10:01 AM

In the Author Spotlight

Meg Benjamin

AL: Hi Meg! Welcome back.

Meg: Hi Ann. It’s so nice to be here!

AL: So, tell us what’s happening with you.

Meg: I’m still getting used to life on the Front Range of the Rockies in the northern suburbs of Denver. After living for twenty-plus years in South Texas, snow is a big thing for me, and we got eighteen inches of it the week before Halloween! Right now, though, I’m still thinking everything is cool. But ask me again in March.

AL: Would you like to share about your upcoming release, Be My Baby?

Meg: It’s the third book in my Konigsburg, Texas, series, coming after Venus In Blue Jeans and Wedding Bell Blues. There are four Toleffson brothers, all from Iowa and all sized like Paul Bunyan. Be My Baby is Lars Toleffson’s story. People who’ve read Wedding Bell Blues may remember that Lars’s wife, Sherice, caused a major crisis at Docia and Cal’s wedding. Lars and Sherice are now divorced and he’s living in Konigsburg with his daughter, Daisy. Daisy’s babysitter has some serious problems with her former in-laws—they want to kidnap her infant son, in fact. So Lars steps in and saves the day (and falls in love with the babysitter, natch).

AL: What is the most difficult part of being a writer and do you write whenever the mood strikes, or do you have a specific routine?

Meg: The hardest part is actually writing! There are so many distractions, particularly with the Internet. And writing is work! Sometimes those words feel like they’re written in blood. I try to write every afternoon, and I set a minimum number of pages I want to get done. Some days those pages just fly by, but some days it’s like pulling teeth.

AL: How long have you been writing and when did you publish your very first novel?

Meg: It seems like I’ve been writing forever, but I started with mysteries back in the nineties (bad mysteries, I should hasten to add). I realized I was more into romance writing about five years ago and sought out my local chapter of the Romance Writers of America. Those guys helped me tremendously, both with critiquing and with support. My first novel came out with Samhain last January.

AL: Has an editor ever disagreed with something you’ve written and wanted a total re-write?

Meg: When I first submitted Venus in Blue Jeans, Lindsey Farber turned it down, for good reasons, which she spelled out to me in a very kind e-mail. She didn’t want a total re-write, but she wanted more character development and some clearer plot points. I spent several weeks redoing the book and then resubmitted it. She offered me a contract, bless her heart. I’ve never had an editor ask for changes I didn’t think were justified, thank heavens!

AL: Do you have a top 5 actors list? You know that list of men that make you go yum, yum that would be inevitable, if only....

Meg: I go for the classics: Steve McQueen (Bullitt is one of my all-time favorite movies), Kris Kristofferson (circa 1975—he’s a little old for me now!), Paul Newman. I’m also a big George Clooney fan. And Michael C. Hall on Dexter is oddly sexy, for a serial killer. And then there’s David Boreanaz. That’s six, I know, but hey, who can limit themselves on sexy men!

AL: What’s the most unglamorous thing you’ve done in the past week?

Meg: Oh my life is just a glamorous whirl, right? The hard part is choosing the most unglamorous. Let’s see. There was the visit to the dentist and the whole teeth-cleaning thing. Probably scrubbing toilets would qualify, although spattering grease on the stovetop while cooking pork chops is also up there. Fortunately for me, the DH does cleanup while I do the cooking.

AL: Do you remember the first guilty pleasure you purchased with your first check?

Meg: The first real money I made for writing something went to buy a DVD player, since my DH was convinced we could get by with the old VHS and wasn’t interested in spending family funds. I knew DVD’s were going to make it big, and I wanted in. We still have the player, but the way, since the DH is now convinced the Blu-Ray is a flash in the pan.

AL: If you could meet someone famous in either history, or present day…who would you like to meet and why?

Meg: Probably either Julia Child or Nora Ephron, preferably both of them, maybe together. I love both of them because they’re both independent, charming, forthright women (so you can figure I loved Julie and Julia, too). With Julia, I’d love to just watch her cook, recreating some of those classic French Chef episodes and offering tastes along the way. With Nora, I’d like to dish, but I’m probably not clever enough to keep up with her.

AL: Please share a favorite quote(s) with us.

Meg: “Don’t look back—something might be gaining on you.” That’s usually attributed to Bob Dylan, but Satchel Paige actually said it first.

AL: Thanks so much for sharing with joining us this week, Meg.

Meg: Thanks for having me back! I’ve enjoyed it.

AL: If you’d like to find out more about Meg please visit:




There’s no room in her life for love. Love has other ideas…

Konigsburg, Texas, Book 3

If Jessamyn Carroll had only herself to consider, staying in Pennsylvania after her husband’s death would have been a no-brainer. Her vindictive in-laws’ efforts to get their hooks into her infant son, however, force her to flee to a new home. Konigsburg, Texas.

Peace…at least for now. She’s even found a way to make some extra money, looking after sexy accountant Lars Toleffson’s precocious two-year-old daughter. She finds it easy—too easy—to let his protective presence lull her into thinking she and her son are safe at last.

Lars, still wounded from enduring a nasty divorce from his cheating ex-wife, tries to fight his attraction to the mysterious, beautiful widow. But when an intruder breaks into her place, and Jess comes clean about her past, all bets are off. Someone wants her baby—and wants Jess out of the picture. Permanently.

Now Jess has a live-in bodyguard, whether she wants him or not. Except she does want him—and he wants her. Yet negotiating a future together will have to overcome a lot of roadblocks: babies, puppies, the entire, meddling Toleffson family—and a kidnapper.

Warning: Contains Konigsburg craziness, creepy in-laws, a conniving two-year-old, a lovelorn accountant, a sleep-deprived Web developer, and lots of hot holiday sex.


Jess put Jack into his jumper seat, listening to him crow as he danced back and forth in the doorway to the living room. She slid into the chair at her computer and fired up the Paloma Gaming site. The e-mail from the site owner said that the win-loss ratings kept going flaky. Jess opened her console window and began checking code. The jumper seat usually kept Jack occupied for twenty minutes or so. With any luck she’d find the bug in less time than that.

The encounter with Lars Toleffson still rankled. Obviously, he was looking for June Cleaver. Obviously, as far as he was concerned, she was closer to Britney Spears. Tough. She’d do a good job with his daughter, no matter what he thought of her.

Toleffson wasn’t exactly what she’d expected. Weren’t accountants supposed to be wimpy? He was at least six four or five, given the way he towered over her five-foot-ten. And his shoulders were broad enough to block the light from the office window when he leaned back. He’d worn a predictable gray business suit, but his dark hair had the kind of curls that never stayed put, inching down slightly over his forehead.

The type of guy who probably made female hearts go pitter-pat, if one were susceptible to that kind of thing. Which Jess definitely was not.

She wondered briefly what had happened to Mrs. Toleffson. Probably a divorce, given the lack of sympathy he’d shown when she’d mentioned Barry. Not that she wanted sympathy. But why didn’t people ask single fathers where their significant other had gone the way they asked single mothers?

Jack gave a shriek of delight and Jess turned to look at him. He danced across the doorway on his tiptoes, bouncing up and down enthusiastically.

She remembered when she’d brought him home from the hospital. Small and wrinkled and rosy. Totally vulnerable. Totally dependent. Hers to protect. And love.

She bit her lip. “Oh, lord, Jack, don’t grow up too fast, okay? Let me savor this just a little.”

Jack grinned up at her and did a baby pliĆ©. Jess closed her eyes a moment, willing herself not to tear up, then turned back to the monitor. “Okay, time for Mommy to earn us some bread, kiddo. You just keep working on those dance moves so you’ll be ready for your big break when you decide to keep me in style.”

Assuming I can keep you to myself that long. Jess shivered, then concentrated on her screen. Maybe Lydia Moreland had just walked across her grave.

9:53 AM

In the Author Spotlight & Contest

CJ Johnson

CONTEST: For everyone who leaves a comment with their name and email address, they will be entered into a drawing for a copy of JarDan in the eBook format of their choice.

AL: Hi CJ Thanks for being in the “Author Spotlight” this week.

CJ: I have to thank you for asking me. I don’t know of any author who passes up an opportunity to talk about her books.

AL: So, tell us what’s happening with you.

CJ: Life is good. I’ve retired from working a “day job” and now have more time to listen to all those voices in my head screaming for their own story. I became a great-grandmother in October and THAT is a strange feeling because I’m WAAYYY too young for that!

AL: For those who may not know your work, can you please share a little about yourself?

CJ: We traveled a lot when I was growing up so I started day dreaming to pass the miles. It was a natural progression to writing. My husband is a retired career soldier so the traveling continued. My stories are nothing more than my adult day dreams with a lot of “what ifs” thrown in to give the hero and heroine something to fight through/fight for on the road to “happy ever after”.

AL: Do you have a mentor or critique partner that you work with consistently?

CJ: There have been several through the years but there is one who has always been there to offer a shoulder to cry on or an afternoon to brainstorm. Wendy Ferguson has been a friend since the night we both joined the fledgling Alaska Chapter of RWA. That was 20 years ago.

AL: What is the most difficult part of being a writer and do you write whenever the mood strikes, or do you have a specific routine?

CJ: I would have to say that discipline is the most difficult for me. I’m a definite “right brain” type with tons of interests from needlework to genealogy. It’s easy for me to get distracted by something else. I used to keep a notebook by the bed to jot down something that popped into my subconscious but now I try to keep to a schedule. It’s become easier since I retired. However . . . there’s always something else whispering from the closet.

AL: When did you know you had to be a writer?

CJ: Wow, I can’t imagine a time when I didn’t want to create a story. Even if I never sell another word I would still keep creating those stories.

AL: If I asked your best friend what type of person you are, what would he or she tell me?

CJ: She once said that when she grows up she wants to have an imagination like mine but I think she would say steadfast - someone she can always count on.

Ann: You are the heroine and you have the hero on the island in the middle of your kitchen. What food would you be feeding…nibbling off each other?

CJ: Hmmmm - it would HAVE to be something with chocolate - preferably syrupy so you could cover lots of territory.

AL: What would people be surprised to know about you?

CJ: That I campaigned for a radical Democratic presidential candidate in the 60s - I’ve been a hard-core conservative Republican for 40+ years.

AL: With the holidays around the rapidly approaching what's your favorite tradition?

CJ: Christmas dinner at my house with family. After all the presents are unwrapped and the food devoured my hubby settles down for football and the rest of us go to a special movie. It’s a way for me to relax before tackling the massive clean-up.

AL: Please share a favorite quote(s) with us.

CJ: “Nothing happens without a dream.” However, dreams are like prayers - when they come true the outcome may not be what you imagined in the beginning.

AL: Thanks so much for sharing with joining us this week, CJ.

CJ: That you for inviting me. I look forward to hearing from readers.

AL: If you’d like to find out more about CJ please visit:


What would you do to save your dying planet? How far would you go to keep extinction at bay just a little longer? Those are questions the men of Anderas live with every day. For more than 2,000 years they have been unable to produce female children so now they must travel to other planets for their brides.

Melodie Smith has lived all her life on a small farm in Missouri. When JarDan rescues her from a storm and takes her to Anderas she is unprepared for the vast differences in life styles and feels overwhelmed and terribly out of place. She wants to go home.

As the two learn to trust each other and believe in the possibility of a life together they have to battle an unseen menace who threatens their very existence. When the evil wizard lays a trap for JarDan, Melodie acts without hesitation to destroy Morandoni. She becomes the Warrior Queen of ancient prophesy.

She heard voices. Strange muted voices. Where was she? Melodie kept her eyes closed and tried to remember what happened.
She was trying to outrun the storm when lightening hit a tree near the road sending burning branches in all directions. A large limb came through her windshield. Jerking the steering wheel in reaction sent her truck sailing off the road, over a fence, landing in the middle of a field. The torrential rains had turned the freshly plowed dirt into a sea of mud.

The tornado coming straight for her!

The angel!

Forcing her eyes open she stared at the room around her. Beds lined both long walls of the room, each separated by curtains suspended from the ceiling. Everything was white and stainless steel. Strange, she never imagined Heaven would look like a hospital.

“Ah, so you’re awake. Good. Good.”

Melodie blinked as she focused on a very unusual man. This was definitely not her angel. If the wrinkles on his face were any indication, he must be at least one hundred years old. Bright blue eyes, much too alert to be so ancient, twinkled beneath the thickest, bushiest eyebrows imaginable.

“Your hair’s blue,” Melodie mumbled in stunned surprise as she stared at the stranger bending over her.

“What? Why so it is. A very pale shade of blue to be sure, but blue nonetheless. Do you dislike blue hair?”

She chuckled as the blue eyebrows twitched like giant caterpillars.

“My fourth grade teacher, Miss Clairmont, had blue hair but I think it came from a bottle.”

The strange man smiled as he pushed buttons and flipped switches on the equipment panel beside her bed.

“Who are you? Where am I? How long have I been here?” She stared at the smiling face of the blue-haired man. This is definitely not Heaven. Not unless angels had blue hair. Why would a man have blue hair, anyway?

“My name is Sladal and you’ve been here for about twenty-four hours.” He responded, patting her hand. “I’m a physician.”

“Physician?” She echoed in panic. “Am I all right?”

“Yes. Yes. You’re fine. You were suffering from a mild case of hypothermia. Once we got you dry and warm, it was just a matter of letting your body’s natural healing process work. Are you hungry? Would you like to freshen up? Clean clothes are in the drawer beneath the bed. Anything else you might need is in the bath through that door.” He indicated a closed door across the room.

Melodie smiled her appreciation, but before Sladal could leave she reached for his arm.

“Doctor …” she felt foolish for even considering the possibility, but she had to know for sure. “Was there a … a man with me when I arrived?” A fiery blush crept up her neck to cover her face as she pretended a great interest in the seam along the top of the sheet.

“Uh … yes,” the doctor mumbled. “A man did bring you here.”

Trying to cover her interest in nonchalance, Melodie shrugged as she slid her legs off the bed.

“I’m grateful he was passing by when the tornado hit. I wonder if it was his field I destroyed with my truck.” Gathering the clothes from the drawer beneath the bed she turned what she hoped was an innocent face to Doctor Sladal. Not for a minute did she believe that man was a farmer.

“Is he still here?”

“Um … mm … I suppose. I’ll see if I can locate him for you.”

She watched in confusion as the doctor practically ran from the room. Shaking her head, she headed for the bath. As she washed her face and brushed her hair, she tried to remember exactly how she got here. Wherever here was.

Slipping the shapeless grey garment from her body, she reached for the gown that came from the drawer. This was like no hospital gown she’d ever seen. No pale green cotton, that’s for sure.

Melodie gasped in pleasant shock as the soft, silky material slid down her body. The deep blue gown rippled and flowed around her with a life of its own. Every movement sent tingling sensations dancing across her skin from the caress of the fabric. Her hands smoothed the material across her abdomen and down her hips, intensifying the sensations. Soft moans echoed in the small room. Startled, she realized she was the one moaning. She stared in wonder at the face in the mirror. The flushed cheeks and too bright eyes looked familiar, but something was definitely different.

Pushing the disturbing sensations from her mind, Melodie returned to her bed and tried to bring some order to her chaotic thoughts. Questions tumbled around in her head. How did she escape the storm? Where was she? Although she rarely left the small community where she grew up, she was certain there was no medical center in the area. And the man? Who was he? Smiling to herself, Melodie tried to picture a Missouri farmer wearing long white robes anywhere. Nope, she decided with a grin. Definitely not a farmer.

It should be a sin and a crime for any man to be that attractive. Remembering the feel of his arms, the solid mass of his chest, the warn scent of his skin sent a shaft of heat from her throat to her knees. Sensations and needs she never knew existed sprang to life, growing stronger with each minute. His image in her mind sharpened until he consumed her thoughts, pushing all questions into limbo.

“Enough of this, Melodie Anne,” she muttered aloud. “You’re being ridiculous. No man is that perfect. With the accident and the storm, you’ve obviously magnified this man with your stupid fantasies. Now, braid your hair and act you age.”

Pulling the brush through her hair with more force than necessary, she tried to still the little voice whispering in her ear. Most women your age wouldn’t have to rely on fantasy.

Without warning, the memory of a voice became a deep, rumbling caress. Close your eyes. With a gasp, she obeyed the silent command, leaning forward to reach for what the voice promised. Again, the sharp stab of heat flooded her body with a longing she didn’t know how to fulfill. Shuddering with need, Melodie hugged her arms across her chest. Dear God, what is happening to me?

A commotion just beyond the curtain surrounding her bed alerted her to the presence of others in the room. Trying to ignore her growing restlessness, she quickly finished braiding her hair, praying no one would notice her trembling fingers.

Doctor Sladal appeared at the foot of her bed with an attendant close behind him. “Well, are you feeling better?”

Melodie knew she must have made an appropriate response, but for the life of her she didn’t know what it was.

“Good. Good. There’s someone who wishes to meet you so if you will follow me …”

“Wait. I can’t see anyone dressed like this.” She indicated the delicate blue gown that clung to her body, revealing every curve even if it did cover her from neck to mid-calf.

“What? Oh, of course.” A snap of his fingers sent the attendant scurrying away. “Thomas will soon return with a heavier robe then he will escort you.”

* * * *

“I will hear no more!” Roared JarDan, ending the argument he and Dak started several hours earlier. “The decision is mine to make and I’ve made it! The responsibility is mine!”

“I can’t believe you’re willing to risk so much over this woman. Have you read the mind-scan? Does she have people who will miss her? Not even the Prince of Tor would dare break that law.”

“Of course, I’ve read the scan. She has no one. Orphaned as a toddler, she lived with her grandfather on his farm in central Missouri. His death two months ago forced a public auction of the farm where they lived. The vehicle destroyed by the storm contained all of her possessions. She’ll make the trip to Anderas.”

“Then have her placed in space sleep, JarDan. Let the subliminal programming teach her of our planet and our way of life.”

“No. She’ll not be put to sleep so if you have nothing further to report, leave me.”

JarDan watched his best friend storm from the room. At least he couldn’t slam doors controlled by electronic sensors. This was beginning to be a habit with the two of them. What was happening to the closeness that once bound them like brothers? How could he make Dak understand? This woman was special but there were no facts he could give to make Dak believe it. There were no arguments he could offer that would support his belief that she was destined to be with him. He wanted her to accept him on her own, not because of some computer program.

Grabbing a goblet from the table set for dinner, he drank deeply of the rich, red wine of Anderas. A shower and a few hours of sleep had eased the strain of teleportation through the storm. Sladal had orders to bring the woman to his quarters when she recovered. JarDan paced the twenty-foot length of his room. He picked up a book from the desk and dropped it on the bed. He straightened the perfectly placed silverware on the table. He flipped the curtain from the window to stare at the retreating planet. Repeatedly, he made his journey around the room until he caught sight of himself in the mirrored bathroom door.

He never thought too much about the way he looked. Women often commented on his appearance but he assumed it was his rank as much as his face that created such interest. Now, for the first time in his thirty-five years, he took a hard look at himself. What would she think of his looks? Would she see the man beneath the crown of Tor?

Turning his face from one side to the other, he studied his reflection. Using the same clear, logical voice he used with his men, he recited what he saw.

“Six feet six inches, black hair that covers my shoulder blades – hmmm, I need a trim – blue eye, my mother’s nose and my father’s chin. Everything looks ordinary to me.”

Trained from birth to be a strong leader of powerful men, he found nothing unusual in his broad shoulders and thickly muscled chest. He took for granted the curling mat of hair exposed by the deep opening of his shirt. Most of the men of Anderas were of similar height and build. He found nothing exceptional.

“So impress her with your wit and intelligence instead of your face.”

With that thought firmly in his mind, JarDan settled into the one comfortable chair allotted in a travel craft chamber. Picking up the sheaf of papers, he resumed his study of the multi-page translation of the memory scan done on the woman.

No. Not the woman. She was Melodie. The name caressed his senses like a gentle breeze. He closed his eyes and her image sprang to life. She was magnificent. The courage it took to face the fury of that storm was remarkable for a woman. By the Beard of the Ancients! He knew of few men who would do the same. Even drenched with rain and covered in mud she took his breath away.

A soft smile spread across his face as he remembered the way she accepted his embrace in the teleport beam. The memory of her slender body against his sent heat rushing to his groin. His heavy arousal was a painful reminder of the effects of his extended celibacy. His needs were getting stronger by the hour, but he didn’t want the casual relief of a pleasure station. He wanted Melodie. He wanted to bury himself in her warmth. Wanted to melt in his embrace, to come apart in his arms with passion.

Muttering a phrase not suitable for mixed company, JarDan jerked himself from the chair, wincing at the pain in his lower body. Where was Sladal? According to Dak’s report, Melodie awakened more than two hours ago.

Pouring himself another glass of the potent wine, he tried to force his mind to think of other things. He knew from her mind-scan there had never been an emotional involvement with a man. One look at his aroused body would send her running in terror. He had to go slow. Too much was at stake. He would not risk his future on immediate physical gratification -- and he was positive she was his future.

* * * *

Following Thomas through empty hallways, Melodie had to admit that this was the strangest hospital. No nurses scurried from room to room attending patients. No visitors waited with cards and flowers. Not once did she hear the intercom call for a doctor.

“Where are the doctors and nurses?” She asked after passing several closed doors.

“Are you not feeling well?” Thomas stopped to peer intently at her.

“No, I’m fine.” She assured him. “It’s just … so quiet for a hospital.” In truth, she felt anything but fine. The strange sensations she experienced when she awoke continued to pulse, growing stronger with each heartbeat. The gentle friction of the soft gown against her breasts and hips as she walked was almost painful. Even the faint vibrations from the floor thrummed through her bare feet to settle low in her body keeping time with her heartbeat.

“This is a residential floor, not a medical center.” With a slight shrug Thomas continued down the hallway.

Melodie opened her mouth to object but lost her train of thought when a wave of longing hit her. The sight of Thomas’ uniform-clad body rooted her to the spot, unable to move, unable to look away. The term tight ass sprang to life as she watched his long-legged stride. Although young, he showed the promise of virility in his broadening shoulders and long, straight back. Need flared in her chest and brought a small whimper to her lips as heat turned to warm liquid between her legs.

“Are you certain you are well?” He asked again from his position a few yards ahead of her.

The flush of desire turned to a blaze of embarrassment as the wave crested and she was again in control. My God! He’s just a boy! Horrified at the direction her imagination was taking, she forced herself to breathe slow and deep. Mumbling an answer to his question, Melodie quickly closed the distance between them.

“Where are we going?” She asked without looking up.

“Here.” He indicated the door at the end of the corridor as he touched the wall and the door opened with a soft whoosh.

Between one heartbeat and another Melodie looked from the floor to Thomas to the open door, until she looked into the face of her angel. He nodded in acknowledgement of Thomas’ salute.

“Were you seen?”

It was the voice that whispered in her ear during the storm.

“No, Sir,” Thomas responded. “It was as you ordered.”

“Very good. Return to your duties. I’ll see our guest back to her room.”

Melodie decided she’d rather study the ruggedly handsome man standing in front of her instead of attending the conversation flowing around her. She could spend eternity looking at this man. As tall as she was, she had to tip her head back to see his face. His hair hung in thick waves past his shoulders, held in place by a gleaming band of gold that circled his head around the middle of his wide forehead. Never in her twenty-nine years had she seen a man so perfectly chiseled from bone and muscle. Her eyes traced the massive chest and shoulders covered now in a loose fitting shirt instead of the white robe. The neck of the shirt opened almost to his navel with every visible inch covered in a thick mat of soft black curls.

“Please. Come in.” The voice was as deep and warm as she remembered.

Melodie placed her hand in his outstretched palm. Warmth and security settled around her. Just like in the storm, she instinctively trusted this stranger. A portion of her mind told her it was irrational, but trying to understand why was just too tedious.

“I’m glad to see you’ve recovered from your ordeal.”

“I have you to thank for that. I would have died if you hadn’t arrived when you did.” She trembled as much from the memories as the strong grip on her hand.

“Are you afraid of me?” He whispered, tightening his hold on her.

She wasn’t sure what she was feeling, but she was positive it wasn’t fear that caused her breath to come in shallow gulps. Please, Lord, don’t let he humiliate myself with another of those strange spells. Keeping her gaze on their joined hands, she shook her head.

“Then why won’t you look at me?”

She raised her head until she focused on an area just below his chin, jumping when he suddenly bent his knees and lowered himself to her eye level. The barely adequate intake of oxygen she was managing suddenly became too much for her lungs. His piercing cobalt eyes sparkled with humor and understanding. He’s teasing. As she stared in mute admiration, a lop-sided grin stretched across his face. She had no choice but to smile back, mesmerized as he slowly straightened to his full height. No one but her grandfather had ever teased her.

“Better. Much better. I had myself convinced I only imagined eyes the color of clouds at sunset.” His voice was low and husky. “My name is Tor JarDan and I’ve arranged for dinner to be …”

Melodie was still smiling at him when one dark brow arched and his words trailed off. Following his questioning gaze to their hands, she watched her own fingertips stroke his palm, caressing the ridges of calluses she found there. With a gasp she jerked her hand free of his and turned her back to hide her embarrassment. Melodie Anne Smith, just what in the world is wrong with you!

“I beg your pardon, Mr. Jordan.” She whispered in mortification, covering her flaming cheeks with trembling fingers.

“JarDan,” he stated quietly. “My name is JarDan not Jordan. It’s I who should apologize. When you spend much of your life in the company of warriors, you forget how sensitive women are to the scars and calluses of battle.”

Melodie turned to tell him he was wrong. His touch didn’t repulse her. She craved his touch. Her sensitive breasts ached with the need to feel those calluses against her skin. Don’t be ridiculous. This man would never be interested in a lanky old-maid farmer’s daughter. He’s just being polite so act your age.

“We have much to discuss, but first you need to eat. I know you haven’t eaten for at least a day, so if you’ll be seated, I’ll order our dinner. Later, I promise to explain everything.”

She watched him leave, wondering what he felt he needed to explain. She took advantage of his absence to regain her composure. “Good grief, girl,” she muttered. “You were pawing the poor man.”

Heat that had nothing to do with embarrassment kindled in her abdomen, sending fire racing through her body. No! Not now! I won’t allow it to happen again! Think about something else. Yes, that’s it. Think about snow storms or cold showers or Mrs. Peabody’s fat, ugly dog.

Slowly she regained control, repressing the disturbing feelings with shaky resolve. Determined to think only about common, everyday things, she took note of the room around her. The furniture was sturdy and functional, almost plain. She could see nothing remarkable in the neutral shades of beige and brown. Other than a white and gold blanket across the built-in bed and a few books stacked on the desk, there was nothing personal in the room. The table set with gleaming china and crystal was in vivid contrast to the utilitarian simplicity of the rest of the room.

She knew hospital personnel sometimes maintained sleeping quarters in case a critical patient needed extra attention, but gut instinct told her JarDan was no doctor. So what was he doing here?

“Jar Dan,” she whispered, savoring the taste of his name on her tongue. “Now what mother in her right mind would name her son Jar? Must be short for something.”

Picturing the black-haired giant as a small boy at his mother’s knee brought a smile to her face just as JarDan returned with a huge tray.

“I hope you’re hungry. We seldom entertain guests so the cook has outdone himself.” He loaded the small table with bowls and platters of food that filled the room with delicious aromas.

She couldn’t remember the last meal she ate and her stomach rumbled in appreciation of the feast. Praying that the trembling in her hands was due to hunger and not a prelude to another shameful hot flash, Melodie attached her meal. She had almost finished her dinner when she knew her prayer went unanswered. Sensation replaced reason. Texture became as important as taste.

The casserole coated her tongue with the taste of nuts and as the approaching storm of physical reactions intensified, she craved more of the unusual flavor. With a soft sigh, she trailed her finger around the plate. Rubbing the creamy substance across her lips, she savored the feel of her fingertips before allowing her tongue to pull the thick liquid into her mouth.

A strangled cough from across the table momentarily brought her out of her stupor. “Are you okay?” She asked, blinking rapidly to clear her vision.

“Fine,” was the tight answer to her innocent question. “Just swallowed wrong. Would you care for more wine?”

He was already refilling her glass with the blood red liquid. Never having tasted alcohol of any kind, she found her first experience extraordinary.

“This is delicious,” she said, running her tongue around her lips. “Grandpa said wine and spirits would lead a man into sin. Sin tastes wonderful. Why did you mother call you Jar, Mr. Dan?” Melodie drained the wine from her glass, holding it out for another refill.

“What?” He choked again.

Shaking her head at his inattention, she smiled. “You said your name was Jar Dan but I think Jar is a little, you know … different. Is it a nickname … or something?” Her voice trailed off while she watched a lone drop of wine roll from his lip before he captured it with his napkin.

“My name is JarDan. J-A-R-D-A-N. All one word.” He carefully removed the wine glass from her hand. “I believe you’ve had enough of this. Are you ready for dessert?”

“Oh yes,” she whispered, nodding her head. Such a strange man, this JarDan. Drop dead gorgeous, sex appeal to die for, yet he made her feel comfortable. Not once during their quiet dinner did she feel she had to think of something to say. He seemed perfectly content with her silence.

The ripple of muscle in his arms and across his chest was a source of extreme fascination while he cleared the table. When he brought the dessert dishes to the table, Melodie found herself eye level with his hips and thighs. Held in the grip of overwhelming obsession, she started in awe at the evidence of his masculinity, moaning softly as it swelled beneath her gaze.

The dessert plate landed on the table with a thud. “We need to talk.”

“Wonderful! I’ve never had a conversation with a man as beautiful as you. Oh. Maybe I shouldn’t have said you were beautiful. I didn’t mean to imply you were effeminate or anything. Nobody can look like you do and not be one hundred percent male.”

“Will you eat your dessert and shut up.”

She didn’t understand why he sounded angry. She couldn’t remember doing anything wrong but it was just so hard to concentrate. The fire between her legs was making her squirm in the seat. She managed to get a little relief by pressing her legs together as tight as she could, but it didn’t last long.

“Melodie,” he began, “what I’m going to say will come as a shock to you. You may not believe me. All I ask is that you trust me … as you did in the storm. Will you do that?”


“Good,” he breathed. “I’m the commander of a travel craft. A space ship, Melodie. My home is millions of miles from Earth. Do you understand?”

She must have given him the answer he wanted since he was talking again. Melodie watched as he stroked the moisture from the side of his wine glass, wiping the water droplets against his palm. What was he saying about a virus? Maybe he was a doctor after all? No. He said he was a space man, but that can’t be right. It was just so hard to think. Dragging her gaze away from the hypnotic motion of his hand, Melodie followed the sound of his voice right to its origin. His mouth was full and framed by deep dimples. What would those enticing indentations take like?

“Do you have any questions?”

Propping her elbow against the table and resting her chin in her palm, she studied him, drawing her brows together in fierce concentration.

“Do space men kiss like normal men?”

When the choking across the table started again, she raced around the table to pound him on the back.

“You should chew your food better. I don’t know the Heimlich maneuver and even if I did, I don’t think I could reach around that magnificent chest.”

Their eyes locked when JarDan captured her hands to stop the assault on his body. His gaze darkened with some emotion she couldn’t identify before he looked away. When he turned back, his voice was as unsteady as his hand.

“You better finish your dessert so I can get you back to your room while I’m still able.” He gently steered her back to her own chair.

“This dessert is a great favorite on my world but it takes a little practice to learn how to eat it without getting it all over you. Here, let me show you.”

He reached across the table and picked up one slender confection from her plate. Shaped like a melon wedge, it was dipped in chocolate and rolled in crushed nuts.

“The outside is a crisp pastry but there’s a liquid center so when you take a bite, be sure to suck at the same time.”

Melodie watched his hand move closer to her mouth. When he touched her lips with the strange dessert, she opened her mouth and took a bite, forgetting the juice. She watched in fascination as the golden liquid flowed down his fingers and pooled in his palm. When he would have withdrawn his hand, she grabbed his wrist, holding him captive. Seeking and finding his burning gaze, she lowered her mouth to the puddle of liquid cupped in his hand.

“It tastes like oranges,” she whispered. When there was no longer enough liquid to drink, she used her tongue to cleanse, taking each finger into her mouth.

With a fierce growl, JarDan shoved the table out of the way and pulled Melodie into his hot, throbbing embrace.

REMEMBER: For everyone who leaves a comment with their name and email address, they will be entered into a drawing for a copy of JarDan in the eBook format of their choice.

12:01 PM

In the Author Spotlight & Contest

Janet Lane Walters

CONTEST: For those that leave a post, Janet will give away either a download or a print copy of one of her books. Make sure to include your email on the post so Janet can get back to you if you win. Good luck!

AL: Hi Janet! Thanks for being in the “Author Spotlight” this week.

Janet: Glad to be here.

AL: So, tell us what’s happening with you.

Janet: I've been playing nursemaid to a husband who had back surgery, speaking on the phone to grandchildren in Florida, playing Grammy with the granddaughter who lives nearby and shopping for Christmas.

AL: Do you have a recent release you’d like to tell us about?

Janet: Recent releases is more like it. First there's The Dragons of Fyre, a fantasy romance in which dragons play a big role. My favorite is Verde, the green dragon who is the controller of the red and blue dragons. Then there is A Second Seduction, a spicy romance where the hero learns he has a son and the woman he loved in college is the mother. Third is my short in the Jewels of the Quill anthology, The Amber Dragon where a spoiled princess is changed into a five foot tall fat amber dragon. She must find a prince to kiss her and she has insulted all the princes of the nearby kingdoms.

AL: When did the writing bug take a bite out of you?

Janet: I've always scribbled but until I had my first child I did little more than use writing as an outlet for my imagination. My first short story was published in 1968. I wrote and sold a number of short stories until 1970 when I was told by an editor that my story sounded like the synopsis for a book. My first novel was published in 1972. Then children, four were becoming college age so I dropped out of writing and went back to nursing to put them throuhg school. Once I retired there I began writing again.

AL: When you write do you have specific music that inspires you?

Janet:I really prefer silence when I write, though it's not complete silence since my office opens into the living room. I'm partial to Tchaikovsky and listen th his music when I'm thinking about what I want to write.

AL: Is there an author out there that you’d love to do an anthology with?

Janet: Since I belong to a group that does anthologies, The Jewels of the Quill, Jane Toombs and Karen Wiesner being two of the group I like writing with them. But we always dream of working with writers we admire so I probably have a dozen or more I'd enjoy writing with. Problem is writing short is harder for me than writing long.

AL: What do you find sexy in a man?

Janet: The eyes always fascinate me and I prefer the unusual. Broad shoulders are a plus. I kind of find all men interesting in some fashion.

AL: What annoys you enough to be considered a pet peeve?

Janet: The telephone. It always manages to ring when I'm in the middle of a sentence. Though I try to be polite sometimes I'm not.

AL: Where would you like to travel if you had the chance?

Janet: My first choice is Egypt. Used to be England and Ireland but I made those trips. I've always been interested in ancient Egypt and that's the focus -- sort of -- in my latest work in progress. It's ancient Egypt but an alternate one.

AL: Thanksgiving is this week…what are you thankful for?

Janet: I'm thankful for my husband children and grandchildren. I'm thankful that I'm doing what I love to do. I'm thankful for epublishing since there I can write what I want.

AL: Please share a favorite quote(s) with us.

Janet: "I think writing is a disease. You can't stop it." William Carlos Williams, There is another one but not from a famous person but from my psychiatrist husband. "Writing is an obsession I don't want to cure."

AL: Thanks so much for sharing with joining us this week, Janet.

Janet: Been fun being here.

AL: If you’d like to find out more about Janet please visit:

Drakon has escaped from the priestesses of the Temple of Fyre and returned home to find the keep almost deserted. There remains but one dragon, an ancient yellow. Vowing revenge against the Lord of Sea Cliff, he sets out to accomplish this.
Arana was once a freed slave in the tower where Drakon remains the sole member of the family. She was freed for her ability to speak to and heal the dragons. Now she is a slave again and is threatened by the Lord of Sea Cliff. He believes she will be the one to give him an heir. His ability to fly with the dragons is slowly becoming more difficult and he must have an heir to train.

Arana sucked in a breath. She and Verde had to leave tonight. She walked to the slave quarters. Each step jolted her body and sent agony along her skin.

One of the women waited in the common room. She pulled off Arana’s torn smock and spread a numbing paste on the slashes. “You displeased him. Not a good idea.”

“I know. Thank you for the salve.” The pain ebbed. She retreated to her room. There she donned a clean smock. She wrapped her comb and a knife she had stolen from the kitchen in a shawl. She crept from the cubicle, slipped along the corridor and sped across the landing field. Before entering the pens she made sure no one was about. By the time she reached Verde’s pen, her fear had returned. Tears flowed down her cheeks.

I still think I should bite him, Verde said.

Arana stroked his side. *Not now. We must make our plans to leave. If it ever becomes possible we will return and take care of him. She sat on the floor to work on the riding pad. Then she prepared a meal for Verde. The pain gradually returned but exhaustion carried her into a restless sleep filled with visions of Lagon and of the lashing that she’d endured.

Arana, wake up.

She rubbed her eyes. The motion brought a rush of pain. Is it time?

Yes. The sky is dark and the moon low.

What should I do?

Bring the pad to the landing field. When we are there, you can fasten it and yourself on my back. This is how. He sent her pictures. Do you understand?


The green dragon lumbered past the other pens. Arana forced herself to carry the pad and her belongings. She crept after him. Each step brought a jolt of pain. She wished someone could apply more of the numbing paste. She dare not stop. She had to escape.

By the time they reached the landing field, her eyes filled with tears. She bit her lower lip to keep cries from escaping. Verde crouched while she placed the pad over his spinal ridges. He rose so she could tie the straps under his body. When he crouched so she could mount, despite the coolness of the night, perspiration covered her skin.

Once she was securely fastened, Verde moved to the edge of the field and stepped off. He stroked his wings three times. Each stroke brought Arana a jolt of pain. Clouds covered the moon. They circled the tower and headed for High Peaks.

As they continued onward, Arana felt chilled. Her body shook. She wondered how long the flight would take. Were they flying in the right direction? The absence of moonlight kept her from seeing the land below. Would seeing matter? She had never flown before.

She drifted into a half-sleep. She felt hot, then cold and finally hot again. Had the slave cleansed the wound? She couldn’t remember.

With a jerk, she roused. Clouds parted to reveal the moon. Arana peered at the ground. Were they moving slower? The beat of the dragon’s wings seemed less vigorous. Verde, are you tired?


We could land so you can rest.

What if the evil one discovers you are missing? He will send the blues to search.

Maybe not. He would send servants on horseback. He does not know about you.

The dragons do. They might tell. I can stay aloft until we reach the cavern at High Peaks.

Don’t harm yourself.

When we reach the cavern I will eat and sleep. Rest now. I will see you to safety.

Arana drifted to sleep. The sun rose and still the dragon flew onward. Arana woke and felt him falter. She must do something to help him. They flew over a forest. There was no place to land. She couldn’t allow Verde to kill himself because of the effort of flying with a burden on his back.

She fumbled with the straps that bound her to his back. Exquisite pain ran from her back down her arms. The knots were too tight. She searched her bundle for the knife. The weapon slipped from her hand. She tried to grab it, screamed and slumped against the pad. There was no way to relieve Verde. If you grow too tired you must land.

I can reach the tower.
REMEMBER: For those that leave a post, Janet will give away either a download or a print copy of one of her books. Make sure to include your email on the post so Janet can get back to you if you win. Good luck!

10:07 AM

Wednesday's Witty Words from Wise Women

"Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it's cracked up to be. That's why people are so cynical about it. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more."

- Erica Jong

3:11 PM

Movie Phrase Friday

"You know what? You may have power now, but you're not God. You're a doorman, okay. You're a doorman. Doorman! Doorman!! Doorman!!! DOORMAN!"


Email me at AnnLory@gmail.com by Monday morning with the correct answer and I'll enter you for a chance to win a $5 e-card from Amazon.

Best wishes and have a fabulous weekend.

11:43 AM

Wednesday's Witty Words from Wise Women


Never forget one little point:
It's my business.
You just work here."

- Elizabeth Arden
(in a note to her husband)

4:44 PM

In the Author Spotlight & Contest

Inez Kelley

CONTEST: Inez will be offering...one free download of winner’s choice of either JINXED or MYLA BY MOONLIGHT to a random poster. Make sure to leave your email address so Inez can contact you if you win.

AL: Hi Inez Thanks for being in the “Author Spotlight” this week.

Inez: HEY! Thanks for having me! I promise to clean up after myself.

AL: So, tell us what’s happening with you.

Inez: Well, I am currently recovering from Halloween and avoiding NANO. I avoid that like laundry. *shudder* My kids are clamoring for the Christmas tree to go up already. My twins are planning their birthday because turning six is a huge deal. We are dealing with the toothfairy visits and traipsing to my daughter’s basketball games. So basically just normal Mom stuff.

AL: You’ve had a couple new releases in the past few months. Want to tell us about them?

Inez: I’d love to. I’m like that annoying aunt who forces everyone to watch slides of her Yosemite trip. *Look, a jackass! No that is me on the donkey, but thanks!*

JINXED was my debut. It is a romcom and the reviews have been outstanding so far. I love to make people laugh and nothing thrills me more than to get an email from a reader saying I kept them up all night laughing and crying. Those make everything worth it.

Of course, I think it is funny but since humor is subjective, I held my breath after it was released. I have gotten some of the most amazing feedback! I got tweets from readers just saying ROLFMAO DOG TURD TURBAN! and OMG! Tampons and Szechuan pork!

Something I found incredible was that some people said the premise for JINXED was too farfetched. Both the hero and heroine are named Frances/Francis Sullivan. The confusion leads to all sorts of fun stuff. I have been contacted by several real couples in this same situation! I featured one on my website so yes, it does happen.

I held my breath again with MYLA BY MOONLIGHT. I’d had a successful launch of a comedy, but would readers accept me as a fantasy writer? Did I cross sub-genres too quickly? Nervous didn’t cover it! The response has been phenomenal. Every single email I have received about it says the story made them ache and cry, in a good way. The story lingers with people. I think that is high praise indeed.

What I did not expect was the amount of feedback asking for more! They want to stay in Myla and Taric’s world, to read more from that tale. Something about a non-human woman who longs for the love of a very human man touches readers. I do have to admit, the love Myla and Taric share is vast. It was breathtaking to write it! But I swore up one side and down the other I would never write a sequel.

Pass the salt, please, I am eating those words.

AL: Looking at your website, you’re a busy lady. What other works are you deep into?

Inez: As I said, I am deep into a second book in the fantasy world, this one based on Taric’s captain, Bryton. He is a bit more… how shall I say it, earthy, than Taric is. What do you expect from a body guard who kills and is willing to die for his Prince?

I am also playing with a romcom I had walked away from once. I didn’t leave it because I got bored. My computer did this funky crash thing and ate over half of it. I learned a lesson there. I am slowly reconstructing it and hope to see it completed next year.

On my funstuff page, I follow one couple in my Beauty and the Badge freebie series. Everyone seems to love Jace and Dayna! There are seven issues posted so far with the final installment set to come out in December (go read, FREE is good!)

I have my first erotic short ready to head out for submissions so I hope to be adding erotic writer to that list of Romcom and Fantasy author soon. I am also working on a Women’s fiction piece and a YA for my agent, aiming at New York and the big Houses.

AL: How do you decide upon your settings? What about the names of characters? Do you ever change either mid-stream into a story?

Inez: Nope. I am a bit different in that I see my stories in my head, like a private movie reel. Sometimes, there are hazy parts where I am not sure exactly what happens but for the most part, I know from ‘Once Upon a Time’ to ‘Happily Ever After’ before I write one word. It isn’t plotting so much as I just see it.

My characters come to me named and in full characterization, quirks, flaws and all. I am not really a writer but a medium for stories and tales to escape.

AL: What do you feel is the most important thing that a first-time author should know?

Inez: Most important? Hmm… Don’t stop. Finish one, polish it, walk away, write something else, go back to the first, edit and polish it again. Do that twice. When your second story is half done, the first might be ready. Distance is your friend. It gives you perspective.

AL: All right Inez, let your hair down and get comfortable. Sometimes people envision an author’s life as being really glamorous. I like to set them straight, so tell us what’s the most unglamorous thing you’ve done in the past week?

Inez: Scooped cat litter, cleaned the fridge, did laundry for three kids and discovered my darling child put half a peanut butter sandwich in his pillowcase…several days ago.

Ann: You’re the actress in a must see blockbuster movie that everyone’s been waiting all summer for. 1) What’s the movie about? 2) Who’s your character? 3) And who’s your leading man?


An epic tale of love lost, battled for and refound.

I’d probably be the sarcastic colorful sidekick with all the cool lines

An unknown hottie with a voice to melt butter

AL: Fall is here! What’s your favorite part of the season?

Inez: Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. I love when it is cold enough to have a fire, wear thick sweats, eat homemade soups and bake!

AL: When you have time just for you (if only) what do you do?

Inez: I forget. It has been a while. I would probably pick read.

AL: Please share a favorite quote(s) with us.

Inez: "Once in awhile, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale."
~ by Anonymous ~

AL: Thanks so much for sharing with joining us this week, Inez.

Inez: Thanks for having me!

AL: If you’d like to find out more about Inez please visit:




Created at Prince Taric’s birth, Myla is a spell, an enchantment designed to appear and protect him when he needs it most. She has always been content to do her duty…until one night of forbidden passion leaves her longing to experience life—and love—as a mortal woman. Yet the risk is too great. Even if her blood runs as red as his, she can never give him the one thing he needs: a child.

Taric’s blessing—and his curse—is knowing the kingdom’s future depends on his producing an heir to continue the bloodline. His bond with Myla has always been that of protector and protected. When it suddenly becomes something much more, he unwittingly sentences his people to certain death.

An old enemy is plotting to destroy all he holds dear: his lands, his people, his father, and his lover. And this time, even if they fight tooth and blade, their shared magic may not be enough to save them…

Warning: This book contains a shape-shifting bodyguard, sizzling sex scenes, supernatural lilac mist, swordfighting and heartbreaking sacrifices. No jaguars were harmed in the writing of this story.


“Would you cease to be prince if you had a choice?”

“It’s not a choice I was ever given. No, I like the role enough, have been taught from birth what’s required of me and don’t know any other way. I just wonder what being a prince in a time of quiet is like or will I always be a ruler in wartime?” He flung the blade of grass, now twisted and limp, far into the wind. “But enough war talk. Tell me about you.”

“Me?” Myla halted abruptly and he walked a pace ahead before turning to her. “You know all there is to know of me.”

Tall butter-yellow wildflowers danced in the breeze and he ran a skimming hand over the tops, stirring them further. A bright orange-and-black butterfly flitted about his head and he batted it away with a flick.

The play of colors around him—the shading of a single hue into a million dimensions—captivated her. Somewhere in her breast a fire grew, cast from those same brilliant tones from copper to cream. It warmed her from within like the sunbeams warmed her flesh. Taric was beautiful, golden among the yellow.

One delicate bloom plucked from a willowy stalk appeared before her eyes, held in a hand she longed to feel touch her once more. She took his offering with hesitant fingers.

“I know nothing about you, Myla. Well, I know you’re fierce and stronger than any man. You’re a beautiful woman or a massive cat. Strawberries and blackberries make you close your eyes in pleasure. If needed, you have and will kill to protect me.” His curious eyes searched her face for more. “But tell me about you. Do you dream, Myla? When you’re part of me, do you miss the sunshine? Are you ever apart from me without my knowing? Have you ever thought of me in any other way than a duty?”

Words locked in her throat and choked her. She existed for no reason other than to serve as his guardian. She knew everything about him yet nothing of what made him how he was. They were closer than two beings ever should be and yet separate and alone. Sadness touched her, a butterfly of rainbowed beauty drenched by a sudden rainfall. Steeling her face to hide her emotion, she cocked her head to the side.

“I do not dream within you. I accepted this duty and I stand guard. Sunshine touches your flesh and I know of its warmth through you. I am with you every minute, Taric, even if you do not behold me with your eyes.”

Something close to anger colored his face and he jumped in front of her, his chest brushing her breasts. Vehemence emanated from his body in sheets of blistering heat. No, not anger, something…close…burning…needing. “But have you ever thought about me as other than a prize to be protected?”

Myla didn’t have the ability to lie to him but strategic maneuvers could be employed. The wilting flower became a tool of distraction and she twirled it between her fingers. The spinning buttery color quivered with her fraud. “I do not allow those thoughts to linger in my mind.”

A dimple appeared above his jaw and the right side of his lip inched upward. “But you have felt…something for me other than protectiveness?”

Lips parted, she remained silent. For all the strength in her supernatural structure, she couldn’t break from his gaze. She saw herself reflected in pools of burnt umber, reminding her she belonged within him. Then the image was gone as he angled his head. His mouth pressed to hers, the burst of blackberry vivid and potent.

So this is how his kiss feels…like magic. Without thought, she mimicked his motion, tasting his lips and then allowing her tongue to touch and stroke his. Heat arced between them, a power she didn’t recognize but one that consumed her. He nibbled the lip he’d touched earlier, his fingers straying to her cheek, firm and gentle. A quiver grew from her marrow and spread, wracking her bones, and she trembled in sudden fear.

The pale yellow flower fell to the ground. Taric was her charge, her responsibility. She should not behave in this manner with him. Only the magnetic lure of his touch held her within this realm, halting her escape. He felt so…right. It was so wrong.

Taric shifted and tried to pull her closer, his arm around her waist, but she pushed away from him. “Do not. I should not have allowed that to happen. It can not happen again.”


The question threw her. Why? Because… She floundered, searching for why his touch should be forbidden, why she could not submit to the raging beat of her pulse, why she could not bask in the taste of his kiss. He was long past the age of manhood and could choose his own path. If he wanted a woman, he had the right to take her be she willing. Myla reluctantly admitted she was most willing to step into his kiss once more. But she was not a woman. Not really.

“I am not real, Taric. I am an enchantment, a spell designed for your protection, not your pleasure.”

Flushed color drained from his face at her breathless words.

“I bid you farewell, my charge.” She drew on every smidgeon of control not to zing back inside his mark. A tiny breath of lilac vapor swirled regretfully through the yellow blossoms before it too trickled into his body. Sorrow turned the last wisps to dark violet.

REMEMBER: Inez will be offering...one free download of winner’s choice of either JINXED or MYLA BY MOONLIGHT to a random poster. Make sure to leave your email address so Inez can contact you if you win.

9:48 AM


is the answer from last week's Movie Phrase Friday

Linda H.
Is the winner. She's the only one that got the question.
Congrats Linda!

Please make sure to check out Ed William's interview below. He is quite entertaining.

9:04 AM

In the Author Spotlight

Ed Williams

AL: Hi Ed Thanks for being in the “Author Spotlight” this week.

Ed: I appreciate it more than a lifetime supply of Atomic Fireballs, Ann - thanks!

AL: So, tell us what’s happening with you.

Ed: I just recovered from a weekend spent at the IHOP last weekend with my two best friends, Ray and Hugh, collectively known as "The Brotherhood." This weekend I'm rotting out my eyes watching tons of college football on my new HDTV-ed set. The rest of the things I'm doin', Ann, I can't talk about as Tami says there's only a certain level of sin that can be inserted into an interview like this one, and she also noted you were nice. I respect that.

AL: You have a book coming out in November, ChristmaSin. Please tell us a bit about this story.

Ed: Ann, I grew up in Juliette, Georgia. Its one claim to fame is that it's the place where the movie "Fried Green Tomatoes" was filmed. When I was growing up there the official town census count was around 400, so it was one of those situations where everyone knew everyone else. Juliette had more than its share of very unique Christmas traditions, amongst them being the yearly cockfight that the men had about a week before Christmas. They'd all gamble on the fights, and a few would win enough money to buy Christmas for their families. And that was just one of our low-keyed Georgia traditions.

Over the past few years I've read a couple of Southern Christmas books, and the truth for me was that they were kinda surgary and too much like "The Waltons," which is nothing like I remembered Christmas. So, I decided to take a few real life things that happened in Juliette, blend them all together with a healthy amount of BS, and see if I could write a wild rural Southern Christmas story. "ChristmaSin'" is what resulted.

AL: What other works are you deep into?

Ed: None. I write strictly for fun, do a weekly article or two for Gather.com, that's pretty well it right now. Ellen Smith, the owner of Champagne Books, and I have talked a bit recently. We kinda have a deal between ourselves that if "ChristmaSin'" does well that I'll start another novel for her next year. We have the concept all worked out, I'll just have to get up off my heiny and do it!

AL: When did you know you had to be a writer?

Ed: Ann darlin', I don't have to be one, I just enjoy being one right now. I hated writing in school, I just had the flukey luck about ten or so years ago to have written a few stories about some wild antics I engaged in during my growing up years in Juliette. I happened to take one of them to a local writer's meeting and randomly got picked out of a crowd of about 70 - 75 people to read it. I was nervious beyond belief, but I got up there and read off this story about how my dad and I caught the choir leader at our local church parking down behind our house entwined with one of the ladies in the choir. After I read it, a lady approached me about my stories, and from that about a year later my first book came out. It was called, "Sex, Dead Dogs, and Me: The Juliette Journals," and it started about 5-6 years of travel, fun, sin, more fun, and more.

AL: What do you hope for your writing career in the next few years? Any goals that you have yet to obtain that you have set for yourself?

Ed: Ann, I've been fortunate as hell re my writings. "ChristmaSin'" is actually my third published book, SDDAM being the first and "Rough As A Cob: More From the Juliette Journals" being my second. I was also fortunate enough to be asked to submit a story called "Sally the Screamer" for the Southern humor anthology, "Southern Fried Farce." I'm kinda like the Forrest Gump of Literature, I've just happened to have written some things that have gotten out there just a bit. For right now, my goal is to do the best I can to sell some copies of "ChristmaSin'" so that Ellen and Tami will be happy. After that, we'll see what happens.

AL: All right Ed, it’s time to for us to call on your southern hospitality and find out some extra things about you. Being from the south, what’s your favorite comfort food?

Ed: A Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard from Dairy Queen. If I were going for a lethal injection and had only a coupla hours left to live, I'd ask for as many as they'd bring me, they're like heroin in a paper cup.

AL: What kind of music makes you want to get up and dance?

Ed: Ann, I like the kinda questions you ask! For me, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Hank Jr., Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Eddie Cochran, and Gordon Lightfoot make my soul dance, my knees freeze, and my heiny shiny!

AL: If you could have any car in the world; would it be a slow rider, or one that the wind has to hurry just to keep up with you?

Ed: I'd wish for something like the Space Shuttle on four wheels, I can't ride fast enough or go high enough. I really am an adrenaline junkie, I love riding the baddest thrill rides!

AL: So, now for the important questions. Sometimes people envision an author’s life as being really glamorous. I like to set them straight, so tell us what’s the most unglamorous thing you’ve done in the past week?

Ed: Ummmm, I opened my mouth to speak at a business meeting earlier this week in a room full of about 100 people and burped instead of saying my first word!

AL: Please share a favorite quote(s) with us.

Ed: "What's causin' all this?" - the Nature Boy Ric Flair.

AL: Thanks so much for sharing with joining us this week, Ed.

Ed: Ann, I appreciate this opportunity more than you know! Y'all please give "ChristmaSin'" a look, Ellen and Tami are nice ladies and I don't wanna let them down!

AL: If you’d like to find out more about Ed please visit:
"The walk back into the house is a lot longer on account of toting this heavy-ass wood, and by the time we both get inside, we are hassling pretty hard. Ed Jr. turns, looks at us, laughs, and then tells us that he is going to recite an old Christmas poem for us that he’d heard many years ago. We know that it is going to be good, when he tells us to sort of listen out for Mama, and that if she happens to come into the room, mum’s the word. Once we all understand the ground rules, my dad clears his throat and recites this tender rhyme for us:

“Santa’s outfit is red and white, it’s all that he has, but it fits just right, his boots are black, his balls are blue, being cold all night does that to you.

He has a doll for Cindy, a dog for Fred, and a New Orleans woman, sittin’ in his sled.

He laughs so jolly, never sad nor whiny, now he’s off in his sleigh, to hone some Louisiana heiny.”


(During the annual Christmas celebration at the Juliette Methodist Church, December 1972, as told by a 17 year old Ed Williams. We pick it up at this tender point...)

You total these two women up, Miss Evelyn and Miss Annie Bell, and you have two solid women who don’t back off from a whole lot. And they don’t regarding this megaton fart that Miss Simulah has just put out. Miss Evelyn gets the ball rolling when she whispers loudly, "My goodness, someone needs to change their eating habits, I think we’ve been graced with the after effects of someone who’s enjoyed a lunch of red hots and baked beans." That is a shot aimed right at Miss Simulah, cause everyone knows she loves those damn cheap ass red hot sausages (Ed Jr. said one time that she likes them because she never gets a helping of some true pink trouser sausage, but Mama came in before he could say much more about that) more than anyone around these here parts. Miss Simulah blushes a tad and looks away from Miss Evelyn, trying to act like she didn’t hear what she’d said, and that’s when she looks right into Miss Annie Bell’s face. You can tell it sort of shakes Miss Simulah up to be looking right at Miss Annie Bell, and it gets even worse when Miss Annie Bell whispers, "Simulah, we are in the House of the Lord, and what I’m about to say isn’t very Christian, but it needs to be said. I can put up with your body stink, even though I shouldn’t have to, but when you blend in the fruit of your ass with it, why, it’s just too damned much. You can either excuse yourself and go home, or else we can have a real set-too right here. I mean it. I’m not whiffing your ass pearls for the rest of this night, dearie."

It’s hard to believe that Miss Annie Bell just comes right out and says that, but she does, and Miss Simulah shoots up out of her seat like a rocket. She then bustles down her pew, walks down the aisle and leaves the church, whispering something to the ushers about leaving her stove on at home. All of our suspicions that Miss Simulah is the church stinker proved to be correct as all of the funk and farts clear up right after she leaves. Miss Annie Bell notices it, too, ‘cause she leans over to Miss Evelyn and says, "Eve, it may not have been the right thing to point out Simulah’s problem, but maybe it will cause her to stand a bit closer to the washrag tonight." Miss Annie Bell nods in agreement, and then their conversation ends as Reverend Malkinski calls the service to order.

I know ya’ll are expecting me to say that I am bored as all hell at the service, but it actually isn’t too bad. Reverend Malkinski talks about how the birth of Jesus was the single most important event in the history of mankind, and you can’t argue too much with that. He also talks about living a good life and about being a good example to your family and friends, and I guess I’m a fairly decent example of that while the sun’s up, but at sunset I sort of turn into something different. Maybe I’m a tad like the Lon Chaney, Jr./Wolfman situation, or the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde one. Rev Malkinski also talks about Christmas being a season for children, and that we should all do everything we possibly can to be good to them this time of year. He says if we do that they’ll grow up associating positive things with Christmas, Christ, and the meaning of the holiday. He then reminds us all that there were some really poor people out in the world, children who would get nothing for Christmas and who might not even have decent clothes to wear or food to put inside their stomachs. Situations like that makes my stomach knot up inside, because any man with two balls ought to be able to put some food on the table, and I can’t stand to think about any small child suffering. This isn’t masculine worth a shit to say, but it makes me cry down inside to my soul to think about any child hurting needlessly. Just the thought is wrenching, and it makes me want to kill an adult who would deliberately cause a child to suffer because that adult ought to be willing to do just about anything to help that child.

I have to make myself stop thinking anymore about that ‘cause I will bust out crying in church, so I make myself focus back on what Reverend Malkinski is saying. That isn’t the best idea in the world as the good Reverend is now telling us this lame ass story about a Christmas a few years back where he bought his wife some glass sculpture type things for their dining room table. Apparently, he liked the glass stuff, but Mrs. Malkinski obviously thought they looked like shit because she gave him some cock and bull story about how nice they were and then she told him she was going to sacrifice and donate them all to the Salvation Army so that some other less fortunate family could have a better Christmas. The whole crowd laughs pretty hard, Mrs. Malkinski blushes, and I whisper to Jenny that the Reverend Malkinski is a really good preacher. That he is, but the main reason I bring it up is so I can score some brownie points from Jenny for being so attentive during the sermon. Normally, during any sermon I’ll think about most anything other than God--women are typically my first choice, then football, and if those two fail to keep my attention I just run some good old Elvis tunes through my head. Elvis is really doing good these days, he’s doing some concerts out in Vegas and all, and there are rumors going around that he might head back out on the road again. I would give ten years of my life to be able to see him in person, but there’s no way in hell he’ll ever find his way to Juliette. Hell, if he found Macon it would truly be a blessing from God, although I wonder if God would consider blessings and rock and roll in His same thought process. I’ve gotta start thinking about something else, ‘cause God might use me as a cue ball in a pool game with the devil if He starts paying attention to all this crazy ass shit going on in my head.

Reverend Malkinski speaks a little more about Jesus and the Christmas season, and you can see all the small children in the congregation getting antsier and antsier. The reason for this is that each year our church draws names (kids only) and buys a gift for whosever name they pick. We have lots of kids in our church, so this year there is a big stack of gifts waiting for them up under the tree, and they’re ready to tear into them. When the tension gets so bad that it seems like the whole church needs to burp, Reverend Malkinski says, "Wait just a second! I think I hear what? Are there some reindeer outside? Why in the world would any reindeer be here tonight?"

All the kids start ooohhhing and ahhhing, and Reverend Malkinski walks over to a side door, opens it, and in walks ole Santa himself! Well, it’s not really Santa, but it does happen to be my Uncle Dog who’s sweating it out in the red and white suit. It’s really pretty easy to tell who it is given the cheap ass Christmas outfit that they have "Santy" wearing. The britches are about eight sizes too big, the belt is made of the cheapest vinyl imaginable and keeps sliding all over Santa’s gut, and the beard honestly looks like one of those thick old woven carpet rugs that you see on the floor in a doctor’s office. I did notice that Santy has some real rosy cheeks tonight, but I have a feeling I know the true reason for them.

Santy has his bag over one shoulder and a walking stick clutched in his other hand. As he walks over to the church Christmas tree he turns to lower his bag to the floor. When he does, it causes his other hand to come around and thwack his walking stick right into the tree. It’s a pretty solid shot, several ornaments are popped or knocked out into the crowd, and a couple of tree limbs are broken and left dangling off the tree. Santy slips up for a second and said "damn" right out loud, which causes almost everyone there to start laughing and buzzing around like a bunch of yard flies over at Winn Dixie. The Reverend Malkinski is trying to cover it all up by saying "darn" two or three times, but nobody is buying his feeble attempt at a dodge. Ed Jr. is tickled as all hell with the way Santy has just expressed himself, but he has to hold in his laughter as my mom is staring at him like a condemned man does the clock during his final hour. Of course, him not being able to laugh forces Brother and I to share his fate, as we both know that we would tote the red ass if we slip up and laugh out loud. That’s the worst thing to me about church, you have to hold stuff in sometimes when you‘d really just love to let it all out. We can’t do that, though, because Ed Jr. told me one time that, "If men could do anything they wanted, the world would be nothing but farts, jism, sass talk, and women whose legs were spread wider than the Grand Canyon." He’s pretty much hitting that one on the head, although we guys don‘t wanna admit it.

The laughter finally dies down, and Santy goes over and sits down on a big wooden chair and starts handing out presents. He reads off each child’s name, and then that particular child comes up and receives their present. Most of the kids who come up are shy. They just get their gifts from Santy and walk back to their parents. One little girl, however, is different. Her name is Samantha Griffin, and when her name is called out she walks up and takes her gift from Santa. Then, instead of shying away or running off, she looks up at him and says, "Santa, I love you and God loves you. I didn’t get anything for Christmas last year 'cause my daddy got the cancer and died. Thank you for being so good to me." If that isn‘t enough to tug at your heart, the little girl then holds her arms open for Santa to hug her. Santy does, and there aren’t too many dry eyes in the congregation while the two of them embrace. The little girl then steps back, waves at Santa, and returns to her seat. With all due respect to the Reverend Malkinski, little Samantha probably did more to remind everyone of what the true Christmas spirit is all about than anything else presented during this evening. And then some.