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Big Duke Energy
Author: Emma Hart

 


CHAPTER ONE


ELLIE


Cockblocked By My Brain

 


His cock was huge.

I sighed, disappointed.

I could not start a book like that.

I hit the backspace key until I’d deleted it all. Unfortunately, all that had achieved was giving me another great view of a blank page with nothing but the words “Chapter One” written on it.

I’d been here for eight days, staring at the endless whiteness that was the beginning of a new book.

It was new to me.

My writing process could be chaotic, but the only thing that wasn’t was the fact that I always had the first scene written before I officially started writing and tracking my words.

With this book…

I had nothing.

Nada.

Diddly-bloody-squat.

I’d written the first line what felt like one hundred thousand times, and I was shit out of luck.

My brain was broken.

There were no words in there.

I knew the working title. I knew the story. I knew how my down-on-her-luck heroine’s life would change after a chance meeting with a duke who was once her brother’s best friend. I knew how they’d fall in love and save each other from their messy lives, but I couldn’t write it.

This was a problem, to say the least. I had a tight-arse deadline from my publisher to adhere to and an awful lot of dedicated readers who were desperately awaiting a new book.

One that I couldn’t write.

The words were gone.

I was no stranger to a bit of writer’s block. Usually, a day or two away doing something mindless like sorting the towels or watching my favourite show or even reading a book would fix it, but not today.

There was a great wall there, stopping my fingers and my brain from communicating.

Nothing worked.

It was scary.

I’d never been in this position before.

And, of course, the more I thought about my looming deadline, the more I panicked. The more I panicked, the tenser I got, and the less I could focus, meaning I had less and less chance of getting myself out of the situation I was in.

It was a vicious circle of never-ending proportions.

I was somewhere in the middle of it all right now. The words just really weren’t coming out, and it was so stupid because they were there. In my brain. Swirling around and around the way tea did after stirring.

But I didn’t need them there. I needed them on the page.

I sighed and sat back in the chair, then tapped my nails against the surface of my desk. This just wasn’t working. I was simply doing the same thing over and over again, but it wasn’t like it was changing anything. I wasn’t getting anywhere.

This was… not good. My editor would be expecting an update, and what was I supposed to tell her? “Oh, I’m sorry, my brain doesn’t want to work so I have nothing but a working title that I despise and a vague idea of what might happen but I’m not really sure, actually.”

No, no… That wasn’t going to work.

“Fuck my liiiiife,” I breathed, burying my head in my hands. I clawed my fingers through my hair, digging my nails into my scalp, and dropped my chin right to my chest in defeat.

My phone dinged with a text message, and I reached for it, pulling it off the charge lead.

MEGAN: I hate my boss. She’s a snobby judgemental pious bitch and I wish I could hit her with a frying pan and throw her in a canal somewhere.

Ironically, I was feeling that way about my boss.

There was just one problem.

I was my boss.

ME: I, too, hate my boss. And you missed a couple of commas.

MEGAN: Shove your Oxford comma up your arse.

ME: Never. I’ll be buried with it.

MEGAN: What did your boss do?

ME: Her brain won’t work. What did yours do this time?

MEGAN: Ripped my entire marketing plan to pieces in front of the whole team. I fucking hate her so much. I need a new job. I’m going to get a new job.

She wasn’t going to get a new job. She’d been looking for one for the last ten months, but she hadn’t actually gone on any interviews. I’d even sent her some job listings to call her bluff, but she and I both knew she wasn’t going to get another job.

She’d worked too hard for the one she had, and she was far too determined to prove to her boss that she was wrong and Megan was right.

ME: No, you’re not. You’ll never get a new job.

MEGAN: ALL RIGHT BUT I WANT ONE.

ME: It doesn’t change the fact you won’t quit.

MEGAN: No, you’re right. I won’t. I’ll prove that snobby cow wrong if it kills me.

ME: It might. Your blood pressure seems pretty high.

MEGAN: You’ve met that woman. My blood pressure is always high.

ME: You should see someone about that.

MEGAN: I will. The CEO when I’m promoted above that bitch.

ME: Dream big, darling.

MEGAN: You should write a book about me and how I stomp on my boss’s head.

ME: You do know I write romance, right? Not thrillers or murder mysteries.

MEGAN: Then make my hot boyfriend stomp on her head for me. That’s romantic.

ME: You need to spend less time watching Netflix.

MEGAN: It’s not my fault I like a bad boy.

ME: Your boyfriend plays Dungeons and Dragons three times a week. Forgive me, but that doesn’t scream a man who needs to be saved from his wayward path into illicit activities.

MEGAN: That’s why I like the bad boys. Keeps it fresh, you know?

ME: Does Dan know that?

MEGAN: What do you think I watch while he plays D&D? It’s not the bloody Discovery channel.

An excellent point.

MEGAN: That’s enough about me. What’s wrong with you? Are your words broken?

ME: So broken. It’s been eight days, and nothing is coming out.

MEGAN: Have you tried porn?

How did I know that was going to be her first question?

ME: More than once.

MEGAN: Then something is coming out, but it’s not your words.

ME: MEGAN. THAT’S NOT HELPFUL.

MEGAN: Bet the porn was, though.

ME: Do you have a real suggestion to help me????

MEGAN: You need a change of scenery. All you do is sit in your house and write. Occasionally you surface for food and drinks with the girls. Why don’t you get away?

ME: On… like… a writing retreat?

MEGAN: Or just a short break. It’s not like you have to book time off. You can take your job with you.

ME: That’s true.

MEGAN: So just book a house or something somewhere you’ve always wanted to go that’s totally different from here, take that arsehole cat of yours, and get away from it all. I bet you’ll find something to inspire you.

That really wasn’t the worst idea in the world.

I hadn’t spent any time away from my computer in about three years, and even if I was going to take it with me… A change of scenery might not hurt. Sometimes I had to write in a coffee shop or in the garden or even the living room instead of my office, but none of those options had worked.

Was it a little drastic? Sure. But Meg was right—I didn’t have to ring in sick from a job, so there was nothing stopping me.

Well.

That wasn’t strictly true.

My arsehole cat was somewhat of a stumbling block. If I were to go somewhere and write an entire book, he’d have to come with me. It wasn’t fair to send him to a cattery for so long, none of my neighbours in their right mind would look after him, and honestly, I was really quite attached to the little sod.

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