For those of you who have left comments or sent me e-mails, thank you. I truly appreciate the time you've taken to not only read the posts, but to weigh in with your thoughts. You all have been troopers. Really.
Today I'm posting my last work in progress chapter. The chapter comes from Leaving John Wayne, a fun little romance. What you'll notice if you've read the first chapter of Spirit Warrior - Link to Boru (click HERE to read it) and The Good Wife's Guide (click HERE to read it), is that my writing style is completely different for each of the stories. Leaving John Wayne is also completely different.
Truth be told, in reviewing the chapter I'm posting below, I can tell this is a story I started ages ago. I can see how my writing has changed over the years. This has been an interesting exercise or me to be sure.
So, if you're up for it, please read all three of the chapters I've posted from each three story I'm working on. Once you're done, let me know which story you think I should finish by leaving a comment or e-mailing me at Brenna.Zinn@brennazinn.com. I promise on the big ass family Bible from 1890 that I have sitting in my living room that I will complete the story with the most votes first. And if you think one or more of the stories aren't worth finishing, well, I'll take that into consideration too.
Here goes. This is the rough, unedited first chapter to Leaving John Wayne. Thanks again!
Ciao - Brenna
Leaving John Wayne
Not even the store’s bright florescent lights or her acute embarrassment could squash the naughty thrill racing through Addison Meyers. Making the impetuous stop to an adult video and gift shop on the way home from her Vegas vacation with the girls certainly hadn’t been on her to-do list, let alone anything she’d imagined ever doing. Nice Texas girls didn’t venture near such places, especially when their daddies were respectable men in small communities. But here she was, as big and bold as a peacock in a henhouse, feeling as though she’d just pulled off the biggest coup of the year.
Addison beamed as she shifted the paper bag brimming with adult toys from one hand to another before exiting the store. The warm breeze that met her and feathered through her hair only seemed to fan her excitement. She hadn’t been this excited and nervous about the prospect of being naked and alone with Jason since they had started seeing each other two years ago. No doubt she’d wow him when she finally reached his house. The notion caused the ends of her lips to turn up even more and push her cheeks so high she could see them in her peripheral vision. Anyone who saw her at the moment would think she was a grinning idiot.
She peeked inside the brown bag as she walked through the well lit parking lot and rummaged through her purse for her keys. How had she actually scraped together the nerve to step up to a counter with a purple dildo, fuzzy handcuffs and the sundry of other items? Buying these kinds of things was so unlike her. So daring. So, oh la la.
Jason will love this. The toys, the little panties, the whole enchilada. He’s going to love this renewed wild side of me.
Five days and four crazy nights in Las Vegas with her girlfriends had awakened a sleeping sexual spirit within Addison she hadn’t realized had gone dormant. Strutting through the casinos and clubs in four-inch stilettos, revealing tops, and pants tight enough to cut off her circulation was a far cry from her usual business attire. But the admiring glances and flirty come-on lines she received from men while she roamed from one blackjack table to the next affirmed she was still attractive, still sexy. At thirty-two Addison could still turn men’s heads, not to mention a few women’s.
Like a powerful drug, the knowledge of her desirability bolstered her confidence and reminded her of the woman she used to be—the woman she still wanted to be—outgoing, self-assured and not afraid to take a bit of a risk every once in a while.
Most importantly, her refreshed sense of self pushed her to make some decisions about her life. She was ready to—strike that—she would move to the next level with Jason Bricknell. She had played the safe card with him for too long. After two years of being stuck in a now predictable dating pattern, the time had come to turn up the heat and get their relationship back to being fun again. Maybe then he’d see they were ready to take the next step. She was ready for that, wasn’t she? And with this bag of goodies, heat was definitely in the near future.
Almost giddy with anticipation, Addison tossed the bag of goodies on to the passenger seat of her convertible and strapped herself in. Within the hour Jason's mouth would fall to the floor as she sashayed through his front door—her new, stiff whip in one hand and a pink vibrator in the other. Her cheeks burned just envisioning the scene, as did the notion of being caught. Anyone seeing her with this stuff would spread the news through Appleton City like an out of control brush fire. She gulped in a lungful of air. Surely that would never happen.
Before leaving the parking lot, Addison pulled her cell phone from her purse. She had to call Jason, give him a taste of things to come. Something to think about while she drove back to town. Anticipation of their fabulous, sexy night would only add fuel to his fire. Not that he'd need it. She had been gone for five days, after all.
Her fingers flew across the phone’s screens until she found Jason’s number, then pressed dial.
Her heart floated like a bubble of happiness at the sound of his voice. Though the time away in Sin City had been short, she missed him more than she realized. “Hi, Jason, it’s me. I’m back and heading toward town. I have a surprise for you.”
“Oh, okay.” Jason hesitated. “What is it?”
“Well, all I'll say right now is that I just finished shopping at an adult store.” Embarrassed, a laugh slipped from her mouth then lowered her voice to a sultry, suggestive tone. “We’re going to have wild monkey sex tonight, darlin’.”
“Not good tonight, Addison. John Wayne is on TV.”
A full beat passed before she processed what he’d said. When she did, she heard a quiet POP! from somewhere deep inside, and was fairly certain the bubble of happiness she’d felt just seconds before had burst.
She pulled the phone from her ear and examined the number and picture on the mobile’s screen. Surely she’d dialed the wrong person. But the picture of Jason's handsome face and intense blue eyes stared back from the screen.
“Are you kidding me?” Addison asked, her voice sounding a little high even to her own ears. She cleared her throat and tried again. “Seriously. Are you kidding me?’
Despite the fact Jason had to be joking—he had to be—the giant lake of confidence and resolve she’d been swimming in since setting foot in Las Vegas seemed to shrink into a shallow puddle of muddy water.
“No. I’m in the middle of watching The Shootist. It’s the best film John Wayne ever made. I love this movie.”
As though injected with ice water, Addison’s spine straightened against the leather seat of her car. Her hands started to shake. The ability to think coherent thoughts left her like rats fleeing a sinking ship, as did her self-esteem.
Doesn't he care at all about me?
Wasn’t she good enough for him? Pretty, smart and sexy enough for him? Surely to God she meant more to him than a stupid John Wayne movie.
Self-doubts that had plagued her since... She clenched her hand into a fist, refusing to finish the thought. No way she was going down that path. The past was the past.
“Addison? Are you still there?” Jason’s tone suggested more aggravation than concern.
“Yes.” She swallowed hard, trying to keep her wavering voice under control. “If you’re busy, I guess I’ll just stop by tomorrow. Will you be available for dinner?”
“Oh, man, this is the best part.”
On the other end of the phone, a loud gun battle raged. And raged. And raged. She flinched with the bang of the gun reports as though her heart has been the target for each fired bullet.
Addison glanced at the digital clock on her car’s dash. How long could a freaking gun battle go on?
“Ya, sure." Jason finally answered. "Dinner sounds great.” Another explosion of gun fire burst through the line. “Why don’t you stop by around six? I’ll have some wine chilling. I know how you like Chardonnay.”
Hurt, like a million bees’ stings, burned down to her core. “Riesling.” Addison quietly corrected, then bit her lip. “I like cold Riesling.”
After two years of dating, why couldn’t Jason remember something so basic, so very elemental about her? She knew every thing about him. She knew how he liked his steak cooked, which glass he liked to drink from, even what type of fabric his underwear had to be so it wouldn’t chafe his perfectly groomed ass. Why didn’t he know more about her?
“Riesling. Right. Whatever. I’ll have it ready tomorrow. Talk to you then, okay?”
Before she could utter a goodbye, Jason had already cut the line.
Addison sucked in a gulp of air, then shuddered as she slowly let it out. Her mind and emotions raced. One horrible, taunting question after another swirled through her head, refusing to leave her alone.
What was she doing wrong?
Was everything her fault?
Were all men thoughtless jackasses?
Was Jason gay?
After two years of dating, she should be able to tell if he was gay, right?
As she drove down the interstate, watching the white lines flash by in the glow of her headlights, the lack of answers to her questions only seemed to pull her into a deeper funk. Though Jason wasn't exactly the best boyfriend in the world, he wasn't a bad guy. He'd shown her many times that he could be a caring, decent human being. But on other occasions, like tonight, especially tonight, she corrected, he was nothing less than a jerk. Why did she put up with him? Why hadn't she moved on?
She shuddered again. Because he was there for you when you thought you'd hit rock bottom, she reminded herself. And when she had hit rock bottom, she had hit it hard.
Pulling onto the long stretch of dark two-lane highway toward Appleton City, Addison leaned her head out the window, hoping the night breeze would cool her heated body as well as her frenzied mind. Unfortunately, the fragrant evening air did little to help.
Jason chose a fucking John Wayne movie over spending a night with me. Oh God. Fucking John Wayne!
Like a weakened dam unable to hold back an overwhelming flood, her bruised emotions weighed too much to hold back and the waterworks took over. Tears, hot and salty, ran down her face in streaks. Her chest heaved and she floundered for breath as the pain and relief in the wet release encouraged her to open up and really let loose. She rubbed the back of her hand over her eyes to clear away the excess wetness blurring her vision.
Directly before her, a monstrous buck with a rack that would make any Bubba proud jumped out from behind a bush and ran across the dark road. Addison slammed on her brakes. The screech tires masked the sound of her scream, as well as the large animal’s unearthly bay. Burning rubber filled the air.
Like a slippery fish, her car slid to the left, then banked to the right before hitting a sign post and coming to an abrupt stop on the road’s soft shoulder. Momentum thrust Addison forward into the bursting airbag, before the seatbelt slammed her back into the seat.
When her head finally stopped whirling, Addison opened her eyes. Mile marker one-nineteen rested near her windshield, which now had a huge crack down one side. The buck was nowhere in sight.
A moan, long and mournful, escaped her mouth. The guttural noise was more for the car than herself. After taking a minute to conduct a self-inventory, Addison determined she was fine. No doubt she’d be sore as hell in the morning, but nothing to worry about. Thankfully there would be no trips to the hospital.
Her car, on other the other hand, wasn’t so lucky. From where she sat, Addison could see the hood, crumpled like an old accordion. An angry, boiling kettle could be sitting in the engine for all the steam blowing out of it.
The evening seemed to be at its lowest point until Addison pulled out a flashlight from her glove box, opened her door, and walked around the car. Not only was the front-end of her beloved Miata little more than a hunk of balled up tinfoil, liquids pooled under the car’s front end. Addison bent near the tire to better see where the fluids were coming from and froze. Next to a puddle of green liquid lay a purple dildo. Not far from the dildo sat a blue cock ring.
Addison reached under the car and pulled out the dildo to inspect it. No doubt about it. This toy was one she'd bought that evening.
Oh no. Please, please, please! My night just can’t get any worse.
Dropping the dildo on the ground, Addison quickly stood and looked into the open seating of her little car, which was as empty as a poor church’s collection plate. The stash of sex toys she’d been so excited about was nowhere to be found.
Without bothering to open the car door, she pulled herself into the driver’s seat, furiously searching for the generic brown paper bag that held every goodie she’d planned to use with Jason. The stupid bag had to be there somewhere.
A set of headlights in her rearview mirror stilled her frantic hunt. Turning her head, she noted a truck pulling up behind her car, coming to a stop.
“Noooo. This cannot be happening.” Her high pitched plea seemed to bounce off every surface of the small Miata’s frame.
Panic, sharp and chock full of adrenaline, pumped directly into her bloodstream. Had her ass not been sticking out of the driver’s side door, she would have slid to the car’s floorboard to hide.
Several kicks, some wiggles, and a good thrust backward was necessary to pull herself out the open window. When she stood, a ragged breath hissed through her teeth and a fine sheen of sweat covered her entire body. She felt as much of a wreck as her car looked.
With the truck’s lights shining in her eyes, the person making his way towards her appeared little more than a well defined shadow of a tall, well built man.
“Are you alright, ma’am? Do I need to call an ambulance?”
The stranger’s voice, very male and very southern, held a mixture of concern and amused curiosity, and wasn’t all together unfamiliar.
Frowning, Addison wracked her brain trying to place a face with the voice, but was too tired and overwhelmed with the car to think straight. “No. I’m fine. But my car isn’t. I don’t think I can drive it.” She squinted and placed her other hand above her eyes to shield them from the bright lights as the man continued toward her car. He stopped when his boot crunched on something lying on the pavement. He stepped back, bent down, and picked up the object.
From her vantage point, the shadowed thing the man pulled from the ground and now dangled from his hand appeared to be a pair of handcuffs. Even in shadow they were rather furry looking handcuffs.
A horrible, gut wrenching cringe stole over her. She shook her head and tried to remain upright as adrenaline and terror fought for control of her wobbling legs. She had been wrong before. Very wrong. The evening just hit a new low.
Before he reached her car, the stranger stopped twice more, plucking things, including what sounded like a paper bag, off the ground.
When he finally stepped out of the truck’s lights and Addison could make out the features of his face, her knees nearly buckled. Kenneth “King” Daniels strode towards her, his arms laden with her sex toys. At that moment, she thought she might just die.
“Addison? Addison Meyers? Is that you?”