Sampling the Heat: Part I

I thought it fun to give you lovely readers, a subtle taste of the first book in The Broken Men Chronicles series. Let me give you a little insight–beyond the book’s jacket–on Paxton in Once Written, Twice Shy.
Once Written Twice Shy Full

Prologue

I stared at the overly large bags that lay by the front entrance with what must have been the world’s largest what the fuck look on my face.

“I can’t do this anymore,” she said.  Her words tore me to shreds.

“What do you mean you can’t do this anymore?  Julie, you haven’t been doing anything to fix this.”

“I’m done, Paxton.”

I ran my hands through my hair, pulling at the handful of tresses gripped between my rigid fingers.  The prickle in my scalp did enough to keep my temper in check and diffuse some of my anger.  “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

I couldn’t believe it but then again, I could.  She was giving up on everything.  My love, our life, our family; it had all disappeared in the blink of an eye.

I still loved her but in all honesty, I can also state that I haven’t been in love with her for quite some time.

We’ve been together for nearly five years.  In that time, we had built a home; one that was graced with our beautiful three-year-old son, Jasper.  My hand ran down my face.  Christ, how am I going to explain this to Jasper?

I was willing to try and work things out.  Hell, I’d even mentioned marriage counseling on multiple occasions but like everything else, work came first and the sessions had never materialized.

I looked up at the woman who stood in the entrance to what I had considered our home, frustration, anger, bitterness and that subtle feeling of failure were all too overwhelming.  “Fine,” I said, “but what about Jasper?”

“Can you keep him for this week?  It’s just until I get situated.  We can discuss custody later.”

“Where are you going?”

“Todd’s asked me to move in with him,” she said as if I had been in the know about her infidelity the entire time—no, not until a couple of months ago.

I huffed.  “So he’s still in the picture.”  I hadn’t asked as so much as accused her.  She nodded.  “How long have you two been…” I couldn’t finish the sentence.  Bile rose from my stomach.

“Does it matter?”

“Never mind,” I said in a defeated tone and looked down at my feet when all I wanted to do is ask her what happened to can we try and work things out?  I groaned at the memory and shook it out of my head in dismay.  “Get out.”

“Pax,” she said and made to step toward me with an outstretched hand.  I wasn’t about to seek comfort from the one who’d wounded me.

My blood pressure rose.  “I said get out!” I pointed toward the door, my stomach contents churning further.

The woman took off like a bat out of hell.

I was tired of having a one-sided relationship and thus relieved at the woman’s departure.  The news of her continued adultery had shocked me, especially when she had sworn to make an effort to sort things out between us.  It explained why we had remained in our separate rooms all of this time, living our lives separately as though we were roommates.  It more than proved that we were better off apart.  This was really the end of my marriage.

When I married, I had intended it to be for life.  Well, I guess life had a plan of its own, huh?

With each passing day, I picked up the broken pieces of me.  I hadn’t realized that I had stifled so much of myself over the years to try and please a woman that seemed to never be sated with anything I said or did.

Fueled by my feelings of loss and neglect, I made a decision which led me to rediscover an old love.  The proverbial flame was rekindled and I began to write again.

For what felt like an eternity, I wrote.  When I was done, I read my piece over so many times that my words no longer made sense, forcing me to put it down and go back to it later.

I stared at my finished manuscript displayed on my screen.  What am I going to do with this?

I had discovered a site, a few months before I found out about Julie’s adulterous tendencies.  It had been recommended by a colleague.  The venue allowed people from around the world to peruse and read various works written by amateurs.  Some of the work on there I found horrid while others, despite their various grammatical and punctual flaws, you wished you could set your hands on an edited and printed copy, they were so great.

What the hell.  I decided to chance it.  With a bit of copy and paste, a little restructuring, I hit the publish button and there it was.  My first written piece was out for the world to see.

It wasn’t until a few months after I had posted my work that I stumbled upon a comment that I couldn’t dismiss.  I ached for constructive feedback but the lack of it was getting to me due to the site being overrun by teenagers.  I debated getting rid of my profile altogether up until that fateful day.

That short message was where things began to change for me.  With simple words of appreciation, intellectual and heartfelt thoughts, followed by a click of her mouse, she had made me smile.

I sought her profile out and found that she was a fellow amateur writer just like me.

She’s gorgeous, had been my first impression.  Despite her evident beauty, something else could be seen in her profile photo; something that beckoned me further, begged my curiosity to look beyond the surface somehow.  It was in her eyes—loneliness.  Or was I reading into things too much since I was such a novice at these social media-like sites?

For a few weeks, I sat on her words alone as I read through some of her work.  She was good, better than good.

I thought that I’d end up with one of those written numbers that didn’t make much sense or that glittered in the night featuring vampires and werewolves.  Boy was I wrong!

The woman sure knew how to paint a vivid picture.  She pulled off the hot and sexy but kept it real all at once by adding emotion, drama, even a bit of action and suspense to her mix.  Her work was altogether something reminiscent of everyday life—the good, the bad, the ugly, the…well, you get the picture.

A few days after reading her last novel, a dream influenced by her work prompted me to finally write out an acknowledgment to her comment.  From there, we began to chat through private messages on a near daily basis.  We never stopped…

Wondering what this whole Part I thing is up in the title? Stay tuned…

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