, chin, and jaw. His shirt was blousy white linen floating untucked over oxblood leathers, the ties at the neck hanging loose. His wrist tattoos were on full display. Then she looked at his hands.

He was wearing his wedding ring.

She blinked and looked down at her own left hand. There they were: the circuit board wrist tattoo that matched his and the diamond he’d presented to her in an elaborate, public proposal. Because why do it privately when you could put on a show?

She looked back up at him, knowing all her heartbreak and joy and sorrow and love for him were written all over her face—and it was reflected in his.

This is exactly what I wanted to avoid,” Sebastian drawled with great irritation. “If some people had picked up her phone!”

She should’ve picked up the phone.

Tess didn’t move—couldn’t—but Étienne could and did, skirting his chair and striding toward her with that look, the pirate king, the one who wouldn’t be denied.

She sighed when he slid his big hands around her face, tilted it back, and brought her up to him for a kiss that scorched her soul.

It was magical. He was magical.

She closed her eyes and opened her mouth, feeling his tongue, so familiar, so talented. Tasting him as he had always tasted with an undernote of Dr. Pepper. She whimpered into his mouth when the pressure lightened, but he only tilted his head and went after her at a different angle. Sensation shot downward, and she moaned softly, ready to spend the next few hours feeling his bare chest against her naked breast, his legs twined with hers, his body inside hers, stroking her and assuaging this ache for him she’d never been able to contain.

“GET A FUCKING ROOM!” Sebastian roared, standing and pounding the table. “You two drive me fucking insane!”

They parted. Slowly. So slowly.

“I did not sleep with her,” he whispered, dropping his forehead on hers, his chest heaving.

“I know.” That surprised him, and she was strangely gratified.

Mon cœur,” he breathed.

“I love you, too,” she whispered back, equally out of breath. Then she gulped. “But love isn’t enough.”

He drew away from her, dropped his head back, gripped the back of her chair so hard it creaked. His chest heaved.

But somebody began to clap. A golf clap. Hushed. Mocking.

Someone else joined in. Then someone else.

Her heart was breaking—again—but she couldn’t hide her smile. Nor, it seemed, could he.

“Étienne!” Sebastian snapped. “Get your ass in this seat right now. Tess, siddown. Somebody has to be the adult in the room. As per usual.”

“We need to talk,” Étienne murmured, looking at her with those heartbreaking—heartbroken—ice blue eyes.

She nodded. “I know.”

To a therapist! I do have other things to do, you know!”

Étienne tossed Sebastian a bland smile over his shoulder. “Keep it up. You know we like to put on a show.”

Sebastian snarled but sat, and somebody began to chuckle.

He turned back to her. “You drew those for me?”

Tess, as in love as she had been at seventeen, could only nod. “I draw everything for you.”

from We Were Gods

Book updates

1. ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF

allowme-150x225My story, “Allow Me to Introduce Myself,” that appeared in Monsters & Mormons has been ready for me to put up for sale for quite a while. I just haven’t gotten around to it. I hope to get that done before Christmas. Kidding. Not really. It won’t be on the Dunham site, so if you want to buy it from me (please do!) it’ll only be here, in the sidebar.

A Mormon nun battles demons and insecurity in the Louisiana bayou—with a baby alligator by her side and weapons powered by cold fusion.


2. SEEING RED

seeingred-150x225I’m almost finished with the first draft of Seeing Red, a category-length novel, an offshoot of Paso Doble. I plan to make it permanently free, but I change my mind a lot.

Anti-bullfight activist Pilar Bautista and star matador Alejandro Molina give each other what they need most—but can they keep each other and their integrity?

Sadly, I have no release date.


3. IT CAME TO ME IN A DREAM

A couple of weeks ago, I, like Stephenie Meyer, woke up from a dream and thought, “Damn, that’s an awesome idea.” Unlike Stephenie Meyer, there were no sparkly vampires involved. Then I began my daily routine, which includes checking in at Young House Love. Voilà! A plot bunny was born. Well. That plot bunny grew up into what will be a full-length novel, and I still haven’t named the poor little thing.

Blythe Marston was widowed at 28, nine years and four children after she and her high school sweetheart had married. She’d had the perfect life: husband, marriage, kids, house, in-laws, parents, friends, health. Until the cops showed up and told her a drunk driver had taken it all away from her.

As the condolences drifted away and she started putting herself back together, only one man stayed with her to guide her to her independence: Phineas Marston, her father-in-law. Six years after her husband’s death, she’d raised her kids, gotten an education and the most unlikely career, and learned how to be happy again.

But not alone. Never alone. There has never been anything between Blythe and Finn, no spark, no desire, no thought of anything. Her dead husband binds them and Finn grieved along with her. There has never been anything more than that between them—

—except kid drama, school events, family dinners, conversations, opinions, arguments, celebrations, work time, chores, advice, and the dozens and dozens of cookies she bakes for him to take to his office on the holidays.

There’s nothing between them.

Nothing at all.

This is marginally part of the Dunham world, although I may or may not mark it that way. That said, I not only don’t have a release date, I don’t have a title, either!


4. EXTRAS!

Remember, there are lots and lots of extras on the Tales of Dunham site you may not have seen. A Dunham family tree, new vignettes, and rebooted soundtracks are among them. In the future, I’ll attempt to update you when I do put stuff up. Which is why…


5. I’M BUILDING A NEWSLETTER MAILING LIST

If you get a newsletter email from me any time between now and the Rapture, it will be because you indicated to me you wanted to be on my newsletter or you bought a book from me directly. I don’t mean to offend, honestly, so please feel free to tell me to bug off when (if) you get one.


6. I’M PLANNING TO RE-EDIT THE PROVISO AND THEN PUT IT OUT A HARDCOVER EDITION

Can you believe it’s been almost six years since I published it? Eventually, they will all be in hardcover because I’m snobbish that way and, yes, I still like paper books.

7. A CRAVEN PLEA

Lots of authors have great marketing strategies. I don’t. I’m lost in a sea of advice, coupled with an aversion to marketing tactics, a lack of followup skills, and a desperate need to lock myself in a room and pour words out into my hard drive.

Doing a newsletter to alert fans and buyers of new books and new material on the website is my first step, but now I’d like to ask you readers who enjoyed my work to tell your friends. Now, I’m going to write regardless of sales (or lack thereof). I can’t not write, but wouldn’t you like to discuss these people around the watercooler?

Two new books

Best friends forever...until the first kiss.
Best friends forever…until the first kiss.
Sometimes love isn't enough...until it is.
Sometimes love isn’t enough…until it is.

PASO DOBLE
&
WE WERE GODS

go on sale today!

The print books are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all the regular places.

The ebooks are available from me (see links above), Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all the regular places (iBooks coming soon). From now until May 15, 2014, they will be priced at $1.99. After, they will be $5.99 and $4.99 respectively.

Get ’em now!