Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sizzling Summer Reads (Romance) from June 1 to 28




Prepare to Sizzle!

Over $5,000 prizes up for grabs!

$50 Amazon Gift Card

Total of 8 pairs of tickets to RomCon 2011 to be won!!!
(each pair worth $490)

Sizzling Summer Reads (Romance)

From June 1 to 28, 2011


 
Play the games. Explore new books.

Chat with authors. Rack up your points!

CAN YOU UNLOCK THE PUZZLE?


Visit everyday to increase your chances to win awesome prizes!



PRIZES


Monthly Grand Prize

$50 Amazon Gift Card

 

Weekly Prizes

2 tickets to RomCon 2011 worth $490
$10 Gift Cards – 4 winners
Over 100 Book Giveaways in total
(paperback, ebook)


Main Sponsors


RomCon 2011
eTreasures Publishing
Astraea Press

Participating authors

(in no particular order)


Barbara White Daille      Elisabeth Naughton           JL Oilder                        
Autumn Jordon               Edie Ramer                      Jenny Schwartz
Marie Treanor                Teresa Bohannon              Anne Patrick 
Caroline Clemmons         Missy Jane                       Sibel Hodge                   
Mary Eason                   Sarah Grimm                     Louise Crawford            
Jess Mountifield              Brynna Curry                   CJ Archer
Toni C. LoTempio          Ann Tracy Marr              Suzanne Barrett              
Jennifer Wells                 Stacy Juba                       Gini Rifkin                      
Staci Brush                      Lisa Beth Darling            Christianne Charles        
Sheri Lewis Wohl           Raquel Byrnes                  Dianne Duvall
Natasha Deen                 Nadia Lee                       Roni Adams                   
Samantha Hunter            Joely Sue Burkhart          Rebecca L. Frencl          
Rae Renzi                       Greta van der Rol           Sharon Buchbinder        
Dora Hiers                      Tiphanie Thomas            Laura Kaye
Dana Stevenson              Anna Small                     Terry Campbell              
Lisa Kumar                     Myne Whitman               Phillip Thomas Duck      
Cherie Le Clare               Elizabeth Lang                Robin DeJarnett             
Ednah Walters                Tarah Scott

Monday, May 30, 2011

Bad Boy or Gallant Hero? by Mary Abshire



Hello and thank you for stopping by to read my guest post. Do you prefer romances with bad boys or do you like to read about noble heroes?

It's a difficult question to answer, at least for me. I enjoy reading paranormal romance and urban fantasy books with both. When I started writing my Soul Catcher series, I decided to have both. Why? Not because I couldn't decide on one or the other. The big reason to have both was for the added conflict. I like conflict.

In my Soul Catcher series, I have a naughty demon, Jeremy. The word "demon" describes him best. He's a troublemaker, selfish, sneaky, and very blunt. Don't get the wrong idea about him--he has his funny moments, which comes from him being direct. On the outside, he's a mean dude you don't want to mess with. Inside, he hides his feelings, but you get a sense that he really does have a heart and compassion. On top of all that, he knows what he wants (my protagonist) and what he needs to do to get what he wants.

Yes, there is a lot of conflict. And I add more.

Enter the noble vampire, Drake. He's the sweet, handsome, charming man every woman wants. He saves lives instead of taking them. He shows his emotions. He cares deeply. His heart doesn't beat, but it feels. He longs for the right woman. And he finds her. He has to work hard to claim her, and when he does . . . let the sparks fly.

Do I have a preference of one or the other? No. But I can say this, Jeremy is a much easier character to write about. Not sure why, but he just comes to life when I write about him. And he is so much fun because he is the troublemaker. I'm not saying my noble vamp isn't enjoyable to write about. Oh, heck no. When he walks in, he steals my heart.

So which do you prefer? Or are you like me, you enjoy both types of men in stories?

Contact me at:

Check out the interview of CATCHING AN EVIL TAIL at The Romance Reviews

Saturday, May 28, 2011

My Love of Time Travel by Beth Trissel


As an historical romance author all of my stories are time travels in a sense, but I first incorporated actual visits to the past in the form of flashbacks to early 19th century Virginia in my murder mystery/ghost story romance, Somewhere My Love. Following that, my ultimate challenge was to set a time travel romance in Scotland. Slight problem, and one that held me back for years, I've never actually been there, though many of my family have and told me all about its grandeur and charm.  I've read, heard, and seen many descriptions of Scotland.  Being a history buff I've read up on and watched numerous programs set in the British Isles.

I'm a British junkie, an anglophile, while equally preoccupied with early America.  But then America and Great Britain are both tied together and were especially linked in the colonial time period.  Virginia's Shenandoah Valley where I live and my family has lived for several hundred years resembles Scotland and Ireland and is partly why so many Scots/Irish settled here in the 18th century, so that gave me an 'in.'

Until Somewhere My Lass, I'd set all my stories in America, past and present. This departure to Scotland was a challenge, but I drew deeply on my English/Scots-Irish roots, as I've been doing all along. Apart from the prominent Native American characters in my work (Through the Fire, Red Bird's Song, and Daughter of the Wind) the others are English/Scots-Irish with a smidgen of French. My ancestors have a smidgen of French in the meld—a Norman knight who sailed and fought with William the Conqueror.

But I digress.  A little more about the inspiration behind light paranormal romance SOMEWHERE MY LASS: As is often the case, the opening of this book was inspired by a dream, as was my recently completed light paranormal/time travel romance, Somewhere the Bells Ring. These vivid dreams grab my attention and make me wonder where in the world I go from here.  Inquiring minds like mine want to know the rest of the story, so I delve, plot, and lie awake nights trying to recapture the dream to see where it leads.

Ultimately though, Somewhere My Lass, and my other works for that matter, evolve from lengthy research, in this case into my Scottish roots. Not only those hardy souls who journeyed to the New World via Ireland, but also those who came directly from Scotland as early as the 17th century.  Along with my rich ancestry is a long-held absorption with the idea of actually being transported to the past, with a proviso that I can return to the present whenever the thrill wears off, of course.  Say, by tea time. My characters are far more adventurous than I. I'd be fortunate to survive a week back then.

Doubtless, I've been influenced by my beloved C S Lewis in his Chronicles of Narnia that I grew up reading. I'm still looking for Narnia. Isn't everyone? And movies like Back to the Future, Timeline, The Time Traveler's Wife… And countless other films and books, but I like to think I've achieved an original take on the oft visited time travel theme.

Certainly, my love for old castles and the Scottish Highlands also lent inspiration.  The concept behind my SOMEWHERE series is that the story opens in modern-day, so far my home state of Virginia and I don't see that changing, and then transports the reader SOMEWHERE else–either back to an earlier time in the same house, as in SOMEWHERE MY LOVE, or another place altogether, as in SOMEWHERE MY LASS.  Sounds simple enough, right? But writing these stories isn't. And then there are the questions that haunt me.  Did I get the setting right?  Only those of you who dwell in that beautiful land or have visited Scotland can say.

Blurb for Somewhere My Lass:

Neil MacKenzie's well-ordered life turns to chaos when Mora Campbell shows up claiming he's her fianc√© from 1602 Scotland. Her avowal that she was chased to the future by clan chieftain, Red MacDonald, is utter nonsense, and Neil must convince her that she is just addled from a blow to her head–or so he believes until the MacDonald himself shows up wanting blood. Mora knows the Neil of the future is truly her beloved Niall who disappeared from the past. Although her kinsmen believe he's dead, and she is now destined to marry Niall's brother, she's convinced that if she and Neil return to the past, all will be right.

The only problem is how to get back to 1602 before it's too late. The balance of the present and future are in peril if she marries another, and the Neil of the present will cease to exist. An ancient relic and a few good friends in the future help pave the way back to the past, but will Mora and Neil be too late to save a love that began centuries before?~

SOMEWHERE MY LASS is available in digital download at The Wild Rose Press, Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble's Nook book, and other online booksellers.

*SOMEWHERE MY LASS and SOMEWHERE MY LOVE were both featured on Barbara Vey's blog at Publisher's Weekly. Separate occasions.

For more on me, my blog is the happening place: One Writer's Way
Email: bctrissel@yahoo.com

Check out the interview of SOMEWHERE MY LASS at The Romance Reviews

Friday, May 27, 2011

Inventor of the Future by Bobbye Terry



How do you becomes an inventor of many things but never file a patent or worry about manufacturing costs? You never need to develop a prototype, yet your invention works the first time you design it. Give up? You become a writer of science fiction, futuristic romance and cyberpunk. It's a given that you can't build a new world of the future with technology standing still for centuries. So, in a world torn apart by mass destruction, corporate and government tyranny and the loss of freedom, what inventions still emerge as everyday items that have become as necessary as our current automobiles, fast food and cell phones?

Here is a sample of some of the technology that is highlighted in the first two books in the Cash Chronicles series (Full Moon Rising, Book 2, just released this month):

Transportation

From Frozen Assets, Book 1: "This is a water jet car." She laughed. "Some comics call them 'Wet-jets' after a gizmo they had … never mind. Anyway, it flies. Its fuel is water, actually steam. No waste or pollution."

So, you see, not only are humans flying daily in the world of the future, but their common means of transportation is ecologically-sound. The water jet releases steam which condenses into water and evaporates into the atmosphere. No pollution, no wasting of natural resources.

Fast Food

From Frozen Assets, Book 1: "These 2572s are so named because they can be stored until that year. They're activated by direct sunlight and a drop of water. Immediate expansion and they're reconstituted and are ready to consume. That's why we have to keep them in this bag."

William scratched his chin. "What's inside the bag, silver?"

Nicky shook his head. "It's a new carbon alloy. It's almost weightless and light deflecting properties."

"Does it harm the planet?" Caleb hated the way people in his time ruined the planet, covered Mother Earth with buildings, ruined its water, ruined the air. Having lived on a farm, his first thought was always conservation. From what Fran had told them, with Mil as the Primera destroy the world to rule it was the imperative.

"Oh, heavens no," Nicky said. "That wouldn't be very brown and this world is all about brown."

He frowned. "What's brown?"

Nicky closed the bag. "Of the earth. All products must be made from the earth so they can return to the earth." 

Here we see that some old technology has evolved, not disappeared. Also, we see that in the world of the future there are many attempts to be ecologically friendly.  This is ironic since the dictatorial government in power is responsible for so much of the future world's destruction.

Communication

You've heard about don't text and drive, what about this? From Full Moon Rising, Book 2: Projecting the image of his current study text onto the dash of the water/solar hybrid, Wallace Cash studied the molecular structure of antimatter and, multi-tasking, hit Mach 12, a nice smooth cruising speed.

Wallace's minoplex interphase also has video talking features and can be placed on special frequencies. It can project films and recent broadcasts and numerous other taks.

Recreation

Gambling has been outlawed, yet the machines still exist. From Frozen Assets, Book 1:

"They're pretty," Win said, touching a bright red machine with five windows in the center. "How are they powered?"

"Wind," Nicky said. "Everything went either solar or wind-powered in 2050."

"Are you?" Win asked.

"Of course not." Nicky crossed his arms. "I'm made of organic material, polymers, self-healing and replicating crystalline structures and a computer for a brain. I am un-hackable and impervious to an electromagnetic pulse."

Win reached to touch a glowing yellow knob. Nicky clamped his hand around her wrist and jerked it back. "Don't touch anything. This place is a trap for the Constitutionalists. The games are armed with protection plutonic beams."

"I see the kill first, ask questions later mentality hasn't changed," Caleb muttered.

Which brings me to war and destruction. Caleb says that even though they're in the future, there is no peaceful attempt to get along but a seeming need of the government to protect some while destroying others. It is a world of factions, pitting neighbor against neighbor. This theme continues in Full Moon Rising, even though the world has been at an uneasy peace for a number of years. Below, war jets fly over, destroying a squad of government forces (in this time period, these are the good guys). That follows by "cleanup."

A shrill piercing noise followed and a close target trans-molecular aggravator hit ground zero, incinerating the remains.

Come join me in The Cash family's world of the future and find out what other inventions I've conjured up. I promise they all operate perfectly.

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Bobbye Terry writes contemporary romantic comedy and suspense under her real name and romantic fantasy and science fiction when writing as Daryn Cross. She is also half of the well-known writing duo of Terry Campbell. You can find her at http://www.daryncross.com/ and more about the series at http://www.thecashchroniclesseries.com/

Check out the interview of FULL MOON RISING at The Romance Reviews.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

An Author's Nightmare... by Mimi Barbour



I've wracked my brain over this blog, and thought I might share with everyone what's been most eventful in my life for the last year or so. I should expand, and, truthfully admit this situation has had me scratching at stress rashes, pulling out thinning hair (I can't afford to loose), and doling out more money than I should or would fez up to. I bet you all knew what I was rambling on about as soon as I mentioned the overspending. I'm talking about promoting my books. When my first paperback "The Vicarage Bench" was released over a year ago, I soon realized I'd taken on a whole new career.

I started out promising myself that I would use common sense and go the free route as much as possible. Right!! (written with a sneer) Free means a lot of work doing intricate techie stuff that has guaranteed side effects such as: headaches, insomnia, alcoholism, and a good chance of the need for future marriage counselling. There are many sites out there for anyone who has the stamina to use them. Unfortunately, after a few mind-altering weeks, getting absolutely no-where, my enthusiasm waned and my get-up-and-go dropped dead. Filling in profiles, getting my pictures up on all the various pages, and my book covers in as many places as I could legally stick them was crazy - time consuming and exhausting.

So…

I decided to poll others in some of my different groups for their advice, and it varied. I wrote it all down and ticked them off. The most popular suggestion was to have a website and get business cards and bookmarks. Tick! The next on the list was to join reader and author sites such as Goodreads and Savvy Author, and a gazillion more. Tick! Then I was told to get on blogs and blog my little heart out. Tick! Tick…tick…tick… Like a bomb getting ready to blow, my head swelled and I thought it might explode, spewing out those goofy little round yellow emoticons all over the place.

I was also informed of the importance of a web presence. So I'm on My Space, I twitter lots of little tweets, and we certainly can't leave out Facebook. But more was needed so I called my web mistress for some critical advice. After all, she's been in the business a lot longer than I have. She told me a Newsletter was a must…authors should gather names of people who are interested in us as individuals, and who will therefore be more apt to buy our books. Gotcha! A few painful weeks later – done.

Then the little paperback beauty arrived, and I could hold it in my hand. Maybe it was all worth it. I know my lagging enthusiasm returned, and so I got up the gumption to ask for an interview at the nearest newspaper. I also went to the only grocery store in our small town and requested that they carry copies so my friends who live nearby could buy it locally. And since we have a Chapters store in the larger city near us, I was able to set up a consignment deal for them to stock some books also. Then I sat back proudly and caught my breath.

Hold it! I hadn't finished, not by a long shot.

With a bit more research, I found out that banners are another way that many in the profession reach out.  And then there's judging contests, sending the book to review sites, ads in various magazines or online with Facebook and U-tube, giving workshops, and…and…gulp!!

Well I'm sure you get my drift. It's a non-ending drain of time, energy and money. This new marketing career has been the worst experience of anything else I've ever had thrust on me. I guess—because—even though I could get advice from others who'd been down this route,  I was forced to actually do the work myself through trial and error.

Then…an amazing thing happened. By some miracle, through all this stress, I found the time to write another manuscript called "Together Again", contract it, and have it released. This time around I was ready. And the marketing went much smoother than it had before.

I realized that I'd learned a great deal - more than I knew I even needed to know (if that makes any sense?) This time I managed to do a lot more marketing, but truthfully, it seemed simpler and less stressful somehow. I've accepted that I can't do it all, so I've chosen the areas I think are the most effective. I manage my time so well, that I only allow myself two games of Spider Solitaire a day!   Sigh!

If you're an author, how have you managed the added careers of publicist and promoter for your books? As a reader, did you realize that most authors today don't just write a novel, pass it on, and wait for their royalty checks?  I'd love to hear your comments, so please join in the discussion.

Please know that I love visiting with readers so come and say 'Hi' on my website at http://www.mimibarbour.com/ and join my newsletter for a chance to win a free copy of my latest release.

Or follow me on twitter https://twitter.com/#!/Mimibarb

Or on Facebook…

My Newest release:

"Together Again" follows along the same paranormal theme as the rest of the books for The Vicarage Bench Series. It is a lovely, romantic story about a young, pregnant girl who spirit-travels forward ten years in time and invades the body of a handsome reporter. While together, they have some incredible experiences, and they fall in madly in love only to have to separate. He's promised to give her one week to get organized before he comes to claim her. But for her, their reunion date takes place in ten years.
When the time finally arrives, a big question plagues her. Since he's expecting a seventeen-year-old girl, will he love her as the twenty-seven year old woman she is today? Using her alias, she decides to seduce him during that week. Except that he proves to be a honourable man, staying faithful to her younger self. Until the night he almost falters and the guilt is overwhelming. 

Hugs Mimi



Check out the interview of TOGETHER AGAIN at The Romance Reviews (with giveaways!).

Monday, May 23, 2011

GLASS ANGELS, Book 4 of the Family Heirlooms Series by Karen Wiesner





A young Christian woman struggles with seeking pardon from those she's hurt when she can't seem to get past her own inability to forgive those who have wronged her. 

Three years ago, Samantha Samuels had suffered under the violent hands of Ryder Feldmann, a juvenile delinquent her pastor father had been counseling. Now she's completed her psychiatry training and plans to help other victims of violent crimes at the rape counseling clinic in her hometown of Peaceful, Wisconsin.

Unexpectedly, she finds herself sharing an office building and Sunday services at her new church with the older brother, a divorce counselor, of her attacker...the very man she'd been in love with before her rape. 
In the time since Kyle Feldmann's brother was jailed for his crime against Samantha, he's lived with the torment of all he's lost because of his sibling. Before the tragedy that stole Samantha from him and destroyed his dreams, Kyle had begged her to risk her father's disappointment and elope with him. Seeing Samantha again after so many years, being near her, only puts him right back where he was before the rape. Kyle wants to heal Samantha, love her, and fulfill the dreams he grieved the loss of—by marrying her. But how can they be together forever when she's still so broken? 

All her life, Samantha had wanted her father's approval, but his selfish part in putting her in a dangerous situation has led her to a painful place of desperately needing to forgive him and her attacker...and being unable to in all the time since the traumatic event that ripped her life in two. As she gives her heart to Kyle once more, her already fractured relationship with the Lord is tested. In the crossfire of faith, she wonders if glass angels shatter beyond recognition when they take a leap of faith, or if they can heal and become stronger than ever before. 

5 hearts and Sweetheart Award nominee from The Romance Studio
5 stars from Readers Favorite
4 1/2 red roses from Red Roses for Authors Reviews

Samantha and Kyle's story has been inside me for a very long time, and when it was finally done, I couldn't have been more thrilled. They've both been through so much—in their personal lives and in their romance, so working them toward a happily ever after…especially after the traumatic incidents that closed Book 3 of the series, Foolish Games, was so satisfying for me. 

Samantha has one of the worst things imaginable happen to her—she's raped by the brother of the man she loves. But she's a fighter. Though initially it's a situation she can't handle, when she and her friend open the Glass Angels rape clinic, she's become a stronger person. Glass as a material is contradictory—hard enough to be a tool or a weapon yet utterly fragile. Samantha feels she is a glass angel: fragile, transparent, broken into sharp pieces that cut her with every memory. Even though Samantha had been shattered by what happened to her, she realizes that she can be stronger than she was before—stronger despite and because of what happened to her. Samantha has to deal with an issue that so many people struggle with—forgiving someone who doesn't deserve forgiveness. I think it's a powerful book that hopefully can change lives.

Baby, Baby, Book 1, Shadow Boxing, Book 2, and Foolish Games, Book 3 were previously published by another publisher. When things didn't work out the way I was hoping there, I took the whole series to Whiskey Creek Press, who bought all six books at once. Because my fans were waiting so long for Book 4, we decided to release Glass Angels first, then quickly re-issue the first three Books in the series in short order afterward. 

The premise of my Family Heirlooms Series is how nuggets of faith can be passed down as family heirlooms from parent to child, sibling to sibling, spouse to spouse. The romance series is based on the Samuels family siblings. Book 1 has Tamara Samuels-Wolfe and her husband Robert. Book 2 includes Joshua Samuels and his wife Justine. Book 3 (which will be reissued in July 2011) is about Peter Samuels and Kimberly Wolfe (Robert's younger sister). Glass Angels continues with Samantha Samuels and Kyle Feldmann. Upcoming books in the series include Shards of Ashley, Book 5, will have Jay Samuels and Ashley Savage (coming September 2011) and Worlds Collide, Book 6, will round out the series with medical missionaries Marcus Samuels and Keiko Oichi (coming March 2012). 

I fell in love with so many of the secondary characters in my Family Heirlooms Series that I came up with book ideas for two of those characters, sold them as non-series novels, but then realized I had a lot more tales to tell that connected with but didn't really fit in as part of the Family Heirlooms Series. The Friendship Heirlooms Series originated from there. Return to the quaint little town of Peaceful, Wisconsin, from my award-winning Family Heirlooms Series, where you first met and fell in love with these colorful, lovable friends. Now you can read the stories of those secondary characters in an all-new spin-off series. Nuggets of faith can be passed down as heirlooms from friend to friend, heart to heart, soul-mate to soul-mate. Check out this upcoming series (including back blurbs, covers, and details) here: http://www.angelfire.com/stars4/kswiesner/fiction9a.html

Check out the interview of GLASS ANGELS at The Romance Reviews.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

FEATURED: Caught by a Clown by Sandra Crowley



CAUGHT BY A CLOWN's author Sandra Crowley is being interviewed on TRR's website. The book's characters wanted their chance to speak. This seemed the perfect place for undercover FBI agent David Graham and freelance journalist Stacie Monroe to share their comments on the romantic suspense story:

Stacie basked in the warm glow of a floor lamp situated behind her overstuffed leather armchair. David's spicy aftershave drifted to her from where he sat directly across from her. "It's fun being on this side of an interview," she told him. His lips twitched in an abbreviated version of a smile that she'd grown to love. She laughed, curled into the soft cushions, and fingered her purple blouse's cowl neck as she collected her thoughts. "I arrived at Arizona's premiere nudist resort on a mission of mercy--find my friend's missing brother, Alan. But the moment I stepped inside the office, I discovered its owner faced a desperate situation of his own. His receptionist had been out with the flu for days. Phone calls had piled up. Guests were threatening to leave. He needed help. Helping him might also help me. It turned out that I only stayed for a day, but what a memorable day."
      
       The tissue box on her desk shifted. Stacie kept her gaze on the colorful page filling her screen while the tropical scent of sunscreen blended with the faint tang of a citrus and spice after-shave lotion. Oh no, another dangling dandy hung too close for comfort.

       A long, slow rasp warned her someone was easing a tissue upward. With a sideways glance, she spotted a man's blunt, tanned fingers spreading the blue tissue to its widest, highest extent, yet leave it anchored in the box. This man cloaked in secrecy what others at the resort openly displayed. She assessed thick wrists and an athletic build that registered in her drool range. Stacie sat straighter and focused on his hands. No ring bound his finger. No pale circlet of skin betrayed the recent removal of one. Looking up, she saw a square jaw shadowed by dark blond stubble. Thick lashes fringed gray eyes. He wore his blond hair long and pulled back, the complete opposite to her riot of short black curls.

       "He can't be David Graham. I am. Always have been."

       Snapping back to reality, Stacie realized the new hero of her dreams thought her guess about Alan changing identity was wrong. She agreed with him. Seeing David Graham in the flesh, yummy hunky flesh, proved he looked nothing like Alan Walsh.

       "Why do you think he's me?"

       "It doesn't matter." Concerned she'd upset a legitimate member, she introduced herself and offered a warm smile.

       "What does this Alan Walsh look like, Stacie?"

       A distinct tan line slashed low across the man's abdomen, dividing sun-gilded skin from virgin white. A faint alarm sounded in her mind.

       "Maybe I've seen him and could point you in his direction."

       His fidgeting hands and taut body mirrored her reaction to public exposure. Stacie relaxed. She would have signed using a fake address and name if she'd come as a guest. He probably thought helping her would ease him into this new and daunting experience.

       "Alan has cinnamon brown hair. Styled, not cut. The hundred dollar appointment kind instead of the twelve dollar walk-in type."

       Graham's attention remained intent without a hint of reaction.

       "He's five, maybe seven years younger that your...thirty-three?"

       Graham shifted his weight from one foot to the other, but he stayed silent.

       "Shorter by several inches than your...what...six-three or four...?"

       A tight smile pulled his firm lips. "Some people think I throw a long shadow."

       She figured they should be more worried about the heavy muscles that slabbed his arms, shoulders, and chest. "Where you're built like a weight-lifter, Alan's a long distance runner."

       "I know the type."

       David Graham's flat comment implied it fit Alan's personality as neatly as it did his body. Goose bumps prickled Stacie's arms for the second time that day.

       She looked at him without attraction fogging her senses. What was an intensely private man doing in a nudist resort? One possibility chilled her. Mick Caputo had sent him to kill Alan.
      
                                                                         ***
"I had to know, David." Stacie lowered her feet to the floor and glanced at him sprawled in his matching camel-colored chair.

"Yeah." He leaned forward, knees spread, elbows planted on the rounded chair arms. His black jeans and t-shirt stretched tight across his shoulders and legs. He grinned. "You had to know more about me." He clasped his hands. His lips straightened. A frown creased his brow. "You had to stick your nose in my case. You sensed a story. Something you could sell to some news magazine."

She shook her head. "My friend needed help. Her brother needed my help."

David shot back, "You should have left finding Alan to the authorities, but you don't bother to think things through and you never know when to quit."

Stacie pressed into the soft refuge of her chair. "I learned."

"Not fast enough." David rose and crossed his arms. "You pushed me and yourself from one screw-up to another, from one place to another, until we ended up halfway across the country."

She stood to face him. "We had to follow Alan. We had to catch up with him." She winced, and then drew a deep breath. "You're right. It was entirely my fault I fell asleep at the wheel and drove off the road, stranding us in the middle of nowhere. We were lucky to stumble across that derelict motel."

He gripped her shoulder. "Stumble is the word. You were too exhausted to take one more step or I would have insisted we move on. Anything would have been better than that dive."

Stacie caught his hand. "You changed that. Remember? You lit those candles." She inhaled. "I can smell them. Jasmine and ginger. You can, too. I know you can. You invented them." She leaned close and whispered in his ear.

He entwined his fingers with hers. Memory carried him back:

"I have a special place in mind for you," David said, holding her in his arms.

"You do?" Stacie replied.

Surprise and pleasure sang in her words and doubled his resolve to reinvent their surroundings. Hopefully, she'd play along with him. He snagged his towel off the door handle while she tucked the condom package under the elastic of her thong, grabbed his pack in her hand, circled her other arm around his neck, and kissed him during the short trip into the main room. When he reached the far wall, he cushioned her back with the folded towel. "Do you like the candles I lit around the room?"

"Candles?" She looked over his shoulder. "What can...? Oh." She smiled at him. "Thooose candles."

"Yes," he whispered, then skimmed his tongue over the rim of her delicate ear. "Thooose candles. The flames have warmed the wax. Do you recognize their scent?"

She inhaled. "Ummmmm, jasmine."

Stacie tipped her head, exposing the line of her neck. He trailed kisses to her collarbone and relished the sensual aroma of her hair, a promise of hot, humid nights amid tropical flowers. He tucked away the information for later use.

"There's ginger, too," he added.

"You like ginger?" She traced her fingertip along his jaw.

"It's spicy. Like you." Her stroke brushed across his whiskers and arrowed frissons of excitement to his core.

"That's good?"

"That's excellent." The kiss she initiated sucked his tongue deep and hardened his body beyond memory. When she released his mouth, he hauled air into his lungs. It caught there when she pushed his shirt to his armpits and ran her hands over his chest.

"Not fair. I can't take off your top."

"Let me."

Dim pulses of light seeped through the curtains, illuminating her as she stretched her arms above her head. Her graceful hands trailed down her arms and their slow, teasing descent reminded him of her skin's luxurious texture. She dipped one shoulder, letting that set of straps escape to curve at her elbow. He hitched her higher...

                                                                 ***

She laughed and wrinkled her nose. "You're one hell of a man, David."

"I'm glad you don't give up easy, woman." He brushed her lips with his.

Stacie cocked her head. Curiosity overrode the heat his kiss always generated. "Will you ever tell me what happened to the money? I thought when we caught up with Alan at the clown school in Florida..."

Alan covered his eyes with his hand. His shoulders sagged. "I already let it slip. You'll take the money away from me eventually."

Money, Stacie mouthed to David, hoping he was as pleased as she felt. Alan lowered his hand. She schooled her face to imitate David's blank expression.

"When I left the club, one of Caputo's bag men was arguing with his woman. I didn't pay attention except to notice she was yelling and stomping around and his car was a twin to mine. I was rounding the front of my car when he tossed his briefcase over his shoulder, saying something like take care of this. The case landed in the back seat of my convertible. The guy's idiot driver sat there staring at my back seat. I jumped in and hauled out while the soon-to-be-dead-man argued with the bitch."

"How much was in the briefcase?"

"Over a hundred grand."

One hundred thousand dollars, Stacie clarified in her mind.

"Enough to finance my escape at Caputo's expense. Seemed like poetic justice."

"Where's the money?"

"I'm not going to tell you until I get what I want, protection and my story published."

"That's fair, isn't it, David?" She tried to plead with her eyes.

David shrugged. "It can slide for now."

She beamed at him. "Will you uncuff him, too?"

"Absolutely not. The odds are against his staying alive, and he knows it. He might rabbit again."

She turned back to Alan "How did you get away?" She took another sip of her drink.

"I kept turning north and west, never doubling back. Couldn't afford to run into them. I saw a bus picking up people and realized I was in a slum area like where I grew up. I ditched the car and jumped on board."

His eyelids drifted low as if he replayed the scene on their backs.

"Punk hoods started stripping the convertible before I sat down. I changed buses until I found one going out of town. An hour or so later, I saw a sign for an airport. I paid cash for a charger to Phoenix. Boosted a car there in case they followed me that far and hid at the nudey place." He fidgeted in his chair. "How did you find me?"

"The torn page and Deby's picture." Stacie remembered the smile displayed in that memento. The excitement, confidence, and hope radiating from it had meshed with similar emotions in her, the original basis for their friendship. One Stacie's family hadn't understood, but she'd proudly proclaimed, to the delight of Deby's foster parents.

Alan nodded. "What about you?" he asked David.

"The charter."

"No way, man, the pilot didn't know where I headed."

"Paying cash tipped him off to the chance of bigger bills later when someone came looking for you. While you slept, he snooped. Your sweaty hand smudged the resort's ad."
                                                                   *
The information Alan spouted next contained no value to David's investigation. He checked Alan's restraint and motioned to Stacie that he was going to leave for a minute.

The hall lay empty but he could hear a conversation between at least three teachers in one of the rooms. David finished his soda and dropped the can in the trash. Better to move to the auditorium as originally planned. He returned to the classroom. Stacie listened attentively to Alan.

"You can finish that in a minute," David said. "We're moving to the auditorium."

"Why?" she asked.

He started to tell her to do what he said, but she deserved to know she had limited time left with Alan. David explained the situation.

"I need more than another twenty-five minutes for a decent interview."

"I can't give you more time."

"Can't or won't, David?"

                                                        ***
Learn who's CAUGHT BY A CLOWN:
Available at The Wild Rose Press in print http://bit.ly/i63Ds5 or ebook http://bit.ly/ecClR8 AND at Amazon in print http://amzn.to/hQQW9E  or ebook http://amzn.to/efcJPV .

Check out www.sandracrowley.com for more information on Caught by a Clown and its author, Sandra Crowley.         



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