The topic for today’s posts is “Holding Out for a Heroine” but when I went through my manuscripts I realized there was one scene to put a slightly different spin on it.
When I first started writing Texas Tangle, Brett was only supposed to play a very small role between Dillon and Nikki. In that first draft, he didn’t have any scenes in his POV so you didn’t realize that he’d loved Nikki since high school but held back, figuring he wasn’t good enough for her, especially since his competition was his best friend Dillon. But when I started editing the manuscript, I realized there was a wistfulness about him, and I knew I had to dig deeper, to explore his story. In this scene even though he faces his worst fears–despite the years he’d kept himself on the sidelines, he realizes he had to stop holding out for his heroine. At least that’s what he thinks..
Aware of the contemplative look Dillon gave him, he dragged his gaze from Nikki and focused on his own bottle. This had to stop, this longing for her. The fantasy of holding her in his arms as they fell asleep together, of waking up beside her, would never happen. So why did he keep torturing himself?
Dillon broke into his thoughts by asking if they were hungry.
“Starving.” She graced Dillon with a beatific smile, one Brett would have given anything to have directed his way.
“Brett? What about you? You hungry?”
Yeah, but not for food. What I want to taste is Nikki’s…give it up. You’ll never taste her again. Talk about forbidden fruit.
He should walk out. Leave.
Coward. If he left now, he’d never be able to face them across the dinner table. Here or at the Barnetts’. Which meant he’d have to cut himself off from the only family he’d known. Again.
Dillon took his choice from him when he shoulder-checked him. “Park your keister, buddy, you’re in my way. Dinner’s coming right up.”
Knowing he had to either suck it up or lose his best friend, he claimed the chair opposite her.
True to his word, Dillon slid the plates in front of them ten uncomfortable minutes later.
Because Nikki and Dillon spent more time discussing her horses and keeping the Arabian lines pure than eating, Brett finished his meal before them. While they talked, he leaned against the wall, watching her, soaking in her enthusiasm. She had such a joy about her, a passion about her precious Arabians’ bloodlines. Her face came alive, and her hands punctuated her points in graceful arcs. At one point she put down her fork and picked up her root beer. Instead of her fingers curling around the bottle, he pictured them curling around his dick.
He was just settling into the fantasy when the phone rang. Dillon checked the caller ID then picked it up. “Hey, Ma, what’s up?”
Two minutes later he hung up and frowned at Brett, then glanced between him and Nikki. “Gram’s in a tizzy. Something’s disturbing her chickens, and she wants me to go check it out.”
Seeing his chance to escape, Brett pushed his chair back. “I’ll go.”
Dillon waved him off. “Nah, don’t worry, I’ve got it.”
He patted his jeans pocket to ensure he had his keys, then grabbed his hat. After brushing a quick kiss over Nikki’s lips, he headed to his truck.
With a sigh, Brett stood up and held out his hand to help Nikki out from behind the table. “Guess we’d better clean up.”
It took them less than two minutes to stack the dishes in the dishwasher. Two long, awkward minutes where Brett was hard-pressed keeping his eyes off the way his shirt hugged the curves of Nikki’s breasts. The way the hem rode up when she reached up to close a cupboard door, promising a peek at her taut little ass. How pathetic was it that he was jealous of his own damned shirt?
Nikki leaned against the counter as he filled the soap dispenser in the dishwasher door. “Dillon asked me to marry him.”
“I heard.” It came out as a whisper. He cleared his throat. “He also said you didn’t say yes.”
“Once bitten, twice shy, you know?”
“Yes, he is a good man.” A sympathetic look flickered across her face then disappeared, as if she knew that wasn’t what he wanted from her. “But you know, you’re a good man too.”He closed the dishwasher, then fiddled with the buttons, trying to buy time. “There’s also the saying if you fall off a horse, it’s best to get right back up again. Dillon’s a good guy. He’d be there for you whenever you need him. Him and his family. You won’t go wrong marrying him.”
A good man wouldn’t be fantasizing about fucking his best friend’s girl, his conscience mocked. He shrugged her off, turning away, only to have her follow until she was directly in front of him.
She caught his face between her palms and forced him to look at her. “You are! You put your life on the line for strangers every day. And I know the Barnetts love you as much as if you were born to them. That says a lot about your character, you know.”
If she only knew where he wanted her to put her hands. Then she’d see his real character, discover the dark needs he kept carefully hidden, not only from her but from Dillon too. “I’d do anything for them.”
She searched his eyes for a moment. “Do you ever wonder where we’d be if it had been you who had stopped for me that night?”
“But it wasn’t me, was it?”
“What if it was?”
He opened his eyes. She was looking at him with such compassion, even love. The knots in his stomach twisted even tighter. “We can’t play that game, Nik. You’re with Dillon. You’ve made your choice.”
For a truly great ménage read, TEXAS TANGLE is the book for you. I couldn’t get enough of it and had to read it twice, okay – three times! ~Talia Ricci, Joyfully Reviewed
“Love isn’t about money. It’s not about how much land a man has. It’s about how much he loves me. How much I love him.”
“Dillon loves you.” The words might have been broken glass, the way they tore at his throat.
“I know he does. Even if he hasn’t said the words.”
“You love him too.”
“Yes, I do.”
At Nikki’s answer, he sat down on the chair with a thud. “See? You’ve made your choice.”
And it wasn’t him. She’d chosen Dillon.
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