Monday, May 6, 2013
Please welcome the fantastic romance author, Sarah Cass to my blog site by leaving her a comment.
Please welcome the fantastic romance author, Sarah Cass to my blog site by leaving her a comment.
Sarah Cass’s world is regularly turned upside down by her three special-needs kids and loving mate, so she breaks genre barriers, dabbling in horror, straight fiction, and urban fantasy. An ADD tendency leaves her with a variety of interests that include singing, dancing, crafting, cooking, and being a photographer. She fights through the struggles of the day, knowing the battles are her crucible and though she may emerge scarred, she’s also stronger. Now officially multi-published, she’s still working on bringing new stories to fill out her year and your reading lists. While busy creating worlds and characters as real to her as her own family, she leads an active online life with her blog, Redefining Perfect, which gives a real and sometimes raw glimpses into her life and art.
Minnie Woodward lives a lie. After barely surviving the Bear River Massacre she’s lived in the white world of her guardian Mister Rawlins, her life debt keeping her tied there. The last thing she needs is Roy’s attempts to gain her favor. Her fate’s sealed. She’s never believed in hope, and not even Roy can make her start.
Roy Ornum saves Minnie every night in the traveling Wild West show. The job he took to break his gambling habit brought him a new addiction – her. He knows she doesn’t want to be rescued, but maybe he does. She’s the key to a past he lost, one he wants to find again.
As the two grow closer old wounds are reopened and their burgeoning trust is shattered. When lives hang in the balance of their choices they’ll need to work together. Otherwise everything will be lost before hope can be found.
Minnie couldn’t breathe, couldn’t see anything but their linked fingers. A simple gesture, but one that could get them in so much trouble if seen not only by the crowd, but by Mister as well. Still, she couldn’t manage to pull away. All she wanted to do was stay right there. Or maybe even take it further.
She let her fingers move toward his and he did the same until their fingers laced together. Slowly she turned her head.
His light amber eyes twinkled, a smile lifting his cheeks until the corners of his eyes crinkled. “I thought so.”
The crushing pressure on her chest released, and the unfamiliar tension of a real smile pinched her cheeks. The rest of the world no longer mattered now that she could stare into the eyes of one of her own people. A giddy skip to her heart and she dared to lean closer to him, dared to let the smile remain when she should have tried to erase it. “I don’t know how it could be true. But yes, that’s what I called the boy. Called you. You’re him, you are White Tail.”
“And now my dearest charge, the young woman that’s like a daughter to me, will display her trust in my skills.” The unfamiliar words of Mister ripped at the fleeting sense of relief. His face held no hint of its usual patronizing smile when he approached. “Won’t you, Minnie?”
Minnie couldn’t manage to shove away the shock, she couldn’t even blink. Never had Mister used his sharpshooter skills with her as a target. That action was reserved for people he didn’t trust. She yanked her hand from Roy’s grasp, but she knew it was already too late. A fleeting, desperate idea to plead her innocence emerged, but she ignored it and pushed forward a smile as bright as she ever used for her white woman act. She gave the Mister a nod, even as John pulled her toward the post.
Carl came up moments later with an apple. “Foolish child,” he whispered. “Just close your eyes so you don’t see it, and don’t move. He’s using his long shot and one little move could get you hit instead of the apple.”
She refused to show him the fear threatening to rip her stomach right out of her body. Instead she grabbed the apple with a small nod. “I understand.”
John moved behind her and set his hands on her waist. He kicked at her ankles before pushing them apart. “Wider stance helps you stay more still. Head straight. This is his warning, he won’t hurt you yet. Trust that.”
The advice wasn’t necessary, but she appreciated the gesture. After a moment she managed to swallow down the thick lump in her throat. It would do no good to show them her fear. “I’m not an idiot. Go before they think I’m scared.”
Despite her harsh words, John squeezed her shoulder in reassurance. Then he and Carl were gone.
Mister stood far down the street, the farthest distance he could shoot straight from what she could tell.
Though she’d seen him take this shot many times, she’d never been on the receiving end.
Back straight, she lifted the apple to her head. In her mind she imagined the fantastical yelling of the Mister as he did before every shot. In reality she heard nothing but her own heartbeat pounding in her ears.
Slowly she dropped her hands to her sides, curling her skirt under her fingers. Despite her own internal promise she wouldn’t close her eyes, she did just that.
Through the rush of her heartbeat came the crack of the gun. Cool drops of apple and apple juices ran down her nose.
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Posted by Tabitha Shay at 3:23 AM
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Today's special guest is the fantastic author, Lydia Michaels. Please leave her a comment.
Today's special guest is the fantastic author, Lydia Michaels. Please leave her a comment.
Lydia Michaels, award-winning author of contemporary, paranormal, and erotic romance is switching things up!
You may be familiar with her series about sexy Amish Vampyres—that’s right, AMISH—which won The Top Bite Award in 2012 from Bitten by Paranormal Romance. You also may know her New Castle series, a contemporary series, which takes each heroine to the limit and proves how capable women truly are.
But this May Lydia is switching things up a bit with her new novel, Breaking Perfect. Breaking Perfect is the first book by Ms. Michaels that comes with a warning. Beware, readers, this one is HOT! Breaking Perfect releases May 9th from Secret Cravings Publishing and you can get a sneak peek here!
Dr. and Mrs. Mason Davis appear to have the perfect life, but looks can be deceiving. Liberty isn’t perfect, far from it, yet everyday she strives to be the ideal wife. It was love at first sight for Mason, despite all the challenges living with someone with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder might face. And from the moment Liberty gave him her heart, he knew he was meant to keep her safe. Mason accepts that Liberty is flawed, even when she does not. He endeavors to keep life as orchestrated as possible for his wife, but when his ex-lover, Sean, shows up unannounced, Mason loses a bit of his ever present control and cracks begin to show in his perfect life.
Liberty’s just right, carefully ordered world begins to unravel when she falls for the man who is in love with her husband. When what she wants is the antithesis of perfect, she struggles with her desires, and fears she may break. But breaking may be the only thing that can set Liberty free.
A beautifully told, psychological tale that redefines the meaning of perfect and breaks all the rules of love.
WARNING: Breaking Perfect is a highly graphic erotic romance, which contains content that may be not be suitable for all readers. This novel examines the Dominant/submissive dynamic, explores areas touching on light BDSM, and includes situations some readers may find offensive. This book is a poly-amorous romance, which means it is a love story between three people trying to find their happily ever after. There are intense sexual scenes, which include MMF ménage, meaning the male characters may interact sexually with or without the female heroine present.
Liberty couldn’t help but step back. The stranger standing on her porch was enormous and no one she had ever seen before. He didn’t look like a solicitor, but for some reason a curious, self-preserving instinct awakened inside of her. She had the sense that this man could harm her, in more than just a physical sense. A foreboding impression unnerved her. It somehow signified the one thing she never dealt with well. Change. This man was more than just a stranger passing by. The disquiet thrumming through her veins was palpable.
Liberty held the door securely in a position so she could shut it quickly if need be. “Can I help you?”
The man shifted awkwardly on enormous booted feet and rooted his hands farther into his pockets. The sun had set and, like most Carolina nights on the coast, the temperature had dropped significantly. He only wore a threadbare white T and was likely cold. However, that threadbare T did nothing to hide his enormous arms, corded with muscle and decorated with some sort of tattoo peeking past the cuff.
Her searching eyes jerked from his thick arms to his face. How did he know her name? “Yes.”
His gaze moved over her as if analyzing her as she’d been analyzing him. Who the hell was this guy and how dare he look at her and make her feel as if she somehow didn’t measure up to his expectations? She pressed the door closed a little more and braced her bare foot behind it.
He cleared his throat. “I’m Sean O’Malley. Is your husband home?”
Sean O’Malley? Sean O’Malley? Why did that name sound familiar? “You called last night.”
“Yes, I’m the man that called.”
She didn’t want to admit Mason was out, let alone that he wouldn’t return until morning. Not to this towering pile of muscle and tattooed flesh, but she couldn’t lie and then fail to produce her husband. “He can’t come to the door right now. Can I pass along a message?”
He frowned at her as if he knew she was lying. She stood a little taller, daring him to challenge her. He most likely found her attempt to intimidate him with her five foot stature next to his probably six and a half foot build laughable. Something seemed to click in his mind and his expression softened.
He held his hands out as if in peaceful surrender. “Uh, I know you probably don’t know who I am, but I’m an old friend of Mase’s. We went to Duke together.”
Her shoulders sagged a little in relief, but she wasn’t wholly convinced this guy wasn’t out to do her family harm. As a doctor, anyone could look up Mason’s records and see where he went to school.
“When? He’s never mentioned you.” She probably shouldn’t have said that. It seemed to poke a sensitive nerve. If this was in fact her husband’s friend, she’d just said something incredibly rude.
“Thirteen years ago. He lived at Brier House with me. We were in the same fraternity. I played football there, but hurt my knee junior year and my grades weren’t enough to keep me in. I ended up leaving when I was twenty-one and finishing up at State back in Arizona.”
Libby supposed the slight lilt to his accent was what someone from Arizona would sound like. She eyed him critically. He looked about Mase’s age, maybe a few years younger. He definitely could have been an athlete. Even under his loose fitting jeans she could detect heavily muscled thighs.
He smiled at her kindly, exposing a mouth full of perfectly straight pearl white teeth. Wow, that must have been some popular fraternity. His smile softened his hazel eyes and upgraded him from attractive to gorgeous. A big hand ran through his dirty blonde hair causing it to stand on end and distract Libby.
“Look, Mrs. Davis, I assure you, your husband and I were friends, very good friends. I’ve been driving for days and I’m in need of a hotel and a bed. Do you know when a better time to stop by might be? I hate to be a pest, but I’m kind of just runnin’ on empty right now and didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see how he was doing after all these years.”
She sighed. The sense of unease she first felt in his presence faded slightly. His forbidding appearance was rendered merely unfamiliar and therefore somewhat less alarming. Slowly acknowledging her total fear may have been misplaced. He actually appeared to be quite genuine. “Okay, Mr. O’Malley—”
“Sean,” she amended. “I’ll be honest. Mason isn’t home right now. Didn’t he return your call yesterday morning? I gave him your message.”
“He never called.”
She pursed her lips. Yesterday had been a complete disaster and that was probably why Mason neglected to tell her that this man was actually his friend from college. She wanted to believe him, and if what he said were true, Mason would expect her to be hospitable to his old friend. She didn’t want to disappoint her husband. Her teeth pressed into her lower lip as she considered her options.
“You say you’ve been driving a while?”
“Over fourteen hours. You see, my dad just passed away and I took off right after the funeral. I really don’t have anywhere to be at the moment and somehow wound up here. It only made sense to see if I could locate Mase.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry for your loss.”
“It’s really okay, but thank you.”
“Um, can you…can you excuse me for just one minute? I just need to check something. Just one minute please.” She held up her finger as she stepped back. When he nodded she shut the door and quietly latched the chain.
She turned and ran into the kitchen, her bare feet smacking quietly across the cool tile floor. Mason’s familiar words played through her mind. When we are unsure what to do, we ask for help, and our problems immediately feel smaller and easier to solve.
Picking the cordless phone up off the counter, she pressed speed dial one as she walked into the formal living room and spied on their visitor from behind the heavy satin drapes. Her finger ran through a slight drift of gray dust marring the windowpanes and she made a mental note that cleaning the windows once a week was not enough in the fall.
The phone rang and clicked over to voicemail. “Hello, you have reached the voicemail of Dr. Mason Stevens. I’m unable to take your call right now, but please leave a message and I will return your call as soon as possible. If this is an emergency and you need to reach me, please contact Faith Baptist Hospital, extension two-two-nine.”
When the phone beeped Libby said, “Babe, it’s me. Um, there’s someone here for you and he says he’s an old friend from Duke. He seems to know a lot about you and I don’t think he’s lying. His name’s Sean O’Malley. He’s the man who called Friday night. Well, he’s kind of without a place to go. He drove here all the way from Arizona or somewhere out west and needs a place to stay. I don’t know what to do. He says his father just passed and I can’t help but feel sorry for him. If he’s a friend of yours I think, under the circumstances, you’d want me to welcome him in our home.” She pressed her lips together and then mumbled, “God, I hope that’s what you would want.” She sighed. “I’m going to let him in and offer him something to eat. Please call me.”
When she returned to the door Sean was standing back and gazing toward their soffits. He appeared to be admiring the exterior of their home. It was really getting chilly out. She could have called the hospital, but if Mason wasn’t answering the phone it was because he was likely with a patient and that was more important than her needing approval. Maybe.
He looked at her with those piercing hazel eyes and her thoughts scattered like autumn leaves in the wake of a sudden gale. She shook her head and tried to focus. “Um, Mase is going to call back any minute. Would you like to come in? Could I fix you something to eat?”
He stilled for a moment as if considering if the offer was a good idea or not. “Uh, sure. Thank you, Mrs. Davis.”
“You can call me Libby.”
“Yeah, it’s short for Liberty, like the bell.”
He laughed. “Cute. Thank you, Libby.”
She stepped back and let him enter their home with one last hope that she wasn’t making a mistake. As he stepped past her she looked up at his hulking size and admitted that if she was, she was a dead woman.
Sean entered the home. An ominous chill crested his shoulders as though he were crossing into a secret place he might never escape from unscathed. So many insecurities came rushing to the surface. His father’s taunting voice intruded on his calm. Stifling the unwanted memories, he focused on the little woman in front of him.
Mase’s wife wasn’t beastly. As a matter of fact, she was perhaps one of the most adorable females he ever laid eyes on.
She was a little thing and he had the unusual urge to lecture her for inviting a strange man, twice her size, into her home when Mase wasn’t around. What was she thinking? He agreed to come in only because he had the sudden ridiculous fear that some other beggar might come knocking and feed her a line of bullshit and trusting little Libby might end up inviting someone truly dangerous into her home. Oddly, something about her tapped into his protective instincts. This little girl needed someone to keep an eye on her.
The house entrance was ri-god-damn-diculous. He let out a slow whistle that echoed all the way up to the thirty-foot ceilings. It was homey, but also sort of like a museum. Nothing seemed out of place. Maybe the missus just finished cleaning.
“The kitchen’s this way,” she announced and he followed.
She only came up to his midsection, not even reaching his chest. Her feet were bare and her toes were painted pink. Girlie. She wore cute frayed daisy dukes and a sweater that hung precariously low over her one arm. Her bare shoulder hinted she had nothing underneath. Wild golden curls bounced with each step she took. Kudos to Mase for at least finding a woman with a bangin’ body. If he were going to switch teams, he clearly made out in the draft.
Sean had the impression of lots of white and open space. He was too busy sizing up his old friend’s wife to really take in the house. He was sure it was what American dreams were made of if Mase’s knack to adhere to pursuing a goal was still as sharp as it once was. If anything, his boy had an incredible ability for sticking to his guns and keeping his word. He promised one day he would have an easy life with a good partner and nice home. Sean had no doubt he had walked into just that.
Libby stopped and Sean plowed right into her. Nice. His hands reflexively grabbed her shoulders so he didn’t knock her down and hoped he didn’t trample her little feet “I’m so sorry.”
She quickly extricated herself from his grip and turned to face him. She took a step back and smiled, but he could tell he made her incredibly uncomfortable. Nice move, bonehead.
“I wasn’t looking where we were going. I hope I didn’t step on your feet.”
She looked down at her feet and back at him. Her hand held a cordless phone he hadn’t noticed earlier and she tapped it against her thigh nervously.
“Maybe I should just go,” he suggested. “Thank you for the hospitality, but maybe it would be best if you just tell Mase I stopped by—”
“No!” she said sharply, as if the idea of him leaving was more frightening than the idea of him staying. She softened. “I mean, no, please stay. My husband would want you to stay. Let me make you something to eat. Why don’t you have a seat at the counter?”
She seemed a bit jumpy, so he nodded and began to pull out one of the three stools tucked under the marble countertop. This kitchen was like something out of the rich and famous.
“Not that one!”
Sean froze. What just happened? He didn’t move, but looked at her from the corner of his eye for clarification. She took a deep breath and, in a more controlled voice, said, “Not that stool. That one is Mason’s. I think you would be happier on the third stool.”
She smiled as if the third stool was the best stool in the whole world and surely sitting there would bring him great rewards. Okaaaay. He didn’t give a shit if he sat on the fucking floor at this point. He was so tired he could weep.
He sat and she began to pull items down from cabinets she could barely reach. More than once he caught himself admiring the creamy slice of her ass that peeked out past the hem of her shorts when she went up on her tiptoes. A gentleman would offer to help, but something had him hesitating. Plus, he liked watching her. Sean was a people person. He liked sitting back and learning people not by what they claimed they were about, but by how they actually acted.
She made fast work of making two turkey sandwiches for him. He found it curious the way she made them, each of them one step at a time, almost mechanically. Her lips silently counted: one, two, three, slices of turkey then did the same for the next.
She placed one piece of Swiss on top of the meat and used a knife to carefully cut off the two inches that hung over the edge. Doing the same to the other, she then lined the discarded pieces beside the bread and lined up two more slices of cheese. Her fingers squared them up and sliced the two pieces of cheese so that when placed with the overhanging pieces they would be exactly the same size as the slice below. He wondered why she didn’t just cut one identical piece to the lower one, or better yet, just throw it all on there.
As soon as the cheese spectacle was done she grabbed the remaining scraps of cheese that apparently didn’t fit and moved to the sink. She dropped them down the drain and turned the water on so hot steam began to rise from the stainless basin. What a waste. He would’ve eaten those pieces. He was about to tell her so, but was cut off from speaking when the roar of the garbage disposal clicked on. He was going to say something when it clicked off, but then she clicked it on again. And off. And on twice more. It was beginning to sound like Morse code and he forgot what he wanted to say.
She moved back to the sandwiches and made an X with mustard then placed a dot inside two of the triangular mustarded off sections and a line in the other two. She did the exact same thing to the other slice of bread.
He frowned at her. His mouth was hanging open in confusion by the time she held slices of lettuce at eye level and carefully tore away edges until they were as identical as they could get. Mason’s wife was definitely a weird bird.
She smiled when she finally seemed satisfied with the green leaves. The manicured roughage was strategically centered on the sandwich. The scraps went into the disposal. The same Morse code was applied for what seemed to be proper grinding.
She didn’t talk while she worked. She was so focused Sean didn’t know how she could have managed a conversation. It was like she was in another place and had forgotten he was watching her. The two sandwiches were sliced diagonally and organized like a pinwheel on a plate. She poured a glass of juice from the fridge for him and opened a drawer to retrieve a perfectly folded white linen napkin.
He sat back thinking she would hand the plate to him, but she turned and disappeared into some closet on the far wall. She returned with a glass jar filled with pretzel sticks. After twisting off the metal lid and retrieving four perfect pretzels and throwing away a broken one, she laid each stick between each sandwich slice.
Out of a bowl organized so nicely he mistook it for a decoration, she carefully selected an orange and placed it by the plate. She went to the closet and came back with another orange to replace the one she just removed. Her full lips silently counted out six oranges. Her tongue was a deep shade of pink and Sean blinked that transient thought away. Using a large kitchen knife she methodically cut the fruit into six even slices and placed them in a small glass bowl so they resembled a star or a flower or some shit. He wanted to tell her she didn’t have to go through all that trouble, but he was sort of interested to see what she would do next. She stepped back and eyed her creations and nodded, apparently satisfied.
He leaned back as Libby carried the plate, bowl, napkin, and cup over to where he sat and adjusted each item until the napkin was perfectly straight, the cup directly above it, the bowl exactly parallel from the cup to the left of the plate, and the plate turned so that the straight edges of the sandwiches formed a cross rather than an X.
He was sort of speechless. “Uh, thank you. It looks great.”
She beamed at him. Mase’s wife really had a beautiful face. She was more cute than glamorous, bright blue eyes with soft blonde lashes, pink full lips, and a pert little nose. She looked like an all American girl, but also like no one he’d ever seen before. He took a bite and shut his eyes as he groaned.
“This is delicious,” he said with a full mouth.
She nodded happily and began cleaning the counter where she’d made his dinner. He ate in silence and continued to watch. The cleanup was as much of a production as the preparation. She seemed to have a method for everything, the way she swept up the crumbs, the way she disposed of things, and washed the dishes. He winced when he noticed how red her hands were after washing the cutting board under steaming hot water, but she didn’t seem to notice. She also filled a spray bottle with piping hot water and used it to clean the counter after she bleached it. The clinical scent of disinfectant was so strong it permeated his nostrils and tainted the flavor of his lunch.
Afraid she’d burn her hands again, he offered to wash his own dishes, but that had the effect of a record skidding to a stop in the middle of a party. He realized immediately he’d overstepped and quickly muttered that she never mind. What the fuck kind of girl did Mase marry? Was this like some sort of Stepford shit?
Also keep an eye out for Lydia Michaels’ upcoming debut with Penguin Publishing this fall, as she introduces The Surrender Trilogy, selected as one of the hottest eBooks of 2013!
Links for all formats and distributers can be found at www.LydiaMichaels.org
Posted by Tabitha Shay at 4:31 AM