This scene was written for Amanda C. Stone’s blog for the Unbreak Broken release tour. I figured I’d make it available here since the tour is now over. The prompt was to write a scene in which Rory & Bennett from Unbreak Broken meet Titus & Charlie from Shadows Fall. This was the resulting story. 🙂
Unbreak Broken meets Shadows Fall
A bonus scene by J.K. Hogan
Rory raised his face to the sun as Bennett piloted the little Grady White into what they’d started thinking of as ‘their cove.’ However, with two teenagers sunning themselves at the bow, they wouldn’t be getting up to their usual shenanigans in the cove. Pity, Rory thought, as he eyed the flexing muscles in Bennett’s tanned forearms as he turned the wheel.
There weren’t many other boats out, so Bennett picked a spot and cut the engine. Instead of dropping anchor, they decided to just drift with the wind. Even though Rory still didn’t have the best sea legs, he tried to do his part without falling in. Carefully, he started to unpack the contents of the cooler they’d packed for lunch.
“Dad!” Addison’s voice startled Rory into dropping a soda can onto the deck. He picked it up as Bennett checked on the kids.
“What’s wrong, Addy?”
“I think there’s something wrong with that boat over there.”
Bennett edged around the cabin to get to the bow, and Rory followed. Sure enough, there was a small fishing boat floating off their starboard. When he concentrated, Rory could hear the sound of the motor turning over, then clicking as it went dead. They also picked up distinctly angry voices drifting over the flat water.
“Think we ought to check on them?” Rory asked.
Bennett sighed and rubbed a hand over his slightly toasted neck. “I could always try the CB, but if they’re tourists, they won’t know how to use it anyway. Guess we should. Secure the cooler and I’ll start her back up. Hang on, kids!”
Rory tossed their lunches back in the cooler while Bennett started puttering towards the apparently stranded boaters. As they approached, Rory started to be able to make out what they were saying.
“…said you knew about boats!”
“I do! I grew up on… lake for chrissake!”
“Well, what’s wrong with it?”
“I don’t know!”
They pulled up alongside the boat and Bennett idled the engine. “Ahoy there!” he shouted, and Rory snorted.
“Omigod, really, Dad?” Addison asked, hiding her face behind the paperback she was reading.
Bennett ignored them all. “You guys having some engine trouble?”
Rory squinted against the sun to study the two men in the boat. The blonde one was tall and muscular, a build similar to Bennett’s but without quite so much height. The shorter man was slender and wiry with messy black hair that fell over his eyes. His darker skin color suggested some kind of ethnic history, but Rory couldn’t tell for sure.
“Um, yeah,” said the hunky blonde. “We stopped to… hang out, and now I can’t get the motor going again.”
The darker man smothered a laugh with his hand, trying to disguise it as a cough. It didn’t work. Blondie glared at him, and he simply shrugged. “You’ve never had trouble getting the motor going again before.”
“Couldn’t resist, could you?” he asked, then turned back to Bennett. “I’m Charlie, and this is Titus. We’re on vacation visiting some friends, and I thought it would be fun to rent a boat.”
“’Till he broke the boat,” Titus supplied helpfully.
“If I can come aboard, maybe I can help,” Bennett said.
Titus eyed him so suspiciously that Bennett chuckled and held out his hands. “Good instinct, never let a stranger on your boat. But I’m an off-duty harbor patrol officer. Lt. Bennett Foster,” he said, pulling out his badge to show them.
“Well, that’s lucky,” Charlie said. “Come on over!”
Bennett cut the engine on the Grady while Rory stayed with the kids. Bennett checked out the outboard motor, fiddling with some stuff Rory didn’t understand, then went to the cockpit to flip some switches.
“I think you’ve flooded the engine. Sometimes it can do that if you pump the primer bulb too much. Easy fix.”
“Okay…” Charlie said, giving him a ‘go on’ gesture.
“You just want to open the throttle up all the way, then crank the engine. Soon as it starts to turn over, pull the throttle back quick, but not so quick as to cut the engine back off. Get it into a good idle and let it sit for a bit.”
“Uh…” Charlie sputtered.
“Want me to do it?” Bennett asked with a smile.
“Please!” Charlie and Titus said simultaneously.
Bennett did exactly as he’d described, and got the boat running again in no time. He climbed back onboard his own boat and wrapped an arm around Rory’s waist. If the two men thought that was odd, he certainly didn’t pick up on it.
“Remember, don’t cut it again for a little while. Where are you to headed next?”
Charlie blushed furiously and Titus snickered. “Uh, well, we’d planned on, you know, camping out on the water for the day.”
Rory smiled. That definitely explained the lack of judgment coming from the two other men.
“All righty then,” Bennett said. “You two take care. Have fun.” He gave them a wink which only got Charlie blushing harder. “Remember, if you break down again, you can always call Harbor Patrol!”