I've got yet another television show I’m obsessed with: Orphan Black. Seriously, it's one of the best written shows out there right now. The thing I love best? They NEVER do exactly what I think they will. I LOVE THAT!! I think they'll fall into the old trap of taking the obvious choice and BAM! They go completely off the rails with something totally unexpected. Sarah and Paul have a very twisted attraction that just works…even when it shouldn't. LOL
Anyway, tonight's post is from Game of One, a short novella featuring one of my favorite things: Friends who become lovers. J
Here's the tagline:
Lacie Brooks' annual Valentine's Day tradition of getting laid and letting off steam is cut short when she shoots her mouth off to the wrong superior officer. Stuck on base, she finds a way to pass her restricted time with Ren Blankenship by playing a Game of One. Too bad for Lacie, Ren decides to turn the tables on her and win for a change.
And the sneaky peek…
Halfway through the paperwork, it occurred to Ren that Lacie would miss her annual tradition of picking up a one night bootie call wouldn't happen this year. Might not be a bad thing. She'd had five years to let go of Chuck. Then again, so had he.
And yet Ren wouldn't act on the sexual attraction hovering just under the surface with Lacie. Part of that had to do with how they'd met. And some of it had to do with enjoying the back and forth with her. They discussed hooking up on a regular basis, but always in a teasing manner. Neither had been willing to take a step to no return. Lacie wanted a friend she could count on and Ren filled the bill.
Ren held back because Lacie needed balance. Someone who'd have her back as often as they got in her face when she needed it. He'd been in on as many pranks she pulled as he'd been on the receiving end. They made a wicked good team. But he'd also go toe to toe with her when she crossed boundaries she shouldn't. She'd do the same for him…if he ever stepped over the line, which he didn't.
The tendency to be exasperating and frustrating, all part of Lacie's appeal. He might be a glutton for that kind of punishment, but rarely did he ever suffer boredom when she happened to be around. From the day he met her, she'd knocked him off balance and showed him new ways to look at things.
His lips quirked. Anyone who'd seen them the day of Chuck's funeral wouldn't have believed they'd end up as great friends. Monica and Doug held a gathering after his burial at Chuck's favorite tavern. Lacie sat at the bar downing shots, one by one, until she practically weaved back and forth on the barstool. At least a dozen glasses lined the wood top in front of her.
Ren didn't realize her connection to Chuck. He'd been stationed off planet when Chuck bought it in a skirmish he shouldn't have been involved in. Chuck told Ren he'd found someone, the someone, and couldn't wait to introduce his best friend to the woman who made life awesome.
Resembling a lush more than an incredible specimen of womanhood, the lady at the bar offended Ren's sense of decorum.
"You should leave. You don't belong here."
She swung her head around and tilted it sideways, tried to focus on his voice. "And why not?" Her words slurred together slightly, but she licked her lips and blew out a breath. "Why shouldn't I belong?" She blinked and seemed surprised she sounded almost normal.
Ren frowned. "Because this gathering is to honor a great man. You're being disrespectful to his memory."
She sniffed. "A great man." Her head bobbed up and down. "Yes. A very great man." Her hand reached for the next shot and she flung it down her throat.
Ren lowered his voice. "Look. I don't know who you—"
Her hand shot out and grabbed his arm in a surprisingly strong grip. "Everything hurts. I hurt." She dropped the shot glass on the bar. "And I can't make it go away." Her gaze met his and the pain in it knocked him back. "I…he…we…" Her eyes slid closed. "I don't know how to make it stop." Her slim fingers rubbed back and forth along her forehead, trying to soothe an ache that couldn't be eased.
It hit Ren. Her identity. "Lacie?"
She lifted her head, eyes watery and bleak. "What? Oh, right. I shouldn't be here." She wobbled on the stool and eyed the last shot on the bar.
A shudder went through her and she tried to slide off her perch. Ren hooked an arm around her and swung the other under her legs before she hit the floor. Lifting her easily, he headed for the exit.
"Hey. Put me down. Who are you?" She squirmed and tried to wriggle out of his arms. "Put. Me. Down." She bucked and struggled against his hold. "Where are you taking—" She tensed. "Oh…God…I'm gonna heave."
Ren made it out the door just in time. Lacie turned her head and puked the alcohol all over the parking lot. He carried her several feet away and crouched down, settling her on a bench outside the bar.
He handed her a handkerchief. "Feel better?"
She wiped her mouth and shook her head. "Not really. No." Her gaze met his. "You're Ren, aren't you?" Her lips quivered. "Please tell me you're Ren."
He nodded. Didn't trust himself to say anything. He felt like an ass for berating her.
She tried to keep it together, but her face contorted and a sob escaped. Ren moved up to sit beside her, wrapping an arm around her shaking shoulders. He let her cry it out. Figured she'd been holding it in and needed the cathartic treatment.
In a moment of shared grief, a friendship developed. He took Lacie home and got her settled in bed. He stuck around, crashed out on her couch. She got up the next morning and apologized for almost throwing up on him. Ren grinned over the memory. Not exactly the way he envisioned meeting the woman who completed his best friend's life. After she swallowed about four painkillers, Lacie insisted he stay and let her cook breakfast for him. He agreed if she'd allow him to assist.
They put together a huge mean. Lacie informed him Chuck taught her everything she knew and Ren shared the funniest stories of Monica teaching 'her boys' the finer skills in the kitchen. She didn't want either one to burden some poor woman with a need to feed them. Lacie shared lots of great memories and over omelets, bacon, homemade cinnamon rolls and fresh squeezed juice, they got to know each other.
Ren left that afternoon with a promise to keep in touch and made an effort to call and drop in when he had time. Lacie transferred to his base a year or so later and they had an easy camaraderie together. She made a damn good lead pilot and helped pull more inexperienced pilots up through the program.
If only she'd tone down the crazy antics. And the smart mouth. Her natural ability kept her in the good graces of the brass on base, but every once in a while she stepped over the line. If he didn't happen to be there to smooth ruffled feathers, she ended up spending time in the brig or had her passes revoked.
He should probably check in with her, let her know he'd be around. Nah, he'd hit the rec room. Sooner or later she'd make her way there. Gathering up the daily report, he filed it and grabbed his fitreps. Might as well work ahead while he waited.
Ren does indeed find Lacie in the rec room and a lovely Game of One ensues. I'll say Lacie is completely caught off guard and leave it at that. LOL
That's it for this week. Catch everyone on the flip.