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  • Carla Buchanan

BGGM Entry 3: Friday, December 11, 2026

Updated: Feb 24

This is a work of fiction. Any names, places, characters, and happenings are solely products of the author’s imagination or fictitious retellings. Any likeness to actual events, locations, persons living or dead, is coincidental.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this blog may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system - except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review to be printed in a magazine or newspaper - without permission in writing from the publisher.

**Readers 18 and up only please**.








“I think I should take you by the hospital so they can check you out,” Valentine says after he’s pulled me through the passenger’s side door of the rental car, and I’ve cursed at him several times for causing me more pain.

Once again I’m speechless, but not because I don’t have anything to say. There’s plenty to say and plenty to ask even though the only thing on my mind is the scent of Valentine Trudeau and the way his large, hot hands feel as one hand cups the back of my neck and the other rests at the small of my back to steady me once I’m out of the rental car.

“No,” I finally manage to get past my lips. “A couple of ibuprofen and I’ll be fine,” I add and then can’t help but ask, “How are you here right now?”

“New safety feature,” he says confusing me with his answer. I’m not talking about how he knows I was in a wreck even though I should probably want to know the answer to that as well. I’m referring to the fact that he’s here, in Anson Valley, at the same time as me when he should be spending Christmas in Hawaii with his ‘wife’ and daughter. The last time I let my best friend in Anson Valley, Kendall, tell me anything about him she told me that’s where he lived. It was where I had planned to begin my search to contact him in regard to our divorce, but I never got around to finding him or filing the divorce papers. Admittedly, that conversation happened more than seven years ago, which was the last time I allowed my friend, and the only person who knew about my friendship with Valentine, to mention him. I knew if she talked about him to me, I’d want to reach out to him for more reasons than a divorce, and I didn’t want to be ‘that’ woman - the woman who took a man away from his family, selfishly thinking my love for him is more important than his wife and child. “There are cameras and sensors embedded in the rock wall that come on when an object collides with the wall or drives over one of the ground sensors,” Valentine adds, taking me away from my thoughts. “It was my sister’s idea. It’s the idea that secured the police chief position for her.”

“Oh wow, good for her,” I say and chuckle. “That job suits her.”

Valentine chuckles too. “Yeah, she was always a little bossy and a tattletale.”

I laugh at that, but it causes me pain to do so. I wince, wanting to shake my head at myself for getting myself into this situation but I don’t because that will only cause more pain. In response to the sound, Valentine’s fingers press into my neck and the trick works to alleviate some of the pain which lets me know the injury isn’t very bad and will need a day or two to return to normal. “Let’s get you into my truck. Then I’ll get your things.”

I’m glad to have the brief moment to myself. I need to get myself, and my thoughts, together. I need to quickly build a wall around my heart and be aware of what my logical mind is telling me is the right thing to do. Because I never thought I’d see him again. I thought I’d have divorce papers drawn up by a lawyer and then find out from his sister where to send them.

Though, even with those thoughts at the forefront of my mind, my body seems to have a mind of its own. It flushes deeply with desire when Valentine reaches across me to buckle me in. However, the moment I’m having is shattered to pieces when I feel him stiffen. He then gingerly reaches for my hand to inspect the diamond gracing the ring finger of my left hand.

“V…” I trail off not knowing what to say. I want to explain. I want to tell him that the engagement was as much of a surprise to me as it is to him. I want to tell him that my instinct was to decline but I couldn’t do that to Beau in front of all those people. I want to tell him that I’ve lied to myself all of these years when I kept telling myself that I was over him. Because I’m not over him. The truth of the matter is that I’ve never felt desire and love and need and want in the way I feel right now. I know Beau will never make me feel this way no matter how hard I try to force myself to believe he can. It doesn’t matter that Beau could probably give me everything I could ever want and give me the kind of life some people can only dream of, and please me and satisfy me both physically and mentally, he can never make me feel the way Valentine makes me feel. This feeling is what made me put up with the fact that he was dating my nemesis for years. This feeling is what made me walk down an aisle of a Las Vegas wedding chapel without hesitation. This feeling is why no man I’ve dated since meeting Valentine Trudeau has ever been able to capture my heart.

Valentine Trudeau captured my heart a long time ago.

“You don’t have to explain anything, Chris,” Valentine assures me while still holding my hand. “It wasn’t fair of me to expect you to wait around while I played house with Brenna.”

“Is that why you’re here… in town I mean?” I ask being clearer with what I want to know. “You’re here with Brenna and your daughter?”

His hesitation is too long so I know the answer without him saying a thing. He’s in town with Brenna and his daughter and they’ve returned to town to have a happy little family Christmas with his daughter’s grandparents.

I slowly remove my hand from Valentine’s grip as I say, “Don’t answer that. It’s none of my business.” I then rush to add, “I have two suitcases and a carry-on in the trunk and my purse and computer bag are in the front seat. Oh, and my phone and chord. I need to call my father and brother to let them know where I am.”

“You can tell them you’ll be at my place,” Valentine declares and then quickly shuts me inside the truck without giving me a chance to object.

There’s no way in hell I’ll be telling my father or brother about being with Valentine at all. Since I’m not going to his place, I don’t have to worry about telling them that, not that I would tell them that either.

The simple fact of the matter is that my father and brother are protective to the point of control which is why I dated only one guy during my entire four years of high school, and I only dated him for a month before breaking up with him.

My father, nor my brother, would ever approve of Valentine even though he’s proved their assumptions about him wrong since we were in high school. First, he proved them wrong by advising his mother to keep the ten thousand dollars in Amazon stock that his father left them with as a parting gift from their lives. That stock is surely worth millions now. Then he proved them wrong by turning his penchant for danger into a successful career as a high budget movie stunt man, or at least that’s what Kendall slipped and told me when we were talking about a movie I was going to see. Finally, he proved them wrong by not being a deadbeat father to his daughter. If it had not been for me, he probably would’ve been able to say he remained faithful to Brenna this whole time which makes me a horrible person.

“I can’t go to your place,” I say to Valentine as soon as he’s put the larger bags in the bed of the truck and joined me in the car with my purse and computer bag. “And why do you have a place here anyway? I thought you were based in Hawaii.”

“How long has it been since you’ve been home or talked to anyone from home?” Valentine asks and I don’t admit that it’s been at least five years since I stepped foot in Anson Valley.

“A while. And it’s not like any of my friends or family would bring up your name,” I say, not mentioning the fact that I have forbidden Kendall to mention his name. “What…? You live here?”

“I do. I own the lot next to your father’s at the lake,” he says which doesn’t sound like much but to me, it means he owns one of the two largest lots on the lake. My father owns one and apparently Valentine owns the other. “I also have a place in town, but I stay at the cabin most of the time,” he says. I hate that my mind automatically wonders if he bought the place because it was next to my favorite place to be in Anson Valley but know how conceited that sounds in my own head. “I figure you want to go out to the cabin but the bridge to the lake is closed right now.”

“I can go to Anson Estate,” I say about the house on the hill that looks down upon the city for which it’s named. It’s where I lived when we weren’t living in the mayor’s house that is on the opposite side of town on a similar hill. Anson estate is also the place we were living when Elise Anson walked away, never to be seen again. Though, if my father is to be sided with, Elise Anson is a victim of a nervous breakdown that made her walk out while in a fugue state that’s lasted for more than two decades. It’s a point of contention between us because his conclusion is so illogical. My father is an overly logical man which, to me, means he knows his conclusions about my mother’s disappearance are illogical and ignores that fact. Never mind the fact that she emptied her accounts, pawned a bunch of her expensive jewelry, and packed a bag with the things she needed to survive like her ID, her passport, toiletries, and changes of clothes.

“You could go there but I won’t take you there. When you wake up there, you’ll be alone on the property with at least a dozen or so men who will be there working on renovations. I won’t leave you vulnerable like that.”

“No one will know I’m there,” I say, but Valentine is shaking his head before I can get the whole sentence out. “Plus,” I say ignoring his shaking head, “I’m not about to sleep under the same roof as Brenna Oliver.”

“And neither am I,” Valentine declares as he turns into the same neighborhood where my brother lives with his pregnant wife. “Haven’t in years,” he says, surprising me. “So, who’s the lucky guy?”

The swift change in subject throws me off. I’m glad that we pull into the driveway of a house whose facade is full of storybook charm. It has a small porch with a white railing that gives off a wraparound feel. There’s a pointy roof that looks like a house a child would draw when first learning how to draw houses. However, where cottages usually have that rustic look and feel, this one is stark white and glowing like a house built on the streets of heaven.

“Beaumont Lacoste. He’s the son of my mother and father’s best friends from college.”

Valentine nods as if that sentence explains everything. And I guess it does in a way since in the past he’s known me to choose to do the thing that causes the least friction among my family. My father’s rules and judgments were the reasons I gave Valentine for keeping our ‘friendship’ a secret from everyone, and I will feel guilty about that choice forever. Valentine dealt with it, never accusing me of being ashamed of him, but understanding that there were certain things expected of me because of my last name and because of the position my father held for years.

Without another word, at least not yet, Valentine parks in the driveway of the small house and hops out of the truck. Moments later he’s opening my door. I try to avoid his help, but he slaps my hand away when I offer it to him and instead scoops me from the passenger’s seat.

I don’t know how he manages to carry me and unlock the door, but he does and a minute later I’m being gently settled onto a plush sueded couch with Valentine’s large hand still supporting my neck. That also means he’s hovering over me, his faceless that an arm’s length away from mine. My body shudders, letting me know that I’m in the middle of a situation that could very possibly make me want things I shouldn’t, make me do things I shouldn’t.

“Do you love him?” Valentine asks and I’m completely thrown off by the boldness of the question. But I guess I should’ve expected as much from him since his ability to step over bullshit and get into the heart of the matter was something I always liked about him.

It’s something I still like about him.

“I agreed to marry him didn’t I?” I respond, trying to forget how close we are to one another.

“Yes you did, but that doesn’t answer my question and you know that,” Valentine adds. “How about an easier question then… Can you say you don’t love me?”


~~~~~


Valentine doesn’t wait for an answer. He slowly slides his hand from its position behind my neck and declares he’s going to get my things. I detect a smugness in his tone that makes the corners of my lips turn up. When I hear the door close behind him, I slowly bring myself to an upright position so I can take in his personal space, needing to see the space where he lives.

The inside and outside are like night and day, literally. The outside is stark white, clean, and bright. However, right in front of me is a wall made up of horizontal, black wood panels. There is an expansive, television framed in white and an electric fireplace that spans the bottom of the wall. To my right is a built-in bookcase painted white with black paint shading the inside walls of the bookcase, and to my left is a live Christmas tree that has to be at least eight feet tall. The tree has been expertly decorated with black and white decorations to match the paint colors in the room. I’m impressed by the place because he never took me for the kind of guy who’d grow up to be a man who cared about decor.

I chuckle because the room looks like something I would’ve done myself and had mentioned using the existing colors in a room in holiday decor in my first weekly style blog of December. The blog is a hobby of mine, one no one really reads if my measly offering of less than a thousand subscribers is anything to go by. I just use it to showcase my creativity and show the things I like. As a personal stylist, it’s rare that what I want makes a difference, it’s always what’s best for my clients and their lifestyle. A lot of them are professionals in the business world which means a lot of power suits, tuxedos, and evening gowns for events. I do pick out vacation wardrobes for my clients but not many of them go very crazy with color or design like I would in my own personal wardrobe. For myself, I don’t mind being a little crazy with colors and designs, and sometimes I’m daring with how much skin I show. It’s the only rebellion my father allowed, never commenting on what I wore. As long as I made straight A’s, joined academic clubs, didn’t date anyone he wouldn’t approve of - or anyone at all for that matter - he was fine with whatever I wore. My unique style became who I was, people even coming to me for advice about what they should wear, a fact that made Brenna Oliver jealous enough to spread a rumor about me being a lesbian as the reason I didn’t date. Little did she know that I was in a very serious friendship with the boy she called boyfriend. The only ones who really understood me and why I chose to use clothing to display my creativity were Valentine Trudeau and my best friend Kendall Kerr. Not that I didn’t have other friends in Anson Valley. I got along with everyone except Brenna Oliver and the three girls who followed her, worshipping at her pedicured feet even though she treated them horribly.

“You’re not laying down,” Valentine notices when he returns. I hear him set my bags down but where he enters is from somewhere behind me so I can’t see his face. When he comes into view, I curse those damn butterflies in my belly that I have only ever felt with Valentine.

“I never liked being told what to do,” I say as he sets my purse and computer bag on the table in front of me. “And thanks for this,” I add when his eyes meet mine. “I doubt anyone else would’ve done this for me.”

“You’re not in Los Angeles in the midst of demanding and selfish celebrities,” Valentine reminds me. “You’re in Anson Valley where everyone knows everyone, and we take care of our own even if we gossip about one another on occasion.”

“Still… Thank you,” I say.

“Can I be honest?”

“You always have been, don’t change on me now,” I say.

“I’m glad I had an excuse to be alone with you,” Valentine admits.

“Is that so,” I challenge playfully but he nods seriously.

I can see him getting closer with each statement, but I don’t back away, needing this to happen now rather than later. I need to prove to myself that it's time, not anything else making the butterflies take flight in my belly. I need to prove that these comparisons I’m making between Beau and Valentine are because I haven’t been in a relationship with Beau long enough so I’m not comfortable with him yet. Though I know that’s not the case when Valentine doesn’t hesitate to gently crash his lips to mine and I’m instantly pliant in his arms, sighing when his large hand cradles my pained neck.

I’ve never felt this dizzying current flow through me when Beau kisses me. My body has never ached from just one touch of Beau’s fingers to my nape or him sliding his fingers into my hair. There has never been such a stir of excitement and anticipation or acute awareness of my wants and needs with Beau like right now with Valentine.

Although no matter how much I know I should’ve turned Beau down when he proposed, I still can’t do this to him. I can’t kiss Valentine like this while I’m wearing Beau’s ring. It doesn’t matter if the answer to Valentine’s question about whether I love Beau or not is that I don’t, or that my answer to the question about whether I still love him is that I do, it isn’t right for me to betray him like this.

“Wait… Stop. I can’t,” I say reluctantly pulling away from the best kiss of my adult life. I was only nineteen when we married. I was nineteen when I gave him my virginity in a Las Vegas hotel room after our quickie wedding. The truth of that night is that I barely remember losing my virginity. I didn’t care about it being good or bad, I just knew I wanted it to be with Valentine.

My adult self wants the full experience. My adult self knows that if twenty seconds of the intimate caress of his lips against mine makes me feel like this, then anything else will be explosive and meaningful in a way I won’t be able to come back from. I can only imagine what it would feel like to have such an experience with Valentine but know I can’t go there with him while Beau thinks we’re getting married.

“Fuck. I’m sorry, Chris,” Valentine says and straightens quickly, the quick movement of his hand away from my neck making me wince in pain. Repeating his words again Valentine kneels down next to me and then helps me out of my coat, and then orders me not to move. He disappears for long moments and when he returns a few minutes later, he snugly wraps my neck in a brace.

“Stuntmen tend to collect items needed for recovery from injury,” Valentine explains before I can ask. “I have crutches, a few neck braces, a few arm slings, and some more things I’ve used.”

“Wow.”

Valentine shrugs. “I’m lucky it was never anything more serious. The braces and crutches were precautionary measures more than anything else.” With the neck brace in place, he says, “I’m sorry again for overstepping.”

“If you can’t overstep with the woman you’re married to, then who can you overstep with, right?” I ask trying to lighten the mood. It doesn’t really work because Valentine’s expression is now guarded and tense, like my words remind him of our situation and how ridiculous it is. A husband should come before a fiancé, especially one I can’t admit to loving.

“You once told me that you couldn’t wait until you were an adult so you could be with whoever you wanted and not care about what anyone says,” Valentine throws at me and his words hit their target like a dagger to the heart. He’s right. I did say that.

“You once told me that Brenna lied about you two having sex yet there’s still a child walking around with your DNA.”

I’m such an asshole for saying that, but it’s not like it’s not the truth.


~~~~~


Next post at 4pm EST

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