Dreaming in the Pages

Books ... where dreams are better than reality

Broken Pieces

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Thursday, November 14, 2013

#AmReading - The Wedding Machine by Beth Webb Hart @bethwebbhart

The Wedding Machine by Beth Webb Hart


Welcome to Jasper, South Carolina. A place where Southern hospitality thrives. Where social occasions are done right. And where, for generations, the four most upstanding ladies of this community ensure that the daughters of Jasper are married in the proper manner.

Friends from school days, "the gals" have long pooled their silver, china, and know-how to pull off beautiful events. They're a force of nature, a well-oiled machine. But the wedding machine's gears start to stick during the summer their own daughters line up to tie the knot. In the lowcountry heat and humidity, tempers flare, old secrets leak out . . . and both love and gardenias bloom in unlikely places.

Author Interview - Diane V. Mulligan @Mulligan_writes

Image of Diane Vanaskie MulliganWhat’s your favorite place in the entire world?

Ogunquit, Maine. It’s a small, beautiful town on Maine’s southern coast with long stretches of sandy beaches and a walking path along the iconic Maine cliff rock. I feel instantly relaxed whenever I’m there.

What genre are you most comfortable writing?

I’m most comfortable writing realistic, contemporary fiction, probably because of the old adage, “write what you know.” I’d love to write a historical novel or a ghost story, but I don’t have time to do research while also maintaining a full time job, and I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to craft a believable ghost story.

What inspired you to write your first book?

My students. I used to moderate a weekly writing club at the high school where I teach. Each week I’d write with the kids. They were so enthusiastic and creative, and I think their excitement infected me, too. My first novel WATCH ME DISAPPEAR is for teens. I wanted to write something my young writers would enjoy.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?

Revision. Drafting is easy and fun, but taking that raw material and shaping it into a meaningful, organized finished product takes a lot of time, effort, and insight, and the ability to self-reflect. I can draft all day, but revision takes discipline.

What is your greatest strength as a writer?

I think my greatest strength as a writer is my ability to sympathize with people, even people whom I disagree with or who do things I would never do. I’m really interested in what makes people tick, and fiction allows me to explore that. In THE LATECOMERS FAN CLUB, I wrote from the point of view of Nathaniel, who is a total jerk, but it was so fun to peek inside his head and even though he’s despicable, I had a lot of compassion for him.

The Latecomers Fan Club

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Genre – Women’s Literature

Rating – PG-13

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Author Interview – Yves Fey @YvesFey

Image of Yves Fey

Tell us about your heroine.      

I often think of Theo as a sunflower, golden and open despite a couple of rough years.  Theo has a strong inner core, even though she’s always felt like an outsider because she’s illegitimate.  She’s rather bruised when she comes to Paris, but excited to begin her new life.  That bruising, the inner pain draws her to the darker spirits of the Revenant poets that her cousin Averill belongs to, and they give her an entrĂ©e into the dark but intensely creative world of the Decadents and Symbolists.  She’s not a good fit, but she wants intensely to belong.  The series will take her on a path of self-discovery for her art, as well as involve her in the murders.

Tell us about your hero.

Michel Devaux is a romantic at heart, but getting to his heart is going to be a long journey.  He made some careless mistakes that had dire consequences, and he’ll never really forgive himself.  Very controlled, very barricaded, he’s trained himself to an almost implacable calm.  You find out the core of his pain in Floats the Dark Shadow, but there will be more to come in the next book as he strives for redemption.

Tell us about your villain.

Maybe the villain in my novel is a psychopath, maybe he’s possessed.  Either way, he believes he’s the reincarnation of Gilles de Rais, who was Joan of Arc’s lieutenant.  After her death became a truly horrific serial killer. He murdered perhaps hundreds of peasant children, which didn’t count for much in those days.  The Church finally went after him for heresy.  He was burned at the stake (after being throttled, since he was nobility). While that identity isn’t clear to the detective or Theo at first, it’s clear to the reader, as he commits his crimes as Gilles, and there is a lot about Gilles de Rais in the book.  But just who is wearing a mask to cover Gilles is a mystery until the end.

Is the villain possessed?

I tried to write the book so that readers who like paranormal thrillers would have enough validation from the story to think of him that way, but I made certain that the evidence and the psychological profile were all there and valid for lovers of pure mystery.  Theo’s experience with Yeats and the leaders of the Golden Dawn is inspired by Yeats’ descriptions of his experiences in the realm of the occult.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Primarily from reading the history—for the first book.  Floats the Dark Shadow was a shapeless mess until I found the right villain.  I found a few historical incidents I wanted to include.  The rest was the writerly process of bringing the characters to life and weaving the story with the history.  With the sequels, the character arcs demand certain developments, so the novels take on even more of their own life rising from the characters needs and interactions.


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Genre – Historical Mystery

Rating – R

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Children of the Knight by Michael J. Bowler @BradleyWallaceM


WITHIN the Hollenbeck station, Ryan and Gibson stood before a large map of Los Angeles. Placed at varying points within the map were pushpins of differing colors. Both men noted the locations of the pins, attempting to triangulate from where the mysterious tagger might be coming.

“The guy’s gotta live someplace, Gib,” Ryan grumbled, chewing on a pencil, “and it’s likely somewhere centralized. How else could he be hitting these different ’hoods and vanishing without a trace?”

Gibson shook his head, slightly loosening his tie and collar. He always wore a tie to work, ever since his promotion to detective. He believed the look made him more respectable in the eyes of superiors and perps alike. Ryan, on the other hand, preferred the rumpled look: open collar, wrinkled brown or beige jackets, khaki Dockers, ratty sneakers. He’d been with the department so long he didn’t give a rip what anyone thought. Truth be told, that was what Gibson liked most about him.

“If he does, and anyone knows where, they’re not talking,” Gibson remarked. “I think we’ve been getting the truth, Ry. My gut tells me this guy’s a loner. Got his own private agenda going on out there.”

Ryan turned from the map to face his partner, talking around the pencil between his teeth. “I agree. Which will make him that much more of a bitch to apprehend.” He snapped the pencil in two with his teeth and spat the pieces onto his desk. “Hell, we don’t even have a description! This guy’s a freakin’ shadow man.”

Ryan hated weird cases like this one, and Gibson knew that about his partner. Ryan liked cases nice and clean. Murder for hire. Drive-by. Domestic abuse. Murder-suicide. Standard-issue stuff. But this case, hell, it was going nowhere and the mayor’s office had begun riding them for a quick resolution.

“Any brilliant ideas, Gib?” Ryan asked, grabbing another pencil and absently gnawing on the eraser end.

Gibson took the pencil from his partner and tossed it on the desk. “Yeah, Ry, we go home. Look around you, partner. It’s late, and there’s nobody here but us. I gotta call my son, and you’ve gotta get some rest before you eat every pencil we have.” He tried a smile, but fatigue turned it into a grimace.

Ryan sighed, reaching for his rumpled tweed jacket hanging from his chair. “You’re right. Ain’t gonna accomplish anymore tonight. Maybe a new day will give us new ideas, or there’ll be another riot to put down.” He grinned wryly.

“Let’s hope not. Last two weeks have been quiet. If we’re really lucky, this guy’s left to pick on some other city, like New York.”

Ryan chuckled. “Doubt we’d get that lucky.”

The two exhausted men slowly trudged from the station, leaving the night skeleton crew to take care of business.


Children of the Knight

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Genre – Edgy Young Adult

Rating – PG13

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Website http://michaeljbowler.com/

#Harder Than the Rest by Shirleen Davies @ShirleenDavies

Harder Than The Rest

“They are men you want on your side. Hard, confident, and loyal, the MacLarens of Fire Mountain will seize your attention from the first page.”

Will MacLaren is a hardened, plain-speaking bounty hunter. His life centers on finding men guilty of horrendous crimes and making sure justice is done. There is no place in his world for the carefree attitude he carried years before when a tragic event destroyed his dreams.

Amanda is the daughter of a successful Colorado rancher. Determined and proud, she works hard to prove she is as capable as any man and worthy to be her father’s heir. When a stranger arrives, her independent nature collides with the strong pull toward the handsome ranch hand. But is he what he seems and could his secrets endanger her as well as her family?

The last thing Will needs is to feel passion for another woman. But Amanda elicits feelings he thought were long buried. Can Will’s desire for her change him? Or will the vengeance he seeks against the one man he wants to destroy—a dangerous opponent without a conscious—continue to control his life?

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Genre – Western Historical Romance

Rating – PG-13

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Closing The Gap: Understanding Your Service (Wo)man - Yvonne Jones @yvijones

In order to explain to you what a military family is, let’s look at the applicable creed and motto your service(wo)man is encouraged to live by.
Due to its prominent use in different forms of entertainment, such as movies and songs, the Rifleman’s Creed is often mistakenly thought to be the creed of all military branches. Each branch within the military, however, has its own creed, which are depicted below.
Those creeds and mottos reflect the pride, beliefs, and top priorities of your service(wo)man. Those beliefs, are the driving force that keep your service(wo)man going during inspirational acts of bravery and sacrifice, during periods of long separations, danger and fear of injury and loss. Military service penetrates and influences the entire family to an extent unmatched by civilian employment. Military life is hard to describe, but ultimately, it is a “way of life” as opposed to a job or a career. Military life is not an easy life, and is most certainly not for everyone. But most of us wouldn’t want to change who and what we are. We travel all over the world and meet some truly amazing people along the way with whom we create lifelong, lasting friendships. But who are “we”?
Closing The Gap
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Genre – Military Family
Rating – G
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Infernal Gates by Michael J. Webb @mjwebbbooks

Chapter 7

It was just after dawn and the sun rose majestically over the snow-capped peaks of the Swartberg Pass. The golden yellow rays—tinged with hues of red, bluish-purple, and brilliant orange—reflected off the glistening, pristine snow. The view was breathtaking—like nothing Donald had ever seen before. The mile-high Pass they were passing through was a masterpiece of engineering, full of wide loops, switchbacks, and stunning views.

He didn’t want to miss a single moment of the extraordinary panorama spread out before him, but he had to concentrate on his driving.

Donald had researched information about its construction on the Internet late last night. The final work accomplished by the legendary road builder, Thomas Bain, it was completed after six years of grueling labor in 1887. Because the road was narrow, winding, and very steep, he couldn’t afford to act like a tourist on vacation, even though he felt like one.

One stupid mistake and they’d be airborne—and it was a long way to the valley below.

He’d also discovered the San Andreas Fault ran smack dab through these mountains. The most destructive earthquake in South Africa’s history had hit not far from here in 1969. The quake had been so strong, 6.3 on the Richer scale, with aftershocks exceeding 7.0, that the force of it had been felt as far away as Durban, on the coast. Thinking of the rock towers surrounding this road shifting and swaying like tinker toys made his stomach quiver.

“Tell me again why we’re going to this place—what’s it called, Heitsi?” he said.

“Gamkaskloof,” their guide replied from the back seat.

Die Hel” Alec said, using the Afrikaans colloquial name as he scrutinized the map splayed out across his lap. He was in the passenger seat with several well-worn reference books scattered at his feet. Every so often he reached down and picked one up, then flipped back and forth through the pages. He scribbled furiously and made several notes on both the map and the small notepad he always kept with him.

“The Hell is an extremely fertile valley, thirty-two miles long and less than half a mile wide,” he continued, as he paused for a moment from what he was doing. “It’s aptly nicknamed by the locals, because it is a place of mystery and legend, in the tradition of Sir Conan Doyle’s The Lost World. We’re going to Gamkaskloof, because of what we found in the Karoo yesterday.”

Heitsi said nothing. An air of concern cloaked his countenance, like a barely discernible gossamer veil.

It was mid-morning when they reached the bottom of the valley.

The temperature had risen dramatically as they descended. Now, all the windows in the Land Rover were down, allowing a scented breeze to flow through the vehicle. The valley floor was covered with a variety of reverie shrubs, thorn trees—with their exaggerated umbrella-shaped crowns, gnarled branches, and jagged thorns—and the spectacular Klapperbosse.

The narrow road wound through bush so dense it seemed like an impenetrable wall and finally brought the three companions to the Gamka River crossing. Donald was grateful they hadn’t seen another vehicle. He couldn’t imagine how they would have negotiated the encounter—there was no place to turn around.

“This valley has to be one of the best-kept secrets ever,” he said. “I had no idea anything like this existed in South Africa.”

“Most people outside of the area don’t,” Alec responded. “The valley was discovered by accident. For more than a hundred years, the only way to get down here was on horseback through the river gorge, or over the mountains. The cut-off leading down into the valley wasn’t even constructed until nineteen sixty-two. Within thirty years of its completion, the last farmer had sold out his interests to the Cape Nature Conservation Society, the organization which manages the Swartberg Preserve. Now, there are only two permanent residents who live here—a conservation official and his wife.”

The Land Rover hit a huge pot hole and the three occupants were momentarily rattled.

“Hit another one of those, Donald,” Heitsi admonished, “and you might as well get out the camping gear right now, because we won’t be going anywhere for a while.”


“You see those three odd-shaped formations up ahead?” Alec tapped his graduate assistant on the shoulder and pointed.

Donald nodded.

“That’s where we’re going to look.”

“Look for what?” Heitsi demanded, a scowl on his face.

“The Tomb of the Unmentionable.”

Six thousand miles away, on the shores of the Mediterranean, an orange-yellow sun was momentarily trapped among a contingent of cumulus clouds as they pranced across the sky, casting a mosaic of lavender and ocher-red hues across the heavenly, deep-blue canopy. A soft, cool breeze, unusual for this time of year, cascaded over the dirty-green water that was the Vieux Port of Marseilles. It left row after row of undulating ripples in its unseen wake.

The smell of salt, and rotting fish, permeated the shimmering air.

On the peak of the strip of land that projected west into the bay, high above the Port, stood the imposing Church of Notre Dame de la Garde. Construction on the Romano-Byzantine style basilica had begun in 1853 on the hilltop where the town’s lookout post had once stood. It was completed forty-six years later, one year shy of the new century. The hilltop, like most religious sites in Europe, had a long history. Originally, a simple chapel had been built there during the thirteenth century. Eventually, it became a priory for the monks of St. Victor. Three hundred years later, the church had been fortified to defend against a threatened invasion by Charles V of Spain.

Now, the century-old basilica dominated the view for miles around.

Standing atop its two hundred foot high belfry stood a huge, gilded statue of the Virgin Mary holding her infant child. Mother and child had a magnificent view of Fort St. Jean, and Fort St. Nicholas, as well as the rocky islet of If, site of the sixteenth century Chateau d’If mentioned in the Count of Monte Christo, the nineteenth century novel written by the French novelist Alexandre Dumas.

Infernal Gates

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Genre – Christian Thriller, Fantasy, Adventure

Rating – PG-13

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Website http://www.michaeljwebbfiction.com/

Author Interview – Elliot Mason @ArthurRay44

Image of Elliot C. Mason

What does love mean to you? I think I’ve read about that somewhere.

What social issues interest you the most? Humanity’s ceaseless folly.

When you get free time on the internet or you go to the library – what do you want to read about? People who died before I was born.

Do you find the time to read? Mostly when I’m travelling. Long bus journeys.

Last book you purchased? Tell us about it. Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe. The first part in the series, Things Fall Apart, is one of the best books I’ve ever read.


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Genre – Travel, Political, Dystopia, Romance

Rating – PG15

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Tears of Tess by Pepper Winters @PepperWinters



Where are you taking me, Brax?” I giggled as my boyfriend of two years beamed his slightly crooked smile and plucked my suitcase from my hands.

We crossed the threshold of the airport and nerves of excitement fluttered in my stomach.

A week ago, Brax surprised me with a romantic dinner and an envelope. I grabbed him and squeezed him half to death when I pulled free two airplane tickets with the destinations blacked out by a marker.

My perfect, sweet boyfriend, Brax Cliffingstone was taking me somewhere exotic. And that meant connection, sex, fun. Things I sorely needed.

Brax had never been able to keep a secret. Hell, he was a shockingly bad liar—I caught his fibs every time when sky-blue eyes darted up and to the left, and his cute ears blushed. 

But, somehow, he kept quiet on the whole mysterious holiday. Like any normal twenty-year-old woman, I searched our apartment ruthlessly. Raiding his underwear drawer, the PlayStation compartment, and all the other secret hidey-holes where he might’ve kept the real plane reservations. But, for all my snooping, I came up empty. 

So, as I stood in the Melbourne airport, with a crazy happy boyfriend and nerves rioting in my heart, I could only grin like an idiot.

“Not telling. The check-in clerk can be the one to ruin my surprise.” He chuckled. “If it were up to me, I wouldn’t tell you until we arrived at the resort.” He dropped the suitcase and dragged me toward him with a smirk. “In fact, if I could, I’d blindfold you until we got there, so it would all be a complete surprise.”

My core clenched as thoughts flared with hot images—sexy, sinful visions of Brax blindfolding me, taking me roughly, completely at his mercy. Oh, God, don’t go there again, Tess. You were going to block thoughts like that, remember?

Ignoring myself, I gasped as Brax’s fingers grazed my flesh. I shuddered, and my sequined top became insubstantial.

“You could do that, you know?” I whispered, dropping my eyelids to half-mast. “You could tie me up….”

Instead of pouncing and kissing me like crazy for offering him the chance to dominate, Brax swallowed and looked as if I told him to slap me with a dead fish.

“Tess, what the hell? That’s the third time you’ve quipped about bondage.”

Rejection crushed, and I dropped my gaze. The tingles between my legs popped like dirty bubbles, and I let Brax shove me back into the box where I belonged. The box labelled: perfect, innocent girlfriend who’d do anything for him, as long as it was in the dark and on my back.

I wanted a new label. One that said: girlfriend who will do anything to be tied, spanked, and fucked all over rather than adored.

Brax looked so disappointed and I hated myself. I need to stop this.

I reminded myself for the three-hundredth time, that the sweet, wonderful relationship I had with this man was far more important than a bit of sexy play in the bedroom.

I mumbled, “It’s been too long. Almost a month and a half.” I remembered the exact date when the lacklustre sex, in good ole missionary, took place. Brax worked overtime, my uni course demanded a lot of brainpower, and somehow life became more important than a roll beneath the sheets.

He froze, looking around us at the hordes of people. “Great time to bring that up.” He guided me to the side, glaring at a couple that came too close. “Can we talk about this later?” He ducked his head and kissed my cheek. “I love you, hun. Once we aren’t so busy, then we can have more alone time.”

“And this holiday? Will you take me like the girlfriend you adore?”

Brax beamed, enveloping me in a hug. “Every night. You wait.”

I smiled, letting anticipation and happiness dispel my angst. Brax and I wanted different things in the bedroom department, and I hoped, prayed, got on my knees and begged, that I didn’t ruin what we had because of it. 

My blood simmered for things entirely not sweet. Things I didn’t have the courage to say. Downright sinful things that amped my blood to lava and made me wet—it wasn’t chaste kisses.

And standing in his arms, in a public place, with that sexy smirk on his mouth, and hands on my waist, I trembled with a cocktail of need. This trip would be exactly what we needed.

He brushed his lips against mine, no tongue, and I had to squeeze my legs together to stop the vibrations threatening to overtake me. Is there something wrong with me? Surely, I shouldn’t be this way. Maybe there was a cure—something to take the edge off my desires.

Brax pulled back, smiling. “You’re gorgeous.”

My eyes dropped to his shapely mouth, breathing faster. What would Brax do if I pushed him up against the wall and groped him in public? My mind turned the fantasy into him pushing me hard against the wall, his thigh going between my legs, hands pawing, bruising me because he couldn’t get close enough.

I swallowed, battling those far too tempting thoughts. “You’re not so bad yourself,” I joked, plucking his baby-blue t-shirt that matched his eyes so well.

I loved this man, but missed him at the same time. How was that possible?

Life wedged between us: the university course stole five days a week, not to mention homework, and Brax’s boss landed a new building contract in the heart of the city.

Each month trickled into the next, and lovemaking became second fiddle to Call of Duty on PlayStation, and architectural sketching for the extra credit I’d signed up for.

But all of that would change. Our life together would improve, because I was going to seduce my man. I’d packed a few naughty surprises to show Brax what turned me on. I needed to do this. To save my sanity. To save my relationship.

Brax’s fingers squeezed my waist and he stepped away, ducking down to grab the suitcases again.

If I wanted to seduce him, wasn’t it best just to go for it? Planning and dreaming seemed wrong when he stood right in front of me.

I dropped my shoulder bag and grabbed the lapels of his beige canvas jacket, yanking him into me. “Let’s join the mile-high club,” I whispered, before crushing his mouth with mine. His eyes flashed as I leaned forward, pressing my entire body against his. Feel me. Need me.

He tasted of orange juice and his lips were warm, so warm. My tongue tried to gain welcome, but Brax’s hands landed on my shoulders, holding me at bay.

Someone clapped, saying, “You attack him, girl!”

Brax stepped back, looking over my shoulder at the bystander. He dropped his eyes to mine, temper flashing. “Nice spectacle, Tess. Are we done? Can we go check in?”

Disappointment sat like a heavy boulder in my belly. He sensed my mood—like he always did—and gathered me into a hug again. “I’m sorry. You know how much I hate PDA’s. Get me behind closed doors, and I’m all yours.” He smiled, and I nodded.

“You’re right. Sorry. I’m just so excited to go on holiday with you.” I dropped my eyes, letting wild, blonde curls curtain my face. Please, don’t let him see the rejection in my eyes. Brax used to say my eyes reminded him of dove’s feathers as the white bird flew across the sky. He could be very poetic, my Brax. But I didn’t want poetry anymore. I wanted… I didn’t know what I wanted.

He chuckled. “You’re right about being excited.” He waggled his eyebrow, and together we headed to check-in. The girl who’d told me to attack him winked and gave me a thumbs up.

I smiled, hiding the residual pain that my attack didn’t inspire the same reaction.

We joined the queue, and I glanced around. People milled like fish in a pond, darting and weaving around groups of waiting passengers. The vibe of an airport never failed to excite me. Not that I travelled a lot. Before the university course, I travelled to Sydney to study the architecture there, and sketch. I loved to sketch buildings.  At ten-years of age, my parents took my brother and me to Bali for a week. Not that it was fun going on holiday with a thirty-year old brother, and parents who despised me.

Old hurt surfaced, thinking of them. When I moved in with Brax eighteen months ago, I drifted apart from my parents. After all, they were almost seventy-years old, and focused on other ‘important things’, rather than a daughter who’d come twenty years too late. A dreadful mistake, as they loved to remind me. 

They’d been so horrified at the pregnancy, they promptly sued the doctor for botching my father’s vasectomy.

An old enemy: rejection, ruled my life. I supposed the desperation to connect with Brax was a way of confirming that someone wanted me. I didn’t just want intimacy, I needed it. I needed to feel his hands on me, his body in mine. It was a craving that never left me in peace.

I blinked, putting the impossible together. I needed Brax to be rough because I needed to be claimed.

Oh, my God, am I that screwed up?

I followed Brax, in a daze, to the counter and let him put the suitcase on the scales.

“Morning. Tickets and passports, please,” the girl in her smart uniform said.

Fumbling with luggage tags, Brax asked, “Honey, can you give her our tickets? They’re in my back pocket.”

I reached around and pulled out a travel wallet from his baggy jeans pocket. Although twenty-three years old, Brax still dressed like a grungy teenager. I squeezed his butt.

His eyes flashed to mine, frowning.

I forced a bright smile, handing our documentation to the clerk. I didn’t even check where we were headed, too focused on ignoring the twinges of sadness at not being allowed to grope my boyfriend. Maybe I’m too sexual? My fears were right. I was hardwired all wrong.

“Thank you.” The girl’s eyes dropped, showing heavily shadowed lids. Her brown hair, scraped back into a tight bun, looked plastic with so much hair spray. She bit her lip and pulled out a ream of tickets before checking our passports. “Do you want your bags checked all the way through to Cancun?”

Cancun? My heart soared. Wow. Brax outdid himself. I never would’ve thought he’d travel so far from home. I turned and kissed his cheek. “Thank you so much, Brax.”

His face softened as he captured my hand. “You’re welcome. There’s no better way to celebrate our future, than going to a country that values friendship and family.” He leaned closer. “I read that on Sundays, the streets come alive with strangers dancing. Everyone becomes connected by music.”

I couldn’t tear myself from his crisp blue eyes. That was why I loved him, despite not being completely satisfied. Brax suffered the same insecurities. He didn’t have anyone but me. His parents died in a car accident when he turned seventeen; he was an only child.

Brax owned the apartment we lived in, thanks to the life insurance pay out, and his dad’s husky, Blizzard, came with the bargain.

Blizzard and I didn’t see eye to eye, but Brax loved the dog like a tatty teddy-bear. I tolerated the beast, and kept my handbags far from chewing height.

“You’re the best.” I captured his chin, planting a kiss, not caring he was uncomfortable. Hell, the couple beside us were practically dry humping; a peck on the mouth was PG stuff.

The girl sighed across the counter. “Is this your honeymoon? Cancun is amazing. My boyfriend and I went there a few years ago. So hot and fun. And the music is so sexy, we couldn’t keep our hands off each other.”

Images filled my mind of twirling around Brax in a new sexy bikini. Maybe a change of scenery would amplify our lust.

I said, “No, not our honeymoon. Just a celebration.”

Brax grinned, his eyes sparkling.

An idea ran wild. Was this trip special? Was Brax going to propose? I waited for the heart-flipping joy at becoming Mrs. Cliffingstone, but a swell of comfort filled me instead. I would say yes. 

Brax wanted me. Brax was safe. I loved him in my own way—the way that mattered, the long-lasting kind.

Silence descended while the girl tap-tapped her keyboard and printed off our boarding passes. After tagging our bags, she handed everything back. “Your bags are checked all the way to Mexico, but you’ll have a stop in Los Angeles for four hours.” She circled the gate number and time. “Please make your way through immigration, and proceed to the departure lounge. You board at eleven-thirty.”

Brax took the documentation and shouldered his laptop bag. Linking hands with me, he said, “Thank you.”

We headed toward the Passengers Only lounge. We had little over an hour before boarding. I could think of a lot of things we could do in an hour, but I doubted Brax would be into them.

But we were on our way to Mexico. A different country and a different bed awaited us. I could be patient.

I made up my mind, as Brax browsed the tax-free PlayStation games, that tonight would mark a new beginning for us. Goodbye contentment, hello lust. 

Our relationship was going to rip and roar with love and flame. I would make sure of it.

Yes, tonight things would be different.

I needed different.

Tears of Tess

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Dark New Adult Contemporary Romance

Rating – PG-18

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Pepper Winters  on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.pepperwinters.wordpress.com/

Author Interview – Kevin Sterling @ksterlingwriter

Image of Kevin Sterling

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it? Writer’s block just happens from time to time, and I usually put my manuscript aside and work on other book related activities such as marketing, social media, cover design concepts, video trailer ideas, etc.  Since I follow a regimented work schedule, I won’t allow myself to go do something mindless, but I’ve found that concentrating on other tasks allows my subconscious mind to work on “the problem”, and I’m eventually able to return to the manuscript with the fog lifted.

How did you come up with the title of your book? I decided to follow Lawrence Sanders’ lead with his Archie McNally detective series where he used the name “McNally” followed by a word that related to the story like McNally’s Secret or McNally’s Gamble. This book is titled Lazar’s Mission, which follows Lazar’s Intrigue and Lazar’s Challenge. The book I’m working on now is titled Lazar’s Target.

How important do you think villains are in a story? In my particular genre, I think villains are very important. However, I try to make them human and somewhat relatable. At the very least, I think it makes them more true to life. In Lazar’s Mission, however, I don’t think anyone will be able to sympathize with the bad guy. As much as I wish it weren’t true, there are people out there with his set of beliefs, so despite his lack of appeal, he’s nonetheless quite realistic.

Do you have any advice for writers? Treat your writing like a business, whether you have the luxury of a full-time gig or just write during the evenings and weekends.  That means setting regimented times to write, to market, to blog, etc.  Make to-do lists, set specific goals and achieve them one by one.  No one will ever finish a book by writing whenever they get around to it.  There are so many distractions in life, and because writing and creating is hard work, it’s so easy to gravitate toward other things and “get to the writing later”.  Discipline is the key.

If you could leave your readers with one bit of wisdom, what would it be? If you aren’t doing what you love, start doing it, even if it’s just in your free time. Feel it, believe it, see it in your future, and the universe will eventually make it your reality. Just don’t let anyone who doesn’t share your reality sway your intentions.

Kevin Sterling

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Action, Mystery, Suspense

Rating – R

More details about the author

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

#Bargain - Second Chance Grill (Liberty Series) by Christine Nolfi @christinenolfi


Second Chance Grill by Christine Nolfi

Amazon Kindle US

Genre – Women’s Fiction

Rating – PG13

Connect with Christine http://christinenolfi.com/

4.7 (56 reviews)

Only 99 cents until 10th November

An unforgettable tale of love, loss and second chances.
"Human connections have the potential to spread joy far and wide, in this wonderful and highly recommended prequel to Treasure Me." --Midwest Book Review

Dr. Mary Chance needs a sabbatical from medicine to grieve the loss of her closest friend. But when she inherits a struggling restaurant in Liberty, Ohio she isn't prepared for Blossom Perini. Mary can't resist falling for the precocious preteen--or the girl's father. The bond they forge will transform all their lives and set in motion an outpouring of love that spreads across America.
Welcome back to Liberty, where the women surrounding the town's only restaurant are as charming as they are eccentric.

Second Chance Grill is the prequel to Treasure Me, 2012 Next Generation Indie Awards Finalist and book two of the Liberty Series.