- Ann Lory
- Welcome to Blog Bites! I love writing and reading romance of all genres which is why I've created "In the Author Spotlight". That way you and I can find out who's out there and what more they have for use to dig our claws into. Are you an author interested in being in the "Author Spotlight"? Shoot me an email at AnnLory@gmail.com for a spot. Currently, I'm published in contemporary and paranormal. If you'd like to read excerpts and find out what's out, or what's in store for you please visit my website at www.annlory.com.
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Author Spotlight Calendar - March
- 2nd BLOG BITES BREAK
- 5th BLOG BITES BREAK
- 30th Xakara
- 4th J.A. Garland
- 17th BLOG BITES BREAK
- 20th BLOG BITES BREAK
- 24th BLOG BITES BREAK
- 27th BLOG BITES BREAK
- ► 2011 (46)
- ► 2010 (72)
- I'm the Guest Author at Erotic Book Junkies Linde...
- In the Author Spotlight & Contest Meg Benjamin ...
- Wednesday's Witty Words from Wise Women It's not ...
- In the Author Spotlight Lucynda Storey AL: Hi Cy...
- Wednesday's Witty Words Men who have a pierced ea...
- In the Spotlight & Contest Missy Jane CONTEST: O...
- Wednesday's Witty Words (A little deep this week)...
- In the Author Spotlight & Contest Beth Corneliso...
- BAIT AND SWITCH Now Available in "PRINT" Hi al...
- In the Author Spotlight and Contest Sylvia Shults...
- And the Winners Are... And the winners from last ...
- ▼ June (11)
Meg: My Venus in Blue Jeans has been out since January (going to print in November), and the sequel, Wedding Bell Blues, comes out July 21 from Samhain. It’s about the ultimate Wedding from Hell, except the bride and groom (the heroine and hero from Venus in Blue Jeans) aren’t the problem—it’s the rest of the family. My heroine’s the maid of honor and my hero’s the best man. It’s a sequel, but you don’t need to have read Venus in Blue Jeans to understand it (although I’d certainly be happy if you did!).
AL: Where and when do you write?
After her second glass, Docia began eyeing the presents. “Are those serious or funny?”
Allie leaned back in her chair, her face solemn. “Serious, of course. This is a kitchen shower. We all think it’s time you took your domestic duties in hand, Docia. I myself provided some oven cleaner.”
Docia stared at her wide-eyed.
“Oh for god’s sake, lighten up, toots.” Allie shook her head. “It’s a freakin’ bachelorette party. What did you think we’d give you—an engraved pocket watch?”
Docia blew out a breath, pulling her hair back from her face. “I’ve been opening wedding presents for at least the last month, usually with Mama looking over my shoulder. You wouldn’t believe the stuff people think you need when you get married.”
“Like what?” Bethany sorted through the remaining tapas with her index finger, selecting some flatbread with sirloin and blue cheese. “All I got when I married Lloyd was a set of Corelle. I should have known that marriage was doomed.”
“Place card holders.” Docia grimaced. “Silver. Swear to god. Like I’d ever give a party where I needed to show people where to sit.”
“Maybe we could use them in the shop,” Janie mused. “I’m always looking for something to hold up the display cards.”
Allie guffawed. “That should start a new Konigsburg legend—the bookstore with sterling silver display card holders.” She reached for a gift bag. “Here, babe, take a look at this.”
Docia opened the bag and pulled out what looked like a pair of panties.
Or not. A strip of lace with a large bow and a thin string hanging down below. Janie hadn’t ever seen anything quite like it before.
“What the hell is this, and how does it work?” Docia frowned, holding it up for inspection.
“The bow goes in back,” Allie explained.
“That string looks uncomfortable.” Bethany shook her head. “Geez, I hate thongs.”
“Crotchless,” Sherice said.
All four women turned to stare at her.
Sherice reached for the panties. “Crotchless. Works like this.” She spread the string apart so that it formed a thin border around a very large hole.
Janie swallowed. “I never really understood the logic behind crotchless panties. I mean, if you’re going to do the dirty, why wear panties in the first place?”
“Men.” Sherice shrugged. “They like mystery.”
Janie studied the panties. They were undoubtedly the least mysterious item of clothing she’d ever seen.
Bethany swallowed. “Still looks really uncomfortable.”
Sherice shrugged. “It’s not that bad.” The corners of her mouth edged up in a slightly smug smile. “You usually don’t wear them long, anyway.”
Janie fought the impulse to say “Eeeew”.
“Good to know,” Docia muttered, staring at the other bags. “What else you got there?”
Lee appeared with another tray of food. “Oh good, you’re opening the gifts. Anything interesting?”
Docia hurriedly dropped the panties back into the bag. “Not for general inspection, no.”
Janie picked up a plate, checking the contents. “Bruschetta?”
“Close to it.” Lee grinned at her. “Just eat, sweetheart, you look like you need sustenance.” He patted her on the shoulder, then walked back out the door into the dining room.
As soon as Lee was gone, Allie handed Docia another bag. “Try this one.”
Docia reached in and pulled out something that resembled a white satin placemat. “Gee, this looks…intriguing.”
“Oh, hold it up,” Bethany cried. “We can each take a shot at guessing what it is.”
“I know what it is. It’s a nightgown,” Allie explained.
Docia’s eyes widened. “Like hell.”
She gave the placemat a shake. It unfolded to reveal two satin panels, attached by three small straps on each side, with two more at the top.
Docia shook her head. “There is no way this will cover me, Allie, not even slightly.”
“Nonsense.” Allie got to her feet, a bit shakily. Apparently, they’d gone through more bottles of wine than Janie had counted. “C’mon, toots, stand up here. I’ll show you.”
Docia stood and Allie held the satin panels in front of her. They extended from the top of her breasts to a couple of inches at the top of her thighs. “See? I told you.”
Docia stared down at her front, the corners of her mouth quirking up slightly. “That’s not an accurate measure.”
“Sure it is.” Allie grinned. “Everything essential is covered.”
“Look, Al, let me put it this way—my cups runneth over.” Docia moved forward slightly so that her breasts pushed against the fabric. It moved up an inch.
“Still,” Allie mused, “you’ve got essential coverage, I tell you.”
“But why bother?” Docia’s eyebrows inched up. “Why wear anything at all?” She sank into her chair again, peering at the satin panels in Allie’s hands.
“Mystery.” Sherice shrugged. “Like I said before.”
“She’s right.” Allie plopped into her chair, staring off at the fireplace. “Sometimes I make yeast rolls at the restaurant.”
“Your yeast rolls are terrific,” Bethany mused. “A life-changing experience.”
“Thanks. Anyway, I make yeast rolls. And then when we serve them we put them in these wicker baskets with a white linen napkin over the top. You can’t see the rolls, just the outlines under the napkins, but you know they’re there.”
“Yeast rolls.” Docia stared at her.
Allie closed her eyes, her voice low and crooning. “All warm and round and smelling like bread. Just under that linen napkin.”
“Yeast rolls.” Docia’s lips began to tremble.
“Yep.” Allie smiled beatifically. “All in the presentation.”
Docia threw her head back and whooped. “Oh, god, yeast rolls.” She put her arm around Bethany’s shoulders.
“Lord yes,” Bethany cried, guffawing, “yeast rolls.”
They both embraced Allie, and the three of them leaned together, laughing so hard that tears rolled down their cheeks.
Janie glanced at Sherice, who was staring at the three women, her face blank.
Sherice raised an eyebrow at her, as she tipped back the last of her wine. “What’s so funny?”Janie shrugged. “Maybe you had to be there.”
Wednesday's Witty Words from Wise Women
It's not easy being a mother. If it were easy,
fathers would do it.
- Dorothy, the Golden Girls
Cyn: I just graduated two seniors this spring. My oldest son graduated from the United States Air Force Academy, distinguished in the field of Military Strategic Studies and hoping to be of benefit in the Counter-terrorism arena; my daughter graduated this spring as well from her high school as Valedictorian and carrying straight A’s through 8 semesters. She is planning on attending my Alma Mater in Nebraska where she wants to study biology and specifically the brain in the pre-med program. My youngest is having me run him around while he attends sports camps this summer.
I literally did something major for NINE days running. I was exhausted by the time all the graduation activities were over…but I have to admit, they were also a lot of fun.
In my “off” periods, I’m trying to restore my yard, and get a garden of perennials to survive. I’m not known for a green thumb so that is always a challenge for me.
I’d like to spend some time at a lake or in the hills too, if that works out.
AL: Shifters, cops, pirates…oh my! What current or upcoming release do you have on your bookshelf for the outstanding Blog Bites readers?
AL: What did you do to pay the bills before making your break in writing?
Cyn: I taught 7th and 8th grade in a self-contained classroom. What that means is that I taught ALL subjects from Math to Social Studies to Art. I taught middle grades for over ten years, then I did a couple with elementary kids and a couple with high school. Of all the grades I taught I loved 7th the most, with 10th grade American Literature a close 2nd.
AL: What do you feel is the most important thing that a first-time author should know?
Cyn: How to finish. Seriously. You can never be published if you don’t finish what you’ve begun.
AL: When you write do you do a detailed outline before you get started or do you have the idea then just 'fly by the seat of your pants'? :-)
AL: If you had to write yourself as a heroine, what kind of heroine would you be? What would you be named?
AL: Lethal Weapon or Pirates of the Caribbean?
Cyn: Lethal Weapon all the way (and that is absolutely no DIS to Johnny Depp). The Mel Gibson character is tragically wounded and in need of a woman’s healing touch, but also has that he-man protective streak (Much like Tor in Blind Devotion). He’s smart and funny and frequently acts before he thinks (although that does sound a lot like Jack Sparrow). He has a heart of gold, looks at the world with a simple sense of implied naiveté. This man wants very hard to trust but still remember what the knocks feel like from that awful School of Hard Knocks.
Cyn: My favorite sport is football, so I have to say my favorite quote is by a football player…Mike Singletary. “My favorite part of the game is the opportunity to play.” I can’t think of anything truer for writing. Every sale fills me with this incredible sense of awe…that someone out there is giving me yet another opportunity to play this wonderfully crazy, creative game.
Cyn: Again, thank you for inviting me. You’re questions were fun. If any of your readers have questions I’d be delighted to answer them.
Wednesday's Witty Words
Men who have a pierced ear are better prepared
for marriage - they've experienced pain and
- Rita Rudner
AL: So, tell us what’s happening with you.
Missy: Heehee, my current release has some great “shifting”, it’s titled They Call Me Death.
Missy: Well, I really enjoy my job (odd, I know), so I’m not concerned with making writing my full time career at the moment. My short-term goal would have to be getting the full series published set in my world of Shape-shifters. I’ve fallen in love with my characters and want to tell all of their stories.
Missy: It would definitely have to be an action movie, Jason Statham of course would be my leading man. I’d be a woman of mystery who can kick butt without messing up my hair.
My name is Alexia Williams. In my world, North America is divided between north and south—but not the way it’s taught in the history books.
After losing my family to the shifters, I joined the Combined Human States Army. Now I find myself on the front lines, defending the wall between my species and theirs. My mission is simple: keep the animals on their side by whatever means necessary—and I’m good at it. I don’t talk to them. I don’t sympathize with them. I sure as hell don’t admire them…until one saves my life.
Andor isn’t like any shifter I’ve ever met. He’s a three-hundred-year-old golden eagle asking for help finding missing shifters who may be in my lands. I just have to decide between helping the animals or ignoring signs that my fellow humans aren’t what I thought they were. But how can I help a species I hate and fear? Even if Andor makes me feel alive again?In the land of the shifters…they call me Death.
He sighed and rubbed his face. I looked at how large his handsappeared and wondered why I stood with a shifter I barely knew in myspace. The feel of my Glock still in my hand reassured me.
"Would it be too much to ask for you to place your gun…somewhereelse?"
"Yes. I shower and sleep with my gun, Andor."
He grinned and nodded in understanding. He took a step away frommy sofa into a clearer area of the room, removed his coat and shirtand dropped them to the floor. His wings instantly unfurled from hisbody, spreading across the room. I looked him over, and everythingelse about him remained human, or as human as usual. I took a steptoward him before I realized what I was doing. Placing my cup on thecounter, I stretched my hand toward the tip of his wing and Andorfroze. I touched the feathers tentatively at first, amazed at thesheer size of each one. They were soft and beautiful. I had a deepdesire to see them in full sunlight, wondering if they would shinelike gold.
I heard Andor's breathing speed up, as if he were panting fromphysical exertion. I still had my hand on his right wing when Iturned to look at his face. He was watching me with completely maleinterest, and I became self-conscious."Can you feel this?" I asked, as I ran my fingers lightly over afeather.
Wednesday's Witty Words
(A little deep this week)
As world events reflect, we remain far from
mastering the art of human relations. We have
invented no technology that will guide us to the
destinations that matter most.
After two world wars, the Holocaust, multiple
genocides, and countless conflicts, we must
ask how long it will be before we are able to
rise above the national, racial, and gender
distinctions that divide us, and embrace the
common humanity that binds us.
The answer depends not on the stars or some
mysterious forces of history; it depends on the
choices that you and I and all of us make.
- Madeleine Albright
AL: What current or upcoming releases do you have for us to sink our teeth into?
Beth: Well, first is my romantic suspense from Samhain called UNDER FIRE. This one is a thrill ride featuring smokejumpers, kidnappings, terrorist plots, chemical bombs…you name it. I loved writing that book! It is non-stop action—my favorite kind of scene to write!
AL: Dark, heroic defenders, oh my... J What got you hooked on weaving such dramatic-action packed tales?
Beth: I write the kind of stories I love to read. I’ve always been a fan of intrigue, action and suspense (in my books—hate it in my personal life!) My favorite authors from way back are Karen Robards, Sandra Brown, Suzanne Brockmann, Linda Howard… all masters of suspense and drama.
Beth: I love working from home…in my pajamas! I love the freedom of setting my own schedule, being my own boss, not having to report to an office. The downside is I have infinitely more distractions at home…the laundry that needs to be washed, the bills to be paid, the teenaged son who can’t wait until I finish a scene to ask his all-important questions…”When’s dinner, Mom?”
Beth: Well, I’ve already mentioned Karen Robards, Sandra Brown, Suzanne Brockmann, Linda Howard. More recently I’ve added Harlan Coben to that list. I love Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Susan Wiggs too. Oh, and Diana Duncan, and Loreth Anne White, and CJ Lyons, and… how long do you have? There are so many!
My son has this on his bulletin board: “ It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. -Theodore Roosevelt
AL: Thanks so much for sharing with joining us this week, Beth.
Beth: You’re most welcome and thanks for the opportunity to share a bit about myself and my books!
AL: If you’d like to find out more about Beth please visit:
Arriving at the scene of a wildfire, smokejumper Lauren Michaels and her crew are caught in the crosshairs of Jackson's nightmare. Lauren is the only one who can lead Jackson off the burning mountain and to the police. In order to prevent a national crisis and save a child's life, they embark on a treacherous journey—one step ahead of a sniper!
Despite the strap squeezing her chest, she dragged in a lungful of thin, smoke-tinged air. Think. Stay focused.
Waves of heat rolled up to greet her from the conflagration below. Thirty-foot flames reached skyward from the head of the fire like wicked, writhing hands waiting to snatch her from the air. The whip of wind streaming past roared in her ears.
The eighty-five pounds of dead weight strapped to her body pulled her toward the flaming trees. She forced training to the forefront.
Lauren grabbed the green ring near her left shoulder with her right hand.
Anticipation danced along every synapse.
With a firm yank, she drew her arm across her chest and flung it outward. A hard jerk at her shoulders snapped her upright. Lauren squeezed her eyes shut. Prayed.
Looking up, she watched the billow of white and orange splay overhead. Thank God.
The team was fanatical about checking chutes, but the off chance existed…
She craned her head until she spotted Boomer, her jump partner, drifting along to her left. Below them, she located the first stick of jumpers. Riley’s and Birdman’s rectangular canopies drifted smoothly toward earth. As Lauren sailed down, she scanned the ground for the tiny clearing that was her target.
“Over there! Top of that ridge!” Boomer shouted in the loud, deep voice that was the source of his nickname.
Lauren gave him a thumbs up. Jump spot in sight.
God, she loved her job!
Suddenly her view of the burning forest began turning dizzily. Something was wrong.
Lauren tugged on her left toggle to correct her spin. Once stabilized, she cocked her head back to check her chute again.
Dread slammed her stomach. A suspension cord had wrapped around the corner of her canopy and hung up. A tension knot.
“Damn it!” She grabbed the suspension line with both hands and jerked hard, working to free it. No luck. Another tug.
She started spiraling again and had to release the tangled line in order to pull her toggle. But she continued twirling, losing precious seconds.
“Mike! Cut away!” Boomer shouted.
Still whirling like a human fire devil as the earth rushed toward her, Lauren gave up her toggles and yanked again on the hung line. “Come on, you sorry sonofa—!”
“Mike!” She heard an uncharacteristic note of panic in Boomer’s voice.
Lauren knew she had to be close to five hundred feet. The point of no return. Cut away or face death. Below five hundred feet, the reserve chute wouldn’t have time to deploy for a safe landing speed. Not to mention how far she’d, no doubt, drifted off course.
One more hard tug. Nothing.
With the dense and unforgiving treetops getting closer by the second, she had no choice. She jerked the cutaway clutch. Again the tug of a canopy filling jerked her harness, this time from her chest.
“Shit, woman! You ’bout gave me a heart attack!” Boomer yelled.
“Piece of cake!”
Boomer laughed. “You’re a wild woman, Mike!”
She allowed herself a quick cleansing breath then started her checks. Canopy. Airspace. Toggles.
The jump spot was too far to the left now, and the treetops too close to clear. Damn. So much for her perfect record.
As she dropped into the forest, sharp branches jabbed at her and snagged her canopy. A veil of dark green pine boughs obscured her view. She heard the snap and tear as her canopy settled in the branches of a black spruce, suspending her forty feet in the air. She groaned. Boomer was sure to give her hell about this.
Her two-way radio sputtered, and from the plane, their spotter called. “Jump 49, Michaels. You okay?”
She fumbled for her radio and put it to her lips. “I’m in a frigging tree, but I’m okay. I’ll let you know when I’m on the ground.”
“How’s the view from up there, Mike?” Boomer said over the radio.
“Bite me, Boom,” she radioed back.
Even without the radio, she could hear Boomer’s answering hoot of laughter. She grinned and shook her head as she secured her radio and assessed her situation.
Checking her risers, she discovered her plight wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Without wasting any more time, she started working through the letdown procedure. Rope in leg pocket. Feed through D-rings. Tie off to tight riser.
She paused to make sure she had no lines or straps around her neck then released her cutaway clutch and rappelled to the forest floor.
“Jump 49, Michaels,” the spotter called over the radio. The rumble of the Twin Otter aircraft filtered through the transmission.
She dug her radio out again. “Go ahead.”
“We’re low on fuel and need to head back. You down yet?”
“Roger that. I’m on the ground. Go on home.”
“Jump 49, Fire Boss,” the spotter said, addressing Birdman.
“Go ahead,” Birdman’s melodic voice answered.
As she listened to the radio exchange between the jumpship and Birdman, Lauren shed her harness and helmet, leaving them in a heap to collect when she returned for her chute.
“We’ve just dropped your cargo. If everybody’s accounted for, we’re outta here. How on that?”
“Roger that. Fire Boss clear.”
Lauren was working to free herself from her jumpsuit when Birdman called her over the radio. “Whenever you’re through playing monkey in the trees, Mike, we could use you over here.”
Lauren rolled her eyes. “Don’t get your boxers in a knot. I’m coming.”
“I want you helping Boomer start a scratch line up the right flank.”
“Roger that.” After shucking out of her jumpsuit, she clipped her radio to her hip, gathered her personal gear bag and plodded through the brush toward the jump spot.
They only had a small fire to catch, but from what she could see from the air before she started spinning, the head was already heating up and getting ready to run. They’d have to work fast to contain it by nightfall.
When a loud crack splintered the air, Lauren stopped in her tracks. Another pop followed. And another. Her initial thought was that boiling sap had caused a few trees to explode. But the pitch was wrong. The sound too close.
“What the hell?” Boomer shouted from a distance.
After a brief pause, another crack echoed through the woods.
And Boomer screamed. In pain. A hoarse, anguished sound that knotted Lauren’s stomach.
“Boomer! What happened?” Her own voice didn’t carry as well as her partner’s, but visions of all forms of disaster added volume to her cry. Smokejumping was inherently rife with danger. The most lethal threat was the unexpected, untrained-for, fluke happening.
“Lauren, look out!” Boomer called over the radio. “They’re shooting at us!”
“Riley! Oh God, no! Jump 49, mayday! Are you there? Mayday! There’s a sniper out here!” Boomer’s horrified cry wrenched inside Lauren.
She dug in her personal gear, or PG, bag and wrapped her fingers around the .357 Magnum the Bureau of Land Management allowed jumpers to carry in case of bear attack. She’d never imagined one day she’d use the weapon to defend against a human assailant.
Heart thumping, she flicked the safety off and headed toward the jump spot. She stayed in the thickest brush and behind fat tree trunks whenever possible. As she inched forward, hiding from the shooter, she scoped the terrain before moving to the next spot that provided cover.
Jitters scrambled through her. Her fingers trembled around the gun, and she prayed she didn’t have to use it. A ninety-foot wall of fire she could handle. This game of cat and mouse with an unseen sniper spooked the hell out of her.
Finally she spotted a yellow jumpsuit at the edge of the narrow clearing that had been their jump spot. From her distance, she thought it looked like Boomer. Lying on the grass. Unmoving. Her pulse leaped.
She checked for signs of the shooter once more. Seeing no one, she gauged the distance to her fallen friend. Prepared to dash across the clearing…
A hand snaked from behind and clapped over her mouth. She spun, met the hard brown glare of a stranger.
BAIT AND SWITCH
Now Available in "PRINT"
Hi all Bait and Switch is now avaliable in "print".
For those who'd like to order it please visit:
Please see below for Chapter One of Bait and Swtich.
One workaholic. One gigolo. One week in Sin City. You do the math…
Frisky Business, Book 1
Anna Jackson’s ex-boyfriend may have stolen her promotion, but she’s not mad. Not anymore. She’s getting even—by beating him at his own game. So what if she has to give up all her free time and any semblance of a personal life? With a partnership in a law firm as prestigious as Beckam, Beckam and Leland on the line, she’s willing to pay the price.
Las Vegas escort Devon McGuire is charming, sexy, and damn good at pleasing women. He’d better be, it’s what he gets paid for. Always up for a challenge, he’s looking forward to his newest job. Who wouldn’t enjoy a week as the companion of a smart, sultry, high-powered attorney—no strings attached?
Devon’s used to pushing boundaries, but there’s something about Anna that makes him want to turn up the steam. And when she learns to let go and unexpectedly opens to him, he finds himself falling right in.
Whoa, hold it. Love was never part of the plan… Product Warnings
This book contains a sizzling, drop-dead gorgeous, sex-on-a-stick gigolo who wants to make women’s fantasies come true, and a woman who won’t cooperate and let him do his job.
If the plane lurched one more time Anna was going to run up to the cabin and be sick all over the pilot just to teach him a lesson. Granted, the pilot couldn’t control turbulence, but she needed to blame somebody. She clutched the paperwork in front of her as the plane took yet another sudden drop. Grimacing, Anna righted the documents in her lap.
Beside her, her legal assistant’s grin was mischievous. “We’re flying over the Vegas strip. Want to lean over and take a look at it as we fly in?”
Anna shook her head. “No, I’m fine. Thank you.”
“It’s a pretty awesome sight.” The woman leaned closer placing her chin her hand and gazed down. “I love Vegas. It’s true what they say, you know? What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”
Half listening, Anna highlighted a sentence. “Uh huh.”
“Oh yeah, Anna…I banged the whole league of Thunder from Down Under dancers in one night, then went on to find other men to have my way with for the rest of the weekend. It was some of the best sex I’ve ever had.”
Dropping her highlighter, Anna stared in horror at Janie O’Donnell. The woman was grinning from ear to ear, her green eyes flashing with humor. “What did you say?”
Janie laughed. “I’m kidding. I just wanted to get your attention.”
“You shouldn’t say stuff like that. It’s not funny. Someone might hear and take you seriously.”
Anna peeked behind them, hoping their colleagues hadn’t heard, but the laughs and thumbs-ups said differently. Blowing an exasperated sigh at the small group of women, Anna went back to her paperwork as the plane continued to make its descent.
As the plane touched the ground, everyone was forcefully propelled forward. Anna caught herself before her face met the seat in front of her, then reached down and grabbed the briefcase by her feet to put her work away.
The pilot chuckled as he came on over the speaker, “Well, now everyone’s awake.” The passengers all laughed except Anna, who waited impatiently for the plane to reach the terminal.
Once there, Anna worked on exiting without elbowing anybody though she wanted to for the sheer pleasure of it. At the baggage claim area, she pounced on her luggage before departing the airport with her troop.
The limo driver, holding a Beckam, Beckam and Leland sign greeted them kindly and loaded their bags in the trunk.
Anna climbed into the back of the limo, caught up in the week to come. She immediately started going over the agenda for the week again with Janie. The younger woman laughed and patted her shoulder. “I’ve got everything taken care of. Don’t worry. The week will go off with flying colors.”
Anna wanted to make partner. It was her goal. Thomas Leland had swept it out from under her, and she refused to let anything like that happen again. He had used her, dumped her, and stolen her promotion.
The women around her laughed, coaxing her to join them as they entertained themselves with drinks from the limo’s mini bar, but Anna refused. She clutched the strap of her purse in her hands and stared out the window, not really seeing anything. She was on a mission. This week she would prove that she was the best and she would let nothing stand in her way.
* * *
Janie held up her glass. “To a week’s vacation on BBL, with only a little bit of work to ruin it.”
All the ladies lifted their glasses in salute, except for Anna; she only lifted her glass half-heartedly.
Janie sipped on her margarita and batted her green eyes at Anna, her bright red hair slipping from its chignon at the back of her head. Mindy Fletcher, another attorney reached across the table and laid her hand over Anna’s.
“Snap out of it. You’ve got to lighten up. I don’t remember you ever being like this before Leland pulled his nasty stunt. You’ve been wound so tight this last year, like a hurricane ready to unleash itself on the world.”
Though Anna didn’t appreciate being referred to as a natural disaster, she shrugged and pushed her drink aside, studying the other women at the table. They’d all been friends for the past few years, with the exception of Mindy whom she’d known since their first year at college. They hadn’t been parted since.
Anna cocked her head as Mindy continued to rant. It was what Mindy did best, though it never used to be that way. Somewhere during their junior year, Mindy had changed from a soft spoken, sweet young woman, who’d been willing to bend over backwards for anyone to an overbearing, bossy, control freak, but Anna loved her despite all that. Mindy still bent over backwards to help a friend, that fact had never changed. Anna supposed it was Mindy’s way of trying to make it in the world, not to be judged because she was of the female population. She was obsessed with being a career woman and refused to rely on any man to succeed.
Sighing, Anna cut in when Mindy finally took a breath. “You know why I’m so dedicated to my work. I need to make partner. It’s not just a goal now; it’s a mission.”
“I thought you wanted to help people. Remember? The reason you wanted to be a lawyer was to ‘Help those who’ve been wronged.’ Not to be partner.”
Anna grabbed her purse and laid money on the table to pay for her meal and drinks. “Plans change.”
Nichole Schafer, another attorney in their firm, chimed in. “Thomas is a dick. Everyone knows it. He’ll get his someday, Anna, but you don’t have to kill yourself in the meantime.”
Anna stared at her, a slight smile touching her lips, watching as Nichole’s pale green eyes darkened in indignation. “I’m hardly killing myself.”
“I need to get in on this,” Holly Monroe, Mindy and Nichole’s legal assistant, stated. “You don’t go out. You don’t do anything fun. You work all day into the late hours of the night. You’re acting like a crusty old woman.”
Anna balked. “I. Am. Not. Old.” She almost yelled it across the table. The others began laughing. Anna was fuming now. “I’m pushing thirty, yes, but that hardly qualifies me as old.”
Janie was trying unsuccessfully to hide her riotous laughter. “She didn’t say you were old, counselor, she simply said you’re acting like it.”
Anna stood up with such force, she almost knocked her chair backward, but Holly caught it.
“Whoa, slow down there, little buckaroo.”
Anna’s face flamed, knowing the slow drawl coming from Holly’s lips was an attempt to tease Anna for the Tennessee accent that always managed to creep up when she was upset.
She clutched her purse in her hands and glared at all of them. “You snots.” She shoved her chair against the table and stormed off, their laughter ringing in her ears.
“Okay, now that she’s gone—good idea by the way, Mindy, my love,” Janie said mischievously, giving the woman her props with a “pound,” knuckle to knuckle.
Mindy blew a breath on her nails then rubbed them against her shirt as if polishing them. “I knew that would set her off. Leave it to me to get her panties in a bunch.”
They all shared another laugh then their heads came together as they spoke in low voices.
“So what’s the plan?” Holly asked, her finger twirling a long, blonde lock of hair. She gazed back and forth among them.
“We need something good. Something that will knock her socks off and bring her back to the same happy woman we all knew once before,” Nichole commented.
“If we have time, maybe we can plan Thomas’s demise while we’re at it,” Janie teased.
“Done,” Mindy stated. “Holly, pencil Thomas’s demise between lunch and drinks on Thursday.”
Nichole brought them back to the important matter at hand. “Come on, ladies, think. What can we do for Anna?”
They all shot down Holly’s idea. “That’s good for you, but not for ‘practical Anna’,” Mindy said, mimicking Anna’s no-nonsense tone.
“A day at the spa,” Nichole threw out. They all shook their heads. “What about bungee jumping?”
“I don’t know,” Janie said. “Something about the thought of Anna possibly going splat doesn’t sound appealing. I’d be a nervous wreck for her.”
“How about we take her to a strip show,” Mindy blurted out. “I know I wouldn’t mind seeing a bunch of hot looking guys up on stage shaking their money makers.” She licked her lips for emphasis.
Janie’s eyes widened, a grin spreading ear to ear. She clapped her hands in delight and yelled for another round of drinks. “Oh, Mindy, bless you, I have it. It’s perfect. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it earlier.”
“Strippers?” Mindy arched a brow.
Janie shook her head. “No, but close.”
They all huddled closer, their heads almost bumping together.
“What?” Nichole exclaimed.
“Spill it,” Mindy demanded.
Janie brought her hands together in front of her, her expression smug as their drinks were wedged in front of them by the server. She lowered her voice, conspiracy in every syllable. “A pros-ti-tute.”
“Anna’s not gay.”
Janie smacked Holly on the hand. “Stop playing dumb. You know what I mean. A male prostitute. A gigolo. A man so gorgeous, so well put together, so charming and determined that he will sweep her off her feet for a full seven days of fun whether she likes it or not.”
They were all silent, looking at one another. Then they started cheering at once and lifted their drinks, uncaring of the other patrons.
Mindy made the toast. “Let’s do this, ladies. We’ll find Anna a gorgeous love machine, and she will thank us later.”
Their glasses all clinked together, their laughter filling the bar. Mindy slapped her hand on the table and held up her credit card with the other. “I hope he takes platinum.”
* * *
Mindy, Nichole, Holly, and Janie sat at the back of one of the Caesars Palace bars. They waited and watched for their guest to arrive.
“How did you find this guy?” Janie asked.
Mindy sighed. “I called Angelica Montero.”
“What? Your client who runs the escort service?”
“So? Are you kidding me? You asked a client who is up on charges for her business to help you find a gigolo?”
Mindy looked bored. “Janie, she’s innocent until proven guilty. Besides, she knows everything about and everyone in this business. And she’s a good friend. She helped me out at a time in my life when I really needed someone. I’d defend her even if it cost me my license to practice. What are you complaining about anyway? This was your idea.”
Janie shook her head while Holly and Nichole chuckled, though all three women eyed Mindy curiously. None of them asked about Mindy’s relationship with New York’s most notorious madam, they knew it would get them nowhere fast.
Nichole chimed in. “Don’t start acting like Anna, Janie. It’s fine.”
Janie sighed. She rubbed her hands over her face. “I hope I don’t lose my job over this.”
Holly wrapped her arm around Janie’s shoulders. “Anna loves you too much. She’d never fire you.”
Smiling, Janie took a sip of her drink. Her gaze moved to the entrance, and choked on her drink. Holly started hitting her back, but Janie waved her off. “Whoa. Ladies, I believe this is our man.”
They all turned and stared. “Oh, he’s hot,” Nichole announced to no one in particular.
Mindy waved her hand, and the man made his way toward them. “Okay, ladies, be cool. I’ll handle this.”
Nichole blew and exasperated sigh. “Don’t be so dramatic, Mindy.”
“Ladies.” The man’s deep voice surrounded them, drew them in. “Devon McGuire.” He shook their hands as they introduced themselves, each trying not to gape. After being invited to have a seat, he sat opposite them in the large corner booth, his long frame filling the space. Delicious, naughty thoughts filled their minds. “What can I do for you?”
“Well,” Mindy began, “I’ve been told that you’re one of the best in this town, professional and a gentleman. We have a friend who’s in need of some serious help.”
He rubbed his jaw thoughtfully. “I’m sorry, but as I told you over the phone I’m not taking on any new clients at this time.”
“Then why did you bother coming here at all?” Mindy demanded.
Devon shrugged. “Your friend, Ms. Montero, threatened to rake me over the coals if I didn’t at least come down and hear you ladies out.”
“You have to take her,” Holly blurted out. “She’s sweet, but she’s just kind of…lost right now.”
Nichole nodded, setting her drink aside. “And it’s just for one week. She wouldn’t be a regular.”
“She really is great, but she’s just been burned and really needs someone to show her—”
Mindy snapped her fingers to draw everyone’s attention to her, and then focused on Devon. “Look, like Nichole said, it’s just for one week. Anna needs a fling. Otherwise, I’m afraid she might implode, she’s wound so tight.”
Devon smiled at that comment, but glanced at Janie. “I was hoping to have a week free before my regulars pick up again. I could recommend another gentleman instead.”
Janie cleared her throat. “Look, you don’t know us from the next showgirl, and we don’t know you, but you come highly recommended. I know you don’t care—why should you, you don’t know her—but if you could just give her a chance. She really needs something, you know?” She paused as if waiting for his reply, but when he only continued to watch her, Janie went on. “She really needs this, needs you, as ridiculous as it probably sounds. Her heart’s been broken, and her dreams are uprooted for the time being. We only want to help her get back to the fun, and loving woman we all adore. She won’t be your clingy, whiny type, we promise.”
He didn’t say anything for a moment, but his eyes were thoughtful. Finally he pulled out his calendar. “I might be able to fit you in. When do you need me?”
“Right now,” Mindy stated firmly.
He flipped through the pages till he came to July. He slid the pencil out and looked back at them. “How long?”
“Tomorrow through Saturday.”
“What’s her name again?”
He entered her name and made an arrow through the rest of the week. “Can you tell me what she looks like so when I meet her I’ll know her?”
Holly held up her hand and grabbed her purse from under the table. “I have a picture.”
“What are you doing with a picture of Anna?”
Holly dropped her purse on the table and glanced at Nichole. “I have a group picture of all of us that I keep. I’m sentimental, so cut me some slack.”
Holly handed the picture to the man. “That’s her, except she has short hair now.”
His eyes flicked over the picture before he handed the photo back to Holly. “Thank you.” He glanced at Mindy. “What exactly am I to provide for Anna?”
Mindy crossed her arms and stared at him, before finally responding. “Anything she wants.”
“Fine, my fee for the week is seven thousand dollars, and that does not include other expenses such as meals, shows, clubbing.”
Mindy nodded. “Fine. I was told you’d be about that much, but you need to keep receipts for all your expenses and I’ll reimburse you.”
Devon smiled as if he found her amusing. “No, you’ll pay up front and I’ll keep receipts and return any cash left over.”
Mindy glared at him, but nodded her head in agreement, then grabbed her own purse and pulled out a fat envelope filled with travelers’ checks that she’d advanced on her card.
He took the envelope, counted the checks, making sure each was signed before stuffing it inside the pocket of his blazer. Grinning, he leaned back and appeared to be making himself comfortable. “Now, where do I meet your friend?”
Sylvia: Thanks so much for inviting me!
AL: What current or upcoming releases do you have for us to read?
As for working in both genres, I guess I’m very lucky to be as disciplined as I am. With all I’ve got going on in my life, I do NOT have time for writer’s block. So when I sit down to work on a horror project, that’s what I do, my mind is focused on a horror story. Same with the romance. A couple of summers ago, I had the exhilarating experience of working on two novellas, one horror, one romance, each with a deadline. I wanted to finish both of these projects. I HAD to finish both of them. And I had a grand time doing it!
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?
Sylvia: YES. I’ve got a list going, of projects that are going to be popping up in the next year or so. Right now I’m working on a romance novella about Greek mythology – that’s the first project. Also, a publisher in Iowa contacted me last year about doing a book for a series of ghost stories. So, I’m currently working on Ghosts of the Illinois River. I’m having an absolute BLAST, you have no idea. I’ve been a sucker for ghost stories ever since I was a little kid, and doing the research for this book just lets me wallow in ghosts! I actually got to go to several of the sites I’m writing about, and I have had a couple of encounters with Norman, the ghost at the Peoria Player’s Theater. He’s a real character; I just love him. Then I’m also planning another romance novel about witches…the list just goes on.
Sylvia: My husband. I couldn’t live without him for six months. A BIG stack of books. And fruit dip, like my grandmother-in-law used to make. I’m assuming there’s going to be fruit on this island, right? Right? (And I’d have to smuggle my dog Eureka in too, because I’m over three things. But I’m just nuts for this dog. I couldn’t leave her for six months either.)
AL: It’s raining cats and dogs in your house. Have you always been a pet lover?
2) There’s a test you have to take before you can drive a car or ride a motorcycle. There should also be a test you take before having children. I’m just sayin’.
3) And for heaven’s sake, be nice to each other!
What You Wish For: Egyptian prince Ankh-Kheperu had been dead for centuries, until museum curator Emily Chase coaxes him back to life with the help of text from Ancient Egypt’s The Book of The Dead. What kind of girl could say no to being seduced by a dark, handsome, exotic Egyptian prince?
Love 101: Someone is stealing ancient Greek artifacts. When sexy detective Tony Saals signs up for professer Becca Hellenga’s art history class, he thinks that he’ll learn something that will help him catch his man. But Becca is about to catch a man of her own!
Through a Glass Brightly: When American Angela Woods moves to Europe to pursue a job as a English teacher, she never expected to find herself caught in a ménage a trois with two attentive Italians, both dedicated to pleasuring her to utter writhing fulfillment. The problem? One of them is a ghost!
“I agree,” Ankh-kheperu murmured. He brushed a stray lock of hair from my forehead.
“Agree? Agree with what?” I had completely forgotten what I’d just said. His nearness, his scent, his sheer maleness was driving every coherent thought from my mind.
“There is no need for me to put any clothes on.” He took my hand and turned it over, kissing the tender inside of my wrist. “However, there is every need to get you out of the clothes you’re wearing.”
Hoo boy. All of a sudden I was finding it very hard to breathe properly. My breath was coming in shallow little gasps as he nibbled his way up my hand. Ever so gently, he took my index finger into his mouth, first laving it with his tongue, then grazing it with tiny little nips of his teeth. A whimper escaped my closed lips. Oh, he felt sooo good!
Now there’s something you have to understand about me, if you haven’t figured it out already. I am so not into one night stands. I’ve dated, sure, but I have never brought a guy home from a bar somewhere (or from a museum, for that matter) and made wild, crazy, passionate love to him all night long, pausing only long enough for some hot quasi-sexual snacking on the kitchen floor in front of the fridge. Unfortunately, that has never been my style.
But there was something about Ankh-Kheperu that drew me to him. I mentioned before that I had felt a connection with him that went far beyond the merely sexual. In fact, there was nothing remotely sexual about it – he was still a mummy at that point, for crying out loud.
When I had made that recording, he had been on my mind. When I gave tours to groups of giggling, wide eyed schoolchildren, I saw him in his case. When I wrote up my yearly reports on the status of the Egyptian exhibit, he was in my thoughts. Ever since I had started working in that museum in high school years ago, Ankh-Kheperu had been a part of my life. Heck, for all I knew, we had been lovers in ancient Egypt in a previous life together. Don’t laugh too hard. It’s happened before. I don’t doubt that for a moment.
One thing was for absolute sure. It had been my voice on the recording, saying his name over and over through the hours for months, even years on end, saying his name with respect and maybe even with a little bit of love, that had brought this man back to life. That had to count for something.
And the Winners Are...
And the winners from last weeks contest are:
Eternal Embrace & $10 gift card from Barnes & Noble: CAFFEY
Eternal Embrace: KAT HALL
Thank you everyone for stopping by and leaving your comments. Please be on the look out for Eternal Embrace's release next Tuesday, the 9th.