There are some things people can’t believe when they get to know me. I’d rather watch a NASCAR race than a football game, I write romantically erotic fiction, and I love country music. It seemed only right that I take those country girl facets of my personality (my dad is from the midwest so we have him to think for this influence)and weave them into a short story. More Than My Everything is the second book in my Destined for Love series and it is actually one of those stories that almost got away. I’ve blogged extensively about my cache of forgotten WIPs and when I got my rights back to The Next Level I dug through the vault of discarded prose and found the beginnings of a love story I’m quite proud of. Though it be short, I like to think it’s quite mighty.
There isn’t any NASCAR referenced but it’s a romantically erotic tale of friends that become lovers. My hero is a sexy country singer (who may have been modeled after Billy Currington) that has decided the sweetly sassy heroine is the woman of his dreams, he’s just surprised it took him so long to figure it out. If you read The Next Level, you’ll also remember his the character that gives the hero Rian a good talking to, and it only seemed fair he takes his own advice. Therefore, let me welcome to the stage the dynamic duo Blake and Shelby!
Blake Channing has been dubbed the Bad Boy of Country, and for the last several years has lived up to that moniker with pleasure, until recently. His career is where it needs to be but a chance encounter with two friends turned lovers shows him his personal life is lacking. Shelby Jackson, his childhood best friend, is that piece he’s been missing to have it all. He’s arranged a vacation just for the two of them, where he hopes his next love song will be written.
Shelby raced through the luxury cabin, thoroughly out of breath. Now that she’d started the game, she was committed to winning. Although, if she thought about it, she had no idea what she was going to win. It just felt good to be so silly. Ever since she’d opened up Tiny Blessings Birthing Center with her friend Cameron Baltazar, being silly had not been a priority. She loved what she did, and couldn’t imagine doing anything else, but being a small business owner could be draining.
“Damn it,” she huffed, trying to open the sliding glass door that led to the deck.
“Having trouble, sweetheart?”
Shelby shrieked at the sound of Blake’s voice. The husky quality of his chuckle caused goose bumps to form on her skin. The man was too damn sexy, and she was thankful every day she’d built up immunity to his charms. Her ability to remember when he was all gangly arms and legs helped. She tried desperately to get the latch to release and once she was able to get the sliding glass door open, leaped onto the deck. She growled with frustration when she realized the cabin wasn’t on level ground. There was no way for her to escape, except back where she came.
“Didn’t really think this through now, did you?” Blake teased from the doorway.
Shelby scowled and crossed her arms over her chest. Blake was one of the few people that knew she was extremely competitive, and the knowing smirk on his face meant he was going to make her regret losing their impromptu game. She glared back and watched him prowl onto the deck. Dressed in faded jeans and a worn T-shirt, he didn’t resemble the Bad Boy of Country that the press made him out to be.
“Nothing to say? Why so silent, sweetheart?” Blake’s gloating was obvious.
She tapped her foot in frustration when he started to laugh loudly. This was the Blake the media never saw. The grown-up version of the boy who used to pull her pigtails and, hide frogs in her clothes after they’d gone swimming. Shelby felt some of her annoyance slip away, watching him transform back into the simple guy that liked to play his guitar, sing, and write songs. Over the past few years she’d seen less and less of this version of him. If losing the game she’d started meant her Blake had come back just for a little bit of time, she couldn’t ask for anything better.
He’d brought such excitement to her life over the years; even as an adult, she became giddy when they were together. Shelby felt fun and carefree with him, something she never got to experience growing up and only very rarely as time went on. She was always the go-to person, the one people approached with their problems, heartaches, or concerns. She’d even chosen a job that required her to be there for others all the time and always present herself as informed and professional. When she wanted to break out and do something crazy, Blake was the person to hold her hand and take that leap with her.
“Okay, you win,” she admitted with reluctance.
“Now, now. Don’t sound so disappointed.” He waggled his eyebrows as he stepped closer.
He towered over her, his eyes sparkling with amusement. She couldn’t help rolling her own.
“So, what’s my prize?” he asked, boxing her in against the railing of the deck with his arms.
A flutter of excitement sparked in her stomach. She stared into his deep blue eyes and blinked, hoping the tendrils of arousal that worked their way through her body weren’t obvious in her expression. Her cheeks felt flushed with desire, and she desperately hoped Blake didn’t notice.
“You get me not pantsing you,” she replied with bravado.
Instead of making him laugh as she expected, Blake gave her a look filled with such heat, her body tingled as if it had been scorched.
“Actually, sweetheart, that would be a travesty,” he drawled out.
She often teased him that he embellished the slight twang he’d developed after spending so many summers on his grandfather’s Georgia farm. He only remarked that, even though he grew up in Detroit, he thought of himself as a country boy. She’d laugh and say at least it sold records. Now she could definitely see the appeal. At a loss for words, she giggled nervously and tried to avoid his intent gaze.
Shelby would have been a fool to not notice how attractive Blake had become over the years, particularly when women told her repeatedly how lucky she was to know him. His hotness never seemed that important before, because at the end of the day he was her best friend, and she’d shared far too many embarrassing experiences with him to think about him as anything else.
She flushed with shame at the chastisement from her inner voice. Okay, maybe she had on very few occasions wondered what it would be like to kiss him. Only one time, when she was a teenager and super-hormonal and angst-y and really unsure about herself and…
Such a liar.
“Hey, Shel, sweetheart, I’m just teasing you,” Blake tugged on one of her pigtails, moving back to give her space.
“I knew you were.” She smiled and lightly punched his arm.