I’m IN LOVE with Deo and Opie. Their story grabbed me before I even wrote Ten Thousand Lies!
It wasn’t an easy one to write. I’ve never written such a dark tale before, and I won’t lie – there’s some fucked up shit that goes down.
But as dark as Opie and Deo’s story is, it’s just as bright and filled with love. There is a balance.
Ten Thousand Truths
(Unedited excerpt. May contain spelling errors/grammatical mistakes)
“What is it that you actually do?” I asked her as she unlocked and pushed open the door to her shop.
“I make stuff.”
I rolled my eyes. “Yeah, but what made you get into this?”
“I’ve a doctorate in botany.”
That’s quite impressive.
Moving through the shop, she flicked on light switches and unlocked the door to the back room. I followed close behind. Inside the back room was like being thrown into an apothecary in the Middle Ages. Old wooden shelves lined with jars and pots, bunches of drying herbs and flowers suspended from the ceiling. A massive butcher’s block squatted in the center of the room with a stone bowl off to the side of it. A worker’s bench ran along three of the four walls. Tools of her trade were neatly placed all over in some type of organized chaos.
She snorted. “Really?”
“This place is cool! And it smells off the fucking chain, woman. No wonder you love your job.”
She smiled. “It does smell nice.”
“The first time I came in into your shop, I’d just wanted to park me arse and breathe.”
“What made you decide to use us for your product line?” she asked as she pulled an apron over her head.
My God, she was all sorts of sexy, and she wasn’t even trying to be. She tugged her sleeves halfway up her forearms, and I noticed that she had very graceful hands.
“Beast said you guys took special orders. He came in and picked up something for someone a while back. He knew I was looking into creating a line and suggested I check you out.”
I spotted a spare stool sitting in a corner next to a sink, pulled it out, and had a seat. Opie took down a few dried items from a ceiling rack and started plucking them apart and tossing them into the stone bowl.
“What are you making?” I asked.
“It’s just dried peppermint to go into some holiday candles. It makes them pretty.”
She smirked, not taking her eyes from her task. “I promise you, it’s not as exciting as it seems, Deo. I enjoy my work, but Hayley gets bored to tears watching me.”
“I’m not bored.”
“So why didn’t you tell me who you were when we had coffee?”
She shrugged. “I don’t usually get involved with the client side of the business, and Odessa is how our clients know me. I guess I wasn’t really thinking of you as such.”
Made sense, I supposed. “If you weren’t thinking of me as a client, does that mean you like me?”
Pink stained her cheeks, and she glanced up at me. “Like, as in…?”
“As in you think about dating me.”
She looked back down at her hands. “Yes.”
“I think about dating you, Opie.”
“Then tell me why you ditched me a week and a half ago.”
“I needed to get a few things straight in my head. It was something I should have done before making plans with you. I was ready to go out and meet you, and then I got nervous. Hayley told me to stay away from you if I wasn’t over Xanthe, and I’d panicked and wondered if maybe I wasn’t.”
She looked at me from across the room. Opie’s face showed sadness, hurt, and a strange sense of resignation.
“I called her and told her how I was feeling. How I needed to know what it was about me that was never enough for her.”
“And what did she tell you?”
“That there was nothing at all wrong with me. I guess I just needed that pointed out. It was then that I felt at peace with the whole situation. I knew I wanted to know you because I find you…absolutely irresistible. Not because I’m trying to use you to feel better about myself.”
She didn’t say anything.
“When I saw you at the pub, I was gob-smacked. And when you looked up at me in the bakery and I saw the color of your eyes…Damn, Opie. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so beautiful as you.”
That got her to smile for me.
“I couldn’t let you go a second time. No fucking way. I’d have thrown you down and sat on you to make you talk to me at that point.”
Opie snorted a laugh, and I felt the sound to my soul.
“So I know without a doubt that I want to know you, and date you, and see where this goes.”
Her smile was soft, yet radiant. Her cheeks bloomed with a slight pink that I was dying to kiss into a flushed rose.
“What about you?” I asked. “Why do you want to get to know me?”
“It’s something I’m appalled to admit,” she said quietly.
“I’ve had a crush on you since the night I hit you with a broom.”
“Are you serious?”
She nodded and started plucking apart the peppermint again. “I thought you were the most handsome man I’d ever seen, and I was disgusted with myself for having such feelings for my friend’s bloke. Xanthe would show me pictures of you and tell me stories about you. I guess that kept the crush alive. I never entertained the thought that it would ever be possible to date you, but I did fantasize.”
“Shut the fuck up.”
She took that literally, flushing crimson. Her hands shook as she kept shredding the sprigs in her hands.
“I thought you wanted me to shut the fuck up.”
I stood up and made my way toward her slowly, giving her time to tell me to back off. When I stood only a mere foot from her, I reached out, took the peppermint from her hands and tossed it aside.
“Look at me.”
The full blast of her eyes sent the most pleasant ache through me. Suddenly, the memory of them flashing at me through a scarf and beanie, swollen and bright with fever, blossomed in my mind.
“I remember you…” I whispered.
Then I took her face in my hands and leaned down to finally kiss her as I’d been dreaming of for weeks. She tasted warm and silky as I dipped my tongue into her mouth. Ginger. Honey. Clean and spicy. She smelled the same as she tasted, like she was infused with the most tantalizing ingredients the world could possibly offer.
Opie stepped closer, leaning into me, and my hands slipped from her face so that I could wrap her up with me. She felt…perfect. So fucking soft, but in no way fragile. I could feel her heart race beneath her breasts, pressed to my chest. My own heart galloped right along with hers, especially since she deepened the kiss, sucking on my tongue, teasing it with her own. Every nerve ending within me wanted to lift her up, toss her onto the butcher block, rip off her pants, and bury myself in her.
She nipped my bottom lip with her teeth and my knees damn near buckled. My hands went to her arse, pulling her into my throbbing groin, squeezing hard at the firm globes. Her arms snaked around my neck, pressing all of her into me. Her pelvis arched into my cock, and I ground back against her.
From the front of the shop came the jingle of bells as a fucking, goddamn customer walked in.
“Hello?” called out some bitch who should have her fucking arse tossed out for interrupting the most amazing fucking kiss the universe had ever fucking witnessed.
Opie jumped back, flushed, panting, her eyes wildly bright.
She is the most beautiful fucking thing ever created.
“Be right with you!” she called out.
She ran her hands down her apron a few times, looking as though she had no clue what to do. I just stood there staring at her, short of breath, and dying to do that all over again. Opie recovered first, and headed out to the storefront.
I never recovered. Not truly. I ached in a way that was so awesome, so powerful, I knew there was no going back. It hurt so damn good.
A few minutes later, the bells jingled again, and not long after that, Opie returned. I was seated once more. I didn’t trust myself to stand up without offending her sensibilities.
She sighed. “I’m not very good with the customers.”
I smiled, willing my hard on to deflate. “That’s why I’m here, honey. I’ll deal with them so you can do what you gotta do.”
She smiled in return. “All right. Just as long as you don’t scare the shite out of them.”
“Pfft. I’m bloody charming.”
“You don’t need to tell me.”
Ten Thousand Truths releases October 18th, 2016. It is a standalone, but all the Ten Thousand stories are interconnected. Start off with Ten Thousand Words, followed by Ten Thousand Lies, and Opie and Deo’s story will make a whole lot more sense.
Thanks and MUCH LOVE!