Friday, June 21, 2013

First BOOK Friday-- PG Forte

It's First BOOK Friday!  For the next few months, we're going to highlight the first book from each of the Nine Naughties.  Sometimes people find us further down our backlist, sometimes readers think they're picking up our first book when really it's number 3 or so, sometimes our first book was so long ago even we've forgotten!  (just kidding... it's true that you never forget your first!).  So we thought it would be fun to revisit the books that started it all for each of us!

This week we're featuring the first book by PG Forte, Scent of the Roses.

A note from PG:

This is one of my favorite scenes from Scent of the Roses, partially because I can still remember exactly where I was when I wrote it. I was seated at a table on the terrace at Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco with a cup of coffee scribbling in a notebook while the rest of my family explored the tall ships at the marina across the street. Even now, years and years later, I’m still transported back there in my mind every time I read it.  


There’s something magical about the tiny coast town of Oberon, California…

When a slumber party prank goes awry, magical forces are unleashed that will forever alter the lives of four teenage girls. Twenty years later, Scout Patterson is tired of running from the mistakes and mysteries in her past. So she’s coming home to Oberon, hoping to lay a few of her ghosts to rest.

For Nick Greco, his memories of the girl he’d loved and lost were all he had to see him through the empty years. When Scout’s homecoming is followed by a recurrence of deadly attacks, Nick must rush to solve an all-but-forgotten crime or risk losing her again—this time for good.

But magic, once raised, is not so easily dispersed. As the residents of Oberon are about to discover, some mistakes aren’t easy to mend and some mysteries can be murder.


Nick pushed his way into the house, almost colliding with Scout in the dimly lit kitchen.  She gasped, and all but dropped the pizza box she was holding.  They regarded each other in silence.

There it was again, he thought irritably.  That same wary, frightened look he’d seen in her eyes earlier.  Twenty years he’d been waiting for her.  Was one lousy smile too much to expect?  Couldn’t she even give him that much?   

“Is- is something wrong?” She stammered breathlessly.

“Yeah.  Why are you so damn jumpy?”  Nick snapped at her, in reply. 

Scout blinked.  “I’m not . . . jumpy.”  But he could see her hands clench more tightly on the box. 

He grabbed it away from her and dropped it on the counter.  She closed her eyes, briefly, involuntarily it seemed, almost as if she expected him to strike her.  And that thought caused his temper to flame even higher.  Dangerously so.  Christ, what the hell did she take him for, anyway? 

“Yeah, you are,” he insisted, taking a step closer.  “You look like you’re scared to death of me right now.  And you’re shivering.”  His hands closed on her arms.  “What’s going on here, Scout?  Do you want me to leave?”  His voice was low, hoarse, and he didn’t know what he would do if she said yes, since leaving now was out of the question. 

  “No,” she whispered.  

That whisper was going to drive him mad.  He let her go abruptly, backing away from her, his hands tensing into fists at his sides.  His next words were out of his mouth almost before he thought them.  “Are you seeing that jerk Glenn again?”

Her head snapped up at that.  “Am I seeing—  No!  Why on earth would you ask that?  I hadn’t seen him for twenty years.”

“But you saw him on Monday, remember?  You had dinner with him?  At least that’s what you said yesterday.”

She looked away.  “Oh, that.  When you said . . .  look, the situation . . . it’s awkward, okay?  When he showed up I just, well I couldn’t exactly tell him to get lost, now could I?”

“Why not?  Because he’s your lawyer?  Because you’re hoping he’ll help you find out what happened to your stepsister?  Or is it awkward because you slept with him?”

“All of the above, I guess,” she answered, reaching for the wine bottle on the counter to pour herself another glass.  “You know, Nick, this is really getting old.  I feel like all I’ve done for the past week is apologize for mistakes I made when I was a kid.  Ever since I got here, I keep having to deal with all these people who think I screwed them.”   

“Only, in Glenn’s case, it’s literally.”

She made a face.  “Gee.  Thanks for bringing that up.”

“Unlike me.”  


“You didn’t . . . literally . . . screw me.”

“Oh.”  She colored slightly, and took a long drink.  Her eyes studied him appraisingly over the rim of her glass.  “Yeah.  But, you know, I don’t really think I can take any credit for that,” she said as she lowered the glass.  “You just got lucky, is all.”

Lucky?  “Interesting choice of words.  How do you figure that?” 

She turned on him, suddenly.  “Look, Nick.  You’re still mad at me for something that happened twenty years ago?  Well, fantastic.  Join the club.  I made mistakes, sure.  People do that.  Only I learned a long time ago that for some reason, I was never going to be allowed to forget about mine.  Which, by the way, is yet another reason I never came back here before now.  And why I don’t plan on staying an instant longer than I absolutely have to.  But as far as you’re concerned, I think it’s time for a reality check.  You got off easy.”

“You think so?”

 “Yeah, I do.  If we’d kept going the way we were going, then yeah.  You’d have been screwed all right.  Legally, as well as literally.  And maybe then you’d have a reason to hate me.  But it didn’t happen, so…”   She shrugged, and took another sip of wine.

“Oh, I see.”  Fury raged inside him.  He took a deep breath, and reminded himself to stay calm.  “So, you came to your senses just in time, and dumped me for Glenn in order to save me from myself?  I’m touched, really.  But I gotta tell you, if that’s your definition of getting lucky?  I could think of a much better one.”
Scout’s frown turned puzzled.  “I dumped you?  Where did that come from?  Is that what you thought?”

“No, Scout.  What I thought is that you were just a kid who liked to play games.  You must have gotten a pretty big kick out of pretending you were attracted to me just so you could piss Lucy off.”

“Look, I—”

“Forget it.”  Nick shook his head.  Jesus Christ, some great seduction this was turning out to be.  How in hell had they gotten off on this tangent, anyway?  “It was a long time ago.  What difference does it make now?  Water under the bridge, right?”  He reached over and flipped up the cover of the pizza box.   

He picked up a slice and took a bite.  “Come on, we better eat this.  It’s not gonna get any warmer.”

She didn’t move.  And for a moment, she didn’t speak.  And then, “You’re wrong, you know,” she said, staring at the island in front of her, her voice low and husky.  He looked at her.  Two bright spots of pink burned on her cheeks.

Now what?  He eyed her wearily, chewing pizza with dogged determination, although he might as well have been eating the box for all the flavor it had for him.  “Wrong about what?”

 Add it to your library here!


Kim B said...

This is part of my favorite scene:

“I guess, now that this is all over, you’ll be leaving
Oberon?” he couldn’t help asking.
Scout shrugged. “I guess so.”
“I uh, don’t suppose you’re planning on coming back any
time soon?”
It’s over. Nick closed his eyes again, wearily. So. This
was it. She was everything he’d ever wanted, and now she
was just going to walk out of his life again. For years he’d
survived on dreams and memories. On the strength of all
the lies he’d let himself believe about her. Now, and for the
rest of his life, all he’d have was the truth.
And right now, the truth was more than he could handle.
When he spoke again, his voice was hardly more than a
whisper, “Come here.”
She knew he’d only break her heart again, but Scout
could no more refuse the appeal in his voice, than she could
refuse to breathe. She went. She melted into his arms,
when every instinct for survival she possessed was telling
her to flee.
He began to kiss her. Soft, tender kisses that only made
her want more. Just one more. Just one. More.
“Do something for me,” Nick said, breaking off their
kiss to whisper urgently against her ear. “Please.”
She was conscious of the passion and need radiating
from him, felt it flowing into her, as well. “Anything.”
“Just for tonight.” His voice was low, shaking. “Lie to
me. Just one more time. Tell me you care. Say you’ll
stay. I need you so much. I just-- Oh, God, Jen, I need to
hear you say it, even if it isn’t true. I swear it doesn’t
matter that you don’t mean it. I’ve always been willing to
believe whatever lies you tell me.”
“What?” Startled, Scout pulled away so she could see
his face. He looked more dangerous than ever. His eyes
glittered madly and his face was taut with exhaustion and
strain. With her senses still heightened from this
afternoon’s experience, she could feel such dark waves of
pain and anguish welling up inside him, it made her weep.
“What do you want me to say?” she asked, the tears in
her eyes almost blinding her.
“Say you love me. Say you’ll stay.”

PG Forte said...

Oh, yeah. That's another of my favorites. lol Thanks, Kim, for reminding me. :)

Meg Benjamin said...

What a great memory to have. Much better than a stuffy, crowded study!

PG Forte said...

Yes, it is, Meg. :) That's one of the things that make writing so much fun, isn't it? You can do it anywhere and sometimes the memory of where you were when you were writing a particular scene is as vivid for you as the scene itself. Although, I have to say, that line about the pizza being as flavorless as the box, probably would always make me smile, no matter where I was when I wrote it. lol