Dane Reese appeared in An Invitation: Alayna's Training as the best friend of the hero, Logan Abrams. Then he became the hero of his own book in An Invitation: Ariel's Pet. When the opportunity presented itself to interview him, I jumped at it.
Enjoy the interview!
The Valerian Root was mildly busy as the breakfast crowd thinned out. It would be another hour or so before the lunch rush would begin. With the expansion of the café underway, I didn’t doubt I’d run into Ariel or Alayna, but my appointment today was with Dane Reese, Ariel’s husband. I spotted Dane leaning against the open kitchen door, but I didn’t stay anything or try to get his attention. I didn’t doubt he was talking to Ariel.
Instead, I took a seat in one of the booths and arranged my notepad and the list of questions on the table. One of the waitresses brought me one of Ariel’s special double-fudge brownies and a cup of cinnamon hot chocolate.
As I sipped my hot chocolate and nibbled the brownie, I tried to ignore Ariel’s voice as it rose in volume, “For the love of Pete, Dane, I am fine!”
Dane’s unruffled response was inaudible from where I sat, but I could see the intent look on his face as he hovered outside the kitchen.
Ariel apparently didn’t like his comment. “You step one foot in my kitchen, surfer boy, and I’ll have you on your knees. Besides, don’t you have someone coming to ask you questions?”
“Thirty minutes, Tink. If you’re not off your feet by the time I finish, I’ll get you off them.” This time his words reached everyone in the café.
The two waitresses whispered to one another, but the only thing I heard was “…five bucks.”
A muffin sailed toward his head, but he snagged it out of the air as if he’d had lots of practice. He didn’t wait for her answer before adding, “Don’t make me call Grimm.”
A litany of curses colored the air as he stepped away from the kitchen and allowed the open door to swing shut. He spotted me and grinned as he crossed the room.
By the time he’d settled onto the bench seat across from me, I’d noted the faded jeans and green tee shirt he sported, along with the battered sneakers on his feet. His golden blond hair was still neatly trimmed and the dark tan he sported only increased the intensity of his deep blue eyes.
“Thanks for talking with me today, Dane,” I offered as I shook his hand.
He smiled then tore a chunk off the chocolate muffin he’d caught and popped it into his mouth. When he finished chewing he said, “No problem, but we have to make sure we keep it under thirty minutes.”
I pointed over my shoulder toward the kitchen with my thumb, “Does Ariel have an appointment?”
Dane shook his head and looked a bit grim. “No. She’s just refusing to get off her feet for a few hours in the afternoon. The doc says she needs to rest, but you know Tink. The damned woman has a mind of her own and it’ll take a bulldozer to change it.”
I laughed, “Good thing you’re a bulldozer, huh?”
He shrugged. “If I have to be.” He pulled another chunk of muffin off and chewed, then suggested, “You said you had questions?”
“Yes. I have a few.”
I looked down at the list and asked the first one. “What is your favorite ice cream?”
A slow smile lifted his lips. “Jamocha fudge with malted milk balls. It’s complex and full of a mixture of flavors and textures, kinda like Tink.”
“Oh, it is.”
The glint in his eyes hinted that more than just the taste of the ice cream was filling his mind. I hurried on to the next question. “What is your favorite thing about Ariel?”
He held up the half-eaten muffin his wife had thrown at him. “She’s a brat. Feisty and snarky and ready to fight at the drop of a hat, but she gets so wet when I paddle her ass for sassing that I know she’s doing it because she’s feeling scared.”
“Even when she throws food at you?”
He nodded, “Especially then. If she’d really been mad at me, she would have thrown the half onion she had left from Jake’s Denver omelet. Instead she tossed me my favorite muffin.”
I moved to the next question, “What does Ariel do that is most annoying?”
His broad shoulders shuddered slightly. “She’s too impulsive. And stubborn. I swear, she’s gonna give me a coronary one of these days with the stunts she’s pulled.”
I steered the conversation away from that and asked, “How old were you when you lost your virginity?”
He gave a low throaty chuckle. “Fifteen. The lady was a very mature eighteen and I was big for my age. The first time it was pretty quick, but after the third time that night I’d caught on and she was worn out.”
“What is your favorite sexual talent of Ariel’s?”
The lids fell over his sapphire gaze and an expression of pure bliss softened his strong features for a moment. “Food. Tink has this way of making eating into the hottest foreplay I’ve ever experienced. And never argue with the woman about chocolate.”
I recalled the scenes he was describing and I could feel the heat enter my cheeks. Yes, he was right about that. I coughed and asked the next question, “What is Ariel’s weirdest habit?”
“That’s easy. She’s an OCD freak when it comes to organizing her kitchen. Everything goes in a specific place, in a particular container, and heaven help the poor schmuck who messes with her stuff.”
“If there is something you could change about the first few weeks you knew Ariel, what would it be?”
He seemed to think about the answer before he shook his head. “Not a thing in the first few weeks when Logan and I started going to the café, but later when I went to the café to help out while Alayna was being trained as a submissive at A Master’s Gift. If I were going to change anything in the first week I was at the café, I’d have paddled her ass then fucked her the first time she got snippy with me. Instead I tried being nice, but she wasn’t having any of it.”
I winced thinking of all the things Ariel had done to try to drive him away. “What is your favorite movie?”
“Safe House. Denzel is kick ass in that flick.”
“What is the craziest place you’ve had sex?” I was curious what his answer would be.
A wicked grin lifted his lips as he leaned forward and dropped his voice so none of the diners around us could hear what he said. “In the exam room at Tink’s doctor’s office after the first ultrasound of our daughter.” His look was thoroughly unrepentant. “I couldn’t help it. She was so fucking hot with her little round belly and no panties on.” As if that was a good excuse…
It took a moment for me to stop laughing. “Which do you prefer? Coffee, tea, or…?”
“Mexican hot chocolate. Tink got me hooked on it after I moved in with her.” He motioned to the nearly empty cup in front of me. “You know, heavy cream, cocoa, cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne. Sweet and spicy—just like my Tink.”
There was no doubt in my mind that the drink was sublime. “What addiction can you not live without?”
“Watching Tink come. She totally blisses out, her eyes go all soft and unfocused, she goes all limp, and for those few minutes she’s all mine without any barriers between us.”
I could see he enjoyed thinking of that and with the way he was looking over his shoulder toward the kitchen, I figured I needed to distract him before he created a scene Tink would never forgive him for… The man had not an ounce of shame when it came to sex. “Describe your favorite pair of shoes.”
He stuck his foot out so I could see the battered sneaker on his foot. Though it had originally been white leather, the scuffed and worn surface was more an off-white or almost gray. “These. They’re really beat up and Tink is always threatening to toss them out, but she knows I only use them when I go for a run. When I get the runners she bought me broken in, I’ll think about tossing these, but not yet.”
“What do you most fear?”
“Although, I love when Tink gets worked up because that woman has a wicked imagination and an over-developed sense of evil revenge, and there are days I wonder why I stick around, I know, if anything happened to my pixie, I’m not sure how I’d handle it.”
“What would you like to come back as if you’re reincarnated?”
The smirk on his lips and the twinkle in his blue eyes was all the warning I needed to prepare myself for a wild answer. “There’s this blue vibrator Tink has. Oh man, there is nothing I’d like more than to be that particular toy when my girl gets horny.”
I could feel my face grow hot as I remembered that scene from their book as well. I rushed into the next question, “If you could be in a (different) book, which book would it be?”
“Well, I know I’m supposed to show up in Grimm’s book and considering how close San Diablo and Ayerstown are to one another, I wouldn’t mind visiting the Diablo Blanco Club, but I’ve got my hands full with Tink right now. So…”
“If your life were a book, what would you prefer the author not tell readers about you?”
Dane leaned closer. “See, there is one thing, but if I tell you, Tink will read this interview and learn it and then she’ll go apeshit over it. A pissed off pixie is not pretty. Then, I’ll have to punish her which I hate to do and she will feel bad because she hates to disappoint me. So, it’s better if I don’t mention it at all.”
As curious as that answer was, knowing the inventive ways he’d found to punish Ariel, I erred on the side of caution and asked the last question I had for him. “Who, living or dead, would be your hero if you have one.”
“Hmm, that’s hard. I admire Tink and her sister, Alayna and how well they succeeded after their parents’ death at their young ages. But I also think Shendah and Grimm should be commended for their abilities to survive such traumatic pasts and still build solid futures. Then there’s my man, Logan. He’s had a helluva past and despite his fighting it, he found Alayna and grabbed on with both hands. So, if I was forced to name a hero, I’d have to list all of them.” He popped the last of the muffin is his mouth, chewed then swallowed before calling out, “Time’s up!”
I was surprised at how quickly the time had passed as I’d chatted with him, but before I could say goodbye, he rose from the seat and headed for the kitchen. As I gathered together my notes and pen, There was a squeal from the direction of the kitchen that was quickly muffled then a few minutes later Dane came out carrying a very pregnant Ariel, her hair sporting bright pink and blue stripes, but still as short and silky as ever.
Neither Dane or Ariel paid attention to their audience as their lips remained locked in a sexy kiss and Dane navigated the hallway toward the office in the back of the café.