Mama Connagher Countdown Day 2

I have a title!!

The theme song is soooo damned important.  I swear, sometimes I can’t get anywhere with a book until I know what the theme song is.  The playlist so far had included Seven Spanish Angels by Willie Nelson and Ray Charles, Before the Next Teardrop Falls by Freddie Fender, and Desperado by the Eagles.  All good songs, all having something key to do with the story.

But it wasn’t *quite* enough.  Until I found Lady Down On Love by Alabama.  Ahhh, yes.  That was key.  Because now I have the title.

I needed something with You, I, Me, etc. in it to coordinate with the other Connagher titles.  I thought about some form of Dare Me, I Dare You, etc. because that does play a part (you’ll see that in this next excerpt), but all the good twists of that idea have already been done.

Finally, I settled on Never Let You Down.  I tweaked the opening scene to better reflect that line, and now I’m able to carry the theme forward.  *happy sigh*  I also figured Ty’s static trait and how I was going to use it as a message from beyond.  I knew he did *something* to signal his approval, but I had no idea what, exactly, until today.  How some of this works out is just magical.  I swear it’s not deliberate on my part!

It’s been a crazy, crazy night.  My wrists and eyes are killing me and I practically skipped dinner so I could write (thank God for leftovers).  I slept horribly last night because I kept writing scenes in my head, and today I used every spare moment I had to capture those ideas before they disappeared.  I laid down a rough sketch for the final Act’s plot too, but again, it’s rough.  There are many more scenes underneath that I’m still going to have to figure out.

I’m trying not to stress out too much about the structure yet, trusting in the magic and my gut to help me weave it all together.  I have a bunch of flashbacks written.  I have a bunch of story-within-the-story scenes written.  Where they go, exactly, I have no idea.  It’s the flow of those separate stories that matter.  I feel like I’m at the midway or even slightly behind almost two-thirds, but Virginia still hasn’t done the deed with Jeb.  So that’s a little worrying.  But again, I’m just trusting in the story.  They’ll take me where I need to go, and then once I finish it, I can make it all work even better.  I’ll see everything more clearly.

7668 words for the day and I’m honestly not ready to stop yet, even though my wrists say I should.  We’ll see.

Continuing the flashback scene from yesterday:

She didn’t pause, couldn’t hear his response if he had one, not over the thundering of her pulse. The stable door slammed behind her and she broke into a run. She wasn’t even sure what she was running from. Him? All he’d done was kiss her. Safely away, she could admit that he hadn’t hurt her. The misguided fool had only been trying to protect her. Then she’d beaten him with her crop. Pausing on the wraparound porch, she ducked into the shadows and watched the stable door, but he didn’t attempt to follow. Panting, she leaned her back against the wall of the house and tried to gather her thoughts.

Why on earth had he kissed her? She’d barely talked to him. Sure, she’d noticed the bright blue of his eyes. She’d caught him staring at her from beneath the shadowed brim of his hat several times. They’d exchanged a few “good mornings” and pleasant smiles. She’d even tried to take a few bites out of his calm, silent demeanor but he hadn’t risen to the bait. That’s it. Certainly nothing like the years of polite social events she’d attended with Jebadiah. They’d danced together countless times, her hand in his, his other hand in the small of her back. But her pulse hadn’t ever hammered like this, her breathing coming fast and frantic. It hadn’t just been fear. The long lines of his body had been nice. Extremely nice. And his mouth. She’d dreamed about kissing and it’d never been like that. His mustache had poked her lips and tickled her nose and somehow she hadn’t cared one bit.

She caught herself absently stroking her fingers over her lips while she stared back at the stable. She wanted to go back and give him a piece of her mind. Maybe he’d try to steal another kiss. But was it safe? Perhaps she ought to wait until someone was around to hear her scream. Just in case.

Fool. The last thing she wanted was to end up hurt and possibly dead. For one thing, Miss Belle would never let her lie in her grave peacefully, but would harass her daughter until she herself passed just for having the audacity to die first.

Virginia dropped her hand to the door handle but froze. Dancer. She’d left him out of his stall. That sealed it. She had to make sure her prized jumper got put away safely. Head up, refusing to look left and right like she was scared of her own shadow, she marched back to the stable and opened the door without trying to be quiet. The aisle light was off and no horse seemed to be running around looking for a treat. Keeping her steps light and soft, she walked down to Dancer’s stall and found him settled back in for the night, his lead rope curled up neatly on the hook just as she would have left it if she’d been in her right mind. At least Tyrell had the good sense to care about the welfare of a horse. She’d give him that. But where had he gone? He could have gone out the back door, but that seemed a little cowardly for the man who boldly stood up to the boss’s only daughter just to make sure she didn’t break her neck riding her horse in the dark.

The light was on in the small lavatory at the rear of the stable, the door barely cracked. She’d never used it herself, for fear one of the hands would amble by and decide to test the door’s rusted lock. Creeping closer, she tried to see if he was in there. What he might be doing. She could see a shadow moving slightly through the crack, but not much else. He was in there, but what he was doing, she couldn’t say. Not without pushing the door open. She debated with herself as she drew close enough to put her hand on the door, but surely he wasn’t doing anything too private if he hadn’t bothered to shut and lock the door.

Then she heard a low, muffled sound. A cry, though she’d never heard a big strapping man make such a sound before. Could she have hurt him? Seriously? She’d thumped him in the head pretty hard.

Quietly, she pushed the door open further and froze.

Tyrell Connagher stood over the toilet, one hand braced on the wall as if he was using the facility. He’d taken off his shirt for some reason and the angry red welts she’d left on his back struck her to her core. Sucking in a deep breath, she opened her mouth to apologize when she finally noticed his jeans were jerked open. He ran his cock through his fist, the muscles in his forearm, biceps, and back flexing deliciously beneath the tanned planes of his lean body. She couldn’t look away. Didn’t want to look away. Until he spoke.

“I had to see the marks you left. Then I couldn’t stop.”

Trembling, she jerked her gaze up and away from her first tantalizing view of a man’s private parts. She met his gaze in the cracked, streaked mirror, sure she was blushing but unable to stop herself. A knot swelled on the side of his head, but the only thing burning in his eyes was hunger. Not pain. Certainly not delirium.

“If you’ll hit me again, Princess, then I’ll be able to finish quicker.”

He wanted her to hit him? Again?

Numbly, she glanced down at her left hand to find the crop still gripped in her white-knuckled fist. She was surprised she hadn’t dropped it in her frantic retreat. She looked back at his shoulder and tried to imagine striking him again, not in anger this time, not some mindless reaction to frustration at so many things in her life that she couldn’t control. But deliberately. At his request. She’d never hit another person like that. Sweat trickled down her spine, making her shiver, but her body blazed with heat. Embarrassment, yes, but something else. Something that made her transfer the crop to her right hand so she could lay a better blow on his back. If that’s what she decided to do.

She checked his face in the mirror again, half convinced he had to be yanking her chain. His blue eyes were darker like the midnight sky, the skin tight across his cheeks, his lips tight. No teasing. No. Rather, he looked like he was on the verge of something that would change their lives forever.

“I dare you, Princess. Hit me again.”

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