Winner, Vicki, and Victor

The winner of the St. Patrick’s Day giveaway is:  Sheila of Bookjourney!  Sheila, please send me an e-mail at joelysueburkhart AT gmail DOT com with your snail mail address and I’ll send the book your way.

Now for the Vicki snippet.

This snippet was a long-awaited one, for me at least.  I couldn’t WAIT to get Victor on page, but once I got here, I ended up unsure if I pulled it off.  This scene is mostly dialogue back and forth, so in revision, I’ll probably have to bulk up emotions, non-verbals, etc. but it was still fun.  Longer than usual, but there really wasn’t a great place to stop.

Vicki wasn’t one to beat around the bush once she’d made up her mind. “I need your help.”

“So I see.” Victor sat down behind his desk. “Where’d you meet Jesse?”

“It’s a long story.”

Victor kicked back in his chair and propped his ridiculously ostentatious cowboy boots on his desk. “I’m all ears.”

She filled him on Jesse’s background, how she knew him, and the snowstorm that had brought him into her house. “Honestly, I had no intentions of letting him stay with me for more than the night. I wasn’t thinking about taking him in permanently, not at all. It just…happened. I couldn’t leave him on the streets, and now that he’s safe, I can’t stand the thought of letting him go back.”

“Wait a minute. You just said permanently. Are you thinking about keeping him?”

“You make him sound like a pet,” she grumbled. “All I meant to do was get him a job, help him get on his feet, and then go on my merry way.”

“And now?”

“He’s only been at my house two nights, and I can’t…” She dropped her gaze to her hands. Her knuckles were white, her fingers turning red from the fierce grip she kept on her emotions.

“You can’t what, sis?”

Her cheeks burned. “You’re my brother, V. The last thing I want to do is tell you all the things running around in my mind every single time I look at him. You’ll probably beat him up or something.”

“Nah,” he drawled. “That’s Conn’s department, not mine. Mama might horsewhip him though.”

Vicki jerked her head up and glared at him. “Nobody’s going to lay a finger on him, do you hear me?”

“Protective, aren’t we?” He gave her a sardonic, knowing smirk that made her grind her teeth. “What do you want me to do, sis? Give him a job? It’s done.”

She blew out her breath in a loud huff. He knew damned well what was eating her, and he was going to enjoy every minute of it. He was playing games with her, just like he’d done when they were kids. Part of the fun would always be making her ask. “I thought that’s all I wanted you to do, but things changed. Now that he’s in my house, I want him.” When her brother’s eyebrow shot up higher, she quickly added, “to stay. I want him to be safe.”

“And you want him.” She opened her mouth to deny it, but he put his feet down and leaned forward, all teasing gone. “You came to me for help because I’m a Master, not because I’m your brother.”

Miserably, she nodded. Tears burned her eyes. “It’s so complicated, V. I didn’t know it would be this hard. Once I saw him, I couldn’t leave him, and now…I don’t want him to leave. Elias is wavering between pissed and somewhat understanding. I’m afraid I’m going to lose him, but I want to take care of Jesse, and I’m afraid I’ll end up taking advantage of the situation. I’m scared.”

Victor came around before his desk, sat on the edge, and took her hands. “I suspected for a long time, sis, but I didn’t know for sure. Is Jesse the first man that made you feel this way?”

Nodding, she whispered. “He’s been abused and he’s had a terribly hard life. He came to me for help, and I don’t want to make it worse for him, but I can’t stop touching him. The last thing I want to do is screw him up even more.”

“Don’t make the mistake of thinking Jesse is submissive because of his life on the streets. I’m not a sadist because I was tortured or because Mama and Daddy had a private version of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre at the ranch. That’s a load of crap and it always pisses me off when people assume we must have been abused or ‘ruined.’ I was born this way. You were born this way. Jesse is a born, natural submissive, and he proved himself to be a survivor. He can certainly survive you. In fact, he’d like nothing better than to survive whatever you can do to him.”

“Who’ll protect him from me?”

“You will,” Victor said softly, giving her an encouraging squeeze. “You’ve already protected him by seeking help. I’ve been waiting all these years, afraid to push you, afraid to ask too many questions, but I knew when it was time, you’d know where to go.”

“Did you have this talk with Conn?”

“Sure did. And he had this talk with me when I first met Shiloh.” He hesitated, his eyes narrowing on her face. “I had this talk with Mama, too. You really ought to be talking to her and not me.”

But Vicki was already shaking her head. “Are you insane? I can’t get Mama to agree with me that the sky is blue. What am I going to do, call her and say, ‘Oh, Mama, by the way, I took in a homeless man who keeps begging me to take him any way I want.’”

“Sure.”

The thought made her stomach churn. “Never in a million years. I’d rather talk to you. And why not Mal?”

His producer and friend, Malindra Kannes, had created several risque shows for VCONN, and as a result, was known as the Mistress of Dallas.

Victor nodded. “Mal would be glad to help you, especially if you think you might be into punishment.”

Pulling her hands back, Vicki covered her eyes and tried to calm the fire blazing across her cheeks. “I have no idea. I don’t know why it’s happening. Why now and not years ago?”

“Because you found him. All his life, he’s been searching for the place where he’d belong, exactly as he is. He wants to belong to you.”

“You could tell that just from meeting him?”

Victor ticked the signs off one by one. “He couldn’t meet my gaze until you took his hand.”

“He was nervous–”

“He stepped as close to you as he dared,” Victor continued, ignoring her interruption, “silently begging for your protection and sending a sign to me that he was taken. You told him to wait for you, and he sat where indicated without a single hesitation, eyes only for you, his body tuned to you. I bet that when you touch him, however innocently, he sinks immediately into submissive invitation. Eyes down, shoulders and body relaxed, eager and willing to do whatever you tell him, and I mean anything.”

“How did you know?” Her voice sounded hoarse to her ears. “Is it that obvious?”

He laughed softly. “Yes, to me, to anyone who knows how to read the signals. What does Elias have to say about this?”

“He’s tolerant, but also jealous. I don’t know how we’re going to work things out. We’d sort of broke up, but he’s back in my life now that Jesse is with me. I called him to run a background check the first night, and he went ballistic.”

“I imagine so. Look, sis, I’m the last person who’ll ever judge you. If you want to keep both of them, you’ll figure out a way. You said yourself that bringing Jesse home brought Elias back. Maybe it’s meant to be.”

Mentally, she had to pick her jaw up off the floor. “I never thought you’d tell me to just… just… I mean…It’s two men, V. Two. I can’t get my own mind around the logistics. Elias and I talked every once in a while about marriage, but he’s a cop. You know how dangerous his job is and the shitty hours he puts in. He’s already been through one divorce. I know he loves me, and I love him, but I don’t know that we could actually get married and not kill each other, even if the drug dealers don’t shoot him down on the street.”

“I will never say a word against Elias or Jesse or both. However, I will admit that I was worried about you each time I saw you and Elias together. You’re both so hard and fierce, so Dominant, whether you play any sort of games in the bedroom or not. You’re too much alike, and neither one of you will back down from the challenge. I suppose that’s why you two broke up?”

She nodded, trying to swallow the lump in her throat. “You don’t think I’ll ever be able to work out a long-term relationship with him?”

“I never said that. In fact, you may have the answer sitting outside in my waiting room, if you can get Elias to accept him. First, though, you need to take care of Jesse. In his mind, he’s already given himself to you. It’s up to you to protect him, even from Elias and especially from yourself.”

“That’s what scares me to death.” She blew out a shaky breath. “I don’t want him to feel like he has to get a job and leave, but I don’t want him to feel beholden to me, either. I don’t want him to stay and put up with me and Elias’s shit because we helped him.”

“I can recommend a therapist who specializes in complicated BDSM relationships. You should both see her, immediately, before you get involved in an intimate relationship. Elias, too, and if he’s serious about you, committed to working out a life with you, then he will go.”

Vicki nodded. “Definitely. I’ll do whatever I need to do to make sure I don’t mess this up. Elias…” She shrugged. “I don’t know. When I feel better myself, I’ll have a talk with him and we’ll go from there.”

Smiling, her brother leaned down and hugged her. “You’re quite a woman, Beulah Virginia Connagher.”

“Geez, why’d you have to go and call me that? Here I thought you were going to help me!”

Victor laughed. “You can always call me, Vicki. You can call Conn, too, although his advice usually involves a poetry quotation. I hope you paid more attention in English than I did.”

“I’m surprised you didn’t use any football metaphors.”

“Ah, I’ve been remiss. Let’s see, Jesse is on your team. You have to call the plays and lead the team. The entire team depends on you to tell them what to do, but Jesse will run anywhere on the field, just because you told him to go. Your whole season is on the line, and if you call the wrong play, somebody might get hurt. Jesse will run for you until he drops, and if you can get the ball to him, he’ll sacrifice his own body to the defenders in order to catch it. He’d rather die than let you down.”

She groaned. “Is Elias on the field, too?”

“Of course. He’s the linebacker trying to sack you.”

“I’ve been tackled once—even though we were playing flag football—and it sure wasn’t pretty. I don’t think I like this game, V.”

“Yeah, I remember when that punk slammed you to the ground, even though the ball wasn’t anywhere near you. What happened to him on the next play, sis?”

“You and Conn both smoked his ass.”

Victor smiled and goose bumps raced down her arms. She suddenly wondered if that’s the smile Elias and Jesse saw on her face. “If you ever need help tackling Elias, call me. I’ll leave Jesse up to you.”

5 thoughts on “Winner, Vicki, and Victor

  1. Love it. Victor is awesome. And I like Jesse more and more each time he shows up on the page – even in this one where he’s not actually in the room. :D

    But poor Vickie. She’s got some hard choices to make.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *