BESTSELLING AUTHOR AMBER LEA EASTON

Welcome to Kisses, Caresses, and Whispers in the Night, home of bestselling romantic suspense author, Amber Lea Easton. We're all about thrills here--from hot romance to knuckle-whitening suspense. Let's have some fun!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Fueling the Fire #FlashFiction #ShortStory #FreeRead

Flash-Fiction Friday
a very, very short story
copyright Amber Lea Easton 2015

Fueling the Fire 
by 
Amber Lea Easton

Amanda stared at the setting sun bathing the mountains across the valley in various violets and reds. The hues reminded her of a spring garden, alive and vibrant like an illuminated promise.

But in the end it all whispered to her of broken promises and forgotten tomorrows.  Even the most brilliant of roses goes dormant, stems brittle and breaking.  That’s the thing. That’s the joke. No matter the promise or the beauty or the joy…all of it ends.  

She snapped the breadstick into crumbs without noticing until the dogs rushed to lick up the mess from between her bare feet.

“Hey, sweetie! Are you here? I just needed to drop off these poster boards for you.” A woman stepped through the side gate, all long hair, white teeth and nauseating exuberance.

That’s the thing, too. Always remember to smile. If not a smile, then at least a grin.  Must look agreeable at all times.  Wouldn’t want anyone to think you’re a bitch.  Not at all.  Never.

Keep pretending.

“Hi, Karen.  What do you have?”  I wonder if she realizes her once red hair has faded to pale orange. Time for a maintenance trip to the salon, sweetie.

Don't forget to smile.

“The poster board for the school carnival. I’m glad you could take this on last minute.” Karen plopped the materials onto the table before looking at the mess of crumbs. Although she didn't mention the mess, her disapproving yet somewhat satisfied gleam in her eyes said more than words ever could.

 “Of course. It’s not like I have a lot going on, right?” She dropped the remnants of the broken breadstick onto the uneaten salad in front of her.  

 “Oh, am I interrupting your dinner? Where’re the kids? It’s awfully quiet around here.” Uninvited, Karen stretched onto the lounge chair next to her and kicked-off her shoes. “Do you have any wine? You wouldn’t believe the day I’ve had…”

Oh, yes, I would.  ou have no idea who I really am...you wouldn't believe the thoughts I'm having...thoughts about leaving...permanently. 

 “No, why’s that?” Amanda asked even though she could care less. 

“Oh my god. First Darin refused to sleep through the night and then when he finally decided to give in it was six so of course Danielle was wide awake. Then I had to be at kickboxing at nine and there’s absolutely no way I can afford to miss a class, not with these thighs. Jonathan called from work saying he’d forgotten some blueprints so I had to run them into town. By then, I needed to get Darin to tumble tots and Danielle was late to dance. I don’t know why they call it being a stay-at-home-mom when we’re never home, do you?” Karen finally took a breath and looked into Amanda’s eyes, the kind of look that dances between friendly and resentful. 

The kind of look that makes you guard your back.

God, she was so tired of feeling like every conversation required a military strategy. 

“Sounds rough.” Her gaze slipped toward the sunset. She didn’t want company. A decision needed to be made and it wouldn’t be an easy one.  

“Are you feeling okay? You look kinda…sick.”


“Headache.” Growing worse second by second

“Well, I hope you get the posters done. No matter what people say, your work on the PTO is appreciated. Some people just can’t be satisfied.” 

 “What are people saying exactly?” Damn, I fell for the bait.

 “Oh, it’s nothing. You shouldn’t care what people say. I mean, what do they really expect from a volunteer?” 

That was the other thing:  innuendo. Karen mastered the art of undermining a person’s confidence like a sculptor chipping away at stone. Pick. Pick. Slam. Amanda tried not to let the words get beneath her skin, but it became more difficult with the passing of time and the persistence of the master sculptor.  

"Karen, if you’ve heard a specific comment about the posters, flyers, whatever I’d rather hear it than—“


“It’s all just…general. You know.”

“I don’t know, that’s why I’m asking.” 

Karen looked at a loss for words, or perhaps more likely she stalled to come up with an appropriate lie to fill in the generalities.  

 “Never mind. I don't really care what anyone's saying. In fact, I may not be able to get to these posters after all.” She stood with the bowl of salad in her hand and a quick glance toward the poster boards. “I think I need some ibuprofen and a long bath.”

 “Oh…well…I should go then…”  aren fumbled, some of the energy sucked away by the abrupt dismissal. 

 “I think that would be best.” Get the hell out of my house!  

 “Have a nice night of relaxation. Wish I had the time for such luxuries.” Pick, pick, slice, slice—the sculptor chipped away.

Amanda didn’t watch her leave, unable to maintain the pretense any longer. She pressed her back against the closed patio door and struggled to breathe.  

This wouldn’t be easy, but she’d already planned too much. She needed to end this now before she hurt someone. Seriously, she’d reached the end of her rope. 

She looked at the walls where framed photographs—her photographs—decorated the walls. She’d once been a renowned photographer, traveled the world for publications like National Geographic and Conde Nast. Then David had entered her world like a bigger than life force who swept her into his life—and out of hers.  

Not that she’d ever thought of it like that until she'd woken up one morning--alone as usual--and realized the great love affair had ended a long time
ago. 

      When had she become so lonely? 

      There were moments--or were they days?--when she felt as if she existed on auto-pilot. Where had the fire gone that had once blazed hot in her soul? 

Regrets? Yes, she had them. Marriage? No, that wasn’t a regret. Neither were the two kids who snuggled with her every morning and giggled at her silly dancing while she made breakfast.  

It was this so called life--a half life--that now beat at her heart with bitterness.  She’d broken a promise to herself, to the young ambitious girl who’d set out to accomplish great things with that camera of hers. Compromise had led her to this place with these women who would never understand her—nor she them. That’s what she regretted--losing herself, abandoning her dreams.    

Words of acquiescence, agreeability, suppression had gotten her here. So easy to get along with, she’d thought they’d say, but she’d been wrong.  

They saw through the false smiles...somehow they knew she pretended to be one of them. The more they chipped, the more pieces of her fell to the floor like crumbs of a breadstick about to be devoured by dogs.  

The last of her identity that she'd stuffed down deep in her heart begged her to act, pleaded with her to do something...anything. 

She knew what she needed to do. 

Hands shaking badly enough that she dropped everything at least once, she packed the car with her suitcases before returning to the house for her napping children. Thank God, she'd worn them out at the pool earlier. They'd sleep for most of the drive. As for David...well, he was off on yet another business trip, living his life with cocktail parties and adult conversations...it would be days before he even noticed his family had left him. 

 Dogs panted, excited to being going on a big adventure as they settled between her sleeping children nestled in their car seats with their favorite stuffed animals.

This was all she’d take, all she’d want, all she’d need.  

With one last look in the rearview mirror, she marveled at the beauty of the sun outlining the mountains. Beauty meant nothing, however, when it left the heart hollow and lonely.

Uncertainty whispered through her mind for only a minute as she drove from the driveway. Good, bad, right or wrong, she drove toward her life on her own terms. Adrenaline burst through her veins and her heart drummed an exhilarated song of freedom. For the first time in years, she felt...like the Amanda she used to know. She smiled...then laughed. 

The highway stretched in front of her as night crushed twilight--destination unknown but thoroughly anticipated. 

The End





About the author...
Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of both fiction and nonfiction. Her memoir, Free Fall, about surviving the suicide of her husband and parenting through grief has been named 4th on the "10 Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list and has also reached international best seller status. She currently resides in the Colorado Rocky Mountains where she gives thanks daily for the view outside her window and the two amazing young adults she's been privileged to raise. Find a listing of all of her books at http://www.amberleaeaston.com 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Phoenix Rising--Seriously, you gotta #read this!

It's new release time for the fabulous author, Hunter S Jones. This historical fiction novel will captivate you. 

Blurb...
The last hour of Anne Boleyn's life...
Court intrigue, revenge and all the secrets of the last hour are revealed as one queen falls and another rises to take her place on destiny's stage.
A young Anne Boleyn arrives at the court of King Henry VIII. She is to be presented at the Shrovetide pageant, le Ch√Ęteau Vert. The young and ambitious Anne has no idea that a chance encounter before the pageant will lead to her capturing the heart of the king. What begins as a distraction becomes his obsession and leads to her destruction.
Love, hate, loyalty and betrayal come together in a single dramatic moment... the execution of a queen. The history of England will be changed for ever.
~
PHOENIX RISING is the last hour of Anne Boleyn as told from the descendant of the astrologer/physician of King Henry VIII. She uses the 'star map' – astrology chart - used by her ancestress to reveal the stories hidden in that hour. Characters include King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Sir Francis Bryan, Thomas Cromwell, Ralph Sadler, Mary Tudor, Eustace Chapyus, Elizabeth Howard Boleyn, Elizabeth I and the Swordsman of Calais.

Available now on Amazon 

Editorial Review...

"Compelling, captivating and moving." 
-Claire Ridgway, The Anne Boleyn Files
~~~
"Historically accurate yet suspenseful - although we know the ending, this page-turner has many surprises." 
-Dr. Beth Lynne, Editor
~~~
"An interesting look at the events of May 19, 1536 from an unexpected angle!"
-Cyndi Williamson, blogger, QueenAnneBoleyn.com
~~~
"Anne Boleyn is unarguably one of history's most fascinating and controversial women. Temptress, opportunist, witch, adulteress, or martyr? Generations after her death, we're still intrigued by her rise and fall. In Phoenix Rising, Hunter Jones transforms the legend into flesh and blood. You don't want to miss this clever and marvelously entertaining account of Anne Boleyn's last hour."
-OCMD, Amazon Vine Reviewer
~~~
"Thought provoking, esoteric and heart wrenching." - 
-R.J.Askew, blogger, reviewer, author and journalist.

Available now on Amazon 


Author Bio...

Deb Hunter writes fiction as Hunter S. Jones. Her best-selling poetic romance novel-September Ends-won awards for Best Independently Published Novel and Best Romance, based on its unique blending of poetry and prose. The Fortune Series received best-selling status on Amazon in the Cultural Heritage and Historical Fiction categories. She has been published by H3O Eco mag, LuxeCrush, Chattanooga Times-Free Press, and is now a freelance contributor for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. She has recently been accepted into the prestigious Rivendell Writers Colony. Her arts, music and culture blogs on ExpatsPost.com are filled with eclectic stories regarding music, writing, the arts and climate awareness. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her Scottish born husband. Her undergrad degree is in History with an emphasis on the English Renaissance and Reformation. 

Against the Storm #kindness #gratitude

Monday Musings 

The Dalai Lama said, "Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion." 

This is a simple concept, yet rare to find on an every day basis. I hear too many stories lately of insensitivity in our day-to-day lives. I am not sure what is causing this lack of compassion.  Perhaps it is the stress of a chaotic lifestyle or the dehumanization in our technological world. Or maybe we have become a society of "I" instead of "we".  

I have experienced great loss in my life, as have many people. During this time of grieving, I have learned that the concepts of kindness and compassion need some tweaking.  

For example, my son was only 7 when my husband committed suicide, yet was told soon after that his daddy had gone to live in hell. I, who had found my husband hanging in a closet with kids screaming "daddy, daddy" over my shoulder, was told to "wake up one morning and say today is the day I am over this." One of my closest friends told me only months after the suicide that she simply didn't have the "energy to deal with it all" and completely stepped out of my life. My daughter suffered severe anxiety attacks after witnessing this tragedy, yet people to this day fail to see her dad's suicide as the trigger for her ongoing insecurity and nervous habits.  You may be shocked to read these examples, but they are true and all said by someone who called us a friend. We wounded souls needed compassion, but instead received judgment.

My experiences have caused me to change my view of the world and to redefine my definition of friend. To me, a friend is someone who gives the benefit of the doubt at all times until proven differently. A friend is someone who encourages and inspires rather than doubts and mocks. A friend is someone who loves unconditionally rather than bails at the first hint of trouble.  A friend says "I'm sorry" when necessary. A friend has boundless energy when needed to help another in crisis. A friend sees the best in me and loves me even at my worst.  

Friendships are like palm trees that bend and sway against a hurricane, but only those with deep roots stand tall at the end of the storm.  Be the kind of friend who grows deep roots. More than that, be the person who is kind without keeping a running tally and who shows compassion for a neighbor or stranger expecting nothing in return.  

Kindness and compassion are habits we cannot afford to lose in today's busy and tech savvy world. Today I ask you to not only show these traits to others, but to feel them down deep in your heart. When you see a stranger, smile rather than avoid eye contact. See what happens! I bet you'll get a smile in return. When you feel irritation churn in your gut, replace it with compassion and look at the situation from someone else's point of view. You may be surprised at what you see. And if there is someone you know who is struggling, have the energy to express kindness rather than judgment.  

As the saying goes, everyone we meet is fighting some kind of battle...the man who cuts you off in traffic...the cashier at the supermarket who mutters beneath her breath...the teller at the bank who won't make eye contact...the neighbor who never waves back.  Looking through eyes filled with kindness changes our perception of the entire world.  


What can you do today to show kindness and compassion while expecting nothing in return?  Trust me...when you expect nothing, you receive more than you ever imagined in the long run.  

Peace and love to you,
Amber 

About the author...
Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of both fiction and nonfiction. Her memoir, Free Fall, about surviving the suicide of her husband and parenting through grief has been named 4th on the "10 Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list and has also reached international best seller status. She currently resides in the Colorado Rocky Mountains where she gives thanks daily for the view outside her window and the two amazing young adults she's been privileged to raise. Find a listing of all of her books at http://www.amberleaeaston.com