Tangled Friendships (and plotlines)


As I wrote in this morning’s post, the original storyline for Texas Tangle was to be a novella between Nikki and Dillon. Originally Nikki was the only one with issues—the aftermath of a failed marriage and a brother who thought nothing of taking everything she owned. Dillon Barnett—well, Dillon I saw as someone with a great family, who hadn’t had to deal with heavy-duty issues. Someone who always had a smile on his face and everyone was his best buddy. Someone who would ride up on his white horse in his white pick-up and lend his neighbor a hand, whether they were man, woman, or donkey.

The sigh she’d been holding back escaped. “You know, your hat’s the wrong color.”

Frowning, he took off his Stetson and examined it, checking it both inside and out. “What d’ya mean? It looks fine to me.”

“It’s black. It should be white.” Lame, Nikki. Real lame.

“Why—oh, white hat. Good guy. I gotcha.” His puzzled expression remained. “Why am I a good guy? Because I stopped? Heck, I couldn’t have just driven by. What type of a person would that make me?”

“Like the half-dozen other drivers who left me standing here?”

After knocking the dust off his hat on his thigh, he resettled it on his head, covering the thick black hair she’d been fantasizing running her fingers through. The shadows thrown by the brim hid the liquid-chocolate eyes that turned her knees into putty. “Pretty girl standing all alone at the side of the road at night? You’re safer that they didn’t stop.”

But then the plans for the novella went by the wayside when Brett walked in and said howdy. The story got longer and the relationships entangled even more because despite Brett’s blond hair and blue eyes, he’s a very dark and broody character. And he has a history with Nikki that Dillon didn’t have.

Midnight had long since come and gone when Brett let himself into his apartment. His shoulders loosened, as did the knot that had formed in his gut. It was stupid. He’d already driven by the Double Bar and saw Dillon’s truck parked out front and knew there’d be no one here. Yet he’d expected to find Dillon waiting for him, even braced himself to have a knock-down-drag-out.

Not that he’d done anything wrong. Yet. He hadn’t kissed Nikki, though he’d been less than a nanosecond away from giving in to temptation. So Dillon had no reason to beat him up again. But he’d come so close.

It damned near killed him trying to pretend he didn’t want to drag Nikki up to his room and make love to her night after night. To pretend he didn’t need her cuddling him in the darkest hours of the night when the nightmares hit.

He diverted to the kitchen and grabbed a beer, then padded into the living room. Stretched out on the couch, he pillowed his head with his arm and settled back with a sigh, using the television as his nightlight. He flipped around the channels, but gave up on finding anything good, so he switched on the DVD player.

Instead of paying attention to whatever the hell crap movie was playing, his mind drifted back to his situation. He’d almost blown it today. Considering Nikki was very definitely in a relationship with Dillon this time, if he’d moved that half inch, if he’d given in to his fantasy, he’d have found himself cast from the Barnett family permanently. After Dillon had kicked his butt from here to kingdom come.

Okay, I admit I may have a small sadistic streak in me because it was fun making Dillon struggle for the first time in his life, to force him to realize that life wasn’t as easy for everyone as life had been for him. To punish him for taking Brett’s friendship for granted. Dillon had some growing up to do; he deserved to have to work for the love of a good woman and to keep  his best friend. Brett needed a lot of reassurance that he deserved a happy-ever-after (even though during one insomnia-induced what-the-heck-was-I-thinking night I wrote a scene killing Brett off—but that’s a story for another day—don’t worry, once I got a good night’s sleep, I cut the scene and made sure he had his happy ending.) And Nikki? Well, Nikki has to put up with both their issues, as well as all the other problems her own family has forced on her, and try to keep everyone happy, including herself. And we all know, that’s tough to do, because you can’t please everyone. So she has to get her priorities in order.

See? There was no way I could tell their story, and solve their issues in under thirty thousand words.


Growing up in rural Ontario, Leah Braemel learned to lose herself in the make-believe worlds she found in her mother’s books. At the age of seven, she realized she could write her own stories, and in her early teens she discovered her love of romances. Soon all her stories revolved around giving her heroes and heroines their Happy-Ever-After.

Married to her college sweetheart and the mother of two sons, Leah is the only woman in a houseful of men—even their cat is male. Shoving her writing in the closet while she raised her family, she gained some varied and interesting insights while working with a security firm liaising with Toronto’s Emergency Task Force and bomb squad and later teaching computers to women escaping abusive relationships.

After a conversation with her eldest son about how he needed to follow his dreams, Leah decided she needed to follow her own advice and make her own dreams of becoming a writer come true. She was thrilled when her first sizzling romance was published in 2009.

If you want to read longer excerpts from Texas Tangle, you can visit Leah’s website or her blog. You can also find Leah on Facebook and Twitter.

**reminder: Commenting on an author’s blog entry/entries for the day will enter you to win a digital copy of their Carina Press title. One winner daily. Commenting on any of the Countdown entries will enter you into the big giveaway for a Carina Press promo prize pack. One winner at end of Countdown.**

20 thoughts on “Tangled Friendships (and plotlines)”

  1. Mitzi H. says:

    I’m soooo happy that you didn’t kill Brett off….and this story has a HEA ending. I’m loving the excepts….both men are delicious!!!

  2. This looks unbelievably fantastic! I can’t wait to read it. And I totally empathize with the sadistic streak!!

  3. elaing8 says:

    Great excerpt. I really really want to read this :) I’m glad Brett walked in and it no longer was a novella.I want to read all about these boys :)

  4. EC Sheedy says:

    Dear goddess! Yet another good-looking book–and man–for me to fawn over in the coming month. I may blow out my Sony.

  5. karen says:

    This story looks great. I can understand why a novella just wouldn’t do. Can’t wait to read it!

  6. Bonnie Dee says:

    Super storyline and I really love the title. :)

  7. Leah Braemel says:

    Hey, Bonnie — I loved the title too, yet strangely enough when I did a poll on my blog, it came 4th out of 5. I went with it anyway cuz I liked it best, and I’ve had so many comments from others about it too, so I’m pleased.

    Elaing8 & Karen — I think it’s a much stronger story because I didn’t try to force it to stay a novella. I love tortured heroes and love to explore under the surface.

    Christine — LOL about the sadistic streak. It makes writing so much more fun, and hopefully it’ll make it a fun read too.

    EC – you and me both on our Sony overloads this month.

    Mitzi — I may put the original scene up one day on my website as a “deleted scene” like they do on DVDs. But after Texas Tangle comes out, that is.

  8. I want to read this book so badly! The cover alone makes me drool. The excerpts I’ve read are awesome. Thanks, Leah, for following your dream to become a writer. We’re all glad you did. ;)

  9. Estella says:

    Can see why a novella wouldn’t do!

  10. Bernita says:

    Just. Terrific, Leah!

  11. Inez Kelley says:


    *sheepishly looks around*

    How BIG do they grow ’em in Texas?

    What? Like no one else was wondering?!

  12. Pearl says:

    I am so glad these characters were stubborn enough to demand more than a novella from you! I really can’t wait to read the full story and I suspect that still won’t be enough for me ;)

  13. Cecile says:

    Holy crap Batman! I like this book! Please could me in!

  14. Looking forward to reading more about this story.

  15. Maria D. says:

    I’m really looking forward to reading this book. I prefer longer books and this sounds like something that I would really enjoy. Congrats on the Carina release!

  16. This is fantastic :) June 28th is HOW far away?

  17. Fedora says:

    Ooh boy, Leah! Glad you took the extra words to tell their story! Sometimes longer IS better :)

  18. Ilona says:

    Glad you dropped the scene killing off Brett and decided to give him a happy ending too. I’ll have to get this book and keep an eye open for Brett’s story :D

  19. Diane M. says:

    This one I have to red.

  20. Shell B says:

    Leah…… Can’t wait….. need this now…..!!!!

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