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Atlanta, GA, United States
I am the New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Best Selling author of The Proposition, Proposal, Music of the Heart, and Nets and Lies. I am represented by Jane Dystel of Dystel and Goderich for all books except for Proposition and Proposal.
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The Proposition

The Proposition



Monday, February 10, 2014

Remember Megan from The Party? If not, get reacquainted before The Pairing

It's about seven days from the release of The Pairing, and here's some snippets to get you acquainted and reacquainted with some of the major players.

We're first introduced to Megan McKenzie in The Proposition. Aidan tells Emma that he loves his nine nieces and nephews, and he has one great-nephew. Later we learn Megan is a single mom, and to help prepare Emma for being a mom, she decides to baby-sit Mason overnight.

                                                                          MEGAN MCKENZIE

                                                                         Aidan with baby Mason

Here's some of that scene from The Proposition when Mason isn't going along with Aidan's seduction plan...

“Oh shit.” With an agonized groan, Aidan pulled away from her. 

She slid out from under him and hurried over to the Pack N Play. Mason held his arms out to her as giant tears slid down his cheeks. “Aw, shh, it’s okay, sweet boy,” she said, scooping him up. His cries quieted a little when he was in her arms. “What’s the matter angel? Are you hungry?”
Emma kissed Mason’s cheek and rubbed wide circles over his back while he grinned at Aidan over her shoulder.

“What a little cock-blocker,” Aidan grumbled. 

Emma gasped and whirled around. “What did you just call him?”

“A cock-blocker, which is exactly what he is at the moment.”

Mason screeched a cry, and Emma hugged him tighter. “Don’t listen to Uncle Aidan, sweetheart. He didn’t mean it.”

Aidan motioned to Mason. “Look at him. He’s perfectly fine as long as you’re holding him.”

She shook her head. “You’re a complete and total asshole.”

“You shouldn’t cuss in front of the baby,” he chided with a grin.

Emma widened her eyes. With a huff, she walked over to Aidan. “It’s almost time for him to eat. Hold him while I go fix his bottle.”

Surprisingly Aidan didn’t protest when Emma thrust Mason into his arms. Mason immediately stopped snubbing and stared wide-eyed at Aidan. “Yeah, that’s right. You’re stuck with me now, and I don’t have a nice rack for you to snuggle up to.”

Emma smacked his arm. “Don’t you dare talk to him like that! He’s only a baby! Breasts are just food to him, pervert!”

“Damn, Em, when did you get so violent?” he joked.

Mason gave Aidan a toothless grin when Emma stomped off. Aidan chuckled. “I guess she’s right, huh? But one day you’ll understand what it’s like to be left at half-mast by some chick.”

Here's Megan and Aidan's scene from The Party, which is free on Amazon and Smashwords if you haven't read it. 

'Standing at the doors leading into the church, he peered at the altar. He spotted Megan on one of the front benches, kneeling down on one of the risers. He strode up the aisle. When he saw that she was finished praying and merely gazing up at the giant crucifix, he knelt and crossed himself before sliding onto the bench beside her.

“Hey Hot Mama,” he said in a low voice.  

She grinned at him as she slipped her rosary into her coat pocket. “Hey Ankle. Glad you could make it.”

Aidan shook his head at her old nickname for him. As the first grandchild, Megan spent a lot of time with 
Aidan’s parents. When she first started talking, she couldn’t say ‘Uncle Aidan’. Somehow his name got meshed into ‘Ankle’. None of his other nieces and nephews called him that—it was just one aspect of their special bond.

Aidan craned his neck to eye Mason’s sleeping form in the carrier beside Megan. “You know I wouldn’t miss this for anything in the world. I mean, it’s not every day a man as young as myself gets made his great nephew’s godfather.”

“Trust me, I’m very honored to be in your presence.” Megan eyed him up and down before shaking her head. “I’m assuming you had a wild night last night.”

“What makes you say that?”

“Hmm, from the bags under your eyes and the fact Papa called me twice this morning to see if I had heard from you.”

Aidan swept his hands to his cheeks. “Seriously? I thought I looked pretty fabulous.”

“Always so cocky.” Megan nudged his shoulder playfully. “Sure we don’t need to douse you with a little holy water?”

“Ha, very funny. Your mother was already advocating that I skip seeing you and head straight for confession.”

“I’m sure she has a point. I mean, seriously, when was the last time you were in church?”

Aidan quirked his blonde brows at her. “What is this, the Spanish Inquisition?”

Megan laughed. “Oh, man, that reminds me of our Monty Python marathons.”

Aidan grinned. “Your mom got so pissed when I let you watch that when you were like seven.” He shook his head. “I couldn’t believe you were smart enough to get most of the humor.”

“You were always such a bad influence, but I loved you anyway.”

Leaning over, Aidan kissed Megan’s cheek. “And I loved you, too, even though a lot of the time you were an aggravating little pest.” At her outrage, he winked. “We had some good times together, didn’t we?”

“Yep, we did.”

They sat in silence for a few seconds. “So how are you holding up?” He motioned to Mason. “You know, being a new mom and all?” Aidan asked.

Megan fiddled with the hem on her dress. “I’m hanging in there.”  

Crossing his arms over his chest, Aidan said, “Now you know it isn’t polite to lie to your favorite uncle.”

She sighed, blowing a few blonde strands out of her face. “Okay fine. Being a single mom is a lot harder than I thought it would be, even with Mom and Dad’s help. I’m stressed out all the time with trying to finish nursing school, and mentally…I’m borderline falling apart. How’s that?”

Aidan put an arm around her shoulder, drawing her close to him. “Aw, sweetheart. I hate to hear that.”

Megan shrugged. “It’s okay. Nothing you can do.”

“Still no word from the douchebag?”

Glancing down at her hands folded in her lap, Megan shook her head. “Nothing since he sent the last check after he signed with the Falcons.”

Aidan growled at the thought of the punk who had knocked-up Megan. If he could just get his hands on him…He didn’t give a shit that the jerkoff was a 6’3 offensive lineman for the Atlanta Falcons. He would still make sure to rearrange his face as well as taking his testicles as a souvenir.

“I know what you’re thinking, and he’s not worth it,” Megan said.

With a wink, Aidan replied, “You let me worry about that one.”

“At least with the money he sent, I can get my own apartment. I need a little independence from Mom and Dad.”

Aidan shook his head. “You should stay home and mooch off them as long as possible.”

Megan giggled. “Thanks a lot. I would think you of all people would understand about wanting to stand on your own two feet and not have your life choices over-analyzed constantly by your family.”

“You have a point there,” Aidan mused. He could only imagine how Angie loved giving Megan daily advice about what she was doing right or wrong. Hell, she did it to him, and he wasn’t even her child. But as the oldest of his sisters, Angie had always been his second mother. And in the five years since his mother’s passing, she relished the job with new vigor.

Tightening his arm around Megan, he said, “So you’re willing to throw away rent on an apartment, but you won’t take me up on my offer?”

She rolled her eyes. “Seriously, Ankle? There is no way in hell you would really want me to live with you.”

“Hey now, watch your mouth. We’re in church for Christ sake!” he joked.

Megan laughed. “Listen, it’s really sweet of you to offer, but trust me, you would be regretting it an hour after Mason and I moved in.”

“I would barely see you guys with the guest bedroom upstairs and my late hours. I could even move Beau out to the backyard and give you the basement.”

“Let me guess. Part of the bargain would include me doing your laundry and cooking your meals?”

Rubbing his chin, Aidan replied, “Hmm, that sounds good.”

“Of course it does to you.”

“Nothing wrong with you taking care of your favorite uncle.” When she didn’t reply, Aidan squeezed her shoulder. “Okay, I was just teasing you, and I wouldn’t expect you to do laundry and cook. Why won’t you let me help you out?”

Megan shook her head. “It’s very sweet of you to offer, and I should jump at the chance. But I need to do this on my own.”

“Fine. Be a stubborn ass.”

“It’s a Fitzgerald family trait, remember?”

Aidan grinned. “That it is.”

“Well, I think in your generosity you’re not thinking clearly about what a buzz kill it would be having me and Mason at your house.”

“Is that right?”

“Mmm, hmm, just think about this one. You’ve brought home your flavor of the week for some hot sex, and she either sees some young chick running around or hears a baby crying. Dude, you would so be striking out in the bedroom with some major blue balls.”

Aidan widened his eyes. “Margaret Elizabeth McKenzie, what a mouth you have in church!”

“I learned it all from my very naughty uncle.”

With a grunt of frustration, Aidan said, “I’ll have you know I don’t bring women home.”

She rolled her eyes. “God, you are such a player.”

“Not you too?”

Megan grinned. “I can’t help but highlight the error of your ways. I mean, I’ve been played by your kind many, many times and burned even more. I’m a woman scorned, remember?”

Aidan winced at the thought of how he treated women—girls very much like Megan. How could he want to castrate Mason’s father when he wasn’t any better himself? Well, except for the fact he made damn sure to always wear a condom to ensure there weren’t any Little Aidan’s running around out there.

Megan glanced down at her watch. “Will you keep an eye on Mason for me while I go to confession real quick?”

Aidan’s eyes widened as he took in the sleeping infant in the carrier. “Um, Meg, I don’t—“

“Oh come on. He’s dead to the world, and you’ll be fine. Besides, you’re his godfather.”

“Yes, a position I’m wishing I hadn’t agreed to.”

Megan swept her hands to her hips. “I need to go to confession before I stand at the altar with my son, Ankle. Are you really going to tell me no?”

“Fine, fine. Go on.”

“Thank you,” she said, before kissing him on the cheek. Her heels clicked down the aisle. It hadn’t been a full minute after Megan disappeared into one of the confessionals that Mason began to stir in his carrier. 

Leaning over, Aidan rocked him a little, hoping to avert a crisis. But when the baby’s tiny face crumpled, Aidan muttered, “Oh shit.”

A wail erupted from Mason’s lips that echoed throughout the church. “Hey Little Man, don’t do that.” He rocked the carrier faster, which just seemed to piss Mason off more.

“You really should pick him up when he’s crying like that,” a voice said over his shoulder. He glanced back to see his sister, Becky’s, three sons staring skeptically at him. From eleven year old, Percy’s, exasperated expression, Aidan knew it had been him giving the advice.

“Fine,” Aidan grumbled. He bent over and gently slid his hands underneath Mason’s writhing body. Already outfitted in his Christening gown, Aidan found it hard to grab onto more than just lace in his hands, especially since he was worried about hurting him. Finally, he rescued Mason from his baby carrier hell. Aidan propped him on his shoulder and gave him a few reassuring pats. “All right, Little Man. You’re free. Give it a rest with the crying,” he said.

His thirteen year old nephew, John, snorted. “Wow, Megan must’ve been smoking something when she chose you as godfather.”

Aidan scowled at John over Mason’s head. “For your information, I was the only one she wanted for the job.”

 “Give him his passie,” five year old Georgie suggested.

Aidan furrowed his blonde brows. “His what?”

“Dude, you gotta be kidding,” John said. He leaned over Aidan and grabbed Mason’s diaper bag. Digging inside, he pulled out a pacifier and waved it at Aidan before sticking it in Mason’s wide-open mouth. 
Immediately, the baby calmed down.

With a sigh of relief, Aidan’s gaze swept over the three boys. All three wore khaki pants, white button down shirts, red ties, and blue blazers. He shook his head and grinned. “Nice get-ups. You could pass for a boy band like the Osmond’s or something.”

“The who?” Percy asked.

“Never mind,” he mumbled. Glancing past the boys, he sighed with relief at the sight of Megan coming out of the confessional. He was more than ready to hand Mason back over to her.

She grinned at him. “Couldn’t resist Mason’s charms?”

“Ha, very funny.”

“Yeah, I heard him all the way in the confessional.” She reached over and took Mason from him. Nestling the baby close to her chest, she then smiled at Aidan. “You know, you looked like a natural holding him.”

Aidan opened his mouth to protest, but John’s snickering interrupted him. “Seriously? He could barely get Mason out of the carrier, not to mention he had no idea what a pacifier was.”

“He can always learn,” Megan argued.

“Yeah, don’t hold your breath on that one,” Aidan replied.

It was then that the priest came striding up to them. “Miss McKenzie, we’re ready to begin.”

Megan nodded. “John, Percy, Georgie—go run and tell the others it’s time.”

“Okay,” Georgie replied before sprinting down the aisle.

After the boys hurried off, Megan grinned. “Ready?”

Aidan smiled back at her. “As ready as I’ll ever be.”