Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year -- Regency style!

For two years now, I’ve inhabited this space on the 31st day of those months that have such a date. Actually, I think I messed up a couple of times and intruded into the 30th, but it wasn’t intentional, really.

I’ve really enjoyed doing this, and hope to continue for a while, yet, as long as Tina lets me do it. I decided early on to write about Regency era novels and novellas, as it’s the genre that’s closest to my heart.

In 1988 when I wrote my first Regency novel, there were 10 publishers in New York City, who between them issued about 25 Regency novels each month.  Of course, it’s such a selective genre, it could never pull in the sales figures of the more mainstream works, and it was only to be expected that the bean-counters, on their way to running the world their way, would arbitrarily decide that Regencies were a dying breed, so ‘get rid of them!’

Except they were wrong. Regencies are not dead. They’re rather a long ways from it, in my opinion. The bean-counters didn’t reckon on Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, who has practically single-handedly revived the genre. Sourcebooks has an entire division/imprint devoted to books about Mr. Darcy, in every imaginable fashion! Not just him, but his sister, and his wife, and his wife’s sisters, and their cousins, and well, you get the picture. Some of them are sort of a stretch, but I, for one, am not complaining.

The more of these books there are out there, the more readers will eventually find them, and an entire new generation of Regency lovers will spring up – and all these readers need books to read!

Aren’t we lucky? Personally, I’m thankful that Ellora’s Cave keeps the Cotillion line going. They would publish more full-length novels if there were more acceptable submissions. But, even so, there will still be another Christmas collection in 2014. If, that is, enough Regency-set Christmas novellas are forthcoming. The theme this year is A Christmas Feast. With all the possible goodies for the occasion, let’s hope for enough really good stories to expand to THREE print anthologies, in addition to all the individual e-books!

I’m sure going to try – how about you? Here are the guidelines for Cotillion Christmas Feasts - 2014

Sweet (kisses only) Christmas-theme traditional Regency romances for our Blush imprint. Regency
Christmas feasts (such as food, holiday meals or gatherings, special holiday meal customs) must be a
theme in all stories
~ Length: 12K – 25K words
~ Deadline for both internal/external submissions: May 15, 2014 (earlier is preferred)
~ Particular dedication to historical accuracy
~ Cotillion guidelines: 1 flame; set in Regency-era England; focus on the social setting/mores of the time
~ Stories release in October and November 2014.

See you next month! And have a great 2014. I’m surely going to try! 

Hetty St. James  
A Regency Christmas Collection - now available in regular or large print

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sabrina York Year End Contests are Closing! Chances to Win Abound!

Do you love a chance to win something fun? Deadlines are approaching for my current giveaways and I just wanted to give you a nudge to enter!

I have a monthly tiara drawing for my newsletter subscribers (http://sabrinayork.com/sabrinas-contest-and-newsletter/), but I offer other chances to win. For example, right now I am running a favorite quote contest to encourage my loyal readers to share their favorite quotes from my books. The prize is a tiara. http://sabrinayork.com/win-a-tiara-in-sabrinas-favorite-quote-contest/. (Deadline December 30) All winners are random.

I am also featuring a mega Romanticon Swag giveaway featuring a tiara, signed books by some of my author buddies and exclusive Romanticon Swag you can only get if you attend the con. Check out the full list of prizes (waaay too many to list here!) http://sabrinayork.com/win-sabrinas-romanticon-2013-fantasy-basket/ (Deadline December 30)

I also do lots of events with bloggers and hoppers. Right now I am doing a scavenger hunt with Night Owl Reviews where you can win an exclusive Tryst Island One Night Stand Basket as well as LOADS of other prizes from other amazing authors.  (http://www.nightowlreviews.com/V5/Pages/Articles/winter-Wonderland-2013) (Deadline January 15)

Good luck! 

What People Are Saying About MAKING OVER MARIS, Sabrina’s Most Recent Release:

I found Jack utterly freaking adorable and I wanted to crawl into my Kindle and just kiss him all over.S&M’s Book Obsessions

“Sabrina York has done it again! And I think this is her best book yet! "Henry Higgens" with a flogger...Pansy Petal

“Ms York exceeds my expectations in this sweet erotic romance. She ran with it in a manner that is better than I could have imagined. This is my favorite book of hers…” The Romance Reviews

Making Over Maris 

About Sabrina York
Her Royal Hotness, Sabrina York, writes naked erotic fiction for fans who like it hot, hard and balls-to-the-wall, and erotic romance and fantasy for readers who prefer a slow burn to passion.

An award winning author of hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers, her titles range from sweet & sexy erotic romance to BDSM to erotic horror. Connect with her on twitter @sabrina_york, on Facebook or on Pintrest. Check out Sabrina’s books and read an excerpt on Amazon or wherever e-books are sold. Visit her webpage at www.sabrinayork.com to check out her books, excerpts and contests. Download Sabrina’s Free Teaser Book: http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/ Don’t forget to enter to win the royal tiara!

Like my Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/SabrinaYorkBooks
Follow me on Twitter @sabrina_york
Check out my Pintrest boards: http://www.pinterest.com/sabrinayork/boards/
Check out my Barnes & Noble Author page: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/sabrina-york

Books by Sabrina York
Dark Duke (Erotic Regency, Ellora’s Cave) —Coming soon
Brigand (Erotic Regency, Ellora’s Cave) —Coming soon

Friday, December 27, 2013

Santa, Baby: I want people to get some humility, manners and oh, yeah, read a book to get perspective!

This year, I was tempted to go sit on Santa's knee. I was at the Mall, saw the line, had the urge to push those kids aside and declare what I want.
I am too old for that, some would say. But I was sorely tempted. After all, I know no child who ever approached the bearded guy with anything other than trepidation. I have none. He would value that. Men do, we writers of erotic romance understand that.
Why would I make a spectacle of myself and sit on Santa's knee? Would I tell him I write erotica? No, no. Not where I go with this. It would be because I WANT things for Christmas.

1. All those folks out there in la-la land who think that connecting with the Yin-Yang of the world comes from constantly looking at themselves (NAVELS, anyone?) lack perspective.

Dare I add, they need a little humility.
If one more person tells me they are due a reward for being good this year, I will smack them.
You get what you give.
No give to others, no get anything in return.
And here, I am not talking about giving away money. I speak only of giving  talents and time to those less fortunate.
Rescue a homeless dog or cat.
Work at a soup kitchen for a day.
And no, donating your old jeans to Good Will does not qualify.

2. I want people to learn that compromise is not a dirty word.

I'm tired of being bullied by my opposite political persuasion. Yes, I'd love to have time with my loved ones over the holidays without a diatribe about:
  • Santa Claus's race
  • healthcare
  • Iran vis a vis Israel
  • tax rates.
Even a local money management firm here in San Antonio runs political ads of the Wild Eyed Crazy type on their electronic billboard next to lines like: Merry Christmas! Good Will Toward Men. My response is: well, brother, what have you done to foster good will toward men lately?

Truth is: If I ran my decades' old marriage the way the two political parties in this country have NOT run this country and taught the rest of us to:

a) interrupt each other when we talk,
b) disparage anything the other says that is opposite theirs,
c) demand they get their way all the freaking time, I would not be married…or in love with ANYone.

And then we could move on to other great discussions to include items that disparage the divorce rate, lagging birth rate and the failing educational system which cannot teach a child to tolerate any other because they have no role models!

3. I want more people to read a damn book.

Do you know that since approximately the mid-1980s, the average college graduate in the USA reads one book a year. 
Fiction. Non. Who cares? Right. No one.
No. One. Cares. To. Educate. Themselves.
Are we all so busy playing video games? Texting? Buying stuff like shea butter and yoga toes sox, and Williams Sonoma peppermint bark mix?
That's what we do with our time.
And we are the educated ones.
Recently, another study told us that people who read fiction, have more compassion for others. They can identify with others' challenges. I say to them, BRING IT ON.
I want to clone you.
We need more readers in this country and God knows, we need more compassion.
One of every 5 children goes to bed hungry in this country. One out of 5.
Think about that.  Every fifth child you see on the sidewalk…or standing in line for Santa.
Pitiful. And yet, I do hear from people who have a college education and should know better, that this is the children's families' fault that they cannot eat well. REALLY? These children do not eat well because their parents have no money to put a decent meal on the table. They work 2-4 jobs and still can't make ends meet. They have to TRAVEL miles to get to a large grocery store and traveling costs bus money, at the very least.
Of the roughly 250,000 in San Antonio who earn below the poverty line, 180,000 of them work. They are not free-loaders.
Let's get more intelligent about how we airbrush the less fortunate in this country. Airbrushing is for women's magazines, not public policy.

4. And speaking of women's magazines, I want Santa to FIRE all those editors who publish stories which begin with: How To Get Your Man To…

THIS is what I fought for when I told my corporate boss I would not take that big promotion unless he also gave me the salary my male predecessor earned?

THIS is what I need my own daughter to read when I have a wonderful proliferation of women's fiction, romance novels and yes, erotica for women to choose from which will hopefully educate them and inspire them to grow a pair of cojones in dealing with men????

Women's magazines that purport to tell a woman how to capture The Elusive Male are so full of 1950s delusions. Where is Betty Friedan when you need her?

This stuff went out with girdles.

But wait! Now we have Spanx. 

Can we girls never get our $hit together???

5. Finally, I do want a good gin and tonic. I need a double.

Furthermore, when you come to my house this year for our wine tasting, please do not bring that $5 bottle. That is an insult. (Remember, I'm serving great nibbles…cuz I am honoring our friendship. Reciprocate.)

Fine taste and good manners are still appreciated. And I want more people to think twice about how to honor their friends. 

Humility. Charity. Integrity. Good manners.

All I wanted for Christmas.

Give it to me. All Year Long!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

What's YOUR Five-Year Plan?

Hope you had a very merry Christmas!

Now that Santa has made his rounds and we're still gorging on leftovers and goodies from the day before, it's time to start thinking about the brand new year to come…in less than a week!

Did you have a plan for 2013? How did it turn out? What have you learned that you can apply to a plan for 2014?

Evaluating 2013

It was about this time last year that I was challenged to create one-year, five-year and ten-year plans for my writing career. Frankly, I found the five-year and ten-year plans very difficult to do. I mean, what I do five years from now really depends on what I do this year, which is a month-by-month, day-by-day thing. I can't predict the future. This past year I was way off-track even before I contracted a serious illness that robbed me of two months. I have no idea what this year will bring, but there's no doubt that having long-term goals in mind when I sit at my computer every day helps me stay focused.

Focusing On the Future

What would I like to accomplish in the next five years? Well, like all authors, I'd love to become a best-seller. But how exactly do you do that? I think the best-seller thing comes from (1) having the discipline to keep writing, (2) willingness to learn from mistakes, (3) having great critique partners and (4) a lot of luck! I've made great strides with numbers two and three; I'm working on number one, and, well, I have no control over number four. So…becoming a best-seller isn't part of my five-year plan. If it happens, I'll be thrilled. But if it doesn't, I'm not going to feel like a failure.

I've decided to focus on five-year goals. In five years, I would like to:
  • develop the habit of writing consistently six days a week, three hours a day (not including blog posts or social media)
  • experiment with self-publishing and other sub-genres of romance
  • develop my writing skills with books, classes and conferences

A wounded soldier and the girl next door find peace and love amidst a backdrop of rural Christmas traditions.  Available from Ellora's CaveAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboSonyARe.
That in mind, I developed a plan for the remainder of 2013 and all of 2014. I discovered it's way too easy to over-plan, which is what happened this past year. I made spectacular progress with my social media (going from 0-60 in about 30 seconds) and my two blogs, Susana's Parlour and Susana's Morning Room, but the negative side is that I found myself using these short, enjoyable tasks to put off the longer, more difficult writing tasks. The end result: the novel I started working on in 2012 remains unfinished and the only finished project is my Christmas novella…which had a firm deadline that I was determined to make. Overall, though, 2013 was a pretty great year, in spite of everything. It's the year I became a published author and learned tons about the writing business, and I refuse to look at 2013 as anything but one of the best years of my life!

Making 2014 Goals

Keeping my long-term goals in mind, this is the general plan I came up with for 2014:
  • time travel novella
  • Christmas novella
  • curricle novella
  • Cherishing Charlotte (novel)
  • Lost Baby story (novel)
  • try self-publishing
  • NANO something new
Essentially, I'd like to finish three novellas and two novels (both already started with about 50K), as well as self-publish one of them, and get a good start on another one during NANO. If I could do all that, I'd be ecstatic! It doesn't sound like much for a whole year, does it? And yet I still have my blogs and social media, and whatever other obstacles fall into my lap.

What it all boils down to is…discipline. Getting myself to sit at the computer and focus on writing for three hours a day. If I can make that a habit—they say it takes three weeks to make something a habit—I can accomplish all of these things…perhaps even more! At the time I'm writing this, there are exactly 21 days left in 2013. So I included the remainder of 2013 in my 2014 goals, bound and determined that by the time New Year's Day arrives, I'll have acquired the habit of daily writing that I can continue throughout 2014.

Here is my plan for 2014, month-by-month:

  • plot out time travel novella
  • write time travel novella
  • send time travel novella to critique partners
  • work on Cherishing Charlotte novel
  • plot out Christmas novella
  • finish Cherishing Charlotte novel
  • send CC off to critique partners
  • write Christmas novella
  • send Christmas novella to critique partners
  • plan revisions to Lost Baby novel
  • work on Lost Baby novel
  • work on Lost Baby novel
  • plan revisions to curricle novella
  • work on Lost Baby novel
  • finish curricle novella
  • send curricle novella to critique partners
  • work on Lost Baby novel
  • plot NANO novel
  • finish Lost Baby novel
  • send Lost Baby novel to critique partners
  • plot new novella
  • write new novella
  • send new novella to critique partners
  • work on preliminaries for NANO
  • brainstorm new plots
  • catch-up month
  • finish preliminaries for NANO
  • NANO
  • plot new novella
  • write new novella
  • send new novella to critique partners
Although this may appear to be rather optimistic—it includes an extra novella)—it's nothing like last year's. While it does have me finishing two novels in seven months, both are already well on the way to completion. I've also tried to include some flexibility—the freedom to switch to another project when one becomes a bit stale—and a catch-up day prior to NANO so that I'm not distracted by uncompleted projects when the NANO pressure is on.

If the plan works perfectly, great. I'll have an extra novella completed in addition to the original projects. The truth is, even if I only complete half of it, I will have proven to myself that I have what it takes to be a serious writer. And that will be a wonderful thing!

Note that I have not set definite submission dates. I value my critique partners and beta readers, and I don't want to burden them with my deadlines. They have jobs and families and lives and I appreciate whatever time they can spare me. It may take a month or more after receiving their feedback to revise the manuscript before it is ready for submission, and that time too has to be considered when making a plan such as this.

My First Challenge

Primarily to prove to myself that I can follow a plan, I'm going to write a novella in three weeks. I'll start to plot out the scenes as soon as I'm through with this post, and then I'll start writing them. I wrote Treasuring Theresa in five days and A Twelfth Night Tale (twice as long) in about two weeks, so a precedent has been set. Wouldn't it be great to start the New Year having a new project completed (or at least off to the critique partners)? What a boost that would be!

What about you? Do you have a five-year plan? A one-year plan? New Year's resolutions? I'd love to hear about them!

About the Author

A former teacher, Susana is finally living her dream of being a full-time writer. She loves all genres of romance, but historical—Regency in particular—is her favorite. There’s just something about dashing heroes and spunky heroines waltzing in ballrooms and driving through Hyde Park that appeals to her imagination.

In real life, Susana is a lifelong resident of northwest Ohio, although she has lived in Ecuador and studied in Spain, France and Mexico. More recently, she was able to travel around the UK and visit many of the places she’s read about for years, and it was awesome! She is a member of the Maumee Valley, Central Florida and  Beau Monde chapters of Romance Writers of America.


Web site • Email • Facebook • Twitter • Linked In • Pinterest • Google+Goodreads

Susana’s Parlour (Regency Blog) • Susana’s Morning Room (Romance Blog)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

I think Temptress of Time is now available in print from Ellora's Cave. It was supposed to release yesterday, but I saw something that led me to believe it was delayed until today. Anyway,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Stay safe and as sane as writers can.

Dee Brice
Erotic Fantasies Where Nothing is Forbidden

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Carol on the Strand - Steampunk Christmas

Every December Galveston Texas is filled with the sights and sounds of a Victorian Chirsitmas with Dickens on the Strand. A little steampunk is thrown in as well.  

Here are some photos I snapped of Dickens On The Strand an snippets from Charles Dickens Christmas Carol. Everything in italics is quoted from - Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

The fiddler (an artful dog, mind! The sort who knew his business better than you or I!) struck up “Sir Roger de Coverley".
Steampunk fiddle

 No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle.


 But soon the steeples called good people all, to church and chapel, and away they came, flocking through the streets in their best clothes, and with their gayest faces.

They were not a handsome family; they were not well dressed; their shoes were far from being water-proof; their clothes were scanty; and Peter might have known, and very likely did, the inside of a pawnbroker’s

It wore a tunic of the purest white; - “I am the Ghost of Christmas Past."

on its head it wore no other covering than a holly wreath -“I am the Ghost of Christmas Present,” said the Spirit. “Look upon me!” 

Firefly Serenity Mirrored Christmas Ornament

Firefly Serenity Mirrored Christmas Ornament

In keeping with a Steampunk Christmas, here are two ornaments from Through Thick and Thin with geek appeal for the tree and other uses.

Acrylic Doctor Who Tardis Christmas Ornament

Acrylic Doctor Who Tardis Christmas Ornament

 Also I have an interview with the owners of  Through Thick and Thin on Steamed coming January 1st. 

Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year. And for all the Steampunk readers: Keep Calm and Steam On.

 ~      ~      ~

Maeve Alpin, who also writes as Cornelia Amiri, is the author of 19 published books. Her latest Steampunk/Romance is Conquistadors In Outer Space. She lives in Houston Texas with her son, granddaughter, and her cat, Severus. For more of her Steampunk and Fantasy Romances  please visit her webites: http://celticRomancequeen.com
and http://maevealpin.com 

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Looking for something different for your holiday table? You and your family might enjoy this shrimp dish with kick. Here’s the easy recipe, courtesy of Sauza® Tequila. Posted with permission.

Tequila Lime Shrimp

You'll Need:

1 lb. large shrimp in shell (21 to 25 per pound), peeled and de-veined
¼ cup Sauza® Gold Tequila
1 tbsp. lime juice
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. butter
¼ cup green onions
¾ cup cream or sour cream

To Make:

Toss shrimp with salt, green onions, lime juice, kosher salt and ¾ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper.

Heat butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides, then sauté shrimp, turning, until pink and just cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat and add Sauza® Blanco Tequila, then increase heat to medium high. Tilt skillet over gas burner to ignite Tequila (or ignite with a long match; use caution, as flames may shoot up high). Cook, shaking skillet gently once or twice, until flames subside. Remove from heat and stir in cream. Serve sprinkled with chili powder.

With shrimp, lime and a splash of tequila, this tequila lime shrimp recipe can be ready in minutes!

For more Sauza® Tequila recipes, visit http://us.sauzatequila.com/

A sweet firefighter contemporary romance novella
New Release! From Entangled Publishing


Firefighter Jamey Tucker knows three things in life to be true: An honorable man doesn't go back on his word, never hurts a woman, and lasting love isn't a myth. But with his recent move to a new job at the Appleton Fire station, the long hours don't offer hope of finding the love he’s looking for.
When Jamey meets beautiful pediatric nurse Heather Longhurst after hearing her sing Santa Baby in a supermarket aisle, he offers her a promise he discovers he can't keep. Heather has been betrayed by men in the past, making it hard for Jamey to gain her trust. Determined to find a way to win her heart, Jamey uses firefighter engine-uity and Heather's favorite song to prove he's got Christmas spirit she can believe in all year.

Only .99! Amazon Kindle Buy Link:

Only .99! B&N Nook Buy Link:


Jamey Tucker unfastened his helmet, lifted his facemask and tugged off his fire retardant gloves before gulping a half liter of water. He could almost hear the liquid sizzle against his throat, dousing the heat, much like the smoldering embers behind him turned to sodden ash.

He held out the cup to the volunteer rescue worker manning the drinking water. “More.” That simple word was as much as he could manage. After chugging down a refill, moisture returned to his mouth and tongue. He licked his lips and released a satisfied sigh. All he needed was a hot shower and some chow to feel human again. “Thanks, man.”

“No problem. Merry Christmas, Jamey.”

“Yeah. You too.” He stank like a chimney after fighting a fire ‘till dawn. Dumb kids and their vacant warehouse Rave had caused their team hours of grief and gut wrenching work. Luckily, no one died. The last thing on his mind then or now had been Christmas.

About Adele Downs:

Adele Downs writes contemporary romance inside the office of her rural Pennsylvania home. She is a former journalist, published in newspapers and magazines inside the USA, UK, and Caribbean.

Adele is an active member of Romance Writers of America and her local RWA chapter where she serves as past-president. She has written several articles for RWR magazine (Romance Writers Report), the trade journal of Romance Writers of America, and has presented workshops for writers. When she isn’t working on her current project, she can be found riding in her convertible or reading a book on the nearest beach.

Visit Adele Downs at http://adeledowns.wordpress.com
Like Adele Downs on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/authoradeledowns
Follow Adele Downs on Twitter! @Adele_Downs

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Name A Character in My Upcoming Book!

Hey romance readers! I'm offering you a chance to name a character in my upcoming book, The Gift of Something Grand, Book 3 of the Jamett & Joseph series.

I'm in need of a name (both first and last) for my hero's oldest sister. But in order for me to consider your suggestion (either your own name or a fictitious one) you must be a confirmed subscriber of my author newsletter.

Here's how it goes:
I will be sending out an exclusive newsletter to only my subscribers on December 28 asking for various name suggestions for my character. There you will find complete instructions on how to enter. After that, I will review all the suggestions and make my final choice on January 11th, 2014.

As a thank you:
  • Your name will also be mentioned in my "Acknowledgements" of the book for helping me come up with the perfect name for my hero's sister.
  • You'll receive the entire Jamett & Joseph series - autographed and sent to you - for FREE!
  • In addition, you will also get to check out the new cover for Book 2 of the Jamett & Joseph series, The Road to Something Better before anyone else.

Background info on the nameless character:
Photo: Dreamstime.com
  • She's in her early forties
  • She lives in KY but is moving with her husband out west.
  • She rescues, and/or boards and breaks wild mustangs for a living.
  • She is the eldest sister, and often the mother hen of the family.
  • Like all the other sisters, she's a rough and tough tomboy but with a sensitive side.
  • The current sibling names are Joseph Scarbrough (the hero), Jesse, and Lindsey.

I hope you'll give thought to helping me name my poor nameless female character. Just sign up below and wait for instructions on December 28th.
*Remember, you must be a confirmed subscriber to get in on this exclusive opportunity.

Thank you so much ahead of time and Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Sweet Smell of Release

Of my latest book, that is. Stroke of Midnight. As luck would have it, today is not only my scheduled blog day, but also my book release day.  

The title is not ambiguous. Someone is going to get stroked at midnight—on New Year’s! Yes, I wrote a New Year’s story. I’ve written a couple Christmas tales, one last year and another this year. I believe I was caught bragging about them last month. 

Stroke of Midnight is one in a series of 1Night Stand stories written for Decadent Publishing by a variety of authors; this one is set on New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas. There might be champagne, dancing and lots of neon lights. Oh, and sex. If you like dessert buffets, bubble baths and Star Wars, you will not be disappointed. 

Behold the cover!

If you like what you see, check out the blurb!
Marley Arbuckle is looking for a little payback, closure,  and a boost to her confidence after being cheated on by her fiancé—not necessarily in that order. Choosing a 1Night Stand date in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve to exact her revenge, she’s planned the affair down to her perfectly styled hair and every last manicured fingernail and pedicured toenail. But what she didn’t count on was meeting Ian O’Keefe.  

Ian has his own dark reasons for contacting Madame Evangeline for a no-strings-attached night of desire with a beautiful stranger. He’s got something to prove to himself and a long road to recovery after losing his wife. His redemption may begin with Marley, but can she teach him to love again?
And if you like what you read, read on!      
Marley turned ever so slightly, peeking over her shoulder to make sure      Skimming her fingertips along the defined muscles of his back, she let his tactile image travel along her nerves to her brain, leaving her with a mental hint of his form. Solid. Muscular. Warm. She wondered about possible back hair. I’ll turn off the lights. Problem solved. She’d focus on his dark eyes throughout the ordeal. Note to self…do not use the word ordeal. She didn’t want to give him the wrong impression. Exchange. Tryst. Affair. All three sounded sordid, not that ordeal left her with the warm fuzzies.
Ian tilted her chin to meet his gaze. “Stop thinking so hard, beautiful. You’ll give yourself a migraine.”
She laughed. “I’m not beautiful.” His endearment almost made her believe his flattery, much more so than when that Byron guy called her pretty lady earlier. “This façade of makeup and hair product is brought to you by the artistry of Eschwaldo. Master glamour magician. His words, not mine.”
“Do you turn into a pumpkin and me a field mouse at the stroke of midnight?” One side of his mouth quirked up. He waggled his eyebrows. “Because I love pumpkin.” Leaning in close, he whispered in her ear. “I could eat it all night long.”
The implication of the word stroke and all its derivative forms—stroked and stroking, for instance—spiraled pleasantly along her spine, kick starting her libido. His declaration of love for orange squash and what he could do to it all night long didn’t hurt either. “I hope I’ll get a kiss at midnight.” She wet her lower lip with her tongue, waiting for his response. A kiss wasn’t too forward, considering he almost certainly had her pegged as a sure thing. And if she were a pumpkin and he a mouse, it wasn’t a stretch to assume he’d eat her, unless her interpretation of sexual innuendo left much to be desired. The possibilities delighted her and her Brazilian wax job.