My Take on Critique Groups by Lynn Kellan – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

My Take on Critique Groups

My first agent asked me to do three things: fix the formatting of my manuscript, join Romance Writers of America, and become part of a critique group.

The first two tasks were easy to accomplish. The third? Not so much. What was a critique group, and where would I find one? If only I could ask a romance author, but I didn’t know any. I looked for a local chapter of Romance Writers of America and asked to attend their meeting. Lo and behold, I was suddenly in a room full of women who wrote romance, many of whom were multi-published bestsellers! Not only that, they were incredibly nice and willing to answer my questions.

I joined that chapter, and at our next monthly meeting, I discovered that one of the members lived close to my neighborhood. I asked her if she knew of any local critique groups. She did. In fact, she happened to be part of a critique group and they were looking for another critique partner. Bingo! I jumped at the chance to join them. Turned out, they met four miles from my house. Who knew there were romance authors so close to home?

Becoming a part of a critique group was the single most important thing I’ve done to improve my writing. Not only do I learn from what my partners say about my work, I learn from reading (and critiquing) their work. I’ve become familiar with what makes a passage sound good, and what might be done to improve a problematic scene. When I’m stuck with a plot twist, my partners always have a good solution. We celebrate each other’s successes and commiserate when things go wrong.

My group meets once a month. Every time we meet, each member submits up to 10,000 words (about forty pages) of our work-in-progress. We print out everyone’s submissions and read each chapter. If we have questions or suggestions about the work, we write notes in the margins.

On the night of our critique meeting, we sit around my friend’s kitchen table, eat dinner, and get to work. We discuss each submission and offer our suggestions. By the end of the night, every author has handwritten edits and suggestions to enhance her work.

We’ve found that a group of four authors works well. We’re able to get through four submissions in one evening, and each of us has unique strengths to contribute to the group. I’m a good content editor. Our second member is great with grammar. Our third offers great dialogue suggestions and always makes sure our heroes are strong. And our fourth member is particularly good at catching mistakes and providing ideas that deepen our stories.

If there is no critique group near you, consider finding an online critique partner. You’ll be amazed by how much you grow as a writer when you’re willing to submit your drafts for suggestions.

She avoids men like him. He needs a woman like her. One lie changes everything…

Gabriel Antonov is a mechanic who can fix anything, even a woman’s hesitance. His talents have earned him the well-deserved reputation as a player, but when a routine one-night stand goes wrong, he’s haunted by what he’s done. Nothing can free him from those depraved memories, until he meets Leigh Nelson.

Leigh avoids strong, silent types like Gabe, who is stronger and quieter than most guys. The only man she’s focused on is her father, who is suffering from a devastating health crisis. She’ll do anything to help him, even at the cost of ignoring her own well-being, but the stress is getting to her. Gabe’s strength is tough to resist, and his silence might be hiding a crushing secret only she can understand.

He can’t outrun his gut-deep craving for her. Problem is, she’s running from him. When they’re marooned in his lakeside cabin, he might finally catch her…if he can admit why he’s falling apart without her.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

She rose and gave him a smile.

That smile made him want to do pointless, tender things like brush his fingers through the blonde curls hanging down her slim back, but he kept his hands to himself. With her, he had to be careful. Take things slow. If he moved too fast, she’d come up with some reason to leave. He wanted to give her reason to stay.

For one night.

Or a long weekend.

Whatever it took to satisfy his hunger for her.

For the first time in months, he wanted to be with a woman. Not just any woman, though. Just Leigh. He wanted her so badly, every word he spoke came out curt and rough. Winning her trust would be tough if he kept sounding like a horny Neanderthal, so he kept his mouth shut and guided her out of The Crab Trap with a light touch to her back.

About the Author: Lynn Kellan writes contemporary romance about strong men who have a weakness for smart women. She believes men and women aren’t that different, because everyone wants to be with someone who will empty the dishwasher. To prepare for her career as a romance author, she fell in love with bad boys, burly athletes, battle-hardened Marines…and married a chemist. Lynn has won numerous writing contests and served two terms as President of her local Romance Writers of America chapter, but she feels a true sense of accomplishment whenever she doesn’t embarrass her teenaged kids.

For love. For funny. For ever.

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If the Duke Demands by Anna Harrington – Q&A

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Anna Harrington whose first book in her Capturing the Carlisles series, If the Duke Demands, was released today.

Thanks for stopping by to answer a few questions, Anna. Tell us about a favorite character from a book.

I love Miranda Hodgkins from IF THE DUKE DEMANDS. She first appeared in HOW I MARRIED A MARQUESS as the flighty next door neighbor whom Elizabeth Carlisle keeps describing as “not long enough on the vine” and tries to keep away from her sons. She’s in that book as comic relief. But when I decided to write a series for the Carlisle Brothers, Miranda kept popping into my mind as the most improbable woman in the world for Sebastian Carlisle, Duke of Trent. So of course I had to pair them off! She’s a free spirit in love with life and living every day to the fullest, who throws herself completely into whatever endeavor she’d pursing, and who isn’t afraid of going after what she wants. Because she’s not part of society, she’s not bound by its rules, nor does she care about fancy titles and who’s listed in Debrett’s. She cares about who people really are in their hearts. Which is why Sebastian falls in love with her, and why she wants the man he is and not the duke.

Tell us about your family.

I have an older sister, and we grew up in Indiana on a small farm that had all kinds of fun things to do…ice skating, riding ponies, playing with the kittens, walking in the woods. There was always some kind of county fair or town festival going on, too. About five years ago, my parents retired and moved to Florida, and my sister moved to Costa Rica. I have two best friends—Pam and Kim—who are heart sisters to me, and two “adopted” little sisters—Kayla and Brittney—whom I simply adore.

Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you come up with it?

I don’t use a pen name, but Anna Harrington is not my legal name. Anna’s the nickname my friends use for me. I never liked my given name, and everyone spells it wrong or pronounces it wrong. So when I moved to England when I was 22, I changed my name. Anna is a variation on my legal name, and I love it—it’s traditional and easy to spell, it matches my English surname, and no one mispronounces it!

Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?

I love to listen to music when I write, but it can’t be anything I know or anything that has words. I like having it on as background “mood” music, so I’ll often play different types of music depending on what kind of scene I’m writing. Classical music for scenes that set up the plot or involve balls, musicales, strolls through the park, etc. Soundscapes for emotional scenes or country house stories. Jazz for love scenes. But I can’t concentrate if I know the song or can listen to the words—I find myself singing along and not getting any work done!

What was the scariest moment of your life?

When I was living in Quito, Ecuador, I went whitewater rafting on the Rio Blanco. The highway from Quito to the river was a narrow, winding mountain road with sheer plunges to a gorge several hundred feet below, on which people pass on blind corners and along which colonies of white crosses mark where people have died. On the way back after rafting, the clouds lowered and fogged us in. We were on that same narrow, winding mountain road with people passing on blind corners in the fog—in a WHITE van. I couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of the windshield, but the driver kept speeding up! Too scared to look, for the rest of the way home, I kept my eyes squeezed shut, my hands white-knuckled on the seat, and prayers on my lips. When we left the van, the river guide joked, “El rio es clase cuatro…la autopista es clase cinco!” (The river is class four…the highway is class five!) I didn’t find his joke funny.

A LESSON IN SEDUCTION . . . Miranda Hodgkins has only ever wanted one thing: to marry Robert Carlisle. And she simply can’t wait a moment longer. During the Carlisle family masquerade ball, Miranda boldly sneaks into his bedchamber with seduction on her mind. Soon she’s swept into rock-hard arms for the most breathtaking kiss of her life. But when the masks come off, she’s horrified to find herself face-to-face with Sebastian, the Duke of Trent-Robert’s formidable older brother.

Shocked to find Miranda in his bed, Sebastian quickly offers her a deal to avoid scandal: He’ll help her win his brother’s heart if she’ll find him the perfect wife. But what begins as a simple negotiation soon spirals out of control. For the longer this reformed rake tries to make a match for Miranda, the more he wants to keep her all to himself.

About the Author:I fell in love with historical romances and all things Regency—and especially all those dashing Regency heroes—while living in England, where I spent most of my time studying the Romantic poets, reading Jane Austen, and getting lost all over the English countryside. I love the period’s rich history and find that all those rules of etiquette and propriety can be worked to the heroine’s advantage…if she’s daring enough to seize her dreams.

I am an avid traveler and have enjoyed visiting schools and volunteering with children’s organizations in Peru, Ecuador, Thailand, and Mexico, and I have amassed thousands of photos I unleash on unsuspecting friends who dare to ask about my travels.

I love to be outdoors! I’ve been hiking in Alaska, the Andes, and the Alps, and I love whitewater rafting (when I don’t fall in!). I earned my pilot’s license at Chicago Midway (To all the controllers in Chicago Center—I greatly apologize for every problem I caused for you and Southwest Airlines), and it is my dream to one-day fly in a hot-air balloon over Africa.

I adore all things chocolate, ice cream of any flavor, and Kona coffee by the gallon. A Doctor Who fanatic (everyone says my house is bigger on the inside), I am a terrible cook who hopes to one day use my oven for something other than shoe storage. When I’m not writing, I like to spend my time trying not to kill the innocent rose bushes in my garden.

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Hometown Cowboy by Sara Richardson – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher to celebrate the release of Hometown Cowboy by Sara Richardson. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of the book.

In the New York Times bestselling tradition of Jennifer Ryan, Maisey Yates, and B. J. Daniels comes the first book in Sara Richardson’s western contemporary romance series about bull-riding brothers.

NEVER FALL IN LOVE WITH A COWBOY

Jessa Mae Love is done with relationships. No matter how tempting he might be, she cannot—will not—fall for a man like Lance Cortez. The outrageously handsome cowboy is practically a living legend in Colorado, as famous for riding bulls as he is for breaking hearts. What would a big-time rodeo star like him see in a small-town veterinarian who wears glasses, rescues animals, and cries when watching rom-coms? Turns out, plenty.

Raising bulls, riding the circuit, and looking after his ailing father—Lance never stands still for long. Yet Jessa catches his attention, and the more she tries to resist him, the more he wants her. When she agrees to move to the ranch to keep an eye on Lance’s dad, Jessa tells him they have to keep it professional: no flirting, no sweet talk, and definitely no kissing. But with Jessa now living under his roof, that’s easier said than done . . .

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Holding her breath, she stood perfectly still and quiet—minus the loud drumbeat of her heart.

The knocking didn’t stop.

“Hello?” A man’s deep rumbling voice sent her heart off to the races again. There was something vaguely familiar about it . . .

“It’s Lance Cortez. I need to talk to you.”

Lance! Oh. Holy. No. This was not happening. She gazed longingly at the other side of the living room to the safe darkness of the tiny hallway that led to her bedroom. There was no way she’d get through there without him seeing something. Like her ass, maybe.

Get the front door with the windows, the ignorant Home Depot salesman had advised. It’ll let in the most light. Yes, and now it would also give Lance a clear view of a very full moon.

She flattened her body against the cabinets, craning her neck, and sure enough, he stood right there on her front porch, now peering through that lovely window on the door. Oh, god. Her lungs heaved so hard it felt like the Bold Lift Bra was about to bust at the seams. Calm down, she instructed herself. He’ll go away. He had to go away.

“Jessa! I know you’re in there. Your car’s here,” he called again, rapping the door with that big manly fist of his. “I need to talk to you. It’s an emergency.”

Tell me about it! Maybe she could call 9-1-1 and have him escorted off her porch . . .

Footsteps thudded on the front porch, moving closer.

Sweet lord! Lance Cortez was peeking through the bay window!

“Hang on a sec!” she yelled, then hit the deck, pressing her body against the wood floor. Lifting her head, she as- sessed the distance to the hallway. It might as well have been twenty miles.

Okay. Think. What would Naomi do? That was an easy one. She never would’ve gotten herself into this situation in the first place because Naomi had the ability to get dressed without the assistance of coffee.

“Jessa, I really need a word,” Lance called again.

“Be there in a minute!” Despite the fact that she was basically naked, sweat itched on her back. Her room. She had to get to her room. And there was only one way. She’d have to army crawl. As long as she stayed on this side of the couch, Lance probably wouldn’t be able to see her from the win- dow. It was risky, but what other option did she have? He obviously wasn’t going away.

Here goes. Trying to remain one with the floor, she squirmed forward, shimmying past the bookshelf. Squirm, pull, squirm, pull. She edged against the couch, bare skin grazing the cold wood planks.

Yes. Yes! It was working. Almost halfway now . . .

A scratch stung her hip as something sharp caught the delicate strap of her thong.

Uh oh. Contorting her body, she tried to get a better look. A loose staple from the re-upholstery job she’d done on the couch had hooked her adorable brand-new panties. Cam it! She should’ve known a staple gun wasn’t enough hold a couch cover together. Thanks a lot, Pinterest.

“Jessa!” More pounding.

“Hold on! Give me a minute!” she called, trying to wring the panic from her tone. What the hell was his problem, any- way? Couldn’t he take a hint? She pushed onto her side to free herself from the staple, but her legs smacked into the end table. The whole thing toppled over with a deafening crash. Ow! Shit! She rolled over, gripping the backs of her calves. At the same time, the thong stretched, ripped, and snapped, falling to the floor underneath her.

“Jessa?” Lance yelled through the door. “What was that?” The doorknob clanged like he was trying to get in. “Is every- thing okay?”

Hot tears filled her eyes. “Fine!” Minus the throbbing in her legs and the fact that she’d just shredded a fifty-dollar thong.

“Are you sure?” he persisted, the sonofabitch. “That sounded bad. Is the key still out here?”

The key? Oh, dear god, the key! Her dad had always left a house key underneath the flowerpot . . .

A new wave of terror surged, blinding her with white-hot fear.

The sound of metal clanged in the lock.

“No!” She squealed, scrambling to hide herself behind a small square throw pillow from the couch. “Please! Don’t come—”

The door sprang open.

Right as Lance stepped around the couch, she shifted the pillow to cover her lower hemisphere.

“What’re you—?” He halted like he’d been shot, his gaze bouncing from her eyes to her bra and then, sure enough, down to the pillow.

“Turn around! Cover your eyes,” she wailed. For the love of god! Humiliation curdled into anger. “Why’d you have to come in? Who just barges into someone’s house, huh?” Why couldn’t he have waited on the porch like she’d asked?

“Uh . . . ” He seemed to be frozen in place. “Sorry. I heard the crash. Thought you were hurt . . .”

Was he gawking? His lips had parted with surprise. And then there were his eyes. Wide and unblinking. Men didn’t usually look at her like that . . .

“What the hell happened?” he asked, finally finding the decency to turn around and stare out the bay window.

Securing the pillow against her lower abdomen with one hand, she covered her Boldly Lifted chest with her arm in case he decided to peek again. “I had a bit of an accident.” She should make something up. Something really exciting. Something like she and a mystery man were playing this kinky game . . .

“Are you hurt?” Lance asked, his head swiveling toward her again.

She kept herself covered. Oh, yes. She was hurt. On more than one level. “I’m fine,” she choked out. “Can you get my robe? It’s hanging up in the bathroom at the end of the hall.”

“Right. Your robe.” He sort of side-shuffled his way down the hall and back, before tossing the robe at her without turn- ing around.

Clutching her salvation, she scurried up to a standing position, the backs of her calves still aching, and wrapped the fabric around her, tying the belt securely at her waist.

Lance peeked over his shoulder as if to check on her, then turned all the way around.

She wasn’t sure if she was out of breath due to the terrible thong ordeal or to the fact that the elusive Lance Cortez looked so different up close. She’s seen him around town since she’d been back, but she’d never looked at him that closely. He’d never looked at her the way he was now, either. Eyes open slightly wider than a normal person’s, lips parted like he couldn’t remember what it was he’d wanted to say.

Yes, well, neither could she. Not with the sight of his dark hair, which curled slightly at the edges. It was mussed like he’d been nervously running his hand through it all morning. And those eyes. An arctic blue-gray. Cutting. He wore a dark red flannel shirt with the sleeves pushed up over his bulky forearms. His jeans were faded and worn like he worked hard, which she’d heard he did.

“So . . .” His voice had this deep soothing reverberation that made her want to curl up against him. “Did you fall or something?”

Or something. “I was in the kitchen making coffee,” she informed him, trying to smooth her hair into soft waves like it had been before she’d gone to battle with the couch. “Wasn’t expecting anyone to show up at my door . . . ” Especially the enigma that was Lance Cortez. “So I panicked and was trying to get back to my room without giving you a show.” Which was clearly too much to ask from the universe.

“Oh.” His gaze seemed to fixate on the leopard-print thong that lay a mere two feet from his boots.

As swiftly as possible, she swiped it off the floor and shoved it into the pocket of her robe. “Um. Did you need something, Lance?” Because her humiliation meter was about tapped out for the day and it wasn’t even seven o’clock.

About the Author:Sara Richardson grew up chasing adventure in Colorado’s rugged mountains. She’s climbed to the top of a 14,000 foot peak at midnight, swum through Class IV rapids, completed her wilderness first-aid certification, and spent seven days at a time tromping through the wilderness with a thirty-pound backpack strapped to her shoulders.

Eventually Sara did the responsible thing and got an education in writing and journalism. After a brief stint in the corporate writing world, she stopped ignoring the voices in her head and started writing fiction. Now she uses her experience as a mountain adventure guide to write stories that incorporate adventure with romance. Still indulging her adventurous spirit, Sara lives and plays in Colorado with her saint of a husband and two young sons.

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The Second Time Around by Ella Quinn – Spotlight and Giveaway

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ella will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Can a beautiful Worthington widow find love again? Depends on who’s asking . . .

Before he died, Patience was the Earl of Worthington’s second wife. So why shouldn’t Patience be allowed a second chance at marriage, too? Of course, finding a new husband was not something the mother of four had ever planned on. But a surprise encounter with her first love has suddenly made the impossible seem possible all over again . . .

It seems like a lifetime ago that Richard, Viscount Wolverton, was halfway around the world, looking for adventure . . . while Patience, at her coming-out, was left with no choice but to take old Worthington’s hand. Richard never forgot the woman whose heart he yearned for—and now that he’s back, he’s not going to let her slip away again . . .

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Pulteney Hotel, London, 1815

“And this is Viscount Wolverton.” Patience Worthington watched as Almeria, Lady Bellamny, smiled as she introduced the gentleman to the Duchess of Bristol. Almeria turned her black eyes on Patience. The smile didn’t fade at all as she said, “Wolverton, I believe you have already met the Dowager Countess of Worthington.”

What in God’s name is he doing here? Patience inclined her head and held out her hand. “Indeed. The years have treated you well, my lord.”

Bowing, he took her fingers in his. “As they have done to you, my lady.”

His lips hovered over her hand as she prayed he would do nothing more than kiss the air above them, but no. The devil pressed his warm, firm lips to her knuckles; even through her gloves she could feel his touch and fought the urge to suck in a breath. “Thank you, my lord.”

One would think after all these years and his betrayal she would be immune to him. And one would be wrong. She held her breath, counting—One, two, three, four, five. Thank God—until he finally straightened and returned her hand to her. Thank God! Patience let out the breath, yet she could not control the pounding in her breast. It took all the control she had not to make an excuse and leave the room. Yet, she could not do that to Dotty Stern, soon to be the Marchioness of Merton.

“He has been a friend for a very long time,” Almeria continued, as if she had no idea of the havoc she had created by inviting Wolverton. “Though he hardly ever comes to Town.”

“Well, my dear,” Lord Bellamny said, “you couldn’t be here so often if it wasn’t for the help he gives me. Someone must assist me in my experiments.”

“Very true, my dear.”

Patience made the mistake of glancing up at the same moment Richard Wolverton stared down at her. His amber eyes smoldered as they had the last time she had seen him, only days before her marriage to the old Earl of Worthington.

About the Author:

Bestselling author Ella Quinn’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them. She has just finished her first series, The Marriage Game, and her new series, The Worthingtons, began in April 2016.

She is married to her wonderful husband of over thirty years. They have a son and two beautiful granddaughters, and a dog. After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make their dreams come true and are now living on a sailboat cruising the Caribbean and North America. Europe is next!

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The Bastard Billionaire by Jessica Lemmon – Q&A and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win the complete The Billionaire Bad Boys series.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?

I once had a really long discussion with a man who designs prosthetic limbs. Questions included: Could he shower with one? Would he wear it to bed?

Tell us about a favorite character from a book.

Asher Knight, from Return of the Bad Boy. He’s a rock star, lead singer of the band Knight Time. He first popped up as best friend to my hero and tattoo artist, Evan Downey in Bringing Home the Bad Boy. They were co-writing a children’s book and Asher was in all three books in the Second Chance series before getting his own. I loved that he had an on-again off-again fling with Gloria Shields, who had also appeared in all of the books. Watching their problems unfold in the background of every novel before their own made me invested in their ultimate happily-ever-after.

Tell us about your family.

I have a husband of 19 years and a dog of 12 years—she’s my furbaby!

Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you come up with it?

I write under my real name.

Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?

Yes! I make a playlist for each book. The Bastard Billionaire playlist includes songs by Shinedown, Snow Patrol, Train, and Old Dominion to name a few.

Beauty and the Beastly Billionaire . . .

Eli Crane is one tough bastard. After an explosion left him injured and honorably discharged from the Marines, all he wants is to be left alone. Yet his brothers insist he take a greater role in the family business. They’ve hired him ten personal assistants—and Eli sent each one packing as fast as possible. But when beautiful number eleven walks through the door, Eli will do anything to make her stay.

Isabella Sawyer’s employment agency can’t afford to lose Eli Crane’s business. Her plan: to personally take on the role of his PA, and secure her reputation with the wealthy elite in Chicago. But this beauty and her hot billionaire bad boy soon find themselves mixing business with pleasure in the most delicious ways. And passionate, stubborn Isabella won’t rest until she tames this wicked beast . . .

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Standing, she smoothed her hands down her pants and flipped her hair. She had planned to quietly finish her work and leave without seeing him again. No such luck. And no hiding that she was heading his way when her heels clicked along the concrete floor.

Well.

The kiss had happened. The button incident had happened. There was no taking it back. Regardless of how either of them felt about it, she was going to continue working here. So. She would deal with the here and now.

Since the sun was shining, Eli’s lair was welcome instead of foreboding. No fire cracked in the hearth today. Also unlike his usual, he wasn’t at his desk. He was at the printer.

“This yours?” He offered a sheet of paper.

“Yes.” She couldn’t keep from explaining. “Pressed the Print button by accident.”

Mi printer es su printer.”

Isa accepted the document and Eli sank his hands into his jeans pockets, his forearms flexing with the movement.

“I wasn’t—”

“I shouldn’t—” they said at the same time.

He pursed his lips and she looked at her shoes. “Go ahead.” She was going to say, I wasn’t offended when you kissed me, but now that she’d had a millisecond to think it through, maybe she should pretend the kiss hadn’t happened. Which was . . . impossible. Standing this close to him, it’s all she could think about.

“I shouldn’t have ruined your shirt,” he said.

“I dared you to.”

“Why?” His eyebrows compressed along with his lips.

“Because you have accepted the role of beast, but I don’t believe that’s who you are.” She let her gaze linger on his face before tracking down his body. “And because I like a challenge.”

“Do you?” He took a wide step toward her.

She matched his move and took one step closer to him. “Yes. I don’t wilt easily.”

He threaded her hair between his fingers, a look of longing and hurt mingling in his eyes. “I was about to lie and say I shouldn’t have kissed you.”

Shivers climbed her spine as she remembered how firm his lips felt against hers. “Maybe . . . you shouldn’t have stopped.”

About the Author:A former job-hopper, Jessica Lemmon resides in Ohio with her husband and rescue dog. She holds a degree in graphic design currently gathering dust in an impressive frame. When she’s not writing super-sexy heroes, she can be found cooking, drawing, drinking coffee (okay, wine), and eating potato chips. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want.

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My First Love – Historical Romance by Rowan McAllister – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Rowan McAllister who is celebrating the release today of her newest book We Met in Dreams.

*****

It’s release day and a big thanks to Long and Short reviews for having me on here to introduce my latest historical.

Though I loved writing my contemporaries and have dipped my toes into pagan paranormal a couple of times, I always come back to my first romance genre love- the historical. There’s nothing like escaping into a bygone era without cell phones and televisions, computers and cars, and the overwhelming “noise” of the modern age… even if just for a little while.

There’s also nothing like going down the rabbit hole while researching one either. You finally find the perfect house to set your book in, and then you come across an interesting ghost story about a neighbor, or you learn the house was one of many destroyed in the bombings of WWII or converted into a school. Or you start searching for the wine or spirits that everyone who was everyone was drinking at the time, so your character can be quite the posh gentleman, and you learn how nearly all the wine grapes in France were wiped out by a blight, and the only thing that saved them was grafting onto rootstock from the U.S. (we may never know what a truly “French” wine tasted like).

I’m not the kind of history buff that wants to read about the great battles fought, the deeds of the high and might, or other greatest singular moments in time. I like the little things, the odd little stories and anecdotes, stories about medicine and science and agriculture.

It’s tidbits like these that make me follow those little threads of information down and down, clicking and clicking until I almost forget what the original purpose of my search was. Then of course I have to backtrack to get to the meat and potatoes I need for the my story, but I’ve learned something new along the way.

(BTW, this is also how I lose hours and hours on Pinterest, following the breadcrumbs of cool stuff and brilliant ideas down and down until I have so many ideas I have no idea where to start.)

We Met in Dreams was born of my fascination with these parts of history as well as the study of the human mind, and just a bit of spiritualism and the unknown. I gladly followed those threads and added a bit of what I learned to Arthur and Fox’s story. I hope the readers can find a lovely escape from all the noise, noise, noise, noise (channeling my inner Grinch there). I also hope they enjoy the ride as much I did.

In Victorian London, during a prolonged and pernicious fog, fantasy and reality are about to collide—at least in one man’s troubled mind.

A childhood fever left Arthur Middleton, Viscount Campden, seeing and hearing things no one else does, afraid of the world outside, and unable to function as a true peer of the realm. To protect him from himself—and to protect others from him—he spends his days heavily medicated and locked in his rooms, and his nights in darkness and solitude, tormented by visions, until a stranger appears.

This apparition is different. Fox says he’s a thief and not an entirely good sort of man, yet he returns night after night to ease Arthur’s loneliness without asking for anything in return. Fox might be the key that sets Arthur free, or he might deliver the final blow to Arthur’s tenuous grasp on sanity. Either way, real or imaginary, Arthur needs him too much to care.

Fox is only one of the many secrets and specters haunting Campden House, and Arthur will have to face them all in order to live the life of his dreams.

About the Author: Rowan McAllister is a woman who doesn’t so much create as recreate, taking things ignored and overlooked and hopefully making them into something magical and mortal. She believes it’s all in how you look at it. In addition to a continuing love affair with words, she creates art out of fabric, metal, wood, stone, and any other interesting scraps of life she can get her hands on. Everything is simply one perspective change and a little bit of effort away from becoming a work of art that is both beautiful and functional. She lives in the woods, on the very edge of suburbia—where civilization drops off and nature takes over—sharing her home with her patient, loving, and grounded husband, her super sweet hairball of a cat, and a mythological beast masquerading as a dog. Her chosen family is made up of a madcap collection of people from many different walks of life, all of whom act as her muses in so many ways, and she would be lost without them.

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First Comes Desire by Tina Donahue and I Wanna Be Loved by You by Heather Hiestand – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will be awarding digital copies of both books on tour to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

On a lush, secluded island, one passionate adventure leads to another….

Diana Fletcher means business. The beautiful, innocent, reverend’s daughter has traveled all the way to a tropical island off Madagascar on a mission: To find her brother—and to punish the man who drove him to a life of piracy. But when she comes face to face with the enemy in question, the handsome, powerfully seductive man is not at all what Diana expected…

Tristan Kent never intended to harm Diana’s brother. A man of humble origins, Tristan claims he tried to save him from another ruthless captain. Diana is desperate to believe he is telling the truth…and that the intoxicating desire that escalates between them is true as well. But can she trust him? Or is Tristan’s story—and his heart—nothing more than fool’s gold? Amid the haze of sensual delights and soaring ecstasy Tristan has in store for her, all will be revealed…

For a young woman swept into international adventure, romance can’t be far behind…

The 1920s are in full swing when Sadie Loudon leaves her grandfather’s stodgy vicarage, and she dreams of the glamour and excitement she’s seen on the silver screen. But before she even begins work at the storied Grand Russe Hotel, she is ushered into London’s glittering nightlife by a handsome young businessman intent on introducing her to the pleasures available to a Bright Young Thing. Is it a fleeting romance…or something even more intriguing?

Les Drake is on the lookout for Bolsheviks when he encounters sweet, sexy Sadie. A British Secret Intelligence agent, Les has more experience with the seedy underside of the city than with innocent chambermaids, but he can’t deny that Sadie tempts him. Using her as part of his cover seems like a brilliant plan until the danger of his assignment threatens what has suddenly become a love he can’t bear to lose…

Enjoy an Excerpt from I Wanna Be Loved by You:

Les glanced between the two women. His gut told him that they were not compatible. Sadie was too fresh and uneducated to appeal to this cosmopolitan refugee. Not like the young wife from Acton who was desperate for a friend. When Glass had given him orders he hadn’t accounted for Sadie’s youth. She was only a chambermaid, after all.

“What time is the rally?” he asked Semyon in Russian.

He responded in kind. “In an hour. Will I see you there?”

Les nodded. “I need to pay a couple of sales calls on bookshops here and then we will go to the docks. Will your wife come along?”

Semyon nodded and took his own bowl of soup off the tray. “She is very political.”

“Mrs. Rake is not educated in these matters.” Les spooned up the last couple bites of his borsht. There likely wouldn’t be time for food later.

“She’ll learn,” Semyon said. “What is her background?”

“Orphan,” Les said, not wanting to reveal more.

“English through and through, right?”

Les nodded and put his and Sadie’s bowls on Semyon’s tray, then poured overbrewed tea from the pot into his empty cup.

“Why did you marry her? Money?”

Les was glad they were still speaking in Russian. He let his gaze peruse the length of the skinny brown bow detail on Sadie’s cream dress. The ribbon slid down her chest between her breasts, revealing their buoyant shape underneath the thin fabric. He glanced back at Semyon, who smirked.

“A young man must have his pleasures,” Semyon said.

“Your wife is very beautiful,” Les told him. Sadie’s eyes went to him. The color matched the stormy sea now. He realized he had missed an exchange between her and Irina Kozyrev. When he glanced next to him he saw Irina was putting the nesting doll together, then, when at last the matryoshka was back together, she put the doll into the gift box and placed the lid on top, then slid it into her handbag.

Shocked, he let his hurt show as he moved his gaze back to Sadie.

She shook her head slightly, as if warning him of danger. Next to her, Semyon was devouring his soup. Sadie pushed a plate of brown bread to him and he took a piece without looking up.

Les stared at his erstwhile wife. Had she given Irina the dolls because she was afraid of her, or was there some deeper game? What had the girl sensed about her role here? Irina set her handbag on her lap, her lips curving with genuine satisfaction. With a last look at Les, Sadie deliberately moved her attention to the other woman, smiling.

Irina laughed.

Sadie had done the unexpected and turned the assassin’s daughter into an ally, it seemed.

About the Authors:

Tina Donahue is an award-winning, bestselling novelist in erotic, paranormal, contemporary and historical romance for Kensington, Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing, Siren Publishing, Booktrope, and indie. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. Three of her erotic novels (Adored; Deep, Dark, Delicious; Lush Velvet Nights) were named finalists in the 2011 EPIC competition. Sensual Stranger, her erotic romance, was chosen Book of the Year 2010 (erotic category) at the French review site, Blue Moon reviews. The Golden Nib Award at Miz Love Loves Books was created specifically for her erotic romance Lush Velvet Nights. Deep, Dark, Delicious (erotic romance) received an Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition. Take Me Away (erotic romance) captured second place in the NEC-RWA contest. And The Yearning (erotic paranormal) was honored with an Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition. She’s featured in the 2012 Novel and Writer’s Market. Before penning romances, she worked in Story Direction for a Hollywood production company.

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Heather Hiestand was born in Illinois but her family migrated west before she started school. Since then she has claimed Washington State as home, except for a few years in California. She wrote her first story at age seven and went on to major in creative writing at the University of Washington. Her first published fiction was a mystery short story, but since then it has been all about the many flavors of romance. Heather’s first published romance short story was set in the Victorian period and she continues to return, fascinated by the rapid changes of the nineteenth century. The author of many novels, novellas and short stories, she makes her home in a small town with her husband and son and supposedly works out of her tiny office, though she mostly writes in her easy chair in the living room.

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Toru by Stephanie R. Sorensen – Q&A and Interview

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What would we find under your bed?

Cookbooks and part of my fabric stash. My husband says I have too many cookbooks and too much fabric in my stash. He is wrong.

What was the scariest moment of your life?

That’s easy. Peru.

I’d spent a week on my own with a guide who took me around to cool places along the Amazon. We fished for piranhas, looked at pink river dolphins and giant lily pads, climbed giant trees, looked for birds, paddled around in dugout canoes. You know, Amazon stuff. Good guide, fun trip.

Last day of our time together before the next leg of my trip, my guide asks if I want see a beautiful place “donde se cayen las estrellas” or the place “where the stars fall down.” My Spanish is medium bad, so I may have it wrong, but falling stars sounded intriguing so I agreed to go.

He tells me to meet him at 10 p.m. and to wear long sleeves, long pants and insect repellant.

First alarm…we hadn’t done anything at night, so kinda weird to go out so late, but okay, we are looking for fallen down stars so night time makes sense. I guess. In any case, I meet him at 10, ready to go.

We set out into the jungle, in a pitch-black night without stars or moon visible through the canopy of trees. I don’t have a flashlight, oops, but he is helpful and shines his on the ground so I don’t trip. I try to remember the twisting turning paths we are following, but within minutes I have no clue where we are or any way to find my way back to camp.

Second alarm…no one on the planet except this guide knows where I am, even the country where I am. I decide this was not clever of me, but there being no way to rectify the situation, I keep following him further into the dark forest.

An Amazonian forest is noisy, a rhythmic thrum of insects, night birds, strange animal calls and growls I cannot identify, a symphony of unfamiliar sounds. To quell my growing uneasiness, I ask my guide about some of the sounds. My Spanish sucks, so I don’t understand the replies. Some kind of bird, some kind of animal, some kind of bug. He offers names for the sounds swelling all around me while I try to figure out how I am going to get back to camp. I am afraid, although my guide has been nothing but professional all week, knowledgeable, competent and courteous. What the hell am I doing, alone, in the middle of this dark and cacophonous jungle with a man I don’t know very well?

He stops to show me a large fist-sized hole in the ground on our path. I understand the word “tarantula.” He offers to coax it out of its nest. I assure him I am fine if he doesn’t, but his poking around at the hole has stirred it up anyway and sure enough a huge hairy tarantula comes bopping out of the hole. Yes, dear reader, I scream. One long, loud shriek, involuntary. The forest falls silent for a few long beats, even the bugs and beasts, and listens. My guide laughs, a friendly and comforting laugh, not a sinister laugh, right, not sinister? I ask if there are others along the way. “Everywhere,” is his calm reply. “This is tarantula city around here.”

Great. Let’s call this our third alarm. Alone, in jungle, no one knows where I am except nice acquaintance guide man and many tarantulas. F*** the stars, I want to go back to camp. Now. But I don’t know how to find my way back, so on we go.
He stops to open his knapsack, offers me water from his canteen and fishes around until he pulls out a long machete. He wouldn’t be giving me water if he’s going to use that on me, right?

He starts hacking away at vines and undergrowth. He gives me the flashlight to hold so he can work, which cheers me up considerably. I have a weapon! I can bean him with this mighty flashlight! He’s got the machete, but if I am fast…then I remember the bits about the tarantulas and not knowing how to get back to camp even with a light.

After some time, he’s hacked a few hundred yards into the undergrowth. He asks for the light back, and, heart pounding, I relinquish my weapon and my hope. “We are very close now. Take my arm and shut your eyes.” He offers me one arm and holds the machete in the other. He turns off the flashlight.

It’s dark, the darkest dark I have ever seen with my eyes wide open. I open them even wider, to see if I can scoop in more light, but I might as well have a blindfold on. “Close your eyes,” he says. “Take my arm.” I flail my arms around until I can find his arm and grip it, tightly. “Let’s go.”

For several dozen yards, he leads me through the blackness, steadying me and warning me of dips in the ground. He must have jaguar eyes that can see in the dark, for I can still see nothing, only black. The animal and insect sounds have resumed their roar. I can feel my heart thudding in my chest, involuntary fear pounding away. I cannot even tell you if I’m afraid of him, or the tarantulas, or just basic primal fear of the unknown, what lurks under beds and in shadows. He reminds me to keep my eyes shut. I shut them, deciding I don’t want to see the machete blow if it is coming. Or the tarantulas. I no longer care that I am doomed and certain to die in a few minutes. I just want to get it over with.

Finally he stops. “A few more paces,” he says as he leads me forward.

I stumble forward. Wonderful, we’ve reached the place where I will be fed to the tarantulas or minced with a machete. I wish I had told Mom where I was going. At least maybe they could retrieve bits of me and get me away from this blackness.

“Open your eyes,” he whispers.

And there it was, the place where the stars fall down from the sky, rolling, undulating ground covered with small glowing stars, whole galaxies of stars strewn upon the earth. It was the most beautiful sight I have ever seen, not least because it meant I was probably not going to be killed or given to the tarantulas. The stars are fallen leaves of a certain tree, leaves that let off a phosphorescent glow as they decay.

Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?

Classical, Celtic, Scandanavian goth, and whatever else Pandora serves up.

What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?

Finishing and publishing the second book in the Sakura Steam series, and getting my Mexico story into solid shape, maybe not finished but ready to share with beta readers.

How long did it take you to write this book?

I spent about six months researching and outlining, three months hammering through a first draft, and then another six months editing and working with beta readers to shape it up into finished form.

A nation encircled by enemies

A noblewoman with everything to lose

A fisherman with everything to prove and a nation to save.

In Japan of 1852, the peace imposed by the Tokugawa Shoguns has lasted 250 years. Peace has turned to stagnation, however, as commoners grow impoverished and their lords restless. Swords rust. Martial values decay. Foreign barbarians circle the island nation’s closed borders like vultures.

Tōru, a shipwrecked young fisherman rescued by traders and taken to America, defies the Shogun’s ban on returning to Japan, determined to save his homeland from foreign invasion. Can he rouse his countrymen in time? Or will the cruel Shogun carry out his vow to execute all who set foot in Japan after traveling abroad? Armed only with his will, a few books, dirigible plans and dangerous ideas, Tōru must transform the Emperor’s realm before the Black Ships come.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Omae wa dare da? Who are you? Whose ship is that? Why are you here?”

They forced Tōru to his knees.

He bowed down to the sand and spoke in the rough unhewn Japanese of a fisherman.

“Noble sirs, I am Tōru, of the village Iwamatsu, some days’ travel north of here. I was fishing with my father. A terrible storm destroyed our boat and cast us all into the sea. My father gave me a piece of wreckage to cling to as everything sank.”

Tōru struggled a moment, the words and flow of his native language catching on his lips after more than two years without a soul to speak with in Japanese. The memory of the storm and his last memory of his father that night rose up before him.

He steadied himself as the men listened intently, their swords never wavering from his throat, nor their gaze from his face.

He chose his next words carefully.

“That night was the last I saw my father. I was picked up by an American ship and taken to America.”

He bowed down to the sand again, easing between the blades.

“This night I am returning, to look after my mother. She has no other child to care for her, and no husband to feed her. The Americans brought me home, so I might do my duty by my mother and my people. I beg you, forgive me any crimes I may have committed by landing on your lord’s shore, and allow me please to return to my home.”

As he looked up into their eyes, he saw they would permit no such thing.

About the Author:

Stephanie is a writer based in the Victorian mining town of Leadville, Colorado, where she lives at 10,251 feet with her husband, five chickens, two bantam English game hens and one Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. After a former life in big cities-New York City, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Boston, Mexico City, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Santa Fe-she now enjoys the birdsong and quiet writing time she finds in Leadville. Her first novel draws on her experience living and working in Japan; her next historical novel is set in Mexico where she also lived for several years. As a Leadville local, she likes her Victorian attire spiced with a little neo-Victorian futurism and the biggest bustle possible.

Recognition for “Toru: Wayfarer Returns”
— Finalist, Fantasy category, 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards
— Bronze Medal Award, Multicultural Fiction category, 2016 eLit Book Awards


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Crushes by Jessica Lauryn – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Jessica Lauryn whose second book in her Rabourn Theater series, An Amorous Dance was released last month. Leave a comment for a chance to win a digital copy of the first book in the series A Passionate Play.

Always a romantic at heart, I experienced a number of crushes as I was growing up, beginning in grade school and continuing on into my adult years. Each and every time that I fell for someone new I believed that, this time, I was really, truly in love. My heart would flutter when that handsome guy I was secretly pining for would come by, smile in my direction, talk to me, flirt with me, make me feel as though I was the only woman in his world. When I began to explore the world of romance novels, I realized I was not unlike the heroine who falls for the man in her life—sometimes right for her, sometimes wrong—but always in close proximity, a most important part of her world. Living such experiences made them authentic for me and reading about them made me see just how powerful that feelings can become when characters know one another for a long time, their whole lives perhaps, harboring feelings that hold the ability to forever change the course of their relationship, for worse, for better, for happily ever after.

None of my own crushes ever became the real thing. But I spent so much time wondering if they could that the creative side of my imagination often took the liberty of creating scenarios—stories in which such possibilities took an idealistic turn, after a great amount of effort and strife, of course. Years later, I wrote stories like as An Amorous Dance, (a second-chance romance) with this very idea in mind, the idea that feelings deepen over time, that love is strong between two people who’ve known and cared about one another for as long as they can remember. Sometimes characters don’t even realize they’re in love. But we the reader can see what they cannot and when the moment comes when feelings can no longer be denied, we are right there, crying, and cheering right along with them!

I’ve read, and written, a number of stories in which a hero and heroine are meeting for the first time, in which there’s love that comes at first sight, in which there is an instant connection. But there’s something very special about couples who share a past. The past connects us and it makes us who we are. And when characters grow together, they grow together in love, and that is a love that never dies!

When Hannah Rabourn, daughter of Rabourn Theater’s late owner, is attacked, a surge of flashes prompts her to consider that her father may have been murdered. Hannah’s antagonistic stage director insists her subconscious is merely seeking closure. But as she and Evan become close once again, Hannah’s suspicions about the past deepen, and she wonders whether the man she’s falling in love with for the second time knows more than he’s letting on.

Evan Masters’s dreams were shattered when theater-owner Baron Rabourn destroyed his budding acting career. Having forged an alliance with Rabourn’s former partner, Evan assumed a mission to transform Rabourn Theater into what it always should have been. Fellow conspirators believe Rabourn’s daughter is the key to power, and Evan is the means by which to achieve their ends.

But Evan’s feelings for Hannah are stronger than he believed. And when he realizes Hannah’s life is in danger, he must decide between his passion and his heart.

About the Author:Jessica Lauryn is the author of the bestselling romantic suspense series, The Pinnacles of Power. The Romance Reviews says that her debut release, Dangerous Ally, has, “All the twists that a good suspense should have with just the right amount of passion and romance!” Jessica is a proud member of Romance Writers of America as well as her local chapter, New Jersey Romance Writers, for which she has served on the executive board in several capacities. She has a talent for remembering her dreams, many of which are explored in detail in her stories. Though she resides in central New Jersey, her heart will forever belong to the picturesque White Mountains of northern New Hampshire.

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Cross My Heart by Catt Ford – Spotlight and Giveaway


Long and Short Reviews welcomes Catt Ford, who is celebrating the recent release of her newest book Cross My Heart.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Roland Reynolds—or Lana Renault, as she’s now known—knows that life is no fairy tale. Fortunately she has her trusted friends, nicknamed the “the dwarfs,” to keep her company. She lives her life to the fullest while keeping what’s beneath her skirt to herself.

American painter Daniel Hunter is no stranger to adversity either, and it’s left him with not only strength but secrets. Unlike Lana, he remains aloof, content to observe life and beauty from the sidelines… until the first time their eyes meet on a crowded Paris street.

Cupid’s arrow finds its mark in Daniel, but while Lana longs for romance, she knows there’s no prince in her happy ever after. If their story is to have a fairy-tale ending, Daniel will have to convince Lana to let down her walls—and, in the process, reveal what he fears sharing the most.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Daniel took great pleasure in watching people, even though hope was dying for finding the one to inspire him to paint again.

Until he saw her.

The first time, her confident stride caught his eye. Attracted by her long legs and perfect derriere, he followed along in a desultory way until he lost sight of her in the crowd.

She must live or work somewhere near his arrondissement, because he kept spotting her. Daniel hadn’t seen her face yet, but he admired her figure and the way she dressed. Like most Parisian women, she had that street-chic thing down. While her clothes were simple, they fit exceptionally well.

She probably wasn’t avoiding him purposely; it was simply one of those frustrating quirks of fate that she always seemed to vanish before he caught up. She couldn’t possibly know how much he wanted to see her face.

The colorful scarf she usually wore helped draw Daniel’s attention to her. Her hair wasn’t tortured to stick straightness. Instead, dark waves danced in the temperamental spring breeze as she moved, her stride long and energetic. Maybe the sun dazzled his eyes, but he thought he caught a glint of purple highlights. If only he could get close enough to check without alarming her.

Some might call him a stalker or obsessive, but ever since… it… happened, Daniel preferred not to get too close to his fellow beings. Watching them from afar was sufficient.

Even Daniel wasn’t sure exactly what he was searching for, but he hoped he’d know it when he saw it. Purely physical beauty did not satisfy him. He wanted something more, a quirk of personality or a hint of the inner spirit. Even a crooked smile might do the trick.

Ironically, now that Daniel had enough money to be able to paint anything he wanted, his muse had deserted him. If only he could catch up with this girl and she sparked his fancy, Daniel was sure he would be able to paint again. If he could convince her to sit for him.

Today she carried a large, flat portfolio, and the breeze lifted it like a sail, pulling her quickly along the pavement. Daniel tried to work his way through the throng of people without stepping on toes or elbowing ribs to get close enough for a good look. She laughed to herself as she turned to wrestle the errant portfolio back under control. For one breathless moment, the world stood still and their eyes met.

She was lovelier than he’d hoped, but not only for her cheekbones and eyes. In that one quick flash, he felt as if her essence had been laid bare to him, all the imperfections and fears, but more importantly the indomitable spirit of her being. Everything about her, the way she moved and the curve of her lips, said that if he was lucky enough to know her, life would be full of pleasant and interesting surprises.

In that split second of awareness, Daniel saw her and he knew she saw him. Then the wind caught her hair and tossed it playfully into her face. She reached up to smooth a strand behind her ear and turned away as if their souls had not just touched. Apparently unmoved by the moment they’d shared, she crossed the street with the rest of the pedestrians.

She was the one. He had to paint her. If only he could do justice to her. Shaken by the glance they exchanged, he doubted his own ability to capture what he’d seen, but he had to try.

Standing immobile on the pavement, buffeted by the hurrying crowd, Daniel let her slip away and disappear.

Damn. So that’s what it feels like.

About the Author: Catt Ford lives in front of the computer monitor, in another world where her imaginary gay friends obey her every command. Catt likes cats, chocolate, swing dancing, sleeping, Monty Python, Aussie friends, being silly, spinning other realities with words, and sea glass. She dislikes caterpillars, cigarette smoke, and rude people who think the F-word (as in faggot, or bundle of sticks) is acceptable. A frustrated perfectionist, she comforts herself with the legend about the weavers of Persian rugs always including one mistake so as not to anger the gods, although she has no need to include a mistake on purpose. One always slips through. Writing fiction has filled a need for clever conversations, only possible when one is in control of both sides, and erotic romances, where everything for the most part turns out happily ever after.

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