This quote is from one of my fave scenes in HOW TO HEAL A LIFE…
The prologue and chapter one of HOW TO HEAL A LIFE are available on my website. I hope you enjoy this sneak peek at Vargas and Seth’s story!
A private moment between Vargas and Seth…
Another minute of silence, and Seth sighed. “I don’t feel as bad as she makes it seem. I mean, I feel stronger, more in charge of my life than I did six months ago. I’m working full time again. I’m living. I’m happy to be alive.”
“That’s all great, yeah?”
“She just makes it sound like there’s so much more I have to do. Just because I can’t leave my apartment without—” He cut off. He clenched his right hand into a fist and slammed it down on the arm of his chair. “Goddammit. She’s right. I’m still royally screwed up.”
“You are not.”
“What kind of grown man can’t even walk outside alone?”
“You’re doing great. And if Dr. Arteaga isn’t getting that, then maybe it’s time to see someone else.”
“No. She said the same thing today. She’s done a lot to help me, and I like talking to her most of the time.”
“Okay. But I don’t like hearing you doubt yourself.”
“I want to get past this.” He pounded both fists on the arms of the wheelchair. “I want to get out of this fucking chair for good.”
Vargas shot to his feet and crouched down before him. “You will. You’re going to be okay, Seth. I’ve seen how strong you are. Every step of the way. You can handle anything.”
“I want to believe that.”
Reaching for Seth’s clasped fists, Vargas tenderly wrapped his hands around them. “Believe it.”
Seth lowered his eyes. He unclenched his hands, turned them over, and gripped Vargas’s in return. The same way he remembered doing two years earlier in the hospital. Only this time, there was a current of excitement zipping through his body with the touch. He swept his fingertips over Vargas’s wrists, then farther up his forearms, running the pads of his fingers over the warm flesh.
In the next lock of their eyes, he saw far more than friendship and support directed back at him.
The air in the meditation room grew hot and heavy. Seth’s breathing picked up speed. He became very aware of their proximity, of the way Vargas’s inhales also grew more rapid. Then Vargas’s lips parted, and his tongue swept out to moisten them. Seth wanted to feel those lips against his own, that tongue on his. God, he wanted to know what kissing him would be like, how it would feel being touched by him in far more intimate ways, and how it’d feel touching him in return.
The enormous room seemed to shrink in size around them, creating a private haven as they held the stare between them.
Seth dropped his gaze to those lips he wanted to kiss so badly. And just like that, Vargas leaned forward. Seth did the same. Easy. Right. Like breathing.
Their lips only inches apart, Vargas jerked back. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have—”
“It’s okay. We don’t have to—” Seth shrugged. “I mean, I get it.”
Vargas studied him. “Do you?”
“I meant what I said earlier.” He gripped Seth’s hands again and caressed the backs of them with his thumbs. “I will never hurt you.” He reached up and cupped his cheek. “Never.”
HOW TO HEAL A LIFE (The Haven Book 2) Coming October 24th!
Here’s another one of my picks for my “Favorite Scenes” blog series. It’s an excerpt from my second novel BREATHE.
Why I chose this excerpt: This scene includes one of my favorite moments from BREATHE, when Jay shows Lincoln his tattoo of the two wolves running side by side and tells him that he wants a future together, all while they stand in the location where they had their first kiss.
Lincoln sucked in a long breath with Jay’s words. He watched the other man leave. Jay didn’t falter as he made his way through the bar and out the rear entrance. The door closed behind him, and Lincoln faced the line of whiskey bottles.
Could he really do this?
He wanted to believe he owed it to himself. The truth was, he owed it to both of them.
He stood and followed the same path Jay had, passing by the old guy sipping whiskey at a table near the bathrooms. Lincoln didn’t hesitate. He shoved open Sonny’s back door and exited into the warm night air. The full moon lit the parking lot more than the streetlamps.
Jay waited for him, leaning against the wall near where they’d first kissed, where they’d first touched.
“Come here.” Jay tugged him in close.
Lincoln couldn’t trust himself to hold Jay. He stared at the man’s chest—where the blood had been when he’d lifted Jay into his truck and drove him to the hospital, where he had pressed against the blood-soaked shirt as he raced through the streets, listening to the breaths gurgling out of Jay, feeling the tears stream over his own cheeks. “Are you okay?”
“I am now.”
He kept staring at Jay’s chest; it moved up and down with each breath. He’d spend forever watching the man breathe if he could.
Jay cupped Lincoln’s chin and forced his head up until their gazes locked. “I’ll be okay if you say yes. I don’t want to live without you.”
“This—us—it can’t work.”
“It has to.” Jay brushed his lips over Lincoln’s ear. “I don’t want to lose you.”
The warmth of Jay’s body against his made it hard to think. Lincoln gripped Jay’s hip in his hand. “Can you promise me every time you look at me she isn’t all you’ll see? That you won’t see everything I took from you?”
Jay kissed along Lincoln’s cheek and chin to the corner of his mouth. “Every time I look at you all I see is you. I can’t promise it’ll be easy, but I don’t even want to think what it’ll be like if we don’t try. She deserves to be remembered, to be talked about. I’d like to share her with you. I know you’re strong enough to learn to love her too. Not to hate yourself because we’re here and she’s not.”
“You give me a lot of credit.”
“You’ve earned it.” Jay wrapped his arms around Lincoln’s neck. The press of Jay’s mouth to his melted Lincoln’s resolve to think instead of feel. He pulled Jay closer. Their tongues met, like old lovers, tentative, slow at first, relearning each other, remembering what was so good about being together.
Lincoln fell into the sweet oblivion of kissing Jay. His world shrank to that parking lot, to the two of them.
Slowly Jay placed one chaste kiss after another on Lincoln’s lips before speaking. “I was thinking…”
“You think too much.” Lincoln leaned in. He wanted more of that kiss. More of Jay.
Jay pressed two fingers to Lincoln’s lips. “You need somewhere to live. And I could use help fixing up my place.”
“You can’t seriously—”
“I want you to live with me. If it’s too weird to live in my house, I want us to get our own place.”
“Jay…my sister needs me.”
“She’ll have you. She’s got the money to buy a new house. To take care of Jessica, the boys. There’ll be more than enough.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I gave her my share of the settlement. I never wanted it. It was my parents and Stuart who started it all.”
Lincoln stared at Jay, then grabbed him by the back of the neck and crushed their mouths together. Jay Miller couldn’t possibly be for real.
How the hell had this man, practically a kid, whom Lincoln had hurt so badly, kept from turning into an angry, jaded person? How had Jay learned to love again?
Following his lead was the least Lincoln could do. He wanted a life with Jay. Wanted to believe they could move beyond the past and really live again.
Wanted to believe forgiveness and love were enough.
Jay held Lincoln’s face in his hands. “Come home with me, Linc.”
Lincoln rested his forehead against Jay’s temple. “You’re sure?”
“I am.” Jay lifted the sleeve of Lincoln’s T-shirt and traced his fingers over the destroyed tattoo. “The eagle’s a symbol of courage and wisdom. Some believe if you can embrace both, you can fly above all of the shit in your life.”
“All of it?”
Jay nodded and rolled up his own shirtsleeve. The outline of an eagle feather crossed his upper arm; two wolves filled the interior of the feather, running side by side.
Lincoln ran the tips of his fingers over one wolf, then the other. “Why?”
“I wanted you to know…to see…we can both live beyond our pasts. Together.”
(c) Sloan Parker, 2010. All Rights Reserved.
Here’s an excerpt from the story “Cops and Lovers” available in my new e-book FRIENDS AND LOVERS, coming March 8th! You can pre-order a copy now at: Amazon, All Romance eBooks, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, Kobo, iBooks, and Smashwords. These stories are the revised and expanded versions of the brief three-word scenarios titled “Partners” and “My Roommate’s Surprise” that I previously wrote as a creative exercise for my blog and website.
Sawyer Crenshaw drew in a long breath and leaned back on his elbows. His T-shirt lay crumpled in a ball beside him on the mattress and his jeans were open at the front. He didn’t bother to zip up his fly. In a few minutes he and Finn would get back to where they’d been headed.
Who the hell got half-naked, kissed like they’d been doing a minute ago, and then stopped before they got to the fucking? Something was seriously messed up between them. Had been for a while.
Finn stood across the room. He had his back to the wall, his arms folded across his bare chest. He sported a scowl that said everything Sawyer didn’t want to hear.
Or maybe he did. Maybe they needed to have this conversation. Get everything out in the open. Finally. Before the incredible tension that had been building between them for the past few months seeped into the job.
Not that either one of them would let that happen. They were damn good cops.
Both served on the department’s SWAT team. They’d been friends since the day Finn joined the unit, and as two of the team’s few single guys with no kids–and the only gay ones–they spent a lot of nights after work and weekends hanging out at Sawyer’s apartment or Finn’s house, spending their time off watching movies or lifting weights at the gym or working on one of Finn’s many home-improvement projects.
Then eventually they devoted a lot of that time to simply fucking each other.
Although they hadn’t slept together in far too long. Now they spent their downtime watching retro TV, shit like those old ’70s cops shows. They didn’t talk, didn’t laugh at the stupid-ass crooks or the retro hairstyles they usually mocked all through the show.
It was awkward and weird and completely fucked up.
From where he still lay on the bed, Sawyer threw Finn a smirk, knowing that alone would piss him off. “You’re mad at me.”
Finn kept his hard gaze locked on Sawyer’s chest. “I’m not mad.”
“Screw that, Masters. You’ve been mad at me since the raid on that house on Pickett. Like it was my fault.”
“You got shot. Twice.”
“I didn’t ask the guy to shoot me.”
Finn made eye contact for the first time since the kissing ended. “You might as well have. You went at him like you had no training at all.”
Sawyer sat up with a jolt. “Are you calling me a shitty cop?”
“No. I’m calling you a reckless one.”
“I know you don’t mean that.” Sawyer sighed in frustration. It hadn’t been his abilities–or lack thereof–that had gotten him injured. It was the asshole homeowner and his brother who’d fired on them as they were attempting to execute a search warrant. He got off the bed. Slowly, like he might spook Finn if he moved too fast, he went to stand in front of the younger man. “Just like I knew in that house you’d have my back. Like always.”
Finn met Sawyer’s gaze again and snorted out a laugh. He didn’t let up on the tense posture, though. “You always think you know everything.”
Sawyer let out his own terse laugh before he returned to the more serious expression. Maybe too serious, but somewhere deep inside, there was a part of him that ached to hear Finn say the words. Out loud for once. “Just admit it. You’re pissed about the shooting because it freaked you out like nothing else on the job ever has.” He jabbed a finger at Finn’s bare chest. “Because you’re in love with me.”
Finn’s lips parted. He sucked in a shallow, audible breath.
That was enough of a reaction for Sawyer. He reached for Finn and cupped his cheek, then drew him forward until they were back to the kissing, this time their mouths and tongues and bodies coming together slowly, tenderly, all of Finn pressing into him, focused on him with that usual intensity of his. Shit, Sawyer would never tire of kissing this man.