Della leaned into Kallie so that their bodies were pressed close together. Kallie finally did what she had been wanting to do since the day she met Della. She reached up and tangled her fingers in that glorious, unruly hair. She had expected Della’s hair to be coarse, but it was soft and warm in her hands.
Then Della’s hands found her breases, and Kallie remembered where they were and what they were doing. It took every ounce of willpower that she’d ever possessed, but she withdrew from Della, backing into the wall at the end of the step. “We shouldn’t do this,” she said in a voice so hoarse with passion she scarcely recognized it.
Della’s green eyes reflected hurt and confusion. “Why not?”
“Because you’re my cousin’s partner.”
Della nodded sadly. “You’re right. I’m sorry. I’ll go.”
Kallie tried to think of something to say that would ease things between the two of them, but no words came to her mind. All she could do was watch as Della walked out the door.
Pages or Words: 40,000
After Kallie Moran’s husband, Aaron, is killed in Iraq, Kallie asks her law firm to transfer her back to her home town so she can be close to her mother.
When her request is granted, she realizes that closeness to her mother also means closeness to her mother’s dreadful sister, Bessie Benson.
Bessie is loud and crass, and her sons make a lifestyle of rotating in and out of the county jail. The only Benson that Kallie has ever been able to tolerate is her cousin, Andi. Andi, too, once dreamed of getting out of Brookville, but unlike Kallie, she never quite made it.
Now an out lesbian, Andi drags her intimidated partner, Della, to local bars and out-of-control family affairs. Della seems so miserable that Kallie finds herself reaching out to this beautiful, fragile-looking woman who just doesn’t seem to belong among the Bensons.
As Kallie and Della become friends, Kallie witnesses the verbal and emotional abuse Andi heaps on Della. Then comes the terrible night when Andi is no longer able to confine herself to words and slams Della to the ground, permanently scarring her face.
Della flees to Kallie for protection. In relative safety, she struggles to face the fact that she is a victim of lesbian domestic violence. She is also falling hard for Kallie, her rescuer.
Kallie, meanwhile, is keeping some secrets of her own. She wants to be with Della as much as Della wants to be with her, but she is afraid to embark on her first lesbian relationship.
Their love blossoms when Kallie risks her life to save Della from another of Andi’s vicious attacks. But it doesn’t take Andi long to realize she’s been betrayed. Furious, drunk, and carrying her father’s hand gun, she vows that this time she will REALLY make Della and Kallie pay.