Peter loved Kate with all his being, but that didn't mean he'd tolerate an ultimatum from her.For Sneak Peek Sunday we share six paragraphs from a published work or a WIP (work in progress).
My submission for this week is from my 5th book, and newest release, Acting Lessons.
He was a strict and demanding college professor turned professional director who excelled at giving acting lessons. She was his shy and uncertain former student who became a professional actress under his tutelage. They fell in love, married, and won two Tony Awards before tragedy struck and a simple kiss ripped them apart.
After a six month separation, Peter Thorton decides to take matters into his own hands by making his famous wife, Kate, an offer she wouldn't refuse. Plainly put, he wants her back and he intends to do whatever is necessary to achieve his goal, even if it means giving his stubborn, willful leading lady a daily reminder over his knee that she promised to obey him.
In this scene, which occurs early in the first chapter, Peter Thorton, seated comfortably in an agent's office, is attempting to convince his wife, Kate, to give their marriage a second chance by signing her to appear with him in a College Summer Stock production of "Kiss Me Kate." Kate isn't sure she can trust Peter with her heart again, since she believes he's been unfaithful to her, but she's never stopped loving him. And though Domestic Discipline originally played a part in their marriage, their last two years together had them living like polite strangers sharing the same house. Peter realizes he made a mistake in letting Kate do as she pleased, so he's determined to rectify matters immediately.
They'd left things undone. She believed he'd been unfaithful, which he hadn't, but she'd never bothered to ask. She'd just assumed. At the time he'd been so hurt by her unspoken condemnation, he didn't have the presence of mind to examine the reasons behind her cold mandate for a divorce. And, when he finally thought about it, he realized she'd never questioned why he was kissing another woman, because in her mind she already knew the answer.
So, why had she concluded he'd stopped loving her? What had changed? And, at that moment, he understood. He had. She'd wanted him to reassure her of his love the way he'd demonstrated the night she'd shown up uninvited at his apartment. Or the night he informed her they were getting married. Instead, he'd handled her like a fragile crystal vase that might shatter if he so much as frowned. He'd been wrong not to challenge her at the time, but he couldn't turn back the clock. All he could do was move forward by getting her to accept his proposition. Once he got her back, he'd begin testing his hypotheses. Still, if his obstinate wife required proof of his intentions today, he wouldn't hesitate to oblige her.
"No," he agreed, "it shouldn't be at all difficult for me to find another beautiful actress to play the role." He smiled when her nostrils flared in angry response. "However," he said softly, his gaze intent on her face, "that is not what I want. If you refuse my offer, I shall be forced to examine those options, but I would much rather work with you. I thought we made an excellent team."
The charming blush he loved causing, once again bloomed across her cheeks. But the slight lift of her chin accentuated how much thinner and sharper her features were from six months ago. And, though her make-up was artfully applied, he could see the faint outline of dark circles forming under her eyes. She wasn't taking proper care of herself, and her new boyfriend wasn't observant enough to insist upon it--or didn't care enough to bring Kate to heel. Another mistake Peter intended to rectify today.
He knew all too well how to get his Katie to eat and rest when she was being stubborn, and he would do whatever was necessary to return her to top form. Even if it meant his darling brat of a wife went around with a sore bottom for a few days. But first, he needed her to agree to do the show.
"He is offering excellent terms, Kate, and it's only for three months. Right now, I have nothing else to give you. So, as your agent, I advise you to seriously consider his proposal."
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