Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Excerpt Tuesday - Daring Young Man


For Excerpt Tuesday, I offer a slice of one of my favorite Dareville stories - Daring Young Man. This is May/December romance featuring an older hero, a widow content to bury himself in work. If you've read the first two books in this series (Truth or Dare, Dare Me) you will have read scenes leading up to this book. You won't find, either, the level of erotic content as the other stories feature - as much as tried to spice up the story, it didn't seem to work. In the Harlequin scheme of things, this is more a Blaze than a Spice. Enjoy this selection!

~*~

With a dramatic sigh, Lauren dropped the bulky cardboard box to the floor beside her sofa; its contents rattled and clanked as Lauren straightened her form and waved to the box with a flourish. "My friends," she addressed the two lovely blonde women before her, "let the ceremonial rites begin."

Ellie Garriston and Sue Briscoe were curled around either end of the sofa, their feet tucked under cushions and pillows as they sat. Each sipped from a wineglass. Presently Ellie, closest to the box, unfolded one leg and curiously toed the box.

"You sure this stuff will burn?" she asked, suspicion coloring her voice. "I can just imagine the looks on the faces of the firemen when they root through the charred remains of your house to find the only thing intact is a box of sex toys."

"Not necessarily," Sue chimed in. "That box is cardboard. It'll burn."

"Say, you think the firemenn would stick around to party?" Ellie laughed.

"Ha ha." Lauren crossed her ankles and plopped down on the carpet, extending her arms for balance and nearly spilling her own wine. "I mean it. A new era begins tonight. Say goodbye to the old Lauren."

"Goodbye, Old Lauren," Sue sang.

"I've readjusted my halo." Lauren puffed up her chest. "Getting rid of the toys, the dirty movies, anything that might make Jake uncomfortable when I've succeeded in my plan of making him fall hopelessly in love with me."

"Everything but the sexy pictures Sue took of you that you're planning to show Jake, right?" Ellie cast Sue a wicked smile, then leaned over the box. "I can't believe you're actually going to burn this stuff. Think of how much money you've spent over the years. This stuff isn't cheap, and I'd know."

Ellie plucked a translucent pink rabbit vibrator from the box, holding it upright and turning it in her hand. "Look at that craftsmanship. Note the detail of the tiny bunny's ears."

"I'm familiar with the tiny bunny's ears, thank you," Lauren said. Yes, she was especially familiar with the way those tiny rubber bunny ears hummed against her exposed clit as the vibrator's rotating shaft twisted in her pussy, driving her to multiple orgasms every time she used it. No more, though. The only cock she wanted inside her was attached to the man of her dreams, not something mass produced in Taiwan.

Sue snorted. "What do you suggest, El? We call the Goodwill and donate everything? Vibrators for the underprivileged?"

Ellie shrugged. "Poor people need lovin', too, you know. Besides, some people who aren't poor can't afford some of this stuff. Like that thing. What the hell is this?"

Now Sue was bent over the box, sifting through its contents until she found the item in question. "Good night, Lauren!" Sue held up a dildo thicker than the blunt end of a baseball bat. "How…?"

"That was a gag gift, from my bachelorette party. You remember." Lauren frowned, recalling briefly the failed marriage that had ensued. She had never used the enormous phallus, and imagined it was likely not meant for human consumption. As a conversation piece, though, it did the trick.

Sue dropped it back into the box when something else caught her eye. "Ooh, you're not going to throw this out, are you?" she asked, holding a jar of flavored cream. "You might actually want to use this with Jake."

Lauren shrugged. She didn't like the tone of Sue's voice, which to her suggested that her plan to win Jake was nothing more than a pipe dream. Sue had cautioned her about it more than once, and it had taken a good amount of wheedling from Lauren to get Sue to take the budoir photos. Though Sue was pleased with the end result, Lauren could tell Sue was still pessimistic about the plan.

Well, she would show Sue. She would show the whole town. She would win Jake, but in order to do that she had to show Jake a side of her he could find attractive and available exclusively to him. That would have to entail getting rid of the jar in Sue's hand...for now.

"Truth be told," Lauren said finally, "I don't know how Jake would react on seeing a jar with a label marked 'Cummings' Clit Cream.'"

"As opposed to seeing the actual clit itself in a photograph?" Ellie screwed her face into a wry smile.

"He's not going to see all the pictures, El. Just the tamer ones at first," Lauren insisted. It hadn't been Lauren's intention for Sue to take Penthouse-style photos, but Lauren had gotten so carried away with the photo session that Sue ended up taking more intimate pictures than originally planned. Lauren first thought to have Sue destroy the racier pictures, but the quality was so good she couldn't bear to do it.

Assuming the plan worked, Lauren felt she could gradually introduce the steamier pictures into their relationship at a later time. And she could always buy more cream; this stuff would just congeal if left unused.

"Just peel the label off, he won't know it from face lotion." Sue unscrewed the lid and dipped her pinky into the thick, pink goo, then tasted. "Mmm." She licked her lips. "Strawberry."

She dipped a second finger deeper into the cream and beckoned Ellie closer. Ellie obliged and sucked the dollop into her mouth with a wicked grin. "That's good, isn't it?" Sue cajoled.

Ellie concurred with a throaty moan. "Can I have it if you don't want it?" she asked Lauren.

"Take anything you want. I don't care anymore." Lauren waved the box away, and the two women giggled with juvenile delight as they rummaged for spoils. Ellie extracted dildo after dildo—they seemed to get larger as she emptied the box, and she appraised each one with an amused look.

"Don't know if I could take a used dildo," she laughed, arranging them on the carpet according to height. "Besides, with Brady around I don't really need one anymore."

Lauren reached for the wine bottle on the coffee table and refilled her glass. "Oh, really? What do you do when you're in the mood for double penetration now?" She looked archly at Sue as she asked. Lauren knew quite a bit about Ellie's sex life; at least, she knew as much as Ellie was willing to share, which was practically everything. She knew in the days before Sue hooked up with Cal Briscoe that Cal had occasionally participated in three-way sex with Brady and Ellie Garriston. Given the couple's strong sexual appetite, Lauren had to wonder what the couple was doing now for fun.

Ellie looked at Sue, who offered only a coy smile as an answer. Lauren sipped her wine. Surely Cal wasn't...no. Where did that leave Sue?

"You're not saying..." Lauren's voice faded.

"We have an understanding," Ellie said, and winked.

"We have an understanding," Sue echoed, and pocketed a squeeze tube half-filled with anal lubricant.

O-kay. Maybe she'd get the goods after a few more glasses of wine. Loosen a few tongues if they didn't start licking certain places. "Well, while you two are sifting through that stuff, you might be interested in what used to be my prize possession. It's yours if you want it. Otherwise I'll just bury it in the backyard and hope my neighbors aren't spying on me. They'll think I've committed a crime," she said, giggling, as she sprang to her feet.

When she returned from her bedroom Ellie and Sue were still debating the true meaning of Lauren's cryptic statement. Both women then gasped with surprise as a heavy body fell to the floor in front of them.

"Oh, my," Ellie said.

Sue pointed her drink at the floor, her arm wavering over the crooked lines of the splayed limbs. "Is that what I think it is?"

"Ladies, meet Bob." Lauren puffed her chest and slowly knelt to the floor beside the figure's torso. "Or, should I say, Bodacious BOB 9000."

"Bodacious BOB," Ellie whispered, awed. "The gold standard in battery-operated boyfriends. How did you ever get your hands on one on a teacher's salary? What, did you finance this thing?"

"Worth his weight in gold," sang Lauren as she stretched out the corded waistband of the black sweatpants covering the lower half of the sex doll. A very thick, very realistic vibrator rested between its thighs.

Lauren didn't wait for her friends' awed gasps to completely fade. "And check this out." She reached behind Bob's neck and flipped an unseen switch; instantly the dummy's pouty lips parted slightly to reveal a plastic pink tongue, swirling in circular motion.

Ellie whistled. Lauren couldn't help but notice her friend shifting to press her thighs together. Ellie definitely yearned for a ride.

"Instant three-way," Ellie said instead. "Nice."

Sue frowned and leaned on the couch arm to look down the hallway. "Don't tell me you kept that stuffed in your toy chest, too?"

"No." Lauren feigned annoyance. "Hall closet. Though when I first got him I sat him on the couch. It's a good safety device for single women. Anybody looking through the picture window will see the back of a guy's head and think you have company."

Lauren sighed at the image of Bodacious BOB perched on her sofa while she laid her head in his lap and watched television. Unlike her ex, Bob was thoughtful enough not to interrupt her during her favorite shows. Or fuck another woman in their bed while she was at work.

"Good luck trying to give that away." Sue sank to the floor and followed the hypnotic movement of Bob's tongue, then rolled her eyes. "I mean, I'd take him, if I thought he had other talents."

"What's left that Cal won't do?" Lauren arched an eyebrow.

"Cleaning gutters. Speaking of the devil..." A muffled chirping drew Sue closer to her handbag, from which she produced her cell. Sue checked the number and nodded before answering, moving away from the other two.

Ellie stroked the University of Virginia emblem on Bob's sweatshirt, smirking as Lauren wheedled. "Come on," Lauren urged. "He slices, he dices, he vibrates up to seven speeds. Fun for the whole family."

"I already have one of those, thanks." Ellie continued to shift. Lauren could only imagine her friend was getting wetter at the thought of settling her pussy on such a rapid tongue. Judging by how quickly Sue was gathering their things, it only meant Ellie was about to get her wish, and then some.

God, how she wanted some. This plan had to work.

"Early night?" she asked Sue, and pointed to the corner where Sue had earlier shucked her shoes. Their husbands, one of them had mentioned earlier, were holed up in Cal's home studio laying down tracks for Brady's next album. This after just finishing a tour. Where did they get the energy?

Lauren sighed. She had an idea.

Sue stepped into her low heels and urged Ellie on with rapid arm movements. "And they've started without us. Ellie!" she snapped, and the other woman literally sprang into the air and caught her purse in mid-stride. She was out the door with a hasty farewell, but Sue lingered with an expression Lauren thought rather odd.

"Join us," she said.

Lauren had her glass raised and missed her mouth, dribbling wine down her blouse. "What?"

"You want to be fucked, I can see it clearly. You come with us, you will be, any way you want it." Sue rifled through her purse, not looking at Lauren. "I feel kinda guilty if you're going to be here alone."

"I'm used to it. And anyway, what would Brady and Cal say if you brought home a fifth wheel?"

Sue smiled. "Actually, it was their idea."

O-kay! The image of her nude body sandwiched between two handsome musicians, whose physiques and libidos well betrayed their ages, crossed her line of vision and blocked her friend from view. Yeah, it would be nice for once to have a real live cock throbbing in her pussy, to have two strong, callused hands kneading her breasts or ass as that cock pumped into her and filled her with searing hot cum. To have another cock to suck on or, heaven forbid, fucking her ass while this was going on was too much for her imagination.

Her friend was insane. Too much sex had gone to her brain.

"You would let your husband fuck another woman?" she asked, incredulous. She hoped Sue wouldn't say anything about recording something like this!

To her continued shock, Sue shrugged. "It's sex, Lauren. It's a beautiful thing to do and share. I've been prudish about it in the past, but, you know, being with Cal has set my inhibitions free. We love each other and nobody is going to threaten that. We also love sex, and agree that it isn't something we have to keep to ourselves."

"So...you guys are swingers then?" Lauren couldn't believe she was having this conservation with the same woman who, only months earlier, had cringed at Ellie's explicit stories of life with Brady, and had been so reluctant to take Lauren's candid photos.

"I wouldn't say that. We don't actively look for other people. We do, though, have very good friends," Sue said, and Lauren knew she was talking about the Garristons. "We'd like you to be our friend, too."

"I am your friend." Lauren had to wonder where Sue and Ellie would figure into this new overture of friendship. Lauren liked sex, too. No, she loved it, but only with men.

Only with Jake, she would see to that.

"Go." Lauren waved her friend away just as an impatient car horn sounded. "Have an extra orgasm for me, and don't use any complicated safety words you might forget. I'll be fine."

"Okay." Sue didn't sound convinced of Lauren's content, but backed slowly away all the same. "Call if you change your mind, or just come on by and jump in. Oh, before I forget, I have an extra CD-ROM with your pictures."

Lauren's attention was on Bob now. She heard Sue digging through her purse. "Just put it in my bag, on the chair by the door. Thanks!" she called. When the door clicked shut, Lauren let out a ragged sigh and gathered up the sex toys strewn on the carpet. She resisted the temptation to use any or all of them. Water water, everywhere...

"I am such an idiot." She couldn't believe she had actually turned down sex. She couldn't believe Cal and Brady would dare to suggest that Lauren join the couples in their reindeer games.

Of course, this was Brady and Cal...why be surprised?

She could have spent the evening being kissed, licked, fondled, and fucked by as many as four people at once, but instead would be sprawled on her living room floor wondering how well silicone would burn and should she use lighter fluid for the bonfire.

"I must really be in love," she told Bob. Bob wisely offered no comment.

Copyright (c)2006 Leigh Ellwood

Monday, May 30, 2011

What I'm Reading: Let's Rock

When I received the galley for the revised edition of Good Rockin' Tonight, my knowledge of Sun Records was minimal - I knew basically that it existed. I had known some of the legends of early rock and roll cut records with the label - Elvis, Jerry Lee, Roy - but I hadn't realized the richness of the label's history before now. While reading this book, what grabbed me the most was the sheer amount of minor record labels active in the 50's and 60's, and the preference of cutting singles as opposed to whole albums since one was likely to find more profit - a practice one sees now with iTunes, where one can buy individual songs.

I can remember, as a child, sifting through stacks of 45 RPM discs my parents had collected over the years. There may have been a Sun or two in the mix, but I recall quite a variety - Dot, Decca, Buddha, Stax...the music business doesn't appear that different from publishing, particularly in this time of transition. It is interesting to note how some labels operated to serve a specific market (in Sun's case, the South - perfecting what became known as the "Memphis Sound") and gain a following before broadening their reach. This makes sense when you think about it - popular music variety shows like American Bandstand and the Grand Ole Opry had roots in localized followings before expanding. Rockin' touches on the Sun Records connection to these national outlets, in particular with their more prominent artists.

When the original Sun studio opened, it had originally served as a place for musicians and organizations to make use of the equipment until it was realized that money could be made representing and distributing artists. Rockin' goes on to break down, chapter by chapter, the many relationships Sun and Phillips enjoyed with various artists and architects of R&B, rockabilly, and early rock and roll. The Sun histories of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Roy Orbison - some of them so brief - are recorded with academic detail and very little gossip. Though it's not revealed directly, as you run down the list of songs recorded and released by Sun you realize the butterfly effect Phillips had on rock and roll - one can argue that if not for the Sun discs making the rounds in the UK, where American artists of this period were quite popular, The Beatles may not have come into existence (indeed, check the Fabs' earlier albums for their covers of some of Perkins' Sun songs.).

Probably the juiciest tabloid-esque bits one can expect to find are Lewis's exploits, mainly because they resulted in nearly damaging his career while with Sun. Given the same amount of play here, though on the radio it was a different story, are the careers of second and third-tier artists like Charlie Rich, Malcolm Yelvington, Warren Smith, Billy Riley. You might not know the names, but perhaps if you had parents like mine who held a wealth of records you may recognize the music - a thorough appendix of Sun recordings at the end of the book provides the information you need to educate yourself.

A friend who has also read and enjoyed this book noted his amazement that Phillips not only had so much talent in his stable, but seemed to willingly let it go. The passages on Johnny Cash support this - one reads this entire book and wonders how a man of such innovation, who once had the organization so many others imitated, didn't seem perceptive enough to know he should hang on to the likes of Presley and Cash. Would Sun have survived the changing landscape of music in the 1960s if Phillips had been more aggressive in keeping certain artists? We can only guess at what might have been, but we do know the legacy left by one of the more influential independent labels in music history, and thanks to this book we know so much more.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

99 Cent Saturday - The Bouncer

I picked up The Bouncer by Trinity Marlow from All Romance for 99 cents. This is an intense BDSM novellette, as made evident by the cover. I will read BDSM on occasion, but I tend to stick to the same authors because I know to expect quality and realism in the writing. Bridget Midway is especially good at it, and having spent time with her at fetish events selling books I know how well she researches the lifestyle for her stories. In this genre, I consider Bridget an auto-buy, and since this isn't my first genre of choice I tend to be choosy when trying somebody new. I hadn't heard of Marlow before seeing this book, and figured with the nice cover presentation and the price, why not? Here's the blurb:

Kaylee’s wanted Patrick for years, but he’s always held her at arm’s length. She’s celebrating her divorce and this time she’s determined not to let him off the hook...but can she handle the secret he’s been trying to protect her from?

The story, while nicely detailed with strong dialogue and good characterizations, may read as familiar - a woman coming out of a bad relationship is determined to get back on the bicycle and sets her sights on friend/club bouncer, who happens to be in the Lifestyle. Though he has feelings for his friend, there is a reluctance to introduce her to his proclivities, for good reason. Without giving away too much of the story, I will admit one admission by the hero left me unsettled through the rest of the story, but I'm not sure that qualifies The Bouncer as a pass. BDSM is not my thing in real life, so I can't say if our hero's attitude is common in that realm.

As for last week's 99 cent pick, Across the Veil: I will give it a pick. It's a nice, sweet fantasy romance, though while reading it I got the feeling that the story was bigger than the finished product. It starts in the midst of action, and I had so many questions about backstory and the Fae world involved. Perhaps author Kessler has more stories in mind for this world?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Blog Tour de Troops - About Gratitude

Welcome to the Blog Tour de Troops, a blog hop of a good time. The stop before mine is Jonathan Gould and the next stop is Joel Goldman. But first, hang with me and get your free ebook Dead Barchetta! (Or one of my other titles if you already have that one.)

For the main site with all the participating blogs, click here to see the Indie Book collective. You may also make a donation toward the Kindle giveaway.

When the offer arose to join the Blog Tour de Troops I signed on immediately. Though I have never served in the military, I have so many ties and like to do what I can to support our men and women in uniform. I have lived in military towns for much of my life and have known people who have served. My father was in the Marine Corps for a time, his brothers and one sister served in Vietnam (some of the brothers in Korea as well), and I have several cousin in service now. One advantage today is we have Facebook to at least keep in touch with the cousins when we can, but their parents didn't have that luxury.

Where I live now, I am close to a base, and every time we see the American flags lining the road toward the gates we know some of our sailors and soldiers are due home. It's very nice to see the caravan rolling up full of weary men and woman who have come home - for every homecoming I hope it's the last one and they can stay. If not, I hope for another safe return. I don't think I could what they do 24/7, and for that I will always be grateful.

This is why I have happily donated a copy of Dead Barchetta to this blog tour, and hopefully a soldier deployed will get a copy and enjoy reading it. Sometimes I wish I could do more to help, but for now I will remember those who have fought and died for our freedoms and pray for those in the line of fire now.

So please have a look around the Blog Tour and leave your comments on this blog if you want to receive a free eBook copy of Dead Barchetta, and you just might win a Kindle and continue to enjoy your freedom to read the books you love, just as I will enjoy writing them. :-)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Geddy Lee Thursday - A Very Special Episode

Not really, but as tomorrow is reserved for a blog tour post I thought why preempt altogether?



I think this is Finland. Finland, Finland, Finland...the country where I want to be.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wine Wednesday: It's Late

If you enjoy sweet wines, next time you're in Virginia look around for a late harvest Viognier. Sweet stuff, perfect chilled for a summer evening. That is all.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Excerpt Tuesday - Dare Me

Today on Excerpt Tuesday, I'd like to revisit one of my favorite, and perhaps one of my best-received, novels. I've told the story a million times before, but Dare Me was not intended to happen. The entire Dareville series was not intended to happen, but after publishing Truth or Dare, I couldn't get a supporting character out of my head. It was enough to get me to change the ending of Truth to set up for another story, and so you have this one. I don't know if any authors go back and read one of their back list books for the heck of it, but I do that on occasion and I find I still enjoy the story. Hope you do as well. Enjoy this excerpt, which is NC-17 and NFSW.
~*~

The second he stepped out of the bedroom she slammed the door behind him and locked it. Sighing, he dripped a trail down the hall, gathering his clothes in his arms along the way and depositing them on the couch. He fished the cell phone from his pants pocket and answered on the third round of “Back in Black.”

“What happened last night?” Brady’s voice was tense. “I know with you, something did.”

Cal sighed and leaned back on the leather sofa. His damp back slid slightly from the lack of friction. He closed his eyes and imagined varied scenarios, all of which featured his hands wrapped tightly around Brady’s throat. “Nothing happened,” he countered dully.

“You’re lying.”

“Yes, I’m lying.” He sniffed the air. What was that thick, awful stench coming from the kitchen? “You could’ve told me somebody else was staying here.”

“I would’ve, if I had known,” Brady said. “Ellie didn’t say anything about it to me until this morning. I had no idea Sue was there.”

“Her name is Sue.” So now he wouldn’t have to call her Blondie. Or Bitch. That took some of the awkwardness from the situation at hand.

“Sue Carmichael, she’s one of Ellie’s friends. Remember, too, she was the chick at Knickerbocker’s being bothered by that drunk?”

“When?”

“A few months back, when I returned from Europe. Before I moved down to Dareville. You dragged the guy away and took him home.”

The fantasy murder sequence brewing in Cal’s mind was quickly replaced with the memory of that incident. Yes, he remembered now. He and Brady had gone out to dinner, and they were talking when they noticed a pretty blonde at another table being harassed. He had deposited the drunk—G-G-George, his name was—into a taxi and saw him home. Brady stayed at Knick’s and flirted with the blonde, while Cal got vomited on somewhere on the East Side helping the guy to his apartment.

“That’s the same girl?” He wondered if she remembered him from the incident, and not exclusively as some seedy bass player. “Small fucking world, eh?”

“She’s staying there until she can close on a house she bought, and she’s watching the cat.”
Great. Cal pinched the bridge of his long nose. He fucked the cat sitter. That had to be a first for him. All he had to do now was lay a Girl Scout leader and a Denny’s waitress, and life’s sexual scavenger hunt would be complete. “Why didn’t Ellie say anything before she offered me the house?” he asked, but as the words came out and as he listened to Brady’s even breathing over the phone, the answer became clear.

“No,” Cal said, angry.

“She is a nice lady, Cal,” Brady wheedled.

“Two minutes ago she was looking at me like she wanted to rip my balls off and shove them down my throat.”

“Sounds like a promising beginning to me. My parents didn’t get to that stage until after they’d been married for twenty years.”

“I’m going to kill Ellie for tricking me like this. This is no way to introduce somebody to a potential girlfriend.”

“Ellie will be happy to know you’re thinking that way, that there’s potential.”

Cal shook his head. “I’m not thinking any way! How many times do I have to tell your girlfriend that I’m not interested in being fixed up, especially like this!”

“Like what?” Brady asked slyly. “What happened last night, guy? You know I’m going to find out somehow.”

“Nothing happened,” Cal said quickly.

“Liar.” Brady chuckled.

“I’m gonna get Ellie for this.”

“Trust me, Ellie will get her punishment in due time. And I’m sure she’ll enjoy it as much as you enjoyed what you say didn’t happen last night.” Brady’s voice was mirthful now. Cal heard movement in the background.

Soon he heard a slap, then a woman’s giggle. Playful banter followed before Brady returned to the line. “I’ll call you later. Be nice to Sue, okay?”

I was really nice to her last night, when I thought she was Ellie. He wasn’t going to mention that last part, though. “Can I still stay here?” he asked.

“Of course.”

“What about this Sue?”

Cal’s answer was a distant feminine squeal followed by a disconnection.

* * * *

“You did what?”

Sue pulled the phone away momentarily so she could slip a red T-shirt over her head. Ellie was talking rapidly on the other line, and Sue asked her friend to repeat herself.

“You remember Cal, he’s a studio musician. Worked with Brady for years. He played the bass at the benefit concert,” Ellie was saying.

“I figured that much out. What’s he doing here, breaking into the house in the middle of the night?”

“What do you mean, breaking in? I gave him a key.”

“You gave him a—,” Sue sighed. How could she fight that? It was Ellie’s house, not hers, and Ellie had that right. They had no formal lease drawn up for this arrangement. “Well, you could have given me a clue,” Sue wailed. “Instead I had to find out this morning when I walked in on him in the shower.”

Before that, Sue then realized. More like last night, when she and Cal were rolling around in some wild, erotic dream. But it wasn’t really a dream…

“Really?” Ellie giggled. “Hope you got a good look at him. He’s got a great body, doesn’t he?”

Oh, I got more than a look, sister. “That’s not the point, Ellie.” Sue gripped the receiver tightly. She thought she could hear the plastic casing buckle with her anger. Like hell was she going to give Ellie the satisfaction of knowing that she agreed with her, that she thought Cal had an incredible body, and that the things he had done to her in her unconscious state were nothing short of amazing.

Damn it! She pinched her arms against her tightening breasts. Why was she lusting for the man? She was supposed to be angry right now, with Cal for taking advantage of her inebriation, and with Ellie for manipulating the situation in the first place.

“You’re not disagreeing with me, are you?” Ellie sang. Then, in a conspiratorial whisper, “Did you get a good look at that splendid cock of his?”

“Oh, I got more—” And Sue wisely clamped her lips shut. The ensuing laughter crackling on the other end shot an embarrassing heat through her temples and flushed her skin.

“Okay, girl, I want every last filthy detail,” Ellie said when she caught her breath, “and when you get to the end, I want to hear it again.”

“I am not telling you a damn thing, I’m mad at you. And how do you know about his splendid cock?”

“So you agree with me then?”

“Stop putting words in my mouth!” Sue cried.

“You’d rather it be something else in your mouth?” Ellie teased. “Maybe again? I bet he gave your jaw a workout last night.”

“No, he—” And Sue paused, realizing that, no, for all that happened last night she hadn’t given Cal a blow job. She flashed back to Cal in the shower, and his third leg. Even limp, it looked quite impressive.

Then came another flash, and Sue saw herself kneeling before him, tracing every raised vein of his shaft with her tongue, wondering how in the hell would she be able to swallow him whole, wondering how Ellie knew…

“Again, I ask you,” Sue began.

Ellie’s voice was hushed, rough and labored through the receiver. “Remember that three-way Brady and I had that I told you about?”

How could Sue forget that? They had gone out to the beach for drinks with Lauren before Ellie left for New York. Ellie’s sexually explicit monologues about her life with Brady had kept Sue enthralled, and envious, as she nursed martini after martini. “Him?” Sue cried. “This was the other guy?”

That made sense, Sue realized, for Cal to think she was Ellie then. Perhaps Cal had gotten more out of the experience than Ellie did. Dare she mention that to her friend, though?

“You’re not mad, are you?” Ellie said. Sue detected a pout. “I mean, there’s nothing going on between me and Cal.”

Does Cal know that? “Yes, I am mad, El. You should have warned me, you should have said he was coming here.” That he was coming, period. That I would, too. Sue slapped her head. She had had sex with a complete stranger, without a condom! She could be pregnant now, or worse.

“If I’d done that, neither one of you would’ve gone for it. Cal wouldn’t have gone to Dareville if he knew I had an ulterior motive, and you wouldn’t have liked the idea.”

“Well, if you knew all this to begin with, why the big plan?”

“He is the sweetest guy, Sue,” Ellie pleaded. “He’s smart, funny, and he’s perfect for you. I haven’t met a nicer man since Brady, and I just had a feeling you two would hit it off if I could just get you two together.”

“A sane person would have arranged for us to meet for dinner someplace.” Someplace where everybody was dressed, and sober.

“Well,” Ellie wheedled, “this was certainly more memorable, I’m sure.”

“A great story for the grandkids, yeah,” Sue muttered.

On the other side of the bedroom door, Sue heard a clatter, then a loud, anguished, “Oh, fuck!” Sweet man, indeed.

He’s in love with you, Sue wanted to say. It didn’t matter who was in that bed last night, Cal was making love to Ellie, and nobody else.

Sue kept her voice rigid, and she slipped on her jeans and sneakers. “I’d like to think I’m capable of finding a guy for myself, Ellie,” she said instead, and waited for a response. There was none.

“Ellie?”

“Brady, stop.” She heard her friend playfully admonish her lover in the background. “Sue, I’ll have to call you later. Be nice to Cal, okay?”

“Why? He’s not staying here for real, is he?”

The line went dead before Sue got her answer.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Meet Me at Balticon!

For the third (I think) consecutive year, I will attend Balticon as a guest and speaker. Balticon is one of the largest SFF conventions in the Mid-Atlantic, and one of my favorite events. You'll find a number of engaging panels and demonstrations, movies, gaming, and a nice dealer's room. You can come in costume and people don't even blink - you have to love conventions like that!

Balticon is held from May 27 through May 30 at Marriott's Hunt Valley Inn in Baltimore. This year, I am tentatively scheduled for four events:

  • Editing and Publishing Erotica Anthologies - Panel with Alessia Brio and Nobilis Reed. I will talk about my experiences with putting together Silver Wings. (Saturday, 9PM)
  • Erotica a la Carte: Iron Chef - This will be fun: I'll compete with fellow erotica writers in an Iron Chef like competition. 500 words in 30 minutes; I guess I'll know the topic when it happens. Only problem: I'm up against some terrific writers like Nobilis and Alessia, and Helen Madden, who is really good at this sort of thing. (Saturday, 10PM)
  • Exquisite Corpse: Late Night Style - Another writing game for the late night crowd. Will have to ask Nobilis about this one, too. (Friday, 11PM)
  • Autographing: I'll be signing books at 6PM on Saturday in the designated signing area for about an hour.
So that's where you'll find me, late at night in Baltimore. See you there!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Guest Blog: Erotica Author Lucy Felthouse

Me Want Food welcomes Lucy Felthouse to the blog! If you are interested in being a guest blogger, check out the links to your left or email kspatwriter (at) y a h o o (dot) com.


Thanks for stopping to chat! Please tell us a bit about your latest release, or what's coming up.

Thank you for having me! May's actually a busy month for releases for me, with my first Noble Romance publication, A Bit of Rough out on the 9th, my first Cleis Press appearance in Dream Lover and a story in Xcite Books' Best of Both.

How did you become inspired to write this work?

I'll discuss A Bit of Rough here, as it's the longest piece of the three I just mentioned. The story had been rattling around in my head a while. It's a very sexual piece with no romantic elements involved and it deals with a woman who's inexplicably drawn to a guy, despite knowing he's a total womanizing bad boy. My inspiration came from conversations I've followed and taken part in about how some women adore bad boys. I wanted to see if I could create a character that would appeal to these women and make readers love to hate him. I guess only time will tell if I succeeded!

Did you have to do a lot of research to complete this work?

No, not at all. The character of Andrew (or Drew) is an amalgamation of several real people with plenty of creative licence thrown in.

What is a day in your writing life like? Do you have a set schedule?

Not really, a day in my life is generally pretty hectic. I don't write full time; I split my time between my business, which is doing web design, PR & Marketing for writers (more information is available at http://www.writermarketing.co.uk) and writing. So I'm always doing something different. I could be creating a website, organising a blog tour or copywriting. Equally, I could be knee deep in some erotic fiction. There's lots of variety and I love it!

Are you published primarily in print or eBook, or both equally? Which format do you prefer and why?

I think it's about equal, though if you include the physical books which are also available as eBooks, then there are more eBooks. To be honest, I like both. It's always nice to hold a physical book containing your work, but eBooks are more flexible and can often make more money for an author. But to be honest, it's always an honour and excitement to be published, no matter what the medium!

Do you own an e-reader, or maybe two? How do you like it?

I have a Kindle. I pre-ordered one before they were even released in the UK and waited with baited breath for it to arrive. I love it! I haven't stopped buying paperbacks, but I've definitely cut down, and of course it means that eBook only titles are now available to me. I wouldn't be without it now. I just love the fact I can take hundreds of books away with me in a space that's smaller than the thinnest paperback.

What do you have planned writing wise for the rest of the year?

Wow – lots! I have quite a few new releases coming up, more stories which are still out for consideration and I'm still writing! I'm also currently in the middle of putting together my second anthology, an as yet untitled erotic mythology anthology. My first anthology, Uniform Behaviour, was such fun and has received such great reviews that I couldn't wait to do it all again!

Do you have any social media profiles/pages where readers can follow you?

Yes, I'm quite the Twitter fiend. You can follow me at http://www.twitter.com/cw1985. I don't autofollow but I do check out new followers! I ramble endlessly about reading, writing, my adventures in the outdoors, TV shows (mainly Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries and True Blood), hot guys and so on...

I also have a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/lucyfelthouseauthor and my Goodreads profile can be found at http://www.goodreads.com/cw1985.

Do you have a blog/Yahoo group for readers to stay updated on your works?

My blog is part of my website and can be found at http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk. My website and the social links I just mentioned are the best way to keep up with me and my new releases.

Desert Island quiz: you can only bring one album, one DVD set for your favorite TV show, and one movie. What are they?

OK, this is a cool question.
Album: Scott Pilgrim Soundtrack
One DVD set: Supernatural
One movie: Bridget Jones' Diary
Thanks again for having me!

*****

During Lucy’s first year studying Creative Writing at the University of Derby, she was dared to write an erotic story. It went down a storm and she's never looked back. Lucy has had stories published by Cleis Press, Noble Romance, Ravenous Romance and Xcite Books. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

99 Cent Saturday - Across the Veil

I picked up Across the Veil during a spending tear on AllRomance.com. I'm happy to see a number of these indie authors have found ARe as a great place to sell their books - from an author's perspective, it's a terrific place to sell because placement is immediate. You don't have to wait three days for the site to process your work. You can release and announce your work to the public that day.

Anyway, here is the blurb for Lisa's book: Princess Talia from Summerland has been hiding across the veil in the human world for the past five years.

Starring in a hit television show as human actress, Natalie Thurmont, her charmed new life is shattered when the past comes knocking on her door.


"Across the Veil" won Romance in the Backseat book review's Paranormal Fight Club short story contest, so the story definitely looks promising. Will have the verdict next Saturday. As for last Saturday's book, FM for Murder, it was good. I would say between three and four stars - the story proved engaging enough for me to finish and to review for Books That Rock Us, so expect a more detailed account on that blog.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Book Talk: Repost of Phaze Books Call for Subs

Permission to forward granted.

Since 2004, Phaze Books has offered readers quality erotic romance and women's erotica. For 2012, we're looking for original, unpublished stories about hunky heroes and dynamic ladies who work overtime to experience passion and adventure. Authors are invited to submit works of 15K words or more to the following themed lines:

Blue Collar Heroes - We're looking for stories about hardworking hunks and heroines looking for more play beyond their "all work" lives. If you have a sizzling novel that gives a whole new meaning to the term "swing shift," we want to read it! Give us your sensual shopkeepers, candid carpenters, and wild and wanton waitstaff. Performance evaluations have never been hotter! All sub-genres of erotic romance welcome.

Business is Pleasure - Who says the corporate world has to be boring? Our white collar workers need love, too, so send us your stories of sexy office hijinks. Let's hear about what really went on at the company Christmas party, or in the mailroom after hours, or on that corporate retreat to Las Vegas. All sub-genres of erotic romance welcome.

Secret Passions - Everybody has a secret, and confession is good for the soul...and much more. Give us stories about secret crushes realized, double lives revealed, and the wildest of fantasies enjoyed.

We are now accepting submissions for these lines through the end of the calendar year, December 31, 2011. Please refer to our guidelines at http://phaze.com/static.php?section=submissions for instructions on submitting your work, and please note in the header of your email for which line you are sending.

Phaze Books offers erotic romance and erotic in eBook and print formats. Our works are distributed through our website and third-party vendors, including All Romance eBooks, Amazon.com, BN.com, and others.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wine Wednesday: a (C)Rose by any other name...

There is a reason, if you are new to the wine scene, why you want to pay attention to vintage years. One thing my husband and I have learned while drinking our way around Central Virginia is that even though a vintner can plant the same grapes in the same ground one year after the other, the end result will not always be the same. Case in point: we have two bottles of a popular rose wine sold at King Family Vineyards, called Crose (crow-zay). If you're from the area, you get the joke. If not: the vineyard's official address is Crozet, Virginia (also crow-zay). Crozet is the setting of most of Rita Mae Brown's Mrs. Murphy novels, as well as home to a really good pizza joint. King is a favorite stop on the wine tour, and Crose is one reason.

But pay attention if you buy different vintages of this one. The most recent bottle we owned gave off a strong taste of grapefruit which practically overpowered the palate, while the previous stock of ours tasted much different. I don't know what happens in the time between vintages to create such a diverse range of tastes, but that is one of the fun things about getting to know wine. Every year is a new surprise, and the chance to discover new favorites. If you head to King this summer, take along a picnic. The lawns are huge and it's just a great place to hang out.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Excerpt Tuesday - Voyeur

Voyeur was written in response to Phaze's first call for themed HeatSheets. The Sparklers were summer-set shorts (heh) and released initially with two different covers. These were done back before Phaze covers shifted to predominantly stock photography, and people made much of this guy's bare backside. The artist also produced an alternate cover that had Sparkler Man wearing green smiley face shorts - done to satisfy sites and vendors that wouldn't use the nekkid one. I don't think I have that one anymore - most of the theme sheets from 2005 have since been given new covers. Not sure why the old one still shows on Kindle.

Anyway, here is a NSFW excerpt for you to enjoy!

~*~


It didn't take long for word of Marissa's voyeuristic turn in Room 112 to spread throughout staff and residents alike. For the rest of the week, as Marissa worked her shifts, she found it difficult to ignore the occasional snicker and clandestine wink aimed in her direction. Marissa imagined much of the ribbing was good-natured, and borne from those who had fallen for the same prank themselves. Marissa felt as if she was now part of some exclusive club. Baylor Watch.

To her relief, the volunteer staff's supervisor saw fit not to have Marissa work in the Alzheimer's wing. It did not, however, prevent the gossip from reaching her ears. Erik Baylor had visited his wife every day since, and according to Sheila the couple had enjoyed two "good days" out of the last five.

After a few shifts in the cafeteria and the library, Marissa was able to put many names to the faces of Oak Ridge's more active residents, though was unable to put the memory of her first official work day behind her.

She was trying to do just that on Friday, which saw her in the library for her entire shift, when the door opened and Marissa saw a familiar, smiling figure. Glen approached, looking gorgeous in a dark green Polo this time, emblazoned with a tiny red logo on his breast.

Whatever color he wore, though, looked good on him, and Marissa felt her heart lift every time he approached. He was well-liked among staff and residents, thanks to his easy-going demeanor that coupled well with his administrative abilities. Marissa, though, saw more in the friendly smiles he had for everybody.
She saw two full lips she wouldn't have minded kissing, a tongue she would quickly allow to explore her mouth—and other body parts.

Marissa shelved a few large-print romances as he approached. She mentally shook away the lustful thoughts; this was not the place for it. The Baylor incident was really putting ideas in her head. She didn't need to be thinking about love in the stacks, about Glen cornering her against a myriad of book spines and easing his tongue around the outer shell of her ear while his hands explored her body...

She swallowed and took a deep breath, and managed to compose herself. "Looking for a good read?" she greeted him in a librarian's whisper as she moved behind the safety of the circulation desk.

Glen set down his ever-present clipboard and rested a hip on the desk. "Glad I caught you before you left. Marissa, would you consider applying for a CDL?" he asked.

Marissa bit her lip and smiled. Everything about Glen, even the simplest gesture of leaning innocently on a desk evoked a sensuality she found difficult to ignore. She knew for a fact the other women working at Oak Ridge noticed it as well; it wasn't just Sheila who wouldn't have minded "some of that."

Marissa wondered briefly if Glen had ever given anybody here "some of that."

Glen tilted his head, his smile wider. "What's so funny?"

"Hm?" Marissa's attention returned to Glen, and she realized she had been laughing at the thought of Sheila's constant arousal, and her own. "Oh, nothing," she said quickly, and toyed with the straps of her purse. "I, uh, I'm not quite sure what you mean by CDL. I hadn't planned on going into the medical field."

Now it was Glen's turn to laugh, a deep-throated chuckle that reverberated in Marissa's ribcage. She rubbed her thighs together to counteract the ache in her pussy.

Two rows of perfectly straight, white teeth flashed beneath his neatly trimmed moustache. She wondered how his moustache would feel tickling her clit as his tongue traced the edges of her slit.

"No, Marissa, CDL stands for chauffeur's driver's license," he explained, and held up the clipboard, to which was attached a sheet of graph paper. "The state requires anybody who drives our residents in the home's van to have one."

"Oh." Marissa blushed. To think, being in graduate school, she should have at least known that. "I feel so silly."

"Don't be. A lot of people here didn't realize that. The laws vary from state to state. We just happen to live in a place where a regular driver's license just won't cut it."

Marissa nodded. She knew about the vans the home used; they really looked like short commuter buses. Residents were often bussed to the nearby malls and churches, and sometimes special out of town field trips for the heartier residents were arranged.

"Turns out we're going to need some extra drivers in the coming weeks, as we're losing a few of our volunteers for various reasons," Glen continued. "We'll need somebody especially on Sundays to make the church rounds, and of course we'll need drivers to shuttle everybody to and from the picnic. Would you be interested?"

Marissa nodded. "I'll do it. Sounds like fun." She palmed her keys and stood to leave. "So I guess going in for a CDL is like getting a regular license, huh? I take a written and eye test, then drive around orange cones on an obstacle course?"

"Pretty much, only you'd be driving the van instead of a car. Here." In one long stride Glen was in front of her and holding open the library door. "Trust me, the van isn't difficult to drive, it's like any kind of large van, only difference is that it has one of those folding doors like a bus, and sometimes you'll have to assist some of the residents in boarding, particularly the wheelchair bound. You also have to watch backing up and parallel parking, especially in tight places."


Tight places. Sheila would have made much of that little remark. Marissa smirked, and hoped Glen did not see her. What he must be thinking of her, making all these goofy faces?

"I'm not good at either of those with my little Toyota," Marissa admitted, hugging her purse close to her chest. Glen was wearing a rather spicy scent that tickled her nose and set her heart to pounding. She cast a shy glance in his direction; they seemed now to be walking rather close to each other. She noticed the way his bare arms flexed under the tight cuffs of his short sleeves, how his Adam's apple bobbed in between the opened collar of his shirt. He had such nice hands, too, with long, manicured fingers that would have looked at home on a piano keyboard, or perhaps gently kneading her buttocks or breasts...


Stop it, Marissa scolded herself, and tried to look away. It unnerved her to have these lustful feelings for Glen, and she was certain she was feeling some kind of after effect from the Room 112 incident. The image of the Baylors engrossed in a sixty-nine position on Barbara Baylor's hospital bed had faded somewhat during the week, but Marissa feared the vision would be indelible. At the most inopportune times, whether during a class or while helping an Oak Ridge resident with something, the image would become resurrected in her mind like television instant replay. She would be reading one of her textbooks for school and boom! There's Barbara Baylor sucking her husband's cock and smiling.

Sometimes in these thoughts, to Marissa's further embarrassment, she saw not Mrs. Baylor, but herself, with her lips around that pulsing organ, only the cock would belong to Glen. It would be Glen's tongue flicking at her clit, his hands reaching underneath to fondle her drooping breasts as his tongue probed her to a screaming orgasm.

Then he would turn her onto her back, and pound that beautiful, thick cock into her...

Monday, May 16, 2011

What I'm Reading: Cool Britannia

I admit it, I am a total Anglophile with a royalty fetish. Though I'll admit I favor the Alison Weir and Jean Plaidy books to the Kitty Kelleys and Andrew Mortons. I think I've seen Mrs. Brown twenty times already and it never gets old, and if the local movie house brings back the original cut of The King's Speech I'll get a sitter.

Don't ask me why this is - it is somewhat an ingrained interest. I am fascinated by history, and surely the English monarchs have a large enough role in it.With all this Royal Wedding mania dying down, it seems like a good time to build up the TBR stack with some relevant reads. Much as I'm into royalty, though, I've tried to abstain from sensationalist biographies, which unfortunately rules out many works on contemporary figures. Yet I did pick up William and Kate recently because it was reasonably priced for the Kindle and the reviews looked promising. No, I didn't set my alarm for three AM that day, but I did watch the wedding in replay. Sue me, I suppose I am a sucker for happily ever after - though where modern royalty is concerned, the wedding is clearly the beginning. For those of us who remember the last time somebody in direct succession to the English throne married, we'll probably spend many years biting our nails and hoping for the best. Personally, I hope it does. There is an overall sense of unhappiness where relationships are concerned lately - people find old flames on Facebook, etc. We need more true love.

I also picked up another book - print this time, thanks to a coupon at Borders. Sovereign Ladies is a survey of the six ruling queens of England. That's right - for an empire that's existed since Day Seven, only six women have sat as sovereign. Quite an interesting bunch, too. Looking forward to this one.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Guest Blog - Jami Davenport

Me Want Food welcomes Jami Davenport to guest blog! If you want to guest on a Sunday, please see the Be a Guest Blogger link to your left. Thanks!

I’m very happy to announce that my football hero romance, Fourth and Goal, is now available. If I have a book of my heart, this book is it. I started writing this book close to a dozen years ago. When I become more serious about getting published, everyone told me “sports romances don’t sell” so I abandoned this book. Yet, I always knew I’d return to it some day.

If you know me personally, you know I love football.

Over the past few years I’d become frustrated with the football hero romances currently being published. In the vast majority of them, the heroine did not like or understand football, the hero often gave up the game for the heroine, and/or football was merely an afterthought. You could have changed the hero’s career and nothing in the story would change.

So I asked myself: What if? What if the heroine is not only a fan, but she wants a career in football? What if she’s more knowledgeable about the game than most men? What if the hero isn’t a big star but a struggling third stringer attempting to resurrect his career? What if I write this book for women who truly love and understand football?

So I dusted off my old football hero romance, rewrote the entire book, and here it is years and years later. I think the wait was well worth it, and I hope you do, too.

~*~

Fourth and Goal
Book 1 in my Seattle Lumberjacks Football Series
By Jami Davenport
Available from Loose Id
BUY LINK: http://www.loose-id.com/Fourth-and-Goal.aspx

Author Info:
Website: http://www.jamidavenport.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jamidavenport

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jamidavenport


Blurb:

In a game played on and off the field, only one of them will emerge the winner.

Armed with an uncanny ability for evaluating football talent, a dogged determination to succeed in a man’s world, and an empty bank account, Rachel McCormick agrees to help struggling wide receiver Derek Ramsey get his game back. Rachel believes Derek, her former best friend and lover, knows the truth behind a points-shaving scandal which ruined her father. She vows to expose the secret even if it destroys Derek in the process.

When Derek’s coach suggests sex as an excellent tension reliever the night before a game, Rachel takes one for the team. The next day, Derek has the best performance of his not-so lustrous pro football career. As Derek and Rachel rack up nights in bed and other places, the team racks up wins on the field. Rachel is torn between her loyalty to her father and her growing affection for Derek. Now it’s fourth and goal, one second left on the clock. Their hearts are on the line. Do they trust each other enough to go for the long bomb or do they get dropped for a loss?

Chapter One -- The Kickoff

Hiring the one woman he could never forget was a dumb-assed idea and the wrong play to run, but Derek Ramsey took the ball and ran with it anyway. Five years ago, his one-weekend affair with Rachel McCormick had tackled him for an emotional loss. She’d been his best female buddy, and he’d fucked up a good thing by following his dick instead of his brain. After battling a half decade of guilt and coulda-shouldas, he dreaded and anticipated this reunion.

She’d been employed as his caretaker and living in the little house next to his barn for a few days. He’d managed to avoid contact by taking an impromptu weekend visit to his dad and stepmom a few hundred miles away. But he couldn’t stay away forever.

Weary of postponing the inevitable, Derek walked down the driveway from his ranch house to the barn and small caretaker’s house. Pausing halfway down the hill, he whistled for backup. Consider him a coward, but his chocolate Lab would serve as a diversion if this reunion didn’t go well. Oddly, Simon didn’t come running. Derek shrugged. He must be chasing rabbits in the woods or something.

He’d have to go it alone. As he rounded the last bend in his driveway, Rachel McCormick stomped up the hill toward him.

Oh f***. He knew females. He’d endured growing up with an older sister. Rachel had that close-fisted, furious carriage to her stride that meant only one thing: someone was going to die. Please, God, don’t let it be him.

Even as he planned possible escape routes, his male head perused her body and responded with a resounding thumbs-up, though it wasn’t really his thumb that was up.

The woman marching toward him with murder in her eyes barely resembled his tomboy buddy from his high school and college days. This Rachel wore a navy blue blazer with matching skirt and shoes, complete with manicured nails and makeup. The suit hugged her tall, lean body and accentuated her curves and straight-to-heaven legs. Long reddish brown hair was pulled back into a tidy ponytail. While he preferred the blue jeans and T-shirt version, this one was just as gorgeous and way more unapproachable. Don’t mess with me radiated from every pore in her body. Not a glimpse of the shy, sweet Rachel he had once known.

“Rachel, good to see you again.” Derek spoke calmly -- hoping to defuse the bomb -- and halted a few steps from her.

She didn’t return his small talk. Green eyes blazing, she scowled, as dangerous as a hand grenade with the pin pulled in the hands of a chimpanzee.

“Problem?” he asked conversationally and forced a pleasant smile on his face.

“Do you own a demon chocolate Lab?”

Derek barked a laugh and sealed his death sentence. Her expression went beyond homicidal. “I have a Lab named Simon. He’s opinionated and untrainable. It sounds like you’ve met him.”

“How long has he engaged in a life of crime?”

“Oh s***. What did he steal now?”

“My truck keys. My only set.”

“Oh.”

“Where is the little delinquent?” She glanced up and down the driveway.

“I called for him earlier. He didn’t come. I suspect he’s busy burying the evidence.”

“I missed a job interview because of that hoodlum.” Her laser-tight glare sliced through his defenses.

“I’m sorry. I could get you a cab.”

“It’s too late now.” She spoke through gritted teeth and visibly drew in a long, calming breath. A split second of uncertainty flashed across her face, peppered with a vulnerability that brought memories flooding back to him of the girl he had once known. Sweet Rachel with a passion for football and a kind word for even the most unworthy person.

He watched as she gathered her composure and hid behind an emotionless mask. “I still need my keys.”

“I doubt we’ll find them. He’s very good. A serial digger.”

“What do you expect when you name a dog Simon? It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.” She stared up the dirt road. “My keys could be anywhere.”

Derek didn’t hold out much hope. Dense woods surrounded the driveway on both sides. At the end of the woods was a large field, cross-fenced into several smaller grassy paddocks. It’d take an act of God to find her keys. He truly doubted the Big Guy considered such a trivial matter worthy of his attention.

“So Simon’s on your hit list along with me.”

“Right up there at the top.” No denial of his place on the list.

“Are you a member of AAA?”

She pointed down the driveway. “That’s my truck. What do you think?”

He knew what he thought. He thought her lips looked pretty kissable, even without lipstick or gloss. He thought she was the sexiest thing he’d seen in a long time. And he thought -- oh damn, every thought bordered on dangerous and impossible and stupid.

“Derek.” She stared at him as if she expected an answer, but he’d be damned if he could remember the question.

“Yeah?”

“I said I’ve scaled back on material goods and choose to live life simply.”
He raised one eyebrow, not buying that one.

“Judging by the dents in the thing, you might want to part with a few bucks…for your own safety.”

“Harvey has character.” Her anger still simmered below the surface, and a stranger stared back at him with frosty green eyes. Still beautiful, but formal and cold. He liked her better mad.

Derek snorted. “Harvey looks like he escaped a life sentence in a wrecking yard.”

“He runs great.” Rachel squared her shoulders and stood up straighter. She gave him her most charming smile, as if she didn’t have a care in the world. “Look, champ, I’d love to stand out here and shoot the breeze with you, but I’m a busy woman. Your agent already discussed the particulars of the position with me.”

He imagined all sorts of particular positions he’d prefer to do with her. She’d feel pretty good in his arms right about now, all soft and warm. And then he’d take her to bed and bury his cock deep inside her. She’d scream and beg for more, just like one weekend so long ago. Derek shook his head. This line of thinking headed nowhere but trouble and stopped now.

“I’ll get you a locksmith.”

“Don’t bother. I’ll call one.”

Derek wiped sweat off his brow and shoved his hair off his forehead. Damn. Was she so oblivious to him that she wasn’t picking up on his thoughts? He hoped so. As far as money, he knew better than to offer any. She had her pride. He’d let her keep it. He knew how valuable pride was. Since college, his none too lustrous pro career had severely dented his.

A joyous bark caught his attention. Simon trotted down the road toward them. A stick hung from his mouth, and his tail wagged with enthusiasm. No sign of stolen goods. On his best doggy behavior, the felonious Lab sat down next to Derek, grinning for all he was worth and incredibly pleased with himself.

“Simon, meet Rachel. Rachel, meet Simon.” Simon thumped his tail on the ground and gazed up at her.

“We’ve met.” Rachel glared at the dog. Undaunted, Simon took it as a compliment and drooled on her foot.

“Rae, I’m sorry. He’s my dog. I’ll take care of this.”

“A dog-skin rug in front of my fireplace would be payment enough.”

“You don’t have a fireplace.”

“One small detail. I’ll build a campfire on the porch.”

“You’re a heartless woman.”

“Don’t you forget it.”

Read the entire first chapter here:
http://www.jamidavenport.com/FourthGoal.htm

Saturday, May 14, 2011

99 Cent Saturday - FM For Murder

For this week's installment of 99 Cent Saturday, I chose FM for Murder because it met a number of requisites for me. It's priced right, the reviews appeared positive overall, it's a mystery - my home genre - and it looked like a book I could cross review at Books That Rock Us. Here's the blurb:

Who shot the disk jockey while he was on air? No one saw the killer, but many heard the murder on the radio. Local police are mystified and ask Psychology professor and acoustics expert Pamela Barnes to assist them in investigating the crime. Can she determine who shot the deejay just by listening to the radio station's audio recording of the killing? And how does this crime connect to the impending death of a wealthy carpet manufacturer hundreds of miles away? And the driven behavior of his conscientious son who hides a very important secret? Unknown to Pamela, another thread of this strange mystery is about to unravel. Will she be able to solve it before another victim is claimed? In FM FOR MURDER, the second in Patricia Rockwell's acoustic mystery series, we follow feisty amateur sleuth Pamela Barnes who doesn't let academic duties prevent her from fighting crime. And Pamela fights crime with the tools she knows best-sound waves.

Now, this is the second book in Patricia Rockwell's series. I suppose in my last spending tear I didn't catch that, but I'm notorious for starting series mid-stream (I started the Kinsey Millhone books at I and backtracked, for crying out loud). This is actually a good thing, because it will tell me whether or not the sequel stands on its own, and if it's good enough to make me want to backtrack.

So far, the book keeps my attention - the POV shifts between the sleuth and her harried family, behaving so apparently from her previous adventures in murder solving, to another character whose role in the book I haven't placed yet, though the blurb hints at secrets.

There is the occasional glitch in the book - one character refers to a matchmaking parent as Yentl rather than the more correct term yenta - which is the Yiddish name for a busybody/gossip. Yentl was the proper name of a character in an Isaac Bashevis Singer play. Yes, it's splitting hairs, but one should note these are the things that distract readers. I would know; I've committed these crimes myself and have had readers call me on them.

So tune in next week for my full assessment on the Read/Pass scale of this title and see what other 99 cent eBooks I have purchased. As for last week's Nowhere Man, I must give that one a Pass, but may try another of that author's books in the future.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Geddy Lee Friday - Friday the 13th Edition

Somehow, given the date and the subject, this seemed eerily appropriate:



There's a guy in there who looks like a young Red Green.


Guest Blog - Nona Wesley


Normally I save the guest blogs for Sundays, but as DLP author Nona Wesley has a release, and the coming Sunday is booked, I wanted to give her the opportunity to promote it. Please welcome Nona!

Want to guest blog. Here's the scoop!

Thanks for stopping to chat! Please tell us a bit about your latest release, or what's coming up.

Thanks for having me! My latest, A Little Less Conversation, was recently released in eBook format! You can get it at All Romance for $.99. Here's the blurb:

When her company hosts a Hollywood-themed party, Viola Howard dresses as her favorite actress. Problem is, nobody seems to know who that is. Just as she's about to give up on a good time, along comes Elvis -- actually Vi's secret crush Jim Byers - who guesses correctly, and shows her exactly who is King.

Once the party's over, however, can Vi and Jim go back to a working relationship, or will Jim as Vi to love him tender?

How did you become inspired to write this work?

This was a work in progress that started out as something slightly different. I had originally titled it The King and Vi, but a friend pointed out readers might think it would be about an actual king, so I used the title of a favorite Elvis song instead. I love parties, and after reading about all these costume parties people enjoy at RT and other cons, I got the idea to do a romantic interlude at one.

Do you consider yourself a plotter or a pantser? Or maybe both?

Definitely a panster! I get the idea and I fly with it. Although, I am training myself to plot. My goal this year is to write a longer work, novel-length. I have actually plotted out my first such story.

Are you published primarily in print or eBook, or both equally? Which format do you prefer and why?

I am exclusively eBook right now, because my works are too short to be sustained in print by themselves. I don't think I'd be bothered if I never went to print, because it looks like eBooks are the future. However, if there is a demand I will see about putting my shorts into a collection.

Do you own an e-reader, or maybe two? How do you like it?

I have the Nook, not the color one. I do enjoy it, but it's way too easy to buy books with it! I am squirreling away money for an upgrade, either Nook color or the iPad.

Do you have any social media profiles/pages where readers can follow you?

Honestly, I have tried the Twitter but can't seem to get into it. I did set up a Facebook page for my works at http://www.facebook.com/interracialromanceauthor. You are welcome to like me there!

What was the last book that you read? What did you think?

I picked up True Mates by Zena Wynn as part of the All Romance Series Showcase and loved it. I've actually read the books in that series out of order. I do that sometimes. :)

Do you have a favorite charity? How does it appeal to you?

Right now, I've been trying to support the American Red Cross. Between the tragedies in Haiti and Japan, and now Alabama, they need all the help they can get.

Thanks for having me! Please visit me online at http://www.nonawesleyromance.com.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Free Kindle Book & German Translation

Now here's a Muppet news flash...

You can now download my short sci-fi YA inspirational, Seeking Cygnus, for free at Kindle. This short was written originally for an anthology, but I pulled it when I thought the work would not see print. The book eventually found a home and won an EPIC award. Good for them. I had shelved this one for a while afterward, and when DIY became all the rage put it out for sale. The response so far is promising, though I haven't seen any reviews yet. It is a sweet, simple story of a young woman with dreams beyond current scope, and her determination to break free. There are Rush references here, some might enjoy them. Hope you do.

In other news, I finally have the German translation of Share for sale. Mit Mir Teilen literally translates to "Share With Me," and to be honest I'm nervous about this one. Translations, particularly of romantic and erotic works, can be tricky - especially if you're dealing with a language that doesn't use the colorful language required for this sort of work. I understand some people have run into issues with Spanish translations in particular, since Latin American Spanish differs from European dialects. I know, too, from having dim sum with a Chinese friend that not all Chinese speak the same way.

So anyway, that's my big book news for today. I hope to have more on the horizon. Have a good day!

Wine Wednesday: Get the Point

Whenever we're in the Charlottesville area, a must-stop is Cardinal Point Winery. It's a bit of an out of the way drive, but if you're planning a day of touring vineyards you can hit this one along with a number of others in the region - best bets Flying Fox, Veritas, Pollak, King Family, and maybe Afton Mountain Vineyards if you have time. I like Cardinal Point for their whites and for the inviting winery with lots of green space. It's easier to take our little one with us - they keep a toy box in the tasting room. Smart.

If I had to choose a favorite wine from CP, it's a toss-up between the Quattro: their signature four-grape blend (Riesling, Gewurtztraminer, Viognier, and Traminette) or the straight-up Viognier. You'll probably hear me talk a lot about Viognier on Wednesdays, since it seems to be the best-growing varietal in Virginia. In a good batch you'll get citrus and maybe some honeysuckle on the nose and palate. Great with cheese or by itself.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Excerpt Tuesday - Love's DoMINion - 99 Cent Romance

Welcome back to Excerpt Tuesday, where you can enjoy a never before excerpted piece of my back list. Today, my rom-com light-BDSM novel, Love's DoMINion is on spotlight. It's available in eBook, and a print version will be back on shelves soon. This excerpt is slightly NSFW. Enjoy!

Video may have killed the radio star, but video games have done the complete opposite for Connie Raymond’s sex life! When Connie gets a hold of DoMINion, a real-life simulation game, she learns how quickly art, rather computers, imitate life … not to mention other things. Sex with animated characters, a video-enhanced BSDM dungeon … Pac-Man never had it so good.

~*~

This time the real Roy was the gentleman, arriving at eight exactly with a modest yet lovely array of wildflowers. Darla used a plastic tumbler for a vase and scooted out the door behind him, blowing a kiss into the house as Connie loaded the new game program.

“Try not to get our little friends arrested,” she warned playfully.

“How about pregnant?” Connie called, her trigger finger on the mouse.

“Not funny.”

Now alone, Connie chuckled to herself as the Min neighborhood came into aerial view. The love nest of Min Aaron and Min Suzy looked none the worse for wear, though Min Aaron was still on the couch where she had left him before replacing Min Connie inside the game. Min Connie was snug in her bed, as well.

Odd, Connie thought. Did he go back there afterward? From the looks of things, it appeared the game had been paused at the point she was transferred home. The clocks all registered two in the morning, with everybody frozen in time.

So she’d been gone that long? Yet, Darla came home at one and saw her on the couch.
Min Connie?

Connie shook her head. It was too much to comprehend right now, but it made sense. Her character had to go somewhere when she was displaced in the game. Assuming Connie could get back into DoMINion, and assuming this was all true, she hoped her Min counterpart would behave in the real world.

Palms sweating, she took a deep breath and maneuvered the mouse to the options menu. Yet, no matter how many combinations she tried on the drop-down menu, the Go! command couldn’t be found. Surely, she hadn’t imagined it last night! It had been the first of two choices to pop up when she moved to quit.

She tried the cheat code again, this time only boosting Min Connie’s income by twenty dollars. Perhaps she’d find a misplaced bill in a sweater pocket, she mused with a smile.

The smile quickly turned when that move didn’t yield the needed Go! command, either. Connie slapped the desk.

“Damn it!” Her pussy ached for want of a man’s touch, a Min’s touch. Furiously she rubbed her fingers over the crotch of her shorts and grasped at the Love’s DoMINion CD with her free hand. If it appeared she wouldn’t be getting any cock tonight, there was no reason why Min Connie shouldn’t suffer with her.

The module loaded quickly, and Connie’s eyes grew wide as she scrolled the new windows that exploded onscreen. Love’s DoMINion not only offered more options in terms of finding people to date, but present characters now had the opportunity to supplement their plain Min existences with a varied selection of kinky items and clothing.

The temptation to use the cheat code was too much for Connie, and she increased Min Connie’s bank account by another thousand dollars. Let her win another thousand dollars with the same numbers she played, Connie decided. Then Darla would have to believe that the game was enchanted.

The money in place, Connie soon gifted her pet with a sexy new wardrobe and an addition to her house—a fully-equipped BDSM dungeon. That she was able to make such purchases amazed Connie as she browsed the new inventories the expansion pack offered. She checked the box and noticed the tiny warning label on one corner—sale restricted to minors. Good thing, too.

She arranged the racks of whips and restraints with care, and moved the St. Andrew’s Cross to one corner, nudging it to a prominent position. In the middle of the room she positioned an all-purpose table and rack for personal pleasure. Nice.

Connie sighed, feeling a bit jealous of her counterpart. She had nurtured some interest in domination and submission in the past, but never acted upon her desires to dress in leather and wield a whip, and to be whipped. Aaron, for one, would never concede to being restrained or spanked. Perhaps Min Aaron might be more receptive to his neighbor’s new hobby. If not, tough. Connie was at the controls.

With everything in place, Connie resumed action. She clicked on the fast forward option to allow time in the video game to reach the current hour. Connie laughed until her sides hurt watching all of the Mins speed through their day. Min Aaron and Min Suzy ignored each other at a hundred miles an hour, until the female finally threw up her tiny little hands, packed a bag, and zipped offscreen.

Interesting. Connie raised an eyebrow. What had she set in motion with those two, and was it permanent? Perhaps Min Connie could console the dejected fellow with a turn at the rack.

The laughter quietly subsided, however, when the activity at Min Connie’s caught her eye. Her miniature likeness hurried through the morning rituals of breakfast, showering, and teeth brushing, then zipped off screen. She returned momentarily with her arms laden with shopping bags. Connie’s eyes widened as Min Connie shelved her newly bought books and compact discs.

Just as she had this morning.

“Oh, I wonder if Min Darla went shopping with her and bought a Minidress,” she breathed and, cringing, switched to aerial view to spy on Darla’s counterpart. She was so far gone into this game, she doubted anything would shock her at this point.

Min Darla’s house was empty, leaving Connie to assume Min Roy had beaten her to the punch. A few keystrokes later had Connie spying on all of Min City, alive and laughing and carrying on underneath the moonlit, computer generated sky.

She found the two lovebirds seated in a cozy booth in an upscale eatery. Mahogany paneling, a lobster tank, and hanging ferns. Classy. Either Min Roy was doing well on his salary or he knew how to budget.

And Min Darla had on a black dress with strappy heels. Doo doo doo-doo, doo doo doo-doo...

Monday, May 9, 2011

What I'm Reading: Like Sands Blowing in My Face...

I'll be showing my age here: I got hooked on Days of our Lives at thirteen, in the mid-1980s when the show was good. This was the prime Bo/Hope period, and perhaps the height of Stefano's villainy since he didn't have to share the spotlight with anybody else. If you watched around this time, you got to see a pre-Q John DeLancie and Roman before John came along and had his life history ret-conned back to the Stone Age. I got hooked because my parents finally broke down and got a VCR, and the first thing Mom did was set it to tape the show while we were out during the school year. It took several years, and infinite silly story lines (*cough* demon possession/serial killer Marlena), to break away.

While at RT in Los Angeles, several DAYS stars had a prime table for signing. Also there was Sheri Anderson, head writer, who is now penning books based upon the series. Now, these aren't the first DAYS books published. Back in the 80s, there was a house that had novelized the soap's early years. Dime-store style books that were numbered and released once a month - I think the same house did General Hospital and some other shows, too, but production didn't last long. I recall reading the first few, which covered Julie's adolescence and Marie's wedding woes - they were books one could read in a day. A Secret in Salem is taking me longer because I keep wanting to put it down.

Seriously, I'm up to chapter twelve and we haven't been to Salem yet, which somewhat irritates me. Characters are spread out all over Europe, and mixing with celebrities. How do I know? Anderson seems to have a fetish for name-dropping - this is like reading The Huffington Post. Everything is opulent and attached to a brand name, and everybody is glamorous. The POV shifts too much for my liking, and generally the story just doesn't grab me. I usually don't DNF books - I paid, so I stick it out - but something needs to happen here for me to want to finish.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Guest Blog: Camille LaGuire

Me Want Food welcomes Camille LaGuire! If you are interested in being a Sunday guest, see the Be a Guest page (link on the left nav).

Making Habits Work For You - Camille LaGuire

I had a screenwriting instructor who took time out at the beginning of every course to warn her students: if you have a bad habit or addiction do NOT do it while you write. Don't drink, don't smoke. Keep 'em separate.

It wasn't that she was puritanical and thought that writing time should be kept pure. It's that she was deeply addicted to nicotine, and she had learned the hard way -- if you smoke while you write, then you will never have the option to quit smoking. Your writing will become more dependent on it than your body, and any time you try to quit smoking, you'll be unable to write.

This is true of lesser addictions, even simple habits. For instance, long ago when I was a student -- and I lived in the country, and I had several part-time jobs -- it just wasn't worth it to make the hour drive home between classes or jobs. I came into town early in the morning and stayed until very late at night. In the middle of the day, I might have a two to three hour gap here and there.

And during that gap I went to Taco Bell and wrote.

It wasn't that I liked the food. At all. (I've come to like some of it since, I admit. Guilty secret.) It's that they were centrally located and they were the first restaurant anywhere in our area to offer free refills on pop.

So for most of my life I have associated the smell of cumin and taco grease, and the taste of pop, with creativity. Yep, it gets me right into the mood. Gimme a bad taco and I'll start writing. We are creatures of habit.

Unlike my teacher who smoked, I don't have to go to Taco Bell to write. Yes, I had a very hard time cutting back on my consumption of sugary beverages because of this. And there have been stressed out times in my life when going to sit in a fast food restaurant was a short cut to getting me in the mood.

But that brings up the other side of the equation. Habits can also help you. Most of us have little rituals of one kind or other when we start a writing session. Why not note them, and start evolving them into something to work for you?

For instance, right now I'm out of the habit of exercising before writing. I used to do it when my office was in a different place - and it was like magic. I'd play music -- usually something which had a thematic association with the story I was working on -- and I'd exercise to it, and pretty soon my mind was racing off into the story. I wouldn't even finish the exercise session. I'd be typing madly before the song was done sometiems.

But that ritual made me eager for the exercise, and I not only wrote a novel in a month, I also lost 15 pounds while doing it.

In the old days, people used to sharpen pencils and straighten their paper and read through some of yesterday's writing at the start of a writing session. Maybe make a cup of coffee or tea. This little ritual stalled the process just long enough to get the mind in the mood.

Most writers now days don't sharpen pencils. We check our email, and then our stats, and Twitter, and the forums, and.... These things are not good rituals. They lead us away from writing rather than toward it. You can cycle through it all day long and never stop. If you're addicted to that, you may have to unplug for the duration of your writing session.

But if it's just a habit, maybe you can replace that habit. Create a ritual which transitions you into writing. Make it a PHYSICAL ritual -- honest, they work best. Physical actions get onto the illogical part of the brain. Smoking, exercising, sharpening pencils. Or physically moving your location. Creating a snack or doing tai chi. Reciting the Gettysburg Address to your cats.

Find something to do before or during each concentrated writing session, and you will be able to short cut your brain into the right mode by simply doing that thing.

Just make sure it's something you'll want to keep doing, or you could end up like my screenwriting teacher -- stuck with a bad habit forever.

***
Camille LaGuire writes mystery and adventure fiction, and blogs about her writing process at The Daring Novelist. http://daringnovelist.blogspot.com/