8:45 AM

In the Author Spotlight


AL: Hi Tracey! Welcome back to Blog Bites.

Tracey: Hi, Ann. Thanks for having me.

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

Tracey: Well, I’ve recently been reunited with an old love of mine. Kickboxing. I used to be a certified instructor and am considering getting re-certified sometime next year.

AL: What book would you like to share with us?

Tracey: The book I’d like to share today is Sex Symbol. It’s my latest release from Ellora’s Cave.

AL: What other tales are you busy weaving?

Tracey: Well, I’ve always got a few in the works, but no definite titles right now.

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

Tracey: You will be expected to promote your book. The publisher does not automatically do this if it isn’t in your contract. It isn’t like the movies.

AL: What is one glaringly/specific personality trait that you put into your hero/heroine that is all Tracey? One that a family member or friend says, “Hey, this is so you.”

Tracey: Everyone says that when they read my Lilith Mercury: Werewolf Hunter Series. The character Lilith is definitely me, right down to her flaming red hair. Ha. Ha. It’s probably her sarcasm that is most obviously mine. I do that from time to time in other characters. When people say, “Hey, so-and-so has a sassy mouth.” (Meaning it in a funny way) That’s usually when I let the character say what I was really thinking.

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?

Tracey: The biggest goal is to be able to make a living solely from my writing. I’d like to reach a bigger audience, continue to get my name in front of people with new releases. I’m always working on how to make this happen.

AL: Get comfy and let’s get personal! Besides writing, what other things do you like to do in your spare time?

Tracey: Well, like I said before, I enjoy kickboxing. I also like to paint and draw. Sometimes I sketch my characters just to get a clear picture of them in my head. I love music too, of all kinds. And I like to sing. I was in an opera once years ago. Ha. Ha.

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

Tracey: My favorite tradition had just passed. Halloween. I absolutely love to dress up.

AL: 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?

Tracey: Clean my tub, which included removing some of my long hair from the drain. Yuk. If it isn’t done once every two weeks (cause I have a lot of hair) it gets clogged. I also dusted the entire house and next I’m going to shampoo my carpets. Definitely not glamourous.

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

Tracey: I’ve studied hand-to-hand fighting techniques and know how to blind someone and break their bones in under five minutes. Okay, so maybe some people won’t find it that surprising.

AL: Fun question! If you could go anywhere in the world and in any time…where would you go? What would you do? And why that time-period?

Tracey: I’d go back to when I was around 8 years old and harvest pumpkins with my dad, just because it was so much fun the first time around. Daddy still grows pumpkins, but not like the huge ones he grew when I was a kid.

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

Tracey: “Your home is a scrapbook of your life.” – Shubhra Krishan

AL: Thanks so much for sharing with us, Tracey.

Tracey: Thanks again for having me. I had a lot of fun :-D

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




Sex Symbol is the story of Lucy Harper, an ordinary woman who suddenly finds herself in extraordinary circumstances. Not only is her new boyfriend a werewolf, but her new tattoo might be more than a picture of her favorite flower. According to the local werewolf pack, it’s a “sex symbol.”


The room was lit by candles. There was one small table and a few shelves in one corner of the room. A shelf of some sort blocked my view, but when I stepped around it I saw where the sound had come from. Eramus was chained to the wall. One arm was locked above his head and his feet were shackled where he stood. I ran to him.

“Eramus, who did this to you?”

I started to look around for a key, but he stopped me, putting his free hand on my shoulder.

“I did.”

I stood there for a moment and just stared at him.

“I don’t understand. Why would you do this to yourself? How do you expect to ever get free?”

“The shackles are controlled by a machine. In twelve hours, it will release me.”

“Why? What happens for the next twelve hours?”

The look on his face was pained and though I made a move toward him he turned his face away, stopping me once again.

“The full moon,” he answered.

It took me a minute to find my voice. “Eramus, a wolf chased me he—”

“I don’t know who’s doing this,” he said. “But if I am to have the strength to fight him, I have to stop suppressing what I have become. I thought that I could pretend to be a man in order to…in order to love you.”

Tears stung my eyes, but I ignored them. “If you’re not a man, then what are you?”

“A beast.”

The pain in his voice was like nothing I had ever heard. And all the sadness in the world was in the eyes that looked back at me as they slowly turned to amber. I understood what he was trying to say and it made no difference to me. I touched his face and as his fangs grew he started to cry.

“Get out of here,” he said.

“I’m staying.”

He was still human to all appearances except for the short fangs and amber eyes. He looked like something wild and a passion stirred in me such as I have never felt before. He wasn’t wearing a shirt and when I placed my hand against his chest it seemed to me that his flesh burned.

“I don’t want to hurt you,” he pleaded.

“Then don’t.”

When he looked at me I felt a flame ignite in my soul like hellfire. Anything I felt before was in comparison to a match. The tortured look in his eyes broke my heart in two. I didn’t think it could ever be repaired, but he was surely welcome to both pieces.

I kissed him and my heart leapt. It danced against my ribs to a beat all its own and Eramus trembled at my touch. Sweat shown on his forehead like a fine mist and as I trailed my hand down his face I could feel his stubble already starting to grow.

A low growl escaped his throat as he said, “You should be running.”

“Didn’t you know? Beauty is incomplete without the Beast.”

I didn’t call myself beautiful because of my own opinion, but because he always said that I was. It may seem ridiculous, but I was not afraid. Not just because he was chained, but because whatever he became, he was still my Eramus underneath. And I was completely and irreversibly in love with him.

9:49 AM

In the Author Spotlight

J. R. Lindermuth

CONTEST: J. R. will give a print copy of Being Someone Else to a commenter. He’ll select in a random drawing. Best wishes!

AL: Hi John! Welcome back to Blog Bites.

John: Thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.

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

John: I’m librarian of my county historical society. We are visited throughout the year by patrons from all over the U.S., Canada and even abroad who have roots in this area. We close down at the end of December for two months to give the staff a rest and get caught up on cataloging, shelving and related tasks. After a busy summer, I’m ready for a break.

AL: Please tell us about your current or upcoming release.

John: My current release, Being Someone Else, is the fourth in the Sticks Hetrick mystery series set in Swatara Creek, a fictional community near Harrisburg PA. Daniel ‘Sticks’ Hetrick is the former police chief and he’s come out of forced retirement to serve as unofficial consultant to his less experienced successor.

I’ve also signed a contract for Fallen From Grace with Oak Tree Press for their new Western line. I don’t have a release date yet.

AL: What other works are you deep into?

John: I’m nearing completion of the first draft of another Hetrick novel, tentatively titled Practice To Deceive.

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'? :-)

John: I’m definitely in the pantser category. I have a general idea where I’m going and jot some notes to keep me on track, though they’d be meaningless to anyone else. I’ve tried the detailed outline procedure and it doesn’t work for me. I like my characters to surprise me. If I knew every step along the way I’d get bored before I reached my destination.

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

John: With the Hetrick books I’ve been using the same setting and cast of characters long enough they’ve become almost real to me. For my other novels—if it’s unfamiliar territory—I’ll do the necessary research. In fact, thanks to my newspaper and genealogical background, I enjoy research. As to names of characters; yes, I have changed them at times when they didn’t resonate with what I later discovered about the character.

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?

John: I wouldn’t mind making the New York Times bestseller list or having one of my books made into a movie. But, seriously, my primary goal is just to keep on writing and, hopefully, make each book better than the one before.

AL: Let’s get personal! What would people be surprised to know about you?

John: I’m a skinny little guy and you wouldn’t believe how much I like to eat. If I’m adventurous in any area it would be in willingness to try any dish once. I’m not Andrew Zimmern, but I’ve sampled some ethnic fare many might consider bizarre.

AL: Do you and your family have a favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

John: Since my children live nearby we manage to get together for all the major holidays. My daughter’s and her youngest son’s birthdays are near Thanksgiving, so that’s an additional incentive for getting together. The main traditions are being together and eating too much.

AL: What book(s) are you reading right now?

John: Elmore Leonard’s Djibouti and Douglas Starr’s fascinating book about the birth of forensic science, The Killer of Little Shepherds.

AL: Do you have a favorite sport, &/or team that you follow?

John: I’ve never had much interest in team sports. Three of my grandsons participate in baseball and I do try to attend their games. I used to hunt and fish when I was younger. My son was never interested in hunting, but we occasionally target shoot. My son-in-law recently got interested in that, too.

AL: Fun question! 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?

John: In regard to my driving, my kids call me A. J. (Foyt). Does that give you a hint? Actually, I’ve never been much of a car buff. My main interest in a car is that it get me from point A to B in comfort and without any problems.

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

John: “The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the same as the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” Mark Twain

AL: Thanks so much for sharing with us, John.

John: Thanks again for the opportunity to share some information on my writing. I’ve enjoyed it.

AL: If you’d like to find out more about John please visit:
Fourth book in the Sticks Hetrick mystery series.
Some people believe violence is foreign to our nature. Dan ‘Sticks’ Hetrick, retired chief and consultant to the Swatara Creek police department, knows better. We put a lid on our natural tendency to violence when we started living in groups, devising moral codes to hold it in check and allow us to live in harmony with others. But, deep down in the Id, there is always that tendency to violence.
When an out-of-state reporter is found murdered in the restroom of a disreputable bar the tendency to violence spirals in the rural Pennsylvania community, and the investigative trail keeps bringing Hetrick and his team back to the family of a wealthy doctor who has come back to his hometown in retirement.
Hetrick and his protégé Officer Flora Vastine are joined by an old friend from his State Police days as they unravel old secrets and mysteries in a tale with as many shocking twists as a country road.
REMEMBER: J. R. will give a print copy of Being Someone Else to a commenter. He’ll select in a random drawing. Best wishes!

10:11 AM

In the Author Spotlight

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

Ciara: Hi Ann! Thank so much for having me.

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

Ciara: OMG, my life is a roller coaster right now. This is the week we close the magazine that I work for which means a ton of work, but fun work. When this interview posts, I’ll be taking students on a field trip to a college workshop, and at the moment I’m writing this, I’m in a hotel room waiting for a wedding to begin. The weekend prior to this post, we’ll be hosting about 60 folks in our backyard for Orphan’s Thanksgiving. Yeah, my life is crazy fun.

AL: What are you currently working on?

Ciara: I just finished work on the sequel to On the Silver Edge of Time, a Viking time travel and I just dived into another fantasy that will be a sequel to the book I have coming out in December; The Keeper of Moon Haven.

AL: Who inspired you to follow your dream of writing?

Ciara: Many hold this honor, but the one writer who pushed me into writing more than just first chapters was Kim Lenox who has the Shadow Guard series. Not only is she a wonderful writer, but she’s true inspiration for other writers and a good friend.

AL: Out of all your stories do you have one that is more near and dear your heart?

Ciara: Each holds a special place, but I think Sarah’s Brass Token is by far one of my favorites. It’s my mom’s fave, too. Mom thinks I fashioned the hero after my father. I just know Tabor has a heart of gold. This was my first completed book though I didn’t contract it until after my first came out, Celestial Dragon.

AL: What do you like best about writing? What is your least favorite thing?

Ciara: I love the freedom of creating my own world. For me, writing is all about the creative process and allowing my imagination a chance to run wild. My least favorite thing about writing is working on the ending. I tend to have to rewrite endings at least five times before I’m comfortable with what’s happening. Maybe, it’s because I don’t want to say goodbye to the characters.

AL: It’s time to get personal! I love the fun fact about the cover of, On the Silver Edge of Time. When you opened the jpeg did you see the resemblance of the hero to your brother right away, or did you have to blink several times, cock your head and figure out where you’ve seen that face before?

Ciara: Oh, no. The moment I saw that cover, my jaw dropped and I groaned. I actually went – ew, cuz who wants to think of their brother as a sexy, to-die-for Viking? Once I got over the “ew” factor, I decided this was the neatest thing ever. Oh and my SIL was really excited. Of course, her first reaction was “wow, I want one of those – oh, wait, I have one of those,” meaning the sexy bod the model had. My brother blushed a pretty shade of red and has been a great sport about it all.

AL: What is this romance writer's idea of the "perfect romantic evening"?

Ciara: A moonlight sail under a full moon. There’s nothing more relaxing that being surrounded by nothing but miles of rippling water, an endless blanket of stars and your hunky man sitting next to you. I am married to my soul mate and I’m very lucky. He brings me flowers just because.

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

Ciara: Ireland. We both have Irish roots so I guess it just calls to me. And – I love traipsing though old buildings so yep, I’d be sure to tour a castle or two.

AL: Did you dress up for Halloween and if so, what has been your most outrageous costume?

Ciara: ROFL. My DH and I used to go all out for Halloween and we’ve kept every costume we’ve ever done. Our favorite was Popeye and Olive Oil. We won several awards for that one. This year we went as recycled teenagers.

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

Ciara: I’ve actually met several famous folks and what I’ve learned is that they’re just regular folks like you and me, so hmmm. Okay, you’ll laugh, but I’d like to meet David Cassidy just because he was my idol when I was a teen and I’d like to thank him for all those years of fantasies. Too funny.

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

Ciara: I’ve got a horrid memory for things like this and I don’t know if I heard it somewhere or what, but I’m always telling my students, “don’t sweat the little things.”

AL: Thanks so much for joining us, Ciara

Ciara: Ann, thank big time for letting me come and hang out.

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




On the southern fringes of the Mendip Hills sits the Castle Hamingjur, an abandoned structure most fear haunted. Yet, on the rare occasions when the Hunter’s Blue Moon occurs, the Keeper occupies this mysterious castle where he guards the bridge to Alfheim Haven.

Noreen Willshire discovers more than fairytales hidden between the pages of Beletania’s diary. She opens the ancient book and finds a bridge to a Faery Realm where all manner of mythical creatures reside. In her naïveté, she summons the Keeper before his scheduled time in the human realm. In that brief moment, the mysterious wizard touches her soul with more than magick. She promises to return the diary during Mefylleth, a time when the barriers between the two realms melt away, but danger stalks her path. Torn between her desire to make a new life for herself in America and her growing love for the Keeper, she must bridge the gap between magick and time to follow her heart.


He turned away from the cluster of faeries. He’d learned many things since becoming the Keeper, one of which was to use a firm hand when dealing with the Beings of Alfheim Haven. As a result, he rarely bowed to another’s will. He glanced down at the translucent quality of his hand and bit off an oath.

The blasted woman continued to read. Her throat must be hoarse by now. Time flowed differently in Alfheim Haven. A minute in the human realm equated to nineteen minutes here. She must have read that story for almost three hours. If anything, she was tenacious.

He walked slowly. Her voice pulled at him. He resisted. Doesn’t she have anything better to do with her time?

By the time he reached the keep, his skin was completely transparent. He swung his cape over his shoulder and yanked the front door open with more force than he intended. He must reign in his temper and not give into the human emotion. In Alfheim Haven, he was an elf, a wizard. His humanity had no place in the Faery Realm.

I won’t go. She can read until she has no voice and still, I won’t go.


His mother’s gentle voice broke through his thoughts. His eyes met hers. A flitting worry etched her features before it fled from view. “She calls to you again, doesn’t she?”

He frowned. He should have never told his mother of his visit to the human realm.

“Just because she calls, doesn’t mean I must go to her. I won’t be manipulated.”

His mother turned her head away, but not before he caught her gentle smile. She studied the flowing fabric of her gown with more interest than it deserved. “Vin, when you saw the woman, did you think to ask her name?”

His mouth gaped. He clamped it shut. Awiergan! What had he been thinking? How would he find her when he bridged to the human realm if he didn’t know her name. Mefylleth drew near, and he wouldn’t have much time to locate the girl or the book. “Aye, but she managed to avoid telling me. It’s an oversight I intend to correct. Have no fear, Mother, this situation will resolve itself soon. I give you my word.”

Before he could change his mind, he disappeared from her sight and into the timeless void that would take him to the human realm -- and the nameless woman who summoned him.

8:57 AM

In the Author Spotlight


CONTEST: I’m delighted to put up for offer a copy of my latest book Phantom’s Pleasure, a Paranormal romance, for giveaway. To enter to win, simply respond each day I’m featured between November 1 and November 6. On November 7, 2010 I’ll be announcing the winner with the most posts. You can leave a comment, post a question, or just say hi!

I’m also proud to announce that I’ll be giving 2nd and 3rd place prizes. These special little bags will be a hand crafted clutch type bag with some ‘bling’ in it.

AL: Hi Patricia! Welcome back to Blog Bites.

Patricia: Thanks for having me this week.

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

Patricia: Wow, life is hectic as always. I’m currently looking to expand on my editing business as well as learning the ins and outs of teaching because I’ve been invited to share my knowledge with a group of Intermediate students locally.

AL: What book would you like to share with us?

Patricia: I’m super excited to be sharing with you the newest book to my back-list. Phantom’s Pleasure is my first foray into the paranormal genre, and is a fun, saucy book about a 19th century Southern Belle that haunts her familial home – and falls in love with the playboy cowboy that current resides in it.

AL: What other tales are you weaving?

Patricia: I have three books in the works at the moment. One is still in the planning stages, and is about a lady outlaw set in the 19th century USA. I’m working on completing the 9th century Irish Celtic romance I’ve been workingon for over a year, and am polishing up a short Historical Romance I’m going to be submitting to HQ in the next few weeks!

AL: Have you ever wanted to write your book in one direction but your characters wanted to go in another direction. What did you do in such a situation?

Patricia: All the time. When I first started writing (after I was pubbed) I would do these intensely detailed outlines for each chapter that were 20 or so pages…and after chapter five I’d look at them and shake my head because the story was going in another direction. I’ve learned to plan for the first chapter, get the characters to meet and then let them do the hard work of writing the novel…saves me having to ditch a perfectly good outline! LOL

AL: What do you like best about writing? What is your least favorite thing?

Patricia: World Building!!! I love to be able to create a world that readers can fall into and experience through the characters. Its always been the most fun to do, especially when you’re dealing with historical places, events, people. Least fun would have to be writer’s block. I hate it with a passion. Not only do I find it to be a perfect opportunity to procrastinate but if the characters aren’t talking to me its frustrating, I like to be able to keep the pace of my writing strong throughout the process and writer’s block hinders that.

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?

Patricia: I would like to get at least two books on audio. I have a lot of fans who like to listen to books when they’re traveling and can’t take my books with them so that sucks. One thing that I have set for myself and haven’t quite succeeded at is to get NY pubbed. I’m hopeful with my HQ submission but again, until I have the contract in hand its still in the planning stage and not a reality.

AL: Time to get personal! What favorite movie; or T.V. show makes you hunker down on the sofa and settle in for the night? Favorite Movie?

Patricia: Anything with John Wayne in it. If its one of his westerns I’ll watch it for hours because he’s such a great actor. Just recently, we got a new channel called Investigative Discovery – which has a lot of awesome shows on it…one of which is called Deadly Women and I’ll shut down for that since it features some of history’s most lethal women…like the Blood Countess – now there was a scary woman!

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

Patricia: Having someone call me at 8 pm and ask me if I’m eating dinner. LOl doesn’t sound like much but when you get that call every night, 7 days a week, it gets annoying quite fast. Doesn’t help that the entire conversation is the same every night – same five questions, same distracted tone…but hey they’re family so you have to luv ‘em!

AL: 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?

Patricia: Having to explain to someone the difference between writing and breathing! A lady I met said that writing was a hobby, something I should do in my spare time…of course I had to explain to her that for me, writing, is as natural as breathing! Word the wise – don’t try to convert those who have no idea what they’re talking about! Let them hold onto their illusions.

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

Patricia: Watch reruns of the Young Riders, crochet, watch tv. It’s not often that I get “me” time so I tend to wallow in it and let my creative batteries recharge.

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

Patricia: I’d have to say Queen Bouddica. A powerful, influential woman leader in her own right, who led her people to greatness in the face of an enemy that ultimately either enslaved, slaughtered, or overruled all other nations for the sake of the glory of Rome! I’d just like to find out what she was thinking when she went against the Roman army for their crimes against her and her daughters.

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

Patricia: "Perseverance is much like an ink well….top it up and you’ll never run out!" – Patricia Bates (taped to my office wall) "Success is like chocolate, once you’ve had a taste you can’t help but go back for more!"

AL: Thanks so much for sharing with us, Patricia.

Patricia: Thanks for having me. Its been great and I hope everyone has lots of questions!

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




What’s a one hundred and forty year old ghost to do when she’s drawn to the rugged cowboy in her home? There’s only one thing Frances MacKenny can do…seduce him. Amid deceit, weddings, angry ex-lovers, and general insanity, Frances wants Logan Harris any way she can get him…including their haunting nightly tryst.


The shower shut off. Curiosity plagued her, and she stepped around the door. Steam swirled and danced around Logan as the shower door swung open. The silk of her skirts slipped from her fingers, and her jaw dropped, heat flooding her face. Dear Lord, is that even possible? At the sight of the man who stepped from the shower, she cupped her burning cheeks and whimpered. Lust fired through her.

Wet, auburn hair was plastered to his skull. A shadow covered his square jaw. Broad shoulders, tanned by hours spent under the sun, glistened with water. Silvery beads glided over his sculpted chest, trailing through the hair that narrowed along his belly to the wild patch around the base of his penis.

As he stepped from the shower and reached for a towel, thick, muscled legs bunched and gathered with each movement he made. She swallowed at the sight of his manhood, swinging back and forth with the motion. She moved closer. Without a thought to how her actions would be taken, she raised a hand and trailed one finger down his chest, following a drop of water over the toned muscles.

His gaze lifted, a shiver coursing through him. Could he feel her touch? Was it possible?

“Dear Lord! What have…?” She blinked. A wave of heat crawled along her neck. Clasping her hands to her breasts, she backed away from him until she passed through the wall and obliterated her view. Fanning herself desperately, Frances turned and high-tailed it back up the stairs to her private retreat.

“Oh, goodness me.”

REMEMBER: Will be offering a copy of her latest book Phantom’s Pleasure, a paranormal romance, for giveaway. To enter to win, simply respond each day she is featured between November 1 and November 6. On November 7, 2010 I’ll be announcing the winner with the most posts. You can leave a comment, post a question, or just say hi!

She's also proud to announce that she’ll be giving 2nd and 3rd place prizes. These special little bags will be a hand crafted clutch type bag with some ‘bling’ in it.

9:40 AM


Blog Bites will be starting back up again next week. We'll have two (count 'em - two!) authors each week in November with the exception of Thanksgiving week. Lots of good reads coming your way!

Where have I been? Taking care of my dad. He is finally doing better. October has been a roller coaster and I'm ready to get on a slower ride.

Thanks all!

11:02 AM


Hey all! As some of you know I do have a day job. It's one of my busiest times of the year so I will be taking a break from the blog for the next two weeks.

I know this year has been a hit and miss as far as Author Spotlights, Wednesday's Witty Words and Movie Phrase Friday (Movie Phrase Friday is pretty much non-existent). I do apologize for this. My work has gone from a balance of busy to slow moments to constantly busy all the time to the point of overwhelming every day. I love my job! I'm glad to do the work, but it does interfere with the blog and my writing as a whole. My family has had its share of issues. My dad is going on dialyses, has congestive heart failure, terrible diabetes, and is blind. I'm his only child. Though I have siblings they are my mom and step-dad's. Right now, he is a priority and some mornings I get a call that I have to bring him to the hospital, which means I miss a post for you, the readers, and sometimes an author's scheduled start day for their week in the "spotlight".

I tell you this not for sympathy, but so won't think, "Wow, that Ann Lory can't keep her commitments and is a total ding bat." I hope you understand and know that if I haven't posted; as with all of us, "life" is happening.

Thanks so much for stopping by every week. I really do appreciate each and every one of you. I love doing this blog. Hopefully things will slow down and I can start being more consistent with this part of my life.

Bless you,

9:43 AM

In the Author Spotlight & Contest


CONTEST: Victoria will give away a signed copy of A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Families to one lucky person who leaves a comment. Make sure to leave your email addy so Victoria can contact you if you win. Good luck to all!

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

Victoria: Thanks, Ann. I’m thrilled to be here.

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

Victoria: I’m looking forward to Fall camping with my husband and our three dogs. I have Tucker, a German Shepherd Dog, Rocky a Husky, and Molly a Black Lab.

AL: Please tell us about a book you have on the bookshelf for us to read.

Victoria: A paranormal romance entitled, The Dream House Visions and Nightmares, Asylett Press.

Recurring dreams of a house Hope Graham's family rented when she was a child, taunt her nights with images of a woman in a bloody nightgown pleading for help. Dream sequences of children metamorphosing into rats, blood spewing out of windows, and walking across decaying bones, foretell of sins of the past and forewarn of danger in the present. In an attempt to end the agony of her sleep deprivation, Hope travels to her hometown...only to discover that the truth can be more frightening than a nightmare.

AL: What are you currently working on?

Victoria: A paranormal thriller, The Haunting of Ingersull Penitentiary.

A penitentiary founded on the system of separation and torture, built on land cursed by a witch from the sixteen hundreds, and is now converted into a bed and breakfast…what could possibly go wrong?

AL: What is one glaringly/specific personality trait that you put into your hero/heroine that is all Victoria? One that a family member or friend is hey, this is so you. 

Victoria: My character Hope Graham in The Dream House Visions and Nightmares is having trouble losing those last ten pounds and she is self-conscious about it. She picks out specific jeans that she believes make her butt look the smallest. That is so me, and I think a lot of other women can relate to that.

AL: You write many different genres of books. Do you ever have trouble keeping it all separated? Do you find you prefer one type of writing over another?

Victoria: For my third novel I returned to the paranormal ghost story, because it is so fun to write. Characters can find out information they would not normally have access to. I enjoy the suspense and spine tingling occurrences. While writing Bolt Action, I enjoyed the police procedure and crime research that was necessary. I can’t wait until another crime presents itself for sarcastic Detective Leslie Bolt to solve.

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'? :-)

Victoria: I’m a pantser! I don’t outline and I’m never sure where the characters will take the story or how it will end. I’m sad if someone I care about gets killed off because, just like the reader I didn’t know it was going to happen until it did. The Dream House Visions and Nightmares began because I experienced a recurring nightmare about a house I lived in as a child and my sister Tammy told me to write it down. For Bolt Action I began with the characters Detective Leslie Bolt and her sister Tasha. The sisters where based on a comment someone made to me about their personal experience with adoption after they read my story of adoption.

AL: All right, let’s delve a little deeper. You’ve written a book titled, “A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Parents”, by some of the titles I can tell you love coffee, but my real question is…are you adopted, or have you adopted children? I have friends that have just finalized their adoption of a little boy and girl that they have been caring for almost two years now. Has adoption been common knowledge in your home? Is it something that is hard to deal with, or was it never an “issue”?

Victoria: I am excited for your friends and the child they are adopting. Please tell them congratulations from me! Why I Believe in Angels is my personal story of adoption in the anthology, A cup of comfort for Adoptive Families. I was six when I went to live with my family, but it was never an issue because I was their daughter from day one. This month marks the fortieth anniversary of my arrival to my family!

The other anthology I had a story in was, Chicken Soup for the Coffee Lover’s Soul. It’s entitled, A Gift Among Sisters. It is the story of my kidney donation to one of my biological sisters.

AL: Can you describe yourself in 3 sentences or less?

Victoria: I’m blessed, I’m a Christian, a wife, mother, sister, teacher, and an author. I love my family and I enjoy camping, hiking, shooting bow, snow-shoeing, riding motorcycle, and I’m addicted to true crime shows on Discovery ID®. As an author I believe everything I see and experience can be blended and used in a story, so be careful what you say around me!

AL: What's your favorite music?

Victoria: I enjoy Rock & Roll like AC/DC, Joe Cocker, and Bob Seger, but I also like to hear the old country of Johnny Cash, and Waylon Jennings.

AL: Fun question: You’re the actress in a must see blockbuster movie that everyone’s been waiting all summer for: A)What’s the movie about? B)Who’s your character? C)Who’s your leading man?

Victoria: With Secrets of the past, murder, mystery, revenge, deception, sexual tension, and the “State Quarter Killer”, we’re all waiting to see Bolt Action on the big screen! I guess I’m The Harley Riding Detective Leslie Bolt, but maybe Ashley Judd could be my stand in, just in case. The handsome medical examiner is played by Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), and the sexy ex-lover is played by Colin Farrell.

AL: Can you share some of your plans for 2010 and beyond?

Victoria: I am anxiously awaiting my first grandchild, and my first picture book, What if a Zebra had Triangles? which will be released from Vintage Reflections Publishing! I have two other children’s books that I have already submitted to publishers and am praying for contracts. I am looking for a home for The Haunting of Ingersull Penitentiary and I’m hoping to write another adventure for Detective Leslie Bolt. When my ideas aren’t flowing, I work on a children’s Christian puzzle book I’m creating. I have 24 puzzles so far, and I’m hoping to hit 40 puzzles before submitting. The new venture─I’d like to try my hand at a murder mystery comedy.

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

Victoria: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

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




Secrets of the past, murder, mystery, revenge, deception, sexual tension, and the “State Quarter Killer”; Bolt Action offers it all.  In my Action Thriller, Bolt Action, Detective Leslie Bolt is a tough talking, gun hording, motorcycle riding investigator with as much insecurity as the rest of us.  After a childhood of abuse suffered at the hands of her father, Leslie stashes a collection of pistols, revolvers, and even keeps a Browning A-Bolt Stalker Rifle in her broom closet.  She is stand-offish and down right rude.  Having to work a serial murder case with her handsome ex-lover Detective Lance Kestler doesn’t improve her disposition.   The “State Quarter Killer” is selecting victims that appear to have nothing in common except for the State Quarter placed under their lifeless bodies.  As the body count mounts, Leslie Bolt must conquer her past and race to capture the killer before her sister is the next victim.


Lying in the dark shadows of my bedroom, I awoke with a start at a slamming sound. Every hair on my arms crystallized as I grappled under the pillow for my Ruger Blackhawk .357 and flashlight. Baby, my cat, scared to near death, screeched and ran from the bed. My heart lurched in my chest. In the silence of the night, the sound of the Ruger cocking ricocheted off the walls.

In an attempt to become undetectable in the darkness, I inhaled the slowest breaths possible without passing out. Convinced someone observed, perhaps studied, my every movement, I summoned my courage with a prayer. I flipped the flashlight on and scanned my bedroom. For the third time this week, nothing, no one present.

To ease my mind, I proceeded through my duplex with stealth-like movements, as if I were responding to an armed intruder call. Keeping my wrists crossed with my Ruger in my right hand and the flashlight in my left, I crept from one room to another, turning on every light available. With my duplex lit up like a landing strip, I positioned the flashlight on my oak end table. Confident the twelve-and-a-half inch barrel of my .357 protected me, I jerked open every closet door, hoping someone waited inside to be shot. I believed an apprehended suspect might be my chance at sanity, putting to rest the repetitive noises and sensation of being watched.

With a predator-like approach toward the bathroom, I noticed the shower curtain stirring. My pulse throbbed in my esophagus, threatening to cut off my air supply. Creeping into my nineteen-fifties Pepto Bismol pink bathroom, with a trembling hand I grasped and jerked open the curtain. The sound of the rings scraping against the rod made a deafening screech.

Still nothing.

Succumbing to mental exhaustion, I leaned my head against the bathroom door.

“Shit.” In the silence, the sound of my own voice startled me. I couldn’t keep going like this night after night.

A slamming noise vibrated between the duplexes. Sprinting to the kitchen, I set the flashlight on the counter and pressed my face against the kitchen window. I cupped my left hand around my eyes to peer into the driveway. I surveyed the driveway I shared with my neighbor Mark, but I couldn’t detect his car.

If he’s gone, where is the noise coming from?

I thought of one place I hadn’t checked. The thought of entering the moldy, reeking storage area made my stomach contents curdle like cottage cheese. With my desire to find the source of the noises superseding my fear of dark, damp spaces, I tucked the Ruger in the waistband of my drawstring sleep pants.

Out of my collection of weapons that I have stashed around my apartment, I choose my Browning A-Bolt Stainless Stalker rifle from behind the mop in the broom closet. I headed in the direction of the enclosed storage area. Flipping on the porch light in hopes of frightening an intruder, I exited my front door. As I reached the bottom of the wooden steps, I could detect an outline of a person in front of the shadowed storage area door. Male-at least six feet tall.

Cocking the rifle, I warned, “Stop. I have a rifle.”

“Calm down, Bolt. It’s just me.” Lance Kestler ran his hand through his thick black hair as he stepped from the shadows into the glow of the porch light.

“Oh for crying out loud. What the hell are you doing here?” I released the trigger. “Did you just come out of my storage area?”

“No, I got out of my car and walked toward your door.” Kestler placed his hands on his slim hips. “How come you never wear your hair down during the day?”

I ignored the question. “I heard a door close.”

Kestler shrugged his broad, black Fieora-clothed shoulders, and wobbled on his feet. “Must’a heard my car door.”

Headlights from a passing car shined toward me and I slid the rifle behind my back. “Whatever. It’s like midnight— what the hell do you want?”

“Well, I remembered you don’t sleep much at night so I assumed you’d still be up. Or maybe you just didn’t sleep at night because I kept you up—or should I say you kept me up?” Kestler took a stumbling step forward.

I blew out a breath in frustration. How did I ever get involved with this guy in the first place? “Get off it, Kestler. You’ve been drinking. What do you want?”

“Aren’t you gonna invite me in?” He winked in his typical cocky manner. “It’s been a long time since I’ve had your firm body under mine.”

I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and shake my head. “Are you kidding me?”

“Look, I just want to apologize for how things have been going between us lately.” Lance stumbled and dragged his hand across the side of the duplex to stabilize himself.

“Apologize?” The rifle dug into my hand as I tightened my grip on it. “You can’t even talk in complete sentences. How come you only show up and want to talk after you’ve been drinking?”

Kestler advanced two steps toward me. “What’s wrong with you? I’m trying to rekindle a civil relationship between us, and you show up acting like Annie Oakley the sharpshooter.”

“You don’t do apologies, or favors without an ulterior motive.” I pointed the rifle towards him. “What the hell do you want? Why don’t you just go home?”

“What? You’re gonna shoot me? ” Lance threw up his hands, pretending to surrender, and laughed.

His humor was lost on me. I wanted Kestler off my property and wanted him to know I meant business. Not that really would have shot him. Probably. “You’ve been drinking, and you’re trespassing. I believed you were an intruder and I had to defend myself.” I shrugged my shoulders. “Sounds convincing. I might be able to get someone to buy that.”

“You’d miss.”

My finger itched to pull the trigger. “Don’t you remember my target scores where always better than

Lance winked at me. “That’s because I was distracted by your cute ass.”

I rolled my eyes. “You are an ass.”

“I’m done with trying to be nice to you.”

“When did you start?”

“Screw you.” He turned to stomp back toward his car.

I lowered the rifle and called out, “Kestler, you’ve been drinking. Should I call you a cab?”

I heard him open his car door. As I walked backward up the three steps to the front door, it didn’t take detective skills to realize he didn’t have the ability nor the courtesy to answer me. Kestler was six feet tall—could he have consumed more then two drinks an hour? I ran back down the steps to offer him a ride.

“Kestler!” I pounded on the hood of the car. “Kestler, wait!”

He jammed the car in reverse, spun it around andsquealed his tires on the usually quiet street. I watched himdrive off and prayed he wouldn’t hit someone on his way home. Retreating inside my apartment, I locked and dead-bolted the front door. I returned the A-Bolt rifle to its spot behind the mop in my closet, and headed for the phone to call in a tip about a drunk driver. If he was lucky, he’d be stopped by a friendly cop. If not—if he had to spend the night in the drunk tank—at least he wouldn’t kill himself or anyone else. My infuriation with Lance Kestler made my hands jitter as if I had guzzled three pots of coffee.

REMEMBER: Victoria will give away a signed copy of A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Families to one lucky person who leaves a comment. Make sure to leave your email addy so Victoria can contact you if you win. Good luck to all!

1:48 PM

In the Author Spotlight & Contest

Jessica Freely

CONTEST: Jessica will give a free copy of HERO to one of the commenter’s on this post, to be selected randomly. Good luck!

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

Jessica: You're welcome Ann. It's a pleasure to be here. I'm looking forward to meeting a lot of new friends this week!

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

Jessica: I just got an iPhone! It's my first smart phone and I'm nuts about it. I'm downloading apps like a mad thing. My favorite one so far is the Altered States brainwave app. It uses sound frequencies to induce brainwave patterns associated with deep relaxation. It's great. I'm also listening to music, Facebooking, surfing the web. This thing does everything but the laundry, I swear.

AL: Tell us about your new or an upcoming release.

Jessica: Loose Id recently reprinted the first three m/m erotic romance stories I ever wrote: HERO, STAY, and SCARS. They were originally published by Torquere in 2008 and had since gone out of print. Since the stories follow the same two characters (David and Seth) over a short span of time, we combined them into a single volume, entitled HERO. It covers the first few days of David and Seth's relationship. It's a prequel to RUST BELT, another David and Seth book I published with Loose Id around this time last year.

AL: What other works are you deep into?

Jessica: More David and Seth, actually. Apparently I can't get enough of these guys. I'm writing a book for Loose Id's "Almost Christmas" holiday theme about how David and Seth's lives have changed since HERO and RUST BELT took place. It's called OUT OF THE BOX and the blurb goes: A year ago they were so wrapped up in each other they didn't even notice it was Christmas. Now, this could David and Seth's last holiday together unless they both learn to think outside of the box.

OUT OF THE BOX is due to my editor by Oct. 1. Which means I really should be working on it RIGHT NOW.

AL: On Blog Bites we have all genres of romance/erotica authors that “Spotlight”. Tell me, what got you jumping feet first into m/m love tales?

Jessica: It was an awful year. My mom had recently passed and my father was dying. So much was happening that I had no control over, I took control in the one area available -- my writing. I gave myself permission to write something for the pure joy of it, with no regard to market considerations or anything else.

And what I found myself writing was a sequel to my very first science fiction novel, The Nature of Smoke. Only this time the story was about Antonin, who'd been just a boy in the first book. Now he was a teenager and he was gay. And he had this roommate at boarding school who was a total behavior case, only it turned out the kid had an abusive father, and he was gay too. Antonin and Harry became friends, and then fell in love. And then Harry's nightmare of a father started manipulating everyone in sight, and Harry wound up tied to a sink in the basement of his father's compound, and Antonin had to go rescue him.

I'd been writing fiction for about fifteen years at this point, and I'd published three science fiction novels with Tor, but I had never before experienced such joy in the act of writing as I did working on that book, which I eventually entitled ALL THE COLORS OF LOVE. I didn't know anything about m/m or slash or yaoi at that time. My passion for this romance between these two young men utterly blindsided me and I was pretty sure I was losing my mind.

But the feeling was just too strong to ignore. So I finished the book and workshopped it and pitched it to my editor and my agent... and faced universal discouragement on all fronts. At first I was heartbroken. I felt like I'd finally found what I was meant to be doing all along, only to be told I wasn't allowed. Well, I decided to hell with that!

I ignored my writer's group, fired my agent, and started looking for alternative markets, which eventually led me to erotic romance epublishing. I still have not published ALL THE COLORS OF LOVE, but the feelings of freedom and joy I experienced with that first book are with me every time I write an m/m story. I love this genre.

AL: On your website you say, “I post market news, updates on new developments in e-publishing technologies, and speculate about what nowadays appears to be the ever-shifting nature of the publishing industry in general.” In your opinion, what do you feel is the biggest change in the publishing industry?

Jessica: Well, it seems obvious to say digital publishing, but it's true. E-books are revolutionizing publishing, from the way we buy and read books, to the way authors, agents, and publishers do business. It's much easier now for authors to connect with readers directly. And if you develop a following, you can do well in a niche market. There are ways around the gatekeepers now. My own story makes a good case in point. Print publishing doesn't do m/m romance, but epublishing, where low overhead and instant world-wide distribution make it profitable to publish all kinds of books, has found it to be very successful. Now I'm doing the work I love, and my audience is growing, and I couldn't be happier.

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

Jessica: The David and Seth books all take place in my hometown, Detroit, but technically, I could have set it in any big city. I choose Detroit because I love my city and I wanted to write about it. The story is informed by issues that we struggle with here, like poverty, unemployment, and a diminishing population base. In the Rust Belt books, I get to think about solutions to these problems and it gives me hope for the future.

It's important that a character gets the right name. Sometimes, I know immediately. Like with David. Other times, I'm not sure and I have to think about what sounds right. The wrong name can send a character in the wrong direction for me. I once had to change a character's name, because it was Helene, and I simply couldn't imagine someone named Helene doing the sneaky kinds of things I needed that character to do.

AL: Now, let’s get personal. What’s the best movie you've seen recently?

Jessica: I seldom see movies anymore. I think the last one that really stuck with me was the new Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. What a slashfest that was! Yummy. But these days Steve (my hub) and I watch a lot of television series. We rent them on Netflix and we'll watch several episodes in a row. We just finished watching the third season of Breaking Bad and now we're into Dexter. Both are riveting shows about people you hope you'll never meet in real life. But the writing -- especially in Dexter -- is top notch and the stories are so much more complex and involving than what can be done in a two-hour film. I think the analogy of novels vs. short stories is applicable. Not that there's anything wrong with short stories. I just prefer the richness of a novel. Personal taste.

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?

Jessica: Oh that's easy. I like to step on the gas and feel something happen right away. ;) My previous car was a Pontiac Grand Am with a six-cylinder engine. That was a good car. Now I'm driving a Ford Escape Hybrid, which is only a four cylinder, but with the electric motor assisting, it drives like a six. I love it.

AL: What were you like as a kid?

Jessica: I had some friends, but I definitely spent a lot of time in my own little world, making up stories. I was a weird, brainy kid with a lot of imaginary playmates. Not all that different from how I am as an adult, actually. LOL

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

Jessica: There are a lot of places I'd like to visit. India, Venice, Barcelona... But I'm a homebody. It's like pulling teeth to get me to travel. I don't know why, really, because when I do, it's always a great experience. I'm fortunate in that I've been to some wonderful places: Japan, Belize, China. Amazing experiences. But I love Michigan most of all, and that's where I tend to stay.

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?

Jessica: My main goal right now is to earn enough with my writing to meet my half of the household expenses. Then I will feel like a real pro. I'm not there yet, but I've been very pleased to see my sales grow over the last couple of years and I'm optimistic that I can achieve my aim.

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

Jessica: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

AL: Thanks so much for joining us, Jessica.

Jessica: Thank you for having me, Ann. You've really made me feel at home.

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

Blog: http://friskbiskit.com
Newsletter: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jessicafreely/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/jessicafreely



David is lonely, bored, and a virgin. He lives through books, but fears life is passing him by. Then one night he's attacked by a gang and rescued by a real-life hero. Sexy, mysterious Seth seems to have stepped right off the pages of an adventure novel. Yet he has no place to call home. When David invites him in, a thank you dinner escalates into passion, and Seth makes all David's pent-up fantasies come true.

Seth wants nothing more than to spend the rest of his life loving and protecting David, but his brutal past makes that impossible. Just being around Seth puts David at risk and Seth will stop at nothing to keep him safe, even if it means breaking his heart.

David is determined to keep Seth off the streets and in his bed, but all is not as it seems. Seth has terrible scars he won't talk about, and sometimes, he wakes up in the night screaming. When David discovers Seth is linked to a murder, he's determined to learn the truth, but he may find out more than he wants to know. How far is David willing to go, to rescue his hero?


Before he even really woke up, Seth knew he wasn’t sleeping rough. For one thing, he was warm. It was November. He couldn’t be warm in November unless he was back in—No! His heart pounded. How in the hell had he wound up back in that place? He’d sworn he’d die before he went back.

Frantic, Seth threw off the oblivious comfort of sleep and sat up. He rubbed his eyes and looked around. Books. So many books lining the walls on every side of the tiny room. He was in a bed with clean, soft sheets. Beside him, the cutest little blond dude he’d ever seen was sacked out, lost to the world, face open and innocent and breathtaking. David. Oh. Right. Seth’s heart rate slowed, and he sank back down on the mattress. He was at David’s place.

Gingerly, not wanting to wake him, Seth sidled closer to David so that the lengths of their bodies touched. David sighed and turned slightly, draping a warm arm across Seth’s chest. Seth’s morning erection pulsed back to life after that initial rude awakening and pressed into David’s hip. David smiled in his sleep.

Seth felt overwhelmed by the feelings he had looking at David: love, protectiveness, lust, admiration, gratitude. David was kind, intelligent, generous, loving—everything Seth always thought he must be, ever since that first day when David had given him his leftover Thai noodles. The fact that Seth had been able to save David from getting gang-raped last night—that was… Well, he knew David was grateful, but what David didn’t understand was that being able to do that for him was the best, most useful thing Seth had ever done in his life. It made his existence no longer pointless.

The last twelve hours here with David were the best Seth had ever known. It would be over soon, he realized. David would wake up, and then he’d have to go to his job, and Seth would have to go back to living on the streets. At least he’d have the memory of this night to keep him warm.

And maybe they could get in a morning fuck before this interlude came to an end. The recollection of the things they’d done together last night made Seth’s groin tighten and his head swim. And he noticed that David’s own morning woody was poking him in the thigh. Seth couldn’t help it. He ran a hand down between their bodies and caressed David’s silken length.

“Mmm,” David murmured and opened those big brown eyes of his. He smiled at Seth and leaned in toward the caress. “Good morning.”

“Good morning,” said Seth, continuing to stroke David’s erection. David tilted his head up and brushed his lips against Seth’s. That was all the encouragement Seth needed to capture David’s mouth in a bruising kiss. He poured all of himself into that kiss, wanting to leave as much of himself here with David as possible. David moaned into his mouth, and Seth flexed his hips, rubbing his cock against David’s belly. The feeling of David’s warm, soft skin was tantalizing, even better than the clean sheets.

David shifted, and their cocks rubbed against each other. Oh God. The feeling was electric. Seth whimpered and tried to keep control. He wanted to make it last. But David reached behind and grabbed Seth’s ass cheeks, holding him firmly against him as their cocks bucked together.

“Seth, you’re so wonderful.”

David was the wonderful one. Seth felt tears coming again like they had the night before, and he turned his head to kiss and bite David’s neck. Nuzzling the damp flesh, he reveled in David’s sweet smell. He didn’t want it to be over. And he couldn’t stop.

As if sensing how close Seth was, David released his death grip on his ass and scooted his own hips back, breaking contact. He turned his head a fraction of an inch so his mouth was at Seth’s ear, and he whispered, “Seth, finish what you started last night.”

Those words went straight from Seth’s ear to his cock. Seth willed himself to calm down. He felt like he could come right now with just the lightest touch, and David wanted Seth to take him. But David was a virgin....


They collapsed in a heap on the bed, and for a while neither of them made a sound except for their ragged breathing. It was really hard to know what to say after something like that. It had been…

There were no words.

Seth had never experienced anything like that before in his life. The sex he’d had in the past had been wildly varied, but never anything better than furtive, mutual release. What he’d just done with David—it was…

There was no point in trying to put a name on it. It was in a category all by itself.

Now they lay side by side, sticky and spent, catching their breath, waiting for the room to stop spinning. After a long, blissful silence, David sighed and moved his hand to Seth’s back, stroking him.

Oh. No…

He couldn’t bear David’s revulsion, not now. Seth rolled onto his back, pretending the movement was just part of a stretch as he reached his arms up over his head and arched his spine. Maybe David hadn’t noticed his scars.

But there was no getting anything past David. He lay on his side looking at Seth, his head propped on one hand, that little crease of determination appearing between his brows. “Someone did that to you.”

Seth froze, suddenly remembering David’s hands on his back last night, stroking him. He’d been in such a daze after that first orgasm, it hadn’t even sunk in. But now… He couldn’t move, couldn’t get up, couldn’t do anything but stare at David and shake his head. “Did…?”

“Those scars,” said David, his face grave. “They’re from a whip, or something like it.”

Well, that was it, then. Hot shame poured through Seth, and he looked down at the rumpled sheet between them. How stupid of him. It would have been over soon, anyway. But he’d wanted…he’d wanted David to think he was attractive. He’d wanted David to remember him as the guy who’d made him shout and writhe in passion and release. Not as the ugly, damaged wreck that he in fact was.

Seth was even more appalled with himself when his vision went blurry. Tears. Again. Wonderful. Way to follow up the best fuck of your life, asshole.

“Hey,” said David. And then Seth felt David’s arms around him, pulling his hot, wet face into the crook of David’s neck and then…then stroking his back. Tracing the scars there with featherlight touches. “It’s okay.”

Seth shook his head. He tried to break away, but David held him tight.

“Listen to me, Seth. Just listen. I’m not going to ask you what happened. I don’t care. I just want you to know that I will never, ever do anything like that to you. Do you understand?”

Seth tried to parse the words. They made no sense.

“I might accidentally hurt your feelings by saying or doing something stupid,” David went on, his hands still gently stroking up and down Seth’s ruined back, “but I’ll never intentionally hurt you.”

There was a pause during which Seth continued to sort through what David was telling him and became more and more confused.

“And if I ever find the person who did that to you, I’ll kill them.” David’s voice was quiet, sincere, 100 percent believable, and suddenly the rest of it clicked into place.

Seth lay there still and stunned in David’s arms as reality reconfigured itself into something he had never believed possible. David wasn’t rejecting him, wasn’t grilling him for details or trying to figure out what he had done to deserve those marks. He was taking Seth’s part without question or hesitation. And he wasn’t repulsed by Seth’s disfiguration. He touched those marks gently, caressed them. Nothing Seth knew about the world supported any of this, and gravity was due to fail any second now.

Seth put his arms around David and hung on.

REMEMBER: Jessica will give a free copy of HERO to one of the commenter’s on this post, to be selected randomly. Good luck!