This Will Hurt II
(June 2nd 2023)
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance
Part II of II Angst Awakening Friends to Lovers Family
Buckle in. Roe and Jake have mountains to climb, walls to tear down, and countless private moments to bring them even closer in this final part of their journey.
The ground beneath me had finally settled. I was content. I was all right. I could move forward and live with my choices.
Then I found Jake’s damn journal from… therapy. That was right. My best friend, who defined “man of few words,” was in therapy. The ground started shaking again. I got desperate. I got angry. I…almost lost him on the job when he saved my life.
Nothing was settled anymore.
What the fuck did you wear to a country concert?
I grabbed a pair of jeans and boxer briefs from the closet, then walked back into the bedroom and picked up my phone from my nightstand. I sent Jake a message.
I’m fresh out of chaps and cowboy hats. What should I wear, hoss?
While I waited for his response, I removed the towel around my hips and put on the boxers and jeans.
“Dada, I’m-wa no baff!”
I glanced over at the door as my boy ran in, with Sandra hot on his tail.
I grinned faintly and swooped him up. “Look out, we got a runner ova’ hea’.” I peppered his face with smooches, and he giggled up a storm. “You can’t escape bath time, baby boy. But you know what comes after, don’t you? Mommy’s gonna read you a story.”
“Nooo,” he complained.
“Yeees,” I mimicked.
Sandra sighed and smiled ruefully. “Let’s go, sweetie. We’ll get extra bubbles and everything.”
“Hear that? We love those bubbles.” I handed over the clinging monkey to her and pressed a kiss to the side of his head.
“I don’t wannaaa,” he whined.
Sandra carried him out, only to stop in the doorway and turn back to me. “You sure you don’t wanna cancel?”
Positive—and I wasn’t fighting with her about it again.
“I won’t be late,” was all I said.
The teasing glint in her eyes faded, and she walked out.
I released a breath.
My phone dinged on the nightstand, and I walked over and read Jake’s text.
I’ll tell you you’re pretty no matter what you wear, sugar.
I laughed silently and shook my head.
Whatever. I returned to the closet and dug out a long-sleeved tee that made my biceps look good. We were going to an outdoor place up in Griffith Park, so it was bound to get chilly. But I liked that it wasn’t a huge concert. Only some five thousand people. It beat going to the Staples Center.
Jake picked me up downstairs fifteen minutes later, and the most country thing about him continued to be his truck. It made no sense to drive a truck in LA. But he loved it, and I really had no room to argue choices of vehicles. I was still a laughingstock after buying a sports car before Casper was born. Worst deal ever. I’d probably lost twenty grand when I’d traded it in for a family-friendly SUV.
“Hey, pretty.” Jake pulled out from the curb. “I see you found clothes.”
“No thanks to you.” I smiled and buckled my seat belt. “Will I see a lot of chaps tonight?”
“If I drop you off in West Hollywood instead, I’m sure there’s a club for you.”
I laughed. Funny.
“Oh, this is a good one.” He cranked up the volume on the stereo. “He’ll probably play this tonight.”
I side-eyed him, more interested in studying Jake than hearing a song. There was something inherently sexy about how he drove. He made life look easy when he was on the road. One arm along the edge of the window, the sleeves of his open flannel shirt rolled up—some serious forearm porn going on—two fingers gripping the wheel loosely at the bottom. He tapped his foot to the rocky beat, and his lips moved subtly to the singer’s voice.
Ratty USMC ball cap on the dash. Since he always wore it backward, he took it off when a headrest was in the way.
Fitting lyrics, about holding on to things you believed in.
Of course, it being a country rock song, the topic was the singer’s truck.
“It’s the miles that make a man.”
How many miles till I fell out of love with him?
“I’d be nothing without you, so I’m holding on.”
Surprisingly, a line not about the truck.
“I’m not the openin’ act,” he chuckled. “Quit starin’.”
That was the fucking problem, wasn’t it? He was the headliner.
I’m often awkwardly silent or, if the topic interests me, a chronic rambler. In other words, I can discuss writing forever and ever. Fiction, in particular. The love story—while a huge draw and constantly present—is secondary for me, because there’s so much more to writing romance fiction than just making two (or more) people fall in love and have hot sex.
There’s a world to build, characters to develop, interests to create, and a topic or two to research thoroughly.
Every book is a challenge for me, an opportunity to learn something new, and a puzzle to piece together. I want my characters to come to life, and the only way I know to do that is to give them substance—passions, history, goals, quirks, and strong opinions—and to let them evolve.
I want my men and women to be relatable. That means allowing room for everyday problems and, for lack of a better word, flaws. My characters will never be perfect.
Wait…this was supposed to be about me, not my writing.
I'm a writey person who loves to write. Always wanderlusting, twitterpating, kinking, cooking, baking, and geeking. There’s time for hockey and family, too. But mostly, I just love to write.
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