You’re in a place where you think “every day I don’t kill myself is a small victory.”
You guys, it’s Tuesday, dammit, and that’s what I’m sticking to. We’re all going to say it’s Tuesday, and I’m on top of things, and breathing, and it’s ok. Right? Right?! … Anyway, now that Ms. Eden Conner has had this neurotic intro, let’s get to her post before anything more happens on my part >.>
My latest release, Rain on Me, began as a question posed in a writer’s group. Someone asked, “What’s been missing from the novels you’ve read lately?” Although there were some hilarious responses, my answer was ‘weather’. Apparently, it’s always sunny in other authors’ imaginations. Then, the gauntlet was thrown: Write one scene using the missing criteria. The scene I wrote eventually became the second chapter of Rain on Me. The story is written from two, first-person points of view, that of a widowed mailman and practitioner of the Japanese art of sexual bondage, Ray Casey, and a determined, younger, detective, Zinnia Jackson. In the scene I’m sharing today, Zin fears her sister’s impending death, yet she spurns Ray’s attempt to comfort her. And a Dom denied is a Dom determined to show his little sub who’s the boss.
I’d sleep with the devil to nail the source of illegal poker machines pouring into my district. It’s personal between me and those one-armed bandits, but when my captain asked me to go undercover as a sexual submissive to catch our suspect, my gut said “Hell, no, even I can’t tell a lie that big.”
Enter Ray Casey, shibari master, who spent two weeks showing me the world of erotic bondage. I fell hard for Ray, but the outcome of our affair was preordained; duty above all.
When the unthinkable happened, where could I turn when I couldn’t trust my brothers in blue? My instincts lead me back to Ray, but he wants me to submit to something harder than a little BDS&M….
~Zinnia J. Jackson, Det. 1st Grade, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division
Tying, for me, is foreplay.
My ties weren’t elegant tonight. They didn’t have to be, to accomplish my purpose. This little poser thought she’d use sex to hold intimacy at arm’s length?
This is my game. And she was about to learn how well I played it.
“Only the Dom initiates sex,” I explained. “For you to try and manipulate me like that… well, I think perhaps you need to learn who’s in charge here.”
Leaning forward, I pressed my lips to her navel. Feeling under the table for the leg, I lashed the limb to the sturdy taper.
Her eyes were wide when I moved to the other side and repeated the action.
It was such a shame she couldn’t see me pick up the chopsticks.
I knew she felt the pressure when I placed them, one on either side of her inner folds, pointing from head to toe, because she drove her heels against the table and her back bowed.
“It’s the right, and the responsibility, of a Dom to comfort his submissive.”
Her pupils were blown, and it wasn’t lost on me that she didn’t argue. There was such a supple give to her hands, arms, and legs—a lack of fight that spoke volumes. “To refuse to be comforted….”
The twist ties I save from bread loaves were within reach, so in moments, I had the chop sticks bound together, pinching her most tender flesh.
I left her there to retrieve a couple of condoms, a bottle of lube, and a hank of thicker rope.
Returning to the kitchen, I stood by her head, where she could watch me twist the rope into an elongated knot and drop it into one of the condoms. Her tummy hollowed when I lubed the latex. Did the little minx lift her ass to help me seat the knot? Goosebumps appeared on her inner thighs when my hands brushed her skin.
Standing between her splayed thighs, I screwed the knot into place, taking my time, enjoying the sight of her dusky skin against the golden oak table, and eyeing the glistening pink of her slit.
His fingers were slick with lube. They pierced my channel without effort, a forceful thrust he accompanied by dropping his free hand over my eyes.
I sensed his anger, but if I’d wondered, the fierce way he plunged inside me removed any doubt I’d offended him. I had no time to worry about my sin. Every time he pressed into me, his wrist struck the end of the chopsticks. Each rough blow jostled my clit and delivered a searing burst of pleasure. Each retreat left me with vibrating strips of bamboo that seemed to pinch more tightly with each strike. Desire coiled inside me.
He set a hard rhythm.
Just as I grew accustomed to the feeling, he changed direction. Rather than sliding in and out, he curled his fingers and changed his motion to an up-and-down stroke. His fingertips strafed a spot that sent flashes of heat streaking through my veins and his callous force took my breath.
Now, I longed for the closeness I’d spurned outside. Ached to be held, to have my arms free so I could hold him. His scent flooded my senses, overlaid with the smell of sex—my sex.
“This,”—he growled, nearly yanking my ass off the table now—“this is the Dom’s dominion, his temple, his sanctuary, and his rightful place.” He gave his fingers a fierce twist, so I had no doubt he was talking about my channel. “You may neither offer nor withhold sex. Understand?” He renewed his up-and-down thrusting, faster than before.
What I understood was that I was on the verge of coming. “Y-yes,” I panted, an instant before unbearable pleasure suffused me. Streaks of heat sizzled through my veins and I climaxed with such force, I screamed.
“Yes, Sir.” His tone was detached. I ached to see his face. To be denied that ability while he brought such intense pleasure seemed unfair.
I managed to swipe my tongue across my dry lips. “Yes, sir.”
Ray’s hand didn’t cease moving, but he returned to the in-and-out motion. Meaning he slammed into the chopsticks again and again—agonizing, delicious torture. Another orgasm flashed through me, bowing my back. Talons of pleasure pierced me, holding me rigid, while inside, I shook helplessly. Ray kept thrusting, driving into me with such force, the table legs rattled against the floor.
My nipples felt like scorched earth. With every thrust he made inside me, my breasts shook, and in turn, the motion jostled my fingers. That movement tightened the ropes pinching my nipples, sending a sizzle of pleasure through the sensitive peaks. The knot inside my anal canal was pressed between the table and his fingers, adding a decadent layer of sensation as it rolled and twisted inside me.
In short, every erogenous spot was being touched, and all he used were two thick fingers. Recognition of that masculine power gripped me, shoving me over the edge again. Tears leaked from the corners of my eyes, and I shuddered through another orgasm.
My juices smeared my inner thighs and I felt them running down my crack. I’d never felt this kind of pleasure. The orgasms kept coming and coming, flooding me with heat, with wetness, with a white-hot thrill that bordered on pain.
I tried to grip his fingers with my muscles, to still them, but the harder I clamped down on his hand, the more aggressive his thrusts became.
I screamed. I cried. I begged him to stop, and all that did was persuade him to change directions again. There was something so brutal about the up-and-down motion, and yet, the act turned me to mush inside. I couldn’t help but respond to the rough treatment with another burst of wetness. I fought for enough breath to scream out my pleasure. Or beg for mercy.
I crested, fell, crested again, and still he forced his fingers into me. I sensed he bent his head by the warm breath sliding across my belly.
The soft stroke of his tongue warned me before he bit down on my clit. His fingertips dug into that sensitive spot inside me I hadn’t known was there.
Pain sizzled inside the small nub, a sharp but tiny pain, more unexpected than brutal. Bright colors burst behind my eyelids and the incredible pleasure was so intense, I lifted my hips, forcing his face into my mound. I’d never gushed so hard.
Then, my darkness became absolute.
I was vaguely aware when he let the ropes loose. Knew when he pulled the knot free, but I was too dazed to respond. I could barely wrap my arms around his neck when he lifted me, but when he laid me in the bed, I couldn’t let him go. The pounding in my veins gradually slowed to match the languorous rain beating the roof. Distant thunder blended with the strong beat inside Ray’s chest. I was basted in bliss and his cock was hot and hard against my belly.
His lips on my neck felt like a blessing, and forgiveness.
He slid out of the bed. I heard the water run in the bathroom. He brought back a cloth. Where was my shame? I let him pry my legs open and marveled at his gentle touch with the cloth, but the soft swipes made me shudder and wrung another tiny orgasm from me.
“I’m sorry.” I couldn’t stop crying. I thought he’d take me, roll me to my back and fuck me, but as soon as he came back to bed, his breathing slowed and his hard-on gradually subsided. My last thought before I drifted off was that he’d given me pleasure and yet taken nothing.
The realization took more than I’d meant to give.
I’m giving away one e-copy of Rain on Me. To be entered in the contest, all you need do is post your e-mail address and answer the same question that spawned this story: What’s been missing from the novels you’ve read lately? I’ll e-mail the winner to ask their preference of either Kindle or ePub format. (Please note: I do not offer the .pdf format.)
Thanks for reading!
About this author
Eden Connor graduated from Converse College with a degree in Psychology so long ago, her sheepskin is chiseled in stone. She’s been a graphic artist, a bridal photographer and an antique restorer. Since the death of her true love, she raised two children to adulthood and now has the time to return to writing. She writes primarily contemporary erotic romances, the odd bit of erotica and an occasional paranormal piece. Most of her writing is set where she lives, in South Carolina, so expect the handsome stranger to come equipped with a slow drawl. Addicted to hazelnut creamer, baseball and cranberry glass, she likes the music of Motown and when not writing about adults behaving badly, she takes a stab at the occasional needlepoint canvas.
Yay giveaway! Yay exclusive excerpt! What’d you think?
Hello my friends! It’s birthday month, and a Saturday, which must mean it’s time for a reader post. Beyond that, today is Sonoma Lass’s actual birthday – so everyone please wish her the happiest and best of birthdays! I also hope you’ll answer her question, because I’m curious as to what you have to say as well. <3
In looking over the list of books I’ve finished on my Kindle lately, I see less genre romance than I expect. I’ve started and then abandoned more than I care to admit, and I’ve put my head down to finish a couple because I wanted to review them. And I realized, somewhat belatedly, that the problem I’m having is one that I almost never mention in the reviews I write. So here it is: I am tired of beautiful people.
I know that one aspect of romance is the fantasy – two people overcoming obstacles and finding true love, in a way that many people in real life never manage. Depending on the sub-genre, a lot of those obstacles may be ones that most readers will never face. And I have heard reader after reader say that they want to read fantasy characters in their romances – beautiful, talented, extraordinary people falling in love.
BUT I have also heard readers say that they wish for more variety in the genre – including older main characters, fat main characters, and others who aren’t beautiful in the conventional way. And I do see some of those books, but mostly I see beautiful people. And that’s getting dull.
Now, some of these beautiful people don’t realize that they are beautiful – we get ugly duckling storylines, or books where the heroine has low self-esteem and doesn’t know that she’s gorgeous. But in the end, these are still books about beautiful people. Not what I want.
I myself am not beautiful. I’m not “ugly,” and when I was younger I had a conventionally “good” body, facility with make-up, and reasonable fashion sense. So while I’ve never been “the pretty girl,” I’ve never felt repulsive either. The key thing is, I have never felt that a man was interested in me based on first on my looks. But the men who have loved me have found me beautiful TO THEM; they love me, and they love my face and my body because they are the package in which the woman they love is wrapped. The handful of times in my life that I’ve felt really “in love,” that’s been part of it, and certainly is in my current long-term relationship.
My partner is a good-looking guy. He’s not a “hottie,” a hunk, or matinee-idol handsome, and he’s put on a few pounds since turning 50, but his is the dearest face in the world to me. I can appreciate conventionally attractive men, but they don’t make my heart flip over the way he does. Because I’m in love with him, and so however he looks is how the man I love looks, if that makes any sense.
In my mind, that’s a much greater thing: loving someone so much that whatever package they come in is dear to you. That means that if they gain weight, go bald, get sick, have surgery, or just plain get old, they don’t have to worry that you’ll stop loving them, because conventional, external beauty wasn’t a big part of the picture in the first place. I want to read about that kind of love, because that’s the kind of love that I can believe will really last.
It’s not that I never see these stories; just not enough of them lately. So what do you think – do you prefer beautiful main characters? Are there particular books that you think are relevant here? Do you have recommendations for me???
[Fabulous post, thank you! And happy birthday SL!!!]
Hello my ducklings! (I mean who doesn’t love ducklings?! I love them…) You may know, June is my birthday month. If not, I’m telling you now June is my birthday month! So the idea is for me to superload it with fun fun fun! Also, because every week there’s a Guest Author & A Giveaway post. And … it almost seems like Maisey Yates is a June TT staple – just check out the archives . I got her to agree to provide an exclusive excerpt for us – and who knows, I might be lucky enough to get the other authors in this [series] too! Whee!
So without further ado, Avenge Me!
Austin Treffen was born into a world of privilege, but behind its gilded doors lies a corruption so sordid New York’s elite would never believe it—especially as his infamous philanthropic father is at its core! With everything he believed in shattered, how can Austin take down his father—risking his family name and those he loves—without any proof?
Until one earth-shattering night with Katy Michaels unlocks not only their deepest, most passionate desires but also the key to bringing Jason Treffen’s reign to an end. But with an intense sexual attraction that combines a heady mix of exquisite pleasure and sublime pain, will they satiate their thirst for revenge and each other…or lose themselves forever in the darkness?
He had no right to be lusting after her like this. Not now. Not when he’d walked in on her like that without an announcement.
Of course, she’d been the one in his shower. His shower, when there was one right near her bedroom that she could have used. And all her girly shit was spread out all over his counter. As though she had every right to come in and take over his space, her things landing everywhere like a cloud of frilly locusts.
That was her fault.
She appeared a moment later, looking fresh scrubbed and wary, wearing a pair of gray sweatpants and a long-sleeved pink top, her hair wet and hanging loose.
“Didn’t anyone ever tell you knocking is polite?”
“You were in my shower, baby. I didn’t expect to find you there.”
“The music and running water weren’t a clue?”
“They were a trail of bread crumbs I felt obliged to follow. I honestly didn’t expect to find you naked and dripping wet in my shower when you have your own.”
“Well, you told me to make myself at home.”
“So you decided that meant going into my bedroom?”
He’d never had a woman in his personal space before. Ever. He’d had girlfriends, yes. But he spent the night at their places typically. Or he took them out and they spent the night in hotels. He wasn’t a hugger. He didn’t talk about his feelings. He didn’t let women leave their trappings all over his room.
There was room for one toothbrush in his bathroom, and that was his.
“Well, yeah. You railroaded me into moving in with you. You’re a Treffen therefore my trust in you is…eh. And so I decided to snoop around in your stuff. Then I saw your shower.”
“You went through my things.”
“Yes. And I’m not going to apologize. Anyway, no whips, chains or invoices for sexual favors. On that score you check out.”
He crossed his arms. “The lack of whips and chains. You like that sort of thing.”
She arched a brow. “You got your rocks off that night too, so don’t go putting it on me.”
“You were out of line going through my things.”
“Are you really all up on my butt for being intrusive?”
“Are you really getting on my case for being intrusive?” she repeated, her hands on her hips. “Because the last I checked, you got me fired from my job. You effectively got me evicted from my apartment. You forced me to move here by default and then you said, make yourself at home. And so I have. And now you’re mad at me? You’ve interfered in every corner of my life and you’re pissed because I used your shower?”
“And left your girl crap all over everything.”
“My girl crap? What are you fourteen?”
“No, but I don’t share my space.”
“Yeah, well, newsflash, Austin, I haven’t done anything but share space my entire life. I’ve had had to make sure my schedule was conducive to taking care of my younger brother. I had to make sure my emotions never made a blip on the radar, because I had to keep things smooth and stable for Trey. Then I moved to New York and moved in with a roommate who had her name on the lease and who I had to tread softly with so that I wouldn’t find myself out on my ass. Then, guess what? Because of you I did find myself out on my ass. And now? Now I’m sick of treading lightly. You said make myself at home, I’m going to make myself at home. I’m not here because I want to be, buddy, I’m here because you stuck your all-powerful Treffen hand in my life and screwed with things.”
“So that means my punishment is…leg wax on my bathroom counter and music that…was it talking about…?”
“Yes,” she said, her cheeks turning pink. “Yes it was. I like that song. Sorry if it bothered you. Or maybe I’m not sorry if it bothered you. Grow up.”
“Did you just tell me to grow up?”
“Yeah. I did. Like you can’t handle song lyrics about sex. Again I ask: are you fourteen?”
“It didn’t bother me.”
“Well then why are you complaining?”
“You have a bathroom. You could use that one.”
She arched a brow. “It doesn’t have three shower heads in the shower.”
“So? You don’t need three shower heads,” he said.
“Says the man who has three shower heads,” she said, putting her hands on her hips. “Personally, I value the ability to cleanse myself with the ‘rainforest mist’ setting on. It makes this whole ordeal feel less traumatic.”
“I think you’re milking it,” he said, crossing his arms over his chest and leaning back against the wall.
“Do you?” she asked.
“Yes. I do.”
“I don’t know if you know my pain and suffering. I was fired and thrown out of my house on the same day.”
“All right. If you want to use my bathroom, that’s up to you, but I’m not knocking on my own bedroom door and I will use my bathroom when I feel like it. If you’re so married to the shower heads, that’s your business, but you may end up with a guest.”
Her eyes widened. “I thought I told you I wasn’t sleeping with you.”
“And I thought I told you not to trust me.” The air thickened between them, her lips parting, her eyes darkening. “And you definitely shouldn’t look at me like that,” he said.
“Like you’re considering letting the horse out of the gate again.”
She blinked. “I’m not. I just wanted your shower, not your body. Calm the hell down.”
“Have you eaten?” he asked, deciding it was best to change the subject. And to take the conversation into neutral territory. And to move them to neutral territory. Territory that didn’t have a bed with a very useful looking headboard…
“No,” she said. “I was going to order something.”
“Anything in particular?”
“I was sort of craving Thai.”
“I’m very good at ordering takeout,” he said. “Cooking not so much.”
“I can cook,” she said, following his lead and leaving the bedroom, heading down the hall a couple of paces behind him. “Really gourmet stuff. Ramen noodles, with some vegetables for added nutrition. Mac and cheese. In the blue box, I don’t screw around. Also, beanie weenies. A can of pork n’ beans and some cut up hotdogs. My skills cannot be beat.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever had any of that.”
“Not even in college?”
He tossed a look over his shoulder. “No. I had a meal plan.”
“Oh, yes, of course. How could I forget? You’re all steeped in privilege. Which I guess I should remember since I just used your shower. Three shower heads.” She held up a matching number of fingers. “Three.”
He shrugged. “Yes. Yes I’m privileged. Lucky, lucky me. My dad is a pimp.” He headed down the stairs and he could hear her behind him.
“There are different kinds of privilege. I mean, sure, that’s a sucky reality you have to face. But I grew up in terrible circumstances and I didn’t get to eat good food. So you know…”
“Yes. Life was easy for me then. I won’t lie to you and pretend I had any great struggle. But looking back and realizing just how little I saw outside of my bubble? That’s hard. I’m not stupid. More than that, in my line of work, I’m trained to read people. I have to know how to read between the lines, how to re-interpret what they’re saying I have to know how to manipulate. But even with that, my world was so insulated, so damned perfect, that I just couldn’t imagine the kind of thing my father was doing. I couldn’t have imagined Sarah’s pain. I’ve seen more since then. I know more about human nature. About how truly horrible life can be. I look back…I hate that idiot that couldn’t see past the glitter all around him. Who thought bad things happened to other people. To other classes of people.”
“And since then you’ve learned…?”
“Life is shit for everyone. It’s just that for some people it’s shit with three shower heads. Pad Thai sound good to you?”
I also cajoled Maisey into a giveaway – cuz you know – birthday month! She’s willing to give one lucky commenter her (or his) choice of Avenge Me in print or e! Whee! So what’d you think of the excerpt? Also, there’s a free prequel right now – Take Me and you should get that [too]!
You guys!!!! So … I’m still kinda on hiatus cuz pretty much nothing is figured out. [Although nobody has died since I went on hiatus, so that's good? I guess holding steady is all I can ask for?] BUT!!! June is birthday month and that’s you know like a big deal. So … we’ll see how this goes and I hope to have it done and we’ll DO THIS okay?
And also? Today is release day for her! Whee!! So remember to congratulate her – don’t worry – I’ll add book info but without further ado, the interview!
I know you watch Investigation Discovery so … If you were a serial killer, who would be your target? And what would be your MO? ["Calling card," what memento would you take?] Target = old men, young men, school children, college aged women, etc.
I think I’d go be a hooker, and then I’d kill anyone who treated me badly. Totally Eileen Wuornos style. Then I’d keep their keychains, because don’t you think there’s something personal about a set of keys? They’re the thing someone can’t leave the house without, you know?
Your next life you come back as a dog. What breed do you come back as and why?
I’d be a shih-tzu, but only if I could belong to an owner like me. Sleeping as many hours as I want, taken to the groomers regularly and getting free run of the furniture sounds pretty good to me. Much like my regular life, as a matter of fact.
Which celebrity is your “spirit animal?” Why?
Jennifer Lawrence. She’s me! See the faces she makes?
Or this moment, with the mint spilling and hiding. She’s completely me. You know, except for the fact that she’s young and has Oscars and it so damn gorgeous and fit. Other than that stuff, we’re completely alike.
What badass female character from TV (or books/movies) do you most want to be?
As of last night, I want to be Kacy Catanzaro. What’s that? You don’t know who she is? Why, she’s the very first woman to conquer the qualifying round of American Ninja Warrior. (If you don’t watch this show, you totally should. Incredibly in-shape people of all shapes, sizes and creeds doing physical shit that will BLOW YOUR MIND. And there’s shirtless men *every* show.) She ran up a 15 foot, inward curved wall. She is AMAZING. And only 5 foot tall. Here, just watch this.
Do you speak any other languages? What [other] language would you most like to learn and why?
I speak French only so much as two years of high school French means you know how to speak a language. Which is to say, not really at all. I would like to know how to speak it properly though. Fluently. Mostly because it can be such a pretty language, but also because I’d like to go to Paris and eat pastry and pretend I’m a native.
Hostile alien invasion, or zombie apocalypse? Which one do you think is more likely to happen? Which one is scarier?
Probably a hostile alien invasion is more likely, but I think a zombie apocalypse would be scarier. Mostly because I live in suburbia boredom land. There’s no way the aliens would bother with my area. They’d be in the bigger, cooler places where they can annihilate more humans at once.
Who are you choosing for your zombie apocalypse team? [real, then fictional?]
For my real team, can I pick Tom Hiddleston? So we can repopulate the world with beautiful babies? Or at least die trying? I mean, he is real after all.
Fictional, I’ll go with anyone from a Helenkay Dimon book. Her people are always so kickass and resourceful. Then I’ll pick up Selena and Jim from 28 Days Later, since they’ve been through this already and they’ll keep us safe. (But no one from the cast of 28 Weeks Later, because I’d be afraid their stupidity would leach into me.)
Favorite “gotta have it” drink? Alcoholic? Non-alcoholic?
I miss Coca-Cola so very, very, very much. I quit it almost two years ago. Then I moved to diet coke for a while, but I even quit that about nine months ago. I’m pretty much addicted to Canada Dry Ten and A&W Ten though. They’re my diet go-tos. Alcoholic wise, I’ve been drinking bourbon sours lately. Is that hideously geeky or retro cool? I don’t even know. I just like ‘em. And didja know that most bartenders in NOLA are very generous with the bourbon? Just sayin’.
What five other authors do you think more people need to be reading? (You can assume you’re already on the list )
Carrie Lofty. Bwahahaa! Anyone who knows me, knows that’s a cheater answer since she’s my co-writer too.
Cara McKenna. I don’t understand how she’s not a best-seller. Her books are emotional and smart and angsty. Plus omg-dirty-filthy. In the best kind of way.
Charlotte Stein. Her voice is one of a kind, I love it so very hard. There is nothing on earth like a Charlotte Stein book.
Jennifer Echols. She’s my YA reading standby, plus she’s moved into full fledged adult romance. I’m behind on my reading (because there’s not enough hours in the day!) and it’s *killing* me that I haven’t read her Stargazer series yet.
Maisey Yates. She’s my favorite Presents writer. I love how she flips the standard tropes with so much loving care.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve ever done for research? what’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned while doing research? In general, or for this book?
Hanging out of my trunk, trying to make sure my heroine’s wrists could be zip-tied to a support strut while she got fucked? My job, it is a strange and awesome one sometimes.
Um, the research I did for this novella had mostly to do with beer pong. The rules, the variations. What it took to win a game. You know, that kind of deep research stuff.
Would you rather win the largest SuperMegaZillions lottery in history or be #1 on the NYT Best Seller list for 25 weeks?
NYT Best Seller list. *g* If I make it ten times, my 13 year old made me promise to take him to Japan. Little does he know that hitting the list once and staying there forevah is probably better! LOL
What’s the best admonishment your mom ever gave you, or that you’ve ever given a kid? e.g. if you make that face it’ll freeze like that. or… if you walk from the kitchen to the table w/ a fork in your mouth you’ll stab yourself through the throat and die
“Don’t put your arm out the window or it’ll go home in someone else’s car.” I mean, really. Has she LOOKED at how far apart cars actually drive? Or does she think my arms are 12 feet long?
What’s your favorite tv show?
Game of Thrones. Even when G.R.R. Martin breaks my heart.
(Maybe especially then.)
Now your favorite guilty pleasure secret shame show. I’m talking real housewives, the kardashians, bridalplasty, jersey shore, etc. *shudders*
My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. It’s like six year olds were given a dress budget and a pack of colored pens and told to design their dream wedding dresses. The results are AWESOMELY HIDEOUS.
What’s the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you at school? What about at a conference?
It was the time a boy sitting behind me in an assembly reached up and touched my hair and said “Wow, you use a lot of gel. Your hair is crispy.” And my brilliant response was “I don’t use gel.” Not like I mentioned the other half-dozen kinds of mousse and hairspray I used, so he made this completely disgusted face and wiped his hands off on his jeans. Ugh.
At my first conference, I walked up to an author at the Literacy signing. I was surprised she had no line, because I’d thought she was more popular. “I love your books about [redacted],” I gushed. “You mean her,” she replied, pointing to the table next to her, which was surrounded by a line three deep on all sides. I’d gotten the right last name, and slightly different first name.
I can be such an idiot sometimes.
What do you think is the best commercial of all time?
I…don’t think I can remember one. Any. Does that make me the worst American of all time?
As a lawyer for the surf company WavePro, Bethany Harmon prides herself on being a hardworking, rational woman. She isn’t easily swayed by a charming smile and handsome face. When she’s tasked with tracking down James “Jammer” Montcrief for failing to fulfill his contractual obligations, she knows that’s exactly what she’s up against. But when the sexy playboy promises to finish the tour and teach Bethany how to surf—if she beats him in a game of beer pong—she agrees. And sinks every cup.
Now James has to pay up. Not that he minds. Little does Bethany realize, he has an ulterior motive. With delicious plans for the buttoned-up brunette, James means to give her everything she’s demanded—and much, much more…
Lorelie is offering a kindle copy of One Lesson to a lucky commenter, or any of her Samhain backlist! Whee! So now – I want to see what zany questions you can come up with to ask her! Go go go!
Don’t you think I forgot about Teaser Tuesday! Cuz I didn’t! I had asked Courtney Milan to provide an excerpt, but she did me one better! She got one from Sonali Dev - so really here’s Courtney (her continuation – I wanted to separate this out because shew – this excerpt!)
Luckily, I asked Sonali if I could give you a teaser, and she was nice enough to send one along. So here it is:
Mili Rathod hasn’t seen her husband in twenty years—not since she was promised to him at the age of four. Yet marriage has allowed Mili a freedom rarely given to girls in her village. Her grandmother has even allowed her to leave India and study in America for eight months, all to make her the perfect modern wife. Which is exactly what Mili longs to be—if her husband would just come and claim her.
Bollywood’s favorite director, Samir Rathod, has come to Michigan to secure a divorce for his older brother. Persuading a naïve village girl to sign the papers should be easy for someone with Samir’s tabloid-famous charm. But Mili is neither a fool nor a gold-digger. Open-hearted yet complex, she’s trying to reconcile her independence with cherished traditions. And before he can stop himself, Samir is immersed in Mili’s life—cooking her dal and rotis, escorting her to her roommate’s elaborate Indian wedding, and wondering where his loyalties and happiness lie.
Heartfelt, witty, and thoroughly engaging, Sonali Dev’s debut is both a vivid exploration of modern India and a deeply honest story of love, in all its diversity.
There was a knock on the door. “Who is it?”
“Room Service.” Mili’s husky voice punched him square in the gut. His heartbeat sped up. The blood rushing through his veins sped up. Even his breathing sped up like some teenybopper coming face-to-face with her crush. All those damned pushups down the toilet.
He pulled the door open a crack. Whatever droll line he was going to throw at her died on his tongue. She was wearing a turquoise sari. Her hair cascaded around her shoulders, spiral ribbons falling all the way to her exposed waist. Someone had outlined her eyes in smoky kohl. Her irises glittered like gemstones. So what? They always glittered.
She pushed the door and squeezed past him into the room.
“Come on in,” he growled, much like the wild beast raging in his chest.
“You’re in a dressing gown.” She was standing too close to him. The passage leading into the room was narrow. Too narrow.
He could smell her once he got past the blast of perfume. “What did Ridhi spray you with, a hose?” Without meaning to, he leaned in to smell her. Great, she’d turned him into a lecher, that’s what she’d done.
She stepped away. “Oh, good, you remember Ridhi. My best friend. The one whose wedding you drove four hours for.”
“I didn’t drive four hours for Ridhi.” He tried to hold her gaze, but she looked away, that damned flush swept up her cheeks, maroon and pink tinting the deepest caramel, like a rose that needed its own name.
She took a breath, raised those glittering onyxes, and met his gaze. A head-on collision. “I’m sorry, Samir. Can’t we put that behind us and go back to being friends?”
“Okay, so don’t be friends. But get dressed. The wedding ceremony is less than an hour away. We have to get back to Ridhi’s house.”
“I’m not going to the wedding.”
“Okay. But I have to be at the wedding. And you have to take me.” Now her eyes went all pleading. If she joined her palms he was throwing her out.
“How did you get here?”
“I made Ranvir drop me off.”
“Then make him pick you up.” It’s the least Pillsbury Doughboy could do for her.
“Samir, can you get dressed, please?” She pressed her hands together and he cursed.
“I already answered that.”
“Listen, you owe me. Come on.”
“I owe you? For what, for lying to me?”
“I did not lie to you.” She looked around the room and found the magazine lying on the bed. “I protected you. From that witch. It wasn’t easy. She’s scary.”
“Right.” But he was stupid enough to smile. She took full advantage and blasted him with all one-twenty watts of her smile. And he wanted to kiss her sneaky lips so bad, he had to step away and push into the mirrored closet behind him. “You should not have come here, Mili. You don’t just walk into some man’s hotel room like this.”
“You’re not just some man. You’re Samir.” She pushed the cascading mass of curls off her face with both hands and he knew it was going to bounce right back.
“Okay, somewhere in there is a compliment.”
“Of course it’s a compliment. I feel safe with you. You’re my friend. I know you will never hurt me. The list is endless.”
Yeah, an endless pile of crap. He didn’t feel safe with her. He didn’t want to be just her friend. And he knew he was going to hurt her shitless. “So this is my married friend come to get me. Nothing more.”
She nodded and her hair slid back around her face. “Nothing more.”
He dropped his robe.
At least five shades of red rushed up her cheeks. “What are you doing?” It was no more than a squeak, but he was impressed she got the words out.
“I’m changing like you asked me to, why?” He had pulled on boxers earlier, but the rest of him was as bare as the day he was born. He turned away and threw open the closet with both arms, no point having those back muscles if he couldn’t put them to good use when he needed to. He took his time pulling pants out of the closet. Then an even longer time bending over and pulling them on. He’d been a model for almost a decade. She had no idea whom she was messing with.
She made an incoherent sound behind him, something between a choke and a groan.
So good! I can’t wait to read this.
I’m at the airport – and I temporarily have wifi – so hopefully I’ll be able to fill in posts. Here we go with today’s originally scheduled programming. The badass superstar Courtney Milan. Really she needs no introduction. Although if you guys have any tips on how I might attempt to wow her (or at least not underwhelm her) I’d appreciate them – cuz I’m going to be seeing her!
So with that er >.> intro – here’s Courtney!
Hi everyone. I’m an author. I happen to be hapa (my mother is Chinese), but I don’t want to talk about me today. Or my books. I want to talk about what I’m reading.
This year, I’ve been making an effort to diversify my reading. The thing is, I thought I was trying to do that in the past. I really did. I told myself that I was open to reading anything that came my way. I made a conscious effort to try and buy books that I knew were written by an author of color. But I went back through my “read” list for 2013, and my attempt to be open meant that less than 10% of my books were written by authors of color.
I realized that I can’t wait for a book to jump in front of my face. If I want to read diverse books, I’m going to have to actively search out authors of color. So in 2014, I’m reading one author of color for every book I read by a white author.
So, today, in honor of APAHM, I want to talk about some of the awesome books I’ve read that were written by Asian authors so far this year.
* Alisha Rai’s Bedroom Games series, going from Play with Me to Risk and Reward and ending with Bet on Me. What I love about these books is that they take the same couple and see them through different stages of their relationship–from first love to tentative commitment through the happily ever after. But Alisha Rai does this without using emotional manipulation or cliffhanger endings. Every book is satisfying. Each book brings the hero and heroine closer together. There’s a lot of conflict in these books–but I never felt that the couple was “backsliding” into their old ways that you thought they’d fixed up.
* Zen Cho’s The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo. This is a wonderful historical romance between a Malaysian (but I believe ethnically Chinese) woman and an Indian man. It’s based on Jane Eyre–but a version of Jane Eyre where Jane doesn’t end up with Rochester, and when St. John offers to take her to India, it’s not to colonize and proselytize, it’s because it’s his home. I don’t know how to describe this book but it made me want to jump up and down and push this book into other people’s hands. Read it, read it, read it!
* Suleikha Snyder’s Bollywood and the Beast. Every good Beauty and the Beast tale features two people who are both outsiders in their own way, but react to their exclusion in ways that serve as a foil for each other. This book is a wonderful Beauty and the Beast story. I identified so much with Rocky/Rakhee–her hard work, which was so often dismissed by others, her feeling that she didn’t really fit any place. I just felt so protective of her.
* Did you know that Sherry Thomas has a new novella out? Claiming the Duchess is absolutely free, and it’s delightful. More than that, it’s an epistolary novella filled with her trademark wit. I can’t say much without giving out spoilers, but it was so, so lovely. So good that it made me reread her Fitzhugh Trilogy. Again.
* Amber Lin’s Giving it Up. When romances touch on sexual assault, they very often tend towards the stranger-danger sort of thing–some unknown, or barely known person assaulting the heroine. But statistically most rapes aren’t committed by strangers. I have a lot of thoughts about why romances tend to stranger-danger. I think, in part, it’s that the thought of rapes committed by dear friends make us (well, at least me) feel far more vulnerable. We want to believe that our friends would NEVER hurt us; if they do, it’s a double betrayal. This book has a raw honesty to it. If you are at all triggered by rape/sexual assault, this book WILL trigger you. This book has a difficult heroine, a very dark edge, and it delivers all the feels.
* I’m also super-excited about Sonali Dev’s upcoming A Bollywood Affair, a romance between a woman in an arranged marriage (she was married extremely young and she hasn’t seen her husband in 20 years–since she was four, so I assume the marriage hasn’t been consummated) and her husband’s brother who comes to serve her with divorce papers. Gah. That premise! I want to read it RIGHT NOW. But sadly, this is going to be out in October 2014.
For full disclosure, I should mention that I am friends with some of these authors–but I wouldn’t recommend a bad book to you.
I’m actively looking for more authors to read. Have someone to recommend? Let me know in the comments, and I will look them up.
So what recommendations do you have for Courtney? I’m curious too!