Date Archive

January 2016

The One with ANOTHER Rediscovered Bliss and Garrick Scene!

My lovely readers!

I get asked again and again to write more for Garrick and Bliss, and while that’s not currently in my plans…

TODAY YOU’RE IN LUCK. While in the process of cleaning out my email inbox (which is a terrifying place), I came across this bonus scene that I’d COMPLETELY forgotten I had written! It was originally sent out as a bonus incentive for people who pre-orderd All Lined Up, so you might have read it a couple of years ago – but I wanted to share it with everyone. :)

This takes place some time after the events of Keeping Her, and is unedited – so my apologies for any mistakes. :) Enjoy!


 

Of Mishaps and Moms
A Garrick/Bliss Bonus scene

Bliss

I dropped the fake smile from my face and escaped into the oversized dressing room with Kelsey.

“I swear to God,” I whispered. “I’d rather spend the day with Prince Joffrey than deal with one more hour of my mother and Garrick’s mother in the same room.”

Kelsey laughed. “Dude. Those women could make that crazy bastard curl into the fetal position and weep.”

“Right?!”

I sank onto a frilly little settee in a bridal shop that was painfully overpriced and opulent. Neither set of parents seemed to understand that Garrick and I didn’t need to be in more debt than we already were. My mom refused to accept that the both of us would continue on in theatre. It baffled her that we would spend our lives on careers that had very little chance of advancement or a decent paycheck.

“You okay?” Kelsey asked. “You look like you’re two seconds away from meltdown.”

I scrubbed my hands over my face and sighed. “If I were a superstitious person, I would say that the world really doesn’t want me and Garrick to get married.”

Kelsey rolled her eyes and eased herself onto the love-seat across from me. Only three months pregnant, and she was already walking like someone had shoved a bowling ball up… well, somewhere bowling balls should not be shoved.

If you had asked me a year ago, I would have told you I couldn’t ever picture Kelsey being pregnant. Now I know that was because I never pictured her pregnant and scowling.

“Bullshit.” She shifted, grimacing as she tried to get comfortable. “You’ve had the longest effing engagement in the history of the world. So, you’ve definitely thought this all the way through. That guy would move freaking mountains for you. You’re so perfect together that I could vomit. Or maybe that’s the morning sickness. Hard to tell.”

I threw my hands up. “There’s a typo on our invitations! You can’t tell me that’s not the worst wedding fail possible.”

She shrugged. “One measly letter.”

“It says we’re engaged to be marred!”

“Yeah. Okay. So that’s kind of bad. But now you’re trying on your dress, and it’s going to be awesome, and everything else won’t matter.”

“But—“

“Don’t make me boob punch you. I have very little patience these days. We’ll do those shabby chic handmade invites you found on Pinterest. Garrick and I will run mom-interference. Everything will work out.”

“When did you get to be so positive?”

She thought for a moment. “Is it cheesy if I say I found myself?”

I raised my eyebrows and said, “Yes, it is.”

“Fine. Then I got my shit together. And Jackson helps. But don’t you dare tell him that, his head is big enough already.”

I laughed. “That sounds more like you.”

She gestured for me to stand up. “You just shut up and concentrate on looking gorgeous.”

“Let me just add gorgeous to my to-do list right quick.”

“Boob punch. It’s coming if you’re not careful.”

“Fine.”

I stood, and she slowly did the same.

“Is it really that bad?” I asked, eyeing her slightly rounded stomach.

“There’s something growing inside me that has more control over my stomach and bladder than I do. What do you think?”

“You’re happy though, right? You and Jackson? I know it wasn’t planned but you’re…”

“We’re happy.” One side of her mouth lifted in a reluctant smile. “Scared shitless. But very happy.”

And that was all the reprieve we got as the door opened, and the seamstress bustled in with both mothers hot on her heels.

Kelsey went off to run interference as promised, and I focused on the seamstress as she retrieved my dress. It was the one thing about all this planning mess that had gone unequivocally right. It was this gorgeous mix of vintage and modern. The bodice was a slim-fit with boning like a corset. It wasn’t just for support though. They’d stitched it so you could see the vertical lines, and they flowed with the body.  The bottom of the dress was made up of gorgeous pieces of chiffon of varying lengths, and they softened the effect of the very structured top.

In all, it felt like the perfect choice for me.

The seamstress was a petite Asian woman, and by her expression, she had about as much patience for the moms as I did.

“You ready?” She asked, stepping away from where my mother was clucking about how she still couldn’t believe I’d chosen such a simple dress.

To me, it was anything but simple. But I guess for Mom, anything without a massively poofy skirt or long train wasn’t good enough.

“I mean,” My mother said as I stepped behind the screen to change into the lacy, itchy undergarments. “It’s a lovely dress. Don’t get me wrong. But it more like a nice dress you’d wear to a party or a special occasion. Not a wedding dress.”

It was also one of the only affordable dresses in this place she’d insisted on taking me to.

“Mom, we’ve been over this. Those other dresses just aren’t me. This one is perfect.”

“Perfect certainly isn’t the world I’d use, but I suppose if you’re happy…”

I was pretty sure the end of that sentence was supposed to be then I’m happy, but she didn’t say it. And she sure as hell didn’t look it.

Garrick’s mom was looking between the two of us with an almost gleeful smile. In the beginning, that woman had terrified me. Still does, really. But then we kind of hit it off and worked some things out. But she despised my mother, so she was happiest when the two of us were at odds. Which was a lot these days.

I called out to the seamstress, “I’m ready.”

She handed the dress over to me, and I slipped it over my head. All the little pieces of chiffon got bunched and stuck as I pulled it down, so I stepped out from behind the screen to get some help. Kelsey worked on pulling all the pieces of chiffon loose so they hung properly while I slipped my arms through the tiny straps. The seamstress stepped around me to start zipping up the bodice while Kelsey finished. She got it halfway done before the metal whine of the zipper began to slow and then stopped all together.

There was an ominous pause, and then she pulled on each side of the top, smooshing my breasts tightly against the bodice, and trying again.

She got another inch or so, but I could feel her straining behind me, and the pinch of the boning around my waist.

Mom stepped up to help, and the first thing out of her mouth was “My goodness, Bliss. What have you been eating since your last fitting?”

Under my breath, I mumbled, “My feelings.”

Kelsey was below me, still adjusting chiffon, and she snickered.

Mom helped her pull, and together they zipped the dress up all the way, until I felt like one deep breath might do the whole thing in.

Mom sighed. “That’s not going to work. Bliss, really. What have you been eating?”

“I don’t know. Stuff.”

Chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

“Are you pregnant?” Mom’s voice was stern, accusatory.

“No!”

“You’re certain?” Garrick’s mother asked, one sculpted eyebrow raised. She’d seen me through one pregnancy scare when we visited London. She was going to think I was a hot mess if I had another.
“Yes, I’m certain.”

Mom rounded me to look me in the eye. “If you’re pregnant, we’ll need to move up the wedding. No daughter of mine is having a child outside of wedlock.” She belatedly glanced at Kelsey who’d moved back to the love-seat and offered an unfeeling smile.  “No offense, sweetheart.”

Kelsey raised her hands in a shrug and said, “None taken.”

I would have been absolutely livid, in fact, I was livid for my friend. But Kelsey wasn’t bothered in the least.

“I’m not pregnant, Mom. Not that it would be a bad thing if I was. I’ve just been stressed. I’ll cut back, and everything will be fine.”

Mom hummed and said quietly, “It certainly wouldn’t kill you to eat a little healthier.” I closed my eyes and resisted the urge to lash out. She gestured for me to step up on the round platform they use to fit and hem the dress. I made eye contact with Kelsey, and she gave me a reassuring grin accompanied by a supportive eye roll.

I took the seamstresses hand, and she helped me step up onto the platform. Garrick’s mother placed a pair of heels in front of me, and I slipped them on. A piece of chiffon got stuck in the left heel, and I reached down to pull it loose.

Then like it was happening in slow motion. I felt movement at the back of my dress, a rush of air, and then the loud ripping sound seemed to follow behind a second later.

Everyone started yelling and rushing around. And I just froze, half bent over, my eyes screwed shut and my bottom lip pinned harshly between my teeth.

Surely not. It can’t be. I barely bent over at all. It’s not like I’ve gained THAT much weight.

But I couldn’t deny the brush of air across my lower back that should not have been possible in this corseted gown.

I would have stayed bent like that forever, trying to convince myself that this was another one of those wedding-themed nightmares that had been plaguing my sleep, but Mom gripped my arm and forced me to stand up right.

Her first words?

“If you had bought that princess dress that I liked we wouldn’t be having this problem.”

And that was the final straw for me.

“Out!” I yelled. “Get out! All of you. Go!”

Garrick’s mom looked pleased by my show of strength, but not impressed enough to move.

“Bliss, really,” Mom said. “We don’t need your dramatics.”

I picked up my skirts to keep from causing another wardrobe disaster, then I stepped off the platform and bolted for the bathroom in the corner. My hands were sweaty and slipped on the ornate knob, but I could hear my mother coming after me, so I focused enough to push the door open and slam myself inside.

Then I gave in to the inclination I’d been having from the moment I heard my perfect dress rip, and I screamed.

The screaming only lasted a few seconds though. Then the crying set in.

#

I wouldn’t open the door for anyone. Certainly not my mother. So when the door creaked open about half an hour later, I was shocked out of my depressed stupor. There, peeking into the room, was Garrick. It took his eyes a few moments to find me where I was sprawled on the floor.

Garrick took in my prone form, and a smile stole across his face for a few seconds before disappearing for another serious expression. With his mouth in a thin line, he raised an eyebrow and said, “Nice dress.”

Normally, I wouldn’t have let a single inch of this dress touch the floor of a bathroom, but this place was nicer than my apartment. And the floor was carpeted in the sitting area, so I figured I was okay.
But it occurred to me then that Garrick wasn’t supposed to see me in this dress. It was bad luck, and we definitely didn’t need any more bad luck.

The logical thing would have been to tell him as much. But I wasn’t much for logic at the moment, so instead I rolled over like hiding the bulk of the dress would help, all while screaming at him to get out.

He didn’t.

He closed the door behind him, and I heard the soft fall of his footsteps across the carpet.

“You need to get up, love.”

“No. I don’t. I need to lay here and not think about everything that has gone wrong. And probably will go wrong. That or I need to get really, really drunk. Maybe I could get really, really drunk right here.”
“While we’ve had many a good experience in bathrooms, this one isn’t ours. Come on. Let me take you home.”

I didn’t remember that the back of my pretty, perfect dress was a ripped mess until Garrick knelt beside me and ran a finger down my revealed spine.

That’s when I started crying again.

I knew even as it was happening that I was a blubbering, unattractive mess. I knew I sounded pitiful and whiny, but I just couldn’t help it. When you love someone, everything about life should get easier. All we wanted was each other, so the rest of this stuff shouldn’t matter, but what did it say about us that we couldn’t even get married without a disaster? What did it say about me? Would my whole life be this way? Every big moment? Would I get arrested on our honeymoon? Give birth to my first child in the cab on the way to the airport?

How long would Garrick stick around for that?

His palm flattened against my lower back, and suddenly it was too hard to breathe. I needed this ruined dress off of me. I needed it gone. I needed to be away from this place with no talk of dresses or invitations or flowers or vows. I needed everything to be how it had been before.

I sat up, hiccuping out words from between sobs, and it took a few moments before Garrick seemed to understand what I wanted. I pulled the straps off my shoulders and started grappling with the zipper at the back, but the dress had ripped right next to it, so I had trouble getting the leverage to unzip it.

I pulled too hard, and I heard another rip, and I couldn’t even form words anymore.

Garrick’s hands caught mine, and with our fingers laced together, he sat down behind me, wrapping both of our arms around my middle, trapping me against his body.

“If you’ll calm down for me, I’ll help you take the dress off. Then we’ll give it to the seamstress, and she can fix it.”

“It’s ruined.”

“It’s not.”

“How do you know? You don’t know anything about wedding dresses!”

“I know that if this one is ruined, we’ll get another just like it.”

“We can’t afford that.”

“We’ll manage.”

“Stop being so nice to me. I’m going to ruin our wedding.”

Garrick chuckled and dipped his head to press a kiss to my shoulder. “The only way you could ruin our wedding was if you didn’t show up. Whatever else happens that day won’t matter. As long as you walk down that aisle and stand with me.”

“What if I trip down the aisle?”

“Then I’ll make sure to trip down the aisle on our way out so we’re even.”

I laughed in spite of myself.

I hated that this kept happening. I was always the one falling apart, and he was always the one putting things back together. That was another thing that couldn’t last. I had to learn to hold my own in this relationship. I had to be better.

“I’m sorry,” I said.

He hummed, bending his head and grazing his cheek along the slow of my shoulder.

“What are you sorry for?”

“For being such a mess. For making you come out here to deal with me.”

“You know that’s not a hardship, right? I like dealing with you.”

As if punctuating his point, his hands released mine to trail up my sides, tracing the lines of stitching on my dress.

“Now you do,” I mumbled.

“Hey.” He caught my chin, and pulled me to face him. “None of that. If you want to doubt something… doubt the fish at the rehearsal dinner, doubt whether Rowland and Graham will be able to hold their liquor during the festivities, doubt our mothers’ abilities to stick to friendly conversation. Don’t doubt us. We’re beyond that, you and I. You keep acting as if I don’t know who you are. That I’m going to wake up one day, and decide these little mishaps aren’t worth all the rest. But you have to remember… I love you. Mishaps included. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have made it past the imaginary cat.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t say you’re sorry. Just kiss me instead. Every time you feel like apologizing. Let that be the first rule of our marriage.”

I sniffed. “Sounds like a pretty good rule.”

“Indeed, it does.”

“What happens if I’m really sorry?”

“I’m sure we can come up with a few ideas.”

“And what if one of us is angry? Or sad? Or anything else?”

“Same rule applies.”

He pulled my chin forward, tipping my mouth up toward his, but I hesitated.

“My mom thinks I’m getting fat. And I couldn’t even bend over in my dress without ripping it.”

His big hands slid up to take hold of my ribcage. “You’re not fat, Bliss. And I for one happen to like your curves.”

“Curves is just a nice way to say I’ve gained weight.”

“You have gained weight.”

Punch to the solar plexus right there.

“And it looks good. I, for one, like the fuller look on you.” He trailed one finger along the top of my bodice, and the cleavage that it pushed up above the neckline. Had those gotten bigger too? He said, “Now stop worrying. That falls under marriage rule number one, too.”

This time when he tilted my chin up, I didn’t resist. He covered my lips with his, and I opened up to the taste of him. My stomach swooped the way it always seemed to when he kissed me. Never would I have thought that such an unsteady feeling would be the thing to ground me.

His fingers continued their light stroking over the top of my breasts. And slowly, his mouth teased mine until everything else disappeared. The ripped dress. The invitation mistakes. Even our mothers. And let me tell you, it takes quite a kiss to make those two fade into the background.

But I was soon to be Mrs. Garrick Taylor.

And yes, it was easy to get swept away with all the mishaps and the planning and the stress. But when he was in front of me, touching me, his forehead resting against mine… none of those other things had any kind of pull on me. Because the gravity I felt toward him would always be stronger.

With him, I’d always be stronger too.


 

 

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Remember, you can read all of the Bliss and Garrick bonus scenes (as well as bonus content from my other books) on my Extras page!
In Awkward Love,
CC

 

The One with the Long Lost Garrick POV!

Remember way back in 2013, when I posted four scenes from Losing It written from Garrick’s point of view? (If you need to refresh your memory, you can check them out HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE!) Weeeeeeeell…as I was combing through my bottomless pit of an email inbox, I came across ANOTHER little Losing-It-From-Garrick’s-POV scene that I never posted. So here you go! Consider it a belated Christmas/holiday present. :)

This scene is from Chapter 23 of Losing It, and it’s unedited, so please excuse any mistakes.


The One About Sickness and Healing

I needed Spring Break like I need air. I just needed a week where I didn’t have to see Bliss everywhere I went, where I didn’t have to watch her pour her heart out on stage every night in rehearsals. where I could be miserable in peace.

But I had one more rehearsal to get through first. Then I would recharge for the week, power through the end of the semester, and move on.
I sighed. Why was that thought so depressing? I should have been happy to move past all of this.

With my keys in hand, I left my flat to head to rehearsal. I was running a bit behind, so I jogged out into the parking lot.

Bliss stood out in the middle of the driveway, directly in the road, and she was bundled up in sweaters like it was winter, rather than the end of March.

I took a deep breath, steeling myself.

“Bliss?”

She didn’t even react, but she did wobble on her feet, like the night I’d seen her drunk with her friends.

I called her name again. She shook her head, and then pressed her hands to her temples. She bent at the waist, and I watched her body begin to sag toward the ground.

I didn’t bother calling her name. I ran toward her, and wrapped an arm around her waist a second before her legs gave out completely.
“Bliss?”

She whimpered and kept reaching toward the ground. I pulled her up, cradling her in my arms. Her head lolled against her shoulder, and her normally lovely pale skin was missing her usual glow. Instead, it was a ghostly white. Even her lips were a pale purple. Every time she swallowed, her whole face contorted in pain. Tiny pools of tears grew at the corners of her eyes, and I was gutted just looking at her.

“You’re okay, love. I’ve got you. It’s okay.”

She snuggled deeper into my embrace, and I felt like I took my first real breath in weeks.

She didn’t stir when I reached her apartment and dug through her pockets for her keys. She lay, dead weight, in my arms, and panic coated my lungs.

I knew, logically, I knew it was mono. There were already half a dozen people out with it in the department. They had a fever for a bit, then they were really tired for even longer, and then they came back, slowly but surely. I knew there was nothing to worry about, but seeing her like this terrified me.

I wrestled the door open, and kicked it closed behind me. I ducked through the curtain into her bedroom and laid her carefully atop her bed. She moaned, but didn’t open her eyes.

My thoughts splintered and scattered all over the place, and I couldn’t make myself focus on anything but the way she wrapped her arms tightly around herself, like she was in so much pain.

I made myself stop and think. First things first, I need to let Eric know that she wasn’t going to be a rehearsal. And neither was I.

I couldn’t leave her. I wouldn’t.

I sent him a text, and then returned to Bliss.

Her eyes clenched shut, and her teeth clamped down on her bottom lip as she shivered.

I pulled the covers up to her neck, but her expression remained tense. I reached out and pulled her bottom lip from between her teeth. She made a humming noise, and I traced my thumb across her lip again.

God, I’d been so stupid. Touching her now, I couldn’t remember why I hadn’t spent every waking moment beating down her door asking for another chance.

My phone buzzed with a call from Eric. I explained what was going on. I lied and said I wasn’t feeling well either. I said I was going to get Bliss settled then go get some rest myself. He didn’t know exactly what to do for mono except to try to break her fever. He insisted that the hospital wasn’t necessary. Just to rest, and not to let her get too hot.

After I hung up, I heard Bliss mumble something, and then say louder, “Ow.”

I rushed to her side. One of her hands had crept out from beneath the covers, and I took it. “You’re okay, sweetheart. Everything’s going to be okay.”

She shivered, and I pressed my hand against her cheek.

She burned.

She made a noise in her throat and leaned into my hand.

“I don’t know what to do,” I said.

Emotion clogged my throat, and I just wanted to make it better. Her hand covered the back of mine, and she said, “More.”

There were so many things I’d done wrong since I’d moved back here, many of them to do with this beautiful woman, but I could never say no to her. Not even when she didn’t know what she was asking.

Okay.

Fever. I could do this.

She was wearing two sweaters over her t-shirt and jeans, so I slid those off of her as carefully as I could. I left the covers down by her waist, so that she wasn’t too covered up.

I stared at her for a minute, and then saw her shoulders and limbs begin to shake with the cold. A few tears streaked from her eyes and she whimpered. “Cold.”

She swallowed, and then pressed her head back into her pillow, grimacing.

“Please,” she said.

I didn’t know what was best. I didn’t want her to be too warm, but I couldn’t watch her shiver like that.

“I’m here, love. Hold on.”

Before I could second-guess my choice, I pulled my shirt over my head, and slid into bed next to her. I slid her toward me, and she melted into my chest. She gripped my back with weak fingers, and her cheek was blistering against my bare skin. Still, she shook, and I wrapped my arms around her to try and hold her still.

She sighed every time I pulled her closer and held her tighter, so I did just that. I whispered her name, and combed my fingers through her hair, and ran my hands over her over-heated skin.

“It’s going to be okay.”

I hoped that I sounded more confident than I felt. Finally, after nearly an hour, her shaking slowed and her breathing evened out. I pressed a kiss to her burning forehead and said, ‘I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.

She might hate me when she woke. Or worse, she might not care at all.

But every whimper out of her mouth wrung my heart out like a rag, and I knew that moving on from her wasn’t going to be easy.

More importantly, it wasn’t what I wanted.


EEEEEP!! Hope you enjoyed! It’s always fun to revisit Garrick and Bliss. Make sure you check out my extras page for lots of bonus content from all of my series!

In Awkward <3
CC

 

The One with the Life Update…

Hello dear readers and friends!

I would love to be able to tell you that I’m here with an update on my publishing schedule for the year. I’ve had a lot of emails and messages and tweets asking me about upcoming books—both Inflict and All Closed Off. I’ve cherished each message because it means you care (and that’s AMAZING), but mostly your questions have gone unanswered. For that, I am so sorry. As you might know, I had originally intended for Inflict to release this month. That was my hope, my wish, my determined intention. But I’ve been having some health issues, things I’ve put off for a while because I was too busy with this or too busy with that. And now they have unfortunately caught up with me.
My 2016 so far has been filled with doctor visit after doctor visit. I’ve kept quiet, waiting for the day when I would have a diagnosis, so that I could have a better idea of what my life will look like over the next few months and hopefully offer you a more concrete answer as to when my next books will be out. I had hoped that day would be today after I had my latest specialist appointment yesterday. But unfortunately, I still don’t have a diagnosis. Just another guess among many and a referral to a different kind of specialist.

 

So while I don’t know what’s wrong with me or what kind of treatment I will eventually need (and what toll that will take on my schedule), I do know that I cannot promise anything right now. Inflict will not be releasing this month (which you probably guessed considering it is January 20th). All I can say is that it’s still on my mind and in my heart, and I’m working on it as often as I am able. But for right now, I’m in a limbo of sorts, and my books are there with me. So in answer to all the questions I’ve gotten about release dates, the only response I can give you right now is… I don’t know. As someone who NEEDS to have a plan, I hate that answer. I hate giving it to you. But I am unfortunately running very low on answers of all kinds at the moment, so it’s all I have.
I truly adore you all. You bring joy to my life through messages and comments and reviews and posts about cats. You encourage and uplift me without ever knowing you’re doing it. But now I have to ask you for some time. Time to figure out my body and my life in addition to words on a page. When I know more—about books or my health—I promise to share. But for now, I would prefer not to hypothesize about either for my own sanity (trust me, I’ve had my fill of hypothesizing already). As of this moment, I have no plans to cancel any signings or appearances, and hopefully will not have to at all. And you’ll still see me here on social media occasionally. I’m not tucked away on my deathbed somewhere; so don’t let the vague nature of this status scare you. Thank you for reading this, for reading my books, and for hopefully understanding the delay.

*throws out cute boys and cats for all of you* *unless you’re a dude who doesn’t like cute boys, then have some spunky chicks and footballs and… stuff*

kitten huggg

Life Update UPDATE – March 22

I am afraid that I still don’t have any news for you about release dates. Nor do I have any concrete news about a diagnosis. I was pretty vague then because I had hoped that I would have answers soon and would be able to come back and give a more comprehensive answer about what is going on in my life. Clearly that is not the case, so here is what I can tell you. Primarily, the issues I’ve been experiencing are vision related, which is why they’ve affected my writing schedule so drastically. I have unexplained central vision loss and distortion in my left eye, along with double vision in both eyes, and stubborn, long-lasting headaches. The good news is after a battery of tests on my eyes, they’ve not found any sign of degenerative eye diseases. So the next step was to look to my brain. I had an MRI and MRA, both of which came back clear– also good news. So the final hypothesis from my doctor was that I had increased intracranial pressure that was putting pressure on my optic nerves causing the vision issues and headaches. To confirm that hypothesis, I had a lumbar puncture (aka spinal tap), which unfortunately (or fortunately… I don’t really know any more) came back showing a normal pressure, complicating that theory. So, I’m still in limbo. I wish that I could offer a more concrete answer with regards to release dates. At the moment, I’m just taking things a day at a time.