Have you ever had a meltdown? Of course you have. We all have them. Who was there to bring you back to earth? Was it your mom? A babysitter? A best friend? Your partner? We all have them and they are usually over something that seemed important at the time. I wonder what Claire would think as she got older about this little meltdown from The Guardian’s Heart…mind you she is only two and half. Don't forget to go all the way to the bottom to enter and win.
Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother. -Oprah Winfrey
“I wanna my mama,” Claire screamed on the playground as she held her bloodied knee.
“Claire, it’ll be okay. Just let me look at it,” Mandy said, trying to calm down Claire’s tantrum. She’d been running across the playground in the back of the daycare when she fell down.
“Wants mama Bee Ms. Mand,” Claire pleaded.
Normally the staff would try to calm the child down themselves. Even little Lukey knew he wouldn’t get Mary Beth if he cried for her. To him all of the owners might as well be his mother. But Mandy was shocked. Initially she thought Claire was asking for her real mom, not Gabbie.
Gabbie was rocking a baby in the infant room while the devastated Claire sat sobbing in the lobby. Mandy came in and shook her head at Gabbie.
“Claire wants her mother,” Mandy said with her hands on her hips.
“Oh, well…” Gabbie always got a pain her chest when any of the Thomases talked about their parents. It was still so fresh.
“Bee, her mother Bee.”
“She called me her mother?” Gabbie said, a little set back.
Claire had said some things over the past few weeks that she was a good mama, but to say she was
her mama…Gabbie stood up and put the now sleeping Jane in one of the cribs.
In the lobby, Claire sat on the bench by a set of cubbies with her injured leg elevated.
“Mama, I’s toreded my preddies,” Claire said as her bottom lip trembled.
“I see that,” Gabbie said, sitting on her knees in front of Claire and opening the first aid kit Mandy had left on the bench.
“My preddies no more,” Claire cried as Gabbie put on latex free gloves and started to clean Claire’s injured knee.
The fact she’d hurt herself was not the reason Claire was crying. She had torn her tights or “pretties” as she liked to call them. Claire cherished every one of her pretties. Gabbie had learned Claire was very much a girl, something Gabbie never was. Gabbie never cared about dresses or sparkly shoes when she was growing up, but to Claire they were a necessity.
As Gabbie pulled down Claire’s soft pink tights with the lacy backs, Claire looked as if she was being skinned alive. Whatever pain she felt from her scraped knee could have been as great as an amputation, she’d never acknowledge it compared to losing a set a tights to a hole in the knee.
“Mama inks my bess,” Claire sobbed as if she was just shot through the heart with an arrow.
“You still have your white and your blue and your orange pretties and don’t forget your ones with the little flowers on them.”
“I’s never gets better preddies…” she declared with all the melodrama befitting Scarlett O’Hara declaring her love for Tara.
“These pretties were almost too small for you, you’ve been growing so much. How about this?” Gabbie suggested, trying to hold back from laughing in the poor child’s face. To Claire this was life or death. “Your daddy and I will pick you up a new pair on the way home and maybe some big girl underwear since you’ve been doing so good on the potty. These pretties were made for little girls that wear diapers.”
Claire’s eyes perked up. She started to smile, but only briefly, holding the now-torn tights to her heart as she stood up and stuck her chest out.
“Dees was bestest preddies ever,” one little crystal tear fell from her dark mahogany left eye, catching on her soft lash then flowing down her chubby cheek.
Gabbie gave Claire a hug to hide the fact she was about to piss her pants from laughing. She released Claire, who returned to the toddler room still clutching her torn tights and Gabbie fell back on the floor and covered her face with her hand so she could laugh without hurting any feelings.
“Is it safe now,” Mandy said holding her gut as she gasped for air. “I lost it when…when she said…” Mandy couldn’t hold in her laughter. “I’s never gets better pretties. Did you see her lip quivering?”
“She’s in pain right now,” Gabbie said, trying to be serious. Instead, she ended up rolling on her stomach. “My daughter is such a drama queen.”
“Your what?” Mandy said, catching her breath. “Gabbie, she’s not your daughter.”
“I just called her my daughter,” Gabbie sat up and put her head in her hands. What was she thinking?
“Yeah, you and Case have been together a month and you’re already claiming children that aren’t even his as yours.”
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Case Thomas is always in control whether its on the basketball court, the lab where he works, or in his love life. He thinks he has everything all figured out. All that changes when his parents pass away during his last year of college and Case is thrown into fatherhood when he becomes temporary guardian to two adorable twin toddlers. Weeks later, exhausted and running out of time, Case must decide if he's ready to become a father to these children, or give them up and move on with what's left of his life. Then he meets Gabbie Vaulst. Gabbie is amazing with the kids, owns her own business, and has all the right curves in all the right places. She can tell Case is attracted to her, but does he really love her or is he just settling for a surrogate Mom who can wrangle his new kids? Knowing that she's falling in love with him, she chooses to push him away until his world straightens out. Can Case prove to Gabbie, and himself, that his feelings are real? Or is this sudden family too much for both of them to handle? The odds, as well as members of their past who've come out of the woodwork, are against them, but when kids are involved, all bets are off.
Image courtesy of YaiSirichai at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Regret, by Ryan Whitaker
Brody Jensen sat straight up in bed as though the house was on fire and frantically searched for the remote control. "It's just a lame ass, late night, cable access show " he chanted to himself as he groped the empty space to the right of him without success, knowing he must have left the remote nearby if he'd fallen asleep with television screeching at him yet again.
"I hate it when I do this crap," he hissed to no one as he failed to find the stupid plastic controller that served as his constant companion these days. While his friends were out playing nicely with others, Brody sat in stony silence thinking about what he’d done with her, to her, and the damage it had caused. Wishing he could at least find a way to dampen the sound if nothing else, Brody turned and stared in the direction of the forty seven inch Sony flat screen hanging on the wall opposite his empty, king sized bed and found a cold, black rectangle staring back at him. The television wasn't on.
Looking at the digital read out on the clock nearest his side of the bed, Brody flung himself back against too many pillows taking up too much space where another body ought to be and dared not close his eyes even though it was barley three a.m. No way. To risk falling back to sleep, if that's what he could call it, would mean risking his mind to her again. Follow RyanBlind Love by W. Lynn Chantale
Joshua studied Amelia’s naked form. Sunlight kissed her ample curves, giving her warm butterscotch flesh a satiny glow. He longed to caress the softness of her flesh and he envied the sun’s rays.
Desire burned low and all he wanted to do was erase the last five years, but there was still so much between them. She divorced him and married someone else. Maybe that was the part he was having trouble with, how could she not have known what she was signing? Then who told her he was dead?
He followed her movements as she crossed the room. Her long ebony hair bounced around her shoulders stopped just below her shoulder blades. All he could think about was wrapping the silky length around his fist, tilting her head back and imbibing the intoxicating sweetness of her lips.
She paused in front of a large window and lifted her face, her features disappearing in the glare of the sun. Amelia was beauty personified. He held his breath. No matter where she was she always seemed comfortable in her skin. Even now, after they’d been apart for five years it felt as if he’d never left.
Unable to resist, Joshua crossed the room to stand behind her. “You tempt me,” he whispered in her ear. He watched her reflection smile in the glass.
“Perhaps you should strive for a stronger resolve.”
He curved an arm around her waist and flexed his hips against the lushness of her buttocks. “I want you.”
Follow W. LynnIf You Love Me by Anna Kristell“Adam, I’m not going to sign the papers.”
“Why the hell not?” he asked as he tried to keep his eyes on her face and not her luscious naked body beneath the skimpy towel that covered it.
“I don’t want to,” she replied stubbornly.
“The sooner you sign them, the sooner we can put this whole farce of a marriage behind us, and the sooner you can move on with your lover.”
“Is that what you really want, Adam?” she said as she gently caressed his face.
He took her hand from his face and answered, “Ash, I don’t know what kind of game you think you’re playing here.”
She moved closer to him, letting the towel drop to the floor. She leaned up and pulled his face down to hers, letting her lips touch his gently. She bit his lower lip, and kissed him. He surrendered to the kiss, pulling her to him. He forced his tongue between her teeth as she willingly opened her mouth to allow him access. He caressed her back and her hands went to his thick hair. She moaned as she ran her fingers through it.
“Make love to me, Adam,” she whispered.
Abruptly, he released her. “Get some clothes on, Ash.”
“What’s wrong with you?” she asked as she grabbed a robe from the bed and wrapped herself in it.
“What’s wrong with me? You’re all over that guy on the dance floor, now you try to cozy up to me, and you ask me what’s wrong with me?
Every author wants to hold their book in their hands. Feel the paper against their skin and enjoy the weight of the manuscript that they may not of even printed off. Some authors are ecofriendly that way, or just too darn broke to afford the ink for the printer, but I digress.
As we continue to move into a paperless society (okay everyone says the catch phrase in business then the lawyers step in and next thing you know it’s there in triplicate) the publishing world is taking it on from the base level. There are some traditionalist that need a pen and paper to write with but most of us use our computers for the full process. Outside of one imprint publisher I’ve never sent my manuscript off in paper form for submission.
So from writing, querying, submitting, editing and publishing books are done electronically. The contracts though do have to be printed (see lawyer comment above.)
Now to the consumer. I have many friends, relatives and fans that love the feel of a book in their hands. Some of them just want my book in their hands because they know me, etc. Others haven’t moved into the e-reader stage yet for one reason or another. I remember thinking my friend was crazy when she first showed me a Kindle I don’t know how many years ago. When my husband bought mine over a year ago as a congrats-you-got-a-publishing-deal I was sure I’d barely use it. I’m not one to do much on my phone or even my Nintendo DS. Like most kids I get bored after a month or two. Well I’m sure you guessed where my fully stocked Kindle is, yep always by my side either being read or reading a story to me on audiable. I still do have a print book that I’m reading at all times. I used to keep three or four print books around the house for when my mood changed now, I have multiple books going on my Kindle.
We’re not moving away from print and I could never truly see that happening, but as I hear horror stories of e-readers being broken I’m not as disturbed as a book being dropped in a mud puddle. Why? Because safely tucked in a cloud is the e-reader library waiting to be accessed.
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Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Secret Talent by Randi Alexander
“You promised.” Carrie held up the bra she’d just removed without using her hands.
“Baby.” Jake had seen it, but couldn’t believe it. Her hands had been above the covers the whole time she’d wriggled and shimmied underneath them. “I only promised because I thought you were bluffing.”
Carrie sat up. Her beautiful, round breasts, topped with cherry red nipples, made Jake’s tongue circle in his mouth, wanting a taste. Holding the bra in both hands, she pulled it tight. “This should hold you.” She grinned. “Now give me your wrists, cowboy. It’s my turn on top.” It came out on a purr.
Jake’s staff hardened and swelled and his hips jerked. “On top is one thing, baby. But tying me up with your bra and blindfolding me…I ain’t so sure about that.”
She lay beside him and her lips caressed the spot on his ear that turned him feral. “Let me give you a brief summary of what I’m going to do.”
Her warm, soft breath sent a shiver along his spine. “Yeah?”
“Mmm-hmm.” Her hand slid across his chest. “I’m going to kiss you. Here first…” She made a circle around his nipple with her finger. “And then here…” Her fingertip wiggled into his navel.
His entire body tensed and heated.
“And then I’m going to kiss you…” Her palm flattened on his belly and eased under the covers.
“I did promise…” He held out his hands, wrists together. “And I never go back on a promise.”
Nathan’s little red Lie By Suzzana C Ryan
I was meeting my boyfriend for lunch when I bumped into a man waiting for a Taxi. I knocked his briefcase to the ground and his coffee went south. I was mortified and then managed to look at him and found myself looking into the most magnificent pair of blue eyes I’d ever seen. When my vision adjusted I found that were owned by a ruggedly handsome man, maybe in his mid-thirties and when he smiled at me my stomach churned like butter.
“So sorry,” I told him.
“No problem. Sweet heart, are you hurt?”
“No, just rushing.”
“To meet a boyfriend I presume.”
“Yes.” As I gave him my answer my cell rang. It was a text, he couldn’t make it for lunch.
I sighed, “well not anymore.”
“Lunch date off?”
Did you ever meet someone you felt you knew your whole life? In the middle of New York City he pulled me against him and kissed me soundly. It was magic.
“Lunch?” he asked.
“Room service,” I said.
“Nathan’s mine and yours?”
“Lois,” I answered.
We ordered room service and spent the afternoon in bed. When I went to kiss him my red bra came between us. When I held it up, he said “always liked red, and did you know a physic once told me the woman of my dreams would be wearing red.”
He was such a liar. But after twenty years of loving him, I still have that red bra.
Untitled by Elissa Daye
Miranda picked at the lacy edge of her skirt, and stared at her fingers when he walked back into the room. What was she thinking? When she had entered Madame Luca’s she had no idea what would be in store for her. Her friend Deirdre had recommended the secret club to her last week, stating that Miranda’s lack of inspiration was due to her tightly wound coils. Miranda was not usually a risk taker, but she was desperate. If she wanted to keep her job at Tinley & Barton, she would have to draft a building so spectacular that they would consider making her a partner and letting go might actually make that possible.
When a flutter of fabric fell to the ground, Miranda raised curious eyes. What did he say his name was? Raymond? Miranda licked her dry lips unconsciously and tried to avert her eyes, but the specimen before her was hard to ignore, like a male Adonis sculpted from the finest clay.
“Seen enough?” His voice was smoky and sensual, a timber made for loving. He moved closer, his dark brown eyes searching for hesitation. His hands reached for hem of her shirt and he lifted it over her head effortlessly. Her skirt soon followed, leaving her exposed in her new red lingerie. His gaze roamed over her body and chills tickled her spine. When his mouth came closer to hers, she almost pulled away uncomfortable with the intimacy of the moment, but his warm lips prevailed.
REAL PORN by Lizbeth Selvig
She knew she was lucky—a woman who needn’t dread Valentine’s Day, Cilla Blackstone—wife of the exquisite Rhys, mother of three—who could, so said friends, still give supermodels pangs of envy. The Valentine’s Queen. Every year decorations and special treats for her four men. But lately with the sports, the volunteering, and Rhys’s damn new job—she might have a Downton Abbey
-sounding name but life was far more Survivor
Now she was supposed to crawl into bed with a husband so tired he’d barely agreed to their unbreakable Valentine’s night date? She stared at him snuggled into their soft white cotton sheets. Bare-chested and, lord, still so incredibly handsome, he snored softly.
His voice startled her. “I have a confession.”
“Oh?” She slipped beside him, but his hands stayed under his pillow.
“I tried this weekend to do something helpful, what you call women’s porn—in my case, laundry. That bra you love? The lacy one you’ve searched for all week?”
Relief and welcome humor flowed through her. “You gave it to another woman.”
He laughed. “Worse.”
With sudden insight, she dug beneath his pillow, felt fabric and yanked. Her pristine bra was pure red. She dangled it above them, and laughter bubbled forth like a cleansing bath.
“It was hooked to Joey’s red practice jersey. I didn’t see it.”
It was the sexiest Valentine’s present she’d ever received. Tossing it, she launched herself into his arms. “Well, buster,” she said. “Just for this—you’re going to pay.”
Zoe’s Fantasy by Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
“So,” Zoe said as she flourished the red scrap of lingerie above Marcus. “Who does this belong to?”
“Isn’t it yours?” He had to know it wasn’t, not when everything she’d worn lay scattered across the carpet. “No. Red’s not my color.”
Marcus flushed but Zoe couldn’t tell whether anger or embarrassment fueled it. God, she shouldn’t have said anything. So she came home with him after a party, a little drunk, a bit high and shared mind blowing sex. She’d known twelve hours, maybe less. Who he screwed wasn’t really her concern. Zoe parted her lips to apologize but he spoke. “It’s Belinda’s.”
“Oh.” She didn’t know or care who Belinda might be. “I guess I should get dressed and go.”
“Don’t. I can call her – she’ll come over.”
That would be the last thing Zoe wanted, some other lover, maybe Marcus’ girlfriend to retrieve what was hers – silk and male both. “That’s okay.”
His rich dark eyes met hers. “I don’t think you understand, Zoe. Belinda’s my neighbor and she’s into ménage. I thought maybe we could do a threesome.”
She’d never admitted her fantasy to anyone but Zoe often imagined a sexy hunk of man, another woman. Sandwiched between them would be the ultimate. “I, uh, well, maybe.”
His eyes radiated heat. “You’ll like it, I bet.”
Zoe tingled, her skin as sensitive as if she burned with fever.
“Call her - I’m ready for something new.”
Sometimes fantasy turns real, she mused, with sweet anticipation.
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Lila's Visiting today
For those of you who know me, you’re used to seeing me blog about my hotter reads like the Identity series and my BDSM or ménage stand-alone titles, but for the past few days I’ve been out and about the blogging circuit resurrecting my roots. My writing roots that is, the ones which started out in the more sensual side of the house and sort of sprouted a few sprigs here and there which eventually led to hotter and hotter and hotter titles.
The Slower Lower series was in fact my first series of books and book one, A Slower Lower Love, was actually only my third title to hit the e-shelves. In fact, it was a stand-alone in its humble beginnings until E (editor extraordinaire) emailed me one day after an initial read and said, “We need to talk.” **cue heart racing and cold sweat**
It turned out okay though because we needed to talk about the potential she saw in my characters and she wanted to see more and suggested I turn the whole thing into a series…thus the Slower Lower series was born.
Now, I’m sure at this point you’re wondering just what in a blue moon that has to do with chickens. Gather round kids…do I have a tale to tell you…
Way back in 1996, only a few short weeks after I’d met the love of my life and future life mate, I made the decision to road trip with the man I barely knew all the way from Missouri to Delaware—home state of said love of my life and the setting for the Slower Lower books. I had no idea then Sussex County Delaware would one day serve as backdrop for the Delaney brothers and all their love woes. It was a few hours out from our destination when love of my life began to tell me the ground rules of being “introduced” to slower lower living (whatever?) and the eastern shore way (again, whatever?). Follow along my blog tour—the dates and places are on my calendar at Realmantic Moments
—and I’ll be ‘splainin’ what exactly slower lower means over at Britni Hill’s place in a few days.
So, ground rules. Rule number one: Don’t crack chicken jokes. (hehe? Crack? Okay…moving on…)
I asked why not and he proceeded to tell me in a few miles I’d begin to see why and he’d not have much ‘splainin’ to do past that. Could he have been more right?
Oh. My. God.
My first glimpse of a chicken farm came in the early morning after 24 hours on the road and zero sleep. I thought at first I’d fallen asleep and was dreaming after his instructions not to make chicken jokes.
“What the hell is that?” I asked.
“That?” (love of my life swerves in the direction he’s talking toward) “That’s a chicken house. They take their chickens seriously here.”
Umm…ya think? I knew right then there would be no chicken jokes. Not that I really knew any, but had I I’d have kept them to myself. J
I kid you not kids. If you’ve never been exposed to the “chicken culture” let me ‘splain a bit. They are not chicken houses—they are in fact chicken hotels. Some of the hotels are three stories tall with auto-feeders and heat. Also, in case you get curious and go off in search of this phenomenon because you simply must see these chicken hotels, take a clothes pin with you. P. U.
And why do I visit today ‘splainin’ the chicken culture a bit? Because the Delaney boys are farmers and guess what they grow…
A Slower, Lower Leap
Book 3, Slower Lower series
Rebel Ink Press
February 17, 2013
Purchase Links: Amazon ARe Barnes and Noble
When you’re the last man standing…
Not only was Logan Delaney the last of his siblings to remain unmarried and unsettled, his entire family believed he’d never find a wife. The baby of eight, he’s been dubbed an irresponsible player and told he’ll never amount to a hill of beans. And at one time, Logan may have been okay with those descriptions, but no more. On a quest to prove his worth, he’s spent the entire summer learning the family business, staying in at night, and saving his money. And if his family would stop meddling in his affairs and trying to dictate who he should and shouldn’t be seeing, he might just show them he’s found the one, Lizzy Jenkins.
And have a bad reputation to blame…
Elizabeth Jenkins had always known Logan Delaney existed, but he’d never so much as turned one glance her way until she handed him his butt on a silver platter in three sentences or less over the phone. After that it seemed at every turn there he was and the more she resisted the heat building between them, the bigger the fire got. Until his family interfered. And why wouldn’t they? Between Logan’s legacy and her baggage, they were a disaster in the making.
Can you be trusted with a fragile heart?
But Logan doesn’t run when he finds out about Colby. In fact, he embraces Lizzy’s special needs son and defies the advice of everyone urging him to leave Lizzy alone. But after one moment of weakness, Logan finds himself knee deep in a marriage complete with the little boy whose father bailed before his birth and Lizzy’s grandfather, who needs constant care as well. Then there's the man who just might be the demise of it all.
Excerpts, please choose one:
With a mixture of emotions swirling through her, Lizzy watched the same storm overtake Logan’s features which was brewing inside her. A veritable lightning bolt passed between them as soon as he’d touched her. She knew she’d always been attracted to Logan, but the instant heat still scalding her skin from his fingers left her unsettled. It was but a mere couple of hours prior she was trying to convince herself she could do with some sort of quickie sexual gratification, although she’d admitted it could never be with Logan, and now she wanted nothing more and the door to her emotions was wide open leaving her vulnerable and believing maybe they could have both. And just as she was trying to tell herself to stop trusting the lies her deprived body was concocting, Logan decided to try to convince her he might be interested in more as well.
Where was Logan the player and who was the imposter sitting across the table from her who could probably talk her right into his bed with one sentence or less and keep her coming back heartbreak on the horizon or not?
As her pulse slowed a bit, she turned to look at Colby and reminded herself why she couldn’t be playing horizontal Twister with anyone let alone Logan. And she sure couldn’t go letting Colby think there was a reason to get too comfortable around him. He seemed to like Logan and the Delaney herd of kids and she didn’t want him getting his feelings hurt because she couldn’t control her hormonal urges. What if she made the mistake of screwing Logan’s brains out, things didn’t work out, and that made it awkward to be coming around anymore? This was the first time anyone had really taken them in and welcomed them unconditionally and she didn’t want to rob Colby of it.
Lizzy watched Colby make yet one more circle around the living room with his arms spread and sighed in frustration. He was oblivious to the disruption he was causing which only added to her exacerbation with the situation. How could she possibly be angry with him when he didn’t grasp the concept of time or what it did to her nerves when his unscheduled moments of innocence hampered what should have been her scheduled life? And it surely wasn’t his fault he was the way he was or that he’d even been conceived at all for that matter. No, his conception was wholly her fault and she’d been paying for it for nearly six years. Alone.
But the truth was, no matter how many times she kicked herself for believing whispered promises in a back seat and guilt swamped her even though medical science would argue it was nothing she’d done to make him this way, Lizzy loved her little boy more than life itself. There were days, though.
Like today, she wanted to sit and cry until there were no more tears left then cry some more. Rarely was it, though, Lizzy had time for such frivolities as tears. What time wasn’t taken up with Colby’s care was spent at her job as the assistant officer manager at the farmer’s market, somewhere she had no intention of working a lifetime and which brought her to yet another responsibility on her list. School. When she wasn’t working or caregiving, Lizzy was an almost full-time student and watched the sun rise on a new day without sleep having studied all night more than once. In a word, she was not only exhausted physically, she was just plain tired. Never in her life would she have imagined being twenty-three and feeling so defeated.
What she wouldn’t give for one night of freedom. One night filled with beers and dancing. Maybe even some hot sweaty sex in the form of someone who would disappear the next day and not look back. Well, that and not leave her knocked up. Alone was fine, with another baby to tend to by herself, not so much.
Of course she had no idea how to go about this stranger for one night sex. The closest she came to any man was when they made deliveries to the market or they drove their grandfathers to the Senior Center for bingo and hung around waiting for the old farts to get tired of dotting cards and fighting the caller over what had come out as B-five but was mistook for B-nine because someone’s hearing aid battery was running low. And although they all knew
her fairly well, they avoided her for the most part because of which grandfather she dropped off at bingo. Thank God none of them knew Michael Silcox was the one who’d left her high and dry with a special needs child, not exactly prime bait to fish with in the pond of hooking up. Her name associated with his would only add fuel to the stay away from Lizzy fire as his family owned most of Georgetown.
Lila Munro currently resides on the coast of North Carolina with her husband and their two four-legged kids. She’s a military wife with an empty nest and takes much of her inspiration for her heroes from the marines she’s lived around for the past fifteen years. Coining the term realmantica, she strives to produce quality romance in a realistic setting. Her genre of choice is contemporary romance that spans everything from the sensual softer read to BDSM and ménage. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading everything she can get her hands on, trips to the museum and aquarium, taking field research trips, and soaking up the sun on the nearby beaches. Her works include The Executive Officer’s Wife, Bound By Trust, Three for Keeps, the Force Recon series, the Slower Lower series, the Identity series, and the Private Collection. Currently she is working on two new series set to release summer of 2013, the At Your Service line and the Steele Image line.
She’s a member in good standing of RWA. Ms. Munro loves to hear from her readers and can be found at Realmantic Moments Facebook Goodreads Twitter
You can also contact her via email at email@example.com
and you can find all her works at: Amazon ARe Nook Bookstrand
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By Lizbeth Selvig
Based on the way I can talk anywhere, anytime, to anybody for any length of time, and based on the fact that, as a writer, I inevitably translate my gift of gab into word-heavy first drafts desperately in need of trimming, I worried that writing a short story would be torturous for me. I’m proud (and relieved) to say the process was anything but a torture.
In fact, it was pure pleasure. And I’m so honored to be part of the anthology “Love in the Land of Lakes” with 16 of my very favorite Minnesota authors.
There are a handful of reasons writing a short story about Minnesota, love, and lakes came easily to me. First, I started my writing career doing “short” work as a reporter and as a wannabe Good Housekeeping/McCall’s/Ladies’ Home Journal short-story-ist. I have a substantial body of short work living with the dust bunnies under my bed. I’m also a born and bred Minnesotan. Scandinavian names are ubiquitous in my world—from Lena and Inga to Narve and Knut. And relating to the natural “don’t make waves” nature of Minnesotans is natural for me. So, thinking up a good Minnesota heroine like Sophie Tollefsrud was easy.
Most importantly, visiting lakes, camping at lakes, paddle-boating, fishing, and listening to loons on lakes has been part of my life since I was old enough to hold up a crappie by its tail. Not that I’m much of a fisherman anymore. But recalling the sights, sounds, and smells of a lake took little effort.
So it was when coming up with ideas for my story “What’s Up Dock?” a hundred images and mini-ideas flooded my brain. The fun thing was, these mental pictures weren’t only of the serenity, the beauty, and the peacefulness of Minnesota lake country. I was inundated with memories of the crazy stuff: animals getting into places they don’t belong, mosquitos, poison ivy, storms, power outages, inner tubing, old wooden docks, crazy cabin owners . . .
And, I remember heading out camping and bringing along friends who knew nothing about the out-of-doors. There’s not much funnier to a kid than another kid who’s jumping at the sound of a rabbit thinking it’s a bear, or picking a bunch of berries and leaves and learning he’s collected a bouquet of poison ivy. (Hey, admit it, kids are mean.)
When I started writing “What’s Up Dock?” I wanted to bring some of those funny experiences to my heroine and her hero. Sophie is a seasoned resident of lake country. She can handle raccoons, poison ivy, and summer storms. Alex, on the other hand, is a lakeshore newb who runs from raccoons, and doesn’t know poison ivy from petunias. Plus, he has the added “eccentricity” of using Sophie’s neighbor’s yard as a place in which to bury five-foot-five-inch, lumpy plastic bags.
How do you make such a clueless, worrisome hero heroic? The magic of a Minnesota north woods night with the lake as a backdrop and loons as dinner music can turn a killer into a Casanova. How? I hope you’ll pick up a copy of “Love in the Land of Lakes,” and find out.
And, the really cool thing is—there are the Minnesota memories of sixteen other wonderful authors that have been translated into fun, fanciful, even historical tales, so you don’t have to stop at just one little story. We’ve got Minnesota Lakes to last you all winter long!
Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, and just as many love stories. Love in the Land of Lakes
brings you seventeen of these stories, from two childhood sweethearts connecting on the end of a dock on a warm summer's evening, to a city boy's chaotic weekend at his girlfriend's primitive cabin. We bring you the story of a savvy horse who leads her owner to love in post–Civil War farm country, and the haunting romance of an ageless gambler who inhabits a historic riverboat and charms the boat's new owner.
A kaleidoscope of sunshine, snowstorms, and thunderstorms grace our contemporary, mystery, historical, and paranormal stories as the authors of Midwest Fiction Writers spin lovely romances that will send you drifting into happily ever afters.
to see where the authors are stopping to blog and chat with you the reader.
Digital:Buy at SmashwordsBuy at All Romance eBooksBuy at Amazon
Our Stories:Laura BreckBobbers 'N Bait
- The evocative marketing gimmick at the new bait store in town has the fishing outfitter all hot and bothered.Rhonda BruttA Cut Above the Rest
- Rachel knew that a simple haircut had the power to change someone’s life. What she wasn’t counting on though, was how it would change hers.Amy HahnLira & Gavril
- A dilapidated riverboat brings together a passionate historic preservationist and a man who called it home during the Victorian era.Rosemary HeimLake Dreams
- Olivia had her life all planned out. All except for that one impulsive night with her childhood crush. Can he convince her the result is worth the risk?Ann HinnenkampHook, Line and Stinker
- An LA makeover artist comes home to Minnesota and must use all her skills to tame a wild man.Kathy JohnsonSnowbound
- Caught in a snowstorm, the last person she expects to need her help is the man she loved but lost to someone else.Rose Marie MeuwissenDancing in the Moonlight
- Anna Thorstad never imagined reopening her parents' lake cabin would also open her heart to love again.Barbara MillsHooked
- An avid outdoorswoman takes her city born and raised boyfriend for a chaotic weekend at her family's primitive cabin on the lake.J.S. OvermierHenrietta's Man
- A savvy horse carries her Civil War-torn soldier north in search of healing and a future.Jana OttoComing Home
- A young widow’s faith and courage are tested when she falls in love with her husband’s best friend.Michel PrinceHer Stranger
- Each night a stranger comes to Rachel’s cabin door. What is it that makes her fall into his arms?Mary SchentenLake Secrets
- A weekend getaway at the scene of the crime has Elly struggling to keep a secret from her best friend.Susan SeyUnwrapped
- Movie star Sloan Leighton sells love; she doesn’t believe in it. Then one frozen midnight on the shores of Lake Superior, everything changes.Joel SkeltonThe Bouncing Bobber
- Will a budding romance, sidetracked by youth and ambition, be what it takes to lure Jacob and Nate back into love’s net?Lizbeth SelvigWhat's Up Dock?
- Sophie’s handsome new neighbor is burying body bags in his garden. But he’s afraid of raccoons—how could he be a killer?Naomi StoneWind from the Lake
- Wishing on a star? Alien contact? When childhood friends Connie and Hank meet again, they don't need to believe in anything but each other.Jody VitekRoadside Catch
- She swore off relationships with doctors, until one finds her injured on the roadside and has her rethinking the possibilities.
To be eligible for the grand prizes... bloggers have to answer/match a minimum of 25 of the 30 authors to their location. They will email Dawne @ firstname.lastname@example.org with your answers- .
Blurb for The Guardian's Heart
Case Thomas is always in control whether its on the basketball court, the lab where he works, or in his love life. He thinks he has everything all figured out. All that changes when his parents pass away during his last year of college and Case is thrown into fatherhood when he becomes temporary guardian to two adorable twin toddlers. Weeks later, exhausted and running out of time, Case must decide if he's ready to become a father to these children, or give them up and move on with what's left of his life. Then he meets Gabbie Vaulst.
Gabbie is amazing with the kids, owns her own business, and has all the right curves in all the right places. She can tell Case is attracted to her, but does he really love her or is he just settling for a surrogate Mom who can wrangle his new kids? Knowing that she's falling in love with him, she chooses to push him away until his world straightens out. Can Case prove to Gabbie, and himself, that his feelings are real? Or is this sudden family too much for both of them to handle?
Purchase The Guardian's Heart in Paperback and ereader on Secret Cravings
, on Allromanceebooks
, or Bookstrand
My location for the grand prize is... BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINAGrand Prize- iPad2
First place- Kindle Fire
Second Place- $50 SCP gc
Third place- $25 SCP gc
Check out more of ports of call at Secret Cravings Publishing's Blog
The Keys of Fate by Ashley Fontainne
Sweat erupted out of every pore. My entire body trembled, the terror rose deep from within. My eyes were frozen upon the silver choices in front of me, unable to blink while I stared into the blue abyss of my fate. In mock uniformity they each hung in silence. They waited for me to make my choice. The only distinguishable feature that separated one from the other was the room numbers intricately carved above each key.
My heartbeat thundered in my ears. The pounding blood tore through me, perhaps for the last time. The enormity of my situation rendered me immobile, the words to form an answer locked inside my throat. Over thirty unknown options intended to end my life were in front of me. The horrors prepared in the abandoned hotel rooms that each key unlocked were contrived by the man holding the sharp steel against my throat.
“Time’s up. Chose now or I will. I know what’s behind each door and I doubt you would enjoy the one I pick. Who knows? The fates may guide you to the room that will be the least painful, and over the fastest.”
Escape was not an option. I knew only seconds of life remained. I had to know what brought me to this dreadful end.
“Why?” my voice was strong, unwilling to show my fear.
The tip of the blade caressed my cheek with almost loving strokes, the stranger’s breath hot in my ear.
“You were today’s toy. Lucky you.”
Motel Truth or Dare by D X Luc
The rain was a sideways sheet of ruin. At least it was to Jamallah. Now she would have to stop at a motel.
It was several more miles before she finally came to a dank, run down hell hole.
“Black woman goes into creepy motel in no man land? Great
idea!” Jamallah mumbled as she lugged her bags inside.
No one stood at the counter leaving her to ring the bell and when the shadow appeared from the back office, Jamallah began to reevaluate her decision to enter this God forsaken place.
“Can I help you, luscious?”
Blinking she stared into the stormy green eyes of the motel clerk, their glow partly obscured by his dusty brown hair.
Frowning she handed him her card and notched her chin. “Room for the night. Make it a clean one if you can spare it.”
Her insult didn't get her quite the reaction she hoped for. She frowned down at his name tag. “Your name is Spere? As in Spear
He opened a blue case, loaded with antique keys. Yup, horror movie was written all over this place and she was gonna die.
Spere presented her with a grin that would give the devil a hard on. “My name is quite proper for what I'm good at. Now no payment required here. Pick a key. Any key. Truth or Dare, my dear. Matters not to me. Either way, tonight I'm going to set you free.”
Follow D X Luc
Room 323 By Jamallah Bergman
“Room 323 please”
The young lady went to the Cobalt Blue wall where several old fashioned metal keys hung on their individual hooks. Taking the one that had the small plaque over it that said ‘323’, she smiled at the older gentleman who gave her a wink as he walked away.
He had anticipated their meeting all week for it had been years since he last talked with her, much less seen her in person. Pressing the elevator button up, the door immediately opened as he got inside and pressed the button number ‘3’ while they closed once more before him.
She was shocked when he contacted her and when they got to talking; he realized that he had been a fool for leaving her like he did. He got what he had wanted from her but left her with nothing but unanswered questions. This time he told her he would make it right, he had thought about her way too much over the years.
Now he had her….and he wasn’t about to let her go from him again.
When the doors opened and he walked out onto the long hallway, he followed the signs that lead him to the door….door 323. Taking a deep breath, he put the key in the door and heard the click when he turned it. Walking inside the room, he saw a pair of long thick brown legs crossed at the foot of the bed.
He walked even further and said, “Hello my dear.”
Key To The Past by Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
“I’d like my key, please.”
Elise drummed her fingers with impatience as the desk clerk fumbled as he handed it over. She wanted nothing more after a long day at the convention than a long soak in a warm bath, good red wine, and solitude.
When she opened the door to her room, Elise expected to see the modern décor featured in the hotel brochure. Instead, a huge Victorian bed claimed a third of the floor space and dark red flocked wall paper covered the walls. A man dressed in antique garments stared at her from his place beside the window.
“To what do I owe the honor of your visit?” he asked.
“Tell me why you’re in my room,” Elise barked back. She noticed, however, how attractive he was in an old-fashioned style.
“And I might ask why you’re in your petticoat.”
Elise glanced down at her white eyelet sundress, rolled her eyes, and stared. “It’s a dress,” she said. “Why’re you dressed like the 1890’s?”
His eyes widened but he smiled. “1892 to be exact,” he said as he pointed to a calendar on the wall. “Are you the lady of the evening I requested?”
Anticipation rippled down her spine. He’d named her secrete fantasy, to act as a courtesan for one night. “I am,” she said and kissed him. “I’m Elise.”
“Ben,” he said. He took her in his arms and gave back the kiss with powerful heat.
Morning, she decided, would be time enough for explanations.
Follow Lee Ann
Key To Hell – Barbara Watkins
Cassandra closed the door behind her to room 236 and placed the key on the nightstand by the bed. She had frequented this establishment many times over the past few months, reserving a different room each time. However, on this night, key 236 would either unlock the door to madness or free the way to enlightenment. Wasting no time, she reached into her purse, pulled out a mini recorder, and hit the record button.
“I blame no one for what I’m about to do. I have been living under a cloud of darkness for some time now – a life without meaning or purpose. I cannot find the strength to go on any longer.”
Hitting the stop button on the recorder, she pushed the playback button and cringed when she heard not her voice, but a beastly growl followed by a disembodied voice.
“Feed that hunger to drive your soul into hell. Unleash your earthly shackles – prepare to walk a carpet of black blood into my kingdom. For here, firelight will brighten your darkness and you shall have a purpose.”
Cassandra threw the recorder across the room. The existence of the ghostly evidence lay scattered across the gleaming wooden floor. Had she been given a foretaste of what her soul would encounter?
Concerned, after several days and unanswered calls to room 236, the hotel desk clerk ordered the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign be removed.
The desk clerk entered the room with the housemaid following close behind. “Don’t tell me it has happened again?”
The desk clerk shook his head in disgust. “You think people would have enough respect to turn in the key and let us know when checking out early! And why does it always happen in room 236?”
Betrayal by Kassanna
Carnoman glanced behind him before entering the building. Staying vigilante was a must and now was not the time to get arrogant. The demons fought amongst themselves and the angels were threatening war. His plan couldn’t have gone any smoother. A chuckle escaped past his lips as he eased the door closed behind him. The old stairs he climbed creaked under his feet as he made his way up careful not to lean on the crumbling bannister. Yes, he would show them, those he called brother that dared to laugh. Soon enough he would have all the power and the denizens of heaven and hell alike would bow to him. He stopped on the landing.
His hand hovered above the crystal knob. A millennia, it had taken so many years and much careful planning but his time was almost at hand. Carnoman leaned forward and placed his cheek on the wooden panel. A slight thump, currents of anticipation traveled along his spine, he would rule the worlds. He wrapped his fingers around the knob and turned it. A faint blue light illuminated the room and everywhere he looked there were keys. They hung from the ceiling and were strung across the walls. He grazed his fingertips over the cool metal of a skeleton key as he entered the room and deftly shut the door behind him. He’d traded, smuggled or outright stolen every key in the room and when the time was right he would use them.
Keys to submission, by Michel Prince
The end of Jessica’s shift at The Longfellow Hotel was always quiet and allowed her a few minutes to flip through the pages of her latest vamp novel. Lost in the world created by her favorite author a cold wind blew in from the door rattling the keys behind her, but the entry door was still closed. Turning left and right she tried to see where the breeze could have come from. The winter weather had negated the option of an open window.
“Is there a vacancy?” A man appeared in front of her.
“Um…yes, sir,” she replied while trying to regain her composure.
Had he been standing there all along? She surely wouldn’t have missed a man of his stature. Standing before her with broad shoulders the man had to be at least six-seven with long dark hair framing his chiseled face. He was mesmerizing. This fear she’d initially felt melted as his charcoal eyes seemed to dive into her soul.
Nervously she turned and fondled the key for room 214.
“I require a room with western exposure,” he informed and she switched to room 247.
“You seem very agreeable.”
His voice washed over her and she felt heat wrapping around her whole body. Jessica seemed to feel as if anything he said she’d be powerless to refuse.
“If you reply yes sir one more time I might have to give that phrase a new meaning for you.”
Freedom Keys W Lynn Chantale
“I got it!” Dustin exclaimed.
Willow jerked her head up at the snap and jangle of manacles falling to the hard packed dirt. “Hurry. Time is running out,” she said. She stared at the large face of the clock. They’d been given a choice, find the key to free themselves or suffer an unspeakable death.
Shrieks of terror echoed through the ventilation shaft followed by the whirl of a chainsaw. Those screams increased in volume and pitch before the room silent again. The silence was just as frightening.
Dustin jammed the key in the lock. It didn’t work. He raced to the blue board, snatching the remaining keys from their hooks.
“Leave me,” she whispered.
“I don’t think so.” Each key he inserted fit, but did not turn the lock.
Willow stared at the clock. The minute hand moved way too fast. They had less than five minuted to leave. The shackles loosened.
She shook off the chains. Dustin grabbed her hand and they ran for the door, the bright light cut a swath through the dimness. Behind them a siren blared. Out of time. Footsteps pounded across wooden boards. Just a little farther.
Willow swiveled her head.
“Don’t look back!”
Sunlight danced on her skin. A burst of energy pumped her legs faster. Together they leapt through the opening and into freedom. Panting they held each and peered at the house. A shadowed figure stood on the threshold. He saluted them, glided backward and the door closed.
Follow W Lynn ChantaleHotel Hell
, Elizabeth Morgan
It was idiotic how easy it was to become uncomfortable. How stepping inside an establishment could cause unease to wash over you; leaving the hairs on your arms and the back of your neck standing on end within a single moment.
Knowing a building was haunted never helped, but the most people saw such a statement as a simple way of reeling tourists in. Then again most people were narrow-minded, something you couldn’t be in my line of work.
My footsteps were steady as I moved across the marble floor; not stopping for a second until I stood before the receptionist desk.
“Welcome to the Peak Hotel. Do you have a reservation?” The brunette glanced between myself and Jace; her blue gaze lingering a little too long on my partner.
“Yes. Hunter.” Jace replied.
A few clicks on her computer keyboard and her pleasant expression tightened. “It appears we have a parcel waiting for you, sir. One moment please.”
I let out a breath the moment the brunette disappeared.
“You feel it to?” Jace asked through clenched teeth. His focus fixed dead ahead.
I had no doubt that if he shifted forms every strand of his glossy coat would be stood on end. The energy in the building was pulsating.
“Feel it? I’m drowning in bad vibes over here.”
“It would explain why Keldar picked this location. What better place to open a door to the other world then-”
“A hotel with over four hundred guests and lord knows how many staff.” I finished as my gaze wandered over the large wooden key shelf that consumed the entire wall before us; noting the number of empty hooks.
“This amount of life force mixed with the energy already staining this premises . . . opening the door is going to be as easy as breathing.”
I looked at him. “Then I suggest we find, gag, and bring him in before he unleashes a shitload of unwelcome visitors.”
Follow Elizabeth –
Layla Swanson grew up in the lazy, small town of Hollow Oaks and can’t wait to get out. She has big dreams and big plans in the big city. Layla has worked hard and her senior year is nearly at its end. She can’t wait to go away to college. And she’s one step closer to getting what she wants. Layla isn’t letting anyone get in her way.
Taylor Scott may not be your typical country boy, but he doesn’t mind Hollow Oaks. His dreams may not be marked on paper and set in stone, but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have them.
A chance meeting between the two childhood friends may have Layla second guessing her longtime plan. Their rekindled friendship is leading them down a path neither one could have foreseen. But with Layla leaving for college, many challenges face them, especially when she so stubbornly sticks to her solo plan.
Is Taylor’s love enough to convince Layla to let him in? Or when everything falls apart, will Layla run away?
Dom Sal is the star quarterback of his high school football team. His charming, earnest personality has girls tripping over themselves to be with him. Everyone knows his family lives in the St. Michael Charity Housing, but all that matters is how many touchdowns he can score. And Dom never lets them down. No one knows he hides a secret—he dreams about men.
Damion Adrik is the school freak. His gothic style and cold, biting sarcasm keep everyone at arm's length. His all-too-perfect family is a prison cell, and he's slowly destroying himself from the inside out. No one knows he has secrets of his own and that he's tormented by the darkness he takes comfort in. No one truly sees him, until Dom.
When these two worlds collide and the spark of attraction pulls Dom and Damion together, both boys are faced with choices that will break their realities in two. While conflict with parents and peers drives them closer together, their inner battles threaten to destroy the relationship they fight so desperately to keep. In the end, they must choose whether to be true to themselves, and each other, or to drown in the lives they built before. Amazon