Here’s another selection in my “Favorite Scenes” series. It’s from MORE THAN JUST A GOOD BOOK.
Why I chose this excerpt: The relationship between Scott and his father was a special part of this story for me. I wanted to show that the most important man in Scott’s life had always been his dad. Until he met Mark. His dad and Mark could’ve ended up fighting over Scott’s attention, but that wasn’t the kind of man I wanted his father to be. When I was writing the scene below, I knew that a dad who so deeply loved and cared for his son could’ve attacked Mark as soon as he saw those bruises, before listening to Scott. But Scott’s dad was the kind of man who typically listened first, then reacted. I love how this scene showcases that. Of course his dad wants to immediately take Scott out of the situation, but he also stops to find out the truth, find out what his son wants and how he feels about it.
Please note: Amazon currently has this title listed as part of the MORE series. It is not. We’re working with Amazon to get that information corrected.
“Your roommates said you’d moved out. Owen at the coffee shop told me where to find this place.” He threw a heated look Mark’s way. “I’m guessing it was your idea that my son lie to me?”
“No,” Scott said. “Dad, I—”
“Not telling me you’re living with someone is lying. The kind of man who encourages you to lie to me is not good enough for you.”
It wasn’t hard to miss the clench of Mark’s jaw. He didn’t react, though. His voice was neutral when he said, “I should go put on some clothes.”
“Yeah, you do that.” Scott’s dad turned his back on Mark.
Mark gave Scott a look, part apology, part worry, part support, then headed for his bedroom.
After the bedroom door shut, his dad opened his mouth as if to say something else but gasped instead. He gripped Scott by the elbows and held his arms up, examining one wrist, then the other. The slight bruising was almost gone, but it was still obvious enough, even in the low light of the candles. And with the way the marks had faded, they looked like fingerprints wrapped around Scott’s arms.
“Did he do this to you?”
“Go get your things, Scott. You’re not staying here.”
A flash of lightning lit up the room, immediately followed by a crack of thunder that tore through the small apartment.
Scott stood frozen in place. He’d never heard his dad sound so pissed off.
“Dad, it’s nothing.”
“Nothing?” He reached for Scott’s arm again. “He’s hurting you.”
“No!” Scott kept his gaze locked on the floor. He so didn’t want to explain this. “Please don’t ask.” That was when the lights decided to turn back on. Perfect timing. Out of the corner of his eye, Scott could see his dad intensely watching him.
“Is he hurting you?”
Scott shook his head.
“Is someone else?”
“No.” He crossed the room and dropped onto the couch. His still-heated ass stung with the action. He held back the wince.
His dad came to sit next to him. “What happened?” He examined Scott’s wrists again, more closely this time. “This is from being tied up.”
“Please. Can we just drop it? You’re my dad.”
“That’s why I have to know.”
“But it’s embarrassing talking about this with you.”
“I’m sorry about that, but we are not going to drop it. Mark did this to you?”
Oh God. What was he supposed to say?
“He ties you up?”
His dad didn’t say anything more right away. Hopefully he’d decided to let the completely embarrassing conversation go.
More softly he asked, “It’s something you want him to do?”
Yet again, Scott couldn’t find the words.
“I have to know, Scott. Is this from him doing something you wanted?”
“It’s something you enjoy?”
There was no getting out of admitting the truth. He swallowed, then spoke again in a rush. “Yes.”
“Does he hit you?”
He could still feel the warm sting of Mark’s hand on him. He searched for the right words. “He doesn’t hurt me.” He dropped his head and buried his face in his hands. His next words were muffled. “Can we not talk about this?”
There was a long pause, and then his dad said, “It’s okay.” He ran a comforting hand over Scott’s back, then sank back farther on the couch. “In fact, your mother liked that sort of thing.”
“Dad!” Scott lifted his head but still couldn’t face him.
“Oh, I forgot. Parents don’t have sex.” He could tell his dad was smiling now. “She was a wonderful person. Having a lot in common with her is not a bad thing.”
“I know.” He always loved when his dad compared him to her. He wouldn’t let what they were talking about change that reaction.
“I should’ve guessed when I saw those marks. She bruised easily like you. It’s just… I worry about you.”
“Mark is a really good guy. He cares about me.”
“I can see that.”
Scott looked at his dad for the first time since moving to the couch. He was staring off toward the end of the hallway.
Mark stood there, now fully dressed, concern evident in the confused expression on his face. “Is everything okay?”
“Yeah.” Scott tried to keep his voice even, despite the awkwardness of the moment. “Everything’s fine.”
Mark nodded. “Okay. I’ll let you two talk.” He hesitated like it was taking all his effort to walk away. He gave Scott another nod and headed back down the hall for his room.
After the door closed, his dad said, “I trust you. I trust your judgment. But I need you to promise me one thing. That you’ll never let him or anyone else do something you don’t want. No matter what you feel for him. And if it becomes too much, if it’s changing into something you don’t want and you don’t know how to walk away, you’ll come talk to me.”
“I promise. Can we not talk about this anymore?”
(c) Sloan Parker, 2013. All Rights Reserved.