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

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!

On parenting

Paradise by Judith McNaughtTess: “You know this makes us like all the evil meddling parents in all those novels who pay off the boyfriend from the wrong side of the tracks, and then are responsible for the seething hatred between their daughter and her boyfriend until they meet up twenty years later and have angry sex.”

Étienne: “You say that like it’s a bad thing.”

Tess: “But by that time, the boyfriend has used his seething hatred to make a billion dollars just to show her father up and comes back as a master of the universe to get his revenge on the parents and his girlfriend, even though she has never stopped loving him and was heartbroken that he never tried to contact her—”

Étienne: “This is the part where the evil parents had never passed his letters along to the girlfriend, right? And hers got waylaid on the way to the post office? And then she finds out her parents threw money at him to get him to go away, and she turns on them?”

Tess: “Right. So it’s all a giant drama, and the evil parents get their comeuppance.”

Étienne: “I don’t think we need to fear a raging billionaire coming after us in twenty years.”

Tess: [sighs dreamily] “I love those books.”

Étienne: “You know what I like about you, Tess?”

Tess: “Which thing?”

Étienne: “You’re worse at being human than I am. You just have a better filter.”