Halfway to NaNoWriMo

Lordy, how in the hell is it halfway through November already?!

NaNoWriMo is kicking our collective arses, exactly as it’s supposed to do.

Some of us are slugging it out like Ali, composed and unbeatable, some of us bear more of a resemblance to Rocky, we’re bloody and on the ropes, but we’re hoping for that big finish (disclaimer: we are not responsible for any power ballad montages).

Without further ado, here are some short snippets of our NaNo projects. They’re a little rough; these are works in progress, after all.

Enjoy!

~*~*~

Resonance, Marauders: Book Four, by Lina Andersson

Tommy couldn’t fucking believe that bitch’d had the nerve to come looking for him. She’d basically accused him of killing her brother. Like he’d ever be able to hurt Zach. He’d been his best fucking friend since they were kids, and she’d said that what had happened had been his fault. He’d held his best friend, his brother, in his arms when he died. He’d told Billie the full story, something he until then hadn’t been able to do, and she’d said it was his fault.

“You okay?” Brick asked him when he came back inside after throwing Billie out.

“Not really,” he admitted. There was no point in lying to Brick.

“She left you her number.”

“I don’t want it.”

“Tommy, look at me.” He did as Brick had asked, but avoided looking at the piece of paper Brick was holding in his hand. “She left me her number, she said it was life and death, and she said you were family once.”

“I’d say ‘were’ and ‘once’ are the key words in that sentence.”

Brick took his hand and shoved the paper in it before giving him a stern nod.

“She’s in Phoenix, she wanted you to call, and she used to be family. Think on it.”

Brick left him with those words. At first he crumbled the paper into a small ball in his fist, but after a few seconds he cursed and pushed it into his jeans pocket instead of just throwing it away.

“I’ll think on it,” he mumbled.

With a nod, Brick left him by the bar.

The last time he’d seen Billie had been the morning after Zach’s funeral. He’d been injured when Zach was killed, so he’d been sent home. He’d done his years as an active by then. They both had, Zach and him, they’d basically been on their way home when it happened.

When Tommy was offered his discharge, he’d taken it. There was no fucking way he’d continue without Zach—he wouldn’t even know how. It had actually been hard to know how to continue without Zach even outside the military, and he’d ended up leaving everything behind just to find something that was just his in an attempt to get away from Zach’s ghost. So, he’d moved to Arizona, and he’d found the Marauders.

Tommy went back to his dorm and lay down on his bed. He found the note in his pocket and carefully unfolded it. It was just a number, nothing else. It was still enough for him to recognize her handwriting, though.

Billie’d been Zach’s tomboy baby sister who’d hung after them like a tail during the early years. Zach and Billie’s dad hadn’t treated her any differently than he’d treated Zach, which meant she’d done the drill exercises right along with them on the Jensen’s backyard. She’d been tough as nails, despite being a scrawny little chick.

Then she grew up, and as much of a tomboy as she’d been, it was hard to miss the fact that she was hot. Zach had been very uncomfortable with Tommy pointing that out, until Tommy’d said that the chick was basically his little sister, too, it wasn’t about that, but objectively speaking, their little sister was hot. By then she wasn’t following them around anymore, and it’s safe to say he wasn’t the only one in town who’d noticed how hot she was.

With a growl, he ran his hand over his short hair. She was his little sister, too, and she wanted his help with something. So he picked up the note and his burner, and he dialed her number.

He didn’t have to be nice with her, but he had to at least find out why she’d come to find him. It had to be some fucking emergency for he her to do that.

“Billie Jensen speaking.”

“So why are you in Phoenix?” he asked, ignoring the twitch in his cheek muscles who wanted to smile about the fact that she still answered the phone in the same way as she’d done since she was five years old. He didn’t introduce himself, either. She’d know it was him.

“We live here. Dad’s stationed her at the air force base.”

“Still living with your parents?”

“Yes.”

They both stayed silent for a long time, and Tommy made up his mind.

“You’ve got thirty minutes tomorrow.”

“Where?” she immediately asked.

“There’s a café here in Greenville on Main Street called Espresso House. Meet me there at two.”

“Okay. Thank you.”

He regretted his decision the second he hung up.

~*~*~

Gypsy Harts Book One: Initiation by C.D. Breadner

“Come here, Oakley.”

His eyes had that sparkle again, and his mouth was threatening to go full-on smile at any moment. She could get out of there right now and feel fine about it. Or she could get closer for that smile.

She took three steps before his smile hit, then she crossed the rest of the space completely enchanted by it. She stood close enough to feel his warmth and smell the clean sweat on him, but not close enough to be touching. She had no idea what might happen if she touched him.

Or, she did. But she was still scared to take the initiative.

“You still look scared, Little One.”

“I am.” And she was. Her desire was something odd and foreign. The first time she was feeling it in this reincarnation of herself. She didn’t know if Darlene, if that had been her name before, had ever felt anything so intense. So this was the first time she’d know such passion.

“Are you scared of me?” His tone indicated her answer was important to him.

“No. Just … scared for myself.” If that even made any sense.

“Don’t be scared Little One,” he said lowly, softly. His hand came up, cupping her jaw. Oakley’s breath caught and her eyes closed, and that’s when he kissed her.

It was so soft, impossible given his size. But his lower lip brushed upwards over hers once, twice, and she pressed her mouth to his to stop that teasing torture and kiss her proper. With a low growl he wrapped one arm around her back, picking her up off the floor and mashing her body to his. Likewise, his lips were crushed to hers almost hard enough to bruise. Owning the kiss, taking over her whole body with it.

Oakley wasn’t scared, not at all. Their tongues wrestled, her hands dug into his hair and held on, and Stone’s arms crushed the breath from her as surely as the kiss had. She became aware of a hardness along her belly, and as the thought excited her she flexed her hips downward, rubbing her stomach on that heat. He growled again, turning her so her butt landed on the low work table. His hands slid up under her shirt, desperately seeking skin. They were hot and rough, the callouses thrilling on her sides, sliding up over her ribcage, the ache between her legs intensifying. Oakley pulled one hand from his hair, letting it run down his bare chest. She had to feel it and it didn’t disappoint. His skin was smooth, save for the hair at the centre of his chest, and yet the strength in his body was obvious. He was as firm as steel, unyielding.

He parted their lips with a loud gasp, moving both hands to her head to hold her in place. He was looking into her eyes, the heat in his own nearly feral. Her hand was still on his chest, so she slid it over to his pec, brushing across his nipple. His intense stare faltered, and she couldn’t help it.

Oakley smiled.

“Little One,” Stone grunted. “You’re fixing for a good fucking you keep that up.”

Her body clenched all at once. She’d never had anyone speak to her like this, and she liked it. She pinched his nipple softly once, making him close his eyes. Then she did it again, harder, just as he was opening them up.

“Fuck, Oakley,” he snarled, and rather than fear lust raced up her spine. She leaned in to kiss him and he took it with ferocious intent, his tongue plunging deep into her mouth like he wanted to taste all of her.

With fast hands he pulled the long-sleeved thermal shirt she was wearing off over her head. Her bra was plain, beige, and her breasts were small. Still, his eyes went to them and it appeared he didn’t mind either fact at all. “Look at this skin,” he was groaning, lowering his head to kiss the top of each breast. Oakley fed her hands into his hair, burying her face in it as he kissed and nipped and licked all the skin he could get to. When he forced the cup of her bra down and took her left nipple in his mouth it was her turn to groan, throwing her head back. Her skin was charged with electricity, and all the sparks went off right between her legs when he did that.

One of her hands was reaching for where his coveralls were hung. He evaded her hand while continuing to tease one breast, then the other as her legs pinned themselves to his hips, flexing in a need for friction in another incredibly sensitive part of her body.

As big as he was, and as intense as her lust was, she realized he was being surprisingly tender. Not at all like she’d expected from him, from how she’d seen the other men when they were with women.

Her bra released and that’s when she realized his hands were on her back, making her shiver. She dropped her arms so he could pull the bra free, then when she tried to pull him close again he leaned back, holding her arms out to the side, his eyes running over her hungrily.

“Stone,” she whispered, desperate to cover herself. Or have him do it, that would be better.

“Untouched perfection,” he whispered, then his hands were at the fly of her pants. She helped him get them open then over her hips, propping herself up on the tabletop while he whisked them away under her bottom, along with her underwear. Again he stared down at her body, eyes possessive and ravenous. This time when Oakley went for the waist of his coveralls her let her, eyes coming to her face now to watch her reaction to him.

~*~*~

First Born – Ramble Creek Novella #1, By Elayne DiSano

The bed was firm and spacious giving Kate’s back the reprieve it needed from her dad’s couch.  After a ride back to Atlanta to check in and let him know she’d landed a place in this obscure town called Ramble Creek, she shared a quiet dinner with him before heading back.

She lugged her suitcases up the stairs, filled the drawers of the wooden dresser and hung up what she could in the small closet that had spare, wooden hangers swinging from bar in the tiny closet.  She then made a list of goods and sundries she’d need then popped open her laptop to check both her personal and business email.  Other than an email from her tenant inquiring about snow removal after a late winter storm dumped seven inches in Connecticut, there was nothing but junk and spam.  Nothing else.  Not even anything from Stuart whom she hadn’t even had a text from.  She was both relieved and saddened.  Though it was the right thing to do, he was the only connection to any semblance of a personal life which was evidenced when she checked her work email to find that fifty had piled up in the last two days.  Even while on leave, she promised the partners she’d check in and pass along anything urgent.  Kate didn’t mind in the least as being idle was a foreign and uncomfortable feeling.

But now she had a place to supply then a plan to figure out for afterwards.  That would be for tomorrow.  Now she was content to lie in a real bed with the eerie silence of Ramble Woods right outside the bedroom window.  There wasn’t a sound of a car or human presence.  It was dead, bloody quiet.  Okay, bloody may not have been an appropriate adjective, but there was at least a passing car or even crickets lending sounds of life outside her condo at night. All the stores on Main Street, including the one right below her, were locked up tight for the night and there was no sign of other residences within eyesight.  She was all alone here.  No one would even hear her scream.

Just when her nerves calmed enough to give her body and mind over to sleep, she heard a noise that sounded like it was coming from below her. Maybe Tina got fed up with her gigolo husband and decided to come back to the store to crash.  But when she heard footsteps coming up the back steps that led to the kitchen, she froze.  Okay, maybe she was hearing things.  Who would be paying her a visit near midnight?  Only Tina, Maggie and her dad knew her whereabouts.  As far as anyone else was concerned, this place was still considered to be empty.  Yes, she was hearing things.  The quiet was beginning to freak her out to where……….

Was that her back door opening?

“Oh, shit.”  The pounding in her heart was louder than those whispered words when the door loudly closed.  It was followed by shuffling feet and the sound of whoever it was bumping into things accompanied by expletives.  She got out of bed and crouched to the floor looking for…..what was she looking for?  Anything pointy or heavy would do. Wait, did she really want to go out there?  What if this person was armed?  Judging by the cache of ammo Maggie sold at her store, she guessed the residents here toted guns like their wallet, keys or cell phone.

After contemplating one of the wooden hangers, she spotted the blue and white pitcher sitting in a bowl on the dresser.  Straightening up, she grabbed the handle with a white-knuckled grip, swiped her cell off the night table then quietly opened her bedroom door.  Save for the full moon lending shards of light through the curtains, the small apartment was dark, but not enough that Kate didn’t make out the shape of a human being.  Make that a male human being who looked as if he couldn’t even stand, let alone able to make it up the back steps without toppling over.

Whoever it was looked about to flop on the couch as Kate held the pitcher high over her head while hitting the light switch on the wall.  It caught the male intruder off guard, making him stumble to the floor.

“Stay right where you are,” Kate warned as she prepped the pitcher to swing while readying her other hand to dial.  “I’m calling 9-1-1.  You move I’ll smash your head in.”

The intruder blinked several times against the bright light above. “Whoa, hold on there, darlin’.  Who the hell are ya?”

“I should be asking you that. What are you doing breaking into my place?”

He snickered in a way that Kate knew he was drunk.  “Break in?  Girl, I got me a key.  And what’ya mean your place?”

Was this guy really going to argue with a woman poised to swing a heavy, ceramic pitcher?  “I mean I live here.”

The guy sat up on the floor, scooting back to where his back was against the wall.  He rubbed his face from chin to forehead, knocking a ball-cap off his head before focusing his attention up at her.  “Since when?”

Those eyes of his were glazed and a deep blue.  If Kate had to pick a color from that Crayola box, it would be cobalt.  His rich, brown hair was thick and neatly cut, unlike the scruff of beard which covered his face.  But when he smiled, Kate all but dropped the pitcher. Wow, he was kind of…..gorgeous.

“Since this afternoon.”  Kate had been ignorant of the fact she’d been ogling a drunk stranger who had just snuck into her place and shook out the cobwebs. “What are you doing here?”

He raised his hand towards the cell in her hands.  “Put the phone down, darlin’.  Ain’t no need to call the police.”

Those cobwebs returned when that deep, drawl of his hit her ears.  Oh, shit, Kate – stop it! , she told herself.  He looked harmless enough practically passed out on her floor and she had the advantage still holding a heavy object that could do bodily harm.  “Okay, fine.” She put the pitcher and cell down.  “So…..let’s just call this a misunderstanding.”

His eyes closed, he smiled again.  “Uh, huh.  A misunderstandin’.”

Was he falling asleep?  “Um, sir….mister…whoever.  You need to leave.”

“You gonna carry me down the stairs and drive me home?”

“No.”

“Then I ain’t goin’ anywhere, darlin’.”

Here?  He actually planned on staying here?  “You bust in here….”

He swiftly shook his head.  “I told ya I used a key……ow.”  He grabbed his head as the shaking didn’t appear to be a good idea.

“Regardless, you just can’t waltz in here and pass out for the night.”  Kate was incredulous as he slumped down on the floor as if making himself right at home.  “Mister….sir….?”

“Stop.”  He put his hand up to stop her.  “That’s what people call my daddy.”  He fell to his back with a loud thud then began to snicker.  “Good ol’ daddy.” He turned his head then looked up at her.  “Hey…..um….?”

Kate took a deep breath.  Maybe if he talked and sobered up enough he could walk back to wherever he came from.  “Kate,” she told him.

“Think you could ever forgive your daddy for somethin’, Kate?”

That question came out of nowhere and hit her like a punch in the gut.  “Excuse me?”

His breathing became heavy and his eyes beginning to close.  Still, he managed a small smile before nodding off for good.  “Nevermind.”

~*~*~

Strength & Courage: The Night Horde SoCal, Book One, Susan Fanetti

He still had her against the wall, holding her up with one hand and the weight of his body, so every movement she made between them came with a maddening kind of pressure. She felt it, too; he saw her eyes widen each time her hand or his cock brushed her core. Under the skirt bunched between them, he could feel her heat.

With his one free hand, he fumbled for a condom. She took it from him and rolled it on. Then he knocked her hands clear and reached between them, spelunking past her skirt. “I hate this fucking skirt,” he grumbled as he finally found her and yanked the slender fabric of her panties aside so that he could sink into her wet depth. She cried out, her legs clamping hard around his hips and her fingers yanking his short hair, her nails scratching his scalp.

“Ah, God, yeah. Baby, you feel like heaven.” Her eyes were closed, her teeth biting down on her lower lip. “Look at me, hon.” She did, and he liked to see that those deep brown eyes were dazed and unfocused. “I am gonna fuck you hard and fast. I’ll take my time later. Ready?”

That sharpened her focus. For a moment, she stared into his eyes, then she nodded, a slow lift and drop of her head. “Hold on, hon.”

He did what he’d said he would, pulling almost fully out before slamming into her, moving back and forth as quickly as his hips would go within the restraining grip of her legs. Each time he went deep, grunting as he felt the limit of her body against the tip of his cock, she hit the wall, and a little burst of air left her, carrying a high-pitched grunt, too earthy to be a squeak, with it.

Jesus Christ, she was tight and lush, and her perfectly smooth, hairless pussy was slick with her juices. He could feel her desire, wetting him, clasping him. He could smell her. Hear her. Moving faster and faster as the hot fingers of ecstasy uncoiled in his gut and made his balls clench and his cock throb, he yanked her beater up and bared her fantastic little tits, then leaned in and sucked one hard and deep into his mouth. She went off at once, crying out ohohohohGODohGOD, arching off the wall with a strength and force he wouldn’t have expected from her slender body.

Her flailing forced him to take a step back, and the change in position sent him over, the climax forcing such a spasm of tension and release into all his muscles that he folded over her nearly in half, standing in the middle of her living room, groaning, his legs shaking.

“Christ, hon.” He was shaken in more than his legs. What was it about this girl that was so fucking hot? He stood straight and tried to set her down, but she whimpered and tightened around him, tucking her head into the crook of his shoulder.

“If you won’t let me go, I gotta sit.” She nodded, and he turned and stumbled to the chair near the turret. He was still mostly hard and fully inside her, and all that movement made him twitch and groan. When he sat, he went deep again. His eyes rolled back, and she moaned.

“You hurt?” She shook her head. He didn’t like that she wasn’t talking. “Sid. I need to hear you.”

He felt her take a deep breath. “I’m good. Just…shaken.”

“You and me both,” he chuckled. “You are something else.”

~*~*~

Safely Tucked Away by Shannon Flagg

By the time the plane touched down in Anchorage, Natalie was pretty sure she was delirious from lack of sleep. She’d managed to get about four hours at Matt’s and maybe a half an hour on the plane because it was impossible to get comfortable when the man next to her had claimed the arm rest. She felt slightly blinded by the impossibly bright lights inside the terminal.

“Nat!” Kenny called her name. She turned towards him, so glad to see him that she felt tears spring to her eyes. “Hey. Hey. None of that! No crying. You know I don’t know what to do with a crying woman.”

Natalie sniffed back the tears. “It’s really great to see you.”

“It’s good to have you home. Come on, let’s get your other bag and get out of here. Penny’s gonna wear a hole in the floor as it is. She’s cleaned the house a dozen times, cooked the entire grocery store. I really hope that you’re not on a diet.”

“I’m not,” Natalie handed over her carry on bag when he reached his hand out. She wasn’t surprised that he didn’t hug her, he wasn’t the most affectionate man in the world. Truthfully she wasn’t either but she knew that Penny would hug her until she found it hard to breathe. “I’m starving and exhausted. I just want to sleep.”

“You’ll be in your bed soon enough. Penny fixed up your old room in the attic. I think you’ll like it. I hope you like pink.” He laughed when her mouth dropped open. “Relax, I’m just fucking with you.” They walked to the baggage carousel, found her bag and headed to the parking lot.

Kenny wasn’t a talker either but the silence between them was comfortable. Natalie felt herself start to relax as she looked out the window. It was all so beautiful even the more urban area of Anchorage. “I forgot how pretty everything is.”

“Wait until it starts to snow. We’ve got to get you geared up before we take off. Got to admit, I’m a little worried about you being up here in the winter. All alone.”

“I’ll be fine. I remember what you taught me. It’s going to be good for me here. Really good.” It had to be because Natalie knew that there was no going back to her old life. She’d made as clean a break as she could, only three people knew where she was and she trusted them all.

“It will be. Just to be sure of that, I talked to Sheriff Ward about you.”

“What?” Natalie’s head snapped to the side. “Why?”

“To ease my mind. I trust him. Someone needs to have your back. Ward is a good man. I trust him.” Kenny rolled down the window and pulled out a pack of cigarettes.

Natalie clearly remembered the Sheriff. He was a large, broad man with a laugh that could be heard a block away and a pocket full of hard candy. He’d always shared that candy with her. “How is he doing? Does he still always have candy?”

“You’re thinking of the other Sheriff Ward. He’s been retired for about a year now. Got old timers pretty bad and lives in one of those homes. His son is sheriff now. You remember him, don’t you? Ethan Ward?”

Natalie remembered Ethan Ward, he’d been a few years older than her and very popular. She wasn’t sure he’d even known that she was alive. It hadn’t bothered her like it did her friends. They’d spent hours mooning over him. She’d never really gotten his appeal. “I remember him. He was a jock or something?”

“Ice hockey. He was damn good. Could have gone pro but instead, he went into law like his father. Spent some time in Miami, was a hot shot detective but he came home when his old man got sick. I figured he’d leave again but he didn’t.” Kenny continued to talk, to catch her up on all the latest gossip about the new sheriff and the rest of town.

Natalie only realized that she’d fallen asleep when Kenny shook her shoulder. She rubbed her eyes and got out of the truck. The front door of the house flew open and Penny rushed out. “There she is! There’s my girl.” Penny grabbed her and hugged her tight. “It is so good to see your face! It’s cold out here. I’ve got some hot cocoa and cookies inside.”

“That sounds great.” Natalie took a deep breath when Penny released her. “I just need a minute to get some air. I’ve been cooped up all day.”

“Of course,” Penny patted her cheeks. “I’ll get everything ready for you.”

Natalie rubbed her arms for warmth, the sweater she had on wasn’t all that warm when it came down to it. But the cold woke her up some, cleared the cobwebs out of her mind. She felt herself smile as she looked out at the star lit sky. It was the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen and she’d get to see it every night before she went to sleep.

For the first time in a very long time, she didn’t feel like there were eyes on her. No one was watching her. It almost didn’t feel real but it was real.

~*~*~

Lost in the Dawn, Catherine Johnson

“Hey, boy.”

Jorrell turned at the call to see En Balamon walking towards him.

“Come with me.”  El Balamon beckoned as he walked straight past Jorrell and across the arena.  Jorrell dropped his shovel into the barrow and hurried to catch him up.

En Balamon did not stop walking until he reached the chained gryphon.  The great animal pushed to stand as the En Dek approached.  It backed up a step, but it showed no aggression.

“This one is known as Kai.”  En Balamon said as he produced a large key and unlocked the weighty iron collar.  The gryphon chuffed at the sound of its name, but stood patiently while it was released.

Jorrell repeated the name and the gryphon chuffed again.

“Do you want to learn to ride a gryphon, boy?”  En Balamon asked him with a sly smile as he hefted the collar onto the grit of the arena floor.  The heavy chain settled with a series of clinks.

“This one?”  Jorrell wasn’t sure whether he’d just been handed the opportunity of a lifetime or a death sentence.

“Might as well.  You’ll need to follow us to the Isle tomorrow somehow, and riding is the quickest way.  The other beasts are taken, and this one seems to like you.  Maybe it won’t buck you off.”

“Maybe?”  Jorrell scoffed.

“Maybe.”  En Balamon returned.  “Now you get on by calling ‘Hi-ek’.”  At the command, the gryphon dropped to kneeling on its forelegs.  “Huh, that’s the first time it’s obeyed that.”  En Balamon shrugged.  “Now, use its knee as a step, use its wing as a handle and a stirrup, and get yourself onto its back.”

Jorrell felt like his brain was playing catch-up.  “There’s no saddle.” He said dumbly.

En Balamon motioned at the gryphon.  “Look at it, boy.  It’s fucking huge.  It would take the leather of twenty cows to make a saddle big enough to fit it.  And besides, it isn’t needed.”

“Not needed?”

“Boy, are you simple?  It’s not a fucking horse.  A saddle won’t help you stay on a gryphon if the gryphon wants you off.   Now try and get on the fucking thing.”

The gryphon, Kai, huffed, as if offended at En Balamon’s choice of phrase.

Not wishing to appear simple in the mind, or afraid, Jorrell followed En Balamon’s instructions.  He was more than a little nervous about being quite so close to the wickedly sharp beak, but the gryphon only blinked its golden eyes as Jorrell scrambled ungraciously onto its back.  It took him a moment to find his seat.  The gryphon’s body was warm, almost too hot, and the even heaving of it’s breathing nearly unseated him.

“Not the most graceful way to do it, but it’s not the worst that I’ve seen.  You’ll get used to it.” En Balamon pronounced.  “Now, ‘Shai’ is an all encompassing command for fly, go faster, anything of that nature.  ‘Loh’ is the opposite.  Shout that to slow down or to land.”

“Is it hard of hearing?  Is that why I have to shout?”

Kai chuffed as En Balamon laughed.  “Yea, gods, no.  But it’s fucking noisy up there when its wings are going and the wind’s rushing past you.”

“Okay.  What else?”

“Hold on and try not to fall off.”

“That’s it?”  Jorrell asked incredulously.

“You need more instruction than that?”  En Balamon asked with a wide smile.

“No.  I suppose not.  What do I hold onto, though?  Do they not have bridles at least?”

En Balamon laughed again.  “Boy, you take a gryphon into battle because they eat your enemies.  They’re not much fucking good at that if you wrap the bitey end up in leather, rope and metal.  Just try not to pull his feathers.”

~*~*~

Legacy by Sarah Osborne

Samson needed to go home. The pull was stronger than anything he’d ever known, and the need to be with Emma and Lottie filled his waking hours and invaded his dreams. It had been easier when she’d been mad at him – he’d been terrified he’d lose them of course, but at least all he had to deal with was that and the stony silences. Now his resilient, funny little witch was back, and every time they spoke, the pull grew stronger.

For a while, it had seemed that De Luca had been successful in reining in the Serpiente, and the tit for tat hits had ground to a halt. Then, just as he was preparing to leave, a whore house in San Diego had been burned to the ground, leaving two women and the Serpiente VP, dead.

There could be no avoiding war now. The gloves were off, and no Freak was safe. Maybe the smart thing to do would’ve been to sneak out of town with his tail between his legs and keep a low profile for the rest of his days, but Vegas was being hit hard, and now it looked as though the Serpiente had Bay View set firmly in their sights.

For over three months, he’d been actively involved in retaliations and preemptive hits with his Vegas brothers. Three long months of blood and bullets. And now a protection run had been ambushed just outside Bay View, and Vince was screaming for vengeance.

So far, Samson had managed to stay out of Vince’s cross hairs. The Bay View President was power hungry and greedy, but he wasn’t stupid, and he knew Samson was behind Moretti’s death. He couldn’t prove it of course, any more than Samson could prove that he was the instigator behind the initial attacks on the Serpiente. But now, the mother chapter had been attacked, Long John was dead, the feds were crawling all over the place, and the call had gone out for nomad support. So pushing back, his need to be with his family, Samson set out for California.

Emma had wanted to meet him there, but he was adamant that she and Lottie stay home. Bay View was small and extremely vulnerable. For years, the little town had managed to avoid conflict by virtue of it’s size and location, but now it was being targeted, and there was nowhere for anyone associated with the club to hide. Samson knew that Tiny had sent Beth and the kids to his ma’s, although six people in that tiny house must’ve been a nightmare, and he contemplated suggesting they moved back up to Seattle until things calmed down. He had tentatively broached the subject with Tiny, but his brother had shot that down in flames. He wanted his family close, and was sure they’d be safe in Fillmore. Samson wanted his family close, too. He missed them so much that it actually hurt, but he’d live with the pain, if it meant they were safe.

It occurred to him, as he let himself into Tiny’s house, that he’d never been there when it hadn’t been full of kids. They’d only been away for less than two weeks, but already Tiny had tidied all trace of them, neatly away. Maybe it was easier for him to deal with them being away if he wasn’t being constantly reminded of them, but Samson suspected it was just his brother’s need for order.

He grinned to himself as he wandered over to the fridge for a beer. Emma had told him that Beth had convinced herself that she and Tiny were having an affair, and he’d nearly bust a gut laughing. The fact that her bra and panties never matched would stop his brother in his tracks before they even started. He knew Emma and Tiny were close, and he kind of understood Beth’s fears – Emma was hot as hell after all – but they were poles apart. In fact the only thing they had in common was their deep love and loyalty to their respective partners. He hadn’t mentioned it to Tiny, there seemed little point, but he did contemplate talking to Beth. She should have had more faith in her man, and accusing Emma of something like this, was downright disrespectful.

He grabbed a beer and headed straight upstairs. Tiny would be at work for a couple more hours, and the guest bed was beckoning. Maybe Lottie would be asleep and he’d get the chance to talk dirty with Emma. His cock woke up at the merest idea and, adjusting himself, he sat down on the edge of the bed and pulled out his cell. “Hey baby girl.”

“Hey. You at Tiny’s?”

“Yeah. I’ve got the place to myself for a while, so I was wondering… what are you wearing?”

Emma laughed. “A rather fetching sweater that I got from a thrift store last time I was in town, those jeans that you hate cus they’re saggy around the ass, and woolen socks cus we’ve been out playing in the puddles and I was wearing galoshes.” She laughed again. “Hot eh?”

For a moment, he couldn’t speak as the image of her splashing through puddles with Lottie and the dog, overwhelmed him. His chest tightened. “Emma.” His voice sounded gruff, and he tried clear his throat. “I’m coming home.”

“When?”

He stood up. “Now.”

~ oOo ~

Genghis heard him first. The dog was pretty dumb, by all accounts, but he recognized Deke’s bike from miles away. Emma’s heart beat faster in her chest as the dog bounced at the door like Tigger on amphetamines. It had been a day and a half since he’d announced he was coming home, and they hadn’t spoken since then. She’d filled the time baking his favorite cakes and trying to teach Lottie to say ‘daddy.’ She was worried that their daughter might have forgotten him – she was so young and was going through a weird shy phase, and Deke had been away for a big chunk of her life – Emma knew that it would break his heart if Lottie refused to go to him.

The rumble of his Harley had now reached her ears, and she opened the front door. “Genghis. Sit.” Genghis sat, whining as the sound of the bike grew louder, and Lottie wriggled in her arms, wanting to cuddle her dog. “You can get down in a minute.” Emma moved her to the other hip. “Daddy’s coming home, and he’ll want a cuddle first.”

Genghis reached Deke first and launched himself at him before he’d even swung his leg over the bike. Laughing, he pushed the dog away and, his eyes never leaving hers, dismounted and unclipped his helmet.

Emma couldn’t move. She stood rooted to the spot, terrified that if she took a step, her knees would buckle. He frowned. “Baby Girl?”

His voice was enough. She closed the space between them and, as he wrapped his arms around her and Lottie, the world became a safe place again.

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3 thoughts on “Halfway to NaNoWriMo

  1. Pingback: Halfway to NaNoWriMo | Even if only my mom reads this …

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