Limecello A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet Tue, 24 Nov 2015 21:10:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 SNAHM Guest: Pamela Clare Tue, 24 Nov 2015 08:09:12 +0000 Hi friends! Time flies, yes? Today we have Pamela Clare is visiting with us today, and I’m so excited to have her share. I don’t know if you’ve ever read her I-Team stories, but if not, you really have to, and especially don’t skip book 1 – Extreme Exposure – which is one of my favorites. Anyway, what a timely post, and lovely yet painful – like so much of Native American history.

Naked EdgeAs a writer of Native descent, I’ve tried to cover Native issues in ways that make them accessible to the outside world. As a reporter, I spent years traveling back and forth to the Navajo and Lakota reservations covering a range of issues from forced relocations to the struggles of traditional native people to hold onto their culture and languages. As a fiction writer, I put my years of reporting on these topics into Naked Edge (I-Team #4).

In that story, I tried to show how Native people who live in urban areas struggle to hold onto their traditions and their sacred sites. Katherine James was the heroine of that story. Half Navajo, she fights to find her place in the world and among her people.

Many of the events in that story were inspired by real life—the raid on the inipi (sweat lodge), for example. I was able to touch on a host of topic that were important for me—how hard it can be to walk the Red Road in an urban area, the exploitation of sacred sites and Native artifacts, and so on.

Kat was a special character to write, the only character I’ve written in a contemporary novel whose spiritual beliefs were essential to the story. I had to be careful in doing that because pop culture over-spiritualizes Native people and Native culture. I wanted to make her real. Not only did I want her to be a modern Indian woman; I wanted her specifically to be Diné.

I adored her, and fans of the I-Team series adored her, too.

With Dead by Midnight: An I-Team Christmas, I was able to get back inside all of my characters’ heads again, including Kat’s. It’s an ensemble story, which made it the perfect farewell to the I-Team series.

Here’s an overview of the story:

Dead by Midnight Marc and Sophie Hunter, Gabe and Kat Rossiter, Holly Andris and the rest of the I-Team gang find themselves in the same historic Denver hotel celebrating the approach of Christmas at different holiday parties. What starts out as a fun winter evening with friends soon becomes a brutal fight to survive when the hotel is taken over by a group of ruthless narcoterrorists who will stop at nothing to get what they want.

On the outside, Julian Darcangelo, Zach McBride, Nick Andris and others join together with the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team in a desperate bid to free their friends, knowing that if they fail, the people they love will be…

Dead by Midnight.

Featuring cameo appearances by the men of the FBI Hostage Rescue Team, a series by New York Times bestselling author Kaylea Cross.

In Dead by Midnight, Kat is heavily pregnant and goes into labor while being held hostage. Her captors are so cruel that her suffering means nothing to them. They refuse to release her, leaving her to struggle through labor in the worst of conditions.

I didn’t plan to go into Diné history when I wrote her scenes, but I was so into her thoughts and into her suffering that my mind flashed to The Long Walk, an event that holds the same place the hearts of Navajos that the Trail of Tears does in the hearts of the Cherokee.

Here’s an excerpt from that part of the story:

“I don’t want them to hurt my baby.”

Joaquin gave her hand a squeeze. “We’re not going to let that happen.”

Tears filled her eyes. “I wish I were on the dinétah.”

Both Alissa and Nakai had been born on the Navajo reservation in a clinic about an hour’s drive from her grandmother’s homesite. She’d felt safe there, surrounded by Gabe’s love and strengthened by her grandmother’s reassurances and prayers.

Sophie stroked her hair. “Maybe if you pretended you were home it would help.”

Kat’s temper flashed. “How can I do that lying on this floor surrounded by men with guns?”

And then it hit her.


The Long Walk.

All Diné people knew the story. The US Army had forced the Navajo to leave their homes and walk 300 miles to captivity at Bosque Redondo, a place they called Fort Sumner. Many Diné had died along the way of exhaustion, thirst, starvation, disease. Grandma Alice’s great-grandmother had survived the Long Walk, but her great-grandmother’s pregnant sister had not. She’d been shot and killed by a soldier when she’d gone into labor and stopped to give birth.

This wasn’t the Long Walk, but Kat was a captive. Just like that soldier, her captors didn’t care what became of her or her baby.

Another contraction began to build—and Kat began to sing quietly to herself. At first she wasn’t even aware she was doing it, the words coming from somewhere inside her. Then she realized she was singing a traditional healing song, one she’d heard her uncle and grandfather sing when she was a little girl.

As pain tightened its grip around her, the walls of the Grand Ballroom faded, becoming the red mesas that surrounded Grandma Alice’s hogaan at K’ai’bii’tó. She latched onto the image of her home, felt Gabe standing there beside her, and Alissa and Nakai, too, the new baby out of her body and in her arms. Their spirits were together even if their bodies were not.

She thought of the young women who’d made the Long Walk, carrying babies on their hips or pregnant. She thought of another mother, one who’d lived long ago, who’d had no choice but to give birth in a pen for animals and place her newborn in a manger. Their strength became her strength.

Even after the contraction faded, she kept singing. Words had power, and the words of her people had come to her to help her through this.

Readers, who are eating up this story and giving it rave reviews, have asked me about the Long Walk and whether what Kat is remembering is true, and sadly it is. There were stories from survivors about women going into labor and being shot by soldiers, who didn’t care at all about them or their babies and who were, in fact, engaged in an attempt at extermination. It’s a horrible chapter in US history, one you don’t read about in the history books. And though I never write books to give history lessons, this lesson fit the story.

Of course, Kat’s story has a much happier ending than the poor women who died on the Long Walk. She has Gabe quite literally watching over her…

It’s strange to be leaving these characters I love so much behind, but there are other stories to write, other adventures to take. Readers are giving Dead by Midnight rave reviews, and that’s a great place to end any series.

With many thanks to the thousands of readers whose loyalty to the I-Team made writing these stories such a joy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pamela Clare

There’s so much I’ve been learning – even recently about Native American history, and I’m glad these stories – albeit painful – are being told. They’re important.

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SNAHM Guest: Dabney Grinnan Sat, 21 Nov 2015 14:12:52 +0000 Hi friends! So – it’s Smithsonian Native American Heritage Month and I’ve been extremely remiss in my posting I know, but we’re working on it. What I love about the Heritage Months is different voices and perspectives. Both what we might expect to be usual as well as the ~Unusual ones. I roped Dabney into writing a post for me based on a conversation we had about names – which led to this little tidbit about her. I hope you all give her a warm welcome.

When I was in kindergarten my grandmother, Pocahontas, came to my school and gave a presentation about our famous ancestor. I still have the newspaper article about my grandmother’s visit—it is, I suspect, the first time I was ever quoted by a reporter. When asked how I felt about “being descended” from the Indian princess, I shared I didn’t like it when my friends teased me about it and I was very glad I wasn’t named for her.

Since the first famous Pocahontas, there was a Pocahontas in every generation until my mother’s peer group. None of the four girls in that batch received the moniker. My mother—Elizabeth—says when she was a little girl, her mother asked her if she’d name a daughter Pocahontas. My mother said no, but she’d be willing to so name one of her dolls.

When Lime asked me if I’d write a piece about being related to Pocahontas, my reaction was “No way.” My biological connection to Pocahontas is so slim as to be non-existent and there’s never been a day in my life I’ve identified as anything other than WASP. Lime persisted and, because she’s Lime and lovely, I agreed to write about the experience of having Pocahontas as my “ten greats back grandmother.”

I was raised to be proud of my Virginia roots. My grandmother Pocahontas was an author and a Southern historian who tracked genealogy and signed her grand-children and great-grand children up for birthright based societies. I grew up hearing the stories of not just Pocahontas but her husband John Rolfe and his lands and tobacco farms, of King Carter, the largest landholder in Colonial Virginia, of Robert E. Lee, and of Benjamin Henry Harrison.

My family moved all over the country when I was growing up and, no matter where I moved, I could impress people with my famous ancestors. By the time I was in high school, though, those sort of family stories made me itchy and bored—it was uncool to care about dead people or to take pride in my family’s past.

My first semester at Duke, I was in a program called “Twentieth Century America.” All the classes were anchored by the study of the US in the 20th and late 19th centuries. On the first day of the sociology class, Dr. Preiss said to us, “I’m here to teach you that you and your families are the problem.” In the history class, we read printouts from a book called Red, White, and Black: A History of Oppression in America.

By my sophomore year, I’d written the only paper I’d ever get an A+ on in college entitled Racism: A Family Heirloom. I looked at the family lore I’d learned with new eyes. I viewed my extended family, especially my grandparent’s generation, with something bordering on shame. If I ever told anyone I was the tenth great grand-daughter of Pocahontas, it was to make it clear I knew the history I came from held slave-holders, racists, and Republicans and I wanted to distance myself from that shit. I became my family’s radical—at least until my sister joined the Peace Corps—and argued with my elders about their immoral beliefs.

Despite this, I settled in North Carolina, just an hour and a half away from my maternal grandparents. I visited them every month, and filled my house with their hand-me-down furniture, kitchen goods, and books. When I got married, I wore my grandmother’s flapper wedding dress and said my vows in a little church in their town.

As I aged, they became old. My grandmother ran her car into the post office wall when she was in her 70’s and she never walked with ease again. My grandfather slid sadly into dementia. By the time I was 30 and expecting my first child, I’d lost any anger I’d had toward them for their pasts. When my husband and I talked about names for our kids, I insisted we pick names from our families. Each time we named a child, I’d tell my grandmother our choice and she’d smile and tell me all the stories she held in her head about the ancestors and relatives who’d had those same names.

When I got pregnant with my last two children, one of whom is our only girl, I visited my grandmother in the retirement home she’d moved to when my grand-father died. She asked me if I would name my daughter Pocahontas. I said, no, we were naming her for my husband’s mother. My grandmother didn’t look surprised. Ultimately, she had four grand-daughters and nine great grand-daughters and not one of them has her name.

My children and their cousins—my maternal grandparents had 25 great-grandchildren—all know they are related to Pocahontas. My siblings and I tell stories about Pocahontas, our brilliant, opinionated, genealogy obsessed grand-mother. When she was 21 she moved to the Left Bank in Paris so that she could study violin. She lived for a time with her friend Angela Gregory who was there to study stone-cutting. She spent four hours every morning writing. Her books are in university libraries and listed on Google. When Disney released Pocahontas, she was interviewed over and over. She gave an interview to a Japanese television station that so incensed her sisters—they’d never forgiven the Japanese for Pearl Harbor—the three were estranged for almost a year. She died when she was 95 and, at her funeral, the minister asked for us to share our “Pokey” stories. The service lasted for hours.

Recently, I and my niece were talking about privilege and our family. I said I often wanted to shed or at the very least apologize for my privilege. Lucy said no, you couldn’t do that. You could only accept it.

For me, a better verb might be own. I own my Pocahontas stories. And if I ever have a grand-daughter or great-grand-daughter named Pocahontas, I’ll tell her about her namesake, Pocahontas, my grandmother.

I tried to find Red, White, and Black: A History of Oppression in America, but my google-fu is well, google hates me. However if you google that phrase there is a lot out there, so might I suggest you read a few articles? Especially with Thanksgiving around the corner, I think it’s important. For myself I didn’t really think about a number of the issues that holiday presents until a few years ago. Not to say we shouldn’t celebrate a day of thankfulness – but maybe with less reverence towards the history? I’m only dipping my toes into the water, but hopefully we’re providing some food for thought.

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With Paris Sat, 14 Nov 2015 05:03:42 +0000 “This is an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share.” – POTUS

Paris 11-13-15

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Social Media for Social Good 2015: Football Edition Sat, 07 Nov 2015 05:03:24 +0000 Hi friends! So as you know (maybe), I’ve been largely absent the past few months. This means I also missed my annual Social Media for Social Good Charity Fundraiser. I have to say, I’m tapped out. I know people care, but not being able to see it hurts. In the past we’ve supported relief efforts – twice in fact – from famine to child refugees from Syria, clean water for people, against human trafficking, for Native Americans, and more. We’ve done great.

SMSG15 Football

This time … I’m leaving it up to you.

Here’s what I mean. I’d like you to comment with your favorite non-profit charity. If you can, leave a link to the organization etc, so others can check it out, and make it easier on me.

Why do you want to make it easy on me? Well, I think you all know I love football. Like really love. Especially college football. What I’m doing this year is, for every touchdown the Buckeyes score tonight, I’ll donate $10 to a charity. $5 for a fieldgoal. (Hey any points should be rewarded, right?) Uhhh… if there does happen to be a safety I’ll figure it out later.

I figured I’d mix it up, so we hit a variety. What do I mean? Let’s say there are six touchdowns tonight. That means $10 to comment 1’s charity, $10 to comment 2’s charity, and so on and so forth. We’ll just go in order. If there aren’t enough comments to cover all the touchdowns, I’ll probably donate to UNICEF or something. If there are more comments than scores … well that’s cool too. I might donate up to $500. We’re playing this by ear. [Please one charity per comment though, and give others a chance to add?]

Sound good? Feel free to ask questions too. Let’s make this interactive and fun!

ETA: I’m leaving SMSG open through the rest of the season … and post season, so let’s home they win the championship again, shall we? 😉

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Review: A Fashionable Indulgence by KJ Charles Tue, 03 Nov 2015 11:39:50 +0000 Karen’s review of A Fashionable Indulgence by KJ Charles
Historical M/M released by Loveswept on August 11, 2015
A Fashioanble Indulgence

When he learns that he could be the heir to an unexpected fortune, Harry Vane rejects his past as a Radical fighting for government reform and sets about wooing his lovely cousin. But his heart is captured instead by the most beautiful, chic man he’s ever met: the dandy tasked with instructing him in the manners and style of the ton. Harry’s new station demands conformity—and yet the one thing he desires is a taste of the wrong pair of lips.
After witnessing firsthand the horrors of Waterloo, Julius Norreys sought refuge behind the luxurious facade of the upper crust. Now he concerns himself exclusively with the cut of his coat and the quality of his boots. And yet his protégé is so unblemished by cynicism that he inspires the first flare of genuine desire Julius has felt in years. He cannot protect Harry from the worst excesses of society. But together they can withstand the high price of passion.

I got a copy of this book from the author, because she is great. As at the time I wasn’t sure if I was reviewing or not, I found that very generous.

A Fashionable Indulgence is a classic case of right book, right time, because I actually read it twice. The first time I was so fixated on the detail in the clothing, and some of the customs that I couldn’t actually see anything else, it was just before I went on holiday. I was quite tense. The second time was just after I came back from holiday, a little more relaxed and what a different experience.

KJ Charles is a clever writer, initially I felt that this was a homage to the Heyer school of historical novel, the language and the setting, and the very ordered and formal descriptions of clothing and situations. Plus there is quite a large cast of characters to contend with, almost from the off. Then I started noticing political parallels, with the treatment of the poor, the resistance to the government, and the sedition. And that really sucked me in. I think that the best and most memorable romance books have more than just a relationship in them. They can, and should make you think.

The main characters Harry and Julius are such good counterpoints to each other, physically dark and light and emotionally light and dark. Harry is a very open, heart on his sleeve character, and it appears that the job of Julius is to tamp that enthusiasm down, so that Harry becomes a Gentleman. Yet as Harry becomes more a part of Society, he looses that spark that makes him unique and there is this glorious internal conflict, mirrored in the defrosting of Julius, the balance between these two is excellent.

Harry should be, if this were even vaguely traditional, the innocent virgin, and Julius the man of the world, but this is KJC and nothing is that straightforward. There are many writers who would simply swap the characteristics over, but not here. Harry IS more sexually experienced than Julius, but the balance is the Julius understands society, in many ways Julius is the more innocent.

There is also a rather wonderful Sleeping Beauty feel about A Fashionable Indulgence, and for me quite a literal feel.

I found A Fashionable Indulgence so multi layered, a great read.

Grade: A

You can buy a copy here.

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Exclusive Bonus Deleted Scene from Defensive Heart by Dorothy F. Shaw Sat, 31 Oct 2015 07:59:11 +0000 Hi friends! Look! It’s Saturday! October is over! Everything is nuts — and … Happy Halloween! <3 As you see we’ve got Dorothy F. Shaw sharing an exclusive deleted scene with us from her book Defensive Heart. It’s sexy, and a lot of fun, perfect for this day of mischief. Seriously – NSFW!

Defensive HeartUptown girl, tattooed bad boy. Think you know which one is wild? You’d be wrong. The Donnellys, Book 2 Greenwich Village is home to successful artist Jimmy Donnelly, and the world is his playground. A broken heart in college left him with zero interest in being tied down. But when he meets a sexy, quick-witted Manhattan attorney, he reconsiders his bad boy ways. Sonja Martin’s life is filled with work, an ex-husband who refuses to stay gone, and a teenage daughter who won’t follow the rules. Jimmy, with his myriad of tattoos and piercings, looks more like one of her clients than a potential lover. But when every argument between them feels more like foreplay, she can’t seem to stay out of his bed. The heat burns through whatever defenses Sonja thought she had. And Jimmy finds his every fantasy fulfilled-and exceeded-by a woman whose fire burns as bright as her fiercely guarded vulnerability. But his case for breaking her out of her self-imposed mold might just be dismissed. And he’ll lose the best thing he’s ever found. Warning: This book might piss you off. But if I’ve done my job, while you’re busy being pissed off, you’ll also fall in love with the hero and the heroine. May contain: A pompous, misogynistic ex-husband. A rebellious teenager. A ton of sex. Adventurous sex. Make-up sex. Desperate-OMG-GET-YOUR-CLOTHES-OFF sex… Did I mention there’s a lot of sex?

Sonja’s mind floated in a haze as her post-orgasm bliss settled. The bed still swayed from their lovemaking—though maybe it was her body trembling from her orgasm, Sonja couldn’t tell. However, James was trembling too.

With little thought, she stroked her fingers up and down his spine. His skin was warm and damp with perspiration. He shivered and kissed her. His soft lips met hers, his smooth tongue tangled with her own, and she moaned. The tenderness in the affection he showed was a sharp contrast to the rough sex they’d just had. At least rough by her standards.

Sonja had never done anything like that in her life. She never talked dirty in bed, let alone told someone what to do while they were there. One minute she was acting the lady she likened herself to be, the next she was barking out sexual orders like some sort of dominatrix. As though she’d been possessed, and a completely different Sonja awoke in her place, taking over.

James broke from her lips and placed a gentle kiss on her cheek, and then her neck. After rolling them to their sides, he slipped from her channel, sending another aftershock pulsing through her. Sonja shivered.

He gave another light kiss to her shoulder, rose from the bed, turned and tucked the sheets around her. “Be right back.”

She said nothing, but smiled when she was treated to a view of his magnificent backside. As the door to the bathroom closed, Sonja turned on her back and stared up at the ceiling. She simply didn’t know what to make of her behavior—nor did she know what to make of his reaction to her behavior.

Never before had a man been as intense and focused on her. Then again, James had always been intense with her. Yes, he poked and started fights, which annoyed her beyond words, but then his demeanor would flip on a dime and he’d be tender and sweet. Frankly, she didn’t know what to make of him.

The toilet flushed and Sonja looked in the direction of the bathroom. The door opened a few seconds after, the light already off. She watched his shadowed figure make its way back to the bed. His face only clear to her once he reached the edge. He climbed onto the platform beside her, with a sated and soft look in his eyes.

James pulled the sheets back, slid beneath them and once he was settled, smoothed her hair off her shoulder. “Hi.”

Sonja shifted to face him. “Hi.”

He snaked an arm around her, bringing her closer to his body. The music had stopped playing at some point, she didn’t know when, but now there was silence, save for their soft breaths. James ran the flat of his hand up her back to her neck and into her hair, threading his fingers through the long length.

Again, without thought, Sonja closed the inches of distance between them and kissed him. When her lips touched his and she moved her tongue into his welcoming mouth, he gripped the hair at her scalp. The sting drew a moan from her, and she raised her leg, resting her knee on his hip. James deepened the kiss. Releasing his hold on her hair, he smoothed his hand down to her backside, to her hip and thigh.

She tingled everywhere his fingertips had pressed on their journey along her flesh. James hiked her knee higher on his waist and rolled his hips against her center. Sonja broke the kiss and gasped at the hot contact with his erection.

My God, he was ready so soon? The benefits of being thirty. Every inch of her skin sizzled and her insides tightened with need. He was ready, and she definitely wanted him again.

Before she allowed herself to pick the unexpected desire apart—dissecting it—she moved her lips to his neck. His skin tasted of salt from his sweat, and she wanted more of that too. The scent of his cologne still lingered, but above that was the scent of pure masculinity.

Sonja moved her hands to his chest and traced the lines of his pectoral muscles with her fingertips and found his flat areolas. She sucked at his neck as she scraped her nails over the tight nipples.

A thrill ran through her at the rush of breath escaping him. Creating a trail with her lips and tongue, she moved down the side of his neck to his collarbone. Nuzzling him, she pressed her palms flat on his chest and pushed him to his back. She followed, straddling his hips.

His erection pressed hot between them. Unable to help herself, she rocked her hips forward and rubbed her folds over the thick shaft. James’s hands landed on her backside, grabbing hold of her flesh. “Fuck, you’re so wet.”

“Mmhmm.” Sonya took his hands in hers, and moved them above his head. Lacing their fingers, with her chest pressed to his, she took his lips in a hard kiss. She thrust her tongue into his mouth and undulated her hips, stroking his length with her wetness.

As the kiss deepened and James stroked his tongue over her, the need to have him inside grew higher. Her nipples scraped against his smooth chest, and another need spiked within her.

Sonja. She wanted him again, yes. For sure.

But she also wanted to be in control again too.

Like he’d asked her to be before.

Unsure of her foreign reaction, she tried to ignore the craving—tried to let him lead, but the urge clawed at her insides like a wild tiger, eager to be released. Giving in to what her mind wanted, Sonja pulled away from his lips, gripped his hands tighter, before releasing them and easing herself into an upright position.

James reached for her and Sonja rolled her hips, stroking over his length again. “Leave your hands where I left them.”

His eyes went wide, but he did what she wanted, linking his hands behind his head.

“Perfect. Don’t move.”

“Fuck. Yes. Anything you want.”

“Shhh.” Sonja spread her hands flat on his chest, mapping the contours of his upper body with her fingers. His skin was a decorated velvet canvas, one she knew she’d never grow tired of learning. With focused care, she traced the lines of the dragon tattoo on his left pec, following its design over his shoulder and up his neck.

Leaning forward she kissed where her fingers had been, savoring the flavor of him. She moved back to the center of his chest, pressed her lips there and inhaled his scent before trailing her hands down his torso to his stomach.

Sonja sat up and traced a line with her fingertip down the center of his hard abs. His muscles were chiseled in a tight a six-pack, but not bulky. Absolutely perfect. She scooted down, straddled his thighs and dipped her tongue into the center of those pronounced hills and valleys. A slight smile curved her lips when his breath hitched and his stomach jumped in response to her attention.
Moving down his legs a little farther, Sonja found his belly button and circled it with her tongue, but continued to explore his stomach, chest, and sides with her hands.

She wanted him begging…like he’d done before.

She wanted—this is crazy—she wanted every heated, carnal response she could draw from him. And more.

In this position, his heavy erection was settled between her breasts. Placing her hands beside him on the bed to support herself, Sonja arched her back, and rocked her body forward, rubbing the smooth, hot shaft.

James groaned and his whole body went rigid. “Holy shit.”

“You like that?” She undulated in the opposite direction and had to stifle her own groan. He was satin against her overly sensitive skin, but every nerve in her body vibrated in anticipation of his reaction. His pleasure.


Her nipples were drawn into tight points and her arousal coated the inside of one of her thighs. God help her, she couldn’t remember ever being this turned on before. Who was this person she’d become? Shoving the thought aside, she focused on his again. “Tell me, James, what else do you like?”

“I—” he swallowe, “—I like everything you’re doing.”

“More specific, please.” Reaching between them, Sonja took his shaft in hand.

“Oh, fuck. Fuck. That, yes. Damn.” He clamped his mouth closed and exhaled a harsh breath through his nose.

“This?” She stroked his cock from base to tip.

“Yes! Fuuuck…”

“Say it, James.”

He reached for her.

Sonja shot upright letting go of his length. James froze mid-motion. Good. “I didn’t say you could move. Put your hands back where they belong.”

He stared at her for what felt like eternity. His mouth slightly open—as if he couldn’t quite believe what’d come out of her mouth.

That was fine; she was having a little trouble believing it too, yet she couldn’t bring herself to stop. This all felt too good, and screw it, she needed some feel-good with all the bad going on lately. “James?”

“Sonja, whatever it is that’s happened…whatever it is that’s come over you? Don’t stop. Okay? Just…don’t stop.” He reached for her, yanked her close and kissed her. She moaned against his mouth. Breaking from her lips, James lay down, and tucked his hands behind his head.

Just like she’d told him to do. Wow!

A thrill bolted through Sonja like a speeding bullet. Sweat trickled down her back and her heart pounded in her ears. If she didn’t know better, she’d think she was having an anxiety attack.

But she did know better. She knew exactly what this was: The rare purity of sexual desire, chemistry and connection.

Something she’d never experienced with anyone. Sonja pushed the thoughts away. There’d be plenty of time to examine them later. For now, she intended to follow through, and finish what she’d started.

Sonja glanced at his erection as she stroked him. The crown was flushed and swollen, and a bead of arousal pooled at the tip. With a moan, she swiped her bottom lip with her tongue.

James shifted beneath her. “Fucking hell.”

“Don’t move.” Sonja met his eyes and took his length in her palm again. Pressing her thumb to the tip, she covered the bead of ejaculate and then spread it around the crown.

His cock pulsed in her hand. Her body pulsed right along with it. Without preamble, Sonja shifted to the side of him, positioning herself on her knees. She gazed up his torso, over the tight ripple of muscles on his stomach, to his tattooed pectoral muscles stretched tight with his arms raised over his head. She took in his biceps—the globes of muscles also pronounced due to his position. Then returned her gaze to his gorgeous cock in her hand, and the heavy sac beneath it.

Sonja stroked him from base to tip and watched the muscles in his stomach contract. Her head spun. God help her, she felt dizzy with lust. His scent wove around her like a tight coil, constricting her ribs. She pulled in a tight breath, licked her lips and stroked his length again.
He groaned and let out a curse and another ripple of pleasure rolled through her. “You want my mouth on you, James?”

“I want you to want it.”

Wanting was an understatement…

Sonja straddled one of his legs—in this position, she could watch his face, watch his reactions to the things she would do to him next. Watch as his mind drowned in the pleasure she felt compelled to give him. Leaning forward, Sonja opened her mouth. Careful not to make contact with the swollen crown, she hovered above it, and let out a breath.

He pulsed in her hand again, and another bead of his arousal surfaced. The urge to snake the tip of her tongue out almost overtook her, but she stifled it. “This is about what I want, yes, but it’s also about what you want too.” She stroked down to the base and back up again. “Do you want my mouth on you?”

“More than anything.”

Again, ensuring not to touch him yet, she hovered above his shaft, exhaling along the way, letting him feel her warm breath. “Tell me what you want.”

“Suck my cock. Please?”

“Perfect.” Sonja gripped his shaft and moved to the head. Her mouth watered for him. The desire to know how he’d feel sliding over her tongue—how he’d taste when he exploded and shot down the back of her throat, possessed her.

She’d never before wanted a man’s penis in her mouth as badly as she wanted his.

Unable to hold back any longer, she swirled her tongue around the crown.

As his flavor hit her taste buds and she moaned.

James blew out a harsh breath. “Oh, goddamn!”

She glanced up, not wanting to miss his reaction. Catching his gaze, she pressed her mouth to the tip, and with slow deliberate care, parted her lips, receiving him. When she had the whole crown in her mouth, she pressed her tongue against the slit and sucked.

His eyes rolled back in his head, his head thrust back on the pillow and the muscles in his neck tightened. She suckled him and another drop of pre-ejaculate emerged. Desire for more of his taste ping-ponged through her, ricocheting to her core. Sonja rocked her hips and ground her slick folds against his shin.

“Fuck yeah. God, you’re so hot and wet. Take more, please?” His tone was full of gravel as he panted out his request.

The word please had never held so much meaning before. But coming out of his mouth, it felt like a drug, an intoxicating one, and she was now addicted. “Don’t come until I say.”

James raised his head off the pillow and their gazes locked. “What?”

Keeping her eyes on his, Sonja slid her mouth down his length and took him all the way to the back of her throat.

“Okay. Fuck. Anything you want.” His head fell back on the pillow.

Pleasure zinged through her at his submission. Drawing him out, she massaged his sac with her other hand and circled the base of his shaft with her fingers, and sucked him deep again. Sonja moved at a steady relentless pace…intent on driving him to the brink.

James’s cock swelled between her lips. Twirling her tongue around the edge, Sonja licked down to his sac, then back to the head. Only to begin once more.

Driving him mad; driving him higher.

James panted and gasped, tensing each time he came to the edge before finally begging her not to stop. To let him come.


…the only word Sonja zeroed in on through all his frantic pleas.




Until she gave him what he so clearly needed, and brought him over the edge.

So what’d you think? :) Need a hard cider with a shot of fireball to cool you down? 😉 Stay safe out there tonight my friends! <3

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What Had Happened Was… Fri, 09 Oct 2015 02:09:03 +0000 If you’re around a certain type of person, you hear that a lot. It becomes something of a joke … and I mean it here. A bit tongue in cheek, but also to explain. You may (or may not have noticed) that I kinda dropped off the face of the earth when it comes to ALBTALBS and my email. I’m on Twitter and Facebook a lot less, and there was a period I was gone for over a week. (Just saying that because only one person noticed, which is fine, but my point is I’m trying to explain, so I can’t assume people know things. I get there is a lot out there, and nobody gives a shit about keeping up with me and my life. Which I 100% get and am okay with. We all have our stuff, and lives.)

So … it’s been a lot. Deaths, family tragedy, an accident, serious health issues [hello surprise internal bleeding being just one thing of many…], work stuff, bad work stuff … lots of not work related court things … and Firefox constantly buggy enough for me to consider poking my eyes out. … Basically, I’ve had a rough time of it. It actually hasn’t been as bad as last year … but honestly I’d only wish my past month+ on someone I truly hated.

I am sorry and do feel badly about dropping the ball. Believe me – I feel guilty. I still feel guilty about not reading and reviewing ARC(s) I agreed to from 2007. My plan is to fill in posts – backdate especially since I was absent for pretty much all of Smithsonian Hispanic Heritage Month …. so if anyone is willing to write posts for it still … I’d love to have you.

For better or for worse I did renew the domain for at least another year, so we’ll just trudge along, shall we? There’s still hope for me yet, right? >.> Maybe? :X

Aaron Burden

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Guest Author & A Giveaway: Erica Ridley Tue, 01 Sep 2015 04:59:36 +0000 Ladies (and Gentlem..en?) I can’t believe it’s September. Really really can’t. I need a pause button on life. I hope I’m not wrong in this but I met Erica Ridley for the first time in person this past July. She’s super fun, and when I grabbed her online I was like “you should guest here!” and since Erica is supergreat, she was like “okay I’m game!” And we emailed about Sir Arthur. (Who doesn’t exist?) So anyway, Erica decided to go with an author interview – and these are my questions and her answers! Enjoy!

Erica RidleyWhich celebrity is your “spirit animal?” Why?
I’m actually a total fail at recognizing/knowing celebrities. I have virtually never watched cable television, and I live in Costa Rica, which means the magazines in the checkout aisle are not your usual fare. So I’m going to go with Jane Austen on this one. Not because she’s still the most famous author in my genre, 200 years later, but because she wrote what she wanted and how she wanted. I hope I can always say the same.

Baby Erica Wonder WomanWhat would your superhero name be? And your super power? Now… what if you were an anti hero? What would your “anti super hero power” be?
My superhero name would be Diana Prince, because I have been a Wonder Woman nerd since I was two years old. (See: photo evidence.) An invisible jet would come in handy, but if I could have any super power, it would be the ability to pause time. If I need to choose a different super power for myself as an anti-hero, then I have to do mind control. As a hero, I find overriding free will reprehensible, but as an anti-hero… you gotta do what you gotta do.

You have to listen to the same song to 72 hours, or your family gets it. What song do you choose to listen to on repeat?
I’m pretty sure I actually did this when I was younger, back in my mixtape days. Hmm. After 72 hours of the same song, I would probably never listen to it again, but I have to go with one I love: “A Charming Spell” by Splashdown. The first time I heard that song, I was trying to park my car and I sat there with the engine running until the song was over.

What is one question you always wish as an author people would ask but nobody ever does?
“Here, would you like some free money?” I jest. (But like many authors, I’ve had book advances that were on par with a single month’s salary–and had to last an entire year.) A question I would personally love to ask other authors is, “What would you write if you didn’t have to worry about the market/money?” But don’t ask me that one. That’s what pseudonyms are for! 😉

The Brigadier's Runaway BrideWhat’s the most unique/strange silly skill your possess?
I always thought it was juggling, but since moving to Costa Rica, I’ve meet a statistically improbable number of other people who can juggle, so I have to scratch that off the list. Maybe yodeling? I haven’t met many people who (admit to) being able to yodel. If that’s not quite a nerdy enough answer, I also used to have contests with a coworker to see who could solve a Rubik’s cube the fastest.

What was the first concert you ever went to? Who did you go with? And – if they were (or are) still around – would you go again? 😀
I went to a hair metal concert, I believe, back in grade school. With my aunt. And I would absolutely go again. I love concerts, and would see anyone I liked, regardless of how long the band has been around. I saw Tommy James & the Shondells a few years back and those guys had more energy than I did.

What is the naughtiest thing you have done in school? At your job? At a conference?
Naughtiest thing I ever did in school was probably leave it to go play pool with my best friend during what was supposed to be an art class. (It was the period right after lunch, and our teacher didn’t believe in taking attendance.) At my job… probably lunch hours surfing Napster, before I understood how bad that really was. At a conference, I can’t think of anything naughty. Am I old now? Are my naughty days behind me??

The Major's Faux FianceeIf you were a cartoon, which one would you prefer being? Why?
I would like to be Sherman, so I could get to hang out with Mr. Peabody and travel in the way-back machine.

Would you rather be bitten by a radioactive spider or a vampire? Why?
Going by traditional novel/comic lore, radioactive spider all the way, baby. I would much rather have superpowers in this lifetime than to be saddled with bloodlust and sun-aversion for the rest of eternity.

If you were a serial killer, who would be your target? And what would be your M.O.?
If I were a serial killer, I’d have to be like Dexter and target monsters even worse than me. I wouldn’t take anything from the victims or leave anything behind at the crime scene–I’ve read enough mysteries to know that’s the fastest way to get caught!

Hostile alien invasion, or zombie apocalypse? Which one do you think is more likely to happen? Which one is scarier?
More likely, alien invasion. Scarier… man, that’s a tough call. Zombies, maybe, not because they’re the bigger threat, but because it would be too mind-blowing to wrap my head around, and I’d spend the whole time unsure if it was actually happening or if I’d just gone off my rockers. Aliens are ostensibly scarier, since they can do to us all the experiments we’ve done to other insects and animals—or worse. But I can conceptualize that. Doubting my own sanity would be the scariest thing of all.

The Captian's Bluestocking MistressIf you could switch places with someone for 72 hours, whose life would you want to live?
If I would be ghosting them (ie they would still be controlling their body and I’d just be along for the ride) then I’d like to experience what it’s like to be a daredevil, one of those people who does crazy parkour tricks or rides a one-wheeled mountain bike across the mouth of hell with his GoPro strapped to his forehead. I love seeing those videos, but there’s no way I’d do it in real life.

What TV show do you wish was still on the air?
“The Finder.” I think it only lasted for one season, but I liked the oddball characters (even if I wanted to shake them) coming together to solve crimes/mysteries in a quirky way.

What two movies from different genres would you most like to see combined in a mash up?
That reminds me of the time Netflix offered up “Zombie Strippers!” on its recently added queue. My reaction was “WHAT. EVEN.” but of course I had to watch it. If you’re curious, it’s ranked 4/10 on imdb—likely because the mashup doesn’t appeal to aficionados of either genre. Of course, in this question’s hypothetical situation, the only person who has to watch the mashup is me (and we’ve already established I have no taste) so… Titanic, featuring Gremlins. Tagline: “Shit goes down as the ship goes down.” Can we please make this happen??

The Earl's Defiant WallflowerWhich fairy tale would you most like to be in? least? Why? And which character would you be?
Hansel and Gretel, as the witch. Not because I have any interest in eating children (I’m a vegetarian) but I can’t say no to living in a house made of candy. I would least like to be Scheherazade in “One Thousand and One Nights.” I like making up stories, but man. That’s a lot of pressure.

What is your secret plan for world domination?
If I tell you, it won’t be secret! 😉

Hee! So what questions do you have for Erica? And now you know it’s a GA&AG so … there will be some sort of giveaway, but it’s too early for me to have things figured out and I’ll add that. RIGHT? WHEE!

ETA: This was scheduled to go live on September 1 but something clearly went terribly wrong and I was away so let’s just play nice with time bending please, shall we? Thanks all. Xxoo

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Recommend Me Books to Read, Please! Thu, 27 Aug 2015 13:09:19 +0000 MineYes, I’m turning the tables on you! Generally bloggers give suggestions and their “best of” and “what to look for” … and I’ll do a bit of that here, but I want to know what you think I should read!

I’m all tapped out and all I want to do is curl up and sleep, eat, and read. Alas, I can’t do that, but a girl can dream, right?

So I want to know – A) what’s the best romance you’ve read lately? B) What about EVER? C) What’s one romance you think EV-ER-Y-ONE should read?

I’ll give you some suggestions … Mine by HelenKay Dimon is one of my favorite books I’ve read this year … but it’s not out until October. It’s okay though – this gives you time to read the three previous stories. 😀 (Mercy, Only, and Taken – until Mine, Taken had been my favorite!)

Meanwhile, I’m in the middle of reading a historical romance anthology, and soaking up cooking shows on PBS Create while I try to feel good about being able to sit up and finish another day and that being enough of a goal.

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Release Day Teaser Tuesday Exclusive Excerpt: An Indecent Invitation by Laura Trentham Tue, 25 Aug 2015 10:06:59 +0000 Hey friends – more misadventures and misfortunes abound, so expect even more oddly timed posts and playing fast and loose with time. However, not today! This was a long ago scheduled post with Laura Trentham! It’s Tuesday, and time for an exclusive excerpt so we can all bask in the comfort of regularly scheduled programming, and a lovely tease of an upcoming romance. And as you see, today is release day! So everyone enjoy the excerpt, and remember to congratulate Laura on her newest book being available to the world! Whee!

An Indecent InvitationKeeping her safe is difficult, keeping a proper distance from her is downright impossible.

Lady Lily Drummond understands only too well the danger of spy work. Her father, a preeminent master spy, has been missing for months, and her brother barely survived his final mission for the Crown. Lily is still determined to help find her father, no matter how hard her brother and his best friend try to keep her in the dark.

Busy trying to untangle the web of deceit surrounding the Earl of Windor’s disappearance, Crown spy Gray Masterson also has to ensure Lily Drummond, the gangly, awkward child who was his constant shadow growing up, doesn’t get herself ruined at her London debut. But the girl with scraped knees and elbows has evolved into a lush, sensual beauty surrounded by a bevy of suitors.

Realizing Lily is going to investigate on her own if he doesn’t let her join the hunt for her missing father, Gray assumes he can give Lily a few minor tasks to pacify her, but he quickly learns she is a valuable asset. Moreover, she fairly crackles with life and warmth—things he craves after his dark years in service.

Warning: This book contains spies, scandals, naughty liaisons in houses of ill repute, men who think they know everything and women who know they do not.

Gray offered his arm with a slight inclination of his head, and Lily tentatively laid her hand on his forearm, glancing up at him under her lashes. His faint smile seemed sly and had her biting her lip.

He guided her out the doors before her waffling conscience had a chance to protest. Instead of staying on the balustrade, safe with the other couples and smoking gentlemen, he led her down the steps and into the greenery, his hand clamped over hers, barring protest.

“Now then, a bit of privacy. Tell me, my lady, you never answered my question, has a gentleman won your favor?”

She snatched her hand away and withdrew a few paces. With only dim light cutting the shadows, Gray loomed. An innate fierceness, masked by the pomp of the ball, distilled into the darkness and surrounded her with ominous intent. Did she really know him after so long?

“An offer has been made but my brother is set to decline on my behalf.”

He stroked his bottom lip, and her eyes followed as if he were a mesmerist. “Have you enjoyed your introduction to the ton?”

“It’s been…entertaining.”

“That was a mere platitude. Tell me the truth.” He flipped her words, a smile playing behind his finger.

“The truth? It’s been disappointing. Most of the gentlemen have been like Montbatton, obsessed with horses or carriages or cravats. Do they think I give a jot about such things?”

“What do you give a jot about?” he asked with a hint of derisive amusement. “Embroidery? Balls? Dresses?”

“I care about the war. How men come back maimed everyday—body and spirit. How women are left widows to care for their children on almost nothing. How no one here—” she gestured back to the ballroom with her fan, “—seems to notice. Or care.”

Her words wiped the amusement from his face. He took a step forward, close enough to touch, but neither of them made a move. “You speak from experience.”

The darkness was now her friend, offering welcome camouflage. “My brother was horribly wounded.”

“He’s better now.” It was more statement than question.

“Is he? He drinks too much, wakes with nightmares too often, becomes angry with little provocation. He works himself into exhaustion every day to keep from falling into melancholy. I worry about him. What happens if I’m not there to bully him back to life?”

He squinted at the hedge as if it held deep wisdom. “Your brother is lucky to have you.”

“You’ve been in the fighting, haven’t you?”

His gaze travelled back to her face, and the moment stretched. “Yes.”

“Have you been injured?”

Again, he paused before whispering, “I have my share of scars.”

Now she did touch him, laying a hand on his forearm. He covered her hand with his, and for a mad moment, she wished neither of them wore gloves, wished she could entwine their bare fingers. Solid ground beckoned. This talk made her too vulnerable, and didn’t she have a part to play?

She pulled her hand from under his and forced out a false, jarring laugh. “I need to return, sir. My chaperone will surely have missed me by now, and there will be a list of gentleman I’ve disappointed.”

“Of course, let me escort you back inside.” He backed into a shaft of moonlight and waited with an outstretched hand. His hair shone black and he stood straight and strong. He had always been the stalwart port in the violent storm that was her father.

She took his hand, and he tugged her forward too quickly. Her toes tangled in the hem of her dress. She grabbed at his biceps for balance, the thick ropes of muscle flexing. His hands spanned her waist and then slid down to where her hips flared. The sensation set off a fine trembling in her knees.

Their faces were inches apart. Firm lips above a squarely masculine jaw caused her to worry her bottom lip with teeth and tongue. His nostrils flared, and in answer, she inhaled, his scent clean and woodsy. He had never smelled quite so appealing when she was a child.

He moved closer, and she parted her lips. Her brain held no sway. Her body completely ignored its instructions to push away, escape. Instead, her back arched, her face tilted up, and her hands roved over his shoulders. Her heart beat against the tight confines of her stays, trying to escape.

Was Gray going to kiss her? Did she want him to?

Her lungs pulled in much needed air, and on the exhale, she breathed his name.

The intimacy of his name disintegrated his befuddlement. Christ, had he lost all commonsense? First to pull her into him and then to almost kiss her? His body was charged for a full-out sensual assault, his hands ready to explore the too-tempting soft curves pressed into him. He thrust her away and snatched his hands back as if she had the plague.

He covered his confusion with menace. “Lily Drummond. Rafe would spank your bottom if he knew you’d accompanied a man to the gardens.”

“If he knew the man who lured me out was you?”

Her well-made point pierced like an arrow. “I was trying to teach you a lesson,” he said with pompous undertones.

“Perhaps I was trying to teach you one as well.” She sniffed and adjusted her gloves.

“What was that, pray tell?”

“Never steal a lady without first making sure you know her name.” She swept by and tapped him on the chest with her fan.

They walked side by side to the balustrade, but he didn’t offer an arm this time. “Obviously I’m a fool, but you’ve changed dramatically from the little girl I left at Wintermarsh.”

“It’s referred to as growing up,” she said pertly, but then sadness and accusation wove through her words. “If you had come to visit, my changed appearance wouldn’t be such a shock. Rafe needed you. Last autumn was horrid.”

Guilt was not an emotion he allowed lest it overwhelm him. It rose like bile just the same. “Do you not think I wanted to be there? To get Rafe home, I indentured myself to Sir Hawkins. The last eight months weren’t enjoyable for me either.”

She cut her eyes to him, her voice small. “Are you angry with me?”

He had to think on it. In disbelief, flummoxed, shocked, yes. But amused, entertained and fascinated as well. “Devil if I know why I’m not. You led me on quite a merry chase.”

Copyright © 2015 Laura Trentham
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

So what’d you think? 😀 You can read another excerpt here or buy a copy here. Happy newest release, Laura, and congratulations on the newest Spies and Lovers book!

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