Monthly Archives: March 2016

***Blog Tour & Review*** The Living Series by Melody Dawn

The Living Series by Melody Dawn

 

To Live Again (The Living Series #1)

 

 

This is Living (The Living Series #1.5)

 

 

New Adult / Contemporary Romance

Chloe: She’s broken beyond repair. 
Jayson: He’s determined to fix her and make her love him in the process. 

Chloe has the perfect life or so everyone thinks. 
She tried to leave her past behind, but it follows her like a dark shadow. Drowning in guilt, she’s dying to live, but sees no way out. So she tries to fool herself and everyone else into believing she is fine. 
But Jayson sees through the act that Chloe puts up for everyone else and he’s going to do everything in his power to help her to live again. 

Can Chloe let go, or will that night forever ruin her future?



“A really sweet strong about overcoming tragedy and learning to forgive yourself. I would recommend it for everyone!” – 5 Star Goodreads Review

“I will just say: She has the story. Interesting and somewhat heartbreaking story.” – 5 Star from Ani’s Reviews

“I loved this book!!! From the very first pages I was pulled in and didn’t put it down.” – 5 Star from Reading the Sheets

“This book is well written, so emotional a tear jerker for sure but a must read.” – 5 Star from AJ’s Book ReMarks

The first time Jayson Reece saw Chloe Schaeffer, he knew she would be his forever. He promised her then that he would show her how to live rather than just letting life pass her by. Now, 9 years later, they’ve had the storybook romance, a picture perfect wedding, and two twin boys to complete the family they always wanted. 

But something is missing… 

With two rambunctious boys, Chloe decides to be a stay-at-home mom until the boys are old enough to go to school. So, with her dreams of being a social worker put on hold, she throws everything she has into being the perfect mother and wife. 

Jayson has a very demanding career as an Emergency Room physician. He tries to balance out his workload and that of being a family man, but lately his job has come first. Is he beginning to lose focus on the things that are most important to him? 

Will Chloe’s drive for perfection and the challenges of Jayson’s career drive them apart? Or will they realize that love creates the perfection she desires and the balance he needs to keep his family together? 

There’s only one thing left to do. Jayson needs to renew his promise to Chloe and she needs to trust Jayson to get them back to where they belong. 

A place where living and loving is required…those only wanting to exist need not apply.

“I laughed, I cried and laughed again. This is a heartwarming story and you will throuoghly enjoy it.” – 5 Star from Alpha Book Club

“Man, I just loved this book. Just have a box of tissues handy, and have your best book friend in your messages so you can vent, you will need someone to listen.” – 5 Star from We’re Jumpin’ Books

“A must read of 2016. I can’t wait for the rest of this series.” – 5 Star from Tracy’s Book Blog

“This is at times an extremely emotional read! But hold on for the ride!” – 5 Star from Goodreads Review

To Live Again


After getting out of the shower, I finish my morning routine. Taking in a breath, I know it’s time. I have to look in the mirror to check my appearance before I can leave the bathroom. I slowly raise my head and look, hoping that I can do it quickly without really having to notice my eyes. But, as usual, I stare into my reflection for a moment. I see the dark circles and notice that my violet eyes look the way they usually do, like I have no soul, because really I don’t; not anymore.
I know there is nothing I can do to change it, so I turn around and leave the bathroom and go off to start another new semester at Rice University. Pulling into the student parking lot, I find a place to park. I breathe deeply, relax my face muscles, and pull on the smiling mask that everyone expects of me and go looking for my class.
I am double majoring in Sociology and Psychology since I hope to become a social worker. Because of this, I am always looking to take classes that will help me understand what people are going through and how they react to dire situations. My first class on my new schedule will definitely help with that. It’s called Psychology 305: Death and Dying-Understanding the Grieving Process.
As I make my way across the parking lot, it occurs to me that it’s sort of ironic that I’m taking this class. Maybe I will get some insight into myself and finally some closure. Yeah right, and maybe I will sleep until 5:50 in the morning. Shaking my head in disgust, I square my shoulders and open the door, looking for my favorite seat…1st row, 3rd seat, closest to the door.
Immediately, I see it is already taken by a very large, very beautiful boy. Holy hell and hotness. He’s so gorgeous, but he is in my seat, so hot or not, he’s going to have to move it. If he doesn’t, at least I will have had a chance to talk to him and look at him; yeah, I’m so objectifying him right now. I bet feminism just slid back a couple of centuries, but surely women everywhere will understand when they get a load of what I’m seeing.
Even so, I walk up to his desk and as he looks up at me, I see the most gorgeous green eyes and black hair. Green eyes are my weakness and he is certainly no exception. I am standing there just staring at him so I know I have to act like I’m not affected by him at all. It’s kind of written in the girl code handbook that we can’t let hot guys know how they affect us, right?
Keeping this in mind, I look at him and say, “Excuse me, you’re in my seat.”
He laughs and says, “No sweetheart, I’m in my seat.”
I roll my eyes and move to the next seat over. A few seconds later, he taps me on the shoulder and says, “Hey, I’m Jayson or Jase, which ever you would like to call me.”
I glare at him and ask, “So? What makes you think I am going to call you anything?” He just winks at me and smiles a devastating smile. “If you want this seat, the price is introducing yourself.”
Feeling like something big is happening, I reach out my hand and say, “Hi, I’m Chloe Schaeffer.”
As our hands touch, I feel a spark of electricity and we both look at each other in a shocked way. We sit there for a second, staring at each other, with clasped hands. Jerking my hand back, I stand and wait as he gets up to exchange seats with me while feeling a little bad that I made such a big deal about a desk.
When he stands up, I look up at him and it’s a long way up there. He has black hair that looks like he either ran his hands through it a bunch of times or he just naturally has that sexy fall out of bed look. You know the kind people pay stylists a ton of money to get? Not to mention the green eyes, I know I already did, but God can you blame me?
I keep ogling him and the view just gets better and better. He has on a RU t-shirt and faded jeans that fit him just right paired with black Harley boots. But the best thing of all is his mouth. His lips are full and gorgeous and look like they’re made for sinning and I definitely want to be the first to fall from grace. I snap back to myself when I see him just standing there. I think he is secretly laughing at me so now I don’t feel so bad about stealing his seat.
The professor comes into the room and as he begins droning on and on about death, I keep sneaking peeks over at my sexy neighbor and C-R-A-P, crap, he just caught me checking him out. He looks back at me and winks. I immediately blush and look away and it hits me that for a moment, I forgot the hell that is my life.
This is Living
 
Carrying me over to the small bed, he starts to lay me down; however I refuse to let go of him. 
 
“Wait, are these sheets clean? Who else has been in this bed?” 
 
I feel his chest moving against me and I know he is trying not to laugh out loud. Punching him in the arm, I say, “Don’t laugh at me; you know how I am! I just don’t want to be lying in someone else’s stuff.”
 
“Well, I’m the only one that’s been on shift the last two days, so you don’t have anything to worry about.” 
 
Are you sure about that? I shut my eyes at the thought that crossed my mind because just the idea of it makes me want to hurl. I open my eyes and he is just staring at me with an odd look on his face.
 
“Why are you looking at me like that,” I ask in a quiet panic. Surely, he doesn’t know what I was just thinking. 
 
“You tell me. Why did you shut your eyes with a pained look on your face and hesitate when I said it was only me that’s been using this bed?”
 
His ability to read me has me at a loss for words. I start to answer, but then shut my mouth. I’m not sure what to say that isn’t going to sound like an accusation. Maybe I should just say what’s been bothering me, then he can reassure me and we’ll move on.
 
“Uh, I don’t know. You haven’t been home for two days and didn’t call, plus you only texted when I texted first. I just thought…” Good one, Chloe, that didn’t sound accusatory at all.
 
Pulling away from me, he walks over to where he left his scrubs and starts to get dressed. “Wait, what are you doing?”
 
With his jaw clenched and eyes flashing, he shakes his head. “Get dressed, Chloe. Go home. I will talk to you later.”
 
“Go home? For your information, I’m not some child you get to send away. I cannot believe you just said that to me.”
 
“I don’t know what to say to you. I haven’t looked at another woman since the day I laid eyes on you. You can say a lot of things about me, but cheating isn’t one of them.”
 
Shit, shit, shit! This is not what I wanted. Why the hell didn’t I listen to Madison? “I didn’t mean anything by what I said. I was just stating that I haven’t seen you in a while.”
 
“It sure as hell sounds like you were accusing me of cheating on you. Is that really what you think I’ve been doing the past couple of days?”
 
He looks so angry and I hate it more than anything. I don’t do well with confrontation and this is even worse than usual. 
 
Instead of reassuring him, I’m standing there frozen, unable to speak. When he sees I’m not going to answer, he slams his hand down on a locker while cursing.
 
“Jayson, you are putting words in my mouth,” I finally manage to say. 
 
Feeling exposed, I began yanking my clothes on. It’s obvious nothing is going to happen here and I’m not standing here naked while he yells at me.
 
“Ok, then tell me what you were thinking and don’t lie to me. I’m really fucking pissed right now so tell me that I’m wrong.”
 
Without waiting for an answer, he yells, “No, I’m not pissed, I’m fucking hurt that you would think so little of me. All these years and nothing has changed, has it?”
 
“Stop this now,” I tell him in a shaky voice. 
 
“We need to both take a step back and take a breath before we say something we can’t take back. You haven’t called or come home, so yes, I was feeling a bit insecure. I also may have let my emotions and my brain run away from me, but don’t you EVER accuse me by saying nothing has changed. You know that’s not true. I think I will go home. This is not the place or time to discuss issues such as these and I’m not going to stand here and scream back and forth like some characters on a reality show just to get my point across.”
 
I can see my words are hitting home with him and now I’m the angry one. I never came out and accused him of cheating on me. You sure didn’t say that he hadn’t when he asked you, did you? I ruthlessly tamp down on these thoughts because while we are both in the wrong here, one of us has to walk away. If it has to be me, then so be it.
 
He’s still standing in front of the door and as I near him, I can see the tired lines of his face. I hate that he is so exhausted. I hate that we fought with such hateful words…this is the worst fight we’ve ever had…even more so than when I left him sitting in a restaurant 9 years ago. When I reach him, I wrap my arms around his waist and rest my head on his chest. His body is stiff against mine, but finally he wraps his arms around me and squeezes.
 
“I’m sorry I hurt you. I was freaked out when I didn’t hear from you last night and you didn’t come home this morning. Then, when I got here, the new nurse acted strangely when I asked for you.” 
 
He doesn’t let go, but neither does he respond, so I look up at him and wink, trying to get him in a better mood. “This is where you apologize on bended knee. And then let me out of the deal that says I might have to give any money back for swearing.”
 
Bending down, he places his forehead against mine and says, “I’m sorry, too…for everything. I’m exhausted and I have a bitch of a headache.”
 
I close the distance and kiss him in reply. “I love you.”
 
He mumbles, “Me, too, I have to go.”
 
Suddenly he lets go of me and turns to open the door. All I can think of is that he didn’t say I love you back, just “me, too.”
 
Before walking out, he stops and presses his forehead against the door while I stand awkwardly behind him. I’m not sure what is going on, but something is. Though it’s killing me, it’s still not the time to talk about it or spring any other news on him. I place my hand in his and wait.

My Reviews

To Live Again

★★★★★

Melody Dawn is a new to me author, but she has definitely become an author I plan on one clicking a lot after reading To Live Again.

This book drew me in from the beginning, with a heart breaking event that changes Chloe’s life forever. Chloe was an awesome heroine, even when she was weak she wasn’t whiny like a lot of heroines come off. I loved seeing her character grow, and emerge from the shell she had become. Jayson definitely climbed the ladders to my favorite book boyfriend, and is definitely in the top three. Even with his alpha tendencies, he had a sweet, even sometimes vulnerable side. The sparks flew between these two immediately, and I loved that they didn’t jump in to the sack quickly. I loved the secondary characters, with Conner and Madison bringing even more laughs (and tears) to the book. As I said earlier, this book drew me in from the beginning, and I couldn’t put it down!

I definitely recommend this to anyone looking to a phenomenal read

Review Link-http://www.amazon.com/review/R2QGLP3VXHUMWO/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B015N98AGS

 

This Is Living

★★★★★

I just finished this story, and one word stands out above the rest. AMAZING. It dew me in, had me laughing, crying, and wanting to throat punch one character, and I couldn’t put it down. It was nice to see a side of real marriages in this book. The insecurities, the issues, the tragedies, and the strength. I fell in love with Jayson and Chloe in book 1, and this book gives us a glimpse of what their future holds. A definite must read for anyone looking for a great read!

Review Link-http://www.amazon.com/review/R3KZRVCMYOR506/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B019H2M7DO

Melody Dawn is an aspiring contemporary romance author residing in the southern part of the US. She started reading romance novels when she was a teenager and became addicted to Happily Ever After’s. She got her own HEA when she met her soulmate 20 years ago and they have been together ever since. They have two furbabies who think they are Kings of the Castle and require a ton of attention. When she is not reading or writing, she loves to refurbish old furniture into new pieces, scrapbook, and most of all spend time with her main guy.


 

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****Review**** Falling with Style by CM Foss

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Blurb

Lawrence and Steph Brooks spent years fighting their love, and then they fought their way back to each other. After earning their happy, swoon-worthy ending, they were intent on keeping it.

But a few years, a fledgling business, and a couple of kids later, Steph and Lawrence learn that falling in love was the easy part and happily ever after isn’t for sissies. With life bearing down on them, they can’t always escape the fall, but they can do it with style.

Buy links

Amazon-http://amzn.to/1USuaDt

Barnes and Noble-http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/falling-with-style-cm-foss/1123596618?ean=2940152843477

ibooks-https://itun.es/us/JN7Pab.l

My Review

This was such a good quick read. Lawrence and Steph are still finding their way through a new business, and having toddlers. I loved seeing them struggle like real people do (while fiction is fun, sometimes it’s nice to see the heroine is a hot mess when waking up also 😉 ) I loved how CM Foss added in the struggles of a wounded soldier coming home, and some of the harsh reality they face in their home life. Overall, the book was a great, fun read, and I would definitely recommend one clicking it!!

***Spotlight*** Boys of Life by Paul Russell

Boys Of Life by Paul Russell

Date of Publication: March 8, 2016

Blurb

Country boy Tony is seduced by a smooth talking pornographer, who brings the young man to New York to star in a violent sex film. An escape, a marriage and a murder follow the story’s cinematic arc of innocence, betrayal, redemption and revenge.

Available From


Excerpt

Even if their adventures were sometimes so cruel as to be revolting by our standards, if they were obscene in such a grand and total way as to become innocent again, yet beyond their ferocity, their eroticism, they embody the eternal myth; man standing alone before the fascinating mystery of life, all its terror, its beauty and its passion.
—FEDERICO FELLINI

The first time I met Carlos Reichart I was standing in the Nu-Way Laundromat folding up a bed sheet, which is probably a strange way to meet the one person who’s going to ruin your life.

It was September, and there was this light drizzle coming down past the windows of the laundromat. The fluorescent lights made everything look even more depressing than usual—concrete block walls painted yellow, these blue and green palm trees painted over the yellow. The concrete floor and the stale heat smell that comes from dryers.

The Nu-Way was the only laundromat in Owen, Kentucky, and doing laundry there was one of the things I hated most. The clothes in the washers went round and round, and in the dryers too. In two weeks there you’d be back again, washing the same clothes over and over. That was exactly what your life was.

I remember hearing on the radio, years later, about some tropical depression out in the Atlantic that was being upgraded into a storm. We were making a movie on this estate in the Hudson River Valley, and Seth Rosenheim, Carlos’s cameraman, made the joke, “That’s what happened to Carlos—a tropical depression upgraded into a storm.” What it suddenly made me remember, though—those words tropical depression—was the Nu-Way Laundromat: maybe the clothes spinning in the dryers, and those green and blue painted palm trees that were supposed to cheer the place up but only made it more depressing. Or maybe because I met Carlos on a day when it was raining and somewhere, some ocean, it really was the season for tropical depressions and storms.

I was tugging bed sheets out of the dryer, stuffing them back in the plastic garbage bags I’d brought. When I looked up, this man was staring at me. He was sitting on the wooden bench that ran along the windows in the front of the place, and he had a little spiral notebook in his lap, the kind you buy for school. He must’ve been writing something down, only he’d stopped and was looking around. I guess he’d seen me because he was staring, and when I glanced up we were looking right at each other.

I expected him to look away, but he didn’t, and for some reason I didn’t either. But then I did, I went on folding those sheets. I had this feeling he was staring at me the whole time, and when I looked back at him it was true, he hadn’t moved. It was this questioning look, like you give somebody when you think you might’ve seen them before, or you might know them but can’t remember from where. Only he looked like he knew exactly who I was. That’s what I felt—here was somebody saying, Oh, I know exactly who you are even though I’ve never seen you before. Like he’d been waiting to meet me for a long time and he’d known he would—he just didn’t know when or where it would happen and now here it was.

Maybe I’m making all that up, but I don’t think so.

There wasn’t anybody but us in the laundromat. I hadn’t noticed him till I noticed him staring at me. He was maybe forty years old, not gone to flab anywhere but tight like the head of a drum. With his high cheekbones he looked like he might have Cherokee blood in him. His black hair was combed back from his forehead, and he was wearing this black long-sleeve shirt buttoned all the way up to the collar. His eyes were black too, crazy glittery eyes like country people sometimes have, and that thin hard hollowed-out face. Only he wasn’t any country person. He was definitely somebody from somewhere else.

I kept on folding sheets, but he was starting to bother me. I felt like he was studying me, but when I looked up again he’d gone back to writing in his little spiral notebook. Just then, he looked up right when I was looking at him—it was like I was the one who’d been looking and not the other way around, and he’d caught me.

There was something about those eyes, more like some animal’s eyes than a person’s—some really smart animal that’s always on the lookout, the way you see hunting dogs go on the alert. Like even here in this laundromat some keen sense of smell in him was sniffing out things other people wouldn’t pick up on.

I pretended I was trying to see past his head to something passing by on the street. All of a sudden he came bolting up at me from where he was sitting. I must’ve looked surprised—he sort of raised his eyebrows in a friendly way and sailed right past me to the washing machines, where he started pulling out clothes and tossing them into the dryers. He probably opened up fifteen washing machines, nearly every one in the place, and threw his stuff across into that many dryers. I had to laugh—each time I thought that must be all of it, there was still another washer for him to open and pull clothes from. He stopped loading the dryer and looked at me. What’s so funny? was what that look said.

Before I knew I was going to say anything, I said, “You got a pretty big family.”

“You might say that,” he said. “You got a pretty big family yourself.” He was looking at the stack of laundry I’d piled up—with my mom and my brother, Ted, and my two little sisters, there were five of us. “You married?” he asked me.

“Do I look old enough to be married?” I said. I was sixteen.

“Around these parts,” he told me, “sure. Don’t you people marry when you’re about twelve years old?”

He had this sharp accent, and I knew then he had to be this total stranger to Owen. Nobody in Owen ever talked that way. It sounded sort of snide. I couldn’t know at the time that was just the way he was with strangers; you’d never guess it, but he was this shy person really.

“Hey, just kidding,” he said. “Don’t you hate doing this stuff ?” He took in the whole room. “I mean, isn’t it the worst?”

“It’s pretty bad,” I told him. “But you really do have a lot of clothes. Using up all the washers in the place.”

“See,” he explained, “I’m doing laundry for a bunch of people.”

“That’s nice. How’d you get suckered into that?” I wanted to pay him back for that line about my being married.

He looked at me with a kind of odd look.

“Suckered?” he said.

“You know, doing everybody else’s laundry for them.”

“Just think,” he said, like it had any kind of connection with anything, “we’d never’ve had this stimulating conversation if I hadn’t brought all their laundry in here.”

“Yeah, right,” I told him.

I’d finished putting my laundry into garbage bags, but since it was still raining outside I hopped up on a washing machine to sit and wait for it to stop. I wished it wasn’t raining because I sort of wanted to be out of there. I was afraid this guy might talk to me some more, and I didn’t really have anything else to say to him.

And I guess he didn’t have anything else to say to me either—he finished shoving everything in the dryer and then went back to his bench and started writing in his notebook again. From where I was sitting on the washer I couldn’t really see him. Not that I wanted to, but something kept getting the best of me and I’d look over my shoulder to where he was. But he was never looking up at me, which I was glad for. He just kept writing in that notebook.

I couldn’t figure out what he could be writing, and I sort of wanted to ask him, but I didn’t want to start us talking again—so I sat there trying to be as blank as I could and watched the rain, listening to it drum the roof and wondering if it’d take long to get a hitch back to the house, or whether I’d have to walk it in the dark. The more I thought about all that, the more depressed I got. Like everything else, it was something I seemed to be doing all the time with no stop to it.

I wondered where he could be from, what reason he was stopped in the Nu-Way Laundromat with more dirty clothes than practically the rest of the town put together. There was something I liked about him, the way he sat there writing in that notebook and never looking up at me even though I knew he knew I was still there some kind of lonely feeling I got looking at him, some queasy kind of loneliness I knew from when sometimes I’d lie on my back on the ground and look into the sky wondering if it ever had an end to it and knowing it didn’t. It nagged at me, this feeling, which was why I kept glancing over at him the way I did. Like maybe I could surprise something and then I’d know what it was I was looking for and not being able to find.

Part of it was, to be honest, I was just bored sitting there waiting for the rain to be over and watching the whole row of dryers with their loads spinning behind glass and the rain just kept on and finally the dryers came to a stop.

They’d been stopped a minute or two and he hadn’t made a move.

“Your stuff ’s all ready,” I told him.

“Thanks,” he said. “You can go now.” He started tucking stuff away into garbage bags.

“It’s raining,” I told him. “I don’t want to get wet.”

“Smart kid. And I see you’re into the garbage bag fashion statement too.”

“It’s just that I have to walk. It’s easier to carry that way.”

“Yeah sure,” he laughed. “I know a garbage bag buff when I see one. Where do you have to walk?”

“A ways,” I said. I thought maybe he’d offer me a ride, but he didn’t, he just concentrated on stuffing his bags full of clothes. Okay, I thought. I’m out of here. If he sees me walking in the rain he can get the point, or if he doesn’t, then fuck it. But I didn’t go. It was still raining, and I just sat there watching him stuff piles and piles of clothes into his garbage bags, probably fifteen in all, till finally he was done. He looked over at me and grinned this tight grin, like something was paining him. “So,” he said with that sharp accent of his, “you want to help me stow these in the van? Since obviously you plan to sit there all night.”

“I’ve done worse,” I told him.

“Yeah? I want to hear about it.”

I shrugged.

“No really, I do.”

“How about giving me a ride home instead?”

We were lugging the bags out to his beat-up orange VW van in the parking lot. He opened up the back. “Careful,” he said, “don’t just go slinging things around. You’ll break something.”

“What’s all that stuff ?” I had to ask. The back of the van was totally full of junk—worse than some handyman’s station wagon.

“Equipment,” he said. “Cameras and whatnot.”

“You take pictures?”

He made some sound like “anngh.”

“It’s this movie project,” he said. “All these clothes, they’re for my crew. They go through them like diapers. I was the only one not hung over today, so here I am.”

“A movie project,” I said. “Like what kind of movie project?”

“Like a movie movie. Like we’re making a movie,” he said as he piled the last bag on. It made a pretty impressive heap. “I’m Carlos Reichart,” he told me all of a sudden. “I’m not famous, so don’t pretend you’ve ever heard of me, because you haven’t. Now hop in and let’s go.”

The front seat was as filled up with junk as everywhere else in that van—pieces of paper torn out of a spiral notebook and tools and empty beer cans and Barbie dolls missing an arm or a leg.

“Excuse the mess,” Carlos said. “I didn’t exactly expect to go ferrying local youth around town.”

“You never know,” I told him. It got to me, the edgy way he had of talking—but at the same time I felt pretty easy with him. It was strange. I wasn’t sure if he was pulling my leg about making some movie— but that was okay, he was still the most interesting person right at that moment that I knew in Owen.

“But let’s talk about you,” he said. “What I’m always curious about is other people. People who live in little towns and carry their laundry around in garbage bags. I don’t know anything else about you except that. I’d like to, though. Maybe I’ll write a movie about you.”

“Some movie that’d be,” I told him.

“Well, you never know,” he said. “But right now—where’re we going? Where’s home? Or we could go somewhere and talk. Surely you don’t have to go home and cook dinner too? But are you hungry? What time is it? I have no idea of what time it is, but I haven’t eaten all day—I’m starving. That pizza place serves takeout, doesn’t it? What’s the drinking age in this part of Kentucky? Ten? Eleven? We could get a six-pack and takeout pizza and live it up in the back of the van.”

It almost made me laugh—he sounded like he was afraid if he stopped talking I might say something, and then everything’d be ruined. Like I might bolt in between sentences. I never heard anybody like that before, and I guess it interested me.

“Sounds okay,” I said, not knowing exactly what I was okaying out of all those things he said, but definitely excited by the prospect of some beer. I knew my mom wasn’t coming in till late—it was a Friday, and lots of Fridays she was out all night. And my little brother, Ted, could take care of my sisters fine. He definitely had sense enough to heat up something or other from a can.

We picked up a pizza and two six-packs and then drove a ways out of town to where the road turned off to Tatum’s Landing. You could put boats in the river there if you wanted to—there was this concrete apron that sloped down into the water. With night coming on, and the rain, nobody was out there.

When we’d climbed over all those garbage bags full of laundry, his and mine both, into the back of the van, Carlos said, “Pretty cozy, huh?”

“Well, at least it’s different,” I told him, which it was definitely that.

I downed those first couple of beers like no tomorrow, which he did too, and then once we were both on our way to relaxing, he started asking me questions again. Did I go to school, what was it like at home, did I have a lot of friends? He kept watching my face the whole time he was talking, the way nobody ever watches you. He kept asking me questions. I guess I was sort of flattered.

“Yeah, I go to school,” I told him. “It’s pretty feeble. I live out on Route 27—back the other way out of town.” Like Carlos could care less or anything.

“A farm?” he asked, like that was what he wanted it to be.

“Nah,” I had to tell him. “It’s just this trailer. It’s me and my mom, and I got a brother and some sisters. It’s okay, it’s better than this house we used to live in that was falling down at the time.”

“And where’s your dad?”

I sort of had to laugh—I guess I never knew what else to do. “My dad,” I said.

I hadn’t talked to anybody about my dad in a long time—it wasn’t something any of us ever talked about.

“I’m just this stranger,” Carlos told me. “Don’t say anything you don’t want to.”

“No, I got no secrets,” I told him. “I don’t care.”

“Good—if you don’t, I won’t,” he told me, again looking at me like he did all the time. I remember wondering at the way he kept looking.

“There’s these two theories about my dad,” I told him.

“Theories?” Carlos asked.

“Depending on who you talk to,” I told him. “One theory says he’s laying out in the Wahrani swamp.”

“What?” Carlos seemed really alarmed.

“Yeah. Where he got knocked off by some of Mr. Hodge’s men for getting himself involved in this liquor running scheme over in Christian County. See, it was a dry county back then—six years ago. So that’s one theory. But then this other theory goes, my dad just up and left one day. My mother thinks he’s in Louisville living it up right now.”

“And what do you think?” Carlos asked.

“I don’t think anything. I was just this little kid back then. All I know is, my dad used to beat up on my mom a lot. Or he’d go lighting into one of us.”

“What do you mean, lighting into you?”

“Well, if she wasn’t around. You know, at night. He’d go asking us where she was, and it didn’t matter what we said, he’d still light into us. So we just always made stuff up.”

I had to laugh—suddenly I was remembering something.

“What’s so funny?” Carlos asked. He was taking all this in, like it was serious stuff—which I guess it was.

I told him, “I was just thinking.” I had to laugh again before I could go on. “This one time, my brother, Ted, heard my dad stomping back to the bedroom where we were sleeping, and I guess Ted just couldn’t take it one more time. So he went diving under the bed. Which when my dad saw that, it gave him this total fit. He completely forgot about my mom and went tearing after Ted, and the whole time Ted’s yelling, Leave me alone, and my dad’s yelling how Ted better not be hiding from his own dad. He’s cussing and screaming, and Ted’s screaming, and my dad finally manages to grab hold of Ted’s underwear, which is all Ted’s wearing, being asleep and everything. So here’s Ted screaming and my dad tugging at his underwear to try to pull him out and Ted hanging onto the bedpost for dear life. Then pow! The elastic band just pops and my dad goes flying across the room.”

Carlos was still studying me.

“I guess you had to be there,” I told him. The way he watched me made me sweat.

“It’s a pretty funny story,” he said. “It’s a hoot.” He said it in this way that you couldn’t tell whether he thought it was a hoot or not.

“It wasn’t too bad for me,” I told him. “Live and let live—that’s my motto.”

“It’s a good motto,” said Carlos. “It’s my motto too.” He handed me another beer, my fourth or fifth I guess. I remember thinking how great it felt to be talking like I was. I didn’t have too many friends, none really since everybody I knew at high school was so feeble-minded and boring. So most of the time I didn’t say anything much to anybody. But Carlos really did seem to want to know about me. It’s funny I never thought that was weird, it was just something I accepted about Carlos from the very first. Plus I never minded telling him anything he wanted to know, which I wouldn’t normally do with somebody.

He just let me talk, and he listened, and he never told me much about himself in return. So you could say that even ten years later I still don’t know major facts about him.

Not that major facts tell you anything. The Carlos I knew was never the major facts that everybody else knows—his movies and his awards and what all the magazines said about him. What I knew was the Carlos who’d sit there and listen to you ramble on about anything and study you like you were the most interesting person he’d ever met.

It’s stupid little things I remember—the way he never ate a slice of pizza till it was cold. I chalked it up to his being so interested in listening to me talk—but later I learned he always did that. He was scared of burning his tongue; I mean, the way other people are scared of drowning, or snakes. Maybe that’s bizarre, but it’s why Carlos never drank a hot cup of coffee or ate a bite of hot food straight from the oven.

It’s a stupid little thing, but it’s Carlos. It’s just as much Carlos as all those movies he made and everything the newspapers said about him after he got famous, or maybe I should call it notorious.

“So what I want to know, Tony,” Carlos asked me, “is what did you think about all that stuff with your mom and dad? I mean, when you sat down and thought about it. That’s pretty rough stuff.”

I had to shrug. “I guess I never really sat down and thought about it,” I told him.

“But don’t you ever try to put it all together? How one thing leads to another, what it all means?”

All I could do was make a face.

“I’m dead serious,” he said. “You really should think about these things.” He leaned forward, like he had some secret to tell me, and I remembered thinking how he was looking right through me like some maniac, all bright black eyes I couldn’t look away from. “Otherwise,” he said, “if you don’t think, then who’re you going to be? How’re you going to know anything? Look—try this: every night before you go to sleep, choose one thing you remember and then think about it. Try to think what came before it, and then what came before that, and try thinking back as far as you can.”

“Okay,” I said. “Sure.”

“See where it gets you,” he told me. “I guarantee—you’ll find out all sorts of things. Useful things. You’ll be amazed.” He pointed to his head. “It’s all in there. You discover you’re a totally different person from the one you think you are.”

I’d stuffed myself on pizza and he hadn’t had a bite. But his eyes were fired up with a kind of excitement. I was pretty skeptical.

“The kind of nightmares I have,” I told him flat out, “I can just see the trouble I’d go getting myself into if I was to lie there thinking about things before I went to sleep.”

“Exactly,” he said. “Exactly. That’s why you have those nightmares. You’re not thinking about those things you need to think about. And they have to get out somehow.”

Maybe if Carlos had left me just with that—gotten up and walked away right there—then that would’ve been enough. That would’ve done it. Who knows? Here I am ten years and a few thousand miles down the road, and there’s not much else to do except lie around and think. And think and think. Who knows? It hasn’t helped the nightmares any—Carlos was wrong about that. But sometimes I get the feeling, if I think about things long enough, if I try and remember the way things happened and not the way I might wish they’d happened, then—who knows? Maybe I might really be able to think my way to something that’s on the other side of all this mess. I don’t know.

Carlos finally took his first bite of pizza, which by that time was bone cold. He folded the wedge in two before eating it, and I noticed how his fingernails were cut smooth down to the quick. While he ate, I told him about the part-time job I’d had for a while loading flats at the lumberyard till it closed down and I hadn’t found anything else since then, and how I was going to drop out of school and as soon as I was eighteen I wanted to apply for a job as a penitentiary guard since they made good money.

All of a sudden, in between bites, he looked up at me, right in the eye, and said, “I bet you’re a big hit with the girls around here. I bet you’ve got fifteen girlfriends.”

It kind of took me by surprise. “Don’t I wish,” I told him. “It’s emptier than the moon around here, girlwise.”

“Tell me about it,” he said. He wasn’t eating anymore, just looking at me.

I tried to think of something interesting to tell. “Well, I used to go out with this girl,” I said. “It’s sort of amusing, I guess. There was this guy Wallace, he worked at the lumberyard too—in fact, he was how I got the job there. He was older than me by I guess about five years. Anyway, we used to go out with these two girls. What happened was, they were sisters, and Wallace wanted to go out with the younger one, only her mother wouldn’t let her go out unless her older sister was chaperoning. So the way Wallace got around that was, he set me up with the sister, who was about three years older than me, and Wallace went out with the one who was my age. We’d go out on these sort of double dates.”

“Yeah?” Carlos said.

“Yeah. There wasn’t much to it. Those girls weren’t really into much.”

It felt good and drowsy to be lounging around in the back of that van, with the rain still coming down steady and it getting dark outside. It was our last beer.

“Like what?” Carlos asked.

“Nothing much.”

“Surely they were into something?”

“Oh, kissing,” I said.

“Yeah?”

I had to laugh. “A little hand action,” I said.

Carlos just kept studying me. He had thin dry parched-looking lips.

“Tell me more,” he told me.

“There’s not really anything to tell,” I said.

“Oh, there’s always something to tell,” he said.

He made me laugh, he was so curious. He had this way of sucking in his cheeks that made him look even thinner than he was.

“Well,” I told him, “if you have to know.”

“I don’t have to know,” he said. “But I’d like to—I’m new around here.”

“Yeah, well. We’d park somewhere and Wallace and his girl were in the front seat and me and the sister in the back, and we’d all be necking around. You know—the windows getting all steamed up and it was almost like those two girls’d gone and rehearsed everything in advance.”

“What do you mean?” Carlos wasn’t going to let me out of this story once I was into it.

“Well,” I said, “they’d both say almost at the exact same time, like they clocked it—okay, that’s enough, you got to take us home now.”

“That’s a drag,” Carlos said. “So did you take them home like they wanted?”

I’d totally forgotten those girls, but now I was hating them all over again. “So what else were we supposed to do?” I said. “It was so frustrating. Jeez was it frustrating.”

Carlos stopped chewing on his pizza. “Did you ever come when you were with them?” he asked me, looking at me with this look that made something turn over inside me.

I laughed—nobody had ever asked me anything like that before.

“Well, did you?” Carlos asked me again. I got the feeling he thought this was funny—which I guess it was, me and Wallace trying all the time and never getting to home base with those girls.

“Nah,” I told him. “They’d always cut out way before that.”

Hearing that must’ve relaxed him. He took another bite of pizza and chewed it up. “That must have been pretty rough,” he said.

“Well.” I didn’t know why I was telling him all this. Like I said, I never talked to anybody like this. “See,” I told him, “usually after we dropped them off, Wallace would ask me if I wanted a beer, which I usually did, and then he’d just go crazy about what cockteasing cunts those two girls were, and how if they didn’t watch out they were going to be in for a surprise one night. Stupid pig cunts, he’d call them.”

“That’s funny,” Carlos said. “Stupid pig cunts.” He said it like he was trying it on for size.

“So then what would happen?” he asked.

“We’d sit on the floor in his living room. We’d drink beer.”

“Yeah?” He daubed at the corner of his mouth where a string of cheese was.

“We’d watch each other jerk off,” I admitted.
It felt strange to say that to somebody I’d just met, especially somebody who was more than twice as old as I was. Especially somebody who was making me sweat under my armpits the way he did—nervousness, I guess. But it also felt, well—exciting, like here was this secret thing I was suddenly talking about.

“Sounds kind of depressing,” Carlos said. “Did you do anything else?”

I shook my head. “The yard closed and Wallace moved away. I didn’t see those girls again after that.”

“Did you want to?”

I shook my head. I’d never really thought about it. “I guess not really,” I said.

We’d finished the beers. I wished I hadn’t told Carlos that story— suddenly I felt more depressed than I’d been all day. But all at once he reached out and put his hands on my shoulders so that we were face to face looking right in each other’s eyes. I felt full inside, like something in my chest had expanded a couple of sizes and was pressing against my heart and lungs. I was a little drunk. I dared myself to keep looking into his eyes.

He held me there at arm’s length, not saying anything, the two of us studying each other. There was this fine stubble on his chin, and I noticed how his eyebrows met above his nose. I could smell my sweat there in the van, and maybe his too, this sweet-sour smell.

I was very aware the whole time of beer building up in my bladder, and how I really needed to piss something awful. But that didn’t stop me from returning Carlos’s stare right back into his eyes and locking him there, not moving, just letting it go on between us to see when it would have to break.

After what seemed like forever he said in this quiet voice, “I thinkyou’re very special. Do you know that?”

“What I know,” I told him, reaching up and putting my arms on his shoulders the way his were on mine, “is that I really, really have to piss.”

He laughed out loud, a really loud laugh, and leaned his head forward onto my shoulder. “You’re funny,” he said. “You’re crazy. Go piss. I have to piss too.” I relaxed a little and managed to haul myself over all those garbage bags and open the side doors of the van. Carlos followed me. It wasn’t raining so hard as before, but it was still raining. We stood in the rain next to each other and pissed these long streams of piss, mine clear and Carlos’s dark yellow. Carlos aimed his so that it intersected with mine, and they hit the ground together in one single stream.

I could tell Carlos was staring at my dick the whole time I was pissing. Well, I thought, it wasn’t like I hadn’t glanced over at his. When he finished he didn’t stuff himself back in his pants. He just stood there with it hanging out, waiting I guess for me to finish. Which I did, and zipped up.

He reached over and put his hand on my belt buckle. I didn’t move. I didn’t brush his hand away. I didn’t do anything.

He crouched down in front of me, looking up at me the whole time with our eyes locked. Then he undid my jeans and slipped them down. I kept saying to myself, Tony, do something, but I couldn’t do a thing. It was that animal thing in him, which I picked up on from the first. I felt his hands on me and I couldn’t move. My dick was starting to crank up under his touch, and I realized it’d been half-hard back there in the van when we were talking, only I hadn’t wanted to admit it.

Before I knew it he was touching my dick with the tip of his tongue. He ran his tongue up and down the sides of it, and then he slid it in his mouth.

I’d never felt anything like that—before I knew what’d hit me, whoosh! I gave out this huge groan, and there I was shooting off in his mouth. But he didn’t seem to mind, he just kept going at it harder than ever until finally he came up for air.

“Oh man,” I said to him. It was like somebody’d gone and knocked the breath out of me. I was sorry I’d come in his mouth without telling him I was going to—I thought he’d be upset. “I didn’t mean to do that, really I didn’t,” I said.

He wiped his mouth but kept on crouching in front of me. Then he started to laugh. He couldn’t stop laughing—and I had to laugh too, so hard it was almost like crying. Laughing at how crazy it was, what’d just happened with us.

You know,” Carlos said when he finally stopped laughing enough to get his words out, “I’ve got you now. I’ve got you.”

“What do you mean?” I had to ask. Suddenly I thought—maybe he’s crazy. Maybe he’s some kind of lunatic.

“Here’s a scientific fact for you,” he said. “A person’s semen contains every piece of information about that person. It’s all coded in there, genetically. And you know what? I think that’s miraculous, Tony, I really do.” Then he started laughing all over again. All I could think of was to grab both his ears and ease that laughing mouth of his back down onto my dick, which hadn’t stopped being hard even after I came.

That shut him up, and it felt great to be inside there again. I started pumping into him, pushing my hips against his face till I came again.

This time he jumped up and sort of scooped me into his arms, and before I knew it he’d kissed me. It was pretty surprising—his tongue just pushed on in, and it was like he had a mouth all gooey with snot. Only it wasn’t snot, I figured out in a flash.

“Yecch!” I pulled away from him. I didn’t want a mouthful of come, even if it was my own. It tasted slimy and disgusting. And I didn’t exactly like a guy trying to kiss me, either. “Why’d you go and do that?” I said.

“Oh, I don’t know.” Carlos was still clinging onto my shoulders and talking right in my face. “Passion of the moment. That’s what I love about you crazy kids.” He let go of me and did this little dance. “All that energy,” he said. “I bet I could make you come three times in a row if I wanted.”

I was getting back into my pants and it was my turn to laugh.

“Any more and it’ll fall off,” I told him.

I wasn’t feeling bad or anything. In fact, I was feeling pretty great, even if he had tried to kiss me.

Back in the van, driving back to town, he didn’t have much to say— but every once in a while Carlos would start laughing to himself, like he was remembering something—or like some little kid who’s so pleased with himself he just doesn’t know what to do.

“Well,” he said. “All in a day’s work. Anything else I can do for you?” We were driving down Main Street, and I was looking at everything thinking, It all looks the same, it’s like nothing happened to change anything. And I guess I felt glad about that.

“You could buy me,” I said to Carlos, “a bottle of Canadian Club whisky.”

I knew it was straight out of the blue, but what the hell?

“A what?” he said.

“Yeah,” I told him. “A bottle of whisky.” I pointed out the Main Street liquor store, which was the only thing in downtown Owen that stayed open in the evenings.

“Never a dull moment with you kids,” Carlos said. He swung the van over to the curb and hopped out. The van was still running, the keys were in the ignition. “Now don’t try to drive off or anything,” he told me. I don’t know where he thought I was going to go.

When he came back out, he handed me the bottle in its paper bag. “Notice,” he said, “how I’m not asking any questions.”

I just smiled at him. I was feeling pretty content. “It’s time for me to go home,” I said.

My mom’s car was in the drive. We stopped by the steps that led up to the trailer, and I pulled the laundry bags from the back of the van and hefted them onto the steps so they wouldn’t get in the mud. “Thanks for the ride,” I told Carlos. It didn’t seem like the right thing to say, but I couldn’t think of anything else. I couldn’t believe everything that’d happened.

“So—see you around,” he said, like the whole thing had been kind of amusing to him.

I stood there watching the taillights of his van down the road. Then they were gone and it was just me. I felt incredible and scared at the same time, and completely empty too. I took a swig from the whisky bottle and then stashed it down under the trailer, behind one of the concrete block foundations. Then for about half an hour I just sat on the steps beside the black plastic garbage bags that were tied up to keep the laundry dry inside them. It was chilly out there, the clothes I was wearing got soaked though with the rain, my hair was all stringy and falling down in my face. But that was okay, that was what I wanted.

About Paul Russell

Paul Russell is the accomplished author of various works of both fiction and nonfiction, including several award-winning novels, anthologies, poems, short stories, essay, and book reviews. He is a Professor of English at Vassar College. He lives in upstate New York.

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***Spotlight*** Behrouz Gets Lucky by Avery Cassell

Behrouz Gets Lucky by Avery Cassell

Date of Publication: March 8, 2016

Blurb

Where can a middle-aged, Persian-American genderqueer dyke find love these days? Online dating, of course! “Only butch dykes need apply” Behrouz writes, eager to swap quiet evenings at home with a smoking jacket, a cat, and a Sunday afternoon’s worth of well-used sex toys for a real relationship. Enter Lucky: younger, rougher, dominant, but far from perfect. Their first meeting explodes into powerful, rough, and panting sex, and Behrouz is soon determined not to let this captivator slip away. Their growing intimacy, set within a perfectly captured view of of contemporary gay, transgender and queer life in San Francisco, makes this debut novel a mesmerizing read for anyone who loves erotic romance.

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Excerpt (graphic)

Foreword
Let’s take the time to tell all. Behrouz and Lucky are older queer rascals, our favorite curmudgeonly, tenderhearted gay uncles rolled with a sweet coating of hedonism and snark. When we start off our story, Behrouz is sixty and Lucky is forty-nine years old. Although they both are easily settled into their gender identities, their preferred pronouns and the words they use for their various naughty bits are not apparent to our fine readers. After all, this is just a smutty little love story, so we can safely lay it all out on the line without worrying about asking rude, politically incorrect, or insensitive questions.
Behrouz identifies as a transgender genderqueer, and Lucky identifies as a butch dyke. Both Behrouz and Lucky were born female, and both often pass as male. Behrouz started taking testosterone late in life, at age fifty-five. Lucky never has taken testosterone and is not tempted to start.
If we were to ask Behrouz which pronouns they prefer, they would toss one fey wrist into the air and say, “Whatever you’re comfortable with!” That’s a lie. Behrouz prefers they/them or he/him. If we were to ask Lucky which pronouns she prefers, she would say she/her. Unless Lucky was topping and in the mood for honorifics, in which case she would prefer the more masculine “sir,” rather than the more feminine “ma’am.”
Behrouz and Lucky both call their clitoris their cock, flesh cock, or clit, but usually just their cock. They call the whole package their cunt. They own a ridiculous variety of expensive silicone dildos in many sizes, which they also call their cocks. Lucky has a favorite silicone cock, which is seven inches long, one-point-eight inches in girth, curved, and black. Lucky likes to say that black is classic and goes with everything. We concur with her good taste. Lucky and Behrouz both still have breasts. Behrouz binds to appear flat-chested and so that their shirts fit better. Lucky usually wears a sports bra. They will talk about both their breasts or their chest, and it means the same thing. As we all know, everyone has an asshole and assholes have no gender.
I wrote this book because I wanted to see more people like myself represented in smut and romance. I wanted to see older genderqueer and butch masculine-masculine couples having hot sex and BDSM shenanigans. I wanted to read about people with full lives, lives that included adult children, grandchildren, parents, books, marvelous food, over-the-top drag, and cuddly cats along with lots and lots of hot fucking. I wanted reality, with heartburn, forgetfulness, and aching joints. I also wanted protagonists that cared about San Francisco and were activists, in their own quirky way. And finally, I spent most of my childhood in Iran and love Iran as my other home. I wanted to include a little bit of that amazing and beauteous country in this tale so that my readers could get the chance to love the country too.

Chapter One
Lucky was sixty, and long past the age of hope, young lust, love, and bewilderment. I was sixty, using my senior discount to buy oatmeal, black tea, and ginseng at Rainbow Co-op, and silk neckties at Goodwill. I was a time-traveling, part-Persian expatriate. I had been an outsider all my life, and felt insulated that way. Insulation is protection, but it is also isolation. Even though I lived in San Francisco, that bastion of sexual and gender freedom, I lived outside of the galaxies of the butch, FTM, genderqueer, and leather communities. I’d hitchhiked across the country, been a streetwalker, smoked opium with princes, raised children, been fisted on Twin Peaks, sung in punk bands, grown up in Iran, had threesomes with bikers and members of British Parliament, and followed family tradition to become a librarian. I’d buried one daughter and two lovers, spent decades in the Midwest, kneaded bread, gotten sober, been homeless, pretended to be a boy wanting to be a girl, driven across town in a blizzard at 5:00 a.m. to slap a gigolo who was wearing pleated black silk panties, taught preschool, attended PTA meetings, and tickled grandchildren. It’s-a-long-story was my middle name.
At sixty, and in my considerable dotage, I spent my evenings wearing a quilted, charcoal velvet smoking jacket with a foulard silk cravat, and worn, cuffed flannels while delicately sipping English Breakfast tea with my cat, Francy, strewn across my lap, a pile of tattered paperback Dorothy Sayers mysteries at hand, and vacillating between wanting to manifest a lover and relishing each delicious second alone. Between chapters, and inspired by Lord Peter Whimsey and his paramour Harriet Vane, I imagined a lover, a you. If I could manifest you at 6:00 a.m. when I was lolling between the sheets distractedly having my morning prework come, or on Sunday afternoon when I was settling in for a leisurely fuck session with myself, my two biggest silicone dildos, nipple clamps, my S-curved metal dildo, a metal sound, a stainless steel butt plug, Eartha Kitt wafting from the stereo, a fountain of lube, dim lights, and a cushion of towels and rubberized sheeting to soak up the spillage…I would imagine a you.
Sometimes I craved you when I came home, tired from a day of advising patrons, giving restroom directions, problem-solving minor computer issues, and searching for copies of the latest bestselling romance. Sometimes I craved that moment of perfect domesticity when I’d open my door to the oregano- and tomato-scented smells of minestrone soup wafting from the kitchen, and you in the rust velvet armchair in the living room. I’d fall to my knees on the rough wool of our Tabrizi carpet, start to crawl across the red and gold fibers, imagining that moment when I could unbutton your fly and fill myself with your cock as an appetizer. Your pipe would be smoldering in the ashtray, filling the air with the sultry sweet aroma of tobacco and cherry. You’d lean back and spread your denim-clad legs, rubbing your cunt as I approached on my knees, the workday rolling off me the closer I got. Reaching your cunt, I’d rest for a minute, my lips caressing the bulge in your crotch, as grateful for your hand on the back of my neck and your packed jeans as I was for salt. I’d growl softly, nipping at the thick blue fabric, damp from my spit and slightly threadbare from past administrations. You would unbutton your fly slowly, each button releasing a soft pop. I’d cover your cock with my mouth until it reached my throat, then ease up and lick the shaft, lost in your smell and your palm firmly pushing my head into your cunt. Your cock would shove the outside world aside, erasing demanding supervisors, aching joints, and crowded MUNI buses until all that was left was your cock in my throat.
I had a shallow, translucent blue glass bowl on the dining room table that I filled with garnet-colored pomegranates, dusty plums, phallic bananas, and tart green apples, and sometimes I longed to see your house keys on the table next to the bowl of fruit. Did I want this complication to interfere with my quiet life? Did I really want someone to know my quirks and fears? To discover that I sometimes ate cheddar cheese, figs, and cookies for dinner, to twist her hand into my silver-haired cunt, to be privy to my mood swings and self-doubt, to be content to live with my need for solitude? I’m Middle Eastern to my part American core, and as such have a deep belief in fate. At a jaded and indecisive sixty, I decided to leave love and lust to fate.
How did we meet? How does fate decide to roll her dice? Was it at the park, commiserating over fawn colored pigeons fighting for brioche crumbs at our feet, while the ginkgo trees shed golden, fanshaped leaves on the park bench? Was it in an airport while listening to the murky flight update announcements, wondering if we should grab an overpriced stale croissant and latte before our flight, and finally reaching for our lattes at the same time, our fingers touching over scattered copies of USA Today? Maybe it was at work, sighing and rolling our eyes over gum-snapping coworkers, discovering mutual tastes in movies and politics in the lunchroom, meeting outside the office on the sly, and texting filthy thoughts to each other across the table during meetings.
In reality, we met prosaically. Lacking a noisy yet accurate village matchmaker, we filled out our profiles on OKCupid, rolled our mutual eyes at the idiocy of naming the five things one could never do without, and updated our profiles earnestly and regularly. I worried about whether I sounded too shallow, and you fretted about sounding too serious. I mentioned that I had an Isherwood haircut, lank thinning brown hair, hazel eyes, a husky build, and a pale DAR complexion. We both were annoyed at OKCupid’s lack of queer identity choices. I changed my sex from male to female and back again monthly, while she identified as bisexual so as not to leave out possible FTM matches. I mentioned that I was a daddy in the streets and a strumpet in the sheets. Although I took testosterone, I was not a man or even FTM. She put up an out-of-focus picture of her repotting plants, said she spoke French, ironed and starched her sheets, had olive skin, dimples, and a graying pompadour. She didn’t mention her sexual proclivities at all. I mentioned flagging red, gray, black, and navy right in the first paragraph, said that I cooked Persian food and collected bird skulls, put up a photo of myself half-dressed and playing an accordion, and said that only butch dykes need apply. She was eleven years younger than I, a rough-hewn-looking butch who gave me five stars, which made my heart flutter and my cunt get wet in anticipation. I rated her five stars back, and nervously sent her a short, overly edited but carefully flirtatious email suggesting that we meet for tea and conversation. Then I heard nothing for five months. In the interlude I went on a series of fruitless first dates, but I had not forgotten her. In spring she finally wrote back, suggesting that we meet for coffee. Her name was not Amber or Dixie or Tyler, but Lucky. And I wrote to Lucky, signing my name Behrouz, which means lucky in Farsi.
We met at Café Flore, the classic rendezvous for queer blind dating in the Castro. Public transportation was two steps away, so it was easy to flee from the date if it was awful. Café Flore was loud, and gay as fuck, with mediocre food and sweet servers. We were both on time. I wore pleated gray flannel pants, a white shirt with a Campbell clan wool necktie, my tattered gray Brooks Brothers jacket, purple silk socks with striped garters, horn-rims, my hair slicked to one side, and my favorite butterscotch-colored brogues. Lucky wore a stately pompadour, a red-ribbed wool sweater with frayed cuffs over a white oxford shirt, black 501 button-fly jeans, three gold rings on her right hand, and harness boots. She was stocky and muscular, a little shorter than my five-eight, had deep-brown hair threaded with gray, small breasts, olive skin, a chipped front tooth, hazel eyes, a large aristocratic nose with tiny nostrils, black framed glasses, and a beguiling swagger. She drank black coffee, and I sipped sticky-sweet soy chai latte.
I was immediately turned on by Lucky, trying not to look too eager as I glanced at her rough gardener’s hands, evaluating them for size and dexterity. I was nervous and unsure if she liked me back. I was never good at reading signs, and knew that my reserve was often read as disinterest. I wanted to feel her hand in my cunt. We started slowly. We talked about our cats, the general state of classism and disrepair in San Francisco, our jobs, food, and our upbringings. Lucky’s tuxedo cat, Elmer, had died two months ago, after living a long and productive life of catching mice, napping in her oval, vintage, pink porcelain bathroom sink, and skulking on bookshelves. My ginger cat, Francy, had one bronze eye, a puffed-out tail that was longer than her body, and liked to pee with me when I came home from work. I told her about my love of books, organization, and social service, which led to the good fortune of a job at the San Francisco Public Library. After studying biology, Lucky had fallen into gardening, and spent her days planning gardens and fondling manure and plants. We agreed that the recent invasion of stealthy, gleaming-white Google buses with blacktinted windows that transported entitled tech workers from their cubicle penthouses in San Francisco to their jobs in Mountain View were shark like, and wondered why they hadn’t been violently defaced yet. We mourned the loss of Plant It Earth, Osento bathhouse, Faerie Queene Chocolates, the dimly lit Mediterranean place on Valencia with Fat Chance belly dancers swiveling sensuously around the tables, The Red Vic Movie House, and Marlene’s drag bar on Hayes Street, and then we sighed like curmudgeonly old farts wondering where the past had disappeared.
Lucky was raised Jewish in Columbus, Ohio, a hotbed of Republican ideology and Christian intolerance, graduated a year early from Bexley School for Girls, then fled to UC Berkeley for sexual and intellectual freedom. Her dad was an insurance adjuster and her mom worked part-time in the ladies’ undergarments section of Lazarus department store. Her father worked late hours and fancied himself a suave businessman, leaving the house each morning awash in citrusy Spanish cologne and cigarette smoke, and sporting a flashy gold Rolex wristwatch won while playing cards. Her mom was bitter around the corners and sentimental in the middle. She was a brunette in turquoise double-knit pants suits and the sweetly floral scent of Chanel No 22. Lucky told me about coming home to find her mom drinking endless goblets of chardonnay while listening half-cocked for the metallic sound of her father’s key in the front door, and the sneaky shuffle that announced his belated presence home. Lucky was an only child, but lived in the same Tudor-style home in the same quiet middle-class neighborhood her entire childhood, with the oak-lined streets, and her aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends with their families protecting and loving her even when Lucky’s folks were distracted.
Since our family had moved every two years from state to state, country to country, and continent to continent, I found Lucky’s childhood geographic stability both exotic and enviable. At age seven, Lucky decided she wanted to be a boy. Each night she’d stare dreamily out her bedroom window while \ stroking the faint down on her upper lip to wish a mustache into existence. Wryly, Lucky told me that it didn’t work, but now she was content with her hard-earned butchness. As a child, Lucky escaped into books, and spent hours in the Bexley Public Library, scouring the shelves for anything related to sexuality and gender, which wasn’t much in the 1960s. Lucky’s curiosity and scholastic diligence paid off with a full university scholarship and an early release from Ohio. I’d also grown up immersed in books, hiding in odd corners at home with a stack of books and a pocket full of raisins. I related to the escapism that they provided to desperate kids like us, junior outsiders and renegades.
After three hours of exchanging stories and too much coffee and chai, we started to talk about sex and desire. Our drinks cooled as the temperature heated. We both lived in San Francisco, home to sexual freedom and excess, with everything from International Ms. Leather, to the Eagle, Mr. S, the 15 Association, the Exiles, regular play parties for every identity and orientation, BDSM coffee houses, and more. One-time hookups, public play, and casual sex were easily obtainable, but I was embarrassed to admit to Lucky that in my mid-fifties I’d grown out of the ability to do casual play and sex. It didn’t work for me anymore, and although I missed the immediacy and physical relief of instant sex, I needed lovers, continuity, and intimacy. Lucky commiserated, and said that she’d felt the same ever since turning forty three. Even though we agreed that we both wanted love and deeper intimacy, everything felt dangerous and forbidding—as if we were getting ready to foolishly leap off an emotional cliff, our hearts potentially shattered on the shoals below.
I flushed as our eyes met. We both stopped breathing for a second, unsure if we wanted to continue. Finally, Lucky inhaled, leaned forward, pierced me in my eye with the future, and murmured, “Tell me. What do you want? What do you need?”
I blushed, my eyes widening and quickly looking down, and my cunt tingling. I admitted to wearing my hankies on the right, and a proclivity for getting fisted, giving head, ass-fucking, bondage, and getting beaten. Lucky reached across the table and held my hand, my palm facing up and her calloused hand beneath mine, leaving me feeling exposed, trapped, and cradled all at once. I swooned a little at her touch. Lucky smiled a lopsided, sweetly sly smirk, and I imagined one pointed incisor sharply peeking through her lips, her teeth hard against my neck and biting my flesh. She told me she was a top and a sadist, and had been that way since she was a baby dyke in plaid flannel shirts, Frye boots, and Carhartts. I blushed again, and felt my nipples harden painfully in the tight confines of my binder, as I whispered through dry lips that although there was no accounting for chemistry, thus far we seemed to have chemistry just fine. I told Lucky that I had simple tastes really, all I wanted was to suck her off, then be beaten, and fisted until we were swimming in a pool of come.
Lucky asked, “And what do you call your top? Daddy or Sir?”
And I answered, “I call my top, baby.”
Lucky looked at me with her hazel eyes turning green as polished sea glass. She leaned closer, took my hand, and bit the side of my palm while looking into my eyes. As she bit harder, my hips lifted, and I groaned. I wanted Lucky’s teeth on my neck, my breast, my ass. There is a vulnerability to a hand’s underbelly. It is my favorite place to be bitten, so tender and so blatant—I melted. I wanted her to read my desire with her mouth, hurting me because she needed to, and me letting the sharp sensations course through my flesh, forming a loop of desire between us.
“Baby,” Lucky said, managing to draw the word out like we’d already taken our clothes off and were lying hip to hip. She didn’t huff up in toppish indignation, wasn’t quizzical or offended, but understood that “baby” was my code for hotness, tenderness, and love.
After four hours at Café Flore, Lucky murmured, “Let’s go.”
Lucky stumbled lightly over the shallow steps leading down to the sidewalk, exclaiming that her new bifocals were a bear to get accustomed to, then leaned in to kiss me on the sidewalk in front of a gaggle of Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and next to the organic stone-fruit stand at the farmers market. “It’s Raining Men” was playing tinnily through Café Flore’s speakers. She kissed exactly correctly…and if that sounds dry, it isn’t meant to be so. Her lips were firm and pliant, and fit mine like a T-shirt on a teenager. She’d mastered the art of the tender lower-lip bite, and as I delicately licked the corners of her lips, we quickly became breathless. We pulled away a quarter of an inch to prolong the anticipation, and fell onto each other after five seconds. I pulled Lucky closer as a Sister with a violet Marie Antoinette wig wolfwhistled in our direction. Lucky slipped one muscular thigh between my legs as my cunt melted and throbbed. I moaned into her mouth as her wide palm smoothed my back under my jacket, and I whispered that I wanted her hand inside of me. Now. Lucky growled—a low nip from deep in the back of her throat. The Sister with the lime-green boa passed us a fistful of condoms. I was starry-eyed and damp as we stumbled to my apartment in nearby Hayes Valley.
It was dusk, that magical time when the day ends and night begins, when responsibilities dissipate, and mystery and longing fill our hearts. The evening air smelled of jasmine, anticipation, and piss, the violent and sweet scents circling us as we walked. The moon was rising as bright as a streetlight, and the sidewalks were full of early evening dog-walkers, with their pups tarrying by trees and potted plants while the owners peered into their palms at their phones. We barely talked. We’d talked through an entire afternoon. Words mean something, but I needed to know how Lucky tasted, how she touched, how we smelled together as we heated up. All I could think of in that fifteen-minute walk was Lucky’s hand in my cunt, her gardener’s fingers entering one by one, packing me full of her. Anything else was gravy on the cake. You know.
By the time I unlocked the door to my flat, it was dark and the full moon watched us. The streetlights had followed us home, each lighting one by one as night fell and we were closer to my apartment. I unlocked the top bolt, then struggled with the pesky bottom one, trying to make the stuck key turn. As I jiggled the lock in the dark hallway, Lucky pressed her body against mine from behind, rubbing her cock against my ass, and reached around to untuck my shirt and run her hands up toward my nipples. I moaned, humping the doorknob with my clit and almost dropping the key. Finally the brass key turned, and the door flew open under our weight. Lucky pushed me suddenly through the dim foyer, down the hallway, and into the sandalwood-scented living room, then to the floor. I wasn’t expecting the quickness, and fell to the Persian carpet, my jacket still on and my shirt half-untucked. She stood over me, unbuckled her black leather belt, threw off her sweater, unbuttoned her jeans, pulled out her dick, and started stroking it with her hips insolently cocked forward.
“On your knees. I want you to suck my cock. Now.”
I crawled over, leaned forward and opened my mouth. I loved filling my mouth with stuff, whether it was cock, chains, or fingers. My cunt was soaked, my dick was throbbing, and I wanted nothing more than to suck Lucky’s cock. I wrapped my lips around the black silicone and took it to the hilt while looking up greedily at her. Lucky thrust her hips forward, then drew away, teasing me with just the head until she roughly pushed it all the way in again, banging my throat rudely. I could smell her cunt heating up, and sucked her cock, pushing it hard against her cunt, then letting up, and then pushing it in again. I was lost in the rhythm, smells, and sounds of cocksucking, feeling my cunt muscles spasm the more turned on I became by Lucky’s moans and growls, and the feeling of my mouth being stuffed.
Lucky grabbed my head, shoving me harder into her groin while letting loose with a stream of fuck noises and words. “I’m gonna fuck your mouth until I come. Suck me, my little invert.” I was slobbering with drool running down the sides of my mouth as I made slurping and snorting noises while she pulled my hair and fucked my mouth. I desperately wanted to jack off, but even more desperately wanted to suck her dry. I wanted Lucky to come down my throat and out my asshole, her heat burrowing into my body. I wanted her to come like lightning through my cunt. I fucked her cock harder with my hot mouth, until with a tremendous series of guttural grunts Lucky came, my swollen lips wrapped around her big black cock.
Lucky’s hand loosened on my hair for a minute, then she pushed me backward on the rug. I fell awkwardly on my back, supported by my elbows and looking up at her dazedly. She kneeled over me, her pompadour sexily disheveled, her cheeks flushed, her eyes half-closed and blazing, then took my face between her calloused hands and we kissed, a long luxurious smooch, full of promise. I shrugged off my jacket as Lucky did the same. As I was unknotting my necktie, I heard the swooshing sound of her leather belt being jerked rapidly through her belt loops and looked up to see that she’d doubled it up and was grinning at me evilly.
Lucky shoved me sideways growling, “Bend over the ottoman.”
I kneeled over the high, Moroccan-leather ottoman, as she yanked my flannel trousers and my briefs down to my knees. Lucky’s hand reached between my thighs, cupping my cunt, then withdrawing slowly, her fingers separating my labia and running from my cock to my cunt to my asshole. I could feel salty sweet precome drip down my thighs. I moaned and pushed back, trying to draw her inside of me. I didn’t care where, I just needed her fingers inside of me pumping and rolling and fucking…filling my hungry holes. Instead, she stood up, hovering over me, letting the heat between us build. Suddenly she drew back and let at me with her belt against my ass. The first hit was a kiss. My cunt was slammed into the ottoman and my ass reached up for Lucky. She hit me harder the second and third times. I still wanted to jerk off, but didn’t want to come yet, so I shoved my clit into the side of the leather, forgetting about the belt and spreading my legs to expose my cunt to her touch, then closing them rapidly as I remembered what was coming and the leather flew through the air. The next hits were harder and faster, and I could feel Lucky’s grin and her hard-on behind each swoop of the belt as it thumped my ass. I was making whimpering noises, and each time her belt hit me, it drove my chest forward, pushing the air out of my lungs with a whoosh. My ass was on fire and my cunt felt hollow. Suddenly, I heard the snap of latex. Lucky dropped to her knees and started grabbing my burning ass, twisting my newly bruised, tender flesh. I moaned at the fresh pain. Then there was a cold slurp of lube and one finger circling my hole. I was frantic for her hand and bucked, trying to suck her in, but she slapped my ass with her free hand.
“Impatient, are we?”
One finger, a second finger, and finally a third slipped into me, with her thumb rubbing against the side of my engorged, stiffened clit.
“Please fuck me. Please! I need your hand inside my cunt,” I begged.
Lucky groaned but pulled out, prolonging my agony as she teased my cunt by barely dipping her fingers inside of me. I sobbed as she finally started pushing four fingers into my cunt while biting my shoulder with her pointy teeth. By now I was inarticulate with wanting to get fucked. The world had shrunken to Lucky’s hand in my cunt and her breath on my neck. Then she was twisting her hand inside, I opened up to Lucky, pushing back, and we were fucking—her gardener’s hand in my cunt, the wettest nest, everything swollen and rippling. Lucky’s mouth. My cunt. Lucky’s cunt. My cock, my clit. Lucky’s cock. I was fucking her back and she was growling. I was making noises that said, “Fuck me fast and hard.” I could feel my orgasm start in my belly—a heavy roll undulating from my chest down to my cunt as I shot out a gush of come, my cock swelling and my cunt clenching around her fist. Lucky was shouting as I sputtered hoarsely, my salty come squirting out a second time, soaking us both.
I slid off the ottoman to the carpet, panting, my pants tangled around my calves and come dripping down to my knees. Lucky fell down to the floor and we held each other close until our breathing slowed down. We were still mostly dressed, our clothing soaked with sex and sweat. I tried to get up, and my knees creaked as I stumbled over my twisted and damp trousers. I tipped over onto the floor laughing. Lucky was in better shape, but her wrist joint ached, her shirt was wet up to the armhole with my come, and her cock was listing perilously to the left. I sat Lucky down on the olive mohair sofa, put Eartha Kitt crooning “C’est Si Bon” on the stereo, poured her a snifter of cognac, and hung up our jackets. Woozily, I staggered into my bedroom, fetched Lucky a fresh shirt from my cedar-lined wardrobe, changed into a dry pair of pants, and made my way to the kitchen to fix us a postcoital snack of a simple omelet, à la Alice B. Toklas.
In the kitchen, I turned on Marlene Dietrich dramatically singing “Black Market” and swung my well-oiled hips. I let the warmth of the afterfuck flow through me lazily as I vigorously beat the eggs, water, cheese, and a hearty sprinkle of coarsely ground black pepper with a fork, then slid them into the hot skillet. Soon the omelet was bubbly and I plopped bread into the toaster, singing along with cabaret singer Marlene’s racy wartime entreatments from A Foreign Affair.
I could hear Eartha Kitt’s husky voice as I strolled back into the living room carrying a silver tray with plates of hot omelet and crisp buttered toast. As I walked through the French doors into the living room, Lucky was humming to Eartha while rubbing her wrist. I cleared the low, Persian, engraved copper-tray coffee table of leatherbound books, dime-store mysteries, a prickly tomato pincushion, and a clutch of fountain pens and put down the tray, then sat down next to Lucky, massaging her wrist and hand, pressing my thumbs into her over-fucked joints. We ate, denim knee to flannel knee, devouring the steaming eggs quietly.
Eggs and toast finished, I suddenly became nervous and insecure. Was this just a queer, kinky, senior citizen version of the one-night stand? Did I want this invasion of heat and conversation in my midst, winding its way through my apartment and life? It was easy to know what I wanted when my legs were spread—my cunt and Lucky’s hand conversed fine. What the fuck was I doing? I must have jolted in panic, because Lucky removed my empty plate from my lap, leaned over, and snuggled me against her shoulder.
Lucky said softly, “Hey, you.”
I said, “Hey, you too,” back. And this is how it all started.


About Avery Cassell

Avery Cassell is a member of the Bay Area’s queer BDSM and literary communities as well as a writer, painter and cartoonist living in San Francisco, whose erotic short stories have appeared in Best Lesbian Erotica 2015, Anything that Moves, Whipped: 20 Erotic Stories of Female Dominance, Sonic Erotica and More Five Minute Erotica.

Find Avery Cassell Online

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***Release Day, Rafflecopter Giveaway, and Excerpt!*** Where Lightning Strikes by A.L. Jackson

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WHERE LIGHTNING STRIKES
A Bleeding Stars Novel Book 3
By: AL Jackson
Release Day March 22

SYNOPSIS
Do you know what it feels like right before lightning strikes? How you can feel the current running through your veins? The trembles of warning that ripple through the air? It was a thrill Tamar King chased all her life until it became the very thing she had to escape.
For the last four years, Tamar King has hidden herself in an isolated world she created. She was safe. No one could touch her. Until Lyrik West walked through her door.
He’s the lead guitarist for Sunder and everything she can never have. The dark and beautiful rock star becomes everything she craves.
Lyrik’s life has been devoted to his band and that success has cost him. Bitter, hard, and filled with regret, he refuses to lose himself again, but from the moment he sees her, he wants one night with Tamar King.
The gorgeous bartender is more than he bargained for. Their attraction is consuming. Their desire overpowering. With one touch, they ignite.
But is it worth the cost of getting burned?
She’s a gorgeous nightmare and he’s a wicked dream…
WHERE LIGHTNING STRIKES, a Bleeding Stars Stand-Alone Novel
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Young passionate couple
Young passionate couple making love in bed

Excerpt

For one night, I wanted it. I wanted her secrets. I wanted to sink my fingers in and take for myself. She was the exact kind of contradiction I craved.
The push and pull.
But this time the pull was too great to ignore.
I traced my thumbs along the delicate slope of her neck. Dragged them across the soft, soft skin. Her pulse was racing with a violent beat. I forced her to look at me while my entire body ran hot.
“Tell me what you want, Red.” It slipped out in a rough murmur.
In the distance, thunder rolled. Those blue eyes flashed. Flashed with courage and fear.
Something about it made me shake.
Almost defiantly, she lifted her chin, and she reached up with her small hands and grasped me around the wrists.
“I want you to kiss me.”
Motherf*cker.
Leave it to Red to ask for the thing I didn’t want to give. Memories cut a path of panic through my consciousness. Reminding me of what I’d done. Of why I could never get too close.
Of where my loyalty truly lay.
Clenching my jaw, I gripped her tighter. My heart was giving its all to reject this. Screaming at me to wise up and to do it fast. To turn my back and walk away. No doubt, my feet had officially crossed into the forbidden zone. Out of bounds.
Red was trying to take me places I didn’t want to go.
On the inside, I struggled like a goddamned madman. Torn between lashing out like I’d done the last time she’d been tempting me with the need to sink inside her, to discover the countless secrets she had lying underneath, and gathering her up and letting her in on all of mine.
I was at an all-out war with my instincts. The f*cked-up thing was I didn’t even know what those were anymore.
Not when it came to her.
Wavering, I rocked forward in indecision then rocked back. Getting closer to those full red lips with each pass.
Her attention flitted over my face. They jumped from my eyes to my mouth and back again. She fisted my suit jacket.
“What do you want?” she demanded, turning the question on me. Her voice was a brazen, needy mix of the siren who had no issue with putting me in my place and the soft vulnerability that kept seeping through.
My tongue darted out and swept across my bottom lip.
Dying for a taste.
“F*ck it.”
Figured she was going to kill me, anyway.

Black and white image of young couple lovers embracing half nake
Black and white image of young couple lovers embracing half naked

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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A.L. Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary and new adult romance.

She first found a love for writing during her days as a young mother and college student. She filled the journals she carried with short stories and poems used as an emotional outlet for the difficulties and joys she found in day-to-day life.

Years later, she shared a short story she’d been working on with her two closest friends and, with their encouragement, this story became her first full length novel. A.L. now spends her days writing in Southern Arizona where she lives with her husband and three children.

Connect with A.L. Jackson online:www.aljacksonauthor.com

To stay up to date with important news on A.L. Jackson, including new releases, sales, and exclusive specials and excerpts, text “jackson” to 96000 to subscribe!

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Website:
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***Release Day Blitz, Review, and Giveaway!!*** Porn Money & Wannabe Mummy by Laura Barnard

 

    Release Blitz
Porn Money and Wannabe Mummy 
Release date: 23rd March 
Hosted by Two Ordinary Girls and their Books 
 
 

What is it about turning thirty that sends rational women into a tailspin?
Suddenly going from having all the time in the world, to cringing at the ticking of her biological clock, Poppy is drowning under the strain of trying to get pregnant.
With a dad in the throes of a mid-life crisis, a crazy mother-in-law and time racing towards Lilly’s wedding, will she be able to cope with it all…and give Ryan the baby they so desperately want?
Finally able to inherit her dad’s porn money, Jazz can’t wait to be rich! She can buy a house in Chelsea, go out partying with her old mates and start living how she deserves.
But with Ollie, Jemima and Meryl each clawing at their own little piece of her happiness, will she have to leave behind those closest to her in exchange for it?

 

The real question is, can Poppy and Jazz rescue their own lives before everything gets ruined, or will their own stubbornness destroy the lives they’ve created 

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

 

My Review

This is my first read of Laura Barnard’s, and I loved it.

I really felt bad for Poppy throughout the entire story. Everyone seemed to have a secret, and she was the one they shared it with but couldn’t vent to anyone about her issues. Jazz was a bit much, and after getting a little crazy I was so glad to see her return to reality. This book had me laughing, crying, and wanting to throat punch someone the entire time. It was awesome to read a book that had real life struggles in it, along with the other craziness.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a great read
Author info



Laura Barnard lives in Hertfordshire, UK and writes romantic comedy or ‘chick lit’ as its so often described. In her spare time she enjoys drinking her body weight in tea, indulging in cupcakes the size of her face and drooling over hunks like Jamie Dornan, Ryan Gosling and Leo Dicaprio.

She enjoys wearing yoga pants and reading fitness magazines while sitting on the sofa eating chocolate. She’s a real fan of the power nap and of course READING!

She writes not to get rich or famous, but because she LOVES writing. Even if one person tells her they enjoyed her book it makes the midnight typing worth it!



Two ordinary girls and their books

 

!!!Release Day and Review!!! Ginger’s Heart by Katy Regnery

Ginger’s Heart by Katy Regnery

Date of Publication: March 22, 2016

Blurb

“I finished Ginger’s Heart last night, and I am completely and utterly in love.” –Mia Sheridan, NY Times bestselling author

Once upon a time there were two cousins:
one golden like the sun,
one dark like midnight,
one a protector,
one a predator,
one a Woodsman
and
one a Wolf…
both owning equal,
but different,
parts of a little girl’s heart.

In this modern retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood,” the woodsman and the wolf are cousins, and Little Red is the girl with whom they both fall in love.

Beautiful Ginger McHuid, daughter of Kentucky’s premiere horse breeder, grows up on her family farm, best friends with Cain Wolfram, the son of her father’s Stallion Manager, and Cain’s cousin, Josiah Woodman, son of a local banker. Throughout their happy childhood, the three are inseparable friends, but as they mature into adults, complicated feelings threaten to destroy their long history of friendship and love.

Ginger’s Heart

*****

This is a standalone novel inspired by Little Red Riding Hood. New Adult Contemporary Romance: Due to profanity and very strong sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

(The next standalone a modern fairytale novel, Don’t Speak, inspired by The Little Mermaid, will be released in 2017.)

Available From


My Review

I should have been prepared for the emotions this book would bring out (especially after how the first 2 books in the Modern Fairy Tale collection went) but nothing could have prepared me for this.

The story drew me in from the beginning, and I had a hard time putting it down. The pain that each of these characters faced throughout the book was heartbreaking, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with each of them. They each had demons they were in denial about, and the love each of them felt for the others, whether it was a brotherly type love or that of the girl next door, had them all making sacrifices.

I can’t put in to words how I feel about this book, except wow, and that it is definitely a must read. I can’t wait to see what Katy Regnery has in store for us in the next Modern Fairy Tale series.

About Katy Regnery

Katy Regnery, award-winning and Amazon bestselling author, started her writing career by enrolling in a short story class in January 2012. One year later, she signed her first contract for a winter romance entitled By Proxy.

Now a hybrid author who publishes both independently and traditionally, Katy claims authorship of the six-book Heart of Montana series, the six-book English Brothers series, and a Kindle Worlds novella entitled “Four Weddings and a Fiasco: The Wedding Date,” in addition to the standalone novels, Playing for Love at Deep Haven and Amazon bestseller, The Vixen and the Vet.

The Vixen and the Vet is included in the charity anthology Hometown Heroes: Hotter Ever After, and Katy’s novella “Frosted” appeared in the Jan ’15 anthology, Snowy Days Steamy Nights. Additionally, Katy’s short story, “The Long Way Home” appeared in the first RWA anthology (Feb ’15), Premiere.

Katy lives in the relative wilds of northern Fairfield County, Connecticut, where her writing room looks out at the woods, and her husband, two young children, and two dogs create just enough cheerful chaos to remind her that the very best love stories begin at home.

Find Katy Regnery Online

Teaser

Excerpt from Chapter 12 of Ginger’s Heart, a modern fairytale, by Katy Regnery. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

An hour later they stopped by the Glenn River, eight miles downriver from Ginger’s house and two from the distillery where Cain had partied last night.

“We should water them,” he said, reining in Thunder and dismounting with the ease of a lifelong horseman.

She reined in Heath, who nickered in protest, and grinned down at Cain who reached up for her. His hands lingered for an extra moment on her hips as she slid down the front of his body. Leaning her head back, she stared up at him, daring him to pull her closer, to kiss her, to admit that this whole “friends” thing was bullshit on fire. But, he clenched his jaw, cleared his throat and dropped his hands.

“Thanks,” she murmured, her voice husky in her ears as he stared down at her, his eyes flinty and dark.

Taking Heath’s reins with a grunt, he turned away from her, leading the horses to the river’s edge and leaving her to follow behind. She leaned down to pick up a flat stone and skipped it across the slow moving water.

“Not bad,” said Cain.

“You were always the best.”

“Nah,” he said. “Woodman was better.”

“Nope,” she countered, picking up another stone. “Woodman was good, but you were better. Remember that Fourth of July that you skipped eleven times? Eleven times. It was a record.”

Satisfied that the horses were calm and drinking their fill, Cain leaned down and grabbed a rock of his own, skipping it over the dark water.

One-two-three-four-five-six-seven…

“Wow!” she said, clapping lightly. “You’ve still got the touch!”

He turned to her, grinning. “You always get excited about the littlest things. What’s it like gettin’ a kick out of everythin’, Gin?”

“What’s it like gettin’ a kick out of nothin’, Cain?” she asked, her voice full of sass.

“I’m gettin’ a kick out of you right now, princess.”

A charge zapped between them as the words left his mouth, and her breath hitched and held for just a moment, but she looked down and picked up another rock. She was enjoying today too much to go back to Awkwardland.

She skipped her rock, which sunk after three measly hops.

“Remember when you saved my Cabbage Patch doll from certain doom in this river?” she asked him.

He screwed up his face as her. “Wasn’t me. Must have been Woodman.”

“It was you!” she insisted. “Not Woodman!”

“Savin’ a dolly? Please. That has Woodman written all over it. I couldn’t have cared less if it drowned.”

“But I cared,” she said softly. “Which is why you saved it.”

“Fine. Have it your way,” he said, sitting down on a large rock near the water’s edge.

She sighed, squatting down to wash her hands in the clear water before looking back at him. “Why do you do that?”

“Do what?”

“Let Woodman take credit for all the good things?”

He shrugged, looking away from her, out at the water. “I don’t.”

“You just did. Twice.”

He sighed, giving her a long-suffering look. “If somethin’ good happened, chances were, it was Woodman’s doin’.”

“How do you figure?”

“He’s the better man, Gin,” said Cain, his eyes severe, his words deliberate.

She stood up slowly, turning her body completely to face him. “Do you really believe that?”

He looked away. “It’s the truth.”

“Cain. Cain, look at me.” Her words didn’t feel like enough so she beseeched him with her eyes too. “You’re just as good a man as he is.”

“Ha!” scoffed Cain, standing up and moving away from her. “Not in this life, princess.”

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***REVIEW!!!*** Because by Jennifer Foor

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Because

Seven Year Itch book 4

By Jennifer Foor

I’ve heard if you can make it through the first seven years of marriage you’ve made it past the tough part and it’s smooth sailing.
Whoever said that was an idiot.
I’ve been married for seven years, and in that time I’ve waited for my immature husband to grow up and become a responsible man.
It still hasn’t happened, and I’m at the end of my rope. I need him to be a father to our child, not someone who needs his own toys to be content.
I want a partner, not a guy more concerned about his friends than his wife.
This is my marriage, and before I throw in the towel I’ve decided to do something drastic to make it happen.
I’m Shayla Vincent and this is my story.

Erotic Couple
Young adult couple in the studio hugging

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28645749-because?from_search=true&search_version=service

AMAZON: http://amzn.to/21wyRXD

 

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My review

5 Stars

I absolutely loved this book. My heart broke for both Brandon and Shayla, as they both struggle to find where exactly their relationship went sour. Shayla feels what most moms feel like at some time in their lives, and her struggles had me in tears throughout the book. Brandon is sort of clueless, and a bit of an ass throughout the book, but you can’t help but feel the pain he is going through. The secondary characters added so much to the story, even when I wanted to smack Shayla’s mom upside her head. This story drew me in from the beginning, and I couldn’t put it down. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a phenomenal read

Passion Portrait Of Couple In Love
Passion Sexy Portrait Of Couple In Love

AUTHOR INFO:

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Jennifer Foor is an award winning Contemporary Romance Author.
She is married with She’s best known for the Mitchell Family Series, which includes ten books.two children and spends most of her time behind a keyboard, writing stories that come from her heart.

Young woman with beautiful long brown hair posing at studio, profile over black background, toned
Young woman with beautiful long brown hair posing at studio, profile over black background, toned

WEBSITE: http://www.jenniferfoor.com/
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/JenniferFoorAuthor
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/jennyfoor
AMAZON AUTHOR: http://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Foor/e/B007QVEKI E/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1408370369&sr=8-2-ent
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Fly by Molly McLain Release Day and Review

Fly Bannerfly

Goodreads
77003-synopsis
Meet Colton Wade, FMX rider…
I’m just a small town guy who caught a lucky break. Now I’m living the dream, on the brink of high-flying super-stardom. But something’s missing.
That something is Taylor.
She’s my best friend. The one who makes me want to push harder and higher. The one I fall back on when shit gets tough. The one I’d give it all up for.
I’d do anything to protect her. To make her dreams come true too.
But a single night changes everything.
And now the one she needs protection from…is me.
Fly Teaser
Buy Links
Fly Promo

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Review

I don’t think I have ever devoured a book the way I just did Fly. I seriously finished it in two hours. It drew me in, had me falling in love with Colton and Taylor, and had my heart breaking by the end. The chemistry between the two was crazy, and I loved seeing them go from friends to lovers, even though the road became really bumpy. I loved the secondary characters, except for a certain skank that I would love to see end up with a good case of crabs 😉

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a fantastic read!!

f4cbe-about2bthe2bauthor
Molly McLain lives in a tiny little town in Wisconsin with her husband, three kids, and a sassy dog. She loves fountain soda, jellybeans, Luke Bryan and Avenged Sevenfold, thunderstorms, and camping at quiet lakes. She’s been scribbling down love stories since she was old enough to dream about happily ever afters, and now she writes sexy, small town romance for real.
More contact info:
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Excerpt Reveal-Listen to Me by Kristen Proby

Listen To Me - Excerpt Reveal banner

 

We are so excited to bring you the Excerpt Reveal for LISTEN TO ME by Kristen Proby! LISTEN TO ME is a contemporary romance novel being published on April 12th by HarperCollins’ William Morrow imprint and is the first novel in Kristen’s Fusion Series.

 

Listen to Me - cover

Pre-Order Your Copy Today!

Amazon ** Barnes & Noble ** iTunes ** Kobo

 

 

About LISTEN TO ME:

In New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby’s brand new series, five best friends open a hot new restaurant, but one of them gets much more than she bargained for when a sexy former rock star walks through the doors—and into her heart.

Seduction is quickly becoming the hottest new restaurant in Portland, and Addison Wade is proud to claim 1/5 of the credit. She’s determined to make it a success and can’t think of a better way to bring in new customers than live music. But when former rock star Jake Keller swaggers through the doors to apply for the weekend gig, she knows she’s in trouble. Addie instantly recognizes him—his posters were plastered all over her bedroom walls in high school—he’s all bad boy…exactly her type and exactly what she doesn’t need.

Jake Keller walked away from the limelight five years ago and yearns to return to what’s always driven him: the music. If he gets to work for a smart-mouthed, funny-as-hell bombshell, all the better. But talking Addie into giving him the job is far easier than persuading her that he wants more than a romp in her bed. Just when she begins to drop her walls, Jake’s past finally catches up with him.

Will Addie be torn apart once again or will Jake be able to convince her to drown out her doubts and listen to her heart?

 

 

Excerpt:

Excerpt from Listen to Me by Kristen Proby

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/302976897/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&show_recommendations=true

 

Author Pic - Kristen ProbyAbout Kristen Proby:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Kristen Proby is the author of the popular With Me in Seattle series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong characters who love humor and have a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type—fiercely protective and a bit bossy—and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves. Kristen spends her days with her muse in the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys coffee, chocolate, and sunshine. And naps. Visit her at KristenProby.com.

 

 

 

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