Today we welcome Jade C. Jamison to our blog as she celebrates her new release Bullet. You can read Denise’s 5 STAR review here.
Leave a comment after this post for a chance to win an ebook of Bullet. Winner to be chosen tomorrow!
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We are so excited to share this special scene from Jade titled Dinner with the Girls!! Enjoy!!
Clayton Smith hardly ever felt nervous. It was a kid’s emotion, he’d told himself over the years, and whenever he started feeling anxious, he’d become Jet, the guy nobody could touch. Jet never got rattled, was always cool, smooth.
But it wasn’t working right now.
It was because Jasmine, his five-year-old daughter, was walking beside him, her hand in his, and Jet wasn’t allowed around her. So, for the first time in ten years, Clay was covered in a sheen of cool sweat.
He’d made Valerie cry on Thursday, and he was still feeling bad about it, because he hadn’t been able to tell her about his entire life the way he’d wanted to. When they had been on tour, the last thing he’d thought of was his real life. He’d been consumed with her, focused on making her feel like the woman she should, appreciating and savoring her while still protecting the vulnerable part of himself as much as he could.
But when they got back to Denver and he had day-to-day business to contend with, he pondered how to tell her. Most people knew all about his life. He’d never kept it a secret, and while he hadn’t meant to keep it from Valerie, that topic of conversation had never come up. Before the tour, they’d been acquaintances at best…flirting acquaintances maybe, but they really hadn’t known much about each other. And once they hooked up, he’d been mostly focused on her…her needs, her desires, her heart. And music…yeah, they’d talked a lot about music.
Really, though, they’d had lots and lots of sex. He just couldn’t get enough of her, and they’d made love on tour…a lot. They’d played the music hard and played together harder and the fact that he was a dad and a dumbass who had never officially divorced his wife just hadn’t crossed his mind. Not once.
He and Val were planning to get together Sunday to spend some time together, the first time since returning back home, but she’d called him Thursday. Her schedule had freed up a little, and she’d given him a ring, wanting to see him earlier than planned. Ordinarily, he’d have no problem with that, but the fact that he was going to have his daughter for a couple of days ruined Val’s idea. So, with no finesse at all, he’d had to tell her the news that was his life. She’d taken it well, all things considered, and she’d said she hadn’t cried, but he knew better.
And now, he felt like he had to introduce the two most important women in his life to each other. His daughter, Jasmine, sweet little Jasmine, the only good thing to come out of his shitty marriage, and Valerie, one of the best women to ever walk into his life. He’d called Valerie an hour earlier and asked if she wanted to go out to eat and she’d agreed. He told her he had a surprise for her.
Now he questioned that move as well. Maybe he should have told her what the surprise was.
Well…either she would accept him and all his faults or not. There wasn’t anything else he could do about it. But that didn’t stop the fact that he was nervous as hell.
He and Jas reached the top of the stairs and walked to the door to Valerie’s apartment. What didn’t help was that he was dreading Val’s ex, the dirtbag Ethan, might answer the door. He’d always gotten along with the other guys in Fully Automatic, even considered Brad somebody who could have become a good friend, but Ethan…never. Ethan was bad news, and Clay wondered how the hell Valerie had ever allowed herself to become involved with him.
But it was Valerie herself who answered the door. “Hi, Clay.” She smiled and then held herself back. He’d noticed that she was going to embrace him until she saw Jas. But she took it in stride. She looked down at his daughter. “You must be Jasmine.” Jas smiled but acted shy like she usually did when around strangers. “Your daddy didn’t tell me how pretty you are.” Classy. Jas’s smile got bigger.
He wiped his palm on his jeans. “Hope you don’t mind all of us going to dinner together. I have to take her back to her mom’s after.” He hoped Valerie could read between the lines…that he wanted to spend some time alone with her after dropping his daughter off.
“No, that’s cool. You can come in for a second while I get my stuff.” God, please, don’t let that shithead be inside. Please. I gotta be a cool dad and I don’t think I can if Ethan’s nearby. The only reason Jet had never confronted him on tour had been because of Valerie, but he didn’t know how long he’d be able to go without saying something to Ethan. The apartment appeared to be empty, though. Valerie walked across the room and through the hall into her bedroom.
Jas tugged on her dad’s hand. “She’s nice, daddy.”
He smiled at his daughter, relishing the feel of her hand in his. “Yeah, she is, isn’t she?”
Shortly after, Valerie exited her room, purse in hand, and walked tentatively toward Clay and his daughter. “I’m ready.” She smiled—God, what a smile—and closed the door behind them. They walked down the hall in silence. Clay had really wanted to grab Valerie’s hand, but not knowing how Jas would react convinced him not to. Valerie didn’t try either.
They wound up making light conversation on the way to the restaurant, with Valerie asking Jas if she was going to school—yes, preschool, the little girl said—and that was all it took for the floodgates to open and Jas became her usual talkative self. Clay was glad because his nerves were still on edge. He wanted to ask Val if she was okay with his little surprise, but she seemed to be. She hadn’t given him an evil eye or refused to go.
Dinner was pleasant. He took his two favorite ladies to Outback Steakhouse, and they talked and laughed and Val even offered to take Jas to the ladies’ room when his daughter said she needed to go to the restroom.
He noticed that Val had hardly eaten anything, though.
It had been just a week ago that they had been on tour and wrapped up in that microcosm that made him forget everything else that was real. There, those two short weeks, the only reality was the music and Valerie. That had been it, and it had been pure bliss. He loved women in general, but Valerie had been something special. Everything seemed new and exciting to her. She’d smile and giggle while they’d made love, laughing until things grew too hot and serious. She’d had fun and reminded Clay how much he could just enjoy being himself.
But then they returned to real life.
He had few real regrets. His failed marriage wasn’t one of them. Yeah, it had turned out that Abby was a psycho bitch from hell, but Jas more than made up for any of that. That little girl—when he was with her—was his world. The rest of the time, Clay knew he tended to be a selfish, self-centered bastard.
Not with Valerie, though. It was weird, and he couldn’t explain it. She had the same effect on him that his daughter did.
He had the radio on while they drove to take Jas home and he laughed because Valerie was impressed when his daughter was able to sing some of the words to a Rage Against the Machine song. The three of them finished the song together, and he was pretty sure the people in the car next to them at the stoplight thought they were crazy. That’s what happened when you drove around town with the windows down.
When they got to Abby’s house in Aurora, Clay got out of the car to walk Jas to the door. It was almost dark. He asked Val if she’d mind waiting in the car. She said she didn’t.
Fucking Abby, though. She just had to start bitching at him the second she opened the door. “Clay, you irresponsible motherfucker. You were supposed to have her home ten minutes ago.”
Clay hoped Val couldn’t hear any of it, but she probably could. He kept his voice level, refusing to escalate the conversation. “Dinner took a little longer than expected.” No way was he going to tell Abby he’d gone out of the way to pick up his new girlfriend before dinner, and that had tacked on a lot of time.
“Don’t matter, Clay. Tell it to the judge. I’m sure she won’t like hearin’ you’re still as irresponsible as ever.”
He blinked twice. “Damn it, Abby. Jas is healthy and happy and in one piece. It was just ten minutes. If you were that worried, you could’ve called my cell.”
Jas had been quiet but then said, “I love you, daddy.”
He squatted and kissed his precious daughter on the forehead, blocking out the rest of Abby’s rant. “Love you too, sweetie.” And if his lifestyle wouldn’t have interfered, he would’ve considered fighting for custody. He’d thought about it off and on over the last few years, always deciding against it. Abby wasn’t a bad mom…just a bad ex-wife.
Robert, Abby’s boyfriend, joined them at the door. “She’s here, woman. Leave the man alone.”
Clay nodded his head at him. Maybe Robert wasn’t such a bad guy after all. He stood. “Call you next week with my schedule?”
Abby let out a grunt but Robert nodded. Jas waved. “Bye, daddy.”
“Bye, sweetheart.” He walked back to his car, trying to ignore Abby’s chiding under her breath. When he got to the car, he got in and just turned the ignition after a few seconds. He put the car into drive and, after a block, he said, “Sorry you had to hear that shit.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
After a few more blocks, he pulled the car over beside a park. Val had been cool, but he couldn’t get a read on her…probably because they were both out of their element, hadn’t really been together since the tour. He took a deep breath and looked over at her. “The more I’ve thought about it, the more I think that was a stupid move on my part.”
“Surprising you with my daughter. I just…thought the two most important women in my life should meet each other.” He watched her face, feeling apprehensive. Shit…where the fuck was Jet? He was all Clay and that was not good. It meant his heart was right there in his hands. But try as he might, he couldn’t get him back. Not cool. He was way too vulnerable, and Valerie could just crush him if she wanted to.
She took one of Clay’s hands in her two smaller ones. “No, that’s okay. I get it. It’s fine.” She got quiet for a minute and, while he was feeling a little relief, he was still on edge and unable to find any words. She looked up from his hand and into his eyes. “Clay, we can’t really regret who we are or what we did before we met, right? And I get it—your daughter’s a huge part of your life…and she should be. I’d question you if it were any other way. So…it’s fine, okay? I…I think it’s cool that you wanted us to meet each other.”
Had he heard that right? He blinked. Valerie continued to be a woman who never stopped amazing him. He smiled then and looked in her eyes, and that’s when he felt Jet return. He stroked her cheek and kissed her. Then he tugged at the hem of her blouse and said, “Now about this shirt…”
She giggled. “How about we go to your place…and then worry about the shirt?”
Jet smirked. He thought he could do that.
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