Dillon Bancroft is a contemporary romance author residing in sunny Tampa, Florida.
Dillon began writing ever since she could remember. She was a horrible student, because while the only class of interest to her was her creative writing class in High School, she spent the rest of her class periods writing stories in her notebooks, allowing just a few of her friends to read stories she never thought would see the light of day.
Since Bancroft never thought being an author was ever an option, she continued writing, but only for her. She’s a sucker for second chances and enemies becoming lovers. She’s a hopeless romantic who loves anti-heroes.
She is a mom of two wild and crazy girls that know every single button to push, wife to a Marine who is probably more romantic than she is, and TV junkie with obscure television quotes only her husband would know.
I didn’t intend to sleep with my best friend’s brother at her engagement party.
But I got caught up in the romance and twinkly lights. And the tequila. And Christopher McKenzie’s stupid, charming smile.
My teenage fantasies came true and the unrequited love was finally returned. Of course, it didn’t take long for the cowboy Casanova to reveal his true colors, leaving me mortified and heartbroken.
After a two-year silence, Chris bulldozes his way back into my life, heroically saving me from a perilous situation. I would be grateful, but now he’s on a crusade to make things right between us and fix his past mistakes.
Too bad for him, I’m moving to Denver for a fresh start. But when I gain the attention of someone dangerous, Chris becomes my shadow and I learn far more than I ever imagined about him. Another McKenzie with another secret.
He offers me his protection, he grovels for forgiveness, and as much as I want to deny it, he makes it impossible to ignore my heart that still beats for him.
Do I live the life I’ve always dreamed, far away, or will I be stupid enough to fall for him again?
Right now, a beer, a burrito, and a busty brunette is all I need to get my mind off tonight and what possibly lies ahead of me tomorrow.
After a few minutes of walking, Clifton’s car races past me and honks the horn. He starts off to the house we’ve rented for the last two years in the next town over. I jog across the street to Rico’s—which is already hopping for a Tuesday night. The patio lights are on, along with the fire pylons. Fellow teachers are spending the beginning of their summer letting their hair down and acting socially unacceptable for an evening.
Other women, women I know, and women I’ve worked with all wave, briefly conversing with me as I head to the front door.
“You said this was a dinner between friends. Let’s not get it twisted.”
The dulcet and velvety voice I only hear in my dreams nowadays sends me to a complete stop. Her chestnut flows loosely around her pale shoulders that are kissed with freckles. She wears a blue and white sundress that show off her ample cleavage, and white strappy sandals.
The only woman that has ever made me reconsider my life choices.
“I don’t think you’ve thought this through.”
And like a bucket of ice, the other masculine voice, filters into my brain.
I’ve only ever seen the guy a handful of times at my soon-to-be brother-in-law’s office. He’s the other veterinarian who was just hired. Shane. Shawn. Sven? I don’t know his name.
My blood simmers as I watch him snake is lanky arm around her waist and resting his hand on the small of her back.
She’s made it crystal fucking clear she doesn’t want me around. She specifically said she never wanted to see or hear from me ever again.
But even I know what consent looks like. And what he’s doing…he’s crossing the line.
She tenses and takes a jerky step back, his hand falling to his side.
“I think everything out, okay? I don’t go into anything without exhausting my research first. This is what’s happening.”
“Jackie, you’re being ridiculous! We’re good together—great, even!”
It would take me two long strides to get into her space and tuck her safely behind me. She can handle herself. She hate your guts.
“I know you think that, but we’re not, Sam.” Sam! “I don’t want to be with you—”
Like a flash of lightning, he shoves her against the wall behind her and slams his lips to hers.
With wide eyes, she attempts to fight him off.
Fuck it. I’m taking the two strides. He’s tall, but he’s scrawny. I could take him.
I grab a hold of Sam’s shoulder, pulling him off her and lacing my fingers with Jackie’s. With a sharp tug, I pull her behind me, effectively replacing her space against the wall with his.
Sam’s light blue eyes widen and his sharp features redden. He swings out to punch me in the face, but I’m too fast. Grabbing his forearm and twisting, he hisses in pain.
“Are you deaf? Hard of hearing, maybe?”
“Chris!” She claws at my back, trying to get my attention.
“Answer me, sweetness! Do you have a problem with your hearing?” I ask the question nice and slow, as if maybe he doesn’t have a hearing problem. He’s just dumb.
When he doesn’t answer me, I pin him down with my forearm across his chest.
“Oh my god, stop it! You’re making a scene!”
“Okay, maybe you’re not deaf. Maybe you’re just stupid.”
“Ugh!” Jackie rips her hand from mine. “Christopher, stop it!”
“Answer me this, Little One. Did you want him to kiss you?”
She narrows those steel gray eyes at me, almost as if a thunderstorm is brewing inside of them. I’m about to be in for a world of hurt. But I welcome the pain. Anything to feel her again. It’ll hurt so good. At least it shows me that she feels something for me.
She purses her full lips and folds her arms across her chest and drops her gaze to the ground.
“So maybe it’s time we have a little conversation bout consent, huh?”
Sam’s eyes flash with anger. He thinks he has an advantage with his height. But I’m stronger. Smarter. Fresh out of patience.
“When a woman says she doesn’t want to be with you, it means she doesn’t want your greasy paws all over her.”
“Okay,” she cuts in. She shoves me off of Sam and turns on her heel to glare at him. “Go home, Sam. I don’t know. Contemplate your life decisions because I know what’s right for me. I don’t need you to decide for me.”
He doesn’t wait for her to say anything else. He jogs into the street to the parking lot across the street from us. She wheels around, her long chestnut hair following her every movement.
“Maybe we should have a conversation about consent?” She seethes. She stocks off towards her apartment four blocks away. If this were anyone else, people would think I’m stalking her. But it’s her and me. Christopher McKenzie and Jacqueline O’Brien. A girl harboring a school girl crush from the dawn of time, and a boy who was too stupid to see who was standing right in front of him.
I don’t trust Smith to go straight to his car, so I’m making sure I watch her walk through that front door—even if she slams it in my face. Hell, if she deadbolts it, she’s ahead of the game.
“I suppose you expect me to thank you in some way? Spread my legs? Feed you grapes. Wash your feet with my hair?”
So much sass!
“I’m not expecting any of that.”
“Then stop following me!”
“Right, so Shane can follow you in?”
She scoffs and rolls her eyes when I fall in step with her.
“He jammed his tongue down your throat!” I shift my gaze to her and scan her for any visible injuries. She’s too proud to admit when she’s hurt. Maybe I should suggest the hospital. “You hit the wall pretty hard. You sure you’re fine?”
“I promise you, if I start vomiting, it will be because I told you two years ago to kick rocks and yet, here you are.”
I snort. “We’re family. You can’t get rid of me that easily.”
I can’t even hide my chuckle when she clenches her jaw so tight that I hear her molars scraping together.
“Correction. You are my best friend’s brother, an annoying and embarrassing speed bump in my past, and currently stalking me to my house. Eat glass, Christopher. I didn’t need you two years ago, and I certainly don’t need you now.”
Ignoring the painful twinge in my heart from her indifference, I shove my hands in my pockets and cast my gaze to the ground.
“Not eating glass, because that’s psychotic. It’s dark. It’s a Tuesday night, and I have it on good authority that the cops are shitty at their jobs. I’m making sure some creep who has a weird thing for animals, doesn’t steal you into the night. What would Aria do if you’re not standing in her wedding?”
“Probably sic her fiancé on whoever took me. Since you know who did it and all.”
“Always quick with the comebacks.”
She glowers at me through her lashes as we make a right on to Oak Lane, the street just behind Bethany and Brandy Hunt’s house. It’s abundantly lit and a straight shot right to her apartment complex. I have two members of my team living on this street, and if anyone, —cough, Clay Parker cough— tries to pin me to the ground again, at least I have backup.
“You better be careful, crazy lady. You might actually hurt my feelings one of these days.”
“I haven’t yet?” she asks with a frown.
“You’re mad at me, I get it.”
She screeches to a halt. Just like some people can detect the weather with aching joints, I can feel her rage crackle in the air. Little jolts of electrocution snapping at my neck, leaving invisible wounds.
“I’m mad at you?”
“I was an asshole—”
“Okay, you know what? Yes. You’re an asshole, Christopher.” She storms ahead of me, making me jog to catch up.
“Jackie, can we just talk?”
“It fascinates me that you think I’m just mad at you. It fascinates me that I’ve been a constant fixture in your life for almost thirty years, and I’ve been absent from your life for two of them. But no. You think I’m just mad. You excusing my absence because I’m throwing a tantrum in my room. Fuck you!”
She doesn’t even look both ways before she crosses the street.
“You can’t just cross the street without looking—”
“You’re so smart. You pass all the tests without studying. Learn how to drive a tractor by the age of ten by yourself. Get thrown into the gifted program and win science fairs and math competitions. But still, you can’t tell the difference between hate and anger. I must say, Christopher, your duche-ray vision is working better than ever.”
…I think I may have pushed my luck too far.
“I wouldn’t know because you won’t talk to me!”
She races up the stairs to her apartment and slings her shoes off under the covered terrace just outside her front door.
“Come on Jackie…don’t you think it’s time to mend fences?”
“I asked you for two things, Christopher, and you broke your promise on both of them.”
I arch an eyebrow as she sinks her key into the lock. I don’t remember making any promises.
“I didn’t exactly promise—”
“I told you to not show up at my job or my apartment, and don’t tell anyone what we did.”
She shrugs her large leather purse off her shoulder to where it rests on the inside of her elbow. Tears swim in her eyes—something she doesn’t do. I’ve known this woman my entire life. The only reason why Jacqueline O’Brien cries is because she’s angry.
I hate that I’m the asshole who’s responsible for it.
“Not only did you show up at work where every single one of Bethany Hunt’s gossip hunters could hear every single word of your half-baked apology, but you told Jay!”
Fuck, fuck, fuck! I messed up big time. Wait—half baked?
“And he used it as fodder because you got all bent out of shape that your sister was dating your best friend—shouting it from the rooftop in front of your whole damn family! The two things I knew would humiliate me, you did. So I’m not exactly sorry for being frosty towards you. Thanks, I guess, for putting Sam in his place. But this is where the train stops, Christopher. Leave me alone. Don’t come back here. Don’t save me from creeps anymore. Don’t come to the office. And keep my name out of your mouth.”
She steps into the house and slams the door so hard that the kitchen window rattles.
Two years ago, I whispered things in her ear. Forever kinds of things. And like the tool I was, I woke up and realized what happened—what was going to happen. I did what I did because it was best for her.
Everything I did was for her.
At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.
I’ve broken her. And if I could kick my own ass, I would.
Stepping towards the door, I press my ear against it, listening for any signs of life. If she’s there, if she happens to be doing that thing that girls do in the movies, I want her to hear me.
“I’m gonna make this right, Little One. I promise.”
Writing was something I always did. It’s my happy place! I started out writing Harry Potter fan fiction (and no, you can’t find it anymore because Quizilla is dead). Writing has always given me this sense of belonging…a thrill. But I was told that being an author was never a viable option.
When the world shut down and I was stuck at home, I decided it was time to finally live my dream and I started writing Back and Forth. I published that baby in August 2021 and haven’t looked back!
My process is never the same, so this question is difficult to answer. The only thing that truly stays the same each time is building a routine. Since I have ADHD, I thrive on routines and my writing suffers when I deviate from them.
I write in pockets of time, usually with music blasting in my ears from a random playlist on Spotify, and I write as much as I can. On the weekends, I like to lock myself in my office, not see the light of day, and write until my brain is fried.
When I’m not writing, I’m watching a disgusting amount of TV. Or reading. I’m also 93 trapped in a 30 year old’s body, so puzzles are a must. The more pieces, the better.
I give myself a brain break and get me some ice cream!
I usually demand to go out to dinner so I can focus on ANYTHING else lol. I love being around family—and they always make me feel love and appreciated—especially when they read my books. (But they’re not allowed to tell me about it.)
Chris and Jackie were never supposed to have a book. My characters live inside my head and talk incessantly. Those two never made their presence known. But I needed a bridge to pull all the McKenzies together, and there was something inside me that knew these two were perfect for each other.
I had a few horrible, half-finished drafts, when, finally, Chris told me to hold his beer and he took over.
I don’t use anyone real for inspiration so much. Though, I think Jackie is the most like me—her inner dialogue, anyway.
Literally not knowing how this was going to shake out. I always have an inkling on how the story will end, but damn. Trusting the universe was hard.
The banter! They are both so quick-witted and sharp. Jackie doesn’t let Chris get away with anything, and Chris brings Jackie down to earth. So those times when they’re bickering, I sort of just blush and giggle. It’s like their foreplay.
I’m ALWAYS inspired by Emilia Finn. She could write an oven manual and I’d hang on every word. Melanie Harlow is also an inspiration for this book too. It helped me embrace that small town feel.
“You’re so strong.” My voice rumbles, my lips barely touching hers. “And fucking infuriating.” I peck her lips, and slide them across her jaw line, lightly nipping and soothing with my tongue. “Your words are cutting. And fuck me, I should be running the other direction because you have the power to break me. But I can’t give you up. I won’t.”
“That pull in your stomach, Little One? It’s screaming at you to give in. The throbbing in your soaked pussy? It’s begging for me to fill you up.”
My fingers dip below the waistband of her jeans, her breath hitching when I brush her sensitive nub.
“You have no idea what you do to me,” I whisper, my lips nipping her earlobe. “For two years, I’ve stayed away. Every time I close my eyes, you’re tattooed on my eyelids. If I think hard enough, I can still feel the way your pussy clamped onto my cock like I was the only fit.”
I push the stray hair behind her ears, rejoicing that she isn’t running away.
I push her jeans down until they bunch up around her ankles. I kiss her bony shins, her knees, the insides of her thick thighs. For a brief moment our eyes meet.
She’s giving me permission.
I don’t know if I’d say anything per se. I’d just want to hang out with them. Be in their presence.