Josh Lanyon is Our Birthday Guest Today!

KickStart_Final500

Happy Birthday to Amber!

Thank you for inviting me to take part in your November Birthday Bash. I hope your month is full of happy surprises.

In honor of the festivities I’ve written a little snippet about Will Brandt and Taylor MacAllister of the Dangerous Ground series. Their new book, Kick Start, was supposed to be out this week, but I got flu! So the book is postponed to the end of November. But I’m offering up a sweet little slice of story that takes place just before Kick Start begins.

Readers, comment below and I’ll enter four lucky people in a drawing for a free audio book – your choice of any of my audio titles. The drawing will be held at the end of the month.

* * * * *

The stars light the road

That’s bringing me back home

Lifehouse. Usually Lifehouse when Taylor was driving. Not that Will had anything against Lifehouse. They were okay. He preferred them to The Fray or Switchfoot, or worst of all — much worse — Nickleback.

He sighed inwardly, glanced from the blur of nightscape flying by, to Taylor. “Did you just remember you didn’t pay the electric bill or something?”

“Hm?” Taylor sounded distracted. It was hard to interpret his expression, with only the wan light from the dashboard to go by. He was watching his side mirror and edging the Acura MDX through the crowded lanes of traffic on the 101 Freeway.

“You’re driving like…” Will swallowed the rest of it in a yawn. He was too tired to think of an appropriate simile. Analogy. Simile? Was that the word? Who the hell cared? Taylor was driving too fast, and they couldn’t afford a speeding ticket. For a lot of reasons.

He didn’t say it though. He knew he was just feeling out of sorts. He was beat. They both were. They’d put in another twelve hour day on this godawful Dragomirov protection detail. And they had to be back on the clock by six the next morning.

Belatedly Will realized they were getting off the freeway. Getting off at Kanan Road, of all places. Were they out of gas? He leaned over to check. No. Was there a problem with the car? No. The green dashboard lights all glowed benignly. “What’s up?”

“I don’t want to lose this reservation. They won’t hold it if we’re late.”

“What reservation?” Will stared at the shadow that was Taylor. “Are we stopping somewhere?”

“We’re having dinner.”

He was starving, no question. But he needed sleep more than he needed food. They both did. Plus, they had agreed during their last argu — discussion — that there would be no more frivolous expenditures for the foreseeable future. Not until they got the bills under control again. Starting a business in this economy was like cutting a vein and watching the hemorrhage of dollars.

Not that he was going to say a word. Not after Paris. If Taylor had decided he wanted dinner out, then by God they’d have dinner out.

Taylor glanced briefly at his GPS and turned left onto Troutdale. He threw a look at Will. “Something wrong?”

“Nope.”

As dark as it was, he saw the gleam of Taylor’s grin. “You don’t remember, do you? You don’t have a clue.”

“Remember what?”

Taylor laughed and shook his head.

Were they meeting someone? Clients? Taylor’s sister or brother? Will fervently hoped not. He was too tired to make conversation.

 Taylor made another left, this time onto Mulholland Highway. The SUV whipped through the moonlit Agoura Hills.

“Where the hell are we going?” Will asked, and he couldn’t help the note of irritation that crept into his voice. They were in the middle of nowhere speeding along an empty road for miles on end. Maybe he was dreaming. If so, it was turning into a nightmare. Didn’t Taylor remember what time they had to get up in the morning?

“The Old Place.”

What old place?”

This old place. Here we are.” Taylor slowed and pulled up in front of what looked like the movie set for an old fashioned western saloon, right down to the covered wooden porch and elk antlers hanging from the weathered facade.

A handmade blackboard sign confirmed that this was, indeed, the Old Place. Rusty letters proclaimed STEAM CLAMS WINE STEAK.

“Eight twenty-six,” Taylor said with satisfaction.

“Hey,” said Will slowly. “Is this that place we used to drive past –”

“Yep.” Taylor shrugged into his leather jacket and opened his door. The autumn night air smelled of woodfire, pine trees, horses, and good food cooking nearby.

Will followed suit, all at once feeling more energized. As they walked up the brick steps, he said, “What made you pick this place? I can’t believe you even remembered it.”

Taylor jammed his shoulder into Will’s. “I can’t believe you forgot it’s your birthday!”

Will nearly missed the next step. Taylor laughed at his expression.

“I did forget!”

“I know you did.”

They were both laughing as they pushed open the front door. Inside it was warm and noisy and rustic and very small.  The décor was all vintage western, plank wood floors and low open beam ceiling. They were led to a tall booth in the back, past pigeon-holed walls with faded notes and vintage photos. The booth had high sides and built-in benches, so they had a sense of privacy although every seat in the place was filled.

Funny, how ten minutes earlier he’d been so tired he couldn’t think straight, and now he was grinning over the wine list. All the same he felt obliged to say, “You shouldn’t have done this, MacAllister. We agreed. No extraneous expenses until we’re financially on our feet.”

“Hey.” Taylor’s eyes were very green in the warm lamplight. “Taking time to celebrate the important things is not an extraneous expense.”

“And my birthday is one of the important things?”

“Hell yeah, it is.” Taylor’s gaze was so serious and affectionate, Will felt his face warm. There was something pretty damned heartwarming about knowing you came first for someone. Especially if that someone came first for you.

“Okay. Well.” Will cleared his throat and looked at his menu. “What are you having?”

“The oak grilled sirloin with the mixed green salad and baked potato.”

“I thought you were practicing to become a vegetarian this week.”

“I’ll practice next week. They’re famous for the steak here.”

“Maybe I’ll try the venison.”

“You are feeling homesick,” Taylor commented.

He was, yeah. His brother Grant would be home on leave in a couple of days, and there was nothing Will wanted more than to head north to Oregon to see Grant and his dad. But they had committed to this Dragomirov caper and that was that.

Will studied the wine list again.

“You want to get an appetizer?” Taylor asked.

“Nah.” It really was a drag having to count their pennies. It was a long, long time since money had been an issue for either of them. They were too old for this bullshit. As of today, he was officially too old for pinching pennies. But…it was worth it because they were together again. Really together. With no fear of a foreign posting separating them for years, no further need to hide their relationship from Uncle Sam…and together had to be the best birthday gift ever.

“Dessert though,” Taylor said, watching Will. His expression was serious.

The seriousness made Will smile. Such gravity over lava cake with hand-whipped cream or homemade fruit cobbler? But no. That wasn’t the reason for the grave and attentive look. And the recognition warmed him all over again.

“I’m not home sick,” he said.

“No?”

“I’d like to see my dad, my brother, yeah. I’d like to take a trip to Oregon. But home is here.”

Taylor’s lashes fell. He joked, “Here? I hate to tell you, they close at midnight.”

But Will wasn’t letting him brush it aside. Taylor was right. They needed to hang onto these moments, mark the milestones. He said softly, “Home is wherever you are.”

114 thoughts on “Josh Lanyon is Our Birthday Guest Today!

  1. I am a it behind on the Dangerous Ground Series but this scene has reminded to finish the last so so I can start Kick Start.

  2. More books to buy, more books to buy. Good thing my Kindle doesn’t get heavier every time i add another one.

  3. I hope you’re feeling better!

    I love the Dangerous Ground series, and look forward to reading the next chapter (ie book) whether I win it or buy it. 🙂

  4. Reading even a snippet of a Josh Lanyon book is like coming home. I can’t wait for Kickstart to come out. Will and Taylor are a couple of old friends. Hell, they’re family.

  5. So sweet! I love Taylor and Will, can’t wait for Kick Start… Josh please don’t make Taylor suffer too much. I Love your work! 🙂

  6. Awww! Thank you for the further snippet!

    And don’t worry about ”Kick Start”: when it is out, it is out! Take care!

  7. Thanks so much for this lovely little peek at the boys. It’s good to hear from them again. I’m glad you’re feeling better and hope you’re back to your healthy self soon.

  8. Loved the snippet, Josh. I adore Taylor and Will. Will’s last line to Taylor almost (almost) makes up for David in Paris. *grin*

  9. Love these two… can wait for the book. When we can listen to the audio book of the series?have been revisiting all your book with your last audio book release and its been great.tks a lot.You write solo good… I am fan number one.. still waiting for the Spanish books. Hope u feel better and don’t forget to take your flu shot next time.

  10. Dear Josh,
    How come you’ve got the flu? My weather app says there’s still summer in L.A. You should come down here and enjoy a cool and wet November day in Germany. And I’ve got only a mild cold. 😉
    Gute Besserung! Get well soon!
    The excerpt was a great appetizer and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the story when it’s finished.
    Yours,
    JL

  11. What a wonderful surprise this was 🙂 The Dangerous Ground boys have always held a special place in my heart. They’re like old friends to me, and I’ve been looking forward to their fifth adventure for over a year… I’ve re-read all the first four books again last summer. It was such a pleasure to rediscover their first tentative getting together, their fears, frustrations and how inseparable they’ve become no matter what. Thank you, Josh. Hope you’ll feel better soon.
    All the best, Paola

  12. Another new author for me thank you I am going to check this out and put you on my must have list hope you feel better soon lol

  13. This was so very lovely. Maybe a good thing to come from your flu is that the audiobook will come out so we can listen to the first four just in time for Kick Start! I am very much anticipating both! Thanks.

  14. Awww! What a wonderful surprise dinner for Will. This really wets the appetite for the next book. Thanks, Josh!

  15. What an excellent birthday excerpt. While I have a lot of your books, this is one series I don’t have. Could you tell me where this is published through please Josh?
    Thanks for sharing and being apart of Amber’s BB. 🙂

  16. Lovely. I’m really looking forward to reading the next installment of Dangerous Ground and continuing to see how much further Will and Tyler’s relationship will develop.

  17. This is so lovely! Thank you, Josh. (I can’t imagine anyone forgetting his own birthday, but you managed to suspend that disbelief!)

  18. Aw, I really enjoyed this little story!
    Thank you~~ ❤ and I hope you're flu is all gone now. :3 lol..

  19. So sweet! I haven’t gotten to the Dangerous Ground series yet, but obviously I need to. *hugs story*

  20. *sigh* as if I wasn’t already looking forward to KS enough 😉
    That was, dare I say, sweet, and very them. I’m definitely intrigued as to what you have in store for us with these two, Josh. 🙂

  21. What a ride it’s been with these two to reach this point, but man, it’s been worth every second. And there’s more to come! (Yay!!!) That final line line was the perfect finish to this birthday treat 🙂 Thanks, Josh!

  22. Thank you for sharing this, Josh. I’m so glad you decided to write more about Taylor and Will. But mostly, I’m glad to hear you’re feeling much better! Stay well. 🙂

  23. Josh, I remember you mentioned not having given a birth date to Will in ‘Man Oh Man’. Glad you finally remedied it. 😉 It hurts to see how they have to struggle financially after starting the new business. I do hope they won’t let it get between them. It’s so not worth it! Hope you are well now. The book can wait. 🙂

  24. I cannot wait for this book to come out. I would say that I am patiently waiting that would be a lie!!

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