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…

When Secrets Come out – #SexySnippets

“I can’t do this,” I said and took a step back, my gaze averted.

Her hands froze and she slumped back to sit on her knees. “Why?” The look of complete confusion mixed with rejection and disappointment on her face just about did me in.

What had I done?

I dropped to my knees in front of her and grabbed her hands before she could move away from me.

I sighed. “Let me explain.” She stayed silent and unmoving. “Promise me you won’t leave until you’ve heard me out.”

Now what could Paxton from Once Written, Twice Shy, possibly be hiding in this week’s Sexy Snippets for The Nuthouse Scribbler?

If You Can’t Take the Heat, Take-Out Instead of Kitchen – #SexySnippets

When attraction dictates actions, you never know which flames you might be fanning in a kitchen! This week’s selection for The Nuthouse Scribblers’ Sexy Snippets come from Once Written, Twice Shy.

Alissa said, “Is it me or is it getting hot in here?”

From the corner of my eye, something captured my attention and I turned to see what it was.

Our indulgence had resulted in yet another mess. The potatoes were an over-boiled pile of mush; the braised chops were charred as its pan had caught fire; and the gravy did thicken–to the consistency of a dried up hockey puck stuck to the bottom of its pot. Suffice to say, dinner was effectively ruined.

She was giggling into my back after I had managed to put a stop to the tiny blaze with the help of a box of baking soda and an expired kitchen fire extinguisher.

“How do you feel about take-out?” I asked over my shoulder.

“I think it’s a safer bet.”

When JMML Strikes

It has come to my attention that not many who’ve read Once Written, Twice Shy is in the know of Jasper’s condition. With that said, I decided to write up a short informative piece to enlighten you all (particularly those who’ve thought it unrealistic) about JMML.

Once Written Twice Shy Full

What is JMML?

JMML or Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia is a rare hematopoietic malignancy of childhood accounting for 2% of all childhood leukemias. It occurs more prominently in males and usually around the first year after birth. With that said, these cases are typically diagnosed in children between the ages of 0-4 years of age. The older the child, the worse the prognosis. The cause for JMML is not known. Children with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) are at increased risk for developing JMML, and up to 14% of cases of JMML occur in children with NF1.

Symptoms:

  • Constitutional symptoms (e.g., malaise, pallor, and fever) or evidence of an infection
  • Symptoms of bronchitis or tonsillitis (in approximately 50% of cases)
  • Bleeding diathesis
  • Maculopapular skin rashes (in 40%–50% of cases)
  • Lymphadenopathy (in approximately 75% of cases)
  • Hepatosplenomegaly (in most cases)

Treatment:

JMML can be treated with a chemotherapy regimen as well as utilizing a bone marrow (stem cell) transplant from either a relative or a donor match. The latter seems to lead to the best turnout. Although survival is possible, it is very rare and usually, long-term survival (longer than 9 years) is considered a major feat. The reasons are because JMML has a rapid onset and progression that often, is too quick to nip in the proverbial bud.

I’m not going to go into further details with regards to JMML because that would all bore you to tears but what I will say is that although a rare disease, JMML is real and for those who thought it a bit of a reach, I’d have to state that on a personal note, I’ve witnessed friends become donors for other friends and family members. It may not have been with regards to a marrow transplant but I’ve seen it twice in my life and thus it all makes Jasper’s part of the adventure in Once Written, Twice Shy that more plausible!

For more information on JMML as well as clinical trials that exist, please visit the National Cancer Institute or call 1-800-4-cancer.