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Midweek Tease: A Kiss to End the Month

MWTease15Well, as hard as it is to believe, February ends today. Two months of the year have gone already! “Looks like this is out of our hands now. In for a penny…” Paul bent his head and met her lips gently. I’m convinced time moves quicker now than when we were young.

Welcome to this week’s Midweek tease. Here’s one more from Wedding Bell Blues.

The moment his lips touched hers, she lost the ability to think. All she could do was feel. Unlike the two brief pecks he’d given her, this time, Paul made love to her mouth. Heat pulsed through her, sending wave after wave of desire rushing along every nerve she possessed. Unconsciously, she opened her mouth, and his tongue dove into her. She was on fire, a phoenix rising from the ashes of whatever existence she’d had before. The room vanished, and she floated in this new magical space where only the two of them existed. Desire consumed her, and she responded to his kiss with every fiber of her being. This was the culmination of her long-ago dream, the touch she couldn’t imagine until now, and it was worth every second she’d waited for it.

“Ahem.”

The sound pulled MJ back to reality as Paul raised his head, ending the kiss. Desire flashed through his eyes for a second, and with it the realization that he was rock-hard against her, proving he wasn’t as immune to her as she thought he was. That was no brotherly kiss. MJ looked away, certain her cheeks were blazing.

“On the kiss meter, I’d say that was a twelve,” Lindsay said and laughed. “And it looks like I captured it.” She held up her camera for her to see.

MJ couldn’t breathe. The image showed a couple deeply engrossed in one another. Was that really her? If Paul hadn’t been holding her, she would’ve collapsed for sure.

“Shall we go, darling? They’re waiting for us, and I’m sure these people want to sit down and eat,” he said loud enough to be heard by those around them. “We can finish this later.” He winked.

The gesture and words shattered the magical illusion, as if he’d thrown a bucket of ice water on her head. He’d been playing it up for the crowd. He didn’t have to catch his breath because the kiss had meant nothing to him other than adding another layer to this charade, and as far as his arousal went, Mark had always been able to rise to the occasion and look what that had gotten her.

If you want to read more, Wedding Bell Blues is available from most online retailers including Amazon.

Don’t forget to visit the rest of this week’s teasers.

#MidWeekTease February 28, 2018


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Tuesday Tales: From the Word: CABINET

New TT imageGood morning and welcome to another set of Tuesday Tales., the closed blog where stories begin and novels are born. Each week, a small group of authors share scenes from work in progress giving you an insight into how they create the novels you enjoy. This week, I continue with Same Time Next Year. The word prompt to use was CABINET.

Enjoy!

Like a child finally allowed outside to play after a lengthy incarceration, Twyla spread her arms wide and took a deep, cleansing breath, absorbing the scents of a newly washed world. Around her, some of the plants still glistened with droplets of  rain and puddles steamed in the sun. As she crossed the lawn to the stone path, wet grass tickled her toes, darkening her tan leather sandals.

She nodded to the people she passed. What on earth were they putting in the food these days? Those girls—surely no more than fourteen—had bigger breasts than she did. Those puppies might be perky now, but give them fifty years and they would be trying to have sex with their kneecaps.

Jealous, old lady? Damn it, yes!

What had happened to all the years between today and her last visit here? She’d lived, traveled, raised a daughter, grown old, but had she ever been happy? Had her eyes ever filled with love and joy like those of the young woman sitting under the tree watching the man swing a toddler in the air?

Hurrying toward the main building, she spied Nessa waving at her from one of the tables on the veranda. The woman wore a long-sleeved white blouse. Her short salt and pepper hair ruffled in the breeze, but there was a quiet air of sophistication about her.

Twyla ran her hand through her russet mane, recently trimmed, but still probably a wild mess around her face. No matter what she did, she would never look polished as her mother would’ve said.

Suck it up, buttercup. That’s never going to change.

She straightened her green cotton top and beige crop pants and smiled as she mounted the steps.

“Sorry. I was working on something and got carried away,” Twyla offered in apology and sat across from Nessa.

“Not a problem. I just got here myself a few minutes ago,” she said and chuckled. “Mavis went on and on, as she so often does. She’s made all of these plans for the pre-wedding reunion and wanted to make sure I invited you to join us. I think she’s worried about numbers, but when all’s said and done, her gathering will outshine the wedding. Raven and Peter should’ve realized that when they gave her carte blanche to plan this.” She shook her head. “Can you imagine? She’s arranged a sock hop for Friday night right after the rehearsal dinner. With Frank’s lumbago, we certainly won’t be twisting the night away. At any rate, it’ll all start Wednesday evening with a meet and greet. The inn will provide everything, including a bartender.”

Shrugging, Twyla grinned. “That’ll help. I’m sure a few guests will need to be fortified before the night’s over. I assume she’ll have cute name tags for everyone, as if this were some kind of weird high school reunion?” Mavis would certainly want to make this the event of the century.

“God, I hope so.” Nessa nodded and rolled her eyes. “Otherwise, I’ll have to introduce myself to everybody. Not that I’m the only one who’s changed. I’m sure most of the men will be bald and paunchy, and some women will have more junk in the trunk than they did.” She giggled. “Mavis claims ‘everyone’ is coming, not that she’s shared who everyone is. Will you make it?” Her brow creased, and her mouth became a dark red inverted U. “If you don’t, she’ll find a way to blame me for your absence. She’s quite impressed with the fact that you’re a bestselling author. Don’t be surprised if she doesn’t find a way to capitalize on that.”

Twyla sympathized with the woman, remembering the way Mavis had picked on her. Once a bully, always a bully, but tyrant or not, she wasn’t quite ready to be the woman’s trained monkey for the event. Caprice, her agent, would be thrilled about the free publicity though.

“I’ll make sure Mavis knows that whether I attend or not has nothing to do with you. I’m not really part of the ‘old gang’ as she called you all when we spoke the other day. I was only here for a month or so each year—less than that the last time. I’ll try to make it, but Nessa, I’m here to work, and while I’m happy to socialize once in a while, it can’t be my first priority.”

“I understand that. Can I ask what you’re working on?” She lowered her voice. “Or is it a professional secret?”

Twyla nodded. “Writers can be a superstitious lot and, to me, speaking about a book before it’s completed is bad luck.”

Ezra approached them, stopping next to the wooden cabinet to pick up a pitcher of ice water.

“Hello, Mrs. Wilson. Nice to see you out and about again,” he said, filling their water glasses. Would you like menus?” He smiled.

Was the boy flirting with her? More than likely he was just buttering her up to find out about Lana. She lowered her gaze. Wasn’t she doing the same damn thing?

Swallowing her discomfort, Twyla smiled. “Nothing to eat for me. I just finished a thermos of your aunt’s soup. It was delicious, and I believe it truly does have medicinal qualities.”

He winked. “My aunt swears by it and so do most of the family.” He turned to Nessa. “What about you, Mrs. Prendergast?”

“No food—Mavis had enough stuff at the meeting to feed the population of a small country. Have you ever tried deep fried avocado? It probably has a gazillion calories in it, but it’s to die for. Actually, I’ll just have gin and tonic.”

Ezra nodded. “With lime?”

“Yes, please.”

“And I’ll have a glass of pinot grigio,” Twyla added, glad she wouldn’t be having coffee. She needed a little liquid courage for what was to follow.

“With a glass of ice and club soda on the side,” Ezra finished for her.

“Am I that predictable?” she asked.

“It’s my job to know what you lovely ladies want. I’ll be right back.”

 

That’s it for this week! Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on  Tuesday Tales

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Midweek Tease: What Else Can Go Wrong?

MWTease15Good morning, I’m neck deep in edits, but here’s this week’s tease, once more from Wedding Bell Blues.

Have you ever wondered why everything falls into place for some people and whatever can go wrong for others does?  Watching the Olympics reminded me how easily fortune can change. For MJ and Paul, it seems Fate is out to get them. Enjoy!

Mesdames et messieurs.” Raymond St Louis wore a tuxedo with a plaid cummerbund. If the grin on his face were any wider, it would split it in half. “Who does not dream of hitting the jackpot? As you know, starting Wednesday, we will host a three-day hunt for the infamous pirate Jean Lacorneille’s treasure. Legend says his ship sunk during a violent storm, the Hurricane Ovine, if we name it after the witch said to have conjured it, with his ship’s hold full of Spanish gold and cursed Incan treasure, originally looted by Francisco Pizarro’s men from the treasure vault of Atahualpa, the last Inca emperor. The story goes on to say some of the men survived, brought here to Paradise Island by mermaids who took pity on them. Where did the ship sink? No one knows exactly. We have Lacorneille’s charts and maps. Will Antoine Leroux be the one to find the booty, or will one of you uncover the secret cache? Magic and mystery have always gone hand-in-hand on Paradise Island.”

As a cold breeze filled the room, MJ shivered.

“They just turned up the fan on the AC for effect,” Paul whispered, but he pulled her closer to him.

“Tonight,” the manager continued, “thanks to Louis James Live, earlier this evening, the names of those of you here were placed in this bowl. Rosette, a descendant of one of Lacorneille’s men, will select the name of the first couple. These two will act as Best Man and Matron of Honor to the couple lucky enough to be the resort’s official bride and groom for the week. Rosette, if you please?”

Rosette dipped her hand into the bowl and pulled out a small gold envelope.

“Monsieur and Madame Richard Larson, from Toledo, Ohio.”

A high pitch squeal filled the room as a couple stepped forward. The man resembled Rick Moranis. He was short, no more than five-foot-five, wore glasses, and seemed ill at ease in his white dinner jacket. The woman beside him was a touch shorter and a little plump, but looked lovely in her black, sequin-trimmed, floor length gown. She was so excited, she trembled.

MJ smothered a giggle that the man’s name should fit his appearance so well. The crowd applauded. When the clapping subsided, the manager spoke once more.

“And now, Rosette, the second attending couple.”

Once more, the woman dug into the bowl, pulled out an envelope similar to the one drawn earlier, and handed it to Monsieur St Louis.

“The second attending couple are Monsieur et Madame William Smith, from Fresno, California.”

A woman shrieked and dragged her husband to the stage. MJ recognized the couple who’d been standing in front of her arguing before she’d gotten off the ferry. Whatever their problem had been, they obviously hadn’t resolved it. While the woman looked thrilled, the man beside her seemed annoyed.

“And now, if you would draw the name of our lucky bride and groom.”

Rosette’s gaze scanned the crowd before she dug into the bowl once more. Handing the envelope to Monsieur St Louis, she stepped back.

“Your bride and groom, and the hosts for this week’s treasure hunt and festivities are…” A drumroll filled the air.

He slowly opened the envelope, increasing the tension in the room. He pulled out a small white card and looked at it, his eyes growing large. He held up the paper for Rosette to see and asked her a question. She shook her head, the astonishment on her face no less than his.

Voices buzzed in the room. The manager shrugged and smiled.

“Monsieur et Madame Paul Davis.”

Lindsay screamed as the room erupted into applause.

“That’s you,” she cried.

MJ turned to Paul, unable to mask the panic on her face, somewhat mollified when the surprise on his matched hers.

What the hell just happened?

“And you said our names weren’t in the draw,” she hissed before Mendelssohn’s Wedding March flooded the room.

“That’s what Raymond told me,” Paul said, his gaze begging her not to overreact. “I swear it on my mother’s grave.”

MJ read the truth in his eyes. Whoever had orchestrated this fiasco had done so without Paul’s knowledge.

That’s it. Want more? https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078J5GVJ7

Don’t forget to check out the rest of this week’s teasers.

#MidWeekTease February 21, 2018


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Tuesday Tales: From the Word COZY

New TT imageGood morning and welcome to this week’s Tuesday Tales.  I’m continuing with Same Time Next Year. The prompt this week is the word COZY. I’m picking up where I left off with Mike getting ready to go to see Twyla and discover the truth.

Enjoy!

Pete laughed. “Lucas knows better than to believe any of your fabrications.” He pulled a black suit from the rack. “Let’s go try this one on first, shall we?”

“I’ll try it on. You can wait out here.” He turned to go into one of the dressing rooms.

“Not so fast, cowboy. Let me grab a couple of shirts and ties and a pair of gray pants. If you’re going to try it on, you need to do so properly.” He frowned. “I don’t suppose you brought your shoes with you?”

“Damn.” Michael rubbed his chin. “I take it wingtips aren’t in style now either.”

Pete grabbed his throat as if he were choking, rolled his eyes, and burst out laughing, no doubt adding up the sale in that steel trap mind of his.

“Let’s get the shoes first, and then we’ll try the suit. And for the record, combat boots or sneakers won’t work either.”

Mike looked down at his feet.

“When do you need it?”

“Tomorrow. My flights on Tuesday.”

“Nothing like waiting until the last minute. Lucas is in the office. I’ll get him to come measure your pants, and he can hem them right away.”

“Can’t I just buy a suit with hemmed pants like the ones Lydia got?”

Pete looked skyward, no doubt imploring the gods to rescue him from this scuff-booted Neanderthal. Obviously, pre-cuffed suit pants weren’t an option. Pity.

“Never mind,” Mike said before the man could lecture him on fashion etiquette. “Let’s try on shoes.” He followed Pete to the back of the store and a cozy little room set aside specifically for footwear and formal rentals.

An hour later, his credit card up more than a grand, Michael left Suits and More with his purchases. Lucas had hemmed the pants for him while he’d waited. The two men had bantered back and forth while Lucas had pinned and measured. Michael had envied them. Love was love no matter what. These two had been together more than thirty years. Their wedding five years ago had been the culmination of their dreams. There wasn’t anything the one wouldn’t do for the other, and both looked forward to retiring and traveling. Mike would like to travel more, but going solo, especially at his age, wasn’t as much fun as it was cracked up to be.

After dropping off the bags at the truck, he headed toward the barber shop. If he didn’t get that haircut, the dragon lady would never let him hear the end of it. Even he had to admit he looked a little scruffy.

As he passed a pawn shop, a record album in the window display caught his eye. Did people still own turntables? Someone had mentioned vinyl was making a comeback.

The Mamas and the Papas. Not stopping to think, he entered the store and went straight to the window. The album was a greatest hits collection. He skimmed the list of songs. “California Dreaming” was there as was “Dedicated to the One I Love.”

Walking over to the cash register with the record in hand, he stopped. What the hell was he doing? He couldn’t play the damn thing even if he wanted to.

“Brain fart,” he mumbled, returning the record to the window and leaving the store, hoping the clerk didn’t think he was in his dotage.

His barber, Max, had retired a couple of months ago and had sold the business to a couple of locals. The place was busy. It seemed most people were no longer content with just a haircut. Now, the Sunset Salon—and why the hell couldn’t they just have kept the name, Max’s Barbershop?—offered everything from scalp massages to God alone knew what. How he missed those military buzz cuts.

“Morning, Mr. Morrison,” the girl at the desk said, smiling up at him.

Did he know her? She looked familiar.

“You probably don’t remember me. I’m Sable Hunter. My dad works for you on the Lydia 3.” It’s been a while.”

“So, are you one of the new owners?” he asked, barely remembering the kid. He needed to attend more of the company’s employee functions but going to those things alone or tagging along with Lydia and Chuck just wasn’t in the cards.

“This is my baby now—well, mine and the banks. My husband and I bought it three months ago.”

“Business looks good,” he commented, missing the taciturn Max who rarely engaged in chit chat. God, he was becoming one of those crusty old bachelors, just as Lydia had predicted.

“So far, so good. What can we do for you today?”

“I need a haircut.” Hell, he needed a whole new look.

“Not a problem.” She punched something into the computer and smiled. “I can take you right now. Would you like the works? That’s a shave, beard and mustache trim, wash, and scalp massage?”

“Sure, why not?” In for a penny, in for a pound.

Two hours later, his hair styled, gelled, and sprayed, a bag full of hair products in his hand, he headed toward his truck. The girl had even hot toweled his face, trimmed his facial hair, including the one that grew in his nose and ears, and had given him the best shave he’d had in years. While he’d been a bit uncomfortable with the whole process—a man didn’t let a stranger use a straight razor on his throat without some trepidation—he did look good even if he said so himself. He would definitely go back.

As luck would have it, since just about everything that could go wrong lately had, when he turned on his truck, the sound of the Mamas and the Papas filled the vehicle. The words to “Dedicated to the One I Love” swamped him.

“Son of a bitch,” he cursed, turning off the radio. “This is a mistake. The past is dead and buried and should stay that way. I may look like a dandy now, but I’m an ass to even think seeing her again will change anything.”

That’s it for this week! Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on  Tuesday Tales

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Friday’s Feature: Cover Art Contest

Year of the dog, 2018Good morning! Happy Chinese New Year.  It’s the start of the Year of the Dog. Hopefully, this puppy has good things awaiting us. (Image courtesy of Getty)

As most of you know from the news, this year has been a tragic one for those in the United States with its 30th mass shooting of the year occurring this week in a Florida school, the nineteenth such tragedy since the start of 2018. If that doesn’t scare you, it should.

On a more positive note, the Olympic games are underway in South Korea, and while Homan’s team id struggling to win its first game in Curling, we’re in fourth place overall with 13 medals and a lot more to come. Go Canada!

WBB final cover

Today, I’m posting because I need your help! The beautiful cover of Wedding Bell Blues, designed by Romanian cover artist Melinda De Ross had made it to the third round in February’s All Author Cover Contest.  To move on the round four, I need your votes!  It doesn’t cost anything to vote.  Just follow the link and vote. Voted before? You can vote again if the VOTE link shows. One vote PER ROUND!

Can you please take a moment to help out a friend?

https://allauthor.com/cover-of-the-month/1397/

Thanks!

 

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Throwback Thursday: Where Were You in 1967?

half faceI named my blog, Living the Dream, because becoming a published author has always been a dream of mine. No, I haven’t become a New York Times bestselling author–I haven’t any idea how to break that glass ceiling, but I have had the marvellous sensation that comes from the holding books I’ve written in my hands. I’ve felt the pride from reading good reviews and having people tell me how much they enjoyed my stories. Those are priceless moments, and with each new manuscript I start, just like an artist who begins a portrait, I hope the end product will please my readers and maybe even make them think.

The new manuscript  I’m working on, Same Time Next Year,  is a stretch for me, but in some ways it’s liberating, since it allows me to be myself and enjoy my craft. Twyla is an author who’s writing her memoirs, opening up about her past. Through her, you can glimpse some of my own writing process. This is a book within a book with some of my own memories and a whole lot of imagination tossed together to create what I hope will be a poignant story about love lost in youth and recovered fifty years later. I’m banking on the fact that the story will strike a chord with readers. (Yes, there’s S E X in this one)

scan0011I met my husband and fell in love in 1969. We were married in 1971, and we’re still together, but not everyone who was a part of a couple back then is today. Sadly, some have died,  others simply broke up, many divorced, while a few were torn apart by outside forces over which they had little or no control.

Since I’ve started this story, I’ve been reminded that the so-called “good old days” weren’t perfect. While there were some good aspects to them, there were also a lot of negatives. Racism, social snobbery, domestic violence, sexual harassment, lack of equality and rights for women, and homophobia were alive and well. As I recall the time when I was 17, like my character was, I remember how limited my options and opportunities were, and how ill-prepared I was for the reality of life as a woman.

 

The story is set both today and in 1967, and I’ve had a great time listening to the music of the sixties. Back then, I did my homework to the sound of my transistor radio and the icons of the day–The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Four Seasons, The Mamas and the Papas, Elvis. I could go on and on. As I write, I select songs from 1965, 1966, or early 1967 to set my character’s mood. Right now, she’s listening to “A Groovy Kind of Love” by the Mindbenders.  Why don’t you listen in?

deck 2Same Time Next Year is a second chance at love story written as book within a book. One section is the poignant story of a girl becoming a woman and losing the man she loves, while the second section is that of a lonely woman, returning to the scene of her despair, searching for answers. Think, The Notebook, if Allie’s parents had succeeded in keeping Noah away.

Here’s the premise of the story.  If you want to read more, check out my recent Tuesday Tales posts.

Why had he abandoned her?

For three short weeks, Twyla Lancaster was the fairy tale princess who’d found her prince. Unfortunately, reality ripped them apart. Now, fifty years later, she needs to know why the only man she’s ever loved broke his promises. As she writes her memoir and learns more about that summer, she realizes things were not what they seemed.

Hormones raced, promises were made, but Twyla left Michael Morrison high and dry ,and within weeks, married someone else. Grieving the loss of his parents and her betrayal, he turned his back on love, focusing on his military career. Now, goaded by his sister, he agrees to attend a wedding  and reunion, knowing Twyla will be there. It’s time to find out why she lied to him all those years ago.

The moment the star-crossed lovers see one another, love blooms between them, but when Michael discovers Twyla’s secret, he is devastated and walks out on her. Will love be enough to erase the hurt of fifty years lost?

Where were you in 1967?

 

 

 

 

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Midweek Tease: It’s Valentine’s Day!

 

pexels-photo-302515.jpegHappy Valentine’s Day! This is the day set aside each year to honor and treat our loved ones. May you have the best Valentine’s Day ever. Mine started early with a gorgeous card. I’m truly blessed.

In honor of today, it’s fitting to focus on a love scene. Mine will be a lot tamer than many you’ll find here, but love is love and anyone lucky enough to find it is always a winner!

MWTease15Welcome to this week’s Midweek Tease. We have a full house this week with lots of tantalizing teases to tempt you. This blog is open. If you would like to join in, contact me and I’ll provide the information you need to get started.

This week’s tease comes from Wedding Bell Blues. It’s short and sweet, and absolutely perfect for the day.

Enjoy!

“Congratulations,” Lucette said when MJ stepped up to the bar. “May I see the ring?”

MJ extended her hand.

Magnifique. It matches your eyes.”

“Glad to see you’re feeling better. What matches your eyes?” Lindsay asked, coming over to stand beside her.

“My ring,” MJ said. “I’ve agreed to marry Paul.”

She blinked. “You what?” The woman’s voice rose two octaves.

MJ flashed her ring and removed her glasses.

“You’re right; it does, and it’s gorgeous!” Lindsay exclaimed.

“Congratulations,” said Noel, reaching out to shake his hand. “I’m glad you guys worked things out. Lindsay was really worried.”

“Paul will never let anything happen to me,” she answered, knowing it was the truth. “Would you like to help us celebrate?”

Lindsay nodded, a huge grin on her face. “Damn right. I know there’s a story here, and I want to hear it all.”

“Two more glasses, Lucette,” Paul said. “We’ll sit over there.”

Champagne in hand, they returned to the table where she and Paul had sat earlier. At Lindsay’s insistence, between them they managed to tell her the story they’d concocted, adding details as the questions arose.

“This time, she said yes,” Paul finished, reached for her hand, his eyes fixed on hers, and planted a kiss in the palm of it. “I intend to spend the rest of my life convincing her she made the right choice.”

Want to read more? Wedding Bell Blues is available in both ebook and paperback from most online retailers including:

 

Now, remember, this is a blog hop. Please check out the rest of today’s teasers! There’s something for everyone!

#MidWeekTease February 14, 2018