Sunday, May 20, 2018

Who Says Playing Fair is the Best Option? Read an excerpt of Duplicity #RomanceBooks


Starting the week off with another fabulous Molten Monday teaser of the sensational romantic adventure, Duplicity--no one is as they seem and it's incredibly sexy! Ready for a wild ride on a boat with a sexy captain off the coast of Grand Cayman? 

From the back cover...

Nothing bad happens in paradise...or does it?

Lexi Dubois is in trouble. On Grand Cayman for business, she discovers the company she's been working for is funding a human trafficking ring—and the money trail leads back to her. Scared for her life, she charters a boat for a week to hide from the men on the small island who want her dead and to buy time to find enough evidence to take them down. The last thing she expects—or wants—is a torrid affair with the hot captain and dive master. 

Larry Gibbon has been running a charter dive boat operation in Grand Cayman for years. He's seen it all—and done his share of creating havoc. But when a mysterious woman charters his boat for a week—alone—he has no idea what trouble she's bringing aboard. 

The ocean is vast and unforgiving, but will Larry's knowledge of the Cayman Islands and Lexi's relentless determination to survive be enough to save them?



**The Wanderlust Series consists of stand-alone adventure romance novels. Occasionally, characters from previous novels may make a cameo, but each story truly does stand on its own merits. 


A steamy excerpt...

The world dipped and tilted a little. Maybe it was the undulation of the boat or the whiskey or the fresh sea air playing havoc with her equilibrium, but tension evaporated from her shoulders for the first time since she'd hidden in a closet hours ago. 

"Do you know no one would miss me if I disappeared?" she asked, leaning a bit too close to him. "Not one person."

"Don't say that," he whispered. "You remind me of someone I used to know, someone who also thought she wouldn't be missed, and guess what? We all miss her."

"I bet she was nice." She took another sip of the whiskey. 

"Not really. She was pretty fucked up, actually, but...never mind. Another lifetime ago." He turned, faced the sea, and leaned back on his elbows. "None of that matters anymore."

She thought it must matter a lot for him to look so sad all of the sudden. "I'm from Dallas."
His lips twitched. "I figured."

"What does that mean?"


He laid on his back, head tucked in his hands, and laughed up at the sky. "You've got an arrogance about you that screams Texan."

"Oh, really? Well, then let me ana-um-ana-analyze you." She tossed the now empty bottle aside and twisted to look at him. "You've got Californian written all over you. Am I right?"

He held up his tattooed arms and pretended to study his ink in the moonlight. 

She laughed and punched him in his side. "You're a smartass."

"Better than a dumbass I always say."

She hesitated, torn between emotion and logic. Whiskey warmed her from the inside out. "I've made a lot of questionable decisions today."

She crawled over him and kissed him, never one to shy away from what she wanted even in the face of a life-threatening situation. She wanted—no, needed—to forget it all for awhile. 

She wanted to feel, not think. 

"Careful, Lex," he muttered against her mouth, not making a move to touch her. "You can't undo this."

"I bet you're wild." She sucked on his bottom lip, looking him in the eye through the shadows. 

"Slumming are you?" He quirked an eyebrow, his breath hot on her skin.

"Make me forget." She licked her tongue over his lips and pressed her hips against his. 

"That's the whiskey talking."

"Who the hell cares?"

"I do." He grabbed the back of her head, fisting his hands in her hair and held her face a whisper away from his. "Do you really want to know how wild I can be? I'm not the kind of guy who holds back."

"Show me." 

He ground his mouth against hers in a kiss designed to scare her with its force. 

It didn't. 

Rather, it intensified the desire burning in her gut. 

Tongues slipped over one another. Breath meshed. Lips smashed. Hips ground together through their clothing. 

He rolled her over onto her back. Her skull ached from where he pulled her hair. His eyes glittered in the moonlight. 

"I'm not one of the nice guys who play fair," he warned. 

"Who said I liked nice guys?" She reached for the snap of his jeans and pulled it open. "And why in the hell do you think play fair?"

He smiled, reached for the neckline of her shirt, ripped it down the center, and tossed the pieces of fabric aside. Without hesitating, he dipped his head and nibbled her neck while his hands claimed her bare breasts. 

She arched upward, craving skin-on-skin, needing the feel of his hard body pressing into hers. The sea breeze kissed her nude torso, the coolness contrasting sharply with the heat of his mouth on her flesh. 

She mimicked him by reaching up to the neckline of his already torn t-shirt and ripping it off of him. Shreds of material blew away in the wind. Sinking her teeth into his shoulder, she moved her hands frantically over his wide back. The more she felt, the more she hungered for more of him, all of him. 

In a daze of whiskey and desire, she dropped the back of her head onto the cool surface of the boat as his mouth claimed her breast. Eyes open, she stared at the stars and sighed when he dipped a hand inside her shorts. 

"We should go to the bedroom," he muttered against her mouth. "We might fall overboard."

"I can swim." She smiled against his mouth. 



Monday, May 7, 2018

Are You Ready to Get Wet? #MustRead #Romance

Starting the week off with a delicious excerpt from the romance adventure novella, Proximity, book 2 in the Wanderlust series (all stand-alone reads). Sometimes love is closer than you think...here's a taste.

From the back cover...

Love sometimes hides in plain sight. 

Savannah is one of the boys—fun loving, adventurous, a general contractor, and dive master extraordinaire. There isn't much she takes seriously about herself, or at least that's the impression she likes to give off. Women often misjudge her based on her looks so she's gravitated toward a group of men who accept her 'as is'—her Scuba diving club. 

Bill has known Savannah's wild side for years and has been comfortable playing the role of best friend. As part of the Dallas Divers, he's shared many adventures with the group from diving the Blue Hole in Belize to exploring the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. When the team heads out to Costa Rica for a series of cave dives, he knows he needs to take the biggest risk of his life, but isn't sure he has the nerve. 

Catastrophe happens shortly after their immersion in the cave. With the entrance blocked from an earthquake and separated from the rest of their team, Savannah and Bill are forced to find another way out while battling aftershocks, rising tides, and an undeniable attraction that they've ignored for too long. The question becomes, what's more dangerous...the earthquake or love? 

**The Wanderlust Series consists of stand-alone adventure romance novels. Occasionally, characters from previous novels may make a cameo, but each story truly does stand on its own merits.


Excerpt...

She'd had a bad feeling about this trip before agreeing to go and should have gone with her gut. Instead, here she sat thousands of miles from home with friends who normally elevated her mood rather than sunk it. 

She had just opened the door to her private balcony facing the canopy of the jungle when a hammering of knocks fell against the front door. Sighing, she ignored them, needing time to regroup. 

Focus on the dive. That's why you're here. Look at that monkey staring at you. She squinted at the howler monkey perched in an adjacent tree. Gee, I hope he doesn't throw shit at me.

"You didn't lock the door. That's probably not safe." Bill stood behind her. 

"You're certainly bringing the drama on this trip." She sipped her Mai Tai and waited while he adjusted his long frame into the chair next to hers. "Emily told me that Lexi had an issue with our lunches and talks. I know you said that you didn't care what people said—and you know I don't—but it must be eating you up to leave the group. I'll quit, if that's what this is. You stay with them. Pretty soon the other guys will have similar issues with me, I'm sure. You're all too damn polite to say anything."

"Savannah—"

"Don't lie to me."

"Don't be a martyr." 

She twisted in her chair to look him in the face. "We've been through snake bites, hurricanes, wicked currents, and years of shared secrets. Do. Not. Lie. To. Me."

He gritted his jaw but didn't look away. "Fine. I won't. Yes, I'm leaving the group because of you."

Well, damn, that hurts.

She felt like he'd slapped her. She'd been holding out hope that her insecurities were getting the best of her. She ripped her gaze from his and stared into her drink, absently poking the pineapple stalk into the alcohol before taking a big bite from it. 

"I can't do this anymore. It's killing me," he said.

"What is?" She couldn't look at him. Sudden tears had blurred her vision. 

"Choosing and never being chosen in return."

"What are you choosing? We're not playing a game of pick-up basketball. That's what you sound like—a child who isn't being picked for the right team." She rubbed a stray tear with the back of her hand. "What does that mean—choosingand not being chosen?" 

"Nothing, Savannah. It doesn't mean anything." 

"Now you're patronizing me." Goddamn it, he was pushing her buttons like never before. 

"I'd watch that monkey if I were you...he's eyeballing your drink." 

"I can handle the monkey." She slid him a gaze that she hoped melted him in place.

"You're overreacting to my announcement."

"Announcement? Stewart was right when he said you're treating us like your employees. What happened between my house and here? What aren't you telling me? Be straight, don't give me some bullshit story you've obviously made up on the fly. What is killing you? Your word...killing.Me? How? We're—"

"Stop it, Savannah. You're making everything worse." He stood and squeezed her shoulder. "Come back out with the guys. They're all pissed at me for driving you away. Let's hit restart on this adventure of ours and have a good night."

She'd rally because that's what she did—what she was known for, rallying and never breaking. Even after her fiancĂ© had killed himself, she'd gone on with life and succeeded. She rallied. But right now she didn't want to laugh this off and be one of the guys. She wanted to drink her Mai Tai, order room service, and spend the rest of her night staring at the jungle surrounding them. Alone. 

"Go do that then. I'm not coming."

"Savannah...this isn't about hurting you. You and I—"

"—Are such good buddies that you can't confide in me?" She met his gaze then, eyes devoid of tears, a skill she'd mastered over the years. "We talk every night. I thought we told each other everything, and here you have this resentment toward me—"

"—I don't resent you at all, couldn't, that's not—"

"Then tell me the truth because I know you're lying."

He shoved his hands into the back pockets of his jeans and stared at her as if weighing the pros and cons of confession. 

"So it's true? You're still lying?" She stood then and poked him in the chest with the remainder of the pineapple stalk. "We are dive partners! I trust you with my life and you trust me with yours every damn time we go down. What could you possibly want to hide from me?"

"If I tell you, I'll lose you." He clenched his jaw but didn't break eye contact. "That's what you do, Savannah. Yes, we know each other really well, which means I know what I can and can't tell you."

"What do you mean that's what I do? Do what? You showed up at my house with Chinese take-out, all smiles and wanting to make plans to go to Denver for Alyssa and Luke's wedding—then wham you're suddenly moving to California." She gestured wide with her hands, more confused than she'd ever been about anything in her life. "Did you get bit by some Costa Rican bug and it's causing you to lose your fucking mind?" 

Without hesitating, he grabbed the back of her head and ground his mouth against hers until they stumbled back against the chair and onto the railing of the balcony. The ferocity of his kiss weakened her knees and shocked her to the core. 

She clenched at his shoulders for balance, conscious of leaning precariously against a bamboo railing thirty feet above the ground. Every inch of her trembled at the unexpected passion rolling from his lips and against hers. 

But she liked the way he felt against her, enjoyed the way his fists pulled as he wrapped them tightly into her hair, liked the way he ground his mouth against hers until she kissed him back, thrilled at being thrown off balance and needing to cling to his strong shoulders to remain upright. 

When she opened her mouth to deepen the kiss, he moaned his appreciation. The sound electrified her blood with a million tiny pinpricks of awareness that pulsated beneath her skin. 

As suddenly as he'd kissed her, he let her go. 

She sagged against the railing, hands searching for something to hold onto as she watched him walk away. Anger replaced desire in the blink of an eye. 

She strode after him and caught him as he was stepping out the front door. "What the hell was that?"

He looked at her, his slow grin adding fuel to the fire burning in her gut. "If I need to tell you, then I guess I didn't do it right." 

"Bill, I swear to God you've lost all sense," she whispered.

"Maybe it's the opposite." 

She frowned. "I don't know what that means."


"There's the problem. Right there." He grabbed her by the shoulders, kicked the door closed and ground his mouth against hers again. Reckless desire communicated itself through the ferocity of his kiss. 

She pressed against him, overcome with need and confusion. She matched his passion with her own, no longer thinking about what was right or wrong. Every inch of her skin quivered with awareness. 

They fell against the wall, tripped over a low table, and collapsed against the floor in a tangle of limbs. Body heat ignited from the inside out, making the short dress she wore feel constricting even as it rode up her thighs. She writhed against him, peeled his shirt up his back and sunk her fingernails into his skin. 

He moved his mouth from hers and trailed kisses down her neck. The weight of him pressing her against the wooden floor combined with the heat of their bodies and the feel of his mouth on her skin while surrounded by wild sounds of the jungle overloaded her senses. 

"Savannah, I've wanted this for so long," he muttered against her shoulder. 

His voice snapped her back to reality. She dropped her head back against the wood and closed her eyes. The pleasure of the moment conflicting with common sense. 

"We can't do this," she said with a catch in her voice. "You're Bill."

"Glad you know who I am." He rose up on the palm of his hands and stared into her eyes. "Why not? You're the only woman I've ever thought of as a soul mate—look at how we are together. Friends, confidantes...why not lovers? Why not have it all?"

"Stop it. Soul mate?Where is this coming from?" She wiggled from beneath him and straightened her dress. Breaths came like tortured streaks of air ripping through up her throat. "This is because of your fight with Lexi, isn't it? She said something about me, about us, and it has you all stirred up. I am not going to risk our friendship for a good fuck."

"You want me as badly as I want you." He jumped to his feet.

She couldn't look at him with his hair a mess from her hands, handsome face dark with desire, and shirt half-up his hard chest without thinking of how good it had felt to have his body on top of hers. Her mind raced for an excuse that wouldn't damage their relationship.

She needed his friendship more than she needed a lover. 

"You're Bill."

"We've got that covered! Why the hell do you keep saying that? What does my name signify to you? Is it that I'm your lap dog and nothing more? Have I been segregated into some weird place in your life where I am permanently in the friend-zone?"

Words failed her. She faced him and shrugged. The hurt in his eyes stabbed her in her heart. 

"Bill, wait," she said when he opened the door again. She grabbed his arm, not knowing what to say but terrified that a crack had formed in their relationship that would never heal. "I need to understand."

"If I need to spell it out to you at this point, then maybe I've been wrong about us for a very long time." He met her gaze. "That's why I need to go. You confuse me. I want a life with a wife and kids and big family barbecues and all of that and I'm starting to think this...friendship we have...is standing in the way of the rest of my life. It's you, always you in my head when I'm with anyone else."

"You're my best friend," she whispered, fear making her voice quake. "That's always been enough."

"That's what I thought, too."

"Then what changed? We're Savannah and Bill, we have fun, we're each other's go-to person...Why complicate it? Why can't you have a wife and kids and everything you want with me as your best friend?"

"Is that what you want? Really?" He leaned close enough where the gold flecks in his hazel eyes were only an eyelash away. "Do you want to watch me marry someone else one day? Because I can honestly stand here and say that the idea of you being some other man's bride tears my heart out." 

She cringed at the idea of being anyone's bride. "Why are you doing this? Now? Here? Before a dangerous dive?"

"It came up, that's all."

"Like hell it did. You're my partner and now you threw this—"

"Let it go, Savannah. Pretend I never came to your room."  He twisted free of her grip and walked onto the suspended bridge.

Talk about a serious mind fuck. 

Deciding to let him have his nervous breakdown on his own, she slammed the door closed and stomped toward the bed. Her dive buddies were her safe haven from the nutty men in the world—or at least they had been before Bill decided to go bonkers. She fell back onto the bed and blinked at the thatched ceiling. Absently, she touched her lips that still throbbed from his kiss. 

Okay, so maybe she'd fantasized about him now and then. Perhaps she'd been guilty of comparing other men to Bill and finding them lacking. But crossing that line had never been an option for her. Couldn't be. 

Mae West had once said that a man's kiss was his signature. 

Savannah grinned against her fingertips. Now she knew what Ms. West had meant by that and had to agree. Damn, no man's kiss had ever curled her toes and boiled her blood like that. 

Too bad it could never happen again.




Friday, May 4, 2018

Finally Hitting Delete Contact on my iPhone #StartingOver


For years I've seen the meme floating around social media about not chasing people if you feel ignored or unwanted and, for the most part, I have gone along with that philosophy. I say "for the most part" because I haven't been very committed to it. I'm loyal to a fault. I love friendships that can be traced back a decade or so. However, during these past few turbulent years, people who I had believed would be in my life forever faded into strangers I used to know.

And I've been bad about letting go. Before I left Denver, I texted one of those people and, although I did get a reply, it was basically "good luck." From someone I had considered a sister from another mother, this only confirmed that she didn't want me in her life anymore. Apparently, the two years of abrupt no contact hadn't relayed that message to me because I am rather stubborn.

Did I delete the number? No. I guess a part of me hoped for...what? That she would miss me and call me out of the blue? And, if she did, where is my self-respect to answer the call?

As if that weren't pitiful enough, I recently texted another one of those friends who ghosted to wish her a happy 50th birthday. She replied with "who is this?" (She and I had known each other since elementary school, our kids knew each other, I am the only one she knows with a 303 area code, we had been tight up until a few years ago when my life started unraveling...but now I was a "who is this?" when I simply texted "Happy 50th! I hope the next decade is filled with miracles and joy.") 

Man, for being this age and for being as accomplished as I am, I sometimes act like a fool.

So, today I went through my iPhone and deleted all the contacts that weren't business related or who hadn't spoken to me in a year. Delete. Delete. Delete.

Boundaries have always been my weakness. My therapist told me that I allow people way too close too soon--this was twelve years ago! My husband had just died, though, so she cut me some slack for the blurred lines. What's my excuse now?

I don't have one, not really. I like being nice--but sometimes that has gotten me into bad situations. I need to be careful as well as nice, but I can no longer be anyone's pushover or option or punchline to a joke I am not privy to. I deserve better. I have earned the right to say "no more."

I now embrace the idea that people have to earn the right to be close to me. I keep my circle small and inner circle even smaller. I now speak up for myself rather than play small to make others feel big.

Hitting delete on those contacts felt liberating. Their names are no longer cluttering up my phone. If someone calls and I don't answer, let them leave a message and I will decide if I care to contact them back.

But that's the thing you see...I kept their names and numbers and emails and addresses because of that hope that there would be a message one day, a simple "how are you" once would have meant the world to me. Now I don't want or expect such a thing.

I love having friends and I love being nice. I love being with people who let me be myself without judgement. I am confident that by letting go of all that deadwood that I am making room for new friends who will respect me as I am--flawed and fabulous.

But here's the difference between me and that friend who I had texted to wish a happy birthday...I will never reply with "who is this" to a kind message. I will simply say, "thank you for thinking of me" and figure it out later. I guess that speaks volumes, doesn't it?

Keep romancing yourself! It's a love affair of a lifetime!

Peace!
Amber
http://www.amberleaeaston.com 


Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of romantic thrillers, contemporary romance, women's fiction, and nonfiction. In addition, Easton also writes under two pen names--Dakota Skye (erotic paranormal romance thrillers) and Cassidy Springfield (new adult). She also works as a professional editor and creativity coach, takes road trips with her dogs whenever the mood strikes, and advocates for suicide awareness. To find out more about her books, please visit http://www.amberleaeaston.com





Monday, April 30, 2018

Be Swept Away with a Summer Affair in Italy #Romance #Mustread


Taking a glimpse inside In Between...a summer affair in Italy where lighthearted fun turns into something much more complicated...

From the back cover...

In between responsibilities and dreams...

Jessica Moriarty has always played by the rules, but for once in her life, she's doing exactly as she pleases. In between graduate school and 'real life', she's in Florence, Italy, indulging her love of art and abandoning inhibitions. 

Meeting Jacques Sinclair rocks her off center. Whereas rules and living up to expectations have dictated her life, he is the opposite. A rebel. A photographer. A man who lives for the moment. He sweeps her up into a riveting romance that makes her question all she's ever believed to be true. 

The drum of old commitments echo through her heart as time ticks away. Will the crush of 'real life' undermine the love she's found in between...? 

This is book one of the two part Dancing Barefoot series. 


A tantalizing excerpt (adult content)... 

They couldn't stop touching each other. All the way to their apartment building they'd take turns pulling each other into alleys or doorways for stolen kisses that promised so much more. 

Jacques lifted her off her feet and carried her up the narrow stairway, his lips creating havoc on her neck. 

"Careful. You wouldn't want to slip and fall," she teased against his ear. "A fall like that could kill a man."

"Dangerous." He lifted his head and smiled. "What am I going to do with you, Jessica Moriarty?"

In front of her apartment, she slid down his body until her feet were firmly on the floor. His hands were already on her ass beneath the hem of the dress. 

"I'm sure you know exactly what to do with me." She turned long enough to unlock the door, enjoying the way his hands moved beneath her dress and over her skin. 

Not only was she confident that he knew exactly what to do with her, she had a few things of her own that she wanted to do to him. All of them involved nudity and inhibition. 

He kissed the side of her neck, his hands already unsnapping her bra and sliding over her breasts while she locked the door behind them. Dress pushed up to just beneath her shoulders, she took the initiative and ripped it over her head. He moaned his approval while his fingers toyed with her nipples.


Nothing in life had prepared her for this complete surrender. She hadn't known she was capable of it. She pressed her hands against the back of the door and let him touch her as he pleased. Pushing her hair aside, he kissed the back of her neck before running his tongue toward her ear. One hand on her breast, the other moved over her abdomen and slipped beneath her panties. 

Smiling, she turned within the circle of his arms and unbuttoned his shirt. This wasn't going to be a one-sided affair. She craved his skin as much as he wanted hers. Tossing it over his shoulders, she pressed her mouth to the center of his chest and indulged in the salty sensation beneath her tongue.

He walked backward until falling on top of the discarded clothes on her bed. "You didn't get a chance to settle in yet."

"Oh, I'm settled." She reached for the zipper on his jeans. "This is how I settle into a new place, just shove it all onto the floor."

He raised an eyebrow, a laugh on his lips as he did as instructed.

Her hand cupped his erection beneath his jeans before bending over to kiss his abdomen. The promise of his hardness drove her to madness. 

His hands wrapped themselves in her hair as she yanked his jeans past his hips. Her mouth closed over the tip of his penis that was hard and throbbing against her lips. 

He had the body of a Roman God; the fact that he was Belgian meant nothing. Being in Italy, she preferred the Roman idea as she licked his length with deep appreciation for what it was about to do to her. 

"Jacques," she whispered against his abdomen, needing him inside her. Fast. Hard. Deep. 

Hands still in her hair, he pulled her up until their mouths fused with passion. In one move, he rolled her onto her back and slipped his hand between her thighs. 

Their gaze connected through the darkness as his finger moved inside her. He dipped his head to suck on her breast. His fingers moved in and out with a slow rhythm that drove her to the brink. Glancing up, he reached for his discarded jeans for a condom. 

"You came prepared," she whispered against his chin.

"I'm an optimist." He smiled in the dark while ripping open the package. 

No more words. He rocked into her with a force that pushed her deep into the mattress. She sank her teeth into his shoulder, grabbed his ass, and spread her legs wide. Harder and deeper he thrust into her, his hands propped over her head until he shouted with orgasm. 

She arched her back, body shuddering with ecstasy, eyes squeezing shut with the force of pleasure. 

He collapsed against her, face buried into the top of her head, and chest heaving with rapid breaths. 

She had no more strength, doubted her ability to move. From somewhere deep down in her soul, from the tip of her toes upward, a laugh rolled up and out until she quaked with joy. 

He propped himself up on his elbows, smoothed the hair from her face, and smiled. "Is the laughing a good thing?" 

"It's the best thing." She leaned up and kissed him, eyes wide open. "I want more wine, then more of you." 

"I can deliver both of those things." He winked before slipping himself from her, taking a minute to kiss each breast before pushing away from the bed and walking toward the kitchen counter. 

Lights from the street illuminated the room just enough for her to indulge in a beautiful view of his naked body. Hair a complete mess from her hands and muscles highlighted by streetlights and shadow, Jacques Sinclair was definitely gorgeous. 

Hugging her knees to her chest amidst the discarded clothes on the bare mattress, she grinned when he sat next to her and handed her the open bottle. 

"What are you smiling about?" He kissed her knee. 

"Ways to keep you naked."

"Maybe we should have a nudity policy whenever we are in your apartment." 

Her iPhone's ring broke through the silence of the room from where she'd dropped it beside the door. Laughter faded while she debated answering. She knew who it was and knew the right thing to do; she simply didn't want to do it.

Jacques looked toward the ringing. "Is that your boyfriend from the States? Are we having an illicit affair?" 

She looked at him then, wine bottle propped between them, and shook her head 'no.' Heart heavier than it had been moments ago, she touched his face with her fingertips. For the next four months this was home and nothing else mattered.  

"I picked the right apartment," she whispered.

He moved the wine bottle to the floor before pulling her onto his lap. "Have I sufficiently welcomed you to the neighborhood?" 

"I think I need more welcoming." 

He pushed her hair away from her face, eyes seeing more than she'd intended him to see in the moonlight, and kissed her with an intensity that set her heart on fire and drowned out the incessant ringing of the phone. 

The need to break free of the ties that bound her pushed her toward recklessness. She welcomed the rush. Senses on hypersensitive, she savored the freedom of being exactly who she wanted to be in this moment. The wine, the moonlight, the breeze from the window, the taste of him on her tongue, and the feel of his skin against hers obliterated everything else.




Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Trusting Imperfection #startingover #womenempowerment


I've developed an edge over the years, I am aware of it and acknowledge it. All the loss--not only deaths but the loss of people I trusted and loved and other painful losses--has hardened me to the point where I come out swinging when I shouldn't.

I used to be too soft in some ways. After college graduation, I left South Dakota to head to Europe alone. By this time in my life, I had travelled with my family to most of the 50 states in the US and considered myself to be pretty savvy. I wasn't. I was too soft. My kindness --or naivety-- invited not only mocking from some but also lured predators to me as well.

Over and over again, I rebounded, always with a smile and that attitude of generosity and openness.

Over and over again, I was kicked in the metaphorical teeth.

Now I am edgy. Elusive.

I want to find a balance between being strong and yielding, open yet protected.

I'm seeing that one of the challenges in this new chapter of my life is trusting other people enough to allow them close. In some ways, I miss being open to others. Right off the top of my head, though, I can think of former friends who hurt me so badly that I still get teary-eyed over their actions. People who I loved--and who obviously did not love me back despite years of friendship. It's easy to say, "shrug it off, move on, their loss" or whatever trivial response comes to mind, but it's much harder to forget those betrayals now when I'm meeting new people and starting a new chapter of my life.

Yes, I'm a survivor. I have been through a lot and am truly happy in this new place of mine. But when it comes to opening my heart to new friends or even new acquaintances, I can't quite lower the protective shields.

I have read that trusting others always comes back to how much you trust yourself. Is this true?

I know I can stand strong against the storm and am smart enough to think of solutions to just about any problem that is thrown at me, but I guess when it comes to personal connections I no longer trust my instinct.

I trusted that Sean would fight his addictions to save our family--he killed himself. 

I trusted my lifelong friends to stick with me through thick and thin--they just dropped off the face of the earth. 

I trusted my church to be my safety net--I was told to find another place to worship when I couldn't contribute enough on Sundays. 

I trusted my community where I had volunteered and donated both money and time for two decades to be there when times got tough--I was told they couldn't help me when I hit rock bottom, was told to give up and leave. 

I endured. I made it. I thrived in other ways. I did it all alone--so I do trust myself.

Letting others in is something I want to do. I used to be social. When I bought this new house, I envisioned parties here and lots of laughter with new friends. Perhaps it will take time, more time than I envisioned, to be able to trust others again.

I want to. In some ways I'm still that naive 20-something from South Dakota who is looking at the world with hopeful and enthusiastic eyes; but in other ways, I'm a guarded 50 year old who knows what darkness lies in the shadows. I hope to find a balance between the two.

Romancing myself today means loving both my strength and my weakness and accepting that it's okay to be imperfect.

Peace to you!
Amber Lea Easton
http://www.amberleaeaston.com


Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of romantic thrillers, contemporary romance, women's fiction, and nonfiction. In addition, Easton also writes under two pen names--Dakota Skye (erotic paranormal romance thrillers) and Cassidy Springfield (new adult). She also works as a professional editor and creativity coach, takes road trips with her dogs whenever the mood strikes, and advocates for suicide awareness. To find out more about her books, please visit http://www.amberleaeaston.com