Okay, now I have that song going through my head.
Love hurts — it sure can. Today I’m focusing not on the love between the hero and heroine, but between two best friends. In the scene that follows this one, you learn that Brett and Dillon from Texas Tangle once fought so badly their friendly was almost completely fractured, but then they got back together again and now Brett would do anything to never go through the heart ache that fight caused. (The explanation of how they became best friends and how it was nearly completely lost still brings me to tears and I wrote the darned thing, and I’d love to include it here but it is over 2700 words long and I have to remember that this is supposed to be a “snippet”.)
Anyway, for those who haven’t read Texas Tangle yet (and why haven’t you?) Brett and Dillon have been best friends, and because Brett never wants to harm that friendship again, he’s stepped back when Dillon is interested in the same woman Brett has loved all his life…
Copyright © 2010 by Leah Braemel
Whatever was going on with Brett, Nikki couldn’t figure it out. He’d always been calm, always stoic. Sometimes his control was downright scary. But right now she was afraid he was on the brink of losing it.
She wanted to put her arms about him, hold him tight and not let go. She wanted to tell him it would be all right, to comfort him the way she would a child who’d lost their parent in a mall. If she did either, he’d probably push her away, afraid of losing face in front of her.
So why was he acting so strange? Like she’d just shot his dog?
“You’re right. I love Dillon. And I have chosen him. But I hope you’ll always be my friend. One day you’ll find someone you love too. You deserve someone who loves you. Someone better than me.”
His knuckles clenched until the skin stretched taut, the veins on his forearms bulging. “I’m not good for anyone.”
I couldn’t get enough of it and had to read it twice, okay – three times! ~Talia Ricci, Joyfully Reviewed
“No. I’m not.” His eyes opened, pain filling his eyes. And his voice was rough, betraying the struggle he was having with himself. “I’ve got a drunk for a father. My mom ran off when I was little. I’ve got nothing to offer anyone. Dillon’s got the whole Barnett family behind him. He owns a ranch, while I live in a rented apartment. He’s got his own business, with employees. Responsibilities. Don’t you see? That’s why I had to back off. He can offer you so much more than me.”
Her breath stuttered in her throat. She barely made it to the chair before her legs folded under her. “You did want to date me, didn’t you?”
“Yes.” The word was little more than a breath, barely making it past his lips.
All his hesitations, the number of times she’d caught him looking at her, the way he’d held her out on the lawn the night she’d been robbed, and again on the couch when she’d sworn he’d been about to kiss her. Despite his denials, he had been attracted to her. It all made sense.
“Oh, Brett.” She covered his hands with hers. “Why didn’t you tell me right from the start that you wanted to date me?”
Had she done something—said something—that made him back off?
“I couldn’t. I owed it to Dillon to give him his chance with you.”
“You owed it to Dillon?” What type of debt meant he had to stand back from someone he was interested in? She chewed on her lip as she wondered if perhaps Dillon had done something to warn Brett off. Called in some boyhood pledge or…no, Dillon had invited him to come stay with them. He wouldn’t have threatened Brett. She squeezed his hand. “What do you owe him for?”
Brett lifted his head, allowing her to spy the bleak expression on his face. His eyes searched hers, the blue piercing deep into her soul. “My life.”
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