Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hello, again! 

During July and August I told you about the 8 stories selected by Cotillion to be part of their annual Christmas print anthologies. This is the fifth year for these volumes. Hooray!  Happily, the theme this year being Traditions, the first of the two (to be released on November 13) is called Cotillion Christmas Traditions. Isn’t this a gorgeous cover?

I don’t know the price as yet. The four stories are also available independently as e-books. They are:
Twelve Days of Christmas  by Barbara Miller 
A Christmas Caroline  by  Christa Paige & Vivien Jackson
Festive Persuasion by  Charlene Roberts
Lydia's Christmas Charade by  Saralee Etter

The second print volume is called Cotillion Christmas Celebrations and is due out on December 17. Sorry, there’s no cover to show you, as yet, but these stories are also available separately as e-books. They are:

 Snug in a Snowstorm  by  Cynthia Moore 
 Helena's Christmas Beau  by  Aileen Fish 
 A Twelfth Night Tale  by  Susana Ellis 
 Sense of the Season  by Kate Dolan 

In case you missed last year’s anthology it was Christmas Surprises and is still available as print or as separate e-books. 

The year before that (2011) I was privileged to have a story included. It was “Wagered Kiss” and this is the neat cover for it. It is still available, as is the anthology shown below! 

This year, I’ve done my own thing – I’ve published three of my Christmas stories as Kindle e-books. They are The Duke’s Christmas Gift ( http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FJQFA7S),  A Castle Cramlye Christmas  (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G1VRWUI ), and Pongo Guthridge Finds Love (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FW6WO9C ). These three distinctly different stories will also be combined into a print collection, The Regency Christmas Collection which will be available in early November in regular print, and before the end of the month (with a little bit of luck!) in large print.  Here's that cover:  

If you’d like more information on my own stories, or any of the Cotillion books, please feel free to write to me at:  HettyStJames@gmail.com  Thanks for reading! 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hot New Release & a Tale of Inspiration

When Noble Publishing it left me orphaned w/my paranormal romance, Marek's New World. It was reacquired by Tirgearr Publishing, and on Monday 10/28/13 it was released as a single title - a werewolf tale just in time for Halloween/Samhain (which is also my 16th wedding anniversary).

Marek was originally created from a dare. In 2006 Duality won the WisRWA Fab 5 Silver Quill Award, and I met one of the first-round judges, author Donna Marie Rogers. When TWRP had their Got Wolf? contest, Donna told me I should write something to enter. I told her I didn't do short. (Duality is 108K.) She dared me to try, so I did. I wanted to do something different than the usual urban fantasy/paranormal romance.

I've always been drawn to nature. It's just easier to breathe in the woods. My Morab Sassy and me still go riding on the weekends (wearing very glamorous Day-Glo yellow vests & saddle pads to ward off hunters). When I was in high school, we had to take a test that categories interests & skills into career choices, and one of mine was "park/forest ranger." Although that didn't happen to ME, my heroine Cheyenne IS with the US Forestry Service. A white wolf shifter and guardian of the natural world.

My grandma & I went to Yellowstone Park when I was 13. It was an amazing trip. We also went to Washington (state) every few years to see her youngest brother Ken, and drove through Montana and Idaho. When I wrote Marek, I set it in Kootenai National Forest (NW MT/NE ID)--an absolutely gorgeous place. I loved the name and I loved doing the research into a new place. Someday I'm going to go and see for myself. Turns out my Tirgearr editor, Maudeen, used to live in the area--how small a world do we live in?

So now, about Marek's New World, the story. It's a 27K novella, what I call a "contemporary rural paranormal" romance and has a strong environmental theme. I wanted a "girl next door" pretty heroine, and a Native American hero. Enter Amanda Tapping and Rick Mora as Cheyenne & Marek. You can check out my Pinterest board at http://www.pinterest.com/reneewildes/marek/

When park ranger Cheyenne Rafferty’s truck is destroyed by an earthquake, she doesn't think her day can get any worse. Until she runs afoul of a demon from the ancient past - and the compelling warrior who followed it forward in time.

Hero Marek awakens 2000 years in the future, to a world all but incomprehensible. Sent to teach modern warriors to combat the Reynak, he now finds the demon the only thing familiar. His people and their epic struggle have been lost to the passage of time. The only one willing to help him is a daughter of the earth, a beautiful shifter woman with the heart of a wolf.

Buy Link:

I have high hopes for my new baby Phoenix!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Scorching, Spooky Halloween Anthology: Trick or Treat for UNICEF!

Announcing STORIES FOR HALLOWEEN: 13 stories by 13 writers! Stories perfect for Halloween from the supernatural to the magical to the steamy romantic! It only costs $1.00 and the proceeds go to UNICEF!

Happy Halloween!

Tis the season for supernatural, paranormal, fantastical, magical, suspenseful, creepy, frightening, romantic and steamy romantic stories!

Don't miss "Stories For Halloween" a spooky, sexy anthology compiled by Joy Kamen. 13 writers have contributed short stories and book excerpts to raise money for UNICEF, featuring a scorching excerpt from Trickery by Sabrina York.

The cost is $1.00 and every penny, minus the downloading fee, goes to UNICEF.  To get your copy visit https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?c=cart&i=1290848&cl=233381&ejc=2 and click the ADD TO CART BUTTON.

This anthology will only be available through HALLOWEEN!  

Visit www.joykamen.com for more info.



The Third Wish By Lauralynn Elliott
Beth was prepared to spend Halloween alone giving out candy to Trick or Treaters. Little did she know, when a young girl left a beautiful bottle on her porch, that her life was going to change forever.

Desperado By Sara Barnard
Texas teen Shelby accidently conjures the ghost of an Old West desperado while on a family camping trip. It is up to Shelby to discover what the desperado is seeking, before the Old West ghost drives them into the afterlife with him.

As I Was Going Down The Stair… By Jenny Twist
An older woman confronts a dark presence.

Happy Halloween By Yolanda Renee
Halloween night turns horrific for a young woman crushing on her mysterious neighbor.  This short story won runner up in a Flash Fiction contest.

Drive By Tara Fox Hall
All Jodie wants to do is dance, to forget her recent divorce in music and revelry with her friend. But a stop at the wrong house leads to a nightmare edge of your seat drive with a killer bent on getting deadly revenge.

Come Back To Me By Elle Bright
Some ghost stories are worth believing in...Navy wife, Andy Davenport would give anything to change the past and make amends with her husband, Tyler. The only problem is, he never made it back from deployment. Could a little magic on Halloween night be her chance to make things right?

Moon’s Path, Water’s Edge By G.D. Steel
Mannan MacLir of the Tuatha Dé Dannan, God of the Sea does not really know what love is, but he is obsessed with one Irish lass. Usually he loves them and leaves them, but something about Minerva has always drawn him to her.

Minerva thought she saved a drowning man and fell in love. Now there are consequences for her one day of folly for her seaman was no ordinary man.
The Goddess Danu, The Mother of all of the Tuatha wants her son to find love and her grandchild to be safe from the greed of man. Can she help prod love along? Can this mortal girl teach a God about love and family?

The Beast Curse By Joy Kamen While on an autumn getaway at her late grandma’s lakeside cottage, Lindsey Rose falls for a reclusive biker with a dark secret.


I’ve Been Waiting For You, Book 2 in the My Beloved Vampire Series By Mary Moriarty
The year is 2010 and Odin Mac Muchada is assigned as one of the body guards for the daughter of future Queen of their kind. Her name is Sally and Odin knew from that moment he saw her, she was his… he would have to wait two years to tell her “I’ve been waiting for you…” This is the explosive sequel to “One Thousand Years to Forever”


The Death of Magic (Volume 2, Saga of the New Gods) By Daniel Black
In the excerpt “Thor and Sif,” as Thor recovers from his trauma induced coma, his wife, a fellow god, tells him about the son and family he never knew he had, and to help him understand the new world they are in and their place in it.

The Soul Stealer by Maureen Willett
Half-human Hunter Blackthorne has almost everything he needs: mastery of magic and the art of deception.  Now, all he needs is Malia to complete his destiny.  His power depends on her demise.  If only he didn't care for her so much.  As Hunter lands in Hawaii from his alternate reality, he knows he'll have to set aside his emotions if he is to obtain Malia's soul.  

Memories of Murder By Yolanda Renee
"Sarah is damaged by her past but afraid to ask for help, Quaid is ambitious, capable, and worried about his career, but they don't completely trust one another. Put these two complex characters and their complicated relationship in the midst of a truly terrifying mystery and you have the second masterfully written book in Yolanda Renee's, Memories of Murder." ~ Nancy Lynn Jarvis

Solomon Aleph, Book 1 in the Aleph Series and Defender, An Aleph Novella By Julie L. York 
For Solomon Aleph: Jamie had no idea that she was special until the day she literally ran into a General. But he wasn't just any General. In fact, he wasn't human. And neither was she. Solomon is the Regional Alpha, in charge of all Weres in North America. After meeting Jamie, his worst nightmare has come true. Decades ago unmated females were taken and killed. Jamie was the end game.

For Defender: Fitzwilliam Pederson might hate his name, but he loves his best friend, Solomon Aleph, fiercely and undeniably. Picked by Solomon to become the Alpha's Lieutenant, eventually, doesn't mean an easy ride. Primed from childhood to become the first University graduated Were doctor, his teasing personality hides Solomon's most vehement defender. 

Trickery By Sabrina York Though seducing a mortal is expressly forbidden, novice witch Willow Ostreth wants Austin. Bad. Unbeknownst to Willow, Austin—the glorious, delicious specimen who makes her heart pound and her body weep—is no mere mortal. He’s really Damien DeWinter, a powerful warlock, a man determined to lure Willow—and bind her—to his bed.

When the luscious Willow breaks the rules and uses her magic to ensnare him, Damien—rebel, renegade, outcast from the Witching World—figures he has carte blanche to pursue her and seduce her using any means possible. And his arsenal is vast. What neither of them realizes as they tempt and torment each other with pleasure is that there’s a greater magic at work here. One that could bind them together, forever.

The perfect sexy Halloween read!

CHECK OUT SABRINA’S NEXT RELEASE, MAKING OVER MARIS, BOOK 3 IN THE WIRED SERIES (Available November 6th from Ellora’s Cave!) http://www.ellorascave.com/making-over-maris.html

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. Don’t forget to enter to win the royal tiara!

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

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Today's the day! I'm headed for Phoenix with my friend to have lunch with my favorite author—Diana Gabaldon!

Diana's a very busy lady these days. Besides finishing up the long-awaited eighth book of the Outlander series, which comes out next March, she's involved in the production of a new Outlander series produced by Starz. Not to mention all the promotional tasks associated with both. But she's making time in her life to have lunch with us. Awesome!

The whole thing came about through the Brenda Novak Auction for Diabetes in May. I saw Diana's offering of lunch in Phoenix, and I was determined to win. The other bidders didn't stand a chance! (And I discovered within myself a dangerous competitiveness when it comes to silent auctions. Hmm.) I did let some auctions go to higher bidders, but not this one. I really, really wanted to meet Diana Gabaldon.

I have many, many favorite authors, and I'd love to meet all of them. Have met some of them at writers' conferences. But for some reason, Diana stands apart from all the rest. Her books stand out from all the rest. They're totally unique. Enticing. I love historicals and I write Regencies myself, but the eighteenth century—and pioneer living in the wilds of the Carolinas—isn't something I would normally choose to read about. But for some reason, I eagerly devour all of this in the Outlander series. How does she do that? As an author, I'd love to know the secret of her power over readers.

Jamie and Claire.

How does she make them so real that I feel like I know them? The love between them is so palpable that I often feel like swooning.

I had one last try. 
"Does it bother you that I'm not a virgin?" He hesitated a moment before answering. 
"Well, no," he said slowly, "so long as it doesna bother you that I am." He grinned at my drop-jawed expression, and backed toward the door. 
"Reckon one of us should know what they're doing," he said. The door closed softly behind him; clearly the courtship was over.

As yet too hungry and too clumsy for tenderness, still he made love with a sort of unflagging joy that made me think that male virginity might be a highly underrated commodity.

"This is what you were born to do, isn't it, Jamie?"
"Perhaps, Sassenach." He looked out over the fields and buildings, the crofts and the roads, then looked down, a smile suddently curving the wide mouth.
"And you, my Sassenach? What were you born for? To be a lady of a manor, or to sleep in the fields like a gypsy? To be a healer, or a don's wife, or an outlaw's lady?
"I was born for you," I said simply, and held out my arms to him."
"Ye know," he observed, letting go at last, "you've never said it."
"Neither have you."
"I have. The day after we came. I said I wanted you more than anything."
"And I said that loving and wanting weren't necessarily the same thing," I countered.
He laughed. "Perhaps you're right, Sassenach." He smoothed the hair from my face and kissed my brow. "I wanted ye from the first I saw ye--but I loved ye when you wept in my arms and let me comfort you that first time in Leoch."

 The following conversation occurred after Claire confessed to Jaime that she came from the 20th century:
"Do ye sleep now, mo duinne. No one shall harm ye; I'm here." 
I burrowed into the warm curve of his shoulder, letting my tired mind fall through the layers of oblivion. I forced myself to the surface long enough to ask, "Do you really believe me, Jamie?" 
He sighed, and smiled ruefully down at me. 
"Aye, I believe ye, Sassenach. But it would have been a good deal easier if you'd only been a witch."

 "I'm sorry," Jamie said. "I dinna mean to wake ye, lass." 
"What are you doing? Why are you awake?" I squinted over my shoulder at him. It was still dark, but my eyes were so accustomed that I could see the faintly sheepish expression on his face. He was wide awake, sitting on a stool by the side of the bed, his plaid flung around him for warmth. 
"It's only....well, I dreamed you were lost, and I couldna find ye. It woke me, and....I wanted to look at ye, is all. To fix ye in my mind, to remember while I'm gone. I turned back the quilt; I'm sorry you were chilled."

And yet it's more than that.

I have a lot of pet peeves about books—I even did a series of “Historical Romance Deal Breakers” on my blog, Susana's Parlour. These are things I can get passionate about. And yet, my favorite author breaks most of them—and manages to get away with it. How does she do that?

For one thing, I insist on a happy-ever-after ending. There really isn't one in the Outlander series—at least not yet. Every time Jamie and Claire have a poignant moment that makes me think, “Now they can settle down and enjoy life,” something dreadful happens that plunges them into danger. They always seem to survive, though, but often it's touch and go and you start worrying that this time they won't manage it. It keeps me turning the pages. If I knew there would be a happy-ever-after, I don't think I'd be so involved in the story. Hmm.

The same goes for the cliffhanger endings. Normally I'd stamp my feet in rage if an author ended a book without a satisfactory resolution and made me wait a year or more to find out what happened. It's not fair to the reader to pay for a book and then have to wait and pay for another book to get the ending. Normally, I wouldn't do it, partly due to principle and partly because I most likely would have forgotten the first book by that time (I read a lot of books!). But Outlander books are different. I'll never forget Jamie and Claire. And I'm dying to find out what happens to them. The wait only increases the anticipation.

Diana Gabaldon has a power that no other author has, to my knowledge. And I'm looking forward to meeting her and picking her brain and maybe gaining some inkling of how she manages it.

Plus…it's kind of like she is Jamie and Claire. :-)

Before I leave, I have to confess that I was an Outlander skeptic for a number of years. I didn't intentionally buy the book—it came in a box of historicals I purchased on eBay. I put it on the shelf and ignored it for years. Yes, I heard everyone say how much they loved it and all that, but the outer package—and the hype—turned me off. It was a really thick book with small print and it didn't look a bit like the historicals I normally read. But one day I picked it up and opened it to Chapter One—and have never looked back since. Diana Gabaldon is not like any other author…and I'm exceedingly grateful that she's not.

Are you an Outlander fan? Or do you have other favorite authors who can captivate you with their writing? Who would you like to meet in person?

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 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)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Things My Doctor Never Told Me

·      Blood pressure medication would reduce my sex drive. Hell, I was under forty and should have just entered my peak sexuality. All of a sudden having sex dropped to the bottom of my to-do list. In fact, anything to do with lovemaking became more a chore than fun.

·      A complete hysterectomy doesn’t leave an empty hole of any kind—especially not one that could house a dozen eighteen-wheelers with room for several smaller trucks. I admit, “feeling less than a woman” came from my mother, not my doctor. On the other hand, whose voice has more power—docs or moms?

·      My POSSLQ (Person of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters) didn’t appreciate my joke when I told him my good news: My female problems were probably fibrous tumors. The bad news: The rabbit died.

·      Despite the complete hysterectomy, I still have a g-spot! Until a few years ago—whenever women started talking/writing about it—I didn’t even know what a g-spot was. My much younger editor described what it feels like. Just a few days ago at Ellora’s Cave RomantiCon I learned that I not only still have a g-spot, I learned where it is. Now all I have to do is show Himself how to stimulate it! (I may have to do it myself for a while.) From what I’ve heard, the g-spot orgasms are even better than any other kind. And they are really wet!

·      Stimulating a man’s prostate can produce better orgasms for him. An added advantage is that it changes the salty taste of his cum to that of sugar water.

So what difference does all this information make? As a writer of erotic romances, these are things I should have known about years ago. I’m hoping I can add new layers of hotness to my already hot love stories.

For those of you who read and commented on my blog last month, I apologize for not answering. I had oral surgery that morning and was in lalaland for a few days afterward. And then, senior moments what they are, I forgot to check.

Have a wonderful month. See you next time!

Dee Brice

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Time For a Little Faith....

GOOD FAITH, my upcoming mainstream, NA novel releases on November 14!

Here are some specifics:
The cover

Good Faith
Liz Crowe

© 2013 Tri Destiny Publishing – All rights reserved.  Limited duplication allowed for pre-approved promotional purposes only.  This content may not be shared or distributed in any capacity at any time outside the scope of the original intent without express written consent of Tri Destiny Publishing or their representative.

Back cover blurb: 

Strong personalities—volatile marriages—stressful careers—conflicting goals—difficult children.

Contemporary challenges facing close-knit families form the crucible that forges a new generation.

Brandis, Gabriel, Blair and Lillian emerge from the entanglement of their parents’ longstanding emotional connections, but one’s star will burn brighter – and hotter – than the others.

With a personality that consumes everyone and everything in its path, Brandis Gordon struggles to maintain control as he ricochets between wild success and miserable failure. His life proves how even the strongest relationships can be strangled by the ties that bind.

Brandis and Gabe Frietag are as close as any brothers, bound by both loyalty and fierce rivalry. The strength of their ultimate alliance is tested time and again by Brandis’ choices.

Companions from birth, Blair Frietag and Lillian Robinson share loner tendencies, but come to rely on each other through adolescence. As they mature, both are forced to confront their feelings for the men they knew as boys.

Somewhere between the tangle of good memories and bad, independence and addiction, optimism and despair, the intertwined destinies of the new generation finally collide, leaving some stronger, others broken, but none unscathed.

As a chronicle of three families navigating the minefields of teen years into the turbulence of young adulthood, Good Faith holds up a literary mirror to contemporary life with joys and temptations unflinchingly reflected. Its fresh, real-life voice portrays the sheer volatility of human nature, complete with the hopes, dreams, and unexpected setbacks of marriage, parenthood and “coming of age.”


Three families—Gordon, Frietag, and Robinson—share complex connections previously established in the best-selling Stewart Realty series. This stand-alone, final novel explores the characters coping with mature marriages and challenging, adolescent children. Through shared experiences, their inherent strengths and fragilities as individuals and as couples are revealed forming the basis of relationships for the next generation.

Brandis Robert Gordon emerges as the golden boy from the crowd of children that have grown up together, the apple of his family’s eye, the kid the other kids follow — even when he heads over a cliff.  He is being raised by fiercely focused parents who are determined to succeed at everything they do, even if it means unconscious neglect of their children’s emotional needs. Brandis’ star shines bright, blinding family and friends to his inner weaknesses until it’s too late.

Good Faith is, at its core, the story of this young man’s all-consuming struggles with success and failure. It is also a saga of his personal odyssey—his ultimate quest for normalcy, when everything around him seems destined to thwart that goal.

The intertwining relationships amongst Brandis, his best friend Gabe Frietag, Gabe’s younger sister, Blair, and her friend, Lillian Robinson, bracketed by the equally compelling lives of their parents and siblings, form the framework of this complex novel.

By the time Brandis fully grasps what Blair, the girl he’s known his whole life, means to him, he has embarked on a life journey plagued by multiple addictions. Recruited to play Division I football as a freshman starting quarterback, after years of dedicated effort towards that very goal, he attempts to focus and be the man his parents and girlfriend expect him to be. But his personal demons already have a firm grip on him, and his downward spiral threatens to drag everyone he loves into the vortex with him.

Blair Frietag has never considered herself strong or independent—she’s just “Gabe’s nerdy sister” and “Lillian Grace’s best friend.” But she is harboring a life-long obsession with Brandis Gordon. When he finally comes to her, she welcomes everything about him—the good and the bad—nearly destroying herself in the process. Because Brandis’ love is conditional and anchored in dependence, she must accept or reject her role as enabler. By the time she acknowledges the fact that her desire to help him overpowers her inability to do so, it’s nearly too late.

After being told that the man he considers his father is actually not, Gabriel Frietag’s final years of high school devolve into angry confusion. The fact that he has started to question his sexuality only compounds his misery and frustration. The love/hate relationship with Brandis, which began while the boys were small, is sorely tested by Brandis’ increasingly bad choices and is finally severed, thanks to what Gabe considers Brandis’ unhealthy dependence on Blair. In an uncharacteristic move, Gabe rejects everything he knows and loves, and accepts a scholarship to

play soccer for a college on the West Coast, hoping he can break from the painful confines of his childhood home. But his connection to Lillian Grace Robinson, another instrument in their life-long quartet of friendship, remains seemingly unbreakable.

Lillian is Blair’s companion from birth. A shy girl at first, “Lilly-G” seems destined to live forever in Blair’s shadow. But as she observes her friend’s descent into emotional turmoil with Brandis, Lillian comes to terms with her powerful feelings for Gabe. This realization of her own inner strength molds her into the touchstone everyone reaches for: their anchor in the storm, the friend they are all lucky to have, while remaining the one who will forever hold Gabe’s heart in her hands — no matter how far he goes seeking escape.

The Gordon, Frietag and Robinson ties are born of circumstance, necessity and emotion. Yet the choices of the second generation seem destined to destroy all they have built together. When the shocking loss of one of their strongest members comes at the precise moment when healing seems within reach, it threatens their tenuously rebuilt bonds. The tragedy forces everyone to open their eyes to the fickleness of fate and to rely on each other once more.

Good Faith holds up a literary mirror to contemporary life with all its temptations, joys, and sorrows. The plot’s twists and turns are designed to reflect the volatility of human nature, with all its hopes, dreams, and unexpected setbacks.

More than just another coming-of-age tale, this compelling new novel from best-selling author Liz Crowe is told with sympathy, humor and a real-life voice that will not easily be forgotten.
And an exceprt:

That morning his father had roused him from a sound sleep. He’d blinked, confused, by the angle of the sunlight. He rarely slept much past eight since he usually had some sort of training or the other.
“Let’s go son. Time for lunch.”
Brandis had dragged himself up, his limbs feeling like they weighed a thousand pounds each. His brain buzzed with a strange sort of energy, his typical state, and not at all welcome considering it normally didn’t hit him until later in the day. The conversation his father began as soon as they were seated at their usual diner did not help.
“So, listen, Brandis. These girls…Katie’s friends from college….”
Brandis sipped his ice water, waiting for his father to finish the thought. His heart pounded, and his face flushed hot with embarrassment.
Jack sighed, as if exasperated that Brandis didn’t pick up the thread on his own, leaving him to carry on with the awkwardness about to ensue. Then he leveled his gaze, his face open, not angry or judgmental. “I think that you may be in for some…I mean, they’re…shit.”
“If you are gonna tell me where babies come from again,” Brandis said, after deciding to ease his father’s obvious distress. He cocked an eyebrow and half a smile. Jack seemed to relax somewhat as Brandis continued. “Don’t bother. I already know.”
He flashed his brightest smile up at the middle-aged woman who stood at their table, coffee pot in hand. She blinked rapidly at him, and at that precise moment, Brandis got his first flash of…something…about his power. Up until now he’d merely been “Brandis the trouble maker, the causer of strife.” Suddenly, he felt strong, amazingly so, stronger than even the man sitting across from him, a taller, older version of himself. His body tingled all over, as he tested the smile out again on the woman, making her slop some coffee out onto the table. His father frowned, but then chuckled as the woman walked away after they gave their orders.
“Son,” he said, leaning back and cradling the coffee mug to his chest. “Your adventure has only just begun.”
“Huh?” Brandis picked up his cup but didn’t drink any. He hated coffee, but had ordered it in a burst of need to be more like Jack. As he sipped the bitter stuff, he was transported back years before when he and his dad would spend every single Saturday morning together, eating breakfast at this very diner. He had adored the man, he remembered distinctly. His chest hurt at the simplicity of their relationship then. He looked away from Jack’s deep blue, knowing gaze.
The subject changed of its own accord, and Brandis let it. Although part of him wanted to ask for advice, a much bigger part would not allow the words past his lips.
They ate, discussing the upcoming football season and Brandis’ part in it. The recruiting company Jack had contracted last year to video his every move would start up with the first game. He’d made varsity again, technically as backup quarterback to a senior boy. Brandis didn’t see this as a setback and had every intention of starting under center by the second or third game.
Finally, when they pushed their empty plates back and sat looking at each other, Brandis felt more comfortable in his father’s presence than he had been in a long time. Jack said, “I am pretty sure at least one of those girls sleeping in the basement is determined to change the status of your virginity for you probably as soon as tonight.”
Brandis choked on the last sip of lukewarm coffee. His face burned, and his body tingled again. “I’m…it’s…uh….” He clutched the napkin in his lap unable to meet his father’s eyes.
“No need to say anything. Let’s just say your mother is an astute reader of female intent. While I was busy admiring your sister’s friend’s ass, she apparently read the girl’s mind or something.” Brandis’ face flushed even hotter.
He resisted the urge to protest, to proclaim his innocence of such things. Because he wanted it back—those mornings between them, father and son, man and boy, not this awkward, man and almost-man bullshit. Because while the thought of one of his sister’s college friends popping his cherry remained a pleasant fantasy, it also made him feel older than he wanted to be right then.
“So, I bought a box of condoms this morning,” Jack went on. “Put some downstairs in the side table drawer and the rest in your room. Use them please.” He sipped the last of his coffee, looked as if he were about to get up, then leaned forward, touching Brandis’ wrist. “Have fun. Don’t be an asshole to women. Let every experience teach you…something. Because you are nothing as a man if you don’t learn from every woman you…love.” Jack looked out the window onto the nearly empty parking lot. Then he turned back, tightened his grip on his son’s arm. “God, you are so…young.” His face fell a moment, then he perked up again, his eyes twinkling. “Okay, so, your mother told me to tell you not to let them corrupt you. But all I’m gonna say is this: always wear protection, no matter what, no matter how much you don’t want to. And don’t let your mom catch you in the act. I’ll handle her otherwise.”
Then he let go, stood and smiled, draping a friendly arm around Brandis’ shoulders as they exited the restaurant.
“You really didn’t tell me you were admiring Katie’s friend’s ass, did you, Dad?”
“No, son. I most certainly did not. You obviously misheard me.” Jack winked as he stood by the passenger’s side of his classic Corvette convertible and tossed the keys to Brandis. “Remember what I told you. Don’t ride my clutch.”

And I would welcome you to my new Official Liz Crowe Fan Group on Facebook, where I run contests, post exclusive deleted scenes and WIP peeks every week!

If you are in the area, I'm throwing myself a party the weekend of the release!