***Please do NOT share. This is the fist chapter from Viper's SECOND book, Wild Heart. It is UNEDITED and subject to change. © by Author Beth Ehemann
*DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT READ CEMENT HEART!!!!*
Chapter 1- Viper
I set my duffel bag on the floor and shut the front door as quietly as I could, praying no one had heard me come in. Thankfully, the house was dark and quiet, just like I was hoping. I locked the door and tiptoed quietly up the stairs, cringing as they creaked beneath my feet.
We had just finished our first road trip of the season and my plane had landed about an hour before, but instead of heading home to my house, my car seemed to drive itself straight to Michelle’s. It was pretty late and I knew that she was probably already sleeping, but the thought of waking her up for I-haven’t-seen-you-in-five-days sex was too good to pass up.
I was hungry, but definitely not for food.
Her bedroom door opened slowly and the small lamp on her nightstand lit up her motionless body. The low hum of her breathing filled the room. So did the smell of coconut from her shampoo which meant she’d showered just before bed.
I lifted my knee onto the bed, hoping to slowly crawl across and surprise her, but the bump of the mattress made her flip around quickly.
“Viper!” she whispered loudly. “You scared the hell out of me!” Her eyebrows were pulled in tight with an angry glare and a few strands of her damp blond hair clung to the side of her face. She’d never looked hotter.
Without saying a word, I gave her a wicked grin and started crawling again. Her expression softened instantly and she laid back on the bed, opening her arms for me.
“Sorry,” I apologized half-heartedly just before I crashed my mouth against hers. She kissed me back, her lips parting as she invited me in. I gladly dipped my tongue in her mouth and shoved my hands in her hair, gripping tightly. Being on the road was nothing new for me, but having someone waiting for me when I got home was.
She tucked her hand inside the waistband of my sweats, slowly moving up and down my hard shaft. “You don’t feel sorry.” She giggled.
“I tried to be sorry, it didn’t work. Now take your clothes off,” I said gruffly.
I trailed kisses down the side of her neck, pulling eagerly on the neckline of her t-shirt.
“Really?” she teased. “No hello? No how was your week? Nothing?”
I sat back and pulled her up to a sitting position, dragging her t-shirt over her head. “I’ve been waiting all week to have these in my mouth—” I took her nipple in between my lips and sucked hard. She let out a gasp just as I let go, “—but if you really want to we can chat instead?”
“No, no. That’s good,” she said breathlessly. “Keep doing that.”
The corner of my mouth lifted in a smirk as I turned my attention back to her chest. One of the things I loved most about Michelle was her body—her real body. A body that had given birth to two amazing kids. A body that wasn’t stick thin. A body that had curves in all the right places. A body that was strong enough to do the job of both a mother and a father and never complain about it. Best of all, a body that was my playground for the next several hours. I just had to decide where I wanted to play first.
“I missed you,” I said before I gently pushed her back on the bed and kissed the soft skin on her stomach.
A sexy grin spread across her lips. “You did?”
“Mmhmm. A lot.” I kissed her stomach again.
With those two words, my head lifted slightly and I stared her straight in the eye. She waited a second and arched one eyebrow, challenging me. Without taking my eyes off of hers, I licked my lips and grabbed her shorts and panties at the same time, pulling them down hard and tossing them off the side of the bed. I licked my lips one more time and dipped my head between her legs, but before I could taste her, I heard the dreaded call out.
I froze and lifted my eyes to hers.
“Shhh. Pretend you didn’t hear him,” she waved her hand toward the door before gently pushing my head back down.
Michelle sighed and dropped her hand on the mattress in frustration. “I love that little man, but he has the worst timing.”
I laughed and sat back. “Let’s make a deal. You stay right here—just like this—and I’ll go see what he needs.”
She sat up, shaking her head. “You don’t have to.”
I put my hand on her shoulder, stopping her before she could stand. “I know I don’t have to. I want to.”
“Really?” she asked skeptically.
“Yeah,” I shrugged as I stood. “You’re not the only one I missed.”
Her eyes turned soft as she chewed on the corner of her lip, trying not smile.
“I mean it, stay right there. Just like that,” I ordered. “Actually…wait. You were more like this.” I opened her legs a little wider. “There. Perfect. Don’t move.”
Her cheeks turned pink and she lifted her hand to her mouth, trying to stifle her laugh.
“Uh…wait a sec,” she called out as I started toward the door. I turned back and her eyes moved from my face to my cock as she lifted an eyebrow. “You wanna do something about that? That’s a conversation I’m not ready to have yet.”
I looked down at the bulge in my sweats. “Oooh, good call. We don’t want The Viking to scare the poor kid.” I shot her a wink and tucked my boner in the best I could as she rolled her eyes. “I mean it, don’t move…and for the love of God don’t fall asleep.”
“Got it, boss.” She joked, nodding obediently as I turned and left the room.
Boss, huh? I could get used to that.
“Moooooooommmmmmmyyyyyyy!” he called one more time, just as I got to his door. The glow from the hallway moved across the room, as I pushed the door open, eventually lighting up his face. He squinted and covered his eyes with the back of his hand.
“What’s up, buddy?” I greeted with a loud whisper.
His mouth fell open and he dropped his hand. “Viper!” he shouted excitedly. He climbed to his feet and jumped from the bed into my arms, wrapping himself around me like a monkey.
I squeezed him back, hard. “I missed you.”
“I missed you, too! Did you have a good trip?”
“I watched your games,” he interrupted. “There were four of them. You played really good for three and kinda sucked for one.”
I let out a quick laugh. Gotta love the honesty of a five-year old. “I did suck for one of them, didn’t I?”
“Yeah.” He nodded as he pulled back, but didn’t take his arms off me. “I told mom that and she said not to say suck.”
I rolled my eyes and chuckled under my breath. “Of course she did.”
He stared at me for a second, his big blue eyes traveling all over my face, before he cracked a tight-lipped smile and squeezed me again.
“What’s this one for?”
“I just missed you,” he muffled into my shoulder.
I closed my eyes and tightened my arms around him. “I missed you, too, bud. That’s why I came over tonight. I wanted to be here when you got up in the morning.”
“Do you have hockey tomorrow?” he asked as he wiggled out of my arms and sat on the edge of his bed.
“Nope, we have an off day.”
“Yay!” he cheered, pumping his little arms in the air. “Can we do stuff?”
I sat down on the bed next to him. “Sure. What did you have in mind?”
He shrugged, “I don’t know. Go out for breakfast, go to the park, go to the zoo, maybe the circus? Then lunch, the library, play catch in the backyard—”
“Wait a sec—“ I looked at him in amazement, “—you want to do all of that tomorrow?”
He nodded proudly. “Then if we have extra time, can we get ice cream?”
I shook my head incredulously. “Buddy, if we’re gonna get even half of that done, we both need to get some sleep.” I stood up and reached around him, lifting the blankets for him to crawl under.
I pulled the quilt up to his chin and then tucked the sides in nice and tight. “I’ll tell you what…you close your eyes and get a good night’s sleep and I’ll see what I can do about that list of yours. Deal?”
“Deal,” he agreed, with a grin.
I leaned down and kissed his forehead before heading back down the hall to Michelle’s room.
As I pushed her bedroom door open and saw her curled up with her back to me, my poor dick wept with disappointment.
“No, no, no,” I whined as I crawled across the bed and tried to wake her. “How did you fall asleep that fast?”
“Hm?” she answered in a sleepy moan without opening her eyes.
I rocked her back and forth again. “Come on, it’s been five days.”
“That’s fine, just put it on the counter,” she slurred, sounding like the weird little sleepy mouse from Alice in Wonderland.
I sighed, grabbed the remote and leaned back against the headboard.
Apparently the only balls that’ll be bouncing tonight will be on Sportscenter.
That’s how long it’s been since I’ve published a new book. Exactly one year ago today. (Happy Birthday, Cement Heart!) This year, these last couple of years since I started writing seriously for that matter, have been--interesting. I’ve always been very transparent with my readers, and I will continue to do so until I’m given a reason not to, so here goes...
In 2001, my husband and I made the decision that me staying home with our kids during the day was the best thing for our family, so I quit my job and immediately embraced stay-at-home-mommyhood. The following years were spent checking pant pockets for crayons before throwing them into the dryer, cleaning mystery stains out of my carpets and making every weird animal noise imaginable just to get my toddlers to take one more bite of carrots. Fun fact…I totally rock at sheep noises.
Along with the never-ending to do list, came the most important job of guiding my children to be awesome, polite, thoughtful little humans who I could one day release into the world and be proud of the job I’d done.
I loved being a stay at home mom, and I still do, but now…I’m a work from home mom. And that has been a huge adjustment, to put it lightly.
When I decided to publish my first book, I had zero expectations of anyone other than my mother actually reading it. I had no idea so many people would not only read it, but want more so quickly. I was blown away and super excited to keep going. I released book 2 within a few months and book 3 a few months after that. Then, the ball dropped. And when I say ball, I mean my guilt. I’d just released 3 books in 10 months and while I know a lot of authors release more often, for me, this was huge! I had spent a lot of time away from my family to write and I felt they were suffering. My husband, bless his heart, was trying his best to keep everything running smoothly, but it just wasn’t the same. I started to feel like I’d abandoned my family for my dream. Deep down I knew that wasn’t exactly true, but every time I saw a pile of laundry that had been sitting for a few days or a sink full of dishes, my guilt ball grew larger and larger. I felt like I wasn’t doing my job, my main job.
Every time I was with my kids, I felt like I should be writing and every time I was writing, I felt like I should be with my kids.
It didn’t matter what I did, there was constant guilt…and there still is. I released Cement Heart one year ago, and wrote Andy’s book this past fall (though it’s not released yet), but the guilt is always there, eating away at me little by little. Some days are better than others, but for the most part I never feel like I can do it all. Someone always goes without. There have been missed Little League games, forgotten field trip forms and just a few weeks ago, my son insists he was the ONLY child in his whole school not in pajamas for pajama day. I was editing and forgot. *insert gut punch here*
There is immense pressure in this business to stay relevant and keep your name out there and release often, and that can be really, really tough. I have four kids and a husband who deserve my attention first, but I have to be honest…there have definitely been times when I’m snuggling on the couch with Emma, watching Beauty and the Beast, and out of the corner of my eye I’m staring at my laptop wondering if I’ve been gone too long. Has everyone forgotten about me? Am I even going to have any readers still there when I do release my next book?
Time will tell. Whatever is meant to be, will be.
I love words. I love writing and I will do it until the day I die, whether I get paid or not, but I'm still trying to figure out a balance that's best for my family...and my sanity. In the meantime, I’m going to keep writing as often as I can and releasing as often as I can.
Thank you so so so much to all of my readers who support me and continue to share my books with their friends and family, but most importantly...thank you for your patience. <3
***Side note--To all of you amazing working moms and/or fellow authors who make it looks SO damn easy, feel free to send any tips my way!! :)
So...I've never done a blog post before and I figured, what better time to start than on the 2 year anniversary of Room for You, right? But then I thought...it's more than the anniversary of Room for You. It's kind of the anniversary of the day my new life started.
The life I'd always dreamed about. (<-- Cheesy, but true.)
Let's go back a few years...30 or so to be exact. (No I'm not 30 but let's pretend I am). Growing up, I was book obsessed. Shocking, right? I got lost in them...the words, the pictures, the smell of the pages... I loved all of it. Still do. From a very early age, I wanted to write children's books. Well, life had different plans. A couple of babies by the time I turned 21 and suddenly my focus shifted from what I wanted to be when I grew up to "Oh, crap. These kids need food and health insurance," so off to work I went. After a couple more years, my husband and I made the collective decision for me to be a stay-at-home mom. Soon my days were filled with laundry, pancakes, dishes, nursery rhymes, vacuuming and sticky toddler kisses. Being a mom was the HARDEST, and most rewarding, thing I've done to date, but it was also exhausting. Beyond exhausting. I pretty much tucked the kids into their beds and then headed straight for my own. Who am I kidding? Most times they'd ask me to "lay with them" and my husband would wake me twenty minutes later when they wandered into the family room to complain to him that I was snoring. Anyway, I focused on my family and my household for a solid 12 years, and added 2 more kids to my homemade gang in the process.
(Shameless family pic because I think they're cute...)
But after awhile...I wanted more. It's not that being a stay-at-home mom wasn't enough because it was. but something felt missing. I felt like I didn't know who I was anymore and I was desperate to find out again. I returned to my love of books, but this time, instead of reading The Babysitter's Club, I was gobbling up contemporary romance as fast as I could get my hands on it. Laundry had piled up in the hallways and I was on a first name basis with the pizza man, but thankfully I have a very patient husband who'd grown used to hearing, "Just one more chapter..." instead of Good Night when he turned out the light on his nightstand. Eventually, reading books wasn't enough anymore either. Imaginary people living inside my head starting talking to me like never before so I either needed to start writing about them or check myself into a mental hospital. I figured the hospital thing is always going to be an option, so why not take a leap of faith and jot down some words.
Every day for the next 6 months, I wrote down a few words, and then a few more, and a few more after that. I was thinking about my story all the time. In the shower, in the car, zoning out at parent/teacher conferences...I was consumed. Then, it happened.
I wrote The End.
Holy shit. I wrote a book. What the hell was I supposed to do now?
Thankfully I have been very blessed with some AMAZING author friends (I'm looking at you Melissa Brown, Tara Sivec and Tina Reber...) who were immensely helpful and supportive. So, I did all the behind-the-scenes work you're supposed to do, got my little book ready and hit that pretty yellow "Publish" button on Amazon. You can prepare yourself for a lot of things in life, but the nausea that comes along with publishing your first book (or second, or third, or fourth...) is not one of those things. I sat in the corner, rocking back and forth, and within just a couple of hours Room for You was live! My little baby was out in the world and I no longer had control. I had zero expectations of how it would do and if it was the only book I ever published, I was fine with that because a bucket list item had been fulfilled. Next up? Skydiving!
But...that wasn't it. Thanks to some fantastic bloggers and friends, the link was passed around a bunch of times and my inbox was flooded with people congratulating me. I went to bed feeling better than I ever had in my whole life. The morning after I published, I woke up early. Everyone was still asleep so I tiptoed quietly to the family room and looked Room for You up on Amazon.
When I saw #333 on the screen, I got light-headed. I literally thought I was going to pass out from shock. Happy, euphoric, overwhelmingly amazing shock! I screamed, scared the crap out of my husband who came running into the room half asleep, carrying a weapon of some sort. He looked around the room for an intruder, rat or gigantic spider, and when he didn't see anything, he frowned at me. All I could do was show him the screen and cry. He had no idea what it meant, but he was happy for me anyway.
Fast forward two years and here I am. I have four books under my belt that I'm damn proud of, I have a reader group that is insanely supportive and makes me smile every single day, I've been to some spectacular book events and met SO MANY wonderful people. I've been blessed beyond anything I could have ever imagined and I'm so so thankful.
Thankful to every single person that took a chance on a new author, who in place of any formal writing training, had a big, fat dream...and a bucket list. (I'm also thankful I didn't have to move on to skydiving.)
Here's to the two most incredible 2 years ever, and with any luck...the 20 after that!