Sunday, March 26, 2017

7 Brides for 7 SEALs? Another bride, another groom, another wedding for you to swoon!

Out March 31! 

On pre-order now at  Amazon      Nook

YOU WERE ALWAYS MINE stars a Navy SEAL and the lady who gives him her seat on the plane.

That's the first in my 7 BRIDES FOR 7 SEALs series. 
And yessss, those two are getting married and we're all invited to the wedding.
You won't want to miss it, especially because the Best Man and the Matron of Honor are about to set the whole place on fire!
Now in NO GETTING OVER YOU, we're saving a place in the pew and at the reception for you.
Here's a taste:
Viv LaClare is so over being the matron. The widow. She wants to laugh again, live again, maybe even dabble in a little affair…if she could just find the right guy.
Britt Ackerman is so over one-night stands—and women who party with a SEAL for the bragging rights. He wants a lady with guts, sass and more than a lick of sense…if he could find the right woman. 
So when he meets Viv at his teammate’s wedding, she hooks him at ‘hello.’ He’s convinced he wants all the nights she’ll give him. 
But if he can promise her all the tomorrows he’s got, can she risk her tender heart on a man who has the deadliest job in the world?
Want a nibble of this yummy guy...um...story?


When the doors opened on the fifth floor, Viv caught a glimpse of her reflection in the full length hall mirror. The shoulder-length red hair, the dark green eyes, the body she worked super hard to keep in shape. Didn’t this woman deserve to take what she wanted? Especially since the desire was mutual?
She extracted the card key from her purse and began her hunt for 510. Directional signs lead her around to the left and down the hall and she happily padded along on the thick carpet. The hotel was filled not only with Abby’s family but also with her professional associates and quite a few friends. Viv might not want that promotion but she wasn’t eager to have anyone see her go to her rendezvous. So she hurried along the hall and turned another corner—
Only to halt in her tracks.
Two doors down stood Tracy Banning with The Saint, her arms wrapped around his shoulders as he held her against the wall. Their lips were locked in a frantic kiss, and Tracy’s legs were hooked around The Saint’s hips.
Viv shrank back around the corner silent as a mouse.
“You need to go,” Tracy whispered, her voice husky.
“You don’t do wedding hook ups, is that it?” he asked, disappointment in his tone.
“The odds of being happy about it tomorrow are not great.”
“We can reexamine that idea tomorrow night,” he said with a laugh. “Waiting makes it all better, don’t you know! And I’m a patient man.”
“Thanks, Santiago,” Tracy whispered. “You’re a good man.”
“That’s me!” he said. “Adios. Sleep well!”
Viv straightened and took a step around the corner. “Hi, there!”
Santiago threw her a little salute. “Hey there, Viv. Good night. See you tomorrow.”
“Right.” She breathed a sigh of relief.
Speeding up, she went to the end of the hall before she found 510.
She stood there a minute, smoothed her palm over her hip, knocked twice, then put the card in the slot and—
A wild screeching siren rent the air.
What the hell is that?
Her head shot up. She stared and looked around.
The door in front of her swung wide.
Her mouth fell open.
Britt stood there, bare chest, bare feet, bronze and beaming from ear-to-ear.
She heard yells. Doors opening.
The door in back of her disgorged people. People who said, “What is that?”
A woman yelled, “Oh, shit!” 
Another door opened and someone moaned, “A fire? At this hour of the night?”
“Darlin’, where are my briefs?”
“Is that a fire alarm?”
“Britt?” she beseeched him, jostled by four hotel guests rushing around the hall in pjs and shock.
He reached one long muscular arm out, grabbed her hand and pulled her inside. “Oh, honey!”
He pressed her to the wall and slammed the door shut. “I thought you weren’t coming. I was crazy.” 
His hands were in her hair, his body warm and hard, his lips sweet as they spoke on hers. “Thank god.”
“Britt,” she murmured, so enthralled by the little kisses he bestowed on her mouth and her throat that she could barely breathe, let alone think. “The place is on fire!”
“Tell me about it.” He was chuckling as his fingers took her evening bag from her and put it on the hall table.
She grinned, arching into his big warm hands as he molded her to him, breasts to chest, tummy to tummy, flames roaring. “But the hotel—”
“Forget the hotel, baby. I’m burning up. In a minute, you will be, too.”
She moaned as he found the side zipper to her dress and slid it down, tooth by agonizing tooth. “The place will burn down!”
“I know it will.” He brushed his hands inside the crepe and let it slither down her body.
The air-conditioned air made her shiver. But his adoring hands scorched her everywhere he touched. “They’ll find us in here.”
“I know they will.” He pulled her forward to step out of her cocktail dress that puddled on the carpet.
Laughing at the absurdities of life and luck and alarms, she tossed her hair and widened her eyes at him. “We’ll be burnt to a crisp.”
He continued backward to his sitting room. “Damn right.”
“You don’t care?”
“That some drunk fool tripped the alarm?”
She threw her head back to chuckle. “I really shouldn’t laugh.”
“Laugh, baby.” He sat down in a big easy chair and pulled her down with him, her legs bent at the knees to the cushion, her entire body open to him with only see-through French lace adorning her. He inhaled and lifted the wealth of her breasts, one in each reverent palm. His china blue eyes grew heavy-lidded and stormy. “Giggle. Scream. Do one. Do all. Do whatever comes naturally.”
She felt her nipples harden, her core pulse. She felt triumphant. Powerful. Where had that strong woman been for the past few years? “You like wild women?”
He bent to fasten his lips over one of her nipples. “I like you.”
Bucking, she tried to squeeze her thighs together. “You’re not going to stop?"
“Not all night long.”
On Pre-order now! Release date March 31!
    And be sure to get the first in the series, YOU WERE ALWAYS MINE, because we thought that Nick and Abby didn't have a ghost of a chance. Really? Not a ghost. (Yes, a ghost.)

AMAZON      NOOK      KOBO      iTunes

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Getting Crafty--Setting in the Novel by Suz deMello (#iamwriting #writingcraft #romanticsuspense)

Outstanding books are memorable for a variety of reasons. Perhaps in one it is the romance we find so compelling.  In another, the characters stay with us for a long time. 

But for many readers, the sense of "being there" is the aspect that draws them into the book and keeps them there despite distractions.  I call this a sense of place, or setting.

Its importance can't be underestimated.  Some genres, such as certain subgenres of romance, are based totally on a unique or special setting, such as the English Regency or American West.  Some readers will purchase nothing but books placed in their favorite setting. People will read books in their favorite setting--Middle Earth, Hogwarts--over and over again just because they want to again experience the feeling of being there.

While I was editing professionally, I sometimes came upon a submission in which it was impossible for me to know where the book was set because the author assumed way too much. In one, for example, I had to go to the author's website to discover where her werewolf/vampire series was set. 

Fortunately for any of my readers who like to feel deeply grounded in a book, I love to travel and then put my observations and experiences into my writing.

I set a couple of recent re-releases in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I lived for about five years and still visit frequently. Here are a couple of snippets from those books:

...she took the handset and walked to the window, hoping to see a street sign so she could tell her partner where she was. Unfortunately, the view four stories below showed only a small back garden, typical of homes in San Francisco. It was beautifully landscaped with Japanese maples and azaleas, which were in bloom. A small stone bench sat by a pond.

The above is from Phoenix and Dragon, a novel set in San Francisco, and the description of this courtyard is based on one I saw years ago, in the Marina District, I believe. 

And here's one from Spy Game, which takes place farther south. This clip describes Skyline Drive, which is off Highway 17 between San Jose and Santa Cruz, which I call Santa Laura in the book. It's best not to be too tethered to reality when writing. Otherwise one gets letters from irate readers stating that "I've been there and it's not like that!"

The wooded, two-lane road wound up a hill past a playground and a park. A swing set and a jungle gym were nearly invisible in the night, lit only by a few dim streetlamps. At the lane’s crest a row of mailboxes sat with a whimsical stuffed or carved animal perched atop each. A wooden bird with brightly painted, outstretched wings roosted on the box marked #2730...a little cottage that screamed “hippie heaven.”

I would never have dreamed up the mailboxes with the sculptures, so visiting the area while I was writing was a really good idea. Touches like those add a sense of reality to a book, which is really an imaginary construct even if it's a contemporary set in a recognizable place.

It's hard to make it as an author these days, and every aspect of the writer's craft must be well-honed and perfect, including setting in the novel.

Friday, March 24, 2017

How can he seduce an alien? For Women Only @kayelleallen #scifi #romance

When Fawni Ruh, a Kin ambassador, visits the capitol planet of the empire, she meets security expert Khyff Antonello, a human. A death in her family forces Fawni to return home, but she can't bear to part with Khyff, and takes him along. Her family demands she cast out the human, or abdicate her future rule.
Fawni searches for an alternative and stumbles upon Khyff’s secret. The cover-up, if exposed, will betray her world to its enemies, and bare her family to open shame. Her duty is clear. Yet how can she leave Khyff to suffer in the darkness that binds his heart?
His secret truth is her people's darkest lie.

Excerpt from For Women Only

In this scene from For Women Only, Khyff awakens beside Mehfawni, the feline-humanoid Kin ambassador to the Tarthian Empire. He'd been ordered to seduce her, part of a complicated ploy by the Empress, who wants to remove Mehfawni from the Kin line of succession. It took no time on Khyff's part. The moment Mehfawni saw the gorgeous blond and blue-eyed human, she pursued him.

    Khyff drifted off to sleep, more comfortable than he could remember being in years and woke sometime later to the feel of a hand sliding down his abs and across his belly. He opened his eyes.
    When she noticed he was watching her, mild surprise widened Mehfawni's big golden eyes with their jade green flecks. "Oh, you're awake."
    "I hope I didn't wake you. You looked..." She sighed. "I wanted to touch you. You're so smooth."
    "It's okay. You can touch me any time you like." He stretched. It felt good to be rested. No light showed at the windows. "What time is it?"
    She shrugged. "I pay no attention to such things. Local time. Tradestandard time. Time zones. Time to hold council. Time to sleep." She hooked her claws into the air, a picture of frustration. "My staff open doors and pour wine and feed me. They lay out my clothes and draw my bath. All the rest of my life is work." She dragged the tips of her claws down his body.
    Khyff's skin jumped, still hypersensitive after their riotous lovemaking.
    "This--" she stroked his belly "--is outside time. This is my time. I will not look at clocks while I'm with you."
    Warmth swept over him that had nothing to do with sex. He turned the feeling over in his mind, unsure what to make of it, and held out his arms.
    She moved into his embrace, body flush against his at leg and groin, skin pressed against his. She lay half atop him, leaning a bit to one side, propped on one elbow.
    "Are you hungry, Khyff?"
    He hadn't noticed until she asked. "Starving. I have plenty of food in the kitchen. What would you like?"
    "Besides you?"
    "You can have me, too."
    She tapped his nose and sat up. "I want to take you out to dinner. In Tarth City, surely there is always food ready somewhere."
    "I know plenty of places." They had told him to prepare to be spoiled. Kin females were accustomed to being in charge. Khyff hadn't mentioned he was used to women paying his way. They liked to flaunt him to their friends and display him like a new charm on their wrist bracelets. Look what I bought.
    "Somewhere quiet." Mehfawni folded her legs, elbows on her knees. "I don't wish others to gawk at you when you're with me."
    Again, the unexpected.
    She gave a slight sniff. "Gawk is not the word? I know Etymis from classes."
    "Gawk is correct. You speak Etymis flawlessly. Hardly an accent at all."
    "I don't say b's right."
    "Bees? Buzzing bees?"
    She giggled. "Letter b's. We have no B in Felis."
    "You say them fine."
    "Not like humans."
    "Say something b-ish."
    "B-ish?" She wiggled her nose as if sniffing. "This is a word?"
    "Sure it is. I made it up."
    Mehfawni laughed.
    Khyff absorbed the sound as if it were water on the dry sponge of his soul. It filled him with joy until he thought he'd burst. Having her there beside him, laughing, enjoying time with him...he could scarcely take it in.
    "B-ish. Hmm." She tapped a claw againster her full lower lip. "Bed. Beautiful. Boy. Beautiful bad boy." Her hot gaze raked down him. "Beautiful bad boy in bed."
Genre science fiction romance, scifi romance, space opera, military science fiction
Author Kayelle Allen
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): PG13
Publisher Romance Lives Forever Books https://bit.ly/bro-womenprint-kl
This book is free on Kindle Unlimited
Amazon http://amzn.to/1f7Ge0P
Amazon (print) http://amzn.to/2eFKee5
CreateSpace (Print) http://bit.ly/bro-women-csp
The prequel for this book is At the Mercy of Her Pleasure.

What Reviewers Say

"Kayelle Allen takes us deep into a world created by her incredible imagination with For Woman Only."
"...a rich story, full of interesting characters with deep and complex histories..."
"Ms Allen manages to use an alien culture to show the ridiculousness of sexist cultures."
"...at once engrossed in and horrified by Khyff's painful path to emancipation."
"The angst-filled hero will break your heart. The ending will heal it."
Kayelle Allen is a best selling American author. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary every day folk, role-playing immortal gamers, futuristic covert agents, and warriors who purr.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Steampunk Romance

Sometimes I'm asked the question, What-is-Steampunk? The best short answer is Victorian Sci-fi, I also like it described as Historical/Sci-fi. There is Steampunk literature but it doesn’t stop there, it includes: 
  • ART 

From a local art gallery

Time Machine at Dickens On the Strand

Abney Park (Steampunk band)

From a local Steampunk picnic

Steampunk took off from the fiction genre and rose to a subculture. A very fun, interesting, productive, and creative subculture. One of the beautiful things about Steampunk is it has no limits. It’s what you want to make it. 
I wrote my Steampunk Romance under the pen name of Maeve Alpin but now I’m trying to republish them under my name, Cornelia Amiri, so all my books will be under one name. It’s going to take some time though. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

#Smalltown Sweet Romance from @SSaraDaniel

Hi Friends, I'm sliding in late today. Are you looking for a romance on the sweeter side for a change? I've got you covered.

Construction Beauty Queen

She's on the job...and out of his league.

Chicago socialite Veronica Jamison is determined to shake off her sheltered lifestyle and overbearing parents. She heads to her grandfather’s small town of Kortville, ready to roll up her sleeves and work for the family construction business. She’ll prove her worth, even if it means answering to the company’s ruggedly handsome co-owner, Matt.

Matt Shaw just wants to run his business, spend time with the niece he’s raising on his own, and give back to the townspeople who have stood by him. Managing a spoiled-rotten princess he knows he’ll never be good enough for? Not part of his plan. But as he gets to know Veronica, he learns there’s more to her than her beautiful looks and designer clothes. She’s got a heart as rich as her background.

With the quirky townspeople rallying against Veronica inheriting her grandfather’s business, it’s up to Matt to try to drive her out of town. But how can he, when instead she’s driving her way into his heart?

Buy Links:
Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Construction-Beauty-Queen-ebook/dp/B00BFQ7B96/?tag=sardanromaut-20
Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/construction-beauty-queen-sara-daniel/1113013431?ean=2940015608038
Kobo http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Construction-Beauty-Queen/book-QbRquIxprUuEgVUioyLBdw/page1.html?s=ptNFguZxNkWiNCKUS0M5Ag&r=5
iBooks https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/construction-beauty-queen/id603614878?mt=11

Love Him or Leave Him

Sometimes dreams are where you least expect them

Connor O’Malley and Becca Sanders were once high school sweethearts, ripped apart by rumors in the small town of Kortville, Illinois. Connor left to join the military, and Becca stayed, waiting for her younger brother to graduate so she could live her dreams of traveling the world. But now that Connor's back as the town sheriff, Becca finds herself struggling to resist the too-handsome man who once broke her heart.

Connor loves Kortville—its quaintness keeps at bay the painful memories of Afghanistan he’s sure make him unworthy of any woman, particularly the beautiful brunette he’s always secretly dreamed of a future with. But when a scandal rocks the town, suddenly Connor and Becca must trust in each other if they want to weather this storm…and come out on the other side of it together.

Buy Links:
Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Leave-Small-Dreams-Entangled-ebook/dp/B00DFFLCZO/?tag=sardanromaut-20
Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-him-or-leave-him-sara-daniel/1115688176?ean=9781622661930
Kobo http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Love-Him-Leave-Him-Small/book-5MSJuxdAu0-r7HYLYButfw/page1.html?s=PO6jJe5TkESF2rBLjPTnCQ&r=1
iBooks https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/love-him-or-leave-him-small/id662708847?mt=11 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Shared For the First Time ~ Box Set

Good Morning everyone!

Today I would like to share with you, another box set I have been keeping to myself for a while. When I was asked to join, I wasn't sure what I wanted to write about. I guess I could have gone in several different directions, but I chose something new and a little out of my comfort zone.

What if, we lived in a world where the paranormal and supernatural exist. What if, there were those among them, that wanted to live in peace with us, but there were some who couldn't let that happen?

That's where my story comes in.

To prevent a war between the humans and paranormal, the government decides to bring teens into ever sect. Vampires, Shifters, Weres, witches/warlocks, to help cultivate a new partnership. However, there is a catch. Each teen who is brought in, has their memories wiped. They're starting from scratch on their lives.

Contraband starts five years after Paislee Olsen has volunteered for her new position.  

Box Blurb:

There’s a first time for everything...

Indulge in an exclusive collection of BRAND NEW paranormal ménage romance stories from 9 best-selling authors. Each story takes you on a journey into unknown territory when the characters find themselves in a ménage situation. The thrill of fun and games takes a wayward turn when hearts are involved, and the road to happily-ever-after might prove to be a rocky one. Can these trios find a way to make it work?

Shifters, witches, warlocks and vampires are just a few of the paranormal surprises awaiting you, and only one-click away

Waking up in the middle of nowhere, isn’t such a bad thing when you’re a hot blonde with a nice rack. The only thing she knows is her name, Paislee Olsen.
Stuck with a crew of four men, a building full of illegal, but enjoyable contraband; she’s down for whatever my job is supposed to be.
However, her desires for all four men is getting harder to control every day, and unfortunately, playing with them might be out of her hands. The buyer of the illegal cargo is demanding it and a ransom payment for a member of their team. If they don’t give into their ultimatum?
She always wanted to go down in a blaze of glory. If Paislee was going to die, why can’t she have a little fun in the meantime?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Multi-author series~ The Order of the Black Knights

Every century has seen its knights. But there are those who are never seen. They do what must be done, what has to be done—when nobody wants to get their hands dirty. They are called the Black Knights. First created in the 1100s by the wizard Moriel, these men seem cold and hard, and it is said that some have no soul. But for each knight, there is one who can bring out the man who waits inside. The question is whether or not he will kill the individual before he figures it out.
Through the ages, they’ve conquered and ruled and taken what they wanted. And they have adapted to modern times. Instead of being bullies for hire, they have taken their skills further—the Internet, the CIA, government infiltration, hacking, special ops, assassination, but each one of them has a need they don’t understand—to squash, kill, or destroy.
If the Knight pardons an enemy, he will no longer be cursed. If not, he will continue to live the same life again and again, and each life will make him harder and more unyielding. And each life will make it is less likely that he can be saved.

US Marshal Jaeger Tripp is assigned to the Federal Witness Protection Program. The hurt and destruction he’s seen—along with protecting criminals who are only cooperating with the authorities to keep themselves out of jail—have left him with a bleak and jaded view of both life and people. His current assignment is Wren O’Riley, a computer wizard who witnessed a high-profile cartel hit.

To Jaeger, Wren is the same as any other job. He must protect him long enough to get him to testify at trial, and his personal feelings have no place in his work and must be set aside. But that’s easier said than done. On the run and fighting for their lives, Jaeger and Wren can’t help but grow closer. And Jaeger can’t help seeing beyond Wren’s nerdy exterior to a man who might be just what Jaeger needs to settle his soul and capture his heart—if they survive long enough to get that chance.

About the Author
Evelise Archer is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She is a new-found lover of tea, and don’t look in her office because what you find may astound you. She currently has twenty tins of tealeaves just waiting to be brewed for her drinking pleasure. She is bilingual, lives in one of the original thirteen colonies, and is a lover of the cold weather and snow. It’s a safe bet that you may find her on the beach in the autumn and winter, but rarely in the summer. She’s been married for over thirty years to a loving man who puts up with her obsession to clean—she currently owns three vacuum cleaners—, read, and spin a tale when the voices speak to her. When she’s not in front of the computer, search her out in the local gym.

Twitter: @EveliseArcher

Saturday, March 18, 2017

***New Release***FREE Book***Giveaway

Who loves a cowboy? How about a Cowboy in Paradise? Paradise meaning Hawaii!  My newest release with Harlequin Blaze is out now. To celebrate this release I'm giving away a signed copy of my first Blaze More Than A Fling in the Blaze duo A Taste of Paradise with Leslie Kelly. All you have to do is head on over to my Facebook page, and tell me you saw this post for a chance to win... just Click Here and maybe you'll sign up for my newsletter and Like my page while you're there :) #hinthint
Also, you could win an ebook copy of After The Hurt. This is my 1 year bookaversary for Tank and Pepper's story. So again, click over to my FB page HERE comment about this post and mention this book.

And Mr Monday is FREE for another week only. So hie thee on over to these links to get yourself a copy.

And now for the new release! A Cowboy In Paradise! Out now.

Her island nights are heating up! 
Losing her luggage was Jimi Calloway's first clue that her friend's Hawaiian destination wedding would be a nightmare. The fact that it's at a ranch instead of on the beach and she'll be "glamping"? It's officially the Vacation from Hell. Until this city girl gets a glimpse of her smokin'-hot cowboy guide. Suddenly this vacation is looking up…
Sure, Jimi's designer wardrobe is lost somewhere over the ocean, but she's too busy learning just how incredible—and incredibly wicked—"roughing it" with the sexy, rugged Dallas Wilde can be to care. Besides, it's only a vacation fling… Only, no one warned Jimi how easy it was to fall for a cowboy in paradise.
In her designer dress and high‐heeled shoes, Jimi clearly didn't belong on a dusty Hawaiian ranch. Or with rugged cowboy Dallas Wilde. Dallas may be a delicious temptation, but could a city girl ever trade Louboutins for lassoes? 

Whew, it's been a very busy month. I'll be closing this contest on March 31 so make sure you mention this post so I know. Two winners, one for each book. Good luck and looking forward to seeing you over on my fb page!

Friday, March 17, 2017

New Release--Dress Blues (a second chance military romance) by Lisa Carlisle

I'm thrilled to share my new release, one I started over ten years ago. I completed last year once I had the perfect setting for my couple to reunite -- a cat shelter fundraiser!

Dress Blues

A Second Chance Military Romance

Sometimes, it all comes down to timing…

Volunteering at a cat shelter is much calmer than the adrenaline-fueled skirmishes of Vivi Parker’s last deployment in the Marines, but her limp is a constant reminder of what she endured. The shelter is her sanctuary, her one relief from memories that haunt her. At a fundraiser, she runs into a man she could never have while she served, but had never forgotten.

Active duty had its challenges, but starting over as a civilian in Boston is more difficult than Jack Conroy anticipated. When his mom and sister drag him to a cat benefit, he never expects to see a woman he last saw wearing Dress Blues.

Vivi fears she’s no longer the woman Jack was drawn to, able to tackle rock climbing walls or other outdoor challenges. And Jack has decisions he must face.

Military rules forbade their burgeoning passion. But now, years later, the rules have changed.

Yet, so have they.
Is it ever too late for a second chance at love?

Read Now!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

How sweet it can be, to find real love...no matter how long it lasts.

I'm sure by now you've heard about the writer, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, who died 10 days after she posted a touching new column in the New York Times, in the Modern Love section.  Amy was dying of ovarian cancer, but in her inimitable way, she wrote the ultimate paean of love to her husband. She extols his virtues, to offer him to other women who might want to fall in love with him, as she did.  She proclaims him to be wonderful in every way that matters; and I can't read her piece, or even think about it, without tearing up. Here is the link...I'll wait.:


True, we all will die someday.  But she obviously wanted to accomplish two things: let him know how happy she was to be married to him, for however long that lasted; and two, try to ease him along into being happy with someone else, after her death.  That kind of love is so bone-deep, so ingrained in every cell of your body, that it makes me cry.  At the same time, it makes my soul happy, to know what can be possible.

Isn't that the kind of love we are all seeking?  Isn't that the kind of love we write about in our books, to let each other know that it is possible?  It's not just idle dreaming.  It's rare, but it can be found.

It reminds me of what I had read years ago, back when Gilda Radner was dying, way too soon, of the same killer: ovarian cancer.  She was talking to her husband, Gene Wilder (and wouldn't  you have loved to go out to dinner with them, to hear two such masterful comedians play off each other?)  She told him that since he was taking such good care of her, she hoped he'd be inundated with other women who wanted to marry him, after she was gone.  My memory isn't too clear who spoke next, but I think it was him who replied, "Yeah, but they'll all have cancer!"  How like them both to joke even in the face of impending death.  To swallow those tears and laugh defiantly, as the Grim Reaper approached.  What courage, and yes, what intense love.

I'm the first to argue that as a writer, I don't write about myself or people I know...at least not without combining traits, or changing things about them.  My fictional heroines and heroes are based on people I may have met/glimpsed/imagined, but the emotions are the crux of the matter in love stories, and for that I will be forever grateful to my own muse: my husband of almost 33 years.  We also met in our twenties, and have raised children together.  We've weathered rough spots, and enjoyed good times.  I call what we have a passionate friendship.  Every romance I write is a testament to my firm and unwavering belief in true love that can be all-consuming at the start, but which still burns brightly, even after many years have changed two youngsters into grandparents.

 I never really believed in true love before I met him.  I thought it was imaginary...fiction, just like the romance novels my mother read and traded with her sisters, as they all talked about how wonderful it would be if men like that existed.  But meeting him, that crazy, passionate time when we were first together, followed by years of memories that only we share, have convinced me that it is very possible.

So if you have been lucky in love, I salute you...no matter how long it lasted.  Hasn't it been said that, "Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all?"  None of us have a future guaranteed.  But we all have now.  If your now is not filled with love, or if yours is, but you still like to read about it, to experience vicarious thrills through reading a romance novel, I'd like to suggest one of mine. My Reyes Romances have the various members of a large family falling in love, but the couples from the past books are a part of the story, and still very much in love in subsequent books.

On her review blog, Harley called For the Love of His Life the best book of the year when it came out. It's been followed by 2 sequels...so far.  All of my heroines are strong, independent women, while their men can be alphas, betas, or a mixture.  But these are men who love unreservedly, and whose devotion to their women is as natural as breathing. And the women always learn to believe in real love, from men who prove it with their actions.

 In conclusion, I'd like to propose a toast: To Amy Krouse Rosenthal's husband Jason, to the late Gene Wilder, and to my husband Paul, I say thank you for being the real-life inspiration for our heroes.  You men rock!



Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Most Unlikely Lovers, coming soon

An hour later the maintenance man came in and fixed a bathroom door that didn't want to close. He said something to her, but she wasn't paying any attention to him. She barely noticed him passing her by. Her mind was at home, thinking about curling up on the couch and watching television half the night.
The maintenance man finished and left and she barely remembered him greeting her.
By six o'clock everyone in the office had gone home but her. Again she was late.
She sighed, picked up her purse and walked to the elevator.
She stood there in the hall, alone, and punched the elevator button. The aloneness surrounded her. She heard the ding of the elevator button. Saw the signs of it coming up, very slowly. She tapped her foot.
All she could think about was going home to her cat and her lonely apartment to rest this weekend. Perhaps that wasn't reason enough to not offer to help her boss out, but he never seemed to appreciate how much time and labor she put into the job.
The elevator door swung open and she stepped inside. A man was in it. He wasn't an office worker, but she knew she'd seen him somewhere. He wore jeans, and t-shirt that emphasized his mass of muscles and brawn She had to assume he was probably a janitor or something of the sort. He looked as tired as she. He had short cropped hair and a slight shadow on his cheek.
He glanced at her and smiled, but didn't say anything. His smile transformed his face into something she thought ruggedly handsome.
She smiled back, only because she was too tired to do anything else.
Then suddenly it happened.
The elevator came to a crawl and finally stopped between floors.
The man's head jerked about, then the lights went out.
"Good grief, I wonder what is wrong?" She hollered.
The man was just inches away from her now when he spoke. "We're stuck between floors." He nudged her, "Excuse me, let me call the emergency number."
"Oh, of course," she moved away.
He lit his lighter and picked up the phone.
"Yeah, we're stuck between floors. How long before you can fix it?" He asked gruffly. "What?" he hollered into the phone. "Yeah, yeah. Well, don't forget us. Say, does this thing have an emergency light somewhere. Oh, yeah, I see it. Thanks."
He hung up.
He also flipped something and a dim light came on in the elevator. She saw him and looked questioningly at him. "Backup generator."
"What did they say?" She asked curiously.
"We got a blackout outside, there's a massive storm out there right now. They'll get to us when they can."
"Oh, you've got to be kidding," she cried. "Funny, I never even glanced out the window. I just assumed the weather was fine." She shook her head and rummaged through her purse. She found her cell phone but quickly realized it wasn't getting a signal. She sighed again, this time a little louder.
He glanced at her, "Got a big date or something?"
"No, no date, just a date with my couch and my cat." She replied.
He grinned despite himself.
"You work upstairs don't you?"
"Yeah, for a real estate corporate office. I'm an insurance adjuster." She explained.
"Oh yeah, I was just in there a few minutes ago, fixing your bathroom door." He explained.
"Oh, you're the maintenance man?" She smiled wondering why she didn't recognize him. "I knew I recognized you from somewhere. I just couldn't place you."
"Yeah, I spoke to you, but you didn't hear me, I guess." He added, his eyes going up and down her now with interest.
"I'm sorry, I'm a little preoccupied today." She told him. But the way he was looking at her made her squirm a bit. She gave him a quick once over. She hoped he was a decent man.  After all, they were trapped.
"Yeah, I sort of noticed." He added.
"So how long you think we'll be here?" She asked him when he dropped his gaze to the floor.
"Heaven only knows." He answered. After a moment, he stared at her. "You're pretty preoccupied most of the time, aren't you?" His tone was indulgent but the slightest bit sarcastic.
"I beg your pardon?" She firmed her lips to keep from barking at him.
"Well, I've been in your office several times this week and you didn't acknowledge I was even there. So, I'd say you are preoccupied most of the time. Wouldn't you?"
Flustered, she groped for an apology. "I'm sorry, I didn't speak. It wasn't intentional." She tried to excuse herself. "I've had a very heavy workload this week and I'm exhausted if you want to know the truth. I need a vacation…" She blinked hard, and put her cell phone away.
"Yeah, I'm just the hired help, right?" He made a snarl, "That's okay most of you office people don't speak to us common workers anyway. Too snooty."
"I beg your pardon." She took exception to his remark. "That's totally uncalled for. Look, we are stuck in an elevator and no telling for how long, let's don't be biting each other's heads off. Okay?" She nearly shouted at him.
He almost laughed, "Well, at least I got a rise out of you. That's more than I usually get."
He sat down on the floor. Then looked up at her.
"You might as well get as comfortable as you can, lady, we're going to be stuck a while."
"How long?" Her eyes widened.
"I don't know, but they got a lot of other problems more important to tend to right now. So, don't look for them to come flying in here to rescue us. There's only so many back up lights in the building. Some people will be trapped in darkness."
She slid down the wall of the elevator to the floor. And a tear lodged in her eye. "I just wanted to go home and get some much-needed rest…" She complained. "Nothing ever works out that way, though does it?"
"No ma'am, it doesn't." He sighed almost as heavily.
She looked at him. "You're tired too?"
He made a strange sound in his throat. "Yeah lady, I'm tired. I been on my feet all day, going up and down this freaking elevator to almost every office in the building fixing one little thing after another and I’m beat." He griped.
She almost chuckled, "I guess we both have reason to gripe then." She admitted.
He glanced at her and grinned suddenly. His grin lent him an appeal she hadn't expected. After all, he looked rough with the shadow on his cheek. His hair was close cut, giving him even a rougher appearance. And now that she looked, he was quite good looking, clean, and magnificently built.
"I'm sorry, maybe we should start all over. I’m Megan Cartwright." She extended her hand.
He took it after wiping his hands on his pants. "Joe Poole."
"Joe." She nodded. "Wish there was a water fountain, restroom and restaurant in here."
"Hungry?" He asked.
"Yeah, a little. I didn't have a chance to eat lunch today. You might know."
"You were busy, huh?" He stared at her. "I gotta a candy bar in here, want it?"
"Oh, I couldn't take your food. I mean, you may get hungry before they get us out of here."
"Okay, we'll share it," he said. He took the Hershey bar out of his shirt pocket. He broke it into squares and offered her some.
She stared at it a minute and then she reached for a piece. "I love Hershey's." She smiled.
"Me too. Guess we have something in common after all." He smiled.
His teeth were so white, she was amazed. Who would have thought a maintenance man would have white teeth? Or be built like an Adonis?
"Do you have a cat?" She asked out of the blue.
"A cat? No, I got a bird, been trying to teach it to talk. It's one of those cockatiel's."
"Oh yes, those are very pretty. So have you taught him to talk yet?" She asked out of boredom.
"No, not yet, but he can whistle. You know that tune from the Andy Griffith show?"
She laughed. "Your joking…"
"No, I'm not," he laughed. "I taught him to whistle."
"I guess you are better than me, I can't teach my cat to do anything but come eat." She put the chocolate in her mouth and savored it.
He chuckled.
"So, how long have you worked here?" She asked.
"Seven years. Took this job right after I got out of the service. This is my day time job. I got a night time job too, three days a week."
"Oh, what kind of job?"
"I'm a courier."
"Really. That's quite a contrast isn't it?"
"Yeah, it is."
"Well, I gotta hand it to you, you are industrious." She complimented him.
She bent her knee and took her shoes off.
"Better?" He asked.
"Yeah, much." She smiled, as she rubbed her foot. "I've wanted to chuck these shoes all day."
"Want some more candy?" He asked.
"No, if I eat too much I'll be thirsty and there's no water in here." She told him. "Surely they won't keep us waiting too long. I mean, there's no bathroom in here either."
"That's a thought, maybe they should install a water fountain and bathroom in here. For when this kind of thing happens. I figure they'll get around to us sometime around midnight." He told her.
"You are kidding?" She shook her head. "That long?"
"Well, they got a lot of work to do before they worry about elevators. But they'll be around." He promised her.
"I hope you are right." She wailed.
He leaned against the back wall and stared at her. "So, why don't you tell me about yourself. I mean I know you have a cat, and you are tired and you work for that Hitler of a boss upstairs, but what else is there?"
"How'd you know my boss is a Hitler?"
"Word gets around."
She shrugged. "Well, let's see. I was married a few years ago, it went sour. Now I'm divorced."
"How long ago were you divorced?" He asked.
"Five years ago."
"You must have married pretty young."
She nodded, "Too young. I'm afraid I was ill prepared. I couldn't cook, couldn't do a lot of things."
"Did you leave him, or he leave you?" He asked out of curiosity.
"He left me."
"Aw…a pretty lady like you. The devil!" He smiled.
"What about you, you married and got three kids or what?" She asked on a lighter note.
"None of the above. Never been married. Almost, once. But I didn't make enough money to keep her in diamonds and furs."
"Now that's sad."
"No actually, it was her influence that had me finding a second job. And since then, I've managed to save quite a bit of the money I've earned. With no expenses hardly."
"That's great." She stared at him. "But why don't you have expenses, everyone has expenses."
He made a face then looked at her. "I live with my mother." He stared now to watch her reaction to that statement. He knew instinctively what she might think.
"Oh?" Her head fell back and she nodded as though she understood him better now.
"There's no Oh to it. My mother is an invalid and can't take care of herself. Well, not fully anyway. So when I'm home, I help out. It's her house, I do pay the utilities for her. She owns the house. So we both get off pretty light."
She stared at him now. A man that takes care of his mother. She didn't think those kind of men existed any longer. She kept staring.
"What's wrong. I got something on backwards, wrong side out or what?"
"Nothing like that, I just didn't think men like you existed anymore."
"Men like me?"
"A man that helps his mother, it's rather noble."
The lights blinked, then went out.
She sat there for a second, then she called out to him. "Joe, are you there?"
He laughed, "Where would I go?"
"Good question. It's awfully dark in here."
"Yeah, come back here and lean against the wall, get close to me, so you don’t get scared. I won't hurt you. We need to take a nap or something. This could be a long night. And the more we're awake, the more we'll want all the comforts of home, like a bathroom."
"Oh yes, I guess you are right." She slid back and as she did so she put her hand on his.
He grabbed it and held it. "Just relax. At least you aren't stuck in here alone."
"That would be insane, wouldn't it?" She leaned her head against the hard cold steel of the wall. "I'm so tired." She murmured. "I'm actually a little clostrobic but I'm just too tired I guess to react."
"Me too, tell you what, let's sort of cuddle up to each other and try to get some rest. If we stay awake we'll just worry about how hungry, tired and thirsty we are. Come here," he encouraged her.
A little bashful, she moved toward the sound of his voice.
"That's a girl. Now, you lean on my shoulder and I'll lean on yours and we'll hold hands, so you know I'm here for you, okay."
"Your terribly kind." She murmured.
"I'm as tired as you honey, and it is going to be a long night." He told her.
"I guess you are right. There is certainly not much we can do about it, is there." she moved to lay her head on his shoulder. He laid his against hers and in no time they went to sleep. Despite it all, it was comforting knowing he was there.
But toward the middle of the night they shifted and suddenly he was cuddling her in his arms, and they were curled together on the floor, wrapped in each other's arms.
When she finally woke up she had no idea what time it was. She hadn't worn a watch in years, and she wasn't sure where her purse was now. But she realized that she was resting in his arms and as she moved herself, she came in contact with his chin and he woke up too.
Her lips accidently brushed his cheek.
The dim light told her she was in his arms, and she tried to move away, but his arms tightened around her.
"W-what, what's going on," He woke up.
She raised her head and suddenly they were staring at each other. One arm was curled around her waist and the other held him up at an angle from the floor. Still when they looked at each other everything seemed to blot out.
In one lithe movement, his lips were on hers, soft and warm and inviting. As for another brief moment, she totally forgot who she was with and why she was here. She just responded in kind to the inviting kiss he gave her.
When they pulled apart it was as though someone woke them.
"Sorry," he murmured at her ear. "It was just an instinctive reaction to a beautiful woman."
She stared into his face. "Yeah, I guess we both lost our bearings there." She seemed scattered.
"Sure was nice though. Haven't had that kind of good morning in a long time." He chuckled.