Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ask the Author: Publishing Timeline in 13 Steps @kayelleallen #author

The Last Vhalgenn 
People are often curious how long it takes a book to be published. I decided to jot down a few things that come into play during that time. I purposely left out time it takes to print, send, and wait for an acceptance letter (which can take a year or more). Because I write eBooks, that period is generally a matter of emailing the submission, and if I've worked with the publisher before, often two-three weeks or less for a response.

I now self publish, so my timeline has changed. I'll post about that another time. However, for the Last Vhalgenn, it took only days from the final edit to becoming available on Amazon.

For other aspects, this list may help put it in perspective.

  1. From germ of idea to concept: 6 weeks (average)
  2. Synopsis to first chapter: 7 days
  3. Book completed: 8 months (average)
  4. From the signing of the contract to the day of publication: 90 days.
  5. Pre-book promotion everywhere: 90 days
  6. Book release day excitement: off the scale.
  7. Contests, promos, chats, author days, etc.: everlasting
  8. Waiting for results of sales: 90 days (one quarter) plus 30 days for processing
  9. Hearing check is in the mail and waiting to receive it: eternity
  10. Getting the letter out of the mailbox and realizing this is the first royalty check: time stops
  11. Walking back to the house with the envelope in hand: one minute
  12. Showing it off to your spouse or partner: timeless
  13. Time it takes to spend: seconds
Care to add any steps I might have missed?
The Last Vhalgenn
Duty to king and country has shaped Raik's life since birth, but to protect them, she must perform a ritual that betrays all she holds sacred.
Kayelle Allen is a multi-published, award-winning author, and the founder of Marketing for Romance Writers. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary characters, futuristic immortals, covert agents, and warriors who purr.
Unstoppable Heroes Blog

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

May Day or Beltane by Cornelia Amiri

Sunny, floral scented days were a time of enchantment. Chiefly, the feast day of Beltane (pronounced Bell-teen or Bell-tawn) or the more modern May Day. Beltane meant Bell’s fire in honor of Belenus, the Celtic sun and healing god. Invoking Belenus’ blessings, nine men gathered nine pieces of wood from nine of the sacred trees, such as oak, elm, ash, birch, holly, rowan, apple, alder, maple, and hawthorn. The tribe piled more wood on top, building two huge bon-fires which were called the needs fire. Druids kindled the blazes with sacred incantations.
Each family extinguished the center fires in their round hut and in rapt silence relit them with a torch of the new, needs fire. The Celts also smudged their faces with ashes from the Bell’s fires. Further, they ritually drove their livestock between the needs fires. No small feat, for though cows and oxen are somewhat manageable, sheep can be difficult, and horses are more than skittish when goaded between blazing infernos. As the animals passed between the hot amber fire, Belenus purified them from all disease so they would fatten on the new grass, rather than grow sick from the cold, wet ground still under foot. Once the ceremony was finished, men and dogs drove the herds to summer pasture.

In baking bread or small cakes for Beltane, the Celts burned or marked one with ashes. In mock sacrifice, the person who drew the blackened cake had to jump over a small fire or in some celebrations perform the sword dance and in others they would walk across hot coals. 

A tree in the woods was chopped down for the maypole or a tribal tree was used each Beltane. Men and women grabbed the soft colored feminine ribbons tied around the masculine, phallic pole and danced in an intertwining fashion, symbolizing the union the of the god and the goddess, the hand fasting of sun to earth. To the music of fife, harp, and bagpipe, Celts sung ancient mating songs. Between leaping, twirling dances, they fasted on boiled boar and gulped cupfuls of ale and mead.
Along with fire, Druids held that water was powerful. The most potent appeared magically. So Celts collected the dew before dawn on Beltane. Those sprinkled with May dew were insured health, happiness, and lasting beauty.
May was the month of reawakening of the earth after a long, dormant winter. Picking wild flowers, basking in sunshine, dancing in the dew cover grass were some of the things to enjoy at Beltane.
It was also a romantic holiday. The May Queen led the Beltane procession with her ritual courtship of the Green Man. These symbolic marriages of the god and goddess, in the form of King and Queen of the May, were mirrored in human courtship. One of the most popular May Day traditions was to set a basket full of spring flowers or other small gifts at a neighbor’s house without them seeing you. If you got caught, they would chase, then kiss you. Courtships for the ancient Celts would often begin at Beltaine and the marriages would be held at Samhain (Sah-van), which in modern times we call Halloween. 

I hope you all have a Happy May Day next week.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Two New Book Contracts!

I’m happy to report that Boroughs Publishing has offered me contracts on two contemporary romances to release later in 2014; NATURALLY YOURS and HER IMMORTAL VIKING.

The first, NATURALLY YOURS, to release mid-2014, is a story about a paramedic and Iraq war veteran, Mickey Kendall, who is plagued by guilt over an incident in Baghdad. He dedicates his life at home to community rescue efforts because he believes he’s beyond redemption. When Mickey meets master chef Amanda Greer, she nourishes him with her unique culinary skills, and challenges him to face his demons and free himself from the binds of old wounds.

The second book, HER IMMORTAL VIKING, which releases late 2014, is an original contemporary fairy tale based on Norse Mythology. The story is about a celebrated Viking warrior who is deceived by his closest friend and cast into eternal servitude by an angry god. Gunnar is made immortal and is forced to live out his sentence in human servitude. When he meets Penelope Farnsworth in modern times, they fall in love and seek a way to free him.

Though all of my stories feature very different heroes, their commonality is their wounded hearts. The heroes in my books to date—a firefighter, cowboy, paramedic, and warrior have suffered tremendous loss emotionally and/or physically and must find the will to heal before committing to love. Once they have made the decision to fix what’s been broken, these men are fully able to love the strong, unique heroines who have come into their lives to love them in return.

My current hero, Treymont Woods, is a broken man in every sense of the word, and readers say they love him. KISSING HER COWBOY is an Amazon Top 100 Best-Selling Western and Short Romance. Many thanks to the readers and reviewers who have made this title a success. The story has received numerous 5 Star reviews that include kind, enthusiastic comments like these:

“Satisfying short stories are difficult to craft. I’m in awe of Adele’s ability to take what would otherwise be a little story and breathe life into it far beyond its length.” 5 Stars! ~Amazon Reviewer

“Romantic without being mushy, sensual without being graphic. Downs skillfully balances the pasts of both hero and heroine, making both believable." 5 Stars! ~Amazon Reviewer

“You can’t go wrong with Adele Downs.”5 Stars! ~Will Work for Books

I hope you, too, will give my books a try.

EARTH DAY SPECIAL!!!!! All Romance Ebooks is offering KISSING HER COWBOY for the unbelievable special price of .49 TODAY ONLY!!! Here's the link: 

Visit Adele Downs at

Like Adele Downs on Facebook!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Big News from Renee Vincent:

So much is happening in my little world...

First off, my EMERALD ISLE TRILOGY Boxed Set is STILL an Amazon #1 bestseller for Viking Romance since its release a month ago and I want to thank each and every one of you for making this possible. I love my loyal fans and their support, and I hope you know how much it means for me to land on a bestseller list. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Secondly, I've totally remodeled my romance blog, DEEP IN THE HEART ROMANCE! I know, I know....I do this all the time. Heck, I even do it at home. My husband says it's a good thing he's not blind -- as many times as I move things around, he'd be hospitalized with head injuries from tripping over re-arranged furniture all the time. But I digress...

With a fresh, new look and more advertising options, I'm getting back into promoting my fellow authors and I hope you'll stop by for a visit. Let me know what you think of it!

And lastly, I apologize for being incognito but I've been in the editing/formatting cave for several weeks with the release of book 2 and 3 of the Jamett & Joseph Series fast approaching. The whole series just got brand new covers (*squee* I made them myself!) and I'm so excited for you to read them! Here are the blurbs:

Jamett & Joseph Series, book 1

Available now:
Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Smashwords | Kobo

Who knew Mr. Right lived right next door?

Jamie Sutherland, coffee shop owner and serial ruined-relationship survivor, moves into a beautiful loft apartment for a change of scenery. What she doesn’t plan on getting is an eye-full of her handsome next-door neighbor—in nothing but a towel—arguing with his significant other in the hallway.

Joseph Scarbrough's world crashes down on him one cruel morning when his childhood sweetheart rips his heart out of his chest and walks away. His humiliation isn't complete until he turns around to pick up the pieces and sees a beautiful brunette who just witnessed his Dear John moment. 

Caught in an awkward situation, the two backpedal into their separate worlds. But fate seems determined to make their worlds collide on a regular basis. Is it destiny just being clumsy when it comes to the two unlikely neighbors or is it the start of something good?

Jamett & Joseph Series, book 2

Release date: April 28, 2014

The road less traveled never had so many bumps.

Jamie Sutherland never expects to connect with her sexy-as-sin neighbor, Joseph Scarbrough, especially after all the failed relationships she’s suffered. Not only does she find out he’s not quite “the player” she believed him to be, but that his heart bears scars much deeper than her own. Ready to take a chance on this unlikely match, she eagerly awaits their upcoming date and hopes that Joseph is the very companion she’s been waiting for all her life.

Time and time again, the comical sporadic encounters resume in their loft apartment complex and Joseph eventually reveals that he is the building superintendent in a very unforgettable, Lucky-in-the-Diet-Coke-commercial fashion.

While he's proficient in fixing Jamie’s clogged sink, he's not all that great at leaving his past behind. When Caroline, his yuppy ex-girlfriend, makes another surprise visit, Jamie's road to something better gets a little rocky.

Will Joseph choose the familiar woman with whom he had a history, or the loyal friend who's given him a future?

Jamett & Joseph Series, book 3

Release date: May 5, 2014

When those three little words aren't enough.

Jamie Sutherland finds herself falling in love with her irresistible next-door neighbor, Joseph Scarbrough. No surprise there. But when she wakes up in his bed, she's stunned that even in her sleep, she can't resist him.

As their relationship heats up, Joseph gives Jamie a key to his apartment and he finally gives Caroline, his relentless ex-girlfriend, the boot. Jamie's excited to think he just might bethe one.

But how do you tell the man of your dreams you love him when he insists that he can't fall in love?

Author Bio:
RENEE VINCENT is a bestselling Contemporary & Historical Romance Author. From the daunting, charismatic Vikings, to the charming, brazen Alpha male heroes of modern day, you’ll be whisked away to a world filled with fast-paced adventure, unforgettable romance, and undying love.

She also writes lighthearted, fancy-free Chick Lit Romance as GRACIE LEE ROSE. For those who love to read fun, wholesome, and endearing romantic stories (with a smidgen of spunk.)

Author Links:

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Quick and Dirty

You probably don’t know me, but I’m a hopeless romantic. On paper anyhow.  

I don’t remember exactly when or where—it was on Facebook or Twitter—I saw a submissions call for Decadent Publishing’s Edge series. I was intrigued enough by the concept of short erotic stories (that do not require a romantic element) that I saved the web page on my favorites. Reading the guidelines often, I let my imagination go to places I’d never gone before, to situations I’d never considered. Dirty places. Naughty situations. I knew a storyline would eventually come to me—or not. That happens sometimes. 

Here’s the thing. I don’t require my heroes and heroines to get married, engaged or even move in together at the end of my stories, especially my shorter reads. I usually expect some sort of promise for more though. A commitment. A declaration of (gulp) love. A date. Something. The prospect of not demanding that happily-ever-after or happily-for-now scenario of my characters was one part liberating and one part terrifying. 

What if readers thought my heroine was a filthy whore who wants a mysterious stranger to jack her up against a wall in a dark alley and give it to her quick and dirty? Would that be so bad? Women have needs that must be met and itches that demand a long, hard scratch that leave her sore and raw the next day.  

Despite my romantic inclinations in my writing (not so much in my personal life), I imagined a story, wrote it and submitted it. Rub Me the Right Way is a thrill ride on the wild side with a twist I hope you don’t see coming. Check out the blurb and excerpt and let me know what you think. Do you need a HEA ending in order to be satisfied?

Heather Bowen is an uptight, stressed out insomniac in desperate need of a massage or a shrink or an orgasm to cure what ails her.   
On doctor’s orders, she starts with a massage to work out her knotty/naughty kinks. At the hands of a talented massage therapist, Heather gets a full body rub down. And more. Next stop—a psychiatrist to get at the root of her anxiety and sleeplessness. But is she ready for Dr. Simon’s controversial treatment? 
What begins as prescribed therapy becomes a wild fantasy ride of erotic discovery that makes Heather question her sexual orientation along with everything she believed about her carnal desires.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Three is the Magic Number

I feel like I'm in a three-ring circus with my muse as the ringmaster. She wants me to go one way but deadlines have me focusing on something else. So she's whispering in my ear, tempting me with what's to come as soon as I finish my obligations.

If I can manage it, I plan to deliver a hat trick to my editor -- three manuscripts all at once... or at least one right after the other in rapid succession. One of which is the third installment to the Daily Grind Series, which is due this month. Two of the manuscripts are close to being finished, which is how I'll pull it off. Well that and locking myself in my office for the rest of the month.

The only interruption will be promoting the start of my new trilogy with Ellora's Cave -- High Relief. The first book is Pliable Inhibitions (Paranormal Erotica) and will be out this Friday (25 April). The series revolves around three coins with magical properties that allow the bearer to live out sexual fantasies without getting caught. In Pliable Inhibitions, Lucas uses the coin to hypnotize his wife so she gets over her hangups about her weight and enjoys life's pleasures.

And the threes aren't finished with me yet. The third title in the Guardian's Tales Series is due out at Changeling Press 15 May -- On the Trail (Shifter Romance). Kaiser, the dog-shifter who was introduced in On a Whim, makes an appearance in his own story where he has to help Tracy track down a stalker who seems able to come and go from her house as he pleases without setting off her alarm.

It's a good thing it's April. If all the this three madness had happened in March, I might think the threes were after me. This kind of synchronicity doesn't happen everyday so I won't complain too much. It's actually kind of interesting now that I see it written down.

Pliable Inhibitions by Zenobia Renquist
Pliable Inhibitions
(High Relief 1)
by Zenobia Renquist

A hypnotic coin, a sure bet, and a woman willing to succumb.

Emily's negative body image is killing her marriage. She doesn't believe her husband Lucas when he says she's desirable, especially since their sex life is nonexistent.

Lucas has a radical solution to their problems—hypnosis. Emily was wild in her college days and he's convinced she can be wild again with a little help from a so-called magic coin. While college was a lifetime and several dress sizes ago, she's willing to play along. She'll experiment with friends, neighbors, coworkers and whoever else Lucas chooses if it means renewing their wedded bliss.

She knows the coin is a fraud and hypnosis isn't real…but what Emily knows and what really happens when Lucas uses the magic coin are two totally different things. And what happens is sex so mind-blowing neither Lucas nor Emily will ever be the same.

Inside Scoop: This title contains lesbian and ménage (m/f/m and f/f/m) sex scenes so steamy they'll leave you gasping for air.

Coming 25 April (Fri)
Ellora's Cave: Exotika

Friday, April 18, 2014

Gone South

Yep...that's me.  I had carpal tunnel surgery on my right and dominant hand March 31 which means I'm a one armed bandit. My left one was done in December and taking the brunt of the workload making it also start hurting again. This also means doing any typing is with one hand. That's why this post is short and why I haven't been around social media much.

I'm with Lexi Post right now, mending/healing/relaxing. The cool thing about that is she lives in St. Croix. Sun and salt water are amazing healers.

So I'll catch you all in a month when, hopefully, the hand is better.

You can find me at:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Escaping into a Book

Hi, I'm Lisa Carlisle back for my second month here at Sweet and Sexy Divas. Has it already been a month? Wow,the time really flies when you have a new release. You're so busy spreading the word that it leaves little time to write. Boo. But I'm happy to say I'm settled into writing again,working on the sequel to Dark Velvet.

When I write, I truly slip away into the world of my stories. If I'm writing in third person, at some point I will slip up and start writing in third as I'm picturing the scene unfold through my characters eyes. And that's one of the things I love about writing and reading -- the ability to escape into another world. Because let's face it, there's enough bad news in the world around us. I sometimes shed tears reading the newspaper, just yesterday with the stories from the Boston Marathon survivors. Who doesn't want to escape into a story now and then to get a mental break from the daily world? 

Now it's time for me to go back into the world I'll be in for the time being while I work on Dark Muse, the art colony set in a medieval-style castle on a remote New England. I'll be there in my mind, at least. ;)

Here's more about the first part of the series. 

Dark Velvet

Lisa Carlisle

Chateau Seductions series

Grad student Savannah Evans is thrilled to be accepted as a resident to a prestigious art colony. Where else would she be able to focus on her craft of writing poetry in a setting like that of the medieval-styled castle? The remote New England island is a respite from her hectic city life. When she meets her benefactor, a mysterious French sculptor, her expectations for carefree days writing near the ocean are distracted by unprofessional fantasies about her sponsor.
Antoine Chevalier built Les Beaux Arts on DeRoche Island to bring purpose back to an existence that has lost meaning. He’s wandered the earth for decades and finds solace in returning to art. When Savannah applies for a residency, something about her words touches him. After her arrival, a physical attraction grows between them, which he struggles against. She deserves more than someone of his kind.
Antoine proposes they become lovers during her stay. But the situation turns complicated when Savannah discovers his secret. She had suspicions about his identity, but finds the truth overwhelming. Consumed by her desire for Antoine and faced with a tough decision, she is blind to the danger that has arrived at DeRoche Island.
New adult / paranormal / erotic romance

For an excerpt and more, visit

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Why InterRacial Romances?


     People are often surprised at my vehemence about allowing anyone who wants to, to immigrate to the US. We're a nation of immigrants and that's our strength. Each new wave of folks brings their customs and traditions, and eventually they're assimilated into the melting pot that's the US, and we're the richer for it. Who doesn't love poonchies, those Polish donuts for Fat Tuesday? Or Asian stir-fry food? When I was growing up ketchup was the favorite condiment; now it's salsa, and might I add, a much yummier choice! We all wear green on St. Pat's day, eat pizza and spaghetti regularly, and everyone under the age of 30 listens to rap music, a testament to the Black experience in the inner cities. Note: many older folks like me prefer the blues or jazz, both of which also sprang from the Black experience here.
Hispanic-Native Am./White

Our future lies in not closing our borders.  As an example, if that had happened years ago I wouldn't be here. Mom's parents were both immigrants (from Poland), as was my Dad (from Scotland.) Go back 2 generations and there's no sign of me here. Yet I'm proud to be an American. I think everyone who wants to should be allowed to join the grand experiment of a fairly young country (worldwide-speaking) that is made up of people from all over the world. Yes, it's hard to keep in mind that we have to respect each others' traditions-- that there's no one right way to live. Freedom means freedom for all of us, not just those like us.

I taught my kids to feel comfortable with having friends and neighbors who are totally different: who speak another language, eat different foods, and have different customs. I'll watch their house when they go on vacation, and they'll do the same for me. Their freedom ends when they walk into my yard and tell me I have to live like them. So does mine...and that's the part most often forgotten.

 Full-breed dogs are always weaker, with health problems endemic to their breed.    Mutts are the healthiest critters around, since they combine different gene pools to make a new whole. People are the same way. Most of my romances are inter-racial for that reason. Just because our ancestors walked in different directions and evolved protective coloring to live in areas separated by great distances, doesn't mean we aren't all one people. And I consider Native American, Hispanic, Russian, Irish, etc. as all being different races. Having a similar skin color does not mean people share the same traditions. But love knows no colors.
Native American/White

Final note: I read a joke recently. A man is standing behind a woman in a grocery store line and she's on the phone speaking a different language. He waits until she's done then rudely tells her, "We're in America, you know. You need to speak English."
"Pardon me?" she replies in confusion.
"If you want to speak Mexican, go back to Mexico. This is America and we speak English."
Blue Alien/Chinese
She regards him gravely, "I was speaking Navajo. If you want to speak English go back to England."

To find my interracial romances, click on any cover above for the publisher's listing.
Or for reviews and sample chapters, head to my website:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Catch Your Own Courageous Ride

A Courageous Ride is the third in the Bull Rider Series.  The others are A Wild Ride and A Daring Ride.  I really love these stores.  First who doesn't love a cowboy and especially in this story, one who has been down on his luck and is trying desperately to somehow pick himself up.  I also love putting two disparate characters together with very different backgrounds and interests and seeing what happens. This story has both.  I hope you enjoy the excerpt. 

Aspiring orchestra conductor Marshall is exhausted after months of auditions without a single job offer. Marshall’s friend, Terry, recommends a change of scenery and points Marshall in the direction of a dude ranch run by former bull rider Indigo Santana. Marshall is understandably skeptical, but his friend is convincing, and Marshall needs a break, so he agrees to go.

Indigo captures Marshall’s attention but leaves him confused. Indigo’s confidence is shot after an injury ended his rodeo career, and he walks with a slight limp. He hasn’t been anywhere near a bull since he was hurt, and he’s not the most accommodating host. After all, the only reason he keeps guests is because his family ranch is all but bankrupt.

Marshall’s attraction doesn’t go unanswered, which leaves him with a huge dilemma. He’s torn between the possibility of love, something he’s searched for all his life, and the career he’s worked toward for as long as he can remember, which is miles away. From his side of the fence, Indigo doesn’t see how the ranch could ever be enough.

Purchase from Dreamspinnner Press:

After paying his bill, Marshall left the restaurant and went for a short walk. His phone beeped, letting him know he had a message. He pulled it out and saw a message from Terry, asking him to call. Marshall messaged him back and was about to call when his phone rang.

“I have to get ready for surgery in ten minutes, but I might have a solution for you. How about a vacation?”

“I was just thinking about that,” Marshall said with a smile.

“Excellent. Phillip, one of my rodeo buddies, has a friend who’s just opened a ranch for tourists.”

“A dude ranch? You have to be kidding.”

“Why not? It’s about an hour outside Houston, and Phillip says there’s some rodeo folks in the area. The owner’s name is Indigo Santana. He was a bull rider a few years ago. I saw him ride once. According to Phillip, he inherited the family ranch and is opening it to guests. It should be a lot of fun, with no pressure. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want, but it’ll be quiet and it will give you a chance to think about what you want to do. You also won’t have to go home to face your folks, at least until you hear if you got the job or not.” That did sound appealing.

“My idea of a vacation is an all-inclusive resort with pool boys, fruity drinks with umbrellas, and all the sun I can soak in,” Marshall said. “A ranch is hardly my idea of fun.” He didn’t share Terry’s fascination for all things rodeo.

Terry sighed, and Marshall thought he heard a door close in the background. “I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but according to Phillip, there are few things better-looking than tight cowboy butts in tight jeans and chaps.” He could almost see Terry shuddering. “Now, you are forbidden from telling anyone I ever said that, and if you do, I’ll say you were drunk and don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Okay, I get the point.” The image that flashed through his mind was most definitely intriguing.

“Good. I’ll e-mail you the details, and you can call the ranch. They’re just starting out, so they have plenty of room and should be able to accommodate you for as long as you want to stay. Phillip said they usually book by the week, but they’ll be flexible.” Terry paused. “Go have some fun with the cowboys.”

“Straight cowboys,” Marshall grumbled.

“I wouldn’t be so sure of that. Phillip said Dante Rivers lives in the area. He was a champion bull rider and is gay. It doesn’t mean anyone there will be gay, but you’re there to de-stress and have a good time, not hook up with everything that moves.”

“Look who’s talking—the playboy heart surgeon,” Marshall countered. “Fine, I’ll call and see what they have to say, but I’m not making any promises.”

“I gotta go, but I’ll text the number in a second.” Terry hung up, and true to his word, a text came through with a phone number and a message less than a minute later: This will do you good. Think of the view. LOL. Marshall rolled his eyes and shoved his phone back into his pocket. He walked back to the hotel, trying to decide if he wanted to do this or not, and he was definitely leaning toward not. His phone rang again and he pulled it out and answered the call.

“Terry,” he said with a smile.

“Excuse me,” He sighed when he heard the voice on the other end.. He should have looked at the display.

“Hi, Mom,” Marshall said.

“How did the performance go last night?”

“Very well. The two halves of the program were really different, but I managed to tie them together and make them work. I just don’t know if that’s what the board wanted. They’ll let me know in a few weeks if I’ve got the job.”

“Well, if you don’t, you can always come work with your father. You know he’ll always bring you into the firm.” That was their answer for everything.

“That isn’t what I want, Mom,” Marshall said. “I hate the thought of that kind of work. It’s dull and uninteresting. I know Dad loves it, but I can’t stand the thought of it. If I come back to New York, it will be to take up a position there with one of the musical groups, not Wall Street.”

“But you are coming back, aren’t you? And when you’re here, just go in to work with your father one day and give it a try. You’ll eventually inherit the firm, you know.” The thought was enough to give Marshall a migraine. “Someone will have to lead it.”

Suddenly the thought of spending a few weeks on a dude ranch sounded like an appealing proposition. “I’ve decided to take a few weeks’ vacation. I’ve been very tired and I need some time to myself.”

“You can rest while you’re here.” Yeah, rest combined with pressure to do what they want, and guilt piled on every time I say no.

“No, Mom. I don’t think so. Going to New York is not what I think I need right now.”

He knew she was disappointed. His parents were good people, and they wanted the best for him. Unfortunately, what they thought was best was different from his own vision, and Marshall wanted to make his own way, at least partially. Marshall had enough money of his own that he didn’t have to work. His grandfather had founded the brokerage firm his father now ran and owned. He’d also set up Marshall, as well as his cousins, with generous trust funds, so Marshall didn’t need to work for a living. He wanted this job because it was what he truly wanted to do, what got deep down into his soul and moved him. The money was secondary, although it would be nice to earn money for himself rather than requesting funds from his trustee whenever he wanted cash, especially since his trustee was his father. But not for long. Next year he came of age at twenty-seven, as far as the trust was concerned.

“Mom, I’m not staying away forever. It’s just a few weeks of rest and relaxation. I’ll call you when I can, and you have nothing to worry about. I promise.” They talked for a few minutes more and then hung up. Marshall walked the rest of the way back to the hotel. It was a beautiful day, warm and sunny, and he found he was now in a great mood. When he got back to his room, he pulled out his phone and made a call to the ranch.

“Yeah,” the man said who answered the phone.

“Uh, yes. I was given this number as that of a dude ranch. I’m interested in spending some time and was curious about your availability. I got the number through a friend of a friend. Phillip.” He hoped he had the right number.

“This is the Circle R, and, yeah, you got the right place. Hang on a minute.” The phone was set down and Marshall waited. He wasn’t sure what kind of place this was, given the initial reception. But he waited for a few minutes.

“Hello. You wish to stay with us?” said a man with a deep, rich voice.

“Yes. I was wondering if you have any vacancies. I’d like to spend, say, a week at your ranch.” Who knew? Marshall figured he could always stay longer if he liked it, and if he didn’t, he could leave and go back to New York.

A deep laugh followed. “Of course. I’m Indigo. We’ve just begun accepting guests. But we should be able to accommodate you. When did you want to arrive?” A smooth Texas accent, combined with a smooth, almost musically rich voice, had Marshall’s heart pumping for a second. Then he shook his head to return his attention where it belonged.

“Tomorrow, if that’s okay.” Marshall’s answer was met with a pause.

“That will be fine. I’ll put you in the book. I’m assuming you need directions?”

“Just the address. I can use GPS to get there.” Indigo laughed. “I take it there’s a problem.” Now Marshall was worried.

“GPS doesn’t seem to work very well where we are. We’re off the beaten path, and the GPS programs haven’t done a good job figuring out where we are. Have you got a piece of paper? I’ll give you directions you can use that won’t get you lost.” Marshall reached for his folder and found a sheet of paper. He wrote down the directions as well as the other information he needed to know. He gave Indigo his information as well. Then Indigo said, “We’ll see you late tomorrow morning. If you get here in time, you’re welcome to join us for lunch.”

“Thank you, I’ll see you then.” They ended the call, and Marshall smiled. He found he was looking forward to getting away. Maybe this wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Fall in love with Mail Order Nanny

Mail Order Bride
( An Old Fashioned Romance)


She moved away from him toward the railing on the porch. It was a clear evening and the stars were twinkling above. "You have a beautiful place." Kasie said "…you and your brother built it yourself."
"Yes, we did. We sort of began on both as soon as we settled in with a wife.  No better present for a wife than a beautiful home."
"Oh that's nice. And you are right, a home is very important to a woman. But yours….and his…are showplaces. Like something you see in a magazine. It is a pure pleasure to clean your home."
Tanka stared at her, soaking her words up, storing them somewhere while he tried to concentrate on ways to be rid of this beautiful creature before him, beautiful in a different way from Gina. Gina was dark haired and eyed, and full of life and mischief, whereas Annie was light and her innocence attracted him no end. Gina never seemed innocent. The word for Gina was exciting, exhilarating, fun. But what words could he identify Annie with, smart, honest, wholesome, and innocent. He certainly didn't like the fact that he was attracted to her, but he was. He'd have never guessed he would even notice a little blonde with a Dutch haircut and girl-next-door attitude. He'd have to play it smart; he couldn't afford to let his libido take over. Just because she was the nicest lady he'd met since Santa Clause did not mean he had to fall in love with her. Besides, he had had the best already, Gina.
"You're doing a great job with the girls, and they really like you Annie." He said with a sigh that was heavier than he intended.
"Well thank you, I didn't expect to win your favor so soon" Annie chuckled.
He stared at her with amusement. "My favor…why is that?"
"Mr. Amory." She turned to look at him, and then she quickly turned away. "I'm aware that you did not want me here. You've made that abundantly clear. Even if I hadn't known before I got here, I would have very soon. I am sorry that it was a total shock to you. That having a female, any female in your home, other than your wife is sacrilegious to you. I'm not a fool. But…on the other hand, I am good at my job and I know it. I have all the confidence in the world that I can do a lot of good here, if I'm permitted. So the compliment is appreciated. I love your girls, they are easy to love. Well mannered, obedient, and sweet as candy. However, don't play me. I know how you feel. And I don't blame you a bit. Had I had a relationship like you did, I might feel the exact same way. But please…understand, I aim to do a good job. I'm not here to steal your children away. I'm not here to take the place of a dead wife. I'm here to do a job. I aim to do it well. And we can help each other, once we quit battling to stay out of each other's way.
"You are a handsome devil and you know it. Your wife was gorgeous beyond belief. I've seen the pictures. Still…your wife is gone, Mr. Amory. She can't take care of the girls any longer, except to watch over them, which I'm sure she's doing right now. I am here, mainly because they invited me to do a job that I thought might help all of us. I lost something precious to me too, Mr. Amory. I lost a mother I adored. I was very close to her. I took care of her in her last days. And I miss her still, every day, as though she were still here. So I know what you feel in your heart for your wife. I'm no stranger to loneliness either. I'm healing myself.
"I came here and almost the moment I stepped into your home, fell in love with it. Who wouldn't, it's beautiful. The girls are beautiful too. And they want me here, they need me. I can feel their needs. Katie is on the brink of becoming a woman; she is going to need a woman's touch. And since you seem dedicated to living with your wife's ghost, what's the harm in me helping her. You aren't going to remarry anyway. You can't turn lose of the dead. So I'm no threat to you in any way. Don't you see that…?"
Her words stunned him into immobility. God help him, and she was smart too.
He hadn't expected her to have so much grit. The girl-next-door was not a simple case study. He hadn't counted on her common sense. Every word of it was the truth, and he felt a growing rage with every word she spoke, and yet, the truth was hard to face and she'd slapped him with it. Living with the dead? Was that what he'd been doing?
He turned away from her for a moment, shocked that her words hurt so deeply. How could someone he barely knew see the truth so easily and have the audacity to say it.
She stood rock still and was about to go back inside when he whirled her around to face him. Anger and something else drove him, as he brought her near him. He could smell the faint scent of some flower on her. His eyes went over her combing her. Her nearness affected him more than he wanted to admit. But the rage boiling inside him was hot and passionate, "What about you, Miss Annie. Aren't you using your mother as a barrier for not finding yourself a man. You are as afraid of living as I am of giving up the dead. You hide in someone else's house, with someone else's kids and are too afraid to reach out and take what could be yours. So perhaps we are two peas in a pod. Stuck in a rut… So maybe this will wake you up…" He gasped and before thinking, he acted. His lips came down on hers with the intention of punishing hers, but as they met, warmth so enveloping surrounded them that he pulled her into his arms and kissed her with such tender passion she swooned in his arms. He meant to assuage the hurt she inflicted, but it was forgotten when her lips melted against his own, and her arms grasped his.
When he finally turned her loose, she gasped for air.
Her face flushed and her eyes flashed. "Why did…you do …that?"
"Get in the house," he directed breathlessly. "Now!"
She stared at his angry face, and  then ran into the darkness of the house.

Rita Hestand