Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Line of Scrimmage: The Next Chapter

By: Marie Force

Line of Scrimmage ends with an epilogue in which Ryan's number is retired at an elaborate ceremony before the final home game of the Denver Maverick's season—their first season without Ryan as their starting quarterback. Attending the ceremony with Ryan are his wife Susannah and their daughter Hope, who is four weeks old. Ryan hints that he's anxious to be "back in the saddle" with Susie, but as we moms know, there's no saddle action for six weeks after a woman gives birth. So if you wondered how Ryan and Susannah's story continues, here's the next chapter. It picks up six weeks to the day after Hope's birth when the family is getting ready for a cozy Christmas at their cabin in Breckenridge, Colorado.

Ryan hated Christmas tree lights. He hated unraveling the huge, knotted ball of hell, he hated trying to get them evenly distributed on the nine-foot tree, he hated the way Susie always made him re-do it at least once and often twice, he hated the way his fingers became sticky with sap. Most of all, he hated teetering on a ladder while she barked orders from the safety of the floor. However, when he thought about last year and the Christmas he'd spent alone in his barren apartment while he and Susie were separated, he attacked the knotted ball of hell with gusto. This year, everything was different. They were back together where they belonged, they finally had the child they had yearned for, and he was grateful for the many blessings this year had brought.

Unfortunately, he was also insanely horny after having to go without the last couple of months. Susie's pregnancy had been deemed "high risk," which translated to "hands off" for him. But earlier today, she'd come home from her six-week check up in the city all smiles and talking about green lights. He'd wanted to drag her off to bed that very minute, but of course Hope had picked today to be unusually fussy. So while Susie tried to get the baby down for what would he hoped would be a two- or three-hour stretch, Ryan wrestled with the knotted ball of hell and tried to keep his mind out of the gutter. Was it so wrong to have a one-track mind? Was it so wrong to be turned on by the sight of his wife breast-feeding their baby? Since that went on for most of every day, he'd been taking long treks through the icy woods to deal with his raging libido. Maybe there was something wrong with him if all he could think about was getting his wife horizontal. He was supposed to be preparing for his job as the coach of the Arlington High School Colts, but even that new and exciting challenge couldn't seem to get his mind off the other issue.

"Hey," Susannah said when she came into the room looking exhausted and drained. Damn it! "What're you doing?" She took a closer look, her eyes widening with surprise. "Did you actually get the lights out without me holding a gun to your head?"

"Yeah, so?"

"Are you sick? Do you have a fever?"

"Very funny." Ryan's grumpy mood turned sullen when he realized that while she might have the green light, she probably didn't have the energy for what he had in mind. He eyed the fire he'd built up earlier, hoping for a do over of the night they'd spent in front of the fire last winter when they most likely conceived Hope.

"What's wrong, Ry?"

"Nothing," he snapped as he fought with the lights. "Everything's just fine. Perfect in fact."

She came up behind him and wrapped her arms around him. "No, it isn't."

Ryan was afraid to move. Hell, he could barely breathe.

"Tell me," she said, pressing a kiss to his neck. "You're so tight and tense." She massaged his neck and shoulders.

Ryan tried counting, he tried counting backwards, he tried breathing. But the more she touched him, the worse it got. When he couldn't take one more second of it, he spun around, scooped her up with one arm and set off for the bedroom.

"Ryan!" she said, breathless. "What're you doing?"

"Taking my wife to bed."

"But wait—"

"I've waited months. I can't wait one more minute."

She shocked the hell out of him when she grabbed handfuls of his hair and dragged his mouth to hers.

Ryan saw stars.

Her legs hooked around his hips, she went wild in his arms.

"Susie," he gasped. "Wait."

"I've waited months. I can't wait one more minute."

"Hey! That's my line."

"It seems," she said with a saucy smile as she dragged the sweater over his head, "that it's our line. Now shut up and get naked."

Never one to have to be told twice, Ryan moved fast. And then skin was against skin, hard against soft. "God, Susie, I've missed this. I've missed you." He devoured her, as if he had in fact been starving.

Hope picked that moment to let out a lusty wail.

"No," Ryan moaned. "Doesn't she care at all about her Daddy?"

Susie laughed and disentangled herself from his embrace. "Hold that thought." She got up, put on a robe, and ducked into the large walk-in closet that was doubling as Hope's nursery at the cabin.

Ryan wanted to weep, he wanted to wail. Instead, he buried his face in the pillow and prayed for a quick return to sleep for his daughter. By the time Susie slid into bed half an hour later, he was almost more interested in sleep than sex.


She caressed his back and coaxed him out of hiding. "Now, where were we?"

Turning on his side to face her, he said, "We don't have to." He couldn't believe the words had come out of his face. "You've got to be tired."

"Ryan Sanderson, I swear to God. If you don't make love to me right now—this minute—I'll go get the Christmas lights and use them to tie you to the bed so I can have my way with you."

Astounded, Ryan stared at her. "Well, that's one way for me to to get out of untangling them."

She laughed, and Ryan, never one to have to be told twice, did as directed.

Forty weeks to the day later, Susannah gave birth to a nine-pound baby boy they named Luke. He had his daddy's brown eyes and deep dimples. Turns out the doctor meant it when she said breast-feeding wasn't foolproof birth control. Who knew? Who cared?


  1. Marie

    I love it love it
    Thank you so much for that you gotta love Susie and Ryan

    Have Fun

  2. Thanks, Helen!! I had to hold back a bit, this being a family blog and all. Glad you enjoyed it. They are so fun to write and Ryan is still Ryan!

  3. Just read this on your blog - and I'll say it again: I love you for doing this!

    So, what did Ryan do for those next months of frustration...

  4. Fun, and so nice to peek in on character's lives after they become friends.

  5. LOL Judi, I'll never tell. Glad you enjoyed the story and thanks for stopping by my blog, too!!

  6. Hi Michele,
    This was like revisiting two of my old friends and when you know the characters so well, something like this is so easy to dash off. It's like sliding on a comfortable pair of slippers! Have a great day!!

  7. Great post, Marie, but I can think of all KINDS of ways to relieve his frustration! But, Family Blog, you know. I think we should do a Casa spin-off that doesn't share that distinction. Now, THAT would be fun!!!
    Hmmm...might just decorate the house today...and the deck....have to untangle lots of lights... Just one problem...sleigh bed...no posts...damn....

  8. Thanks, Marie~

    It's nice to see Ryan and Susie again. I really missed them when the book ended.

    Robin ::)

  9. Cheryl,
    Thank you for your suggestions, Ryan appreciates them. I'm not saying that Ryan went completely without, just that he was ready for the main event to resume!

    Hi Robin,
    Glad you were happy to see Ryan and Susie again. They are still fun to write!

  10. I dunno, sounded like he'd been completely neglected to me! Poor Ryan!!! Glad he's all better now!

  11. *fans self*

    I bow to you, Marie. They are one hot couple. And I think I just had a flashback to the days when Brian was sniffing at my heels, wailing "HOW long until six weeks is up??"

    Thanks for the laugh, complete with a little bit of spice, this morning. You rock:-)

  12. LOL, Kendra, and I was holding back since we're running a family show here. Oh the places I would've like to have gone... Alas, I behaved (despite Cheryl's encouragement to go for it--she is NAUGHTY) but Ryan did not behave or hold back. :-)

    Looking forward to seeing you this weekend!!

  13. I agree with everyone Marie, this was great and it is fun revisiting them!


  14. Marie--

    You know I love these characters, so I'm so happy to see them here again with TWO babies :) Very cute!


  15. What fun! I love "and then what happened?"

  16. Loved it! What sexy fun. Thank you Marie.

  17. Hi Linda,
    It was fun to revisit Ryan and Susie after all these months. He still makes me laugh when I write him!

    Hi Danielle,
    Yes, TWO babies--how about that? For those who read the book, you know they had a heck of time getting pregnant the first time around, so they certainly never expected two babies in two years! Picturing his face when she told him there was a second one on the way so soon after the first also made me laugh!!

    Thanks for coming by Mary Margaret and Christina! Glad you enjoyed the what comes next story! It was more fun to think about their HEA than I ever could've imagined it would be!

  18. Just read this on your blog and I LOVE reading the HEA to the HEA ;) So, what's going to happen after little Luke? ;p

  19. Oh Marie, I love it -- but then I fell in love with Ryan and Susie.

  20. Fedora,
    I think after Luke is born, Ryan will go through another period of "loneliness," which won't end as well this time because Susie will be wary of getting prego again. Two in two years is funny. Three in three years? Not funny.

    Hi Dani!
    Thanks for coming by both blogs today!! Glad you like Ryan and Susie so much.

  21. Thanks for another look at Ryan and Susie. LOS was a book I wasn't for it to end. So, this was a special treat.

  22. That's so nice to hear, Jen! It's such a thrill to have people say they love Ryan and Susannah as much as I do.

  23. Fabulous! Wish that was in the original novel, but having it here is almost as good. Thanks so much for sharing that sweet interlude!

  24. Thanks, Sharon! Glad you liked it.

  25. Marie
    thanks for this I always want to know what is happening with my favorite characters. I loved this book

  26. Thank you so much, Beth! That's great to hear. Email me at mforce@cox.net to be added to the mailing list for news about the next book!