Letters to Kelly

Jax set his laptop computer on the dining table in his hotel suite, attached the power cord, and plugged it into the wall. He hit the ‘on’ switch and the computer wheezed to life.

He pulled his spiral notebook and his collection of computer disks out of his briefcase and found the one labeled Jared.

This book was an historical, with most of the action taking place during the Civil War era. He’d written a number of Civil War books before, so the research he’d had to do for this one had been minimal. This book was going to be fast and easy, especially since the story was one he was extremely familiar with.

He put the disk into the computer’s drive and called up the job. After less than a week of work, he was already up to page 163, and he’d just finished writing the explosive, pivotal fight scene between Jared, the hero, and Edmund, the heroine’s brother.

He quickly skimmed the last few pages that he’d written, but it was all still fresh in his memory, so he went right to work, starting the next scene.

With bleakness in his eyes, Jared stared at the heavy wrought-iron gates that separated him from Sinclair Manor. The gates had been shut when night had fallen, just as they had been every night. In the morning the servants would come out, unlock them, and throw them open wide.

As Jared stood in the darkness, his gaze moving up to the brightly lit house on the hill, he knew without a doubt that, day or night, he was no longer welcome there. Those gates had been closed to him forever.

Jax stopped writing to take a sip from a can of soda. Now what? Now Jared had to get over that fence.

But Carrie was in there, and welcome or not, he meant to have her. With an effortless leap, he climbed up, up and over the sharp spikes that decked the top of the tall fence, letting himself drop lightly to the ground on the other side.

He’d made a promise to Carrie. It was a promise he intended to keep.

Keeping to the trees, moving quietly, the way he’d learned as a young boy in the wilds of Kentucky, he approached the manor house. He moved with purpose, his mouth set in a grim line of determination, making his dark good looks seem almost savage, making it seem as if more than just a quarter of the blood that ran through his veins was Indian.

His gaze quickly found Carrie’s bedroom window–

“Whoa, wait a minute,” Jax muttered as he stopped writing. “Where do you think you’re going?”

In his mind he could see Jared turning to stare at him, arms crossed, eyebrow raised, impatience clearly written on the character’s handsome face. “I’m going to see Carrie.”

“Nuh-uh-uh,” Jax chided gently. “According to my outline, you’re supposed to meet her in the gazebo.”

“Right,” Jared said with exasperation. “Only she doesn’t show, her brother Edmund does, and he beats the crap out of me again, because I’m too noble to raise a hand against him on account of the fact that he used to be my best friend. In reality, I could whip him with one hand behind my back. I’m getting tired of this, and so will all your readers.” He glanced up at Carrie’s window again. “It’s time for some sex.”

Jax crossed his arms, leaning back with a sigh. His heroes were all alike. They all wanted immediate, instant gratification. They all loved the heroines desperately, and couldn’t understand why Jax made them go through all sorts of contortions before being allowed to live happily ever after.

Of course, the New York Times best-seller list meant nothing to them.

“I love Carrie,” Jared was arguing right now. “And she loves me. I know it — she told me in that last scene you wrote. Face it, Jax, there’s no way on earth I’d get on a boat for Europe and leave her behind. It’s entirely out of character.”

“No it’s not,” Jax said quietly. “Not if you thought it was the best thing for Carrie.”

Jared sighed, shaking his head slowly. “Carrie? Or Kelly? This is fiction, Jax. Don’t get it confused with the things that went wrong in your life.”

“If things don’t go wrong, there’s no story,” Jax pointed out. “You want to climb up into Carrie’s room and make love to her, right?”

Jared nodded.

“And you plan to sneak her out of the house, and take her with you to Europe.”

Jared nodded again, his eyes drawn once again to that dimly lit window on the second floor of the house.

“What are you going to do for money?” Jax asked. “Carrie is used to living a certain lifestyle. Have you thought about that?”

Jared shrugged. “I know she loves me more than money,” he said with an easy smile. “As long as we’re together, she’ll be happy.”

“You’re too perfect,” Jax said in disgust. “I’ve got to give you some insecurities, or some dark family secret.”

“Oh, please, not the dark family secret thing,” Jared groaned. “I’m already one-quarter Native American and dirt poor to boot. Isn’t that scandalous enough?”

“Obviously not,” Jax muttered. “I’d like this book to have more than 175 pages, if you don’t mind.”

“You want more pages?” Jared asked, his face brightening. “I’ve got a good idea. How about this — a hundred page love scene? Just me and Carrie, and a hundred pages of bliss?”

Jax laughed out loud. “My oh my, a little horny today, aren’t we?”

Jared’s eyes were glued to Carrie’s window. “One hundred and sixty-three pages, and I’ve been trying to get my hands on Carrie since page one,” he said. “Two different times you bring me right to the brink of ecstasy, only to snatch her away from me at the last minute. I’m dying here, Jax. Give me a break.”

Jackson smiled suddenly. “All right,” he said. “Go for it. Climb that trellis.”

His hard gaze quickly found Carrie’s bedroom window, and in a matter of moments, he was scaling the side of the house, climbing the trellis, unmindful of the thorns from the roses that scratched his hands.

Jared stopped climbing, and glared back at Jax. “You could have chosen ivy, but you had to use roses with thorns, didn’t you? Man, you never give me a break.”

“Roses are romantic,” Jax said. “Besides, you’re unmindful of them.”

The window was open, and Jared quickly pushed it wider and slipped inside. He knew as soon as his feet touched her bedroom floor that something was wrong. With his heart pounding, Jared stared at the carefully stripped bed, at the empty vanity top, the barren bookshelf. Where were all of Carrie’s things, all of her clutter? He strode to the closet, swinging the doors open.


All of her clothes were gone.

“Looking for something?” Edmund Sinclair’s taunting voice made Jared whirl around. Carrie’s brother was standing in the doorway, watching him, a sneer on his aristocratic face. “Or someone?”

“Where is she?” Jared’s voice was harsh.

“She’s gone,” Edmund said. “My father thought it best if she went to visit some relatives for a while. Funny, I can’t recall whether she went to Vermont, or Connecticut. Or maybe it was Maine.”

Jared spun to glare at Jax. “You son of a bitch,” he spat. Two large strides brought him toward Edmund, and he hauled off and punched his former friend in the face. Without another word, Jared disappeared out the window.

Jax grinned and kept writing. Yeah, it was time for Edmund to get knocked down. He’d keep that in.

From Letters to Kelly
by Suzanne Brockmann
excerpt copyright 2002

Letters to Kelly
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