Home » Posts tagged 'The Romance Studio'
Tag Archives: The Romance Studio
Lace Daltyn here. The first book in my new series, Secrets, is due out later this month. I’ve been working on these stories for forever, I think. A while back, I finished the edits on the fifth and final book and just sat there, not knowing what to do. I felt lost for a while, not sure what my next project would be, not wanting to let go of these characters I’d spent so much time with.
Of course, then the promotion wagon started rolling and I had to slap myself back into the game and get moving. So here I am. And, since Masquerade, the flagship story in my Secrets series, isn’t quite ready for the high seas yet, here’s another story of mine. In fact, this story is where I came up with my tagline, It’s all about the kiss. Here’s the scene from that story that made me realize just how much I like kisses. Sigh.
Excerpt from Forever Men:
“Anytime.” He reached up and, using his thumb, wiped some of the tears from her cheek.
“I must look awful.”
“You look beautiful,” he whispered.
As he gazed into eyes that invaded his days and nights, Desi stared back, her eyes wide and questioning.
He was going to kiss her. He shouldn’t. It was a betrayal of the worst kind.
She opened her mouth. Just enough to sigh. And it was his undoing.
He lowered his head, unable to stop himself.
The first touch beat out all of his imaginings. Nothing else mattered but the sweet taste of her. His lips trembled as they moved over hers. Everything missing in his life coalesced into this one moment of heaven. He was being pulled in by euphoric quicksand, and he sighed and let go. He was sunk.
When he tangled his fingers in her hair, her hands moved up his back and tightened. He deepened the kiss, asking for more.
She opened her mouth to him, and he almost cried out. He reached for her with his tongue, and they moved in a slow-motion tango that hardened him beyond anything he’d ever felt before. He could feel his heart beating fast and hard. And the faint thump-thump of her heart in concert with his.
Matt caressed his way down her back, then pulled her hips in tight to his need. She lifted a leg and wrapped it around him as his hand moved to cup a breast.
Desi groaned and leaned back into his supporting arm, allowing him room. He ran his thumb over a nipple he could tell was stiff with need, even through her bra and t-shirt.
He lowered his mouth and sucked her clothed breast. Unsure if the low moan had come from her or from him, he shifted to lift her t-shirt. She urged his hand to hurry.
The front clasp to her bra had him cheering inside. He undid it easily and moved it aside. Finally, he was again able to gaze on breasts that had haunted him since the first day he came on site.
She shifted, moving closer to him. He held her away, lost in the beauty of her. When he lowered his head, he could have sworn he heard her murmur a “thank God”.
He kissed a rosy nipple and felt it pebble more beneath his tongue. He swirled under, over, around. Then he drew more of her in. There was nothing else but her … with him … here in the driveway.
He paused, and she moaned. Lifting his head, he realized they were in broad daylight, out in the middle of the construction project.
“We need to find some privacy,” he said.
For more information:
Evernight Publishing: http://www.evernightpublishing.com/lace-daltyn/
Hi, again. Lace Daltyn here. Driving down the street, how many times do you see stick figures on the backs of cars? I love them, especially since I’m seeing more character to the, um, characters. People are adding soccer balls, or ballet shoes, whatever their passion is. Oooh, I need to find a book to put on my car.
I’ve also seen this taken to extremes. The other day, there was a car with Dad, Mom, 5 kids, 3 dogs, 2 cats, and something I couldn’t quite distinguish at the end. I have to say, sometimes it borders on the ridiculous. Which is why, when I saw this this while at a stop light, I HAD to take a picture (sorry if it’s a little blurry). I sat there cracking up, all by myself in my car. (I must have looked like a crazy person.)
I’ve got to work that into a story somehow. Although, without the visual, it probably wouldn’t work.
The first story in my new series, Secrets, should be out later this month. Masquerade is about finding lost love, and shedding the baggage of confidences never told. Here’s a quick blurb about Beth’s story:
Secrets 1: Masquerade
Frigid bitch. The words seep into Beth Ritmour’s soul. A year after her divorce, they still haunt her. So when a mysterious benefactor offers to help, Beth takes a vacation from her job as a dental hygienist and follows a cryptic note to Chicago, where she’s soon ensconced as a waitress at Club Masquerade. Although how she’s going to prove she’s not frigid is hard to figure out when the boss makes it very clear that sex, or any precursors to sex, with patrons or employees, is strictly taboo. It’s not an easy rule to follow, especially when one deliciously hot bartender keeps very, very close tabs on her.
For more information:
Evernight Publishing: http://www.evernightpublishing.com/lace-daltyn/
Hi, everyone. I’m Lace Daltyn and it looks like the party’s going strong! So…since I don’t have the cover for my newest story yet (slated for later this month), I thought I’d show you one of the two brave, handsome guys in my life. This is Dude, my five year old, 17 pound cuddler. It’s been years since I had an animal imprint on me. Our last cat, though wonderful, was attached to hubby at the hip and heart.
Dude, though, picked me. And he’s been as perfect a hero as I could ever ask for. He’s there for me whenever I need a cuddle and he leaves me alone to write. In fact, our office here at home now has three office chairs. Hubby got tired of me always giving mine up to “the Dude” and went out and bought me one. (My other hero, by the way).
Anyhow, Dude now sits and listens to me plot out my stories or rave about some twist I can’t get right. Sometimes, I’ll ask him a question and get a little meow, sometimes he’ll just cock his head, as if to say “Really? Think it through, Mom.” But always, he’s my biggest fan.
I’ve got a new series starting a little later this month with Evernight Publishing. It’s called Secrets and I’ve angsted over this series for a year and a half and am so excited to be this close to sending it out into cyberspace. Dude is, too, and he wants me to let you know he approves. :)
Here’s a quick blurb about the over-arcing story:
The world is full of secrets.
Drea Fortier, a reclusive philanthropist whose painful past influences her belief that there can be no happily ever after for her, reaches out to help others in the hope she can transform their pain and give them hope for the future. Drea’s own story, along with that of her assistant, Michael Smith, is slowly revealed throughout the Secrets series.
Hi everyone — I’m thrilled to tell you that F.A.S.T. Balls, my new firefighter romance, just received 5 HEARTS from the Romance Studio!! I’m thrilled. This means it is eligible for the 5 Heart Sweetheart vote which starts Monday. So I will remind you! LOL
Excerpt: F.A.S.T. Balls by Tara Lain; The Gay Fireman and the Homophobe
Firefighter and surfing champion, Jerry Wallender, looks like a hero to the world, but he can’t see it. He keeps falling for these intellectual guys who end up making him feel dumb and unneeded. On top of that, Mick Cassidy, super-gorgeous firefighter and total homophobe, makes Jerry’s life miserable with his slurs. Then one day Mick’s nice to Jerry and, at the Firefighter’s Ball, Jerry offers a helping hand and ends up with a hand-job. What the hell is going on?
Mick Cassidy is great with fighting fires and solving math problems but rotten with people. Raised by a gay-hating preacher, Mick’s carefully constructed world of gay bashing starts to crumble when he meets Jerry, the nicest, kindest man he’s ever known. Mick’s never wanted a woman and can’t stop thinking about sex with Jerry. In fact, he can’t stop doing it. Does that make him gay? And if he’s gay, what happens to his whole life? A hook-up between sweet Jerry and mean Mick might be total disaster — or the smartest idea Jerry ever had.
The band got into the spirit and segued from the cha cha into a meringue. Jerry didn’t know this one as well but he mimicked Andres and pretty soon had the rhythm. Some people were standing around watching them while others joined in and danced. Andres was so gorgeous and so great at dancing. He even spun a couple of the women around as he danced by them and they squealed. What a charmer.
The musicians worked up to a big finish. Andres pulled Jerry in close then spun him out in a twirl. He circled twice, laughed, and…stopped dead.
Holy crap. Standing on the edge of the dance floor staring at the dancers with big green eyes was the yummiest thing he’d ever seen. Mick Cassidy, tall, straight and strong in a dress blue uniform, the light from the ballroom chandeliers shining off his pale gold hair.
Jerry glanced at the girl standing next to Mick. Really pretty in a blue dress. But nothing, underline nothing, he had seen in a long time was as pretty as that big, hunky homophobe. Mick might be mean as piss, as Hunter said, but he stood there proving that sometimes things that were bad for you are the ones you want most.
A hand on his shoulder woke him up. “You okay, Jerry?”
“Oh, sorry.” He turned and smiled at Andres, but man, it was hard tearing his eyes away. “I just saw someone I know.”
He headed back to the table and Andres stepped up beside him. “Was the person you know that golden dreamboat in blue by any chance?”
He wasn’t going to pretend he didn’t know who Andres meant. “Yeah, that’s the guy I was telling Rod and Hunter about. The one who was nice to me.”
“Oh guapo, he can be nice to me anytime.”
Jerry laughed. “Yeah. Too bad he’s a raging fag hater.”
“So why was he nice?”
“I still haven’t figured that out.”
* * *
He’d been turned to stone. Hell, he had to move. This was stupid. Mick watched Jerry’s retreating back moving off the dance floor and saw him guiding a beautiful Mexican with him. Who the hell was that? Jerry had said his boyfriend had left him. He’d sure moved on fast.
“You know that guy?”
He glanced at Jezebel. Oh right, she was with him. “Yes, he works on my shift a lot of the time.”
“Sure is a good dancer. He a fag? Must be, if he’s dancing with a guy, right.”
Whoa. He used that word all the time but it sounded bad when she said it about Jerry. “Yeah, he’s gay.”
“Must be like your father says. You see a lot of gay guys in Laguna.”
“Yes.” It felt weird to have his father’s ideas dragged into his work life.
She looked out at the dancers. “I always figured what your father says is a load of crap. Gay people are born that way so it has to be God’s will and if it’s not then God’s a load of crap.”
Mick gasped and looked at her. Really looked. “I don’t believe you just said that.”
You can find Tara HERE:
FB Page: http://www.facebook.com/taralain
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 21. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!
Ever wonder what happens with the characters after the story ended? Check out my interview with Jake and Pamela Gibson of Kidnapped Hearts, Book 1 of the Band of Friends Series.
Click picture to buy in print or ebook.
My interview with Jake and Pamela, the hero and heroine, from Kidnapped Hearts:
A month after their story is released I have an appointment with Pamela and Jake to find out how life is treating them. Briefcase in tow, I step inside The Memory Café onto a black and white tile floor. Instantly, I’m transported to the storyline of Kidnapped Hearts.
A touch nervous at my first interview, I wipe my brow and run my fingers through my short golden locks.
“Hello.” A sparkling eyed, dark-haired woman approaches me. A hint of pink in her cheeks gives her a healthy glow.
Wow, they do resemble the Caribbean.
I stretch out my hand, looking at her eye level. “Hi, I’m Cait Jarrod.”
She smiles. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but a nice firm handshake surprises me.
“Pamela Gibson. It’s good to meet you. My husband will be here soon. In the meantime, would you like a glass of wine?”
Never turning down wine, I smile. “I’d love some.”
“Right this way.”
Irises and daisies adorn the tables. Everything the book said about the café was true. I smooth the back of my dress as I sit down at a white-linen table with a platter of cheese, crackers, and grapes. I like this woman more and more by the minute.
“Which type of wine do you prefer?”
I notice what appears to be the beginning of a baby bump, but divert my eyes. “Do you have a preference?”
“Sauvignon Blanc is her choice.” A dark-haired man steps forward, kisses Pamela on the lips, and gives me his hand. “Jake Gibson. You must be Ms. Jarrod.”
Blue eyes stare at me. What’s with the blue eyes? “Yes, please call me Cait.” His grip doesn’t catch me off guard. I knew it’d be strong. “I’ll have Sauvignon, then.”
“I’ll get it, Sweetheart,” he says to Pamela and kisses her cheek this time.
Pamela watches, smiling. Within a few seconds, he’s back carrying two glasses of water and my wine. Maybe my suspicions of the bump are correct. “You two won’t be joining me?”
“No, I’m pregnant.” She giggles, as Jake reaches over and rubs her stomach, covered by a loose fitting blouse.
“Are you going to tell her?” he asks.
My eyebrows lift and I sip the wine. She said she’s pregnant. What more could it be?
“I’m having twins.”
The liquid rushes up my nose and I cough. “Excuse me. You startled me. Congratulations! That’s wonderful news.” I sputter, trying to get some sort of composure.
Jake darts over to the bar.
I clear my throat. “If it’s okay, I’d like to start the interview.”
“I’m ready as I’ll ever be.” Pamela grabs a cracker and tops it with a piece of cheese.
My nose burns and I push the wine aside, then pull out a notepad and pencil from my briefcase. “I’m old school. I like to take notes. Do you mind?”
“No, not at all.” She reaches for a grape.
I wonder if I am preventing her from eating lunch.
“Here’s some water.” Jake chuckles. “You should have seen my reaction. I did more than snort wine.”
“He spilled a cup of hot coffee in his lap.” Pamela laughs.
I swallow some water, getting the tickle out of my throat. These two are precious. They make me feel right at home. “I’ll start with the easy stuff. When did you two get married?”
“About four months ago.”
I sit back in my chair. “Oh, I thought it was recent, since the story just came out.” I lift my pencil in a light-bulb moment. “Silly me. Of course, the incident happened a little while ago.”
“Five months, since she agreed to become Mrs. Gibson.”
“He got jealous of my Rambo name.”
“You acted like him, Pamela.” I tease.
The gleam in her eyes disappears and Jake squeezes her hand.
“It’s still hard talking about the events. It’s no secret at the time Vivian and I didn’t get along, but what my stepfather did to her.” She draws in a deep breath.
“Let’s move on.” Jake interrupts. “Ask me some questions.”
I nod and Pamela wipes her tears from her cheek.
“During the situation with Sanjar, the terrorist, what was the most difficult task you had to do that involved Pamela?”
He stretches out his legs and groans. “Every one that put her life in jeopardy. I can’t pick one. They all sucked. Uhm, sorry.”
“No, it’s alright. I understand.” I glance at Pamela who had gotten herself together. “What about for you? What part of the ordeal concerning Jake scared you the most?”
“When Jake and Steve’s boats collided. I’ll never forget the fear that ran through me.” She swallowed. “Yet, the lighthouse was the worse. I waited on the deck while Jake had run back upstairs to get his pack. A few seconds later, I heard a gunshot.” Her body trembles.
Jake scoots his chair closer to her, wraps his arm around her shoulders, and tugs her into him. “You don’t have to say anymore.”
“I want to. Seeing him, bleeding …” Her words drift off.
This woman has shot two people, killing one. How does an untrained person undergo such peril? “Pamela …” I prop my elbow on the table and rest my chin on my hand. “How do you deal with it?”
Her eyes grow wide. “You mean to shoot someone?”
“I try not to think about it, but those men left me no choice.”
“No, not with Jake beside me.”
Jake’s cell rings and he glances at the number. “I need to take this. Excuse me.”
He steps away and again. Pamela watches. The love she has for him is obvious. “What about him attracted you?”
“Oh.” She hoots and faces me. “His tenderness, I think. When he snuck up behind me during the thunderstorm in there? ” She points in the direction of the kitchen.
“When you met?”
“Yes. In a gentle, caring voice, he said, ‘You have to trust me.’ I was in the middle of a crisis, yet I found something that I didn’t know I was missing. Him.
I listen to her, forgetting to take notes.
“Paul will be here in a few minutes to pick me up,” Jake said, returning to the table. “
My cue the interview is almost over. I straighten. “Paul’s your foster brother? How is he?”
“He’s good,” he said.
“I think he might have found someone,” she shifts and crosses her legs.
“There’s a lot of baggage, Pamela. Don’t wish for this relationship to work out just yet.” He leans closer to me. “She likes to play matchmaker.”
A solid smack on his arm, and she says, “I do not. Well. I just want him to be happy.”
“Me, too, but first, the possible murder on the farm needs to be resolved, and Mags ex locked up behind bars before I’m okay about the two of them.” Jake slid a hand down his face and glances at his wife. “And we thought we had a rough start.”
I’m intrigued. A murder. Ex-husband. “Will I be hearing this story later?”
Pamela tilts her head. “I imagine so.”
Another book around the corner. Good. “What about Steve and Celine? Are they dating?”
I glace over my shoulder. A sweet-looking older woman with gray hair and blue eyes walks toward us … again with the eyes.
“Your father is on the phone. Something about what medicine did Grand Ann take to upset her stomach last week.” The woman turns to me. “I’m sorry. I was wrapped up in getting Donald his answer, I didn’t see you.” She passes the phone to Pamela
“Cait, this is my step-mother, Marge Young.”
She does radiate warmth. “Nice to meet you.”
“You, too. I don’t mean to be rude, but there’s cooking to be done for the evening crowd.”
I observe the other patrons. My attention glued to the interview, I hadn’t notice the tables filling.
“Love you, too, Dad.” Pamela places the phone on the table. “Where were we? Oh yeah, Steve and Celine. They are a mystery. I can’t figure them out.”
“Steve is gone a lot. If I can ever get him to retire and join the Old Town Detectives, then they might have a chance.”
“He’s interested in buying the safe house we stayed at,” Pamela says. “It was a beautiful place.”
The beach house on the Chesapeake Bay sounds delightful. “Kaz’s Den?” I ask, not quite sure if I got the name right.
“The flower gardens were magnificent.”
“I imagine the owners were not happy when it blew up.”
Jake chuckles. “That’s an understatement. They returned from Key West furious. It’s being repaired now, but it’s doubtful the owners will ever live there again. It was their summer home. I think the whole incident took away the emotional value.” Jake rubs his jaw. “I feel bad about it.”
Pamela stood. “I’ll be right back. I need to go to the little girls’ room.”
When she was out of earshot, I face the handsome detective. “I’m curious, what is it about Pamela that caught your attention?”
His eyebrows shot up. “You’re kidding, right? You’ve looked at the woman; spoke to her, what’s not to love?”
He had a point there, but I want specifics. “Not one thing in particular?”
He stares at his folded hands and smiles before meeting my gaze. “You ever eat a piece of candy and love the outside as much as the filling?”
“Yes, Reese’s Cup.”
He taps the table with his fingers. “Exactly. Do you like the chocolate or the peanut butter best?”
I know where he’s going, and decide to answer anyway. “I can’t pick.”
“Because the whole package is what you love.”
“Package, what do you love?” Pamela sits next to her husband.
He squeezes her knee. “You.”
She giggles. “You’re such a riot. What did he compare me to?”
“A Reese’s Cup.”
“Well, I think you two have given me everything I need.” I slip my notepad and pencil in my briefcase and they escort me to the door. “When I’m finished typing my notes, I’ll email it to you to read first.”
“I’d appreciate it,” Jake said, opening the door for me. “There’s my ride.”
A dimple-faced man in a Jeep is parked in front of the Café.
Paul. I can’t wait to hear his story.
Click image to buy ebook.
Angie Kilpatrick, a CEO in the pharmaceutical world, has achieved everything she set out to do, yet lives with regret for walking away from the only man she’s ever loved. A decade later, she has the chance to fix her mistake. Instead of a happy reunion, she finds an angry man and another who puts her in a problematic situation.
Shots are fired and Angie is on a quest once again to locate for her lost love.
What she discovers is the man she thought was gone from her life forever.
Rekindled is a sweet romance about getting a second chance with your first love. Highly recommended for anyone who loves a quick romance with characters that you can relate to and believe in their stories and lives. They have a few tense moments that only make their reunion that much sweeter. This is one of the amazing before bed short stories that leave you with a smile on your face and joy in your heart.
~Star Illustrious Illusions
I loved this book. I found this book to be dangerous yet exciting, witty and adventurous! It had a hero I could root for and a lost love. I do believe in 2nd chances. Kuddos to Cait Jarrod for her storytelling ways. I could really see this story happening in real life too! Thank you Cait Jarrod. I can’t wait to read more.
For all you romantic buffs with a taste for a kiss of passion, Rekindled brings to life the story of a second chance at love between high school sweethearts and adult lovers. Cait Jarrod’s mix of romance, along with the intense deep sighs of physical pleasure, make this book a great read for the romantic enthusiast.
~Jeff Davis, author
Rekindled is a wonderful short story about two adults trying for a second chance at true love. A sweet romance that shows how no matter the obstacles, what is meant to be is meant to be. Cait skillfully weaves us into the lives of these two characters and makes us ache and cheer for them. It was a definite page turner and a must read.
Click picture to buy in print or ebook.
If you like fast paced, full of action and plenty of romance, then this is the book for you. I absolutely loved it! The first thing to catch my eye is the setting, Fredericksburg, VA. That’s really close to where I live and I go there often, so it was neat to read about places I’ve been to or heard of.
Now to the book: It was very well written, and it keeps you guessing all the way to the very last page, and no, you won’t be able to figure most of it out. I like that kind of read, keeps me engaged throughout the entire thing. I instantly liked Pamela, what was nice and different about her was how strong she was, not the typical damsel in distress. And fiery at that. She may have had her weak moments within the story, but they were few and far between.
Then there is FBI Agent Jake Gibson, retired…*sigh*, yet another fictional boyfriend to add to my ever-growing list. The poor man has been through hell and back, then it happens all over again. You will also meet a bunch of Pamela’s friends, known as the Band of Friends, or BOF for short. They are all likeable and strong. I’m hoping that each and every one gets their own books!
The overall plot of the story (without giving away any spoilers) is that someone thinks Pamela has stolen bearer bonds, and will do anything and hurt anyone to get them. Then the attacks start and Jake is put on the case to protect her and try to solve the case. To make things more complicated for them, there are people who want Jake dead from a previous undercover case he was on. Now the bad guys know Jakes real identity due to a possible leak inside the FBI.
The times, trials and crazy adventures they go through bring Jake and Pamela closer, but can she live and love a man that constantly puts his life on the line, a man that works one of the most dangerous jobs there is? Will he ever escape the people who are after him and will use anything, especially Pamela, against him to make him weak? I won’t tell. You’ll have to read to find out. But trust me, this book will not disappoint.
There were times I laughed, cried got mad but those are the best books right?! The ones that actually bring you to their world and evoke your emotions? And fear not my friends, the romance & love scenes are so very tastefully written, yet so believable. All in all, yes I would re-read this book, recommend it to friends, and I will most certainly read more books (especially if they are a series extended from this book) by this Author.
~Crystal Taylor, Reviewer
Kidnapped Hearts is my favorite of Ms. Jarrod’s stories so far. But then again, I love a longer more intricate story with a little suspense and romance to liven things up. Kidnapped Hearts in a way is also about characters who get a second chance at love. Although they never had a relationship, they did have crushes prior to the incidents that throw them together for the ride of their lives.
Cait Jarrod creates characters that will tug at your heart strings and her scenarios will have you on the edge of your seat and glancing out of your own windows when you hear something unusual. This was one of those stories I had trouble putting down once I started. Pamela is a sweet young woman that has no clue why she is under attack from someone unknown, but she sure is glad Jake suddenly shows up back in town and is there to protect her when the going gets tough.
I really can’t say enough about Kidnapped Hearts and the master story teller that is Cait Jarrod. Her tales will entrance you and before you know it several hours will probably have passed while you were lost in Pamela & Jakes lives. . . Pick this one up if you are looking for a story with a little bit of everything, mystery, thriller, passion, and romance!
~Star, Illustrious Illusions
I always enjoy a well-written cop romance with tough, handsome law enforcers and smart, beautiful women. This one has an intricate plot with several unexpected twists, and I seriously had trouble putting it down
~Lea Bronsen, author
This book will grab you in the first chapter with suspense, humor, and great chemistry between Jake and Pamela from the get go. Lots of action and romance – an enjoyable read for sure.
~Shelly Hickman, author
The story starts with lightening, and the sizzle never stops. Cafe owner Pamela just wants to make her business successful, but gets swept up into a plot not of her making. A mysterious FBI agent initially rescues her from the dark only to lose her to the danger he stirred up. He thought he was beyond finding love again, but in his fight to find Pamela he realizes he has more to lose than just another case.
Kidnapped Hearts is a fast pace page turner that will keep you reading and when you close the book at the end, it will be with a smile.
Kidnapped Hearts, the first in the Band Of Friends, series.
Fast paced, full of action, and plenty of romance
To buy now: Click image
Small town girl and owner of The Memory Café, Pamela Young, regales in her life with her friends, aptly named the Band of Friends until her life is turned upside down with stolen bearer bonds.
After a five-year disappearing act, Jake Gibson returns home retired from the FBI and ready to make amends with his estranged family. A freelance case falls into his lap, involving the woman he’d resisted years ago. Jake will do anything to protect Pamela, even put his life in jeopardy along with his heart.
How ’bout a taste of paranormal?
Nothing is as it Seems, online short story
From her perch on the back porch steps of Greenwood Manor, Charlene stared at the one room building in the corner of the yard. The schoolhouse with the chipped paint gave her the creeps ever since she arrived.
She sipped Pinot and rested her arm on her leg. Why did she tell Paul England she’d stay at the Manor tonight, Halloween of all nights?
He sounded desperate, that’s why. A group of her closest friends, affectionally named the Band of Friends, jumped whenever one of them needed help. The sun faded, casting a vibrant orangish-yellow glow on the grounds. With its descent, shadows loomed over the two hundred year old building, adding to her jumpiness.
A white patch, not square nor rectangle, but a shape with no borders flew from the building right in front of her to the schoolhouse. Her arm froze midair with her drink touching her lips and goose bumps rose on her arms.
“I need Larry.” She jumped up and darted into the house to grab her purse. After she was kidnapped in the mountains, he gave her his number and said to call whenever she needed him. She tugged the card out of the inside zipper pocket and dialed his number on her cell. It went to voice mail.
She looked out the kitchen window. A light beamed across the yard. She rushed to the counter and looked out. Evening dropped a blanket of darkness, but the moon shined. She rolled her eyes. A full moon. What more could happen on the ghostly night?
Outside, a door slammed, and her heart pounded in her ears. Paul trusted her to look after the plantation, not watch from a far. If her son came along, instead of choosing to be with his grandmother to go trick or treating, he would have rushed to the schoolhouse and checked it out. After all, the man of the family presented a brave front.
Light danced out the schoolhouse window and onto the boxwoods near the building. The tension between her shoulder blades tightened. Teens must be partying. She downed the rest of the wine and set the glass on the counter. Time to enforce what Paul asked. With feet of clay, she left the kitchen walked through the screened porch to the steps. The cooling air made her wrap her arms under her chest.
Crickets chirped. A coyote howled. Ghost stories involving the Manor thrashed into her mind. Her friends, Paul and Jake, once mentioned the ghost of a man who’d been murdered.
Finish reading at: http://caitjarrod.com/nothing-is-as-it-seems/
Facebook Fan Page: http://on.fb.me/15uHZA5
Hi everyone. I hope your Monday is fantastic! I wanted to make it a little brighter by sharing an excerpt from Escaping Darkness, novella 1.5 of The Stone Legacy Series. …Or maybe it won’t make your day brighter…
Vonnie, A reviewer on Amazon said–”Woah…that’s dark“
So if your up for a little horror, a little YA, and a whole lot of adventure and romance, check out he excerpt below. Maybe it will lighten the load of the beginning of your work week, and intrigue you to check out the series.
Tara’s mother strolled into the cell—Sarian, cloaked in yet another form. Her strawberry blonde hair fell straight over her shoulders, thinning from age and the constant abuse of cocaine and Tequila.
She was exactly how Tara remembered her from the last time they saw each other.
Tara had managed to stay composed through Sarian’s prior attempts to tear information out of her, but you can’t tell what you don’t know. Of course, he didn’t believe her. Still, this time, in the body of her mother, Tara’s heart shriveled, and after a moment of watching the woman, she turned her head.
Drops of cold sweat zigzagged down Tara’s back and over the ridges of her spine.
“Where is your guardian when you need her?” She whispered in a soft coo.
Tara hung her head. “Please…let me go.”
“And if I do, will you tell me how to break the obedience spell?” With a delicate touch, her mother tilted up Tara’s chin. Her gaze met her mother’s. The eyes staring back were the same brown, tired eyes Tara stared into as a child while wishing her mother would be sober enough to read her a bedtime story. The same eyes that returned her childlike hope with sharp glares of resentment. Her mother never wanted her. That much had always been clear.
Anger churned inside Tara. Sarian had approached her in the form of Renato and Ashley, but this was an all time low. It was another attempt to scare her into compliance, but she wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of seeing her fear.
Slowly the woman stood, and from under the folds of a baggy sweatshirt, a heavy mallet appeared. Tara gasped with wide eyes. “No!” She tried to shake free, but the splints clamped around her legs kept her from attempting more than once. Pain quaked up her body. Her gaze followed the weapon used to drive in the wedges.
“Usually The Boots are very effective in extracting information—a method from the medieval era.” Her mother’s lips curled into an insidious grin. She held up the mallet, pivoting it in the air. “Or perhaps I should try another approach.” She lowered the weapon, and her features morphed until the mallet transformed into a cane—her mother’s appearance transforming with it into Sarian’s true form. He stood in front of her wearing a suit, his hair slicked back. “Perhaps I’ll allow Yaxche to have its way with you.” His grin widened.
A slithering coil caught her peripheral vision. Tara frantically glanced around. Thick roots snaked through the soil and over the ground beneath her feet.
“This tree has kept the dead trapped in the underworld since time began.” Sarian slowly backed away.
The chair she sat in began to tremble. Tiny vines sprouted from the armrests and crawled along her wrist. Her eyes widened when she realized that the entire time her chair had been made of roots, all woven together and perfectly still.
The prison cell door slammed shut, and Sarian peered through the bars. “I’m sure it would appreciate a live meal. That is, unless you have some information for me.”
Vines wound around her feet and the legs of the chair. Thicker roots sprouted around the edge of the room. Scarlet capillaries clustered under the bark caressing the delicate skin on the back of her hand.
She watched the vines move with the rhythm of her chest, rising and falling with every breath. Paralyzed with fear, she could only sit there in horror as she realized…
The roots were breathing.
Shaky, Tara managed to make it to the bathroom before her knees buckled. She grabbed onto the sink for support while she splashed her face with cold water until it dripped from her nose and chin.
A small part of her wished she’d had the answer to Sarian’s question. She didn’t know anything about the obedience spell at the time—hell, she still didn’t. No details at least. If she had, she could have told him and it all would have ended. He eventually figured it out anyway from what Peter said.
Tara hadn’t seen Ashley since it happened, and the thought of her best friend being out there, fighting to save Jayden without complete control over her stone, made Tara’s stomach ache. After taking the time to really think about it, she couldn’t have told him. Not if it meant she would be responsible for the consequences—blood of countless innocent people on her hands. No thanks.
She lifted her gaze and stared into the mirror at the ghostly image – her former self, now paler with dark circles under her eyes. Even her hair seemed lifeless, lacking the body it usually had. She pushed up the lumps of curls, but they just sagged down again when she let them go.
Tara paused, wondering what else about her had changed.
She hesitantly moved in front of the full-length mirror and peeled off her pajamas. Standing in her underwear, the full gravity of her deterioration was in clear view. Her ribs were defined, and her pelvic bones had begun to protrude. She had always wanted to be thinner, to smooth out her curves until she had a lean torso and slim hips—but not this way. Worse, there was nothing she could do to stop it.
Back in bed, a pillow acted as her comforter. She wrapped her arms around it and rested her cheek against it. She knew there was no way she’d go back to sleep now. That last flashback had been enough to keep her awake for weeks. She could still feel the vines tightening around her wrists, and hear the slow, hissing exhale of the roots.
This must be what Ashley endured all those nights in the orphanage—the reason she never slept, hated the night and the dark. She understood now, the cruelty of sleep not being an option.
The down feather pillow held the aroma of fabric softener. Not even a hint of fresh rain. With a deep sigh, she crawled from between the sheets and slipped on her robe before she cracked the door open and peeked into the silent hall. The soft glow of the evening lights cast warmth across the walls. Quiet steps led her to Peter’s door. She knocked, her heart growing heavy while she waited for him to answer in the middle of the night for the umpteenth time. It wasn’t right for her to drag him into her mess.She still hadn’t apologized for the way she took her frustration out on him earlier that day, but without Peter, she would be all alone. His love was the only comfort she had now that Ashley was gone.
Tara rested her palm on the wall, and she pushed the dark fog away from the edges of her vision. Dizzy spells and now this?
The door opened, and Tara quickly straightened. She didn’t want to worry him, although it was obvious by the look on his face her effort hadn’t paid off. Peter stepped aside.
The smell of fresh rain washed over her when she entered his room. His fingers caught her wrist, and she melted into him.
She knew he deserved so much better than her. “I’m sorry,” she whispered in the dark room.
He pushed the door shut and wrapped his arms around her. “Don’t ever be sorry for needing me. I’m always here.”
She sniffled, her entire body aching for relief. She curled her fingers through his shaggy hair, and trailed her hands down his shoulders. “Mmm, you smell so good.” Her lips found the curve under his jaw. He tasted just as amazing.
A watery laugh bubbled in his chest. “Do I?” His hands found her waist and ran up the soft robe over the curves of her back.
The more she thought about how he made her feel, the more her chest tightened. She wanted to be submerged in his serenity, his flavor, his skin. Suddenly the answer to her turmoil became clear.
She slowly untied the belt of her robe while kissing him. When she shrugged her shoulders back, the robe slipped off and puddled on the floor. His skin was warm under her fingers, and she moved her body closer to his. Peter’s muscles flexed beneath her palm. A hint of guilt made her hesitate. She had told him when they first started dating that she wasn’t ready for this, and ever since, she had held true to that oath. Her advances were going against everything they’d established, but she couldn’t help herself. She needed him—to take away the pain and misery.
Her chest moved up and down with each sharp breath.
He tasted like heaven, or the first rays of sunlight breaking through the night sky. Tara whimpered and opened her mouth just enough for his tongue to slip between her lips.
Peter didn’t disappoint. He gripped her hips, causing a shiver to roll over her skin.
He broke away, spent a moment gazing into her eyes, and smiled. She entwined their fingers and led him toward the bed.
“You came here for this?” His voice sounded deeper, softer, and more seductive than she’d ever heard before. There was no reason to reply. He may not have known why she wanted him, but it was obvious what she wanted. When they reached the bed, Tara’s stomach tightened. This would be the first time she would willingly give herself to anyone. If she thought about it too much, she’d lose her nerve.
Peter followed her onto the plush mattress. One hand planted on either side of her, he trapped her against the pillow. He let out a sharp breath when she pulled him closer.
Every touch melted away a bit more of her misery and made it easier to forget. His muscular body pushed against hers, and she let out a tiny gasp.
His lips found hers again, and he all too quickly pulled away. “I love you.”
Her heart swelled. She felt the same, more than even she could admit. He was the only one who could take away her suffering and tear the torment straight out of her chest. She loved him, but she also needed him to fix her, or she may go insane.
He backed away and climbed off the bed. Tara peered through the dark room. She couldn’t see him very well. Then it occurred to her, he was getting protection. He must have been carrying it around. A mixture of fear and excitement whirled through her.
He came back with something in his hand, but it wasn’t flat and square with a round bulge in a metallic wrapper.
It was black and velvet.
The light clicked on, assaulting Tara’s eyes. She blinked and found Peter on one knee. His chest pumped up and down with shallow breaths. She noticed the gentle quake in his touch, and the fact that she hadn’t seen him look so nervous since the first time he kissed her. She suddenly felt sick.
His eyes were so genuine, it should have made her happy. Instead, her mind whitewashed with panic. A ring? She didn’t want to jump to conclusions. Maybe it was just a pair of earrings, or a necklace? She’d feel like a total idiot if she freaked out before finding out.
But if it was…Tara’s chest tightened.
He kissed the back of her hand. “First, I need to ask you something.”
Tara dragged her legs over the side of the bed, gripping the edge of the mattress. “What is this, Peter?”
He drew in a deep breath. “You are the most amazing person I’ve ever met, and the days I spent not knowing if you were alive or dead were the worst days of my life. After that, I made a promise to myself that I would never let you go.” He slowly opened the box to reveal a gold band with a pear cut diamond in the center and tiny blue gems framing its curves.
She pressed her shaking fingers over her lips. This was bad. How could he ask her to marry him when she was…her, and he deserved so much better.
He shifted his weight, still on one knee. “Please say something.”
“Why are you asking me this now?” Now, when she knew a part of her was using him for the peace he could give her.
His hand trailed from her ankle up her leg. “I know we’re young, and it may seem crazy to everyone else, but I don’t care. I want to be with you, but only if you love me enough to not regret it.”
“Regret it?” Her throat went so dry, she could barely swallow.
“I want us to be together, Tara. I want you, forever.” Her muscles froze. “Forever?”
Her mind exploded with a sickening realization—one she’d never faced. Not until now.
“Forever is a long time, Peter.”
His lips parted, and he hung his head. “If you’re going to say no, please…for the love of God, don’t drag it out.” She rested her hand on his cheek. “I just…” It felt like someone had stabbed her in the chest with guilt. “Shit.”
He stared up at her. “That’s the response I get? Shit?”
Her breath recoiled. “No. I’m sorry.” She rubbed her eyes. “But…forever for you isn’t forever for me.” When she dropped her hands to her lap, despair seemed to fill her beyond capacity. “Haven’t you ever thought about that?”
“What are you talking about?”
She stared down at the polished gold band and sparkling stones. “Someday I’ll leave you behind.”
Peter pushed off the floor and sat beside her. “Don’t think about that. You’re all I want, and if we’re going to be together like this…” His fingers trailed down the curve of her shoulder. “I want to be sure our first time isn’t something you wish you could take back.”
Slowly, her eyes met his, and a scar deep inside of her heart ripped open. A scar created from all the first times she had never wanted—all the first times her mom’s boyfriends forced on her when she had been too young to fight back.
Peter knew about her past. She never expected that he would mention it again—especially at a time like this, when she was almost naked, offering what little worth she still had to him.
Tara stood and backed away from the bed. “Don’t you think I know that already? I’ve always wished I could take it back—be braver, stronger, tell someone.” She anchored her hand over her mouth to trap in a sob. Her legs clenched together, and she doubled over. “I’ll never be able to take it back.” Shaking fingers twisted around her limp curls. “Never.”
“Tara. I was just—”
“Trying to help?” Her eyes shot back open, and she
stood before backing toward the door. The pain turned septic, morphing into rage. Her eyes narrowed. “Do I look like I have a fix me sign tacked onto my back?”
“Of course not.” He stood and reached out to her.
Her heart shattered. She felt it deep inside, in a place she didn’t know existed. A place that was tender and fragile. A place still not tainted with regret, but now in ruins.
Staring at his devastated expression, she couldn’t think of anything but how perfect he was. Flawless, gentle, and kind—a healer, an ability only given to someone with a pure, sincere heart. She was just a used up, worn out girl with nothing to offer him.
Her jaw squared, and she gathered the courage to do what she knew was right. The words scraped through her mind, up her throat, and finally out of her mouth in a shaky whisper. “No. No to getting married.” She grabbed her robe and slipped it on, then opened the door and lingered on the threshold. Unable to bear looking him in the eyes, she stared into the empty hall as she forced the rest out of her lips. “No to us.”
“I can’t wait for the next book, to know more about Ashley! ”Naznin Azeez