KennedyOuting_ForBlog

Kennedy and Theo

This is the scene where Kennedy outs her brother, Theo. This piece got written (for me) then put in, then taken out, then put back in (edited shorter) then removed, and well, then just left it to fragmented memories here and there, but you get the gist. I warred with this one a lot. I ultimately decided to leave it out, because I felt that this was better left for another story (wink, wink).

And that’s all I’m saying about that, because, spoilers.

I even debated NOT sharing this scene because I don’t want to ruin it for the next story, but after I mulled it over the past few weeks, I decided to give this to my readers. I think it gives a lot of insight into Kennedy’s headspace that night, why she did what she did, and how her sanity just frayed.

Fair warning, this one is…heavy.


I looked over to Ibrahim as he pulled around the large fountain in the cobblestone, circular driveway to my childhood home in Weybridge. 

“This is where you grew up?” Ibrahim blinked several times looking at the sprawling estate.

“Unfortunately, yes.” I frowned looking at the opulent, French chateau home that had been in my father’s family for decades, now completely renovated and decorated by Elizabeth. She’d made sure of that as soon as she moved in, removing every memory of my mother, every piece of furniture she sat on. I may have only been ten years old when they married, but thankfully I had the wits to stash away the few personal keepsakes of Mum’s before they disappeared forever. “Trust me, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.” 

“I should have worn a suit.” He grimaced as he turned off the engine, looking at the other guests filing in the door. 

To me, he looked amazing, wearing a tight-fitting, burgundy mock-turtleneck. His snug, black trousers hugged his muscular legs. His dreads were pulled back into a ponytail, showing off his two gold hoop earrings that I thought were sexy as sin.

He was a beautiful man. The perfect mix of elegance and edge, brains and brawn. Just my taste. 

“Ibrahim, you look dashing.” He could have worn the finest linens imported from Paris, and it still wouldn’t be good enough for Elizabeth. Hopefully, with Theo brining his new boyfriend, Emerson, for once, my stepmother wouldn’t be focused on me. It was the only reason I agreed to come, to support Theo as he came out.  

Mummy was going to have a fit. Part of me was nervous, for Theo. Part of me was proud for him being so brave, and yes, a big part of me was ready to sit back with a drink in hand and watch the drama unfold. 

I dug into my purse, pulling out two small bottles of vodka. “Here,” I passed one to Ibrahim. “A little pregame to thaw the frost.”

“You’re mad, Kennedy.” He laughed and we toasted quickly, both downing our shots. He breathed heavy as the liquor burned our chest. “But I like how you think, you little rebel.” 

“And I like you,” I leaned across the car, planting a kiss on his full lips. He was the first man in a long time that I’d fancied enough to bring to such an event, and I was hoping he’d stick around. Although I did fear I how this evening would weigh on him. Ibrahim was a poetic peacemaker at heart, about to walk into a room full of vultures. 

“Well, let’s crack on,” I said, grabbing the handle. 

Hand in hand we walked up the marble steps and through the front door. Ibrahim’s jaw dropped open as we entered the large foyer, slathered in holly, garland and sparkling ornaments. One of the many Christmas trees stood floor-to-ceiling, probably twenty feet tall. 

“Magnificent…” he whispered.

“Would you like me to check your coat, sir?” One of the staff greeted us. 

“Yes…” He swallowed the lump in his throat as he shedded his coat. “Thank you.” 

I grabbed his hand and walked him into the reception hall, which was just as ornately decorated. Dozens of flocked trees lined the perimeter with glittering white lights, large red ornaments, and golden bows. Fairly lights hung from every inch of the ceiling, as soft Christmas jazz played in the background. Everything was perfectly coordinated and absolutely spectacular. 

A butler passed by with a tray full of champagne and I quickly grabbed us each one as Theo came flittering over. “Hello, sister,” he said, snagging his own flute. “Long time no see.” He winked and gave me a kiss on the cheek. I’d been living in his flat nearly a year and we still kept up this charade, coming separate to any gathering. If Elizabeth knew I was living with him, she’d have a fit, considering I was technically cut off, financially. 

Pinky finger lifted he took a long sip. “You must be Ibrahim.” He extended his hand. “Nice to meet you, mate.” 

“Pleasure to meet you as well,” my handsome date replied. 

I glanced around the room for his partner, Emerson, who was nowhere to be seen. I’d seen photos of the bloke, much older than Theo, but that made sense for my brother.

“Ibrahim, would you mind grabbing me a plate?” I motioned to the buffet. “I’m famished.” 

“Of course.” He nodded. 

“Oh this will be fun,” Theo whispered in my ear. I turned to my brother, the gold in the center of his bright, green eyes swirled with mischief as he eyed Ibrahim’s arse. “He is delicious. Well done, sister.” His head tossed back in maniacal laughter. 

“Where is Emerson?” I hissed. 

Theo shrugged sipping his champagne. “Couldn’t make it.” Obviously, a lie. 

You chicken-shit little prick. 

“You look lovely tonight, sister,” he said, toying with my hair.

I swatted at his hand and growled. “Theo, we had a deal! It was the only reason I came. Elizabeth wouldn’t dare make a scene in front of her guests. She’ll have no choice but to put on a brave face. You finished uni last spring! You have a doctorate in music theory for fuck’s sake. It’s time to grow up and get a job!”

We stood there, arguing, nasty words being slung between the two of us until I saw Elizabeth weave her way over to Ibrahim.

Fucking hell. This was going to be a disaster. 

I quickly downed my entire glass in one gulp and exchanged it for a second then elbowed my way through the crowd, hoping to save my date. 

“And you are…” Elizabeth had already started in on him.

“Ibrahim Abioye.” He offered his hand. “I’m here with…” 

“Me,” I said, snaking my arm around him. “This is my date, Ibrahim.” I shot Elizabeth a pointed glare that hopefully conveyed shut-your-bloody-trap.

Her brown eyes blinked several times and she plastered on a smile singed with acid. “Of course he is.” She lifted her chin. “Welcome.” Oh she was dying inside. Just as I suspected. 

“Thank you for the hospitality.” He nodded with a slight bow. “You have a lovely home Ms. Murphy.”

“Lady, Elizabeth Murphy,” she corrected. 

“My mistake.” He placed a hand across his chest.

I rolled my eyes. The hag only got that ridiculous title thanks to my dead father being a landowner. She used me to get to his money, then cut me off. 

“And what is it you do, for a living, Ibrahim?” 

“I teach history and government at the same secondary school as Kennedy.” 

“Finally have a steady job now, do we? Still an aide, are you?” Elizabeth looked to me, cocking her head to the side. 

“No. I finished uni.” No thanks to you. “I’m teaching orchestra full time now.” I squared my shoulders. And I’m a much better instructor than you ever were. 

“Hmmph. Interesting.” Oh Elizabeth was seething inside at my minor success. “Well, enjoy your evening.” With a quick patronizing pat on his shoulder, she continued to work the room.

The evening wore on and several “guests” came over to talk with Ibrahim and I. I suspected Elizabeth kept sending them our way to discuss history and politics, to try and throw him off balance. 

Ibrahim held his own very well, and stuck to his beliefs, but my entire life I’d listened to politics, and frankly, I was over it. So much arguing and nothing was ever accomplished. It all made my head spin. Finally, I couldn’t listen anymore. I turned and went to the bar to grab another drink. “Vodka, neat.” I strummed my fingers on the counter and tried not to dive too eagerly when the glass was placed in front of me. 

“Had quite a few tonight, haven’t you?” Ibrahim appeared behind me as I sipped my drink. 

“Can you blame me?” I motioned to the room. 

He snorted and bobbed his head. “I think I’m going to call it an evening, Kennedy.” 

“That sounds like a good plan.” Now that I knew Theo didn’t need me, I was more than ready to leave. I quickly swallowed several gulps. “I’ll go fetch our coats.” 

“No. I’m going to call it a night.” He rubbed my shoulder. “I’ll pay for your cab.” He dug into his wallet. 

I shook my head. “No, it’s fine, I can get a ride with Theo back to the city.” I swallowed hard. “Call you tomorrow?” 

He frowned. “I think we both know this isn’t going to work out. I can’t put on fake pleasantries and hold my tongue. It will only cause problems in the future, and I’m not a man who cares for drama. Long-term, our families would never mesh.” 

“Elizabeth is barely family,” I mumbled into my drink. 

I should have never brought him. Elizabeth’s political status scared off the decent blokes, and the ones who didn’t care to impress were not that impressive to begin with. 

“Add to it your drinking. Your stepmother said—” 

“She said what?” I cut him off. 

“Nothing I didn’t already suspect. It just seems like every time we’re together, a drink is in your hand.” 

I nodded, staring into my glass. “Understood.” 

He kissed me on the cheek. “I’ll see you at work Monday, Kennedy.” 

Oh yes, working together after a breakup would be loads of fun. 

And with that, he was gone.

I finished my drink and ordered another. I was already beyond pissed, may as well go for blackout, just to forget. 

I stood in the shadows, watching as my stepmother called everyone to attention. Theo waltzed up and took the seat at the grand piano. “I’m so very proud to announce that my son, Theodore, has just finished university…” she droned on with his entire CV of accomplishments for quite some time “…and now, he is going to grace us with a performance.”

Rounds of applause came from the room and my brother beamed, with a slight nod and half-bow. 

With a deep breath he placed his hands on the keys and began to play “Carol of the Bells.” 

I loved him and hated him in that moment. The way that he so effortlessly was in his element. His ability to focus,  like he’d forgotten the entire audience was watching him. He was fucking brilliant. 

As the song played I looked above the mantle to our family portrait. It used to be me, Mum and Dad, which Elizabeth immediately replaced with an image of Dad, herself, myself at ten, and a young, smiling, adorable little Theo front and center.

It was as if my mom never wandered these halls. Erased from existence.

I tried not to think too much about what my life would be like had she lived, because it would send me spiraling. Unfortunately with the drinks coursing through my system and the high emotion of the evening, it was all transporting me to my dark pit of despair. 

I closed my eyes and imagined a very different Christmas Eve. Mum never was one for fancy soirees. Christmas to her, was about the family. She’d of given the staff a few days off and cooked for us herself. Dad of course would still be alive, reading me The Night Before Christmas by the fire. He only started drinking heavily to numb the pain of her illness, and then her loss. 

Ding-dong, ding-dong. My brother’s deft fingers played the melody flawlessly.

But then there was Theo. If mom hadn’t died, then I wouldn’t have him. Maybe I’d still have a little brother, or sister, or both. If she wouldn’t have gotten ill, surely, they would have had more children.

Ding-dong, ding-dong. He was mixing up the composition, adding in a bit of the Harry Potter theme. It was…perfection. 

Yes Theo, we all know you’re brilliant. 

Swaying to the music, I swallowed more of my drink as the room spun around me.

“Maybe it’s time to stop the drinks, Kennedy.” Elizabeth stopped me from spinning and pulled me to the side.

“You’re not my mother.” I chuckled, taking a long gulp. 

“Like father, like daughter.” She scoffed. “It’s ruined you, just like it ruined him.” 

I growled under my breath. Speaking of fathers and being ruined…that is when I noticed Father Wilson was in attendance. The bastard. He always fancied Theo far too much. I had a hunch he got my brother all twisted in the head, making Theo forget the fact he’d liked boys far before Father Wilson did well, whatever it was I suspected he did to my little brother. 

She sighed. “Where did your friend Abraham go?”

“Ibrahim,” I corrected. I took another gulp. “He’s gone.” You made sure of that. 

“Can you fault him? You’re a mess, Kennedy.” She pulled the cup from my hand. “If you could just put down the drinks and get your life right, you’d find someone of good status.” She passed my empty cup to a waiter passing by. “Look at your brother.” She beamed at her little boy. “Theo has always made the right choices. Worked hard in school. Went to uni, stayed focused on his studies and far away from women until the time was right. Now he’s found Emerson,” she said right as my brother finished up. “I only hope she’s good enough for him.” 

I laughed like a woman possessed. So loud, in fact, that people turned and stared. 

“Kennedy!” Elizabeth hissed. 

I clutched my belly, unable to contain my giggles as the room spun around me. “You’re fucking delusional.” 

She blinked, utterly confused.

“Emerson. Is. A. Bloke.” 

Elizabeth’s jaw flopped open and she shook her head. 

“Look at him!” I pointed to my brother as he stood from the piano wearing his prissy little, red and black, paisley, sport coat, that no straight man could ever pull off. “Theo. Is. Gay.” 

Theo’s green eyes widened as he paled. “Kennedy…no…” Tears rolled down his cheeks. “Please stop…” he begged.

But no, my drunken mouth wouldn’t close. “You’ve always been blind to it.” My last thread, frayed. I was delirious with rage, laughing like a madwoman so much, I could barely catch air. “You sent him to an all boys Catholic school! Do you have any idea what really happened there? Tell her, Theo!” Tears rolled down my cheeks as gasps came from the crowd. “Your perfect little angel told me every sordid detail! Every fondle under the desk. Every fellato in the coat closet!” I screamed from the bottom of my lungs. “You didn’t protect him from girls! You let him loose in the candy store!” 

Elizabeth snapped her fingers. “Get her out of here!” She hissed at her staff, her minions. 

“Now, he just wants to be himself, happy with another bloke, and he’s too fucking twisted in his head due to his mommy issues to even accept himself for the beautiful gay man he is!” Two arms grabbed me, dragging me out of the room kicking and screaming like a toddler having a tantrum. “So frightened he’ll disappoint you! Terrified he’ll be like me, cast out, discarded, with nowhere to turn, no safety net, not a soul in the world who cares.” 

Photo of bonfire n the woods with text 'Silas and Erin deleted backstory"

Silas and Erin

As I said in my previous post, I’ve got a TON of deleted backstory from Take Me Down. I’m sure many readers may question WHY Silas was with Erin for so long. (I did try and give her some redemption by the end of the book, showing her regrets, and that she’s just as wounded from the fame as he is). In the novel, I explained BRIEFLY at dinner with Silas and his brother WHY he was so smitten with Erin.

Erin and Silas went to high school together, and she rejected him. So, when they reconnected as adults, he let his ego get the best of him. It all boiled down to his rejection. (Rejection does not sit well with Silas.) Also, there was something about Erin that reminded him of home, and part of him was holding onto that nostalgia. And as you know, Silas loves hard, fears change, and doesn’t back down from something until the universe forces his hand.

But this was not Silas and Erin’s story, this was Silas and Kennedy’s story. A couple readers have suggested an Erin book, and I’ve toyed with it in my mind. I love the idea of telling her story and seeing things from her perspective. From Erin’s side, Silas would be the bad-guy. Someone that was just with her because she was famous and pretty. He stuck it out because he was lonely, and scared to be alone. He didn’t truly love her, he tolerated her for the sex. He hid secrets from her as well.

But, I could be asking for trouble there….but then again, trouble is my middle name.

But I digress. Anyhow. Onto the deleted scene. Here is Silas, as a teen, when he totally blew it with Erin the first time.


I stood at the keg talking to Erin Barclay. 

Me. Having a conversation with a cheerleader. 

It was a fucking dream come true. 

As she bent over and refilled her red Solo cup, I couldn’t take my eyes off the epic set of tits popping out of her tiny, white tank top. My gaze traveled down to her long legs extending from her barely-there cutoffs. Capping it off at the bottom were a pair of sexy as sin cowboy boots. I swallowed the lump in my throat, imaging her–heels to the heavens–and those boots wrapped around my virgin neck. 

Thank God for country girls. 

She cleared her throat, and my eyes snapped back to her face.

“You performed really well tonight,” she said. We’d just finished our fourth, and final, performance of the school musical, Little Shop of Horrors, where I played Seymour. “You were really funny.” 

“Thanks.” I lifted my cup to my lips and took a swig of beer. 

Her eyes raked over me and she gnawed on her pouty bottom lip. Best guess, she was contemplating if it would be social suicide to speak to me. “Are you new here?”

“No,” I replied. We moved a lot due to my dad’s military career, but we’d been in Oklahoma for three years now that he’d retired as a chaplain of the National Guard and taken up pastoring a small, country church.

“Oh.” She frowned. “What’s your name again?” 

“Silas.” I flashed her a lopsided grin. 

No response.

“Silas Graves?” Seriously, she didn’t even know who I was? I sat behind her all of Freshman year in history. The girl never carried a pencil. The first time she asked me for one, I just gave her my only one, because, well, duh. Hot girl. I started carrying extras in my bag solely for her. “Mr. McKinley’s history class?” 

Her brows went up, like a lightbulb went off in her head. “Oh my god.” She laughed. “That’s right! You used to wear those thick glasses.” She laughed. “No wonder you looked familiar playing Seymour! It was the geeky glasses. I kept trying to figure out how I knew you.” 

Heat flushed in my cheeks. “I’ve got contacts now,” I mumbled. 

“Good call.” She smiled. God, she had perfect teeth. Mine, not so much. They weren’t eat-an-apple-through-a-chain-link-fence bad, but crooked enough that I was self-conscious of them. “You have really amazing eyes,” she added. “They’re so big and blue.”  

“Thanks.” An awkward silence hung in the night air. Say something, you idiot. “Your eyes are pretty, too,” And legs. And tits, and her long, dark hair, and, well, everything. Erin Barclay was a solid ten. She’d already been in a country music video, and she was only going to get hotter, and probably more famous. 

“You’re really cute, for a drama geek.” 

Um, thanks? A backhanded compliment, but I’d take what I could get. “Would you, um, like a beer?” I nodded to the keg. 

“I’ve already got one.” She wiggled her cup and laughed. 

“Oh yeah, silly me.” I rubbed the back of my neck. I had no game. None. 

“It’s okay.” She flashed a supermodel smile that I was certain would grace the pages of fashion magazines in years to come. “Let’s just hang.” She closed the gap between us. 

One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was lying on a blanket locking lips with Erin Fucking Barclay, the most popular girl in school. As our tongues tangled, my hands roamed over her smooth thigh, up and around the curve of her hip, the dip of her belly and finally, I was under her shirt, cupping her breast. 

We made out for so long, my dick was about to bust through my jeans. It was painful how much I wanted to be inside of her. 

“Do you want to go somewhere more private?” she finally asked. 

Fuck yes. But instead I cooly replied with a, “Sure.” I had a condom burning a hole in my wallet that I’d finally be able to put to use. 

Outside I was calm, cool and collected, but inside I was a bundle of nerves. I was about to lose my virginity to Erin Barclay. I was an actor, after all. Fake it till you make it. Standing, I bent down to grab the blanket we’d been lying on, praying I didn’t choke under the pressure. 

Squinting in the dark, I looked for the cup I’d sat down. I could barely see my own two feet now that the bonfire had died down. Finally, I found it and retrieved it from the ground. Right as I turned back around, I somehow lost my footing on a rock, or a branch, or God knows what, and went barreling straight into Erin. The plastic cup crumpled between us, as beer went everywhere. 

“What the hell?” she shouted, pulling back, shaking off her dripping wet arms. 

“I…I’m sorry…” I stammered. “I…I…I’m just a little drunk,” I lied, scratching my brow.

Beer dripped down her nose, face, chin and was soaking into her white tank top. A crowd of her cheerleader friends began to form around us. 

“What’s wrong?” one of them asked, holding a flashlight. Thank fuck. I could see again.

“This geek spilled beer all over me!” Erin shouted.

Twenty minutes ago I was cute and talented. Now in front of her friends, I was a geek. I rolled my eyes. “It will dry off,” I mumbled. Jesus, it wasn’t that big of a deal. “Take mine if you want.” I grabbed my shirt at the back of my neck and pulled it off, offering it to her. Mine seemed much drier than hers, considering I could  see her nipples through the fabric. 

All her friends looked at me, then exchanged a wary glance. 

“But the smell. What am I gonna do?” Whining, she glanced to one of her friends.

“I’ve got a change in my car,” another friend offered, giving me the stink-eye. “Come on, I’ll go grab it for you.” 

Crossing her arms, she frowned, glancing at me, standing there, shirtless. “I’ll be there in a minute. Go on.” She snagged the flashlight from her friend. 

Her friends reluctantly walked away. 

“I’m really sorry.” I looked down to my feet. 

“Accidents happen,” something in her expression softened. Probably because I looked so sad and dejected, standing there, shirtless. “I gotta clean up or my parents will kill me.” Her head cocked to the side and she ogled me up and down. Thank fuck I’d been doing some lifting in the garage with my dad. I’d also shot up several inches that year, thinning out all that baby fat. “Another time, maybe?” 

“Yeah. Sure. Another time.” I pulled my shirt back on. But I knew it would never happen for me. Not in a million years. 

She leaned over and kissed me on the cheek, then, with a quick wave, she was gone. 

I walked a few feet over and sat down on a log. Leaning my elbows on my knees, I dropped my gaze and cursed myself for blowing that one so epically. 

Stupid. Clumsy. Me. I’d always had two left feet, unless I was under the bright stage lights. That was my wheelhouse. 

Time for another drink to drown my sorrows. I really didn’t want to go to college a virgin, that is, if I was going to college. Maybe Erin would talk to me on Monday. All I knew is if I ever got another chance with her, I would not blow it.   

Standing, I turned my gaze toward the parked vehicles in the distance, where I knew the keg was sitting on my friends tailgate, but behind me it was nothing but a sea of black. Turning, I grabbed a few logs and tossed them onto the fire, hoping to illuminate the area a little bit more. Then, I wandered into the distance. My foot caught something on my trek and I heard a squeal from a girl, and a male grunt as I tumbled toward the ground.

“Fuck, Graves, what’s your deal?” My buddy, Ryan Wilson, growled at me. “We’re trying to get a little privacy here. Jesus.” 

“Sorry man.” I stood and dusted myself off. “Didn’t see you there.” Maybe I was a little more buzzed than I thought, and it was time to call it a night. Driving drunk was a big hell-no for me. Best not press my luck. “I’ll catch you Monday, dude.” 

I pulled my keys out of my pocket and used the flashlight on my key ring. My dad had gifted it to me along with a spare key to his truck the day I got my license. I’d rolled my eyes at the gadget that had everything. Flashlight, bottle opener, corkscrew, pocketknife, you name it, the thing had it. My dad was such a survival nerd, always prepared and always trying to teach me his ways of doing things. But the stupid thing actually came in handy. The last thing I wanted to do was trip on more bodies. 

Finally, I reached my dad’s truck and climbed in, firing up the engine. I flipped on my lights and started rolling, bumping and jostling over the rough terrain of the field, but even with the brights on it was difficult to see anything other than what was directly in front of my hood. 

I opened my eyes wider and leaned closer to the wheel as I turned around the bend. 

Damn. Maybe I shouldn’t be driving. 

Right as that thought flew through my head, there was a loud thud, and something rolled across the hood. I slammed on my brakes. With a sickening thump, whatever it was I hit rolled to the ground. 

Please be a deer. Please be a deer. 

Not like I wanted to kill Bambi, but it was better than a human. 

Panic seized my veins and I gripped the wheel, shaking. After a couple calming breaths, I got out and checked around me.

“Dude, what the fuck?” My other cast member and friend, Patrick McDowell hopped off the ground, dusting the red dirt off his jeans. 

My heart rapped against my ribcage, threatening to break through my chest. “Dude, are you okay?” I finally croaked out, trying not to throw up. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you.”

“Yeah, I’m fine, but fuck, man. How drunk are you?” 

Honestly, I felt stone sober. Not sure if it was the adrenaline pumping through my veins, or what. A few of my other theater buds came over, and my cheeks heated with humiliation for the third time that night. 

After a few calming breaths—and now that I knew Patrick was alright—I inspected the damage to the truck. There was a slight dent in the hood. “Fuck, my dad is gonna kill me.” I rubbed my brow. “If he catches whiff that I was drinking…” I shuddered to thinking about the heat I’d take for this. 

“Your dad is the least of our worries. If Mr. G finds out, we’re toast. We’ll get cut from drama club,” another one of my friends, Brad Finch put his two cents in.  

“Pop the hood,” Ryan said, jutting his chin to the truck. 

I did as bid, then walked back to the front of the vehicle. Ryan took his fisted hand and bumped up on the inside of the hood a couple times, the dropped it. “No biggie,” he said, pointing to it. “Popped right out.” He dug into his pocket and looked to Brad. “Take my keys, follow us back to Graves’. I’m gonna drive him home.” He pointed to the rest of the cast and crew. “Everyone keeps their mouth shut about this, you got it?” 

The rest of our friends nodded. 

Ryan looked to me. “Get in.” He jutted his chin to my truck. 

We drove in awkward silence for ten minutes down the dark, two-lane highway. 

“So, what’s up with you, dude?” Ryan finally broke the silence. 

“I guess I drank too much,” I lied, staring out the window into the blackness.  

“Bullshit. I know you. You’re stone sober right now.” His tongue clicked and he hesitated, like he didn’t want to say what he was thinking. 

“What?” I growled at him. 

“You nearly killed Patrick tonight. That’s what.” 

“It was an accident. It was dark. He came out of nowhere.”  

“You also stumbled all over Lisa and I on the blanket.”

“You were on the ground in the middle of the woods,” I protested. 

He just shook his head as he turned into my neighborhood. 

“It’s just…” He groaned. 

“Just what?” He was starting to piss me off. “Spit it out.” 

“You always seem to have trouble at night.” He snorted. “And backstage before curtain call…” He groaned. “You nearly knocked down the flats.” 

“Yeah, it’s so fucking funny that Silas can’t see shit in the dark,” I spewed out. The guys always poked at me about it. Hell, even my dad would gripe at me and tell me to grow up when I’d cling to him and cry about not being able to see in the dark. Case in point, my stupid keychain. His way of telling me to man up. 

“Dude, that’s not normal.” His tone was flat. Ominous. “My uncle Larry was like that, and, well, you know…” 

His uncle Larry was the only church member allowed to bring a pet into the sanctuary, if you get the gist. 

My gut clenched. I’d always had this small voice at the back of my head telling me something wasn’t quite right, like how come everyone else could see the stars at night, but I couldn’t? But I constantly pushed it out of my mind. I shook my head and laughed it off, not wanting to even entertain that thought. “I get my eyes checked every year, dude. I’m fine.” There was no way. 

“Yeah. Of course you do. You’re right,” he quickly backpedaled. “It’s probably nothing.” He shrugged. “Forget that I said anything.” Ryan killed the engine and handed me my keys. 

Headlights shined into the cab as Brad pulled up behind us. “Thanks for the ride,” I mumbled as I climbed out of the vehicle. 

“Hey, Graves,” he hollered for me as I headed to my porch. “Don’t be all weird about it, okay?” 

I shoved my hands in my pockets and rocked back on my heels. “Yeah, no problem.” I jutted my chin to him. “I’ll see you Monday.” 

close up of woman holding a passport and a boarding pass. Text reads: Deleted scene from Take Me Down

Kennedy’s Move to the States

I have a ton of deleted material from Take Me Down. Both Kennedy and Silas have a pretty heavy backstories and even though I wrote it, a lot of it wound up getting cut from the book.

But, I still want to share these parts of the story with my readers, so I plan to release them over the next several weeks/months. Since this was the original beginning, go for it and read now if you like, it shouldn’t spoil anything. There may be spoilers in future ones, and I’ll pre-warn you on that. I loved how it showed Kennedy’s spunk, but overall this turned out to be far too heavy for my liking. The published opening sets more of the tone for the book than this wold have (and I also feared it wouldn’t endear readers to Kennedy). So, it was axed.


“We will now start boarding for flight 1083 from Heathrow to JFK…” the attendant spoke over the loudspeaker. 

That was my cue. 

With a sigh I shouldered my bag, and went to the queue. 

“Kennedy Murphy?” A male voice chimed behind me. 

Glancing over my shoulder, my eyes met George Davies, one of my brother’s mates from secondary school. Actually, mates was incorrect. George Davies was nothing but a bully. He tortured Theo relentlessly his entire life. Many nights I’d consoled my brother after George had pretended to befriend him, only to turn around and play another cruel joke on poor Theo. 

I closed my eyes and swallowed hard. Should’ve known I wouldn’t make it out of London unscathed. 

“Oi! It is you!” He clutched my shoulder, shaking me a bit. Bloody hell, he smelled like booze. “Guys! Look! It’s Kennedy Fucking Murphy!” he shouted to his mates. 

I shrugged out of his grasp, then inched forward in line, staring straight ahead, hoping he got the hint.

But no, he sidled up next to me. “So shocking to see you after all this time. Everyone assumed you were…”Dead? Drunk? Lying in a gutter?  “Off the grid,” he said instead. 

“Yes, you could say I have been.” Please don’t be sitting next to me on this flight. If I had to sit next to George Davies for six hours and fifty-five minutes, I would keel over. 

Please, just leave me the bloody hell alone. 

I got to the front of the line, scanned my boarding pass and headed toward the plane. Of course, George was hot on my heels. “You look so…” he blinked “…fit.” 

“Sobriety works wonders.” I adjusted the strap on my shoulder and kept moving forward.

“My boys and I are heading to New York. Going to hit up all the clubs. Visiting the states, are you?” 

Moving to the states,” I corrected. 

He whistled, rubbing the back of his neck. “Can’t fault you for that. Everyone still talks about that display of yours at the Christmas party.” 

My jaw clenched. “I’m sure they do.” 

Yes, it was quite the drunken display. 

My stepmother had just scared off the one decent bloke I’d met in quite some time. Then, she proceeded to berate me, blathering on about how proud she was of Theo for always making the right choices. How he’d finally settled down with a nice girl, and how she couldn’t wait to meet Emerson, totally clueless to the fact Emerson was a he, and Theo was gay. 

“Emerson. Is. A. Bloke,” I’d hissed to my stepmother through vodka-laden lips. “Look at him!” I pointed to my brother as he stood from the piano wearing his prissy little, red and black, paisley, sport coat, that no straight man could ever pull off. “Theo! Is! Gay!” 

Theo’s green eyes widened as he paled. “Kennedy…no…” Tears rolled down his cheeks. “Please stop…” he begged.

The only reason I agreed to come to the party was because Theo pleaded that I be there since he’d be bringing his partner. I’d come to support him, and he hung me out to dry. 

“You’ve always been blind to it.” My last thread, frayed. I was delirious with rage, laughing like a madwoman so much, I could barely catch air. “You sent him to an all boys Catholic school! Do you have any idea what really happened there? Tell her, Theo! Tell mummy dearest what her precious little altar boy did.” Tears rolled down my cheeks as gasps came from the crowd. “Your perfect little angel told me every sordid detail! Every fondle under the desk. Every fellatio in the loo!!” I screamed from the bottom of my lungs. “You didn’t protect him from girls! You let him loose in the candy store!” 

Elizabeth snapped her fingers. “Get her out of here!” She hissed at her staff, her minions. 

“Now, he just wants to be himself, happy with another bloke, and he’s too twisted in his head due to his mommy issues to even accept himself for the beautiful man he is!” Two arms grabbed me, dragging me out of the room kicking and screaming like a toddler having a tantrum. “So frightened he’ll disappoint you! Terrified he’ll be like me, cast out, discarded, with nowhere to turn, no safety net, not a soul in the world who cares!” 

George’s tongue clicked behind me, pulling me from my dismal memories “I feel just awful for how poorly I treated your brother, especially considering what happened afterward…” He grimaced, but didn’t look a bit remorseful. 

Please. Just. Stop.

“Of course, I’m sure you feel even worse.” He slumped into his seat. First class, of course. 

He had no idea how I felt. My whole life I’d tried to protect Theo. But I grew weary. This pawn could only hold the defensive line for so long.

“Do you, George?” Do you feel awful?” I peered down at him, blinking. “Do you feel awful for giving him wedgies on the playground? Pulling his trousers down in the middle of the hall? Throwing him in the rubbish bin? Dumping milk on him? Locking him in the custodian cupboard? Do you, George?” 

He paled. “I…I…” he stammered. 

“Well, do you?” I shouted and stomped down the aisle toward second class. Fuming, I shoved my carry-on in the overhead compartment, then flopped into my seat.

Before I knew it, the fight attendant was making her way toward me. Bloody fantastic. “Excuse me, miss?” she asked. “Was that man harassing you?” She pointed to the front of the plane.

This one is for you, Theo. 

“Why yes, he was.” I leaned in closer to her, and added in a whisper, “Got a bit handsy with me in the queue.” I blinked innocently. “I think he may be intoxicated.” Neither of these were lies, just stretching the truth a bit.

The flight attendant frowned, patting my shoulder. “I’m so sorry. We’ll take care of him.” She elbowed her way back to George. “Excuse me, sir!” she shouted to George. “I’m going to need you to come with me.” 

And with that, George was escorted off the plane. 

MeetKennedy_ForBlog

Meet Kennedy

Kennedy was a tough nut for me to crack. I have to say, she’s been one of the toughest heroines that I’ve had to write to date.

The first reason, I decided to make her British. Since Silas is losing his vision, attraction to him is not the physical. I wanted to give her a saucy accent that would instantly pique his interest.

I couldn’t tell if she was mildly irritated and teasing, or downright pissed. Had to be the accent. Brits always threw me off. They had this way of packaging snarky comments in pretty paper with an enormous bow on top. “I left a note above your box,” she added.
“I didn’t see it.”
“You should check your post more often.”
“Noted.” I offered a salute, flashed her a grin, and winked. “I’ll try to mind my volume.”
“That’d be fab.” So frosty. So cold, and yet still sexy as hell because of her damn fucking dialect.

I learned a LOT. Like fanny does not mean backside, but actually well, the vag. So, when I said “He smacked me in the fanny…” I had to quickly change it (thank you beta readers!)

I knew I wanted her to be a prickly pear. Because, Like Silas, I’m a sucker for the prickly ones. I like a woman with some grit to her.

The elevator chimed and she moved toward the doors as they squeaked open. “Have a good workout, Kennedy.” I jutted my chin toward her as I adjusted the bag on my shoulder.
She snorted. “Cheers, 28B.”
Well, there you had it. Didn’t even bother to use my name.
And why the fuck did I care? I was breaking my rule number one—you don’t shit where you sleep. But for some stupid reason, she’d piqued my interest. Ever a sucker for the prickly ones.

Third, there needed to be something else that made him emotionally connect to this stranger. Silas, being artistic himself (a thespian and radio personality) and going blind, music is important to him. It’s more than his career. Music speaks to his soul. So, I made Kennedy an artist as well, a cellist.

I’d always loved the cello and thought it never got the respect that it deserved. Some would consider it melancholy, isolated, dark, and miserable—like listening to a reading of a eulogy, but not me. I found it deep, silky—like a long, seductive moan. And Kennedy made that cello croon.

Next, came Kennedy’s backstory. This was the most difficult for me to write, and the most personal. Kennedy is an addict who is two years sober.

Typically, I have a LOT of drinking in my books. A LOT. (Hell, my author banner reads, “Whiskey and Bad Decisions.”).

I always put a lot of myself into my characters. Like me, if I plop a drink into their hand their inhibitions lower, and you see more of their authentic self start to emerge.

Time to get real with you readers. In my early twenties I did a LOT of things I shouldn’t have. I did some HARD drugs. It took me quite some time before I felt comfortable to have a drink in my hand. Yes, I drink now. I also occasionally use medicinal marijuana, but never ever will I touch hard drugs again.

Even with my history, I struggled writing Kennedy. Everyone’s experience with substance abuse and addiction is different. For me, I easily walked away from the hard drugs when I was younger. I never went to rehab. I never had any withdrawals or cravings. I never had a sponsor. I never went to group meetings. Still, like her, I truly know what it feels like to long to be the person you aren’t. I know what it’s like to beat yourself up for the mistakes of your past.

I opened the fridge and found the dressing next to several beers and a couple bottles of wine. My heart sank. This was the type of setting where a normal person could sit down with their lover and enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, but not me. I wished I could have just one. But no, I was a binge drinker. Once I started, I’d drain the bottle. Honestly, I didn’t crave the drink as much as I craved rebirth.

Drinking was never really an issue for me. Still, I try to keep myself in check. Then 2020 happened. Like many others stuck at home, I started drinking more. Life was rough personally. It was just one thing right after another that hit us.

“Stepmom cut me off and kicked me out, since I was not going to uni. I moved into my boyfriend’s dinky flat. He never loved me. Just used me for my composition skills, while he toured the UK and fucked groupies. Left me with a mound of bills and addicted to alcohol and drugs. Eventually, I found a job as a teaching aide while I put myself through uni. Tried to stay sober. Then life would happen.” She ran her fingers through my hair and sighed. “My telly would break, my car would need a new radiator, setback after setback. That, of course, caused me to self-medicate heavily.”

I struggled to write. Even though I was vaxxed, I got covid, twice. I’m still suffering long-term issues from it. I’ve faced depression, crippling bouts of anxiety, panic attacks and many sleepless nights. The more my anxiety ramped up, the more I was drinking. The harder it became to write.

“Do you think that artistic people are more drawn to addictive behavior? The musicians, writers, actors…”
“Drugs don’t make artists, they break them.” She set her mug down and leaned back. “And yes, I do.”
I bobbed my head. She was right. The further I withdrew into drugs and drink, the harder it was for me to feel the music.

So, I took some time off from drinking during writing her. I’ve done this before. If I notice my tolerance is too high, and I’m drinking more than I should, I’ll take weeks, sometimes months off just to make sure I have it under control. I never want to go back to the woman I used to be.

What this did was help me relate to her better. How can I be comfortable in my own skin, without the push of liquid courage? How do I control the anxiety and self-doubt without a glass of wine or whiskey to relax?

Silas trusted me, blindly, and I nearly betrayed him. Last night after we shagged it was written all over his face, and again, at the table. It was more than him straining to see my physical beauty. It was deeper. A lovesick hopefulness in his expression, as if I alone held the keys to something extraordinary.
And it scared the bloody hell out of me.
I was not extraordinary. I was nobody. I wasn’t brave. I wasn’t strong.

Like me, Kennedy shows a brave face to the world, but inside, she’s trembling. Scared to lose control. Scared of what people will find when they see her for who she really is. She’s lonely, isolated and longs for people in her life, but after being burned so much by others, she’s guarded herself and built a fortress around her, absolutely terrified of rejection.

The fortress I’d built for self-preservation had thick, concrete walls lined in barbed wire and a sniper on the roof. When trespassers came too close, I’d maim them. But the more time passed, the more it felt like a prison instead of protection.

I wouldn’t say I’m as prickly as she is, and I like to think I control my mouth MUCH better than she does, but I am just as damn awkward. People don’t always get my sense of humor. I’m crass, and downright irreverent at times.

I lingered, shoving pastries into my mouth, glancing around the room, trying my best to look approachable. I’d never been great at striking up conversations with strangers, and something about me never gave off a friendly vibe. Typically, my social anxiety would get the best of me, my mouth would run amok, and I’d wind up saying something sarcastic, rude, or awkward.

She may not always say the right things, but I will say something about this girl, she’s witty. And thankfully, my hero is a sucker for a girl with wit.

Cello From the Other Side @CelloThere
@TheMorningReaper is either harboring a hooker, watching a porn marathon, or performing an exorcism in his flat. One thing I do know for certain is what it sounds like when another girl fakes it. #Fakingit #yesyesyes

“Damn. Shots fired,” Kay laughed as she read the Tweet. “She’s got the When Harry Met Sally fake orgasm gif underneath the image.” Her cackles grew louder. “I like this girl’s style.”

You and me both, Kay.

At the end of the day though, this girl is all heart. No matter how scared she is, no matter how much she wants to run, she can’t run from him.

Because Silas and Kennedy have something very special.

I’m excited for you to meet her.

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Meet Silas. Image of pensive man in leather jacket, wearing sunglasses leaning against a wall. Image bottom right, book cover, Take Me Down

Meet Silas

As authors, we are constantly pulling inspiration from some of our favorite stories, movies and television shows. I can’t ever seem to watch or read something without an idea spinning up in my mind how I could twist it and make it my very own.

Take Me Down was no exception. I’ve had this idea in brewing the back of my head for decades. It all spawned from an episode of Charles in Charge (one of my favorite shows as a kid). Without giving you too many spoilers, Charles gets stuck in an elevator with a woman who is blind, and he has no idea that she’s blind.

Since I’ve already written a blind heroine, it was time for me to do a blind hero. The first issue, how do I write his condition, and give it a new spin? Instead of making it a traumatic accident (what happened to Tori was EXTREMELY rare) I decided to go more toward reality of what many visually impaired people face—a degenerative condition.

“I have retinitis pigmentosa—RP for short—and there’s no cure. Other than my fading eyesight, I’m healthy. There isn’t anything else wrong with me.”

“Subjective, but go on.” I couldn’t help but get that dig in. 

“At what point of knowing someone do I tell them I’m going blind?” He scratched his brow. “No matter when I decide to say it, it’s always fucking awkward.”

Silas doesn’t like to talk about it, considering he deals with it so much daily. He just wants to be seen as a man, not a blind man.

As is tradition, I researched a LOT. I read tons of autobiographies, message boards, and every piece of literature on RP that I could. I recruited a friend and beta/sensitivity reader who is visually impaired to try and get it right. Despite all the effort I put in, writing about disabilities always leaves me fearful. I want to represent the community as best as I possibly can.

That helped me think a lot about Silas, his backstory, and how I could put some of myself into him. I decided to make him an actor. A man who must get into a character’s head, understand who they are, where they came from, and why they do the things that they do.

Because of his failing vision, he “sees” more than most. Beauty and ugly are no longer visual for him, but emotional.

“Don’t think because I’m blind that I can’t see people for who they really are. I see far more than most. You have pain on the inside, and that’s not ugly. That’s human.”

Loss is a central theme in this book, and how different people deal with grief in different ways. Some people ignore it. Some people wallow in it. Some people drink it away. Because of his condition, acting roles got stripped from him. He had to step out of the limelight. He went from the stage to the screen, and from the screen to the sound booth.

“I like the morning show. It’s like a mix of journalism and theatrics, in a sense. The stage was my first love.”

“You performed?” He was damn good looking and charismatic enough to be on screen or stage.

“I used to. Not anymore.” He cleared his throat, shifting next to me. 

He’s desperately trying to hold onto the career he’s got left. Does he always handle it well? No. He gets bad advice from friends and those close to him.

During my four-year run on Secrets We Keep, my agent advised me to keep my visual impairment under wraps. Yes, I see the irony there, but the acting industry was brutal, and work not easy to come by. So I kept my mouth shut and found workarounds for my blind spots. It worked, until I fucked up to the point the producers thought I had a substance abuse problem, and my character was given the axe.

Not only did I make him an actor, but I had my straight character, play someone on television who was gay. In doing so, he faced both criticism and praise. Something I also am very accustomed to.

“Let’s circle back to the industry. There isn’t much disability representation in film and television. How do you feel about able-bodied actors being cast into roles of people with disabilities, considering you, a straight man, took some heat when you stepped into a queer role?”

There is a lot of drama in this book. Like all humans, Silas and Kennedy deal with some heavy issues. It’s what makes them real. But there are so many LOL hilarious moments. I wouldn’t call this a rom-com, but it’s close. More like a romantic dramedy. Silas is not all doom and gloom. He’s come to acceptance of his condition, where he is headed, and he just wants to move on with his life and find someone to share it with. Honestly, he’s one of the funniest, most theatrical characters I’ve ever written.

“I’m not a fucking circus sideshow.” 

“No. You’re a blind man who refuses to own it.” Her tongue clicked. 

“Does this look like I’m not owning it?” I cleared my throat. “Step right up, ladies and gents,” I hollered, tossing my cane in my grasp like a ringmaster, “and come watch as a blind man does menial, everyday tasks, like using a computer, crossing the street, and wiping his own ass.” I gave a half-bow and a tip of my nonexistent top hat.

 I’ll introduce Kennedy in another blog post, but once he meets her, she teaches him to feel again. To trust his instincts. To stop listening to the crowd and follow his heart.

Kennedy made me feel every damn color of emotion. Anger. Irritation. Curiosity. Beauty. Amusement. Excitement. Desire. In a world where you can’t see, feeling is everything.

 I knew from the get-go that I wanted this to be an enemies-to-lovers book. It’s my favorite trope to write. It creates such wonderful banter and off the chart’s chemistry. So, I pitted them against each other as nemesis neighbors. Kennedy, is a cellist and teaches lessons from her home. Silas, my resident manwhore, spends his evenings…well…making a LOT of noise.

“Do anything fun?” His feet shuffled behind me. 

Did he just snicker? I turned my head to him and raised a brow. “It was a lovely, quiet, relaxing weekend, for the most part. Well, other than Rey meowing all night.”

“You gonna turn me into the landlord for her, too?”

“No.” I rolled my eyes. “Rey’s meows are cute, unlike the other howling catcalls I’ve heard coming from your flat. Thankfully my ears were not privy to that this weekend.” 

He laughed boisterously. “Yeah, I flew solo the past few days. Had to tug my own rope.”

I blanched. Granted, I’d done some maintenance myself, but I wasn’t shouting it from the rooftops. You’d think living under him I’d crave a drink, since he was driving me mad, but really, I was just craving him.

“FYI, trying to whack off with a cat around, not the easiest. Rey kept trying to attack my hand under the sheet.” 

“You’re vile.” I held in a laugh. I wasn’t about to give him the satisfaction.

“Hey, don’t be calling me disgusting. You got yourself some bean-flicking action this weekend, too.” A smug smirk tugged at his lips as he stared straight at the elevator doors.  

My jaw dropped open. “I did no such thing!” I lied through my teeth. 

“If you can hear me, I can hear you. Just sayin.” His grin grew wider. “Who’s Johnny?”

I wanted to sink into the floor. I rubbed my temples, saying nothing. 

“How many batteries does it take to make that kind of humming?

You get such a wide range of emotions to play with, anger that morphs into desire. You’re building and building to that moment when they finally succumb to their feelings and that creates heat, and passion.

But even better than that was her scent. The first thing that drew me to her. I was right up in it, breathing it in so close I could taste it. The sweetness, the spicy, it was exotic and decadent, consuming me with lust and need—working me into a hungered frenzy. If it was the last thing I ever inhaled, I’d die a happy man.

My erection strained painfully against my jeans and with each thrust of my tongue into her mouth I pressed forward into her heat, practically dry humping her in the elevator, which did nothing to relieve my aching cock and only increased the pressure building in my pants.

“My place or yours?” I asked, biting on her earlobe. I could tell from her signals it wasn’t a question of if, just where.

She moaned. Sweet God Almighty. She was killing me. “Silas,” a throaty whisper came from her, followed by another moan. God, her voice, that accent breathing out my name. It was so fucking sexy. 

“I need to fuck you, Kennedy.” I peppered kisses down her jawline. “Now,” I growled, nibbling at her neck. “You choose, or I’ll take you right here, right now.”

Silas is a very complex character with many layers to him. His vision loss is his current story, since it’s taken a nosedive, but once you peel back the onion you see there is so much more to him than his visual issues. A talented actor. A loving brother. A loyal friend. A mamma’s boy who likes cats. The geeky drama kid that grew into a hottie. But don’t let that fool you, he’s tender, but not soft. His sport of choice is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and he’s totally capable of throwing down. Trust me. You’ll see it.  He’s masculine, fatherly, protective, gentle and a good man at his core (despite all the mistakes he makes).

I can’t wait for you to meet him.

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