Todays guest blogger is Karen Rose Smith, another member of the BacklistEbook group loop.
The Cinderella fairy tale has intrigued women since they were little girls. Married for 40 years, I still believe in it. So writing about this fantasy was easy for me.
In the past decade, I’ve listened to country music more and more. Who knew I’d be writing a country song along with a Cinderella romance? Last year I wrote a refrain and summed up an imaginary song in my Montana Mavericks release. In that book I introduced the hero of HIS COUNTRY CINDERELLA, mega star country singer Zane Gunther. In this romance, Zane needed a special song so I wrote one to fit.
They were standing in an empty movie theater! At least Jeannette thought it was empty until she heard footsteps, looked up at the stadium seating and saw Zane coming down the stairs toward them. He wore a huge grin. “Are you ready for a Disney flick?”
“What’s a flick?” Jonah asked.
Zane laughed, stooped down and tipped her son’s hat back. Jonah wore it whenever she let him. “It’s a movie and one I think you’ll like. Why don’t you go pick out a seat?”
“Anywhere?” Jonah asked.
“Anywhere you want. The place is all yours.”
Jonah ran to the first row. “I wanna sit here. Can I, Mom?”
“That’s fine. But I think Zane and I will sit a few rows behind you. Okay?”
“Before you watch the movie, you have to sample some popcorn.” Zane produced two huge containers of the treat from a seat on the row where they were standing. He handed one to Jonah. “Now don’t eat it too fast. And if you get thirsty, I have drinks back here, too.”
“Soda?” Jonah asked hopefully.
“If your mom says it’s okay.”
Jeannette told her son, “This is a treat tonight, so a little bit of soda will be okay.”
The lights suddenly dimmed and a brilliantly bright introduction to the movie flared on the screen.
Hugging his popcorn, Jonah went to the first row and sat, waiting for all of it.
Jeannette wasn’t exactly sure what this was all about, but she was sure Zane was going to tell her.
He offered her his arm. “Can I escort you to your seat?”
“You surely can. I wouldn’t want to miss any of this.”
They sat three rows behind Jonah. Her son glanced over his shoulder at them, grinned and ate a handful of popcorn.
“He’s going to love this.”
Zane’s shoulder brushed hers. Neither of them moved away. They sat quietly, watching the beginning of the movie. Zane offered her popcorn.
“Maybe later,” she whispered.
As the movie played, Jonah’s laughter and squeals of delight made them both smile.
Taking off his Stetson, Zane laid it on the seat beside him, ran his hand through his hair and sat up a little straighter. He was wearing cologne tonight, a woodsy and musky scent that immediately brought to her mind the picture of him splitting wood. His arm was solid beside hers and, as always, she felt strength emanating from him. Yet tonight she sensed something else, too, something not quite comfortable, something that was uncertain. Who they were when they were together? If they should even be together? Was this simply a giant gesture to please Jonah?
Tonight she kept silent instead of asking any of the questions. She knew innately that tonight required patience and she had to let it unfold however it would.
Finally Zane took something from his pocket and handed it to her. That’s my SAT phone number in case you need it.” Then he leaned closer. “I thought about what you said the other night.”
She whispered back, “Which part?”
“The part where you thought I was using you for an escape.”
Her heart seemed to turn over. Was he admitting it?
“I do escape when I’m with you,” he confessed in the same low voice. “I forget who I was, what happened before I came to ThunderCanyonand what I’m trying to leave behind. But that happens because of who you are and who I seem to become when I’m with you. So to answer your question, you are an escape for me right now, just likeThunderCanyon is, or that log house up on the hill. But I like you, Jeannette. I think you’re beautiful and sexy and smart. And just being with you makes me feel happy.”
Jeannette’s face was close to his shoulder. She brought her lips to his ear. “If we slept together, what would happen afterward?”
This was the most intimate conversation she’d ever had in a public place. But in some ways it was a private place, too. Nothing Zane did would ever be ordinary.
He turned his head until his lips were almost against hers. “You want me to predict the future. I can’t do that. Short term scenario, we’d have an awful good time while I’m inThunderCanyon. Long term scenario… That’s what I want you to think about tonight. That’s one of the reasons I brought you here. Before all this happened, I didn’t have an ordinary life. I doubt if I’ll have one in the future.”
“Tell me what bringing me here tonight was supposed to prove,” she requested, needing to know what was in his head.
“I want you to think about a life where you’re separated from the rest of the world. There’s a reason why stars have huge estates with everything on them they might want or need. If they go into town, they could get mobbed. At the least, they get stopped by fans. In a public place it’s hard to finish a meal without someone coming over to the table, not to mention what could happen on the street. I have a bodyguard for a reason, or at least I had one. It isn’t because I like it, it’s because he was a necessity. If you’re with me anywhere, all this will affect you, too. You’ll be subjected to reporters and tabloid journalists and photographers with long lenses. If you want to go shopping, you’d better do it online so someone doesn’t ask you if you’re going to wear that dress when you go out with me. This isn’t about ego here, Jeannette. It’s about being on display maybe 90% of the time. It’s about a life that requires separation from people close to you, odd hours and maybe telephone sex instead of being together.”
“Are you trying to scare me off?” she asked.
Even though the theater was dark, in the light flashing from the screen she could see the doubts in Zane’s eyes. “I’m telling you what life dating me would be like, not only for you, but for Jonah.”
In other words, if she wanted to try on being with Zane what harm could come of it? But if Jonah were with her, what would happen with him? Of course she didn’t want him exposed to the publicity. What mother would?
“Up until now, I wondered if I was dazzled by you. You just took the dazzle away.”
“And?” he asked, not moving a muscle.
“And, without the dazzle, I still like who you are. I’m still very attracted to you. But I do have to think about the consequences for me and Jonah. Especially for Jonah.”
“If I have to go through a trial, life is going to get even more hellish. I won’t be able to stay away from public places—I’ll be right in the center of them. Why would you even want to consider getting involved in all that?”
Why, indeed? She felt torn by the need to keep her and Jonah safe, but by other needs, too. She longed for a man to hold her at night. She longed to be in love. With Zane she felt sexy and more of a woman than she’d ever felt. He understood the way she mothered and her need to place Jonah first. In a situation like this, should she weigh the pros and the cons? Or should she go with her heart? In the past, going with her heart had brought her pain.
Jeannette watched the movie, but she didn’t absorb very much of it. Whenever Jonah laughed, her gaze fell on him, but she was constantly and consistently aware of the tall man beside her, his muscled physique and heat evident even as he sat still.
“I can’t tell you not to think this time,” Zane said, leaning close again, his jaw almost brushing her cheek. “But when you do think about us, feel those kisses again, too. I’d kiss you now to remind you, but I’m afraid I’d get lost in you in the dark and Jonah would catch us.”
“Would that be so bad?”
“Not if we knew what we were going to do.”
But they didn’t know…because they both had a lot to think about.
They watched the rest of the movie, sitting close but not being close.
When the movie was over and the credits rolled and the lights came up, Jonah ran to them, happy and excited. “That was great! I like the movies, better than TV.”
Zane laughed, but there was a restrained quality to it. She knew this was hard for him, too. Should he get close to Jonah or should he not get close to Jonah? Did he even want to think about becoming a father?
He said, “I’m glad you liked it, but I think it’s already past your bedtime.”
“Are you coming home with us?”
Zane looked at Jeannette and then said soberly, “Not tonight, cowboy.”
Check out Karen’s website: www.karenrosesmith.com/home.html
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CATS, ROSES…AND BOOKS! blog: http://karenrosesmith.blogspot.com/