I’m so excited to have my favorite novella re-released at Etopia Press. I’ve got a hot new cover, too. 🙂
I love the heroine holding the dueling pistol… It’s perfect! Oops, was that a spoiler? LOL
Check out the Etopia Press blog for their interview with moi, in which they bring up the joys of Calimari, and find out if I’m a Sam girl or a Dean girl. 🙂 http://etopiapressblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/meet-author-fiona-vance/
And while you’re there, mosey over to their bookstore and buy The Highwayman! 🙂
Well, I’m not, my books are. 🙂 I’ve gotten my rights back on Submission, and it will be re-released this winter at Etopia Press! www.etopiapress.com I’m very excited.
My second story, The Highwayman, has also come back to me from the publisher, and guess what? Etopia Press picked that one up too! I’ll be back with updates, blurbs, and cover art as soon as I get them.
And in blog news, I’ll be talking about lingerie at Gina Gordon’s blog on November 30th! There are a bunch of erotic romance authors already there, turning up the heat with posts on the question: if they were a romance heroine, what lingerie they wear to seduce the sexy hero? http://blog.ginagordon.net/?zx=373404ec64fdcccc
Things are looking up!
But no one got all four answers right. Not even Cathy. So I wrote em down, cut em out and picked the winner from a hat. (ok, darn it. It was a coffee cup. But it was clean, I swear).
For some reason, people seemed to think I was the naughty one in the bunch and everyone guessed Gina’s line was mine. But it wasn’t me! It was GINA! So to ease your burning curiosity, here are the correct answers:
1. She followed Charlene’s finger and turned in her seat. She gazed into a belt buckle only six inches away from the tip of her nose. Oh dear.
From Love Rescued Me by Debra Kayn
2. It was lust. Overwhelming, all consuming, spread-her-legs-wide lust, and it was all for him.
From Her Five Favorite Words by Gina Gordon (GINA! Not me!)
3.You’re slick as a seal, aren’t you?
From The Highwayman by Fiona Vance (THAT’s me. 🙂
4. His hand alone sent her reeling toward the edge of an orgasm and brought out her inner wickedness in five seconds flat. Two seconds if he used both hands, she bet.
From Didja Know by Abby Wood. That’s naughty, too. Maybe Abby was working with Gina on that one…
Congratulations, Cathy! We’ll send your books right on over! 🙂
And thank you to everyone who came by to play with us today!
Love, Fiona 🙂
And in honor of having guests, I’ve cleaned a house a little. What do you think of the new theme? Good? Better? Worse?
Let me know!
I’m sharing some room today with one of my fellow Breathless Press authors, the lovely Ms. Berengaria Brown. It’s Breathless Press’s first anniversary this month, so stay tuned for more fun with the Breathless Babes!
But for now, please welcome Berengaria Brown!
Fiona: Welcome Berengaria! Thanks for coming to talk to us today! First question: Lots of writers are creative in other ways, too. If you weren’t so busy writing, what other creative thing would you do instead?
Berengaria: I just love to read. If I’m not at the day job or writing I am reading.
Fiona: Why do you write in your chosen genre? Do you have others in mind for future books?
Berengaria: I love to read all different genres so I write in them too. Most of my books currently out are MMF ménage but some are contemporary-set and others are paranormal. I also have a straight MF book too. My August release is MMM and I have lesbian erotica releasing in September and another one coming out in November. In October I have an MM book coming out. So I think there is something there for every taste!
Fiona: There’s so much more to the writing business than just writing books. How do you juggle all the “behind the scenes” work–the edits with your editors, the blogging and social networking with your fellow authors at different publishing houses, the interaction with readers…and still find time to write?
Berengaria: Well sleep is a highly over-rated activity!
Seriously, I have been known to write and do edits when at the day job (sshhh don’t tell my boss). The hardest part is not being able to attend chats during the day time. That sucks. But I do manage to chat to people in the evenings.
Fiona: When you were a kid, what did you want to be “when you grew up?”
Berengaria: As a little kid I didn’t have a job in mind that I wanted to do when I grew up. I worked one summer in a shop though and decided there and then I didn’t want to do that ever again!
Fiona: If you got a seven-figure, multi-book deal tomorrow, what would be the first thing you’d do?
Berengaria: Likely I’d die of shock! I’d want to throw a party for my friends though, the people who have encouraged me and who believe in me.
Fiona: What’s the weirdest thing in your garage/basement/shed/other dedicated storage area right now? (heh-heh-heh… and don’t say rotten calamari!)
Berengaria: A bucket with stones in it. When we were kids we used to collect “pet rocks” and so far I haven’t managed to throw them away. And no, they aren’t especially pretty or unique. They’re just rocks.
Fiona: What is your favorite fairy tale? Why?
Berengaria: Hmm Maybe Rumpelstiltskin. So many of the girls/princesses in the stories are quite stupid. At least in this one she outsmarts him. Oh, no, how about Snow White. She had 7 men to hang out with and I’m not at all convinced she was as snow white after that!
Fiona: Finally, tell us a little bit about your new release!
“Dinner Delights” by Berengaria Brown, out now at Breathless Press.
Two workmates. A boring dinner function. An explosion of lust. Will it lead to love?
Krystal is thrilled when Troy asks her to be his seatmate at a boring work dinner. He is a totally yummy hunk, whom she has loved forever.
When they dance, their passions combust and they rush back to her apartment to take their relationship to the next level: from friends to lovers.
Their night together is better than anything Krystal had ever imagined. But can it last? What will happen tomorrow?
Click here to Read an excerpt
You can find Berengaria here:
You can follow me on facebook and twitter too!
Thank you for inviting me over to play, Fiona.
It’s Seafood Friday again, and today we’re going back East to Rhode Island and making Portuguese stuffed quahogs, AKA “stuffies.”
But before you stuff ’em, you gotta know what the heck they are.
Quahogs are big hardshell clams. When we were kids, we used to collect the shells on the rocky shores of the Sakonnett River and see who could find the biggest. Some of them were the size of your hand, including fingers. Those we’d bring home and give to our parents to use as ashtrays. (Didn’t everyone who lived by the water have quahog shell ashtrays back then?) This, of course, was back when it was cool to smoke.
Since this is the kind of thing you gotta see to understand, I went online and found a great video of a cute old Portuguese lady making them almost the same way my old Portuguese aunts used to. There’s a funny story about one of my old Portuguese aunts stealing the coveted stuffy recipe from another of my old Portuguese aunts when she was drunk, but that’s a story for another day.* The cute old Portuguese lady in the video is (lucky for her) not related to us.
I make mine with chourico instead of linguica, and instead of the sage, thyme, and allspice I use a couple teaspoons of hot red pepper flakes. But I imagine it’s good either way (chourico and linguica are Portuguese sausages. Chourico is spicy and linguica is mild).
If you can’t get Portuguese chourico where you live (I sure can’t. I have to special order it from Gaspar’s) you can use Mexican chourizo, but it’s different. And if the person at the fish counter doesn’t know what quahogs are, the smaller hardshell clams will do in a pinch–you’ll just need a lot more. Whichever size you get, don’t forget to scrub the shells well with a stiff brush before you boil them, becuase you’ll be saving the water to use in the recipe.
* OK, here’s the story. My Aunt Helen was an awesome cook and made awesome stuffies. My Aunt Annie made potatoes out of a box, but she looked like Jackie O and wore a rock the size of Aquidneck Island. They lived two houses down from eachohter right on the water of the above described Sakonnett River. One day when my mom and I (I was a teenager) had dropped by Anunt Annie’s for coffee, we were talking about stuffies and wishing we had Aunt Helen’s recipe. But Aunt Helen never gave *anyone* her recipes, least of all Aunt Annie, because they really didn’t like eachother very much.
Helen used to have this little… problem. You know, with the liquor. Which was probably why we hadn’t had stuffies in a while and were growing desperate. Anyway, Aunt Annie gets up, wearing a pair of cotton pajamas held together with safety pins (yes, in the middle of the day. She only looked like Jackie O when she went out) and says, “I’m going to get that recipe if it kills me.”
My mom and I laugh, and sit back and take another sip of our coffee. Then, Aunt Annie walks out the back door, pajamas and all.
Mom and I look at each other. Is she crazy?
Fifteen minutes later, Aunt Annie runs back in, pajama pants flapping, a look of terror on her face, and slams the door behind her and bolts it. Then she runs to the front door and slams and bolts that. She runs back to the other side of hte little beach house and pulls back the curtains to peek out the window.
After a few minutes, she sits down and lights a cigarette and tosses the match in the crystal ashtray. (Quahog shells were only for the porch at Jackie O’s). Then she pulls a paper out of the little breast pocket of her pajama top. And her face absolutely erupts in triumph. “I got it!”
She tosses it down on the table. And my mom and I scrabble to pick it up. I win.
Sure enough, it’s a worn slip of paper, grease stained and covered in specks of dried on… junk. And it says at the top, “Stuffies” in Aunt Helen’s sloppy but perfectly-formed Catholic school cursive.
My mom looks like Aunt Annie just tossed Helen’s decaptated head onto the table instead of a recipe. “How the hell did you get that?”
“I went around looking in the windows to see where she was, and she was passed out at the kitchen table. So I just went in, and that damn dog started barking and woke her up just as I was standing there in the doorway. Helen just lifted her head and shouted, “Lady! Go lay down!” and then fell back to sleep. So I petted the damn dog and flipped through all her cookbooks and there it was, right inside the front of one.”
“You actually dug through her cookbooks while she was sitting right there?”
Now Aunt Annie is laughing hysterically with the after-adrenaline come-down. “I thought I was gonna wet my pants. If she ever woke up and caught me in that kitchen…”
“In your pajamas,” I add, becuase that was the funniest part of the story to a fifteen year old.
“…she’s have stabbed me to death.”
Aunt Helen wasn’t what you’d call a Happy Drunk.
“So, who’s making the stuffies tonight?” I ask. My mom and Aunt Annie look at eachother. The Pope would sooner show up and scrub and steam quahogs than either of those two.
“And what are you gonna do the next time she goes to make stuffies and can’t find the recipe?”
Now Aunt Annie looks like it’s her severed head on the table, and Aunt Helen standing over her with the cleaver. “Oh, shit.”
To this day, we still don’t know what helen did when she noticed it was gone. But Aunt Annie lived to a ripe old age.
But oddly enough, even though we made copies at Aunt Annie’s that day, neither my mom nor I still have a copy of that recipe. It may be a job for Ghost Hunters.
Today my special guest is Abby Wood, who’s just released her eighth thirteenth thirty-seventh most recent book this week at Loose Id. Didja Know…? is a novel-length paranormal menage you don’t want to miss. Didja Know she’s giving away a free copy today? Just leave a comment and your name goes in the hat!
There’s an excerpt below, or you can buy it here. But first, ladies and gentlemen… Abby Wood!
Abby: Thanks for having me here today, Fiona. Be gentle….I’m shy. 🙂
Fiona: *snort!* No you’re not 🙂
Anyway, since I’ve been wandering around with publishing folks, I’ve found that lots of writers are creative in other ways, too. I know one who’s a professional symphony musician, another writer friend of mine was a professional ballet dancer, and I know lots of visual artists and graphic designers. But even those who aren’t professional performers often do things like knit or decorate cakes or grow prise-winning zombie cabbages. If you weren’t so busy writing, what other creative thing would you do instead?
Abby: Interesting question. Besides writing, my creative side only dabbles in things. I can crochet. My mom and granny taught me how to crochet when I was around six years old. My family loves huge afghans, so I only manage to make one every couple of years. I love to paint too. No, not pictures…walls, picnic tables, barns. Lol Yeah, I know weird! One creative thing that took me by surprise was when we were building our house two years ago. We decided to use cedar shingles on the outside. My husband showed me how to make chalk lines, hammer shingles in the right pattern, and by the time I was done with the first row I was hooked. I shingled everyday by myself while he was at his day job. I was able to hang from ropes 2 storys in the air and hammer while the kids kept handing me shingles. I would seriously think about going to work for a shingling company…I love it that much.
Fiona: LOL! You write all kinds of terrific stories in lots of different sub-genres. Do you have a favorite? Or do you just like the freedom of going different places each time you start something new?
Abby: Yeah, this is a hard question to answer. I’m one of those authors who loves the current book best, until I write my next book. Lol I love the familiarities of contemporary stories, and yet, like to stretch into the paranormal. The one sub-genre that took me by surprise was writing westerns. Oh, I love me some cowboys.
Fiona: You’ve published quite a few books this year! How do you juggle all the “behind the scenes” work–the edits with your various editors, the blogging and social networking with your fellow authors at different publishing houses, the interaction with readers…and still find time to write?
Abby: I’m a vampire. I do not sleep. Seriously. Ok, maybe I don’t do the whole blood sucking and visiting the Peckerwood Community Center (You all will have to read my coming soon book To Play or Obey? to understand what I’m talking about) but I don’t require a lot of sleep. I go on 3-4 hours of sleep a night, and feel perfectly fine. Really. I’m not crazy. I’m not.
When I receive edits, I usually sit there and work from start to finish. It drives me nuts to take a break or have to come back and try to get in the groove again. I’ve got in the habit during my non-writing time of just leaving my slow lil’ dialup on and checking emails, posting a tweet, or bugging other authors when I walk by the computer doing all the mundane house chores that I really don’t enjoy doing.
Fiona: When you were a kid, what did you want to be “when you grew up?” (You can learn a lot about a person by knowing how they saw themself as a kid. I’m not sure what, but I think it’s kind of interesting anyway).
Abby: I wanted to be a lot of things, a nurse, an architect, a pro tennis player, a writer, a fishing guide. But, one thing that I always wanted to be is a mom. Writing and being a mom at the same time is a really nice life. Although, I do escape and throw a pole in the water to get my fishing fix a few times a month. Hm…I wonder if anyone will pay me to fish?
Fiona: LOL! And you have a nifty pink foshing pole, too. Heck, I’d pay you to fish for me. Know how to catch squid?
If you got a seven-figure, multi-book deal tomorrow, what would be the first thing you’d do?
Abby: A fishing boat, and then I’d go buy me every pair of boots that caught my eye. *drools*
Fiona: We’ll hit the Tony Lama store! I’m there!
So what’s the weirdest thing currently in your garage/basement/shed/other dedicated storage area? (heh-heh-heh… yep, I’m getting you back for the calamari question!)
Abby: Oh, now that isn’t playing fair. I really did think you’d have something “normal” in your fridge. Who has 3 week old calamari?
Fiona: Let’s stick to the script, shall we?
Abby: Lol I’ll pick the barn. Hang on, I’ll go take a look around and see what I can come up with….
Wow, you know what? The weirdest thing we have is a pitchfork. *nods with a straight face*
Ok, ok, I’ll tell you the truth. We have a freezer with a skunk, coyote, and the beards of two turkeys in it.
Fiona: Wait a minute… skunks and coyotes? And you gave me a hard time over some overdue seafood…??? Didja Know dead coyotes in the freezer is… um… *different?*
Abby: My husband is also licensed trapper, and after he skins the animals, he puts them in the freezer until summer time when he can dry the pelts. Now that isn’t weird to us, but I imagine it is to everyone else. Lol
Fiona: ROFL! That’s really cool! Just be careful when you send the kids out to the freezer to get a package of hamburger. 🙂
Finally, tell us a little bit about Didja Know…? How did you get the idea for this very *unusual* paranormal ménage?
I’ve always wanted to write a story about a woman who is an herbalist and provides the people in her town with potions and cures. There is so much mystery behind herbs and their medicinal purposes. People either believe or don’t believe in the power of plants. I knew my character would be someone that the town people ran to for help, but never quite accepted as “normal.” From there, my mind wandered even further into the abnormal. How many people grow up with a ghost for a best friend? *put down your hand, Fiona! Lol* Once I had a very unusual heroine set in my head, I knew I was going to have to step it up to find a hero that made even my heroine look relatively sane. That’s where Frank…and Frank entered the picture. That’s about all I can share with you without giving the story away. There are a lot of surprises and twists that will have the reader wondering what will happen next.
Fiona: And so how about a blurb and an excerpt?
With a ghost for a best friend, Chantel wasn’t surprised when Frank showed up at her house claiming he disappeared every night and wanted her help. What did surprise her was the undeniable urge to have sex with him, and the sudden revival of her fantasy to have a threesome–with him…and him?
As she gets closer to learning what brings Frank…and Frank…to her doorstep every morning, she realizes her simple herbal cures are not the answer. But can she find the strength to risk it all when the cure may send her dream men away forever?
Excerpt: Didja Know…? By Abby Wood
“Let’s play Didja. Please…”
Chantel shook her head to remove the stray strands of curls out of her face. “No, I have to get this yarrow planted or half the women in Duluth will be mad at me.”
Kneeling beside the raised flowerbed in front of her house, she dug another hole in the soil. Her hand spade sliced through the cultivated dirt and turned a tedious job into an easy one she always enjoyed. To have her hands in the dirt and to nurture her plants brought contentment to her life.
For the past six weeks, she’d babied the tender plants inside her greenhouse from the seeds she’d collected from last season’s plants. Now that the perfect weather presented itself for outside planting and the sprouts had grown strong enough, she’d plant them outside and wait for them to bloom.
“Those women take advantage of you, Chantel, and don’t deserve your kindness.”
She sighed and pointed the spade in her friend’s direction. The action spewed dirt across the sidewalk. “That may be, but it keeps a roof over our heads, doesn’t it?”
“I don’t need a roof.” Her friend, Eve, raised her chin.
“True, but I do.” She grinned.
“Oh, very well. Plant your precious flowers and get the dirt all over yourself. It’s no skin off my nose.” Eve sat down on the front step and situated the folds of her dress over her legs. “Why you lower yourself with these menial tasks is disgraceful.”
Chantel glanced over and smirked. You’d think Eve sat at a king’s table for how much fuss she gave the same evening gown she’s worn every single day since Chantel’s childhood. The fact that her clothes remained the same must not have mattered to a ghost.
She picked up the yarrow and hit the side of the pot with her spade to loosen the soil from the container. Without disturbing the fragile roots, she placed the plant in one of the holes and gently patted the dirt down. It did no good arguing with Eve. She’d never understand how bills needed paid. The so-called menial tasks she did every day supported her without having to get a so-called real job in town.
“When do you think you’ll go to town again?” Eve sat with her hands clasped in her lap, knees together, and her ankles crossed.
“I don’t know, but you’re staying at the house the next time.” She picked up another plant and thumped the side of the container. “You blew it last time.”
A sound that resembled a snort but had to have been a scoff because Eve swore she’d never make such a rude noise, came from the right of Chantel. “It wasn’t my fault you talked to me in front of the others.”
“It’s not an easy thing to keep silent with you swooping down around everyone and blowing in their ears.” Chantel’s cheek twitched. “You create chaos wherever you go.”
Eve clapped her hands and giggled. “Did you catch the expression on Old Man Turner’s face? He thought Mr. Sumner was getting fresh with him.”
Chantel burst out laughing, sat back on her heels, and gave in to the fun conversation. Eve never failed to get a rise out of her no matter the situation. She got into more trouble with Eve’s childlike pranks than she’d ever find on her own. Every one of them worth the consequences, though.
“We have to be more careful, Eve. It’s one thing to go a little crazy on occasion, but another thing to make people suspect I’m losing touch with reality on a weekly basis.” She dug the last hole. “They already whisper enough about me without me adding more bizarre behavior for their loose tongues.”
“I’m sorry.” Eve stopped her laughter and sniffed.
“I know you are.” She patted the last plant into the ground and stood up. She brushed her knees free of dirt. Her head lifted at the dog barks coming from the backyard.
“Now what?” She headed toward the backyard, where she kept the stray dog penned up.
The usually calm black-and-white dog jumped up and down on the side of the rickety pen in a frenzy of excitement. “What are you so excited about? Hm?”
Chantel reached over the fence and rubbed the fur between Dawg’s floppy ears. With no luck finding his owner the past three weeks, she’d grown to love the furry pooch. “You’re a good doggy, aren’t you?”
“He’s more of a fleabag with legs in my opinion.” Eve stood back a safe distance from the pen.
“You just haven’t become friends with him yet. Once I’m sure his owners are not coming for him, and he’s living in the house, you two will become fast friends. You’ll see…” Her smile directed at the mutt.
“Yeah, right. The dog hates me,” Eve said. “First chance he gets he’s going to bite through half my leg. Just you wait and see.”
“He only needs to get to know you. He’ll learn. Right, Dawg?” She turned her head in Eve’s direction. “He’s probably never seen a ghost before.”
“That is such a stupid name for a dog.” Eve cast her eyes up.
“Can you think of a better name?” Chantel stepped back from the fence. The dog almost jumped to the top in an attempt to get out of its pen. What in the world is wrong with you, dog? Keep acting like that and Eve will start whining even more.
“I’d call him Stupid, Brainless, or—”
The rest of Eve’s suggestions got lost in the incessant barking, and both women jumped back and gasped. The hyperactive little dog scrambled over the fence and ran across the yard faster than they’d ever seen him run.
“Dawg!” Chantel clapped her hands.
“Oh God, the beast is out. Save me! Save me!” Eve held the ends of her dress off the ground and twirled in a circle in pure dramatic zeal.
“Knock it off, Eve. The dog can’t even see you, much less bite you.” Chantel glared over her shoulder as she took off in a jog to follow the same path the dog ran. After all this time, she didn’t want him to run away. She loved the little sweetheart, fleas and all.
“Dawg! Come back here…” She rounded the corner of the house and screeched to a stop. She shrieked, and her hands came up to cover her mouth. Her dog jumped all over a man who lay on the ground. Oh no!
The man covered his face with his arms to defend himself against Dawg, who bounced back and forth around his head in search of an open spot to squeeze his head in to lick his face. She giggled and dropped her hands. Obviously, the pup liked this man.
The man grumbled, attempted to catch the dog, but Dawg dodged his hands. Chantel burst out laughing. The sight of man versus beast amused her, and she wondered which one of them would win the title for the championship showdown.
“What is wrong with your damn dog?” The man heaved himself up off the grass and stepped back. That didn’t deter Dawg. He attached himself to the shoestrings on the man’s sneakers and attempted to tear them off.
“He’s really not my dog.” She laughed and walked over to pick Dawg up, but the dog’s back end sidestepped every time she attempted to grab him. “He’s a stray that I’m keeping if no one comes forward and claims him.”
Her hands finally made contact with the speedy ball of fluff, and she pried his teeth away from the shoelaces. She clamped him to her chest. The dog yipped in protest at the tight hold. She crooned low into Dawg’s ear and smiled up at the man in front of her. Oh my God, he’s gorgeous.
“I bet his last owners dumped him off here, because he has no manners.” The man brushed his sleeves off and looked down his nose at the obnoxious dog in her arms. “Little shit needs obedience school.”
“How can you say that?” She frowned. “He likes you.”
She pushed Dawg’s head against her shoulder in an attempt to protect the dogs self-esteem. “I swear he must be the most misunderstood dog in Duluth.”
“Likes me? I think he needs to be fed. I think he took a chunk out of my neck!” He roamed the curve of his neck with his hand, searching for signs of blood.
She shook her head and turned to walk Dawg back to the kennel. With her luck, she’d never be able to keep the pup contained in the pen now that he knew how to jump the fence.
“Hey! Wait. Where are you going?” The man caught up with her.
“To lock this vicious, hungry dog up in his kennel. We wouldn’t want to have him attack you again and end up eating you for dinner, now would we?” She bit down on her lip to keep from laughing. Although I’d love to have a taste of you.
Dawg wormed his way up the front of Chantel’s shirt and barked over her shoulder at their visitor who followed close at their heels. She’d never seen the dog act this way. Even around Eve, he snarled and snapped and never showed such pure unadulterated happiness. With this stranger, the dog wiggled his rump at super high speed. Didn’t the man realize Dawg only wanted to play?
He must not be a dog lover. Anyone with a spot of sense knew an overexcited dog that licked and jumped wasn’t planning to take a chunk out of the man’s leg. He only wanted to play with this new attraction. She ran her hand down his furry back. His little doggy heart pounded a mile a minute.
“You wouldn’t happen to be Chantel, would you?” The man kept stride with her and the dog.
So, he knew her name. She’d never seen him around. If someone in town guided him to her, who knew what they told him about her, the crazy woman who talked to herself and dabbled in magical herbs. She’d never stand a chance at getting to know him. Pshaw!
She set the dog down on the ground inside his pen, promptly turned around, and grabbed hold of the stranger’s arm to steer him around to the front of the house. She didn’t want to tease Dawg by standing around with his newfound playmate, and chance him getting out of his enclosure again.
Once the man left, she’d booby-trap the fence and hope that kept the dog contained. She planned to bring him in the house if no one showed up to claim him in a month, and turn him into her pet. Only one more week to go and she’d have her first pet.
“What are you doing?” The man yanked his arm out of her grasp and stared at her in confusion.
“Sh!” She held up her hand and cocked her head. The barking came to a stop, and she smiled up at the man. “Okay, I think Dawg will stay in his pen now.”
“Good. Look, lady, I’m trying to find a woman named Chantel. Do you happen to know if she lives here or if I have the wrong place?” The man stood up straighter. “I don’t have much time to play games, and it’s important to me to find this woman.”
“You’ve got the right place. I’m Chantel,” she said.
The man’s face relaxed, and he blew out his breath. The lines on his forehead disappeared, and his eyes widened enough she received a glimpse of startling green. Oh. My. God.
Her lips curved into a pleased smile, and she stepped closer to him. Those magnetic eyes peeked out from thick, dark lashes—lashes any women might kill for—brought out a surge of succulent rays of lust that traveled straight to her nipples and brought them to attention.
Her gaze wandered over the rest of him, and her tongue came out to run the length of her bottom lip. His dark-chocolate-colored hair lay long and rumpled. She imagined he ran his hands through it at the first sign of frustration.
His wrinkled clothes carried bits of grass clippings, thanks to Dawg’s friendly attack. Despite the frazzled appearance, he presented a package she’d love to unwrap.
“You don’t know how glad I am to meet you.” He grabbed her hand and pumped it up and down.
At his touch, her stomach clenched and her ears rang. His lips moved, but her brain filtered the words. What is he doing to me?
“And that is why I came to you. I thought, maybe, if I explained what is happening to me, you’d fix it.” He gazed at her with his eyebrows raised.
“Fix it?” She swept her bangs behind her ear. What the heck is wrong with me? I act like a cat in heat! I can’t even follow the conversation.
The man reached out and used the pad of his thumb to scrub at her forehead. She glanced down at her hands covered in dried dirt. Great. The best-looking man comes to my house to see me, and I have dirt from head to toe.
“Yeah, I need to find my memories. I don’t know what is happening to me. One moment, I’m here, and the next, I float off to”—he threw up his arms—“heaven or hell. I don’t know, really. Somewhere I lose myself. I don’t even know I am there. I’m zilch.
“And you want to hear the crazy thing? No one knows me here, and I don’t know my own name or if I own a home around here. Nothing looks familiar. I don’t even recognize myself. God, this is insane.” He clutched the top of his head with both hands and tugged his hair. “I heard the women at the store talking about you giving them something to help their husbands. Something inside me knew I should find you and ask for your help.”
He grabbed both of her hands and kneaded them. She pulled away and wrapped her arms around her middle. Did he create that buzz? She wanted nothing more than to push him back down on the ground and imitate Dawg’s acts of licking him all over.
“I…I don’t understand. What women?” She shook her head. Snap out of it! Pay attention to what he is saying.
“I don’t know who they are. It doesn’t matter.” He shrugged and paced a few steps. “I just need to fix whatever is wrong with me. I don’t want to disappear tonight. You are some kind of witch aren’t you?” he asked. “That’s the impression I got from the women. You helped one of them. Maybe you can help me?”
Chantel studied the man. Out of breath, confused, and belligerent, he appeared on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Her heart went out to him.
“Here, come sit over on the porch and rest. I’ll get you a glass of water.” She guided him over to the house.
“Let me go in the house and get you a glass of my special lemonade. I’m sure that will help you feel better. After you take a rest and get your breath back, we can talk.” She stepped up on the step where he sat, and he grabbed her hand.
“Please, no!” He let go of her, placed his elbows on his knees, and sank his head down on his hands. “I’m sorry. I no longer eat or drink.”
She stepped back down off the steps and sat beside him. Her hands clasped on her legs, she stared at her visitor who appeared to fall apart right in front of her. The desire to hold on to him and have hot, sweaty sex with him took her breath away and left her confused. I must be confusing lust with compassion.
This whole morning turned into one confusing dream. Her brain unable to grasp why she found herself so attracted to his stranger. A simple touch of his hand, and her body responded as if she’d received fifteen minutes of foreplay, and she wanted to jump right into sex with someone she believed didn’t have all the marbles in his head.
How did today go spiraling out of control? Eve pestered her all morning to play Didja, and Dawg developed a freak spurt of energy that she’d never witnessed the whole time she’s taken care of him. The most confusing was her sex drive shifting into full throttle at the sight of this green-eyed man. It didn’t make a lick of sense why they’d all act so strange.
“What do you mean? How long have you gone without eating?” She kept her voice low. Half-afraid he’d hear the excitement coursing through her body if she spoke normally.
He lifted his head but gazed straight ahead. “I can’t be positive, but I think about a week.”
“A week! You must be starving. I can fix—”
“No, you can’t. I told you I can’t eat or drink. My throat closes up and I choke. I’m never thirsty or hungry anymore, but I know that is what I am supposed to do. I remember that.” He shook his head. “Maybe I don’t, and it is just something everyone knows.”
“I’m confused. You really don’t know who you are? Did you suffer a head injury? An accident?”
He shook his head and snorted. “I don’t think so, but how am I suppose to know?”
Eve showed up in front of her with a knowing smile. She frowned at her friend. She tilted her head and darted her eyes to the side for her to go away, but Eve crossed her arms and ignored her. Oh shit, what is she going to do now?
The man beside her inhaled through his nose, and his whole upper body expanded. Her gaze swept the width of his shoulders, and she bit down on her lip. I’m acting craziest of all of them. What is with this man that I find myself so attracted to him?
“Do you smell that?” He sniffed the air. “Roses. I smell goddamn roses. Now how in the hell do I remember a scent, but can’t remember where I live? Can you tell me that?” He slapped his fist against his knee. “This is so frustrating.”
“I don’t know.” She bit her lip and stared at Eve. She knew exactly where the smell came from. Eve always smelled of the love flower, but she didn’t remember anyone ever picking up the scent, besides her. “I have lots of flowers in the yard.”
He nodded. She nibbled on her lip. She hoped that he wouldn’t ask her to explain exactly where the rose scent came from or notice that all of her roses planted in the flowerbed were not even close to blooming.
“I heard a couple women talking about you at the store. You sell concoctions or potions, right?” He turned toward her on the step. “Are you some kind of witch? Can you cast a spell and send me back where I belong?”
“I…I own an herbal medicine shop.” She scooted away from him. “Look, I don’t really understand anything that’s happened today. Maybe you should go back home, take a nap—” Go away, so I can get control of myself.
“You don’t get it! I don’t have a home. Every night, I seem to vanish, no matter how much I fight against it. Zap! I’m gone!” He snapped his fingers. “The next morning, I’m back in the park on the edge of town.”
He glanced away. His eyes squinted as he looked toward the yard. She turned her head to follow his gaze, her eyes widened in alarm.
Jumping off the step, she stood between him and Eve. She glanced over her shoulder to make sure he still remained behind her, and stepped farther out onto the grass, forcing Eve to back up farther, away from the man.
“What do you think you’re doing?” she whispered. “He can smell you. Can he see you too?”
Eve stood in the yard, her hands clasped together under her chin. Chantel rubbed her temples. By the position of Eve’s mouth and the way she held her ground, she knew this confrontation took all of Eve’s strength.
“I need to talk with you. We’ve got to play Didja.” Eve waved her hand in the air. “I should have explained…” She glanced away. “Oh dear! I should have—”
Chantel groaned. Just great! Now Eve spoke too much and disappeared.
Chantel walked back to Frank, who sat staring at his hands, lost in his troubles, and thanked the lucky stars he had his own problems to deal with that he didn’t pay any attention to her odd behavior.
“Maybe you should come back tomorrow. Let me think about everything you’ve shared with me. I’m confused about what is going on, and maybe tomorrow things will make more sense and I can help you.” She tugged at a strand of her hair.
He nodded his head. “Yeah, I’ll leave. I’m embarrassed about unloading all of this on you. I just don’t have anywhere else to go. I have no clue whom to talk this over with, without coming out looking like a total flake. I thought…never mind.”
The lines on his forehead grew in numbers, his shoulders sagged even more, and his mouth clamped shut. She raised her brows to encourage him to speak his mind, but he closed his jaw and shook his head.
“Is there anything you need until tomorrow?” She laid her hand on his arm but didn’t linger. It would be best not to push temptation, or she’d end up exploring more of his gorgeous body. The skin under her fingers vibrated, and she turned her hand over to check the skin. The sensation of a mild electrical current evaporated quickly, and she wondered what caused it and if he felt it too.
“No, I need nothing. I’m sorry I bothered you this way.” He stood up. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to come back tomorrow. I know that I come across insane, but I really don’t think I am…normally.”
“You’re welcome to come back. I can’t promise you any answers to your questions, though. I’ve never had a customer with this kind of confusion before.” She sobered. “Besides, people misunderstand me all the time; the least I can do is try to help you.”
Don’t miss this great story… I’ve read it, and it’s awesome!
Buy it here: http://www.loose-id.com/Didja-Know.aspx
Or leave a comment and you’re registered to win a copy free!
And Abby can be found here:
Thanks, Abby! Come back and play soon!
I know, I know, you do mean it. You’d never say anything you don’t mean. (Ahem because that would make you a… liar?).
But I gotta say, after being called all kinds of dishonest yesterday, most of you turned around and said I was telling the truth in most of the crazy shenanigans I listed! I’m touched, really. Sort of. I think.
Here’s a recap:
1. I once ate squirrel I shot myself.
2. I used to live in Boston, Mass
3. I used to live in Paris, France
4. I used to be an all-star pitcher until I took a line drive to the face
5. I cannot juggle to save my life.
6. Unlike Abby Wood, I *have* spit off the Space Needle in Seattle!
7. Despite claiming to know romance, I’m still looking for Mr. Right.
Let’s take a look at these one-by-one.
1. Everyone thinks I’m some kinda Daniel Boon Wannabe and shoot and eat squirrels. I suppose there’s a compliment in there somewhere… as in, I’m a good enough shot to actually *hit* a moving squirrel with a loaded firearm (as opposed to, say, a moving Chevy Venture 7-passenger van. Did you know roadkill can get up into your ventilation system? But that’s a story for another day). LIE. I have neither shot nor eaten squirrel.
2. LIE. I have never lived in Boston, Mass, although I lived in Rhode Island most of my life.
3. LIE. I have never lived in Paris, France, although I lived in Rhode Island most of my life. And I did take four years of French in school, I can still say, “J’ai une maillot jaune” and “Qui est la Bibliotheque?”
4. TRUE! In the sixth grade I pitched on district sixth-grade all-star softball team and did indeed take a line drive to the face. Ruined my career in the big leagues. Another true story: The other day, the hub and the 5-year-old were in the yard playing swordball. That’s like baseball, only my reincarnated-medeival-knight son bats with his large nerf sword. I came out to watch for a moment, and at the first crack of the… sword, I flinched and turned away. I might even have yelped a little. Of course, the foam covered kiddie ball went about three feet, and I was twenty feet away. Don’t laugh. I’m sure the neighbors laughed enough for all of us.
5. LIE! Kaitlin was the only person who stood up for my jugggling ability, so she’s my new best friend. I CAN juggle to save my life. Mwahahaha!
6. LIE. I haven’t spit off the Space Needle. I’ve never even *been* to Seattle. Although I lived in Rhode Island most of my life.
7. LIE. I *have* found Mr. Right. He’s the inspiration for all my romantic heroes. I heart him.
So, the closest answer was Cassidy Hunter’s. She was still wrong (and she still thought I ate that nasty squirrel!) but she’s my winner!
And the Booby Prize goes to Sheila Stewart… who got them all 100% backwards. LOL! (Sheila, hon, if they ever contact you for jury duty, send them to me.)
And thanks everyone for playing! For those of you who were nominated… I’m watching you… 🙂
Well, to hear her spin it, I’m not a *liar,* I’m jsut *creative* 🙂
She’s nominated me for Lesa’s Creative Blogger Award!
And what does this lovely award entail? First I nominate seven other bloggers who I think are dirty stinkin’ liars–uh, I mean, wildly creative writers–you’ll find their names below. Then, I post seven statements. 6 truths and 1 lie. Or 6 lies and 1 truth. All you have to do is guess which it is… and pick out the 1 line that’s not like the rest.
Hmmm…. this kinda reminds me of another post… something about Zombie Cabbage and Mexican Wrestling Chihuahuas… or maybe it’s just last week’s bad calamari coming back to haunt me….
And the Nomiees are…
*tearing open little envelope*…
Keith Melton: awesome Urban Fantasy author. www.keithmelton.net
Selena Illyria: hot erotic I/R romance www.selenaillyria.com
Kaitlin Maitland: exciting action and hot romance www.kaitlinmaitland.com
Shirin Dubbin: more cool Urban Fantasy http://fan-fatale.com
Mary Hughes: Biting love www.maryhughesbooks.com
Cassidy Hunter: Urban fantasy and paranormal romance www.cassidyhunter.com
Becke Martin: Contemporary romance with sizzle…and a twist http://www.beckemartin.com/bm/index.php?cat=3
Congratulations, Liars! I mean, wonderfully creative people!
And now… the seven “facts”…
1. I once ate squirrel I shot myself.
2. I used to live in Boston, Mass
3. I used to live in Paris, France
4. I used to be an all-star pitcher until I took a line drive to the face
5. I cannot juggle to save my life.
6. Unlike Abby Wood, I *have* spit off the Space Needle in Seattle!
7. Despite claiming to know romance, I’m still looking for Mr. Right.
Okay… have at it! 🙂
YAY for Becke! who correctly guessed that the zombie cabbages in photo A belonged to me. I won’t go into the fact that she has a little bit of background in the gardening biz, which the rest of you may claim gives her an unfair advantage. But I’ll bet that even the illustrious, many-pseudonymed Becke (who may be the only woman out there with more names than me!) has never grown zombie cabbage to rival these!
What exactly *is* zombie cabbage? Its what you get when you’re a pathetic gardener and just can’t stand the idea of working in the dirt after all the pretty things have died. I thought it would be safe… nothing would grow in the cold, unforgiving earth over the winter, would it? After the grim reaper scythed it all away in winter’s dark shadow? Pshaw! Who would think such a thing?
But two of my cabbage plants somehow survived the bony hand of death…and what rose from the ground was not quite dead… but no longer really cabbage… Now they creep across the garden, searching for brains…
But I digress.
Becke, your copy of The Highwayman is on the way! 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by. I thank you. My cabbage thanks you. 🙂
And we have a parting gift for those of you mistakenly think I own things even stranger than zombie cabbage. I just gotta think of something. I’ll get back to you.