Hey everyone! Welcome to Tuesday Tales! This week’s word prompt is “pretty”. We are back with Emma and Gideon in my untitled Steampunk romance. The last time we saw them they were sharing a heated kiss. What will happen next? Let’s find out!
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Gideon’s lips grazed Emma’s as he gripped her tight to him. The feel of his large, strong hands caressing her hips made her shudder. His voice had a guttural tone as he spoke. “Emma, have you ever been with a man?”
“No, Gideon. I haven’t.”
She could tell it took a force of nature for him to let her go. He dropped his hands to his sides and took a step away, his blue eyes now trained to the wooden floorboards beneath his feet. The small space between them made Emma feel vacant. She needed his touch, his heat.
“Do you have someplace to go?” Gideon muttered.
“No. I lived with Katarina,” she answered weakly.
Gideon spun on his toe towards his workbench. He sidestepped a small, scrambling copper turtle scuttling across the floor. “I will find some money for a room for you.”
“Why can I not stay here?” Emma demanded.
Gideon turned back. She could see the war waging in his features, the deep, strong need battling with the proper decency he was known for. “Because you should give yourself to the man you wed. Having you here with me is a temptation I no longer can resist.”
Emma smiled as she swept across the room. She touched his cheek, feathering her fingers against the stubble. “I want you, Gideon. I want to be in your bed. I want you to love me, not some other man.”
“But…” Gideon objected.
She patted his cheek gently. “Do not fret your pretty head over it.”
Emma gasped as Gideon pulled her against him as his mouth claimed hers in another blazing kiss. He broke it long enough to gather her nightdress in his hands and tug it over her head, leaving her naked before him. The smile on his face as he stared at her made her heart race. It promised a night she would never forget.
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Hi everyone! Welcome to the Secret Cravings Sweet and Historical Blog Hop!
Almost all my books with Secret Cravings are sweet romances, including both of my series. Since I just had a release a week and a half ago, I am going to share one of my series with you – the Hard Drive Series.
Can you tell I have a weakness for MMA?
And…at the end of the blog hop I will choose TWO lucky commenters to win e-book copies of both books of the Hard Drive Series – Breaking the Cycle and Breaking the Silence! Leave a comment below and I will draw Sunday night!
My newest release – Breaking the Silence (Book Two of the Hard Drive Series)! A portion of the proceeds from Breaking the Silence goes to Operation First Response to Operation First Response to support our nation’s wounded, injured and critically-ill Heroes and their families.
Rico Choate is a MMA bad boy with a love ‘em and leave ‘em attitude. That is until he meets Avery Walker, a deaf Marine who lost her hearing when her transport was destroyed in an I.E.D explosion in Afghanistan. He falls hard for her, even learning sign language from his friend, Chloe, so he can talk to her.
Avery has worked hard to overcome her deafness. She doesn’t need anyone’s sympathy. She’s living a perfectly normal life and has no time for celebrities who have everything handed to them on a silver platter.
Because of Avery’s pride, Rico to keep his career in mixed martial arts a secret. But how long can he keep such a huge part of his life separate from the woman he loves? And if she does find out, how will she react? Can Avery set her stubbornness aside, or will secrets and pride keep these two apart?
The weekend finally arrived, but it was no break for Avery. She still had her early Saturday morning class to attend. She trudged down the steps wearily. Of all the times for the air conditioning to go out, this was the worst by far. The ninety-degree day seeped into the building, making the rooms hot and stagnant. Every last person in the classroom was drenched in sweat. Even for one class, it was unbearable.
Her face brightened as she stepped out the door and found Rico in his Jeep waiting for her. She nearly ran for the vehicle. Dropping her backpack on the floor, she climbed in beside him.
He looked at her concerned. Are you all right?
No air. I baked for the last hour.
Do you still want to do something?
Yes. You are the highlight of my day.
Where do you want to go?
Rico thought for a moment then grinned. I know the perfect place. But you are going to want to bundle up.
It is the middle of summer. Where are you taking me?
You will see.
Rico drove her home then waited in the Jeep for her to get clothes. Apparently, he wasn’t about to push his luck with Lindsay.
He then stopped at his place. Instead of having her wait in the car, he escorted her inside. His apartment was a loft in an old, renovated warehouse, complete with the freight elevators. It was sparsely decorated with a leather sofa and chair. It was the typical guy’s apartment.
There were several MMA magazines scattered on the end tables. He must really be into mixed martial arts.
It only took a moment for Rico to come out of his bedroom changed. Instead of the shorts and T-shirt he had worn before, he now had on a pair of jeans and a snug fitting Henley that accented his muscles. She swallowed back a moan. She hadn’t thought he could get any hotter.
He smiled. Ready?
Yes. Avery took his outstretched hand in hers. She waited as he locked the door then walked with him to the elevator.
Rico weaved from one interstate to the other until they were in Saint Paul. The entire time, he held her hand in his. He parked the car in front of a large, concrete building lined with windows.
Ice skating? she signed
He laughed. You wanted to be cool.
That is true. But I can’t do this.
He frowned. Why not?
I can’t ice skate.
You do not know how?
I do. When I was young, I was very good at it. But I cannot do it now.
Because you are deaf?
He smirked at her. I did not realize that you ice skate with your ears.
That is not funny, Rico.
Come on, Avery. We’ll have fun. I promise I will not let you fall.
She gazed at him as he grinned at her. Her eyes wandered over his chiseled physique. He certainly could keep his word. She sighed as she hopped out of the passenger seat and turned back to him. All right. Let’s go.
Absolutely! Rico jumped out with her and raced around the vehicle to take her hand. He pulled her close and wrapped his arm around her waist as they strolled in.
Rico paid their admission as Avery slipped into the restroom to change into her lightweight sweater and jeans. She watched his eyes wander over her head to toe as a smile spread across his face. He certainly seemed pleased. He took both pairs of skates the attendant offered before following her to a bench. Then, they tugged on their skates and, carefully stepping on the thick, black mat on the floor, they made their way out to the ice.
They skated around the rink laughing, sometimes hand in hand, sometimes trying awkwardly to race each other. Avery hadn’t been ice skating in years, not since she’d lost her hearing. It had ended up on the virtual list of activities she stubbornly believed she could no longer do. Rico had proved to her she could.
She gazed up to him as he smiled at her. He certainly was turning out to be her hero. Not that she needed one. She didn’t. But it was definitely nice to have one, just in case.
They were so wrapped up in each other, neither of them noticed the little boys that flew between them until it was too late. The last one hooked his skate with Avery’s. She was off her feet in a split second. She clenched her eyes in anticipation of the cold impact on her butt. Instead, two strong arms kept her from falling. Her eyes fluttered open, and she glanced around.
Rico had caught her just as he’d promised. Her eyes locked with his sapphire blue ones. She wanted to protest, to joke just how cliché this was. Here he was, cradling her in his arms after saving her from falling, his lips dangerously close to hers. They must have looked like they belonged on the front of a romance novel. But her breath caught in her throat as she clung to him, her gaze drifting to his mouth.
She gasped as he gathered her closer and softly kissed her. Her fingers buried into his hair as he deepened it, his lips parting hers as his tongue slowly grazed across her teeth then tangled with hers. Their eyes met for a moment as the kiss broke. Avery fought against her breath coming out in ragged gasps, but it was no use. So, that’s what kissing Rico Choate is like. It was light years better than she had imagined.
And we can’t forget Breaking the Cycle (Book One of the Hard Drive Series)! A portion of the proceeds goes to the Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome Association for research to find a cure for CVS.
Max is excited when Chloe, a girl that works for the same gym he does, agrees to go on a date with him. He is disturbed, though, when she becomes violently ill after he kisses her. Max can’t shake how he feels about her. He sacrifices his job and does everything he can to find an answer to her illness. But is it enough to save their relationship – and save her?
Chloe can’t believe Max Thomas, the hottest guy at Roadie’s Gym, wants to go out with her. When their date is a disaster, she thinks she’ll never see him again. She is stunned when he reappears in her life and tries to find the answer behind whatever has made her sick since she was a child. However, will he stick around or abandon her like her father did? Can she trust him enough to let him into her heart?
Max stepped inside the gym. It was deserted. He glanced around. The place was no Roadie’s. There was no perfect, stainless steel trim. There was no state-of-the-art equipment. He scrutinized the cardio machines that were lined three deep along a wall of frosted windows then scanned the weight equipment alongside it. Everything looked like it was in working order.
The rest of the room was lined with vinyl wrestling mats. There were signs indicating locker rooms back in the hallway. A staircase leading to a walkway on the second floor led to a couple offices and a conference room.
Suddenly, its door opened. Max steeled himself as a young, well-built, suit-clad man stepped out and leaned against the metal rail. His slicked–back, black hair made him look like a used car salesman. He smiled down at Max.
“Hey, Jack,” Max greeted coolly.
“What brings you to Hard Drive, Max?”
“I came to talk to you about the job offer you gave me.”
Jack laughed. “How many times did I offer a job to you?”
“At least a dozen times.”
“And how many times have you turned me down?”
“Just as many.”
“Why would I offer it to you again?”
“Because, to quote your own words, ‘I’m the best you could possibly dream of getting’.”
“So, you suddenly got over your hang ups about working here?”
Max took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “No. I am still vehemently against training your guys to the best of my ability so that you can toss them into an octagon and let them beat the crap out of each other. Seems to make the job pointless, don’t you think?”
“I don’t toss them in there. They fight of their own free will.”
“Is the job available or not?”
“Of course, it is.” Jack was smug.
“I have stipulations before I agree to it.”
Jack snickered. “Of course, you do. More money? Do you want me to buy you a better car?”
Max glared at him. “I want an assistant. Full time with benefits, especially medical. I write her schedule. She answers to me. Your fighters don’t touch her. If they do, we’re both out of here. Don’t raise the salary you offered me. Lower it, if you must. But I get my assistant.”
“You really think you need an assistant?”
“How many MMA fighters do you have here?”
Max could see Jack’s brow crunch as he computed the numbers in his head. “Thirty.”
“Then, yes, I need an assistant.”
“And you realize that you aren’t going to teach Tae Bo here, right? You’re training my MMA fighters. And your assistant will be, too.”
Max paused. “Yes. I know what I’ll be doing.”
Jack pushed himself away from the rail and stood straight. “You’re hired. And so is your assistant. There’ll be no change in your salary. I’ll negotiate your assistant’s with you at a later time. I promise it’ll be fair. Be here Monday to sign your contracts. And give Roadie your two weeks’ notice. You belong to Hard Drive now.”
Jack strode back into the conference room, closing the door behind him. Max shot one last glare at the door before he walked out the front door.
My bestie, H.N. Sieverding, has a new release out! I am partial to this series because 1.) it’s a sports romance (and I might just like sports romances…no octagon though…) and 2.) her Morgan looks suspiciously like a MMA fictional fighter I know *coughmaxthomascough*
Take a look! I know you’ll love it!
Release Date: September 24, 2014
Gwen struggles to live up to her mother’s outrageous expectations of her as her mother pushes her daughter to pursue her dream to skate professionally. Gwen has the talent, but her overbearing mother, and Gwen’s fear of failure, may ruin that dream.
Gwen starts a job at the rink, and her brother, Sam’s, best friend, Morgan, his first season playing for the Black Kats. Sam’s relationship with Morgan is strained when Morgan gets into the Kats. Sam begins to resent his friend’s new fame, something that begins to pull the boys apart. But to make matters worse, Gwen has a crush on the newest Black Kat, despite Morgan being like her big brother. But Morgan’s stubbornness, and her brother’s disapproval of their relationship, aren’t the only challenges that stand in her way. She isn’t the only one with her eye on the star player of the Kats….
“So, seven laps. Starting at the south entrance.”
Gwen nodded, and they skated toward the south gate.
They were about to start, but a voice interrupted, “You boys ain’t playin’.” Morgan glared at Gwen. “This little brat is mine.”
Gwen’s chin was raised, an arrogance in her stance. She was extremely angry and wearing her tough girl face. She had not forgiven him for their fight earlier, and as stubborn as she was, it would take more than beating her in a race to get back in her good graces.
“So, what’s the wager?” Morgan turned to Nate.
“A New Year’s kiss.” Gwen’s answer was snarky. “And if you lose, no Augusta State. You stay with the Kats next year.”
“You have to beat him, Gwen!” Nate shouted playfully. “He can’t abandon his Kats!”
“You know you’re gonna lose,” Gwen cooed in a husky voice. “I’ve beaten you before.”
“Like, when we were ten. And you cheated, anyway. You always cheat. So…when I win…” Morgan’s mood suddenly turned upbeat as he pointed to her. “I get those panties.” With his words, the boys all started laughing.
Gwen’s draw dropped, and she stared at Morgan blankly. After taking a few seconds to recover her angry face, she grinded her steel toe into the ice in annoyance. Her long, black and red laces bounced as she spoke through gritted teeth, “Fine.” She spun sharply.
“Ten laps. No handicaps.”
Gwen shook her head, confusion in her eyes. “What?”
“Means I’ll check your hot, little ass if I catch up to you.” Morgan’s eyes narrowed. “Porky.”
“No way, Morgan. Checking is not allowed in a race.”
“It is in this one.” A devilish grin filled his lips as he raised his eyebrows.
“You’re bigger than me.” Gwen put her hands on her hips, shaking them to the left in frustration. “That is not fair.”
“So, you’re forfeiting?” Morgan punched his open palm, an excited look in his eyes.
“Well…” Gwen stumbled over her words. “No, but—”
“Awesome.” He reached over and tapped her shoulder. “Let’s race, Roberts.”
Holding up a fist, she glared at her adversary. “I’m gonna kick your ass, Tanner.”
“I look forward to it.” He reached back and slapped her butt. Gwen retaliated, slapping at his shoulders.
“This race is gonna be awesome,” Nate whispered to Kingley, but Kingley wasn’t really laughing. Nate’s voice then rose, “So, who’s gonna judge it?”
Sam held up his hand. “I’ll do it.”
“You’re here, too?” Gwen glanced at her brother. She wanted to beat him as much as she did Morgan. Her eyes jumped to the sidelines, where Jenny and Anne were cheering her on.
“Yep,” Sam answered cheekily.
Gwen rolled her eyes then turned and readied herself to start. “Let’s just start already.”
Morgan stood next to her, whispering in her ear, “You’re gonna get your ass Tanned.” He stuck his tongue out at her playfully.
Gwen slapped him.
“On five!” Sam’s voice was loud as he raised his hand. He then started counting down.
Gwen’s breath was quick, her jaw stiff. Morgan, on the other hand, was pretty calm.
As soon as Sam yelled, “go,” Gwen took off. Morgan let her ahead for a lap, Gwen gathering more speed by the second. Thinking she was winning, Gwen smiled and glanced back. Her eyes widened when she saw Morgan barreling toward her.
Morgan shouted, “Check!” as he slammed her into the barrier. And it wasn’t a soft action, either. This was a competition, and he seemed determined to win it. Gwen tripped, but caught herself before she fell to the ice.
Morgan spun, skating backward a few lengths as he sent her a wicked grin. Gwen quickly regained her footing and took after him. Every time she tried to pass him, he’d shove her over a foot or two. Then, she started shoving back, but he barely budged.
Morgan was laughing hysterically, and even in plain clothes, he towered over the slender figure skater. Their speed slowed, and the race got heated. Gwen’s face was stressed as she tried to knock him over, her hands repeatedly pushing into him.
“Move…you big…” She was speaking through gritted teeth, each failed attempt fueling her anger. “Ice prick!”
“Last lap!” Sam shouted.
Slamming into her, Morgan hooked her foot slightly and tripped her. Gwen fell to the ice and winced. It was cold against her bottom, but the sting only made her anger grow hotter. She sprang to her feet and came up on him from the rear. She shoved him from behind, but he didn’t fall, just stumbled a bit. They pushed each other the whole way to the home stretch.
About two feet from the finish line, Morgan shoved her hard, and she fell to the ice again. With an agape expression, Gwen watched him finish. She didn’t get up, her eyes narrowing on his form. He was laughing and pointing at her, which only made her scowl deepen.
“That was not fair!” Gwen kicked her feet, letting out a little whine as she balled her fists.
“Stop being a sore loser.” Morgan held out his hand and helped her up. The back of her skirt was wet, her stockings now speckled a brownish color. Leaning forward, he whispered in her ear, “I win, Porky.”
He watched her skate away angrily. “Gwenie!” There was an upbeat tone to his voice, though he was upset. “What about my prize?”
With a quick turn, she stopped and glared at him from several feet away. Reaching under her skirt, she shimmied down the boy shorts covering her panties then awkwardly pulled them over her skates. She then threw them on the ice. “I hate you, Morgan Tanner!” She skated away.
H.N. Sieverding is best known for her dark paranormal romances and unique take on the modern vampire. She writes mainly in the Paranormal Romance and Horror genres, but also writes Contemporary Romance. She is known to favor her handsome villains, which is a trait that can be found in most of her books. Seeing her stories in print has been one of her greatest achievements besides her son, whom she is most proud of. Aside from writing, she’s an avid artist and award winning graphic designer.
Other published books:
Initiation (Christian’s Kisses #1)
Seed of the Master (Christian’s Kisses #2)
The Bloodlust Prince
Blood Kisses (Nightwalkers #1)
Forever Black (Nightwalkers #2)
Blood War (Nightwalkers #3)
The Doll Shoppe Murders
Happy Tuesday! It’s time for Tuesday Tales! This week is a picture prompt. I am breaking away from Gideon and Emma. My excerpt this week is from my latest WIP Breaking the Violence, Book #3 of the Hard Drive Series. This is Mark’s book, the wise cracking ER doctor. He and his best friend, Dan, come upon a burning car on the way home from Rico and Avery’s wedding and find two people inside. Mark falls in love with the woman, Becca Mills, the best selling SciFi author. But Becca’s abusive ex-husband becomes a problem…
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Mark opened the rear door of his quad cab and reached inside for his old football equipment bag. A warm, proud smile spread across his face as he watched Logan hop out of the passenger door and take his Mama’s hand. His heart raced unexpectedly. I hope he likes what I have in this bag.
Becca turned towards him. “Where are we going, Mark?”
Mark pointed through the open doors of the truck to the sparkling blue lake. “Through the field past the machine shed. There’s a clearing right behind it with some flat rocks. I’ll grab the picnic basket.”
Becca nodded then led Logan to the path through the long grass. Mark watched them for a moment. He couldn’t believe this beautiful, incredible, talented woman was in his life. And he absolutely adored the little boy holding her hand. He didn’t want to give either of them up. Ever.
Mark frowned as he thought. Am I ready to be a father? The answer came to him instantly as Logan turned back to him. “Come on!” his little voice rang through the meadow. Mark chucked. Oh yeah. I am as long as Logan is my son. He grabbed the picnic basket, shut the truck doors and followed. He laughed as Logan chattered to Becca about the machine shed, contemplating the zombies that had to be hiding inside. Becca looked at Mark apologetically. “Sorry. His imagination runs away all the time.”
“Like his Mom’s?” Mark teased.
Becca’s cheeks flamed pink. The image turned Mark inside out. So beautiful. He was distracted by the hand tugging on his shirt.
“Mark, what’s the surprise?” Logan prodded.
Mark smiled at him as he set the bag and basket down then unzipped the bag. Carefully he pulled free a remote control boat. Logan gasped in awe.
“That is so cool!” Logan squealed.
“You can watch while Mark drives it,” Becca instructed.
Mark winked at her. “Nah. Logan’s getting behind the wheel of this vessel.”
“Mark, that’s expensive,” she objected.
“Becca, it’s just a toy. I can buy another. But to watch Logan play with it will be priceless.”
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Check out the NEW Breaking the Silence (Hard Drive Series #2) Trailer!
Get your copy on Sweet Cravings Publishing, Amazon and All Romance E-books!
Because of Jacqueline
Cynthia Pomranz lives in the Midwest with her husband. She has two beautiful daughters, and a shih tzu that thinks she is a retriever. Cynthia earned a BA from Knox College, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. After years of writing software training manuals, she followed her heart and wrote her first romance novel with the love and support of her family.
You can follow Cynthia on her website, Facebook, or Twitter.
Jackie Simms moves back to her hometown, St. Louis, to rebuild her life in the wake of divorce, including a foray into the world of online dating. She responds to an intriguing email from Marc Montgomery, who shares many of her interests, as well as a love for baseball. As their cyber relationship deepens, her skeptical side wonders if he’s too good to be true.
When Jackie’s work-related travel delays their first date, the couple spends the next two weeks in a tantalizing state of limbo filled with tender emails and intimate phone conversations that go on seamlessly for hours. Even though they have never met, their souls touch.
When they finally meet, will Marc be Jackie’s dream come true? Will she learn the truth about this enigmatic man? Will self-doubt lead Jackie to believe she is the barrier to her own happiness?
The martini tasted delicious. And potent. The drink went straight to my head at the first sip. Minutes later, Marc joined me in the living room.
“This sofa is comfortable and good looking.” Not as good looking as the owner. His polo shirt clung to his well-defined chest. Obviously, he worked out on a regular basis.
“After I had the house rehabbed, I worked with a friend of my mom’s. She decorated the whole place.”
“Impressive.” I murmured, thinking more of him than his furnishings. The gin continued to fog my brain. My plan to remain cool toward him became a distant memory.
After we finished our drinks he asked, “Hungry?”
“Yes, some food would be good.” I needed something to soak up the alcohol.
“Come,” he ordered softy.
I followed Marc to the kitchen—a chef’s dream filled with high-end stainless steel appliances. The beautiful custom ebony cabinets boasted brushed nickel hardware. Five bar stools lined the massive marble-topped island. A round table with leather chairs set for two occupied the bay window. The kitchen opened to a grand family room with a high tray ceiling.
My attention went to the opposite wall. “Marc, what is the size of your flat screen?” I’d never seen anything comparable.
“It’s eighty-four inches. You like lingerie. I like to watch movies and sports.”
“On a gianormous screen.” I giggled.
“Gianormous? That’s a word I haven’t heard.” He looked bewildered.
“I picked it up from my girls. It’s a combination of giant and enormous. Teenagers have a unique way of expressing themselves.” I chuckled to myself.
“Your martini seems to be agreeing with you, Jacqueline.” His smile widened.
I took the opportunity to look for the lower front crooked incisor he mentioned, but I couldn’t see anything except perfect teeth. The buzz in my head intensified. My eyelids started to droop.
“I’ll get the food. Can you get a couple of waters from the fridge?”
“Sure.” I tried to steady myself. I never should have had a drink on an empty stomach.
“We have egg rolls, wonton soup, and Mongolian Beef, light on the onions, as you requested.”
“Thank you. It looks tasty.” He looks tasty. Jeez, I feel like a horny teenager!
Thankfully, as we ate, I began to feel more coherent. Yoake sat curled up on her floor pillow nearby as Marc updated me on his acquisition plans with the internet company. He seemed pleased when I shared with him my daughters were coming for a visit. This evening is starting out much better than last week.
After dinner, Marc produced his movie collection list. “Take a look. Tell me what you’d like to watch. They’re arranged by genre in alphabetical order.”
I stared at the list in awe. “There must be over five hundred movies here.”
“I removed fifty from the list last month.”
“Glad to see you are cutting back,” I teased.
“What’s your pleasure? An old classic, a drama, action, or maybe sci-fi? I’m guessing you’re the romantic comedy type.” I could only see his blazing blue eyes over the top of the list.
“Do you have any recommendations?”
“Last week I bought Hitch with Will Smith and Eva Mendez. Have you seen it?”
“No, I haven’t. Let’s watch it.”
Marc started setting up the DVD.
I wonder how many other women have been to his place for Chinese and a movie. He had been single his adult life, while I’d been married. I remembered what Trish said to me about STDs and using condoms.
I certainly wasn’t planning on having sex with him, but it felt incredible when he kissed me last week. Marc took a seat next to me on the sofa. His inviting scent was clean and fresh with a note of spice.
“Can I get you something to drink?”
“I’m fine,” I murmured.
“Yes. You are,” his eyes glimmered as he stroked my arm. A shiver ran down my neck and across my shoulders. His lips brushed mine. The quivering spot in the pit of my stomach exploded.
As Marc pulled me in his arms, he kissed me softly. When his warm tongue pressed into my mouth, a combination of panic and burning desire ripped through me. My lips couldn’t deny his moist, sweltering kiss. He stopped and took my hand. Without saying a word, he stood and led me out of the room down the hallway.
I knew where we were going. Yoake trotted along beside us swishing her tail, as if she knew too. Looks like this isn’t the first time Yoake has accompanied someone to Marc’s bedroom. She ran ahead and nosed open the door. The late summer sunset lit the room in a soft, warm glow. A king size bed with a tall, fawn-colored upholstered headboard and button tufting dominated the large space. The soft neutral toned bedding appeared to be a sumptuous raw silk.
Marc stopped a foot from the bed. He wrapped his arms around my waist and kissed me. Slow and deep. All the blood drained from my head. The air in the room became thick. When he pulled my T-shirt over my head, the heat from his body blanketed my bare skin. With ease, he unsnapped my bra with one hand and dropped it to the floor.
The temperature in the room was warm enough for me to remove my jacket. As I took it off, I noticed Marc glance at me over the top of his menu with a hint of appreciation in his eyes.
“Would you prefer a bottle of wine or a cocktail?”
“I’d like some wine this evening. You’re the expert, please choose.”
The Sauvignon Blanc Marc selected complemented the roasted salmon dish we ordered for dinner. As we ate, I couldn’t seem to get Marc engaged in regular conversation. I decided to shake things up a bit. “I have a question. Do you know how many women you have slept with, including me?”
“Why do you want to know?”
“Trish told me when you sleep with one person, it’s like sleeping with seven people. I would like to know my exposure. From an STD perspective.” Am I brazen for asking the question?
“I’m not into one-nighters. Including you, I’ve probably slept with fifteen women.” His nostrils flared slightly.
Fifteen. My lucky number. Pressing my lips together, I paused to calculate. “If I’ve done my math correctly, the total would be one hundred and five.”
“I assure you, I don’t have unprotected sex.” His jaw clenched, creating a tension in his face.
“You are only the second man I’ve had sex with.”
“Doesn’t matter to me,” he shrugged.
“That was the past.”
Funny, I don’t think his issues from his past are behind him.
On the way home from dinner, Marc turned on the CD player in his car. He skipped through the songs until “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” began to play. Is he trying to tell me something? Regardless, I appreciated the sound.
As we silently rode up in my elevator to my condo, I wrung my hands and watched until the light stopped on floor fifteen.
“Thank you for dinner, Marc,” I murmured.
“You’re welcome,” he answered. “I’m totally jet-lagged so, I‘m going to head home.” He kissed my hair and began to turn away.
Say something. “Drive safe.”
“I will.” He gave my hand a squeeze. “Good night.”
I went to the bedroom, kicked off my heels, and fell on my bed. My eyes began to sting with tears. Moxie jumped up beside me and licked my face.
Is there something wrong with me? With him? I slammed my fists on the bed.
I took in a deep breath and exhaled. “Do you want a cookie, Moxie? Maybe we’ll both have a cookie.” Her big brown saucers stared up at me.
On my way to the kitchen, I heard a knock. Is it Marc? Did he forget something?
I opened the door. Marc stood in front of me. Under the shadow of his knitted brow, his eyes darkened to a deep, sea blue.
Is he going to tell me adios?
He stood silent. I steadied myself.
“Did you forget something?”
“No. I mean, yes,” he stammered. “I forgot this.”
He pulled me close, covered my mouth with his lips, and plunged his tongue deep inside. I was shocked, confused, and totally turned on.
He held his kiss as he moved me through the doorway and skillfully pushed the door shut with his foot. I tore my mouth away and said, “I thought you were jet-lagged.”
“I got a second wind.” He continued to devour me with his mouth.
He unbuttoned my jacket and slid it down my over my arms. As he kissed and nipped at my shoulders, my breath caught in my throat.
“I’ve been thinking about this all night.” His voice was rough.
This time I led him to my bedroom. I walked him over to the edge of my bed and pushed him back on the mattress. He looked a bit stunned, but pleased.
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Hey there everyone! I am back with Tuesday Tales! (It’s been too long!). And…I am back with Gideon in my untitled Steampunk romance. The last we were with Gideon, he had rescued Emma from the humidor. (Need a refresher? Click here!). What will happen when Emma wakes up?
Don’t forget to check out the other incredible excerpts from the other Tuesday Tales authors!
The pumpkin orange glow of the late autumn sunset illuminated the thick glass pane of the window. It was soft yet still pierced Emma’s senses. She let go a soft groan as she stretched her stiff limbs.
Her mind raced to remember what had happened. The last she remembered she had been thrown in Gideon’s horrific humidor, the door sealing shut when she hit the floor. The thick fog of poison wrapped around her, choking her. She thought of him, of Gideon as she gasped her last breath. All she wanted to do was tell him how much she loved him. She never would.
But now, she was lying in the soft sanctuary of someone’s bed. Whose bed was she in? Had Katarina taken pity on her? Emma brushed a curly lock of hair from her face as she opened her eyes. Her gaze was met by the cold glare of Gideon’s.
“Gideon,” she breathed.
He shifted in the chair he sat until his elbows rested on his knees. He pressed his palms together for several moments. “You betrayed me. Your willingness to assist me, to be here with me, to want me was only a ploy to get me to finish that bloody contraption.”
Emma sat up, tugging the covers closer to her. “At first, yes. Katarina commanded me to do it. But the longer I was here, the more I was with you I wanted to be here.”
“Liar,” Gideon spat.
Emma drew her eyes to slits. She tossed off the blankets and stood on unsteady feet. She spun at him. “I don’t need to sit here and listen to you call me a liar. Yes, I lied. But I am not lying now. I was here because I wanted to be with you. I touched you, I kissed you because I wanted you deep in my core to the point I ached. No man has ever compared to you. But I don’t need your condemnation.”
She turned away from him to search for her gown. Just as she stooped to pick it up, a hand on her arm whipped her around. Her lips were engulfed in a scorching, sinfully delicious kiss. The only choice Emma had was to melt into it helplessly.
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Burton is a shy and disillusioned young English woman holidaying on the
Mediterranean island of Malta finds romance with the hotel manager, Luigi
Coletti. She also finds herself deeply involved in the life of an elderly
writer, Louisa Weston.
discovers Louisa’s strange past she is drawn into a tangled web of hidden
mysteries which are slowly uncovered, but at a high price…
manager, when Serena approached the desk to leave her keys.
too long anyway.”
left before crossing the road onto the sea side promenade. Ominous dark clouds
were gathering fast in the horizon and grayish blue waves splashed angrily
against the white rocks, spraying her lips with salty droplets.
island, but she had always come at the peak of hot and dry summers when the
blinding brightness of the sky merged with the staggering azure blue of the
sea. She never expected in a million years to find this sort of unremitting
British drizzle soaking her hair through and through, nor an icy wind blowing
on her face and making her eyes watery.
hoped the drizzle would not worsen. Forcibly she wiped her mouth with the back
of her hand, and then walked briskly with her head down. She stopped abruptly
out of breath and leaned against the silvery railings that ran all along in a
wide bend. What on earth possessed her to come over here in the middle of this
bleak and unusually cold winter? It was less than three weeks since she had
that terrible row with Harry after catching him cheating with her best friend
Susan. Seething with anger she broke off their engagement, but was so wretched
and miserable that she felt like crawling in a dark corner or disappearing from
the face of the earth.
into a major crisis. Full of hurt pride, she rebuffed any words of sympathy
offered by her boss, and promptly resigned from her position as private
secretary with a reputable industrial firm. She immediately moved out of her
cozy little apartment in Putney and grabbed one of those last minute holiday
deals to the island of Malta, where they offered travelers four weeks for the
price of three. Perhaps the change of scenery would help her get over the
emotional roller-coaster ride she was on. A relaxing getaway may lead to a
fresh start. She had to try.
of turbulent water was swelling under the blustery wind. Serena was so dejected
and full of self-pity that her eyes filled with tears, but no matter where or
when, the sea had always a soothing effect on her. Unlike a desert where its
vastness and desolate emptiness exudes fear and wonder, the sea with its
interchangeable moods of calm and rough had a mysticism of its own which for
some unknown reason Serena was the most comfortable near it. And this kind of
weather perfectly suited her present frame of mind.
gripped the metal railing that ran the length of the promenade until her
fingers hurt. She inhaled the fresh, revitalizing ozone bringing her back to
life. Serena was about to turn back, when at a distance she glimpsed the shape
of a man sitting on one of the rocks protruding into the sea at the base of the
low cliffs beneath where she was standing. Against the darkening sky he looked
more like a gray shadow, yet she could still notice a sort of naval cap pulled
down below his forehead and a few shiny buttons glittering on a dark reefer
opposite direction, but a compelling urge pushed her forward to that blurred
figure, and her imagination started to run wild. Was he a seaman home on leave
after a long exotic voyage? Or, was he simply a stranger who, like her, was
taking a stroll, indifferent to the elements? The man seemed totally unaware of
her presence and was focusing only on the foaming sea. The incandescent light
of a pale moon came peeping through the thick clouds, and for an instant, two
very dark eyes stared blankly back at Serena.
looked back, the man seemed to have vanished. Had he gone down the other side
of the rocks, or was her imagination playing tricks?
firmly under her chin and resumed her brisk walk to the hotel just in time to
change for dinner.
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island, was very steep and narrow but the view from up there was magnificent.
At one point he stopped the car so that Serena could admire at leisure the
rugged landscape unfolding down below. She gasped with unexpected pleasure at
the breathtaking scenery. Her cheeks were all pink from the freshening breeze
and she looked absolutely ravishing. Luigi almost gave in to the temptation of
proposing to her then and there. However, as he thought of his carefully
detailed event to come he resisted and cautiously walked toward the bay.
fisherman from whom he had pre-rented the boat, greeted them with a toothless
oars. “We shall be about an hour,” he said to the old man as he started to row
energetically in order to get away from the scorching midday sun.
the rock walls made them feel more relaxed. The water appeared as smooth as
glass and reflected like a mirror the brilliant phosphorescent colors of underwater flora. Luigi sat back unmoving and let
the craft drift smoothly along.
grandeur as if he owned the place.
crystalline water and sighed on seeing how the water gave the appearance of
being a pale blue hue rather than transparent. “You are right, it is quite
right moment to speak. He had purposely chosen a mid-week day to avoid the
tourist crowd, but there were still too many boats around. He feared his
romantic proposal would not work the way he had planned it.
into it. A faint ray of
sunlight coming through the arched opening revealed a multitude of tiny
multi-colored crystals shining brilliantly on the wet walls. They seemed to mirror the diamond ring he had chosen
at his father’s jewelry shop in Valetta several weeks earlier was burning a
hole in Luigi’s pocket.
spooky as well,” said Serena shivering slightly at the thought and experiencing
a niggling tingle at the back of her neck. Luigi’s deep blue eyes seemed to
grow darker and darker like a whirlpool in which she was drowning, and for a
split second his face seemed to disappear and a gray shadow jumped out of the
boat… With a frightening yelp Serena recoiled in horror and looked around as if
searching for something in the water. She was shaking quite noticeably and
vaguely aware Luigi was speaking to her as he moved position to sit next to her
making the boat rock a bit.
alright.” she whispered still in a daze.
him. “How do you really feel about me, Serena? You must know I’m in love with
you. I thought you felt the same?”
now, Luigi,” she mumbled still shaken by her eerie vision. “Things at the villa
are not working out the way I expected, and I might very well decide to go back
home after all.” She was stalling and she knew it, still determined not to make
any commitments she might regret.
unbearable. As they reached the gates of her new home Luigi leaned across to
open the door rather than getting out and opening it for Serena.
stepped out of the car drove off at high speed.
stomach. Why did she behave so stupidly when in reality she liked him so much?
Would she ever see Luigi again or, had she lost the only true friend she had?
She went inside with a heavy sense of foreboding. She didn’t understand why
since arriving on the island she was beginning to experience such strange
hallucinations from alleged apparitions at the rocks in Sliema to the ghostly
image which had materialized out of Luigi’s eyes just an hour or so earlier.
Should she perhaps see a doctor about it?
seemed to have been taken over by a power beyond her control and she felt
trapped within her own Calypso Cave.
What was the meaning of all this? If by some inexplicable reason her destiny
was to be linked to this tiny foreign land, was not Luigi meant to be part of
was born in Alexandria, Egypt on 15th
January 1925 at a time when the Country was under a ruling monarchy which
permitted a predominant European influence to flourish. This gave Egypt and
Alexandria in particular a distinctive cosmopolitan and flamboyant lifestyle.
Despite being born British of Maltese descent she had a totally Italian
upbringing and received an extensive French education at the French Lycée. Being a great lover of poetry and
literature she aspired at becoming a writer but her
studies were cut short as World War II erupted over Europe. She
married on 26th October 1946 and gave birth to three
children. In 1952 her husband, Hubert, obtained a managerial position at a
shipping agency at the small town of Port Said. They lived there happily until
political disruptions between the Egyptian government and Anglo-French
interests in the Suez Canal Zone resulted in military intervention. The result
of the week-long conflict in 1956, which became known in history as the Suez
Crisis, forced the evacuation of all European nationals out of Egypt. Viviane
and her family were compelled to abandon their home and all assets and leave
their country as political refugees. They set up a new home in
London where they became a magnet for the rest of their family.
Proceeds from the sale of the book were donated to Cancer Research in memory of
Hubert who died of bowel cancer in 1989. Poetic Whispers a poetry
anthology was published on Smashwords in 2013. A Tangled Web is her only other completed book. Viviane
now resides in the south of France near Cannes.
near Lydia’s older brother, Jason. Claire is intrigued by Lydia’s
stories of Jason, who is the black sheep of the family—and a musician.
The minute Claire hears him sing, she falls for him.Claire thrives in her new urban surroundings, treasuring her time
with Jason and exploring her new found sexuality, but both Claire and
Jason carry shadows with them. They’re each fighting wounds of their
past. Will they defeat their demons? Will their feelings for each other
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graduating from college with a degree in literature . As a nature lover, living in the city was a culture shock, but she
soon began to enjoy being surrounded by so much energy. Submerged in perpetual
crowds, April developed a fondness for people watching, which inspired her to start writing. Drawn to both the light
and dark of humanity, she strives to tell sexy and romantic stories with
exquisitely complex characters. When she isn’t writing, she loves listening to
music or reading a good book while enjoying a glass of wine.