Hmm... Trying to decide what to share this week. How about a snippet from Closing the Deal, a contemporary m/f romance? Enjoy!
“Whoa. What’s that look?” Dylan stared at him in fascination.
“That. That sappy, I like her like her look.”
“Like her like her? What the hell does that mean?”
Dylan didn’t have to say anything. The hell of it was, Derrick knew damn well what Dylan meant. Just as Dylan knew what he felt.
“You have it bad, brother.” Dylan shook his head. “I should have seen it coming when you kept pestering the kid for her number.” The kid meaning Gage. “I think it’s time I talked to her.”
“No.” Derrick didn’t want her scared off by Dylan and his shrinkiness. Or worse, that she might become infatuated with the wrong Warren twin. They’d had their share of partners over the years who had switched preferences during the course of a relationship. But none of those had mattered. Sydney mattered.
“Tell me, Derrick. What exactly did you guys talk about? Gage? Mom? Me?”
Derrick huffed. “The world does not revolve around you, Dr. Dork.”
“Immature, but then, I’d expect that of you. I am older.”
“By two minutes.” He frowned. He hated being reminded that Dylan outranked him, that he even cared and that Dylan knew it.
His brother smirked. “So what’s the big deal if I take Sydney out to dinner? I like her style. Hailey’s told me all about her. And the way she reacted to you shows her to be a smart woman. You afraid she might prefer me over you?”
Yes. “Hell no.”
“Afraid I might have her out of those panties before we get to dessert?”
“I swear to God, Dylan,” Barbara said from behind him. “You and I really need to have a talk.”
Dylan froze and crossed his eyes. Then he slumped and banged his forehead on the countertop while Gage and Derrick howled with laughter.
“I swear. It’s like she’s psychic,” Dylan muttered. “You never hear my sage points, Mom. Only when I get crass, and I only do it so Derrick and your baby-maker can understand me.”
Gage frowned. “Quit calling me that.”
“Yes, Dylan. Stop baiting Gage.” Barbara sighed. “Why don’t you find a nice girl or boy to bring home and I’ll pay you the attention you feel you need.”
“Mom,” Dylan protested, but she cut him off.
“Otherwise you wouldn’t be calling your brother names. It’s jealousy, plain and simple.”
While Dylan argued with her about his true feelings, Derrick nudged Gage aside and helped him put a few groceries away. “So where’s Hailey?”
“Where do you think?” Gage said in a low voice. “Getting the lowdown from you-know-who.”
“Thanks, man. I owe you.”
“Yeah, you do.” Gage grinned. “And for all those comments, making fun of me with Hailey? Remember? How lame I was to be falling for that chick with the great rack?”
Derrick groaned at the reminder.
“Well, take a look in the mirror, dude. You’re about ten times worse than I was. At least Hailey was talking to me.”
“Sydney’s talking to me too. And I’m not falling for her. Sure, she’s smart and funny. Nice, sexy. So what?”
He realized the room had fallen silent.
“Smart and sexy? Interesting combination, Derrick.” His mother started the eggs and watched him with that clinical expression he hated. “So unlike your usual type.”
He scoffed, wishing the floor would open up and swallow him. “I don’t have a type.”
“Yeah, you do.” Dylan ticked off his fingers. “Dim, long legs, wealthy, hot, large breasts. Sorry, Mom, but blame yourself for breastfeeding us.”
“Christ, Dylan.” Derrick ran a hand over his face, thoroughly disgusted.
Even Gage looked green. “Really, Dylan.”
Their mother laughed. “We won’t go into that. Derrick, we all know you choose women you know you aren’t compatible with in an effort to avoid commitment. Sydney seems different. Nice different.”
“I’ve dated smart women before.”
“Yeah, and they were obnoxious.” Dylan shook his head. “Kathy Myers? Gina Stern?”
“Don’t forget the March twins,” Gage offered. “Dim as a busted bulb, but built like, ah, very pretty.” He shot their mother a covert glance.
“The point, Derrick,” she continued, “is that you’ve expressed more interest in Sydney than you have a lot of other women.”
“It’s probably just sexual frustration, Mom.” There. Let her chew on that. His brothers looked horrified he’d said it.
Barbara pushed a few plates of eggs at them. “That could be. Or it could be something more. When you engage in the physical aspect of the relationship with Sydney, you’ll see what happens.”
“Barbara Warren.” Gage’s eyes were as round as quarters. “You did not just encourage your son to have sex after one date.”
She flushed but continued to make her point. “No, I did not. I merely suggested that when he does, he’ll see more clearly. He needs proof she’s different. If he thinks he’s stuck on her because of a physical attraction, he should rule it out, but only when they’re both ready. A relationship built solely on sex never lasts.
“I’ve seen the way women look at my sons. You’re all attractive men. Charming when you put your minds to it.” She gave Derrick a pointed stare. “So charm her and see.”
“I could have been with her last night. But I didn’t.”
Dumb, dumb, dumb to admit that.
Her eyes narrowed. “I see.”
“Oh hell. I like her. Is that so bad?” So why did his palms sweat just thinking about her? Why did he worry that she didn’t like him? He was Derrick Warren, a catch by any standard. Right? “I was respecting her boundaries. She already thought I was an ass. I just didn’t want to add to it.”
“Nice.” Dylan nodded. “That was the plan. I didn’t think you’d stick to it. Now she’s off-balance. Now you make your move.”
Their mother disagreed. “The only reason I’d even suggest you engage in sexual relations—at a point when you both consider your relationship has matured enough to make that next step—is because it will increase the intimacy. Because that’s what any meaningful partnership is all about. Feelings and emotions. Sex can complicate things, though, so you need to both be ready for it.”
Gage stared, his mouth open. “Why the hell didn’t I get this advice with Hailey? It was all about talking to her and not groping her.”
“That’s what I’m telling your brother to do, to talk to her first. To get to know her and build a relationship built on mutual understanding and respect.”
“Not what I heard,” Gage muttered.
Derrick grinned. “Different strokes for different folks, little brother.” Glad that he no longer felt in the hot seat, he turned everyone’s attention to Dylan. “But there’s something I’ve been meaning to ask. Why am I the only one under the microscope? What about Dylan? Last I heard, he broke up with his boy-toy. Not the other way around, like he told us. Why’s that?”
Everyone homed in on his brother and Derrick leaned back with a contented sigh. He couldn’t believe he was contemplating following his mother’s advice, but for once the woman had suggested something that made sense. His insane attraction to the redhead was a distraction. It might be nice to date a woman without the physical stuff in the way.
They could be friendly before being friendly. Though everything in him shut down at the thought of his mother in conjunction with s-e-x, he reminded himself she offered therapeutic advice and nothing more.
Think of me as someone who’s here to listen, she’d said. Well, he was listening. He’d try to get closer to Sydney, to get to know the woman behind that killer bod before taking that next big naked-bodies step.
Two hours later, he stood in front of Sydney’s door and knocked.
A few moments passed. She opened the door wearing a pair of clingy jeans and a soft pink blouse. The color shouldn’t have looked right with her red hair, but for some reason it did. She appeared ultra-feminine, soft, touchable.
Fuckable. Shit. He tried to focus on his family’s advice.
“Can I come in? Or is this a bad time?”
She stared at him in shock. “I, uh, yeah, sure. Come on in. I was just doing my weekly cleaning.” She stepped back and allowed him to enter. After closing the door behind her, she turned around—right into his arms.
Finally. He backed her against the door and leaned down to face her, nose to nose.
The whisper of her breath against his lips aroused him to no end. He’d been hard the entire journey to her house, trying to ignore his instincts. Now he had her in his arms, could feel her curves against his body. His resolve to take things slow and simple went out the window. Christ, he wasn’t going to last.
“You left last night before dessert.”
She swallowed. “D-dessert?”
Her full lips parted. Her blue eyes were so dark they looked black. The fiery redhead who’d met him taunt for taunt and laugh for laugh the past three months stared at him with desire in her eyes.
He kissed her before she could protest, and like he’d imagined, she tasted sweet. He tilted the angle of his head to get better depth and plundered her mouth. Her tongue entwined with his, and he groaned into her mouth, caught by the fiery woman he’d wanted for too long.
by Marie Harte