KEEPING IT TOGETHER
Brody Brown has always been responsible for others. After his parents’ death, he gave up a promising artistic career to care for his younger brother and sister. Now, with his siblings grown, Brody owns his own business, has a nice house, makes a nice living, and for the first time in years he’s on his own.
Elise Sorenson has come to Seattle with her young daughter to find peace. After years as a world-famous ballerina—(and just as many years in a marriage-gone-bad)—she’s looking for neither love nor attention. But she finds both in the handsome, honest man who befriends her with no strings attached.
More than friends, Brody and Elise discover in each other what they need—wild, physical passion without commitment. But it’ll take a shadow from Elise’s past to make them look beyond what they need—to what they truly desire.
I absolutely loved writing Coming Undone. I wanted the book to be about two people falling in love. I wanted it to be a slow, sweet slide into that HEA and Brody has always been that to me when he showed up on the page. He’s a laid back man except when it comes to his people – those he loves and cares for. Then he’d show his teeth if he needed to. I love that about him. I love that Elise is a survivor and a mom – writing Rennie is a particular joy – each of my children is represented in her, my daughter most especially. I hope some day she reads it and can see how charmed I am by her.
I can’t lie, Brody is in my top three favorite male characters – so I figure I’d put up an excerpt from COMING UNDONE through Elise’s eyes…
COMING UNDONE by LAUREN DANE
Copyright 2010, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, The Berkley Publishing Group
She licked her lips again and little zings of chemistry buffeted between them. He enjoyed the intensity of it, the chemical soup of their connection.
“I’m making spaghetti. It’s not like making it for two instead of four is a problem. I mean . . .” Again the blush as her pale blue eyes met his, cruised down to his lips and then away as she took a deep breath. “If you’re hungry, Rennie and I wouldn’t mind the company. We’re new to Seattle, so it’s nice to get to know our neighbors.”
Rennie scampered up and nuzzled into her mother’s side. Elise’s arm automatically went around her daughter’s shoulder, and it pleased Brody to see the easy affection there.
“Plus, we know you’re not no mad killer or nothing. The lady next door to you, the one with the dog who has all the sweaters, told us you look scary but are sweet as pie,” Rennie said.
Elise’s eyes closed again as she fought a laugh. It wasn’t like Rennie could help it; she was a blurter, much like her grandfather, Elise’s father, was. “A mad killer or anything, darling. If you’re going to insult our neighbor, let’s use proper grammar to do so.”
Brody’s ridiculously big brown eyes danced with amusement.The way his bottom lip slid against the line of his goatee made her sort of tingly. Sort of? That was a joke. The man had torched a freaking thousand-acre wildfire within her. Perhaps if she hadn’t been masturbating to Brody fantasies so much, it wouldn’t have made her all achy to just stand there near him. Pathetic.
“That’s good to hear. Mrs. Cardini, the lady with the little dog—his name is Stoney, by the way—is a good judge of character. I also think Adrian, my brother, would love a home-cooked meal. Neither one of us is much for cooking. If you’ll give me a few minutes, I’ll go grab him and be back. That is, if you’re sure it’s not an imposition.”
“No imposition at all. Go on. I’ll get started. Oh, I guess I should ask if either of you is a vegetarian. I got sausage for the sauce, but I can make it without.”
“Nope, we’re both meat eaters. Be back in a few. And thanks again, Elise.”
She pretended not to watch his ass when he walked across the street, but hello, the way his waist tapered down to such a spectacular behind, the way it all contrasted with the width of his shoulders and the powerful muscles of his thighs. The whole package was pretty stunning in that bad-boy-with-a-Harley sort of way.
Baby Jesus help her, when he pulled up his shirt, her mouth had actually watered. He had tattoos on his side and belly. His very flat and hard belly. What she could see there and on his wrist looked well thought out. Not a bunch of random stuff. What she saw seemed to have a Far Eastern influence. She wondered what he looked like under the clothes, under all of them. And not just for the tattoos either. He emanated power as he moved. Even when he stood still, the power rolled off him in waves of magnetism.
His eyes were wary and watchful, but once Elise had relaxed, he had too, and a light of amusement had come into them. No wedding ring and no women’s names on the tats she could see. And yes, she had totally looked.
In short, he was fascinatingly sexy in a way she’d never really considered before. Rough edges, but the way his voice changed when he spoke of his siblings told her a lot about what he was like inside. He cared about his brother and sister and they clearly cared for him too. A very good sign of character.
A dinner couldn’t hurt. She did want to make friends, and the neighborhood seemed rather close. And as Rennie had so helpfully pointed out, Mrs. Cardini had given him the thumbs-up after the ambulance had taken him off to the hospital. He’d brought in her groceries and now her trash cans. It was the neighborly thing to do. To thank him for his help. Her mother would want her to.
“He’s kinda cute in his own way,” Rennie observed as the two of them moved around the kitchen, pulling out what they’d need for dinner.
Elise laughed. “Sure. And he seems very nice. Why don’t you set the table, please. Then you can go out in the back to play if you want.”
Rennie finished the table and raced outside with her ball. She’d become obsessed with soccer, so they’d spent the evening before setting up a goal net in the yard.
Elise ran back to her room to freshen up. Just because she wasn’t looking for a boyfriend didn’t mean she couldn’t look nice enough to inspire some wank fantasies for Brody, did it? She touched up with a tiny bit of lip gloss and brushed her hair, only barely resist- ing the urge to change into a sundress or something. He’d have to live with Capri pants and a sleeveless shirt.
Today’s Question: What is the first romance you can really remember reading? One that made an impact good or bad back when you first started reading romances?
I’ll choose a winner tomorrow morning! Good luck everyone.