Jan 29

Teaser Thursday- With Every Touch

(Releasing spring 2015 from Loose Id.)

Sheila nibbled at the bits of lobster in her sandwich and forced back her tears. She’d left her hometown as soon as she had graduated college, twelve years earlier, and she hadn’t looked back since. She didn’t need to think about it now, and she definitely didn’t need to think about Jack.

After moving to Portland, she’d gotten help to deal with the emotional scars Jack had left. She hadn’t been able to do anything about the physical ones, and even with therapy, some of the emotional ones lingered.

But the relationship and abuse were in the past now, and she wanted to focus on her present. She wasn’t even sure why she had brought it up to Erich. Part of her was surprised he hadn’t walked away. Most guys didn’t want to deal with a woman who’d been damaged the way she had.

Most guys didn’t even earn enough of her trust to hear about her life before Portland, but something about Erich encouraged her to let him in.

“These lobster rolls are excellent,” Erich said.

“Yeah.” Sheila glanced at him and saw no judgment, no discomfort.

He took a bite of his sandwich and smiled as he chewed.

He might be a guy worth knowing better. Maybe having around more.

She dismissed the thought immediately. Neither of them wanted a relationship, and she hoped to move to Boston soon. If she repeated that to herself enough times, it might get through. She couldn’t have Erich around her more often than she would spend time with a friend. There was no point in even thinking about it.

She wouldn’t have wanted him to be with her constantly anyway. She didn’t have time or patience for that kind of thing.

“I want to say something to make you smile,” Erich said. “I’m not having much luck thinking of anything.”

“It isn’t your job to entertain me.” She ate another fry. It tasted like cardboard around the lump which had risen through her throat.

“Something hit a nerve.” He held out his hand. Although Sheila wanted the physical contact, she didn’t take it. It would only have given her comfort, which would have been a bad thing when she was so close to losing her cool.

Erich hesitated a moment before resting his hand on the table. “I don’t know if it was something I said or something you said. Either way, it happened while we were talking, and I want to help.”

“I don’t want to spill my sordid past.” She twisted her mouth in something that felt close enough to a smile and took a sip of her soda. “No issue. Memories are crap sometimes, but the good thing is they’re in the past. I want to think about now.”

“Well right now there’s a hell of a thunderstorm going on outside.” A crash of thunder punctuated his words. “You’re not looking at the lightning. It’s pretty spectacular.”

Sheila turned to the window just as a bolt of forked lightning shot from the clouds to the surface of the water. It was beautiful and exciting, and she couldn’t help smiling. “God, I love that! I wish I was out there.”

“You might get struck,” Erich pointed out.

“Stop being reasonable.” She stuck out her tongue at him and he laughed. So did she. Something about thunderstorms, the power, the electricity in the air and the beauty of the lightning, had always lifted her mood. Now she was able to dismiss the tears and memories. They couldn’t stand up to the crashing thunder and pounding waves.

She wanted to be outside. It was pouring rain hard enough that the water looked like sheets running down the window, and judging from how closely thunder followed on the heels of each lightning bolt, the storm was close to overhead. It didn’t matter. She needed to be outside.

“You want to be out there don’t you?” Erich said softly, his voice almost drowned out by the rain drumming the window. “The storm excites you.”

“Yeah.” Sheila faced the window again. “It’s beautiful.”

“It’s turning you on.” Erich chuckled. “Right now you look the way you’ve looked when—well, you know when.”

“Yeah,” she said again. There wasn’t any reason to deny it. Currents ran over her skin, and whether they were caused by the storm or desire the result was the same. Her nipples hardened and her lower body was tight.

She didn’t only want to be out in the storm. She wanted to be there with Erich, soaked and open to him, his cock pounding her as hard as the waves pounded the rocks.

Jan 26

Weather

As you might be able to tell from the title of this post, I was really struggling to come up with a topic for today. Fortunately, all I had to do was look out the window.

It’s snowing.

Mass Ave

This has been the oddest winter, weather-wise. We had a bit of snow here and there in November and December, but it was almost always gone the next day. For most of the season so far, I’ve looked out my window at brown grass and bare trees. A stark change from the past couple years, when we had snow on the ground pretty much straight through from December until sometime in March. This year, we didn’t even have snow for Christmas.

But right now, it’s snowing. Of course it is, because I have to go somewhere.

I grew up in Maine. It snows a lot there, and since I took driver’s education in February, I learned to drive in bad weather. But that doesn’t mean I like it. Neither does the fact that I have a 4-wheel drive truck at my disposal. That’s the one reason I’ve been glad not to have much snow this winter. I’ve had a lot more driving than usual to do, and I’ve been able to get where I need to go.

But I have to admit, the snow is pretty to look at. And I feel like it’s really winter now.

So I’m off to clear off my truck and attempt the roads. Wish me luck!

Jan 22

Teaser Thursday- Last Chance Tattoo

LastChanceTattoo1_coverlg

Without thinking, Dorsey hurried out of the shop. Rad had already passed. Behind him, Kelly called a question, but he didn’t pay attention. He crossed the fortunately empty street. “Rad!”

Rad jumped and whirled around, then relaxed. “Hey.”

Dorsey closed the few yards between them. The drizzle was turning into full-on rain, but he didn’t care. If Rad could stand it, so could he. “Hey. How’s it going?”

Rad shrugged. “Been better, been worse. I was going down to the lighthouse, except I’m not sure walking out there is a good idea in the rain.”

“Maybe, maybe not.” The lighthouse stood at the end of a half-mile or so causeway accessible only by foot. In three years, Dorsey had never taken the walk. The lighthouse was nice to look at from the shore. He saw no reason to go all the way out to it.

“Probably not.” Rad sighed. “When I was a kid, I used to go out there all the time. Even in the summer, it was a quiet place. I could think. Not to mention get away from my brothers and everyone. Even though I wasn’t far away, I could pretend I was alone in the middle of the lake. I liked it.”

Dorsey’s heart went out to the guy. From everything Rad had told him, his childhood had been pretty damn lonely. No one should have to be alone, especially with family around, but it sounded as if Rad truly had been.

That was one of the things Dorsey wanted to make better. Both of them had been alone too long.

“You’re looking for time alone now?” He deliberately made it a question.

“Kind of.” Rad shrugged again. “I didn’t feel like hanging around Gram’s house. Last night was, let’s say, interesting. And this morning, the drama continues. I needed a break for a while, and I thought the lighthouse would be a good place to go.” He shook his head. “It’s raining too hard. Where were you? I didn’t see you until you caught up with me.”

“I was having some coffee. Come on over and I’ll buy you a cup.” The rain was falling even harder now. Dorsey was pretty much done with standing in it. He just hoped Rad would come with him.

To his relief, Rad nodded. “Thanks. I’m freezing, so coffee will be good.”

“Yeah.” Dorsey considered offering Rad his jacket until they were inside. It would have seemed too intimate though. A gesture a boyfriend would make. They weren’t boyfriends.

Jan 19

Build Up, Don’t Tear Down

Just something I was thinking about over the weekend…

There’s a difference between being honest and being brutal. There’s also a difference between lying and finding something positive to say.

Telling someone “That dress isn’t the best style for you” is honest. Saying “That dress makes you look awful; see how much your belly sticks out?” is brutal.

Sad Silhouette

Telling someone “Oh, you look gorgeous in that dress” (using the dress from the above example) is lying. Saying, “That’s a great color for you” is positive.

When you love someone, you usually want them to be happy and to feel good about themselves and the relationship. But sometimes all it takes is one brutal comment to tear your partner down.

If your partner asks for your honest opinion, give it–but stop and think about how you can phrase it gently. You can be honest without hurting feelings, and doing so is worth the effort.

Jan 15

Teaser Thursday- Love Like Vampires

LoveLikeVampires200

They dropped off Todd first, since his home in Falmouth wasn’t far out of the way to Jace’s place. He muttered something that might have been a thank-you as he jumped out of the van. Before Shane put the van in gear, the door to the house opened and Todd’s woman started yelling at him.

“I hope he quits,” Bryan muttered. “Honestly. He doesn’t practice enough to keep up at shows, and that isn’t going to change as long as he’s with her.”

“We need him.” Shane turned to look over his shoulder as he backed down the driveway. “He might not completely keep up, but at least he knows the music. And he has talent.”

“Talent that’s going to waste because he never practices,” Bryan said.

“Shush,” Jace mumbled. “Sleeping.”

Shane shook his head and headed up the road.

Thaniel leaned back and closed his eyes. A nap before talking to Shane would be good but not likely. By the time they dropped off Jace and got back to their apartment, he wouldn’t want to put off the conversation any longer. His head buzzed with questions. Where did things stand between him and his best friend?

Were they even friends?

If not, what the fuck were they?

They reached Jace’s house fifteen minutes later and persuaded the kid out of the back seat. He stretched and did a few toe touches before peering up at Thaniel with glassy eyes. “Shit.”

“You took some shit, I’d say.” Thaniel bit back the lecture he wanted to give. Jace wouldn’t listen even if he comprehended a word Thaniel said. “Next time stick to something safe.”

“Yeah. My parents are going to fucking kill me.” Jace yawned. “Not supposed to touch anything besides weed. Not even that, really.”

“Then you’d better brace yourself, because anyone can tell you took something.” Thaniel sighed. “Kid, smarten up. Partying’s great, but you can’t party if you’re dead.”

“Says the guy who smokes weed like a fucking chimney.” Jace rolled his eyes. “Thanks for the lecture. Practice tomorrow, right?”

“Yeah.” Thaniel glanced at the back of the van. “We’ll wait until then to unload the instruments, but do you want yours?”

Jace shook his head and winced. “Fuck. That kills. I’m going to bed. Won’t need the keyboards until rehearsal. I have my old one I can practice on tomorrow before you guys show up.”

“Sounds like a plan.” Thaniel hadn’t been looking forward to the idea of unloading all the equipment anyway, especially without Todd’s help. The guy might have been overweight and bitchy, but he was strong.

“Should we walk you in?” Shane stood near the front of the van, facing the house.

“I’ll handle it.” Jace took a step and grimaced. “Yeah. This isn’t going to be pretty. Thanks, guys.”

“Yeah. Next time be more careful,” Thaniel said.

Jace nodded, flinched, and walked toward the house slowly, with slumped shoulders.

“Lesson learned, hopefully.” Shane turned toward Thaniel and his face brightened. “Okay. So drop-offs are done. Let’s go home.”

“Yeah.”

Thaniel climbed back into the passenger seat of the van and ignored a comment he didn’t completely hear from Bryan. When they got home, everything would change between him and Shane.

Everything.

Jan 12

Love and Trust

As you probably know if you’re reading this blog, I write a lot about characters who have experienced abuse or other trauma, or who have just lost their belief in love–especially in their own lives. Many of my characters, when they find “the one” (or more than one, in a few books…), struggle to trust each other.

Engrossed In Love

Trust is not easy. I’m the first to admit that, in my “real” life, I find it difficult to trust others. Unfortunately, this difficulty comes from many experiences where someone I managed to trust has betrayed that trust. And because of it, I struggle in romantic relationships. I’m usually waiting for my partner to show me I can’t trust them, or I sabotage or flat-out end the relationship so that I’m hurt on *my* terms instead of theirs. Believe me, this is not a pleasant way to live!

In relationships, trust issues can have a big negative impact. If someone is consistently patient with you, keeps their word, and is honest, but you’re braced for them to change, they’ll probably realize you don’t fully trust them. Without trust, a relationship is difficult, if not nearly impossible, to maintain. It isn’t fair for the person who has given you every reason to trust them to still experience your distrust. And it isn’t really fair for you to constantly wait for them to prove you right. If you expect to be hurt, you’re probably going to be hurt.

No matter what you’ve been through in your life, trusting someone else enough to let them be in your life and your heart can be a scary thing. If you’ve had negative or traumatic experiences in past relationships, giving your trust to someone else can be downright terrifying. But if you have someone who wants to be in your life, who has worked to earn your trust and has shown you they won’t betray it, you owe it to *yourself* to be open. You don’t owe *them* anything, but you deserve to be loved and treated well, and that means you deserve to give yourself the chance to experience that.

 

Jan 08

Teaser Thursday- I Should Tell You

I Should Tell You_200

Hunter doubted he would be sleeping much that night, even if he and Mitch didn’t end up fucking. Just having the other man near him would keep him up in more ways than one.

His apartment was on the third floor of a brownstone. The place was bigger than Hunter could really afford on his paycheck, but he didn’t plan on being there alone for long. He had taken his parents up on their offer to cover first month’s rent and security deposit so he could move in. He hadn’t been happy about it, but he wasn’t thinking only about his pride anymore. They had told him to consider it a birthday gift. He still planned to pay them back. Once he was settled, he would make installment payments out of what he earned at the club.

He switched on the lamp he’d set on a small table inside the apartment door. The place didn’t have overhead lights except over the kitchen counter, which was the only downside he’d found. They had entered the combination living and dining room, with a tiny kitchen area off to one side.

Mitch stepped inside and looked around. “Nice. Roomy. I like what you haven’t done with the place.”

Hunter chuckled. “Yeah. Furniture’s going to take a bit.” The only items aside from the lamp and table were a floor lamp across the room, a couch his mother had insisted he take from his parents’ basement, and the tiny TV he’d kept on his bureau in his old place.

“It’s still nice because it’s yours.” Mitch looked at him shyly, his confidence and teasing gone now. “What about the bedroom? I see three doors.”

“Yeah, I wanted to talk to you about that. Follow me.” Hunter took off his jacket and tossed it onto the couch. Mitch hesitated before doing the same.

There was one door to the right of the kitchen, one to the left, and one beside the TV, also to the left of the kitchen.

Hunter opened the door to the left of the kitchen first. “The glorious bathroom.”

Mitch glanced through the door. “Yeah. Glorious. You don’t even have a tub.”

“I don’t take baths,” Hunter said. “Showers work fine, and it’s a nice-sized stall. Big enough for two if it needed to be.”

“Dirty fun while getting clean.” Mitch sounded a bit more sure of himself as he pressed closer to Hunter. “I could get behind that.”

Hunter decided to go along with Mitch’s banter. “Well, one of us would definitely be behind the other.”

“Yeah.” Mitch gave him a lust-filled look. “We’ll have to figure that one out. You’re a top, am I right?”

“Sometimes.” Unable to resist, he took a chance and ran his hand over Mitch’s ass. Mitch shivered and moaned softly, which Hunter took as approval. “It depends on my partner.”

Jan 05

Kicking Off 2015

My new year is already off to…let’s say a mixed start.

One of the things I’d taken a long look at during December was my backlist, especially the books that weren’t selling. Two of those books were coming up for contract renewal this year. I had already notified Siren, one of the publishers, that I would not be renewing the contract on Deep Down, so I’ll have the rights back for that on Wednesday.

The other book coming up for renewal was my paranormal romance Eternal Love. At the end of last week, I notified Jupiter Gardens that I would not be renewing that contract, or the one for one of my YA novels that I had with them. And since that YA novel was the first in a series, I requested rights reversions on the other four books as well.

I’ve always been happy in my dealings with Jupiter Gardens Press. They’re thorough on editing and are very much invested in the best for their authors, including finding new promotional venues and methods. Contract terms are good, and author-favorable. I would not hesitate to recommend them to others.

But… *my* Jupiter Gardens books have sold poorly. I don’t fault them for this, nor do I completely fault myself. It’s just one of those things.

And the publisher responded immediately to my email. As of January 31, the two YA series I’ve had with Jupiter Gardens will be out of print, as will Eternal Love and my contemporary novella Help Around the House.

It’s a bittersweet thing for me. Jupiter Gardens really gave me my start as a published author, and it saddens me that my books haven’t done better for JGP or for me. But sometimes in a business, tough decisions have to be made, and writing for publication is definitely a business. Even when it is sad.

Jan 01

Teaser Thursday- Beta Block

Beta Block_200

Carlos followed and caught Brianna around the waist at the foot of the bed. She laughed and pummeled his arm with her fist. She sounded happy, even playful, but he sensed some fear and let go of her. “Don’t let me do something that bothers you. Please speak up.”

“I didn’t mind it. I don’t mind when you touch me. You surprised me, that’s all.” She put her hand flat against his chest. “I’m starting to enjoy touching you, too.”

“Then feel free to do more of it.” He held his hands out to his sides. “Whatever you want.”

She frowned and took a step back. He had no idea what he’d said, and he wasn’t sure he should ask. Instead he lay down on the bed and looked up at her. “Remember how you told me to stop thinking?”

“Yeah.” She took a deep breath and lay beside him. “Landmines. That’s how Tareth puts it. I’m discovering I have more than I thought.”

“Am I setting them off?” He would wait as long as she needed to become her mate if anything upset her.

“No, I’m doing it to myself.” She rolled her eyes. “Thinking bad thoughts. It’s stupid.”

“No. It’s understandable.” He rolled onto his side and rested his hand on her hip. “We can stop. There’s always tomorrow, or next week, or whenever you can do this without landmines going off.”

She shook her head vehemently. “I told you I’m not stopping. I told you I wanted you tonight, and I do. I’m just overthinking, and I need to knock it the hell off. I’m better at giving advice than taking it. I think I should just shut up and pick up where I left off.”

“Wait.” He sat up and took off his shirt, then looked at her for any sign of discomfort. He saw nothing except the faintest orange glow in her eyes. Despite her discomfort, she was turned on at least as much as he was. He felt her desire with his own and gave up trying to separate how much was whose.

He lay down again and smiled at her. “Okay. Proceed.”

She put her hand on his shoulder, lightly at first then adding pressure. Without the fabric of his shirt in the way, her touch warmed his skin, fueling his need.

Something wrapped around them, joining them even though the only physical contact between them was her hand on his shoulder.

Her eyes widened. “You feel it?”

“We’re mates.” He laughed with the sheer joy of something he hadn’t been sure he would ever experience. “I’m yours. That’s all it means. I’m yours.”

“And I’m yours.” She paused. “It doesn’t scare me. I never wanted to belong to anyone because it would trap me. Give them power over me. But you aren’t like them.” She slid her hand over his skin to rest on his chest. “I feel your heart.”

He wasn’t surprised. His heart was pounding, and his cock throbbed in time with his heartbeat. He didn’t remember the last time he had been so painfully hard. His wolf wanted to take her now, make love to her, fuck her, however it ended up. Wanted to solidify their bond so no one would ever be able to take her away. His human side wanted the same thing but knew enough to wait. It will happen. Rushing it won’t help.

Dec 29

Looking Forward to 2015

Calendar

2014 has been a year of changes for me. I stopped writing for some of the publishers I was with. I started requesting rights back on some of my published books. I tried new publishers–and was rejected. I tried new story ideas.

In my personal life…let’s just say a lot has changed there too.

In 2015, I’m going to take even more control and cause more changes. After those rejections I mentioned, I talked to some writing friends and to some personal-life people, and made a plan. In 2015, I plan to work harder than ever on bringing my writing craft–plot, characters, writing style, etc.–to the next level. Writing can’t be mastered, but it can always be improved.

In 2015, I’m going to try again with one of those publishers that rejected me, as well as trying another new publisher or two. I won’t be writing as much as I have in the past; instead of seeing how many books I can write, I’m going to focus on writing a few to the highest standards I can. I have one romance and one young adult novel already scheduled for 2015 releases, and I’ll be adding a few of each to those, though this year I’ll be backing off the romance a bit and putting more effort into my young adult stuff, under my other pen name.

More than anything, in 2015, I plan to stop being afraid of failure–and of success. I plan to push myself as hard and as far as I can.

And we’ll see where I am at this time next year.

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