Category: holiday


As I write this, Mother’s Day is winding down. Mine was quiet, and my guys got me some very thoughtful gifts (Chocolate from my favorite local candy shop, a nifty indoor basil kit, and Thor & Loki! It’s like my three guys know me or something.).  But I’ve been working, too, all weekend, though I feel like I haven’t gotten nearly enough accomplished. I bet a lot of moms feel that way quite often–all the household and family things that need to be done, and then if they’re lucky, maybe some time to do things for themselves.

One of the things I’ve been trying to cram into my schedule is tweaking my goals list for the year, yes, again.

 

 

With all of the real-life things that keep falling into my path, I’ve been mentally shifting priorities to accommodate, and I really need to put the adjustments on paper. And at this point in the year, It’s almost time to do the mid-year evaluation, to see if what remains on the list is still feasible or not, and adjust for that. I work best with a list that stares me in the face all the time, so I can keep my focus there and actually achieve what I want to get done.

Right now, it’s raining and has been on and off since yesterday afternoon. Overnight Friday night, too, and after the past few days, what I’d really like to do is crawl in bed with a good book and ignore anything else that looks like work for the day while I listen to the rain on the roof. But if I do that, I’ll feel very guilty, and that kind of ruins the enjoyment of the indulgence, doesn’t it?  So I may not give in to that impulse, but I am going to call it a day earlier than usual tonight. The next week at the day-job will be busy again, and then I have my family gathering next weekend, so I feel like I need to rest up tonight and get ready for the next seven days.

This week, I feel like maybe a little snippet from the second shifter story might be appropriate.

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India closed the file full of wedding pictures on her laptop and set the computer aside. Tessa and Harley had sent the rough shots as soon as they arrived from the photographer. Dozens of them, including one of her looking wistfully at her brother and new sister-in-law. She pushed to her feet and paced to the window.

Sighing, she reached up with one hand to unclip her hair from the sleek twist she usually wore for work. That alleviated a tiny bit of the pressure in her head, but the rest was internal. She tossed the clip onto her desk and used both hands to rub at the base of her skull.

It had been a long week. Her uncle Adar had stormed into her office early Monday morning, growling about her treatment of his shiny new wife at the wedding reception, then a report she’d sent to Boris’s secretary had gone missing before lunchtime, and things had gone downhill from there.

Her only consolation right now was that she had one day left till the weekend. Of course, next week, she’d be stuck in Shifter Alliance Conference meetings in New York City all week. She stared down at the traffic and pedestrians on the street below, resting her forehead against the window. If she were going to New York to shop, that would be one thing, but with the conference schedule, she wouldn’t have time to wander the city on the hunt for any fabulous shopping opportunities or bargains.

She shut her eyes and took a deep breath. Work. She needed a vacation. Somewhere on a beach, with room service.

She straightened and returned to her desk. She needed to get through next week before she could think about time off. And right now, there was a scheduling report on her computer–she should have been looking at that instead of Harley and Tessa’s wedding pictures, since the report was due this afternoon.

She leaned forward in her chair and turned the computer back around, tapping the keys to bring up the report again. Rubbing her temple to ease the ache in her head, it took her a few minutes to refocus her attention on the screen. Work.

An hour later, she’d nearly finished compiling the report, when India felt eyes on her, making the fine hairs at the back of her neck prickle. She looked up, frowning. No one. She tapped her fingers on the desktop, shifting her gaze to the window.

And then she saw him, standing at the window across the street.

Her heart leaped into high gear, and she tried to slow it down, tried to convince herself it was just her imagination, just a little wishful thinking left over from the weekend. Her imagination.

Even though she knew it wasn’t.

He was here.

Heat flashed through her, molten, and left her shivering. If she tried to leave the office, her legs would never hold her.

She couldn’t see his face clearly from here, but she didn’t need to. She knew it almost as well as her own, even after all this time.

She shut her eyes and turned back to her desk.

Her phone rang, and she nearly jumped out of her chair. Laughing at herself, she picked it up. “Hello?”

“Hello, a rúnsearc.” The lilting Irish accent teased her ear, familiar, sexy. Rory.

She went still, except for her racing heart. “What do you want?” The question came out hoarse, but she couldn’t help it. Her imagination went wild. Memories, good and bad, flooded through her.

He chuckled, and arousal stirred in her belly, spreading outward. She knew what he wanted. “Have dinner with me,” he said after a second.

“No.” She was a little surprised she’d managed to sound like she meant that.

“You’d really make me wait until the meeting next week to have a meal together?”

India shut her eyes. He would be there. Dear Gods.

“India, a rúnsearc?”

“Why are you here?” She should have just repeated her refusal and hung up.

“Why do you think?”

To torture her, obviously. Every part of her wanted to go to him, even now. “Because you’re a glutton for punishment,” she muttered.

He laughed again. “For you? Of course.”

She’d meant herself, and she flushed, trying to ignore the slow, thick trickle of heat in her veins, the building throb in her belly.

“But the pleasure is so much better,” he whispered.

________________

I love India and Rory, though I am going to need to do some rewriting of their story before it’s fully ready for public consumption. But because I was jotting notes about them last night, I thought it might be fun to share a little snippet of their story.

Happy Mother’s Day, to anyone doing Mom’s work! And if you would, tell me how you sneak in a little down-time when things are crazy. I could use a couple of tips.

( Photo on Foter.com )

 

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( Photo on Foter.com )

My last load of laundry is in the dryer, the dinner leftovers are put away (or sent home with the boys and some to the neighbor), and it’s finally time to relax. But I don’t feel very relaxed. I feel antsy and edgy.  I think it’s because there’s so much going on here–until we get through the yard sale next month, I don’t think I’m going to have much down-time (and have I mentioned how much I hate yard sales? I do, so this is my one and only. Ugh.). The yard sale isn’t my only non-writing project either, and the day-job is still insanely busy. But I did spend quite a bit of time in the last week working on my revised writing goals for the year. I still need to tweak, and to be realistic–if I’m going away on vacation for a week in September, chances aren’t good I’m going to get as much done as I think I should.  So I will work out the last of the kinks in that by mid-week and be ready to work on my April goals.

I’ve also been looking over Medusa #2, tweaking and making notes on things I want to polish up, and doing a casual read of Medusa #3.  Those won’t be so bad to complete. The harder work will come when I get to the point of formatting, covers, release dates… My mind spins just thinking about it.  So for now, I’m going to try to rein that in and stay focused on the stories. No need to freak myself out yet.

I did think earlier in the week how much I could use a vacation.  September is a long way off.  I may need a couple of long weekends between now and then if I’m going to make it that long until vacation.  But I do have Maine to look forward to.

( Photo by romanboed on Foter.com / CC BY )

It just seems so very far in the future right now.  I guess I should count myself lucky that I’ve got so much going on right now, that time should fly right by for a little while.

While I try to convince myself of that, I have a little snippet of my first shifter story to share with you this week.

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Upstairs, she pulled her tote out of the closet and started folding her clothes into it. Since the alarm was functional, she could go home tomorrow after work, instead of returning here to the compound, and right now, putting some distance between herself and Harley seemed like a very smart idea.

Of course, she reflected, she probably didn’t have any usable furniture left in her house. She hadn’t asked, though the trash bin in her driveway yesterday when Harley took her to pick up her car had been overflowing. Tessa frowned, putting the tote aside to think. She might need to rent some furniture until it was time to move.

She sat on the edge of the bed. Maybe a sleeping bag for tomorrow night, then she could see what she needed once she got home.

The tap on her door startled her, and she shoved upright again. “Yes?”

The door opened just a little, and Harley stuck his head around it. “Hey.”

“Harley.” She swallowed, feeling a blush creep up her throat to her face.

“Can I persuade you to join me for a walk in the rose garden?”

Tessa felt her pulse quicken. “Not a good idea.”

One of his eyebrows winged up. “Why not?”

“I have things to deal with tonight.”

One corner of his mouth tipped up, too. “You can’t take fifteen minutes for a walk?”

“Harley, we shouldn’t have kissed last night.” Much as she’d dreamed of that very thing for years.

His smile vanished.

“And it can’t happen again.”

He scowled at her. “Why not? We’re both adults.”

Her heart thumped against her ribs when he stepped into the room. “Because I’m not staying, and you are. Because you’re my best friend’s brother. Because–” she stopped talking when he took a step toward her.

“Because you’re afraid.”

Heat rushed to her face. “I am not.”

He smiled again, a dangerous curve of his lips. “You are.”

She frowned at him. “It doesn’t matter. It’s not happening again.”

“We’ll see.”

“Please leave my room, Harley.”

He winked at her.

“Not again. We can’t.” She pointed at the door.

He backed out of it, his amber gaze still on her face. “We’ll see.”

Tessa shoved the door shut and leaned against it, her pulse skipping. Why couldn’t Harley have wanted this years ago? Even if it was just for a summer fling?

She straightened. It didn’t matter. In a matter of weeks, she’d be gone.

________________

What will be occupying your time this week? Lots of work at your day-jobs? A break to read for hours? That last one sounds lovely and reminds me I am overdue for one of those breaks.

 

 

 

( Photo on Foter.com )

We’re heading into Valentine’s Day this week, so it seems like a perfect week to talk about romance, in our books and in real life. I regularly see posts on social media asking about the book that hooked someone on romance novels, and I always feel a little guilty because I don’t remember the first romance I ever read.  Other people can name their first, so why can’t I?  Probably because I was such a voracious reader when I was in school.

When I was much younger, it just about killed me to only be allowed to borrow two books at a time from the public library.  I would wind up reading them over and over during the week.  When I got to the high school (ours included grades seven through twelve), one of my favorite things was joining the library club and working in the library each week during one of my study halls for six years. Not only did I get to play in the books, but eventually, I got first dibs on anything new coming in, before it went out for anyone else to borrow.  I would go home on Friday afternoons with as many books as I could carry, and have read through most of them by the time I went back to school on Monday (at least until I was old enough for a job).  I remember the first time I read Gone With the Wind–that was one of those Friday books I borrowed, and by the time I went back to school Monday morning, I had read it twice, though I wasn’t happy with the ending.  I worked my way through most of the school library by the time I graduated, non-fiction and fiction, and every kind of fiction…classics, mysteries, romances, science fiction. You name it, I read it. I didn’t discriminate.

But we were talking about romances.  I have no idea what the first one was that I read.  My mom read them, along with lots of other books–that’s where I got my reading bug, from her and her parents–and I read a lot of her books that I wasn’t supposed to be reading at age thirteen.  Lots of steamy stories, romance and otherwise, but the romances were my favorite. I was always hooked on a happy ending.  If it didn’t end well, I wasn’t satisfied.  We had an assignment in English class around eighth or ninth grade to rewrite the ending of a classic story–mine was to rework the end of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow so Ichabod and Katrina lived happily ever after.

Did I read Kathleen Woodiwiss? Of course.  But was she first? I have no idea. Judith McNaught? Maybe.  Johanna Lindsey? Who knows? And you know what? I’m okay with that. I’ve read a lot of great romances in my life, and I know I couldn’t list them all. There are simply too many, and I enjoyed them all, no matter which one came first.

I was trying to decide if I’ve read any Valentine’s Day romances lately and having a hard time thinking of one I read recently. Which led me to wonder if I have written any yet. The answer to that is definitely not, though I do have some stories that take place over the winter.  And you know what? For today, that’s close enough for me, so I have a steamy little snippet from Medusa #2 for you.

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The heavy weight of Ryder’s arm settled on her shoulder. “They’ll be fine for tonight,” he murmured near her ear.

Philomena nodded, biting her lower lip. They had to be. If anything happened to them, it was on her head.

“And I have to go.” He stepped away and picked up his own coat from the hook behind the door.

She grabbed the nearest jacket, which was too light for the brisk winter night, but she pulled it on anyway, then walked outside with him. “You’re going to be careful, aren’t you?”

“I’m always careful.” He shot her a bad boy grin that had her heart racing as they made their way along the sidewalk to the front of the house, where she saw his pick-up truck parked out front beside the mailbox now.

“Nothing can happen to you, Ryder. You have Jason to worry about.”

He kept walking.

“Are you listening to me?” She glared up at him when he came to a stop beside the truck.

He put his arm around her shoulders again. “Are you more worried about Jason? Or me?”

She blinked. “I’m worried about what will happen to Jason if something happens to you.” He smelled really good. Her pounding heart sped up even more. He was too close. She needed to distract herself again. “You know Desi is a lousy parent. Might as well not even be a parent.”

“What if something did happen to me? Would you miss me?” He bent nearer, his mouth almost grazing her temple.

She tried to concentrate on his words, but the awareness rushing through her made that difficult. And dammit, she couldn’t even blame it on pre-PMS hormones.

“Would you be upset if I were hurt?” His open mouth slid down her cheek, hot, damp. Tempting.

Desire raced along her veins. Under her sweater, her nipples tightened in anticipation.

“Mena?” He licked the corner of her mouth.

She gasped, and he swooped in, covering her open mouth with his, pressing her back against the side of the truck, his warmth more than making up for the cold metal at her back.

He was aroused again. Or still. When his hips rocked into hers, the heavy erection against her belly made her panties even wetter.

Shocked by her reaction, she still couldn’t resist, lifting into his kiss.

“Wrap your legs around me, Mena,” he whispered against her lips.

She forced her eyes open, trying hard to distract herself from the temptation of Ryder.

________________

Now I am going back to work. I have rewrites waiting for me.

At the risk of making someone else crazy, do you remember the first romance novel you ever read?

(  Photo on Foter.com )

( Photo on Foter.com )

It’s February, and a lot of people automatically think ‘Valentine’s Day’. Now I may be a bit biased, being a romance novel writer and reader–okay, I’m a lot biased–but I think romance shouldn’t be limited to just one month of the year.  I’m guessing lots of you feel the same way.  I’m not complaining about flowers, or sparkly jewelry, or chocolates (especially from my favorite local candy maker!) on Valentine’s Day, but it makes me a little sad that there seem to be so many people who do only think about making romantic gestures on occasions like this.  As if the rest of the year doesn’t count. As if they only feel it necessary to make sure their significant other realizes they’re loved at Valentine’s Day.

I’m not suggesting everyone feels this way. I know a lot of people who make romantic gestures all year round.  I just feel like maybe sometimes we forget, and we should make more effort to remind ourselves and our S.O.s that we care.

( Photo on Foter.com ) A little breakfast in bed once in a while, maybe? Help folding the fifty gazillion loads of laundry? I know there are a lot of ways we can do that, but maybe it wouldn’t hurt for us to have more ideas, so I’d love to hear some of yours, or maybe some way your S.O. surprised you and reminded you they love you.

And in the meantime, I have a little snippet of one of my tiger shifters. Anton is shopping with his new mate for a formal event, and he’s about to do something sweet for her.

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Laney paused inside for a second, looking around to get her bearings, then headed directly for the back half of the store.

Anton frowned at the displays around him at the front of the shop–some very pretty things there, from what he could see. He ambled after her, noting the way she skipped right past the sparkling and shiny gowns on mannequins and wall displays before she started to dig through a tall round rack. He turned around, still frowning at all of the things they’d passed by.

Including a dark green gown the same color as her eyes had been in bed last night. He stepped closer. Shoulder straps an inch or so wide, with a neckline that didn’t dip down too far to be decent, and a skirt closer to the slim end of the range than some of the full-on Cinderella gowns nearby. He flipped through the hangers until he thought he’d chosen the right size, then moseyed back to join her.

She had pulled a slim black gown from the rack and was studying it, a frown furrowing her brow. After a moment, she put it back on the rack.

“What’s wrong with it?” he asked.

She glanced up. “Cut too low.” Her gaze flicked to the gown he held. “Too much.” She went back to the rack beside him, flipping through hangers.

One of his eyebrows rose. “What?”

She sighed, then glanced toward the front of the store where the saleswoman was still occupied at the cash desk. “I don’t shop the front of the store, because they always put the most expensive gowns there.”

“I like this one. It matches your eyes.” He held it forward.

She met his gaze again, not looking at the dress. “My eyes are hazel.”

“Sometimes,” he agreed, “but they’re this color when we’re in bed.”

Her cheeks went red, and she cast a horrified glance around to be sure no one was close enough to hear him. “Anton,” she whispered.

He smiled. “You have to at least try it on.”

Laney shut her eyes for a moment. “Fine, but I’m not getting it.” She tugged another black gown from the rack to study while avoiding his gaze.

If the green fit her, he was buying it, he decided as she rummaged through the gowns on the next rack.

The saleswoman finished up with her other customer as Laney added a purple dress to the black and red gowns he held with his own choice.
“I can take these to the fitting room for you,” the older woman said, reaching for the dresses.

“I’m actually ready to head back,” Laney said with a polite smile.

Anton trailed after them, then dropped onto the overstuffed armchair in the waiting area. Laney shut her fitting room door, and he listened to the soft rustling of her clothing behind it–first her coat, then the sweater and tank, her wool pants. In his head, he imagined each piece coming off. He wondered which gown she’d try first.

He found out a minute later when she emerged in the purple. He kept his mouth shut as she crossed to the big mirrors, but her wrinkled nose told him exactly what she thought.

The color was pretty on her, but the dress had an odd, angled neckline, and the ‘sleeves’ barely covered her shoulders.

Before the saleswoman had made it back to them, Laney was already on her way back into the smaller room. The older woman’s mouth pursed a little.

Anton shrugged when she looked at him, and she smiled.

When Laney came back out, it was in the green gown he’d chosen. He had picked the right size–it hugged her torso perfectly before the skirt belled out a tiny bit and swept to the floor.

“Oh, you look beautiful in that,” the older woman said. “And it doesn’t even need alteration.”

Laney met his gaze in the mirror, and she didn’t look happy that she looked so good in the dress. Anton wondered just how expensive it was. He let his gaze wander lower, to the pretty hint of cleavage the dress framed, then he met her gaze again with a little smile.

She blushed and murmured something to the saleswoman, then hurried back into the smaller room.

The other black gown fit well, too, though she looked appalled at the cleavage exposed in this one. The red was okay, he thought, but it covered everything, with sleeves that went almost to her elbows, a swingy skirt, and a squared off neckline sitting just an inch or two beneath her collarbones.

He didn’t eavesdrop on her short conversation with the saleswoman, but got up and stretched. This might be the shortest gown-shopping trip in the history of womankind.

The saleswoman took the black, green and purple gowns from Laney, who retreated into the smaller room. Anton frowned when she put the green gown on a small rack with the purple. He shook his head, and she caught him, her mouth opening.

He pressed one finger to his lips, and she shut her mouth, understanding him perfectly. She retrieved the green dress and nodded to the front of the shop, smiling.

The woman hung both the black and the green gowns on a hook at the cash desk. “That’s a nice gift. She looked beautiful in the green.”

“Yes, she did.” He withdrew his wallet from his pocket while she punched some numbers into the small computer on the counter. He didn’t even wince when she gave him the total, just handed over his card.

By the time Laney arrived at the front of the shop, he had the garment bag holding both gowns slung over his shoulder. She frowned, but glanced at the older woman and kept her protest to herself. “Thank you,” she murmured, nodding to the older woman, who winked at Anton when he turned Laney toward the door.

“Shoes next?” he asked when they got outside.

“You didn’t have to buy my dress,” she said, looking up at him. “I have money.”

“Call it a gift.” He unlocked the car and hung the gowns from the hook in the backseat. She hadn’t noticed there were two hangers.

Yet.

________________

Don’t forget to tell me the romantic little things you and your S.O. do when it isn’t Valentine’s Day, while I go back to work on Medusa #2!

 

( Photo on Foter.com )

It’s been a busy week. I expected the day-job to be busy, and it was. I didn’t expect to be so busy outside of there this week, though it turned out that way. I got quite a bit of writing done this week, in spite of the day-job craziness.  I also got some things done (or at least moved further alone) with my aunt’s estate, too, and I feel better about where things stand there right now.  Work should be a little quieter for me after Tuesday (at least for a few days), so I’m hoping to get more writing time in. And I know a few more estate things will move progressing as well. All this forward movement is making me happy about January this year.

One of the other things I want to work on this month is some of the household tasks I didn’t get to last year (other things took priority), like clearing out my work area here in the office and getting rid of some unnecessary things in the basement. Both of these were on my to-do list for my vacation week last year, but you know how I spent my vacation last summer–doing those same sort of tasks at my aunt’s house instead. This year, I’m going to get them done here.

I really do need to clean up my office. Since mid-summer, I’ve been accumulating things not just of my own, but for my aunt’s estate–bills we’ve paid, bills we will need to pay, etc.  It goes without saying that my work area here is a cluttered mess right now, and it’s really beginning to bug me. So I am plotting a couple of long weekends so I can get this project started and wrapped up.

Speaking of writing, I also started digging into my second and third Medusa manuscripts this past week, to try to figure out how much work is ahead of me getting them ready for the world. I’m a little nervous about the whole thing, but excited, too, because I’m overdue to make this happen. Real life does sometimes throw a wrench into your plans.

Since I have dug back into my Medusas, I think today’s little snippet is going to be from the second story.  I hope you enjoy!

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That left Philomena alone in the kitchen with him, and the tension ratcheted up a few more degrees.

“You don’t think he’ll come back here, do you? Tonight, I mean?” She remained seated, not wanting to bump into him while she cleared away the remains of their meal, keeping her gaze on the table. Flitting from her plate to the leftover peas and sloppy joes. The open bag of rolls. Jason’s empty plate.

“I don’t know. He seems to believe this is your primary residence, so that means your mother and Jason need to be out for now. But I winged him earlier, so he’ll have to patch it up before he comes back.” He inhaled deeply. “We’ll be fine until my buddy gets here.”

She arched one eyebrow. “‘We’?”

His lips curved again with that cocky smile that made goosebumps lift on her arms. “Yeah. I think I can protect you.”

“Who’ll protect me from you?” It was out before she could stop it, and she colored again.

“If you need protection from me, I’m sure you’ll do fine. You wear that knife of yours all the time, right?”

“Not to bed.” Dammit, what is wrong with my mouth? She felt more heat crawl up her throat to her face.

“Well, that’s reassuring,” he drawled, his eyes darkening even more. “Why don’t you let me help you clean up?”

“Why don’t you go sit with Jason while I clean up?” she countered, pushing away from the table and to her feet. Standing made her feel a little better, though he still towered over her by a good six inches. “I’m sure he’ll be happy to catch you up on his show.” She carried her plate to the sink and scraped the remains of her meal into the disposal, turning it on and drowning out any response he might have made.

When she turned around again, she saw the back of him as he went into the living room, where Jason greeted him enthusiastically. The back looked as good as the front, she admitted, faded jeans clinging to a tight ass, strong thighs and calves.

________________

( Photo by x1klima on Foter.com / CC BY-ND )

How are you all doing with your goals for the new year? Forward progress? Still planning? It would be nice to hear someone else’s good news, or just commiserate if things aren’t going as fast as we’d like.

 

 

Hot Chocolate

How has the first week of your new year gone? As well as you’d hoped? Better? Not as well as you wanted?

I haven’t gotten as much writing-related work done this week as I would have liked, but I have been writing, in spite of the absolute craziness at my day-job–way more insanity than I anticipated, and the next week is probably going to be even busier.  I’ve also been working on getting a new-to-me computer set up in the home office, which is taking some time, since I have to move things onto it from my laptop and the old desktop computer, and some of those things take way too long–finding disks, trying to figure out how to install an older program that might need tweaking on a newer system…   Some of those are frustrating.

I also had to figure out if it made sense to me to participate in the very fun booksigning I’ve done the past couple of years, since I haven’t yet got Hunting Medusa ready for reissue, and settled on dates, etc. for the second and third books in the trilogy. I was disappointed to have to say no, but it doesn’t make sense to me to do it when I don’t have something new, so I’ll be bummed to miss this year, but then should be good for next year, because I am aiming to have at least the first two books in the trilogy out before the end of this year.

I know the weather has been in full-on winter mode in a lot of areas this week, but it has been extra-cold here.  I have had quite a lot of tea this week, and some very yummy hot chocolate to stay warm.  How about you? Lots of warm beverages while you’re reading?

I think I promised a little snippet of story for this week, didn’t I?  So how about a little taste of Hunting Medusa for those of you who haven’t read it yet (and those who haven’t read it in a while!)…

________________

Andrea rested her head on her folded arms on the kitchen table, only half listening to Kallan typing on his keyboard. She didn’t want to die just yet.

She knew for sure she didn’t want to be mutilated before she died.

But she didn’t look forward to killing the Harvester either.

She never should have had sex with him. She knew it. She’d known it beforehand.

And she should definitely not still want him.

When the phone rang, it was a relief. For a few seconds. Until she realized it was Thalia. “My cousin.” She didn’t think she needed to explain her mental caller I.D. to him.

Kallan held her gaze for a long moment. “Don’t try to let her know what’s going on,” he said at last. “I know where a lot of your cousins are located, and I’m not the only one.”

Her heart pounded harder at the implication, but she got to her feet and picked up the receiver. “Hello, Thalia. How are you?”

“I’m fine, Andi, but I think you need to get away for a while.”

She frowned, feeling Kallan’s presence behind her. Close behind her. Close enough to hear her conversation. “What do you mean?” His body heat teased her.

“The Harvesters are out and about. I’m afraid for you.”

Andi shut her eyes for a second, then opened them again when he put his hands on her shoulders. She shot him a glare and moved away, back toward the table. “I’m fine.”

“Please don’t ignore this, Andi. You know I’m hardly ever wrong.”

That was true. But she wondered if her cousin realized she was very often late with her flashes of intuition. Far too late in this case. “Okay. I’ll give it some thought, all right? Mom said something the other day about visiting.” Gods, had it only been two days ago? “And Aunt Lydia just called yesterday too. I could go to see either of them if anything seems odd.”

His hands settled on her shoulders again, massaging the tense muscles there.

She didn’t bother to shrug him off this time. He was persistent. “I could even come visit with you,” she teased, forcing a lightness into her tone.

Her cousin cleared her throat. “I actually have company right now,” she said after a moment, and Andi could almost see her blushing. “You remember I met someone in Athens last summer? Well, he’s come again to stay for a while.” Even over the phone, the emotion in Thalia’s voice was obvious.

One more cousin safe—none of the cousins who’d fallen in love ever had the curse land on their heads. A tiny bit of relief made her relax further under Kallan’s touch. “That’s terrific, Thalia. When do the rest of us get to meet him?”

“We’re talking dates,” the other woman said, a hint of a smile in her tone now. “I’ll be sure to let you know.”

“Good. And thanks for the warning. I miss you.”

“I miss you, too. I’ve got to go, Andi. Talk to you soon. But promise you’ll be careful. Danger is coming from more than one direction.”

She pushed the off button on the phone and shut her eyes, ignoring the slight sting in them. She was not envious of Thalia’s good fortune. She was just in an impossible situation here.

His warm breath brushed the top of her head a second before his lips. “That was good.”

She wanted to tell him to go screw himself. She wanted a weapon to swing at him. She wanted him to wrap his arms around her and carry her down onto the nearest flat surface.

Her eyes popped open. Damned hormones.

________________

Have a great week!

My shiny new cover art! isn’t it pretty?

I’m writing this on New Year’s Eve, and I’m still debating whether I’ll be awake at midnight to greet the new year.  I’m not going to be unhappy to kiss 2017 goodbye (or kick it in the pants on the way out, maybe!), since it was a rough year.  I have made up my mind that 2018 is going to rock…or else!

My plate is pretty full for the new year. Some of the things I didn’t get to do in the past year are on my new goal list–like figuring out how to get Hunting Medusa back out into the world, followed by the second and third books in the trilogy.  My writing goals for the year are a little daunting, to be honest, because I’ve never dipped my toes into the self-publishing pool before, and I think I will probably be doing that this year–it’s hard to persuade a publisher to take on a book that was already released by another publisher (not impossible, but not easy).

Guess it’s a good thing I have my shiny new planner ready to go tomorrow, all full of lists and steps and plenty of room for me to add notes and more steps once I figure out everything else I need to do along the way.  Are you a planner? Or do you wing it? I don’t make resolutions (though I should put ‘get healthier’ on my goals list for the year, it can’t hurt, right?), but always goals for the year.

How are you celebrating the new year? At home, quietly? Out with friends? Some other way? We’ve got a quiet night ahead, and now that I think about it, I’m actually going to see in the new year at midnight, maybe with a glass of something bubbly.  I can use the time between now and then to keep working on my planner, and maybe to sneak in a bit more reading before the year officially ends–I’m less than 100 pages to the end of the book out in the living room right now, and I can easily finish that in a few hours, too.

I hope you are all kicking off the new year with your own kind of fun, and that the new year kicks butt for you, too! I’ll see you in the new year, and I think we’ll sneak in a little story snippet next time, just to start things off on the right foot in 2018.

 

That is what the roof of my car looked like a week or so ago when I went out to go to work one morning.  We had a bit of rain the night before, and then it cleared up overnight and got really cold, so I got treated to a pretty frozen picture on my car.  Even better, yesterday, we got our first snow, and I’m not talking flurries.  I’m talking between four and five inches of snow, starting in the morning, and going on all day.  It was gorgeous.  Of course, it’s already been melting, since it was sunny today, so by the time the really frigid temps get here later in the week, the snow will be gone.  Unless the “snow showers” in our forecast for Thursday turn out to be something more.

And (I can’t believe I’m saying this) I actually hope they’re just snow showers, because it looks like I have a long drive into another state for a family funeral at the end of the week.  So I will be okay with no more snow for the next week or so.  After that, maybe we can have a blizzard.

On a more positive note, we have a very pretty tree in our living room right now, with purple lights on it.  And I am working on my writing goals for 2018.  I did get a lot of writing done this year, but with all of the other things that have occurred in the past twelve months, I haven’t managed to get any of these things to the next step.  That needs to change for in the next twelve months.  I’m ready for the new year to kick off with all kinds of great possibilities, and I’m going to get my goals fine-tuned in the next week or two so when we get to this point next year, I have more than new words to show for my efforts.  Like re-releasing Hunting Medusa, and getting the other two books in the trilogy ready for readers, too.  I’ll have my work cut out for me in 2018, and I’m ready.

Goal Target Aiming Success Vision Concept

 

Are any of you working on your goals for 2018 yet?  How’s your list coming?  Almost there, or does it still need some fine-tuning like mine?

Here’s hoping you all have a wonderful week!

 

I’ve been thinking about this for a while.  We’re always busy, whether it’s with household chores, or day-jobs, or family things, or any of a thousand other things.  Responsibility trumps all else.  Sometimes, I think we should ditch the responsibilities for a few moments of relaxation and enjoyment.  Maybe more than just a few moments.

( Photo by jmd41280 on Foter.com / CC BY-ND )

This time of year, things get really crazy, and many of us forget to stop and breathe.  In my day-job, I’m always reminding people I work with to stop and breathe.  But I realized I sometimes forget to take my own advice.  This weekend, now that my day-job crazy season is winding down, I decided to get all of my chores done today, so that tomorrow I can spend my day reading or writing. Maybe a little bit of both.

We had a low-key Thanksgiving here, and I spent most of it in the kitchen.  It was a little weird without my aunt here, but I thought of her all day.  And the turkey looked and smelled amazing, but I didn’t miss it on my plate at all.

So today, I’m finishing my chores, and then tomorrow, I have big plans that involve only doing things I enjoy, like the big fat book sitting on my desk, and getting some of my handwritten pages from my breaks at the day-job into my laptop so I can keep going on this shifter story.

Speaking of shifters, I think I might have mentioned a story snippet last time, didn’t I?  And it’s been ages since I shared a little bit of story with you all, so I think I’m going to dig into the fourth shifter to give you a little bit of Laney and Anton today.

_______________

Laney smiled, watching Anton sitting on the floor with Boris’s youngest, in the center of a jumbled mess of blocks and toy cars, gamely making engine sounds and listening to the boy’s chatter. Perfectly at ease.

As if he sensed her gaze on him, he looked over and grinned, winking.

Her breath snagged. Gods, she was falling in love with him. Heat rushed to her face.

Anton’s grin faded, and his eyes darkened.

Shit. She swallowed and made her lips curve again. She could not fall in love with him. Lust was fine, but not anything more.

He pushed to his feet, slowly, holding her gaze, and her mouth went dry at the intent in his eyes.

She was supposed to be doing something, she thought, over the quick thumping of her pulse in her ears. She just couldn’t remember what, with Anton stalking her through the crush of his family, all male predator.

“Hey,” he said softly when he reached her, his warm fingers brushing her hair back from her cheek. He dipped down to feather a kiss on her mouth, still holding her gaze. “You ready to get out of this insane asylum?”

She took a shallow breath, inhaling the scent of him, and her pulse tripped up a notch. “Aren’t you playing with Bryce?”

“I’d rather play with you.” He nudged her nose with his.

Laney set one hand on his shoulder to anchor herself. “Shouldn’t we–” Her breath caught again when he settled his hands on her hips and drew her closer.
“Yes, we should, but we’re going home instead,” he whispered, his breath warm on her lips.

She flushed when someone catcalled from the other end of the room.

Anton’s slow smile made her heart beat faster. “Time to go.” He turned her and steered her out of the room with his hands on her hips.

The hallway was cooler, but she was still too warm, and when he bent to plant a quick kiss on the side of her neck, her temperature rose a few more degrees. “Anton?”

He turned her again and pressed her against the wall. “Say that again,” he growled, one hand sliding down to squeeze her ass.

“An-Anton,” she managed.

“Fuck.” He caught her mouth roughly.

She hung onto his shoulders and let him take what he wanted. What she wanted.

He lifted his head too soon, eyes dark and dangerous. “Let’s go.”

Laney nodded, breathless, and pushed away from the wall. He found their coats in the hall closet and helped her into hers. Laney shivered, watching him shrug into his own.

When they got into the car, he set his hand on her leg and squeezed. She sucked in a shaky breath at the rush of need that shot into her belly.

_______________

Tomorrow, I won’t be working on Anton and Laney, but his cousin Joe’s story.  I hope you all find some time to stop and breathe this week, to find a little enjoyment amid all the busyness of your everyday life.  Let me know how you spend your few moments of down-time this week.

( Photo by scott1346 on Foter.com / CC BY )

 

 

( Photo credit: Foter.com  )

We’re heading into Thanksgiving week here in the U.S, which just happens to be one of our busiest weeks of the year at my day-job, though our crazy-busy is Monday and Tuesday, and then we’ll be a little slower the rest of the week.  Which is why I took an extra day off, so I can do less work in the kitchen on Thursday and enjoy the holiday more than some years when I spent most of the day working in the kitchen.  I think Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday all year long, though it is probably the one that is the most work.  Hours and hours in the kitchen cooking, baking, and in under an hour, the meal is over.

I should probably finish planning our meal–I have no idea what is for dessert yet, and I haven’t figured out what I’ll be eating instead of turkey.  This is my first holiday season since I quit eating poultry, so no turkey for me this time.  Maybe I’ll just be satisfied with all the sides and dessert.  I don’t know, but I’ll figure it out in the next couple of days.

But in the meantime, I’m going to work my butt off at the day-job and get in some writing time between bread-baking (gotta have homemade sage and onion bread for the stuffing!).  And I hope that all of you who will be celebrating Thanksgiving this week have a wonderful day, with lots of amazing food and great company, and maybe even some reading time!  Next time, I should remember to share a little snippet of story, because we haven’t done that in a while.

Maybe some pumpkin cheesecake for dessert…

( Photo credit: apasciuto via Foter.com / CC BY )