Archive for March, 2019


The daffodils have started blooming at the house where my grandparents, then my aunt lived, and now my boys live there. Not all of them, but enough to make it feel like spring is really here. It’s early days, but it’s here. I spent a big chunk of yesterday doing some yard work, trimming back the flowering shrubs and plotting with my oldest where we’ll move the peonies to when we clear the bed from behind the garage to make more parking area for them, planning to make another garden smaller, what to put in a front bed, all the mulching we’ll have to do. Last year, we did some of the garden work that needed to be caught up on from the previous year, when my aunt started it before she became to ill to continue. Now we’ll catch up so the yard and gardens would make her and my grandma happy again.

I had planned to be farther along with my post-writing steps for the Common Elements novella I’m releasing this fall, but the day-job is kicking my butt this month. We are short-handed on our team (after covering for a couple of weeks for a neighboring team), and my brain is tired. We have four busy weeks to get through, and then hopefully we’ll have a new team member to pick up the slack, and I can breathe a little again.

So while I go try to catch up on some household chores that have also fallen by the wayside in the past week, I’ve got a little story snippet for you from the fourth story in my shifter series.

________________

Instead of letting her get ready alone, Anton stayed in the bedroom. He had a sneaking suspicion she’d come downstairs in the black dress otherwise. He admired the curve of her hips as she sat on the foot of the bed to ease on sheer stockings that reached her thighs.

“Pretty.”

She blushed as she glanced up, and he winked, just to see the color in her cheeks deepen. It did, and she looked away, getting to her feet again to return to the bathroom.

He watched her go, thinking how much he couldn’t wait to peel the blush-colored bra and panties off of her later.

When she emerged again, her hair was no longer down. Instead, she’d twisted it into a loose knot at her nape, with a few wisps around her face.

Gods, she was pretty, his mate.

She hesitated at the closet, and he held his breath, waiting to see what she’d do, which gown she would choose.

After a very long moment, she slid the green from the hanger, and he relaxed. He moved closer when she’d stepped into the gown and slid the straps onto her shoulders. “Let me help,” he murmured, reaching to zip her up.

She shivered when he brushed her skin just above the top of her dress, so he bent to kiss the curve of her ear.

“Thank you,” he whispered.

He heard her swallow, and she tipped her head to look back at him. “Thank you,” she whispered back.

He groaned as he straightened. “If you look at me like that, we’re not going to make it out of the house, and it would be a shame if no one else sees you in that dress.”

She smiled, reluctantly, and turned away. When she’d stepped into the sandals, she turned back.

“You need one more thing.” He held up his hand when her mouth opened. “Close your eyes and don’t argue.”

She frowned, then, after several seconds, closed her eyes.

He retrieved the box from his dresser and unhooked the clasp, then draped the chain around her throat and fastened it again. “Okay.”

She glanced over her shoulder at him, still frowning, and her fingers slid down the chain to the pendant.

“Go look.” He nodded toward the mirror, and she went, still looking at him, uncertainly.

Until she reached the mirror, and her jaw dropped as her eyes rounded.

He walked over, too, satisfaction making him smile when he could see it. The antique platinum chain and old-fashioned cut of the diamonds around the emerald suited her.

“Oh my Gods,” she breathed, “Anton, I can’t–”

“My father gave it to my mother when I was born. Now I’m giving it to you.”

Her wide eyes met his in the mirror, and he couldn’t quite read her expression–too many things swirled there. “Thank you,” she said finally.

He bent to kiss her bare shoulder again. “My pleasure.” He turned her to face him, and realized she already had lipstick on. “Damn.”

She must have realized what he meant, because she smiled. “It won’t come off.” She swiped one finger across her bottom lip, then showed him. “Lip stain.”

He didn’t give a damn what it was called. He bent and caught her mouth. Deep and long. When he lifted his head, her cheeks were flushed, her lips puffy.

________________

Now I have one last load of laundry to deal with, and maybe some supper to make before I call it a day. Who else is having trouble keeping up right now? Any ideas on how to get through it? I could use some suggestions for the next month.

 

 

(  Daffodil – Depositphotos )

It’s starting to feel more like spring here, so it looks like my hopes for at least one good snowstorm this season will be dashed. Again. But as busy as things are at the day-job right now, it wouldn’t matter, because I don’t have time to enjoy either snow or spring right now. At the moment, my last load of laundry is in the dryer, and I haven’t had time to sit long enough to even think about writing today. So I’m going to try to sneak in a few minutes at least before I call it a day.

I have a little snippet from Hunting Medusa for you this week.

________________

Something had moved outside.

Something too tall to be one of the does that frequented the clearing each evening, though not tall enough for the bull moose who came occasionally. Just the right size for a sneaky Harvester posing as a vacuum salesman.

She thumbed off the phone and sat up straighter, her other hand coming to rest on the dagger across her knees. For a long moment, she didn’t see anything. Then a dark shape slid between the trees, a few yards nearer to the house.

Her heart hammered against her ribs and she curled her fingers around the dagger hilt. That was no animal. At least not of the wild variety. No, this was a two-legged animal, and she had the terrible feeling this one really was a Harvester, no matter what her mother had said yesterday.

Let him try, she thought, setting the phone back on its base. He’d find this Medusa wasn’t going down quietly. She only wished she were PMSing so she could take him out without too much effort. Or mess. If only he’d waited just a few more days to make his move…

She stifled a hysterical giggle at that last thought, glad she’d listened to her instincts this evening.

The shape disappeared again in the dark trees, and she held her breath. Then he reappeared for a few seconds, much closer to the house this time. Her pulse pounded in her ears. He was determined. And now out of her line of vision.

A loud, sharp beep indicated her alarm system had shut down, and was accompanied by the sound of every appliance in the house also turning off. He’d killed her power at the junction box outside.

Bastard.

Andi got to her feet, then tried to decide which door he’d come in. She heard the soft sound of a footfall on the back porch. She crossed into the kitchen, not needing to feel her way around the furniture, and positioned herself beside the refrigerator. He wouldn’t make it far into the house, and then he was hers.

 

Kallan wiped his sweaty hand down his jeans, hoping the shriek of the Medusa’s alarm shutting off hadn’t wakened her. He didn’t want her prepared for an attack. He’d prefer to kill her quickly and get the hell out. He could be back in Baltimore by supper tomorrow with the amulet in hand for Uncle Ari to destroy, ending the protective spell for the rest of the Medusa’s descendants.

He touched the doorknob, felt the locks disengage beneath his hand, then turned the handle and swung the door wide.

Silence greeted him, and he took that as a good sign. No creaking came from upstairs, as there would be if she’d wakened. Good. Nevertheless, he stepped inside cautiously, listening hard. He took another step after a few heartbeats, trying to remember just where the kitchen table and chairs stood from his limited view the day before.

He made it past the furniture and paused to listen again. Still nothing. He frowned. With the power off, the house was too quiet. Surely the sudden and complete silence would wake her, even if she hadn’t heard the brief noise of the alarm shutting down. He slid one foot forward on the smooth wooden floor, and suddenly she was there. Fiery pain shot up his left arm. He grunted, realized she’d stabbed him deeply. He swung his other hand up, managing to hit her on the side of the head.

She cried out but didn’t go down, swinging her blade again. He caught her wrist, but she managed to get another slice to his already-injured forearm before he yanked her arm behind her.

Her booted foot connected with his knee—hard—and he bit back a string of curses at the pain, but didn’t let her go. Why wasn’t she barefoot? If she’d been sleeping, she should be barefoot. His left arm was nearly useless, blood pumping steadily from his wounds, so he crowded her up against the nearest surface. The refrigerator. He shoved hard, hearing her moan when he twisted her arm a little more.

Her blade hit the floor between them. She kicked backward again, and her foot hit his knee from the other side this time.

“Dammit,” he muttered, flattening her between his body and the appliance’s cool metal surface. His arm burned, warm blood dripping from his fingers.

“Get off me, you murdering bastard,” she said, her words slurred slightly from her face being mashed into the refrigerator.

“Well now, that’s not very nice. Especially since I’ve never murdered anyone. Yet,” he added darkly, tightening his grip on her wrist. The bones in her arm were fragile and he was fully aware he could crush them, render her arm as useless as she had his. But he didn’t. He wasn’t Stavros.

“You’re not going to start with me, either, Harvester.”

Mouthy. He grinned at the back of her head. Even trapped and defenseless as she was now, she didn’t stop fighting, even verbally. He had to work to keep from laughing as she continued to threaten him. No one had warned him the Medusa would be talkative. Or soft, he realized when her bottom shifted back into his groin. He concentrated on breathing evenly when his nerve endings all came to life. He’d never imagined he might be aroused by the Medusa.

________________

Here’s hoping for a quick week for you all, and some writing time for me!

 

( Depositphotos )

It’s Sunday, and this week, that means family dinner. When the boys were little, we had family dinners daily. Then they got older and schedules changed, so dinner all together wasn’t something that could happen every day. Now they live on their own, so I decided this year that I wanted to make sure we had family dinner again, at least semi-regularly. Right now, I have a roast in the crock pot, and a giant pan of vegetables roasting in the oven, and both smell delicious. The boys will be here in a little while to eat and visit. And half the left-overs will go home with them, which makes me happy, since I know they don’t do a lot of cooking–the leftovers mean they’ll have something good for a couple of days. Yes, they’re young adults and on their own, but my job as Mom doesn’t stop just because they don’t live with me anymore. So I still worry, and if I can feed them once in a while, I will.

We used to have Sunday dinners every week when I was a kid. There were occasions when my dad wasn’t there, depending on his work shift that week. Some weeks, we had company…grandparents or aunts or cousins. Some weeks, we went to my closest grandma’s house an hour away for Sunday dinner. I miss regular family dinners. Some weeks I only get to cook once, depending on my schedule. This is one of those weeks, so I’m really looking forward to dinner, and to the left-overs we’ll all have for a couple of days.

As I’m writing this, I realize I have a strong family theme through a lot of my manuscripts. In my Medusa trilogy, the heroines are all part of the same family, my shifters are family, and in the novella I have due out this fall, there is a little family aspect as well. Interesting. I wouldn’t have considered family to be a recurring theme in my stories, especially considering how hot some of them are. Hm…

Before I go set the table for my Sunday dinner, I have a little snippet for you from my first shifter story.

________________

Harley caught a glimpse of his younger sister in the far corner of the room, at the center of a small crowd. Their cousins and her friends surrounded her, and his gaze caught on one sleek, dark head. Tessa Gardiner. He hadn’t seen her in a very long time. She looked tense despite her little smile at whatever India had just said. He grinned and raised his hand to greet her.

Her bright green eyes went blank, and then she turned, angling herself so she was still within the group but completely facing away from him.

He blinked. What the hell was that about? He frowned. Tessa had always liked him. She’d even had a crush on him for most of the time he’d known her, though he’d ignored it in favor of keeping the peace with his sister, and then, later, with the elders in his family even when his younger self might have considered at least dating her.

But this?

Turning her back on him was unacceptable. Though it was a damned fine back, he admitted, with the creamy skin of her shoulders and arms bared by the fitted blue dress that hugged her torso. He set his jaw and made his way through the crowd in her direction. Whatever he’d done to piss her off, surely he could make it up to her.

Or not. An hour later he continued to try to maneuver into her line of sight. Every time he thought he’d managed, she shifted yet again, further away from him. There were inevitable interruptions to his stalking with family greeting him and friends he hadn’t seen in a long time who kept stopping him along the way. By the time he’d made it to where she’d been originally, she and India were on the other side of the room in the middle of a different crowd. His sister seemed oblivious to Tessa’s blatant rudeness, her arm linked with her best friend’s.

He’d had enough of subtle, he decided, squaring his shoulders inside the hot blazer he wore. Tigers only did subtle or stalking for so long, and then they pounced. He strode across the room, now ignoring hailing family members along the way, until he reached their little group, nudging his way in until he stood behind Tessa. He could tell when she realized he was there, as her bare spine straightened and her shoulders squared. Tensed still more.

“Hello, little Tessa,” he murmured, leaning nearer. She smelled delicious, some spicy scent rubbed on her skin, and she looked very grown-up, despite the faint sprinkling of freckles dotting the bare skin he could see. Though, he mused, he had to admit, she and India were adults now and had been for a long time. But he still thought of her the same way he had when they’d first met. ‘Little Tessa’. He’d called her that for more than twenty years now.

She didn’t respond to his greeting.

He lifted an eyebrow. What the hell had he done to piss her off so badly? He set one hand on her shoulder, feeling, briefly, the warmth of her soft skin, before she jerked away, muttering something to India as she fled.

He stared after her, jaw sagging.

“Way to go, dumb ass,” India snapped.

________________

What are some themes you like to read about when you’re diving into a new romance novel? Reunion romances? Family ties? Revenge gone awry?

 

 

 

Today’s post will be short and sweet. I’m torn right now between watching the snow falling outside my window, and the writing I need to do, as well as cover shopping–I saw a great one last weekend, but it’s gone, so I have to keep looking. Sadly, we are only getting a few inches of snow through tonight, and the new snow we got Friday night was already gone by the end of the day yesterday, as was the snow from Thursday night. It isn’t looking good for me getting my one required big snowstorm for this winter, since we only have a few weeks of winter left. I might have to find a good winter movie to watch. Who has suggestions?

Before I get back to work, I have a little story snippet to share with you from Hunting Medusa.

________________

It was one of those days when having the Medusa’s fabled power to turn people to stone would really come in handy.

Andrea Rosakis did not, however, have that ability, not this week, anyway. Even though she was the reigning Medusa.

She glared at the man on her back porch, wondering if he could ever understand how lucky he was she wasn’t suffering from PMS this week. And why wouldn’t he stop talking? Her fingers itched to slam the door.

“…if you just have five minutes, ma’am,” he concluded.

She narrowed her gaze on the vacuum beside him. “No, thank you.” And how the hell had he found her all the way out here? No one ever bothered to follow her rough, muddy driveway all the way to the top, even if they did ignore the “No Trespassing” signs posted at the foot of it. Not to mention the protective warding she had set at the boundaries of the entire property. Sure, it wasn’t the heavy artillery of protection spells, but no one else had ever gotten past it. This man however, had not only ignored the signs and the subtle “go away” protections, but managed the entire bumpy, muddy track into the woods and halfway up the mountain. Just to hear her say, “No.”

And he didn’t look discouraged. At all.

Andi almost wished she were PMSing this week, though it would be a real pain in the ass to have to get rid of a life-sized stone statue of a vacuum salesman.

Or maybe she could keep it. He was very pretty, even if he annoyed her. He was tall and broad, his inky black hair was a tad too long, and his bright green eyes held her attention. At least as stone, he’d be silent and still pretty. She gave herself a mental shake. “I’m sorry, but I don’t have time for this—”

“When would be a better time?”

“Never.”

He did blink at that, but his smile never disappeared. “I’ll have to check my calendar.”

She snorted, then clapped her free hand over her mouth. Laughing would not discourage the man. “Look, I’m sure it’s a great vacuum, but I don’t need it. I don’t want to see how it works, and I’d like you to get off my property.”

His smile did fade a little bit. “Well, I suppose, if that’s what you really want.”

She quirked an eyebrow, trying not to smile again. He had the faintest hint of an accent, but she couldn’t place it. Not without hearing him talk some more, and she didn’t want to encourage that either, or he’d just keep trying to sell her an expensive vacuum she didn’t need.

“Maybe I could talk you into meeting me for coffee sometime then,” he said.

Her jaw dropped. The cute salesman was hitting on her. For half a second, she indulged the fantasy of a date with the hunk. A real date, maybe ending with a real kiss. Her pulse quickened. Then she remembered one good date led to more, and eventually, it led to guys running away from her, gibbering like idiots when PMS struck. She shut her mouth and ignored the regret burning in her middle. “Sorry, but no.”

“You’re a hard woman,” he said lightly, his bright gaze sliding down to her mouth. “I’ll leave my card in case you change your mind. About the coffee, that is.” He forced a small card into her hand and picked up his vacuum.

Andi stared after him as he strode off her porch. The bulky vacuum looked like it weighed nothing in his hand, swinging at his side on his way to the shiny, new truck parked behind her car.

When he took one hand from the steering wheel to wave at her, she stopped herself from lifting her hand in response. He turned the truck around and vanished down the drive into the trees. Frowning, she went back inside and shut the door, then locked it and re-armed the alarm. He’d tossed the vacuum into the bed of the truck. A very strong salesman.

Who didn’t seem to care the impending rain was going to damage his expensive vacuum.

She turned back to the door and stared out the narrow window beside it, her heart beating faster now with alarm. Maybe he didn’t realize. Or maybe he really hadn’t come here to sell her a vacuum.

She swallowed hard.

Aunt Celosia had always told the cousins stories of the Harvesters, the men who still hunted for the Medusa. Somehow, Andi had always thought they’d be more frightening. More obvious. Ugly men intent on murder.

If this vacuum salesman was a Harvester, he was sneaky. Of course, if he was a Harvester, he would be sneaky, as Perseus had been when he killed the first Medusa.

She was in a lot of trouble.

________________

Now I’m back to work on this manuscript and then some more cover art shopping. Wish me luck!

( Young couple in love – Depositphotos )