Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Scene for MASTERS AT ARMS (Karla and Adam)

As I was editing MASTERS AT ARMS Sunday night, the ending of Chapter One changed dramatically--and for the better. Instead of Adam saying goodbye to the 16-year-old pink-haired runaway, Karla, from the taxi in front of her house, he's hauled out of the cab by Karla's father who thinks he's some kind of pervert. Once the misunderstanding is cleared up, the Paxtons get him inside to clean up the wounds he received in a fight to protect Karla at the bus station. 

Karla's mom, Jenny, is a nurse and is patching him up. She's sent Karla upstairs for their new first-aid kit. We start out in Adam's head. Oh, Karla's friends call her "Kitty," as does she sometimes in her internal thoughts. Ian is Karla's brother. (This snippet is totally unedited, new WIP material. Please excuse any errors.)

[Jenny] stepped back to face him. “Adam, we can’t thank you enough. When we found Karla’s bed empty an hour or so ago…” Adam heard the catch in her voice and looked up to see tears swimming in her eyes. “We panicked. The police wouldn’t even look for her for 24 hours. It’s not much, but please know we’re forever in your debt.”
“Sorry, Mom. It took me a while—”
Adam looked at the entrance to the kitchen to find that Karla had come to a dead stop with her jaw hanging open. Her eyes homed in on his naked chest. Shit, he’d embarrassed her. He reached for his shirt.
“Come on, girl. Don’t just stand there. Get over here.” When Karla remained stock-still, Jenny barked in a tone a boot-camp sergeant would love, “Now!” Then, to Adam, she stilled his movement to put his shirt back on. “Don’t you dare. She’s seen her brother’s bare chest a million times.”
* * *
But Ian’s chest didn’t look anything like Adam’s.
Karla brought the kit to her mom, unable to take her eyes off Adam’s muscular pecs and biceps. His skin was evenly tanned, not a single hair anywhere on his chest. She had a whole new appreciation for the anatomy lessons she’d had in health class, because they allowed her a chance to label all of his beautiful parts. Standing so close, she felt the heat radiating from his body, even more noticeable than it had been at the bus station.
Her mother worked to open the latch of the new kit while Karla continued her observations. His pectoral muscles bulged, hard nipples protruding from dark brown areolas. Karla just stared at his nips. No, not the scientific term, but that's what her friends called them when they ogled the juvenile boys in their gym class. None of those boys had nips of stone like Adam’s. 
She itched to reach out and touch one to see if it was as hard as it looked, but her mother would have made her leave the room if she did that. She wouldn’t risk that happening, so she clenched her fists at her sides.
Her gaze went lower. His abdominals were…well…. Oh, my! Now she knew why they called them a six pack. She’d probably be able to bounce a quarter off them if he were lying down.
Oh, no, Kitty. Don’t think about him lying down!
Too late. Her face grew warm. What would Adam be like as her lover? Gentle, tender, romantic? Not that she had any experience with lovers or sex. None of the boys her age attracted her, and she'd always been more interested in her music career than in dating. But she’d watched lots of love scenes in the movies and on TV. Adam truly had the most beautiful upper body she’d ever seen in her whole life--real or make believe.
“Open this and hand me one of the swabs.”
Her mother handed her a cellophane package with two Q-tips inside. With great reluctance, Karla tore her gaze away from Adam's chest, then, realizing how important this was, went to work with a new sense of purpose. If only her hands would quit shaking. She wanted to be able to do this right. What if she didn’t and he got an infection and a fever and maybe even died, all because his cut lip wasn’t cleaned properly. 
Without touching the cotton end, she handed the swab to her mom and watched her dip it in a bottle of alcohol. She knew from experience that was going to hurt like a mother.
“This is going to sting.”
You’d better believe it. Her mom rubbed the wet cotton over his split lip, holding his chin to keep him steady. Karla wished she could touch him like that. He closed his eyes, but didn’t make a sound. Her lower abdomen clenched, as if she were experiencing the pain for him.
“There.” Her mom laid the Q-tip on the paper towel she’d placed on the table. “Now let’s get some antibiotic ointment on that lip.”
Karla saw the tinge of pink on the Q-tip. Adam’s blood. Tears sprang to her eyes. He’d been hurt because of her stupidity. She wished there was something more she could do to help him. She certainly couldn’t kiss his lip and make it better. Although the thought caused a flock of butterflies to flutter around her tummy again, just like they had at the bus station. She flushed in embarrassment.
What would her friends think when they heard about her adventures with an older man tonight?  And a Marine. Oh, my! None of the boys at school looked nearly as hot as Adam did. They'd be so jealous.
Her mom brushed her thumb across the red marks on  Adam's shoulder. “Not much I can do for the bruising, but I don’t think there’s a hematoma.”
Karla’s attention went to the long, thin mark where he'd been jabbed by something with evenly spaced points. Then she remembered that one of the guys he fought with had been wearing something metallic over his knuckles. Her knees buckled at the thought of that tearing into Adam's shoulder.
“Whoa, hon!” Adam reached out and grabbed her elbows to hold her steady. “Not too fond of the sight of blood?”
Karla felt her mom’s scrutiny, but couldn’t take her eyes off Adam. Where he held her arms, a tingle of electricity zinged up to her shoulders and neck, then down to her…. Oh, my!
“What's the matter with you, Karla,” her mom said. “You've seen plenty of blood. Ian was always getting patched up.”
 "I’m okay,” she said on a whisper, because of the frog lodged in her throat. He smiled at her and she felt tears dripping down her face. He’d taken that hit for her. She ached to press her lips against it, the way her mother had kissed her boo-boos as a kid. Usually, the pain magically went away. She wanted to take Adam’s pain away.
He reached up and wiped the tears away from her face with his thumbs. She caught her breath, then totally forgot to breathe for a moment. 
“I’m okay, too, hon. Believe me, this is nothing.”
"You should see...." her mom began.
Adam reached out and placed a hand on Mom’s arm and shook his head vehemently. They exchanged a look, as if they shared a secret Karla wasn't in on, then Mom nodded. Karla felt the green-eyed monster of jealousy for the first time in her life.
More tears welled in Karla's eyes. Frustration at not being able to touch him, to comfort him, or even to get him to notice her ate at her. She was still just a kid in his eyes. If she touched him the way she wanted, he’d think she was a freak.
But she just wanted to touch him even more.

Lots of interesting things will result from Master Adam's having met Karla's parents, not the least of which will be increased conflict for him when Karla pursues him nine years from now in NOBODY'S HERO. How can he take advantage of her and betray the parents who took him in that cold, lonely Thanksgiving and helped him feel part of a family again after the recent loss of his wife? What is poor Master Adam to do?

Kallypso Masters currently is working on a four-book series with MASTERS AT ARMS due out in early August 2011, NOBODY'S ANGEL in mid to late August 2011, NOBODY'S HERO in November 2011, and NOBODY'S PERFECT in February 2012. 

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1 comment:

  1. Love it Kally! Sent it to my daughter to look over already ;) *hugs*