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Thursday, October 23, 2014
Tingle Thursday travels to Italy for a peek into the Book One of Dancing Barefoot--IN BETWEEN, a contemporary romance drama about risking it all on a dream and on love.
Two strangers become lovers and everything seems possible, but the weight of duty and obligations threaten to seal their Fate. Will love be enough?
Exclusively on Amazon (for a limited time)
Tingle worthy excerpt for the 18+ crowd...
"Tell me one thing about yourself that you're scared to admit. One thing."
She met his gaze in the reflection on the window and saw the dare in his eyes. Swallowing the doubt and shrugging off the thoughts of her mother, she faced him.
Life back in Boston equaled friends, a career, and dysfunctional relationships with her mother and with a certain man named Marc who had convinced everyone they were getting married when she returned from her self-indulgent trip to Italy. They weren't. The mere idea of it all squeezed the air from her chest and dampened the enjoyment of the moment.
"No one back home knows exactly where I am because I don't want them showing up here trying to take me back," she whispered without breaking eye contact. "They know I am in Florence, yes, but that is all. I don't want anyone from there ruining this for me."
He frowned but did not look away. "Why would people who love you want to ruin anything for you?"
She shook her head and looked away, hating that the perfect evening now had a crack in it.
"So you are really all mine while you're here, then?" Jacques kissed her hand, his breath warm on her flesh.
"As long as I turn off the phone and not post on Instagram, we should be good."
"Ah, that is why I avoid all of those things. My assistant—"
"You have an assistant?"
"Is that so surprising?"
"Yes, I thought you were a nomad, beholden to no one, answered only to yourself, too good for social media like the rest of us commoners and all of that." She liked teasing him and seeing surprise light his eyes. "How does he get in touch with you if you are so mysterious?"
"I get in touch with him when I am in the mood to listen to his lectures about my lack of technological savvy." He winked before reaching for his drink. "You are skilled at changing the subject away from yourself. I doubt anything you could say would make me want you less."
"Maybe it's less about what you may think and more about me wanting to disconnect for awhile. You can relate to that, can't you, Mr. Invisible from the World?"
"I suppose I can." He paid extraordinary attention to the liquor in the glass as he swirled it side to side.
"It must be liberating to go wherever you want in life, simply pick a place on the map and disappear." She liked looking at their reflection superimposed on the window. They looked good together. Her fingers ached to draw, to paint, to throw all of her emotions onto a canvas and capture all that filled her heart.
"Isn't that what you have done? You said no one knows about Luca or his apartment building...or me or Ava. You picked a place on a map and disappeared from your life, Jessica. We are not that different."
She closed her eyes and leaned back against his chest. Sudden panic of having all that she'd created here shatter merely by mentioning home.
"Let's go to our home and get naked," he whispered against her ear. "That is what we are both thinking, yes?"
She twisted in her seat and smiled up at him. "Yes, that's exactly what I want."
"I like a woman who knows and says what she wants, especially when she wants me." He winked before standing to hold the chair out for her. "I will drive fast. Let's go."
He sped back to Florence whose gleaming lights spread out beneath them as the motorcycle conquered the twists and turns of the hills. She rested her head on his back, wrapped her arms around his waist, and allowed the rhythmic hum of the bike's tires on the pavement lull her into a sense of calm.
Need pumped through her blood, not only for Jacques, but also for Italy to somehow set her free. She'd read all the self-help books, heard all the stories about being in control of her own decisions and her own life; but complications entangled her and bound her like a net holding down a struggling porpoise who slowly drowned beneath the waves.
Once at their apartment building, she practically ran up the stairs, already thinking of the many ways she wanted to make love with him.
Clothes came off once the door closed behind them until they were both skin on skin and mouth to mouth on the bed. Slower than last night, the kisses lingered and the caresses discovered. Her hands roamed the hardness of his back to the roundness of his ass and back again while their tongues danced together. Eyes wide open they looked at each other in the moonlight that played across their skin and over the bed.
"Tell me you didn't stay in Florence because of me," she whispered against his lips.
"I stayed because of you. I do what I want. I want this, here and now."
Tears blurred her vision because she'd secretly hoped he had chosen to stay for her, but hadn't dared believe. "You don't know me."
"I know you." He silenced the rest of her words with a kiss that curled her toes.
"I don't want to be a speed bump in your life."
"Let it be, Jess. Let us be whatever we become...or not. Let it be."
He slid himself slowly inside of her, slow enough where she felt each inch fill her before he eased out in a torturous rhythm that both savored sensation and teased satisfaction. He propped himself above her, hair falling across his eyes, and let his gaze move down her naked torso.
She moved her hands up his chest, linked her heels behind his thighs, and glanced down to where their bodies joined. Moonlight perfectly spotlighted his hips moving against hers. Pushing up on her elbows, she kissed his neck, his chest, and his face.
They fused together, slowly, having all the time in the world to indulge in one another. With each stroke of his hips against hers, she felt dread fall away to be replaced with the crescendo of rightness drumming in her heart.
She clung to his shoulders when he kissed her. Freedom to do and be whatever she needed to be...possibilities...set her blood on fire.
* * *
Monday, October 20, 2014
It's Open Mic Monday and I'm happing to let Blakely Bennett take over center stage! Drum roll, please! Cue the sexy music, light the candles, let the fun begin.
Me: A lot of people in the world have stereotypes of the romance genre. Why do you enjoy writing it and what are your feelings about the generalizations?
BB: Honestly, I’m in love with love. I enjoy watching love stories and reading them. I also get very tired of the same story over and over again so I try to write stories that are different. I can’t really speak to the stereotypes in romance, but I can speak to stereotypes in erotica. I had no idea that erotica was automatically assumed to be romance. Over the last couple of years I think the genre has expanded and therefore people’s understanding of it has as well.
Me: How do story ideas come to you?
BB: I really don’t have a good answer for this other than to say I have a very active imagination and I am ALWAYS running a story in my head. Some I write down and others I don’t.
Me: Do you outline the plot?
BB: Not when I write on my own. I let my characters take me for a ride. When my husband and I write together, we do outline.
Me: What inspires you as an author?
BB: Have I mentioned love? Love, people, flawed vulnerable personalities, music, joy, passion, and sex.
Me: Outside of writing, what do you do for fun?
BB: Lay naked in the sun, read, spend time with my husband, daughter, friends and other family, dance, watch TV and movies, travel, etc.
Me: What are a few of your favorite 'go to' movies to veg on the couch with on a chilly evening?
BB: Easy A, Holiday, Galaxy Quest, He’s Just Not That Into You, and Shrek.
Me: Do you do a lot of reading for pleasure or does it feel more like work these days?
BB: I’ve stopped reading friend’s work for editing (at least mostly) and read for pleasure. When I was editing a lot, it was difficult to read for pure enjoyment.
Me: Can you tell us more about your latest release? What was your inspiration behind it?
BB: Bittersweet Deceit came out in August. It’s the second book in the erotic romance series Bound by Your Love. The protagonist is a full-figured woman wrapped up in an affair with a married man. I was inspired to write the story in such a way that even those who are usually opposed to reading about adultery would be interested in her story and how she finally finds the love she truly deserves.
Me: Can you tell us five little known facts about yourself?
BB: 1. I’m a nudist.
2. I very rarely drink.
3. My eyes are hazel green.
4. We have two cats: Annie and Coco.
5. I love tie-dye.
Where to buy:
Blakely Bennett grew up in Southeast Florida and has been residing in the great Northwest for over nine years. She graduated from Nova Southeastern University with a degree in psychology, which accounts for her particular interest in constructing the personalities, struggles, and motivations of her characters. She is an avid reader of many genres of fiction, but especially enjoys erotica and romance. Writing has always been her bliss.
Blakely is married to a wonderful, loving, and supportive husband, who is also a writer, and who helps to keep her grounded. She is a mother, a communitarian, a lover of music (it is always on while she is writing thanks to Pandora), and a good friend. An advocate of love and female empowerment, she is also a facilitator for a women’s group. She loves to walk and hike for exercise, and finds that, since moving to Seattle, Washington, she is now one of those crazy people who walk in the rain.
Bittersweet Deceit is her sixth novel. She is also the author of the dark erotic suspense My Body Trilogy (My Body-His, My Body-His (Marcello) and My Body-Mine) and the co-author of the contemporary romance, The Demarcation of Jack, which she wrote with her husband, Dana Bennett.
You can find Blakely on the web at:
Sunday, October 19, 2014
I'm casting the spotlight on Lynn Rae's novel, The Secret Ingredient! This story sounds yummy in more ways than one. Check it out.Blurb...
Nate Garner is a happy-go-lucky short order cook looking for his big break. When he answers a casting call for a new reality cooking show, he needs a person behind the camera to help with his audition. Enter June Sinclair, a hyper-organized school secretary recruited by Nate's sister to produce his video. Nate and June get to know each other as they film him cooking, shopping, and mixing drinks at his mother's bar. Nate fights his growing attraction to June, because he knows she needs someone reliable to write into her well-worn planner, while June assumes he’s already involved with his best friend, Heather. What sort of future can they cook up together when Nate gets the call to go to Hollywood?
“Miss Sinclair! There’s a man here to see you!” Ralston Tippet’s voice trilled out, and she unfolded her legs preparing to crawl out from under the beans. Probably a father in search of a wandering child. She seemed to attract any stray in the neighborhood, just like Ralston and his friend Emma Dooley who’d spotted her in the garden that morning and rushed to help make a mess of things.
Heedless of the dirt she was grinding into her knees, June pushed herself up and out into the hot July sunlight, blinking at the man-shaped silhouette in front of her. As her pupils contracted, she took in broken-down jeans, a soft brown T-shirt with a cartoon pig on it, broad shoulders, sunglasses, and a bright green ball cap. At least he wasn’t standing on any vegetable plants.
“Here he is, Miss Sinclair!” Ralston capered around while swinging a hoe with little regard for the safety of those in his vicinity. June reached out and grabbed the handle and wrestled it away from the kid. Yes, there he was, and what was she supposed to do with him?
“Can I help you?”
“I guess so, if you’re June Sinclair.” He tilted his head and altered the angle of his sunglasses as he looked her over. She saw a dark reflection of herself for a moment. She was dirty, sweaty, and unimpressive.
“I’ve been June Sinclair ever since I was a teeny-tiny baby.” Ralston giggled at her feeble joke, but the man just put his hands on his hips.
“You’re still little, Miss. Sinclair.” Ralston piped up, proud of his recent growth spurt, which nearly put him at her eye level.
“Ah, okay. My sister Becky just called you. I’m Nate.”
Oh. Oh no. June wanted to go back into the bean teepee and think about this for a while. When Becky Wray had called earlier and explained she’d needed a favor on behalf of her little brother, June had automatically defaulted to thinking of a kid needing help and had agreed without much thought. That was the trouble with working with kids all the time—she wasn’t used to meeting big adult men with stubble on their chins.
“Right. I was expecting someone else.”
“I’m the only brother she has.” He sounded peeved.
“She said you needed a video, but she didn’t explain much.”
“Ah, it’s a lot to go into over the phone.” He brushed one hand down his side as he glanced over the garden. It certainly looked a lot better than it had before she and the kids had gotten to work on it earlier. Now at least most of the weeds were uprooted and wilting in the sun.
As she waited for Nate to get to the point, she directed the kids to pick up the gardening debris and pile it into the wheelbarrow parked in the middle of the plot. Emma and Ralston were mutual sidekicks and had been since first grade. June wondered how their friendship would weather puberty. Reflecting that hormones messed up most things, she leaned over and gathered discarded tools, wiping soil from the edges off with her boot soles.
“Maybe this wasn’t a good idea,” Nate spoke up. “You’re busy.”
“I’m always busy. It doesn’t mean I can’t listen and work at the same time. We’re wrapping up here anyway.”
With a shrug of his big shoulders, Nate waded in and retrieved a shovel Emma had left among the popcorn seedlings. “I need help with a video. They have a list of things they want, and it’s complicated.”
Complicated. June relished complicated. “We need to stack the tools in the shed, right over there.” Handing him her collected trowels and Ralston’s hoe, she pointed the man in the direction of Mike the Custodian’s outdoor-equipment shed. Mike was on the grounds mowing today, and he’d lock up later. June tried not to notice Nate’s rear view as he walked away, but she couldn’t help noticing how the soft shirt clung to the muscles of his back. Hmm. He didn’t seem to be much younger than she was.
Ralston and Emma had almost tipped the wheelbarrow contents over by the time she got to them, but together they pushed the awkward cart to the compost heap the fifth-grade science classes had constructed. The front tire stuck into the soft ground at the edge of the open enclosure, and she and the kids struggled to lift up the handles and dump the load. Just as she bent her back to give it a shove, Nate’s hands were easing hers away and with an easy shrug, he tossed the weeds into the bin. So those shoulders weren’t just for show.
Emma and Ralston disagreed over who was going to push the wheelbarrow back to the shed until June told them to each take a handle and work together. With a glance at the man next to her, she wondered what to say. “Thanks for your help. With cleanup.”
“What is this? I don’t remember a garden here.”
June looked over the ragged square cut into the lawn beside the school building. The students always put it together with such enthusiasm in April and May, but once school was out, it tended to run wild over the summer. The yellow pear and black tomatoes seemed to be faring well with benign neglect, as were the onions and beans. The peas on the trellis were sad, but peas always were once the temperature rose. “It’s a community garden.”
“Who eats all the produce? There’s no one here.”
“I take it to the seniors at the Acres. What exactly is this project you need help with?” June peered at him.
Nate turned to face her. “It’s an audition video for a television competition. A reality show.”
“What, you’re a singer?” June’s heart dipped. Just her luck. He was a musician surrounded by groupies and having reckless sex every night. Nate laughed out loud, and her nerves hummed.
“No way. I’m a cook. A chef, I mean.” He straightened up and gave a nod like he’d promoted himself.
June was intrigued despite her good sense warning her to step back from her curiosity. “You mean like Top Chef, or that horrible one with the cursing man ... ah, Hell’s Kitchen?”
He nodded and leaned her way. “So you know about them. Yeah, it’s like those, but it’s a new one. The audience votes on it, kind of like American Idol.”
June shook her head. “That doesn’t make any sense. How can someone watching in Idaho know what the food tastes like?”
He shrugged, and she was again distracted by those shoulders. He must lift really heavy bags of potatoes every day. “I have no idea. But they want another tape from me, and there’s this long list of things they want to see before they bring me out to Hollywood. Or Burbank maybe. I’m not sure where they’re filming it.”
Where to buy...
About the author...
Lynn Rae makes her home in land-locked central Ohio after time spent in the former Great Black Swamp, beside the Ohio River, and along the Miami and Erie Canal. With professional experience in fields ranging from contract archaeology to librarianship along with making donuts and teaching museum studies, Lynn enjoys incorporating her quirky sense of humor and real-life adventures into her writing (except the naughty bits). She writes sci-fi, contemporary, and historical romances. Join her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/lynnraewrites or check out her website at www.lynnraewrites.com.