How could she not know about rock’s biggest super group? After a chance meeting, naive high school teacher Isabel Warren finds herself falling head over heels with the sexy-as-sin singer for the rock band Becket. When he invites her to spend her Spring vacation on tour with him she agrees willing to risk her vulnerable heart for a chance at one week of passion. Fate has other plans. http://www.bit.ly/isabelsawakening
Barbara’s Redemption, Book 2 of the Disarmed & Dangerous Series is available June 2, 2016 from all of your favorite book sellers.
Black Hawk pilot Captain Barbara Lynn Perry is running scared. Witness to an event too horrible to think about and too dangerous to talk of, she finds herself alienated from a world she has always had faith in.
With her Special Forces brother missing, she has only one other person to turn to. When her friend Flynn Swann isn’t available, Barbara is left with no choice but to trust the man Flynn sends to save her.
Psychiatrist Dominic Salter’s information from her superior officer’s file is that Barbara has gone rogue. Despite the damning evidence, every instinct tells him he’s dealing with an honorable woman, one who single-handedly saved Flynn from torture and a sure death. Dominic’s challenge is to delve his way beneath her tough, defensive attitude and coax the truth from a woman who’s too frightened to reveal her dark secret.
In his brand new facility containing a state of the art Dreampsych Transcender he’s experimenting with, a machine far beyond a simulator, Dominic has to gain the trust and confidence of Barbara while he resists the hard pull of attraction to this kick-ass woman.
Betrayed by a member of his staff, events take a sinister turn, and the pressure is on in a fight against time for Dominic to persuade Barbara to put her trust in him and reveal the truth before matters are taken out of his hands.
Pre-Order Links & Order Links
She raised a shaky hand to rub her fingertips over taut lips and tried to swallow, but her tongue was too thick to allow it, her mouth too dry to comply. She held the same hand horizontally in front of her face and watched the vague tremble. The tremor that threatened her sharp shot. The shake that no longer allowed her to pick up a glass of whiskey without being a dead giveaway.
She needed help.
Flynn could help.
She’d saved his life, goddammit. Of course he would help.
So she waited in the silent twilight for Flynn to come.
Pitch black descended and still no sign of the man. So dark she could no longer see the trembling hand in front of her face, but the sweat still formed in the creases along her palm, making her hand slip as she tightened her grip on the gun. She swapped it over from right to left while she rubbed the damp onto the leg of her black yoga pants. It made no difference, she could shoot as well with one hand as the other. Not that she could see to shoot, but she hadn’t imagined for one moment Flynn would have kept her waiting this long, and dark would close in before he arrived.
She’d hunkered down in the comfort of the straw, her mind filled with visions of blood and gunshots while night descended faster than she’d realized.
She’d kept Flynn waiting three nights previously. God only knew how long he’d waited for her, but she’d listened to her sixth sense, believed someone else was there at the meeting point, and she’d hightailed it out of there, leaving Flynn to his own devices. He was still a tough cookie. No point in her hanging around to save him. She’d already saved his sorry ass once before.
The dim light of the stables flickered on and filled the place with a dull buzzing sound. Cautious, she straightened and moved toward her target. The cowboy seemed to be the right height, but it looked like Flynn had gone to seed since leaving the Special Forces three years earlier. She’d heard rumors he hadn’t coped well with civilian life. Probably more to do with having half his face carved up. She twitched her nose in distaste. The voices of the men who had tortured him filled her head, the vicious sound of their hyena cackles as they cut Flynn with glee. It hadn’t been the prettiest of sights, but she’d seen worse. She’d even killed men herself, but never for fun. Only out of necessity, duty, and a desperate desire to live.
It was the pleasure they’d taken out of torturing a man that had turned her stomach. Not that anyone knew. She’d die before she allowed anyone to see her weakness. It looked like she may have to, after recent events. She’d thought she’d never witness anything worse than Flynn’s torture. But she had.
She closed her eyes and took a moment to control her pulse rate before she stepped forward.
The cowboy turned, staggered slightly in the dead giveaway of a drunken sidestep, and smiled broad and sloppy as his unfocused gaze met hers. Drawing in a deep, slow breath, she realized her mistake. It wasn’t Flynn.
With no other option, Barbara tucked her gun into the back of her pants. It was a mistake she would never have made a month ago. One that under any other circumstances would have cost her life. Lucky for her, it was only some piss head in her way.
“Hey.” Loose-limbed, she stepped forward, a deliberate wide smile in place. “I’m looking for Flynn. Is he here?”
Confusion flitted across the man’s face, his brows pulled down in an exaggerated drunken frown.
“He’s a dipshit.”
Surprise at his viciousness stopped her advance as the man swayed, took two clumsy steps to his left before he gained his balance, and stood swaying before her. His thin lips twisted, bitter and angry.
“You’re not his girl. His girl’s a fuckin’ little bitch. Lost me my job and had me arrested.”
With barely a twitch of her eyebrow, Barbara skimmed her gaze over him. Nasty little fucker. Reminded her of her mother’s boyfriend. Several of her mother’s boyfriends. But one in particular had been a mean son of a bitch. He’d slapped her around plenty, until her mother had caught him and almost pulled his hair out by the roots. Her mother may have had scores of men come and go after Barbara’s father’s death, but she never let a single one mess with her daughter.
Barbara narrowed her eyes at him, never flinched as the horse behind her snorted and stamped impatiently in its stall. All her concentration centered on the drunk. She’d learned long ago with hard lessons not to take her gaze off the threat. This guy was definitely a threat.
“No, I’m not his girl. Have you seen him?”
He rubbed his hand over his lips, sly gaze darting sideways. “I heard he left with the slut.”
Muscles tense, Barbara felt the sick slide of dread. “Where’d he go?”
“New Zealand. They were talking about it in the jailhouse.”
“The fucking sheriff and his fucking deputies.”
“What were you doing there?” She wasn’t interested, but she could see him lowering his guard as they chatted. She never lowered hers. That’s what got you killed.
The guy turned his head and spat into the hay and then sneered at her. “Mistaken identity.” He held up a hand with fingers swathed in bandages.
“Flynn’s bitch said I went after her. It was her who attacked me and broke my fucking little finger.”
She repressed the desire to smile. She hadn’t much to smile about, but it seemed as though Flynn could have met his match after all.
“Stupid fuckers let my wife bail me out.”
Barbara couldn’t stop the blink of surprise. He had a wife? Poor woman.
“She’s my ex-wife.” His mean eyes flickered down. “She just wants rid of me.”
She could imagine why.
Barbara watched as he skimmed his bloodshot gaze over her, recognized the lascivious leer, and knew instinctively she wasn’t simply going to walk away from their encounter. “So, what are your plans?”
“Fuckers took my gun, but I had another one they didn’t know about at my stupid fucking wife’s house. She didn’t even know it was there. I’m going to take me a horse and ride out of here, and no one is going to stop me.”
She stepped back and spread her arms wide for him to carry on. “I wouldn’t want to try.”
He took a small, stumbling step forward and then lurched at her. Little shit, she never quite saw him coming. She’d somehow thought he would have a little more finesse. His body slammed into hers, and she realized what she’d thought was fat was one hell of a lot of solid muscle bound tightly in that fat.
As he took her down, she allowed her body to go loose. She anticipated the fast whoosh of air that expelled from her lungs, but his weight was a little harder and heavier than she had expected. Winded, she lay still for a long moment. By the time she recovered, he had her breast in his hand, squeezing it tightly. Pain and indignation radiated through her, but as she tried to move, he slung his leg over both of hers to pin her to the ground. The metal buckle on his belt dug hard into the flesh of her belly, and as she wriggled in the straw, the slide of it cut in deeper. The solid press of her own gun into her spine had her stilling.
The guy was an idiot; sometimes they just made it too easy by underestimating her. She may only be five feet four inches, but she was a trained soldier, goddammit.
With a weary sigh, she gave her head a disgusted shake and tightened her lips as she slipped his gun from his hip holster and held it against his temple before he could take another drunken grunt. She pulled back the hammer and met the surprise in his rheumy eyes. There was barely a tremor in her grip as her finger softened against the trigger. No need to terminate him, provided he was reasonable.
The quiet snick of metal stopped her mid thought.
“Take the gun away from Buddy’s head.” Mellow Irish tones reasoned with her from behind her head.
She held it firm, never so much as twitched.
The silver glint of a gun slid into her peripheral vision and kicked up her pulse.
“I’ve got him covered, Barbara, you can remove your gun.” Her name from the unfamiliar Irish voice had her hesitating.
The sour smell of whiskey puffed over her skin, and the bloated face of the drunk still lying on top of her gave her a moment’s pause. She could have simply immobilized him and left him writhing in agony on the floor by twisting his already broken finger, or she could blow his brains out, the stupid fuck.
It wouldn’t have bothered her.
Sweat slicked on the handle of the gun to make a liar of her. Who was she trying to kid? It was never a choice she’d make to deliberately take a life. He may be stupid, but he was no longer a threat.
Where to Find Diane Saxon
Author Amazon Profile Page
About the Author
Diane Saxon lives in the Shropshire countryside with her tall, dark, handsome husband, two gorgeous daughters, a Dalmatian, one-eyed kitten, ginger cat, four chickens and a new black Labrador puppy called Beau, whose name has been borrowed for her hero in For Heaven’s Cakes.
After working for years in a demanding job, on-call and travelling great distances, Diane gave it all up when her husband said “follow that dream”.
Having been hidden all too long, her characters have burst forth demanding plot lines of their own and she’s found the more she lets them, the more they’re inclined to run wild.
Loving Lydia -Atlantic Divide Book 1
Bad Girl Bill – Atlantic Divide Book 2
Finding Zoe – Atlantic Divide Book 3
Flight of Her Life
Flynn’s Kiss – Disarmed & Dangerous Book 1
Short Circuit Time
For Heaven’s Cakes
Banshee Seduction – Montgomery’s Sin, Book 1
Once & Again, book two
Will be released August 3, 2016 from Inkspell Publishing.
She was once his secret desire…will she be again?
Father Aiden, an ex-marine and new priest, falls in love with Maylynn, but he struggles to stay away from her. He’s successful for many years, though he can’t keep her out of his dreams.
Then one day she shows up for a pre-marital counselling session with her fiancé, Davis. Aiden soon realizes Davis isn’t who he says he is, but what does that mean for Maylynn, and for himself?
Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30339939-once-again
Amazon preorder link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GIL5MO8
Once & Forever, book three
Will be released December 2016 from Inkspell Publishing.
Eden, a nun, is constantly struggling against her dark past of living on the streets, and her attraction to Trace, an ex-convict farm worker. After a twelve-year separation, Eden is finally reunited with her brother, Thomas, but why hadn’t she reached out to him in all those years? As Eden and Trace grow closer, confessing their pasts to each other, will they be able to resist getting too close?
Why count on the husband and kids to get you something you’ll enjoy this Mother’s Day? You know they mess up at least half the time so hedge your bets. Pick up a copy of Laurel Richards newest release The Clam Festival Murders and know you’ll have a good book for a relaxing day.
Blurb: Nothing ever happens in a small clamming town like Fatmire. At least, that’s what Mitch Chase thinks until he teams up with eccentric mystery writer Cassie Wynn to solve a murder. Vicki Cash is found facedown in her seafood dinner after someone at the Clam Festival slipped her a deadly ingredient. Now Mitch and Cassie have to eliminate suspects, but that’s easier said than done. Vicki wasn’t exactly well liked. She took her ex-husband for everything he was worth, evicted the town’s most successful clam farmer, feuded with her sister, and bad-mouthed the mayor’s wife. As they investigate, Mitch discovers this small town isn’t what it seems, and he’s attracted to more than Cassie’s powers of observation. With his quirky and intriguing partner by his side, he’s sure to lose his heart while he catches a killer.
E-book available from:
Trade paperback available from:
“Detective, based on your appearance here, may I assume Vicki Cash’s death wasn’t an accident? Do you suspect foul play?”
Cassie overheard the question and watched the man who had asked it from her vantage behind the side garden of her house. The profusion of plants prevented people on the street from seeing her small paved patio with its table and chairs, but she could observe them and much of the rest of the neighborhood at her leisure. That’s why she liked to sit here in the afternoons.
Today, what she saw held her full attention. The man speaking was a stranger to her, which was unusual in the small town of Fatmire, Florida. He was currently questioning Shane Waters, their local detective.
Her next door neighbor, Vicki Cash, was dead, and the newcomer—a reporter, apparently—seemed to realize there was more to the case than met the eye. Keen intuition and tenacity were two qualities Cassie gave to all her novels’ heroes. She was pleased and intrigued to learn they were part of this fellow’s character, as well.
Of course, Cassie also liked to make her heroes attractive. This man certainly had the right look with his strong physique, sharp blue eyes, and thick light-brown hair. She didn’t know his name, but she was hoping it was something wonderfully exotic or macho like Falcon or Axel. Maybe he was a martial arts expert or a former covert agent or sniper. The possibilities fired her imagination.
Barely breathing, she continued to eavesdrop on his conversation with Shane. They were standing outside Vicki’s house, which had been tidily cordoned off with police tape. Cassie saw Shane pause for a moment and rock back on his heels.
“We’re still investigating the matter,” the detective replied. “All I can say right now is that there were no signs of forced entry, burglary, or violence. The evidence thus far indicates that Ms. Cash died alone while in the middle of eating supper.”
“Who discovered the body?”
Cassie held perfectly still when Shane pointed at her house. “That would be Miss Wynn next door.”
Her new hero glanced her way and jotted something down in his notebook. Had he seen her? With his sharp eyesight and advanced military training, he probably could have spotted her in a sea of replicas. He was so focused on his interrogation, though, that it appeared he’d missed her behind her blind.
Cassie took a second to write the word replicas in her writing journal before she lost the thought. It had potential as a plot device.
“How old was the deceased?” her hero asked next, snagging her attention again. “Do you know if she had any pre-existing conditions?”
Shane’s lazy expression never altered. “Ms. Cash was in her late forties and wasn’t suffering from any chronic health problems that we know of.”
Not a bad question, considering Vicki had died during dinner.
“In a manner of speaking,” Shane answered as he returned to his car. “Apparent cause of death was anaphylaxis. Good day.” These last two words were uttered over his shoulder as he opened the driver’s side door and hopped in.
“One more question.” Her hero didn’t give up. He leaned down to look at the detective. “What was Vicki Cash eating when she died?”
This time, Shane smiled. “Got herself some shrimp from the Clam Festival. You should head over there yourself. It lasts all week.” He punctuated this remark with a muffled slam of his car door and started the engine.
Cassie watched her hero eye his own vehicle before turning and walking toward her house. When he reached her door, he studied her front garden with a small frown of concentration. Perhaps he was a botanist or herbalist who liked to experiment with various elixirs. Or maybe he was looking for signs of a trap.
Just as he was about to knock on her door, she cleared her throat. “She’s not home. You’ll have better luck if you come over here and talk to me.”
She could see she’d surprised him. The way he shifted—had he been ready to fall into a crouch? Was he poised for action every moment, in constant peril while dealing with the terrible scars of his past?
Cassie sighed. “You poor man. Why don’t you sit down and have some tea? You can keep your back to the wall if you sit over there.”
About the Author
Laurel Richards is a fiction author with a passion for shifters, space travelers, and other memorable characters. She has gathered inspiration from lots of different sources throughout her life and is here today to share her imagination through storytelling. Laurel writes sci-fi/fantasy, paranormal, and funny mysteries, all with various degrees of romance mixed in.
Hashtags: #humor #mystery #romance
I had a great time at Allie Ritch’s blog site talking about how I got my inspiration for the character of Thomas in Isabel’s Awakening. Stop by.
TD Hassett: I wanted to write a classic fairy tale but my daydreams of rock stars in hot leather pants dripping with tattoos and piercings kept distracting me. After about two weeks I gave in and started writing a sweet and naughty story. My hero was an easy character — I just merged a young version of Jon Bon Jovi with a young version of Sting and voila, Thomas Becket flashed across the page.
But who to pair him with? What woman would be able to break through his defenses and steal his heart? After a lot of post it notes and glasses of wine the image of bookish Isabel Warren appeared. She was shy and studious but not a doormat. She wanted to see the world and grab opportunities as…
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I recently sat down to talk to one of my characters from Incubus Makes Three. I had hoped to gain some insight for a blog article to be posted to Layne Macadam’s blog and wow. She certainly got me thinking of alternative lifestyles.
Hello. My name is Shari Worth and I am in a menage relationship.
Me: Hi Shari. Tell me more about that. *leaning in pencil to paper.*
Shari: I never thought I’d be doing this kind of thing. It’s not that I was a prude before but, two hot guys?
Me: You got my attention now. Two men? *Fanning heated face wildly.*
Shari: Really, two men but one is more than just a man. I’d wanted Gabriel for years but never had the guts to make a move. The one relationship I’d had prior was pretty lackluster. Then an Incubus seduced me and sex became something addicting, delicious. I couldn’t get enough. He was the one that brought Gabriel into our bed and now none of us want to ever get out.
Me: Sounds umm, wow. *Crossing legs.*
Shari: It is now but things were a bit tense in the early days what with Dorian having to handle complications in the demon realm and risk the soul he’d coveted for so long. It was so worth it though — the way those two own my body and each others, it’s mystical every time.
Me: That does seem a bit tricky. What else can you tell me. *Voice cracking. Wiping perspiration from my forehead.*
Shari: There is so much more but I’ve got to go. The three of us have special plans and I still need to pick up the cable ties.
[Ménage and More: Erotic Fantasy Ménage a Trois Romance, M/M/F, with M/M, incubus, HFN]
Dorian Black is a nine-hundred-year-old Incubus born of a Master Demon father and a mortal mother. As a spawn of the demon realm he is immortal and without a soul. He longs to earn a soul and gain his mortality in hopes of being visible to God and eventually reuniting with his mother in heaven.
The demon masters use incubi to suck out the darkness that hides within some human souls. Dorian’s work through the last millennia has been to seduce mortals and pull this darkness from them, transporting it to his masters. Once he provides enough of this human nectar he will be rewarded with a soul from the well of souls.
Dorian has been busy seducing and being seduced by local Florida con artist Gabriel. Unfortunately, he is becoming attached to the attractive grifter. He’s supposed to be sucking an entire soul from him, thereby killing the sexy young man. Meanwhile, he becomes mesmerized by the purity of Shari Worth, local veterinary assistant and do-gooder. He courts her in hopes of both distracting him from his growing feelings toward Gabriel and finding the chink in her selfless decency.
Matters quickly grow complicated in the spirit of a Shakespearean farce. Dorian discovers Shari and Gabriel are step-siblings that share a secret and forbidden love. As his feelings for both mortals grow he must decide whether to hand over Gabriel’s life in exchange for his new soul or sacrifice his long held goal to save the hearts of two humans he no longer wants to be without.
Tiffany Dawn also writes under the pen name TD Hassett.
Visit her at Naughty and Nice Romance
Add this to what you wish you knew before you started writing.
Well, I figure I have one more day to drunkenly torch my platform. Sad thing is I don’t drink. I am apparently this stupid when sober 😛 . Actually I am writing this as a follow up for my rant from the day before yesterday, because knowledge is power.
Writers need this. Your friends and families need this. Readers need this. The more people get how this industry works, the more everyone can start working together for everyone’s benefit.
In my book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World, I go into a LOT more detail and I highly recommend you get a copy if you don’t have one. I spend the first chapters of the book explaining how the various forms of publishing work so you can make an educated decision.
All types of publishing have corresponding…
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With the holidays upon us there are troves of books to curl up with by the fireplace. My paranormal romantic comedy goes great with mulled wine and cinnamon cookies. Part of Decadent Publishing’s 1Night Stand line, Frosty Relations features a young college graduate facing the complicated world of adulthood and confronting the frost mage she’s had a crush on for most of her life. Add some Christmas magic and Madame Eve’s renowned matchmaking service, and we’ve got the beginnings of an icy-hot love story.
In keeping with the holiday spirit, my publisher has discounted the book to $0.99 for a limited time on Amazon and ARe (the sale ends December 14, 1015). I’m also giving away a $10 gift card. To enter, leave a comment here and drop your details in the Rafflecopter widget either at the bottom of this post, or at this landing page on my website: http://www.taraquan.com/frostyrelations
Attorney Jack Frost never understood why holidays did weird things to people. His secretary went on vacation, his best friend ditched their annual Aspen trip, and the law firm’s stubborn human resources assistant refuses his clerical support request. What’s a warlock to do on Christmas Eve but go on a 1-Night Stand? But when an oddly familiar empath shows up as his date, this ice mage has a hard time denying the magic of the winter solstice.
Faced with an anemic employment market and financial woes, college graduate and former witch Mina Mao lands an HR assistant job at Frost and Sons. Having spent her day saving Christmas from Frost Junior’s Grinch-like behavior, she accepts the gift of Madame Eve’s service and heads over to the Castillo Capital. When her date turns out to be her childhood crush and workplace nemesis, she braces herself for the sexiest icy ride of her life.
Genre: Paranormal Romantic Comedy, Interracial/Multicultural
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About Tara Quan
Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, Tara enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, paranormal worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Her characters, armed with magical powers or conventional weapons, are guaranteed a suspenseful and sensual ride, as well as their own happily ever after. Learn more at www.taraquan.com
Excerpt 1 (PG) – 208 Words (see below for R)
Curious, she pulled up the accounting module and groaned when she read the current tally. “Please tell me mini-Frost already left.”
“No such luck.” Angela looked over her shoulder. “The invoices I turned in put Leo’s billings above his by a hair, so the Space Cadet is on a warpath. He’s marching down the hallway as we speak. By the way, what possessed you to let Beth take his overflow work this week?”
Mina furrowed her brows. “Why? She’s new, but I’ve heard she’s good.”
Angela rolled her eyes. “That girl spends half her day on the phone and makes careless mistakes. If she wasn’t tall, blonde, and busty, she’d never have gotten through probation. With the testosterone crowd, all she needs to do is bend at the waist and elbow-squeeze her boobs whenever she drops off a document.”
Sighing, Mina filed the information away and clung to a ray of hope. “Jack is young, male, and single. Maybe it’ll work on him, too?”
Angela snorted. “He grew up with us as babysitters, and we call him the Space Cadet for a reason. Do you know what that brat cares about more than womanizing?”
Mina shook her head.
“Proper usage of spaces, periods, apostrophes, and commas.”
And Something a Little Hotter?
Yawning, he settled more comfortably into the seat and embraced the lulling haze. His mind wandered to the day Mina had showed up for an interview. In a departure from her current fashion slump, she’d worn a short skirt suit and glossy-black high-heeled pumps. On her way out, she’d swung by his office to drop off his major weakness—Shanghai White Rabbit Creamy Candy. He’d given her a high five and wished her luck.
That day, she’d stayed for no more than a few minutes and had left the door open. But in this foggy, slumbering vision somewhere between the dreams he could never recall and actual memory, he reached over her shoulder to shut it.
A mischievous grin on her face, she tilted her head back and met his gaze. “What do you want, Jack?”
He lifted his index finger and placed it over his lips. “Shh….”
Sashaying past him with feline grace, she shrugged off her jacket to reveal a crimson silk blouse. After draping the discarded garment over an office chair, she turned to face his desk. Placing her palms on the suddenly clutter-free glass, she threw him a sideways glance and motioned him over with her head.
The warmth of balmy fall allowed her to show off those smooth, toned legs. The tailored dark-green cotton hugged her ass’s subtle curve, the back slit giving him glimpses of her creamy thighs.
Coming up behind her, he closed one palm over her mouth. She remained still, her small body trembling as he nibbled her neck. He grazed his teeth over the slender slope, pausing to suck a bright-red hickey onto her snowy skin.
Hearing a muffled moan, he clamped his fingers tighter as he slid his other hand under her skirt. Finding damp heat, he yanked down her panties. The scarlet lace fell to circle her four-inch heels.
Biting her earlobe, he whispered, “Stay quiet, or everyone will know I’m fucking you.”
With one hand, he unbuckled his belt and freed his erection, his other arm still holding her in silent captivity. He kicked her legs apart and hiked up her skirt. Sliding his length between the creamy cheeks, he probed her wet opening with the tip of his cock.
A loud feline hiss jerked him out of the dream. Sharp claws dug into his thighs as the chair rolled back and hit the wall. The cat scampered off his lap. Rubbing his eyes, he tried to remember where he was. Once his mind regained focus, he glanced down at his crotch and noticed the very visible bulge. He could see why she’d reacted in a rather extreme fashion.
With a soft popping sound, the woman whose bare butt he’d envisioned appeared in front of him, her snowflake earrings swaying against the sides of her rosy face. At least she’d lost the Santa hat. “What the heck were you thinking about?”
The most honest answer would give her the wrong idea. After all, he wasn’t attracted to her. He’d happened to be envisioning office sex with someone who bore a remarkable resemblance to her, at the same time he got an erection, while she’d been on his lap—all unrelated events.
The Appeal of Romance Novels to the Committed and Not Dim-Witted
by Tiffany Dawn
I was recently reading the resurgence of the Quilliam study on the evils of romance novel reading. I admit it, as a fan of the genre and an author; I got pissed at her conclusions.
For those of you who don’t follow research on romance novels I will summarize it. Basically a British Psychologist, Susan Quilliam, did a study that looked at 78 romance novels written between 1981 and 1996 and determined that reading those novels could lead women to be less careful about condom usage in their own relationships and gave them unrealistic relationship expectations.
Apparently many of the books written during that time period skimmed over using condoms. However, the findings concerning lack of rubbers in fiction and actual modern practices just seemed to be too much of a leap for me to accept since the novels were written prior to HIV/AIDs receiving the attention is does now. If she had selected novels written in the last ten years there would have been extensive mention of condoms and concerns about sexual health in the story line. Presumably reading about sexually responsible couples would send a more positive message about prophylactics.
However, how the hero wraps his “sword” wasn’t the only thing that got my ire up. Romance readers have long been stereotyped as lonely, desperate women with too many cats and a low IQ. But the exact opposite is a more accurate a description of the genre’s fans. Readers are more likely to be in a serious and committed relationship than non-readers and the number of romance authors with Ph.Ds. from Ivy League colleges is quite long. Just think Bly, Quinn and Gimpel for example. I have a master’s degree in clinical psychology and 72 postgraduate credits in educational psychology yet still spend my evenings writing and reading romance novels.
Does this all jive with Quilliam’s assertion that heavy readers of the romance genre may develop unrealistic or idealized notions of what a relationship should be? Her report has many unproven contentions such as, “It might mean – in the wake of such panic –judging that if romance has died then so has love, and that rather than working at her relationship she should be hitching her star to a new romance.” (Quilliam, 2000). Hmm, we are all flighty women who don’t know what a real relationship should be like? I don’t think so.
To put it simply, smart women read and write these novels, report higher levels of satisfaction in their relationships and enjoy the escape to a world where women characters are the center of the story. The modern romance novel features independent career women who refuse to settle for less. They are determined to tackle life on their own terms. It is the men who need to change in order to find happiness and fully self-actualize. And by the way, if you are still questioning how romance novels compare in terms of language use and vocabulary try pasting in a few pages of a Susan Johnson novel and comparing it to the readability score of say a Clive Cussler adventure book just for fun. I had a few minutes and did just that only to determine that both score about a 1100 Lexile level – about the 11th grade in terms of reading level. Awfully close. Perhaps the stereotype has more to do with the inclusion of sex in the storyline than any other factor.
While the naysayers will say reading romance is hazardous to your health I will keep on reading, writing and enjoying! After all, the establishment once believed that women reading much of anything could be detrimental to their ability to successfully have a baby. Holy bunk.
And just to do a brief bit of self promotion (he-he) see below to some blurbs from my books.
Isabel’s Awakening blurb and Buy Link:
It’s been five busy years, and Newcastle-born singer/guitarist Thomas Morgan is still punishing himself for his younger brother’s death.
Thomas’s young, fashion-model wife once led her husband’s idolizing brother, Chris, into both drugs and an adulterous relationship. The loss of his brother and total destruction of his marriage destroyed Thomas. To avoid entanglements with others, even his young son, Thomas focused on promoting his music and the management of his now highly profitable record company. He thought he had everything at a safe distance, at least until Isabel literally slammed into his life.
High school teacher, Isabel Warren, finds herself falling head over heels in love with the sexy-as-sin guitarist for the rock band Becket. Soon Isabel’s orderly world of lesson plans, thesis writing, and student loan debt is competing against desire, passion, and her vulnerable heart.
Isabel struggles to navigate her newly stirred passions with her rising academic career and independent nature. As the sex sizzles, the two lovers will have to decide which parts of their dreams they will sacrifice for their fledgling relationship.
Can Thomas ever trust and love again, and will the young woman he meets ever have the confidence and strength to be with him?
tiny url version: http://tinyurl.com/p9e6j5x
Loving Link blurb:
Can two artists salvage true love out of the unexpected consequences of one night of passion?
|A young tattoo artist. A seasoned rock star. Both focused on their careers. What harm can there be in giving in to their desires for just one night? They’re about to find out as their scandalous relationship sweeps the internet. Will they stand together to face the world? Or will their emotional scars tear them apart? T.D. Hassett takes you to the heights of passion in Loving Link, Book 2 of her hot, sexy series Love and Music.|
Link Jacks is done with women and determined to focus solely on music and rock-band Becket’s upcoming album. He’s been living as a marketing-prop bad-boy rock star for so long he doesn’t remember who he really is anymore. Not until he meets Madison, the emotionally guarded and theoretically off-limits younger sister of his best friend’s wife.
Madison just wants to get her fledgling tattoo career off the ground and stop relying on the generous charity of her wealthy brother-in-law to get by. She knows she should never get involved with the likes of Link but his presence is downright intoxicating. Her indiscretion will lead to Internet sex video and media frenzy. Their one wild night of passion will have scandalous repercussions and force each of them to confront their inner fears and emotional demons.
Madison had just finished up with her second to last client and was tired. She thanked him for trusting her to do such an involved and powerful tattoo.
“No, thank you Madison. You’ve no idea how much this means to me. It’s absolutely beautiful.” the young private explained quietly, and then surprised her by wrapping her in a big hug and kissing the side of her head. It seemed to be an impulsive gesture and it took her off guard. For perhaps the first time she understood how important body art could be to somebody, how it truly was more than just something inked. She broke free of the embrace as her boss, Lori, came into the room. Madison froze in place seeing Link Jacks standing behind her boss and scowling. The private slipped her his card and was forced to squeeze by Link, who stood with his arms crossed, practically blocking the door.
Lori interrupted the awkward silence. “Madison, you might know Link Jacks through your brother-in-law. He’s been having a dragon done over the last couple of months and I’m thinking you’re the perfect person to do some of the scale work. I’ve seen you do some mythological pieces where the coloring is almost luminescent. That would be perfect for this piece. I’ve done all the lines and a good chunk of the fill but think if you wrapped up the scales it would be American Tats Magazine worthy.” Lori stated in her no-nonsense way.
Crap, there’s really no way to just say no, especially if Lori was thinking of putting the work on display. She had one more customer left for the day and was looking forward to a quiet night back at the apartment. She and Darling would probably just order pizza and watch a movie.
Maddie’s befuddled brain flashed back to the spiel Lori had given her about no drama and she braced herself for whatever this could mean. I just need to keep my focus on the work.
“Sure, as long as Link is comfortable with me doing the work. I’ve got one more customer tonight but I’d be happy to make him an appointment,” replied Madison.
Link’s icy expression slipped. He smiled at her and gave her a little wink, suggesting her stall tactic wasn’t going to work.
“No need, I’ve switched your last appointment to someone else so that you could have time to work on this piece now,” Lori smoothly added.
So much for putting this off until a later day. Lori walked away, leaving Link and Madison alone. Great, this would be a nightmare after what had transpired between them last week. She was already anxious around him and now she’d be spending hours touching his half-naked body. How did Monet ever paint those incredible nudes with such beauty just within reach?
Madison busied herself getting out sterile gloves and new needles. She focused her head on how best to color in the scales that she recalled so clearly from running her hands up his chest and arms. His low voice startled her when he asked what to do.
“Should I take my shirt off now and lie down, or just stand here feeling stupid?” Link questioned.
“Sorry, go ahead and lie down and you know, take off your clothes. I mean shirt.” Maddie blurted out awkwardly. She finished assembling her things on the tray and turned around in time to see him pull his tight black shirt up over his head exposing a broad, well-muscled chest that her fingers ached to touch. It was going to be torture to put needle to skin, to have her hands running over his washboard abs and strong arms, yet the full sensation would be blocked by the latex of her gloves. She studied the work already done on the tattoo. It was a masterpiece in the making. She’d never seen such a large, detailed mythological piece and couldn’t stop herself from tracing the line of the dragon’s tail from the waistband of his jeans up and across his chest and over his shoulder to where it ended on his back. The dragon’s head looked across his shoulders, its eyes done so realistically you felt like the beast was watching. She could see the mix of colors and shading she’d need to complete the work. The artist in her was clamoring to get started but the woman was afraid to keep touching him lest she lose her head again. She looked up from his skin to notice his eyes had been watching her with an expression of longing. His hand was clenched tightly against the arm of the chair and she noticed the telltale bulge in his pants. Memories of him pulsing in her sent a wave of moisture to her core.
She needed to put aside the tantalizing images flashing through her head. He was just a man who could only hurt her if she let him. Isabel had shared stories about Links escapades with women while on tour. It seemed everyone in the band but Link had settled down, so they all laughed at his adventures. Now that Madison had been one of his conquests, she hated every other woman who had ever looked at him and she hated herself even more for feeling that way.
“Okay, I’ll get started but as you probably know, work around the ribs and other bony areas can get pretty painful, so let me know when you need a break. Any questions?” Maddie was proud of how calm her voice was despite the rolling pit of emotions swirling around her belly.
“No questions. Baby, I’m ready for whatever you want to do to my body; bring it on.” Link answered with a cocky smile.
Damn him, he had to make this extra difficult. She’d made a mistake in what she did with him; she’d just been too curious a cat and she’d gotten her heart involved. But there was no way she would put that tail out there again for him to play with. Maddie had seen what heartbreak did to her mother and she knew better than to get involved with anyone who could do that kind of damage to her. Besides if Isabel ever found out what she’d gotten up to with Link she’d probably lecture her to death. And Thomas would probably kill Link; after all he had become quite the protective big brother to her after he and Isabel met.
Madison needed to focus on the task at hand and stop ogling him like … well, like some kind of groupie. She prepped a gun and tested the foot pedal, and then dipped her color, steadied her hand, and pressed needle to skin. The gentle vibration of the gun hummed to her as she worked a lower portion of the design over his right ribcage. She peaked across his chest, noticed another tattoo under his heart, and jabbed the needle in too hard.
T.D. Hassett AKA Tiffany Dawn, grew up reading the romance greats—Jackie Collins, Julie Garwood, and Judith McNaught. She was certain that life should be like a romance novel, with lots of passion, some incredible adventures, and a guaranteed happily ever after. She attended college in New England, earning a B.A. in History and an M.S. in Clinical Psychology before changing her mind again and studying education. Currently Ms. Hassett lives in Connecticut with her very patient husband and two young children. Her rambunctious family shares their home with three crazy cats and a darling golden retriever named Delilah. Her eccentric relatives and their quest to make her feel like the only normal nut in the family tree inspire her writing.