I had quite the successful blog tour last week for On Demon Wings. In case you missed it, I’ve compiled some of the blog posts that I wrote for the various participating blogs.
Let’s start first with Rebecca’s letter to Perry (written after Lying Season) – as seen on Good Choice Reading
I know this email probably won’t reach you. Me, Dex, Emily, Jimmy – we’ve all tried to get in touch with you the last few weeks but to no avail. I figured you’ve blocked us as spam or perhaps closed your email account all together, but I wanted to try, one last time.
I’m not writing this on behalf of anybody. No one knows I’m doing this or saying this to you. Everyone has just sort of given up and moved on (well, not everyone). But I just had to write you and tell you a few things. These might hurt to read, if you ever do read them, but it’s just the truth.
I really like you, Perry. A lot. Dex has told me that you don’t have too many female friends, that you’re always worried about being rejected or let go, like people don’t have your back. I was like that once too, so I understand. In fact, before I met Emily, I was a little too aloof. This English charm of mine? I certainly used it to my advantage on more than one occasion. To be alone was to be safe. To not let anyone into my heart was to be smart. I was cool as Pimms cup cucumber.
Then I met Emily and it all went out the window. Never mind the fact that she would eventually become my lover, then my girlfriend. At first she was a friend and that was the first step. Even letting her in on that level was scary, but I’m oh so glad I did because the risk was worth it.
I think I could use a friend like you Perry and you could use a friend like me. I could be that friend to you. Of course we won’t transition into lovers (I like blondes, and, you’re not a lesbian), but I think we could learn to trust each other and have some fun.
My first course of duty as your friend would be to write you as I am writing you now. And tell you about what you left behind.
I know you’re hurt by what Dex did. I would be devastated. But I know how you feel, Perry. I know how you feel about him. I know you love him. But he doesn’t. He’s just a man who got in way too deep and scared himself half to death. He hurt you badly and he hurt himself too. In all the years I’ve known Dex, he’s never been as happy as he is with you. That’s all I saw during that week you were in Seattle. I know you were too paranoid about Jenn, but I saw it. His eyes light up when he’s with you, when he talks about you. I could go on, but what’s the point. I don’t think any of this would make you feel any less hurt or humiliated. People make mistakes. I’m sure you’ve made a few. I know I have. And Dex, all he seems to do is make mistakes. Sometimes by accident and most of the time on purpose. Most of the time to punish himself, because of the demons in his past. He never meant to hurt you – and I think he thought he couldn’t hurt you. You seemed too eager to keep your emotions at bay and he in turn did the same.
You’re both just supremely fucked up. Sorry! But again, it’s the truth and that’s what friends tell each other. The two of you together have so much potential – for greatness and for disaster. But it’s up to you, together, to decide what that’s going to be. You can trust someone first and then let them in. Or you can let them in and trust them later. But you’ll never be honest until you can do both of those things. And I really, truly hope you can. Because you both deserve to be happy, and, ideally, with each other.
Your friend Rebecca Sims
Then there is the popular bar scene from Red Fox, written from Dex’s POV – as seen on What the Cat Read
Red Fox — Dex
“Sexually frustrated?” Perry asked, her voice struggling to be heard in the noisy bar.
I turned my head away from my beer bottle and looked at her in surprise. The girl must have been psychic, though I could see from the way her round eyes were slanting at the corners that she might just be drunk.
I had to smile. “Yes.”
There was really no use in denying it. Even with all the bullshit going around and the feeling that my brain was splitting in two, it was having to sleep next to her every night – and just sleep – that was fucking me up the most. I looked down at the beer bottle label that was sticking to my fingers in moist chunks. Christ, I couldn’t be more obvious.
She didn’t appear put off. She rarely did. It was one of her annoying super powers.
“Because your girlfriend isn’t here?”
“Sure.” That was part of it. But even if Jenn were here, God help us all, it still wouldn’t have gotten rid of the constant boner adjustments.
I took a long gulp of my beer, hoping that she would get the hint and not pry any further. Perry didn’t seem to have control over her lips half the time and not in a good way and it was only a matter of time before I said something really stupid. I didn’t trust myself without the meds.
I glanced up at Maximus and Bird talking across the table from us. I hated Max again. I didn’t know if it was being off the meds or whatthefuckever but his rockabilly bullshit act was wearing thin. I didn’t like how he acted like he knew everything and I didn’t like the way he was trying to win Perry over. He would deny it, but I knew exactly what the fucker was trying to do to me. And Perry was too innocent, her self-esteem too ravaged to pick up on it.
To cement my point, Dire Straits came on and after Perry proclaimed her sudden (and surprising) love for the band, the douchefucker stood up and asked her to dance like he was a Cajun Rhett Butler.
She agreed, taking his hand with a look that was pretty close to glee, and he led her to the packed dance floor. I looked back at the beer just in case she wanted me to notice what was going on, notice them together. My fingers started picking at the label again. I wouldn’t give them that satisfaction.
“You care about her a great deal,” Bird said in his ‘I’m an old man’ voice.
I shot him a look and resumed concentration on the beer, taking respite in the monotonous movements. I didn’t say anything. There wasn’t anything to say. It was the truth, that’s all it was.
“It’s OK, Dex,” he continued. “I would too. But you have to respect each other. You have to move slowly. You are both too much the same.”
“What does that mean?” I snapped at him. I felt bad, once again I wasn’t in control of my emotions, but Bird’s face was impassive and gave nothing away.
“You know what it means,” he said and he left it at that. I did know what he meant. That’s what made the whole situation harder.
We sat in silence for a bit, then he excused himself to go to the bar, promising to bring me a beer. I wanted to stick my fucking head in a pitcher but I needed to take it easy. Drinking never really helped me in the way I thought it did. And those thoughts always came when I was three sheets to the wind.
I managed to avoid looking in Max’s and Perry’s direction but that all went fuckaloo when U2 came on and Perry wasn’t back at her seat with fingers in her ears.
Instead she was still on the dance floor. Slow dancing. With ginger fucking Elvis. They were dancing close, way too close. Her breasts were crammed up into his chest, he was holding her like he was about to turn her over his knee and spank her six ways from Sunday.
And she was letting him. She looked like she was enjoying the body pressure as much as he was. I could only imagine the way his chubby must have been grinding against her. Not that I wanted to imagine that. I shuddered, feeling the curious mix of disgust and envy carry through me. Feelings, fuck, I wasn’t used to this.
I was still making a disgusted face when Bird came back but to his credit he just handed me my beer and didn’t say anything. It was taking all my willpower to peel my eyes away from the couple and concentrate on something else.
This came in the form of Cheri and Amanda, two MILF’s who had been eyeing me since I sat down. I’m sure they probably went after any guy under 35 who didn’t clean his ears out with his car keys, but I decided to be flattered. I grinned at them and as expected they teetered over to me on tacky plastic heels, smiles broad, breaths rank.
I didn’t really hear a word they were saying, I was just trying to look handsome and not breathe in through my nose. One of them, Cheri, maybe, took a liking to Bird which he didn’t seem to mind. Bird didn’t strike me as someone who had a wife waiting for him at home, though he could have certainly done better than some old lush with wrinkled cleavage and brown-speckled teeth. I felt like throwing up in my mouth but I played up my virility and asked Amanda, maybe, if she’d help choose songs from the jukebox with me.
We walked to the box through the sticky crowd and I kept Perry and Max in my peripheral vision. On the outside it looked like I was having fun, on the inside I was paranoid as fuck. I kept fearing that he’d grab her and take her away somewhere dark and private. The thought of him touching her, kissing her, bothered me to no end but Amanda was watching me and looking confused at my expression. I smiled at her again, all good vibes and good sex, and let her select some shitty songs first before I requested mine.
We had just gotten back to the table (where Bird was trying to give Cheri a very polite GTFO) when Max and Perry finally removed themselves from the floor. I wanted to make some cutting remark to him and cut him down a peg but there was a weird aura of tension just steaming off. Something had gone down between them and even though it soothed the spite in me, I was a bit concerned for Perry.
Apparently, so was Amanda. The minute she saw Perry’s sweet, worried face she grabbed my arm, sinking her Pepto Bismol –colored talons into my skin.
“You’re dancing with me, sugar,” she commanded. She was surprisingly strong for her size and her sun-raped arms had no problem dragging me to my feet.
“Like I have a choice,” I said, trying not to laugh. This was one hungry cougar.
I gave Perry a quick wink as we went past and decided to give Amanda what she’d been waiting for: Someone young. Someone fun. I grabbed a cowboy hat off of some random Joe Blow and gave “Crocodile Rock” my best moves.
It had been a while since I was able to use some of my theatre school skills, other than fucking Michelle in the orchestra pit and taking hits between monologues. I knew it didn’t matter if I screwed up or looked like a retard because that wasn’t the point, but I was surprised how easily it came back to me. Again, all I could think about was how deep I felt the music, how deep I was feeling…everything. Though I was swinging Amanda around, my mind dwelled on what my medication was hiding half the time. Besides the very obvious.
“You’re good,” Amanda said to me, holding me close to her, trying to take back the control. People were clapping and watching us with amusement and she was basking in the glow.
“It comes naturally. But so does being bad,” I said with a smirk.
“I can see that. Your wife must be pretty pissed.”
Wife? Oh right. Fuckity fuck. I didn’t need to eye the ring on my finger to remember the whole charade. Not that the town of Red Fox gave two shits whether I was really married to Perry or pretend married, but it didn’t hurt to keep up appearances.
“She’s pretty understanding,” I said.
Amanda nodded. I noticed her earrings were clip-ons and dangerously close to slipping off. This was one sweaty, stanky ass bar.
“You’re the understanding one. Most men here would be all macho about it if their wife was dancing with another man. But I could see he wasn’t a threat at all.”
Oh really? I wanted to pry her for her cougarly wisdom but I bit my lip instead. We danced some more and then we were interrupted by another woman. She said her name was Mary Sue (naturally) and she was years younger (possibly even underage) with desperate eyes that screamed at me, like dancing with Dex Foray was the most excitement she’d ever get. That made me really fucking sad. How pathetic this town must be to find a fuckup like me as their savior.
I danced with Mary Sue, going through the motions, thinking about the fake wedding band on my ring finger. When the song ended again and I could see more women approaching me (look, I get that I can look pretty hot, but no one should attract this many rednecks), I decided I had enough. I knew what song was next and I knew who I was dancing with. My wife.
I walked toward her, ignoring the women and focused on her face until her big blue eyes met mine. She looked so small and dainty sitting there among Max and Bird, drinking and trying to have fun even though a world of danger whirled around her. I could see the strain on her face, I knew she was always hyper-aware of what lurked in the dark. I knew because Bird was right. We were too much the same.
I stopped in front of her and tipped my hat in the most awkward imitation of a cowboy.
“It’s our song,” I said to her over the piano notes of Billy Joel’s “She’s Always a Woman.” I held out my hand, hoping she’d take it.
Her eyes lit up and she took my hand. I quickly grasped it, cool and white between my fingers. I led her to the floor and put my arm around her, bringing her in hard and fast to my side. She was mine. For the sake of appearances, she was my wife, but she was mine anyway. She didn’t know it yet, but I did. It was wrong and it made no sense, but she belonged with me. No one else, not anyone else.
It was a shame that I was the one who belonged to someone else. I wondered if I’d ever have the strength to correct that or if I’d punish myself forever.
We started dancing slowly, side to side, and I put one hand behind her back, where it was hot and small, temptingly close to her ass. The other held her hand. I kept her as close to me as possible, but I didn’t want to impose like Maximus did. Besides, the last thing Perry needed was to feel my hard-on on her hip, even though it was fucking tempting to let her know what she was doing to me. I entertained the idea that she might even like it. It was a high school dance all over again.
I had to know. I stared into her eyes, lost in the storm, and started singing along with Joel. Softly, and at a distance to start, then I leaned into her ear where it smelled like sunshine and baby powder. I closed my eyes and sang, feeling my breath bound off of her ear in hot clouds. It was taking all of my willpower to not take this further, to not wrap my lips around it and lick the lobe to see what it would taste like. See if I could make those eyes roll back and make her forget everything that had happened to her. I didn’t want to be Red Fox’s savior, but I wanted to be hers.
NOTE: I was surprised at how fun and easy it was to get inside Dex’s head – and boy, do you guys love it! It looks like I’ll be releasing a compilation of scenes from all the books from his POV, most likely in August or September. And yes, the strip club scene from Dead Sky Morning will be in it (you perverts!)
Here are some more posts too:
– A blog from Ada Palomino