Thursday, June 29, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Way Back to the Beginning

For this week's Throwback Thursday, I decided to revisit the moment Jamie Nolan met Dmitri Teplov in Way Off Plan, book one of the Firsts and Forever Series. These two will always hold a special place in my heart. I was a total novice when I wrote their book back in 2012, but somehow, this couple came to life and not only kicked off the Firsts and Forever Series, they also launched my writing career. I'll always be so grateful for that!

In the following scene, Jamie is a young cop sent to gather intel on a suspected major player in the Russian mafia. Dmitri is a nightclub owner who seems to be speed-dating his way through all the cute guys in his club. When Dmitri's associate asks Jamie to join his boss for a drink, Jamie is less than impressed:

Burgundy Jacket gave me a dead-eyed once over and said in a low monotone, “Mr. Teplov would like you to join him at his table for a drink.”
I raised an eyebrow at him. It was tempting to tell him to shove it up his ass, but I actually felt kind of bad for the guy. Sifting through young gay guys for his fickle employer couldn’t be this man’s idea of a good time. I said politely, “With all due respect sir, if Mr. Teplov wants to have a drink with me, he can ask me his own damn self.”
The man didn’t look impressed. “You really want me to tell him that?”
I shrugged and said, “Tell him whatever you want,” then turned away from the man and tossed back the last of my ten dollar beer.
I shouldn’t have said no to that. I was there to try to gain information about Teplov. But between watching him burn through men like a forest fire and that unshakeable feeling that I’d been whored out by my department, I was in no mood to play nice.
I watched in the mirror as Burgundy Jacket went up to Teplov and whispered in his ear. His employer scanned the crowd, his gaze finally resting on my back with a raised eyebrow. It was probably the first time he’d ever faced rejection. He was probably stunned that anyone could resist his good looks, the money, the power, the total fucked up package that was Dmitri Teplov. I looked down at my empty beer bottle, mentally putting together the politely phrased fuck you I was going to deliver to my police captain on Monday morning when I told him where he could shove this assignment.
I turned to glare at whoever was currently trying to pick me up, and my eyes went wide. Teplov reclined against the bar beside me, head tilted to one side as he studied me closely. Amusement sparkled in his blue eyes, his full lips barely concealing a grin. He leaned toward me, and I caught a whiff of expensive cologne as he said, “Would you please do me the honor of having a drink with me?”
He was even more stunningly attractive close up. In fact, he was the most gorgeous man I’d ever seen. It occurred to me that he’d probably bedded every gay blond boy within a two hundred mile radius with no effort whatsoever. Well, at least those who passed whatever random screening process he subjected them to.
His appearance was distracting as hell. I could barely think straight while staring into that dazzling face. “I don’t think so,” I managed. That was again the wrong answer, but I’d already decided I wasn’t going through with this assignment.
“Funny. You don’t strike me as the coy type,” he said before unleashing a thousand megawatt smile at me. Oh Christ, he actually had dimples!
“I’m not being coy. I sincerely don’t want to have a drink with you,” I told him, trying to bring up a veneer of indifference and drag my eyes away from that smile.
He laughed at that, a surprisingly genuine, uninhibited laugh. “So you wanted me to ask you to have a drink in person, just so you could shoot me down?” The dimples were still out in full force. He looked really young and innocent when he smiled. What an illusion.
“I wanted you to ask me in person,” I said, “because it’s annoying and degrading to be fetched by your lackey. I didn’t say anything about agreeing once you asked.”
That cornflower blue gaze slid to my mouth, and despite myself, I licked my lips. In response, his full lips parted in a silent gasp. God, that was some mouth. A spark of desire slid down my spine, coming to rest in my groin, and I mentally slapped myself for being so easily distracted by a pretty face. He leaned in closer and said softly, his voice a bit husky, “Please? Just one drink.” My cock leapt to attention at his proximity, as much as it could in the confines of those incredibly tight jeans.
Teplov was so close that if I tilted my head just a few inches, I’d be resting my forehead against his. He had serious personal space issues. Apparently I did too, because I impulsively reached up and ran the tip of my index finger along the sensuous curve of his thick lower lip. His eyes slid shut and he leaned into my touch.
Holy shit, what was I doing? I pulled my hand back quickly and mumbled, “Sorry. I didn’t mean to do that.”
“No?” he whispered. “What did you mean to do?”
I slid off my barstool and took a step back from him, thoroughly rattled. “I really should go.”
He caught my wrist and said softly, his eyes locked (pleadingly?) with mine, “You really should stay.” My heart actually fluttered. What the hell!
I could not think clearly around that man. The sight of him, the smell of him, the fact that sex oozed from every one of his molecules was too much. Another minute of this and I’d forget who and what he was and jam my tongue down his throat. I turned and bolted.
I left the VIP room and pushed my way through the crowded club. The night air was wonderfully brisk as I emerged outside. It helped clear my head as I hurried down the sidewalk and around to the quiet side street where I’d lucked into a parking space.
When I reached the generic loaner car, I patted my pockets for my keys, then swore vividly. Damn Jess and those manslut clothes! The keys were in my hoodie back at the bar, because the jeans were too tight to hold more than my driver’s license and a couple bills. I sighed with frustration, splayed my arms over the green Hyundai, and lightly whacked my forehead against the roof of the car.
“You did that wrong, Cinderella,” a now familiar voice behind me said. “You’re supposed to leave a shoe behind, not the keys to the carriage.”
I turned to look at Dmitri Teplov, stunned that he’d actually followed me. My jacket was draped over his arm, my key ring looped around his long, graceful index finger. He smiled, but (was I imagining it?) seemed slightly unsure of himself. I stepped forward and took hold of my keys, and he closed his hand around my fingers and asked softly, “What exactly is it about me that you find so repulsive?”
The answer to that question should have been, the fact that you’re a lowlife criminal, or at the very least, the fact that you treat men like pieces of meat. I stared at him for a long moment, my heart trying to jackhammer its way out of my chest just from his proximity. We were close to the same height, right around six feet tall, and stood eye to eye as he held my gaze steadily. I answered honestly, my voice a bit rough. “Nothing.”
“Then why are you running from me?”
“Am I the first man in history to turn down your advances?” I hedged as I slid my hand from his.
“No. But you are the first man to turn me down who wanted me as much as I wanted him.”
I crossed my arms over my chest and tried to play it off. “So, just because you’re good looking you assume I want you? That’s probably true for every other gay man in that club, but don’t make that assumption about me.”
“It’s not an assumption,” he said simply and moved to lean against my car, tossing the jacket onto the roof.
“You’re incredibly arrogant,” I told him.
“You’re right. But that doesn’t change the fact that your entire body responded to me the moment I got near you.”
“What? No it didn’t.” Okay, it had, but he couldn’t possibly know that.
“Your eyes dilated, your cheeks flushed, your pulse when I grabbed your wrist was positively racing, and, not to be crude, but those tight jeans made it perfectly clear that you wanted to fuck me as much as I wanted you to,” he said matter-of-factly. “Which begs the question: why are you running from me?”
“Christ,” I muttered, running my palms over my gelled hair. That had actually been incredibly perceptive. “Fine. I’m attracted to you. But then so’s everyone, right? What difference does it make that I am, too?”
“All the difference in the world,” he said quietly.
“Would you please give me my keys so I can get the hell out of here?”
 He pushed off my car, came to stand in front of me, and handed me the keys. Then he shocked the hell out of me by sinking to his knees and reaching for my belt. “What are you doing? Are you insane?” I gasped as he unfastened the buckle and unbuttoned my pants.
“If you want me to stop, just say the word,” he said as he slid my zipper down.


I love the fact that more than four years later, we're still following Jamie and Dmitri's story. They have a supporting role in All I Ever Wanted, the latest book in the series, and it always makes me happy when we get to check in with this couple and see where life is taking them.