Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine #14 - Eli Blake. I didn't want to love him. But I do. I really, really do.

What is the name of today's Valentine?

How old is he when we meet him?


What stands out most about him?

He's a superstar.

Nice guy or douche?

Big time, enormous, colossal douche. Douche with a capital "D" douche. DDDDOOOOUUUUCCHHHHEEEEE.

Favorite moment with him?

When I sat down to write Eli, I had a pretty clear idea of what I was going for. We'll get to that later, but suffice it to say, he did not disappoint.

I wanted to write someone so cocky, so arrogant, so egotistical, so full of himself that any little glimpse of a a "real boy" underneath it all would blow. Everyone. AWAY. (Starting with me.)

This was that moment for me. This was where I knew I could love him. (I've added some previous scenes for context.)

Thanks to his celebrity status, we were ushered back into a private waiting room, to wait our turn behind the other non-critical injuries currently clogging up the hospital ER. An hour ticked painfully by, and my ankle darkened by the minute. It was clearly bruising from my pinkie toe all the way up to my lower calf. Eli smirk fell as he watched, calculating how we were going to handle this new complication.

“You’re going to have to stay with me,” he decided.

“No way in hell,” I replied. I was in a lot of pain, but I wasn’t delirious, for fuck’s sake.

“You can’t stay in your apartment,” he reasoned. “Especially if they put you on crutches.”

I thought about the narrow stairwell at Ling’s place. It would be a bitch to navigate that steep, dark staircase on crutches, but it was infinitely more preferable to staying at Eli’s place.

Then it occurred to me that I only had one month left before I had to move out of my apartment, which meant not only would I have to walk up and down those stairs every day, I was going to have to find a way to move what little stuff I had there into a whole new place entirely.

“You’re such an asshole,” I muttered before I gently held my ankle, which had now swollen twice its size.

“It was an accident, Carly. You know that.”

“Do I?” I shot back. His eyes met mine.

“Yeah. You do. I didn’t hurt you on purpose.”

“No, you never hurt anyone on purpose,” I sneered. “Just behind everyone’s back like the sniveling coward you are.”

It was his turn to get mad. “What do you want me to do? I can’t go back in time and change anything.”

My eyes shot to his. “You could apologize. That’s what normal humans do when they fuck up. ‘Gee, Carly. I seem to have really hurt you. I’m so sorry.’ Not, ‘here, let’s use your injury as an excuse to move in with me, because we can’t let PING to use video against us and hurt my precious career.’” I growled deep in my throat. “Face it. Everything always works out the way you want it to.”

He didn’t get a chance to reply before we were taken back to the examination room. He stood by quietly as the doctor began his examination.

I ended up moving in with Eli Blake not on Valentine’s Day, like he wanted, but January 17th, just five days into our year-long contract. All because of my Grade III ankle sprain, and the six damnable weeks it would take to heal.

By the time I left the ER, I had a brand new splint and boot for my ankle, along with some crutches, which would make navigating the narrow stairwell of my current apartment practically an Olympian feat, especially given I did this now for an audience of curious camera monkeys who wanted to publicize my every move—the more embarrassing the better.

So I didn’t argue much when Satan—I mean, Eli—offered to let me recuperate in his Malibu beach house.

He kept things quiet on the drive there. He didn’t even play the radio. When we got there, he pulled the car as close as he could to the front door to make it easier on me.

Of course, navigating my new crutches like a newborn gazelle was anything but easy. Eli hovered around me to make sure I didn’t fall.

I so wanted to stick one of my crutches where the sun didn’t shine.

As soon as we entered the hallway, the polished wood floor presented yet another challenge. It took me what felt like an hour and a half to get down to the sunken living room, where I nearly broke my neck maneuvering down the wide steps. I hobbled towards one of the leather sofas, where I collapsed gratefully. The hydrocodone they had given me at the hospital had finally kicked in, though it really didn’t do much to help with the pain. I just didn’t really care I was in it anymore.

“Let’s get you into bed,” he said as he placed everything aside. “It’s a lot more comfortable than this small sofa.”

“I don’t care,” I mumbled as my head lolled on my shoulders. I could have slept on a bed of nails at that point.

Little did I know that was exactly where Eli planned to take me. He whisked me up into his arms, not even bothering with the crutches. This was bad enough. Folded in half, stuffed in his arms, I knew he could feel every inch and bulge he despised.

Worse, he pointed us right towards his master bedroom.

It scared me straight. I practically clawed at the wall to stop his progress. “I’m not sleeping in your bedroom,” I told him.

“It’s the only bedroom on the ground floor,” he countered without even looking at my face.

“How convenient,” I snapped. He just clutched me tighter. “Let me go, Eli, or I swear to God…”

He didn’t even let me finish. His blue eyes flashed at mine. “You’ll do what, Gimpy?”

Suddenly it made perfect sense why Rhonda had turned Frank’s office into a carny ring-toss. This egomaniac didn’t give a shit. About anything. Or anyone. “I hate you.”

“Maybe. But you need me. So pull up your big-girl panties and deal with it.”

He kicked open the door to his bedroom and stalked purposefully towards the bed. I couldn’t help but note the irony of our situation. Out of all the girls he had brought into this very room, likely carrying them to bed just like he was carrying me, I was the only one he would never dream of seducing, despite all the songs he sang.

So I didn’t argue as he placed me on the bed, grabbing some of the extra pillows to prop up my leg per doctor’s orders. Instead I laid flat, as bone-weary as I had ever been since coming to California. The exhausting events of the day finally took their toll. With the help of heavy narcotic medication, I was asleep before he finished fussing over me.

It was dark when I awoke some time later. The window blinds were open, as well as the patio door, so I could hear the waves crash against the shore just outside on Eli’s private stretch of beach.

My leg was propped up on the extra pillows, and a thin blanket covered me to give me a little warmth against the cool ocean breeze that filtered through his room. There was a glass of water on the nightstand beside the bed, along with my phone. My crutches were in reach just beyond that, in case I needed to get up for any reason, like going to the bathroom.

It was practically thoughtful. And very puzzling.

Our eyes met when he walked back into the room. “I feel like watching some TV. Want to join me?”

I swallowed my immediate denial, which came as natural as breathing. “Sure,” I finally said.

He walked over to where I sat and scooped me effortlessly into his arms.

“I can walk, you know,” I muttered.

“No, you can’t,” he said. “Non-weight bearing, remembering?"

“That’s why I have crutches.”

“The media room is downstairs,” he commented. “Besides, I would think my new loving girlfriend would entertain any excuse to be in my arms.”

I swallowed any retort and allowed him to carry me downstairs into his epic media room, at the end of a long, Kelly green hallway with the same polished wood flooring as in the entryway.

The walls of the media room, however, were flame red, as were the leather sofas that sat in front of an 88” curved TV with every bell and whistle any man in his 20s might require. There were at least three game systems as well as video and audio equipment. On the other side of this windowless room was a fully stocked bar. “You spared no expense,” I commented.

“I’m not afraid to pay for the best,” he replied, tongue planted firmly in cheek.

Thanks to my .5mg hydrocodone, I didn’t make it long into the movie. I awoke just long enough to feel Eli jostle me back into his arms to carry me back upstairs to bed. Like before, he set up my leg on the pillow and covered me up so that I wouldn’t get too chilly from the open windows. He refilled the water, brought me my phone and my computer, which he placed on the other side of the bed.

He didn’t say anything, leaving me alone in the bedroom. I thought maybe he’d gone back down to the media room, but instead he brought me a piece of cake and some milk, which he placed on the table beside me. As he straightened, our eyes met. I sucked up all my pride as best I could. “Thank you.”

A hint of a smile tugged at his mouth. “You’re welcome.”

I watched as he walked back around the bed and towards the other end of the bedroom, where his office was. He reached the door before he turned back to face me. “Carly?”

I held my breath. “Yes?”

“I’m really sorry that I hurt you today.”

His apology was softly delivered, with no smirk to be seen. It was everything I had wanted all day, and everything I was sure the likes of Eli Blake could never deliver.

“Thank you,” I said softly, stumbling over my own tongue in my surprise.

He nodded and shut the door behind him.

What do you love about him?

His tenacity. When he wants something, he'll do whatever needs to be done to make it happen. He is not afraid to work for his dream, either.

What do you hate about him?

His an entitled, self-absorbed prick who sees things a very specific way. And he's self-absorbed to think everyone else must feel the same.

If you went on a date, where would you go?

Dancing barefoot on a beach, next to a posh, five-star restaurant where he introduced me to exotic new food and wine.

Who inspired him?

This guy.

Who might play him in a movie?

Do you have a special song that reminds you of him?

I found this one while still working on the outline. It became the instant theme.

Any "Easter Eggs" planted with this book boyfriend?

A few more than I want to own at the present time. Ask me in a year. Maybe I'll be a little braver then.

Where can we find him?

GLITTER ON THE WEB was my best-seller for 2016, and it's all full of Eli Goodness (AND badness.) Not only can you win your own copy with my sweepstakes, but it's going to have its own countdown deal all Valentine's Day. The quicker you one-click, the more you save. But, wait! There's more! The story continues in FULL-FIGURED FLOOZIES, which is available to read FOR FREE through Kindle Unlimited.

Enjoy a little Eli on this, our last day of this promotion. And wait till next year, when I hope to introducing you to at least one more dreamy hero, while exploring more stories with our old favorites.

Happy Valentine's Day, y'all. From all my guys and me. <3

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