So, guess what? I typed the words “THE END” on Monday night and finally wrapped up the story of Marcus and Tessa (currently titled Little Brother–that will probably change). Want to meet Marcus Grayson? Go ahead…swoon!
And then I thought…ahh time to relax a little. Take a break from writing, catch up on some TV, finish reading that book that’s been stuck at 70% on the kindle for a week. And I did do that…for like 3 minutes. Last night my fingers were literally ITCHING to write something new. Well, kind of new. If you’re following the Facebook page then you may have heard the news that Man of My Dreams is getting a face lift. There will be a new cover and the reveal will be on November 1st. I put a lot of thought into it and spent some well needed deliberation time with my cover snobs (you know who you are, girls) and the end product is something I am so excited to get out there! Regina Wamba from Mae I Design is just incredible! I’m pretty sure there isn’t anything she can’t do.
So why am I rambling today…I have plans…ideas…things I want to say. I’m planning on writing a sequel for the man Mia didn’t choose (no spoilers here!) and I want to work on a sweet novella, aiming to release for the day of love; Valentine’s Day, updating you on the happy couple (still no spoilers–hee hee). Thanks to the recent blog tour and the new one coming up in association with the new cover, I had to revisit Mia’s world–well, in this case I got to dabble with Noah and Declan again–it was fun! I’ll be sharing these extras and deleted scenes as they release with the new tour BUT I have one to share today! (This was featured on the True Story Book Blog on 10/17/13).
Ready #TeamNoah fans????
This scene comes from after the reunion…when Mia decides to attend the “after party” with Noah. Get inside his gorgeous head and see what he was thinking…right…now:
March 10, 2007
What the hell am I doing? She’s married for Christ’s sake! This is so not me—I’m not the bad guy, I’ve never been the bad guy, but around Mia all I can think about are bad thoughts. I should’ve kept my distance at the reunion—sat with the guys from the team. But no, instead of doing the right thing, I act like a cocky son of a bitch and park myself right down next to the one woman I should probably stay away from. The beautiful woman who is about to get into my car so I can take her out—yeah, like on a date.
What the fuck am I doing?
When she hops in I can barely control my breathing. I’ve wanted this for a long time, since that night back in college, hell, maybe even before. But these circumstances just aren’t right and as awesome as it is to have her next to me, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m stealing something that belongs to someone else.
I pull out of the driveway and onto her street, watching her out of the corner of my eye. She’s fidgeting with those damn rings again! As if I need another reminder that we can’t be together.
I break the silence, complimenting her. “Your home is beautiful, Mia. I bet your family is equally beautiful. Perfect…just like you.”
Her head falls back against the seat and she closes her eyes. “Can you just drive?” she huffs.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…” I didn’t mean to what? To flirt ruthlessly and get you alone? Um, yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what I meant to do.
“No, it’s not you. I’m stuck in my own head. Would you promise not to judge me if I told you something?”
“Of course not. Shoot.” I can’t imagine what she’s going to say, but whatever it is has her uneasy. She plays with her hands in her lap, biting the inside of her cheek. Poor girl is a bundle of nerves.
“This is all so…how is it possible that something so wrong can feel so right?”
Fuck! I’m gonna have to take her home. I don’t want her to do anything she’ll regret. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself for breaking up a happy marriage and a beautiful family.
Turning the corner, I pull over to the curb. Her eyes are brimming with tears. Shit, please don’t cry! “Mia, I would never make you do anything you didn’t want to do. I know I’ve been forward tonight and you…”
“I know,” she hides her eyes and takes a deep breath. “I’m sorry, Noah. I didn’t mean to lead you on. It’s just that my husband is away on business for a month. We were separated for a few months before that because of what he did. I’ve always had this crazy crush on you and seeing you, the whole reunion, the flirting…it all just came to a head.”
Hold the fuck up! Did she just say what I think she said? “Wait. Take a step back. What do mean ‘because of what he did’?”
I’m trying real hard not to see red as I listen to Mia tell me how her husband cheated on her. I’m not inside their marriage, and I know life isn’t some perfect fairytale, but how could someone cheat on Mia? And what a freaking game changer. I’m not saying this gives me permission to pounce on a vulnerable woman, but I can’t lie—the fact that they’re separated makes me feel a little less like the villain. You know what, screw the husband. She obviously needs to relax and unwind tonight. I can give her a good time—and it doesn’t have to be in that way. She’s a cool girl. We enjoy each other’s company, that’s what matters right now. Then again, it’s all sweet and innocent until someone mentions separation.
“What an asshole! Seriously, Mia. I can’t believe anyone would be so stupid as to take you for granted. Although come to think of it, that’s exactly what I did ten years ago.”
“What do you mean?” It’s like she’s ten thousand miles away until she speaks those words. She’s staring into my eyes, hanging on to every word I say.
It’s truth time. I can’t hold back now, not when what I choose to say obviously has an effect on what happens next. Lay it all out there, Noah. This is your last chance. “If I would have made a move that night at The Room, the night we were both back from college, maybe you wouldn’t be going through all of this right now. Who knows? It could have been you and me living in that house, raising two kids. And I certainly wouldn’t need some chick at a bar to remind me of what I had.”
Shit! Did I really just say that? She looks dumbfounded, but in a good way.
“Noah, I—I don’t even know what to say. This night has been…maybe you should just take me home?”
Okay, didn’t see that coming, but now’s not the time to be a pushy dick. “If that’s what you really want, just say the word.” I can’t hide my disappointment, but I have to give her the option because once we pull away from this curb there will be no turning back. I don’t want to take her to the after party at Tim Scotto’s house. I want to spend more time alone with her—this may be the only chance I’ll ever get.
“No! I don’t want to go home.” When she says the words I almost want to pull my fist into my chest and hiss out a “YES!” But I remain as cool as one can be when they’ve just been given the green light to do something they’ve dreamed of for so long.
“Would I be a real cad if I didn’t take you to the after party? I’m kind of enjoying talking to just you. We can grab a few drinks, or coffee…whatever you’re comfortable with.” Cad? Who the hell uses that word anymore? This woman has me in knots. But when One Week by Bare Naked Ladies starts up on the radio, I lean over and adjust the knob to make it louder. Nice ice breaker.
“Drinks are good.” She finally agrees. “You pick the place. Sorry for all the drama. Weren’t things so much simpler back then?”
“Hells, yeah. Now let’s see if you remember all the words to this song… Chickity China the Chinese chicken…” Don’t ask me how, but I remember ever damn word to this song. I bop my head up and down, drumming my fingers on the steering wheel.
She giggles, a contagious, melodious sound, and just like that we are carefree teenagers again. For now.
I never—there are so many things I’ve never done. One: I’ve never loved a girl. Two: I’ve never been with a married woman. And Three: I’ve never given up on chasing something I want. Right now I want Mia—so that pretty much means that if this night goes the way I want it to, the other two things on my “I never” list will be shot to shit.
“Drink up, buddy. You’re guilty!”
I look at her in disbelief. Her latest accusation in this game is that I’m guilty of leading a girl on with my lucky eraser. “What are you talking about? I never…” Realization sets in. Duh! I did in fact allow Mia to borrow said eraser for that test that time. I remember it—she looked so adorable; all nervous and panicky. So I did what any guy in my position would do and flirted—with the help of my favorite lucky charm. “I nearly forgot about that. Mia Page, you have a memory like an elephant.”
“You have no idea how the mind of a teenage girl works, do you? When you handed me that eraser it was like handing me an invitation to prom. I thought for sure it meant you liked me, that it was the beginning to something. Maybe we’d hang out which would turn into a date which would turn into my first kiss. But, alas, you left me high and dry. And the eraser was the last thing you gave me, besides of course, a broken heart.”
The beer must be getting to her because she’s a lot freer with her words and emotions now. Did I really not have a clue she was that into me back then? She was a knock-out, all the guys talked about her, had I known she was interested—woulda, coulda, shoulda. “Wow,” is all I can say for a minute. I lean back in my stool, suddenly interested in a total recount of all four years of our time at Westmont High. “First of all, when was your first kiss?”
She arches an eyebrow, sipping her beer from the bottle. “Billy Denker. November 1993.”
“Denks got a piece of you and I didn’t? What the hell?”
“Hey, don’t be mad at me. I wanted you to be the first, but you never made your move and I didn’t even know how to make a move. Sorry you lost your shot, Noah Matheson, but it’s either shit or get off the pot. You never seemed to get off the pot.”
What? Somehow Mia makes talking about shitting on a pot not only hilarious, but fucking adorable. “Damn, I’ve never heard that expression before. I’m so stealing it. And I’m sorry about the whole pot thing. I was distracted in school. Too much going on—my parents on my back about making good grades and getting a scholarship. I didn’t even date much, never even went out with a girl for longer than a few weeks. I was too into the game to care. But it doesn’t mean I didn’t notice you. I always thought you were beautiful. I wanted to kiss you too, but the timing was never right and I didn’t think it was fair to make any girl second to baseball. Especially not a girl like you. But you can’t say I didn’t try that night—two years after high school?”
“You mean that night at The Room?”
Yes, that night at The Room. The night that haunts me for being such a dumbass. I should’ve been more persistent. You don’t let a girl like Mia Page—or whatever her last name is now—slip away. Twice.
“I was already with Declan, Noah. The opportunity was gone.”
“Seems like a reoccurring theme with us.” This blows. I don’t want this night to end in regrets. For neither of us. Memories come flooding in—songs about staying up all night and living out our youth; phrases about savoring carefree moments. I wish I could bottle this night up and hold on to it for a little longer. Not worry about husbands or kids or being responsible.
My hand brushes up against hers as I reach for my beer. The heat that radiates off her soft skin is undeniable. Sparks would fly between us if we could just get our chance to connect. “God, I wish we could just stay in this moment, Mia.”
She lets her hand linger, but then quickly pulls it away, shaking her head. “This is bad—on so many levels—just so flipping bad.”
I swivel around in my chair, my hands aching to touch her. I rest them on her bare knees, so silky and smooth and—if she were mine, my hands would be inching higher, my intentions totally clear. But she’s not mine and I’m not even sure she ever can be. It’s so damn frustrating, but she needs to know. “Well to make bad worse, I have to admit this is the best date I’ve ever been on. Even if it’s technically not a date. And if it weren’t for your douche of a husband cheating on you and making one of the most beautiful girls I’ve ever known second guess her whole life…I would have dropped you at home because I’m not the type to go after what’s taken. But Mia, you are irresistible…you deserve better than a husband who takes you for granted because of his own insecurities.”
God, I wish she’d stop looking at me like that. Like she’s dying for me to kiss her. I want to—so damn bad my tongue is restless in my own mouth, wanting to lick her lips, taste her. Finally, it’s too much to bear and I need to clear my head. Raking my hands through my hair, I stand up and groan, “Ugh! This is nuts! I need to use the head. I’ll be right back.”
I stalk off, adjusting my junk and scolding myself. I am a noble human being! I’m doing the right thing! I have to walk away even if it’s going to kill me! I’m pretty sure it’ll haunt me until the day I die, but when I come back from the bathroom, I’m taking her home and we’ll go our separate ways. I told her once to call me if things didn’t work out with her man. Maybe this time, if they don’t, she’ll actually follow through. But it has to be her decision.
When I’m done using the bathroom, I zip up, wash up, and man up. Time to say goodbye to the only woman who’s ever made me feel so hopeful and hopeless all in the same moment.
I sit back down, hand her the rest of her beer, and ready myself to end the evening. But something’s changed. I can’t help notice that Mia seems different in the three minutes I was gone. “Everything okay?”
She tilts her head back and drains half the bottle. “I hope so.”
I reach over and grab the beer out of her hand, reaching up to cup her face. “Mia. What’s wrong? What’s changed?”
“Can we go outside and get some fresh air?”
Time’s up. It’s all just too much for her. I can see it on her face. “Of course. You wanna go home? I’ll take you home.” I stand up from the stool and hand her her purse.
She pushes it into my chest, rejecting the offer. “No! This night isn’t over yet and I’m not nearly as drunk as I want to be. So we’re going out for fresh air and then we’re coming back in here and I’m ordering a round of shots.”
Huh? “Okay? Why shots? Shots are usually for celebrations.”
“Just take me outside. It’ll be easier to explain with a clear head.”
Explain what? I don’t ask; I’m not about to mess with a woman who’s probably as confused as I am right now so I just usher her outside, with my hand against the exposed skin on her back. I’ve been waiting for a reason to touch her there all night. I peek down lower, where her dress drapes open just above her perfect ass. Why do you have to be so gorgeous, Mia? I don’t want to say goodbye.
Once outside, she takes the lead, walking toward the parking lot. We find a quiet spot where we can be alone and lean up against the cold, brick wall. My thoughts are so scattered, my body so heated, that the chill of the cement is a refreshing distraction.
I lean my head back, staring up at the sky. I can’t look into her eyes again. I need to start distancing myself to get ready for the goodbye. Looking into those eyes will just make it that much harder. But I can sense how tense she is; it’s the first time all night that she’s this visibly jumpy. “What’s up, Mia? Why do things feel different all of a sudden?”
“Because they are.”
Without another word, she pushes off the wall, and her body falls against mine. Her hand pins my shoulder against the brick, her delicate hands caressing my face. No, Mia, please? I won’t be able to stop. Please don’t look at me like that. My thoughts have never been so conflicted before—wanting something and not wanting it all in the same breath. “Mia, please. Don’t. You’re drunk, you don’t want to do this.”
“I’m not drunk. And I do want this. I’ve wanted this for a long time and I can’t miss this chance again.” She inches closer staring at my lips. “I dream about you, Noah. A lot. That has to mean something. Maybe the dreams are there to remind me of what I felt. To encourage me not to give up on something I’ve always wanted.”
Jesus Christ. What man can resist that? She feels like she belongs in my arms and I don’t want to let her go. And now there’s no turning back. Her lips graze the skin on my neck, my pulse quickening and my dick hardening. She steps up on her tippy toes, resting her head on my shoulder. My fingers give in and tangle themselves in her long, blond hair. Do I do this?
“Mia?” My voice is so full of need, it drips with desire.
“Yes?” she whispers against my neck.
I’m a terrible person, but I don’t care. You can’t fight something like this, it’s just damn impossible. “I’m going to kiss you. Please tell me you won’t hate me if I kiss you.”
She leans back and starts to answer, “I won’t hate…”
And that’s all I have to hear. My mouth crashes onto hers, so hungry to taste her after all these years. Unable to control my hands, I grip chunks of her hair with one, and paw at the slinky material of her dress with the other. Her body grinds against mine as my tongue explores her mouth, slow at first and then more frantic to match the yearning that’s built up inside.
I cup her face with both hands, kissing the sides of her lips, before parting them with my tongue again. I gently suck on her tongue and she lets out a moan that encourages me to delve deeper, our connection becoming more intense.
God, I want her. I need her. I have to be inside her, but I can’t push. It has to stop somewhere. We’ll have to take it slow if I want to be able to do this ever again. I break free, only because I know it’s my only redemption. “We have to stop. Oh my God, you’re a married woman and all I want to do is bring you to my bed. We can’t…we…Shots! Let’s go do those shots.”
Shot after shot, after shot, and I’m still sober. Yes, sober. Not even alcohol can compete with the high I’m on right now. But that’s me…I have a high tolerance and a new mission. I want this woman to be mine—I need her to forget her past and to prove to her that I can be her future. And allowing her to get drunk—not necessarily the way to prove I have her best interests at heart.
“Come on, Mia. You’re like way past tipsy. I think it’s time to go home.”
Her face lights up and she bites her lower lip, standing from the stool. “Oh, good! Take me home,” she stammers, her eyes glassy slits. Will she even remember everything that happened between us tonight?
“You got it, hun.” I leave another tip for the bartender and hook Mia’s limp arm around my neck, steadying her. “You’re gonna have one nasty hangover.”
She giggles, her head flying back, her high-heeled feet losing their footing. I catch her from tumbling and our bodies join again. When her eyes meet mine, she’s smiling. It’s so fucking sexy when she looks at me like that. “Well, then you’ll just have to stay the night to make sure I’m okay.” She reaches up to plant a soft kiss on my lips and then slides her body back down mine until her feet are flat on the ground again.
Does she have any idea what she’s doing to me? This is torture—hari fucking kari. She’s drunk, she’s drunk, she’s drunk. I chant it over and over again in my head, hoping it will penetrate, but it doesn’t change how much I want her. This can’t just be a one night thing. I want my shot, my chance to be her man. This is it, dude. Shit or get off the pot, already. I look into her big brown eyes and I see a glimpse into everything I’ve been missing out on. I will not allow her to slip through my fingers again. Tonight, ten years past due, marks the beginning for us. I won’t have it any other way.
“Let’s just get you home, sweetheart,” I say, hoping I can live with myself for what I’m about to do.