It’s one week till Finn time. And I had planned to do lots of countdown-promo-y stuff. But as you can see, I haven’t done any of it.
Have taken on a new and exciting opportunity that’s due June. Plus have final galleys for my May release with Entangled. Plus two books due at the end of March. Have just done first pass edits on the Chessman (Black Knight, White Queen) and I know edits for the next Talking Dirty book will be upon me soon. It’s getting busy.
It’s good to stay busy while I await the book release, suffering from random bouts of nausea, mixed with touches of hysteria as I obsessively check my Amazon rank.
This is kind of the moment I’ve been working toward for five years now, the moment I’ve been dreaming about since I was little. My book out there for people to buy. I never dreamed it would be romance and I never even imagined it would be as an ebook but fate moves in mysterious ways. And to be honest, I’m ecstatic with the result!
To celebrate, I’m going to post another excerpt that follows on from the one on the Samhain site. Hope you enjoy!
She took another sip of her beer. “How’s Katie?”
Ignoring his question. Another one of her “I don’t want to talk about it yet” techniques. Fuck that. “You said you were going to give me an explanation. Or have you changed your mind?”
A hand pushed one of the dark wings of her hair behind her ear. “No, I haven’t. I just wanted to know what you’ve been doing.”
“If you’d bothered to listen to any of my messages, read any of my emails, or even answer your bloody door, you’d know.”
Green eyes slid away from his.
Great. Now he really did sound like a petulant, angry child.
He lifted his bottle, took a sip of beer. “Katie and I broke up. She wanted more. I didn’t.”
Anna let out a breath, dark brows knitting together. “Oh, Finn. I’m sorry.”
She always was sorry whenever he broke up with a girlfriend. Sorrier than he was. He lifted a shoulder. “Easy come, easy go.” Because he didn’t want to settle down. Katie had been a lovely girl, but when she’d started angling for “the conversation”, he’d had to get out. He wasn’t a cruel person, and keeping her hanging on just because he’d liked the sex wasn’t right.
“Finn,” Anna murmured.
“No, it didn’t worry me, truly.” Only a little.
Anna’s watchful green eyes looked at him from beneath her new fringe. “But something happened, didn’t it? That’s why you’re so angry with me.”
Ah. Deflection. Another Anna-ism. When there was something she didn’t want to talk about, she turned the conversation back on him. Fuck that too.
Finn leaned forward. Put his beer on the floor, elbows on his knees. Stared at her. “This isn’t about me, Green Eyes. So come on, spit it out. Why are you here after six months of silence? What happened?”
Green Eyes. Finn’s affectionate nickname for her. She’d always liked it. Liked how it made her sound exotic when she was anything but.
Yet even the familiar sound of it didn’t stop the cold feeling spreading through her. Neither did sitting here on Finn’s comfortable leather couch, the same couch she’d spent so many nights sitting on, talking or watching TV, or listening to music or arguing, or sleeping on when she’d had too many glasses of wine to drive home.
It should have reassured her. Should have grounded her. But it didn’t.
Because what had happened six months ago was too big for familiarity to overcome. As was the request she had to make. Still, she had to try. Had to ask.
Finn never let anything get in his way when he wanted something. He never had. And she knew he’d always wanted to help her. That was why she was asking him in the first place. That and because she trusted him as she trusted no one else.
Anna took a fortifying sip of her beer. Talking to him shouldn’t have been so difficult, but the therapist she’d gone to see for a few months afterwards had told her not to expect miracles. That these things took time. But if she couldn’t tell her oldest, most trusted friend, then who could she tell?
She held the beer loosely in her hands, trying to get up the courage to meet his gaze. Trying to fight the fear that had made a home for itself inside her soul.
“It’s serious, isn’t it?”
Anna swallowed, looked up.
All the anger in his eyes was gone. Dark brows drew together in a frown. The sun coming through the windows struck gold highlights from his shaggy, surfer-blond hair.
Dark eyes, straight dark brows, blond hair…unusual. Striking. She’d never really noticed before. But then she’d seen the parade of women in and out of his bed. She knew that Finn Shaw, the man she thought of more as a brother than anything else, wasn’t exactly lacking in the looks department.
Don’t go there, girl.
But she had to go there, didn’t she? Now she was here, knowing the request she was going to make of him?
“Yeah,” she said, taking a breath. “It’s serious.” He didn’t move, but a sense of stillness seemed to steal over him. Most of the time Finn was a ball of restless, kinetic energy, but when he listened, he listened.
Bossy son of a bitch. Anna gripped the bottle she was holding, trying to think of how to broach the subject. Normally she thought everything through carefully, the legacy of a career in law, but when she’d thought about this moment, her mind had always gone blank. She didn’t like the feeling. Groping around for some words, she eventually said, “You know Michael and I were having problems, right?”
Finn moved, a sudden, fluid motion, leaning forward in his seat, a dark kind of anger in his eyes. “What did he do?”
Oh, great, Mr. Alpha Male was on the case now, was he? Finn had a protective streak in him a mile wide. Plus he seemed to think that no one was good enough for her when it came to her boyfriends. He’d never liked any of them, Michael least of all.
“Nothing,” she snapped, angry with him all of a sudden. Him going Incredible Hulk on her was the last thing she needed. “Stop jumping to conclusions.”
The intense look on his face didn’t waver. “You said you were having problems.”
“It wasn’t to do with him, okay? The problems were mine.”
He didn’t look the slightest bit appeased by this. “So what was the issue?”
“We…he asked me to marry him.”
A look passed over Finn’s face. Something she couldn’t interpret. “When?”
“Six months ago.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
Anna swallowed. Screw beer. She needed whisky. Right now. “I’m getting to that. Have you got anything stronger?” She gestured to the beer.
Finn ignored the question. “Get to the point, Green Eyes.”
Crap. She found her hands were clasped tightly over her knees, pressing against the denim of her jeans. “I wasn’t sure. I didn’t know what to say. I was confused.”
“About his proposal.”
“But I thought you wanted to get married?”
Yeah, so did she. But when Michael had asked her, something inside had held back. “I did.” She swallowed. “But I needed some time to think. I went out with Lily—”
“What about me? You didn’t think to talk about it with me?” He sounded pissed off.
“Sometimes you need a girlfriend—”
“Don’t give me that shit. That’s never bothered you before.”
Oh, bloody hell, he really was angry. “You weren’t there. I called but you were in a meeting.”
He let out a breath, sat back in his seat again. “So you went out with Lily.”
“We went to a bar. Had a talk.” Her hands clasped her knees tighter. “Lily left after an hour and I…I stayed to think about it. Just to have some time alone.”
His long, lean figure went still again, obviously picking up on her tension. “And?”
Anna swallowed. “And the next thing I knew, I woke up in an alley.”
Finn was staring at her. His eyes had gone almost black.
“I’d been drugged, Finn,” she made herself go on. “I’d been assaulted.”