Teaser #7: Here Without You (BTL #4)

TWO MORE WEEKS.

I've said this before in other forums and probably here on the blog as well, but I want to say it again: Thank you to the readers who've patiently waited for this last BTL installment. When I began waking up with a story in my head that became Easy, it managed to silence Reid - and if you know Reid, you know he doesn't silence easily.

I'm normally an organized person (though I have to say, becoming a full-time writer has very nearly tossed that personality trait right out the window). Organized, for me, also runs a bit OCD. Things out of order throw me all out of whack (wherein whack is a good thing). I line things up on my desk. The cosmetics in my makeup drawer looks like puzzle pieces. Don't get me started on how I hang or fold my clothes.

The idea of interrupting a series to write a stand-alone novel was like a place setting with the knife on the right side of the spoon. (Ack!)

But Easy wanted to be written, and it wasn't going to let me write anything else until I was done. I published it in May 2012, thinking I'd do the typical interacting promo, and then I'd write BTL #4 and have it out by the end of 2012. And then life got a whole lot crazy.

Storms? No thank you.

Interruptions change the course of a book - sometimes in minor ways, sometimes substantially. This can happen when I get a phone call while writing a scene, or I'm forced to leave the manuscript alone for a week or three while I do revisions or edits or promo for another book. A year away from my BTL characters and creation of another world in between? Holy crap, yes. Here Without You became quite a different story than it would have been, had I published it fourteen months ago instead of Easy.

Maybe someday I'll tell you what I'd originally intended to do with this one.

Or maybe not.

For now, here's the next-to-last teaser, in Brooke's POV:

“Hello?” 
Emma’s voice is exactly as I expected—clipped. Cold. 
“Emma, this is Brooke,” I reply needlessly. She obviously recognizes my number. 
Silence. Okay. 
“I’m calling…” I close my eyes “…to ask a favor.” 
She sputters a little. “A favor? How… what would Graham’s mom call it? How cheeky of you. But since Cara isn’t around, I’ll just say how goddamned presumptuous of you. What do you want, Brooke?”
What do I want? I want to hang up. Last year, I made a huge miscalculation where Emma was concerned. Where Graham was concerned. I never said anything to either of them afterward, of course. Never tried to account for what I did, or beg forgiveness. I knew I was automatically evicted from his life. I didn’t need to hear him say it.
I rarely apologize. It’s not that I think I’m never wrong—I just don’t care to admit it out loud. The only time I say I’m sorry is when there is literally no other way around saying it, or to get out of penalties that are possible to circumvent. Most consequences stick. That’s why they’re called consequences.
Eight months ago, there was no evading Graham’s banishment, and my way around a pointless I’m sorry was avoidance, plain and simple.
I take a breath and square my shoulders.
“I need to talk to Graham—”
“Of all the—”
“Emma, I’m sorry. I fucked up. I totally fucked up. I wouldn’t bother you—either of you—and look, I’m calling your phone, not his. I’m asking your permission. I’m begging you for it. Please.” My voice splinters at the end of this appeal, the last word sounding more like a sob. Fucking hell
More silence.
“Are you dying or something?” she asks, and I can’t tell if she sounds more hopeful or regretful at the prospect.