June 15, 2015
That’s a Good Question. Ha! See what I did there? I’m closing out my time here at the DSP blog with an excerpt from the novella that started Lonnie and Jamison’s love story.
“Don’t say that,” Jamison said.
Torp looked around for Lincoln and, not seeing him, asked, “Why the fuck not? He is.”
“You don’t know that.”
Torp snorted and then choked, prompting Jamison to slap him hard on the back a couple of times until he’d regained his ability to breathe properly. “Uh-huh, y-yeah I do. I’d have to be blind not to notice that.”
Jamison opened his mouth to argue, but suddenly he noticed the music above them had stopped. Did he hear us? From deep in the house he heard someone running down the stairs. He turned to look over his shoulder and saw the art student stumble into the hallway, pause, and turn their way, spotting them. Shit. Jamison turned back around quickly and sipped his tea, his gaze riveted on the grass.
“Hey, fellas. I’m done for today. Got a late afternoon class. See ya tomorrow.” Jamison felt some tension drain out of him, but then the young man gave an exasperated sigh and a chuckle. “Sorry. Introductions?”
Jamison sensed the man come closer, and to his left Torp leapt up, quickly wiping sandwich crumbs off on his jeans. “I’m Theodore Machado III, but most folks call me Torpedo.”
“Uh… really? O-okay. Good to meet you, Torpedo”—Jamison smirked at how carefully the man repeated his friend’s name, as if trying it out on his tongue—“I’m Lonnie Bellerose. The very pregnant lady of the house is my sister.”
“Good to meet you, Mister—”
“Lonnie. Just call me Lonnie.”
The silence that followed brought some tension back into Jamison’s shoulders as he realized they were waiting on him, probably staring at his back. He began to sweat just as his eyes caught sight of a parade of ants moving across a worn, brown patch in the yard to his right. They looked hell-bent for the grass forest on the other side of their tiny clearing. Take me with you.
“He don’t talk much,” Torp explained, then smacked the back of Jamison’s head. “Jam, introduce yourself, man.”
Jamison took a deep breath and slowly stood, turning to face them as he did. Lonnie’s gaze followed him, his eyes widening as Jamison continued to rise above him. Lonnie’s lips parted slightly, almost gasping when he had to tilt his head back a bit to look Jamison in the eyes.
Green. His eyes are green, Jamison noted. He almost stepped closer, almost revealed the pull he felt, but he stopped himself, fearing the same reaction from Lonnie that he’d gotten since his first growth spurt. When you don’t smile much and you’re big and you’re black and you’re tattooed and you’re silent, people—strangers—all react the same way.
It had served him well growing up, carrying him safely through adolescence in a rough neighborhood and keeping bad influences—and even some good ones—at a distance. But as he looked into Lonnie’s bright green eyes, it suddenly hit Jamison that the last thing he wanted from this man was distance.
A smile slowly spread across Lonnie’s beautiful face—full lips, narrow nose, long dark lashes, and high cheekbones. Yum. He was almost as pretty as a girl, but so very much a man.
“My… you’re… you’re—”
“I’m Jamison Coburn.”
Lonnie slowly extended his hand, and Jamison took it. “I’m… I’m….”
Jamison allowed himself to grin. “You’re… Lonnie Bellerose.”
Lonnie barked in laughter, snorted, and smacked himself in the forehead. “Ha! Yeah, yeah, I’m Lonnie. Sorry.” He shook his head, his curls bouncing. “Spaced out a bit there. Nice to m-meet you, Jamison.”
“And you, Lonnie,” Jamison said softly. “Enjoy your class.”
“Right,” Lonnie almost whispered, nodding, staring, grinning. “Thank you.”
They stared at each other for several more heartbeats, and then Lonnie turned on his sockless but sneakered feet, juggled his drawing pad and art bag, and walked right into the closed half of the French doors. He stumbled backward, but Jamison grabbed him and steadied him by the shoulders, aiming him properly at the open door.
Lonnie looked back at him and laughed again. “Thanks f-for that.”
Jamison simply nodded and pointed at the doorway, silently urging him to watch his step. He watched Lonnie walk through the kitchen, all the way down that long hall to the front door, heard Lonnie’s noisy VW grind to life, and caught a flash of purple as he drove away.
“You can’t see that?” Torp asked, shaking his head and shooing a fly from the remainder of his sandwich before taking another bite.
I saw it, all right, Jamison thought, smiling.
I hope that was fun. Setting it up for this post made me smile again.
Thank you all for joining me today, and if you take a chance on my novel The Answer Is, I hope it’s an entertaining read for you.
Remember, you have until 11 a.m. EST, Wednesday, June 17, to leave a comment on the giveaway posts in this release party for chances to win.
Take care and have a great week, people!
June 15, 2015
It’s time for Lonnie’s introduction.
Lonnie sighed and hugged himself, trying to appear at ease as the crowd moved around the room. After all, he was an artist standing in a gallery that displayed some of his best work to date. He should be all smiles and charm and wit. Instead, he felt as though he stood out like a two-headed goat, afraid to move, all hooves and confusion, bleating above the conversations.
On top of that, Lonnie had the distinct impression of being watched. He couldn’t shake it. He looked to his right and his left, then settled again on examining the campus beyond the wall of windows at the gallery’s entrance. He searched the mist-shrouded grounds for any sign of Jamison, but he was nowhere to be seen.
“Here, have a drink, Mr. Bellerose.” Professor Eloise Bink smiled and sipped her champagne, urging him to do the same from the flute she’d provided. She taught several art history classes, and Lonnie had been her assistant while earning his master’s.
He took a sip, then said, “Just call me Lonnie, please. I’m not your TA anymore.”
She smiled and tossed her short and sassy new haircut out of her eyes, the silver-gray strands catching the light. “I’ll call you Lonnie when you call me Eloise.”
He frowned in thought. “I think I can handle Bink but nothing more casual. Will that do?”
They sipped in unison, the bubbles nearly making him sneeze.
“You appear agitated. Waiting for someone?”
“Jamison’s coming, though he should be here by now.”
He shook his head. “Parents in France, Amber birthed a new human being, and brother-in-law is hovering, so… no. No family tonight.” A chill ran through him, so he took another sip of his champagne. It didn’t warm him, and this time he did sneeze, loudly, causing a few heads to turn in fright. His face heated, and he nodded his apologies before depositing the flute on a passing tray.
He turned to the entrance again and gasped softly. Through the floor-to-ceiling windows, he caught a glimpse of a tall, broad-shouldered silhouette hurrying toward the building. The campus lights along the path reflected off what little fog lingered above the lawn, giving the approaching figure a mysterious, superhero-like quality. To Lonnie, he seemed to be moving in slow motion and to his own soundtrack. Lonnie’s heart soared, and he excused himself from Bink to cut through the crowd and meet his man at the door.
“Hi,” he said, beaming up at Jamison as he walked in looking all kinds of gorgeous.
The worried frown on Jamison’s face vanished as he smiled down at Lonnie. “Hi, yourself.”
“You look fantastic.” He stood on tiptoes to give Jamison a peck on the lips, but Jamison pulled back, the frown returning, his gaze darting around the gallery. Lonnie sighed, took his hand, and tugged him deeper into the room. “I have someone I want you to meet.” He paused to look over the faces surrounding them, and when he spotted Bink again, he resumed his tugging.
Glancing around as he followed Lonnie, Jamison asked, “Isn’t your fam—?”
“No,” Lonnie said, “but they sent their congratulations.”
“Ah, Lonnie, back so soon?” Bink said, turning to face the two of them as they reached her. She blinked up at Jamison, her expression remaining warm and friendly. “Whom do we have here?”
“This is Jamison Coburn. Jamison, this is Professor Eloise Bink. I’ve mentioned her before. I was her teaching assistant.” His words rushed out as he gripped Jamison’s big left hand tightly. Mine.
“Yes,” Bink said. “I’m certainly going to miss you in that capacity. Perhaps I’ll find something else for you.” Lonnie laughed at that.
Jamison’s hand swallowed hers. “Good to meet you, ma’am.”
“And you, Mr. Coburn.” She grinned at Lonnie before continuing. “Anyone who can make him daydream at his desk is definitely someone I want to get to know.”
Lonnie gazed up at Jamison and caught the embarrassment as it crossed his handsome features. His chest filled with joy and pride that Jamison was here for him.
“Oh… I don’t know about that, ma’am,” Jamison said.
“Bink, Mr. Coburn. Please call me Bink.”
“If you’ll call me Jamison.”
She grinned. “Agreed. Champagne?” she asked, grabbing fresh flutes from a passing waiter. She handed them each a glass, and they clinked them in a toast to Lonnie’s accomplishment.
I think Lonnie is more delightful than annoying, but he walks a fine line. What do you think?
June 15, 2015
I’d like you to get to know Jamison a bit better.
“You gonna eat with me, baby?”
Jamison turned toward his mother, Alanna, who stood in the back door of her house watching him. He wondered how long she’d been standing there, and he suddenly felt guilty. The original reason for stopping by was to see her, catch up with whatever was going on in her life, but instead he’d ended up working on his latest piece in her garage. He’d heard it calling to him, urging him: finish me, make me pretty, show me off.
His living arrangement didn’t leave any space to store his equipment, let alone use it. Jamison supposed a decluttering of the Standleas’ garage—a family’s furniture and keepsakes collected over the decades—could make room. But deep down he knew keeping his equipment where it was would please his mother. It meant he would always come back. Tonight she probably thought he was avoiding her, but that wasn’t his intention. Unfortunately, now he had to leave.
“No, ma’am. Thank you, but I’m taking dinner over to Lonnie. He’s babysitting tonight.”
He saw disappointment play over her beautiful features, but she quickly brightened.
“How is that new baby?” she asked as he shut down and secured any tools he’d used.
“He’s fine, but Remmy’s just a month or so old, Mama. He doesn’t do much.” He just sort of lies there… and leaks.
He turned off the light and locked up before joining her at the back door. After following her inside, he turned on the security light and bolted the door behind them.
“Everything a baby does, no matter how tiny they are, is precious. It’s hard to believe you were ever that small. And Remmy? What sort of name is that?”
“Short for Rembrandt. Some famous painter.”
“Lordy, what will these people think of next?” she asked as she opened the refrigerator and removed a pie dish.
Jamison’s mouth began to water at the thought of homemade peach pie.
“Does he… does your friend babysit his nephew a lot?”
Jamison shrugged. “Uh… so far the baby’s been passed back and forth between his parents and grandparents. This is Claude and Amber’s first night out in weeks, and since Claude’s parents finally left, Lonnie’s jumping at the chance to have Remmy all to himself tonight before the next pair of grands arrives in a couple of days.”
“Well… do you think you should intrude?” she asked as she cut two pieces of pie and placed them on a sturdy paper plate.
“Intrude?” Jamison frowned as she secured a sheet of plastic wrap over the pie and plate. “I’m surprising him with dinner. I….” He hesitated as he thought it over. “I don’t think he’ll see it as intruding, Mama.”
She nodded without looking at him, then sighed. “Where are the other grandparents?”
“In France. There’s a family farm there.”
She nodded. “I see.”
“They were supposed to be here right after the little guy arrived, but since the paternal grands were already here, they decided to take their time, get Great-Grandma Bellerose ready to travel.”
She nodded and held out the pie-filled plate. “Take this with you for dessert, baby.”
Jamison smiled. “Thanks, Mama. I appreciate it.” He leaned in and kissed her still-smooth cheek. “Lonnie will appreciate it too.” He held the plate in one hand and bent over to hug her tiny frame with the other arm. “You know, if you’d like to meet—”
She pulled away suddenly and held up a hand to silence his suggestion. “No… no, baby. This is fine. Just fine,” she said, not looking at him. “You have a good night with your friend.”
Jamison deflated a bit and allowed her to usher him to the door. “Good night, Mama. I promise to spend more time with you next time.” As always, she watched until he climbed in his truck, then shut her door. He stared out his windshield at the neighborhood, the streetlights creating puddles of illumination every few yards, and wondered at her comment. What does “I see” mean? Does it mean anything? No. He was reading shit into it, feeding it with his own doubts about him and Lonnie. They enjoyed each other. What else mattered?
Before starting the truck, he glanced at the house again and caught his mother peeking at him through a curtain. As he pulled away from the curb, he tapped out a quick good-night on his horn, then turned onto Little Avenue and headed for Ming Empire to pick up dinner.
Please leave a comment below and tell me what you thought.
June 2, 2015
The large case he’d set up as a wall between the front and the back of the store was broken as well, but from what he could see, the movie props he’d placed there were intact, although he couldn’t say the same for the enormous papier-mâché griffin he’d found at a Harryhausen tribute auction. Peppered with bullet holes, its body and head were marred with crumbling white holes, a scatter pattern large enough to make Rook’s stomach turn.
“Shit, they were trying to kill me.” He leaned back, trying to do a visual count on how many bullets pierced through the window and into the shop while he’d been plastered to the floor to avoid being shot.
“Go in but do not touch.” Rook echoed what his grandfather’s lawyers told him, trying to absorb the destruction. “I can’t even move without touching something. And how the hell am I going to document the damage? What isn’t damaged? Fricking lawyers.”
“Are these the same lawyers that told you to return to the scene of the crime and screw up any residuals that might be here?” Montoya’s deep voice rumbled out of the darkened doorway leading from the storefront to the elevator up to Rook’s apartment. “If they wanted you to be thrown into jail, they could have just left you there instead of this catch-and-release program we’ve got going.”
Montoya looked… good. Again. Too good. Too ruffled, too scruffy hot, with broad shoulders and his burned burned-honey eyes fringed with thick, long lashes. A hint of a dimple threatened to spread when his mouth quirked to the side, and Rook had to swallow around a lump in his throat when Montoya shoved his hands into his jeans pockets, sliding his black leather jacket back with his elbows to expose his gun harness.
Even from a few feet away, the man was a tall, dangerous complication in Rook’s life. One he wanted as badly as he didn’t want him around. Rook wasn’t sure what was worse—being accused of murder or being tailed by a man he’d gladly bend over for but who wanted him in handcuffs instead.
“What are you doing here, Stevens?” Montoya’s rumble tickled Rook’s belly, licking hot flames down his crotch and over his ass. “You shouldn’t even be here. What were you thinking?”
Rook had just the smartass answer to throw back at the detective. A burning slap of a sting mingled with a bit of a flirtation hot enough to make the man blush. It would have been an epic moment. One to balance out the unbearable want Montoya seemed to rake up inside of him and caustic enough to push the man’s buttons while pushing him away.
Rhys Ford was born and raised in Hawai’i then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain.
Rhys admits to sharing the house with three cats of varying degrees of black fur, a black Pomeranian puffball and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and a purple Bella coffee maker.
May 16, 2015
Now I have a question for you….
What is your favorite era in American history to read about?
The Wild West? Revolutionary War? Civil War?
I’m a huge American history fan, so I like all the eras because it feels like my history. J
If you don’t know the setting for WRECKED, here is a quick peek at the blurb:
Blurb from WRECKED:
Off the Key West coast, Rief Lawson works as a wrecker, salvaging ships and their cargo. Exiled to the outskirts of society because of his mysterious gift of sight, Rief’s only respite from his loneliness is painting an unknown blond man. When a merchant ship wrecks during a violent storm, Rief rescues a drowning victim and comes face-to-face with his destiny.
It is the man from his art!
Heir to an English barony, Mathew Weston entered the merchant trade with his greedy father and soon-to-be father-in-law. Dominated by his father and smothered by the people around him—including his sweet but tiresome fianceé—Mathew is terrified to follow his true desires. Marriage and obedience seem safer than a life of secrecy and possible prison.
After the daring rescue, a fire ignites between the two men. Powerless to resist his desire, Mathew learns what it means to be a man in Rief’s arms. With this newfound confidence, Mathew teaches Rief through gentle touch that he deserves the affection he’s long been denied. Yet their affair is doomed from the start. Two desperate men, wrecked in heart and mind, must find a way to salvage the chance at love fate has given them.
Now would you like a quick, naughty excerpt? Please leave a comment about what era in American history is your favorite for a romance novel and then check out the naughty excerpt from WRECKED! I mean, if any of you read EASY RYDER or A CUPID’S WAGER, you know that I like to write some steamy stuff!! And don’t forget to enter to win your own copy WRECKED!
EXCERPT for WRECKED:
With a soft moan, Rief clung to him for a moment. Then he rolled over. “Take me again before you go.”
Mathew groaned when that ass brushed against his cock. Already pretty stiff from being so close, his groin throbbed at the sight of such submissive posturing.
Sideling up to him, he brushed Rief’s mussed hair off his face before cupping it possessively and kissing him. An intensity of emotions roared inside him knowing Rief trusted him enough to share his secrets. It made Mathew want to protect Rief’s heart while bringing every pleasure to his body he had ever been denied. He would give anything to this man, anything to make him heal and to prove, more than any drawing, Mathew would give Rief peace. Their time together would surpass any joy Rief experienced while painting him.
He would be immortalized, not on a canvas, but upon Rief’s very soul.
Drawing back, he asked in a pant, “Where is the oil?”
Rief found it and poured some in his hand, passing it to Mathew to coat his cock. He stared, enthralled at the indecent pleasure on Rief’s face as he plunged his own fingers into his ass with expert precision.
“Please,” Rief begged, lying on his side and raising one leg.
Never before had Mathew heard a more rousing word, nor seen such an erotic sight. He’d first believed buggering was something done to a woman or someone less than a man. Perhaps doled out as a punishment.
How foolish he had been!
This morning, he saw everything so differently.
To all outward appearance, Rief was the heartier of the two. Big and masculine. Yet pleading for a cock inside him did not make him less of a man, nor did it render him weak or feminine. His need to release all control, to be vulnerable before Mathew, made him incredibly enticing. Mathew had been living in fear most of his life, but when they were in this bed, he was empowered. Bold and courageous, just as Rief painted him.
There was no greater or lesser between them. Being connected this way made them both whole.
May 6, 2015
The Moments In Time series features a couple in their early 20s and in the course of the three books one of the things they had to do several times was move—from their dorm to their summer residence on Fire Island, from Fire Island to one of the character’s brother’s house because their dorm room wasn’t ready, from the brother’s house to the dorm, from the dorm to an apartment. It’s been many years since my college days and until I wrote this book I’d forgotten how many times I moved house in my late teens and early 20s.
Moving is stressful. Putting your whole life in boxes. Remembering what you packed where. Physically packing, moving and unpacking. Waking up those first few nights exhausted and not entirely sure where you are. I don’t miss that! I’ve lived in my current house in New Hampshire for over a decade and that’s the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere. I don’t miss moving at all!
Now the closest I get to having to pack up a zillion belongings is conference time. Right now I’m packing to attend the RT Convention in Dallas next week. (If any of you are going, please find me and say hello—I love meeting readers in person!)
In addition to the stress that moving puts on Collin and Tanner, several of the places they live in the beginning of MOMENT OF CLARITY are not places where they have any privacy. Collin’s brother has three young children, the friend they crash with has a roommate who’s up till all hours partying—they are both longing for time alone together.
Here’s an excerpt from the time that they’re living with Collin’s brother…
Between classes, my work at Gino’s, Tanner’s shifts at the bookstore, and commuting back and forth to Sean’s house, Tanner and I were busier than we’d ever been. I always knew it was more convenient to live on campus, but I had no idea what a hassle it was to make the added drive daily. By the time we got to Sean’s, had dinner, spent time with the girls, and did some studying, we were exhausted.
I hadn’t touched Tanner for yet another week, and I didn’t think I’d last the day without changing that. Tanner must have felt the same. I’d seen the looks he’d been throwing me, particularly the night before while we were watching a movie together, but I wasn’t about to do anything with Sean and the kids in the house. I didn’t care that the doors locked. It didn’t feel right. And I didn’t trust either of us to be quiet enough. Especially since it had been so long.
Sean handed me the last dirty dish to load into the dishwasher while Tanner put the juice and milk in the fridge.
“I’m gonna run to the grocery store while the kids are at preschool. Any requests?” Sean asked, grabbing his wallet off the counter and shoving it in his pocket.
“If you get a can of crushed tomatoes and some spaghetti, I’ll cook.”
“Thanks. The kids loved that the other night. Anything else?”
I tried to think but couldn’t. All that registered in my brain was that Sean was going out. Tanner and I would be alone in the house. My entire body was totally onboard with this thought.
“I think that’ll do it. Tanner, you need anything?”
Tanner looked up from wiping off the kitchen tables. His pupils were huge. I knew that look. I loved that look. He was thinking the same thing I was. I twitched with anticipation.
“I’m good,” Tanner said, tossing the rag on the counter.
“Okay, then.” Sean headed for the door. “It’s my turn to drive carpool home, so I’ll probably take the kids to Mickey D’s for happy meals. Lock up if you both leave, okay?”
“Sure.” My heart raced as I watched Sean trot down the back porch steps. I held my breath, listening as the car door slammed, the engine revved, and the tires crunched down the gravel driveway.
I turned to look at Tanner, but before I could even focus my eyes, he was on me. Hands on either side of my face, body pressed up against mine, lips prying mine open, tongue—oh, God, I’d missed that tongue—swirling in circles with mine.
Groaning, I grabbed him and tugged him closer. I needed to feel as much of him as possible. All of him. Immediately, if not sooner.
For another chance to win an ebook from me, tell me how many times you’ve moved in your life or the longest you’ve lived in any one place. I’ll announce winners in the comment section of each post at midnight tonight (EDT).
April 22, 2015
A spicy taste!
Then he felt it. Donovan’s hand slowly slid up his thigh to his waist. Donovan rose above him. He could hear the audience murmuring as he was slowly stripped before their very eyes. He could hear Jasmine with her pretend moans,
and Henry with his loud growls as the two mimicked sex. Yet his attention was focused on the hands roaming over his naked flesh.
As Donovan kissed his way down Arik’s chest, Arik arched in pleasure. His moan was real. He couldn’t have stopped it, even though he’d wanted to. Arik didn’t want Donovan to know how much his touch affected him. Yet there
was no hiding his reaction. Then he was being rolled onto his stomach. He closed his eyes as Donovan covered him. The upper halves of their bodies were clear of the bower foliage. They rocked together, mimicking an act they had done one incredible night. Arik couldn’t stop himself from wishing Donovan would actually slide inside him. He couldn’t help but want Donovan to take him to that place again.
“Why does this seem so familiar?” Donovan whispered quietly in Arik’s ear as he rocked against him in a feigned dance of love.
“We’ve only been rehearsing it for weeks,” Arik panted as he dropped his head to his forearms.
“Then why do I know exactly what you’d feel like if I took you right now?” he demanded. “How do I know that if I bite you right here, you’ll scream with pleasure?”
April 22, 2015
Here’s a little snippet for you!
“Don’t you give a shit about anyone but yourself?” Donovan asked. “Or is it all about Arik?”
“You’ve hit the nail on the head.” Arik’s voice had a chill to it as he turned, his long braid smacking Donovan in the chest with how close they were to each other. “It’s all about me. I don’t care about anyone else. If their performance is suffering, that’s not my responsibility. It’s theirs.”
“Why are you always such an ass?”
“I like it. Now if you don’t mind, I have work to do, and you’re preventing me from doing it. If you’re going to buy something, then do so. Otherwise, there’s no loitering allowed.”
“How someone as cold as you manages to play your roles with such heat is beyond me,” Donovan said quietly. “You have no heart.”
“That would be why they call it acting,” Arik said as he turned away and put a book on the shelf.
April 18, 2015
“Didn’t mean to startle you.” Andrew smirks and takes a sip from whatever he’s ordered. “I’ve never seen you here before.” His glasses catch the overhead lighting, hiding his eyes, so they just look an ordinary brown again with stars dazzling at me. I know better, though. I have trouble making my brain work for a few seconds while he looks at me intently. Jesus H. Christ, I want to crawl across the table and devour him, inch by inch. It’s been too damned long for me and he’s perfection.
“I had the urge to bounce off the walls for a few hours.” My mouth works again and I pick up my mug to take a sip. It is cold now, but I don’t mind. I’ve drunk worse.
“Might hurt. The brick in here is rough,” he deadpans, eyeing the walls.
“Mmm… brick burn might be hard to take care of. Much worse than rug burn,” I agree. He makes a face.
“Yeah, rug burn is definitely bad enough. The last time I had it on my back, I couldn’t reach it by myself to put a bandage on it, and I sweat when I go running and then it would sting and burn, and I’m just going to pretend I didn’t say that to you,” he finishes into his coffee cup. While I watch the blush rise and fade on his face, my brain is 100 percent happy to supply several ways my fair friend could have gotten rug burn on his back. Silence seems like it would be the better part of valor here, so I dutifully ignore his embarrassment and use a napkin to hold my place in my book.
“So, how often do you find yourself here?”
“Only every day, except Sundays. I need the caffeine.” His lips twitch upward into a smile for a moment before they touch his mug again. As far as lips go, they are nice to look at. They’re a natural pink, not exactly full, but plenty enticing as he licks a bit of whipped cream off them.
“Why… why not on Sundays?” I ask, clearing my throat, looking down at my own mostly empty mug.
“For some reason I’m always busy on Sundays. I have trouble telling people no, so I end up doing stuff with my… religious group or helping someone move or raising money for something or other…. It never ends.” He chuffs out a small laugh. “During the school year between that and grading, I feel like I don’t have much of a life.” He shrugs.
“You and I seem to have opposite problems.” I lean back, getting as comfortable as I can on the metal chair.
“What do you mean?”
“I’m so new to town that I don’t have any commitments whatsoever. My days are wide open, more or less, after work, and especially the weekends.” I can feel my friendly smile trying to slip into something cynical, but I try to keep it where it is.
“In that case, there’s a dart tournament at One-Eyed Pete’s tomorrow night. I was going to go. Want to come?” He sits there looking interested and excited and sincere and I flounder. “Date!” my brain screams, but I try to ignore it. This is most likely just friendly. The chances of him being interested in me the way I am interested in him are slim to none, but I’ll never find out if I don’t spend time with him, and I won’t know if I don’t try. He has been flirting with me, sort of, and if nothing else, I will have a new friend or two from the adventure. He takes another drink from his mug and licks his lips again. My erection swells in my jeans as lust slams me in the stomach.
God, I’d love to take him home and strip him down and….
“Sounds like a plan.” I nod at him and he beams back, happy as I’ve ever seen anyone.
I hope you enjoyed your first peek into the book!
Anyone ever have that awkward “is this or isn’t this a date” moment?
March 27, 2015
Find “The Serpent and the Angel” here! http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6201
Remember, while this might be Book 8 of my series, it is also book 2 of my Part 2 of the series. I have 5 parts planned and while the entire series should be seen as a cohesive whole, to make my life easier, I split the books into parts to make sure I stayed on track and told the story that needed to be told.
It’s certainly a struggle to balance the romance with furthering the overall plot, but I welcome the challenge. I feel that with every book I grow stronger in my writing skills (and research skills), and I really enjoying seeing my series unfold and reveal itself. Every single book offers me at least one surprising moment.
That is the struggle with these later books since the dominoes need to start falling as the series unfolds. Part one (Psychic Moon through Master’s Blood) was more of the introduction to my universe, and the characters and the groups I will be dealing with for the rest of the series. Now the rest of the parts will be focused on the various romances (of course) but also the workings of the villain Arcas and his allies. But the core of the series is still love and how each couple tries to save the day and prevent Arcas from reaching his goals.
The snake slowly slid out of the small hole it had been coiled in. Flicking its tongue, sensing no danger, it slithered and scraped over rocks and boulders, easily finding a path out of the rubble. It was hungry, but it didn’t smell any prey, which caused it to focus on finding an exit out of the tunnel. For some reason it didn’t want to hide and wait for prey, it wanted to find open air. Always going with instinct, the snake never questioned or doubted its senses. The long serpent easily made its way down the open tunnel, seeming to glide over the uneven ground and disjointed tracks. It wound around the mine carts, past the fallen pickaxes, constantly flicking its tongue.
It began to feel cool air over its scales and hesitated. Slithering to the side of the tunnel, the snake eyed the opening, flicking its tongue, again sensing no danger. It moved slower now, wary of the open air, the lack of protection. But something inside it urged it out, into the open; something seemed to push it forward. Keeping close to the side of the tunnel, it peeked out of the opening, into the dark. The moon was high, the stars shining, but the snake paid it no mind. All it saw was the wide expanse of land, and all it thought about was food and shelter.
But even as it was about to move across the darkened land, it sensed movement just outside the tunnel. Coiling into itself, the snake lifted its tail and lowered its face. Sound followed the movement, and the cause of that sound formed a shadow across the land. The snake flicked its tongue out, tasting the air, oddly familiar with the scent upon it. It wasn’t prey. It wasn’t predator. What was it?
A creature walked into sight. Again, there was an odd sense of familiarity. The known scent grew stronger as the creature seemed to notice the snake. The snake coiled tighter, muscles trembling. Its rattle shook louder.
“Never seen a rattlesnake as big as you before,” the creature said.
The snake didn’t understand. But Tobias did. It felt as though he surged upward, as if he was rising out of water toward the surface, straining for air. He saw through his snake’s eyes, smelled Angel’s scent. The snake fought, of course it fought, but Tobias knew he’d win. The snake wasn’t stronger than he was. It had never been stronger.
The snake shuddered as if in pain, and the rattle stopped moving.
Angel knelt in front of the snake, at a safe distance from a potential strike. Tobias stared into Angel’s face, using it as an anchor. He knew that face. He liked that face. When he’d changed, he’d been too scared, nearly panicked with the thought of death, that he hadn’t fully prepared himself mentally for the change. This caused his snake to take over fully, for him to lose who he was, his memories, his purpose, his personality. But now he fought, and he knew he would win. But he couldn’t allow Angel to see him change back. He couldn’t even allow himself to consider the outcome of that travesty.
Tobias took full control of his snake and struck out at Angel, never intending to bite, but trying to scare Angel away. Angel jerked back in shock with a yelp. Then Tobias turned and shot down the tunnel, into the dark. But even as he did, and as Angel’s scent faded, his snake began to fight back. Tobias held onto Angel’s face, his voice, his scent, and kept control. But he couldn’t hold the snake’s form as he kept remembering what it was like to be a human. He could only move past the first corner of the mine before the air shimmered. His skin rippled violently, and he fell to the ground, a human once more.
Gasping, shaking, Tobias’s skin flashed hot then cold. He was going to be ill; he knew he was, just like the first time. He curled into himself, his throat dry, his lungs heavy. He must have made enough noise to draw attention, because he suddenly heard someone running down the tunnel. It wasn’t long before Angel ran around the corner and skidded to a stop. They stared at each other for a long, humming moment before Angel dropped to his knees and yanked off his own coat, wrapping it around Tobias.
Then, to Tobias’s great shock, Angel pulled him into his arms and hugged him hard.
“Oh, thank the spirits. I knew it, I knew you had survived.” Angel’s voice was thick with tears as he rocked them both, his arms in an unbreakable hold.
Tobias didn’t know what to say. He still felt ill and was becoming more so by the minute. But right then, he closed his eyes and allowed himself to indulge for a moment. He took a deep breath, coughed, but still relished the scent of his deputy. Angel was so warm, the kind of warmth Tobias’s skin had never exuded. He curled into his deputy, remembering acutely the reunion with his parents so many years ago. It had been so different from this. He’d been slapped by his mother, yelled at by his father. His arm had been grabbed, and he’d been dragged to their carriage and berated the entire way home. There’d been no tears, no words of relief or joy.
He didn’t know what to make of Angel’s obvious affection or how to handle it.
Angel suddenly pulled back, and their eyes met again. Tobias’s eyes had adjusted to the darkness, and he could see his deputy’s face well enough to see something in his eyes that sent a spike of fear down Tobias’s spine.
“It was you,” Angel whispered. “You were the rattlesnake.”
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Do you like long series (20+ books) or would you rather a short one (under 10?) or do you prefer trilogies?