I don’t often do break ups unless the book is a reunion story, but I have a few favorites (when Abbie and Roman break things off in Relentless is one, another is when SImone breaks things off with Kael in Vengeance Due) But today I thought I’d put up the scene from the beginning of LAID BARE when Erin breaks up with Todd…
LAID BARE by LAUREN DANE
Copyright 2009, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, The Berkley Publishing Group
“What do you mean?” He shifted uncomfortably. “Look, Erin, I like you and all but this…thing between us is just fun. No offense but we’re not suited at all.”
It shouldn’t have hurt but it did. He was delusional. “Bullshit.” She finished the first slice and leaned back. “I’m not asking you to marry me or anything. But we connect, Todd Keenan. You spend so much time trying to not just be fucking normal you get tripped up in it. Just be yourself. Yes, you like to dirty talk. You’re kinky, big deal. Why do you fight so hard against what you seem to really like? I like it, I’m willing. You come hard. Why do you deny yourself this way?”
“It’s not who I am!” He stood and stormed into the kitchen. She heard the plate clatter and she wiped her mouth.
“Is it so fucking awful? It’s not like you want to wear a chicken suit while you fuck someone wrapped in plastic wrap or something. You don’t do you?” She laughed but stopped when he growled and stomped back into the living room.
“It’s not who I am, damn you! Look, it’s you and me. I’m not like this with other women. I’m gentle and the sex is nice. I don’t know what comes over me when you’re near. It’s not right.”
She shrugged. What else could she do? Beg him to be who he was? When he thought being who he was, who she was, made him some kind of freak? “The last thing I want to do is force you into talking dirty and begging me to suck your cock with my fingers in your ass, stroking your prostate.”
He winced and petty satisfaction settled in. He liked it. Got off on it and it was her fault he was so damned repressed he hated himself over it?
She grabbed her bag. “I’ll spare you the, it was fun, talk and you can spare me the, it’s not you it’s me stuff. Okay?” Hesitating, she sighed and tiptoed up to kiss him quickly. “I hope you find a place in your life when you can let go and be happy. But I’m not a dirty secret. I’m not bad and wrong for being comfortable with myself and I won’t let you make me feel that way.”
He slammed a hand against the wall next to her and then grabbed her around the waist, pulling her flush to his body. “Damn it, Erin, I don’t lose control. I’m a controlled man. I make good choices. I don’t fuck women in alleys against the wall. It’s off putting.”
“Really now? So who fucked me in that alley, Todd? Your doppelganger? Who shoved my mouth down on his cock in his truck three nights ago when we got back from the grocery store? You like it rough. You like it dirty. Why are you so ashamed of it? You didn’t hurt me. I was there with you every step of the way.”
“I don’t want to like it, damn it. Can’t you understand that? I don’t choose to like it.” He shoved a hand through his hair.
Pain sliced through her. “I get it. You think being with me is a bad choice.”
“It’s not…I didn’t plan for you, Erin. I like you.”
“But you don’t like who you are when you’re with me. You blame this on me and I’m not having it. I won’t be responsible for your life. You’re a big boy.”
“No. Oh fuck, I don’t know. This is very intense. I have an intense job. I’m not sure if I need an intense personal life too.”
“I see.” She looked into his eyes, wishing he’d wake up and see her. See them and what they could have together.
“You keep saying that, Erin. But how can you see? I don’t even see.”
“All I see is a man who can’t face himself. And it makes me sad because you’re alive when we’re together and you’re not hiding who you are. You’re playing a game with this, a stupid game. Why I don’t know, because I like who you are. I won’t play this game with you. I’m worth more and so are you.” She leaned up and pressed her hand over his heart and kissed his chin. “Goodbye, Todd. I wish you well, I really do. If you change your mind, give me a call. Maybe I’ll be available.”
He watched her walk out the door and told himself it was for the best but he knew he was lying to himself. Just like she said he was.
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