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For goodness sakes, he was a damned Republican! Trent: File Nametrent-by- medical-site.info; Original TitleTrent (Across the Aisle Book 1). Vault of the Damned — July issue of Horror Stories All eBooks produced by Radio Archives are available in ePub and Mobi formats for the ultimate in. Dokument: epub ( KB) I wouldn't be in this damn mess of debt right now. moves like lightening as she shoots out of her seat and flies down the aisle.
The air has the gray, erased-blackboard quality of weather tightening itself for a storm. David has just stepped out of his little brick one-story house. He has his hands in his jean pockets, his two black dogs are running thrilled tours of greet and patrol. The look beneath them says two more or less clear words: At our first big conversation—our first stunning meal: And that to me is extremely disturbing. The comedy of a brain so big, careful, and kind it keeps tripping over its own lumps. Whatever reassurance and encouragement the decorations give him is going to be tagged and sifted, for what it might explain publicly.
Always a pleasant, blameless moment to the journalist; a round in the chamber, boots polished, reporting for duty. I got up at five this morning, hailed a cab at the New York hour when the city is still drifting through sleep, the streets rolling over and steam drizzling upward out of the manholes. Then I flew two hours to Chicago, signed and initialed for the rental car, drove another two here: We both have long hair.
The form will touch readers again once it focuses on nine-to-five and couples who spend a marriage in the same bed. The verb he used was meatier. Otherwise, this book runs from the minute I turn on the recorder, through five days of diners, arguments, on-ramps, friends, a reading, a faraway mall, his dogs, up to the last word David said to me.
After he died, I read through this week again. I was surprised and moved—it seemed very much like him—to see that he used it in the context of a dance. A good night of TV, a closed deal, a morning coffee.
He wants something better than he has. I want precisely what he has already, and also for him to see how unimprovable his situation is. David will make a funny remark about how books work toward the end of our time together. He was such a natural writer he could talk in prose; for me, this has the magic of watching a guy in a business suit, big headphones, step into a gym and sink fifty foul shots in a row.
Visiting David at the hospital in , the first thing she did was track down scissors and cut his hair. Michael Pietsch is his editor on Infinite Jest. David has written two books before Infinite Jest: He had dark eyes, soft voice, caveman chin, a lovely, peak-lipped mouth that was his best feature. His life was a map that ends at the wrong destination. He was an A student through high school, he played football, he played tennis, he wrote a philosophy thesis and a novel before he graduated from Amherst, he went to writing school, published the novel, made a city of squalling, bruising, kneecapping editors and writers fall moony-eyed in love with him.
He published a thousand-page novel, received the only award you get in the nation for being a genius, wrote essays providing the best feel anywhere of what it means to be alive now, accepted a special chair to teach writing at a college in California, married, published another book, and hanged himself at age forty-six. Suicide is such a powerful end, it reaches back and scrambles the beginning.
It has an event gravity: Eventually, every memory and impression gets tugged in its direction. One thing they struggled with was how alive, how delightful, David could seem. I talked with a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, who spoke in quick, lucid, emphatic phrases, as if facts were neutral but could turn sad if handled for too long.
The professor did what experts do. Which are: It came towing a boxcar of s-era side effects, the worst of which was a potential for very high blood pressure. And then they might not respond the same way to previously effective treatments. Nardil comes with a long interdicted menu—chocolate, cured meats, certain cheeses, for some reason overripe bananas.
And then there are off-book ingredients waiting in dishes, to combine and catalyze. Marriage, tranquility, California—the sunset, happy-ending coast.
In late spring of , David; his wife, Karen; and his parents, Jim and Sally, sat down at a Persian restaurant. Something in the food took him wrong. Terrible stomach pains, for days. They suggested he go off the drug, try something new. He figured he was going to go on to something else, at least temporarily. He was a perfectionist, you know?
He loved his marriage, his life. It was from that position of optimism and happiness and strength that he tried to take another step. All the signs were pointing in the right direction. Because things were going well, he thought he was in a strong enough position to make some fundamental changes. He began to drop weight. That fall, he looked like a college kid again: When Amy talked to him by phone, he was sometimes his old self.
At the end, his voice went throaty, he choked up. Students assumed he was joking—some smiled, a memory that would cut later. David sniffled. In June, David tried to kill himself. Then he was back in the hospital. Doctors administered twelve courses of electroconvulsive therapy, a treatment that had always terrified David. David had dropped seventy pounds in a year. There was a look in his eyes: Still, he was fun to be with, even at ten percent strength.
Not like human saliva, dog saliva is marvelously germ-resistant. Six weeks later, David asked his parents to fly west. A patient departs, returns, and the medication has boarded its doors.
He was afraid to leave the house. It was just awful to see. David and his parents would get up at six in the morning and walk the dogs. They watched DVDs, talked. His mother sat on the floor beside him. He said he was glad I was his mom.
I told him it was an honor. When she came home that night, he had hanged himself. Their careers, their ailments. You expected heavyweight-champion banter. In fact, I must leave at once. A big guy, with the bandanna and flop of hair, someone who was going to invite you to play Hacky Sack, and if you refused, there was a possibility he was going to beat you up.
Which was on purpose. As a student, David had been put off by the campus-writer look—creamy eyes, sensitive politics. It makes sense. Chapters, pages, novels, articles are the next best thing. Mark Costello met David at Amherst. They became friends through the housing lottery.
Go in with one other person. Ask for a double, because no one else was going to do that. And then we proceeded to draw the worst number in western Massachusetts. He would grab and imitate how people walked, talked, angled their heads, pictured their lives.
The ground must have still had a postconvalescent wobbliness underfoot—but there was David, big-booted, pocketing everything, happy, a man on an information safari. Wildly funny, unbelievable wattage, such a massive interest in and curiosity about his place in the world. He had more frames per second than the rest of us, he just never stopped. He was just constantly devouring the universe.
It was just the thrill of this writer—everything he had to write and everything he had to say. Sort of gee-whizzing everything, amazed by everything. He was so much smarter than anyone, including you, and yet his attitude was, he was genuinely pleased to be wherever he was, most of the time.
If he was with a congenial companion. Amazed and interested in everything. And you got to be in his senses, so you got to see more. But he shared it with us, which was nice of him to do. Talking to him was a a delightful social experience, and also a literary experience. When David finished Infinite Jest, he enrolled Conn in a tiny band: She read back-and-forthing to work on the subway. The stack of book, the pile of novel, riding next to her in its own seat.
Commuters would look at it, at her, laugh. People thought it was funny. I was very proud of it, I loved it. Nobody knew what it was. But it was a nice feeling. He mailed Franzen a nice letter about his first book, Franzen replied, they arranged a meet.
And no David. This was right in the middle of the bleak period, when simple calendar stuff turned challenging. That was a fairly substance-filled period in his life. What they decided—David proposed it—was that the point of books was to combat loneliness. In New York on publishing trips, David bunked with Franzen. This was the just-before-fame moment, when a writer is still picking up his own expenses. The first thing he did when he got to the apartment would be to select the biggest tomato can from my recycling bag and appropriate it.
You know, he was very good about only spitting in the can. And about washing the can out very carefully and putting it back into the recycling. So the apartment would always have this faintly wintergreen smell of the can after he left. They trooped through the front door together; by the time Franzen hit the kitchen, David had vanished. It turned out he had walked into the bathroom to lose me, then turned on his heels and walked right back out the front door.
To my apartment, where I returned an hour and a half later, to find him trading stories that embarrassed me with my then-girlfriend. David put a great examination of departures—half in text, half marooned on a footnote—in the essay he did about spoken English. Four nights after he died, I pulled out the book and read it over the phone to a friend, to show her how awake and funny David had been. Very delicate social moment.
Think of all the different ways I can try to handle it: People who set out to be writers are as glutted with careers and lifetime stats as athletes in training or the people who join fantasy baseball leagues.
David will make fun of me for memorizing this stuff. Feel free to join in. This is a generous confidence. I kept thinking of what Hemingway wrote about F. Scott Fitzgerald, before they headed on a train to Rouen to pick up a car.
Fitzgerald had just written his best novel: He asked questions and told me about writers and publishers and agents and critics [and] the gossip and economics of being a successful writer, and he was cynical and funny and very jolly and charming and endearing, even if you were careful about anyone becoming endearing. He spoke slightingly but without bitterness of everything he had written, and I knew his new book must be very good for him to speak, without bitterness, of the faults of past books.
Interviewers were coming, asking what David was like, but the questions always circled back to the same anxious ground. His phobias, low points. There was a lot of happiness in his life. He loved to be silly, he made exquisite fun of himself and others. Will he be remembered as a real, living person? Meanwhile, all these relationships are being screwed up by David Foster Wallace. At thirty, you put lots of faith in misunderstanding and the magic of ignorance: In fact, a personal hardship, my own girlfriend had been reading only him, steadily, languorously.
One afternoon, she took a cigarette with her to the kitchen to cool off, and I found this e-mail on her computer. Wallace is cool-looking. A big hulking guy with long stringy hair. Looks sort of like a rock star. Perspires freely. Wears a do-rag, and participates in the urban American experience thusly.
Is unmarried, I believe. What were your other questions? Life is the accumulation of flukes. A passionate belief in the reverse was what I was abandoning at the time I met David.
I believed a really good person could make everything in their lives on purpose. I ended up on this story because Jann Wenner, the vigorous and interesting and fast-acting man who owns the magazine I work for, happened to open The New York Times to a photo of David. Send Lipsky. I told this to Mark Costello, who laughed: When you meet someone for the first time, they mostly seem a perfect ambassador for their job. David looked like a young writer having a pretty easy ride of it.
To him, I was simply a reporter—whatever snazzy cultural box that opened—with expensive props, and he got a kick out of my repeating especially sharp things he said into the tape.
When I met David, I was only twenty-eight months past an almost perfect financial collapse. That was my ailment. It turned out spending time in college, waking up each morning to statues and gardens, had not been especially good preparation for sidewalks and billing statements.
Every week our mailboxes got stuffed with fresh offers for Visa and Discover cards, so I came out of college going great guns in the credit world. A classic romance—flashy courtship, accusatory divorce. I lost credit cards, telephone numbers, basic cable channels, apartments. Depositing money into my pocket was like releasing it into a nuclear whirlpool: I stopped carrying a wallet. It seemed nostalgic. ATM visits turned impossibly dramatic.
I became the kind of customer who shies away from his on-screen balance, the way good-hearted drivers will avert their eyes from a wreck. This continued to happen for years, until I lost the bank account too. In , I went to apply for a New York lease. I filled in my social security number. I have no idea what flashers and alarm bells this set off. But when I showed up the next morning, the landlord—a big Eastern European, a man building a respectable life on a far-off shore—told me he was controlling himself from wanting to kick my butt.
He came and stood very close to me. Hear and speak French only, eventually your language improves. If you think and speak only novels, eventually the world will bookstore around you. I got a job at Rolling Stone. And suddenly having money was like stepping out of a storm, shaking the damp from your umbrella in a bright quiet auditorium.
All at once, no dark, no wet, no noise. First bank account, first newspaper home delivery, first credit card secured. People would guess the best part of journalism was the travel. Not the tray meals or the exchange of skylines. The being included, the knowing that somebody had taken the trouble to book a flight, reserve a car and a hotel bed, because in the whole world they needed only you to complete the assignment. Every boarding pass—every flight crew, with the hushed smiles and nighttime lighting—felt like an amazingly tactful compliment.
I recovered from being poor the way you do from a virus: Disagreement might return as a possibility in my thirties. No, the late twenties were going to have to be the compliant years. I rented part of a giant, dusty apartment—long hallways and barn rooms—across the street from the Museum of Natural History.
I had a private entrance, my roommates were an old, not terribly well-matched couple called the Bechsteins. The fights were noisy, endless, wrenching. Anna Bechstein, when she watched TV, wanted to be joined at the set by her husband, Arthur.
His wish was even smaller, and easier to grant. He wanted to be left alone. And it was funny! I liked to try to imagine the two worlds coming into contact. The Bechsteins. All you had to do was lower the temperature in your eyes, the heat and the need. All you had to do was be willing to adjust, slightly, what you wanted, tuck your head down and provide the stuff other people asked for on a dependable schedule. Crowds, applause, a full-on city anxiety attack.
His cruise ship piece ran in January of ; it cleared the landscape, cut the runway for his novel. People photocopied it, faxed it, read it out loud over the phone. Then the novel arrived. His photo ran in Time, Newsweek. Esquire went ahead and called it a work of genius. That scary, special-case compliment which can excite resistance, since the unspoken second half is: Even the name—you had to say all three parts—was overflowing. A special case, a burger deluxe: David Foster Wallace.
The Times rolled the months into a clinical, prescription-pad voice, a resident toting up symptoms. February, that handicapped month, with squashed daylight and the sidewalks trickling. There were rumors. Women in the front rows batted their eyelashes, men at the back huffed, scowled, envied. Then the thronged book party, with the inevitable people wearing black—it looked like the cheeriest possible wake—and David stood in the hallway near the lavatories, while people with stars in their eyes came to shake his hand, congratulate him, just stand close tilting drinks and look at him—he was pumping out glamour like a reactor.
I watched him closely. This was more than it would ever have occurred to me to ask the world for. He looked abashed and excited and comfortable, like someone on a personal water slide.
I imagined another mistake you make at thirty: Then he left for his book tour. I identified. I traveled seventy blocks and signed bookstore copies.
Then, tour complete, I grabbed a subway home, unpacked, recuperated. He remained a city microclimate, fogging the reading zones. Then I flew to Chicago and drove to Bloomington. Questions you approach your friends with on tiptoe romance, parents, money, grudges it was my salaried duty to plant my feet and ask.
To dilute his feeling of being reported on—to make me seem more like an unbelievably inquisitive houseguest—David invited me to sleep in his second bedroom. I woke up in the middle of the night.
One of the dogs on a cycle: Two a. In our talks, you see me always giving the wised-up, padded-shoulder advice. Endorse the check, take the deal, get seconds, put your feet up. This was the payroll doctrine eight years of my life had trained me to spread. David keeps talking about the largest things, I keep countering with the smallest: I think it was on the airplane that I finally relaxed.
OK, he was quicker than me—also funnier than me. I could enjoy him and quit trying to match him. I think he did in the car, by the Henry Ford road-trip equation: David sent me a giant box a week later. I never, thank God, had to write the piece. I tried to write it, and kept imagining David reading it, and seeing through it, through me, and spotting some questionable stuff on the X-ray. And then Jann changed his mind. I was sent to Seattle to find heroin addicts who were after all in lots hotter water than I was , and it was much, much easier.
David had mixed feelings about publicity, and I asked her to pass along the good news. His sister told me later David had no hard feelings. He had that casual, urgent social gift: You wanted to be liked by him. I felt even more barefoot than before. It seemed hungry and ungenerous. I read him, thought about him, and I never saw him again except on television once. About a year before he died, I pulled out the days here and read them again. One thing kept touching me: We were both so young.
But here we are. When I think of this trip, I see David and me in the front seat of the car. It smells like chewing tobacco, soda, and smoke. The window is letting in a leak of cold air. The wheels are making their slightly sleepy sound of tape being stripped cleanly and endlessly off a long wall. We cover everything. It was smarter. I recognized it, it was different from mine; every area of it was completely occupied by feeling. We talk about what matters to any person. What to want, how to be a good person, how to read, how to write, how to think about others.
There are things he said to me that shifted my life, that joined my talk show, that are in the list of quotes I recite to myself. Give me twenty-four hours alone, and I can be really, really smart. His moment with Michael Ryan, which is everything about what ambition can do to you. What he guessed about my own personality.
What a person has every right to expect from you, what you ought to expect of yourself. David thought books existed to stop you from feeling lonely. Franzen said a sad, moving thing to me. He said losing David had been like watching a science fiction movie, when a small figure gets sucked out of the airlock.
An abrupt, absolute, quiet disappearance. He now has an unlisted phone number, because of fans. So we are playing chess. Stuff about me is a makes me uncomfortable and b is bad for me, because it makes me self-conscious when I write.
And I do not need to be more self-conscious.
Oh, fuck me! It takes a while for me to get in a groove. Well, fuck! Looking at the board Little, Brown bought both the hardcover and the softcover rights at the same time. I talk about my own friends—people he knows too—who arranged deals while touring for successful books. I had no choice on this book, it was sort of under way.
There was so much research I had to do, that I literally could not teach and do it at the same time. So I decided to eat it, and do it. Aware of your fame here? The grad students are vaguely aware I think. They must follow it? I think kids in the Midwest are different than kids on the East Coast. I think Time and Newsweek are fairly inescapable. So I think they kinda know. Which is why these programs try to pack themselves with the best-known and most-respected writers.
I know too many really good writers who are shitty teachers, and vice versa, to think that. But the writers are often interested in preserving as much of their own time as they can. I took the job for the health insurance. A sudden in-the-wrong-place sense.
An anxiety he felt before Infinite Jest. Edward Abbey was there … Robert Boswell helped him more than anybody …] I was so in thrall to Barth I just knew it would be sort of a grotesque thing. He patterned the longest part of his second book after Barth.
I have to cut it short: And they all are gonna have various deals to discuss. I swear to God. Like doing readings? You were good. And I think I come off looking like a maniac. I give like one or two readings in colleges a year. He laughs. And I never saw her again. She was standing right up front. We turn out to both know Elizabeth.
Good egg. Is comfortable with note-taking. Fifteen students. Women sit, as at an old-line synagogue, slightly apart from men. David wearing Fryes, blue bandanna. Carrying Diet Pepsi. Dave has noticed some surprising student errors this week. They laugh. The students know another thing: And they want somehow to acknowledge it.
Done being famous yet? Blush smile Two more minutes. Quick chatter about his media appearances. I love the way the Trib described your office. Did you wind up, like, next to Dick Vitale and Hillary Clinton? Dave says he got real nervous on the flights, kept picturing grave etc. Just put pepperoni and mushrooms on my Tombstone. A take-out, grocery pizza sort of joke.
They talk about his magazine photos. Dave blushes more. Is that me? Is also drinking a Diet Pepsi. Class begins with a jump from celebrity into the supernormal, the administrative. Office hours next week. Bring light reading material, if you have to wait in the hallway.
Begins work on student stories. Offering Very Sensible advice. Lots of jobs for fiction, you have to keep track of twelve different things—characters, plot, sound, speed.
But the job of the first eight pages is not to have the reader want to throw the book at the wall, during the first eight pages. He paces around the classroom. Happy, energetic. At one point, thinking, he even drops into a quick knee bend. Class laughs; they really like him. First story: Dave on story, always using TV: Or When Harry Met Sally. Dave glances up. Another story he likes: Craning up and down when discussion and story get him excited. The student being workshopped is a punkish guy: Take it from me.
To have the narrator be funny and smart, have him say funny, smart things some of the time. Holds steady. On the campus romance story. I could spend a half hour telling you about my trip to the store, but that might not be as interesting to you as it is to me. Notebooks closing, bookbags rising from floor to desktop. Ruckle noises, kids standing. Brings me a water to drink. Where would you be without me?
I can see the ashtrays. I wrote Broom of the System when I was very young. I mean, the first draft of that was my college thesis. There are parts of it that I think are good. Even at signings, when people bring it up to sign. The paperbacks? And they did just enough hardcovers that they could say … Post Jay McInerney. Yeah … It seems to me rather an odd thing to bring out again, that—because it was a totally different kind of fiction.
Nice to watch you blossom from what was initially a marketing thing. Some of this stuff is nice. But I also realize this is a big, difficult book. The thing about fame is interesting, although I would have liked to get laid on the tour and I did not. Only in Rolling Stone would I not worry about this. But it seems like, what I want is not to have to take any action.
Where is your hotel? Happens to Aerosmith. But maybe not to Abba Eban. Shyness and arrogance often go hand in hand, I think. Betrayal of your work self to do that? No, but I had this fantasy. Basically, it just would have made me be lonely.
You talk all you want, man. How do you learn to do this stuff? Because even I, I can clearly see there are certain strategies. Not really. My strategy here is getting facts about you. Your tour: Three weeks? Who will pick you up. Who will take you to the interview, then walk on your back and fuck your eyeballs out. And of course these escorts turn out to be burly Irishmen.
You know, in their forties. Who like basically tell you the whole life story of the interviewer before you go there. So the whole thing is a little amusing. I had two, both of them over fifty. Very cool. Boston born and bred. You have to click that little thing up. What does Jann want? Like his feints about tour sex above; like the chess, seeing how I respond, move by move. Is that true? Except the pub date was two and a half weeks ago. The book takes at least two months to read well.
So therefore, whatever famousness is about, the hype is famous. I mean, you as an emissary of Rolling Stone. I would like to get laid offa this. The shallow stuff. I would like to get laid off it. I now know he did this sort of thing as his approach, and I can see it here, his trying to guess what people wanted, what I wanted.
To be left alone, to nudge them away on the trip back through the living room, from work room to private room. The stuff I said to you while we were playing chess? I got no problem making money. I went through this time in my twenties of feeling, feeling a pressure and expectation far in excess of anything the real world could place on you. Taking money for something up front brings that pressure back. And um, the nice thing about teaching is that, I feel like teaching is my livelihood.
And I just, um, it may be true that I could get a lot of money if I took an advance now. But if I do it, I am downloading myself a pack of trouble. That I just—and that pain, that pain, I fear that pain more than I want the money. The whole thing about trying to regulate himself, to produce a temporary self he could be comfortable and function in.
Very squeezed parameters, somehow. Foreign sales: I play a certain number of games. Film sale? Probably unfilmable … Which maybe will make it rather easier to take money for it. Knowing that I will never have to see the artifact itself. No, I would take that money and run for the hills. As it turns out, the film rights are sold about six months later. Cooler heads will prevail.
But I would be pretty surprised. But if? Five years? Well, I think being shy basically means being self-absorbed to the extent that it makes it difficult to be around other people.
And I have elements of that shyness in me. End up plying their trade in the direct presence of other people. And maybe five or six other writers I know real well. You know? What will the effect of this be on you? Which in personal intercourse? Makes things very difficult. For a writer. But that actually comes in handy. It would be way too pomo and cute, to do.
But it would be very interesting. It would be the way for me to get some of the control back. And it might be why writers are such shitty interviews. Like Streitfeld thought I would never be his friend after the thing came out in Details. Little, Brown took an enormous chance doing the book. But this stuff is real bad for me, it makes me self-conscious. The more exposure I as a person get, the more it hurts me as a writer. But I said yes to this, so that I could in good conscience say no to a couple other things that are just way more toxic.
Why do you think of it as a kind of toxic self-consciousness— If I could get laid out of it. I think. Or maybe I really look like that. But the self-consciousness is helpful to you too? Are these short stories of the level of somebody who was just featured in Rolling Stone? Those things go away; like worries about where I am now, who I am now, whether my girlfriend last year was better for me, so was I maybe writing better then?
Did those figures in my landscape help me orient myself better, organize my life better? It goes away. But this is a rather stronger and more dangerous kind of self-consciousness. But I do know that to the extent that like, that I derive my self and satisfaction from the work, rather than whether Mr.
You know what I mean? So like, why climb into the arena with this bull? But that little part of me does not get to steer. That little part can turn pretty ravenous though? If you see me like you know as a guest on a game show in the next couple of years, we will know. Heavy tray, big Midwestern spread. Also cookies. And two Diet Cokes. When you all want your cookies, just come up and yell at me. Could we have a larger table, also, please? A friend of mine and I had this joke, that various things are pomo-erotic.
That part of the brain can prove to be ravenous? But I know it can be. Who would want to be that way? But many less-talented people than you get lots of attention. Which can be a little painful. This is an example of the system working. I think just: American Psycho—I thought he was really ill-served by his agent and publisher even letting him publish it, and those are the only two things of his that I read.
Same risk for you? Because whatever I do, the next thing will be very different from this. Maybe Infinite Jest II. To be merciful. David Leavitt noose quote: Reviewers will use my first book as a noose to hang my second. I think it often is. He wants to do it. It makes him happy. Here is this—this may piss you off or strike you as disingenuous. This is just not my cup of tea. How did it burn? You know, this lady Donna Tartt came? And I read Secret History. And I thought it was, you know, it was pretty good.
The waitress has returned with my tip after all. David retains his thought. And I just—you know, I went through some of that. Plus, the research on this thing. Until this escort in Chicago told me. I just missed like four years of this. Hemingway tapeworm quote: Her feature on Cross Creek could be just the ticket to show the country what the Cross brothers do best…which is more problem than solution for Eli. Scarlett Edwards-Stewart has photographed everything from end zones to war zones. Can his secret bring them closer together?
Or will it be the very thing that tears them apart? Already have an account? Sign in. I remember, sign in. Most of our books are stored in elastic clouds, and traffic is expensive. So we have a limit on the number of downloads. If you want to increase this limit, your can make a donation:. Donate Now.
Search Home About Donate. Book Details File Name crossing-the-line-by-kimberly-kincaid. Unnamed 2. Unnamed 4. This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.
Published by Montlake Romance, Seattle www. Kind of hard to believe Owen was only five years older than him, what with the whole thirty-two-going-on-grumpy-old-man thing the guy was rocking. For Chrissake, Owen bossed Eli over every last one of their acres even more than their father did, and Tobias Cross had run the farm since his own father had left it to him more than three decades ago.
Not that Eli actually listened to his brother much. He rolled a slow glance over the obviously empty crates, inhaling a lungful of humid, late-s 8. No, check that. What she really needed was a steamy, two-hour bubble bath followed by an equally long massage and enough sleep to make people wonder whether she was still breathing. She might love her job the way most people loved spouses or sports teams or anything else that could be invested in with a sheer ton of energy, sweat, and devotion, but even she had physical limits.
Spending her day trekking through three different international airports and twice as many time zones with thirty pounds of photo gear slung over each shoulder after three weeks of nonstop of work? Apparently her ticket to finding them. At least temporarily. Keeping the well-padded, bright-red bag holding her primary camera aka 9. He heard the translation as loud and clear as the Fourth of July fireworks over Willow Park.
Second of all, she sure hoped Mallory wanted a lot of pictures of corn, because Scarlett had just found the goddamn mother lode. Where was the funeral? The four men varied in age, one of them clearly the patriarch who ran the p Even if, with her wild, platinum-and-dark-blond-streaked hair and her olive-green eyes and her petite-yet-still-plenty-curvy frame, said photographer was hotter than homemade sin.
Turning the corner toward the three-sided alcove that housed the trash cans, the blue plastic recycling tubs, and the compost bin, Eli lifted the lid to the latter, the rough-hewn wood scraping across his palm as he dumped the contents of his bucket in with a thunk. The whole thing drove her apeshit, really—stewing on your feelings only made it impossible to move on to the next ones. So the last twelve minutes of her life, sitting literal feet but theoretical leagues away from Eli Cross in total screaming silence?
Pretty much her definition of hell on earth. Home sweet home for now. Thoroughly meh. Stabbing his boots into the soft, uneven grass beneath the apple tree, he surged forward, his arms shooting out just in time for Scarlett to crash into them in a tangle of jerky motions and top-shelf curse words.
But shit, she had to have been stu Her back might not have stopped throbbing out a steady beat of ow-ow-ow on the drive back up the lane, and yeah, her pride was still riding shotgun right there next to it.
No way was she going to scale back for a little thing like pain now. Although holy hell in a handbasket, yellow jacket stings hurt. Which was really saying something, considering there was a not-small amount of cow manure in his immediate future. Stupid fucking peaches. The first was that kissing her should feel impulsive and reckless and crazy. The second? Was that the first thought could take the direct path to hell, because Scarlett felt fucking flawless in his arms.
Their lips touched for only a second, two at the most, before Scarlett pulled back slightly to stare at him. Dread trickled into his belly on a reality chaser, and Jesus, Mary, and all the saints, had he seriously just kissed her? For a sliver of a second, Eli stood stock-still, locked into place. Although the connection of their mouths was the same as it had been only seconds ago—just lips on lips, barely moving—this kiss was different.
It stemmed from want. Hot and pure. Of course, right now her calves were tag-teaming with her lower back to give her no-brainer a whole lot of grief, to the point that Scarlett had no choice but to admit the truth.
Now that she finally had a bit of daylight on her side, Scarlett took advantage of her brief respite on the sidelines to check out her surroundings. The pavilion was part of a larger park area, with ball fields and playground No, scratch that. He should be ecstatic. But as goofy as it was, the expression was warranted.
He could handle sitting next to her without making a complete ass of himself. Scarlett leaned in from her seat next to him to put her empty pint glass on the table, and Christ on a cracker, how could any woman smell like fresh-cut flowers in the middle of a goddamn country bar? Can I grab anyone a refill or something from the kitchen? She wanted him. And she was done waiting. Quiet filtered into the truck, punctuated by the creak and sigh of the now-still engine and the soft rustle of denim and cotton against leather as they both shifted against the front seats of the truck to look at each other.
But the soft, warm body next to him definitely was out of the ordinary. The fact that said body belonged to Scarlett, who—oh by the way—was not only next to him but also as naked as the day she was born and holding his leather-bound, special-edition copy of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare in her bed-sheet-covered lap?
Screw out of the ordinary. This was downright fucking insane.
And judging by the curiosity in her shrewd, gorgeous stare, all his ugly truths were about to be right in the middle of it. It is morning, right? How do you feel about a field trip? I took some incredible shots of the preparations for Fall Fling on the afternoon we spent in Willow Park. Everything else came with varying degrees of dodge and deflect, of cautious moves and cocky cover-ups.
He brought his mouth down on hers in one swift move.