Midweek Tease: A Snippet from Hello Again

mwtease15Hello and welcome to the Midweek tease, where a variety of authors share a taste of their novels with you. Make sure to click on the links for some exciting scenes.

Many thanks To Angelica Dawson who makes this blog hop possible each week.

Today, I’m bringing you a scene from Hello Again, my paranormal, suspense romance

helloagain-ebook-smallMoving to the table, she turned up the portable fan, hoping it would cool her, knowing if she had another one of those dreams, she’d combust, fan or no fan. This past month, when she’d finally dragged herself to bed, so exhausted she could barely keep her eyes open, she dreamed of Mike, but those experiences were as different as night and day from the usual ones she’d had for almost four years now. In those, she tried to apologize for her part in his death, while he begged her to be happy, listen to his last wishes, and move on. Occasionally, she’d relive memories of happier times, but inevitably those ended with her in tears and filled with loneliness, so profound it sucked all the joy out of her.

She was depressed—had been ever since losing everything that mattered to her. She’d tried to set it aside, rise above the pain, but it was a futile effort. She’d gone to grief counselling, had taken the antidepressants that left her in a fog, incapable of thinking coherently, of functioning properly, and in the end, had given up on all of it. Life like this was her penance.

Miri claimed it was more than that. She was convinced Charley was being haunted, and she probably was—by her own guilt—but recently she had to admit there was something else going on.

These new night visions were wildly erotic dreams, so realistic that she’d swear they were actually happening. Since when was she so consumed with sex that she imagined having intercourse with what had to be her husband’s ghost? It was as if she’d morphed into some kind of succubus, an insatiable creature who couldn’t get enough of the man who infiltrated her deepest dreams. While the love making was similar to the special moments she’d shared with Mike, there was something different about the taste, the texture, and the scents she remembered. It was wilder, resulting in an earth-shattering climax each time, followed by hours of dreamless sleep.

The slightly furred chest she’d fondled, less hairy than she recalled, was smooth except for rough skin near the heart, but otherwise, the phantom who drove her wild was the man she loved. She prayed she didn’t cry out in her release, but no one had looked at her oddly or commented. Of course, with Miri and Lory, the other teacher on duty during the vacation period, at the far end of the hall, there was no one to hear her anyway.

While in the past she’d shared everything with Miri, these dreams or whatever they were, she kept to herself. The last thing she wanted was Miri dragging her to see yet another psychologist.

At first, the dreams had frightened her, but now, they brought comfort. What was happening to her? Had that damn biological clock of hers gone off, reminding her she’d be thirty in a few months? The last time her hormones had played havoc with her was when she’d been pregnant, and she was pretty damn sure her night visitor wasn’t the Holy Ghost.

It didn’t really matter who or what was behind the dreams. She’d never fall in love again. There was no room in her heart for anyone other than Mike and the twins, and casual sex was definitely not in the cards.

Sitting at her desk, she activated the computer screen once more. For some reason, her social media page was constantly displaying travel pages about Saskatchewan. It was one of the places she and Mike had wanted to visit. Too unsettled to focus on anything, despite the electrical storm outside, one that promised to be Nature’s finest temper tantrum yet, she opened the matching game she played occasionally.

Would he come to her tonight? Would he hold her and make love to her? She hoped so because the only time she was alive was when she was in his arms. Dream sex with the ghost of the man she loved was all she had left, but even that was better than nothing.

But the dreams ended as suddenly as they’d begun, leaving her alone and as bereft as she’d been four years ago.

Want more?

 

Don’t forget to check out the rest of today’s teases.

MidWeekTease May 31, 2017


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Tuesday Tales: From the Word Hug

badge-for-tt-very-small-1Welcome to this week’s Tuesday Tales, scenes from works in progress built around either a word or a picture prompt. This week’s prompt is the word HUG.

My selection is short and sweet. From Wedding Bell Blues. If you recall, MJ and Paul were aboard a deep-sea fishing boat with other couples.

“Oh, my God!” MJ screamed in Paul’s ear. “I did it! It’s huge. It’s not as big as the one we saw on the dive, but did it ever put up a fight.”

Ramon, the fisherman assisting their party, lifted the large, blue-green fish with the golden flanks by its gills and held it in front of MJ. The fish was more than half her height. Paul took several pictures with his camera.

“You know Lindsay’s going to kick herself for missing this,” he said, pulling her to him and hugging her tightly. “I have most of your battle on video. Ron with definitely be impressed.”

MJ laughed and settled into the hug. “Dad always said I was a better fisherman than he was. Now, I have proof.” She grinned. “What’s going to happen to it?”

“It will go to the hotel with the others caught this afternoon, Madame Davis and be served for dinner tonight. Congratulations,” he said, stepping away from the scale. “Your fish weighs nineteen pounds, seven ounces. That’s the biggest one taken today.”

Paul grinned from ear to ear while Mark scowled. Until MJ landed her fish, he’d been in the lead with a sixteen pounder.

“Looks like you win the pool, too,” Bill said, handing her two ten dollar bills. “Damn shame when a man doesn’t even get a bite.”

“Beginner’s luck, I guess,” she answered. The glow on her face was something Paul; would never forget.

Mark frowned, mumbled something under his breath and handed his pole to Ramon.

“Did you say something, Mark?” Paul asked. He was sure whatever it had been hadn’t been flattering.

“You must be hearing things, Davis. I’m done for the day. Congrats, MJ,” he said, his tone implying otherwise as he placed the ten in her hand. “Since Melena didn’t fish, she shouldn’t have to pay. I’d better go and see how she’s doing.”

Melena had been below deck most of the trip. Between the scent of a working fishing boat and the rough sea, she hadn’t done well.

“I’m going to the head,” MJ stated as Mark moved away.

“Do you want me to come with you?” Paul asked. The sea was surprisingly rough.

She cupped his cheek. “I’ll be fine. I’m getting my sea legs. I’ll be right back.” She handed her gear to Ramon, stuffed the thirty dollars in the pocket of her crop pants and handed Paul her hat. “Hold onto this for me, will you?”

Paul reached for the hat and nodded watching her follow in Mark’s wake.

He scowled. Mark had been too nice since his earlier blow-up. The man was up top something.

Christy handed Paul a beer. “To the victors go the spoils; the losers can console themselves with alcohol. Bill’s gone to get her a glass of champagne. She’s really something, isn’t she?”

“I think so,” Paul answered watching MJ disappear from the open deck around the side of the boat. “I can’t believe how my luck has changed since I got here. Having her in my life will make all the difference.”

Christy frowned. “But I thought she’d been in your life for some time. You make it sound like this just happened.”

Paul choked on his mouthful of beer. He’d almost blown it, and on such a casual comment.  “I was referring to the wedding and the fact that we’ll be together for the rest of our lives. For a while, I wasn’t sure she was going to take a chance on me. Mark can have Lacorneille’s  treasure. I have everything I could possibly want.”

Christy gazed into his eyes. “You’re a very lucky man.”

Suddenly, the boat’s “man overboard” alarm shrieked, bringing everyone to the port side of the boat.

“What happened?” Paul asked.

“Someone left one of the gunwale doors open and a women tripped and pitched headfirst into the water. I hope to hell’s she’s a good swimmer.”

Paul looked out at the water.  It had to be one of the tourists taking pictures, None of the crew would be stupid enough to leave a door open in these seas.

“I don’t see anything? maybe it’s a false alarm?”

“Buddy,  I saw her go in and sounded the alarm. They’re launching the lifeboat now. I saw her come up before, but this is fast moving water. She’ll be swept away in no time.

Paul looked around. Where was MJ? His gut burned. “What did she look like?” he asked, afraid of the answer.

“Little thing with curly hair. Some guy tried to grab her. I didn’t get a look at him, just his arm. He’s white, but aren’t we all?”

“There she is,” someone yelled and Paul turned to look.  MJ’s head was above the water a good fifty yards from the boat. She was trying to swim toward them, but it looked like she was losing the battle.

Paul kicked off his shoes and dove into the water. If she drowned, life wouldn’t be worth living.

Now, don’t forget to check out all the other posts on  Tuesday Tales.

 

 

Sunday Morning Musings: Waiting is the Worst

irisesHello. It’s May 28, and while we haven’t had any consistent warmth, we do have leaves on trees and the perennials are up and allergy season is in full bloom.  My sinuses are so clogged, they’ve plugged one ear. Ah! The joys of the season.

I did have a furry visitor drop by this week. Not sure how he got in or out of the yard, but he ran around in there a good half hour before I stopped watching.bunny

This week, I finished the first round of edits on my latest Crimson Romance novel, No Good Deed. Now I have to wait to see what other changes the editor will suggest. Selling a book to a publisher essentially means giving up control of your story. The editor’s job is to make a “good” story better, but sometimes, you have to wonder. I get the “show don’t tell,” but sometimes I want to tell! I want the reader  to move on not spend their time”thinking about the mouth turned down–Is that anger? Is it disdain? Is it boredom.  The same thing with the furrowed brow: confusion, anger, what?  Why is saying: “Her eyes filled with angry tears,” so wrong?

But enough of that. I cried my way through them, got them done, and will not so anxiously await the next round.

The other thing that ended this week was my Kindle Scout Campaign for Sworn to Protect. A hugeSworn to Protect, heartfelt thank you to everyone who nominated the book. I will know within the next week whether or not it was accepted for publication, but based on all the style errors and telling not showing, I’m not as hopeful as I was. Fingers crossed that it will get chosen, but if it doesn’t and because I adore the cover, I will indie publish this one.

So what’s next? I’m going to take a little break and then work on finishing Wedding Bell Blues, my Tuesday Tales novel. After that, I’m committed to completing the Tales of Eloisia, my sci-fi novel that stagnated at three episodes.

I have never been the most patient person in the world, and waiting is always the hardest. I will leave you this morning with a scene from Desert Deception.

desertdeception-600x960“I’m here,” Randy said, coming to her rescue. “If I were you, I’d make him wait and change into something else.” She chuckled. “Wet, baggy, and wrinkled isn’t a good look for you.”

Casey made a face. “You’re mean—accurate, but mean.” She turned to Jaxon. “See you later, kiddo.”

Hurrying to her room, Casey rummaged through the clothes she’d brought with her, wishing she’d added something sexy instead of just practical, opting to wear the blue sweater again, but this time with a pair of denim crop pants and matching flats. She fluffed her damp hair, knowing that if she tried to brush it, it would become an unholy mess, and fixed her makeup. Adding a pair of gold hoops, she used tortoiseshell combs to pull her hair behind her ears.

Taking a deep breath, using all of the self-control she possessed, she walked calmly down the stairs, wanting to run into his arms, but forcing herself not to.

“Hi,” she said, annoyed by the breathless sound of her voice.

He’d showered and shaved, and while there were shadows under his eyes, he looked good enough to eat—man candy at its best, and while she knew candy wasn’t good for her, Cole was.

“Hi, yourself.” The heat in his gaze told her he wanted to kiss her as much as she wanted him to, but he wouldn’t act on the impulse in front of her parents.

“Jaxon’s still in the tub painting himself. Why don’t we go and sit on the porch?”

Casey stepped around her mother and led Cole onto the veranda. They’d barely made it away from the windows when he dropped the package onto the table next to the swing and pulled her into his arms.

“I missed you,” he said. “I’ve waited all day to do this.”

His lips met hers in a soul-melting kiss that chased away whatever doubts she had about the rightness of this relationship. His tongue licked her lips, and she opened to him, savoring his taste. The long, lingering kiss was one of promise, but when he pulled away, his eyes were filled with worry rather than passion.

“How did your day go?” she asked, trying to understand the contrary emotion. Perhaps he was just tired, concerned about this latest crime.

“Not good. I’m sure you heard about last night’s fire.”

“And the body discovered in the mountains. That’s all anyone’s talking about. Even the return of the prodigal daughter has taken a back seat to it.”

“Yeah, well, what can I say?” He chuckled. “Fortune’s like Hollywood. You get your five minutes of fame, and then, the limelight moves on.” He sobered. “The fire was a bad one, Casey.”

“I know. Was it an accident?”

“No. It was deliberate.” His brow was furrowed, his lips pursed.

“Like the others?” she asked, concern eating at her.

Have a great week. Hopefully, next Sunday I’ll have good news to share!

Friday Featured Authors: Paying it Forward

Hello again! I’ve been MIA as I tackled edits for my book to be released July 31, 2017, but I did come out of my cave twice during that time to help my sister who is involved in Camp Erin, Eastern Ontario, by doing the voiceover for an application video for scholarship money to help defray the costs of the camp.

With all of the horrifying news coming out of Manchester, UK these days, the focus is on those who died in this cowardly act, but what about the survivors?  My grandchildren lost their father less than three years ago. They were among the first children to attend Camp Erin. Park timeIn order: Tonio, Eleni, Georgia and Nico

Below is the chance to vote for Camp Erin as well as the video. Have a listen and please nominate Camp Erin Eastern Ontario.

https://apps.facebook.com/platformcontesttwo/showentry/McDougall-Family-Fund-1/2308683/183468448361835

Have a great weekend.

 

Thursday Trilogies and More: Marie Lavender and Magick!

Hello and welcome to Living the Dream. Today, I would like to highlight one of my favorite authors, Marie Lavender. One of the most difficult things for an author to do is write a series of books. The key is keeping the reader hooked from one book to another. J.K. Rowling mastered this with her Harry Potter books and I believe Marie is on her way to doing the same. Read on to learn more!

Magick and MoonlightBlurb for Magick & Moonlight, book one of the Magick Series

Genre: Lighthearted Romantic Fantasy

Messing with free will is always a bad idea…

Ethan Hamilton moves to a lazy little town in Oregon, hoping to escape his demons. But, instead he discovers a woman dancing nude in the moonlight. This woman who claims she is a witch dazzles him with her sensual presence. He thinks she’s crazy, but what if she’s not?

Jessie Anderson has been taught that her kind hides who they really are. And she has a problem on her hands. Someone knows her secret and she has to do all she can to protect herself. What other choice does she have? Jessie casts a love spell on a good man, a man with whom she can’t fight her attraction. The spell doesn’t work quite as planned – she ends up falling for Ethan.

To top it off, Ethan’s treatment of her, his “love”, is so addictive. Deep down, she knows the spell will wear off, and yet his feelings seem genuine. It’s just a spell…right?

Purchase Links

Universal Amazon:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00IRKN5P2

myBook.to/MagickMoon  Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/magick-moonlight/

Trailer: http://youtu.be/G5p9UijAgsQ

Excerpt:

Her gaze flew around wildly, reminding him of a wounded animal that wasn’t sure of what danger it might be facing. When her gaze met his, the breath escaped him just as she gasped.  Dear God, she was lovely. From what he could tell, she was about five foot four and perfect.  He could not mistake the pull he felt, the way he was drawn to her sensuous mystery.  Instead of covering herself, she crept closer to the fire and before he knew it, she produced a knife.

Her voice called out, startling him.  “Strong gusts of sweet Nature’s Life, soft scented stillness to calm all strife, Blow for me, breathe for me, sweeping all evil away.  Blow for me, breathe for me, in dark winter night or bright summer day.”

He didn’t understand her words at all, but he couldn’t look away.

Then her eyes traveled back to his.  “What do you want?” she hissed.

The contrast between her ferocity and the carefree, joyous way she had been dancing made him want to laugh.  He shook his head.  “What are you doing with that?  You could hurt someone.”

“It’s an athame.”  She narrowed her eyes at him.

He frowned.  He doubted she knew how to wield the weapon.  But, it wouldn’t be smart to underestimate her.  His job had taught him to be prepared for anything.  “Now, wait just a minute, Sweetheart.  I’m not going to hurt you.”  He took one step out of the line of trees, then stopped.

“Oh?”

“I just came to make sure no one’s trying to start a fire out here.”

She frowned.  “Are you a ranger?”

“Hardly.”  He sighed.  “I used to be a cop.”

Her eyes wavered over his face, and then gave a swift perusal of the rest of his body.  He had never been more aware of his masculinity, dressed in simple jeans, a tee shirt and a jacket.

“I don’t recognize you.  Are you a tourist?”

He shook his head.  “No.  I just moved here a few days ago.”

“Oh.”

“What are you doing out here anyway?”  He struggled not to be distracted by her nudity, however appealing it was.

“Nothing.  A spell.”

“A spell?”  His eyes flew to the black cauldron.  He remembered the strange chanting he’d heard before.  “You’re practicing witchcraft?  That’s a new one.”

“Wicca, actually, is a religion based on the elements of nature.  It’s a way to harmonize with our environment.”

“Is that right?”

“Yes.”

Unnerved again by her naked body as well as her suggestion, he shrugged out of his barn coat and approached her.  He draped it around her shoulders and buttoned it over her, aware that he might as well be caressing her, he was so close to her.  He realized that his coat was touching her luscious, naked body, her most secret spots.  The thought made him clench his fists.  “Can I give you a ride back home?  My truck is nearby.”

A long silence fell.  Her gaze on his, it seemed to take her awhile to decide if she could trust him.  “All right.”  She dropped the knife she held.

Inwardly relieved, he sighed.  “We need to put the

fire out,” he pointed out.

He took a stick and nudged the cauldron enough so that it spilled its contents onto the fire.  A puff of smoke filled the air, causing them both to cough at the whiff of herbs and something else that smelled burnt.  He began to doubt if she was really a witch after all.  It was likely she was dabbling in the arts because she was bored.  When she gasped, he turned, alarmed.  “What is it?”

She pointed to the mess he’d created with the broth and the campfire.  “I wouldn’t have done that if I were you.”

“Oh?  Why not?”

She opened her mouth as if to explain, then suddenly closed it.  “Never mind.”

“Fine, then.  Let’s get out of here.”  With a hand against the small of her back, he nudged her gently toward the path he’d taken to find her campfire.  “So, how long have you been dabbling in—”

“In what?  Magick?”

He wondered if her contrariness was borne out of the urge to make him more uncomfortable about the subject than he already was.  “Yes.”

“All of my life.”

He raised his eyebrows.  This woman was getting more interesting by the moment.  And for all he knew, she might be crazy.  “I see.”

“I doubt it.”

Not only was she sexy as hell, she was feisty.  He fought down the response of his libido to that deadly combination.  Perhaps she was a witch.  She would be nearly impossible to forget now that he’d met her.  “Maybe you could tell me your name?”

“You can call me Jessie.”

He grinned.  At least now he could put a name with a face.  Or a body.  “Well, nice to meet you, Jessie.  I’m Ethan Hamilton.”

“Good to meet you too.  What are you doing out here though?”

“I have a cabin not too far from here.  I was by the shore when I saw the light from the campfire.”

“Oh.  Sorry for disturbing your peace.”

“Believe me.  It was no bother.”  At least not if he didn’t want to sleep tonight.  His body was as hard as a rock, clenched in anticipation of what he could share with this woman if she let him.  And that wasn’t likely, considering her reception of him.  “We’ll reach the truck soon, I promise.  You’ll be home in no time.”

“Thanks.”

“No problem.”  He cleared his throat.  “Is there a reason I found you naked out there?  I mean, you lost your clothes somehow, right?”

The secret smile she gave him made his throat feel dry.  “Do you want me to lie?”

“Of course not.”

“The ritual was best practiced in the nude.  Skyclad rituals are very common, you know.  The Goddess tells us, ‘You shall be free from all slavery, and as a sign that you be truly free, you shall be naked in your rights.’”

He lifted a brow.  “Even if that were the case, you didn’t walk there naked, did you?”

“Didn’t I?”

Maybe she was crazy after all.

“I didn’t walk at all.”

He thought she might be saying that she was transported by magic.  Yep, she was batty as hell.  He was so not touching that one.  He cleared his throat again.

A sharp cry startled him and instinctively, he reached forward and grabbed her when she started to fall.  Unfortunately, she ended up right in his arms.

Or maybe it was fortunate after all.  With her luscious lips so close, he could almost taste her.  And her scent…dear God, she was intoxicating, like a mixture of night air and jasmine.

 A Little Magick - final coverBlurb for A Little Magick, book two of the Magick Series

Genre: Children’s Fantasy (This can be read as a standalone, or paired with the first book. Some parents have found this great because they can read the first book, then read the second one with their kids.)

Excerpt:

Through the rain streaming down the car windows, the gloomy sky could still be seen. It did little to improve nine year old Rosanna Hamilton’s mood. “How long will I be there?” she asked her mother from the back seat of the red SUV. “How long are you making me stay with him?”

Rosie was supposed to stay with her Uncle Adam for a few weeks. It was summer so she didn’t have to worry about missing school work, not that she cared much for it anyway. She was an active type; she preferred playing with her friends or participating in sports to sitting in class, learning about fractions and other silliness. What did she need that for? She just wanted to be outdoors, in Mother Nature, as Mama called it.  Rosanna didn’t mind reading for fun, however.

“No more than a month, baby. I’m not quite sure how long the festival runs in Portland. I’d have you stay at home, but Daddy can’t watch you while he’s training for his new job as Sheriff. There may be some late nights. But, we’re happy for him, right?”

She nodded and gazed out the window while cars sped by them, throwing water up into the air. She sighed. She couldn’t wait to grow up so she could see things better, reach things easier. She was short like Mama, and she often struggled while other kids didn’t seem to have a problem.

Her mother went on. “We’re going to have to come up with another option soon. Mrs. Waters moved to Florida to be with her daughter so we can’t ask her. I wonder if Lisa’s mom would be willing to watch you for a few hours after school…” Lisa was her best friend and neighbor; they were practically like sisters. They had sleepovers and everything.

She glanced at her mother as she continued to talk; her full concentration was on the road, but she had a tendency to chatter when Rosie got silent. It was nothing against her mother. Rosanna had a vivid imagination. She often daydreamed of fantasy worlds with castles and dragons and warriors. She thought of them when she was in her post in the nearest tree after she’d climbed it. It wasn’t her fault if she found life lacking the excitement she craved. With the exception of a few family vacations, she hadn’t been outside of Yachats for very long. This trip would be the exception and she dreaded it for a very good reason.

“What if he doesn’t like me?” she complained.

“Oh, honey. Uncle Adam adores you, you know that.”

She wasn’t so sure. She had only seen him a few times in her life and though he’d been warm towards her, she often caught the suspicious looks sent towards her mother. It was almost as if he knew something about her that he didn’t like. And she wasn’t sure if she should trust him.

Purchase Links

Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00YJSGE40

myBook.to/ALM   Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/547154

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-little-magick-marie-lavender/1122044476

Kobo:  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/a-little-magick-magick-series-book-2

Trailer: http://youtu.be/biE_x5UYgbE

Magick Sunrise-mockup coverComing Next Year…

Initial Blurb for Magick Sunrise, book three of the Magick Series

Genre: Lighthearted Romantic Fantasy

Caleb Brennan is just looking for a ticket to something bigger. When his boss puts pressure on him to catch the next great story, he is desperate. But he never imagines his saving grace might come in the form of a stunning woman practicing bizarre acts in the darkness one night. Drawn to her and this fantastic world he is determined to prove is a trick, he tries to get closer to her.

Rosanna Hamilton is born of magick and a deep, abiding love that makes her a gentle, romantic soul. She has always been fascinated with her natural gifts, but also the beauty of the universe around her. Taking a vacation before she settles into a life back in Yachats, she is surprised to find a man who enjoys nature as much as she does. She stumbles into a passionate storm with him, stunned by the chemistry between them. Unfortunately, it is getting harder these days to hide her craft from him.

When the truth comes out in a big way from both sides, the deception is far too much to handle. Rosie never thought the magick of love might be her downfall…

But Caleb wants this unusual woman more than he ever imagined he would. Can he convince her his heart is true before he loses her forever?

Excerpt:

He should have noticed at first – the steam – but, he didn’t. The aroma of something sweet, like fresh flowers, came to him. It was only then that he noticed the fog dispersing through the room was from the nearby shower. He froze, knowing he was in dangerous territory. As he didn’t want to intrude on her, he began to softly back out just as he heard the sound of a curtain moving. A hiss drew his attention. He swung back around and spotted her. Damp, perfect skin taunted him, and her chocolate brown eyes should have been angry, but they weren’t. He took a slow, experimental step forward.

It was she that met him halfway, stepping out of the shower and padding across the room to reach the place where he stood. He waited, expecting a slap of some kind. Instead, her dark gaze roamed over his face and chest. It heated him from within, buzzing all the way down to where his member began to rise in response to her innocent curiosity. He meant to be a gentleman, but his gaze dropped to her incredible body, her delicious, plump breasts and fine curves, then touched on the athletic length of her legs. It still surprised him that someone with her assets could be a runner. Most of the women he knew who adored nature as much as she did were too skinny. He couldn’t even explain why suddenly none of that appealed to him, why he knew that after her he couldn’t go back. He might always prefer these luscious curves over anything else. He was torn between the insane urge to touch her or to simply leave her be, safe and idolized from afar. He wanted nothing to mar her perfect skin, not even him with his harsh background and penchant for moving from one woman to another. Caleb lifted his eyes back to her face, sculpted perfectly like porcelain.

Her smile was light with a touch of uncertainty, either from inexperience or because like him, she didn’t know what to do next. Her hand, which was so much smaller than his, lifted to his face, her fingers tracing his cheeks and his brow. He closed his eyes; no one had ever touched him like this, so affectionately, and he was in awe of her. An ache echoed in his chest, a new feeling. He knew he should say something, assure her of his good intentions, but he was afraid that speaking would break the spell. This amazing woman, this girl who must be a witch, had made him crazy for her, crazy with need and something more.

“Caleb…”

His lashes lifted. He looked down into her eyes, suddenly full of anxiety. “It’s all right. There’s no pressure here.”

She nodded. “Will you…will you kiss me like you did in the moonlight that night?”

Caleb smiled. “Of course.” He reached out to cup her cheek. “Rosanna, you’re so amazing, so special. Do the smart thing and run from me now.”

She blinked, frowning. “I don’t understand.”

“I’m no good for you. With my past and everything—”

“I don’t care about that. I want you. I…”

With a groan, he leaned forward and nipped at her lips with his.

Thank you, Marie Lavender for joining us today. Best of luck with your trilogy! 

Tuesday Tales: From the Word Staple.

The world around us keeps getting uglier. The bombing in Manchester, England was a despicable act. No one will ever convince me that such a display of cowardice and lack of respect for humanity can advance a cause.  My heart goes out to all who were touched by the heinous actions of the perpetrator.

Welcome to thibadge-for-tt-very-small-1s week’s edition of Tuesday Tales. Each week, a group of authors use a word cue or picture prompt to create a scene in their current work in progress. I’m getting to the end of Wedding Bell Blues.

This week’s prompt is STAPLE.

Now that Mark and Melena are on Paradise Island too, the fat;s going to hit the fire. Something’s going to happen, but what?

Enjoy this week’s tale.

Bill chuckled. “He didn’t get around to mentioning that. But it’s all water under the bridge, now.  Mark and Melena are the final members of our treasure hunting team.”

MJ shivered. How the hell had that happened. The boat hit a wave, sending her crashing into into the gunwale and she gasped. Paul reached for her and pulled her into his arms.

“Are you alright?” he asked, his gaze conveying his concern.

She nodded, too stunned by this latest stroke of bad luck to answer. Wasn’t Quimbois magic supposed to be on her side?

“I met Mark a few months ago in a treasure hunters’ chat room,” Bill continued. “Was I surprised to see his name picked to be on our team. You should’ve seen the manager’s face. I thought he was going to make a stink, but then he shrugged and said something about fate.Would anyone like coffee? They’ve got some in the galley.”

Dismissing Mark and turning to Bill, Paul grinned, but MJ saw the muscle jump in his jaw. “I’d love coffee. What about you, darling?” he asked, pulling her closer into his body.

“Coffee’s fine,” MJ answered, although a cup of hemlock might be more to her liking. On their team?  How would she survive this?

“We’ll have the same,” Mark said, his compressed lips and two spots of deeper red on his ruddy complexion telling their own story. He was angry, but at what?  The tension in the air was thick enough to cut with a machete.

“Six coffees coming right up.” Bill said. “Come on, honey. I’ll need your help.”

Christy nodded and following her husband.

MJ wished she had an excuse to leave, too, but Paul was holding her tightly to him.

“Melena and I had a big wedding but not quite the fanfare you managed to pull off on national television. Just how did you arrange that dog and pony show?”

“I’d say all my dreams came true. Fate and fortune favor the bold.” Paul turned away from Mark, snubbing him. “I don’t believe you’re from Stilton, Melena.”

“No,” she said softly, licking her lips. She was pale—no, she was green—and the boat had just left the dock, although the water was surprisingly rough given the light breeze.

“I grew up in Philadelphia,” she continued, looking directly at Paul and not the horizon. “Mark and I were childhood friends, but it wasn’t until I moved to Stilton that we connected again. You two obviously know how that works. Things just happened.” She shrugged.

MJ smiled. “And if you and Mrk hadn’t reconnected, I might’ve made the biggest mistake of my life,” she said, smiling up at Paul.

He bent his head and kissed her softly. Turning to Melena he said, “I’ll add my thanks to hers.”

Mark coughed, but it sounded a lot like he’d said “bullshit.”

MJ frowned. “I have some Dramamine, Melena,” she offered. “It’s a staple for those of us who don’t travel well.”

Melena nodded, her cheeks pink in her otherwise bleached face. “Thanks, but I’ll be fine.”

MJ frowned and nodded. She didn’t look fine. Mark didn’t seem to notice or care.

He leaned closer, lowering his voice.“How do you intend to continue this little charade when we get back to Stilton?” Mark asked and sneered. “I checked the laws. American citizens can’t legally marry here.”

“They can with special permission from the French government,” Paul said, his teeth gritted, a sign that Mark was getting to him. “You might want to recheck your facts. MJ is my wife every way she can be.  While we’ll go back to Stilton to visit, we’ll be living in Watertown.”

Mark’s eyes narrowed. “Watertown? What about her job? She’s in line for department head.”

While this might be a testosterone induced pissing contest, this conversation was about her and MJ was determined to be part of it.

“Not that it’s any of your business, Mark, but I resigned my position three months ago when Paul and I decided to get married. He bought me a house just down the street from my new school.”

“Why do I find that hard to believe?” Mark asked, leaning into Paul. “No one knew where the hell you went after your loser father beat your mother to a pulp and the two of you  slunk out of town. Since MJ never left Stilton, I don’t buy this ;little miracle romance of yours. Pen pals. Bullshit. You may have conned Louis James, But I’m going to get to the bottom of this and expose you for the frauds you are.”

MJ put a restraining hand on Paul’s arm, felt the tension in his muscle and watched the muscle jump in his jaw once more.

“Mark, for once in your life, think before you say something you’ll regret,” she said. “Paul and I are married, like it or not. There’s nothing you can say or do to change that.”

Paul hugged her tightly, reassuring her he had himself under control, and dropped a kiss on her head.

 

“Don’t threaten me, MJ. But, what I want to know is why you’re really here?”

“She’s on her honeymoon with me,” Paul interrupted. “She had a reservation, and we decided to use it.”

“That’s bullshit. You claimed you knew what I’d done yesterday. Now, I see you’ve got nothing on me. Well, here’s how this is going to go. This whole charade of yours is a load of crap, and when Louis James finds out the truth, the shit will hit the fan. You’re act is just an excuse to get the treasure for yourselves. That gold belongs to me. When we find it, Bill and I will be the only ones there. The fact we’re on the same team means nothing.”

Paul stepped close, putting himself in Mark’s face. “Really? Let me lay a few facts out for you. The treasure belongs to the islanders. If you find it, you’ll get a finder’s fee and nothing more. Try to smuggle it home and you’ll be doing hard time. But that’s not all. I’m a police officer. I know exactly what you’ve done. This place keeps excellent records. They’ve got your emails, even you damn telephone conversation. I know exactly what the two of you did.”

Melena seemed to shrink and grow paler.

“You will not bother my wife in any way shape or form, and you will return every last cent she paid for this holiday or you will be charged with fraud and identity theft. Personally, I think it’s time everyone saw you for what you really are.” The ice in his eyes was unmistakable.

Mark’s face whitened. “Don’t threaten me, soldier boy, ” he bluffed. “You’re out of your league. I wouldn’t bank on your evidence. For the right price, it could all disappear, and even if it doesn’t, it’ll be her word against mine. People in Stilton know she “offered” it to me. Who do you think they’ll believe?”He shook his head. “You and the slut deserve each other.”

Paul released MJ and reached for the collar of Mark’s shirt. “I suggest you apologize right now, or you’ll be swimming back.”

“Please, Paul, let him go. You’re making a scene,” MJ begged.

In a flash, Paul had changed his hold on Mark into a bear hug. “And I can still take you know,” he said loudly and laughed releasing the man. “I suggest you take your wife below deck and find her a place to lie down. Here come the Smiths. If you ever insult my wife again, you will regret it. This isn’t a threat, it’s a promise. Do I make myself clear?”

Mark nodded and seemed to shrink before MJ’s eyes. Why had she ever been afraid of him? She smiled, stood on tiptoe, and kissed her husband’s cheek.

“Here you go,” Christy said offering Paul and MJ the cups she held. “I’ve got cream and sugar.”

“Thank you,” MJ said, taking the cup and moving out of Paul’s protective arms. She had this now.  “So what do I need to know to catch a really big fish?”

Now, don’t forget to check out all the other posts on  Tuesday Tales.

Saturday Special: Tuesday Tales Bookstore

TT bookstore image.As you know, I participate in a weekly Tuesday blog called Tuesday Tales. Well, this week, the blog has a Saturday edition. I’ve been participating in Tuesday Tales for a couple of years. During that time, my imagination and the wonderful word and picture prompts supplied by bestselling author, Jean Joachim, have led me to create two novels. This morning, I would like to showcase one of them, Hello Again.

I’m a sucker for happy ending, but I do enjoy torturing my characters to get them there. We don’t value things we don’t work for. Maybe that’s why kids don’t take care of their toys and clothes the way we hope they would–they didn’t have to work to get them. I make Charley work hard for her happily ever after.

To an author, writing a book is like giving birth–you have to go through a lot of pain yourself to reap the reward.

The Blurb:

For Charley Winters love means loss and pain. She’s spent the last five years struggling with her grief. Existing, not living. Drawn to Saskatchewan, she travels west take the job she’s always wanted. But life gets complicated when she’s rescued from a vicious tornado by her dead husband’s double, a man who makes her feel things she hasn’t in years. Add to that a native myth, a shaman, a green-eyed wolf, and her husband’s ghost … Can she lift a millennia old curse and find joy and love again?

Here is an excerpt:

“When it comes to anything that involves you, I’m psychic, remember?”

“Sure you are,” she answered, her voice laced with sarcasm and humor. “Having a First Nations great-great-great-great-grandmother who might’ve been a shaman, doesn’t give you any special powers, and considering your coloring, those genes are buried really deeply.”

He hooted, the sound of it erupting from deep inside him. She loved his laughter. Like everything else about her husband, it was genuine and honest.

“Oh ye of little faith. My Scottish genes may be strong, but my sixth sense keeps me out of trouble, and you know it.”

“Michael Winters, you are so full of it. If I were going to give you one of those First Nation names, it would be ‘Gets Into Trouble.’ Look at what happened when we went for a walk last month. You could’ve been killed. Dealing with wild animals is incredibly dangerous and you know it.”

“But I wasn’t,” he said with decisiveness. “That wolf pup is alive because I rescued it.”

She couldn’t argue with that. While Mike might not have a lick of sense when it came to his own personal safety, something that had terrified her while he’d been deployed, he was innately attuned to animals. She hadn’t even heard the pup’s cries. Any longer in that hole away from the she-wolf and food, and the pup would have died for sure. Mike had gone straight to the spot where the animal had fallen into the sink hole and dug until he could set the pup free. The little female had been very appreciative, licking his face like an exuberant puppy would.

“Only because Mama Wolf didn’t attack. It was eerie the way she and the rest of the litter sat and watched you, almost as if they understood what you were doing, and then, when the pup joined her, it was almost as it they’d all bowed to you, like you were some kind of savior.”

He winked. “I told you, it’s my granny’s power.”

She shook her head. Sometimes he was worse than a kid, but she loved him to distraction.

“You are so full of it. Fine, ‘Rescues Wolf Pup and Gets into Trouble,’ you win. I’ll try to nap this afternoon so you can tell me all about the ride when you get back. I don’t know why I couldn’t settle last night. Must be those out-of-whack hormones everyone talks about. I wish I were coming with you, but I get it—men only. Have penis, will travel.” She chuckled and leaned back into him. “You’re sure the bike’s working well? The throttle was a little sticky when we were on it the other day. I had a look at it…”

“And you took that valve apart and cleaned it. Everything was working perfectly, ‘Stands with a Wrench’ when I gassed it up last night—the advantage of being married to the most beautiful mechanic in the world,” he answered and laughed, nuzzling her neck as he always did.

“Stands with a Wrench? Really?” She chuckled. “I wish you weren’t going,” she said, unable to hide her distress any longer. “I just feel like something’s off.”

Mike straightened, all signs of playfulness gone. “The baby?” he asked, his forehead crinkled in concern.

She shook her head. “I don’t think so, but the little imp must’ve been doing handsprings on my spine last night. My back is sore this morning. I hope it isn’t the mattress.”

As a thank you for dropping by, you can pick up my YA suspense  novel, Prove it, for free on Amazon.com from May 20-23, 2017 https://www.amazon.com/Prove-Susanne-Matthews-ebook/dp/B01N2X98ET

Don’t forget to stop by the other TT Bookstore for the Saturday editions of  Tuesday Tales.