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Monday, May 3, 2010

GUEST BLOG: MEG BENJAMIN

Wedding Bell Blues

Wedding Bell Blues, my second Konigsburg book, grew out of a couple of things. First, of course, was my desire to go back to the mythical Konigsburg, Texas, which I’d grown to love during the course of writing Venus In Blue Jeans. Second was the wedding of my older son. Now this was by no means the disaster that my characters experienced in Wedding Bell Blues, but it had its moments.

To begin with, my son and his fiancĂ©e had decided to get married on New Year’s Eve since that was the night he’d proposed (giving them an entire year to work on the details). We suggested this might make it a little tough for some people to attend, but they were determined and romantic and…well, we decided, what the hell.

In Wedding Bell Blues, the groom and his attendants have trouble finding tuxes that fit because they’re all very tall. This was also true for my two sons, both of whom are six-three. They both managed to find acceptable tuxes, but it was a struggle. Finding a dress for myself became an ordeal because I never wear dresses as a rule. A good friend assured me that I had to wear a dress and that it couldn’t be black. I wore a complicated silver satin skirt with a red velvet top. The Mother Of the Bride wore a black pantsuit and looked terrific. I tried not to gnash my teeth.

Fortunately for everyone, nobody as mean as Sherice Toleffson took part in the wedding. In fact, everyone was terribly sweet. I have to admit that I don’t remember a great deal of the reception beyond the fact that I, who never dance, had to dance with my son. It wasn’t pretty.

So anyway, it was a lovely wedding, and since it took place on New Year’s Eve, everybody remembers their anniversary!

So here’s a quick snippet from Wedding Bell Blues (out in print on May 4).

“Why did you become such a nice girl in the first place, Janie Dupree?” He watched her now, dark eyes to dark eyes. “Nature or nurture?”

“I’m from Konigsburg.” Her smile turned wry. “Females here are bred to be nice. My daddy was from East Louisiana and Mama’s from Lampasas—they both knew how girls were supposed to behave. I’ve spent most of my life living up to that standard, even after Daddy died.”

“What happened to him?”

“He was killed in an accident on the highway—his truck collided with a semi. I was nineteen.” Janie shook her head. “I had three semesters at UT, and then I had to come home and help my mom.”

“Nice girl,” Pete said softly.

She nodded. “Nice girl. I always wanted to go back and finish, but I’ve never had time.”

“So now?”

“So now I’m assistant manager of the bookstore, thanks to Docia.” She shrugged. “I never thought I’d get this far. I figured I’d be a waitress for the rest of my life.”

“Gratitude’s a bitch,” He murmured.

“No. I don’t resent her. Not Docia. And not Cal. He’s the best thing that ever happened to her. I’m so happy for her. I want her to have the best wedding ever.”

Pete nodded. “Yeah. Same for him and me. Although my little brother has never had a problem finding women. Girls always flocked after him like swallows headed back to Capistrano, not that he ever seemed to notice.”

“They didn’t do that with you and Lars?”

He paused to consider. “Lars, yeah. Lars is Mr. Responsible—or he used to be, before Sherice. Women always thought he was a great husband candidate.”

“And you?” Janie cocked her head.

Pete stared up at the streetlight on Spicewood. “Nope. Nobody has ever considered me much of a candidate for Mr. Right. I’m a great candidate for Mr. Right Now, however.” He glanced back at her, feeling his groin tighten. This was definitely not the direction he’d originally planned on going. But then lately his plans had had a tendency to go south.

Part of his brain screamed at him to say good night and go upstairs, but it couldn’t make the connection to the rest of his body, particularly not when she smiled at him like she was doing now.

“I guess that’s one way to get rid of sympathizers. Jump into bed with somebody else.”

She was going to keep talking, and he was going to say something supremely stupid. That was almost a given. Pete leaned over abruptly and covered her mouth with his own.

Heat flashed through his body, sucking the breath from his lungs. She was soft and warm against him, her breasts pressed lightly on his chest. He cupped her face in his hands, angling his head to deepen the kiss.

Janie’s hands moved up his chest to his shoulders. And then she pushed, gently. She tipped her head back, staring up at his face, her eyes narrowed. “Tell me the truth, Pete Toleffson—are you doing this because you feel sorry for me?”

“Sorry?” He was having trouble focusing. What exactly was she talking about? And why had she stopped kissing him?

Her jaw firmed. “Are you sorry for me because Otto dumped me so publicly?”

Good Lord, she was serious!

It took him a moment to remember just who Otto was. “If I’m sorry for anybody, it’s Otto,” he muttered. “The freakin’ idiot blew it big time.”

Janie gave his shoulders a small shake, like a miniature Rottweiler. “I’m serious, Pete. I don’t want pity.”

Pete took a deep breath, closing his eyes. If only he could get enough blood back to his brain to form a sentence. “I don’t believe in pity sex, Ms. Dupree. Among other things, pity doesn’t really do much to get me in the right mood.”

She grinned up at him. “Are you in the right mood?”

Too much talking. Entirely too much talking was going on right now. “Lady, I’ve been in the right mood since I saw you walk into the Dew Drop my first night in town.”

He dropped his head, opening his mouth against hers again. One arm locked around her shoulders as he pulled her against him. Then Janie’s arms wrapped around his neck, and she pressed her body to his, shoulder to hip.

Pete felt as if a small rocket had ignited in his groin. He leaned back against the stair, moving his tongue into the warmth of her mouth, his fingers spearing through her soft hair. All of his senses were suddenly in play—pinwheels of light went off before his eyes, he tasted something sweet, spicy, felt the warm, wet rasp of her tongue, smelled a faint echo of lavender, heard the distant humming of the street lights—or was that him?

Janie’s fingers slid beneath his shirt, smoothing across his chest. Her palm touched the jut of his nipple and every inch of his body was suddenly like rock.

Somehow he had to get her upstairs. Now.

~~~~~


Meg Benjamin writes about South Texas, although she recently moved to Colorado. Her comic romances are set in the Texas Hill Country in the mythical town of Konigsburg. When she isn’t writing, Meg spends her time listening to Texas music, drinking Texas wine, and keeping track of her far-flung family. She recently retired from twenty years of teaching writing, Web design, and desktop publishing. She love to hear from readers—contact her at meg@megbenjamin.com.

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