I looked up to my dad when I was growing up. He also frightened me. His word was law. The poor man was the only male in the house of women. Yet he raised us to be some wonderful adults. In honor of Father's Day, I want to share this post that I wrote for him and presented to him on his most recent birthday. He really is my hero!
You’re Your Mother’s Daughter
“You’re your mother’s daughter” were words my dad wrote to me in response to an essay I wrote about food and the generational quality of it. His words were meant as a compliment pointing out how much I am like my mother. It made me happy to think of being so much like her but it also hurt. “The pen is mightier than the sword” was never truer. What we say in writing can wound and at two am I was worried that in some way, my essay had hurt my father with those words. However these four words sent me on a journey down memory lane during the wee darkness of the morning…because if I am my mother’s daughter, I am also my father’s daughter.
Hard working is my strongest memory of my father. Not only was his job incredibly physical, as a foreman at the local steel plant, but it was a mentally demanding job. He worked the swing shift which meant that he would often work strange hours and sleep strange hours. “Don’t wake your father” were words to live by! His schedule could and often did change daily. To drive your body to that point takes not only physical but mental acuity. But more than the hard work he did on the job, my father worked around the house and at many of my other family members’ homes too, fixing roofs, building decks, or helping to paint the house! At no time did I hear my father complain about the work or refuse to help. Maybe that is a part of the code he was raised by but he set a powerful standard that I have always attempted to reach.
Personal responsibility was also an important part of my dad. I remember when I was a teenager with a new car. He told me that in order to be able to drive that car, I needed to know how to take care of it. Two days I labored trying to figure out how to open the hood and check the oil. At any time, I could have asked for help but I wanted to prove that I was able to do this. I wanted to earn his respect. His modeling of personal responsibility taught me to take my knocks for the things that I did wrong. How absolutely frightening were the words “Wait till your father gets home!” My mom could utter those in a whisper and we would sit with fear because we knew we had done something bad…something that we may face a consequence for but face it we would, you could count on that! Today, so many parents let their children off easy for fear of harming their child’s self esteem but I am glad that my father taught me to take the good with the bad and own up for what I did. No point in running from consequences, God or Karma has a way of catching you and making you face the music and no excuse will change that fact.
While hard work and personal responsibility were vital to my father, emotions were a tough one. He grew up in a time when men didn’t show their emotions. Yet God felt the need to saddle this man with five daughters (yes, I did say five). The emotional roller coasters he dealt with were staggering. Honestly, that man must have earned sainthood as we went through teenage hormones! There are photos of him holding each new baby with a look of awe on his face. And the laughter that could be heard as he chased us around the house as a snarling monster was music for angel’s ears! One story that he likes to share of my childhood is the burning desire I had for a puppy. We had other pets, gerbils, hamsters and many cats growing up. One day one of these kittens had climbed into my dad’s wheel well of his car (only a kitten knows why they do this). On this day, my father had to work and the car quickly became a killing machine. Horrified about how to break this information to his young daughter, my father must have agonized over telling me. (Having children of my own- I know how heartbreaking it is to share bad news with them.) Knowing my dad, the worry about the emotional toll it would have on me, fearing that I was scarred for life, he shared it in the kindest most sympathetic way. Only to get a response from me, “Okay, now we can get a puppy?” I have seen this man marry off his daughters, hold his grandchildren in his arms, and bury his loved ones with out shedding a tear but his emotions were there on his face for all to witness. A few quiet words or a small gesture from my father conveys a whole conversation of emotion. Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino has nothing on my father!
So back to those four simple words- “You’re your mother’s daughter.” I am proud to say that I am also my father’s daughter. We are all a product of the millions of people and connections that we make during our lifetimes. But our parents become the heroes of childhood, the dreams of what success means, and the sculptors of our personality. During a time of crisis at the steel plant, one of my father’s employees told me that “my father was the best manager and he wouldn’t do anything to harm him if he had to cross the picket line.” What respect! So I hope to be my father’s daughter, with a strong work ethic, personal responsibility and the compassion to do what is right. Thank you Dad!
Today I'm trying something new...an Author Spotlight. I usually spotlight the books and mention the author but this time, I'm focused on the author. Diane Burton writes amazing science fiction romance and now romantic suspense stories that will be sure to delight you. I put Diane to the test with some questions. I even got her with one she'd never heard before!
Hello Diane and thank you for visiting today. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m Wife, Mom, Nana, and writer—not always in that order of priority. If the grandkids come over, everything else goes by the wayside. I’m published in science fiction romance and soon to be published in romantic suspense. I love movies, especially action adventure and romantic comedy. I enjoy quilting but don’t make the time much. And my husband and I are building a house. A new venture for us. Since we’re long-time DIYers, it will be a real treat to move into a house and not have to change things.
Thanks! It sounds like you have an interesting life. The house will be a new adventure. I'm jealous because my hubby and I wouldn't be able to do it...too much fighting! Now on to some personal questions.
If you could go back in time to when you were seven years old, what wisdom or advice would you pass on to yourself? Laugh more and don’t take things so seriously.
That's so important! For what are you grateful? My family.
If a zombie virus took over the world, how many days do you think you could last before you were infected? And what would you do to postpone the inevitable?
I have never been asked that question before. It’s really funny as I just watched a repeat episode of “Castle” involving zombies. Now that I’ve delayed answering the question…I guess five. I’d hide.
My hubby hopes we can kill a few before they get to us. What television sitcom is most like your family? Why? I grew up in Archie Bunker’s house. My dad was Archie’s clone. I’d like to think my family was like Happy Days. My kids would say it was more like I Love Lucy because of the crazy things my girlfriend and I would do.
Those are some wonderful shows! What’s your favorite thing to do to relax? Watch movies.
Let’s find out a little bit about you as an author. Did you always want to be an author? No. I wanted to be a teacher, which I was for over ten years. I didn’t start writing until my kids went off to college.
We should talk about teaching some day! What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult? Lucy Maud Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables), Daphne DuMaurier (Rebecca), Victoria Holt & Phyllis Whitney (gothic romances); Jayne Castle/Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick.
I loved Jayne Castle's works! Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing? coffee
Do you have a common theme or item that appears in each of your books? A dog appears in almost all of my books.
That's very cool. What have you learned the most from being in the writing business? Women writers both online and in my RWA chapter are the most generous people. They willingly share info, tips, and their time.
I love that about authors. Tell us about your latest release.
Switched Revolution wraps up the Switched series about twins trading places.
Actions have consequences as Space Fleet Captain Marcus Viator and NASA reject Scott Cherella discover when they switched places. Does the reserved Marcus have what it takes to imitate his smart-aleck twin? Despite help from his love, Veronese, Scott’s already been outed by two of Marcus’ best friends.
When rebels steal the ship with part of the crew aboard, Scott has to rescue them and retrieve the Freedom. The stakes increase when he discovers the rebels are heading for Earth. They know he’s a fraud and they want Marcus. The safety of the Alliance of Planets depends on Scott and his allies.
Gloria held out her arms to Jessie who seemed to have no qualms about accepting a hug. “Oh, I can’t wait to see that grandbaby. May I?”
She reached toward Jessie’s protruding abdomen. Jessie took her hand and brought it to rest on top. Gloria’s eyes widened, and she quickly removed her hand. “It kicked. Oh, my goodness.” She giggled and touched again. “Active.”
“Oh, yes.” Jessie laughed. “Very active.”
“Do you know what it is yet?”
“I—We want to be surprised,” Jessie said. “We can tell you we’re having twins.”
Gloria jerked her hand away as if burned. “Twins?”
She actually stumbled back against Marcus. He put his arm around her to steady her and felt her tremble.
“Are you okay, Mom?” He was surprised how right it felt to call Gloria that.
Jessie ran back into the garage and brought out a canvas chair. As he eased his mother into it, Jessie asked, “What happened?”
Gloria touched her temple. “I’m being silly. Pay me no mind.”
“Seriously, Mrs. C. Did Max trip you?”
“No, no. It’s nothing.”
Jessie went back into the garage and came out with a paper cup. “Here’s some water. Do you think the heat got to you?” The late April day, which started out cool, had gotten progressively warmer.
“No.” Gloria took a sip of water. “Hearing about twins always . . . affects me. I—I thought I was going to have twins. When I was pregnant with you, Scottie.” She patted his hand.
Since he and his twin had switched places, Marcus often had to remind Jessie to call him Scott. More often than not, she called him an endearment, like honey. Hearing his own mother call him by another’s name seemed . . . wrong.
Gloria cleared her throat. “One day, I felt— I can’t explain it. I felt different. The doctor said he must have been mistaken about twins. When you were born, I was so sure there would be another baby.” She pulled a tissue out of her pocket and dabbed at her eyes. “Don’t listen to me, Jessie dear. Nothing will happen to your babies.”
Marcus knelt beside her and held her hand. It seemed like the right thing to do. He knew exactly what had happened all those years ago, and anger surged through him as her words reminded him of the Gemini Experiment. Only a lifetime of controlling his emotions enabled him to conceal visible evidence of hatred for the one who had stolen his mother’s baby. Her other baby. Him.
Wow, great excerpt. I would have been so pissed. I'm glad his mom didn't know. How did you decide on your story plot? The two other Switched books, while complete on their own, left readers wondering what happened afterward. Okay, I wanted to know what happened. LOL. Could Marcus pull off masquerading as his brother? Would their mother realize he wasn’t Scott? He and Jessie (whose story was told in Switched) are very dear to my heart because Switched was my first published book.
How did you choose your characters names and location for your story? I use a baby names books. The first time Hubs saw them he asked if I was trying to tell him something. LOL. The location had to be a star ship. I love Star Trek (esp. the new movies) and Firefly.
Do you have a favorite scene? Why? The scenes with Marcus and his mother. I put myself in the mother’s place.
Those would be the hardest for me. Do you have a character that you identify with? Who and why? Jessie because of her irreverent sense of humor.
Let the readers know how they can get a hold of you…
Goodreads: Diane Burton Author
Amazon author page: http://amzn.com/e/B00683MH5E
Is there anything else that you want to share… feel free!!
I’d like to thank my readers. I love hearing from them when they’ve enjoyed my stories. And a special thanks to you, Melissa, for having me here today.
Thank you Diane! It's been a pleasure having you!
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. She is the author of science fiction romance the Switched and The Outer Rim series. With One Red Shoe, soon to be published by The Wild Rose Press, she takes her writing in a new direction into romantic suspense. She is also a contributor to the anthology How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and two grandchildren.
You can find the Switched series at all major online retailers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
What's more sinful than another woman coming on to your man? In Three's a Crowd, it is worse since it was the woman your husband slept with and had a child with...
Here's another snippet from that wonderful story.
Entering the living room, I saw Chloe sitting on the couch in Alex’s arms. Hiding in the doorway, I stood and watched them for a bit. Unable to hear what they were saying, my heart clenched as I observed their closeness. You shouldn’t be watching them. You should get in there. I tried to talk myself in to movement. I felt like a voyeur, yet I was unable to make myself known.
For Lissa, the second time at love was a charm but in marriage, three’s a crowd.
Single mother Lissa Vincent found her soul mate in her best friend’s ex-husband. Alex Hunter couldn’t believe his fortune when his ex-wife told him her best friend was available. After divorce, finding love again could be a challenge but it appeared Alex and Lissa had gotten lucky. Yet as they start their lives as newlyweds, Alex and Lissa don’t realize just how difficult it might be to blend a family.
When Alex’s ex new marriage begins to unravel, she sets her sights again on Alex. Does Alex still have feelings for the mother of his child? Will Lissa keep her best friend or lose her husband?
Fairytales promise a happily-ever-after. But what really happens after the after.
Today I mowed the lawn. The sky was overcast, threatening to rain. The breeze cooled the warm air but even with the slight brush of the wind, it was warm. I'd worked a full day teaching and the length of the grass outside bothered me. It was too long. I knew it, my husband knew it, the dogs knew it...and I'm sure that the neighbors knew it. Not mowing wasn't an option.
After a lovely healthy meal and a bit of relaxation after the long day at work, I trudged outside and started the lawnmower with just five tugs on the pull cord. A record for me! Mowing the lawn is cathartic. I love being outside and the sense of accomplishment after finishing. But today, the final swipe of the mower was too much. I knew it and was alone without any help. Luckily I've been prepared for this.
***now stay tuned for a public-service announcement***
I have neuro-cardio genetic syncope. It's a really long medical term for the fact that my head and heart don't communicate well. When a trigger happens, my heart tells my brain that it doesn't have enough blood or that it isn't working. To keep alive, my brain then draws all the blood out of my extremities. In other words, my blood pressure drops. I usually have a few seconds or a minute to prepare before I find myself on the ground. I lose consciousness. I pass out.
This has been going on since I was younger. My first vivid memory was having a really bad period and passing out as I got out of bed to seek help. It happened each and every time I was pregnant. I would pass out even before I found out I was pregnant. It got to be my own little "tell-tale" sign. Certain other things would trigger this like needles, anxiety, standing up from the floor or a hot summer's day.
I've scared quite a few people, including myself when this has happened. There's just something frightening about talking to someone to seeing them fall over on the floor- mid sentence! I've also done some damage to myself and the things around me. One time I fell and smashed up a basket that was full of magazines and almost broke my arm. Another time I passed out without warning while visiting a former student in her kitchen. Luckily, I've not had it happen while driving but I'm very glad that I usually have a warning before it happens.
This medical issue runs in families. I know my mom had it happen. In fact her heart stopped. She needed CPR to keep it going. And just like there can be a variety of different triggers and types of issues, treatment for neuro-cardio genetic syncope also varies. I am supposed to drink a lot of water. I can have as much salt in my diet as I like (yes!! extra salt on that popcorn please!) and practice with my triggers so that I can better predict and stop the loss of consciousness. I also wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace at all times.
Back to my mowing experience...I came into the house in a pre-syncope episode. All alone, I quickly grabbed a glass of water, put my feet above my head and took some calming, deep breaths. When I wasn't light-headed anymore, I grabbed a bag of pretzels and devoured them, even tipping the empty bag up to my lips for the salt at the bottom.
When people look at me, none of this shows on my face or body. I don't have a wheelchair or cast to indicate that there's a problem. I look young and healthy. And while my medical condition is under control...I have to keep it in mind at all times. Each time I pass out, my heart stops. But I don't let it rule my life. I'm too sassy for that. And sometimes like today... too sassy to remember my triggers.
~~Live each day to it's fullest...Dance in the rain, sing like no one is listening, and laugh... It's the best medicine!~~
Can you imagine being tormented for something that you didn't do? And only when you meet that person, you realize that they were being used as well? Skarlet Kiss sounds like an amazing tale in the Forsaken Series. Here's the blurb and excerpt so you can see for yourself.
Skarlet Kiss by Elise Whyles
The Forsaken Series, Book 5
Can one who served the enemy find love in the arms of a condemned man?
Una has spent her life serving Amuliana, the goddess of immortals. Now she stands on the brink of a change, one that can her give back the life she lost to Amuliana's meddling. But the change that comes will shatter the peaceful existence she knows and give her a new understanding of love and life. Unbeknownst to Una, her ancestors were the Forsaken, immortals who were cast out for the crime of a jealous vampire general.
Liam, an outcast among the dragon clans, has spent centuries seeking the one who condemned him for a crime he did not commit. When he comes face to face with Una, he must make a difficult choice—seek revenge or save a pure heart from the darkness threatening their worlds.
The dragon warrior and the human girl will unite to face enemies they've never experienced as a fallen vampire general's army stalks them. As Una gains strength, her immortal gifts are returned and she becomes a threat to the imprisoned general who's seeking power over the immortal world. He can't afford to let Una survive, because her life will ultimately cost him his.
Together, Liam and Una must fight their way back to the vampire world and the safety offered by her sister. Can love survive amid the treachery and danger, or has Liam finally found his mate only to lose her to the evil plaguing their worlds?
Content Warning: explicit sex, emotional torment, graphic violence
Thick, rolling clouds kept the air moist as Liam paced the confines of his home. Ice covered the stone walls, snow swirled and danced along the floor of the cave. He shivered, the rattle of scales music to his ears. After two hundred years, he was finally able to break out of the horrid humanoid form.
Padding to the mouth of his cave, he stared out. White clouds soared around the mountain's peak. Snow danced along the ledge, piling where it was easiest. The air was cold, crisp, sweet, much as it had been when he'd grown up in the Highlands.
He tapped his claws against the stone, his eyes searching through the mist, for what he did not know. The need to search, to find an answer to the elusive want had plagued him for days, disturbing his hunting, his rest. Nights were filled with the image of a female, her hair flowing over her shoulders, wide, trust filled eyes staring at him. Her hands outstretched, reaching toward him. The visage tickled at his memory of another woman, one dressed as a slave, following the footsteps of a vampire…one he'd feared.
Curling his tail around himself, he settled on his haunches, shoulders hunched against the chill as he stared out over the human realm. Faint, his hunger stirred. Soon he'd need to hunt, both for food and for the one who had done him ill. The sharp point of his tail beat a slow, steady rhythm against the floor as he tilted his head, listening to the howling winds, the bitter screams of the winter weather, and the elusive sound of a beating heart.
* * * *
"Do not dawdle, Una, our time grows short." Harsh, bitter, Anagor's voice scraped along her nerves as she hurried through the stone corridor. Stale air and dust sat in her throat, gagging her as she scurried among the debris. The sound of claws on stone sent shivers up her spine as some unseen vermin darted from her path. The heavy cloak she wore hid the shimmering fabric of her priestess robes but did little to battle the cold soaking through to her flesh.
"'Tis cold, this place we are being sent." Una shivered and ducked beneath a heavy beam. Her hand pressed against the icy stone as she struggled to maintain her balance on the uneven ground.
"You may think so."
Anagor's sneer pricked at the ready temper she'd struggled to control. Biting her lip, she kept the sharp retort to herself. She glanced up, her gaze falling on the thick wooden door Anagor stood before. He grinned as he gripped the handle and pulled. Dust and pebbles rained down as it creaked and groaned in protest before scraping along the ground to open. Shock ripped through Una as the pale streak of light spread along the frozen ground, wrapping around her with its icy chill.
Snow slapped at the ground, swirling in a maelstrom of white. It blew through the portal into the opening, piling around her sandal clad feet. Teeth chattering, she rubbed at her arms as Anagor stepped back, reaching for her cloak, all but shoving her into the freezing air.
"Duty does not wait for one who whines," he snapped, his grip tightening around her arm.
Bitter winds lashed at her dress, whipping the fabric around her legs. Her cheeks and toes burned, and fog formed in front of her with every breath. Her skin tightened, prickles of heat dancing along the surface. Wrapping her arms around herself, she fought to ward off the chill even as she felt it sinking deeper into her skin.
"My lord, I would hurry, but this wind…it is so cold, I fear I'll freeze."
"Nonsense. Amuliana would not send you forth to freeze. You have served her well."
Una stumbled, her hand catching at Anagor. Pain ripped through her, shredding her heart as she wavered, yet it wasn't her pain. Rather, it was his. His pale eyes stared at her, hate stirring in them, along with something else. Something terrifying.
Backing away from him, Una trembled. Her fingers clutched at her clothes, wrapping them tighter around her. Each step back she took, he advanced two, his eyes fastened on her throat. He grinned, a merciless expression which revealed blackened nubs for teeth and puss filled gums.
"What is this?" Una swallowed, the rising fear pushing any thought but escape from her mind.
"My penance has waited too long, Una. I will have what I seek this night." Anagor licked his lips, his eyes darkening with hunger.
Buy Links: Beachwalk Press Amazon Barnes & Noble All Romance eBooks
Watch the Series Trailer:
About the Author:
Born in a small community, Elise Whyles lives in Canada with her son and husband. She’s currently working on the next book in the Canadian Heros Trilogy as well as the next book in the paranormal romance series Forsaken. Elise writes in multiple genres, paranormal, contemporary, erotic, m/m. To learn more about her or to drop her a note please stop by her website.
Author Links: Site Twitter Facebook
Elise is giving away to one lucky winner an E-book copy of Books 1- 5 of The Forsaken Series.
For a chance to win fill out the Rafflecopter below.
I enjoy sharing books with you, especially new releases. Today Night Stars and Mourning Doves is released by the wonderful Margo Hoornestra. I hope you will consider taking a look at it and buying it.
Elyse Monroe may be her sister's maid of honor, but that doesn't mean she has to follow the bride's example and fall in love. Battle-scarred and weary from previous relationships, she has no desire to take a chance on another--no matter how many hints her little sister drops about the best man.
Devastating life events have taken a toll on Eric Matthews. After losing his wife and unborn daughter, he's come home to heal. Serving as best man at his kid brother's wedding is the only relationship he cares to contemplate--no matter how attractive the maid of honor.
Thrown together again and again by wedding duties, Elyse and Eric reluctantly agree to explore a possible relationship--only to have their casual date turn into a glorious night of passion. Can two hearts, convinced a happily ever after will never happen, recognize love when it finds them?
Excerpt“Remodeling your home to accommodate Jay and me. Isn’t that a little extreme?”
Lips pursed, he shook his head. “Your mother and I have talked about adding on for years. Anyway, whatever we put into this house should increase its value eventually.” Setting aside the paper once and for all, his expression mellowed as he regarded his son. “Helping you out is helping us out.”
“It’s nice to hear you say that. And I want you to know I do appreciate what you’re doing for us. Especially Jay.”
“Losing your mother at any age is tough,” he replied as he stood. “It’s gotta be especially devastating when you’re as young as my grandson. He still needs someone to care for him like a mother, and Iris is more than up to the task.”
“She is that,” Eric began, then made himself quit talking.
Hard to admit, but he wanted someone to care for him, or at least listen when he needed them to. It wasn’t easy to look for a woman when you’re mortally injured and still require time to heal. Right now, it seemed all the time in the world would never make him whole again.
Wild Rose Press
My personal history in a nutshell is pretty simple. I’m a wife to one; mother to four—seven if you count in-law children which I do—and grandmother to four so far.
My work experience includes public relations specialist, magazine editor, television producer, and script and speech writer. I’m also a founding member of Mid-Michigan Romance Writers of America.
I'm excited to have Lisa Eugene on my blog sharing her latest book and why romantic suspense is making a comeback. This is exciting to me because of my passion for mysteries but my love of romance. Sit back and enjoy Lisa's insights!
HOW ROMANTIC SUSPENSE IS MAKING A COMEBACK
There've been a lot of romance books recently that have a subgenre of mystery/suspense. I think it's because the combination is so enticing. Who doesn't love a good mystery? Who doesn't love a good romance? Put the two together and...wow!! It's like combining peanut butter and chocolate...who would have thought? Or in my case...vodka, tripple sec, and cranberry juice...a cosmo! Who would have thought? Delicious--- like reading a romantic suspense.
I like the two genres because they add another layer to the romantic plot. The mixture usually adds a faster pace to the story. Frequently, you can't wait to get to the next page in order to find out what happens. It transcends the story to not just be about the hero and heroine, but about some mystery that has brought the two together. It also demonstrates how they interact with each other under the most adverse circumstances, how they come to depend on and trust each other. How they use logic, brains and often brawn to overcome certain obstacles.
This combination also gives the writer a chance to depict the heroine as a strong, smart, capable individual. The heroine can be as physically strong as the story needs her to be or be just as demure. Combining these two genres gives the author more diversity. The hero is not necessarily always the 'hero'. In fact, in Strictly Business although Wade, my hero, has appointed himself Nina’s protector, she defies him at every turn. She’s a strong willed, intelligent woman who uses her analytical reasoning and the passion for her career to help Wade figure out the mystery of the story. That is what ultimately brings them together.
I’ve always liked the heightened tension of a good suspense story and combining that with a hot steamy combustible couple is just icing on the cake!
Blurb: Conservative Emergency Room Physician, Nina Henley has always followed the rules. Her life has been dictated by her unwavering commitment to medicine. Wade Connolly, renowned medical malpractice attorney and 'New York’s sexiest bachelor' enters her life and challenges her with his bold sexuality and intense passion. One look into his gorgeous blue eyes and Nina is forced to acknowledge needs that have long been repressed. When she becomes involved in Wade’s perilous malpractice case she realizes that she is at risk for not only heartbreak, but betrayal as everything she's worked so hard for is threatened. Will Wade's passion and love be enough to save her or will she lose everything…including her life?
Excerpt of STRICTLY BUSINESS rated ADULT:
Professional, she kept repeating to herself. Gorgeous and huge! Another voice kept insinuating itself into her overheated brain. The air in the room was thick and the only sound that echoed off the walls was the steady rhythm of their mingled breaths. Nina moaned as he lifted her top, exposing her black lace bra. Cool air teased her hot skin, making her shiver. A finger tormented her nipple and she was sure she whispered “please” before he groaned huskily and closed his mouth over her breast.
Caught in a cloud that was all sensation and need, she trailed her fingers down to the waistband of his pants.
“God…I want you. Where can we go? Is it safe in here?” His husky breath floated against the shell of her ear, sending a hazy buzz along her skin.
The loud jingle of the beeper hanging precariously from her scrub bottoms sliced through the moment like a sledgehammer. They both stared at each other, stunned, wide eyed, and wanting.. She exhaled an unsteady breath as she skimmed a hand over her hair, ignoring the jab of several pens. She quickly checked the state of her scrubs. She couldn’t believe that she’d acted so impetuously--like a sex starved lunatic! Remorse stabbed at her. Thoughts of her promising career and the life she'd built all twirled around in her head like a frenzied tornado, threatening to disappear into the fuzzy distance...
BUY STRICTLY BUSINESS
I'm very fond of Rebecca Royce's writing style. I've read her Westervelt Wolf series as well as her 1NS books. In fact, I've read all of Rebecca's books. When I found out that she had a new type of story out...I had to read it. Ellora's Cave Shivers is a line of books guaranteed to have you hot and bothered as well as on the edge of your seat.
Dakota Daniels is an exorcist. Or at least she used to be, until a demon destroyed her life, killing her mother and sending her into hiding. She never knows what’s around the next corner or whether she’ll live through the night.
Brady Knox, billionaire tech guru and media darling, is a man used to getting what he wants. Except when it comes to his sister Sydney. She is the secret he never tells a soul. After all, how do you tell the world your sister has been possessed since she was ten years old without seeming like a lunatic?
When Brady seeks out Dakota’s assistance, he expects to get it. When she doesn’t comply, he’s willing to use every resource at his disposal—even if that means seducing her into doing his bidding.
Dakota’s body yearns for Brady but she isn’t easily fooled, and if she decides to help him it will be on her own terms—assuming they can both make it through the night with their souls intact.
Imagine being a young adult and watching a demon possess and kill your mother. That would be more than enough to make you swear off the supernatural. Dakota Daniels faced a demon as her mother's apprentice at twenty-one but froze and couldn't save her mother.
I immediately felt for Dakota. She'd faced a trauma and wanted nothing more than to start over. She'd hidden and reinvented herself-sort of blocked the past from her mind and emotions. But we know that holding emotions inside isn't good and Dakota had closed off her heart.
Brady Knox is a rich guy who has an ulterior motive for seeking out Dakota. His twin sister, Sydney has been possessed by a demon since she was a child. It is guilt that is eating up Brady inside. His emotions are also turned off so that he can get through his life.
When these two damaged characters come together, cracks develop in the walls they'd built around their hearts. Brady sets out to do whatever it takes to get Dakota to agree to help him. I didn't like that ruthlessness about him but could understand it. However, Dakota isn't the meek wall-flower that she appears. She seduces him.
The sex in the story is passionate and combustible. Dakota is very open about her needs and wants. She isn't afraid to set out to get it. It turns the tables on Brady who has always been the one in charge. He's never been with a "real" woman who is open about her sexuality and not after his money.
The twist and suspense in the story leave you guessing and surprises you. I enjoyed how Ms. Royce kept the story exciting and the characters focused on their goal. After all that they had been through, I certainly wanted them to be together and find happiness. They'd both been unhappy far too long.
I'm intrigued by Ellora's Cave's line of Shivers stories. The quick pace and exciting plot twists grabbed my attention and had me reading the whole story in one sitting. I highly recommend The Demon Within for readers who love a little suspense with their sexy erotic stories.
Click on the picture if you'd like to buy the book yourself. :)
Sometimes like in real life when kids are a part of a family, romantic time has to be found where and when it can!
Here Lissa and Alex have to find a quiet moment in the shower....
Taking off my clothes and stepping into our shower, I closed my eyes and let the water cascade down my head, over my shoulders and down my legs. The sound of the shower curtain forced me to open my eyes. A naked and very aroused Alex was climbing into the shower with me.
“Mmm. I’m all sweaty, too. If I wash you, will you return the favor?” He said with a mischievous grin on his face as he grabbed the bottle of body wash and poured some into his hands. Running his sudsy hands over my body, I felt tingles from my head to my toes.
“I love the feel of your hands on my body. You make me come alive.” Grabbing his face between my hands, I pulled his lips close to mine.
Want to read more... pick up the book! :) But what is the sexiest place that you and your significant other have escaped to find some alone time? Share please!
Three's a Crowd..........
For Lissa, the second time at love was a charm but in marriage, three’s a crowd.
Single mother Lissa Vincent found her soul mate in her best friend’s ex-husband. Alex Hunter couldn’t believe his fortune when his ex-wife told him her best friend was available. After divorce, finding love again could be a challenge but it appeared Alex and Lissa had gotten lucky. Yet as they start their lives as newlyweds, Alex and Lissa don’t realize just how difficult it might be to blend a family.
When Alex’s ex new marriage begins to unravel, she sets her sights again on Alex. Does Alex still have feelings for the mother of his child? Will Lissa keep her best friend or lose her husband?
Fairytales promise a happily-ever-after. But what really happens after the after.
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I love sharing new to you authors. London Casey's books sound amazing. Right now she has two out in the series with the third book set for release in July. Check them out and see for yourself.
The Stronger, Safer Kind
(The Boys of DownCrash #1)
All Scarlett wanted to do was thank the sexy stranger who helped her push away a drunk, grabby college boy at a bar. When that stranger identifies himself as Tripp and then takes the stage as the lead singer and guitarist for rock band, DownCrash, everything in Scarlett's life begins to change.
Her best friend, Andy, confesses his love for her and leaves her with what should be an easy decision to make... yet each time she looks in Andy's eyes, she can't help but face her secret, nightmarish past.
The only thing that makes Scarlett feel better is Tripp... but Tripp isn't just a bad boy rockstar, he's hurt. He's in pain. He tries to hide his pain in a bottle, but Scarlett believes that, perhaps, their secrets can help each other.
Friendship and love is suddenly put to the test, and Scarlett is torn... Will she choose an easy, comfortable, happy life or a life clouded with mixed signals, raw emotion, and intense romance?
Torn to Pieces
(The Boys of DownCrash #2)
Trying to forget about the promises she was forced to make as a young, naive eighteen year old, Maggie creates a false persona that paints her as the girl who never says no...
However, once she lays eyes on the drummer of DownCrash, everything clicks. From his sexy lip ring to the way he stares at her from the stage, Tatum becomes everything Maggie has ever fantasized about.
When trouble catches up to her in a parking garage after a DownCrash show, and Tatum shows up out of nowhere to protect her. For the first time in years, she is intimidated by a man's kindness and sexiness, and not by his temper and jealousy. As real feelings begin to grow Maggie is faced with her past and wonders if she'll ever be able to escape the promises she once made to keep the promises she wants to make right now.
Or you can find out more about London at: https://www.facebook.com/LondonCaseyAuthor?ref=hl or
I always love to introduce new authors to my blog readers. Jennifer is a great friend and someone whose stories stick with you! But don't let me tell you all about her... I've put her on the hot seat and asked her some tough questions!
Good Morning Jennifer. Welcome to my blog. Please tell everyone a little about yourself:
When I was a little girl and couldn’t fall asleep, my mother would tell me to make up a story. Pretty soon, my head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Each character had a specific personality, a list of likes and dislikes, and sometimes, even a specific accent or dialect. Even as an adult, I think about the characters and stories at night before I fall asleep, or in the car on my way to or from one of my daughters’ numerous activities (hey, anything that will drown out their music is a good thing).
One day, I started writing them down (it was either that or checking into the local mental hospital—the computer was way less scary). Since then, I’ve published two contemporary romances with Whiskey Creek Press. The Seduction of Esther is my first book with Rebel Ink Press, and I’m excited to be part of their team.
In the real world, I’m the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men I know. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading, traveling and watching TV. In between chauffeuring my daughters to after-school activities that require an Excel spreadsheet to be kept straight, I serve on our Temple Board and volunteer for way more things than I have time to do. I also write freelance articles for magazines, newspapers, and edit newsletters.
When all of that gets overwhelming, I retreat to my computer, where I write stories that let me escape from reality. In my made-up world, the heroines are always smart, sassy and independent. The heroes are handsome and strong with just a touch of vulnerability. If I don’t like a character, I can delete him or her; if something doesn’t work, I can rewrite it. It’s very satisfying to be in control of at least one part of my life.
What television sitcom is most like your family? Why? Oh wow, I love this question. I’m going to have to go with a bit of a mix—we’re a combination of Everybody Loves Raymond and The Cosby Show with a dash of Seinfeld thrown in for good measure. There’s a lot of laughing going on in our house!
What’s your favorite thing to do to relax? My favorite thing to do to relax is reading, watching TV and hanging out with my family and friends. I also really enjoy refinishing furniture. (I'm sure I could use some help with refinishing my floors, are you available?)
Do you prefer…
Public speaking or public singing? Uch, I hate getting up in public! I’m actually on my Temple’s board of trustees, which means I often have to get up in front of the congregation and speak or read. I joke with the Rabbi that he should keep a stash of Dramamine up there for when my shaking makes him nauseous. I think I’d probably go with public singing, as long as it was in a group.
Writing in a notebook or typing on the computer? Definitely typing on the computer. That’s actually the easiest way for me to think.
Coke or Pepsi? Diet Coke.
Living without your cell phone or living without your computer? I’d love to live without my cell phone—no one would be able to find me! Not having my computer, on the other hand, just might kill me.
Now about you as an author…
Did you always want to be an author? I think to some extent, yes. I’ve always enjoyed writing. It was just a question of taking it seriously and thinking I might be good enough to pursue it as a career.
What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult? Well, I come from a family of writers (uncles, etc.) and we always talked about them and their books when I was growing up, so they definitely influenced me to some degree. My favorite books to read were Jane Eyre, Jonathan Livingston Seagull and anything by romance writer Lynn Kurland. I also loved Kathleen Woodiwiss and Julie Garwood. Plus Shakespeare…yeah, there were a lot of authors I loved! (I loved Lynn Kurland too! Stardust of Yesterday was my all time favorite!)
Did anyone in your life influence you or encouraged you to be a writer? (teacher, family member, friend) My teachers and family always said I was a good writer. My parents always wanted me to pursue it, but I never told them I was actually doing it until I got my first contract offer.
What is your favorite aspect or writing? Your least favorite? My favorite aspect of writing is when I first sit down and write whatever has popped into my head. Usually, I get an idea for a story by seeing a scene or two in my head or hearing a conversation among the characters. I love the excitement I feel when exploring the possibilities for a new story. My least favorite is when I’m stuck and I don’t know enough about the characters or where the story is going, to continue.
What aspect of writing would you most like to improve on? I’d like to improve the space between what’s in my head and what shows up on the page. Often, I have so much information in my head about my characters and the story, but I’m not able to articulate it well enough to get it down for the reader, at least not in the first draft.
Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing? Well, I must sit somewhere comfortable. Even though I have an awesome new desk that I assembled myself (can you tell how proud I am of that fact?), I like writing on the couch whenever possible, with a view of my backyard. And I like having my phone near me so I don’t have to stop and get up when it rings.
Do you have a common theme or item that appears in each of your books? I don’t know if I did this on purpose, but I have a young child in each of my books. She’s not necessarily a main character, but she’s essential to showing the personality of my heroes and heroines.
What have you learned the most from being in the writing business? To come out of my shell, to be proud of what I do and to be willing to discuss my writing with others. (That's something I'm still working on!)
Let's get down to business. Tell us about your book....
Samara Goldberg has a problem even the most beautiful singing voice can’t fix. She’s a walking disaster, especially when she’s around handsome men. To make matters worse, she’s in desperate need of someone to play the character of Mordecai for the Purim spiel she’s producing and the new congregant, Nathaniel Abramson, is a perfect fit. Nathaniel is a divorced dad who’s recovering from the biggest public scandal of his life. The last thing he needs is a relationship with the choir director at his new synagogue, who also happens to be playing the lead female role of Esther in the very play he’s been coerced into joining.
Woven around the Jewish holiday of Purim, The Seduction of Esther is a story of two people whose lives mirror the plot of the Purim story. Like Esther, who had to hide her Jewish identity from the King of Persia, Samara and Nathaniel are hiding key pieces of themselves. Evil Haman wanted to destroy the Jews, and the nasty Josh will do anything to keep Samara and Nathaniel apart. Will their love survive, like the Jewish people in Shushan, Persia, or will their fear keep them apart?
Nathaniel logged out of Facebook and leaned back in his desk chair. It squeaked in protest. The application had suggested a number of potential “friends” for him and as usual, he’d ignored them. But this time, the names filled him with a twinge of unease. Both names had been from his old synagogue. Both people knew of his past. The past he’d do anything not to repeat. Which is why today’s time with Samara puzzled him.
He couldn’t deny his attraction to her. The past few weeks he’d tried to deny it and it hadn’t gotten him anywhere. Her appearance at the Met had surprised him, although he wasn’t sure why. He was bound to run into people he knew in the city—it was big, but crossing paths wasn’t unheard of or unexpected.
His heart beat faster as he remembered the warmth of her hand in his, the syncopation of their steps as they meandered through the galleries, the mutual looks they’d exchanged at a comment of Zoe’s. She was real, natural and warm. She made him feel things he didn’t want to feel, wasn’t ready to feel, but couldn’t deny. When they were together, electricity filled the air. His senses went on hyper-alert. The scent of her perfume filled his nostrils and he longed for more—and he didn’t even like perfume. His skin tingled at her nearness, every hair on his arm and neck stood on end and it was as if he could determine her exact position in the room in relation to himself like a compass. He could stare at her for hours, read every emotion on her expressive face, gaze into the endless pools of brown liquid as she looked back at him. He knew her emotions from the tone of her voice and her singing made him forget who and where he was. His mouth went dry at the thought of kissing her, tasting her skin. He shook his head to clear it. At this rate, he’d never get any sleep tonight. As he rose and went to bed, the only thing he could think of was Samara.
What a sexy cover! Sounds like a fun read too! Now back to business. How did you decide on your story plot? I wanted to write something that had Jewish characters. I started to think about the different Jewish holidays and their themes and I came up with a series, each story woven around a specific holiday. I started with Purim, because it’s a very joyous, fun holiday. The holiday is described every year by performing a play, which I thought would be an interesting addition to my story. And, one of the major themes of the holiday is hiding one’s identity, which provides a compelling conflict.
How did you choose your characters names and location for your story? I have no idea! Obviously, I was thinking of Jewish names and they just came to me. I chose New York as the location because it’s a city I’m familiar with.
Do you have a favorite scene? Why? I think my favorite scene is when Nathaniel puts on a gorilla mask in the party store and acts out the part of the animal. He’s such a buttoned up character usually, so it’s quite a departure for him. And when he’s embarrassed and Samara comes to his rescue, well, I just really like that!
Do you have a character that you identify with? Who and why? I think I identify with the heroine, Samara, in a small way. I don’t have her angelic voice (too bad) and I’m not a walking disaster (thank goodness), but I do often feel out of place and awkward in comparison to others, and I work hard to make others feel good.
Let my readers know how they can get a hold of you…
I can be reached at www.jenniferwilck.com or http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-Wilck/201342863240160. I tweet at @JWilck. My blog (Fried Oreos) is www.jenniferwilck.wordpress.com and I contribute to Heroines With Hearts at www.heroineswithhearts.blogspot.com.
Thanks Jennifer for visiting. I hope you enjoyed your time here. You're always welcome to come back and visit again!
Lacey Wolfe is known for her sizzling tales of hot romance. Bidding Wars is her first sweet novel. It has a wonderful storyline and compelling characters certain to entertain you! You can't go wrong with a Lacey Wolfe story!
Bidding Wars by Lacey Wolfe
Love Strikes, Book 1
A sheriff plus a nurse plus a house equals trouble…
Nurse Molly Harper has had a tough year. But when she decides to regain control of her life, buying her dream house becomes her first priority. Finding the perfect house and falling in love with it—that’s the easy part. The hard part is getting rid of the obnoxious man who thinks he’s going to be the new owner. Even if he is gorgeous. And the sheriff…
Sheriff Luke Logan needs to buy a house. Getting out of the renting game will help in the custody battle for his son, so when the perfect place pops up right on his street, he can’t believe his luck. But there’s already an offer on the table, and the woman won’t back down. Too bad she doesn’t know that he always goes after what he wants, and he has no intention of letting her have “his” house. Even if she does make him feel that he might need more than just a house to make a home…
Luke stared at the papers in front of him. His real estate agent had faxed them over. Apparently, more than one person wanted the place on Maple Street, and he now needed to decide if he wanted to offer any higher.
He’d really liked the old house. It would be great for when his son came to visit every other weekend. But now he had to decide how badly he wanted the place. Of course, this could be some gimmick from the sellers. They knew what a gem they had there and probably wanted the most they could get. He had forty-eight hours to come up with his new offer, if he decided to. He already had a good offer on the house—but was it good enough? He rubbed his temples and brushed the papers to the side of his desk. If he didn’t get it, there were other homes.
Some sort of commotion was coming from the front of the station. It was always something. Sometimes he wished that one day at work could be slow and boring. Perhaps he should have chosen a different profession.
He went to see what was going on. At the front desk, he found a very familiar-looking brunette demanding to talk to someone. Women were never patient when they needed something.
“Ma’am, calm down. I’m Sheriff Logan. Can I help you?”
The woman looked him square in the eye. “You! You’re who I am looking for.”
He flinched beneath her bold, accusing stare. “Why don’t we go back to my office, and we’ll see what I can help you with.”
She followed him down the hall, her heels clicking loudly on the tiled floor. This woman was really uptight. He took a seat and pointed toward the chair in front of his desk, but she didn’t sit. She looked as though she was ready to burst.
“I won’t be here long enough to get comfortable.”
“Tell me what’s going on.”
“You’re trying to steal my house,” she snapped.
Buy Links: Amazon All Romance eBooks Kobo Barnes & Noble
Other Books in the Series:
It Must Be Fate – coming soon!
About the Author:
Lacey Wolfe has always had a passion for words, whether it’s getting lost in a book or writing her own. From the time she was a child she would slip away to write short stories about people she knew and fantasies she wished would happen. It has always been her dream to be a published author and with her two children now of school age, she finally has the time to work on making her dream come true.
Lacey lives in Georgia with her husband, son and daughter, their six cats and one black lab who rules the house.
Author Links: Her Site Twitter Facebook
Lacey is giving away a $5.00 Amazon Gift Card during her Tour. To enter for a chance to win please fill out the Rafflecopter below.
What happens when one emotionally damaged man comes in contact with the one person who is willing to push past his barriers? Beauty in the Breakdown is such a story- both heartwarming and emotionally wrenching, it will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Beauty in the Breakdown by E. L. Esch
Luke Martin Cleary isn't out of the closet to his brother, and that's always been okay since he isn't involved. Then he meets Rowan, a fragile man with a dark past and one hot body. But Rowan's heart and body are broken and guarded, and it's going to take a lot of love to touch someone so completely untouchable. Literally.
Rowan Wilheim Nails is a man in pain. Ever since an abusive falling out with his ex-boyfriend, he's developed a phobia of being touched by another person--a phobia of being hurt again. So when Luke and Rowan meet at a bar and end up at Luke's apartment later on, Rowan is skeptical of spending the night in Luke's bed. There's only one thing he can do to make touching Luke's skin bearable--get drunk.
Luke hates Rowan's coping method, but how can he help change it when he doesn't understand Rowan's situation? By getting involved, he decides, even if that means divulging his secret to his brother. And so Luke begins breaking Rowan and his walls down, slowly and tenderly and maybe a little more roughly in the bedroom, but definitely without hurting him again. No matter how long it takes or how untouchable Rowan claims to be, Luke is determined to heal Rowan so that one day there'll be nothing between their hearts but each other's skin.
I often wonder things. I often wonder things that, once upon a time, people would have been sent to asylums for thinking. Now people can think whatever they like, and the worst they’ll get is a cross look. That’s a good thing, though, for someone like me.
Now let me say this first—I’m dying. “We both are. You’ll understand someday.” At least that’s what I’ve been told. That’s why I suppose I’m wondering things now. I’m wondering things that, once upon a time, people would have been sent to asylums for thinking.
For instance, if I muse over what the flesh of another human being tastes like, does that make me a cannibal? If I think the world needs to change no matter the cost, does that make me a terrorist? If for some reason I know we, he and I, are both dying but refuse to elaborate on how, does that make me a criminal?
These are just thoughts, though. No harm, right? Not anymore. Not today. However, everything evolves from thought: danger, peace, love, hate, change, everything.
Maybe I’m just getting dramatic because I’m dying. “We both are. You’ll understand someday.” Or maybe it’s just that I’m confused by the fact that I’m dying when I feel fine.
Why would I be confused? Simply, it’s because of him. He’s the reason for all of these thoughts.
He is a slim, nimble young man, maybe in his midtwenties. He’s a pretty normal character, except that he makes me think things that, once upon a time, people would have been sent to asylums for thinking. He’s beautiful and fair-skinned and gentle and shy. He has a problem with people touching his body, and he gets harassed for it. Around his eyes sit horn-rimmed glasses, just the right fit over his elegant nose and cheeks, protecting the greenest eyes I’ve ever seen. Capping his head is wispy, soft, and naturally untamable hair of a color I likened to that of a dingy fire. His hands aren’t large, but they aren’t small either, with slender fingers that match the knobbiness of his hips and shoulders perfectly. He is him, and God did he make me think.
When I asked him his name, his thin, pale lips curved into a smile, and I suppose what he said in response started all these thoughts. “I’m dying. We both are. You’ll understand someday.”
If at that moment I wondered what his skin tasted like, did that make me a creep? Did that make me wrong or a sinner or a breaker of taboo? If at that moment I wanted to change myself, did it make me a terrorist to my own conscience? Or did it just make me a fool?
“Wait!” I remember myself calling out to him, to that majestic creature who made me think. I was confused then too. Maybe he really was dying. Maybe we all were somehow, but I didn’t care.
He stopped and turned halfway. “Yes?”
He was a contortionist, I’d thought then. He had to be.
“I want to know your name,” I’d repeated. I think I’d smiled too, but recalling it makes me feel rather stupid so I can’t say I’m sure I did.
“Ah, an olden name.” I did smile then.
“Also olden.” And then he shook his head and stared at me up through his eyelashes. “I told you, I’m dying.”
“But you asked my name.”
He paused. “Get a drink with me, stranger?”
It was the only instance since I’d met Rowan that I didn’t think. I just took him by the arm and let him lead me down the street like we were a happy couple.
I think I realized then—I was a terrorist, a sinner, a criminal, a fool, and even a bit of a creep. The only thing I wasn’t was a cannibal, but that still didn’t stop me from thinking thoughts that, once upon a time, people would have been sent to asylums for thinking.
* * *
“So, Luke, do you let yourself get picked up by strangers often?”
He kept saying “stranger.” “No. Much less…”
I laughed, and I couldn’t help it. Much, much less men, but the way Rowan put it, flat and blunt, was hilarious. Or maybe the fact that it was the truth, the bizarre, unlikely truth, was what made it funny.
We were sitting at a bar, the one I’d seen him in front of. The name I didn’t recognize, but Rowan seemed familiar with the place. Naturally it smelled of liquor, but there was another scent on the air that I couldn’t place. It was thick and heavy and toxic, a bit dangerous and kind of exciting. I liked it.
“Luke, then,” Rowan said suddenly, tracing the edge of his glass with his forefinger. He was drinking ouzo, and the very sight of it made me anxious. This man was obviously planning to get drunk, where my malt whisky would give me a light buzz at most.
I ordered another.
“Luke?” Rowan touched my shoulder, my knee, but never my skin.
“Luke. It’s Greek, did you know? It means ‘from Lucania,’ a region of Italy. Are you Italian?”
Somewhat startled by this man’s vat of knowledge, I shook my head. “Maybe, maybe not. I never cared to find out. What about you, Rowan?”
He laughed. “It means red-haired and rugged, nothing interesting.”
It was interesting to me, but I didn’t press the subject. Both Rowan and I knew what was going on. We knew where that night would end, or at least I thought we did. This prattle about name origins was just a conversation starter, a fire kindler. I could guess this from the ouzo, yet another thing Greek.
“Rowan…” I took a swig of my Scotch, hoping it would make the question easier. “Are you really…dying?”
“We both are.”
Rowan chuckled, a low sound deep in his throat. He fumbled with the edge of his glass again, finding a nick and pulling back his hand with a start. “Yes, I’m dying. I was diagnosed with death.”
“It’s not cancer or anything like that. It is what it is. It’s death. I just know it is.”
Was this man a seer of some sort? A psychic? Or was he just playing with me? No, he didn’t seem the type for that.
“Just death? That simple?”
Much to my surprise, he nodded. Nodded! Death wasn’t simple! Yet I forced myself to let it go. Maybe it was personal and he just didn’t want to talk about it. There were a lot of maybes when it came to this guy.
“So why ouzo?”
“Ouzo.” Rowan smiled down at his reflection in the bar top. “Because I don’t like being touched.”
At this I was gravely insulted. Who wouldn’t be? “Then why did you ask me—”
“For a drink? Because I wanted to.”
My expression must have been ridiculous, for Rowan laughed long and hard.
“Don’t look that way. It’s not you. I have a psychological problem. I just don’t like being touched.”
“So I don’t realize it.”
“Ah.” Did strangers usually tell each other about their psychological issues? I was beginning to think this man, who had gone with me, sat down, and planned on getting happy-ass drunk, and I were going through some demented kind of therapy session. Who the therapy was for, I couldn’t tell.
“I know what you’re thinking.” Rowan’s hand was on my knee again, but not my skin. “If I don’t realize it, why even bother?”
“Something like that.” I nodded. It wasn’t a complete lie.
“Because.“ Rowan’s hair fell in front of his glasses.
His nose was pointed down again so I couldn’t see his face, and it worried me. Something dark and unwanted loomed over the man’s shoulders then, something I couldn’t help but want to shoo away. I couldn’t, though, because I didn’t know how.
“I want to get over it.” Rowan lifted his head. “I don’t want to die until my time.”
I tried not to look confused. “If you want to get over it…” I stood, reaching into my back pocket for my wallet. ”Let the drink sit, and come home with me.”
Rowan’s eyes widened. He looked as if he stared death square in the face that very moment. All of a sudden his prim, orderly demeanor vanished. “I…I can’t. Let a dying man have a drink and wait, won’t you?”
“No.” I snaked a hand into Rowan’s dull-fire hair. He twitched but didn’t pull away, probably because I never touched his skin. He had a piercing, I noticed then. A single, simple, silver ball embedded in the lobe of his right ear. It flashed with the reflection of my hand as I stroked his hair behind his ear to get a better look. The bartender shot me warning glares, but I didn’t care. Who was she, this lanky girl with her brown hair up in curls and a beer in each hand, to tell me what to do? “No,” I repeated, forcefully this time. “Because you’re not dying. We’re not dying. I say so.”
What gave me the right to say so? Nothing, but I said so anyway.
“You’re gonna stop death?” Rowan folded his arms and looked at me with such sharply intense eyes that I would have backed off if not for the way he tilted his head into my fingers.
I shrugged. Screw it. I was lost, puzzled, a bit upset, and a terrorist, a fool, a sinner, a criminal, and even a bit of a creep. Why couldn’t I stop death too? “Sure, for you.”
Long and hard, Rowan laughed. So did I, although I didn’t understand why.
“Even so.” The gloom leeching off Rowan seemed to have disappeared. “I still need my drink.”
“Only if you tell me how we’re both supposedly dying.”
“We’re not. We’re healing, hopefully, though we both still might die.”
“Yes.” Rowan smiled. “I’m glad you understand.”
“You know…” I sat back down with a sigh, scratching my head. God, did Rowan make me think. “You know,” I started. “You could have just asked me out for drinks.”
“Nah.” Rowan shook his head, taking a nice, long draught of ouzo and winking sidelong at me. The empty glass hit the bar with a clatter and an almost suffocated sigh. “Because then you wouldn’t have understood why I asked you.”
“Strangers and a couple of drinks, it’s not that uncommon.” Damn, now I’m saying “stranger.”
“No.” Rowan called for another glass of alcohol.
My jaw almost dropped. Happy-ass drunk, I thought. Beyond happy-ass drunk.
“Luke and Rowan,” Rowan continued. “Neither strangers nor common.”
“Then I’ll make sure I have a bucket for you in the morning.” I snickered, eying his second glass. “And a nice long lecture about how we’re not going to die.”
“I never really was dying, you know. And hopefully I have quite some time before I do. You too.” The expression on Rowan’s face was fantastic—devilish and gentle; sly and weary; uncertain yet fearless.
So I wasn’t dying, then. Well, not anytime soon. Neither was Rowan, the clever bastard. But that didn’t mean the sneaky man could ever make me stop thinking thoughts that, once upon a time, were asylum-worthy thoughts.
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About The Author:
I can mostly be found staring into the screen of my PC or laptop into all hours of the night, hyped on caffeinated soda and likely procrastinating something important by losing at Internet Checkers or browsing the web (The day I win a game of Internet Checkers is the day I can write more than a few pages at once without procrastinating). When I'm not doing that, I'm either out being my nerdy self or, of course, writing. I've been writing since the fourth grade, and have no plans to stop. To me, one of the greatest pleasures in life is being able to create worlds and characters whose lives I can share with others.
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E.L. Esch is giving away a digital copy of Beauty in the Breakdown during her tour. To enter just fill out the Rafflecopter below
This wonderful tour is offering a prize to one lucky person. One randomly chosen commenter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card. Just remember to leave your email address! Who can't use some money for books!!
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chance of winning. The tour dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2013/04/virtual-book-tour-vampire-elite-by.html
Can the ultimate choice be made if saving your race means destroying the one you love?
At the beginning of the twenty-first century of our era a millennia long war between two immortal races was coming to an end. The Vampire Elite, the strongest among vampires, forced the race of immortal beings, the Amiti to become their blood suppliers, called bloodstock, locking them in their underground cells and treating them like livestock. The surviving free Amiti make a final attempt to strike back. The Queen of Amiti is proclaimed a traitor and is executed. Her death signifies the rise of a new Queen, her young daughter Arianna who becomes the last hope of her dying race. Arianna totally embraces her mission and is ready to fight for her people to the last drop of her blood but encounters an unexpected challenge—the vampire King Tor. They both are captured into a trap of love where they had to make an ultimate choice; to kill the loved one or to let their races die.
Vampire Elite is the epic story of a bitter conflict between two peoples, and the effect of that conflict on everyone living in its grip. The characters are driven to love and betrayal, vengeance and sacrifice in a world without easy black-and-white answers.
Based on an ancient Egyptian legend, packed with action and intrigue, Vampire Elite will pull you into the entrancing world of immortals and open new portals into their hidden universe.
Excerpt (Simone at the Hunter’s auction)
As the auctioneer spoke, two Sekhmi in eveningwear—a male carrying an elegant dagger and a female a silver tray covered with glass vials—approached the Amiti girl.
“She’s barely eighteen, ladies and gentlemen. That’s a good three years younger than the youngest bloodstock you’ll usually come across. Look at her; she’s stunning, simply stunning, and as you can see, we’ve kept her well conditioned, in excellent health.”
The auctioneer paused as the male Hunter grasped the Amiti’s hand and held it above the tray. The girl showed no resistance, her only display of anxiety the butterfly fluttering of her thick eyelashes. He raised his other hand, and the dagger flashed in the light as with a swift motion he slit the Amiti’s palm. The dark, intoxicating scent of fresh blood filled the room as it poured into the vials.
Simone’s gums began to itch and burn, and she covered her mouth with her hand so no one would see her fangs punching down. It was considered terribly rude to expose one’s fangs in public, even among other vampires. But she needn’t have worried; everyone’s attention was riveted to the stage and the blood flowing from the girl’s wound. The room vibrated with bloodlust and sexual arousal.
The female Sekhmi approached Simone’s table, offering the Royal Pride the first of the blood samples. Knowing that all eyes were on her, Simone forced herself not to hesitate and took a small sip—and was immediately flooded with euphoria.
“For this magnificent specimen, we open the bidding at ten million U.S. dollars,” announced the auctioneer.
Irina Argo is a combined pen name for two authors, Irina Kardos and Jo-An Torres.
Irina’s world is dark. She works as a clinical psychologist in a Juvenile Correctional Facility dealing with the extremes of human behavior on a regular basis and takes care of her paralyzed husband who suffered a stroke several years ago. To bring light into her life she writes. Writing has always been her passion. She is originally from Russia where she was employed as a TV journalist.
Jo-An is a Leo, a lioness who has emerged to follow her dream, to someday write a book of her own. She owned a costume shop for 15 years and was able to satisfy and excel in her creative nature. She is an over-achiever and believes that anything is possible if you believe in yourself and ignore the nay-sayers. Her philosophy is based on Shakespeare "It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves." She currently resides in California with her 5 cats and 1 husband.
Today I'm featuring award winning author Karolyn James and her hot rocking series ~ Brothers of Rock! Sit back and get comfy as she shares her covers and an excerpt with you!
***For fans of Nashville the TV show and Bella Andre, the BROTHERS OF ROCK series is dramatic, sexy, romantic,and entertaining. It sizzles!***
With ALL ACCESS, a contemporary romance series begins that explores, life, love, and music. Join the five band members of Chasing Cross as they find that there's more to life beyond the stage.
Jess is caught off guard when a sexy stranger buys her a cup of coffee and asks her to sit with him. He's mysterious, nice, and even though he says the right things at the right time, Jess can sense that there's something hidden about him.
As Johnnie sits across from the beautiful woman, he can't believe she doesn't recognize him. Everyone does. It comes with the territory when you're the lead singer of one of the hottest bands in the world, Chasing Cross. With one more show to go before taking a small break in touring, it feels like luck is on Johnnie's side. That is, if he can find a way to tell Jess who he is, without scaring her off.
After her best friend begs her to come to a concert, Jess finds herself standing in the middle of a crowd. The lights are off, music begins, and the crowd erupts in cheers. She doesn't know much about the band, but that's all about to change. When the lights come on, Jess can't believe her eyes. The lead singer of the band is the man from the café.
Plucked from the crowd during the show, Jess makes her way backstage. The encore may have ended on stage, but the real show is just about to begin. Johnnie's passion quickly turns to romance but the more time he and Jess spend together, the more things get complicated. Johnnie has a big decision to make about himself and the band, testing his loyalty and love for the music, and when Jess's dreams start to come true, she starts to realize that true love exists, but it's not always an easy path to take.
EXCERPT:At the counter, Jess slipped her phone into her bag and placed her order.
Before the barista behind the counter could give her the total, a hand appeared at the counter with money.
“Add the same to that order,” a voice said.
Jess looked over her shoulder and saw what could possibly be the sexiest man she had ever seen in her life. He was tall with a defined chin, piercing eyes, and the scruff of a face in badly need of a shave. His lips were thin but curvy and as the right side started to move into a little smile, Jess felt her mouth start to open.
“On me,” the man whispered. “Just do me a favor and bring the coffee to the table in the corner.”
Jess looked back to the money. The stranger tapped the bill on the counter and then slithered away.
“Is that all?” the barista asked.
Jess eyed the man as he walked away, keeping his head down.
“I guess so,” she whispered.
Jess carried the two cups of coffee to the back table. There the stranger sat with his back to Jess, a hand near his face. He looked like he was trying to disguise himself. It worried Jess as she grew closer.
Was something wrong with him?
Was he some kind of crazy man?
Her mind thought of things she’d seen in the news, not to mention the author in her that never stopped working.
Couldn’t this be a book plot?
Strange guy in a café, eyeing people?
When he turned and Jess saw the outline of his face, she almost dropped the coffee. He was gorgeous. From the side, with the light of the sun glistening on his face, he had the look of a statue.
But he could move.
And he did.
“Ah, thank you so much,” he said, reaching for one of the coffees.
“It’s just black,” Jess said. “Wasn’t sure how you liked it.”
“After last night, black will do the trick.”
He smiled, showing a set of dimples that formed more dimples. His chin pulled when he smiled, and the power of his eyes starting to burn into Jess’s memory.
She swore to herself that she was memorizing the man’s sexy features for her own work. She could use a guy like this in one of her novels. But after a few seconds of gawking, she realized she teetered on the line of being creepy herself.
“Got change for me?” the man asked.
“Oh, change. No. I gave it to... the...”
“I’m only kidding,” the man said, smiling. “Here. Sit down for a minute.”
“No. I don’t want to bother you.”
“Sure you do. Sit down.”
His eyes were dark and deep. A sense of honesty came through them. Jess couldn’t believe how suddenly comfortable she felt, considering this was a total stranger. But even still, she took a step to the small round table and sat down.
Her hands were folded around her coffee. Her laptop bag still on her shoulder.
“You could put your bag down,” the man said. “I won’t bite. I promise.”
“Do you often bite people?” Jess asked.
“Only when tempted.”
He was fast. He was smooth.
Jess’s mouth ran dry.
Without breaking her stare from the man’s eyes, she lowered her laptop bag to the floor.
“Working today?” the man asked, pointing to the bag.
“Something like that,” Jess said. “I’m a writer.”
“A writer? What do you write?”
Why was this guy asking questions?
Jess tried to lift her coffee cup but found her hands were shaking. Shaking from what? Fear? Anticipation? Because the man sitting across from her had a dreamy face?
“I write books,” Jess said.
“Write books or are they published?”
“What does that mean?”
“Okay. I play guitar...”
Jess felt her heart jump. Of course a man this sexy would play guitar.
“... so that makes me a musician, right?”
“But am I recording musician? Do I get to play big shows? Make lots of money?”
Jess shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know. You tell me.”
The man laughed for a few seconds.
“Are you published?” he asked.
“Yes,” Jess said. “I have a publisher. I’m not famous but I’ve had to sign a couple autographs.”
“Sign a couple autographs,” the man smiled wide. He sipped his coffee.
“You play shows?” Jess asked.
“I guess you could say that.”
“Are you in a band?”
“Yeah. I’m in a band. I’m the singer. Go figure.”
Jess couldn’t believe how turned on she felt. She fought the images coming to her, but she pictured the man standing on a stage, playing guitar, singing. Sweating. Staring at Jess in a crowd. Controlling her with his eyes.
She had to look away for a second.
“So, let me ask you something,” the man said.
“You have no idea who I am?”
“Why? Am I supposed to?”
“Nope,” the man said. “By the way, my name is Johnnie.”
The second book in the Brothers of Rock series is BROKEN SOUND, where lead guitarist, Davey, is faced with life changing decisions involving love, family, and as always, music.
Rockstars expect women to show up at their hotel room, but when a woman shows up with an infant and tells Davey he is the father, his world is turned upside down.
Anna is a teacher and part-time waitress, desperate to make enough to pay off debts left to her by an ex-boyfriend who made her life a living hell. When her boss schedules her for an extra shift, he tells her it's her job to take care of a special guest... lead guitarist of Chasing Cross, Davey. The second Anna meets eyes with Davey, she feels something she's wanted for a long time. But with someone famous? That's impossible. Besides, Davey is there with a date.
When Davey returns to the restaurant, sans date, he asks to see Anna. She doesn't understand what he would want with her. He is a man with a big heart, kind eyes, and the true power that only a real rockstar could have. Then Anna learns the truth of Davey's life, from his haunted past to his rocky present. Still, she longs to be part of his future. But when Anna's own past turns potentially deadly, life and love suddenly collide in a way that could hurt everyone and leave someone dead.
Karolyn James has been published over 100 times, reached bestseller lists on Amazon, and writes in both romance and erotic romance. Her two newest series are the romance hit, Brothers of Rock, and the erotic romance series, Rock Her Curves.
Musings from Michigan