Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday's Guest - Slim Randles

I always enjoy the cowboy philosophy and humor that Slim Randles shares with us. I hope you do, too. For more of his wit and wisdom, check out his new book A Cowboy's Guide to Growing up Right

Life is kinda like a corrugated, washboard ranch road, I believe. Give anything enough time and experience and warts and scars and grooves will get worn in it. The down times and the up times, and the way they tend to alternate can lead to a corrugation in our dirt roads and our lives.

Any good cowboy knows how to handle a washboard road, though. Taken slowly, a pickup truck hits each little dip and rattles its carburetor until it puts a kink in the distributor clamp. It takes forever to get someplace, and the scenery never seems to change.  It makes for a tedious drive to that line shack or windmill or distant pasture. Of course, it does give a guy time to compose a symphony or a letter to Congress.

Unless there is a huge hole in the washboard road ahead which needs to be avoided, there is only one way to handle a washboard road or a person’s life: gun it.

Oh yeah. You step down on the pedal and kick that monster up to about 52 miles an hour and everything smooths out. Fly, baby, fly. We hit only the high spots on the road and live a bit daringly, challenging the existence of any possible oilpan-killing rock ahead. The country slips by more excitingly and a driver tends to grin a lot.

And in life, we can wallow forever in the slow and low stuff and take ages to get somewhere, or we can floor it, give a yell, and skip along on the high spots.

Somehow, that sounds like more fun.
Brought to you by Slim’s award-winning books at, and in better bookstores and bunkhouses throughout the free world.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book Release Party - Catch Fire

I am so happy to be part of the Catch Fire Blog Party, celebrating the release of CassaFire by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Lots of bloggers are taking part, and we all have cake and other goodies to share. I have some great elderberry wine, but you might want to be careful. The last time I served elderberry wine as Martha Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace, it was not a pleasant experience for the gentlemen. If you prefer, I can offer some great coffee from our little coffee shop in town, Art & Espresso. That seems appropriate for a party for an author.

All of us are putting on our party hats and breaking out the goodies to help CassaFire “catch fire” on the best seller charts and achieve the success of the first book, CassaStar, which made the Amazon top ten best seller list. The party favors for today include copies of CassaFire, CassaStar, tote bag, mug, and bookmarks, and there will be more book giveaways during his two-week blog tour. See Alex’s blog for details.

So now, just a little intro to CassaFire: 

CassaStar was just the beginning…

The Vindicarn War is a distant memory and Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters are over. He has kept the promise he made to his fallen mentor and friend - to probe space on an exploration vessel. Shuttle work is dull, but it’s a free and solitary existence. The senior officer is content with his life aboard the Rennather.

The detection of alien ruins sends the exploration ship to the distant planet of Tgren. If their scientists can decipher the language, they can unlock the secrets of this device. Is it a key to the Tgren’s civilization or a weapon of unimaginable power? Tensions mount as their new allies are suspicious of the Cassan’s technology and strange mental abilities. 

To complicate matters, the Tgrens are showing signs of mental powers themselves; the strongest of which belongs to a pilot named Athee, a woman whose skills rival Byron’s unique abilities. Forced to train her mind and further develop her flying aptitude, he finds his patience strained. Add a reluctant friendship with a young scientist, and he feels invaded on every level. All Byron wanted was his privacy…

The book is available today! If you are a sci-fi fan, you won't be disappointed.
Science fiction - space opera/adventure.
“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal



Monday, February 27, 2012

Words That Drive a Parent Crazy - What's For Dinner?

It's been a while since I shared an excerpt from my humorous memoir, A Dead Tomato Plant and a Paycheck. This is from the beginning of chapter fifteen: What's For Dinner or Mutiny of the Midgets. 

There are certain words and phrases in the English language, dirty words aside, that are guaranteed to disrupt the otherwise peaceful existence of any mother and drive her to the brink of insanity. Paramount in this area are the words, "What's for dinner'?"

At our house, this question was always asked at the most inconvenient times – at lunch before I'd even had a chance to mop up the soggy cheerios from breakfast, occasionally during dinner the night before, and once before I'd even had my morning coffee. Approaching me before coffee, by the way, had to be the epitome of curiosity, courage, and stupidity. I barely breathe before my morning caffeine, let alone answer a question, and the kid who was brave enough to tread where no others had ever trod was putting his life in jeopardy.

When the kids came home from school the first words out of their mouths would be, "What's for dinner?"
Every other year I might have gotten a "Hi, Mom" first, but I quickly learned not to let my emotional security hinge on whether or not that happened.

I can remember thinking how simple it would have been had they all waited until everyone was home and sent one delegate to ask the question instead bursting into my office every hour on the hour. Or I could have called a family conference and made a general announcement. Or made a recording and left the tape player handy so all they had to do was push a button to hear what was on the dinner menu.

Sometimes I’d decide it would be a terrific idea for them to be surprised once in a while. But when I suggested that they just wait and see, they’d act like I just invited them to experience Chinese water torture. And maybe it was agony for them not to know. They were pretty good at devising all sorts of sneaking-and-peeking games that usually left me with fallen bread, sticky rice, and an almost uncontrollable urge to scream.

It probably wouldn't have been so bad if I thought they were asking because they really cared about what I'd expended so much time and energy to prepare. But it was terribly deflating to be asked that question for the fifth time in a row and have to hear for the fifth time in a row, "Ugh! I hate stew."
I hope you will come back tomorrow for the virtual blog party for the release of the new book by Alex J. Cavanaugh, CassaFire. He has lots of prizes for visitors and all the bloggers will be giving out virtual goodies. Come share in the fun.

Friday, February 24, 2012

School Bullies - And They are Not Students

I read a distressing column in The Dallas Morning News the other day about reports of abuse at an elementary school in the eastern part of the city. Apparently the incidents of abuse were frequent enough that the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) prepared a 269 page report that was supposed to shed some light on what really happened.

According to columnist, Jacquielynn Floyd, the report was "a droll exercise in obfuscation, misdirection, and delay." The main body of the document, which totals 75 pages, had 61 pages either partially or totally blacked out.

The mess all started with claims that students at the elementary school were bullied and humiliated by the teachers. Apparently most of the kids who suffered the bullying were Hispanic students, and there were 22 official allegations, of which half were verified by the investigation. Some of the humiliating incidents included being forced to eat without their hands, being told their parents smelled like dirty socks, and there were allegedly threats to have parents deported.

According to the column in the newspaper, the DISD investigation of wrongdoing by teaching staff focused on an outing the teachers took instead of attending a training session on abuse in the classroom. I agree with Jacquielynn who asked why teachers would have to attend a training session to know it is wrong to humiliate and abuse the students.

On the other hand, there are some teacher who obviously need that kind of reminder. This brings to mind an incident that happened to my oldest son when he was in third grade. He had long hair, and it was always falling across his face. The teacher did not like that, so she called him up in front of the class, took a barrette and pinned his hair back in a "girlie" do.

That was wrong on so many levels, and I probably don't even need to detail them here. People of good conscience know.

I went to the school to talk to the principal, countering his initial defense that the teacher was only exercising her right to create a proper atmosphere for learning. My son was getting excellent grades in his classes, so obviously his long hair was not inhibiting his ability to learn.

Luckily my son did not have another teacher like this, but I know his feelings about school, teachers and learning was skewed by this incident. He never went back with the same enthusiasm or did as well academically after that.

Just think of how much worse the long-term effects will be for those students at that East Dallas school who suffered much more traumatic and sustained emotional abuse.

That shouldn't happen. Not to any student at any school. And shame on the teachers, principals, and administrators who cover it up. That casts such a negative spotlight on a profession filled with wonderful people who are dedicated educators; the kind of people who would never humiliate a child like that.

On a lighter note, I saw a great editorial cartoon by Jeff Koterba who is on staff at the Omaha World-Herald. The cartoon was picked up by The Dallas Morning News and features a couple seated at a table in an Internet cafe, sipping coffee. She is reading on an e-reading device, and he has his laptop open to a site about the payroll tax cut debate. He is wearing a button that reads, "I tweeted today." She says, You do realize that is not this same as voting, right?"

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Morgan St. James on Character Development

My guest today is Morgan St. James who writes mysteries and recently released a non-fiction book, Tricks of the Trade, for writers. Please help her to feel at home here, while I guest on her blog. I am also over at the Blood Red Pencil talking about how much we writers love our characters, but first we have to make them real.

Make your characters three-dimensional
How many times have you read a novel characters seemed like paper dolls or overblown figures drifting in and out of scenes? Whether published or aspiring, we as writers all have a powerful tool ready to use at a moment’s notice—our experiences and emotions. 

You see, one of the most important qualities a fictional character can possess is to seem real to the reader. Forget about just stringing together a series of words describing physical attributes and how the character carries out routine or off-the-chart situations, all presented in flat narrative or overblown prose. Maybe you think the key is to spice it up with a few inner thoughts, but there is a lot more to creating someone your reader will believe—someone with feelings and emotions and a physical presence. Before you roll your eyes, crafting characters who seem real doesn’t have to be daunting. In fact it can be fun once you understand the reader sees events through the eyes of the players you have created for the story.

Putting life into physical descriptions
Remember adjectives, adverbs, similes and metaphors are your friends as long as they aren’t overused. Sprinkling them in just the right places sparks the reader’s imagination. It allows them to draw parallels to familiar images and actually see them in their mind’s eye. Overuse them, however, and it minimizes everything. Why? Because with each new spouting of a simile, metaphor or more adjectives or adverbs than should ever be huddled together in the same sentence, it becomes trite and the reader wonders how many more of these they can endure. Everyone draws their own picture of the characters, but you can give them the framework. It always amazes me how wrong the casting is sometimes when a book is made into a movie. The current rumor is that Tom Cruise will play Jack Reacher, Lee Child’s former military MP who drifts around the country getting into situations and helping people. The problem for me: Reacher is 6’5” and often his size is part of the story. The reality: Tom Cruise is box office. The vision of Reacher that Lee Child has planted in my mind definitely is not 5’7” Tom Cruise. 

Tap into your own impressions rather than clichés
To avoid clichés, reach into your own experiences and picture things that impressed you. Put the image into your own words and apply it to something about your character. For example, the woman had shining blonde hair. If it was straight, did it just hang there or shimmer like a golden shawl? 

Why would I choose the simile of a golden shawl for this example? Because I pictured a former business partner and friend who had hair like that. I could never look at her without thinking of a beautiful silk shawl. Let’s say the hair isn’t straight, but curly. Is it in tight ringlets perhaps described as coiled little ringlets like the fur on a pampered poodle? Maybe this blonde hair undulates in luxurious waves reminiscent of waves kissed by the glow of the sun as they push toward shore. 

In each of these examples we picture a different person. And, every reader will have their unique vision of that person. Simply saying “her straight blonde hair” or “curly blonde hair” would never launch imagination in the same way.

Creating your own reference file
So often these images are fleeting, triggered by something someone said, something we remembered or saw, but even with Herculean effort, we can’t pull them back when we need them. They lurk right at the edge of recognition, then slip away. One way to capture them is to keep a log. When an image like that pops into your mind, distinct images and emotions ride on their coattails, leaving you with a describable impression. Reach for the little spiral notebook—we all should have one of those—and flip to the section you’ve set aside for just such visions. Using the same example as above, assume you imagined hair badly in need of care. Maybe you would make a note like this: her blonde hair reminded me of a field of hay long past the time it should have been harvested.

A favorite that I jotted down, just because I liked the sound of it, was “like an old dowager attempting to keep her dignity.” It was from some old 1940’s movie on late night TV, but the image stuck with me. Later I used it in Devil’s Dance to create a visual image of a shabby sofa with arm caps covering the worn spots. A description of a dowager wasn’t related to a sofa, but the image of hanging onto the last bit of dignity was clear. 

Drawing upon your own emotional experiences
When placing a character in a situation that is emotional, whether the scene is one of love at first sight, terror, or delight at seeing a new baby, the deep emotional reaction must be felt by the reader. That reaction isn’t one dimensional. It’s both physical and mental. You can soar to the heights or drop to the depths.  You might swell with pride or be reduced to tears. That is the mental side. What are the physical reactions? Does the stomach twist in spasms? Is the person so happy they actually feel a bit lightheaded? That’s where the writer becomes the method actor.

Write what you know
You’ve probably heard that saying so many times you’re sick of it.  Still, the majority of us have had experiences that produce these emotions and physical reactions. Your own experience may have no direct relationship whatsoever to the actual mechanics of the scene you’re in the process of creating, but the feelings are the same. 

Think back to those times and immerse yourself in the memory. For example, the odds are you have never been threatened at gunpoint as your scene now dictates, but have you been in an accident? Have you taken tests at a doctor’s office and awaited the results? Have you walked through a dark, isolated area, then heard a noise? What did you feel? Terror. What does your victim feel? Terror. Again, it’s not the same situation, but terror creates a set of physical and mental reactions, regardless of the situation.

Your notebook becomes your personal databank
As you picture the scene, write down your own feelings in the “Experiences” section of your notebook. Let your mind roam free. Capture the emotions that surge back as memories take hold. Now you have a record of what that emotion feels like. Surprisingly, it can be applied to a multitude of manuscripts, because the basics are the same. Let’s say the reaction was surging thoughts. The only difference, is they become the thoughts that apply to that particular situation and will vary with the storyline. But, the thoughts still surge.

Your own experiences breathe life into your characters, so preserve them and use them to create a full range of scenes from tender to heart-pounding.

Morgan St. James co-authors the comical Silver Sisters Mysteries with her sister, Phyllice Bradner, and just released a story collection The Mafia Funeral and Other Stories. She is the editor of the monthly "Writers' Tricks of the Trade" newsletter/magazine, writes a twice weekly column for Spotlight on Tuesday in Las Vegas and Wednesday in Los Angeles and Writers' Tricks of the Trade on Thursday in Las Vegas and Friday in Los Angeles. Her new book Writers' Tricks of the Trade: 39 Things You Need to Know About the ABC's of Writing Fiction, was inspired by response to her columns.  Visit her at her various websites, and Follow her on Facebook and Twitter@EMSWriter and @LVWritingExamin.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Come Visit me on Another Blog

Today I am a guest at Morgan Mandel's Sweet Not Spicy blog where I am sharing the story of my father's late-in-life marriage. He married for a third time at the age of 81 after losing his second wife, and proved that love has no age limit. A story I wrote about a couple much like my father and his third wife was published in a sweet romance Anthology, One Touch One Glance, and I was thrilled to be included in the collection.

Come on over if you get a chance and read my father's story and share some of your own.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday Morning Musings

One of the biggest and most magnificent pine trees on our property is dying and has to be cut down. It is close to major power lines, so the electric company will come and take it down. This is another victim of the terrible drought we have had in Texas, and I know it is minor compared to other losses, but for some reason it is making me very sad.

My horse is going to miss the tree, too, as it is the major source of shade in the front pasture where he spends the summer, provided there is a pasture.

I mentioned to a friend that I was really mourning the loss of this tree and felt rather silly about that fact. After all, it's just a tree. "But it's a living thing and it is dying," he told me. "Of course there is reason to mourn."

Then he reminded me that he is a Celt, and believes that we should honor and respect all things in nature.

Most of us when we think of a Celt get a mental picture of Mel Gibson as William Wallace in "Braveheart". He was the epitome of the type of Celtic warriors who were feared for decades throughout the Roman Empire. They were mighty fighters, who charged naked into battles or were painted blue. They were noted for screaming like banshees and cutting off the heads of their enemies.

Hardly the type of person one would equate with an endearing love of the earth and water and all living things, but that is a major part of their religious beliefs. Much like the American Indian, the Celts honor those things and mourn the losses.

So with my friend's permission, I will cry when that mighty tree comes down.

This coming Wednesday Morgan St. James will be my guest sharing some tips on character development.  She is the editor of the monthly "Writers' Tricks of the Trade" newsletter/magazine, writes a twice weekly column for Spotlight on Tuesday in Las Vegas and Wednesday in Los Angeles and Writers' Tricks of the Trade on Thursday in Las Vegas and Friday in Los Angeles. She has written several books, one of which is Writers' Tricks of the Trade. It has been described as "the appetizer at a writing buffet - tips, techniques and tricks all written in lively, entertaining prose. 
“Ms. St. James gives us ways to deal with every aspect of the writing life, from creation to sales. A great book.”  ~John Brantingham, Professor of English
“You'll find this book so full of vital information, you'll want to explore every page.” ~Maralys Wills, author of Damn the Rejections, Full Speed Ahead

I do hope you will come back on Wednesday to meet Morgan and make her feel at home.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Book Review - Getting Lucky by Bob Sanchez

Getting Lucky
Bob Sanchez
Kindle Edition

P.I. Clay Webster has a new client. What he doesn't have is a finished office. He is using a room in a building owned by his son, Jerry, and it looks less like and office and more like a storage room. Still, Clay is open for business and when Bonita Esquivez hires him to find her husband, Lucky, Clay figures this is nothing more than a simple missing-person case.

That assumption is quickly proven wrong when an attempt is made on Bonita's life and then Clay's. The investigation is further complicated by the fact that Clay knows his client is lying to him about some things, but he doesn't know which things are the truth and which are not.
There is quite an interesting back story to Clay Webster who has lost his thirty-year marriage, his son, Sean, and his police career. This back story is dolled out in tiny increments that are connected to the main plot, so they never seem intrusive. The reader gets to feel a little bit of the pain that Webster feels before he tries to cover it up with a bit of humor. It was a real pleasure to see how carefully the author brought this character to life, not by stopping the story to do that, but weaving it tightly into what was happening to Clay as the investigation progressed.

This is a good book with terrific dialogue, and Webster is a likeable character. Supporting cast includes a good friend who is an ex-nun, a teen-aged boy who was making prank calls to Webster so Webster hires him to do some work for him as his own form of community service, and a pair of gay men who are anything but stereotypical. All in all, a fun group of folks to spend some time with.

The mystery is a tangled web of politics and porn and Webster follows several wrong paths before he finds the right one. There is plenty of danger, too, as Webster gets too close to the truth about a certain politician, what Lucky was really doing in Lowell Massachusetts, and what happened to Lucky's cousin.

What didn't work quite so well for me was how the relationship between Bonita and Webster moved from her being just a client. It's almost a cliche that a beautiful woman walks into a P.I.'s office and they become more than employer, employee. Sanchez did such a terrific job with turning some other cliches on end, I was hoping that he would turn this one, too, and maybe he did in a way. You will have to read to the end of the story to know for sure.
NOTE: I am a curmudgeon and very hard to please when it comes to a book. If I give one three stars it is because it is a good book and well worth someone's time and money. It is not, however, an excellent book, one that I got really excited about reading, nor is it a great book that I want to read again and again. This is a good book.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday's Odds and Ends

Just when we thought we'd heard the most absurd comments from political analysts, we get one that suggests that President Obama was making a political move with his contraception mandate. Andrew Sullivan, a friend of Obama, said, "I've found by observing this president closely for years that what often seems like short-term tactical blunders turn out in the long run to be strategically shrewd, and if this was a trap, the religious right walked right into it."

I agree with Michael Gerson, Washington Post columnist, who doesn't think Sullivan's analysis was "accurate." That is a polite way of saying what Sullivan said was absurd, but Michael does have to be more polite than I do. He works for a big newspaper.

Maybe Sullivan has spent too long putting everything into some political context that he doesn't know when a comment or action by the president doesn't belong there.

Or maybe Gerson and I have spent too long in our respective trees.

What do you think? Your call.

The Pentagon is currently paying $385 billion for a F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, making it the most expensive weapons system ever. Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. wonders why the price tag has to be so high. "A lot of times, the Pentagon just wants to sexy these things up and make them do wow stuff when wow is not required."

Amen to that, Senator.

Do we still need the Cuban embargo? This question has been raised by Wayne Smith, former chief American diplomat in Cuba. The Embargo has been in effect for 50 years, and Smith recently made this comment about it, "All this time has gone by and yet we keep it (the embargo) in place. We talk to the Russians, we talk to the Chinese, we have normal relations even with Vietnam. We trade with all of them. so why not Cuba?"

Good question. I understand why the embargo was first put in place and enforced while there were still concern over human rights issues in that country, but I don't understand why it has not been lifted or at least modified. It is not like any of the other countries we do business with have never had human rights issues.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wednesday's Guest

Today's guest blog is going to be a little different because on Monday my cyber-friend, Nancy J. Cohen, gave me the versatile blogger award and I really need to acknowledge that before too much more time passes. So, first of all, thank you Nancy. I am honored that you chose me for this award.

Reading some of the posts on Nancy's blog I came across one about Jewish wedding customs that was interesting.  If you are interested hop on over to see what some of them are and why they are done. Here's just one:   Why does the bride circle the groom seven times? Just as the world was created in seven days, the bride, representing Mother Earth, reminds people that marriage is part of the creation process. At the same time, she symbolically builds the walls of the couple’s new dwelling, as embodied by the chuppah. (the canopy under which the ceremony takes place)

So now on to the award. The are a few rules. I am to thank the award-giver and link back - done. Share 7 things about myself.... Hmmm....
      1. I'm a procrastinator. There I said it.
      2. I'd rather go for a walk than do almost any other kind of exercise.
      3. I sing moderately well.
      4. I play guitar better than I sing.
      5. I went to college for five years but never finished - long story.
      6. I have never had a spotless house.
      7. I don't always follow the rules.

Now I am to pass this on to 15 blogger friends and let them know about the award. When I read Nancy's post about receiving the award, she wrote that she spent a couple of hours researching blogs she had visited in the past couple of months. Bless her, she is a better woman than I am. I have visited a lot of blogs: Morgan Mandel's, Kristen Lamb's, Bob Sanchez, Alex J. Cavanagh, Terry Odell, and many others. I also read the blogs at Venture Galleries and the blogs of my friends at  The Blood Red Pencil. Helen Ginger, Katherine Craft, Dani Greer, Linda LaneElsa  Neal, Shon Bacon, Heidi Thomas, and Elspeth Antonelli But in addition to those I have visited a lot of other blogs after seeing a link in a Tweet or on Facebook. Even though I love to write about investigations, I can't spend hours hunting them down. I have to go get my cat from the veterinarian hospital this morning.

I hope you will visit some of the blogs of my friends. You won't be disappointed. There is content about writing and marketing, but also recipes and great picture stories. At Venture Galleries you will find essays about all kinds of topics. Enjoy.... 

    Tuesday, February 14, 2012

    Happy Valentine's Day

    Another surprise Tuesday post. Just so people don't get confused, I will be back to my normal schedule next week. I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to do something special for Valentine's Day to show my love for my followers and my readers. Here is a short excerpt from my one and only romance novel, Play It Again, Sam. For those who buy the book and come back with a link to a proof of purchase, I will put all the names in a hat and draw one lucky winner for a $25 Amazon Gift Certificate. The drawing will be done on Friday so there is plenty of time.

    Enjoy the excerpt. This is from the scene when Sam and Frank first kiss:

    Sam smiled as Frank fell in step beside her. They walked in companionable silence with the night sounds of crickets providing a dissident musical score. She paused when she saw the boat again.

    “Do you like to sail?” he asked, following her gaze.

    “Haven’t done it enough to know. But it’s always appealed to me.” She paused to consider for a moment. “I’m sure the real thing is much different from my romantic notions.”

    “Nothing wrong with a romantic idea now and then.” He put an arm around to pull her close. “It’s what separates us from the beasts.”

    “Now that's a real romantic thought.”

    “Want to hear more?”

    “Don’t think so.” She smiled at him to make sure he understood she was joking. “Why don’t we talk about something more interesting. Like why you came to Dallas. And whether you’re one of those Yankees who can’t appreciate the Lone Star State.”

    “Do I sense a warning there?”

    “I would pick my words with care. We Texans are mighty protective of our territory.”

    Frank told her about the move from New York five years earlier, conceding the point that, yes, there was a lot to like about Texas. “I do sometimes miss the snow,” he concluded. “Although it  is nice not having to shovel my way to my car on winter mornings.”

    “That’s why they invented ski vacations. All the benefits without the daily hassle.”

    They paused where a little clearing allowed access to the edge of the water. The wind picked up, bringing a cool mist off the lake and Sam shivered. “Here,” Frank said, holding the jacket for her.

    She slipped her arms into the sleeves, then he closed the front, pulling her gently toward him. The moonlight lightly touched his face, creating shadowed mysteries of his eyes. But his intention was crystal clear.

    The touch of his lips was tentative, as if asking permission, and the very softness ignited a response. Briefly, Sam flashed on her moment with Max and wondered if deprivation was turning her into a harlot. But the concern was lost in the heat of Frank’s passion as he held her against the full length of his body, teasing her with a touch of his tongue.

    She opened her lips, and he continued the tease with light, quick explorations that left her burning for more. Then he cupped her face with his hands and thrust his tongue deeper, filling her with a hot, seductive suggestion.

    There was no room in Sam’s mind for conscious thought. Sensation and desire ruled. She wanted nothing more than for him to satisfy that deep aching need right here, right now. But he pulled back, sucking in a deep breath and looking at her for a long moment. “Better take you home before we get arrested.”

    Not trusting her voice, she nodded and put her hand in his.

    HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY to all my cyber friends - and yes I shouted that. LOL

    Monday, February 13, 2012

    Not The Usual Monday Fare - Enter at Your Own Risk

    WARNING THE FOLLOWING CONTENT IS R-RATED - When I agreed to host the authors today, I did not realize the excerpts would be graphic sex scenes. If you don't care to read, please take a pass. The reason I am putting this up is because there are lots of readers out there who like these kinds of books, and the Mega Blog Tour is sponsoring a great contest that readers might want to enter.

    Revving Up Your Romance Engines for Valentine’s Day

    Turn the bathtub faucet to "ice cold" and start the shower running, as we bring you four "steamy" sex scenes, from Romance novelists Alan Nayes ( Barbary Point), Lynn Hubbard ( Run into the Wind), Lohrainne Eckhart (The Forgotten Child) and Suzan Tisdale (Laiden's Daughter) to get you in the Valentine’s Day mood. Afterward, but before you cool off in the shower, use the Comment area below to vote on which author you think did the best job. (You might even pause to say what aspects of their writing appealed to you the most.)

    All four authors are featured in "The Last Way Station Mega Book Tour,"a new concept in virtual book touring, in which authors take part in tag-team guest blogs, like this one. The tour is named in honor of founder and sponsor, Jon Reisfeld’s book, The Last Way Station. Click here to take your chance at winning a Kindle Fire in the tour’s official Sweepstakes and then here to learn more about our featured authors and their books.
    And now, onto the sex-scene competition:

    Alan Nayes
    Alan Nayes

    Barbary Point.

    Author Alan Nayes sets the scene: "Successful, high-powered businesswoman, Kelly English, flies back to Wisconsin to close out her deceased father’s estate and ends up falling in love with a fishing guide. This is their first love scene, seen from Kelly”s perspective."

    Upon hearing about my engagement to Thomas, a friend once told me—“Kelly, for a marriage to be successful, you have to love that person more than he loves you.” In the months of romantic dining, movies, and sleepovers, I was never quite able to grasp the statement’s implication. I loved Thomas, and I was sure he loved me. But to me, our feelings for each other seemed equal,
    or if I had to choose, Thomas might even have loved me a wee bit more. With Mitch, though, my feelings seemed different. Unavoidable, stronger, more intense, all of the above. I just knew I was unable to deny them.

    The sun was well into its westward descent when Mitch and I entered the cottage’s downstairs guest bedroom. I had purposely avoided the master bedroom. My father had slept there, and it wouldn’t have felt right. Mitch stood in the doorway and waited, an eager reticence evident in his eyes and body language, while I cleared the bed of decoys and waders. The sheets smelled fresh and piney, as if they”d been washed only yesterday and hung out in the fresh air to dry.

    Mitch began to speak, and I put a finger over his lips.

    “This is my doing, Mitch,” I said. “I think I’ve fallen for you and I don’t know what else I can say.”
    buy book button
    He kissed my finger and reached for my face. “I fell first and faster, Kelly English.”
    We moved to the mattress and I pulled him down on top of me, bathing his lips, his face, his ears, his neck with my mouth.

    His response was immediate and passionate. Though it was our first waltz together, the music in my head was loud enough I feared Mitch might think I was singing. Mitch was singing, too, and I loved the feeling I detected exuding from every pore of his body. Inexorably, from that first moment I’d gazed into the depths of his eyes, I’d known it would come to this. He’d appeared in my life like some mysterious magician, casting his spells, sprinkling his potions, seducing my emotions until they no longer felt like my own. These thoughts came to me not consciously, rather on a more subliminal, primitive wavelength. Love started out that way, deep within your soul first, long before any true awareness of its presence is manifested. And then, by the time you feel it, you’ve surrendered and become the vanquished.

    I was conscious of how he smelled, how hard and warm his body was under his clothing, and how much I desired my skin against his. The dance of undressing one another went smoothly, without a hitch. One time with Thomas, I’d struggled with his belt and our efforts had seemed jerky, too impatient, even clumsy. Not so now, not in this cottage on this lake in Wisconsin. Not with this man. Never had Mitch felt so close to another living creature, human or otherwise. And he expressed this to me as best he could. I was a fine gem, that he would gladly polish, worship for all eternity, if I would allow it.I let myself be dominated and in so doing, I became the dominator. He moved over me like some mythical being created by a
    mythical god, descended from all the great lovers who’d ever lived, and there were moments on end when I closed my eyes and felt I was being loved not by one man, but by many.

    The sensations were incredible, a kaleidoscope of perceptions, building one upon the other until there was no action I could take except to clutch and hold on as if I were clinging to the side of a mountain. If I fell, I would scream out for sure.

    I had never felt more feminine, more a woman than when Mitch was inside me. I’d become a goddess of the great lake, whose shoreline lay not twenty yards from where Mitch and I held each other. More than once, I wrapped him up so tightly in my arms and legs, I feared I might smother him or choke him.
    I didn’t want the afternoon to end, but dusk arrived anyway, silently like an invisible curtain, until all I could see was the outline of Mitch’s spent body next to mine.

    Lynn Hubbard
    Lynn Hubbard

    Run into The Wind.

    Author Lynn Hubbard: "This scene comes from my book, Run into the Windwhich is set in the south during the later years of the nineteenth century. Brock and Sabrina have gone through some awkward moments. Finally admitting their true feelings to themselves, as well as to each other, they experience love for the first time."

    Shaking his head, he hugged her again. She pulled away, getting him a plate of food. He took a hesitant bite and then another.
    It was surprisingly tasty. “Very good,” he said, as she stood by hopefully.
    Contentedly, she filled her own plate and took a couple of bites. She had done a lot of tasting earlier to make sure the seasoning was right so she was not very hungry. Her stomach was twisting. She was afraid he would reject her. She forced another bite and set about cleaning up. Brock raised an eyebrow, watching her move about anxiously. He quickly ate another bowl before she grabbed the plate out of his hands and went to wash it, but he stopped her.
    “Why don’t you go lie down? I’ll finish up and join you in a bit.”
    Sabrina wrung her hands nervously and, unable to gather her own thoughts, she followed his suggestion. She lay flat on her back stiffly, staring at the ceiling. She had worked out an entire seductive scenario in her head earlier today but her mind had abandoned her. She could think of nothing to say or do, so she just lay there waiting. She barely registered the light being blown out or the blanket lifting. She did recall Brock’s warm arms encircling her and hugging her close like he did every night. He gave her strength and she cuddled into his chest trying to get up the nerve to say or do something.
    “Um…” she began softly, her voice cracking slightly.
    “Yes, my love?” he said and she paused. He had never called her that before. At least not out loud.
    “Well, I just wanted….” She was blushing deeply and she was glad for the darkness. She wanted to let him know that she was ready to give herself to him. Her voice obviously was not working, so she took his hand and placed it on her bare bottom. She heard him exhale sharply and she held her breath.
    Even though they were very much alone, he leaned down to whisper to her. “Are you sure?”
    Still not able to answer verbally, she twisted her head, finding his mouth in the dark and kissing him softly on his lips. When he still did not move, she pulled away, unsure.
    “I need to hear you say it,” he said, there was tightness in his voice she had never heard before.
    “Yes, I’m sure.” She tensed up a little, expecting him to perhaps throw her on her back and ravish her fiercely. She was pleasantly surprised when he continued to hold her close and kissed her mouth gently. He kissed her lips, moving over her cheeks and kissing each eyelid. He moved his hands up, gently running his fingers through her hair and massaging the nape of her neck. He knew she was scared and wanted to help her relax.
    As he kissed down her neck, she pushed away a bit as he found a tickle spot. He kept his arm around her back as his other hand worked on the buttons of her shirt. He deftly released them one by one. He moved his mouth back up to her lips as his hand gently roamed over her breasts. She moaned into his mouth at the sensations he was awakening in her.
    She placed her hands on his chest dismayed to find he was still wearing his long Johns. She growled in frustration, wanting to feel his flesh against hers as she none too gently pulled at his buttons. Chuckling, he pulled away a bit and swiftly removed the offending garment.
    Sabrina almost moaned as she ran her hand over his bare chest. She could feel the taut muscles underneath and traced every striation with her hand. Not sure what to do next she followed Brock’s lead and began kissing his neck and chest before moving lower. She felt his member pressing against her chest as she moved lower and paused. She slowly moved her hand down to touch it. Surprised at the softness of the skin surrounding his hardness she traced it with her finger. She heard Brock hiss as he bent down to draw her back up in the bed next to him. He rolled her onto her back and lay gently on top of her. He kept his weight off her by leaning on his elbows.
    Sabrina lay still. She felt him against her thigh and closed her eyes tightly even though it was dark. She felt him move her legs further apart with his knees and she held her breath as she waited.
    “You need to breathe, Sabrina,” he whispered in her ear.
    Again no words would form in her befuddled mind. She did take a deep breath , though. Brock kissed her again, deeply this time, and she was so caught up in the moment she barely noticed him shifting above her. However, she did notice when he thrust quickly, and she felt a burning pain deep inside her. Cursing like a pirate, she pushed against his chest for him to stop but he already had.
    He whispered to her as he held her, waiting for her to settle down. After a while, she moved her hands from his chest to his shoulders. She trailed them up his neck to his hair and pulled him down in a demanding kiss. Feeling more in control, she flexed her hips tentatively, giving him permission to proceed. Brock moved very slowly as if waiting for her to stop him again.
    She was very tight and moist. He trembled as he fought to keep himself in check. He was using long slow thrusts as he felt her walls stretching to accommodate him. Moving his hand between them he found her nub and rubbed it as she gasped into his mouth. She wrapped her legs around his as he continued gyrating her core.
    At her insistence, he quickened his pace as her world spun. Overcome by sensation, she clawed at his back as she gasped out his name. He felt her trembling around him as he thrust inside of her deeply, spilling his seed. He felt a shudder and wasn’t sure if it came from him or her. Holding her to him he rolled onto his back, letting her rest on top.
    Sabrina shivered as she lay on top of him, still impaled. She was exhausted and gasping for air. She felt Brock settle the covers over them and she looked up, trying to see through the darkness.
    “Are you okay?” he asked with concern in his voice.
    Not having the strength or ability to speak, she just nodded as he gathered her up in his arms and they slept.

    Lohrainne Eckhart
    Lohrainne Eckhart

    The Forgotten Child

    Author Lohrainne Eckhart: "In The Forgotten ChildEmily Nelson, a young mother, leaves a loveless marriage and finds work as a live-in cook and care giver at a home of local rancher Brad Friessen. Emily soon discovers that the Friessen’s son has mild, untreated, autism, but the distant, difficult man is in denial. Emily finally prevails in getting Friessen to accept his son's condition and to get him the help he needs. In the process, the two adults fall in love. This is the scene where they first express those feelings physically.

    The dinner dishes were washed and put away. Emily scrubbed the kitchen table and counter. The sun dipped below the horizon lighting the sky a beautiful shade of pink and orange. Emily listened at the bottom of the stairs for any rustling from the kids. Nothing—good, they were fast asleep. Dinner had been quiet and tense, even though Emily made Brad’s favorite pork chops. For her, it was just a small effort to ease some of the humiliation he’d experienced this morning. He’d only picked at his dinner. After about ten minutes, he’d pushed his plate away and got up from the table without a backward glance, doing something he never did—leave food on his plate.

    Walking to the back door, he paused before opening the door, “I have work to do. Thanks for dinner, Em.”

    “You’re welcome.” Then he was gone.

    Emily stepped outside onto the front porch. The cool night air nipped through the light brown sweater she’d draped over her shoulders. Sitting on the wooden swing, she rocked back and forth. She lifted her chin toward the sound of crunching gravel.

    Only Brad sounded so confident and surefooted. Emily caught sight of Brad’s outline as he paused right before the steps.

    “Nice night, are the kids asleep?”

    “Not a peep out of them. It didn’t take them long. Join me.” She motioned to the chair beside her.

    He looked straight at the front door. He wants to escape, he’s embarrassed. “Please Brad.”
    He took off his worn tan cowboy hat and played with the brim in a way so unlike the confident, in control, man “Okay Em.” He strode toward her. Instead of sitting, he rested his booted foot on the chair right beside her, resting his forearm on his knee, and then brushed his hat against his leg as if knocking out all the dust.
    Emily took a deep steady breath, and pulled out the elastic tying her hair back, allowing her brown wavy hair to scoop down over her shoulders. It was kind of romantic. When Emily looked up the moon had cast a circle of light around them. Brad reached out and touched a strand of her hair, rubbing it gently between his thumb and fingers. Then he tilted her chin up. Her breath was stuck somewhere around the hard lump jamming her throat. Her heart pounded; he was so close now. He leaned down, closing the awkward gap between them and captured her lips in a sweet, tender kiss, so light, his breath warm. He slid his hand around the back of her neck to her shoulder and lifted her until she stood before him. His hands slid down her back and his arms tightened into an embrace as he traced her lips with his tongue to gain entrance. With a gasp, she opened her mouth allowing him access. He deepened the kiss and pulled her tighter to him. His hands slid farther down her back and cupped her bottom. A possessive, bold move, his desire pressed hard against her. He dropped his arms and backed away, one step, two steps, breaking
    off the off-the-charts kiss; out of breath, both of them breathing deeply, as if they’d just run a marathon.
    “I’m sorry, Em. I’ve wanted to do that for so long.”

    She stepped forward reaching up, she touched his cheek. “Please don’t stop.”

    He was so tall. Her head barely reached his shoulders. But that didn’t stop her from reaching up and trying to pull his head back down to her, except he wouldn’t bend.

    “Are you sure, Em? This is what you want?”

    His whiskey-colored eyes looked amber in the moonlight. The words stuck in her throat as though lodged in something thick and gooey. Emily swallowed past the hard lump. Her invitation must have been clear because he threaded his fingers through her hair. Gripping the back of her head as he pulled her to him, reclaiming her mouth like it was his right and she was his woman, a possessive familiarity Emily had never experienced. His deep, intense kiss shed all sense of sanity and turned her knees to putty. Brad must have sensed her slipping, and tightened his arms around her waist, holding her hard against him.

    She clutched wildly to his shirt and her hands wouldn’t stop shaking. Her mind fogged. All she could think about was how great her need for him was—a need stifled for so long; she’d lost all control over the situation. A slight whimper sounded from somewhere deep inside of her. Brad pressed into her, every hard inch of himself. Oh God, how she wanted this, him. There was something about this man, and oh yes, he was very much a man, that left her screaming and rejoicing as his tongue danced with hers. Oh my, could this man kiss. Maybe that was why her mind allowed dark doubts to creep in; asking her how he could really want her. You’re just a phase, a momentary distraction. Shut up, stop thinking so much, she told herself, just enjoy, and don’t start looking for problems.

    He broke off the kiss and leaned down. Opening her bulky sweater, he placed tender kisses down her neck to the row of tiny brown buttons above her breast. He then trailed his hand over her breast, pressing softly as he traced the tender outline of her nipple through her cotton shirt. He didn’t stop his sweet torture as he cupped and lifted, running his thumb against the underside of her breasts. He pulled away, reaching down, linked her hand in his and guided her into the house, closing and locking the door behind them.
    He squeezed her hand and looked down on her with such heat and desire in those powerful whiskey
    colored eyes, pausing with an open question she clearly understood, “Are you sure this is what you want? Tell me now before this goes any further.”

    “Yes, I want you.” Her voice was husky and filled with desire.

    Without another word, he led her up the stairs. Each creak of each step bumped up the beat of her heart, and it threatened to close off all her natural breathing. She didn’t know how to handle this because with Brad, there was no question; he was in charge. His whole being stated that fact. He was a poster boy for the very definition of a strong alpha male. She’d wondered if men like him hadn’t in fact died off long ago. Now she was so grateful he was here with her leading her into his room, closing the door behind him.

    Suzan Tisdale
    Suzan Tisdale

    Laiden's Daughter

    With the threat of an invasion of English soldiers and to break the troth the Earl of Penrith had made for Aishlinn, she and Duncan marry rather quickly. While Duncan has far more 'romantic' experiences than his new bride, Aishlinn is quite willing--albeit terrified--to learn the proper ins and outs of things.

    There was no time for congratulatory celebration for the newlyweds. Duncan took her hand and leaned in to whisper to her. “’Tis not the wedding I’m sure ye imagined, nor the one ye be deservin’, lass. I promise we’ll have a better celebration after we be done with the English.”

    Aishlinn thought his smile could light up the darkest of rooms and nearly burst into tears. She knew that after tonight, her eyes and heart would never again be blessed with seeing it.

    They went to Duncan’s room, for hers had lost its door and could no longer afford them any privacy. Someone had put fresh linens on the bed and a single white rose lay atop the pillows. A low fire burned in the fireplace and candles had been lit and placed about the room. When her eyes fell back to the bed, a great sense of nervousness enveloped her. They’d be consummating their marriage soon and she hadn’t a clue what to do. Duncan saw the look of apprehension in her eyes and it brought a smile to his face. “Are ya frightened, lass?” he asked.

    “Aye.” She whispered. Terrified was a more apt description. “I know not what to do.” She murmured softly.

    Duncan let out a chuckle. “No worries, lass. I’ll help ya through it.”

    He bent to kiss her and the moment his lips touched hers, everything else in the world seemed to slip away. She wrapped her hands around his neck, twisting her fingers through his thick hair as she stood on her toes to reach him. Until just a sinnight or two ago, had someone told her not only would she be married someday, but married to a man who made her heart pound, her palms sweat, and her stomach twist and flip at his mere touch, she would have laughed herself silly over it.
    Desperate to feel his skin against hers, Duncan undid the broach holding her plaid together and tossed it on the table beside his bed. Carefully he removed her plaid and laid it upon the chair near the table. He was trying to not appear as desperate for her as he felt. Within a moment, he wrapped his arms around her and began to fumble with the buttons on her gown. He did not want to stop kissing her, but he felt he might explode from want if he didn’t remove the gown quickly enough. A moan escaped him as he tried to concentrate on the buttons. But her tongue, her kisses, her rapid breathing made it nearly impossible for him to think of anything but the kisses.

    “How many buttons are on this gown?” He asked as he put his lips to the nape of her neck.

    “I know not. Bree and Ellen have to help me into it.” She said breathlessly. Her skin covered in chill bumps and her knees were beginning to knock together.

    “How fond are ya of this dress?” He asked her, his need for her was rising quickly.

    Aishlinn was lost in her own thoughts, wanting to feel his lips on hers again. “’Tis the dress I received my first kiss from you in.” She whispered, wishing he would hurry with it. “My first kiss ever really.” She felt a smile come to her face when she thought of that night and how impossible it had all seemed then.

    Duncan growled, trying to hold himself in. Had he not been an honorable man, he would have simply lifted her skirts and taken her there on the floor. “I’m afraid lass, that if I don’t get these many buttons undone soon, I’ll die from want of ya.”

    Aishlinn giggled slightly, as she remembered Mary and Laren explaining to her the control a woman had over a man. She realized then what they had been speaking of. She turned around quickly and lifted her hair so that he could undo the buttons. Her hands trembled while her stomach felt as though someone were tickling it from the inside.

    Duncan would have preferred to just rip the damn thing from her, but fought that urge. He’d been around enough women to know the importance they sometimes put to things. Knowing the dress held special memories for her he couldn’t allow himself do it. He groaned as his fingers seemed to not go nearly as fast as he would have liked. He would have a talk with Bree later about the number of buttons that would be acceptable on any future gowns she might make for his wife.

    His wife. The realization of it sent pleasant shivers down his spine. She was his. Forever his. As he undid the last button, the candlelight flickered across her back, giving him a glimpse of the scars left by an evil bastard of a man. He held his breath and remained still. Silently he vowed that come the morrow he would personally kill the man responsible, even if he had to ride across English lands to do it.

    It took only a moment for Aishlinn to realize why he had paused. Perhaps he had changed his mind when he caught sight of the scars. Bree and Ellen had insisted they were not hideously disfiguring and barely noticeable. But Aishlinn had serious doubts and was certain they lied only to protect her.

    “I cannot blame you if you’ve changed your mind, Duncan.” She whispered. Her heart fell to her toes when he did not immediately answer. He turned her around so that he could look at her beautiful face. God’s teeth, but she was beautiful. “Nay, I haven’t changed me mind.” He whispered as he brushed his lips tenderly over hers. “Mayhap ye’ll change yer mind when ye see me battle scars.” He teased.

    He could have a thousand scars covering him from head to toe and it would not have mattered one wit to her. It was his heart and how he felt of her that mattered.

    Duncan took in a deep breath of air before he began kissing her again. He would never spend another lonely night alone in his bed mad with lust and want of her. She would be there every night with him. Och! There would be much lust, much need of her, but he wouldn’t have to throw himself into the cold loch to fight it. He would be able to reach out for her and she would be there.

    “I love ya, Aishlinn.”

    Her eyes filled with tears. She knew he meant the words he spoke. “I love you, Duncan.” She whispered.

    She had to kiss him then to keep the tears from spilling forth. Instantly, a strange and new sensation fluttered through her body. It was rather reminiscent of being extremely hungry, a need of something but what that something was she had no clue. She wiggled out of her dress, letting it drop to the floor, and stood before him in only her shift. A most serious expression of determination appeared on his face right before he began to ply her again with warm, passionate kisses.

    A burning need filled her to the marrow and she wanted to see him, all of him. She undid the broach clipped to his plaid, not certain what to do with it. Duncan took it from her and tossed it over his shoulder where it landed with a plink somewhere near the door. His plaid fell away and he pulled his tunic over his head and tossed it to the floor as well.

    She sucked in air deeply as she looked at his well-muscled and toned arms and chest. His skin had been kissed by the sun and seemed to ripple in the candlelight. There were scars upon his shoulders as well as his tight, wavy stomach, scars he wore with pride for he had earned every one of them in battle. Her eyes moved downward and when she caught sight of his manhood, she closed them quickly, embarrassed for having looked there.

    Duncan chuckled at her crimson face as he grasped her neck and pulled her to him. He lifted her in his arms, kissed the soft spot at the base of her neck whilst he gently laid her down upon the bed. Her eyes were still closed, her fingers holding onto the sheets tightly as if she were bracing herself for the unknown. He chuckled again as he lay beside her and began to kiss her lips, her cheeks and eyelids. She finally let go her hold on the sheets and wrapped her arms around his neck.

    “I’ll be gentle lass, I swear it.” He told her, kissing the nape of her neck. As much as he wanted to simply plunge himself into her, he wanted for her to enjoy their first time together. It was important for her to feel the pleasures he could give her.

    “Tell me if I do anythin’ that hurts.” He whispered as he kissed her bare shoulders. “Tell me if I do anythin’ ya dunna like.”

    Aishlinn could not imagine him doing anything to her that would be at all unpleasant. Excitement coursed through her as she pulled him closer, desperately needing to feel his lips against her own. “Kiss me.” She said breathlessly.

    He honored her request. Her mouth was hungry for him and his hers. She felt his hand as he touched her thigh ever so gently with just the tips of his fingers. More chill bumps covered her body and she thought she might faint from the sheer exhilaration he brought to her with his touch. His feather soft touches, as he slowly ran his fingers across her skin, brought forth more chill bumps. Ever so carefully and slowly he pushed her shift up exposing her skin, her secret places. It left her feeling nearly intoxicated.

    When he kissed her belly button she thought for certain she would lose her mind for it seemed so inappropriate! She stopped breathing altogether when he touched her breasts, for she didn’t think that was proper either. He stopped only long enough to lift the shift over her head before tossing it to the floor.

    She had not been prepared for this, for laying completely naked and exposing herself in such a fashion! She had imagined she would have only needed to expose the places necessary for consummation, not every square inch of her body!

    “Breathe lass, or ye’ll swoon on me.” He chuckled as he began to kiss her again.

    She forced herself to breathe for the last thing she wanted was to swoon and miss out on what might happen next. Running her hands along his arms then his back, she could hear him moan with pleasure. She was surprised to find that when she heard his soft moans, they brought an intense and thrilling excitement to the pit of her stomach.

    Before she realized it, Duncan was on top of her and his kisses were growing more penetrating and passionate. The powerful, urgent need boiled within her like liquid heat. It was as exhilarating as it was confusing. Exhilarating because she had never before felt so alive and blissfully happy all the while feeling very alarmed and anxious.

    ’Twas confusing because she knew not what the vibrant, pulsing need was, only that it made her feel there was more to this joining of husband and wife than just deep, ardent kisses, heavy, anxious breathing, and feverish, unrestrained touches. There had to be more to it.

    ’Twas then that she felt something rather large as it lingered near the entrance to her womanly nether regions. She gasped when she realized just what ’it‘ was and what he planned on doing with it. Before she could even ask the question ’are you quite serious that you mean to do what I think you mean to do‘ he did just what she thought he had been intending to do.

    “Ow!” She said, taking in a deep breath of air and holding it until she nearly swooned again from fright and shock and the pain.

    Duncan paused, lifted his head from her neck and looked at her with a fearful and frustrated expression. “Do ye wish me to stop?” he asked.

    She was certain that what he truly meant to say was, ‘Please, I beg you do not ask me to stop now.’ Or to hear her say “Nay, husband, please continue at your leisure.’

    For a moment she could not speak. She could only hold her breath and retain her deathlike grip on the sheets near her hips. After several agonizingly long moments, the pain began to subside and she was finally able to find her voice, or a close likeness to it for she wasn’t sure she recognized the sound that came from her own mouth. “Nay.” She told him.

    She was frightened for his wellbeing and health for there were many times over the last sinnight that he had told her he was ready to explode with want and desire for her. The image of her husband exploding into a thousands pieces of flesh all over the marital bed kept her from saying nay. How would she begin to explain it to anyone?

    She fought the urge to laugh a moment later when she heard his deep sigh of relief at her answer. Somehow his frustration made her feel a bit better about the entire situation and for the life of her she could not figure out why. Perhaps it made him seem more human and less God-like, more real and less perfect, even though he was as close to perfection as any man could possibly get, at least in her way of thinking.

    Not a moment had passed before he began to slowly move within her, kissing her tenderly as he caressed any part of her body that was naked and exposed. As he moved, she realized that ’this’ was the deep need she had been craving. He whispered to her in Gaelic, a few of the words she recognized, others not.

    As his pace quickened she began to feel very odd, tingly sensations as she began to meet his movements with her hips. It was all beginning to make sense, this joining of a man and a woman. It did not take very long after that for her to realize what Mary and Laren had been talking about when they discussed the pleasures joining brought to both man and woman when it was done correctly.

    “Mo Chuisle.” Duncan whispered. “Is tu no ghra,” Aishlinn knew what those words meant. More excitement rushed over her when he used the Gaelic to say he loved her.

    When she thought the feelings of joining with her husband could not possibly get any better, something unfamiliar began to spread over her body. It began from somewhere deep within her and rapidly rose before exploding to every inch of her body. Her toes curled, her fingers dug into her husband’s back, and her eyes rolled back into their sockets.

    She was horribly frightened by it, not at all certain what it was that was happening to her. Perhaps it was an apoplexy and the thought of dying now, in this moment nearly scared her to death. “Duncan, what is happening?” She whispered quite desperately.

    She heard him chuckle slightly and then nothing else as the explosion grew to great waves that plunged her into an unbelievable sea of what could only be described as a maddening yet blissful, inconceivable ecstasy. For a moment she thought her soul had left her body as she dove her fingers even deeper into Duncan’s back. She shuddered involuntarily and felt the need to scream for…her mind went blank for she couldn’t think of what to scream for other than for him to not stop.

    If I die now, then so be it. I will die feeling the grandest of pleasures. Aishlinn had not realized she had said the words aloud until she heard Duncan’s light laughter before he said, “Ye’re welcome.” For once she did not turn red.

    The feeling subsided, yet lingered just on the edge and she was certain she would go mad if he did not stop, to let her catch her breath. He began to kiss her again and within moments all thoughts of stopping disappeared.

    All she could think of was that joining with her husband had turned out to be far more pleasurable than her mind could ever imagined. Her heart swelled with love for this man and she knew he loved her and would do anything for her. Aishlinn hoped that he was enjoying himself as much as she was and she took the chance to open her eyes. He looked to be in a good deal of pain. “Are you all right?” she asked him.

    “Aye.” He whispered, moving slowly as he kissed her again. It was not long after that she felt the tides of passion return and soon they were both lost, thundering along in that intense and unbelievably joyous and thunderous wave.

    She felt Duncan begin to shake against her as he moved faster, calling out her name, expressing his love to her once again. Aishlinn realized the pleasure she brought to him was just as intense and exquisite as what he had brought to her. She smiled just before the explosion overtook her again.

    When it was over, he lay soaked in sweat atop her, his face buried in the pillow, trying to catch his breath. As she hugged him, tears came to her eyes. There were too many reasons to count as to why she felt like crying at the moment.

    He began speaking to her, his voice muffled and she could not make out the words. “Are you all right?” she asked him again.

    He slowly lifted his head and there was a very broad smile on his face. “Aye. I am now.” He kissed her lips, her forehead, her cheeks and her eyes. “I love ye, Mo Chuisle.”

    She found she rather liked the way his words made her stomach flutter and her heart race madly. Her heart began to seize momentarily, for the thought of morning time came to her mind. She would miss him but she knew she would be able to carry this one night with her throughout eternity.

    Duncan rolled to his back and he pulled her near. She rested her head upon his chest, just as she had imagined doing many times over the past weeks. It was just as pleasant as she thought it would be. She could hear his heart pounding against his chest, like a big Scottish drum.

    As they lay there with their legs intertwined and trying to come back down from the celestial territories they’d just explored together, Duncan gently caressed her arm with the back of his hand. He imagined the smile on his face to be permanently sealed there for all eternity. He had been with many a woman in his life, far more than his fair share he supposed. But none had brought forth the passion or the intensity to lovemaking that Aishlinn had. He would have sworn on his family’s graves that she had touched his very soul.

    He felt hot tears as they landed on his chest. He hoped they were tears of joy and not sorrow or regret over marrying him. He also hoped he had not caused her any great amount of pain. “Lass, why do ye cry?” He whispered, his voice laced with concern.

    “I’m happy.” It wasn’t a complete lie, for she was happy beyond all human comprehension. Intermingled with that however, was the sorrow for what she would do when he fell asleep.

    Duncan patted her arm gently, giving her a slight hug. “No regrets?”
    “Only that I had not met you long ago.” Which was the truth. Had she grown up here, had her life been different, then her heart would not be now disintegrating into ashes.

    “We’ve our whole lives to make up fer it.” He said sweetly.

    Aishlinn could only nod her head. She wanted not to utter any lies to him. Lies it seemed had been what her entire life had been based upon. Wanting only to leave him with a night of very happy memories, she remained silent.

    Some lucky people who leave a comment today will be in drawings to win one of the following:

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    Thank you, Maryann, for allowing our authors to share these excerpts from their books with your readers. - Jon Reisfeld
    The Last Way Station: Hitler's Final Journey
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