Yes, yes, I know. I've been scarce the last week.
Blame it on school starting back, final edits and an absolutely overwhelming heatwave that makes you feel like doing absolutely nothing.
So anyway . . . I'm picking excerpts for promo from His Ordinary Life and I'm loving reading through it again. I love Del (Almost as much as I love Tick). Sigh . . .
So I was reading and I found this little bit of brotherly dialogue that I love, love, love, and thought I'd share it here.
“Couple years and you’re gonna need a shotgun to keep the boys away from those two.”
Startled, Del glanced at Tick, standing just inside the glass doors next to the bleachers. Damn, he moved quiet. Their father had moved the same way. His brother was in his investigator’s uniform of khakis and department polo shirt, and Del’s gaze skittered over the 10mm handgun at Tick’s waist. His stomach pitched, and he swallowed. “Yeah, I know.”
Not that he would ever have a shotgun in the house with his children, or any gun, period. Too much could happen.
Tick leaned an elbow on the top seat, his gaze on Anna, now kicking a pad held by her instructor. “Actually, Anna could probably fend them off on her own.”
Del chuckled. “Looks awful fierce, doesn’t she?”
“She is awful fierce. My understanding is that one of Beau Ingler’s boys told her karate was for sissies after church Wednesday night, and your little girl showed him different. Put his nose in the dirt and hurt his pride.” Tick glanced at the other end of the stands, where Blake sat working on his geometry homework, headphones covering his ears, head bobbing. “Have any more luck there?”
“No. His stubborn streak is showing.” He’d tried talking to the boy, once on the drive between the high school and middle school and again while the girls changed for classes. Blake’s responses had been no more than terse grunts and monosyllables.
“Gee. Wonder where he gets that from.” Wry humor lurked in Tick’s weary voice.
“Runs in the family. What are you doing here, anyway?”
“Just got off duty. Knew the girls would be here, thought I’d run across you.”
“You found me.”
Tick pulled his cigarettes from his pocket and tilted his head toward the door. “Want to step outside?”
Del pushed to his feet and followed him. “I thought you quit.”
“I did.” On the sidewalk, Tick tapped out a cigarette and lit it. “For about a week. Listen, I thought you’d want a heads-up. We had some incidents last night—a stolen mailbox, toilet paper in the youth minister’s yard, petroleum jelly on the pay phones downtown, that sort of thing. Kid stuff. No leads, but…”
“Yeah.” Del cast a dark look through the window at the back of Blake’s head. “I’ll try to talk to him again. Anyway, he’s grounded until further notice, so even if he was involved, he won’t be in the foreseeable future.”
“How are you going to ensure that? What’s to keep him from sneaking out again?”
Because I told him not to and he wants to live. He swallowed the words. Tick’s even voice echoed the doubts that had circulated in Del’s mind since he’d laid down the restriction. He was in a damned-whatever-he-did situation—come down too hard and alienate the kid further, do too little and watch the kid sink. It didn’t help that these days he felt like a visitor in his son’s life.
He pushed his hair back from his forehead and shrugged. “I guess I’ll camp out on the couch at ho—” He cleared his throat. “…at Barbara’s for a few nights until he gets the message.”
One of Tick’s eyebrows angled upward, his expression one of supreme amusement. “Does Barbara know that yet?”
“Can I be around when you tell her?”
“You’re no fun.”
“I’m glad you get so much amusement out of my problems.” The words emerged on a snarl and Del cringed. Sweet Jesus help him, he sounded like Blake.
Tick stepped back, hands lifted in a gesture of surrender. “Sheesh, Del. I was kidding. Chill out, brother.”
“Do I make fun of your problems?”
Tick’s face closed, the polite mask of his law enforcement training slipping into place. “What problems?”
The ones that have you looking like a damn ghost. “According to Tori, you’re nursing a broken heart.”
“And Tori watches too many of those flippin’ old romance movies.”
“So you’re not pining for someone, huh?”
“No.” With a savage twist of his wrist, Tick flicked his cigarette butt into a nearby ash can. “I’m not pining for anyone. Listen, I’ve got to go, but if you need any help with Blake—”
“I can handle it.”
Tick nodded, a shadow of disbelief in his eyes. “I’ll see you, then.”
He watched his brother walk back to the dusty pickup he’d driven for almost ten years. Tick’s normally fluid gate seemed jerky, the whole line of his body tight with a deep tension. Worry nagged at Del’s gut. Maybe Tick wasn’t pining, but one thing was for sure—his health wasn’t up to par.
What's not to love?