Heat 3.5Contemporary novella

Pricepoint 99 cents.

Buy link: http://amzn.to/1TaiAzg

http://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Gail/e/B009WQTTQE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1426743860&sr=8-1
website: http://cynthiagail.com/
Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/CynthiaGailRomance

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CynthiaGailBook

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6564818.Cynthia_Gail

 

Blurb:

Billionaire Nicholas Adrien Rousseau works seven days a week. He lives on a schedule, doesn’t like surprises, plans his days, and outlines his goals. Until an irresistible blonde slides into the backseat of his Mercedes, mistaking him for the driver of the car service provided by his company, Bridal Bliss.

 

Bella Rose is late for the airport. The opportunity to turn Creative Couture into an International marketing firm is a dream come true, but if she doesn’t catch the last flight home to the states, she’ll miss Christmas Eve with her family.

 

Two strangers with an attraction that could melt an iceberg, are stranded in the heart of Paris, the city of light and love. When Bella throws caution to the wind, deciding to accept the spontaneity life has thrown her and enjoy the journey, she never imagines it will lead to the man of her dreams. Adrien realizes too late that by hiding his identity, he could lose the one woman who loves the man and not the money.

  

THURSDAY THREADS Welcomes Cathy MacRae


The Highlander’s Reluctant BrideAuthor: Cathy MacRae

Genre: Scottish Medieval Romance

Heat level: Sensual
Determined to keep the Macrory clan’s holdings out of the clutches of marauding pirates, King Robert II sends his man, Lord Ranald Scott, to hold Scaurness Castle. There, Laird Macrory lays dying, awaiting word from his son who is missing on the battlefields of France. If the son is not found before the old laird dies, Ranald will take over as laird—and marry Laird Macrory’s headstrong daughter. 

Lady Caitriona sees no reason she cannot rule the clan in her brother’s stead, and is bitterly disappointed with the king’s decision to send a man to oversee the castle and people. Not only is Ranald Scott only distantly related to the Macrory clan, but he was her childhood nemesis. She has little trust or like for him. 

Her disappointment turns to panic when the king’s plan is completely revealed and she realizes she must wed Ranald. Pirates, treachery, and a four-year-old girl stand between her and Ranald’s chance at happiness. What will it take for them to learn to trust each other and find the love they both deserve? 
Excerpt:

Absently Riona brushed a wayward strand of dark auburn hair from her face as she took two quick paces to catch up with him. The movement reminded Ranald of her as a child.

“I don’t suppose ye were too anxious to come here,” she said.

He formed a rueful expression. “Nae. ‘Twas no’ my first choice.”

“I know ye dinnae like it here. Ye always seemed relieved to depart.”

Ranald laughed. “‘Twas ye I dinnae like.”

Rather than take offence, Riona nodded again. “Nor I ye.”

“Ye were a difficult lass.”

She drew up short, staring at him. “Me? Difficult? All I ever wanted was to be included. Ye were forever running off, trying to leave me behind.”

Ranald did not check his pace. “Ach, we did let ye play sometimes.”

With a huff, Riona scrambled to his side. “Oh, aye. Ye let me play ‘princess.’ The princess ye kidnapped and held for ransom by tying me to a tree all afternoon.” She grabbed at her skirt again as she stumbled and caught herself.

Ranald paused and his horse tossed his head at his master’s sudden halt, but Riona didn’t slow her stride. With one long pace he was even with her again.

“And what about the time ye let me go fishing?” she tossed at him. “Except I had to sit in the bottom of the boat and use my skirt to hold yer catch. I smelled of fish for a week.”

Ranald chuckled and shook his head. “That wasnae me, lass.”

She bit her lip, and Ranald wondered why her straight, white teeth fascinated him so. He stared at the reddened mark her bite left behind.

“True,” she allowed. “Ye dinnae like the water, do ye?”

Ranald swallowed back his wayward thoughts. This was Riona, his childhood nemesis, not the sweet widow he’d left behind at Scott Castle.

He caught her sideways glance at him and realized he’d not answered her. “Nae. ‘Tis all that up and down and sideways motion. Makes my stomach churn.”

“How do ye intend to be laird of a people who live by the sea?”

“I cannae say if I’ll ever be much of a sailor, but I will be laird.”
BUY LINK: http://www.amzn.com/B00J1PNPPC/

Author’s links:

Website: http://www.cathymacrae.com

Twitter: @CMacRaeAuthor

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cathy 

 

Romance Writers Weekly: What does Romance mean to you?


image001Welcome! If you’re here, I hope you’ve come from Katie O’Connor. This week’s questions comes from Jenna Da Sie, and she asks this: “Romance. There are so many different meanings. What does it mean to you?”

Well, when I first read this question, I got the lyrics from Human Sexual Response’s What Does Sex Mean to Me? stuck in my head. Which is made all the more disturbing by the fact that it’s been over a week, and that particular ear worm (and the one god-forsaken line I know) has been running on a continuous loop in my head ever since.

In any case, thinking of this question… It’s loaded, for sure. This question could be interpreted in a variety of ways. I mean, are we talking books? Well, in a romance novel, you have a couple who meets, fall in love, have a variety of difficulties, and then, in the end, wind up with their happily ever after. Of course, that’s over-simplifying it, kind of like if I described literary fictions as “blah, blah, blah, convoluted mess, sadness. Pain. Misery. Death. The human condition. The end.”

So… for me, the genre of romance is, just like lit fiction, about the human condition… but, the better part of it. That’s what I like about it. My life has enough turmoil in it, what with jobs and school and kids and husband; when I read a book, I want the best parts of life to go into it. I can’t read a book built entirely on misery anymore, because I just don’t have it in me be sad when I read (that sounds rather dull and trite, doesn’t it? Ah, the human condition sometimes is that way, right?) I want a happy ending, I want to know that, no matter what is thrown at a character, it will all work out, because my life doesn’t always fit into those nice parameters. No one’s does.

As for romance in real life? Well, I suppose that changes as one ages. Gah, when I was significantly younger, it was grand gestures of undying affection. Think Say Anything. I mean, for real, I wanted to marry John Cusack. Or, if we’re going with strict 1990s references, a sensitive ponytail man (as in Singles, but I would have happily taken Cameron Crow, too), who would write poetry about me and sing my praises and tell me how utterly fascinating every word I’ve ever spoken truly is.

Only the majority of what comes out of my mouth is hardly fascinating, and I never met a sensitive ponytail man; I married a cop.

So, romance is in the little things. It’s in the face that he will let me sleep in on a Saturday, or that he might make me coffee in the morning. Sometimes, he’ll do the dishes, and I would seriously weep over how romantic that is. Or he’ll take the car to get it registered or get the oil change, or he’ll check my tire pressure when I’m about to go on a long drive. It doesn’t sound romantic, and it doesn’t sound all “knight in shining armor” romance novel worthy, but I assure you, after 18 years of marriage, two kids, a mortgage and two jobs, it really, truly, honestly is.

Why not head on over to Jenna’s page and see what she had to say?

Meggan

THURSDAY THREADS Welcomes Viola Russell


Buccaneer BeautyBy Viola Russell

Genre: Historical Romance

Heat Level: Sensual
BUCCANEER BEAUTY is the story of Grace, Graínne, O’Malley, the beautiful daughter of a powerful Irish chieftain and a conventional mother. At the age of eleven, Graínne cuts her hair and sneaks aboard her father’s galley ship, determined to follow a life at sea and to seek the company of a handsome Scottish gallowglass, Bruce Donnel. Graínne proves herself a budding warrior when Spanish marauders invade her father’s vessel, but her parents have other plans for her. Though she proves an able sailor, Graínne is forced to marry Donal O’Flaherty, another powerful chieftain. Though enamored of Bruce Donnel, she nonetheless obeys her parents and proves an able helpmate to her violent and rash husband, continuing her own adventures at sea while raising children and supervising her husband’s home. Her heart, however, still belongs to a handsome Scot who she can never have. 
Upon Donal’s death by ambush, Graínne continues her adventures along the Irish coast and Europe, secretly battling England’s growing power in her country. Alternately sleeping with the devil or manipulating the British authorities to her own ends, Graínne is determined to save her family and people from the tyranny imposed upon them by England. To make her family stronger, she weds Richard Bourke, one of the most powerful men in the region, but she can never forget Bruce Donnel and the passion he incited within her soul. Richard proves Graínne’s most stalwart supporter and she his, their minds and bodies uniting in an almost mystical union. Together, they faced the English with no fear—with only audacity and boundless courage. Still, the shadow of a youthful gallowglass intrudes on Graínne’s peace.
BUY LINK: http://www.amzn.com/B010MOFENQ/

Excerpt:

 “I wish you could come with me to Bunowen.” Grainne heard Bruce’s footsteps when he stepped on the hay spread along the barn. She looked up from grooming her chestnut horse. 

“Now what would I be doing there?” Bruce ambled toward her and began stroking the mare’s nose. The horse stomped on the ground with her right front hoof and let out a fierce snort. The Scot took a step back. 

“She thinks you mean to dishonor me.” Grainne grinned at him as she combed the horse’s mane. “My da gave her to me after that first voyage. Before that, I’d only had a pony. He said I could handle Anu after that.” 

Bruce had regained his courage. He searched within the folds of his cloak and offered the horse a carrot. Anu gazed at him with what looked like suspicion, sniffing the tempting vegetable. “She’s a wild one.” 

Grainne laughed and threw her arms around the animal’s long neck. “She’s a smart one, you’re meaning.” She stared at the now fully-grown man before her. His fair hair fell lightly onto his shoulders, and he wore the tartan trews typical of his people. She glanced at the way his muscular legs bulged within the tight material of his tartan trews. He’d spent most of his life yielding an axe, and Grainne didn’t want to admit to herself how lonely the months were when he returned to his native land with the rest of his men. “How old are you now, Bruce Donnel?”

Bruce watched as Anu took a generous bite from the carrot, then he lifted it to his own lips, grinning. “Older than you, Lady Grainne.” He studied her for a few minutes. “Twenty.” 

“So no Highland Lass has won your heart, has she?” Grainne swept the coarse mane from the comb and tossed it aside. She wiped her hands on her trews and pushed a stray strand of hair from her face. 

“No, my heart’s been stolen by an Irish goddess, but I can’t have her.” He turned to the pawing horse and shared the rest of his carrot. 

Grainne’s heart hammered inside her breast. She took a deep breath and forced levity into her voice. “Who is she, pray tell?”

Bruce was suddenly so close to her that she could feel his hot breath feathering the slight hairs on her neck. “Don’t play with me, Grainne. It hurts too much.” 

Grainne swallowed hard as her very being lurched with desire and aching need. Every sinew in her body wanted to wrap him within the all-consuming fire of her passion. She forced a laugh into her voice. “What hurts? By what I hear aboard ship you waste no time pining for the chieftain’s daughter. You’re quite the man about port. Many a Spanish and French lass can attest to that.” 

“They mean nothing.” His fingertips lightly touched a strand of her hair, but he jerked away as if an electric jolt raced through his body. He added bitterly, “But you’re the daughter of one of the most powerful men in Connaught, and you’re soon to be the wife of another. I’m a poor mercenary.” 

“Not so poor by what I’ve heard.” Grainne struggled to control her own rapid breathing. The heat of his body infiltrated her very pores. “Rumor has it you’ve farmland in the Highlands.” 

Bruce’s face was very close to hers as he moved closer to her, his breath fanning against her lips as they lightly touched hers. Grainne involuntarily touched his cheek, her fingertips on fire and her own breathing sounding loud in her ears. “You’ve heard right. It would be a great place to raise sheep, if I had the right woman.” 

“Aye. It would be in a place with the right woman.”

Grainne looked away, but she still felt his heat. He cupped her chin under with his thumb and forefinger, forcing her to look at him. His brown eyes bore into her soul. Grainne’s whole body grew hot, and she gently slapped away his hand. Turning from him, she replied softly over her shoulder, “I have to finish with Anu.” 

“Would you leave with me, my wild rose?” Suddenly, Bruce’s powerful arms encircled her waist. He ran his lips along her neck as his hands shifted to her breasts. 

Grainne turned to him, almost against her as though she couldn’t help her conscious will. In his arms, she wasn’t possessed of a mind at all, only an aching body that longed for sexual release. During her long journeys at sea, Grainne had acquired many unsavory sailors’ habits. She loved to game and swore in such a way that made her mother cross herself before flailing her only daughter, but Grainne had never given of herself to man. She’d purposefully withheld her sexual favors from the men inhabiting her father’s ships. Grainne was a chieftain’s daughter. She wouldn’t disgrace him or herself.

   
 

THURSDAY THREADS Welcomes CD HERSH


TITLE: The Turning Stone Chronicles: “Son of the Moonless Night”AUTHOR: C.D. HERSH

GENRE: Urban fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

HEAT LEVEL: Sensual
Currently available in eBook on Amazon at: http://amzn.com/B00XK3E172
Owen Todd Jordan Riley has a secret. He’s a shape shifter who has been hunting and killing his own kind. To him the only good shifter is a dead shifter. Revenge for the death of a friend motivates him, and nothing stands in his way . . . except Katrina Romanovski, the woman he is falling in love with.

Deputy coroner Katrina Romanovski has a secret, too. She hunts and kills paranormal beings like Owen. At least she did. When she rescues Owen from an attack by a werebear she is thrust back into the world she thought she’d left. Determined to find out what Owen knows about the bear, she begins a relationship meant to collect information. What she gets is something quite different-love with a man she suspects of murder. Can she reconcile his deception and murderous revenge spree and find a way to redeem him? Or will she condemn him for the same things she has done and walk away from love?
Excerpt from Son of the Moonless Night:
A crash in the alley stopped Katrina Romanovski mid-stride. Like the October mist swirling in off the lake, her gypsy blood stirred sending her intuition into high gear. Something unnatural was happening.

Go see what’s wrong. She heard her father’s voice as clearly as if he stood next to her.

On the heels of his words came her mother’s pragmatic warning in clipped British tones. You know what curiosity killed. Katrina pushed the ever-present warning aside. Mom never approved of Dad’s supernatural hunts and even less of his drawing her into them.

Pulling the oversized cross she always wore out from under her shirt, Kat looked around for a weapon. Please, not a vampire. I hate vampires! A piece of wood sticking out of the trashcan at the front of the alley caught her eye.

Grabbing it, she broke the end off into a sharp point. The mist-filled air filtered the light from the single bulb over one of the alley doorways. The wind swirled the loose trash around making a quiet approach difficult. Sidestepping the paper, with the stake in one hand and holding the gun she took from her purse in the other hand, she crept into the alley.

A roar echoed against the buildings, the sound nearly sending her running. That roar wasn’t a vampire. It sounded more like an animal. Kat inched closer. In the yellow pool of light from the back door of the building, a black bear, over seven feet tall, reared on its back legs and swung its paw at the man standing at the edge of the light. He crashed to the ground, shirt torn open from the slashing claws. Blood covered the fabric, and he clasped his left hand over his shoulder to stem the flow. The bear bent toward him, teeth bared in a smile. A wicked smile.

Kat aimed her gun, but before she could pull the trigger, a shot rang out. The flash of gunpowder lit the face of the injured man. The blast reverberated against the buildings. With an enraged bellow, the bear staggered backward against the wall. Shaking his head, the animal dropped to all four paws. Weaving like a drunk, he lumbered toward his attacker. The man took aim again, shooting the animal between the eyes. Animal and human collapsed on the dirty, littered pavement.

As she started to move forward, Kat’s gypsy senses crawled over her skin like angry red ants. As she slipped back into the shadows, the bear shed fur. Changing size. Then, finally, turning into a man.

Shape shifters. Her stake wasn’t any good against them, and her bullets weren’t silver. This one appeared dead anyway. Had the wounded man seen the shift? Tossing the stake aside, she paused by the shifter and quickly moved to the wounded man. Out cold. Still human.

When she touched him, his eyelids fluttered open. “Did I get it?”

“What?”

“The bear.”
Where you can find CD:

Soul Mate Publishing: http://smpauthors.wordpress.com/

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

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/C.-D.-Hersh/e/B00DV5L7ZI

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorCDHersh

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/CDHersh
   
 

THURSDAY THREADS Welcomes Carol Ann Moleti


The Widow’s WalkParanormal Romance

Sexy, Heat Level 3-4

(available in ebook and print)
http://www.amazon.com/Widows-Walk-Carole-Ann-Moleti-ebook/dp/B00PHYCLHY
  
Mike and Liz Keeny are newlyweds, new parents, and the proprietors of the Barrett Inn, an 1875 Victorian on Cape Cod, which just happens to be haunted. By their own ghosts. The Inn had become an annex of Purgatory, putting Mike, Liz, and their infant son in danger. Selling the historic seaside bed and breakfast was the only answer, one that Liz and her own tortured specter refused to consider. Were they doomed to follow the same path that led to disaster in their previous lives? Was getting out, getting away, enough?
Excerpt:

Look, for now, we’ll just stay where we are–together. If Liz and Mike are united, then Jared and Elisabeth aren’t going to be able to get in between us.” He brushed the tears off her cheeks.

She stared at him intently, fear, maybe desperation in her eyes. “We can only talk to each other about this. Others might use any information against us.”

“Who would do that, Liz?’

Her demeanor hardened. She sat up, raised her chin. “My son. Your daughter. Sandra.”

“You’re paranoid. The kids have no inkling about ghosts. All Sandra has are theories. She doesn’t know about your incident–or my illness. And I’m not going to tell her.” Guilt twanged in his gut. Sandra had come up with all the ghostly interpretations on her own, right?

Liz jumped up. “She knows about my injury. Maybe not how it happened, but when Mae went in there to get my things, she figured out it was for me. She reads minds, or manipulates people into blabbing what they know.”

Mike lowered his voice to a whisper. “It doesn’t take much for Mae to spill information. I think you’re giving Sandra too much credit.” Yet, she did ask him about the ghosts as soon as he sat down.

“You can joke all you want, Mike, but this is serious. We can’t let anyone else in.”

“I won’t say a word about anything ghostly to anyone. As long as things stay under control.”

Liz studied him. 

Mike squirmed. “I think I’m going to take a nap.” He settled back on the sofa.

She tucked the blanket around him and kissed him on the cheek. “I’ll go help Mae with dinner.”

She didn’t believe him. He didn’t trust her. This was never going to work.

  

THURSDAY THREADS Welcomes Carly Jordynn


TITLE: FOREST OF THE MIST: AwakeningGENRE: YA Fantasy Romance

HEAT LEVEL: 3

BLURB:   

Upon awakening from the coma that put her in the alternate realm known as Paradise Valley, Jennifer Burke Kyle discovered her infant son was half-grown, had some rather unique powers, and was the new leader of Paradise and the adjoining Dark Land. If that wasn’t enough to make her want to go back to sleep, she finds her dead husband, David Kyle, has ordered a complete stranger, Alex McGuire, to marry her and raise her young son as his own. Together, Alex and Jennifer, with the help of Davy, must escape the agents of PRI, a government research group, in order to protect the still comatose, Colin O’Brien. 
AMAZON BUY LINK: 

   http://www.amzn.com/B012T8JT5W/
EXCERPT:

_“What?” Jennifer said. “I’m not ready to be married to you. I don’t even know you.”

Alex had had just about enough of her routine. “Listen, sweetheart, it’s no picnic being with you either. I’m tired of trying to live up to your lofty expectations. I’m not David Kyle, nor would I want to be. I’m doing this all for you, to protect you and Davy. A little gratitude would be welcome.”

“Excuse me?” Anger flashed in her eyes. “You are darn lucky that I even give you the time of day. You overbearing, egotistical control freak.”

“Control freak!” Alex shouted weakly. “Are we back to that song and dance again? Can’t you come up with some original material? I’ve busted my ass in order to help you, and you have the nerve to say I’m controlling you?”

“Oh, what a load of crap, Alex! You are not doing this for me or Davy. You are doing it for Lily.” Jennifer spun away from him in disgust.

Alex wanted to pound something in frustration, but he could barely move his arms. “For crying out loud, Jennifer, Lily isn’t here. She married Connor. They moved away. Lily has nothing to do with this. If she did, I would already be in Texas. I’m here with you because I want to be with you.”

“You do not know me!” she shouted.

“Because you won’t let me get to know you!” Alex countered.

Alex stopped speaking. His face turned red. Spots appeared before his eyes, and he had a hard time catching his breath. He saw Jennifer back away from him as the machine he was hooked up to began to scream. A team of doctors rushed into the room and began working on him. Alex felt himself begin to fade and then he was gone.

ALSO BY CARLY JORDYNN:

FOREST OF THE MIST: Travelers

http://www.amzn.com/B00ND8C3RE/

SASHA BISHOP: Retired Slayer

http://www.amzn.com/B00O99U4V8/

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

http://www.carlyjordynn.com

http://www.facebook.com/carlyjordynn777

http://www.twitter.com/@CarlyJordynn

http://www.pinterest.com/CarlyJordynn

http://carlyjordynn.blogspot.com

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7200409.Carly_Jordynn

   
 

Romance Writer’s Weekly: Guilty Pleasures


If you’re here, you’ve hopefully hopped from Dani Jace, so welcome! Today’s installment is from the ever-delightful Sarah Hegger, who asks: What is your secret passion? I have a thing for shoes and B-grade fantasy movies, what are some of your guilty pleasures?

Well. Hm. While guilty pleasure implies I feel bad about this–and I don’t– I have a thing for pens. I love pens. Fountain pens, fine point pens, calligraphy pens. I even have a thing for a certain edge on my Expo markers. Buying a pen (if I care about it; I do own BIC pens, after all, but I hate them) is a very personal thing for me. I like a certain weight of pen, not too heavy, but not too light, something firm with a certain weight so that the ink falls just so–except for fine points, which are supposed to be light.  The right pen just has a certain… je ne sais quoi about it. The type of pen, to me, determines the optimum weight and the optimum width. Not every pen has to be the same, but I do like them when they are the right pen for a given task. I’ve even been known to go out on a hunt for the right pen, and gotten excited when I found a pen that I knew was THE PEN (I once got breathless with excitement over a pen that was pewter, engraved with Celtic symbols, fine point–shoot, it’s almost like I’m describing a wand in Harry Potter. I then gave it to my husband. I must like him.)

Gah, I sound like such a weirdo. “I like pens.” Who says that? Well, me, I guess. I suppose am that weirdo.

Why not take a peek at what JJ Devine has to say on the subject?

M

Thursday Threads Welcomes Char Chaffin


TITLE: JESSE’S GIRLAUTHOR: CHAR CHAFFIN

GENRE: NOSTALIA ROMANCE

HEAT LEVEL: SWEET/SENSUAL
BLURB: Tim O’Malley returns to his home town of Skitter Lake, Ohio, to clear his name and get the girl: Dorothy Whitaker, the love of his life since eighth grade. Blamed for a destructive fire he didn’t set, only Tim and Dorothy know the truth; that Jesse Prescott, Tim’s best friend and Dorothy’s boyfriend, did the deed that changed an entire town. But Jesse died in that tragedy and seven years later, Skitter Lake still honors him as a hero, rather than Tim, the boy from the seedy side of town whose father was a drunk . . . and whose quick actions saved six people from perishing in that horrendous fire. 

In trying to set the record straight and finally claim Dorothy as his own, Tim—and Dorothy, too—will discover that in some small towns the legend often outweighs the truth . . . and their family and friends will forever see Dorothy as “Jesse’s girl.”
AMAZON BUY LINK: http://www.amzn.com/B00JK0DUD0/

BOOK TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjWlGAvbbrM

EXCERPT:  
Excerpt:

Now the need to lock Dorothy in a tight embrace, and never let go, overwhelmed him. He would have picked her up and carried her to his car, then driven her all the way back to Los Angeles just to get her away from a life he instinctively knew made her miserable. Tim remembered her folks. Wilma Whitaker had been a difficult woman when she was healthy and relatively happy. He couldn’t imagine how losing Dorothy’s dad would have twisted Wilma up inside.

He must have squeezed too tightly, because Dorothy let out a breathy gasp and wriggled until he loosened his arms. She stepped backward with a blush and downcast eyes. “I really do have to go, Tim.” She raised her head and all the longing he’d already been experiencing, all the need, was plain to see on her lovely face, for about half a second.

Then, her expression shuttered, she picked up her purse from the battered nightstand next to the bed where she’d laid it, and moved toward the door. Tim followed, unsure what to say even though a hundred different lines crowded his head. Stay with me. Get to know me, again. Love me, the way I never stopped loving you.

They remained locked behind his compressed lips as he escorted her to the door and wished the last seven years had never happened.

In the open doorway she formed a smile that fell short of her eyes. “I’m glad we got to spend a little time together, Tim.” She slipped her arms around his waist for a quicksilver hug, then stepped back before he could reciprocate. “Please give your folks my best when you get back home.”

Tim flicked his eyes up to hers, then over her face, prettier than ever and without a speck of makeup. Her silky, red-blonde hair, combed back in its usual ponytail, was so unlike the current style he’d seen not only in California but here in Skitter Lake. Her dress wouldn’t have been out of place at the sock hops he remembered from twelfth grade. It was almost as if Dorothy Whitaker had frozen herself in time.

And he suddenly knew he wouldn’t be leaving at the end of the week. He’d stick around and see what was what. For Dorothy, and maybe even for Jesse.

Slowly, Tim reached out and clasped her fingers, then her wrist. Before he could talk himself out of it, he yanked her into his arms, up against his body, catching the back of her head, right below her ponytail. As her lips parted to speak, protest, whatever, he covered them with a kiss that spun out of control the instant it began. He wound an arm around her waist to anchor her tightly, but she’d already thrust her hands into his hair as she kissed him back. Tim groaned into her mouth and felt it echo back to him in the whimper she uttered that throbbed in the scant space between them.

For what seemed like an eternity, he kissed her, deep, then slow, then fast, greedy, pouring years of want and desire into a single, perfect moment. If he’d ever kissed another woman like this, he couldn’t remember. He deepened the kiss even more, and felt her fingers fist reflexively in his hair. He didn’t care if she ripped it out by the handfuls, as long as she never let go.

And as if she’d somehow heard his thoughts, she stiffened, opened her fists, slapped her hands on his chest, and pushed until he released her lips. Rosy red and swollen, they quivered as she stared up at him with shock in her eyes. She pushed again, a silent demand for him to let her go. It about killed him, but he loosened his arms and stepped back.

Silently, Tim bent to pick up the purse she’d dropped, and gave it to her. As her fingers closed over the pale yellow leather, she whispered, “Why?”

He managed—barely—to keep his hands to himself as he replied, “Because I’m not going anywhere. I’m staying. And when I do leave, Dorothy, you’ll be coming with me.”

   
 

Romance Writers Weekly: Favorite Quotes


This week’s installment comes from Jeanne MacDonald, who writes, “What is one of your favorite quotes from one of your book(s). Explain the reason why its your favorite and its significance to the characters and your story.”

If you’re here, hopefully you’re hopping from Tracy Gee. This is a hard one, because I usually have a line or two in each of my novels that I really like. But the following section from Jessie’s War is, I think, one of the best things I’ve ever written, maybe because it means so much to me. I suppose it’s not the words so much as it is the significance behind them. So here you are!

Jessie sank to the ground in a heap of sodden skirts. The heat of the fire burned, and she moved away from it and toward the dark, gentle warmth emanating up from the lower chambers of the shaft. Their chant nothing more than murmurs on the wind, she heard her ancestors’ voices, strong and unafraid.

They beckoned to her, and her Paviotso heart responded.

She closed her eyes for a moment, and the song washed over her as she took up the chant. Only for a moment, out of deference to them. In her mind’s eye, she danced with them. She danced with her mother and her people. Danced with them into forever.

Wake up, that voice whispered.

She ignored it.

The fear and the anger and the hurt were washed away as her ancestors greeted her and accepted her as one of theirs. For the first time in a long time, Jessie belonged.

Calm and at peace, she was stone and sand, the pinion pine and the fast-moving waters of the river in spring. She was sagebrush and scrub and the sky, filled with bright stars.

Wake up, Jessie.

For a moment, she was pulled away from her people, but she reached into the abyss for them again.

She was tufa and hot springs, the scorching sun and the thunderous clouds of summer storms. She was snow-capped mountains and dry, desert valleys. She was the rabbit and the coyote. She was the sleek fish of the great lake, and she was the fisher. She was the mighty hunter and the prey.

She was one and she was nothing. She was so very small and she was infinite.

A sharp sting pierced through the dream vision. She ignored it. Another one broke through. Beneath the chant, she heard something discordant and angry, breaking the melody. The dark pulsed, and the magic began to crack.

I’ve always been a sucker for setting, for mood pieces where the setting acts as another character. In most of my stories, the characters are the main focus, with the internal setting being more important that the physical environment. Jessie’s War, though, is both a steampunk and a western, and setting is part of the backbone of story. In this case, Jessie is a product of her environment, and tied to the land all the way to the core of her soul. For her, the land is a living, breathing thing, and deeply important to her.

But I suppose I like it not just because of the symbolic weight it carries for the character. I’ve lived in this desert since I was eight, and it wasn’t really my choice to stay here. Ever since I can remember, I’ve had wanderlust. I never considered this desert to be my place, my home. But my husband has a job that he can’t really do anywhere else, so here we stayed.

I longed for… green. For lush valleys and deep, green rivers, and rain.

But I guess that, over the course of these last years, I’ve come to accept that the desert is my home. There is nothing quite like the green that happens after a summer rain (or for a brief two to three weeks in spring), when the hills are bright with new growth. Sure, it’s about 14 seconds long, but it’s the most amazing color, the most amazing smell. Every time I experience it–the sight, the smell–my heart clenches, just a little. It’s not something easily forgotten. There is something starkly beautiful about the desert, from the exposed, jagged rocks to the petroglyphs that one can find, to the old, abandoned mines and homesteads, where people fought against the landscape to try to make their fortunes.

So that up there is my love letter to the desert. The place that I can finally call home.

Why not click through to Collette Cameron and see what her favorite lines are! (Love her stories, by the way!)

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