There’s nothing like a good bromance to set my antennae aquiver. Yes, I cheered when Rick and Kate hooked up on Castle, but I admit I enjoy a good Ryan and Esposito scene almost as much. I can’t help it. I’m hinky for male friendship. Always have been. Goose and Maverick from Top Gun, John & Jeremy from Wedding Crashers, Butch and Sundance, Han and Chewie…You get the point.
Throughout the Hot Nights in St. Blaise series I got to explore the complex connections between four of the tiny town’s most eligible bachelors: Trauma Surgeon, Kevin O’Shea (March Madness, book #3); Pediatrician, Mario Debrizzio (Roman Candles, book #7); Pharmacist, Mike Weber (Seducing Mr. September #9); and Ophthalmologist, Luke Langston (Nabbing Mr. November #11).
This bit was left on the cutting room floor when Roman Candles went to edits, but it provides an excellent glimpse into how Mario Debrizzio feels about the friends he’s acquired:
Mario leaned back in his chair, a flush of pleasure warming his cheeks as his eyelids dropped to half-mast.
“You know, if you do end up in prison because of your anger management problems, you could snag yourself a real nice boyfriend with this sauce.”
Shelli-Ann issued the backhanded compliment with the same cheerful smile she used when she poked a baby with a needle. The happy glow burning low in his belly flickered but didn’t go out. Pressing his fingertips to the base of his wine glass, he gave the ruby liquid a negligent swirl before hooking the stem and raising the glass in a silent toast.
Kevin shoved another forkful of linguini coated in homemade carbonara into his mouth and chewed with gusto. “Shit, this is good.”
Mario didn’t know whether to smile or wince, so he settled for taking a sip of his wine and sent up a silent plea for forgiveness to his dear, departed great-grandmother for his friends’ indelicacy. Sliding a glance at the other side of the table, he watched as Luke demolished his plate of midnight pasta with the same methodical determination it took to destroy three hundred dollars worth of backyard fireworks.
Only Mike Weber, St. Blaise’s most recent addition to the St. Blaise census rolls, treated the plate in front of him with the reverence Nana Debrizzio’s carbonara deserved. Mario suspected the appreciation stemmed from the fact that their friendly neighborhood Pharmacist was born and raised in Kansas City, a town with deep Sicilian connections.
Nana would have liked Mike. Glancing around the dining room, a warm rush of pride told him she would have appreciated the home he’d created for himself almost as much as she would have enjoyed nagging him for the children to fill it.
He closed his eyes and drowsed a bit, feeling relaxed and somewhat content for the first time in hours. Or was it days? Hell, if he was being honest with himself, he’d own up to the fact that his edginess had been creeping up on him for weeks, even months. Shaking his head, he turned to the bank of windows lining his newly furnished dining room and stared into the inky haze that hung heavy over the town.
There was nothing quite like blowing things up to ease a man’s worries.
The Fourth of July gathering at his house started three years before. He’d made the mistake of closing on his first home mere hours before the normally staid and cautious citizens of St. Blaise gave in to the compulsion to set the town on fire. Luke and Kevin had helped him move six Hefty bags filled with clothes, a mattress and box spring set with no frame, and a sagging sofa he bought at a yard sale into the dilapidated old Victorian that once belonged to a lesser timber baron. The minute his buddies got an eyeful of the flat, relatively large backyard, they took off for the nearest fireworks stand and came back with munitions enough to blow the place sky high.
Mario’s fingers tightened on the stem of the glass as a wave of wistfulness swamped him. He pushed it down, sitting up straighter in his chair as forks scraped heavy earthenware plates.
The question was rhetorical; the plates were scraped clean. Still, a chorus of murmurs rose from the table and four heads bobbed enthusiastically. The glow burned bright in his chest. He swallowed the lump that rose in his throat, refusing to think about what he didn’t have and focusing on what he did. A great job. A great house. Friends who had become a family.
Bobbing a nod, he pushed his wine glass toward the center of the table, scooted his chair back, and made a point of checking his watch. “Great. It’s now the fifth of July, my backyard looks like a combat zone, and there’s no food left in the house. Get the hell out so I can go to bed.”
If you’d like to read the bits that did make the cut, Roman Candles and seven other Hot Nights in St. Blaise stories are available now at your favorite online retailer!
Thanks for letting me hang with you again, my lagniappian friends. I had such a great time writing the Hot Nights in St. Blaise series, and I love being able to share them with you!
GIVEAWAY: Comment below and tell me about your favorite bromance and I’ll give you your choice of 2 Hot Nights in St. Blaise novellas (available in digital formats only). Contest ends August 22, 2013 at 11:59PM EDT.
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