Updated: Aug 22, 2021
Well, I got a bit side-tracked. I said to myself I would edit one, just one chapter of Tristan II. Nineteen chapters later I pried my eyes away. I should have known better. I get into grooves and plus, I just wanted to stay there, cozily wrapped in that world. Truth be told, I've got to get that book out to betas ASAP, and I forgot there are still a couple of scenes to write -- so probs best I tackled it.
But Ani, let's talk about him.
There were two characters in this book that were unexpected stars. One of them was Animki, or Ani as he's fondly referred to as.
Physical Attributes, Personality:
Ani stands at about six feet, maybe just over. Of course, he's got thick muscles and I picture him with large shoulders hanging over his arms like pop-tops do over the lip of a bottle. His hair is long, jet black and silky smooth--Finn always wants to touch it. He basically looks like Martin Sensmeier. But like, with even larger shoulders.
Ani is the nurturer of the House. He's not a Top, but he's still an authority--just ask the wooden hairbrush in his apron pocket or the wooden spoon that seems to appear in his hand as if from nowhere. He makes sure dinner gets made, and while yeah, he makes the chore chart, you're on your own for getting them done. If you don't, he's fine to feed you to Will and his Lexan.
Story and Inspiration:
We catch a glimpse of Ani's story in this book, but more will come in the second book. Ani's Métis heritage was inspired by my husband who is also Métis, with their (both Ani's and my husband's) First Nations' heritage being Plains-Cree. My husband no longer has his luscious, long hair though. Man do I wish I could show you a picture I've got of him from high-school so you could see it. He'd kill me though.
Ani is one of my faves. He's got a heart of gold but the won't tolerate sass!
The model in both pictures is the gorgeous Martin Sensmeier. He was another one of my muses for Ani. I realize that this model is not Métis, but I picture Ani's looks to lean more to his First Nations' side.
Artsy Ape did bless us with Ani art, but I'm going to save it for when the book comes out! It's so good, one of my favourites -- though they are all my favourite! Ha!
I chose this excerpt so you can see his wooden spoon in action. It involves a lot of Grayson whom you've not met, but he's coming up next.
Xavier's School ~ Chapter Three
“Good to know.” I twirl my dishtowel and snap his ass with it. He turns around his mouth gaping, whatever words he’s gonna say stalled on his tongue. I’m just as shocked at my own behavior, but I blame the House. They’re infectious.
Grayson’s shock changes to smug and his eyes flash a playful sheen. He begins winding up his towel. Ani sets his wooden spoon down on the counter between us, sending a clear warning. “I don’t think so you two. No horseplay in the kitchen.”
He doesn’t even stay to make sure we’ll cool it but guess he doesn’t have to with an admonishment like that. He heads into the pantry, Grayson leans over. “There’s a ton of horseplay in the kitchen. All about timing, Brighton.”
I nod and then sink my hands into the soapy water. A frothy lightness consumes me and then pours out, like water spilling from a full cup. It’s too much, yet not enough. I’m giddy. I’m nervous. I’m excited. What’s going to happen next? becomes its own kind of emotion. One I barely remember, even though I’ve missed it.
I want to be part of the action.
“Can we hide that thing?” I whisper.
“We can. We can do whatever we want. The real question is, are we willing to suffer the consequence?”
Grayson checks toward the pantry, before plucking up the spoon, going through the act of ‘drying’ it and putting it away in the drawer. “Don’t say I never do anything for you, Brighton.”
My body jitters delighted, waiting for Ani to return and notice as we do up the rest of the dishes. “By the way, what’s wrong with the dishwasher? S’it broken?” We’re doing the dishes the manual way.
“Don’t even start on that one. A lost cause around here. Both Ani and Will agree dishes are some sort of bonding experience we need.” He takes a pan from me to dry.
Too soon, Ani returns. “All right, where is it?”
“Hmmmm?” Grayson says.
“My spoon, Grayson. Where did you put it?”
“Oh. You didn’t want us to dry and put it away?”
Ani knows which drawer to fish it out of. “You want to be a wise guy? Put your hands on the counter, Grayson.”
“What? Ask Finn. He watched me dry it with his eyes.” Ani crosses his arms, not moving. “Oh, c’mon, Ani. It was a joke.” But he does place his hands flat on the countertop and stick his bottom out.
Ani slides Grayson’s oversized shirt up his back, pulling down his pants and boxers. I’m not the one being spanked, but man does it feel like it. The hotness of that feeling, the unnamable one I can never quite describe or articulate, rockets through me. I shouldn’t watch, but I have to, biting my lip all the while.
“This bum needs a break. You’d think you’d behave yourself this morning after yesterday.”
Ani lands five successive smacks to each cheek. Grayson winces and hisses contracting his body. “Jesus, Animki!”
Ani rubs and pulls up his pants for him. “Be a good boy, Graysie.”
Ani brings him in for a hug, and Grayson takes the opportunity to wink at me. Ah, I get it: consequences. We can goof off all we want, but there are real and immediate ramifications around here if we do. Not all of them serious. Many of them fun.
“I will, Ani.”
Ani laughs. “We’ll see. Finn.”
I jump. I was not expecting to be called on. “Uh, yeah?”
“Don’t think I don’t know you were part of that. The only reason you’re not bent over with your bare bum out, is because I have a soft spot for the pretty, green-eyed, new guy. But that’s the only warning you’re getting. Work you two.”
Whoa. That takes the breath out of me. I want … I want more of that, no matter how humiliating.
He’s walking off again, my eyes follow him awestruck. “How did he know?” I whisper to Grayson.
“They always know, Brighton. They always bloody know. It’s irksome and oddly comforting. Half the time you want them to know, even when you don’t want them to know.”
“What?” That doesn’t make a lick of sense.
“Don’t worry about it. I have so much to teach you. There’s time.”
And I want to learn. I get back to my task, the buzz of that feeling kindling yet more excitement for whatever’s to come, and if I need more of it, I just look to the spoon Ani left for us on the counter.
Wooden Spoon by Artsy Ape