Tag Archives: Drinks

Liquid Friday with author Paige Matthews

This week we are featuring erotica author and a 2016 Golden Flogger award nominee Paige Matthews and her Rocker series: Double Cross. (Crossroads and Crossover).

But before we slide into these books lets find out what does Paige recommend to go with the books on a Friday Night?

I love “screaming orgasm.” Besides the name 🙂 I love Kahlua and Bailey’s and Vodka!  What’s screamingObetter then the 3 of them combined! Best served with a few girlfriends and take them shot by shot! Multiple orgasms are always good 🙂

Ingredients: 

  •  ½oz Vodka
  • ½oz Amaretto
  • ½oz Coffee liqueur (Tia Maria, Kahlua).
  • ½oz Irish cream  (Bailey’s)
  • 3oz Half & Half (50/50 Milk & Single Cream mix)

Preparation:

In a tall glass combine ice and ingredients. Shake profusely and pour over strainer into a glass with ice

So let us kick back and relax drinking this delicious cocktail as we dive full force into Paige Matthews’ books:

Crossroads: A Double Cross Novel

Everyone finds themselves at a crossroad in their life.
Caleb Cross is not your typical front man. He is not the bad boy, parting, love em and leave em persona, although his public image states otherwise. Being the lead singer of the popular rock band, Double Cross, there are a lot of things fans and the public do not know crossroadse-1about Caleb. Sure, Caleb likes to have a little fun now and again, but after a bad publicity stunt, he is determined to shed the ultra bad image.

Katherine “Kat” Summers is not a typical woman. Not a girl who gets star struck or easily impressed, Kat is content on being herself, who she is. Kat enjoys living in the moment, in both her personal and professional life. Her greatest moment-bedding rock star Caleb Cross, a secret she holds onto to this day.

When Kat’s company is hired by Caleb Cross to rebrand him, she finds herself testing everything she has known about herself and about her life. Trying to maintain who she is against what she begins to desire, proves to be difficult for Kat, especially when she sees Caleb as he truly is.

For Caleb, hiring a new publicist to help reshape his image was the easy part, but what he doesn’t count on is being reunited with the one girl that never wanted him more than a night. Caleb is forced to confront himself and Kat in order to learn what he truly wants and who is truly is.

Crossover: A Double Cross Novel

Secrets Can Destroy. Can they overcome theirs?

Faith Maguire has spent the last six years traveling the world in an attempt to forget the secrets that she hides. After finding her fiance cheating on her in Milan, Faith crossoverheads home to Fuquay Varina, NC to lick her wounds and take some time off-until she is offered a position documenting the upcoming tour for Double Cross.

Preparing for a new tour, Gabe Cross is not thrilled to be on the road. He much rather be living it up in Raleigh. Thinking back to the one person that left him a broken hearted man, Gabe prepares for another three months of drowning his sorrows and screwing her out of his mind- until she shows up on the tour.

Faced to confront the hurt and pain six years forgotten- Gabe and Faith must learn how to move on from their pasts in order to have a future, but will their secrets prevent them from having their second chance?

Excerpt:

Once inside the room, that familiar tension was back. We stood looking at each other again. I watched as he let go of the luggage and walked toward me. I stood frozen in my spot. His hands took my bag and placed it on the couch before circling around my waist. He pulled me close and I could feel his erection against my pelvis.

“You make me so angry! And in the next breath, I want to fuck you so bad,” he said as his lips grazed against mine. All rational thoughts left in that minute. My hands found their way to Gabe’s hips as he crushed his mouth down on mine. The feel of him against me made my body weak. It had been so long since we’d been together. My lips parted and allowed him deeper penetration of my mouth. Our tongues danced with one another.

Gabe’s hands ran up under my shirt pushing it off and over my head. I heard him growl as he pulled away. I ran my nails across his washboard abs. Before I knew it, I was pinned on the couch. Gabe had one knee between my legs as he took my mouth again.

“Faith…” he moaned against my lips.

“Gabriel…” I moaned back. We were lost in the moment that we didn’t hear the knocking on the door until it became a loud banging.

“Open up man! I know you are in there.” I could hear Jax yelling from the opposite side of the door. Gabe pulled back quickly and walked to the door, adjusting himself in the process. He bent down and picked up my shirt, throwing it at me. I threw it on as he opened the door.

“What?” The husky voice barked out.

“Have you seen my sis-“ Jax stopped mid sentence when he saw me.

“Right over there.” Gabe pointed in my direction.

“I didn’t interrupt anything, did I?” He looked between the two of us.

“Nope.” Gabe grabbed his sunglasses and stormed off, leaving Jax and me alone.

I stood up and walked to my luggage.

“Are you sure I didn’t interrupt anything?” he asked me again.

“Nope,” I responded sounding like Gabe.

“Then why is your shirt inside out?” he laughed.

“Fuck you, Jax.”

About Me

What do you say about yourself? Aren’t we supposed to write these in third person? Oh well, here I go! I have been writing and reading since I was able to pick up a pen and read a book. I can’t even begin to list the amounts of book that I’ve devoured over the course of paigemy life; from the Babysitter’s Club to R.L.Stein to the classics and the novels of my degrees. I have spent countless hours between the covers of classics during my undergraduate and graduate degrees from Western Connecticut State University, resulting in a BA English: Comparative Literature and a MA English: Professional Writing.

Recently, I have been focusing both my writings and my readings in erotica, BDSM and contemporary romance. And no, Fifty Shades of Grey did not get me on the BDSM bandwagon. If anything it opened the idea up more to me, but alas I have my own opinions on the trilogy.

I am trying to focus my writings on the emotional aspects of the erotic world, the emotional bondage of BDSM. I am interested in what makes people want to be dominant or submissive, the connection, etc. But I do like to read about a good flogging and bondage story too, the smuttier the better.:)

I live in New England with a wonderful family that keeps me busy when I am not at my day job or writing. I hope you enjoy your stay.

 

Liquid Friday with author Haven Cage

This week we are featuring Haven Cage, author of an adult, dark urban fantasy novel  Falter and  the first book in the Faltering Souls series.

But before we check out her book, let us hear directly from Haven on what cocktail does she recommend for tonight.

applePieMy favorite drink is Apple Pie on the rocks:

  • 1 oz. Vanilla Vodka
  • 1 oz. Fireball Whiskey
  • 4 oz. Organic Apple Juice
  • Pinch of Ground Cinnamon
  • Brown Sugar for the rim (Grind a little finer for more successful sugaring)
  • Optional: Cinnamon Stick for Garnish
  • Ice

I found this gem on Pinterest, credit belongs to Jackie of Vegan Yack Attack…super yummy!

I’m also very partial to Lemon Drop Shots: Sugar the rim of the shot glass.
Pour favorite Vodka, Gulp it down, then chase with a lemon wedge!

falter 2

In FALTER, a dark New Adult/Adult Urban Fantasy novel, Nevaeh Richards thinks she has found a chance to leave her homeless life behind. When the spirit of the only father she falter 1knows is wrongfully taken to Hell, Nevaeh is hurled into a world haunted by monstrous demons, rogue Guardian angels, love that is beyond her control, and a soul-threatening choice between the inherent evil inside her and the faltering faith she is struggling to grasp.

Nevaeh and George have lived on the streets as father and daughter since he found her, alone and unconscious, many years ago. When they start a new life employed at Joe’s cafe, Nevaeh experiences debilitating visions and frightening apparitions. Adding to the troubling path her life has taken, George suddenly becomes ill and an Animus demon takes his soul hostage in Hell. Unfortunately, the ransom may be more than Nevaeh can afford.

As Nevaeh spirals into this supernatural world, Gavyn—the handsome café-owner—tries to convince her that she belongs to a hidden race of people with God-given gifts known as Celatum, and she may be a key player in the Celestial war. However, even after all the otherworldly events she experiences, Nevaeh continues to deny her part in it all.

Meanwhile, Archard—a stranger she feels undeniably bonded to—mysteriously wanders in and out of her life, offering none of the answers she suspects he holds.

Will Nevaeh attain the faith it requires to fulfill her fate as a Celata and take part in the Celestial fight? Or will she give into the darkness that calls to her for the sake of George’s soul and damn herself to Hell?

Falter by Haven Cage (Excerpt)

I cursed under my breath and turned to walk away. My movement reflecting on the glass revealed a smudge on the smooth, translucent surface. I’d almost missed it. The smudge shimmered under the last sliver of sunlight inching its way out of Gavyn’s apartment. Its opalescent glimmer had a touch of gold, like mother of pearl on a seashell. The small, imperfect oval of film resembled a single fingerprint, yet there was no distinguishable print pattern.

I bent over to examine it closer, spotting a single fuzzy fiber sticking out from the center. It was creamy-white and soft as silk. I plucked the fiber from the spot and rolled it falter 7between my thumb and index finger. A familiar odor rose from the fuzz, pulling me into a vague memory. The smell was fainter than I remembered. It was intoxicating, indescribable, and invoked feelings that heated my cheeks to a rosy red.

I breathed in deeply, the vagueness of my memory clearing like rippling waters smoothing to expose the depths below. It was the same aroma from the bathroom on the first night of my stay here.

I closed my fist around the fuzz trying to place where it might have come from and how it got here. I opened my hand and lifted it closer to stare down at the small white strand, waiting for an answer to pop into my head. Finally, an “Aha!” moment. Down—the fuzz resembled down feathers. A bird must have flown to the sill and left the smudge and strand of feather.

I was happy to find a logical answer to at least one of my questions, though it didn’t render a reasonable connection to the familiar smell. I held up my palm and pursed my lips tofalter 6 blow the tiny feather away, but before the breath left my lips, the fuzz began to disintegrate. It crumbled into pieces so small I could barely see them, then drifted from my palm.

I stared at my hand in disbelief, flipping it over and back again, surprised by what I just saw. How does something just fall to pieces like that? It was solid when I held it—I was sure of that. This couldn’t be another trick.

I gulped, forcing saliva down my anxiety constricted throat. “George, do you remember a bird flying in? Did you hear any wings or rustling?” My voice trembled, afraid that I could be imagining this. I glanced over at the window. The smudge was still there. Not imagining.

“No, Nevaeh. What’s wrong with you?” He squinted, looking me up and down. Worry shadowed his face when he saw me standing by the window gawking down at my open hands, flipping them back and forth like I was losing my mind. I stopped flip-flopping the second I realized he was watching me and slowly lowered my arms to my sides. I forced a small smile to ease the stress I saw growing in the tight wrinkles on his forehead.

“Nevaeh…are…are you ok?” A wheezing came from under his gruff words.

“Do you remember when Archard left?”

“No, I think I had fallen back asleep before he went. Why?”

“You don’t remember him opening the window either?” My tone was as soft and calm as I could manage.

He coughed after every other word he spoke. “Dammit, Nevaeh, what is your problem with falter 5Archard, and what the hell is going on with the window?” His voice was louder and raspier than before, emphasizing that he would yell if he could.

“Nothing. Never mind. You need to relax. You’re using too much energy talking.” I tried to settle him back down and get his coughing under control.

“Well, quit asking me so many dag-blamit questions, and quit not telling me what they’re about.” The coughing subsided when his tone lowered.

I returned my shamed gaze back to the window, scanning the roof of the building across the alley, the narrow opening leading to the street, and the ground below. I was hoping to see something that could offer even the slightest clue of what left the evidence on the window. There was nothing. No animals, no people. There wasn’t even the empty boxes or trash you would normally see in an alley.

My eyes pulled back to the filmy smudge. The subtle shifting hues of the darkening sky outside brought the shimmering print to life. The faint afterglow from the dying day shined through the print and carried the colors out into a funnel of rainbows, flickering to falter 4the floor. Dust specks twinkled like tiny sparks as they swam in the air, swirling inside the light path.

My angst and confusion stilled while I stared at the beautiful colors. It was breathtaking. Warmth caressed my hand as I held it in the beam of light and let the colors reflect off my skin. Then, I noticed that the amount of flickering colors was quickly depleting. My eyes bolted back to the glass pane. The smudge was shrinking. Something invisible was wiping it off the surface of the window. Within seconds, the smear was gone. I touched the glass to feel for anything, any sign of the beauty that was just there. The surface was smooth and dry.

All evidence was gone without a trace, just as the fuzz had gone.

What the hell just happened?

This—the little insane things—made me feel alien in my own mind. I dropped to my knees to catch my breath and keep from hyperventilating—and for God sake, stop the room from spinning.

I thought about everything that happened over the past few days: the strange dream I couldn’t remember, the hallucinations, the vivid odors, the fast-healing burn, Layla’s cut, falter 3and the strange little things that just disappeared for no reason. They had to mean something.

Then there was Archard. In the instability of my mind, he drew me in.

My insides grew numb. I realized how much energy I had recently wasted trying to understand everything. Maybe I wouldn’t ever understand. I slumped against the wall, too exhausted to hold myself up anymore.

God, why is this happening? Haven’t I had enough confusion and humiliation in my life already? Am I even supposed to figure this out? Or, is this some sick joke you’re playing to teach a lesson to someone who doubts you so much?

Buy Links

http://www.amazon.com/Falter-Faltering-Souls-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01DDQVCJK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461256470&sr=8-1&keywords=falter+haven+cage

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/falter-1

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Falter-Faltering-Souls-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01DDQVCJK

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/625043

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/falter-haven-cage/1123766464?ean=2940158096778

Other sites of availability include  AppleBarnes & Noble, Scribd, Oyster, Yuzu, Blio and Inktera (formerly Page Foundry).

Print edition is available on Amazon, or you can purchase a signed copy, as well as digital in any platform, directly from me at http://www.authorhavencage.com/buy-.html

To further learn about our author: Haven Cage, we have a wonderful interview below from Paperback Junkie:

Q:What inspires your writing?

Haven: I didn’t find my love of reading until I was around twenty-three years old. A friend gave me the first novel in the Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer and was hooked. After that, I researched Mrs. Meyer and found that a dream inspired her to write. I thought, “Hey, I could do that. I have thousands of crazy dreams locked away in my mind. Why falter 8not write a book about one?” I have always struggled with my spiritual side, not so much doubting my beliefs in God, but more myself and the “man-made” side of religion. I felt like writing would be a good way to work some of those inner demons and doubts out.

After years of learning the craft, and reading new books that opened my mind to the many worlds I could escape to, I finished my first novel. Now that I’ve nurtured my mind and soul into that of a writer’s, I don’t see myself any other way. This is who I am now. Though it’s still hard for me some days, I get a little better each day.

Q: Have you always wanted to be an author?

Haven: I had no idea that I would be an author as a child. Reading and writing was something I was forced to do in school, not something I did for fun. I was more of a visual arts kind of person, using paint and pencils to express myself, but looking back now, I know that I just hadn’t found the right book to spark the yearning in me. Thank God, I did later on!

Q: Who are your favorite authors?

There are so many authors that I admire and enjoy, but Leigh Bardugo, Karen Marie Moning, and Jamie McGuire speak to my soul and inspire me to be a better writer.

Q: What would you say to someone who is starting out as a writer?

Haven: Being a new writer myself, I would advise those following me to research everything on writing, publishing, networking they can. Get a good grip on the reality of it because publishing is an intimidating industry, and if you are not serious about it, you won’t get far, falter 9unfortunately. Discouragement is an emotion you will feel often, but I firmly believe that if you are diligent, you can make it. You may not have a fat wallet in the end, but it’s better to try and fail, knowing you gave it your best than avoiding the trials of being a writer when you could have been magical.

Q: Do you ever put any part of yourself in your characters?

Haven: My characters are very much based on fears and doubts that I have all the time. I also instill my sarcasm and emotions in them pretty regularly. On the flip side of that, they represent parts of me that I can’t be, or won’t allow myself to be, in real life as well.

Q: How old were you when your first book was published?

Haven: My release day is actually the day before my thirty-third birthday. I set it up as a new year’s resolution goal, determined to get this damn book published before my birthday!

Q: What books do you have out, and what are you planning for future publications?

Haven: I currently only have Falter up for publication, however, book 2 in the Faltering Soul series is under way. I also have the beginnings of a stand-alone novel in toe.

Q: What do you hope readers will take from your books?

Haven: I hope they find enjoyment in my story while considering the uncontrollable circumstances that drive people to make bad decisions. Life is not black and white, right and wrong.

Q: What do you do to get ready to write?

Haven: I am very much a creature that needs a good atmosphere. I mostly write at a fantastic local coffee shop, listening to rock music, and drinking the writer’s drug of choice…coffee! I personally don’t plan much when it comes to preparing. I’m more of a write-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of gal, leaving my outlining to a time after most of my thoughts are already on the paper.

Q: Do you ever get writer’s block? What helps you get past it?

Haven: I’ve been fortunate to avoid the dark abyss of writer’s block. If I do happen to be in a particularly difficult time of finding words, I tend to leave the work for a few days. Sometimes a little vacation can clarify the tunnel vision. This is also when the outlining comes in handy. I start going back through the chapters and summarizing them one by one, focusing on my plot and details. This usually brings me out of the slump.

Q: What is your favorite type of book to read? Does that type influence your books?

Haven: My favorite genres are fantasy and romance, and yes, it absolutely influences my own writing. I love being to get away from reality, to escape to worlds where anything is possible. As far as writing styles, I gravitate toward authors that use a lot of descriptive words. I need to play the scenes in my mind like a movie, which makes me a slower reader, but I enjoy it so much more.

You can ad more of Haven’s interviews on Book Readers Magazine

Fun Facts/ Favorites

  1. Food- Anything pasta
  2. Color- Purple (you can probably tell by all the purple I use in my graphics J)
  3. Sweet Treat- Dark chocolate
  4. Mixed Drinks- Forget the mixing, just give me some vodka and a lemon with sugar, or a glass of Duplin wine.
  5. Favorite things to shop for- Fingernail polish (not a big shopper like most girls)
  6. Number- Seven
  7. Book- Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
  8. Movie- It’s impossible for me to answer this question…so not fair to make me choose only one.
  9. Song- I Am The Fire by Halestorm
  10. Favorite sport: Soccer

About Haven Cage

havenHaven Cage lives in the Carolinas with her husband and son. After many years of dabbling with drawing, painting, and working night shift in the medical field, she decided to try her hand at writing. Unfortunately, her love for books came later in life and proved to add a healthy challenge during her writing journey. Determined to hone her craft though, she soaks up as much information as she can, spends her free time tapping away in her favorite local coffee shop, and keeps a good book in hand whenever possible.

Years have passed since she began to write and sculpt her first novel, and now it is finally ready for debut. What began as a hobby has grown into a way of escape and the yearning to take her journey farther, her love for writing and reading deepening along the way.

 

Author Pages

Author site- www.authorhavencage.com,

Facebook- www.facebook.com/havencage/

@havencage on twitter

Instagram- havencage

Amazon-  http://www.amazon.com/Falter-Faltering-Souls-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01DDQVCJK/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29617606-falter?from_new_nav=true&ac=1&from_search=true

Smashwords- https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/HavenCage.

 

Liquid Friday with Author Taisha Demay

This week we are featuring erotic and romantic suspense novel author Taisha Demay.  She enjoys bringing complex and interesting characters to life on the page. Currently signed with Rhysworld Publishing she is the author of three books.

Through the Fire

Love, Truth and Consequences

And the upcoming: Love, Truth and Consequences: Playing Dirty

Taisha normally drinks her green tea, but when the occasion strikes you will find her enjoying a glass of Merlot.

wineMerlot comes from a dark blue-colored grape variety that can be used for both a blending grape and for varietal wines. As the grape ripens early it makes it popular to blend with Cabernet Sauvignon and is the second most popular grape variety in Bordeaux wine regions. It is also among the most popular wine grapes planted around the world due to its flexibility in wine type production.

Merlots differ in complexity and character, as well as wine type thus make excellent choices for the dinner table. The Cabernet-like Merlots go excellent with grilled meat, while softer and fruitier Merlots go great with salmon, mushrooms and greens.

So let us grab a glass of this delicious wine, kick back and relax while learning more about Taisha Demay’s  book: Love, Truth and Consequences,

Blurb:

New York CPA Holland Taylor wants revenge against her boss, Decimal Accounting Services CEO Carter Preston, a man she has damay1loved since the first day she laid eyes on him in the lobby of his company. But all that changes when she overhears him saying some unflattering things about her to another executive. Devastated Holland vows to teach him a lesson that he will never forget. Will her plan work or will it turn into something more than she had bargained for? Fall into the pages of Love, Truth and Consequences and let Author Taisha Demay show you what happens when you try to play a game that you may not really be ready for…

We can now read a little excerpt from Love, Truth and Consequences :

Later that evening Holland stopped in front of the mirror and gazed at her reflection seeing herself in a

magenta gown that clung intimately to her curves that Carter had chosen for her to wear. Somehow the person

that was staring back at her was entirely different from the woman she was three weeks ago. With her perfectly

made up face, her perfectly coiffed hair, she barely recognized herself. She had experienced so many new things

sexually with Carter, who opened her eyes to a world she probably would have never known. She would miss

being with him, knowing their time together would soon come to an end saddened her, she was going to miss

his touch, the way he made her body come alive like it’s never had before.

She recalled one evening when he’d spanked her. After telling her to remove her clothing, he smacked her

ass with his bare hand and told her to put her hands behind her back. She complied as he bound her hands with

jute rope, clenching it tight around her wrists. His hands stroking her hair, telling her he was not pleased how

she’d gone off to run several errands without permission.

“How many errands did you run?” He asked.

“Five,” she whispered, a soft tear tickled down her cheek. She felt his displeasure with her. He wounded her

heart. She knew she’d disobeyed him.

“You know you must be punished for that, don’t you?” He asked, his voice mesmerizing, soft, seductive.

“Yes,” she replied, half in fear, half in arousal.

He began spanking her ass with a riding crop. She shuddered at each hard blow, her skin turning a shade

of crimson. Striking her a few more times before leading her over to a chair then laying her over his lap to

continue the lesson in obedience, he had taken her further sexually than anyone had ever done before. She

had become someone she didn’t recognize, a weeping, pleading whimpering female who submitted her body

and soul for a brief time. No one had done that for her before. It was a culmination of two years of fantasies,

months of aching want, desperate to be treated like a precious gift.

About Taisha Demay:

Born in Jamaica Queens New York, Taisha DeMay is an Army Me.veteran, married to her childhood friend, the mother of two adult children and one grand daughter. An animal lover, she currently resides in North Carolina. Her love of writing stemmed from the love of books. An avid reader, her collection boasts of thousands of physical books as well as countless number of ebooks. You can find her on Facebook as well as Twitter and Instagram where you can learn what she’s up to.

You can find Taisha on the web at:

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00YPOQX08

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThroughtheFirebyAuthorTaishaDemay012

Facebook Blog: https://www.facebook.com/Elliesbookblog

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TaishaDemay012

Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/Lovetaishademay

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+TaishaDemay

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14052151.Taisha_Demay

LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/author-taisha-demay-302722bb

Email:  taishademay@gmail.com

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/ElliesBookShelf/

WordPress:   https://authortaishademayblog.wordpress.com/blog/

Liquid Friday with Author R. L. Weeks

This week we are featuring  Fantasy and Horror Author of Into the Myth, Toad Prince and bestselling horror stories One Way Out ,See No Evil and #Yourenext  R. L. Weeks.

Her favorite drink is Sex on The Beach! So lets hear directly from our featured author:

I used to work in a cocktail bar and I just loved the combination of flavour from the cranberry and orange juice, and when mixed with my favourite sex-on-the-beachalcohol, vodka and peach schnapps (or sometimes archers instead) it’s just an explosion of flavour! Plus, it gets me pretty tipsy quickly 😛 

Ingredients:

Fill your glass with ice and add 1 oz Vodka, .5 oz of Peach Schnapps, 1 oz Orange Juice and 1 oz Cranberry juice, Garnish with a lemon wedge and Maraschino cherry.

OK, it’s time to pour a glass of this delicious sounding cocktail, kick back relaxing and read a bit about her newest release:  Beauty’s Beast (Haunting Fairytales Collection Book 2):

The Blurb:
Edward was cursed to be a beast, but the new curse had a cruel twist to it that could put Bella in danger.
beatysbeastThe beast isn’t the only thing Bella should fear that roams within the castle’s walls. The rooms all hold cursed hearts and one man who could be the undoing of them all.

The Excerpt:

Bella

James peered over the boat, looking down into the clear blue water. The top of the water glimmered in the moonlight.

‘Careful,’ Bella said and pulled him away from the edge. ‘Remember what Papa said, there are mermaids in this lake.’

‘Mermaids are nice, though, aren’t they?’ he asked his mum.

‘No, they’re really not. They lure men into the water, drown them, then eat their insides.’

He jumped back and sat at the back of the boat, looking cautiously out over the water. ‘Why are we even here then?’

‘We have a task to do. Papa is ill. I told you, I paid a witch to tell me of anything that could help him, and she told me about a magical rose that’s guarded by a monster. It’s in that castle,’ Bella said and pointed at the castle that was growing bigger the closer they got to it. It sat on top of a massive rock; it was larger than most of the cliffs they had seen on their travels.

‘Yeah, but I still don’t understand why I’m here,’ James huffed.

‘I need you to pick the rose, only one who has an innocent heart can take it from the jar,’ she replied and continued rowing. Her arms were aching, she wasn’t shy to manual labour, but she had been rowing for three hours and her arms felt like they were going to drop off.

‘Mama, when we get to the castle, will they have food?’

‘In my bag, there is some bread and butter.’

James scoffed. ‘Great.’ He begrudgingly took out the stale bread and bit off a piece. As he chewed on the bread, he spotted a tail by the rocks splash out of the water then disappear. It didn’t look that big; it was as if it belonged to a child mermaid. However, it was unmistakably the tail of a mermaid, he had seen pictures, the strange glimmer that covered the scales, the transparent tips of the fins, the golden lines that cracked their way up from the fins to the torso.

The boat rocked and shook as it sailed through the rocks. It stopped at the bottom of the weathered stone steps that wound their way up the surface. James got out first, the water sprayed him, soaking his light brown hair so it stuck around his face. He grumbled and slicked his hair back. Bella got out after and laughed, the water lapped around her ankles. They climbed a step so they were out of the water. Her pale yellow dress hung around her ankles, she lifted it up & followed her son.

‘I wouldn’t worry. I’ve heard that no one has actually seen this monster that guards the rose. I think it’s just a story made up so people wouldn’t try to steal it.’ They huffed as they climbed the steep steps, Bella helped her son by allowing him to put a lot of his weight on her arm.

‘So we will be safe,’ he asked, raising an eyebrow.

‘Perfectly safe,’ she promised. ‘I won’t let anything happen to you anyway. If there is anything dangerous in there, then you run back to the boat and leave me if you have too,’

‘I wouldn’t leave you mama, plus, if there is a monster, I will strike it with my sword.’

She laughed. ‘So where is this mighty sword?’

He looked up. ‘You see the front of the castle, where the steps stop, and the drawbridge starts?’ she nodded, smiling. ‘Just past there, to the right should be an armoury, there always is. Somewhere in there will be an enchanted sword and only one who can kill the monster will be able to find it…’

She grinned. ‘You’ve been reading my books again, haven’t you?’

‘Maybe, but, it’s true,’ he stated and climbed faster. He loved adventure; ever since his dad had died, he felt the need to protect his mother.

‘Well, we will first look for the enchanted sword, slay the beast, then grab the rose. We will be home within days,’ she said, fuelling his imagination.

‘Yes, and the beast will try to capture you. But, I will find the secret passages that are obviously hidden behind the tapestries and break you out.’

‘Oh, will you now.’

‘Yes,’ he grinned, getting excited. ‘Then the beast, I believe he will live alone. Cursed to remain at the castle. He will try to attack me, then plunge himself onto the sword which will glow brightly before he runs into it. By the time he realises that I am the one who was prophesied to kill him, it’ll be too late.’

‘You will return as a knight,’ Bella shouted. James punched a fist into the air and laughed, but wobbled a little on the step. Bella grabbed him and pushed him up further.

‘Let’s go get this beast,’ she said. She knew there wasn’t a beast, a monster, or anything in there. But, she would always play the game. He would come up with the craziest stories about men he had seen walk past, how they were cursed, how one was a dragon slayer, and she would always go along with it.

She wrote fantasy stories for children, and he had taken to reading them all. One dragon at a time.

‘So, where’s this armoury?’ She asked as they climbed the last few steps.

When they were in full view of the castle, Bella’s heart pounded loudly. Maddening screams were coming from the barred up windows, the two large doors creaked open as James approached.

About Author:

R. L. Weeks is a fantasy and horror author living in Exeter, UK. She grew up in Devon surrounded by local folklore which she incorporates into her writing.

RLWeeksInto the Myth, published by CHBB, One Way Out and See No Evil, published by Vamptasy, are available for purchase on Amazon and Kindle.

She wants to write novels to inspire and help young people in the same way that fantasy books helped her. Horror is a genre that she wants to bring people back to ‘it’s such a deep genre. It’s so much more than just scaring people, it gives them a sense of empowerment. I’m obsessed with the reality of the human condition and the darker shades of humanity. I try to tell my stories from a different viewpoint.’

 

Liquid Friday with author Susan Shapiro

This week we are featuring New York Times bestselling author of ten books and an award-winning writing professor Susan Shapiro.

Susan’s favorite drink is the Republic of Tea, Honey Ginseng tea. Are you surprised?  Of course not!  A wonderful beverage, served iced on a hot summer day from the author of self help books like:  Lighting Up, How I Stopped Smoking, Drinking and Everything Else Except Sex (A Memoir). and co-author of Unhooked: How to Quit Anything.

Honey Ginseng Tea from  The republic of Tea:

A relaxing blend combines the ancient health properties of China teagreen tea with Panax ginseng and full blossom honey. This delicious, subtly sweet tea offers a peaceful sipping experience.
Steeping Instructions:
Steeping green tea is easy. Simply heat fresh, filtered water just short of boiling. Then pour water over tea and steep for 1-3 minutes ice-tea-pitcher-iced-jug-cold-iced-drink-lemon-mint-44879245(if using a tea bag) or 2-4 minutes (if using full-leaf tea.)

Ingredients:

China green tea, linden flowers, pollen eleuthero, Panax ginseng, natural flavor.

 

So lets grab a pitcher of this amazing Honey Ginseng tea, some ice and learn a bit about Susan’s newest book:  What’s Never Said.

It’s dangerous to search for an old flame you never got over. What if you find him-and he doesn’t remember you? In her captivating new novel, Susan Shapiro explores the perils of whats neverrevisiting past passion. Lila Penn leaves Wisconsin for graduate school in the big city, where she falls for her professor Daniel Wildman. Decades after their tangled link, she arranges a tête-à-tête in downtown Manhattan. But the shocking encounter blindsides Lila, causing her to question her memory-and sanity. Switching between Greenwich Village and Tel Aviv, the saga unravels the sexual secret that’s haunted Daniel and Lila for thirty years. PRAISE FOR SUSAN SHAPIRO: “Frank, darkly funny, entertaining…” -New York Times Book Review “A promiscuously readable guilty pleasure…” -Elle Magazine “Sly, candid, disarming…” -Pam Houston “Shapiro’s voice is so passionate and honest, it’s bewitching.” -Erica Jong “Irresistible energy, winning humor… breathtakingly frank honesty.” -Philip Lopate “Unputdownable.” -Gael Greenereal

Setup: In February 1981, in Greenwich Village, Lila Lerner, an innocent graduate N.Y.U. student from a Jewish Wisconsin family, is upset when the professor she adores ignores her on Valentine’s Day. So she has dinner with a Turkish classmate, Tarik, at the Cookery on University Place.

Excerpt:

When the wine came, Tarik took a sip and nodded for the waiter to pour

“Why did you get a bottle from ten years ago?” Lila asked, wondering if it was still good a decade later, and if you got a discount for old stuff.
“A friend and wine best when old,” he said, clicking her glass.
Lila was intrigued by his accent and the way he sometimes left out connectives.

“You prefer red or white?”

“Definitely red,” she said, not mentioning that the kind they drank at home was Manischewitz.

“After graduate degree, you move home?” Tarik asked.

“No. I’ll get a job and stay here. I love the Village.” Lila drank up. The taste was growing on her.

“Your family let you do this?” Tarik poured more.

Lila shrugged. “Why not?”

“Dangerous alone. Before you marry…”

Lila finished her glass. “I might never get married.”

“Woman writer needs husband,” he insisted.

“Tell that to Sylvia Plath.” She poured a tall one she finished quickly.

He looked confused. “She had husband and two babies young.”

“Yeah, then her husband’s affairs ruined their family,” Lila said. “She would have been better off unmarried and childless. Like Emily Dickinson. Jane Austen. Elizabeth Bishop.”

“You don’t mean.” Tarik shook his head. “Something wrong with woman who doesn’t want to be wife and mother.”

“What do you mean by wrong?”

“Broken. Damaged. Not normal. Crazy,” he listed. “How you say — disturbed.”

“Why the f— would you say something so ignorant?” she asked, emboldened by the wine.

“Speak quietly,” he said through clenched teeth. “Not attractive for ladies to swear.”

“F— you!” she said louder, standing up.

He stood up too, his eyes jumpy, horrified. “Sit down,” he whispered.

Lila did not sit down. She marched out the door. She’d never walked out on a guy at dinner before. It felt totally cool, like she was the poet version of Gloria Steinem. Until she realized that she was overdressed and alone at 9 p.m. on the Saturday night of Valentine’s Day in a city of couples on dates. How humiliating.

Lila started to cry, heading back to her dorm to hide under the covers. Instead she went to Washington Square Park. Sitting on a bench, she lit her roommate Sari’s present: a red joint. Nobody noticed Lila amid the transvestites, hippies and students gathered around the fire-eater — even in freezing cold. A scraggly regular said, “Hey pretty clothes, what ya doin’ back here?”

“Dumped my date,” she said, handing him the joint. They shared it as a guitar player sang Joni Mitchell’s “Free Man in Paris.” She hummed along, tingly, dizzy, starving.

Remembering the $20 her mother sent her for Valentine’s Day, Lila decided to take herself out to dinner at Dojo. She changed into the flats hidden in her purse and waded through the hordes of bohemians and homeless men hanging out on decrepit St. Mark’s Place. It smelled of burning incense and the hot dog truck on the corner.

Lila marveled at the seedy bodega, dive bar, graffiti-lined record shop and tattoo parlor she passed. More crazy characters strolled this jam-packed East Village intersection than she’d seen in nineteen years in her hometown of Baraboo — population 10,000. She was awed by the downtown graffiti artists and foreign women selling used blouses and coffeemakers on the sidewalk — not noticing it was twenty degrees out.

All the oddballs were decked out as if Valentine’s Day was Halloween — girls in gowns with vampire capes, men in dresses, high heels and makeup. Everybody carried bizarre objects: antique chairs, bagpipes, a boa constrictor. She felt like she was floating, escaping from prison to live in this exciting drug-filled carnival.

At her favorite bookstore, St. Mark’s Bookshop, she treated herself to a poetry collection, Louise Glück’s “Descending Figure,” on sale for $2. Crossing the street, she sat inside at Dojo and read the angry female Jewish poet’s words, craving chicken yakimeshi. Sari had turned her on to this dive and awesome $4 meal. When Lila got her paycheck, she’d treat herself to this special dish. The only thing Lila didn’t like was the sliced onions. She’d pick them out one by one, putting a pile on the side.

Right after she ordered, she had a revelation. She stopped the waitress and said, “Excuse me, miss. I have a question. Can I get my yakimeshi without onions?”

“Sure, hon. No problem,” the waitress said.

Lila was amazed. Forget all her male Svengalis trying to teach her wisdom. She’d just learned the most important lesson on her own: You could order the world without onions! Just as it came, she saw Sari walking by through the window. She was alone too. What happened to her date Lenu? Lila ran outside and called out to her. “I left Tarik at the Cookery and smoked your joint alone in the park.”

“Lenu bangs me four times last night, then blows me off Valentine’s Day. It’s a stupid motherf—ing Hallmark holiday,” Sari muttered, then started crying.

Lila held out her arms, which Sari fell into. “I’m so glad you’re here. Come hang out with me.” Lila led her inside.

Sari sat down at her table, blowing her nose with Lila’s napkin. Then she stuck her fingers in the yakimeshi, picking out chicken and some carrots, plunking them in her mouth.

“Tastes different,” Sari said.

“I special ordered it,” Lila told her. “You can just order life without the onions!”

“Nice metaphor,” Sari said.

“Right? I know!” Lila cracked up, then asked the waitress for another fork, thinking she wound up with the exact right person she loved most on Valentine’s Day after all.

 

That was really good!  If you enjoyed what you read, we have another excerpt for you:

Scene: Lila Penn is standing in line at Barnes & Noble, nervously excited to see her old professor — and former flame — Daniel Wildman, who just a won a Pulitzer Prize. She whats neverhasn’t seen him in three decades. She knows it’s risky to be there, since they’re both married, and Lila never really got over him.

Excerpt:

Jittery all day, Lila had left work early to get her hair done, having her highlights frosted ash blond, her original color. She’d put on the black silk dress and Prada high heels she’d bought at Bergdorf’s. As the line winding around the huge bookstore crept closer, she scanned all the college kids in jeans and sweatshirts, feeling overdressed. She should have worn Levi’s and loafers, to look like seeing Daniel again was no big deal. Handing him the envelope in her purse felt too dangerous.

Even half-obscured by a pillar, his chiseled face was regal. He was powerful before the grand audience, more self-assured than he used to be. As she reached the head of the line, the clerk, who’d been marking names on Post-Its to show the author what to sign, had disappeared. Lila stood before Daniel, separated only by the thin table. Her hand sweated as she held out his slender book, feeling elated, a grad student again, younger, completely unveiled.

“Thanks for coming.” Unlike the last time they’d been this close, he was serene and sober.

“My pleasure. You killed,” tumbled out of her mouth, as if she were still his coed.

“Thanks.” He looked up at her. “To whom should I inscribe it?”

“To me,” Lila said.

He tilted his pen on the page, glanced up sideways and asked, “Your name?”

What? He didn’t know? Her breath stuck in her throat as he stared at her blankly. He was near seventy now. Was his eyesight failing?

“Sign it to Lila Penn.” She stared at him, waiting for her name and face to jar his recollection.

“One N or two?” he asked in a monotone.

“Two N’s,” she answered, dumbfounded, pushing her hair behind her ear. He didn’t know how to spell her married name? She felt flushed and frazzled. Maybe he’d inherited what he’d called “the forgetting disease” that had afflicted his father.

“With that last name, I hope you’re not a writer,” he said, looking pleased with his quip, the same cheesy joke every other idiot made.

“No, I’m a teacher.” She inverted their connection, trying to trick him into a reaction. But it was a lie. She’d recently been asked to teach a class, but still hadn’t responded.

“Okay, thanks for buying my book,” he said by rote.

Her eyes fell on his inscription: “To Lila Penn, All the Best. Daniel Wildman.” As if she were any stranger. Her forehead was hot, her heart knotting up in her chest.

Had he seduced so many students he couldn’t even recall who she was? She must have overblown their relationship in her head. Could she be the one whose memory was addled? Lila’s best friend Sari had insisted she had a distorted self-image. The teenage girl next in line, who had a pirate tattoo on her arm and a metal ring piercing her lower left lip, hovered right behind her, staring. Lila felt ashamed, as if she were just exposed as a pathetic hanger-on, an imposter.

“My maiden name is Lerner.” Lila blinked back tears, not believing he’d erased her. The whole room blurred.

“My wife kept hers,” he said smoothly, no recognition in his eyes. Then he reached his hand out for Lip Ring’s book and opened it. “Who am I signing it to?” he asked the youthful interloper, flashing the same polite grin, finished with Lila.

“To my mother, Mary Jonas. She studied with you a million years ago.”

“I know Mary! You look like her.” He laughed aloud, the big, hearty full-bodied laugh Lila used to love. “Must have been at least two million. Do you have a name too?”

Lila caught her reflection in the framed store poster, focusing on the faint marionette lines around her mouth, mortified to suddenly realize she’d lost her youth and beauty. She usually still saw herself as attractive. Yet she was obviously no longer a head-turner, the woman Daniel had called “his luscious muse.” Had she changed that much? The older suitor who’d adored her, exalted her looks more than any other male she’d known, had no idea who she was. But Daniel, you were the one who accepted me, discovered me, drew stars in the margins of my rough drafts.

She shouldn’t have lied to her husband about coming. She slinked to the register, fumbling for her wallet, so flustered his book fell to the floor. The rule: If you drop a book, kiss it, sacred like the Torah echoed from her childhood. She crouched down and quickly scooped it up, humiliated, invisible. As she went to pay, Lila spied the envelope she brought in the pocket of her purse, but it was too late to give to him. She had clearly overestimated her effect on him, her place in his romantic lexicon.

Out of all the conflicting scenarios she’d envisioned for almost thirty years, Lila had never once imagined that Daniel Wildman wouldn’t remember.

 

And for the first time ever, we can also indulge a bit in the story behind the story. In an article published in New York magazine Susan Shapiro reveals a bit more:

The Line Between Professor and Predator Isn’t Always So Clear

By

“Are you okay?” I asked my 22-year-old smart, pretty student Debbie last spring during office hours. She often susanhad questions about class or the ambitious book she was working on. But tonight she’d rushed over — still in a minidress, high heels, heavy eyeliner, and lipstick — upset about a bad experience she’d just had with a famous older novelist now teaching at my alma mater, whom she’d befriended on Facebook. “What happened?” I asked, worried.

She nervously combed her long, dark hair behind her ears. “He wanted me to be his date for this fancy award ceremony tonight. I was excited, got all dressed up. It was fun. But then he asked me to go home with him. Gross. I said no way.”

“What did he do?”

“Nothing. I got the hell out of there. It was creepy. There was another girl there he was flirting with.”

All the harassment, sexual-assault, roofie, and rape cases in colleges across the country were not distant news. Many of my students had shared similar sordid encounters, which scared me. I’d sent several distraught women to school authorities, to the police to report crimes, to therapists, and to editors who’d published their stories. Because I was a female professor and outspoken women’s-rights advocate who’d championed Debbie’s work, I knew she wanted me to be angry on her behalf, toe the conventional feminist line, take her side, see her as an innocent victim, and call the guy a harasser — or worse. Yet this time, I couldn’t.   

“I’m confused,” I said. “Why go on a date if you weren’t attracted to him?”

“I admire his writing. And I hoped he’d blurb my book,” she admitted. “But that doesn’t mean I was going to bed with him.”

“Of course not,” I told her. “Yet his proposition — and taking no for an answer — sounds fair.  We don’t have to vilify every man on the planet with a functioning libido.”

“Wow,” she said. “You’re taking this so personally.”

She was right. It wasn’t her actions that troubled me. I feared I’d done what I was accusing Debbie of doing when I was her age. She didn’t know that I’d had an affair with an older professor and tried to make him the villain. The truth turned out to be more complex.

Decades earlier, as an overeager graduate student in Manhattan, I’d dressed up for orientation, excited to introduce myself to the head of my program — a brilliant,  acclaimed author.

“It’s such an honor to meet you,” I said, shaking his hand.

“Planning to finish your PhD by the end of the mixer?” he quipped. He must have seen my application and knew that I was only 20, having skipped two grades.

“Why? Are you threatened by fast women?” I’d asked, not catching my double entendre.  

“Maybe I am,” he said, smiling, pulling his hand free from my grip.

He was about twice my age and academically dashing in his beige jacket and corduroys. I’d admired his dark, hilarious books, which seemed like Philip Roth put to poetry.

I was a tall, thin-skinned Michigan girl with a big mouth, a big appetite, and big feet. Although my conservative parents didn’t know what a master’s in creative writing was, they’d reluctantly let me sell my orange Cutlass to help fund three terms in the big city. The minute I got to Greenwich Village, I never wanted to leave. I dreamed of becoming a famous author with bylines in magazines and books, just like my professor.

Showing up to his every office hour, I’d hand him stacks of poems I’d been revising until four in the morning.

“Just one,” he’d say, then unleash his full, throaty laugh.  

I morphed into a downtown New Yorker. I lost weight, donned thick, black eyeliner, low-cut, tight black clothes, and spiked black boots. My professor noticed, I could tell. At a holiday party at his apartment, he stood close to me, pointed to my heels, and joked, “You’re trying to tower over me.” I removed them to help clean up afterward. Then we sat on the wooden floor of his dusty one-bedroom, drinking cheap Chardonnay from paper cups, me barefoot, chattering anxiously.

“You talk too much, too loud, too quickly,” he cut me off. Noticing me blush, he said, “Don’t be nervous, we’re not having an affair or anything.”

I wondered if I wanted to. Did he ever think of me outside of class, the way I thought of him?  From his work I knew he was single, straight, and lonely. I wasn’t sure if the spark I felt between us was my imagination.

“Will you look at my latest rewrite?” I begged, taking a revised poem from my purse.

He pulled out a pen and marked my page with squiggles and arrows. “You have too many words, not enough music.” I loved how honestly he critiqued me, our intellectual and erotic energy entangling.

“I think I’m falling for you,” I blurted out, avoiding his eyes.  

He cracked up. Humiliated, I couldn’t hold back my tears.

“I’m sorry.” His voice grew softer. “It’s just that everybody falls for the person who fixes their work.”

“That’s not why,” I insisted.  

“Listen, I would never date a student,” he said. I was crushed. Until he added, “If only I weren’t your teacher.” Hope!

After that, he invited me to book events, introducing me to his colleagues as “a talented newcomer,” elevating me socially — and creatively. Having his ear and his eyes on my work felt  magical, mystical, enthralling. I was honored when he asked what I thought of his first drafts, thrilled when he took my suggestion to retitle a poem.

Before I completed my degree, he recommended me for a coveted position at The New Yorker,  which I took, finishing my thesis by night. I told myself I’d landed the full-time gig because I’d aced their editorial test and hit it off with my fascinating female boss, who’d been there since World War II. But without my professor’s referral, I may have landed next to my classmate as an assistant at Soap Opera Digest.

That May, I graduated and decided to stay in New York. Released from the confines of  academia, my former professor took me to dinner. At a local Chinese dive, he told me how beautiful I was. Finally we kissed. Our connection intensified. It was awkward and scary, but switching from protégée to girlfriend made me feel special. His crowd embraced me. Friends my age were a little skeptical, perhaps because I’d disappeared into his much more intellectually stimulating world. He was the oldest, wisest man I’d ever dated. He said I was the only student he’d ever touched. I believed him.

Yet the fantasy of having my professor fall for me was more exhilarating than the reality. With our feelings for each other no longer illicit, I found I was more comfortable in his classroom than his bedroom. Hearing him kvetch about his lower-back pain and receding hair was a turnoff. He  didn’t like that the job he’d found me became my priority. He rolled his eyes when I exalted Gloria Steinem and analyzed different waves of feminism. I tired of him correcting my grammar and making fun of me when I read tabloids or watched TV talk shows. I nicknamed him “Henry Higgins.” He called my new short haircut “too butch.”

“You’re too controlling,” I argued. I’d once imagined us as Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning. Were we closer to Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes?

I started smoking, toking, and drinking, all of which bothered him. He recommended I see a therapist. I refused, insisting he’d been on the couch so long, I got analyzed by osmosis.

Rushing home from a meeting one day, he announced that he’d been awarded a one-year fellowship in Israel and wanted me to accompany him. Although I was flattered, I couldn’t afford it, I confessed.

“I’ll pay for everything.”

“I already have a job that you got me. I can’t gallivant around as an appendage to a boyfriend.”

“We can get married,” he said.

Two female students I knew had wed their former professors. Yet I felt rushed and overwhelmed. I wasn’t sure I even wanted to get married. Or whether I was in love with him or the idea of him. Rather than take vows so young, I was yearning more for a mentor, a father figure. “I’m nowhere near ready for this,” I told him, honestly.   

Wounded by my cold response, he took off, refusing to return my calls. He was mortified. While I’d put the brakes on a serious commitment, I hadn’t meant to end everything. I was confused. If he saw me in our shared neighborhood, he’d rush to cross the street. I felt guilty and grief-stricken. Yet completely ghosting me — not even returning a phone call — seemed cruel.  Wasn’t he supposed to be the mature one? I’d never felt more alone or vulnerable. Breakups were bad enough, but I was afraid this split would exile me from my newfound colleagues and the literati crowd.  

Indeed, when I later became a teacher, two students reported that he’d badmouthed me, telling them not to take my class, claiming I had no idea what I was talking about. I couldn’t believe he’d publicly maligned me. I felt powerless and persecuted by an angry ex who could ruin my reputation. Freaked out, I finally did call a shrink. She reassured me that nobody would take his word over mine at this point. Then she asked what had originally drawn me to my professor. I said, “He had this great apartment overstuffed with books, and brilliant writer friends, and smart editors publishing his work …”

“So you didn’t want to marry him, you wanted to be him?” she asked.

I nodded yes, awed by the distinction.

Amid debates of older men harassing, seducing, and manipulating female students and subordinates, it was tempting to see myself as the innocent prey and injured party, another  young, impressionable protégée manipulated  by a powerful man. Yet as easy as that narrative would be on my ego, it wouldn’t be psychologically accurate.  

I realized this after my husband, a scriptwriter, spoke to my writing class about TV and film. The next day, an envelope came from one of my undergrads. Assuming she’d dropped off a late assignment, I opened it, taken aback to find her sexy headshots, body shots, and a note to my husband about how brilliant his talk had been and how she’d love to buy him a beer to discuss career options in “our biz.”

“She just wants me to help her get a job on Saturday Night Live,” he tried to reassure me.

She was sharp and talented. Yet from the vantage point of being her writing professor and his wife, it seemed to me she was blatantly flaunting her sexuality to further her career. It reminded me of the way my student Debbie had posted half-naked pictures of herself on social media,  probably what had lured the acclaimed novelist. She felt I was being prudish. I thought I was being protective.  

I wasn’t always so conservative, of course. We each harness whatever power we have to get ahead, whether overtly or subconsciously. I’d once been a hot 22-year-old using my looks to fuel my ambition. Yet here I was, wishing my students would own their roles in this clichéd, coquettish game while I hadn’t been honest either. I suddenly saw how I’d deceived myself years earlier. If my professor was drawn to my youth and beauty, I’d been enticed by his experience and status, which I wound up usurping. It was a trade-off I’d chosen, a barter that launched me, benefitting me most in the long-run.

Seeing him at a crowded soirée not long ago, our eyes met. I went over to say hello. He pretended not to remember who I was, turning away as I approached. I was shocked. Then I wondered if he’d intentionally shunned me because he was still angry. I was actually flattered to think I could elicit so much emotion all these years later.

Had he spoken to me that night, I would have thanked him. He had, after all, improved my life, teaching me to be an incisive reader and critic. He’d helped me land an awesome first job in the city. He’d inspired me to write books and teach, demystifying the process. I might have even apologized, not sure if I’d been immature back then or just a typically self-involved single player in my 20s.

Now, after two decades in a happy union, I’ve learned I can be a feminist who loves men and marriage. This involves not lumping all men into the enemy camp, or labeling someone “sexist” or “predatory” just because they express desire.  

In retrospect, my professor was not a Svengali seducing an innocent rube — or  a skirt chaser abusing his position, like other infamous men in the news. I was never victimized. He was a gentleman who’d postponed our romance until I was no longer in his class. I’d been a consenting adult who’d actually initiated the relationship. I’d wanted him, went for him, got him — and his connections. When he’d pushed for more, I set the limits I needed to, and not all that gently. Then I published a book telling my side of the story.

Ultimately, he might have been more of a victim than I was.

See the original article in NY Magazine.

 

About Susan:

susan2Susan Shapiro, an award-winning writing professor, freelances for The New York Times, New York Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, L.A. Times, Newsweek, Elle, Esquire & Oprah.com. She’s the New York Times bestselling author of 10 books, including the acclaimed memoirs Lighting Up,Only as Good as Your Word, and Five Men Who Broke My Heart, the coauthored nonfiction booksUnhooked and The Bosnia List , and the novel What’s Never Said. She and her husband, a TV/film writer, live in Greenwich Village, where she teaches her popular “instant gratification takes too long” classes at the New School, NYU and in private workshops & seminars. You can follow her on Twitter at @susanshapironet or reach her at ProfSue123@gmail.com.

 

Liquid Friday with Author Alan W. Jankowski

This week we are featuring Poetry and Short Story author Alan W. Jankowski.  Albeit Alan is known for his breathtaking 9-11 Tribute Poem, he does like to frame in words more mundane elements as well.   In fact he wrote his Dirty Martini recipe in rhyme, so lets hear in Alan’s own words:

The Dirty Martini:

The making of a dirty martini is truly an art,
Vodka and vermouth are merely a start,
But follow my advice and you can depend,
On achieving perfection in the end.

DirtyMartini_00First the martini glasses should be filled,
With a little ice to ensure they’re chilled,
Your next step as the martini maker,
Is to put some ice in the shaker.

Next pour in the vodka, a premium kind,
For the perfect martini, use the best you can find,
Just a dash of vermouth is all it should take,
For the best martini you can make.

For a drink that’s smooth and never rough,
The next step I just can’t stress enough,
Grab the olive juice and begin to pour,
And if you think it’s plenty, pour some more.

Put the lid on the shaker and give a few shakes,DirtyMartini2
Just a few seconds is really all it takes,
Now take the glasses and dump the ice,
And add a couple olives, plump and nice.

Then over those olives you can begin to pour,
And then start to savor what’s in store,
For if you follow this little rhyme,
You’ll have the perfect martini every time.

I got turned on to dirty martinis by a girl I was going out with several years back, she was a big fan…apparently she knew stuff.

Wow!  Now, we are certainly capable of making our own Dirty Martinis.  So lets grab one, kick back and relax learning more about Alan’s new book : “I Often Wonder: a collection of poetry and prose.”  It is a collection of 78  of his poems and 4 short stories.

Book Blurb:
All of the short stories and most of the poems included in this volume have been published before, mostly online, though the majority of the stories will have appeared in print in various journals and anthologies by the time you read this. When I first started i-often-wonder-93-1390224505writing stories, and poems shortly after-wards, back in 2009, the last thing on my mind was getting anything published. It was something I did for fun, and found pleasure in. I was not until late 2010 when I had over a hundred stories and poems that the idea of getting anything published even occurred to me. Since then, I’ve been published in various journals and anthologies, this is the first book of my own. I only found out about Inner Child Enterprises after entering their World Peace, World Poetry 2012 contest, but I’m grateful for the discovery, and for the support of Bill and Janet at the organization. Perhaps far more importantly than the pleasure of holding my own book in my hands is the people I’ve met on this writing journey. The people who have written me expressing how much they’ve been moved by my words. The people who have sent notes asking if it was alright to send one of my poems to their loved ones, because they could identify so closely with the words. My only hope is that this book finds you equally moved, and let my words be my gift, from me to you.    Alan W. Jankowski, June 12, 2012.
Lets listen to a wonderful poem straight from the pages of “I Often Wonder…..

We Started As Friends

We started out as a couple of friends,
Who saw each other now and then,
Two people hurt many times before,
And afraid of getting hurt once more.

Slowly we began to share long walks,
And share our thoughts in quiet talks,
And of each other we soon grew fond,
Realizing we shared a special bond.

Hearts that harbored so much pain,
They never thought they’d love again,
Secretly wishing that they would find,
Someone to give them peace of mind.

Hearts that searched so far and wide,
For the love that went missing inside,
Souls that roamed long and far,
Wishing upon most every star.

Then one day my wish came true,
I found love again and it was you,
There was a piece missing from my soul,
You were the one who made me whole.05-17-10.

Allan W. Jankowski

About the author:

Alan W. Jankowski is the award winning author of well over one alan-4-1367384557hundred short stories, plays and poems. His stories have been published online, and in various journals including Oysters & Chocolate, Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal, eFiction Magazine, Zouch, The Rusty Nail, and a few others he can’t remember at the moment. His poetry has more recently become popular, and his 9-11 Tribute poem was used extensively in ceremonies during the tenth anniversary of this tragic event…
http://www.storiesspace.com/forum/yaf_postst538_My-911-Tribute-poem-has-been-in-print-at-least-fourteen-times-in-2011.aspx When he is not writing, which is not often, his hobbies include music and camera collecting. He currently resides in New Jersey. He always appreciates feedback of any kind on his work, and can be reached by e-mail at:  Exakta66@gmail.com

We could not leave you without one more example of Alan’s genius, one that strikes close to many harts:

We Shall Never Forget (9-11 Tribute)

Let the world always remember,
That fateful day in September,
And the ones who answered duty’s call,
Should be remembered by us all.

9b97013d74e857b12fe766318712f514Who left the comfort of their home,
To face perils as yet unknown,
An embodiment of goodness on a day,
When men’s hearts had gone astray.

Sons and daughters like me and you,
Who never questioned what they had to do,
Who by example, were a source of hope,
And strength to others who could not cope.

Heroes that would not turn their back,
With determination that would not crack,
Who bound together in their ranks,
And asking not a word of thanks.

Men who bravely gave their lives,
Whose orphaned kids and widowed wives,
Can proudly look back on their dad,
Who gave this country all they had.

Actions taken without regret,
Heroisms we shall never forget,
The ones who paid the ultimate price,
Let’s never forget their sacrifice.

And never forget the ones no longer here,
Who fought for the freedoms we all hold dear,
And may their memory never wane,
Lest their sacrifices be in vain.

09-30-10a.

Liquid Friday With Author Di Storm

This week we are featuring Erotic Romance author Di Storm.  Lets hear from her directly about her favorite cocktail:

“My favorite cocktail is Long Island Ice Tea, until I  discover something new.”

Ingredients: Long Island Iced Tea - 1

  • ½ fluid ounce vodka
  • ½ fluid ounce rum
  • ½ fluid ounce gin
  • ½ fluid ounce tequila
  • ½ fluid ounce triple sec (orange-flavored liqueur)
  • 1 fluid ounce sweet and sour mix
  • 1 fluid ounce cola, or to taste
  • 1 lemon slice

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour vodka, rum, gin, tequila, triple longislandsec, and sour mix over ice; cover and shake. Pour cocktail into a Collins or hurricane glass; top with splash of cola for color. Garnish with a lemon slice.

 

Now that we heard from the author, lest grab a glass of this delicious sounding Long Island Ice Tea, kick back and relax while learning more about  Di Storm’s new release:  Yes Sir! available from  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or directly from Green Ivy Publishing.

TEASER

A world of intrigue and deception. Underworld clubs with high-profile members. A powerful circle of friends, and strangers, who meet in select places where one must know the hidden path in

yessirEarly in her adult life, Jessika finds herself attracted to men who are more dominant: controlling, forceful, her superior. And somewhere down her path of exploring sensual feelings, it all falls into place—she needs a master, a man she can serve in every way. But the further she delves into the world of domination, the more she realizes a part of her is still empty.

Surprisingly, Jessika finds that missing ingredient in a man who is anything but dominant. He is a cockold—a man who finds eroticism in watching enjoy herself with others but knowing that she isn’t getting pleasure from him.

Yes, Sir is a journey of lost love, lost connections, and the struggle for self-control. Jessika finds herself experiencing drastic changes deep within. The reserved, quiet, and submissive person she once was—fading. She is becoming stronger, more vocal, and dominant, standing up for herself, and others. These changes create a roller coaster of conflict within, a transitioning woman who struggles with an ever-present and seemingly contradictory need to be controlled and mastered.

Yes, Sir is an erotic, sensual, and emotional journey, bringing you to places you did not believe truly existed—but they do!

About the Author

distormBio

Liquid Friday with Author Jenn Nixon

This week we are featuring a Romance, Science Fiction and Fantasy  author Jenn Nixon.  Lets hear from her directly about her favorite cocktail:

My characters drink much more than I do. I’ve never really warmed up to the taste of alcohol. If it doesn’t takes like alcohol, I’m more likely to drink it. One of my favorite drinks is the Jolly Rancher-jolly rancherJenn Style. I make it with Sour Apple Schnapps, Peach Schnapps, Cranberry Juice and a splash of Orange Juice. I make mine on the light side, so they never really do anything but give me a slight buzz. LOL

Most of my characters like wine. Why? No clue. I hate it. It’s possible that someone will crack open a beer, too, and I know that Lucky likes Gin and tonic. I try to remember that other people DO like to drink when I’m creating my characters, it helps make them realistic to me. I think the next character I create will be more like me and not drink at all or very rarely at special occasions like Weddings and parties! J

Thanks for having me on your blog, Eden!

  • 1 oz. Sour Apple Pucker schnapps
  • 1 oz. peach schnapps
  • 4 oz. cranberry juice
  • splash of orange juice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, and shake until icy cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. You can garnish with a slice of apple, or a lemon wheel

Now that we heard from the author, lest grab a glass of this delicious sounding Jenn style- Jolly Rancher and indulge in an excerpt from her “Lucky” book series.  In particular from “Lucky’s Charm.”

Excerpt:

          August 14

           Nevada

Through a small gap in the grimy motel curtains, Lucky watched Conrad Andersen pull a Screenshothooker over his lap and playfully spank her ass. The woman shook her bleached head and kicked her legs in false protest, shaking the entire bed. She slithered against his portly belly and gave him an exaggerated kiss before vanishing from the scope.

Andersen wiped his mouth, and traces of bright red lipstick smeared across his face. Frowning, he got up and moved out of view.

Two hundred yards away, Lucky shifted on the rooftop, using the free time to ease the tension built up after an hour-long stakeout. First, a stretch and twist sideways popped a few vertebrae. Flexing both hands and then rotating both ankles brought the circulation back.

Wonder if military snipers do this shit when stalking a target. Doubt any of them ever had to endure an Olympic, Viagra-induced sexcapade.

Lucky eased back into position just in time to see Andersen appear in the rifle’s scope again. Even with the obstructed view into the room, she saw him dressed in a blue pinstriped suit with a white shirt. A decent-looking older man but knowing everything he’d done made him vile enough to eliminate.

The woman reappeared and gathered her belongings off the ratty nightstand. The lights dimmed; Lucky took deep breaths to maintain a slow, steady heart rate.

Lucky directed the scope three feet to the right and targeted ten inches below the top of the motel room’s door frame: the perfect height to hit the man. Once she had a clear shot, the window of opportunity would last five seconds. She already calculated the wind factor, distance, and bullet drop. The door opened. Lucky let out one last breath and then counted in her head.

One. The hooker emerged laughing.

Andersen appeared and draped his arm around the woman’s shoulders. Two.

She glanced up at him. Three. Lucky eased the crosshairs of the scope on his head.

Four. He leaned down and kissed his escort.

The mark lifted his head to search the parking lot.

In the fifth second, the bullet penetrated his skull. His eyes popped upon exit. Pink bits of his brain spattered on the door behind him. Andersen’s body slumped against the door frame.

The hooker’s scream filled the air. Other rooms instantly sprang to life with commotion. A dog even barked in the distance.

The remnants of his face stared back into the scope, confirming the kill.

Burn in hell, bastard.

The brass catcher on the rifle trapped the bullet casing. Lucky removed the silencer and popped off the shoulder stock. Then she packed the Heckler and Koch MSG90 in the trombone-shaped case in record time.

She rolled up the blanket and surveyed the roof for noticeable evidence before slipping down the side of the house. The quiet development she found behind the motel provided excellent cover. However, the occupants and their neighbors might be home any moment, and she had to move.

Lucky pulled the worn French beatnik beret down her forehead before weaving through the backyard. She hopped over the fence of the adjoining property, emerging on Margo Drive. She walked the length of the street, listening for any sign of the police behind her.

Though her heart pumped as if she just rode a roller coaster, she felt completely at ease. Yet another sign she’d been doing this job too long. Less than a mile from the scene and she didn’t have a stitch of worry about the cops catching her.

She was getting that good at killing.

Rounding the corner, Lucky noticed a young girl crying in front of a makeshift lemonade stand that her father was tearing down. The dollar sign, forgotten on the parched grass, had drops of tears streaking through the lettering. She slowed, feeling her stomach tighten as the sobs grew louder.

“We’ll try again tomorrow, honey,” the father said, ruffling the girl’s blonde head.

“But I dinnit sell anything, Daddy,” she squeaked.

Lucky had thirty seconds, maybe less, before someone called about Andersen. Response time in Vegas, at dusk, was never routine. Even if LVPD arrived within the next two minutes, she’d be long gone. She had to walk past them. Can’t let the poor girl go to bed sad and disappointed. Lucky knew how that felt. Fishing out two dollars from her jeans, she approached the stand.

“I need something to drink,” she said, clutching the trombone case tightly, her attention on the child “Think I can have one before you close?”

“Really?” The girl’s eyes bugged wide like little swimming pools.

“Get a cup, Daisy,” the father suggested and glanced up from his work on the wooden stand. The kid filled the cup all the way to the rim and decorated the lip with two cut lemons.

“I made it myself,” she announced proudly.

Lucky took the cup, guzzled half, and smiled. “Ahh, that’s very good lemonade.” She placed the two dollars in the girl’s hand. “Keep the change.”

“Thank you,” the father and daughter said simultaneously. That fatherly tone warmed her for a moment, but she didn’t make eye contact.

“Welcome. Gotta go,” she said, swinging the trombone case. “Gonna be late. Bye.”

“Bye! Come back tomorrow.” Daisy waved.

A minute after finishing her lemonade, Lucky found her rental car on Pacyna Street. The smell of Vegas, sex, booze, and money lingered in the air. Streetlights sparkled, waiting for the last of the sunlight to vanish from the horizon.

Lucky opened the trunk, secured the case, and slipped into the car. She sighed. Her boss wanted her to get rid of the sniper rifle despite pleas to keep the weapon for sentimental value. She knew he was right; she used the execution method several times. Still, it was a great gun—one she had for years—and she hated to melt it down.

Sirens screamed in the distance, breaking into her head. Not wanting to push her luck any further by sticking around, she took off, traveled south to E. Tropicana Avenue, and picked up her cell phone when she turned onto the main drag.

“It’s done,” she said while checking the rearview mirror. “Our boy had a thing for working girls, apparently.”

“Leave the package where I told you, he’ll take care of it for us. I’ll see you when you land, okay?” the man on the other end replied.

“Sure, Phen. Tell Bet she owes me dinner.”

“She does? Why?” He huffed. “Don’t tell me you two are wagering over your jobs.”

“No, she owes me because I told her you’d make me get rid of Heckle today.”

“Don’t be sore, you still have the other rifle.”

“Yeah, yeah. Talk to ya.” Lucky clicked off the phone. Annoyed and physically high from the adrenaline rush, she went to drop off her weapon at the butcher’s lock box, hoping to find a way to work through the pending madness that followed her jobs.

* * * *

Two days later, Lucky Fascino sat at the back of the plane, flipping through the complimentary magazine. She smiled up at the male flight attendant when he stopped the beverage cart.

“Drinks?” he asked.

“Gin and tonic, thanks,” she said.

“Make it two,” her neighbor added.

Her row mate, a pink-skinned, gray-haired man, had curiosity etched on his face. Next to Lucky, any Caucasian looked pale so she understood their interest. Being naturally bronzed, due in part to an unknown, mixed heredity, gave her an all-year color most women would kill to have. As part of her normally disguised travels, she hid her curly, honey-brown hair and slight almond-shaped, amber eyes—now considered exotic instead of strange—behind a jet-black wig and brown contacts.

Talking to a stranger was the last thing she wanted to do. Getting far away from the job was the only thing on her mind. She’d been in Vegas for nine days, watching the target, learning his habits, hangouts, and daily rituals. During the last five, she’d seen him with three women in two different motels.

Gotta love Vegas.

Afterward, she had worked off the adrenaline high from the job in the hotel gym, while waiting for news of the target’s death. It came in the form of a small article in the local newspaper. The city had well over a hundred murders so far this year. One more, under seedy circumstances, didn’t get much attention.

The man beside her tried to make conversation while she nursed her drink. Mundane chitchat mostly. I really don’t care where you live. It was natural for normal people to want some type of contact to ease the boring flight. Thanks to her second cocktail, she felt more social. Besides, she didn’t have a choice. He wouldn’t shut up.

“So, what do you do for a living?” Frank asked after the exchange of names and destinations.

Kill people like you. Well, she didn’t really kill people like him, unless he had some sordid history of crime. Unlike Andersen, who used his corporate success to embezzle, commit fraud, and murder, Frank seemed like just another guy.

“I’m the Comptroller for an international furniture company.” Lucky watched the man’s eyes glaze over when she described what she did for “work.” Accountant types never impressed anyone. During long jobs, she made up a personal history and itinerary to go along with whichever fake ID she used for cases like this. Today she played Lucille Summers from Baltimore, Maryland. It was one part of the job she still enjoyed.

“Sounds lucrative.” He rubbed the side of his gin-reddened face and covertly tried to ogle her legs. “In Vegas for business or pleasure?” The way he enunciated the latter made her skin crawl. She wouldn’t give him the time of day if he were the last man on the planet able to donate sperm to keep the species alive.

“Business meetings, you know how it goes, have to get those fiscal reports in order for the CFO,” she said, smiling, mostly to suppress the gag reflex.

He laughed, continually eyeballing her and gabbing about his trip. The trite, one-sided conversation continued until the plane began its descent.

*****

About Lucky’s Charm:

To protect her family and find a killer, Felicia “Lucky” Fascino assumed her adoptive father’s identity and joined the network of moral assassins to finish the job he began. Eliminating the man responsible for murdering her mother has consumed her for the last five yearsIMG_6680. Completing the job is the only way Lucky and her family can return to a safe and normal life. Lucky’s uncle, Stephen Chambers, hasn’t come close to tracking the killer. He announces he’s stepping down as her handler to concentrate on the investigation and names Elizabeth, his daughter, as successor.

Keeping secrets is a family trait, and Elizabeth’s addition to the business tests Lucky’s ability to maintain the pretense that the job doesn’t affect her despite the fact that all network hits are hardened criminals. While keeping her family at arm’s length, Lucky begins to feel the weight of her career choice and reclusive lifestyle. Then a chance encounter with an enigmatic hit man during one of her jobs turns into a provocative and dangerous affair. Distracted by the secret trysts with Kenji Zinn and mounting tension within her family, Lucky starts to make mistakes that threaten her livelihood and almost claim her life. When her family is targeted, Lucky must make several rash decisions she believes can save them and preserve her own sanity.

Author’s Bio:

21EsXZZnr+L__UX250_Jenn often adds a thriller and suspense element to anything she writes be it Romance, Science Fiction, or Fantasy. When not writing, she spends her time reading, observing pop culture, playing with her two dogs, and working on various charitable projects in her home state of New Jersey.dogs

You can learn more here.  You can also follow Jenn on Facebook and on Twitter @JennNixon

 

 

Lucky’s Charm Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008RG8V4Q

Author website: http://www.jennnixon.com

Author contact email: jenn@jennnixon.com

Twitter: @JennNixon

http://www.facebook.com/JennNixonAuthor

 

 

 

Liquid friday with author Roz Lee

This week we are featuring  USA Today Best-selling Author of Contemporary Erotic Romance Roz Lee.

Her beverage of choice is wine.  Which one you say? …

Why don’t you find out yourself by joining Roz Lee and thirteen other authors for “A Day of Wine and Romance”, tomorrow Saturday April 30, 2016 at the Brook Hollow Winery, 594 NJ-94, Columbia, NJ 07832.  Admission is Free,  optional wine tasting $5.00

So grab a glass of your favorite wine in anticipation of this event, sit down and relax checking Roz Lee’s newest release:  The Backdoor Billionaire’s Bride

backdoor 2Blurb:

Ford Adams had led a charmed life, but if he doesn’t figure out how to make the equivalent of a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, and sell a boat-load of them, he and his mother might find themselves flipping burgers. Determined not to let that happen, he’ll need all the help he can get—especially from his sexy new business partner. If he can get her to take a chance on his crazy new idea, then maybe he can convince her to take a chance on him.

Becky Jean Parker’s life has been anything but what she’d imagined it would be, but she’d been content until a recent turn of events once again left her no choice. Unless she wants to wallow in bankruptcy for the rest of her life, she’ll have to go along with her new business partner’s insane plan and pray he knows what he’s talking about. The only thing crazier than Ford’s plan to sell sex toys is her attraction to him. Typical of her life, she’d had no choice but to fall for the one man she can’t have.

Click on the book links for more:

Amazon US Amazon UK –  Amazon AU –  Amazon CA –  iBooksKoboB&N

All Romance eBooks Smashwords

Interested in reading more, hold on here comes an excerpt, but before that let us drive home the concept of more wine and more authors below:

winetasting

Excerpt:

“The first-ever, lock-in-place butt plug!”

BACKDOOR_OP4Her insides turned to ice while, inexplicably, heat infused her skin. She didn’t need a mirror to know her face had turned tomato red. Her gaze automatically went to the printer dripping plastic droplets onto an ever-growing pile. Could the item really be…? She had no idea. She’d read about their use in a few steamy romance novels, but she had no firsthand knowledge of the devices.

“You can’t be serious.” Needing to steady her nerves before she went ballistic on her business partner, she reached for her wine, brought the cool glass to her lips, and drained it.

“I’m dead serious, Becks. It won’t take much to retool one of the machines to make them. We’ll keep packaging to a minimum—a plastic bag with a cardboard header. We’ll earmark the first five hundred as free samples, which you’ll send out, worldwide, to wholesale adult toy distributors. I tell you, this will work. People will buy this product.”

“Are you insane? First, this is Butte Plains. If we start making… those things”—she nodded toward the printer—“all our employees will quit. Second, I don’t know anything about the adult toy industry. I wouldn’t know where to start if—and that’s a very big if—I were to agree to your ridiculous plan and we could convince our people to produce the… things.”

“First,” he mimicked her not-quite-business-like shrieking voice, “our employees will make what we tell them to make if they want to keep their jobs. If they quit, then what is the unemployment rate in Butte Plains? Ten? Fifteen percent? We’ll replace them. Second, you’re a smart woman. I’m sure you’ve heard of the Internet. It shouldn’t take you more than a few hours to acquaint yourself with the major adult toy wholesalers.”

She barely heard what he said after he called her smart, but evidently, her subconscious had been listening. She caught up quickly. “Even if we could accomplish a miracle turnover, do people buy those things?”

“The adult toy industry is huge, Becks.”

“I wouldn’t know.” She forced her thoughts away from the cute pink vibrator she kept in her nightstand for those times when she needed release in order to remain sane. Ford might be right about sex selling, but she’d never in a million years let him in on how lonely she’d been since returning to Butte Plains. Some things a girl had to keep to herself.

“Trust me, sex sells.”

“Even if it does, what makes you think your… item will sell?”

“Mine locks in place. It’s a huge improvement over anything on the market today.” He got up and crossed to where the printer put the finishing touches on his creation. “There will be some assembly required before packaging. I’ve already contacted Scott about the locking mechanisms. He designed one a couple of years ago for a project that never went anywhere. He’s willing to let us use it for a few pennies royalty on each unit sold. He’s sending me a case of them by special messenger to try out. They’ll be here tomorrow.”

“Who’s Scott?”

“My best friend and business partner. He’s an incredible designer in his own right. Luckiest day of my life was the day we were assigned as roommates at MIT.”

“Oh.” Did Ronny know about Ford’s relationship with Scott? Maybe they had a three-way going on or something. Not my business.

Becky gathered the dirty dishes and put them in the sink. Leaning back against the counter, she gazed at her insane business partner’s back. He had one thing right—they needed to do something different, but did they have to dive ass first into the adult toy manufacturing business? Turning, she rinsed the dishes and put everything into the dishwasher. When she spun back around, Ford stood in front of the table, his new creation in his hand.

“It doesn’t look any different on the outside. The locking mechanism will be what separates it from the run-of-the-mill variety.” He flipped the item over, examining it from every angle.

“I just don’t see it working, Ford.”

“Have you ever used a butt plug?”

Heat rose to her cheeks. “No. I’ve never even seen one.”

“You through there?” He nodded toward the kitchen prep area.

“Yeah. Why?”

He set the plug on the counter. “Come on. It’s time for us to take a field trip.”

“Where are we going?” she asked, sinking into the soft leather seats of his luxury rental car.

“Don’t ask.”

“I don’t like this, Ford.” She reached for the door handle.

“Okay, okay.” Before she could bolt from the car, he cranked the engine and drove down the driveway. “There’s an adult store out on the Interstate. I saw it when I drove in from the airport.”

She knew the place—by sight only. “You can’t be serious.”

“I wish you’d quit saying that. I’m dead serious, Becks. I appreciate what you and my dad were trying to do, but the fact is we need to change course, and fast. We’re headed straight for the iceberg. If we hit it, we’re all going down. You, me, my mother, all our employees.”

He painted a grim picture, but, in truth, she’d seen the same one hanging on the wall. But there had to be another way.

“If you’ve got a better idea, this is the time to speak up.”

Damn him for being logical. “No. Sadly, I don’t have any idea at all, much less a better one.”

“Then give me the benefit of the doubt here, Becks.” He pulled into the blessedly empty parking lot and cut the engine. “There are thousands of these stores across the country. They’re springing up in malls and respectable neighborhoods, too. Many are women-owned businesses. You should like that.”

“Impressive.” Not.

“Come on. Let’s go inside.”

“No.”

“Come on, Becks. Consider this your first class in Marketing to the Adult Toy Industry 101.”

She rolled her eyes at him. “What if someone sees us? What will they think?”

“I hope you do see someone you know. It will help convince you normal people are buying this stuff. As for what they’ll think… well, I suspect they’d wish they could help you with whatever it is you’re buying tonight.”

“I’m not buying anything.”

“Just wait until you see what they have to offer. You might change your mind.”

“I hate you.”

“No, you don’t.”

“Yes, I do.” She reached for the door handle. “I’m going to go inside, but only so I can gather enough information to point out the errors in your plan.”

Ford placed his hand on the small of her back and guided her through the aisles toward the back of the store where a flashing neon sign said Anal Play.

“It’s okay to look around, Becks.”

“I don’t want to look around.”

“Sure you do. This is the kind of place you can’t not look around. It’s like an old-time carnival—filled with oddities you’re drawn to even though you know you shouldn’t be.”

Damn. Why did he have to be right all the time? She’d already spotted several things she wouldn’t mind taking a closer look at, but Hell would freeze over before she’d admit being curious. “Let’s just do what we came to do and get out of here.”

“Sure you don’t want to look around?”

“Positive.”

Meet the Author:

rozLeeUSA Today Bestselling Author, Roz Lee is a displaced Texan who lives in New Jersey with her husband of almost four decades, and Bud, an overly large rescue dog who demands regular romps in the woods no matter how busy his parents are.

The mom of two daughters, one a police officer and the other an economist married to a pilot, Roz collects Depression glass, and teacups with rose patterns. Her favorite food is Tex-Mex, and she’s never met a piece of chocolate she didn’t like.

When Roz isn’t writing, she’s reading, or traipsing around the country on one adventure or another. Warning—she brakes for antique stores!

 

You can follow Roz Lee via to Blog, Facebook,  Twitter, Pinrest, Google, or learn more on Amazon Author Page or Goodreads.

And just in case you are still wanting for more, we have another excerpt for you:

“Ford?” Becky knocked on his open office door then stepped inside. “Got a minute?”

He put down his pencil and rocked back in his chair. “Sure. What’s up?”

He’d been working on a new design the last few days, and seemed to have lost track of routine things—like shaving and combing his hair. He looks like he just climbed out of bed.

She had no business thinking about a sleep-tumbled Ford. They had a purely professional relationship that, due to the nature of the business, included him seeing her naked ass on one occasion—but it had been a one-time occurrence, and an emergency to boot. Nothing remotely similar would happen again. Becky wouldn’t be seeing his adorable disheveled countenance across the bed, so best to quit imagining it. Besides, as soon as they put Adams Manufacturing back on an even keel, Ford would start looking for a buyer for the share of the company he controlled. He’d been clear from the beginning about his desire to go back to his life in New York, and she couldn’t blame him. Butte Plains didn’t rate a dot on most maps. The nightlife here consisted of high school football games in the fall and catching lightning bugs in the summer. The pace of life was two steps behind slow and getting slower with each passing day.

She closed the door and approached his desk. “I have good news and bad news. Which would you like first?”

“Might as well start with the bad.” He sighed and held his hand out for the paper she extended to him. “Don’t make me read it, just tell me.”

“We’re running extremely low on raw materials. If we don’t pay some of our suppliers, we’re going to have to scale back our production of the Safeguard Backdoor Locking System.”

“Bottom line?”

She named a figure that made him whistle. He dropped the paper on his desk. “And the good news?”

“We need more raw materials.”

His brows knit as he stared up at her. “Isn’t that the same as the bad news?”

“No. It’s the opposite of the bad news.” She could barely keep the smile off her face, but she loved turning the tables on Ford. “See?” She handed him another sheet of paper. As he read, his face relaxed then his lips curved upward in a tentative smile.

“Tell me this isn’t a joke.”

“No joke. I just got off the phone with the head buyer. They want fifty-thousand units as soon as we can ship them. I promised ten thousand a week for the next five weeks with a promise to fill the order faster if we could manage it.”

A giant smile split his face. “You did it, Becky Jean. You really did it!” He jumped up, rounded the desk, and threw his arms around her, lifting her off the ground with a whoop they probably heard in Dallas. She laughed right along with him.

After printing out the purchase order the buyer had emailed to her, she’d danced around her office until she’d been able to control her expression. Seeing Ford this happy filled her with joy. She laughed and hung on as he spun her around until she became dizzy.

“This calls for a celebration.” He set her down then went back to his desk. Chest puffed out, he produced a bottle and two glasses from a lower drawer. “Tennessee’s finest,” he said, removing the top.

She laughed and accepted the tumbler with a splash of amber liquid.

Ford lifted his glass in the air. “Out with the old, in with the new,” he said. “And, to the latest incarnation of Adams Manufacturing.”

They tipped their glasses together until a crystal-clear clink rang out. Becky sipped at her drink while Ford finished his in one gulp, then refilled it and downed the second helping. They were a long way from being out of the woods, but this first order did warrant a celebration. She tipped the rest of her drink back. Coughing as the liquid burned its way down, she held her glass out for a refill.

“We did it, Becky Jean.” They’d done significant damage to the bottle of Tennessee’s finest. Ford had called Scott to let him know, then drank a toast to his best friend whose locking mechanism was the true success behind the new product. Never mind it had taken Ford’s genius to marry his design with a lock with no other practical application. Several drinks later, he’d waxed poetic about Becky’s marketing skills.

If anything reeked of donkey doo-doo, his statement did. She’d named the product, slapped a bunch of them into boxes, and shipped them off to adult toy suppliers then prayed they’d see what Ford saw—the chance to make a fortune.

She still didn’t believe more orders were imminent, but Ford thought differently, and for the time being, she chose to believe him. For the first time since the reading of Mr. Adams’s will, the doom of bankruptcy seemed less certain.

“To butt-plug wearers everywhere,” she said, lifting her glass.

“Here! Here!”

Liquid Friday with author Damon Suede

Today we will feature a new recipe from Damon Suede, author of homoerotic romance.

Here is a word from Damon:

Hey y’all! Thanks so much for coming to hang out today. The drink I named for today’s post is a dirty whiskey.

Now normally I don’t go for mixed drinks. My family always taught me you should be able to see the bottom of the glass before you drink anything, but dirty whiskeys are something special.

The first dirty whiskey I ever had was made for me by Heidi Cullinan at RT in Chicago several years back. It was Saturday night and it had been a crazy-great week and we were about to cut loose at the big Harlequin party. She mixed up about a half-gallon of dirty whiskeys and the next thing I knew I was dancing an acrobatic samba with a professional ballroom dancer in the middle of about 1500 people. I met so many great friends that night. And there are pictures from that party where I’m dropped back into a bridge with my head aimed at the floor.  

The moral is: if you can’t see the bottom of the glass, make sure your friends mixed it and the dance floor is big enough to hold all the people you want to meet. 🙂

Dirty Whiskey Recipe:

  • 1 Part Bailey’s Irish creamwhiskey
  • 1 Part Irish Whiskey

Mix in a mixing cup by shaking with ice, pour through a strainer… oh yeah,  then enjoy while we look at Damon Suede’s  latest book PENT UP.

 

A word about   PENT UP:

Ruben Oso moves to Manhattan to start his life over as a low-rent bodyguard and stumbles into a gig in a swanky Park Avenue penthouse. What begins as executive protection turns pentuppersonal working for a debonair zillionaire who makes Ruben question everything about himself.

Watching over financial hotshot Andy Bauer puts Ruben in an impossible position. He knows zero about shady trading and his cocky boss lives barricaded in a glass tower with wall-to-wall secrets and hot-and-cold running paranoia. Can the danger be real? Is Andy for real?

What’s a bulletcatcher to do? Ruben knows his emotions are out of control even as he races to untangle a high-priced conspiracy and his crazy feelings before somebody gets dead. If his suspicions are right, Andy will pay a price neither can afford and Ruben may discover there’s no way to guard a heart.

Lets read a little excerpt taken from Chapter 5:

Ruben laced his fingers together in his lap, conscious of Andy’s splayed legs bumping against his as the car curved through the dark trees.

How could it only have been a week? Joking and bickering like this, smiling and snapping at each other, they sounded like… something else.

I like this guy way too much.

Central Park watched them through the tinted glass.

“Suit looks great, Señor Oso.” Andy coughed. “Me parece increíblemente guapo.”

Whatever that meant, it sounded positive. Ruben blinked and turned, drunk on the attention. Greedy for it. “Yeah, okay. I don’t habla español.”

Andy checked out Ruben’s shoulder, the legs, the glossy loosened tie. “Means handsome.” It came out a whisper and Andy looked away out the windows.

Uh. “Thanks.” His heart thumped blindly in his chest. Any second it would stumble and knock something breakable over and smash it to pieces. “You got good taste, Bauer.” Too fast, too fast.

Andy closed his eyes. The rhythm of the car rocked his skull against the leather upholstery. “You ought to learn, one of these days.”

“To dress?”

“Spanish. Might come in handsome.” He snorted in slow motion and looked back. “Handy. That is.”

“Sure. Right after I finish medical school and my MBA, before I start my talk show on the space station.”

Andy smiled and sighed, square jaw clamped. “It’s not that hard. Beautiful language besides. Claro.”

Clearly. He’s teaching me.

The town car veered to the left and Ruben had to grip the door to keep from being shifted against his boss’s strong legs. They passed under some kind of bridge and then slowed to a stop. They inched along in the Park’s crosstown traffic.

He could imagine himself on Andy’s terrace staring down at Central Park. He looked out the window at the passing trees: nature boxed in so a few penthouses had something to look at.

Andy rolled his head to watch Ruben watching him.

Buddies. Yeah, right.

Andy pushed himself back, shifting his weight. His hand scraped Ruben’s and… remained on the seat, separated by a millimeter or two. The light hair on his wrist brush-brushed the wisps on Ruben’s, rocked by the car’s motion.

Ruben swallowed. He wanted to slide the hand away from the delicious feathery scrape, and at the same time wondered how long Andy would leave it there. He wondered what would happen if he closed his dark square paw over Andy’s, laced their fingers and squeezed. He could imagine the way their knuckles would intersect and the exact pressure of Andy’s smooth palm against his. That skin.

Occasionally the car jostled them as it navigated potholes and pedestrians, gently rocking their shoulders, but their two hands stayed nailed to the firm, soft leather, barely touching, but touching nonetheless. That warm strip of Andy’s hand made it hard to breathe.

Why didn’t Andy move his arm back? Then again, why wouldn’t he? As the car glided under the black trees, Ruben’s whole being, all his attention, tightened around the half-inch of faint contact between their skin. Ruben imagined he could feel Andy’s pulse, then realized he was hearing his own as it jarred his skull.

If the brushing contact wasn’t an accident, removing his hand first would send a clear message. Easier to leave it there in case.

In case of what?

In case he was a queer? In case his boss was another? In case they needed to go out together to spend another fifty thousand American dollars to buy nothing in particular in a room full of strangers? The money and the man had gotten all jumbled in his head.

Maybe that was it. Ruben had gotten sucked in by all the sloppy luxury and forgotten whose it was. He wasn’t gay, just broke, sober, and lonely. Even if Andy was some kind of closeted homo, he had no interest in playing house with some middle-aged macho he’d known for a few days and rescued from a couch. Ruben had clocked the predator in him. If Andy wanted a dude, he’d lease some Calvin Klein model with a trust fund and a degree in corporate espionage.

And still, and still…. The butterfly stroke of Andy’s wrist hairs dried his mouth and pricked his eyes, and Andy had no clue. I want him.

All too suddenly, the car sliced out of the trees across Fifth, headed east.

I’ll quit in the morning.

You can find all the purchase links by clicking here.

For more of Damon Suede’s books click here.

About the Author:

Damon Suede grew up out-n-proud deep in the anus of right-wing America, and escaped as soon as it was legal. He has lived all over: DamonSuede-crop200Houston, New York, London, Prague. Along the way, he’s earned his crust as a model, a messenger, a promoter, a programmer, a sculptor, a singer, a stripper, a bookkeeper, a bartender, a techie, a teacher, a director… but writing has ever been his bread and butter. He has been happily partnered for over a decade with the most loving, handsome, shrewd, hilarious, noble man to walk this planet.

Addictions: sweetness that isn’t sentimental, wit that isn’t bitter, strength that isn’t cruel. Allergies: professional victims, half-assery, clichés. Damon is a proud member of the Romance Writers of America and served as the 2013 president for the Rainbow Romance Writers, RWA’s LGBT romance chapter.

Though new to gay romance, Damon has been writing for print, stage, and screen for two decades, which is both more and less glamorous than you might imagine. He’s won some awards, but his blessings are more numerous: his amazing friends, his demented family, his beautiful husband, his loyal fans, and his silly, stern, seductive Muse who keeps whispering in his ear, year after year.