Author’s Note: In my focus on spending my writing time attempting to complete my bigger projects before the 16th, I didn’t get to doing more with the alien this time around.
Instead, I realized how late it had gotten and decided to pull from the Nickel and Dime series again, a bit with the original Effie Lincoln and Nicholas Tennant. They’re both characters that I would like to do more with, and they were supposed to have a bigger part in the fourth book in the series, but I ended up taking a break from the series after book three.
I’ve been feeling like it’s time to get back to them, though. We’ll see.
“Ready to quit this nickel and dime dog and pony show yet?”
Euphemia looked up into her mirror, shaking her head. “Nicholas, you know that the contract is not one either of us can get out of. The lawyers told us that. You’re stuck doing your hero routine, while I get to be the seductress who always dies because I’m evil.”
“You’re not evil,” he said, walking over to sit down next to her. “Your characters simply have made difficult choices. That’s how I see it. How I’ve seen it ever since I saw Give the Devil His Due where you stole my heart the first time you were on screen.”
“If you think you’re marrying a character and not the real woman behind her, you will be sadly mistaken in this foolish enterprise of ours.”
“Since when is marriage foolish?”
“That does not sound like the Euphemia Lincoln I met first day on the set. Doesn’t sound like the one I bullied into agreeing to be my bride, either. What is behind that wicked tongue of yours? Why are you snapping at me all of a sudden? Have I done something wrong?”
She put her hand down on the table, fingering the brush as she did. “After I got done talking to my lawyers, I had a visitor.”
Nicholas cursed, touching her face and then running his hands down her shoulders and arms. “Did he hurt you? You know he’s wrong. He can’t make you do that. Ever. I know the lies they put out about you, but that man does not have the authority to demand that of you—and you do not have to give it to him.”
“They always make my characters so easily defeated when it’s time for the bad girl to die. I should go get in the writer’s faces and tell them that a woman has a lot more defenses than they think,” she said, rising and moving toward the closet. “He got nothing except something that I hope scars. Let him remember that this bad girl won’t ever die easy.”
“You better not be planning on dying on me for a good long time, Euphemia. Those vows we plan on taking—that’s ’til death, remember? I want a full life with you. Any way I can get it. We’ll go hide out. We’ll forget about movies and contracts and be two old fools still in love when we’re gray and decrepit.”
She laughed. “Lord love you, Nicholas, you can make the strangest things sound appealing. I hate being this damn weak to you, but you got past this cynical bad girl somehow, got right into my heart and claimed it.”
He smiled, wrapping his arms around her. “Come away with me. We’ll pick a quiet spot, have a small ceremony, and start the part of our lives that has nothing to do with dogs or ponies.”
“What, you don’t want a farm, hero?”
He shook his head. “Just want you. Only you. Always you.”