How's winter treating you all?
you may know, around two months ago I landed in Helsinki, Finland. I'd
been living in Spain for the past seven years, so you'd be right to
assume winter is NOT being kind to me :-)
Anyhow, all this moving around Europe has really messed up my writing schedule, and I'm very sorry for it.
going to take some months before James and Tate's novella gets
published, but I get asked so often about it I thought you guys deserve
reading the beginning. Enjoy!
(just keep in mind this isn't the final version, it hasn't been edited yet and it may be subject to change.)
“Girls, prepare your Franklins, we got more strippers!” someone yelled the second James and his crew entered Rosita’s.
Yup, that’s exactly what he wanted to hear while crashing his bride-to-be’s bachelorette party.
were around twenty pink bunnies running rampant around the restaurant,
some dancing, others already waving bills at them, whistling and
catcalling—all of them totally shit-faced. James rolled his eyes and,
ignoring the mayhem, scanned the place in search of his woman. The
second he spotted her, his tongue got stuck to the roof of his mouth.
to his presence, Tate was up on the counter, dancing barefoot. Her eyes
were downcast, her arms over her head holding her wild mop of hair up,
showing off the sexy curve of her neck while her hips sinuously swayed
to the music. She was a bit out of tune though, as if she were drunk.
The pink bunny ears over her head stood a bit skewed, and she had on a
black skirt that barely covered the essentials and a tiny scrap of a
pink shirt that all but had her boobs popping out. The text on her front
said ‘Bunny number One ready to party.’
Fuck, had she been strutting that sweet ass of hers all over Boston dressed like that?
reached her and left the two six-packs he was carrying on the counter.
As he caught her backside, he realized that a pink fluffy cottontail was
bouncing on her behind, and her shirt read ‘Buy this thirsty bunny a
drink and she may forget all about getting married.’ Well, didn’t that
explain it all. It was a miracle she was still standing and not crawling
on the floor.
He was so going to kill Elle.
Even lost in the
music, Tate must have sensed him for her glazed eyes lifted towards his.
She looked confused for the second her brain took to catch up, but then
a wide smile broke across her face.
“If it isn’t my knight in shiny tattoos,” she said, her words a bit on the slurry side.
She was so cute when she was trying to be funny. “If it isn’t my bigoted drunk bunny.”
laughed and threw herself at him—literally—not a second’s hesitance,
completely trusting that he would catch her. Which he of course did. He
enveloped her in his arms and buried his face in her neck, breathing her
in, relishing the feeling of her sweet body against his. There had been
a time, not that long ago, when Tate had not only not thrown herself at
him, but she’d run in the opposite direction as far and as fast as her
cute sexy legs could carry her. He’d caught up with her—the proof was
the motherfucking huge rock he’d put on her ring finger—and the wedding
band that he’d slide beside it in a month, but he’d be lying if he said
her lack of faith in him hadn’t pissed him off a time or two.
curled his hand around her neck and, with his thumb on her jaw, tipped
her head back, taking her mouth in a hard, deep kiss by the end of
which, both he and Tate were breathing hard.
“So, strippers, uh?” he
asked against her lips, his eyes never leaving hers. They’d gone
clubbing, he could tell. She smelled like alcohol and cigarettes, but
underneath all that, there was that sweet fresh smell with a hint of
coconut characteristic of his woman, like she spent her days bathing
under the Caribbean sun instead of running an Italian restaurant in
She smirked, the minx. “Police officers. Don’t worry, they got nothing on you.”
“I surely hope so,” he said with a laugh. "Elle was in charge of dress code, right?"
"Just making sure whose neck should I wring for this."
She smiled. "What? You don't like it?"
wasn't the right word here. He wasn't even sure what the right word
was. Seeing as his cock and his head were in total disagreement but both
about to explode, mind-blowing would be a good choice.
“Come on, let’s dance,” she said as an old Jon Bon Jovi ballad started playing.
was too short for him, especially without her shoes on, so she placed
her feet on his boots and he wrapped himself around her.
“You kick ass at dancing; that’s why all those grandmas love you so much down at the Eternal Sun resort.”
He snorted. “You’re giving me shit about some old ladies in Florida when you just got police officers stripping for you?”
Tate didn’t answer, just smiled against his throat. “You realize you crashed my party, right?”
“Couldn’t stay away?”
“Nope,” he answered shamelessly.
Tate kissed him softly on his neck. “You know, the only reason I didn’t go searching for you was that I knew you’d come to me.”
that and the fact that if you tried driving in this condition, you’d
end up spending the night in jail.” And maybe the next couple of years
too. For DUI and indecent exposure.
“There’s that too,” she conceded. “We may have overdone it.”
May have? He shook his head. “I knew there was a reason I didn’t want to have this party the day before the wedding.”
“I thought it was because you wanted to allow for some travel time in case Max shipped you to God knows where.”
Well, there was that too.
“And speaking of the devil,” she continued. “How did your stag party go? Did Max behave?”
never behaves, princess. Giving my baby brother carte blanche to
organize a bachelor party is like giving an alcoholic the keys to a
She narrowed her eyes. “So you got strippers too?”
mermaids.” At her surprised look, he chuckled. “Don’t ask. I didn’t
touch them, but Max may be in serious need of an intervention.”
again, he doubted there was an intervention out there capable of saving
his brother. Max was too good looking for his own good—and too damn
charming. All he seemed to have to do was smile in their direction and
females dropped left and right. Surreal. His job, well the arguably less
disreputable of the two he had, the one Mike and Cole got him when he
came back from his stint in the military and they feared he was losing
it, didn’t help much either. There was something about working for
Hollywood, even if it was only jumping from moving vehicles and burning
buildings that drove women wild.
Tate looked towards Max, who was
already surrounded by giggling girls, all fawning over him. “Mermaids?
Well, that explains his wet shirt—sort of.”
Yeah. Sort of.
party kicked in all around them as they danced. Every once in a while,
someone came to talk to them, but they were for the most part left
alone, until Paige, Tate’s gothic waitress, prepared another round of
mojitos, and Elle, who was too brazen to even consider giving them a
wide berth, brought the drinks over.
“You and I will talk later,” he
said to her, doing his damnedest to sound stern. It was a useless
attempt though, as nothing ever intimidated Elle.
She winked at him. “Sure, bro.”
James moved to the nearest table, placed the glasses down and tugged Tate to sit on his lap.
went compliantly and snuggled against him, one arm wrapped around his
lower back, the other resting over his chest, her head tucked into the
crook of his neck. The mojito, thank God, was long forgotten.
“I love you, James,” she whispered.
He squeezed her in his arms and nuzzled the top of her head. “I love you too, princess.”
had taken for-fucking-ever for her to say these words to him, and even
though he’d heard them countless times by now, they never failed to
leave him breathless, socking him in the gut and tightening his chest.
Especially as James still broke out in sweats at the memory of how close
he’d come to losing her eight months before—to losing everything. If
Elle hadn’t been in town and hadn’t alerted him, and if Jack hadn’t had
his back, he probably would have.
“Something wrong, babe?” she asked as she sensed his tension.
He shook his head. No, nothing wrong. She was alive, happy and in his arms—he was good.
had been in this very same restaurant, just a couple of meters from
where they were now sitting, where that sick motherfucker had pointed a
gun at Tate’s head, ready to shoot her. And James hadn’t been close
enough to stop him from pulling the trigger.
He’d never had any trouble sleeping at night before. He couldn't say the same now.
he kissed Tate’s temple, something caught his attention. In the far
corner, his older brother Cole was facing off Zack, looking quite feral
and yanking Christy behind him. He barked something and Zack backed off,
his hands lifted, a smirk on his lips. Christy was rolling her eyes as
Cole unceremoniously dragged her away.
“God, babe, your girls are wreaking havoc among my people.”
She followed his gaze. “What exactly is going on there?”
“My guess? Poor Zack committed the ultimate sin and tried talking to Christy.”
“But I thought Cole didn’t—”
“Cole is fighting it, honey. Fighting and losing. Ex-marines aren’t too keen on that.”
“He’s stubborn,” she said with a sigh.
Stubborn didn’t even begin to describe his brother. “Falling in love is
fucking hard on the knees, especially on the untried and unwilling
They both watched as Cole hauled Christy to the stairwell leading to Tate’s old apartment.
“Should we be worried?” Tate mumbled.
her? Nope. For him? Absolutely.” The guy was in total meltdown. That
there, I can’t even explain,” he finished, motioning with his chin at
Elle, who was talking to Jack. Well, not talking, by her stance, she was
egging him on—like always. One hand was hitched on her hip, attitude
galore. In typical Jack fashion, he had his arms crossed over his chest
and regarded her with a closed expression. Whatever she said, Jack’s jaw
tensed. Leaving her in mid-sentence, he turned his back on her and
headed for the door, an unlit smoke in his hand. Elle threw him an
aggravated look and went in the opposite direction.
James muttered. Grown men trembled at the sight of Jack’s jaw pulsing,
but apparently, it didn’t do jackshit for Elle. The crazy girl enjoyed
poking him. Like pulling at a tiger’s tail for shits and kicks wasn’t
fucked-up enough that you had to show him your tongue while you were at
“I bet you think it’s my fault, with Elle being my sister and all
that, but you have to agree that Jack is not Mr. Congeniality,” Tate
said turning to James.
“And thank God for that because neither is
your sister. She may smile like an angel, but she doesn’t hold her
punches. She’d eat Mr. Congeniality alive.”
“True. Maybe getting them to be maid of honor and best man wasn’t the greatest of ideas.”
“Don’t worry. They make it through the rehearsal dinner and the wedding reception unscathed, we are good,” he said.
"You know, we have our birth certificates ready at home. Let's make humanity a favor; find a judge of peace and elope."
chuckled. "Not a chance, princess. Besides, there isn't a judge of
peace in the whole of Massachusetts that would marry a girl that can
barely stand upright."
James shook his head, amused, and
keeping one arm on her back and curling the other under her knees, he
stood up. “Let’s get you home, gorgeous. You’re dead on your feet, and
His friends and brothers could hack it without him, he was done—his woman too.
She wiggled her eyebrows. “Hoping to get me alone to have your wicked way with me?”
love fucking you, baby. That time in the garage with the swivel chair
and the rope proved beyond any doubt that taking you when you’re drunk
is even more earth-shattering than usual, but you’re totally smashed.
I’m not too big on you puking over me.”
She pouted. “I’m not that drunk.”
make you a deal, princess; if you make it home without passing out,
I’ll bend you over the sofa and give it to you again and again until
your voice is gone from screaming my name. This time you'll have to bury
your face into a pillow though.”
“Such a gentleman,” she said with a laugh, hanging onto him tight.
“Not having the cops show up again, baby.”
“Aww, but wasn’t it sweet from old Mrs. Ramsden to worry about your safety?”
“Ha-ha,” he muttered as she dissolved into laughter.
loved seeing her like this; relaxed and laughing, and not stressed out,
withdrawn and sad like she’d increasingly been these past days as the
wedding date approached.
It seemed that from all the wedding-related
events they were dealing with, the bachelorette party was the only that
didn't have her on the verge of an emotional breakdown.
Alcohol, of course, had a lot to do with that.
Maybe he should keep her in a steady supply of mojitos.
As they reached his car she kissed his jaw. “Thanks for coming to get me.”
baby. Besides, your sis was organizing this shindig, and she’s a
fucking menace.” Not to mention that since agreeing to marry him, she’d
been staying at his place in Alden. No way was he sleeping without her.
Besides, he wasn’t sure he could.
“You telling me you’re scared of Elle’s parties?”
do you think? The last party she threw for you, you came home with an
inflatable cock on your head as a tiara, totally drunk and singing
Gimme, gimme gimme. And carrying a huge basket full of sex toys.”
that he’d object to sex toys, but when your woman came home fully
loaded and talking nonsense about being forced to fly solo after the
wedding, well, you fucking worry.
“It was a Pleasure Party, James.
The consultant gave me those sex toys as a present in case married life
doesn’t work for me and I need to take matters into my own hands.”
Yeah, right, like that would ever happen.
“In hindsight,” she mumbled to herself, “she did say she was getting a divorce, so she may have been biased.”
“And the gag ball? Care to explain that one?”
smirked, her silver eyes flashing, and whispered into his ear, “Ah, the
gag ball I bought. You’re too bossy—wouldn’t hurt for you to be quiet
from time to time.”
James burst into laughter. “Dream on, princess.”
© Elle Aycart, December 2012
All Rights Reserved
Disclaimer: this excerpt is not final and is subject to change